WISDOM

Wisdom is the sunlight of the soul

“The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.”

Aristotle

True wisdom comes to each of us when we realise how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.

Socrates

The last two statements from Socrates, I wholeheartedly agree with. Socrates, one of the fathers of Western philosophy, claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living, I strongly agree.

There are many definitions of wisdom; I specific like this statement:

Wisdom is the capacity to have foreknowledge of something, to know the consequences (both positive and negative) of all the available course of actions, and to yield or take the options with the most advantage either for present or future implication.

This is what Wikipedia says:

Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence. Wisdom has been defined in many different ways, including several distinct approaches to assess the characteristics attributed to wisdom… (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom)

When I decided to write down my wisdom at eighty, my experience and hard-learned lessons in life; I found so many wise words from great people, going back to the old Greek Socrates and Aristotle – I have selected some below.

I will endeavour to write some of my own experience and knowledge, just to leave to my grandchildren and their offspring something from me. It is a fact that most of us are just too busy living, that we have no time for greater thoughts. Moreover, we can’t see the big picture, like we can’t see the forest for the tree.

Love is everything, to receive and give love. St. Paul to the Corinthians: –

I may speak with tongues of men and angels.
But if I am without love, I am but a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

I may have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge:
I may have faith, strong enough to move mountains.
But if I have no love. I am nothing.

I may bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and even give my body to be burned,
But if I have no love. I am none the better.

Wisdom is everything, we tend to make so many mistakes in life, and it is so important that we passed on our experiences and values. Sadly in today’s world, so little knowledge and wisdom are passed on within families.

When I look back on my life, I realise that I lost out on so much and made some stupid decisions, only because I did not have an elder’s wisdom behind to guide me. It seems that I have left myself exposed too much to be a victim than a master of my own fate. Carl Gustav Jung, the famous Swiss psychologist, said:

“Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.”

I believe, in my experience, that we in good times, do not learn much and our real experiences come from going through difficult times.

My attitude was so many times immature and reckless, something which did limit my condition for a successful life, over a life-time of serious, often terse, introspective, unsettling, sometimes exhilarating experiences.

When I was young, I constantly looked down on older people and their views, not really listening with respect. I recall at a board meeting in one of my companies, in 1969, I was told by one of the directors calling me “young man”, looking over his spectacle. The four other directors, all over the age of 50 and I was 28 years old. I responded, “that this young man paid your salaries” and reminded them who founded the company. A stupid response, as the other directors were all in a prominent position with many years of experience, including being directors of many public companies, e.g. one managed the largest investment trust in Europe (James Talbot with Foreign & Colonial, it was the first collective investment scheme in the world). Apart from my main partner Colonel Inchbald, James Talbot and me, the other directors were titled, the Duke of St. Albans and the Marquess of Reading. Michael, the Marquess of Reading held the highest title in the British peerage ever attained by a Jew, he was a stockbroker.

No doubt I do harbour contradictions, worse I have been disrespectful to elders views during my early years. I tried to change, to challenge myself, even to reverse direction, so many times in life. I always wanted to do things that I could not do or found difficult to do. Easy things, which I was accomplices in, never interested me, even when it made money. I always challenged myself, instead to stick to something I was good at. Looking back, I should have stayed with my trade and shown tenacity.

The person who strives to do everything accomplishes nothing

In writing these specific pages to my offspring, I wish to bring some of my hard-earned wisdom.

You cannot ripen an apple with a blowlamp. It is fortunate for everyone that a boy does not become a man, in the fullest sense of the word, overnight. Yet this is virtually also what lies ahead of so many things in life.

The man may be a very accomplished being on a tiny planet lost in the immensity of our galaxy and universe, but on the spiritual levels, he is only an embryo. The facts of life may be revealed gently and lovingly to the adolescent by considered parents; they may come brutally and coarsely, or they may take a very long time.

Sadly, many have to take the long, weary journey of endless truth by trial and error. I seek to bring my offspring on the Right Path, as early as possible. Therefore these lines.

It is so essential that one make the Truth, Beauty and Goodness a necessary part of a disciplined life.

I consider the intellect, the maturing of personality and spiritual consciousness, as the most important in the development of a human being. Primarity, the word spiritual has nothing to do with being religious or even being “on the Path”. Someone is no more spiritual for being a Catholic, a Protestant, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist. Being spiritual has nothing to do with morals.

For me, spirituality refers to anything and everything that drives the evolution of Man’s consciousness forward, from one consciousness to the next. I have no problem with faith or and religion, where I have a problem when people use their belief system to justify bigotry, anger, hate, and violence, it is not about the faith in God.

I am not a monster or a saint; I have lived my life between desires and regret as most men. When you read me, read me as if I were seeking the truth, not as if I know the truth. I have many failings, in my own belief, I failed as a father creating the family I wanted and wished for. Something, which I really wanted to be – a good father.

Until the event in Denmark, I was always there for my sons; the four years killed me as a father – it was the end of dreams, my true dignity and myself.

From a young, I have believed that parents should give their children the best possible education, as we live in an economically insecure and politically confusing world, where one’s knowledge and contacts do matter a great deal. Therefore, I sacrificed many things in order to give my boys the best education I could find for them at the time.

Looking back on my own life, the best education I received was my work experiences from the age of nine, later when I was 12-16, apart from schooling and reading books, everything I truly learned and was the best education in my life. Sadly, I found it very difficult to give these practical experiences to my sons because when they daily attended the best private day school in London, one can’t send them out to work for shops and hotels, this was simply not done. This was later also the situation with Alexander, my adopted son. He also went to the best private day school, moreover, as a single child, he was spoiled. Therefore, all my sons missed out on this practical education. However, they did learn a lot in their boardings schools later, as to independence. Sadly, also all my grandchildren have been without such practical education.

Children’s practical education is the most important, they can themselves fill their brains with books and other intellectual pursuits, but to learn how to live every day and live with others, required practical experience. I am a strong believer in education, education and education. Moreover, that it is important for teachers to ignite the interest in learning something and create the true spirit of inquisitive in the pupils.

In addition to a good basic education, learning manners and independence, I also felt that this would give the boys contact later in life with former school friends. I never kept in touch with any of my school friends, as I left Denmark very early and at the age of 13, went into a private education, surrounded by much older and adult people. Therefore, I missed out on establishing lifetime friends.

As I did not attend boarding schools or military service, I never was much into camaraderie. I never went out with male friends after the age of 15; I much preferred feminine company, far more attracted to spending time with the opposite sex.

As I have written in other places, parenting is perhaps the greatest responsibility of our life and mistakes and wrong decisions as parents can ruin a family as well as the future of a child. Since I was a very young parent, without grandparents and family to guide me, I believed at the time it was my obligation to read a lot about parenthood. However, reading about this most important issue is far from as good as taking the experience from members of the family.

Most experiences we acquire in our lifetime will not be passed on to our descendants.

In the animal world, parents who are exposed to predators pass on information about risky environments to their offspring through changes in gene expression – but how that information affects offspring differs depending on the sex of the parent. Recent studies have provided evidence that memories of fear are one of many things our forebearers pass down to us through our DNA.

I did not drink alcohol before I lived in Genoa (Portofino) in 1959, where I only was drinking Vermouth for a while, only because I had to drink something. I regularly had to sit with the captains and Stewarts on the ship, taking orders of provision. After this, I do not recall me drinking alcohol when working in the North of England, possibly a beer once in a while.

The traditions in England to go to the pub, never interested me before well into my late twenties, when I went with my business partner for a drink after office.

I strongly believe in discipline; one must respect oneself and either a team or business, one must be proud of; therefore, a standard and discipline. I also believe in royalty.

One has as a leader to make the tough decision and be ruthless; respect had to be earned and enforced. One should also lead by example.

I never smoked (only cigars for pictures) and as to drinking alcohol, I did not drink anything before I came to Italy. In Italy, after six months I was drinking Vermouth, as I had to drink something, when taking provision orders from ship captains and stewards, however, it stopped after a few months. Even when meeting my wife, I did not drink alcohol with her, she liked whiskey at the time, so I bought her whiskey, later on, she liked G&T (gin and tonic). It was first in London when working with clients, at the age of 24, having lunch with them in their clubs and the best London restaurants, I would take red wine and occasionally a port. Frankly, it was impossible not to take a drink, if you said no, they would think you either was an alcoholic or ill. All the lunching with clients in the best London restaurants and gentlemen clubs taught me a lot about wine and good food. 

There existed, as now, drinking culture in the United Kingdom like I later found in Eastern Europe and Russia, where you had to drink vodka with them; otherwise, they did not trust you.

Solitary trees grow large and tall

Solitary trees grow large and tall, lack of protection makes them strong; I was a solitary child and I do not believe in single children. There should always be sisters or brothers.

Apart from a good education, I felt exposure to several changes of environment, countries and places, would be an education in itself for my sons. I have always hated the ignorance of people and places. We are all sisters and brothers on this earth. I have always admired the people who are able to adapt to any place and situation, and I am happy to see that my sons had this ability. I did tell my boys many times that “the world is your oyster.” All my sons have lived up to this and that I am proud of.

I also believed that the arts give a passport to enrich your journey in life. Music, the performing and visual arts is an important enrichment to our lives, and the seed should be planted in childhood.

All this should, however, be seen together with a stable mother and father home. Children need both parents, and it is wrong to bring children into this world without a father and mother around. My experience, have shown that practically all adults grown up with only one parent, went through problems in their lives.

When one brings children into this world, we as humans undertake the most significant contribution to society in our lives. Before and after I got married, I advocated that parents should receive education prior to getting a license and a right to parenthood. Society is crazy, leaving parenting to individuals with no experience or know-how. Since we live in a society that tends to ignore wisdom and advice from elders, including within families, young parents are so ill-equipped to bring up children.

My favourite word: Tenacitythe quality or state of being persistent. I always tell young people that they can use years to find and look for the right harbour to set sail to, but when they on the day set sail, they must go for the harbour and show tenacity.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

 – Lao Tzu

Your goal may be big, and at times, it may seem impossible and difficult to reach. You will feel like you are failing, and you are not getting anywhere. But perseverance, belief and conviction in those small steps that you’re taking towards those goals are what you need to be confident about. Consistently follow your life mission, one step at a time, no matter how small the step may be.

A Father’s Memory

When I was a boy, I always wanted not to become an ordinary person when I grew up; I thought that the worst you could become in life is an ordinary human being. Wrongly, I did look down on “ordinary” people going to work and staying in the same place most of their life. Society is made of such people, and we do need people to fall in line. Many religions preach such; however, it was not for me.

I do believe that I have lived most of my life not as an ordinary being, sometimes with a devastating consequence on my life and for my loved ones and some time with great happiness, so few humans could ever have. We only live once, and life is not a rehearsal. Do not lie on your deathbed one day and regret the things you did not do, live and to the fullest every day.

The Road To Success

Throw away all ambition beyond that of doing the day’s work well. The travellers on the road to success live in the present, heedless of taking thought for the morrow. Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day’s work absorb your entire energies, and satisfy your widest ambition.

I like what Allan K. Chambers said about Happiness:

The grand essentials of happiness are – something to do, something to love and something to hope for.

I also like Siegfried Sassoon poem:

Wisdom

When wisdom tells me that the world is a speck

Lost on the shoreless blue of God’s To-Day….

I smile, and think, ‘For every man his way:

The world’s my ship, and I am alone on deck!’

And when he tells me that the world’s a spark

Lit in the whistling gloom of God’s To-Night….

I look within me to the edge of dark,

And dream, ‘The world’s my field, and I am the lark,

Alone with upward song, alone with light!’

To My Dear Grandchildren

Remember me when I am not walking this earth.

My footsteps no longer can be seen in the sand of eternal shores washed away by the time.

Remember me when gone far away into the land of the spirits and eternal souls.

When I no longer can hold your hands.

When I am too late to counsel or give you a hug.

Yet if you should forget me, rest assured,

Your will always rest in my heart and soul. 

Wherever life takes you to hold your head high and proud be assured, one day you will be embraced by light, all the comfort and glory of Home among your family. 

Never fear death that is only a transition on your travel.

It is greater to overcome yourself than to conquer a nation. 

Take care, good care of the planet, yourself and anything you create. 

Your life is like a mirror; what you saw you would harvest.

Your Grandfather Mogens

For my grandchildren:

Live you’re Dream!  – Live you’re Dreams!

I want you to write every bit of determinism down you have even been told or ever tell yourself, anything and everything that, as you sit here today, makes you feel unable, limited, less than, and incapable. Then, take that list, shred it, and throw it into the nearest garbage can where it belongs, while you remind yourself silently or out loud: “Sorry, I am not buying it anymore, God created me, and God does not make junk.”

Now, rid of that determinism nonsense, I want you to list every dream you have ever dreamed for yourself, from as far back as you can remember. It does not matter how big or small or silly or unlikely they seem, just write them down without judging them, whether it was becoming an astronaut or learning to grow a particularly beautiful plant or flower, taking dog grooming lessons or reading the entire works of Shakespeare. Cross off the ones that no longer interest you and add any new ones that occur to you as you go along.

Once your list is complete – please, I swear to you will thank me later, even when I gone-choose the one that seems the most accessible and go after it with every ounce of passion in you.

Don’t you dare give up until you’ve satisfied that dream, then return to your list, draw a star beside it, and choose the most accessible of those remaining to go after next.

Whether you end up with one star or a whole page full of them, be proud of what you accomplished than yourself for the realised dream, and, above all, celebrate to the core of your spirit the exquisite joy of knowing you loved yourself and God-centred inside you enough to try.

Good Luck My Children!  

When I think back, to parts of my life, when I read in 1954/55 first time about Yoga, Hinduism and Buddhism, and in 1956/57 even employed a private teacher to teach me Yoga, I was somewhat advanced when one considers I only was 15. My dear mother simply could not understand and even considered Yoga as a religion. 

I do not believe that Buddhism was a religion. After all, Buddha is believed to have declared: “Do not accept anything I say as true simply because I have said it. Instead, test it as you would with gold to see if it is genuine or not. If, after  examining my teachings……” Therefore Buddhist teaching encourages you to use the entire range of your mental, emotional, and spiritual abilities and intelligence – instead of merely placing blind faith in what past authorities have said. 

To me, Buddhism is more a philosophy, a way of living in harmony with your body and mind, and indeed you surrounding. It has taught me to cope with many dreadful situations. 

I wish I had learned far more about the Buddhist philosophy during 1980-84. Because of Yoga, which was my practising introduction to Hinduism and Buddhism in mid-1950, I did not learn so much about the various aspects and Verses of Buddhism. This would have helped me, however, then I would most likely not have met Romana, as I would not have come back to Mayfair. 

One has to understand suffering and accept suffering. It is so important to train one’s mind – as the only reliable way of protecting yourself and fulfilling your highest potential. 

The terrible abilities of human beings, so very unstable, just look alone of the 20th Century, single human life has no value. One could ask how can people and cultures who created Mozart and Beethoven, the Renaissance, and so many good things, be so stupid.

We must know where we come from not to repeat history 

My thought as to what we must do with our newborn children. 

✔ Never underestimate how psychic and ageless children really are

✔ Be as respectful to children as you are to your best friend

✔ Never let any other relationship become a higher priority than your relationship with your children’s.

✔ If you can’t name three productive things your child is good at, you’re not looking hard enough.

✔ From the moment your child is born to teach them about their sacred connection, and every living thing’s connected, to Universe and to our Creator.

✔ Next time you’re sitting around thinking you have nothing to do, take a moment to realise that at the same time, there’s a child who could use your help.

✔ Tell them that they can become anything they dream of being

✔ Help them with your own wisdom to choose the right way

✔ Give them independence and freedom

✔ Love them and love them more 

I will add more when I am thinking every day 

Although these lines are only intended for the older grandchildren, I believe the study below should be read by everyone, as it confirms my belief in love and partnership. Interestingly it started 3 years before my birth.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development

I read about The Harvard Study of Adult Development one of the longest studies of adult life that have ever been done. For 70 years, they have tracked the lives of 724 men, year after year, asking about their work, their home lives, their health, and of course asking all along the way without knowing how their life stories were going to turn out.

Since 1938, they have tracked the lives of two groups of men. The first group started in the study when they were sophomores at Harvard College. They all finished college during World War II, and then most went off to serve in the war. And the second group that we’ve followed was a group of boys from Boston’s poorest neighbourhoods, boys who were chosen for the study specifically because they were from some of the most troubled and disadvantaged families in Boston during the 1930s. Most lived in tenements, many without hot and cold running water.

To get the clearest picture of these lives, they don’t just send them questionnaires. They interview them in their living rooms. They get their medical records from their doctors. They draw their blood and scan their brains, talk to their children. Videotape them talking with their wives about their deepest concerns.

So what have they learned? What are the lessons that come from the tens of thousands of pages of information that they have generated on these lives? Well, the lessons aren’t about wealth or fame or working harder and harder. The clearest message that we get from this 70-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

They have learned three big lessons about relationships. The first is that social connections are really good for us and that loneliness kills us. It turns out that people who are more socially connected to family, to friends, to the community, are happier, they’re physically healthier, and they live longer than people who are less well connected. And the experience of loneliness turns out to be toxic. People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner, and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely. And the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they’re lonely.

And we know that you can be lonely in a crowd and you can be lonely in a marriage, so the second big lesson that we learned is that it’s not just the number of friends you have, and it’s not whether or not you’re in a committed relationship, but it’s the quality of your close relationships that matters. It turns out that living in the midst of conflict is really bad for our health. High-conflict marriages, for example, without much affection, turn out to be very bad for our health, perhaps worse than getting divorced. And living in the midst of good, warm relationships is protective.

The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80. And good, close relationships seem to buffer us from some of the slings and arrows of getting old. Our most happily partnered men and women reported, in their 80s, that on the days when they had more physical pain, their mood stayed just as happy. But the people who were in unhappy relationships, on the days when they reported more physical pain, it was magnified by more emotional pain.

And the third big lesson that they learned about relationships and our health is that good relationships don’t just protect our bodies; they protect our brains. It turns out that being in a securely attached relationship to another person in your 80s is protective, that the people who are in relationships where they really feel they can count on the other person in times of need, those people’s memories stay sharper longer. And the people in relationships where they feel they really can’t count on the other one, those are the people who experience earlier memory decline. And those good relationships, don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.

So this message, that good, close relationships are good for our health and well-being, this is wisdom that’s as old as the hills. Why is this so hard to get and so easy to ignore? Well, we’re human. What we’d really like is a quick fix, something we can get that’ll make our lives good and keep them that way. Relationships are messy, and they’re complicated and the hard work of tending to family and friends, it’s not sexy or glamorous. It’s also lifelong. It never ends.

The people in the 70-year study who were the happiest in retirement were the people who had actively worked to replace workmates with new playmates. Just like the millennials in that recent survey, many of the men when they were starting out as young adults really believed that fame and wealth and high achievement were what they needed to go after to have a good life. But over and over, over these 70 years, the study has shown that the people who fared the best were the people who leaned into relationships, with family, with friends, with the community.

Read: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2017/04/over-nearly-80-years-harvard-study-has-been-showing-how-to-live-a-healthy-and-happy-life/

And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_Study 

What we really can’t tell our children

  • That governments are corrupt and criminal
  • That politician is liers
  • That all the financial markets are full of fraud and collusion
  • That most institutions act criminal at some time
  • That religion is business, big business exploiting the ignorant
  • That wars are big business
  • That moral and ethics are not word used in high places
  • That crisis is the norm
  • That everything will change sooner or later
  • That nothing is ever.

Most important, never limit a child’s mind.

Always tell them that there are no limits; they can make their dream; nothing can stop them if they really are determined in succeeding; they can become anything in life. –

I always tell the story about the little piece of land given to each of us, and that we have to find water, select just one place and keep digging! One day you will find water. Do not seek water all over the place – show tenacity.

I wish I knew this when I was a child, moreover, that the grown-ups did not always tell me to stay in my place.

Friends

It is so important to have friends in life, specific some you have a lot of things in common with. A famous philosopher Euripides once said, “Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness”. The presence of friends makes our life worthwhile, but it is really difficult to find a good friend who will be with us in all the circumstances of life.

Friendship is one of the most important and valuable things in our life. It measures a good person. So, what definitely makes a good friend. A true friend is one of the most precious possessions that one can have in his life.

Being trustworthy is a very important factor in any friendship. True friendship is a reward for all the good we do in our life.

As I was a single child and left my home and country early in life, I did not retain any childhood friends – somehow telling myself that I did not need anyone. All wrong, however, I took this position, as I early experienced jealousy and envy from others.

I also made the wrong choices as to marriage, as my wife could never be a friend, someone I could confide in. When I later in life found a true soul mate, I realised how important your choice for a partner is. I was far too young to marry and therefore, did not think with my head. When I later asked my mother why she had not stopped me from marrying, she said: “Son, if I had put more pressure on you. I feared I would lose you.”

I strongly believe in what Gandhi said: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Be the friend you want to have. We all tend to attract people into our lives whose character mirrors our own. You don’t have to make yourself into what you think others would find attractive. No matter what your areas of interest, others share them somewhere. Simply make yourself a big target; it is all up to you.

Where my wife had time for friends, I did not, as my children were my focus, when I did not work. The same later on, when I found my soulmate, she would spend hours every day on her friendships all around. She always spent the time looking after friends; I simply did not care about friends as I had her as a soulmate.

Very early in our relationship, she used to tell me that it was important for me to find real male friends, and she even looked at various people for me. The simple truth, I did not spend the time, I could not be bothered, and time and devotion are important in all relationships.

Through all the years in business, I had many “friends” but none really. The event in Denmark taught me a lot about friendship. But these so-called friends were not friends really.

Quite recently, one of my sons told me that he had really no personal friends; he could confide in. This was despite he went through a good school and was successful in business. He had lost his only real friend due to money. I am sorry about this; perhaps he has so much of my character and a leopard do not change their skin!

Kenzoku

The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means “family.” The connotation suggests a bond between people who’ve made a similar commitment and who possibly, therefore, share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the most profound connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.

Many of us have people in our lives with whom we feel the bond described by the word kenzoku. They may be family members, a mother, a brother, a daughter, a cousin. Or a friend from grammar school with whom we haven’t talked in decades. Time and distance do nothing to diminish the bond we have with these kinds of friends.

The question then arises: why do we have the kind of chemistry encapsulated by the word kenzoku with only a few people we know and not scores of others?

To me, friendship is hard work, and it is important to start early in life, just to find one or a few friends to be there late in life.

My notes and scribbles in haste are all truly without an eye on posterity. Nevertheless, they can offer a little insight to me, my current solitude and characters for my grandchildren and their children one day, if anyone would be bothered. It can be said that it is arrogant of me to write about myself. Life is a story, which we have told ourselves.

I have taken the blows that life throw at all of us. Many had the foundation of a father and grandfather, I did not have grandfathers or a father who left me anything and I never received any inside into their life’s and views. I should have liked their experience and guidance when I started out in life and my youth, even though my life.

To my own astonishment of emotions that pour out unexpectedly when one can no longer trust or rely on one’s own mind and the body buckles in grief. I have been in the deep, so deep valley of grief and dispair since Romana, my soulmate left this world.

Words must not become barriers between us; sadly, they have for generations, even about fact and truth, which many times, in translation can totally change in meanings. Yet words are our tools and we must not be afraid to express the truth we know is the best words can say.

There are many throwaways affairs, I need notes, as I tend to forget what I did yesterday in my current conditions, even one hour ago and five minutes. Sadly, I am not a writer, nor am I able to express my true emotion in words and prose. I should like to write the history of my soul, the monument to suffering and courage and hope.

The years of injustice, no one around can understand my daily struggle, discomfort, indignity and mental pains, my intensive interior world and the contrast to the exterior around me, starting with the cell walls and floor. I found myself in this total dysfunctional place of disorder, disaffection just an immeasurable distance away from where my mind is stuck in grief, but beauty and many special moments with my beloved Romana.

I have come to realise that writing is really talking to oneself.  Not speaking to people for days, at least I can be “two” persons and debate what I write or by memories.

The prison within us is much bigger than the biggest prison in the world. As written before, I have been in prison since Romana’s death, a long time before I was arrested. However, my memories do set me free and they have been the strength for me to make it through all these terrible years.

Some of my life and insights linger longer in my mind; I should like the power of prose to bring them to paper. I will be trying to write with a willed casualness about my past, not that I will disown it, everything starts with me and often enough end with me.

After Romana’s death, there have been so many days I wanted to leave this journey, I have for a long time ago made up my mind, as to my life. I believe I had a good life. I should have liked to create something that inhabited people’s souls or made an impact on this planet’s life.

At least, I did not grow up in a place like Romana, among executioners and victims. In a country where the very air of their life was poisoned. Romana’s mother Jadwiga said that evil kept a watchful eye on them. She grew up in a country where dying was taught from childhood, where they were told that human beings exist in order to give everything they have, to burn out, to sacrifice themselves – to communism.

I thank my creator for growing up in a different place, and that I was able to find Romana and that we could share the best years of our lives together in life, with so many special moments.

In writing these lines, I know that a lot of recalling and confronting my memories is painful but ultimately empowering. The most painful was my years of incarceration.

The pain of losing my grandmother, in 1950, was such a traumatic event, which left such a deep wound, I never was truly able to overcome. I carried these wounds throughout my life. To me, my dear grandmother Caroline lived on in many ways, since she became a parental tool for my mother, possibly replacing the fact that my stepfather was not such great support in my upbringing. My grandmother died when I was nine years old, I mostly had to deal with this pain myself since my sorrow caused my mother to go into depression and illness. My grandmother had been a unifier keeping the family together.

Upon her death the blame game set in and caused old resentment came out, like the questions of my mother’s father, her stepfathers’ action towards her etc., this effect meant that Aalborg becomes out of bound. With the exception that I once went to Elna, my mother’s half-sister in Aalborg,  during my autumn school holiday, where Jørgen and Inge Linna, her children, I believe in 1954.

I would have liked to end up with a lot of life around, many children and animals living close to nature.

Experience makes us who we are!

Gives me time to find my inner depth and metaphysical consciousness. Without such depth, our moral and political protestations are just so much verbiage.

“Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”

― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Collect experience not possessions

It took me some time and years to conclude that collecting experiences ultimate leads to more satisfaction than collecting possessions. It might seem strange from one point of view; after all, objects could well provide a lifetime of service, whereas experiences are often fleeting.

However, meaningful experiences do not leave us with nothing – they give us memories that can bring us emotional succour for years to come. Of course, memories can be negative as well as positive; and if we rely too much on memories to keep us happy, there is always the danger of living in the past at the expense of the present.

To me Teddy Roosevelt dictum that it is far better to be the person who knows “the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”. This dictum governs me up until the events in Denmark in 1980.

To me, and in general, the memory of the experiences we have had is an important part of life. Without memories, and my reminiscences, I could not survive every day in this hellhole. My memories keep me hanging on, during the day, in this misery. Memory leads in some directions more readily than others do.

Epicurus thought so too and considered fond recollections a type of mental pleasure. This applies to my experience, since I use all the good memories, specifically when the children were small and my life with Romana, as most beneficial for my mental health, that and with classical music and the pictures are my medicine dealing with my ever-present depressions and grief. 

The therapeutic value of memories for older people is being harnessed by reminiscence therapy, as there is some evidence that recalling past experiences can be beneficial for mental health.

I am able to walk through my garden at Villa les Anges, in my mind, to look at the beautiful flowers and enjoy all the beauty of nature. I am able to go for a walk with Amey, as I did every day, however, when I return, it makes me cry and it is not always beneficial. Nonetheless, it is still comforting, and the only comfort I have here.

On my daily walk with Amey, most days at Mont Agel, I stopped at the various location; somewhere I had found attractive stones, trees and vegetation. The stones, I sometimes moved, so I could have them together in less places. The stones represented the people I loved and who had passed away, even people like Anthony Marreco and outsiders, but all my family members and people like Laura. Romana was still living; however, I stopped and prayed at these places and rested for thoughts, with Amey next to me. I hope I will walk that past with a loving dog or two by my side again, it will be hard.

According to Professor Daniel Kahneman, The Nobel laureate, in his view, we have an experiencing self, which lives in the present, and a remembering self, which is our inner storyteller.

Remembering self-cherishes all those memories. However, we should be wary of doing things and accumulating experiences only in order to make our lives more meaningful in the future. The experiencing self and the remembering self have different pleasures and perspectives, and we should make sure there is a balance between the two.

I did when younger have considerable satisfaction in creating something and prove that I did the right thing. Considering the amount of really wealthy people I have known in my life, and their mostly unhappiness and sometimes deep insecurity, I knew that you can only drink one bottle of wine, eat one meal and only make love to one person and drive one car at the time. All expensive items, collections, antiques, art and valuable, will only be for our caretaking in our life. Even land and property, are only ours for a time and then we are caretakers, it is never wholly ours.

We are born with nothing and leave with nothing, except all our experiences in between. Our joy, of beauty, of taste, smells and meetings life’s many challenges, experiences and defeats, having despairs and rejoice of success, and most of all, to me to have given love and received love. 

Both Romana and I realised that you can become easily a slave to your possession, I, by my own experiences in life advising and dealing with what is closeted to people their money. Possession you can only be a temporary caretaker of, a painting, a piece of furniture or even land and property, we are all caretakers. Most of these things will be there when we are gone. I recall standing with a landowner, who owned nearly the same size of land as the whole of Denmark, and when he said this, all belong to me. I corrected him and said, yes, you are the caretaker of so much, a great responsibility.

I recall dining with a British aristocrat in his castle, which had belonged to his family for more than 450 years. He had devoted his life to take care of his inheritance and looking after his property, he knew what it meant to be a caretaker. All this responsibility finished him and after his death, his children just parted with all their collections and property, sold off with total discard for all the hard work and devotion, their forefather’s had put into the estate.

History is full of people who created great art collections like Sergei Shchukin, in Russia and Theodor Ahrenberg, great men who saw their art collection been taken by the state or the mob.

Ahrenberg was one of the early Scandinavians who liked, specific when I become a tax refugee. He becomes an early victim of extreme social democracy in Sweden. A very special person who had to witnesses his great art collection of Matisse, Picasso and Marc Chagall “stolen” by the Swedish fiscal authorities and sold for nothing. He was the father of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet in the 1950s. Sadly, The Swedish government confiscated and auctioned Ahrenberg’s thousand works of modern art and one of Europe’s most distinguished postwar collections were dispersed, then largely disappeared from history. Interestingly. I met Ahrenberg in Switzerland in the 1960s, where he lived with his wife Ulla. He was friendly with Le Corbusier, who had made plans for his museum in Stockholm, which was never built. When I lived with my family in Stockholm in 1962-64, I recall the sale of his great art collection confiscated by the state and sold it in an enforced series of auctions beginning in 1963 at ridiculous knock-down prices. A few years later, working as an agent for a Swiss bank I met Le Corbusier, more about this later.

Romana had on the other hand an inner belief and realisation about this, in such a way that she did not seek possession, but always moments, special moments and we had so many. Romana lived every moment, which I had difficulty with, but slowly learned. There are all those moments, which I now have to look back on – all so cherished memories in my soul and nothing to do with money.

Money, yes finance is the handmaiden of civilization. Among its products were the development of writing, recording, calculation, and printing. I believe that finance is such important social innovation, as it allows us to move economic values forward and backwards through time. That enables humans to plan their lives, both individually and collectively. I had hope I had reached that stage in early 1980, where this would have been possible for my family and me to plan a solid future with freedom of choice.

As to experience, I am wary of doing things and accumulating experiences only in order to make our lives more meaningful in the future. Experiencing self and remembering self has different pleasures and perspectives, and we should make sure there is a balance between the two.  I do see a lot of people just chasing going there, going there and doing this and that, just to say that they went there and did that. I find no pleasure in such pursuit.

Looking back on my life, I was always a big risk-taker, always prepared to face new frontiers, possibly, more than I should after having my sons and family. One thing, however, I do not take the risk with, is comfortable and things I knew are important to me. How older I become how less risk on such as to where to sleep, the quality of the bed, the methods of travel and where and what I eat.

However, when I was younger, I did take quite possibly stupid risks, which on reflection was not so smart exposing myself – to face the music. The fact that I always challenged authority and never respected borders or rules, as rules and borders could be changed. I do believe, if you have the strength and ability, one should aim to create something, which is larger than one is.

Today, I know you cannot fight City Hall; you cannot sit down to play a game, where the other players constantly can change the basis for the game and the rules. Power has to be taken, but with power – real power, you create rules and laws. It always protects you, since one can always change the rules and law, in case you or your ‘group’ or interest breaks these and have to be protected.

Going back to my own restriction today as to travelling, sleeping and eating, I know what I want, and do not have to take the risk as to this and indeed what makes me have a better day.

Modern ways of travel have not really been my thing, I like a good bed and a good meal, comfort and like certainty as to this. I also do not like to be confronted with all the miseries around the world and witnessing the huge inequality. I much prefer a walk in the forest and enjoy nature. Yes, when I was young, I travelled extensively, even very young from the age of 16. When the children were growing up, for years I had several take-offs and landings a week for periods.

There will always be many moments and things that we do not remember well, if at all, but they still have an important role to play in a good life. Our reassurance that we have lived life to the full should not come from being able to list an impressive number of exceptional experiences. It should come knowing that we have appreciated as many moments as we could, as deeply as we could. Moments leaving an imprint in our soul and makes us who we are.

Living well means being alive to the wonder of the moment, taking delight in the small things of each day. 

My Start of This Life

I was born on 7 June 1941, six months before Pearl Harbour and 15 days before the German invasion of Russia, the operation “Unternehmen Barbarossa”, starting on the 22nd June, which turned out to be the beginning to the end. I was a very big baby, more than 5 kilograms. The birth took a whole night and scared my mother so much that she never wanted to go through this again.

According to 6000 years Chinese belief, and the great minds of Confucius and Lao-tse, including readings from I Ching, to be born in May and June before the summer solstice you enjoy the following: I am Ch’ien = creative, given the ability to heaven, light-giving, active, strong and of spirit, with strong character – its essence is power or energy. Attributes: Sublimity, the potentiality of success, the power to further, perseverance, perseverance=wisdom. Sublimity = embraces LOVE.

The immense importance of chance in life. An incalculable amount of human effort is directed to combating and restricting the nuisance or danger represented by change. The Chinese mind deals with the coincidence of events. The axioms of causality, if we leave things to nature, we see a very different picture every process is partially or totally interfered with by chance.

I was born in the year of the snake. I do not like snakes. However, the snake has a lot of symbolism in many cultures, including Christianity. In the Old Testament, there is the symbolism of the snake telling Eve it is all right to the east of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. The use of the snake was in rebuttal to all the fertility gods in various pagan religions that surrounded Israel.

When Solomon built the first temple for Israel, its main columns were fashioned to represent snakes and fertility, as there was a lot of influence of other religions in ancient Israel. The snake thus represents symbolically these other religions tempting the people of Israel, who are represented symbolically by Adam and Eve. Therefore, the snake represented evil.

In other cultures like the Inca and the Mexican Indian Aztec and Maya, the snake also was important and represented even the rulers The Plumed Serpent the “Quetzalcoatl’s” represented the ever-changing universe for the Maya. In fact, the logo I had made back in the 1970s for Hauschildt Family appears to have some origin in this snake. At that time I did not know that.

Snakes were also a major part of my early years, appearing in my terrible nightmares, which I suffered when I was 3-6 years old. I never understood why I was dreaming about snakes since I was small and had never seen snakes and dragons, but they came into my dream and nightmare when I cried out and my mother and stepfather. They had to sit by my bed site for hours during the night. These dreams were so scary and frightening and possibly relate to past lives.

We are what we lived

It has always been my conviction, that we are what we have lived. Despite the most awful experiences in a place created to dish out inhumanity, the moments living through those horrid days and nights, have given me a deeper inside, not alone in observing evil within fellow man, but also allowing me to look back on my own life and prepare myself for leaving this life.

I will be leaving as a better human being, not only appreciating more my life but also being far more aware of how fortunate I have been. Few people today have travelled the landscape I have travelled.

Although luck and chance play a role in all our lives, I have become convinced that our life is charted before we enter this life, charted by our spirit, eager to learn. Every human’s life is precious, and no one has a right to judge if someone has wasted life.

If I was a farmer’s son and ploughed the fields for all my adult life, who can judge this was wasted as I never did anything else or enjoyed life. I would have learned hard work and solitude in nature with animals. I would have learned to respect and enjoy nature; I would have learned to take nothing for granted, as to the various seasons and harvest. I would know so much most other human beings would have no idea about.

I spoke recently about when I was a young boy ploughing a field with a horse, being supervised by the farmer close by. Taking the cows in (60-70) and helping to hand milk them – ALL. When the machine came along a year later, we still have to wash the tits and attached each socket. I remember clearly that boy. This was the boy missing every day away from his mother and missed the love of his grandmother. 

Manners maketh man

When my boys went to Hill House, Colonel Townsend used to teach the children “Manners maketh man”. Although I did not come from an upper-class family, my mother must have introduced some good manners in me, because, I was very polite, more so when I early experienced working and it resulted in tips. First, when I went with milk in the morning and started doing errands for ladies, helping the carrying and placing their bottles and offering my help. Later, I learned as a hotel elevator boy to present myself at best with white gloves, bending politely when seeing guests.

According to my mother, I started very early thanking people in Danish by saying “Tusind tak, tak” a thousand thanks, thanks, and often bowing. That was unusual because most would just say “tak”. My experience seeing hotel guests taught me also that they were judged by their dress and manners, even their luggage. This must-have played importance for me already at the age of 13 as I found manners which are free, do make an impression. Moreover, at the time I received more tips from the hotel guests.

As to this fact, I have a story. One of the hotel guests was a Danish Consul from abroad staying a week at the Grand Hotel. Every day he tipped me in the elevator with 2-3 øre. I always bent over and said thank you. He also tipped the porters and doorman, however, they normally threw the money along the street, possibly 5-10 øre – a very small tip. I am sure he noticed this at times. Moreover, when his wife and he returned with shopping bags, I always went forward to take them, as soon they entered the lobby, including taking their raincoats. 

When, after a week he was leaving the hotel and settling his bill, he went to the concierge, porters and receptionist and gave them tips, very small amounts. Some gave an expression that it was just nothing. He then went over to me, standing next to the lift, and said out loud “young man, you know how to serve” and gave me a 100 Danish kroner note.  At the times possibly the wages for my stepfather, as a printer for 3-4 days. After that the consul had left, they all came up to me, including the reception people and the concierge and they wanted to share the tip I had received. I told them, that they do not share with me their tips and this is my tip.

The fact that I was tall, played also a role that I stood out among others, when this is the case, you learn not to be presenting yourself in the worst light. Therefore, despite I did not go to boarding school, like my sons, I learned early to polish my shoes and always dress in with pleated trousers. I admit that Jardex did give me the best possible introduction, as they had the best men suits at the time and used the best materials, which I early learned about, ranging from light wools, Harris Tweed, cashmere, silks and indeed well cuts shirts. I never used anything else than the best cotton, and very early had an Egyptian light cotton shirt, which I also picked up in Italy. Many Italian men dressed well and expressed good manners and charm. This did make an impression on me, although, many times I found them very false. I used to say that all Italians are born actors.

Alone the fact that I spend a great deal of money to have tailor-made my first grey-white-striped pin suit at the age of 16. Not many young men would ever consider such, but to me, I knew one needed to present oneself with authority, and at the age of 16, I desperately needed to appear older, at least early twenty. Having lost my hair at the front, I did already look so much older, in fact, my wedding picture clearly makes me look 30 plus, so much older than Elizabeth, despite she was five years older than me.

Because of my body and seize, I always convinced myself that I could never be very elegant, like Freddy Astaire, or an American friend Hayden Martin,  I met in 1965. I felt this specifically when I lived in Italy and Portofino in 1958-59, as I was unable to buy so elegant shoes and clothes, as the smaller Italian men were. In fact, in 1966 I walked into an Italian man’s shop in Kings Road, having seen a beautiful pair of shoes, asking to try them, when they saw me and I asked for size 14 (47-48) they looked at me with more or less contempt and asked me to go to a shipyard and rushed me out of the back door, not to ruin their front-door trade. Manners however have nothing to do with the size of your body. 

I have often been accused of trivia on etiquettes since many people regard them as peripheral to more serious matters in life such as one’s home, career or possessions. Yet these people totally miss the point that how we behave defines who we are. The secret is to be considered to others, and manners underpin our attitudes towards others. When I witness modest people taking care of their manners, I am full of admiration. 

I always said that manners cost nothing and reflect our true human qualities. It is like hygiene, it cost nothing.

I learned very early that the world is a stage, sadly although I told many that this was the case, I often did not follow this fact, and I have at many stages in my life ignored this. Very early, my work with Jardex (the best-tailored men clothing company in Denmark) did introduce me to dress and as a 15-year-old, I could walk around in the latest men fashion, with expensive clothing, normally reflecting a high social ladder. The fact that I as, a 16-17 years old ordered a pin-stripe grey suit from a hand-tailor in Copenhagen, even that I knew Jardex owners, reflect my taste as to dressing.

When I was 23, in London, with my sons Mogens and Mark, living in Mayfair, I had my shirts made with Turnball & Asser, my shoes with McAffee and John Lobb, they both had my trees. My clothes were tailored in Saville Row with Anderson & Sheppard and later Gieves & Hawkes and Kilgour & French. My umbrellas always came from Swain Adeney Brigge, I see they now cost £660. I recall I paid 10-11 Guinea (one Guinea was 21 Shilling) for the umbrella and 5-6 Guinea for the handmade shirts each. Considering that in men’s clubs and other places, even in the best restaurants, these umbrellas were always taken, so I had to buy a new one regularly. I even had a brash plate with my initials on, despite this people regularly just said “sorry, I thought it was mine” when they took the umbrella. At the time one always received bills in Guineas from tailors and shoemakers etc., in fact, one did not pay when getting the items (suits, shirts or shoes) and only once a year receiving an invoice.

I kept through 40 years, buying from the above people, having originally paid £4 for a tailored shirt, I was confronted with paying £190 in 1988. At that time I found this just too expensive and started having shirts made abroad. I have many times said to my sons, that I should have purchased my black cotton socks in 1963, socks I used every day, lately costing up to £30-35, for my whole life. I think I paid a Guineas for three pairs. After all, I have used such socks for more than 65 years and they are still part of my wardrobe.

Considering the fiscal requirement in the UK back in the sixties, there were periods where I had to stay out of the country, one could only be in the UK for up to 6 months per year, and this fact could be seen from the stamps in your passport. During such time, I found it was most convenient to just telephone my tailor, shirtmaker and shoemaker and ask them to send the ordered item to anywhere one wished to have delivered.

I understand people like Steve Job and indeed Mark Zuckerberg, when they buy clothes, they stick to the same (black and grey) and buy in large numbers. For a man to fill his brain with such trivial things as one dressing when there are far more important things to fill your brain with.

Some Proverbs, I like:

• Experience is the father of wisdom
• Fact is stranger than fiction
• The apples never fall far from the tree
• As a tree falls, so shall it lie
• As you make your bed, so you must lie upon it.
• As you sow, so you reap (108:2)
• Bad money drives out good.
• The best doctors are Dr Diet, Dr Quiet and Dr Merryman
• The buyer needs a hundred eyes, the seller of but one.
• A clean conscience is a good pillow
• Conscience makes cowards of us all (Shakespeare)
• Corporations have neither bodies to be punished nor souls to be damned
• The devil makes his Christmas of lawyers’ tongues pies and clerks’ fingers
• Divide and rule
• Don’t change horses in midstream

Books to read

As for me at 80!

Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years.

People grow old by deserting their ideals. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt, as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.

So long as our heart receives a message of beauty, hope, cheer, and courage – so long are you young. When the heart is covered with snow of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and only then, are you grown old.

Wisdom is the sunlight of the soul.

 

 

I frankly feel I have so much to pass on to my offspring, my grandchildren, their children and families. I have no selfish motives, only the primitive feeling and thought inside me, as a father and grandfather to protect and pass on – all experiences one wishes to pass on to one’s love ones, for them not to suffer all the mistakes that I and most makes on their journey.

We have today such a great opportunity to pass on our thoughts, our experiences, our mistake and our success. At least show a path, which we hope our offspring will take, not exposing them to our mistakes.

I hope this will leave something behind for my grandchildren and their children to read and become aware of long after I have left. We live in a time of great communication and a world that will be very dangerous to live in.

Looking back on my own life, the best education I received was my work experiences from the age of nine, later when I was 12-16, and apart from schooling and the true encouragement to read books and learn, everything I truly learned was from work experience and practice – it was the best education in my life.

Sadly, I found it very difficult to give these practical experiences to my sons because when they daily attended the best private day school in London, one can’t send them out to work for shops and hotels; this was simply not done.

This was later also the situation with Alexander, my adopted son. He also went to the best private day school; moreover, as a single child, he was spoiled. Therefore, all my sons missed out on this practical education. However, they did learn a lot in their boardings schools later, as to independence.  Sadly, also all my grandchildren have been without such practical education.

Children’s practical education is the most important; they can themselves fill their brains with books and other intellectual pursuits, but to learn how to live every day and live with others required practical experience. I am a strong believer in education, education and education.

As I have written in other places, parenting is perhaps the greatest responsibility of our life and mistakes and wrong decisions as parents can ruin a family as well as the future of a child. Since I was a very young parent, without grandparents and family to guide me, I believed at the time it was my obligation to read a lot about parenthood. However, reading about this most important issue is far from as good as taking the experience from members of the family.

Most experiences we acquire in our lifetime will not be passed on to our descendants.

In the animal world, parents who are exposed to predators pass on information about risky environments to their offspring through changes in gene expression – but how that information affects offspring differs depending on the sex of the parent.

 

Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

Goethe

“A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.”

Rita Mae Brown

“The smallest of actions is always better than the noblest of intentions.”

Robin S. Sharma

“If you try, you might. But if you don’t, you won’t.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”

A.J. Marshall

“There’s nothing really difficult if you only begin – some people contemplate a task until it looms so big, it seems impossible, but I just begin, and it gets done somehow. There would be no coral islands if the first bug sat down and began to wonder how the job was to be done.”

John Shaw Billings (1838-1913)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

ON ADVERSITY

“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

Charles Dickens

“In despair, there are the most intense enjoyments, especially when one is very acutely conscious of the hopelessness of one’s position.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

Chinese proverb

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.”

William Saroyan

ON BALANCE

“Keep a green tree in your heart, and perhaps the singing bird will come.”

Chinese Proverb

“Without the rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.”

Emerson

ON BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Three-fourths of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world will disappear if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their standpoint.”

Gandhi

“The deeper your relationship with others, the more effective will be your leadership. People will not follow you if they do not trust you, and before someone lends you a hand, you must first touch their heart.”

Robin S. Sharma

ON STRENGTH OF CHARACTER

“A talent is formed in stillness; a character is the world’s torrent.”

 Goethe

“Why shouldn’t punctuality be a moral yardstick? Promptness tells me someone is more likely to be professional, respectful, reliable and considerate in our association… Soon, the “I matter more” attitude [of habitual latecomers] betrays a cavalier attitude that is hard to ignore. Absent is the recognition that it’s just as difficult for others to abandon what they’re doing to honour commitments – but they do.”

Eve Glicksman

 

ON A COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Young man, make your name worth something.”

Andrew Carnegie

“Mastery in work and in life is about committing yourself to being excellent in everything you do, no matter how small and no matter if no one is watching. Do you practice excellence in your most private moments?”

Robin S. Sharma

“Being an elite performer on the playing field of life is not about being perfect. Rather, it is about cultivating a mental focus towards mastery in every area of your life. It is about committing yourself, from the core of your heart, to manifest and polish your highest talents and become the person you are destined to be.”

Robin S . Sharma

“To arrive at a place called Mastery, you must commit to daily and rigorous practice. Enjoy practising your craft for its own sake without turning your attention to your ultimate destination. Understand, once and for all, that the journey is as important as the destination.”

Robin S. Sharma

“It doesn’t particularly impress me when someone shows a commitment to excellence when things are easy. What impresses and moves me are those brave souls who do great things when times are challenging. I refer to the mother who makes the time to read for an hour after a full day of work and an evening caring for her children. I think of the business executive who rises at 5 am on a cold winter’s day and leaves the comfort of his warm bed to exercise before a day packed with obligations because this was a quiet promise he made to himself. I write of the entry-level worker who goes the extra mile for every customer through most show no appreciation because he knows in his heart this is the right thing to do. Such acts impress me.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Gandhi said ‘One cannot do right in one area of life whilst he is occupied in doing wrong in another; Life is one indivisible whole.’ This point of wisdom is profound. A commitment to excellence is not just reserved for a few select areas of your life – it must be reflected in everything you do. Your diet must reflect your commitment to excellence. Your physique must reflect your commitment to excellence. Your personal habits must reflect your commitment to excellence, and your thoughts must reflect a commitment to excellence.”

Robin S. Sharma

“I promise you this: at the end of your days, you will discover that the things you now perceive to be the big things in your life will be seen as little things and all those things that your now believe to be the little things, you will realise, were really the big things.”

Robin S. Sharma

ON CONCENTRATION

“Attention makes the genius. All learning, fancy, science and skill depend upon it. Newton traced his great discoveries to it. It builds bridges, opens new worlds, heals disease, carries on the business of the world. Without it, the taste is useless and the beauties of literature unobserved.”

Robert Willmott

ON COURAGE

“The people that get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

George Bernard Shaw

“He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses his courage loses all.”

Miguel de Cervantes

“Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals.”

David Ogilvy

It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”

Sister Elizabeth Kenny

ON ENJOYING THE JOURNEY OF LIFE

“Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness.”

May Sarton

“Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we’re all eligible for life’s small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don’t fret about copping life’s grand awards. Enjoy its tiny delights. There are plenty for all of us.”

Author Unknown

ON EXCELLENCE AS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow them.”

Louisa May Alcott

“If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it; Every arrow that flies feels the attraction of earth.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“You cannot have what you want if you are content to remain what you are.”

RSS

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. “

Helen Keller

“Happiness is the fullest use of one’s powers along the lines of excellence.”

JFK

“Try not to become a man of success but rather a man of value.”

Albert Einstein

“When one door closes another opens. But we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.”

Alexander Graham Bell

ON GOAL SETTING

“Either you set your goals and, in doing so, have your life governed by choice or you do nothing and gave your life governed by chance.”

Robin S. Sharma

“My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”

Charles Kettering

“The first fifteen minutes of your day should be spent planning your day. Set specific goals as to what you will accomplish. These clear goals will give you focal points on which you can govern your actions and provide your with a template you can live your day from.”

Robin S. Sharma

LEADERSHIP

“The person who makes promises to everyone ultimately pleases no one.”

          Robin S. Sharma

“He who praises everybody, praises nobody.”

James Boswell

“Leadership strategy must not be driven by a quest for more   money but a commitment to greater humanity.”

Robin S. Sharma

“No one can defeat us unless we first defeat ourselves.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”

Winston Churchill

“…I think that ideally that is how a company works. It becomes a place of ideas, not a place of position.”

Jack Welch

“All it takes is one match to light a forest fire.”

Anonymous

“The deeper the relationship, the more effective the leadership. Relationship-building is Job #1 for any leader. Why? Because people will not follow you if they do not trust you. And people will not lend you a hand until you first touch their hearts.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Leadership is not about executive position or title. It is about connection and influence. At its highest, leadership is all about adding value to the world and blessing lives through the work you do.”

Robin S. Sharma

“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.”

Helen Keller

“Don’t surrender leadership of your life to your moods”

Robin S. Sharma

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

Motto of the Christopher Society

“Life is too short to be little.”

 Benjamin Disraeli

ON MANAGING CHANGE

 It is in changing that things find purpose.”

Heraclitus

“Observe always that everything is the result of the change, and get used to thinking that there is nothing Nature loves so well as to change existing forms and make new ones like them.”

Marcus Aurelius

“If you’re doing something a certain way because it’s always been done that way, then you’re probably doing it wrong.”

Colin Baden, VP Design, Oakley Inc.

ON LEARNING

“Make thy books thy companions. Let thy cases and shelves be thy pleasure grounds and gardens.”

Judah ibn-Tibbon

“The books that help you the most are those that make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading: but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.”

Theodore Parker

ON LIFE PURPOSE

“The secret of life is to have a task…something you bring everything to…And the most important thing is – it must be something you cannot possibly do.” 

Henry Moore, sculptor

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“I slept and dreamt that life was Joy, and then I awoke and realised that life was Duty, And then I went to work– and lo and behold I discovered that Duty can be Joy.”

Rabindranth Tagore

“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be “happy”. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be honorable, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference, that you lived at all.”

Leo C. Rosten

“You are not here to merely make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

Woodrow Wilson

“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.”

Emily Dickinson

“To be in hell is to drift; to be in heaven is to steer.”

George Bernard Shaw

“The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it, put your whole soul into it — every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have.”

 John D. Rockefeller III

“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true Happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” –

Helen Keller

“Man’s task is simple. He should cease letting his existence be a thoughtless accident.”

Friedrich Nietzche

To make a man happy, fill his hands with work, his heart with affection, his mind with purpose, his memory with useful knowledge, his future with hope, and his stomach with food. ….

Frederick E. Crane

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are…

Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.

One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in my pillow, or stretch myself taught, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.” –

Mary Jean Iron

“I don’t know what your destiny will be but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”

French physician Albert Schweitzer.

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he would die for, he isn’t fit to live.” –

Martin Luther King Jr., speech in Detroit, June 23, 1963

“A timeless lesson for a deeply fulfilling life is to discover your calling, that special work or consuming occupation that fully engages your special talents with your passions.”

Robin S. Sharma

“The key to a great life lies in shifting your focus from accumulation to contribution. The old saying “He who gathers the most toys wins” needs to be replaced with “He who serves the most prospers”. Remember, Happiness is the by-product of a life spent adding value to other people’s lives.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Only you can make your dreams come true.”

Robin S. Sharma 

“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilise the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“Most people don’t learn how to live until it’s time to die.”

Robin S. Sharma

“One of the saddest experiences which can come to a human being is to awaken, grey-haired and wrinkled, near the close of an unproductive career, to the fact that all through the years he has been using only a small part of himself.”

V.W. Burrows

“Most of us die with our music still in us.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Most of us dread finding out when we come to die that we have never really lived.”

Thoreau

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

Buddha

“The very meaningless of life forces man to create his own meanings. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

Stanley Kubrick, filmmaker

“While we cannot choose how we will die, we can always choose how we will live.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Blessed is he who has found his work.”

Thomas Carlyle

“When you were born, the world rejoiced while you cried. Live your life in such a way that, when you die, the world cries while you rejoice.: 

Indian Proverb

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”

Ben Franklin

“Most of us dread finding out when we come to die that we have never really lived.”

Thoreau

“There comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission – a mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment, he finds his greatness. It is his finest hour.”

Winston Churchill

As you live your day, so you live your life”

RSS

(A day is your life in miniature, born in am and die in pm; successful life is nothing more than a successful live strung together.)

“The purpose of life is to manifest your talents in pursuit of a worthy ideal.”

RSS

Spring has past

Summer has gone

Winter is here

And the song that I meant to sing

Is still unsung

I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument

Sanscrit Saying

ON THE NEED FOR CONTINUOUS INNOVATION

“Creativity is all about seeing what everybody else is seeing and thinking what nobody else is thinking.”

Robin S. Sharma

 

ON SELF-CONTROL & DISCIPLINE

“You can live your life by chance or by choice. It’s really up to you.”

Robin S. Sharma

“No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined.”

Harry Emerson Fosdick

“Successful people don’t do what’s convenient – they do what’s right.”

Robin S. Sharma

“If you don’t act on life, life will act on you.”

Robin S. Sharma

“The tougher you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you.” 

“The heights by great men reached and kept,

Were not attained by sudden flight,

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

“Every day is a new chance to start living a new life.”

Robin S. Sharma

“One golden key to a life of excellence and achievement is to stop doing what is convenient and to start doing what is right.”

Robin S. Sharma

ON THE HUMAN ELEMENT AT WORK

 “All organisations are merely conceptual embodiments of a very old, very basic idea – the idea of community. They can be no more or less than the sum of the beliefs of the people drawn to them; of their character, judgements, acts and efforts.”

Dee Hock, founder of VISA

 

ON POSITIVE THINKING

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.”

Albert Einstein

“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”

 Gandhi

“A man is known by the company his mind keeps.”

Thomas Bailey Aldrich

“A negative thought is like an embryo – the more you feed it, the stronger it grows.”

 “Enlightened leaders turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.”

  “Life is too short to be little.”

 Disraeli

“There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”

Epictetus

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles – by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage. It’s the healthiest thing a body can do.”

Mark Twain

“Every year of my life, I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and the good and dwell as little as possible on the evil and false.”

Cecil

“I wept because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.”

Ancient Persian saying

“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.”

Helen Keller

SELF-MASTERY

“Carpenters bend wood. Fletchers bend arrows. Wise men fashion themselves.”

Buddha

“We are generally afraid to become that which we can glimpse in our most perfect moments.”

Abraham Maslow

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”

Sir Edmund Hillary

“There is nothing noble in being superior to others. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”

Indian saying

One must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind him to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and a mystery.

 H.G. Wells

The wise man will always reflect concerning the quality, not the quantity of life.”

Seneca

“We cannot live better than in seeking to become better.”

 Socrates

Life is no brief candle for me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

“Life’s like a play: it’s not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters.”

Seneca

A long, healthy and happy life is the result of making contributions, of having meaningful projects that are personally exciting and contribute to and bless the lives of others.

Hans Selye

Happiness is the offspring of concentrated action. Excellence is achieved through the progressive realisation of incremental goals along the path of your life’s mission. 

Robin S. Sharma, in Timeless Wisdom for Self-Mastery

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is victory over self.

Aristotle

Cherish your vision and your dreams as they are the children of your soul- the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

Napoleon Hill

If you conquer your mind, you conquer the world.

Indian Proverb

True joy is serene. The seat of it is within and there is no cheerfulness like the resolution of a brave mind not to be elevated or dejected with good or ill fortune.

 Seneca

Be the master of your will but the servant of your conscience.

Robin S. Sharma, in MegaLiving!

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear… not absence of fear.

Mark Twain

There is no knowledge that is not power.

Emerson

All things are difficult before they are easy.

Thomas Fuller

All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal that was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.

Orison Swett Marden

Alas for those that never sing but die with all their music within them.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Do the thing you fear to do and just keep on doing it. That is the quickest and surest way ever discovered to conquer fear.

Dale Carnegie

Remember, no matter what you background is and what your current circumstances are, you have the capacity to take action. This is one of the golden threads of humanity – we all have the power to act in a way that will improve the quality of our lives.

Robin S. Sharma

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

George Eliot

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Gandhi

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

 Lao-Tzu

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.

jazz legend Charlie Parker

There is the risk you cannot afford to take and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take.

Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage.

 Claude Bristol

I will govern my life and thoughts as if the whole world were to see the one and to read the other.

 Seneca

The most satisfied and enlightened people realise that successful and dynamic living starts from within. Before you can care for others, you must care for yourself.

Robin S. Sharma

Most people try to know more to become more clever every day, where as I attempt to become more simple and uncomplicated everyday. 

Zen expression

Simplify your life. Don’t waste the years struggling for things that are unimportant. Don’t burden yourself with possessions. Keep your needs and wants simple and enjoy what you have. Don’t destroy your peace of mind by looking back, worrying about the past. Live in the present. Simplify!

Henry David Thoreau

Your creativity comes from the universal source of all creation, the source of all intelligence and wisdom.

Robin S. Sharma

It is useless to desire more time if you are already wasting what little you have.

 James Allen

Before you can come to know your purpose, you must come to know yourself.

Robin S. Sharma

Give yourself permission to follow your mission. As one father told his son: “be ashamed to die until you have scored a victory for mankind.

from a Greek saying

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the Creator.

Gandhi

A little bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you roses.

Chinese Proverb

Life management begins with mind management. The quality of your life is influenced by the quality of your thoughts. Your thoughts do form your world. Scarce thoughts create a life of scarcity. Thoughts of abundance lead to abundant circumstances.

Robin S. Sharma

The most fully actualised people that I studied over ten years consistently pushed the envelope. These people consistently demanded far more of themselves every day than anyone else ever expected from them. These people raised their standards and committed themselves from their hearts to be the best they could be and to live a life of uncommon wonder. This is what self-mastery is all about.

Robin S. Sharma

No life is so hard that one can’t make it easier by the way one `accepts it.

Glasgow

Frequent encounters with danger are a part of life… making you inwardly strong… instilling in you a profound awareness of life… bringing new meaning, and richness.

I Ching

If you want to put far more living in your life, start living every day as if it was your last.

Robin S. Sharma

Mankind’s common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism.

William James

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor.

Henry David Thoreau

Nothing happens unless first a dream.

Carl Sandburg

A man’s character is his guardian divinity.

Heraclitus

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.

 John Dryden

Start to see yourself for who you really are: a traveller, an explorer or on the path of life, confidently advancing along the path of enlightenment towards your destiny. Don’t lose sight of the things that are truly vital in your life.

Robin S. Sharma

“The delights of self-discovery are always available.”

Gail Sheehy

“The deepest personal defeat suffered by human beings is constituted by the difference between what one was capable of becoming and what one has in fact, become.”

Ashley Montagu

“Rather than spending all your time trying to do great things, spend more time trying to be a great person. That is the secret to doing great things.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Before you can do something, you must be something.”

Goethe

ON RELATIONSHIPS IN GENERAL

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

Carl Jung

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

 Mother Theresa

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them     become what they are capable of being.”

 Goethe

“We have made the world a neighborhood through our scientific genius, and now through our moral commitment we must make of it a brotherhood. We’ve got to learn to live together as brothers or we’ll perish as fools.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The valuable person in any business is the individual who can and will cooperate with others.”

Elbert Hubbard

 

ON TIME MANAGEMENT & PERSONAL EFFECTIVENESS

“We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end to them.”

Seneca

“The person who strives to do everything accomplishes nothing.”

Robin S. Sharma

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Peter Drucker

“Stop working harder. Start living smarter.”

“Focus on the worthy. Concentrate on the essentials. Commit to the Vital Few. Spend the remaining hours of your life only on those activities that will yield the highest return on investment.”

Robin S. Sharma

ON RISK-TAKING

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however, measured or far away.”

Henry David Thoreau

“I think we should follow one simple rule: if we can take the worst, take the risk.”

Dr. Joyce Brothers

“To live greatly, you must risk greatly. If you only take small risks, you are only entitled to a small life.”

Robin S. Sharma

“The timid person, afraid to be drowned, will remain on the shore  while the daring swimmer will dive deep and score all the pearls.”

 Dad

“Seek earnestly, and you will find.”

 Dad

“Adventure is a human need. We recognise it as the daring thing which makes us bigger than our usual selves. Adventure is the curiosity of man to see the other side of the mountain, the impulse in him that makes him break his bonds with lesser things and frees him for greater possibility.”

 Walt Burnett

ON SPIRITUALITY

“Enthusiasm signifies God in us.”

Madame De Stael

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”

Helen Keller

ON SUCCESS

“Success, like Happiness, cannot be pursued. It must ensue. And it only does so as the unintended side of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.”

Viktor Frankl

“On the human chessboard, all moves are possible.”

 Miriam Schiff

“Never sacrifice Happiness for the sake of achievement. The real key to life is to happily achieve.”

Robin S. Sharma

“Character is the foundation of all worthwhile success.”

John Hays Hammond

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labor.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”

 Satchell Paige

“Success is the satisfaction of feeling that one is realising one’s      ideal.”

Anna Pavlova

Wisdom is the sunlight of the soul.