Friday, December 31, 2010

Old Masters

When sage advice is offered, listen intently.

If you know what the title's from, kudos to you. The title does serve a purpose itself. Specifically, an important lesson I learned from others this past year.

The first instance was attending a kendo practice to experience the sport. Beginning with a footwork drill, we practiced dashing across the auditorium towards our opponent. The mistake we all made was that after one person stopped short and went to the back of the line, everyone else did the same instead of dashing completely across the room.

When we completed the drill, sensei explained peer pressure can be positive or negative. An action of one person can alter the actions of subsequent peers. In this case it was negative because one person set the trend due to a small error.

Positive peer pressure would demonstrate desired behavior that would be reinforced if everyone did it - such as if that one person did the drill in full.

The second instance was meeting with Swami Radhanath. Our university's bhakti club was fortunate to have him visit for their big semester event. My professor was able to contact him to visit our class and then I heard him speak again when I attended the evening's festivities. After the main event, attendees were able to meet with the swami and have their copy of his new book signed.

When I had my chance to go up I asked him, "What advice would you have given to yourself when you were younger or someone else about to embark on the world?" He took a moment then responded, "Whatever you do, make it positive. Thoughts, speech, action, people, food, everything. Immerse yourself in positive surroundings."

One simple piece of advice I've noticed in other blogs is to keep a good social network. One that is beneficial to your own life and will only uplift it. Heck, it's so straightforward and obvious even my parents tell me to have good friends.

Unless you're a hermit, you most likely interact with other individuals on a regular basis. You have the ability to choose who those individuals are, and in doing so, set the tone of your own life. Even with the greatest environment in the world, what good is it if you are constantly around those who are negative and of bad character? It will only be detrimental to yourself.

You can easily tell who improves your own life by how they affect you.
  • Do they uplift your mood or bring it down?
  • Offer good advice?
  • Act in ways that aren't harmful to themselves or you?
  • Are they close-minded?
  • Stubborn?
  • Poor intentions?
  • Reinforce positive attributes and behaviors?
  • Make your own character grow and mature?
  • Do they tell you can or can't achieve something?
Who you surround yourself with will make your own personal development rise or fall.

How will you choose?


  1. I try to sorround myself with people who make me see different points of view or think about things in a different way. They do not always change my views --and I believe that in itself is important because I think you need to know what you stand for-- but I love to see different perspectives.

    "Cynicism is another form of naiveté." It's something a really amazing professor of my dad's said. I find it very true.

  2. Excellent quote Mimi. It's very relevant to a future blog post!


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