Monthly Archives: Nov 2014

UNBROKEN – The Next ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

In similar vein as Victor Frankl’s paradigm shifting book, “Unbroken” is a fascinating and mind-bending narrative that will change the way you think about everything – forever.

It’s a tale of unbridled optimism, unshakeable belief, and remarkable courage. A ground-breaking work along the lines of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’.

It is the life story of Louis Zamperini, a typical teenage troublemaker who discovers his hidden talent for long distance running and dreams of Olympic glory, or even breaking the 4 minute mile – before World War 2 breaks, wafting him along a different path to his destiny.

Laura Hillenbrand’s gripping narrative is of a style and class that’s rare and precious. She says her struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) forced her to live life vicariously – through her imagination. Thankfully, we can join her without any of the hardship of facing CFS… through her incredible writing.

For several wonderstruck hours I remained lost to my surroundings, accompanying ‘Zamp the champ’ as he stole pastries from a bakery, ran at the Olympics, carried out bombing raids, drifted on a raft in the lonely Pacific, fought off sharks and starvation, suffered assaults and attacks in a PoW camp… and I went through every emotional nuance and special moment in a marvelous and unique way that makes reading UNBROKEN a magical experience.

My favorite bit was when Louie is confined to prison on an atoll nicknamed “Execution Island” in the Pacific Ocean, a captive of the Japanese military. In his small cell where he exists in constant fear of being suddenly summoned to his execution, he scrawls his name under a list of nine PoWs, all of whom had been killer earlier.

Months later, in another camp, he meets a fellow soldier who had been imprisoned on the same island. The guy tells him how seeing Louie’s name on a list of condemned prisoners, and being told that he survived, was what kept his hopes alive. “If Louie could make it, so can I” he told himself – and made it through the war alive.

Little do we know how big an impact our smallest acts can have!

UNBROKEN is testimony to the strength and resilience of the human spirit, expressed by way of the life story of a young lieutenant in the US air force during WW2.

There are lessons in it that go far beyond any individual, any event, any nationality – and speak to the depths of the power and energy that transcend all man-made boundaries to resonate in the core of the human soul and spirit.

I found UNBROKEN through a Facebook discussion started by Ken McArthur asking about books anyone had read through at least FIVE times. I can see myself reading UNBROKEN five times (if not more) over the years to come.

Even if you’re feeling suicidal or depressed, apathetic or disheartened, overwhelmed or weary, this is a story with the potential to bring you back to life. To enthuse and energize you, inspire and motivate you, reorient and reassure you… that life is a blessing, a meaningful and purpose-driven journey, a gift.

5 stars, 2 thumbs up, highly recommended!

BUY “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption”

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7 Uses For DEATH

7 uses for death

Death…

  • Focuses you on the here and now
  • Shows how unimportant and insignificant things really are
  • Creates urgency – there may not be a ‘tomorrow’
  • Recalls pleasant memories of the departed one’s life
  • Makes you pause and reflect on your own life – seriously
  • Proves you have a lot to be grateful for – like being alive
  • Forces you to accept that you are human – and will be gone some day

These were thoughts that ran through my mind today as I drove back home from the funeral of a colleague who worked with me for a little over ten years, treating little kids with congenital heart defects.

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Where’s YOUR Fire?

Hit Pause

When I built my first website in 1995 on Geocities, it was about a subject I was passionate. Congenital heart defects. In a month, on average, the site had 8 visitors. I didn’t care. Mine was a labor of love.

A talent scout for About.com (then The Mining Company) found me, invited me to write for About.com’s heart disease section, and I was soon making what seemed like a royal income for a post-grad in India.

It was a similar story with blogging.

‘Remarkably Purple Spots’ was born in June 2003. This is how I answered the question:

“Why this blog?”

Every day, several remarkable things cross my desk, my mind and my computer screen. Hilariously funny things. Shockingly outrageous ones. Wildly profitable stuff. Or just simply curious.

I’m tempted to write to you about them – because I ‘know’ you’ll love it. But it’s too much WORK. That’s why you have… ‘Remarkably Purple Spots’

It was – and still is – a hodge-podge of things I find interesting. The blog has raised a lot in donations for congenital heart defects through an annual Heart Kids Blogathon.

Not just that, along the way both online assets have established my brand, created a degree of authority and given me extensive reach among an audience I want to speak to.

It has given me influence. And that’s because the assets were built with passion.

There are many stories like this. I read about Don Vandervort’s “Home Tips” on Guy Kawasaki’s ‘How To Change The World’ blog.

Starting in his son’s tree-house, Don’s site won Google’s ‘Adsense Story Contest’.

I cringe when I hear newbies being advised to start out with cold-blooded calculations of niche profitability, audience metrics and other ‘marketing speak’ – with scarcely any consideration to what matters most… their PASSION.

Where’s YOUR fire?

That’s what will keep burning, simmering or smoldering, and make you stick with whatever you do.

That’s the unique ingredient no one else can mimic, copy or replicate, making you and your work distinct.

That’s the ‘secret recipe’ that virtually guarantees that you’ll end up with influence and retain the attention of your audience.

Think about it before you go any further.

Where’s YOUR fire?
 

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A Child-Like Curiosity

Child like curiosity

How nice it would be to always view the world through the awe-struck, innocent, curious eyes of a child!

And how often we are incurious about the most common stuff – that we really don’t understand at all.

This morning, I was reading my daughter’s book.  It was about the ‘POST’.  Yes, how letters and parcels get mailed and delivered across the world.

Surely you’ve posted letters to international destinations?  You seal the envelope, stick a stamp and drop it into the mailbox.

But have you wondered about what pays for it to be delivered?

Your stamp covers the cost of delivering your letter.  You paid for the stamp in your country.  Your letter gets delivered by a postman in ANOTHER country.

How does that postman get paid?  How does your payment for a stamp translate into paying the postman in another country?

I’ll admit I’ve never been curious about that!  And learned the answer in the book I read today.  It was eye-opening.

“All postal services are members of an international organization called the Universal Postal Union.  Each member delivers post paid for and sent from overseas free of charge.  This expense is balanced by the fact that they don’t have to pay for the delivery of items they send overseas.”

Ok, maybe this kind of curiosity isn’t quite important.

But curious people often have influence – because they are curious enough to push the envelope, explore the uncertain, question the traditional.

And in the process, they uncover information that is entertaining, or informative, revolutionary or profitable, or even world-changing.

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