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The best thing you can learn from Inception of 'Alphabet' by Larry Page

This is something best I've read in long time, so just wants to keep this piece in my collection.
Written by: James Altucher
========================I visited Google a few weeks ago and, after almost getting arrested, my mind was blown.
First, Claudia wandered into the garage where they were actually making or fixing the driverless cars. When they finally realized she was wandering around, security had to escort her out.

We got scared and we thought we were going to get in trouble or thrown out.

Then we met with a friend high up at Google and learned some of the things Google was working on.

Nothing was related to search. Everything was related to curing cancer (a bracelet that can make all the cancer cells in your body move towards the bracelet), automating everything (cars just one of those things), Wi-Fi everywhere (Project Loon) and solving other “billion person problems”.

A problem wasn’t considered worthy unless it could solve a problem for a billion people.

So now Alphabet is aligning itself towards this strategy: a holding company that owns and invests in other companies that can solve billion person problems.

It’s not divided up by money. It’s divided up by mission.

I want to do this in my personal life also.

Just analyzing Larry Page’s quotes from the past ten years is a guidebook for “billion person success” and for personal success.

Here Are Some Of His Quotes:
"If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning."

To have well-being in life you need three things:
A) a feeling of competence or growth.
B) good emotional relationships.
C) freedom of choice.

Being able to wake up excited in the morning is an outcome of well-being.

Feeling like every day you are working on a billion-person problem will give you those three aspects of well-being.

At the very least, when I wake up I try to remember to ask: Who can I help today?

Because I’m a superhero and this is my secret identity.

"Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change."

Too often we get stuck in “good enough”. If you build a business that supports your family and maybe provides for retirement then that is “good enough”.If you write a book that sells 1000 copies then that is “good enough.”You ever wonder why planes have gotten slower since 1965? The Dreamliner 787 is actually slower than the 747. That’s ok. It’s good enough to get people across the world and save on fuel costs.It’s only the people who push past the “good enough syndrome” that we hear about: Elon Musk building a space ship. Larry Page indexing all knowledge. Elizabeth Holmes potentially diagnosing all diseases with a pin prick.

Isaac Asimov wrote classic science fiction like “The Foundation Series” but it wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up writing 500 more books, writing more books than anyone in history.

Larry Page keeps pushing so that every day he wakes up knowing he’s going to go past “good enough” that day.

What does your “good enough” day look like. What’s one thing that moves you past that?

"My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society."

Whenever I’ve managed companies and have had the small opportunity to be a leader I’ve judged my success on only one thing:

Does the employee at night go home and call his or her parents and say, “guess what I did today!”

I’m not sure this always worked. But I do think Larry Page lifts all his employees to try to be better versions of themselves, to try to surpass him, to try and change the world.

If each employee can say, “who did I help today” and have an answer, then that is a good leader.

Empowering others, empowers you.

"Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future."

The stock market is near all time highs. And yet every company in the original Dow Jones market index (except for GE) has gone out of business.

Even US Steel, which built every building in the country for an entire century, has gone bankrupt.

Never let the practical get in the way of the possible.

It’s practical to focus on what you can do right now.

But give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.

We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity… Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist.

Sometimes I want to give up on whatever I’m working on. I’m not working on major billion person problems.

And sometimes I think I write too much about the same thing. Every day I try to think, “What new thing can I write today” and I actually get depressed when I can’t think of something totally new.

But I am working on things that I think can help people. And if you are out side of people’s comfort zones, if you are breaking the normal rules of society, people will try to pull you down.

Larry Page didn’t want to be defined by Google for his entire life. He wants to be defined by what he hasn’t yet done. What he might even be afraid to do.

I wonder what my life would be like if I started doing all the things I was afraid to do. If I started defining my life by all the things I have yet to do.

"Many leaders of big organizations, I think, don’t believe that change is possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your business is static, you’re likely to have issues."

Guess which company had the original patent that ultimately Larry Page derived his own patent (that created google) from?

Go ahead. Think a second. Guess.

An employee of this company created the patent and tried to get them to use it to catalog information on the web.

They refused.

So Robin Li, an employee of The Wall Street Journal, quit the newspaper of capitalism (who owned his patent), moved to China (a communist country), and created Baidu.

And Larry Page modified the patent, filed his own, and created Google.

And the Wall Street Journal got swallowed up by Rupert Murdoch and is dying a slow death.

"I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society."

A friend of mine is writing a novel but is afraid to publish it. “Maybe it will be bad,” he told me.

Fortunately we live in a world where experimentation is easy. You can make a 30 page novel, publish it on Amazon for nothing, use an assumed name, and test to see if people like it.

Heck, I’ve done it. And it was fun.

Mac Lethal is a rapper who has gotten over 200 million views on his YouTube videos. Even Ellen had him on her show to demonstrate his skills.

I asked him, “do you get nervous if one of your videos gets less views than others?”

He told me valuable advice: “Nobody remembers your bad stuff. They only remember your good stuff.”

I live by that.

"If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach."

Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to be academics. When they first patented Google, they tried to sell to Yahoo for $1 million (ONE MILLION DOLLARS).

When Yahoo laughed them out the door, they tried to sell to Excite for $750,000.

Excite laughed them out the door. Now an ex-employee of Google is the CEO of Yahoo. And the founder of Excite works at Google. Google dominates.

Money is a side effect of trying to help others. Trying to solve problems. Trying to move beyond the “good enough”.

So many people ask: “how do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question.

If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.

"Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people."

Everyone quotes the iconic story of Thomas Edison “failing” 10,000 times to get the electric lightbulb working.

I put failing in quotes because he was doing what any scientist does. He does many experiments until one works.

But what he did that was truly remarkable was convince New York City a few weeks later to light up their downtown using his lights.

The first time ever a city was lit up at night with electricity.

That’s innovation. That’s how the entire world got lit up.

"If you say you want to automate cars and save people’s lives, the skills you need for that aren’t taught in any particular discipline. I know – I was interested in working on automating cars when I was a Ph.D. student in 1995."

Too often we get labeled by our degree and our job titles. Larry Page and Elon Musk were computer science majors. Now they build cars and space ships.

David Chang was a competitive golfer as a kid, majored in religious studies in college, and then had random gopher jobs in his 20s.

The gopher jobs all happened to be in restaurants so he became familiar with how the business was run.

Then he started probably the most popular restaurant in NYC, momofoku. A dozen or so restaurants later, he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in history.

Peter Thiel worked as a lawyer in one of the top law firms in NY. When he quit in order to become an entrepreneur, he told me that many of his colleagues came up to him and said, “I can’t believe you are escaping”.

Escaping the labels and titles and hopes that everyone else has for us is one of the first steps in Choosing Ourselves for the success we are meant to have.

We define our lives from our imagination and the things we create with our hands.

"It really matters whether people are working on generating clean energy or improving transportation or making the Internet work better and all those things. And small groups of people can have a really huge impact."

What I love about this quote is that he combines big problems with small groups.

A small group of people created Google. Not Procter & Gamble. Or AT&T.

Even at Apple, when Steve Jobs wanted to create the Macintosh, he moved his small group to a separate building so they wouldn’t get bogged down in the big corporate bureaucracy that Apple was becoming.

Ultimately, they fired him for being too far from the corporate message.

Years later, when Apple was failing, they brought him back. What did he do? He cut most of the products and put people into small groups to solve big problems.

Before his death he revolutionized the movie industry, the computer industry, the music industry, TVs, and now even watches (watch sales have plummeted after the release of the Apple Watch).

All of this from a guy who finished one semester of studying calligraphy in college before dropping out.

Studying the history of Apple is like studying a microcosm of the history of how to create big ideas. Larry Page is recreating this with his new corporate structure.

We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.

The 20th century was the century of middle-class corporatism. It even became a “law” called “The Peter Principle” – everyone rises to their level of incompetence.

One of the problems society is having now is that the entire middle layer of management is being demoted, outsourced, replaced by technology, and fired.

This is not a bad or a good thing (although it’s scary). But it’s a return to the role of masters and apprentices without bureaucracy and paperwork in the middle.

It’s how things get done. When ideas go from the head into action with few barriers in the middle.

To be a successful employee, you have to align your interests with those of the company, come up with ideas that further help the customers, and have the mandate to act on those ideas, whether they work or not.

That’s why the employee who wrote much of the code inside the Google search engine, Craig Silverstein, is now a billionaire.

Where is he now? He’s an employee at online education company, The Khan Academy.

If you ask an economist what’s driven economic growth, it’s been major advances in things that mattered – the mechanization of farming, mass manufacturing, things like that. The problem is, our society is not organized around doing that.

Google is now making advances in driverless cars, delivery drones, and other methods of automation.

Everyone gets worried that this will cost jobs. But just look at history. Cars didn’t ruin the horse industry. Everyone simply adjusted.

TV didn’t replace books. Everything adjusted. The VCR didn’t shut down movies.

The Internet didn’t replace face to face communication (well, the jury is still out).

"What is the one sentence summary of how you change the world? Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting!"

Not everyone wants to create a driverless car. Or clean energy. Or solve a billion person problem.

But I have a list of things that are uncomfortably exciting to me.

They are small, stupid things. Like I’d like to write a novel. Or perform standup comedy. Or maybe start another business based on my ideas for helping people.

Every day I wake up a tiny bit afraid. But I also try to push myself a little closer in those directions. I know then that’s how I learn and grow.

Sometimes I push forward. Sometimes I don’t. I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do. As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.

Nobody knows what the definition of Art is.

How about: something that doesn’t exist except in the imagination, that you then bring out into the real world that has some mix of entertainment, enlightenment, and betterment.

I don’t know. Something like that.

Certainly the iPad is a work of art. And the iPad has created works of art. And when I first saw a driverless car I thought, “that’s beautiful”.

I’m going to try and put my fingerprint on something today. And maybe it will be art.

The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job – that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.

We’ve been hypnotized into thinking that the “normal life” is a “working life”.

If you don’t “go to work” then you must be sick or on the tiny bit of vacation allotted to you each year.

What if everything you did you can inject a little bit of leisure, a little bit of fun into it.

I have fun writing, except when I think I have to meet a deadline (work). I have fun making a business that people actually use except when I think about money too much (work).

When you are at the crossroads and your heart loves one path and doesn’t love the other, forget about which path has the money and the work, take the path you love.

We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren’t that many things people use twice a day.

What a great idea for a list of the day!

What are ten things that can be invented that people would use twice a day?

You need to invent things and you need to get them to people. You need to commercialize those inventions. Obviously, the best way we’ve come up with doing that is through companies.

I was speaking to Naveen Jain, who made his billions on an early search engine, InfoSpace.

He just started a company to mine rare earth minerals on the Moon.

But his real goal is extra-planetary colonization.

Somehow we got around to the question of why have a company in the middle of that. He has billions. He can just go straight for the colonization part.

He said, “Every idea has to be sustainable. Profitability is proof that an idea is sustainable.”

You may think using Google’s great, but I still think it’s terrible.

K. Anders Ericsson made famous the “10,000 hour rule” popularized later by Malcom Gladwell.

The rule is: if you practice WITH INTENT for 10,000 hours then you will be world-class.

He then wondered why typists would often reach a certain speed level and then never improve no matter how many hours.

After doing research, its because they forgot the “With intent” part. They were satisfied with “good enough”.

You have to constantly come up with new metrics to measure yourself, to compete against yourself, to better the last plateau you reached.

Google is great. But it can be better. Having this mindset always forces you to push beyond the comfort zone.

Once they changed the way typists viewed their skills (by recreating the feeling of “beginner’s mind”) the typists continued to get faster.

We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.

Many people argue whether or not Google has succeeded at this. That’s not the point.

The point is: Values before Money.

A business is a group of people with a goal to solve a problem. Values might be: we want to solve a problem, we want the customer to be happy, we want employees to feel like they have upward mobility, etc.

Once you lose your values, you’ll lost the money as well. This why family-run businesses often die by the third generation (“Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations).

The values of the founder got diluted through his descendants until the company failed.

I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. In fact, there are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.

Our parents have our best interests at heart and tell us how to be good adults.

Our schools have our best interests.

Our friends, colleagues, sometimes our bosses, sometimes government, think they have our best interests.

But it’s only when everyone thinks you are crazy that you know you are going to create something that surprises everyone and really makes your own unique handprint on the world.

And because you went out of the comfort zone, you’re only competing against the few other people as crazy as you are.

You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it’s important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.

For every article I’ve ever written, there’s at least ten more I left behind in the middle of the night thinking I would remember in the morning.

I have to beat myself in the head. I . Will. Not. Remember….Must. Write. Down.

It’s hard to wake up. And that’s the only thing worth remembering. It’s hard to wake up.

I have always believed that technology should do the hard work – discovery, organization, communication – so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.

This is a deep question – who are you? If you have a mechanical hand, is that “you”?

Conversely, if you lose a hand, did you lose a part of you. Are you no longer a complete person? The complete you?

If an implant is put into your brain to access Google, does that effect who you view your self to be?

When books were invented, memory suffered. We no longer had to remember as much, because we can look things up.

Does that make our brains less human?

I bet memory has suffered with the rise of Google. Does this mean our consciousness has suffered?

When we created fire, we outsourced part of our digestion to this new invention. Did this make our stomachs less human?

With technology taking care of the basic tasks of our brain and body, it allows us to achieve things we couldn’t previously dream possible.

It allows us to learn and explore and to create past the current comfort zone. It allows us to find the happiness, freedom, and well-being we deserve.

Over time, our emerging high-usage products will likely generate significant new revenue streams for Google as well as for our partners, just as search does today.

This is it. This is why Larry Page has re-oriented Google into Alphabet.

Don’t waste your most productive energies solving a problem that now only has incremental improvements.

Re-focus the best energies on solving harder and harder problems.

Always keeping the value of “how can I help a billion people” will keep Google from becoming a Borders bookstore (which went out of business after outsourcing all of their sales to Amazon).

How does this apply to the personal?

Instead of being a cog in the machine for some corporation, come up with ways to automate greater abundance.

Always understand that coming up with multiple ways to help people is ultimately the way to create the biggest impact.

Impact then creates health, friendship, competence, abundance, and freedom.

But this is also why he created Alphabet and put Google underneath it.

To save the world. To save me.

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Original article appeared here: http://inc42.com/buzz/20-things-ive-learned-from-l..

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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.



1. Mazatlan, Mexico

Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.



2. South Africa



Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."



3. San Juan, Puerto Rico


Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.



4. Chile



Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.



5. Crete

Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.



6. Morocco


Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.



7. Belize



Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.



8. Vietnam



Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.



9. Costa Rica


Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.



10. Portugal



Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.



11. Ecuador



Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.



12. Barcelona



Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.



13. Where: Guatemala


Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.


14. Bonaire & Curaçao


Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.



15. Las Vegas



Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.



16. Cambodia



Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.




17. Bali



Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.



18. Greece



Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.



19. Albania

Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.



20. San Luis Potosí, México


Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.



21. Quebec City, Canada

Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.



22. Buenos Aires



Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.



23. Haiti

Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.





24. Santa Catalina Island, California

Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.



25. Indonesia



Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."



26. Bulgaria

Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.



27. Cusco, Peru



Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.



28. Georgia
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.



29. Mozambique



Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."



30. Dallas, Texas



Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.

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Goal of Human Life?
Question: How are we to know that our aim is exclusively and only God (Self) Realization ? Since wealth is also worthy of being acquired, honour and status are also worth attaining, comforts and conveniences are also desirable, so many things are to be achieved, the question arises as to how to be sure that “God Realization” is the goal of our life?Swamiji: Is there anyone among you who wants such happiness that is not complete and perfect? Does anyone want happiness that is incomplete and transitory? Does anyone want a life that does not remain; that we live at times and other times we do not live? Does anyone here desire knowledge that is incomplete?We all desire happiness that never ends, a life that is eternal and knowledge that is perfect and complete in itself, knowledge that does not have the least bit of incompleteness in it, knowledge that is supreme and perfect. In fact, this longing within is the longing for the Supreme Truth of Life, God (Paramatma). Besides God, there is nothing which is eternal, perfect and absolute.We continue to suppress this desire to seek Truth by petty worldly desires and become happy and unhappy at times and intervals. Even a dog is pleased by happiness in small measures. A donkey too is pleased that way. That happiness should be achieved which is in no way incomplete, which is perfect in itself, that is not mixed with the least bit of sorrow or unhappiness. The world is incapable of offering happiness that has no deficiency or shortcoming. Thus worldly pleasures or happiness is not our goal. It is not our destiny. When we inquire on this deeply, we will realize that, that kind of happiness which is eternal, indivisible, without permitting any deficiency is only in one Supreme entity, the Lord-of-all ( Paramatma). In whatever measure the worldly things may be achieved, wealth, money, possessions, position, posts, name, fame, glories, kingdom, honour, respect, status etc., may fall to our lot, but that cannot give us contentment or full lasting satisfaction. On the contrary, let there be “more of it”, yes, still “more of it” such grows the greedy desire for them.We want to live, it means that we are dying or else why should there have been a longing to live? It is true that there is a desire to live. Having understood and known much in the world, there still lurks a desire to know ever more. Having obtained things in plenty, the desire to have more and more persists. Having done a lot in life, there is always a keenness to entertain the idea that though much has been done, yet this much has still to be accomplished. This sort of deficiency or incompleteness which is felt is knowing, gaining, doing etc., need to be recognized by man. It must be realized that this deficiency the world can never remove. This whole world may be achieved and yet this emptiness can never be filled, because the world is impermanent and ever changing. But think a little, what will happen once God is realized. In this regard, the Gita says - “yam labdhvaa chaaparam
laabham manyate naadhikam tatah.”
(Gita 6/22)
i.e. Having realised whom there is no gain higher than that.” Such is his experienced belief which none can shake. Having established himself in such a perfect state of God Realization, even the heaviest affliction born of stormy situations in life cannot in the least shake him from his solid rock like faith.
“yasminsthito na dukhena gurunaapi vichaalyate”
Even if he is sandwiched between the two conflicting mighty rocks and his body is crushed, then too even by that excruciating pain he is not dislodged or dissuaded from his unison with the Supreme Self. That pain has no access there. The pain cannot even touch that soulful state. Happiness is so much there that there can be no higher bliss than that. No sorrow can even cast its shadow on it. Tell, who wants such a blissful blessedness? People get contented even in small shares (alpa); that is a very big mistake.
The seekers do commit such a big error that while following the path, they get pleased or contented with elementary success midway. There is a Marawari saying; “adhe kutte kholana hi kheera hai.” i.e. for a blind dog even the “Kholana” (water from strained vegetables etc) is as good as rice cooked in milk (kheer). Similarly there are people that become highly pleased even with the acquisition of a little wealth, wisdom, honour, and fame in the world. What is truly achieved? The worldly achievements whatever it is, is indeed a deception. We need to realize the Supreme and the superior most truth! Even if we need wealth, it must be of the best and highest nature. Whatever we want, whether wisdom, riches, honour, status, praise, life, we want it to be of the noblest, purest and highest order. None can uproot this fundamental desire of man’s heart! And, nothing short of God Realization can satiate this deep-seated longing, because the supreme Tattva is no other than God Himself.
Arjuna says -
Na tvatsamo’styabhyadhikah kuto’nyo
lokatraye’ pyarpratimaprabhaava (gita 11/43)
i.e. Thou are of illimitable power and effect”; there is none like You; how can then anybody be more higher than what you are! Achievement of such a supreme thing should thus be the goal of our life.
That Tattva which was realized in ancient times by the earlier great ones, that sages and seers, saints and Sadhus, Sanakaadika and Devarshi Narada, Brahmaa, Shankara etc., - that very truth is realizable and can be realized even now in this Kaliyuga today. The worldly goods can not be obtained by one and all, but God can be realized by everybody. There is not a single man for whom God is inaccessible! Realization of that supreme truth, God alone, is the goal of human life.
My aim is God realization - only man is capable enough to realize this thing; not any other living being! Amongst living beings, cow is very holy animal, but we cannot make her understand this truth. Ponder a little, please, on the point. You come to Satsanga so early in the morning from very far distances and that too daily. Do you get any money here? Or any sensual enjoyments? Or any honour? Or any gains? Or any profits that you earn over here? If none of these then tell me what brings you here for satsanga so early in the pre-dawn hours?
Listener: We get peace and solace to our soul!
Swamiji: Peace perfect and full is what we need. If you get some or little amount of peace here and then you go away; and if your peace does not stay for long thereafter, then what is the use or value of such incomplete or transitory peace? We need the highest kind of peace which never comes to an end. But the mistake occurs when we get pleased with only petty peace of worldly nature!
One man was going to his village on a camel. He reached a mid-way village at the fall of night. There at one place a marriage ceremony was taking place. Drums and trumpets were being beaten and blown. That man was a Brahmin. Having reached the spot he came to know that “Bhoora” was about to be disbursed. “Bhoora” in Sanskrit is known as a special gift given to Brahmins on wedding occasions. That Brahmin fastened the camel outside the house and went inside to obtain the “Bhoora”. The thieves who happened to be there, saw the camel and they rode off with it. The Brahmin receive four annas for his “bhoora”, but when he came outside and saw the missing camel, he realized that his loss was significant – Rs 500, the cost of the camel.
The purport of the illustration is that in the petty achievements of transitory worldly things, some honour, some wealth, some pleasure, some status, some exotic foods – the camel of God Realization is forgotten and lost sight of. Such is the plight! The great Bliss is forsaken in favour of temporary glitter of worldly pettinesses, and small pleasures!
Eternal happiness is being lost in ephemeral happiness! People become happy in small doses of honours. One saint was told by some people that he was highly honoured and respected by them. The saint said : “What honour you can confer! Dust? All of you people can hardly pay any honour. We are honoured by God! What power have you to honour us? Truly, indeed, God alone decks His devotees, the saints, with the honour of immortality! How does a worldly person know what the real honour is?
The supreme gain which you crave for is in reality, the deep longing for God Realization. You may call, if you so desire, this longing “the urge to know”, “the urge to love” or “the urge to be happy for ever”. “the urge to see God face to face” “the urge for God Realization”. All mean one and the same thing. Only this is our goal. Be firm and fixed on this objective. Do not be pleased with the incomplete. If you do not get stuck up in the half incomplete, you will realize, the full.
This human body is the best of all the living forms. So, its ultimate goal should also be the best. There should be no higher goal than that ever thinkable. It is thus self-evident that God-Realization is the highest and the noblest goal of human life. Human life is meant only for this supreme purpose. Listener: Where is the guarantee, Holy Sir, that by giving up worldly pleasures, the highest truth of life will be attained? If we give up one and do not gain the other higher one, then shall we not remain empty altogether?
Swamiji: Arjuna also posed a similar question that if a seeker of yoga dies midway on the path of Yoga without realizing the Supreme, what plight would be of the poor one? Does he become “ubhaya-bhrasta” or fall from both the ends (Gita 6/37-38)? The world was renounced and God was not realized before he left his mortal coil – then will he only hang in between them? The Lord answered: “No Partha! He suffers no fall: neither in this world, nor in the next world; because O’ dear he who walks even little on the path of spiritual well-being never slips into any wretchedness or plight “durgati” (Gita 6/40).
If you happen to come across any traveller on the noble way of Welfare Supreme, you will yourself realize this truth. His gaiety, his bliss, his God intoxicatedness will have a peculiar halo, a specifically distinctive ring. The seekers of truth do register spiritual progress and they certainly enjoy extraordinary and ecstatic joy of life whereby they can never give up their search or Sadhana. That which is Supreme Bliss is obtainable by all, there is no doubt about it. Why is there no doubt? Because when we undertake spiritual practices, the peculiarities of divine life reveal themselves to us. Let you go in for soulfulness of divine discipline and then, the mysteries will be unfurled unto you too. There is an immense gain or joy in the association of the holy persons (satsang). We have not seen any other “upaaya” or means of realizing the highest goal of life. Countless are the means and people do follow one or the other of them, but the gain we obtain through Satsanga, we cannot acquire through any other means which we may adopt even for years.
From book "Be Good" by Swami Ramsukhdasji
नारायण ! नारायण ! नारायण !

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Real Greatness
You experience in yourself the feeling of superior or inferior in view of things that are subject to formation and destruction - This is a big mistake. e.g. Certain people regard themselves as superior in view of the wealth they own, few consider themselves great because of big homes that they possess. Others feel great by wearing fine clothes, while still others proclaim their superiority owing to the high position they hold, one of dignity and respect; there are however few that regard themselves as quite inferior or lowly or insignificant in view of the non-availability of these things. This is a very big mistake. You are yourself an inalienable, sparkling part of God and are consciousness! And you hold yourself superior or inferior in relation to inert gross material things only – this is nothing but inferiority in your attitude! You are the acquirer and enjoyer of these things, knower of their beginning and their end as well. Why yet should you be a slave of such things? Riches come and go, friends meet and part in life. Knowing this simple truth, we commit a mistake by feeling superior or inferior only on their count! Think a little, please, and immediately it would strike your intelligence that if you are great merely because you occupy a high or significant rank or position, then you are really small as you hold dignity and importance only in the office. If we are great on acquiring wealth, then the greatness lies not in us but only in the wealth. We are not great. Sooner we realize this, better it is that we should never feel superior or inferior on the strength of things which are mere transitory or of fleeting nature.Your are yourself immensely great. Ordinarily you are part and parcel of the Supreme Divine Being i.e. God, but in case you ascend to sublimely devotional heights, you are the crest-jewel of Divinity. God himself says :“I am the Servant of my devotees.Devotees my Crest-jewel ! „“Mein to hu bhagatanakaa daas,bhagata mere mukutamani”You are really that whom God calls his crest jewel! When does one become a devotee? The moment one is released from the affinity with grossness (jadataa), that very moment you are a devotee! Therefore you should from this very moment hold in your mind the firm resolve that you would not view yourself in high or low esteem on the basis of petty things that have an origin and ending. You do earn and own these perishables, use and enjoy them, but not weigh your being great or otherwise on their count. The balloon of your ego is pumped full-blown on their airy strength and there lies the rub! What is the difficulty in understanding this simple truth! Tell me! If there is none, then accept the wisdom of this reality just now. It brooks no delay. It demands no preparation, expects no special intelligence, no extra power or stamina, nor any uncommon ability on your part. Accept for God’s sake that you will not consider yourself great because of the belongings of mutable and ephemeral nature. For, such an orientation is nothing but mere subjection or slavery. A slave can never be happy even in dreams - “paradheena sapanehu sukhu naahim” (Manasa, Bala. 102/3). We are God’s and God is ours – if you firmly believe this, then alone you will be truly great in the real sense.Being in body finite (jiva) is faction divine of God eternal! Conscious, pious, ocean of happiness and bliss natural !!” (Manasa, Uttara. 117/1)When does he become really unhappy though being the fount eternal of happiness? Only when he accepts the slavish subjugation of the objects perishable and transitory, he grows sad, morose and sorrowful. You don‟t want sorrow at all, but you systematically pile up the materials of unhappiness only and willfully slip into the slavery of perishable goods. There is no happiness in slavishness, not even in dreams!Listener: More people flock to him who is virtuous? Is that the sign of people’s greatness?Swamiji: If very many go to one because he is a man of virtues, then too you must be clear that virtues are not his real nature. These have also been acquired. If he is emptied of good qualities or virtues, then people will not go to him at all. Please think how can man be great because people happen to go to him. Is not then his greatness dependent on external factors? Does a person become superior or inferior, big or small because many people go to him or do not go to him? This is dependence on others - how can this be greatness?This is nothing but all dependence on others - “Paradheenata” – if we view ourselves as great because of virtues we possess, or because of our better learning and education, or because more people give us more and more honor and hold us in high esteem! Of what avail shall it ever be whether we have or don‟t have virtues or whether or not more people pay regards to us? We remain what we are! For, how can one be really great or otherwise only because more people regard him so? Do people become inferior or small because people treat them so? Can greatness ever be given or taken away by people? How can anyone be happy who regards his greatness or dignity dependent on other ones‟ opinions? Opinions are never stable. A slavery to opinions is no test of greatness. You collect money, pile up bank balances, create a rich store of precious stones, pearls, rubies etc., and begin to think that you are a big man enjoying a high social status! If that be the case, you are certainly mistaken. Make the best use of your riches and put your prosperity in the service and welfare of people. It will be mere humiliation if you are big only by belongings of virtues or wealth you own!God is not subject to coming and going. He is ever present. If you sincerely begin belonging to God, you will be “really” great. If you really grow great, you will never be touched by the pride of greatness, or by the fear of smallness. You lose nothing if others hold you low in esteem. Nor do you gain anything by the praise of others. If you be yourself, identify yourself with the eternal. He the great over lording spirit of the universe, and acknowledge your relationship with God in right perspective, then you will be truly great, great in the real sense. Then you will not be swayed by the so called greatness showered on you or withdrawn from you by other one‟s opinion!It is verily a bondage to hold oneself high or great merely on the strength of things and opinions of ephemeral or transitory nature. Bondage is not an animal! Redemption from this very thralldom is liberation. You are free the moment this bind is cast off. Tell me: don‟t you be self-reliant, free and liberated when you do not depend for your being on fleeting opinions and belongings, that endure not?Listener: You are right, holy sire!Swamiji: If it is all right, then why should we remain dependent? Please, be merciful and from this very moment thoughtfully accept that you will not regard yourself big or high simply because of the chair or the official position you occupy; not even by virtue of wealth are you going to feel yourself great. Neither we are big because very many people praise and honor us nor we shall feel low because people denounce or decry us. Can you in essence accept and believe this truth or not? Tell me.Listener: yes, we can do so.Swamiji: Then why delay at all? For whom are you waiting? For what sort of circumstance are you waiting, for whose particular power or might are you waiting? Which time, whose support or succor, whose instructions you are awaiting now? For whom are you awaiting? Tell me. I pray unto you that from just now you resolve that you would never regard yourself big or small, high or low on the count of petty things of transitory nature. The Lord has said:
“Agamaapayino „nityaastaamstitiksasva bhaarata” (Gita 2/14)
i.e. Things and beings which are perishable and impermanent – bear or brook them. To tolerate them is to be free from the totality of impact, their coming and going out of existence might otherwise cause. In such a state of freedom, there is bound to be a boundless peace of mind and blissful blessedness of heart. Do it and see it for yourself. True it is ! I cast no deception! You will feel extremely unburdened and enjoy supreme bliss as if you have escaped from sinking into death dealing morass.
From "Be Good” by Swami Ramsukhdasji
To read in HINDI:
http://www.satcharcha.blogspot.com

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How I lost 23kg's in 6 Months?
Being an MBA we think that we know it all and hence often overlook the most important aspect of one’s life that is HEALTH. ‘Health is Wealth’ very rightly said by someone but followed by very few at the B-Schools. There are many misconceptions in one’s mind about health, we often tend to think that a lean person is fit but rather health has nothing to do with sizes. It’s just a fat person can be healthy and a lean may not be. It’s the lifestyle which makes us healthy or unhealthy.
Being in a B-School people always have a time crunch and that’s the point if being in a B-School you say that you don’t have a time than what kind of manager you are. THINK!!. Manage time and you can manage anything and everything. Work as if you have 26 out of 24 hours or at least live like it so that others think of you in this way, makes you physiologically healthier.  B-schools have aa hell lot of classes, we generally don’t pay attention during classes and that in turn waste much of our time in B-School. Stay awake and attentive in your class and hence you can save the time needed to stay fit and healthy.
Some of the think which I have followed in my journey to become fit and healthy are mentioned here may be they can be of help  –
Prioritize – We often want to get fit but we always have that one important thing that stops us from going for a run or gym. Hence you will have to prioritize and once you do that successfully you will climb the first ladder to a fit and healthy life.
Patience – Just as in your career you cannot grow instantly and it takes times. Similarly, the body and a lifestyle that you have built in last 20-25 years cannot change overnight and hence be patient and you will see the result in the due course.
Start Small – One big mistake that we all tend to do is, ahh my assignment submission is over today lets go to the gym and you spend 2 hours in a gym followed by nothing. It's the biggest mistake. You should always start small i.e. taking a walk, a small run, skipping rope, skipping cheese & mayo etc. and make it persistent in your lifestyle, do it regularly and hence change your lifestyle slowly in order to have a long-term effect. I started using stairs to my room on 6th floor and is doing it since last 315 days.
Be Continuous and Persistent – Continuity is the key to success in each and every aspect of life and hence whatever you start it slow and do it regularly in order to develop a healthy lifestyle. Assignment, Conference, Conclave, and Placement etc should not be an excuse for skipping the routine.
Sleep – It is a luxury which we cannot afford in B-Schools, most of us will believe the said statement. Amid all the submissions, cases, conferences, visits etc take out some time to sleep continuously for 5 hours and that will be more than enough. We often neglect sleep and it becomes the biggest hindrance in staying fit and healthy.
Seek out healthier Alternatives – Don’t skip a party as you are on a diet, rather always seek out for healthier alternatives when you go out. Change your eating habits, don’t eat less rather regulate your diet in order to be fit.
Make it Fun – Most importantly till you to enjoy it and embrace it you cannot sustain a workout. Make small goals achieve them, reward yourself, find a workout buddy, be competitive, include the variety of workout in your schedule i.e. Running, Waling, Cycling, Gymming, Swimming, yoga, aerobic, Zumba etc.
I have followed meticulously each and everything that I have mentioned above since last 11 months and have lost around 23 kg. Always find a motivation behind a workout and you would never fail I had mine and as we say behind every successful man we have a ….. Yay, you guessed it right.
 
 






























 

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