Singers have known for generations that a spoonful of honey would sweeten their performance. Mothers have always known that honey mixed with lemon juice would soothe a sore throat.  Theese ‘magic capsules of honey and lemon’ would sweeten your body, mind andsoul and relieve you of all everyday irritations.

Prescription for a healthy body, a sharp mind and a tranquil soul: Take one a day until finished. 

Record only hours of sunshine

[This has been my motto since I was 12]

Make your motto in life the motto of the sundial: ‘I record only hours of sunshine’.

Apply the carrot and stick to yourself

If you cannot bring yourself to start a new venture, apply the carrot and stick to yourself. Picture yourself how lively your life would be if you go ahead, and then compare it with the dull life you would have if you do nothing.

Keep your feet on the ground

What Marcus Aurelius said centuries ago still holds true: ‘Never allow yourself to be swept off your feet: when an impulse stirs, see first that it will meet the claims of justice; when an impression forms, assure yourself of its certainty.’

Follow the formula

You’ll find Einstein’s equation for success punches more energy than his famous, E = mc2:

success = work + recreation + meditation

Start with a good thought

This old jingle summarises well how a thought can shape your life:

Sow a thought, reap an act;
Sow an act, reap a habit;
Sow a habit, reap a character;
Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Focus on thoughts

Our actions are usually consistent with our thoughts. Rip negative thoughts out of your mind and replace them with, ‘I’m confident I can do it.’

Act now: laugh

Laughter releases chemicals in the brain that make us feel better. Act now: laugh. If there is no other person to laugh with you, laugh at yourself … laugh at this silly little book.

Ride in a car with shock absorbers

A day without laughter is like a ride in a car without shock absorbers.

Don’t try to please everybody

Heed Bill Cosby’s advice: ‘I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.’

Stimulate your  brain

To stimulate your intellect and memory try to learn a new skill such as music or language, and try to memorise something new each day, say a song, poem or list of new words.

Go and meet the inspiration

When inspiration does not come to you, like Sigmund Freud, ‘go halfway to meet it’.

‘Plant a tree’

When you sit down under a shady tree, remember that someone planted that tree a long time ago.

Don’t despair

Someone said that the darkest hour of our life has only 60 minutes, then why despair?

Make your mind empty

Just for five minutes every day, sit comfortably, shut your eyes, breathe deeply, and silently repeat a word, any word (try the word ‘one’ or Sanskrit ‘Om’).

Reinvent success

Success is not necessarily money, power, career or recognition. It may be freedom, health and wellbeing, self-discovery, financial independence, relationship or community contribution.

Where there’s a will …

Aeschylus is still true after 2500 years: ‘When a man’s willing and eager, the gods join in.’

Consider stress as a challenge

In today’s world you cannot avoid stress in your life. Consider it as a challenge, not a threat. If you do nothing, you will be trapped in the web of events. The moment you commit yourself to action, the stress becomes manageable.

Take the stairs’

Remember, as an unknown wit said, ‘There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.’

Be ‘curiouser and curiouser’

Curiosity is the appetite of the mind. We learn more quickly when information comes in answer to a question. Like Alice in Wonderland, be ‘curiouser and curiouser’.

Take a power nap

After lunch, take off your shoes, sit down comfortably and take a 15-minute nap.

Give yourself a kick in the pants

‘Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way,’ shouts a graffiti on a wall. It’s better if the kick comes from you, then someone else.

Work with love

‘Work is love made visible,’ extols Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet, ‘And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.’

Way of action

A person who restrains the organs of action, sits revolving in mind, thoughts regarding objects of sense, is called a hypocrite,’ preaches Bhagavadgita, which stresses the importance of doing one’s duty and faith in God, ‘But, a person who, controls the senses by the mind, unattached directs his or her organs of action to the path of work, excels.’

Avoid anxiety

Live in the present. Don’t dwell on past mistakes. Avoid worrying about what might happen in the future.

Take deep breaths

Take in a slow deep breath. Pause for a few seconds, then breathe out gently. Repeat it 10 times. Try it a few times every day.

Exercise to release tension

A brisk walk daily for 20 minutes. It will make you feel good for hours because of the release of endorphin from the brain.

Draw up a confidence list

Make a list of your strengths, aspirations and achievements. Update this list regularly.

Spice up your food

After analysing the cuisines of 36 nations – based on 4578 ‘traditional’ recipes from 93 cookbooks – a scholarly study reported in The Quarterly Review of Biology has found that the hotter and wetter a country, the spicier its food. This suggests, the study says, that as the risk of food spoilage grows, so does a culinary reliance on spices – a natural source of compounds that kill harmful microbes. By cleansing foods of pathogens, spice users contribute to their health, survival, and reproduction, the study concludes.

Boost your energy

Instead of eating large meals eat five or six smaller meals. It will help to keep your blood level controlled, and energy level high.

Self-monitor yourself

If you monitor what you do, you’re likely to do it better. For example, if you weigh yourself daily, you’ll start to lose weight.

Unleash your creativity

Follow American psychologist Robert Epstein’s simple exercise ‘capturing a daydream’ he has developed to persuade people of their creative potential: ‘Close your eyes. Let your mind wander for a few minutes. Relax and just let your thoughts go without deliberately guiding them.’

Find the best way

‘There is always a best way of doing everything,’ says the American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘even if it be to boil an egg.’

Stop worrying

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow, says a Swedish proverb. Why live under a shadow?

Always do your best

Ponder over Martin Luther King Jr’s advice: ‘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 host of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’

© Surendra Verma 2000

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