Prague Leadership Institute

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“Discomfort is a precondition for growth.”   David Brooks Think back for a moment to a time when you first learned to do something really important at the time, like riding a bicycle, or learning how to skateboard.  Think about all the times you fell and how uncomfortable that was.  Now think about how great it felt when you grew into it and learned how to do it.  For most of us that was a time that represented a new sense of freedom and joy.  Well, the only difference between then and now is perspective.  You were willing to get uncomfortable because the benefit was worth it.  Why should our growth as adults be any different?  Sure, learning how to manageContinue Reading

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself. Soren Kierkegaard A significant force and thought leader in the 19th century, Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, was known for his focus on the importance of subjectivity, or the way we relate ourselves to objective truths.  There is a stark reality when you take this to an absurd length to prove its point, like say, refusing to believe that moderation has any importance in your life, until you begin to see the ravages of excess come on for an extended and very uncomfortable visit.  What this quote reminds me of is a study done many years ago among people who were in their seventh and eighthContinue Reading

“Nearly all men can handle adversity. If you really want to test his character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln Sober advice, indeed. When you stop to think about it, we wear, as a badge of courage, our overcoming adversity, which I think is proper and good. We are setting a good example for those around us. But, how often have we seen someone with what is equated with power today—wealth—treat others, mere mortals, with disdain? Someone once said that true test of character is how someone treats another person, when that person cannot do anything for them. Bringing this down to a day-to-day level we can all relate to, think about how you treat the waitstaff in a restaurant, orContinue Reading

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you never expect to sit.” Anonymous Being from the farm country and having lived around beautiful trees much of my life, makes the imagery of this quote so powerful to me. Put into the context of daily life, it really speaks to acts of kindness with expectations in return. I have often heard people say that they never felt so good as when they did something to help someone else, like volunteering at a homeless shelter, or serving a holiday dinner to people in need. These are the “trees” that grow to give us much more than the shade of a real tree. Good luck on your journey!Continue Reading

“Yesterday, I was clever and wanted to change the world. Today, I am wiser and want to change myself.” Rumi Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, philosopher, and lover of humanity. Over the centuries, his name has been shortened in the West to Rumi. When I read this quote, I am touched by its simple elegance and its ring of truth and clarity. To me, what Rumi is saying goes to the heart of what I call the “Physics of Life”, or cause and effect. It’s all about the example one sets in daily life that gives power to what one says and sets into motion a chain reaction. It’s the kind of thing you noticeContinue Reading

“You have to decide whether you live in a universe that is supportive of you or is hostile toward you. Once you have decided, the universe will behave accordingly.” Albert Einstein So much has been written in the last 50 years about mindset, but it’s nice to be reminded of its power from time to time. One way you could read this quote would be that it sounds awfully “new agey” and pollyannish. Then, there is the way that I think Einstein meant it to be read. There is something very significant that happens when you assume you are in a hostile environment. You become tense and your thinking becomes very narrow and focused on survival. However, when one feelsContinue Reading

“Whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you are right.” Abraham Lincoln There is nothing like a good dose of common sense with which to start your day and this wonderful quote fits the bill perfectly. Let me take it a bit further to see if I can help put it into context. It’s not saying that you can’t have some initial feelings of doubt when it comes to a challenge. Self-doubt can be healthy and keep you grounded in reality. However, the difference is that once you experience that feeling of self-doubt, it should automatically trigger the intellectual curiosity in you, as opposed to fear, and you begin to disaggregate the challenge and look at each aspectContinue Reading

“FEAR is always one of two things: Forget Everything And Run, or Face Everything And Rise.” Ratan Tata As one of India’s most prominent businessmen and philanthropists, Ratan Tata is known for his success in business. However, success doesn’t insulate one from fear, and, having started in his family’s business on the shop floor of a steel mill, you can imagine how he knows, first-hand, the meaning of this quote in everyday life. We all fear adversity—things that don’t go as we planned—but what many of us don’t know is that adversity is a coward and when you stop and face it, it runs away. So, the next time you feel fear starting to creep into your thinking remember Tata’sContinue Reading

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was trained as a lawyer. His life’s story is about converting his thoughts into words and words into actions by employing nonviolent resistance to bring about change in a number of areas from civil rights, to poverty, and from women’s rights to religious and ethnic amity. Gandhi was known for his simple, non-violent, common-sense approach to life and its problems. And, it’s the simplicity of this quote that makes it so powerful. It doesn’t take a lot of thinking about this quote to understand its absolute relevance to our lives and, what I like to refer to as theContinue Reading