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Can you do that which you ask of others?

Gandhi famously said, ”Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

The backstory to this often-quoted and profound line concerns a Mother who brought her son to Gandhi. She was worried for her son’s health because he was overweight and would not stop eating sweets. She asked Gandhi to tell her son to stop eating sweets. Gandhi said to come back in two weeks. She was surprised but complied.

In two weeks’ time, the Mother returned and Gandhi spoke directly to her son, clearly and compellingly asking him to respect himself and his life enough to eat healthy foods and give up sweets and sugar. “Why did I need to come back?” She asked. “Well Madam,” he answered, “I love sugar, pastries and candy. Before I could ask your son to give these things up, I had to know that I could do so myself.”

How amazing that such a famous and inspiring philosophy came about from such a simple thing as a boy’s love of sweets. Yet perhaps that’s the way it is – as Bruce Barton said, “Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things. I am tempted to think there are no little things.”

Each of us can choose how to live – and how to die. Having been out of touch and overseas for some months due to a tragic family bereavement, I have learnt this powerful lesson at first hand.

If you had just a few short weeks left to you, would you choose to live and die with grace, serenity and dignity? Or would you “rage, rage, against the dying of the light”? I was privileged to witness a choice of acceptance, made serenely, gracefully, contentedly, demonstrating such faith and happiness that not a tear was shed.

Inspirational. Thank you, Mum.

Devon’s Business Invest 2012 Campaign Deadline Across the Water in the UK

The deadline for entering Devon’s Business Invest 2012 contest has been extended to the 9th April, so if you’re in business in the UK’s Glorious Devon there’s still time to enter to win £10,000-worth of business-boosting prizes!

I’m looking forward to seeing the entries and the Judging Panel’s responses.

Sunshine Beach – just my favourite place in Australia

The wet season went out in style, with huge tropical rains for several days here at Sunshine Beach.

Now it’s autumn and the days are clear and dry, with gorgeous blue skies and the warm Pacific ocean. The wattle bushes are in flower, to the delight of the lorikeets who love to feed on the blossoms.

The Noosa Farmers’ Market is full of the autumn harvest, including lemons, mandarins, oranges and paw-paw just coming into season.

Worth taking an hour to watch this – happiness is about now not tomorrow

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university in 2007 before a packed McConomy Auditorium. Take a look at this moving presentation on “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Carpe Diem

Grateful for another new year

Grateful for 2011 and 2012: here’s a ten-minute film that’s worth watching (despite the American accents and wrongly calling a tap a “faucet”). Tip: unless you have super-fast broadband, you might want to let it play through on its own first then click play and it’ll run without buffering. It’ll only take you ten minutes to watch this, that still leaves you with 710 more minutes today.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously”. So if you feel like lightening up, here’s a game you might want to play, if you feel like it. It’s fun to do on your own, even better with one or two others…

When you’re remembering all the best parts of 2011, “premember” all the best bits of 2012 to come. Because as you prepare and plan, so that very action begins to bring those activities into being. Of course, you have to take action too. Just as the fish are already in the sea, no-one’s going to put them on your hook unless you go fishing with the right kit. So it is with everything that’s important to you. You have to take action, beginning with the preparation. And the most fun bit of that preparation is to imagine what it will be like.

So “premember” all of the great things that are to come in 2012, just as you remember what’s already been in 2011. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap”: in order to sow, you need to first decide on the seeds then prepare the ground. Going through the gardening catalogue of your future, picking out which seeds to sow, can be really fun. How colourful, scented, delicious, amazing, huge will your 2012 be?

Wishing you a very happy new year and may all the good things that you most wish for yourself and others come to be.

Knowledge is Power, Power is Freedom to be You

Now this is one really cool site – where you can learn what you want for free. The Khan Academy has delivered over 74m lessons for free so far. So lack of knowledge is no longer a reason for lack of progress! No idea as to the quality of the lessons – will be interested to know – although 74m lessons can’t be bad..

Who says you can’t do whatever you most want? Of course you can. So long as what you want fits with the wider reality around you. Sometimes the world has to give us a prompt in order for us to realise what we most want. At least, that’s one good way of viewing obstacles – making lemonade (or a gin and tonic) from life’s lemons, as the wonderful Gail Kelly says.

 

Happy House

After creating and running Crealy Great Adventure Parks for over two decades, we’ve often talking of building a slide into our home. Check out this wonderful, far-from-normal house in Japan!

Happiness

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be” said Abraham Lincoln. Attending the “Happiness and its Causes” conference in Brisbane earlier this year was amazing. I am wondering whether to attend “Mind and its Potential” in Sydney, in November.

The kookaburras are laughing outside the house – every time I hear them I smile too. Isn’t that what all the striving is for – isn’t everything we do just a way to be able to smile more, to laugh more, to be more joyful? Isn’t that life at its utmost?

Hope you are happy today too. If not, this clip attached of a friend of Diamond will make you smile for sure.

Far From Normal Towns – the Most Colourful on Earth

Love this post about the ten most colourful towns on Earth. Visited Bergen, Number Nine, on board our friends’ boat in 2010 – and it really is that picturesque. Just nine more to go, then!

A great reminder that towns don’t have to be grey, beige, boring. Thanks to Nellie Huang, the travel-writer, one of the Superbloggers for Visit Britain.

But  we humans still can’t outdo Mother Nature in terms of beauty that amazes. And I still prefer country living!

Fish in Hot Water

Funny how the climate change debate has moved from moral to economic arguments. Of course, the economic arguments were always there but the first groups of people to get excited about the data were the scientists and philosophers, to whom the factual and moral arguments massively outgunned the economic impacts. Now that the data is widely accepted by all but flat-earthers, the economic arguments are in play.

Yesterday’s report of 2-degree warming in the waters of SE Australia have had a bit of coverage here. The Banded Morwong fish have been studied by counting the rings in their ear-bones (similar to trees, this correlates with their growth rates) and prove that over 6o years, the sea in this area has warmed by 2 degrees. When David was working in the Antarctic for three years with the British Antarctic Survey, a couple of decades ago, much of his diving was to catch little fish so their ear-bones could be dissected for just that purpose. Funnily enough, it proved that fish in very cold waters grow incredibly slowly.

So what happens to the fish in the ABC report? Well, to start with they grew faster as the seas warmed. Then it became just too hot and their species became imperilled. Oh, but that’s just fish…

Now, if you’re in Europe you think that warmer seas sound just fine; after all, our European seas are largely unswimmable for much of the year! But unfortunately we can’t pick and choose which parts of the globe warm. It will differ per location and topography, but unfortunately the hot places are likely to be much hotter and the rest much wetter and more changeable.

A few years ago it was said that a 4 degree increase in average global temperatures would be catastrophic. Now that seems to be accepted, expected even. Bad luck residents of London, Amsterdam, Shanghai and Mumbai. At least you can move relatively easily. Not so good for the other 100+m poor people.

At the end of the day, does it matter what’s caused the change to date? It seems one has to be truly in denial to say that the massive carbon burning we’ve indulged in since the Industrial Revolution hasn’t had a part to play. Our current consumption of energy, still fuelled largely by oil and gas so releasing all that carbon stored for millenia, undoubtedly add to warming. Sure, there are other reasons too.

For my part, I know that “necessity is the Mother of invention” so have every faith in new tecs finding solutions. Many businesses are throwing huge sums of money at it. Some will succeed and some will fail, but I have more faith in business than government in finding solutions. What’s beyond doubt is that there are many future ways to both reduce carbon generation through clean energy generation and to store carbon being produced, to prevent release into the atmosphere. Exciting and profitable businesses. (Ssh, don’t mention they’re good for humanity too, or the extreme right- and left-wingers will stop listening – they’re so driven by fear that they think the rest of the world has to fail for them to succeed).

As David always says, “The sky isn’t falling”. We’ll be fine. Not so sure about the rest of the world, especially the 187 million who’ll be moving. Oh dear, I’ve gone back to that moral argument again…