Monthly Archives: Apr 2014

Setting Limits

Setting Limits

Often our brains are fired up by demands to “dream big”.

In principle, that’s fine. But setting limits has a place, too.

Let’s take the example of ‘making more money’. How much is good to aim for?

Some will say a few hundred dollars, some a few thousand, some a few million – and all will be critiqued by a few for not “dreaming big”.

Yet, when you dig deeper into the WHY, all these answers may be perfectly correct!

If all you NEED is a few extra bucks to tide over a problem or enhance your quality of life, without sacrificing all else, then that’s your right target. You don’t need ‘bigger’.

Maybe your existing commitments mandate little time available for other things.

Personally, my online work generates money to further a purpose… to fund complex and expensive operations for poor children with congenital heart disease.

If I devote most of my time to making money, I could achieve ‘big’ targets – but unless I have time and energy to perform surgery, that does NOT further my goal.

‘Big’ is big ENOUGH.

To fuel your ambition. To fire your dream. To live your purpose.

Set limits. Reach them. Push them out a bit further.

Rinse and repeat. Grow. Succeed.

And be happy as you do.

It begins by setting limits.



500 Words To Change Your Life!

500 words to change your life

Look, I realize a 500 word post on a blog isn’t likely to change your worldview or the way you see life. But then again, it might – in some small way. So I’ll share parts of a conversation I had recently.


2 Effective Time Management Tips

Let’s talk about 2 effective time management tips that will transform your life and free up hours in your busy day to focus on other important activities.

Effective Time Management Tip #1 – Automation

We live in a technologically advanced world. There is technology that can help with practically anything – including stretching your time. No, we’re not talking about a time machine that slows or speeds up time itself, but about harnessing the power of technology to automate things.

If you’re just starting out and can’t afford to hire people to help you out, you might consider automating some tasks using technology. Email autoresponders are one such tool. By pre-loading them with a sequence of follow up messages, you can run your customer follow up process entirely hands-free.

This lets you communicate effectively, and one-on-one, with prospects, customers, clients, co-workers or students through email – even without having to invest hours and hours on personalization and checking email obsessively every few minutes.

Similar technology is available for faxing responses to people who call a number. Recorded phone messages played back to callers is another such example. Particularly of interest to home business owners running a business on the Internet is the knowledge of how even multi-million dollar operations can be managed by a handful of ’employees’.

Effective time management tips are not always complex or costly. Some of them can be implemented very inexpensively, and literally overnight. All it takes is some research, planning and access to technology. For example, the entire process of ordering, processing payments and delivering digital products can be set to be hands-off, leaving you with a time saving of several minutes to hours every day.

If a particular task in your daily routine is taking up a lot of time, it is worthwhile investing time and effort to try and find a way to automate it. That focus on automation will be among very effective time management tips which, over a longer period, will pay off richly in terms of time saved.

Effective Time Management Tip #2 – Punctuality

On a trip to Switzerland, what stood out in addition to the lovely, scenic country was the near-perfect adherence to a time schedule. Punctuality seemed to be the watchword by which the entire nation lived!

We spent an idyllic 5 days in Lucerne, Interlaken and Zurich. One thing that stood out was the obsessive punctuality – in everything. Train time-tables were printed out in 2 minute time-frames… which were met every time. In all, we made around 42 different transits, from train, to bus, to ferry, to cable-car… and only in one case was the departure time over 30 SECONDS later than displayed in the printed time-table!

This machine-like precision allowed us to squeeze the maximum benefit from our limited holiday, and we visited more places than we could have if the time schedule had been more sloppy – or ‘normal’!

That’s the effective time management principle we’re striving to implement in our own lives and work. Punctuality in everything you do will save you time. Time that’s better spent on more important things. Time that lets you plan out your day or week with more confidence. Time that allows you to fit in more action into your crowded day.


This can completely transform your level of success and remove any anxiety or frustration from your work in combination with the Time Management Tao approach of discovering how to

In the free email newsletter, “Time Taozine“, you’ll learn even more effective time management tips by email. Sign up to receive your subscription.

Time management tips | Time Management Tao Home


Pick Your Battles

Pick Your Battles

In 2005, more than 135 million children were born; a little under 10 million children under the age of 5 died.

As a medical professional who has devoted his career to caring for kids, my heart aches at these statistics.

No child should die.

That’s my dream. It’s also a gargantuan challenge to meet.There are battles to fight – against infections like measles, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and malaria, against birth asphyxia and neonatal tetanus, and against birth defects.

I have to pick my battles – so that I can win, not merely fight.

We all face similar choices every day.

  • Which issues to address?
  • What actions to take?
  • How to make a difference?

Injustice and unfairness is innately oppressive and disgusting to every normal human being. We want to believe in a world where justice prevails, where the good are rewarded and the evil punished.

And that is why violations of these ‘rules of natural justice’ make us angry.

Yet anger alone is useless. Even if it spurs you on to taking action, unless the action is focused and directed in the right way, you may not achieve the desired result.

A chisel is more effective at cutting through mortar or rock because all its energy and force is concentrated along a thin, sharp edge. It isn’t spread out over a large area, and therefore can break through tough barriers.

Be a chisel.

Pick your battles.

Make a meaningful difference.

It’s a hard choice – because it means you’ll have to ignore some unpleasant things, turn a blind eye to some forms of injustice, pay only passing attention to some unfairness in the world – and live with that burden of guilt.

Just make sure you don’t use that as an excuse to ignore everything.

Pick your battles.

Don’t run away from the battlefield!


What If You Only Had A Year?

What if you had just a year to live?

What would you do? And what wouldn’t you?

Whom would you talk to? Whom would you not?

Where would you go?

What would you mend, fix or replace?

What would you learn? And teach?

What would you give, share or offer? To whom?

What risks would you dare to take?

What fear would you overcome?

What dreams would you chase?

Whom would you tell, “I love you”?


What if you had only a month more left?

Does that change anything?

What if you had barely a week?


What if there was only today?

Think about it.

Maybe there is only today.

Now Clock - There's Only Today


2 Questions to Live By

Last night, I watched “The Bucket List”, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It was a powerful movie, touching and funny, insightful and inspirational.

There were profoundly simple messages scattered through the movie, like one of my favorites when Carter (Freeman) asks Cole (Nicholson) if they had been cleared to race a Mustang around a track, and he replies:

“Does it matter if we aren’t?”

Or when they’re talking about how fast time flies.

Carter: “Forty-five years goes by pretty fast.”
Cole: “Like smoke through a keyhole.”

Or Cole explains his elegant philosophy of Life thus:

“We live. We die. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.”

The best scene, for me, is when the two are catching their breath atop a pyramid, and discuss the Egyptian belief about Death and Heaven.

Carter mentions how Egyptians believe there were two questions a soul is asked as it ascends to the gates of Heaven – and the answers determine whether or not it gets to pass through.

#1 – Have you found joy in your life?

#2 – Has your life brought joy to others?

Late into the night, and again ever since I woke up early this morning, these 2 questions have been echoing in my mind.

I’m sure they will continue to replay this way for a long time to come.

They are certainly 2 questions to live by.

How would YOU answer them today?

How would you WANT to – later?

(I found a YouTube video showing this part of the film – watch it, if you like)

Bucket List movie


Lessons From a Man With Influence… My Dad


My 2007 started out on a sad note. At 11:15 a.m. one January morning, my father breathed his last after a long struggle with kidney failure. He was 70.

This is a post I shared soon after that sad day.

In the days after his funeral, many people who knew him shared their thoughts and feelings… and taught me some very valuable lessons learned in life.

Lesson #1 – Begin with the end in mind

I first read it in Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – an exercise where you imagine you are at your own funeral, hearing what people are saying about you… and think about what you want them to say.

Listening to my dad’s students, colleagues, friends from 50 years back, and family members talking about what he meant to them gave a personal insight into how this worked.

How would you think, work and act today if you were guided by the thought it would impact what folks will say when you are gone?

Lesson #2 – Make your choices

Dad struggled for years with complications of a health condition. Early on, he made a choice about the kind of treatment he would follow. It was not conventional, even ‘wrong’.

Being a doctor himself, it was impossible to convince him otherwise. A friend of his, a specialist, commented on how the complication might have been avoided if he had made a different choice.

How carefully would you analyze and research before making a choice, if you knew it would lead over time to a ‘complication’ that could affect your health or life or a major component of it?

Lesson #3 – Face the consequences

Since 2004, one after another, dad’s organ systems started failing.

Heart. Nerves. Kidneys. Eyes.

Each problem took away a part of his ‘freedom’.

Yet, not once did he complain or lament his failing health. He faced the consequences of his choices boldly, strongly, with no regrets. He accepted responsibility for his decisions.

Yet, I see people – business owners and entrepreneurs, investors and opportunity seekers – lose some money or see less than stellar results from a particular technique or ad or investment, and then complain loud and long about the ‘guru’ who led them astray.

Think. Did anyone force you to try that method, buy that ebook, join that course, attend that seminar? Or did YOU make that choice?

How will you view consequences of your choices in the future? Will you accept responsibility for them? Or will you keep fooling yourself by shifting blame?

Lesson #4 – You can’t be everything to everyone

At times, listening to his friends and colleagues speak of my father, I had the strange feeling they were talking about someone else.

A person I didn’t know. A different individual.

We, as family members, knew him from one perspective. They, as professional colleagues, saw him from a completely different – and equally fascinating – angle.

It’s just the same with you and me. You see a different side of me than my little patients with heart defects, or my family. I don’t deal with you the same way as I do with them.

How do you juggle the multiple ‘hats’ you wear in your life?

Lesson #5 – What really matters

I met and shared memories with more than 125 people over that week.

Some spoke of dad’s contributions to his specialty of cardiology. Others of his literary work and knowledge. About his helpfulness and encouragement. Many called him a ‘great’ man.

These are people who met him once or twice a month, on average.

And then, there were family members. Folks who lived with him. Met him daily, or spent most of the day with him. They spoke of different things.

Personal things. Intimate things. ‘Small’ things.

As we chatted, I felt they were more special. Because they are really the big things.

Yes, it would be nice to be known as a famous doctor, a revered teacher, a best-selling author and more.

But I think it would be nicer to be remembered as a special person by the really important people in my life. My spouse, children, parents, grandparents, and other family.

It’s what really matters. Yet how often do we risk these important relationships in search of an elusive ‘success’?

How will you change the way you do things if you know that, in the end, what really matters is how your ‘special’ people see you, feel about you, remember you?

I hope these ‘difficult’ questions lead you to seek answers – ones that define your work, and your leisure activities as you gain influence among your peers and your audience, your family and your friends.


Focus Means Tuning Out

Tuning out
Today, I was at the railway station early in the morning to drop my mom off.

On the trip, and while I walked up the ramp with her luggage, looking out to make sure that she wasn’t caught in the rush of crowds, keen on finding the right platform and getting her aboard on time, I barely noticed anything else around me.

The bustling humanity. The interesting faces. The trivia of daily life on a railway platform. All passed me by while I was intent on what I set out to do.

With mom safely in her seat, I strolled more leisurely back to where I had parked my car – and almost magically found so many fascinating things caught my eye.

An elderly lady, stooped to almost half her height by age, was plodding along with her walking stick, her middle-aged daughter supporting her along. She glanced up at me – and smiled!

A tiny toddler, barely 3 years old, was tagging along beside his mother, animatedly pointing to different things and talking nineteen to the dozen!

A careless driver ran his car over the tail of a sleeping dog, making it squeal in surprise and pain.

Porters rushed by, laden with baggage. Commuters hurried to catch their daily ride to work. Travellers, some tired after a long journey, others fresh and about to begin theirs, added to the vibrant humanity that makes a railway station during rush hour a microcosm of life in a city.

I noticed all of this happening around me – but only when I wasn’t focused on something else.

That’s what learning how to focus really means.


Of course, what is “irrelevant” will differ from person to person – and from time to time.

I did pause to gaze at a little infant swathed in warm blankets, a patch of brightly colored flowers that lit up a dreary concrete pavement, a tender scene of parents taking leave of their son, who was probably going away for work or study.

What do you pause for – even when you’re focused?

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