Category : Self Development

What Technology?

Technology Computers Mobile Phones

On Thursday, at dinner, my teenage niece was aghast at what I had just done. My cellphone beeped, indicating a message had arrived. And I IGNORED IT!

She was visibly agitated. “Aren’t you going to see what it is? It’s on YOUR cellphone!”

And became even more so when I replied: “I don’t check my SMS often.”

Shock written large on her face, she turned back to her meal.

= = =

On Friday, my cousin walked into my office asking if I would help him by sending an email to the University he was registered at.

I explained how I had once emailed them for a related matter, and they never did get back to me… about how unreliable email had become.

Surprised, he exclaimed “I can understand them not replying to a letter or phone call, but email… !”

He was still shaking his head in amazement as he left the room.

= = =

On Saturday, I got a Twitter DM (direct message) from my friend Kevin Riley. He wanted some information to use in a manifesto he’s working on. I replied to it within a half hour.

At the same time, in my email inbox, I have over 800 messages lying unread. Barely 1 in 30 get a reply. And 50% won’t ever reach me, as my virtual assistant filters and deals with them.

When this realization struck me, I was just as surprised as my niece and cousin. Once upon a time, email had consumed half my working life!

= = =

So… what technology is “best”?

None of them.

And all of them.

Because at our core, we are not ‘technology-driven’ – but ‘human nature driven’.

We have different preferences and choices, likes and dislikes, favorites and hates.

That’s why I’ll blithely ignore SMS or email and respond promptly to a Twitter DM, while a teenager will stay glued to her cellphone that acts as her lifeline to a network of her friends, and a teacher will believe email takes priority over all else and must always get a response.

What technology do YOU prefer?






For years, I have operated on little children born with heart defects.

The surgery is complex, risky, even life threatening at times. Families are stressed to breaking point, but they weather that storm with courage and fortitude.


Ripples Build Homes

Of the non-profits I support, endorse and widely talk about to people, one of my favorites is the Caring House Project.

Real estate maverick entrepreneur Frank McKinney builds multi-million dollar mansions for the rich and famous – and uses some of the profits (plus donations) to build sub-$1,000 homes for the desperately poor and homeless in Haiti.

It has been my privilege to help fund a few homes through this project.

And to start off a ripple that has funded many more.

When Frank invited me to join one of his famous Haiti tours, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule, and asked a friend, Jeanette Fisher, to go instead. She went, and was so deeply moved by the experience that she became a donor herself, and also got a few more of her friends to donate to help build a house in Haiti.

Last month, in February 2009, Frank McKinney combined a triple book launch (he wrote a real estate guide, a self improvement book and a story book for children) with the inauguration of his $29 million green home, Aqua Liana, in a grand party in New York.

Once again, I couldn’t use my invitation but asked two friends, Carrie Wilkerson and Paul Evans if they would like to attend. They did – and became donors too.

But due to scheduling conflicts, they couldn’t make it to the launch party either, and so sent two other friends in their place.

By now, you’ve no doubt guessed what happens in such cases. Yes, these 2 friends became big donors for the Caring House Project.

Call it the ‘Ripple That Builds Homes’.

Why am I telling you about this?

Because you – yes, YOU – have the power to set off a ripple just like this. About anything YOU are passionate about, care deeply about, feel strongly about.

This weekend, take a few minutes or hours to think about the change you would like to see in the world, that would make it a nicer, better, happier place.

Think over the people or organizations or groups that are helping make that change happen.

Consider ways you can help that effort, and the people whom you think could make your ‘ripple’ grow and spread wider, faster, bigger.

Then – and here’s the hardest bit – FOLLOW your heart.

Know it will make a difference.

Take ACTION in casting that pebble that will set off a ripple.

Go on and do it. You could end up changing the world – TODAY!



Hug the World

Yeah, right!

Hold hands for world peace. Form a human chain to ban nuclear arms. Light candles to eliminate poverty.


I used to be as cynical as the next guy about tackling massive problems with apparently meaningless gestures.

As a ‘direct action’ person, I believe in tackling issues head-on. Like building awareness about congenital heart disease, and raising funds to treat children with heart birth defects.

But then, I met an amazing lady named Gail Goodwin – and she turned my belief system upon its head!

The story of what she has achieved, and how she did it is a fascinating read – you can see it on her blog, at “Inspire Me Today“.

Yesterday, I was directed to this video by Nick Vujicic. One line from this incredibly inspiring man was:

“I want to live a life with NO LIMITS”
(these words take on a special new meaning when spoken by a man who has no arms – and no legs!)

One person I immediately thought of when I heard it was Gail Goodwin. Her thinking is big – seemingly limitless.

In 2006, together with her daughter, Gail created the ‘World’s Longest Letter’ of love and support to U.S.troops, the “Baby Come Back Home Soldier Scrolls”. The scrolls were more than 18 miles in length when they were signed by Congress at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.

Her latest dream is to embrace the world – literally!

global hug tour, gail goodwin
The Global Hug Tour takes off on a plane ride around the world, touching 50 countries and sharing 2,000 hugs in each. Just 2 people in a small plane, setting out to make a difference, to change the world!

Why do it? Gail was touched by the story of a Marine named Jesse who requested a hug, and shared with her that inspiration is what gets him through the time in Iraq.

Gail returned to the U.S. and created All 2.5 million army personnel have unlimited free access to ALL powerful, energizing and inspiring interviews with her ‘luminaries’.

In her own words: “In a time where fear, doom and gloom seem to be the topic of the day, we choose to change the focus to something positive. Through opening our hearts and celebrating our global connectivity, bridges can be built between us.”

That’s what the Global Hug Tour is all about.


Possibility that’s given a practical twist, where it takes on the mantle of probability – by the determined, focused and inspired actions of this dynamic duo… Gail Goodwin and her husband, Darryl, a veteran pilot.

Together, starting in May 2009, they will fly 30,000 miles around the world, stopping at 50 cities in 45 different countries – and share 100,000 hugs!

As they do it, they will also raise awareness about many critically important global problems like poverty, education, health care, children’s and women’s needs, wildlife preservation and entrepreneurship – and try to offer meaningful solutions.

No, they don’t think the Global Hug Tour will solve the Earth’s woes.

Yes, they believe we can make a difference together.

And we need YOU to help.

For a $10 contribution, anyone can become a Hug Ambassador by sponsoring the delivery of a hug.

You get to choose the city and cause where your donation will make a difference.

Gail is visiting Chennai, India, to support the efforts of our Dr. Mani Children Heart Foundation. Think about it – just 100 hugs (or $1000) will save the life of a child with heart birth defects!

As a Hug Ambassador and supporter of the Global Hug Tour, YOU will make a difference.

Here’s where you can go to join the effort and sponsor a hug… click here.

In an eye-opening interview she did recently with Beth Kanter, Gail said:

“Imagine a world where we all played big, where we all contribute to the world in a bigger and more tangible way. If everyone focused on what’s right instead of what’s wrong… We want to inspire people to step forward in faith instead of fear and follow their own dream, knowing that with belief, anything is possible!”

I’m inviting you to be a part of that world.

Where YOU can play big. Where YOU can touch a life, make it better. Where YOU can live your deeper purpose.

Every day. One small step at a time.

If two regular people can follow their dream, then what’s stopping you from following yours?

You can become a Hug Ambassador.

Or you can simply hug someone today – and join the “Hug Me” game on Twitter (read the rules – it’s easy)

Whatever you want to do, do it. Because like Nick says in that video, “No Arms, No Legs, No Worries”:

“You’ve just got to keep moving in little baby steps… FORWARDS!

I’ll Match Your Hug!

If you become a Hug Ambassador and sponsor a hug for $10, I’ll match your contribution to the Global Hug Tour – so you’ll get to DOUBLE your impact!

I’ll do this for the first FIFTY hugs… one for each stop on Gail’s tour.

Click here to sponsor a hug. Then leave a comment on this blog saying you did it.


From Past To Future

Past to Future

As kids, over the Christmas holidays, all of us cousins would head to grandpa’s home.  With 13 grandkids, and 16 years separating the eldest from youngest, it was predictable bedlam.  Good times.  Year after year.

Until we grew up, one by one.  Moved apart.  Had our own families.  And lives.

This afternoon, by a very strange and providential coincidence, 6 of us met over lunch.

One cousin had come from Australia, another from the U.A.E.  My sister had traveled 300 miles to be there.  And a dear childhood friend, one whom we had all lost track of for the better part of a decade, was there too – just back from a trip to Angkor Wat Cambodia.

Most of us brought our kids.  It was the first time they were all meeting at the same time.

Life had happened in the intervening years.  Two of the six were divorced.  One was already a grandmother.  For a few hours this afternoon, we were all children once more.

We excitedly relived the happy, halcyon, carefree days of our childhood and youth.  Like wine, the memories had grown richer with age.  Recollecting our shared escapades and antics was soul-nourishing.

My face hurt with all the laughing and smiling!

On the verge of a new year, as I look with hope and anticipation to the challenges and excitement of the next twelve months, I cannot help but realize how where I come from has influenced where I’m going.

Keeping in touch with our roots, our past, is such a critical component of our growth and development in the future… because it impacts, affects and influences a lot of what we do every day.

The trick is to nurture our past, without being trapped in it.

Happy New Year.

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