Adonis Diaries

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Any “secret ingredient to inspiring a team”? did it again with an inspiring article posted on Sept 27  “How TEDxBeirut revealed the secret ingredient to inspire a team“:

“It’s Friday. The day before TEDxBeirut (a day-long conference in three sessions, involving 19 speakers). I’m driving to the venue. I’ve been barely sleeping an hour every night, for the past week. I’m exhausted, and have little energy left.

Today is the final rehearsal with all the speakers, performers, and production crew. It’s going to be a long and intense day. There’s so much that needs to be done. Too much for just one day.

As I’m driving, I think to myself: “I have no idea how I’m going to make it through the day. I’ll probably go in, and when anyone asks how I am, I’ll reply “Exhausted”!  That way, I’ll show them that I’ve been working my ass off. That’ll give me enough attention and energy to keep me going just a little bit more.”I pause, get my thoughts together, and continue (my line of thinking):

“Bad idea! We’re all exhausted. Why would I expect myself to be more exhausted than anyyone else? Why would I demand attention from everyone else? Bad idea!”

That’s when a smile forms on my face. “I’m OK” I think to myself. “Actually, I feel great! This is what we’ve all been working very hard for. It’s almost here. I’m excited!” And all of a sudden, everything changes.

I arrive at the venue. I’m all hyper and ecstatic. I go inside and start hugging and loving everyone. I can’t get the smile off my face. Everyone smiles back. I can see the light in their eyes. Little do I realize on that day, the effects of my attitude-change on everyone around me.

It’s Saturday. It’s the day of TEDxBeirut. It’s 7:00am. I’m driving to the venue. I’ve only slept for 1hr. I can’t keep my eyes open. I’m beyond exhaustion. It’s as if there are no thoughts in my head. I’m blank. I’m irritated. I don’t have nor the energy, nor the patience to deal with anything that comes my way. And suddenly, I remember the day before.

I remember the attitude change. And for the first time, I realize that by smiling and by being ecstatic yesterday, I was affecting the attitude of everyone around me. I think to myself: “I gotta do this. Everyone is exhausted. If I’m exhausted too, how will we make it through the day? How will we deal with all the problems that’ll arise? How will the audience feel? I gotta be ecstatic and exploding with energy!”

Suddenly, I feel a bust of energy! A smile forms on my face. This energy, along with the smile, both stay with me the whole day. All the way throughout the event. And this has a huge effect on everything. Of course, I wasn’t aware of that during the day.

At the end of the day, while driving back home, I remember Patrick telling me: “I don’t know why, I can’t help it but smile every time I see you.” I reply automatically without thinking: “Maybe it’s because I’ve been smiling all the time?” That’s when it hit me.

I get a zillion flashbacks from that same day. I remember all the instances when Patrick tells me how I’m inspiring. The instance that Maya tells me how she can feel my energy, and how different that is from others. The instance that Chawki tells me how inspiring I am. All the instances that I’ve spoken to team members, and all of a sudden their eyes spark. All the instances that I’ve briefed a team member who has slept less that I did, and see them jump into action with excitement beyond this world.

That instance, after all those flashbacks, I finally understand what inspiring a team is all about. I’ve been trying to inspire different teams, within and outside of TEDxBeirut for years now. I’ve failed every single time. And now, on the last day of TEDxBeirut, I finally get it.

Inspiring a team isn’t just about being ecstatic, energetic, and passionate. Yes, all these are vital. Yet, a secret ingredient is missing.

To inspire, you have to be under the same, or worst conditions yourself. Please, read this line again.

During the day of TEDxBeirut, I finally managed to inspire, not just because I was full of energy. It’s because I was as tired and as un-slept as everyone else. Yet, I managed to show everyone that even though we’re all exhausted, we can still be full of energy. We can still have a constant and contagious smile. We can still be ecstatic. And when we’re all like this, the crowd can’t help but get infected with this blissful energy.

I’ve come to learn that inspiring a team might just be this simple and reproducible. To inspire a team to act in a certain way, act yourself in that certain way. And as long as you’re under the same, or worst circumstances than the rest of your team, they’ll get inspired.

Martin Luther King was as black and as mistreated as his community. Gandhi was under worst conditions than his community. And they both inspired big time.

On Friday, that day before TEDxBeirut, I had never imagined that my change of attitude will have such a deep impact. I thank everyone single one of you. You inspired me to inspire.” End of quote.

You are likely to miss the essential idea in that post and think: “Keep smiling to inspire the team” is the secret ingredient.  Smiling is the catalyst, the best catalyst to inspiring, but “How can you keep a genuine smile if the entire team does not believe that you worked harder than anyone else?”

One of the speaker on TEDxBeirut (Hala Fayad) said: “To be a successful entrepreneur you have got to slave harder than anyone in team.  Ego is not useful in any endeavor you undertake…” (I assume that Hala got down on her knees and rubbed the floor and participated in the daily chores, as any slave is asked to do. Otherwise, success was pure luck, regardless of all the energy invested in the business and opportunities that were taken advantage of…)

In general, Gandhi is an excellent example in that line of thinking.  But Martin Luther King ? Simply because he was black and obviously mistreated and put in prison several times?  Malcom X and many other Black leaders in the US worked far harder than Martin Luther King  and they were mistreated harsher, not just by the white community, but amid their own black communities.

Note:  TEDxBeirut was a huge success in many ways, particularly in this awfully limited society and State of Lebanon. The slogan of TEDxBeirut was “From limitation to inspiration”.  That motto applied perfectly to the organizers of TEDxBeirut, though not to most of the speakers. I am preparing an article titled “Mostly a hoax: “From limitation to inspiration” slogan of TEDxBeirut”

What’s for dinner? Why Zombies to be eaten alive? sent me this link on Sept. 21 “Choose the dinner and you’ll become dinner”

“Imagine the world has been overrun by Zombies. You’re the only group left. You’ve managed to lock yourselves in an abandoned prison.

You’ve prepared yourselves a nice dinner. You’ve lit a few candles. You’ve found a nice red table-cloth and an aged bottle of wine.

Do you now sit and enjoy your nice dinner, and pretend that you’re not surrounded by lifeless Zombies struggling to get in and rip you apart? Or do you face your situation and try to get rid of the Zombies?

Of course enjoying the dinner is less painful than facing the Zombies. The problem is that one day the food will run out; the Zombies will find a way in. And you’re going to suffer immensely.

You can only run away from your problem for a little while. You can’t pretend that you’re having a nice dinner all the time. The question is, do you fight now, when you’re healthy and strong? Or do you wait until you’re helpless?

Let’s come back from Zombie world to our daily lives for a  minute. Everyday in our minds we face a choice. Do we face the problems and resolve them? Or do we keep running away from them, until one day they find a way in, when we’re most helpless?

Of course, distracting ourselves from our painful thoughts is as pleasant as that temporary dinner in prison. Facing our thoughts and resolving them is as satisfying and as liberating as defeating the hoard of Zombies.

Except that, when you face your own thoughts you can’t lose. You’re in a safe environment. No physical harm can come to you. And you can stop at any point, and continue later.

But the consequences are very real when you keep choosing the dinner.

Sit with your thoughts today and face them, before it’s too late.”

William example is too drastic:  Very few people ever confront such a life threatening situation in their entire life.  Otherwise, people would have learned to survive more efficiently through repeated dangerous conditions.  I think that, if I were cool enough to prepare myself such a romantic and wonderful dinner, I might as well sit very coolly and enjoy my dinner.

The odds are high that the Zombies will feel frustrated when they notice your relaxed state, like if you had a secret mass destructive weapon…The Zombies, like smart creatures, will move on to another individual that their “objective analysis” of human behavior demonstrated to be within the range of “normal person.”

Most probably, William might throw a tantrum claiming that I failed to comprehend the gist of his idea, that the article was made simple for my mild “autistic syndrome”… 

Treating clients and team members with same set of behaviors? Isn’t an invitation to fuck it up?

I like many posts published by, and his latest on Sept. 23 is rich in controversial suggestions. William wrote (with slight editing):

“I’ve read many times about the importance of motivating your team. About how vital it is to make them feel appreciated. About how crucial it is to educate them. To build their skills. To empower them. To inspire them. And I think most importantly, to be compassionate towards your team.

I haven’t read anywhere that you need to treat your customers this way (with the exception of educating the customers.) Now I realize that treating your customers with all the above (set of behaviors) is as important as treating your team that way.

Now, when I work on a project, the customer and us are all working together. There are no 2 teams. We are one team encompassing all the people involved in the process.  I refuse to have just customers. It all started on that day…

The day when we received an email from one of our customers. The email contained feedback regarding a design proposal we sent them. The revised proposal shocked me!

The email had a long list of changes. The changes aren’t specifically the problem. The problem is this: the list of changes was full of tiny meaningless changes that did not affect the outcome of the design, nor the effectiveness of the message. These were changes that would waste valuable time from the very tight and time sensitive deadline of the project.

It was as if the customer was telling us implicitly that they hated our proposal (without telling us that they hate it). Instead, they listed every element in the design and asked us to change every one. I was furious.

As much as I tried to cool down, and tone down my email reply, I couldn’t. My email hurt the customer, and made them furious as well. And no, I didn’t shout or curse in the email. I didn’t use capital letters, nor bold words. I used very strategic words that hit very sensitive nerves in people. Bad idea. (It will be nice to have a sample of this kind of replies…)

I am sorry for doing that. I would take it back. I can’t. And I think that without this incident, I would not have learned this valuable lesson. So there must be something good out (of fucking up occasionally).

I now understand that the problem was because the customer and us, we were behaving as two sides. The customer was not involved in the process. There wasn’t any communication.

When we received the brief from the customer, we threw away their brief and created our own. We did this without involving the (client team members) in the process of creating a new brief.  This action was an insult by itself.

Sure the new brief might have served the customer’s desired outcome better; but that doesn’t matter: the customer doesn’t know that. We didn’t make sure that they were aware of the added benefits and effective outcome of the new brief.

Now I understand how vital it is to involve the customer in every step. To make them part of the team. To involve them in the initiatives we take. To motivate them. To inspire them. To empower them. To educate them; naturally. And most importantly, to be compassionate with them. To help them grow and develop their skills; the way you would want from any team member.

And I promise, you and your customer will have a richer experience together. Hopefully, without fucking up first.” End of quote

I listened to the speech of Hala Fadel at TEDxBeirut that was held this Saturday Sept.24.  Hala is a “successful” entrepreneur for the last 5 years and she said: “If you want to become a successful entrepreneur you should learn the three conditions:

First, you have got to work like a slave at the beginning: Ego is never needed in anything.

Second, command like a King: members of the team need a leader. (Why leading should be the domain of dictators or absolute monarch?)

Third, create like a God:  We have no place to hide in this “flat land” and competition is savage and relentless. (Hala mentioned that her 7 year-old girl replied “Is God an entrepreneur?”

I am wondering: Could anyone who managed to become successful not generate inflated ego, no matter how hard he tries to squelch it?  How William is going to change his approach with an entrepreneur with the above set of beliefs on “How to become successful”?   Would such an entrepreneur (a client, a customer) suffer to feel that he is being educated, his skills built, and being “empowered and inspired”?  Would a process that demonstrates “humility”, ever going to convince such an entrepreneur that you are at level to deliver?

(To be continued)

Secret to a happy life: Why are you “unsuccessful” and unhappy?  

Is this just another rational logic that says: “If you want to learn how to be happy, you have got to understand what is called depression in order to overcome your unhappy condition?” wrote: “Have you ever wondered why (Cyclothymia or manic/depressive or bipolar) is called depression?  Is it because in your daily life your problems and unmet responsibilities create stress?  Stressful feelings in turn creates a lot of pressure on you.

And so, you have to decompress, or depress. Thus the word depression. If you can find a way to depress every day, maybe you’ll be able to escape your cycle of depressions or Cyclothymia or manic/depressive or bipolar.”

On September 11, 2011, I received a link from, and I decided to re-publish the article and comment on it. It says:

“The successful and happy person gets an idea of what he wants to do or be. He then goes and does that; despite all obstacles.

You want to do something. I know. You want to be someone. I know. Just go and do that. Be that.

Process one idea at a time. Overcome and resolve one obstacle at a time.

It might seem simple. It is.  Are you trying to complicate matter? You get impatient and pursue two ideas at a time. Or maybe three Bad ideas.

Repetition is vital when something is so simple, yet so powerful: It  gets always underestimated.

One idea at a time.  One obstacle at a time. (Is it too complicated?)

If you change one of these two steps and you, more often than not, set yourself up for an unsuccessful and unhappy life. You set yourself up for wishful thinking.

I’ve heard the “One idea at a time” mantra a lot over the years. It went through my head unnoticed. I underestimated it.  I didn’t believe it. I wasn’t convinced it could be this simple.

No one explained it.  And I kept on juggling multiple ideas at a time. And I kept on failing. And then I tried it.

It works. Period. Try it.  Once you do, you don’t need convincing. Leave wishful thinking to someone else, and go be successful and happy.

A single idea at a time.  One obstacle at a time.” End of quote.

Two ideas can be generated from this article:

First, do what makes you happy; and

Second, “Process one idea at a time. Overcome and resolve one obstacle to at a time.”

We can witness many “successful” people around us, and we know they are certifiable as “very Not happy“.

The expression “If you learn to be happy, you can learn to be successful” is closer to reality.

What can be considered a “success story” is debatable, but if I say “I am happy” then who are you to contradict me?

Is being married with children a success story?

Is managing to build a profitable business a success story?

Is inheriting a profitable business a success story?

Is earning a university degree a success story?

Does having a handicapped kid of yours a factor that dampens the view that you are a success story?

How much money is needed to be considered by others as a success story?

How much learning is required to be viewed a success story?…

One element you cannot contest: Are you happy? Isn’t life meant to be lived happily?

Do you think that you could feel unsuccessful if you are happy? Regardless of what others judge your level of success?

“Process one idea at a time. Overcome and resolve one obstacle to at a time” is the secret to learn how to be happy.

Once you nail down that mechanism, you learn to be happy.  Once you are in a state of happiness, you are already successful, and success in the eyes of others is never too far.

Is it possible to be viewed “unsuccessful” if you are a contagious element that make people feel and learn to be happy?  No way!

Learn the secret of what make you happy and you are on your way to be the best catalyst to change your neighborhood into a happy environment.

“Process one idea at a time. Overcome and resolve one obstacle to at a time” sound a very simple and naive recipe for happiness.  Try it. I challenge you!

For example, I don’t have a dime in my pocket. I have no monetary equity. I learned to live an entire year without money or a credit card in my pocket.

Do you think that you are happier than me? Do you think that you are healthier than me?

Do you think that you are a better success story than me? Good for you: Somehow you are applying the recipe “without Knowing it”?

Note: Janet sent me a reply that says: “Success means being good and productive at something useful for the greater society.  Happiness comes and goes with respecting yourself that you have become good at something. 80% of people are useless to society and useless to the economy.  That’s the real problem.  It’s not an illusion. The fact is that most people are worthless, and deep down they know it, so they are depressed.  They should be.”

I like the big picture in this reply.  I have two requests:

1. That we make the term “productive” operational.  For example, what work is specifically considered productive and what is not.  Can we say that house cleaning is a productive job? That aiding kids after school to study better is a productive undertaking…Even if hiring someone is less expensive for the time spent?

2. This rate of 80% is becoming a consensus number that means “Sorry for the exaggeration…” It is not possible that any society survive with such a high rate of “unemployed productive” citizens…

In any case, kids of  age 6 start working in the underdeveloped States, and they tend to add stickers on products that read “This product was not done by kids”…

How to sit with your thoughts: 3 phases technique
On September 6, published his follow up article. It might be interesting to read the first post in order to realize how an idea can be carried through to resolution. This article is self-contained though to comprehend the concept. I performed minor editing.

“Today, as I’m sitting with my thoughts in front of the rising Sun, I see my thoughts with such rare clarity; the clarity I wish I have all the time.

I see 3 phases that my thoughts go through. The 1st phase, I call «Distraction»: It is synonymous with Mass Media, Prozac, and iTunes. That’s the phase where I daydream. I create virtual scenarios that are more pleasant than reality; a beach in Hawaii, being invisible, being a virtual character living an adventurous ideal life…. By doing that, I distract myself from the thoughts caused by real-life incidents.

Ironically, although technically I seem to be sitting with my thoughts, I’m actually still distracting myself from them. It is dawning on me, I think, that meditation might just be another way to distract myself from the thoughts that matter: While meditating, I visualize virtual worlds (daydreaming), I repeat a mantra (can’t think in parallel), I focus on breath (can’t focus on the thoughts at the same time.)

It just might be that meditation relieves me from stress and emotional pain, by distracting me from the causes of pain (Prozac?). I’m not attacking meditation, since I meditate myself. I’m only suggesting that maybe there needs to be a time for sitting with my thoughts, just like there are needs for time for meditating (which helps me deal with those thoughts.)

This of course contradicts the core teachings of most meditation schools. These schools discourage “meditators” from allowing their thoughts to flow freely; ideally 24/7. I hope you now get the idea why I called the 1st phase «Distraction».

Phase 2 starts when I become aware of «Distraction».  I call the 2nd phase «Acceptance». That’s when I push away the distracting daydreams. Immediately, the reality of my life flows in. I’m aware of the problems and conflicts. I’m aware of where I am now in life, as opposed to where I want to be. At this point, daydreams and distractions start to interfere again, in an effort to take me away from the pain of the realization.

Obviously that’s a sign that I’m in denial. It’s only when I discard the daydreams and stick to the reality of my life, that I start accepting my reality and all its problems. And when I do that, when I accept the pain of realization, when I watch all my thoughts with acceptance, that’s when I’m ready to move to the 3rd phase.

Once I accept my thoughts, I’m well on my way to resolving them. I call the 3rd phase «Resolution». I process the thoughts as they come. I think through each one until, arbitrarily, another one comes along.

Except that the thoughts don’t come arbitrarily. Because naturally, in this phase, my mind feeds my problems from the most painful to the lesser painful.

I realized that my mind in this resolution phase has a natural tendency to automatically start solving any problem it comes across (assuming I’ve broken out of denial, and accepted reality. Otherwise, my mind flees into the comfort of distraction.) And as my mind tackles a problem, suddenly another thought appears, and my mind starts tackling that other problem.

I allow this to happen for a simple reason, which you might have guessed by now. Let’s say my mind feeds me the most painful thought 1st: thought ‘A’. My mind then starts resolving thought ‘A’. As soon as thought ‘B’ comes along, this means that my mind has resolved thought ‘A’ enough for it to be less painful than thought ‘B’. Thus ‘A’ gets replaced with ‘B’ and so on. But at any time the 1st phase can reappear and sweep me into Lalaland. I can’t let my guard down.

The 3rd phase is actually pleasant and relieving. It feels as if an ancient tension is finally getting resolved. I look forward to it in the early morning as the Sun rises.

Rather than distracting yourself with daydreaming, Mass Media, Prozac, iTunes, or even a game of Solitaire, try accepting reality for a change. Denial ‘might’ just be the hidden ‘source’ behind our pain. Now that we have an idea of what this source might be, isn’t it time to stop treating the symptoms?

Try going from «Distraction» to «Acceptance» to «Resolution», and share with me your experience.” (End of quote)

I assume that experienced that the most painful comes first for resolution.  Maybe the brain is more flexible to accommodate the potential of a person to treating first the kinds of resolvable pain.  For example, with older people and individuals who failed in their first attempt, the mind might display lesser painful thoughts so that success will generate the necessary catalyst and motivation to resolving the more painful thought. Or I wish the mind is enough intelligent, compassionate, wanting to succeed in order not to harass a willing individual into retracting easily from a second try.

Consequently, night dreams and daydreams may extend solutions, if and only if, you accepted to deal with the painful thoughts.  You have set the proper background to permit any means to come to the rescue of any resolution.

Linking Prozac to Mass Media?  How thinking can be so painful?

I read recently that research has demonstrated that the potential of recalling our past is not totally accomplished until we reach maturity.  And I am wondering “How come it is the youth category that suffer the most from recalling?  Is it because thoughts are very fresh, lively, and tainted with acute imagination?”  I am wondering “How come the youth category is the highest consumer of Mass Media products?  How come their brain structure is so capable of comprehending new discoveries related to Mass Media products?”

What happens when you forget your headphone at home and you have to go through the day?  The pain of living with your thoughts? Do you think that “thought pains” are the best catalyst or motivator to discovering the potential and versatility of the latest Mass Media products?

And here, on September 3, I receive this link on It reads:

” I am in my studio… irritated, frustrated, angry, and bored. I’m constantly agitated, looking to entertain myself. I cook, check my email (without replying), chat with my brother, cook, email, and finally I’m boiling some potatoes.

While waiting for the potatoes, I sit in an isolated room in the house. It’s quiet, without electronics. I’m just sitting. And without delay my thoughts start flowing in. Just like molecules coming together and bonding, my thoughts start creating links. They generate other thoughts, which generate new links, and thus, new thoughts. One of these thoughts happens to be a realization.

I think to myself: “Am I constantly trying to distract myself so that I shut away my thoughts?” Why would I shut away my thoughts? “Because they reveal a painful reality”, my mind answers back. And then it hit me again.

I realize that when I was little, I used to daydream. I realize that there’s a difference between daydreaming and sitting with my thoughts. When I daydream, I invent things. My mind is pre-occupied and focused on one purpose, “My invention”. 

In contrast, when I grew a bit older, I used to run away from home because of family problems. I used to go to a forest and sit on a rock for eight hours or more. And now I realize, that even then, I didn’t sit with my thoughts. I didn’t invent either. What I did do is watch the trees move in the wind, the multitude of smells, my dog moving about, the ants laboring, etc.

In short I was living in the present, being aware of the present (Years later, I find out that what I was doing was some sort of meditation, with being present as its ultimate aim.) But even then, sitting on that rock, I wasn’t sitting with my thoughts. Although I did, unknowingly, develop the ability to live in the present. Yet when sitting on that rock, the thoughts of my current life are so painful, that I had to shut them away.

And now sitting in that isolated room in my house, I’m still doing it. Yet now, I realize that even when I distract myself from these thoughts, I’m still aware of them.  I still experience their painful effects. And to think that I’m protecting myself from pain by constantly distracting myself.

Now I know that this constant distraction leaves the painful thoughts as is, unresolved, un-diffused, unprocessed. The thoughts are sitting there, in the back of my head, causing constant pain. And until now, I wasn’t aware of the source of this pain.

I’m basically under the false illusion that sitting down with my thoughts is painful. Yet, I’m constantly living with the pain these thoughts bring in.  And thinking about them, and resolving them, isn’t more painful. It’s actually liberating. From now on, I’ll try to create the time to sit with my thoughts, go through them, and break out of my pain. resumes: “More and more people are finding it hard to live with their thoughts. They are constantly looking for ways to distract themselves; from their thoughts.

Maybe it’s because their thoughts bring them pain? Are they hiding from the realization that they are not living the lives they hope to live?

Maybe it’s when we start living with our thoughts —when we accept to experience the pain these thoughts bring us— that we really start to live.

Isn’t it obvious that when we constantly avoid something, it probably means that there must be pain in that something? A lot of people know that this pain could hold the secret to their happiness. Yet they are such cowards, that they refuse to accept this pain. Maybe this secret is simply a realization…

The realization that this is not the life they want to live. The realization that they’d have to start all over.

Maybe the only way out of the pain, to find out is to sit with your thoughts, go through your thoughts.

Why is Mass Media such a success?  Everything we’re bombarded with all the time, and everywhere: Television, Movies, Radios, Music, Billboards, and so on… The list is endless. And I realize that Mass Media is such a success because it capitalizes on a most basic human instinct: Our “away-from-pain” instinct. How does Mass Media do that?

Most of the time our thoughts bring us pain. We’re unsatisfied with our lives. We haven’t met the expectations of others. Our lives are crowded with all sorts of problems. We deal with large amounts of stress, anxiety…. All of these are sources of pain — unless we distract ourselves from them. But for this to work, we have to constantly be distracted, because the moment we allow our thoughts to seep in, pain immediately follows. And that’s why Mass Media is such a success. We welcome it, unknowingly, as the best way to treat the symptoms; Just like Prozac.

Why don’t we treat the cause for a change?  Listen to your thoughts.” (End of quote)

How modern ascetics go through life? Those 4 billion of mankind who cannot afford to purchase a single Mass Media product?  How mankind a century ago managed to navigate through the pain of thoughts bombarding their wretched living?  Is it time to re-analyse the life-stories of authors who published their books and memoirs a little over a century ago?  Is it why “ancient” manuscript are ever so current and more so when we read them?

I like to post articles and notes published by people who reassess what they are practicing.  This is on karma having a new opponent, written by William Choukeir.

“you’ve heard of the law of karma. if you haven’t, it’s simple. what you do to others will ultimately happen to you. there’s more, but that’s all you need for this note.

I think there’s either another law that runs parallel to the law of karma. or replaces it. that’s not the important part. I’ll get to the important soon.

each day I’m getting more experiences that this newly realized law is this: what others do to you, you will ultimately do to others. and it’s the “ultimately” part that I’m watching very closely. I’m trying to figure out whether we have a choice in the matter or not. of course you’d love to have a choice, and jump to that conclusion. I’m not so sure.

A customer of ours calls me and ‘pressures’ me into delivering a print job. I call the printer and put him under the same unpleasant pressure. I almost even use the same words. this is a simple example where the 2 situations are obviously related. and I chose it for that reason. I’ve experienced many other not so obviously related situations, where I put non-related people under the same situation that I was put in. pleasant and unpleasant. and so much that I can’t ignore it anymore.

ok. so the important part is this: knowing that it is possible for you to have to treat others the way you are treated then, when you are mistreated, try consciously not to mistreat someone else. it’ll make you and them a better person, and everyone else down the chain — since they will not in turn mistreat someone else, and so on. so the benefit is humongous. break the chain.

and do let me know in a comment if it works out or not. or you could just have this awareness in the back of your head, and watch for any situations that abide by this newly realized potential law. and please come back with a comment so we can all validate this.

if you choose to help out, thank you so much. if not, at least try to break the chain. yours, will

twitter: @williamchoukeir

p.s. by william:  discover the destructive power of stealing energy, and what to do about it? (part 1 of 2) — ENE102a

Note by me:   This new comprehension of karma reverses the law so that it is your responsibility to control how you should react when put under pressure.  You can no longer lay it on a karma that must inevitably function negatively when acted upon negatively. Change perspective so that you position yourself to re-capture being in control of your actions and many concepts change to a positive meaning. This post was published in under karma has a new opponent. and she might be worst

Solving the communication conflict in the Middle-Eastern, or not. Part 1

The conversation is taking place at Zicco house, Beirut (Dec. 16, 2010. very late into the night).

Note: sections in parentheses are mine

A few had left the premises after a heart-warming dinner for the TEDxRamallah community.  We are sitting in a chaotic circle, we watch a TEDtalk courtesy of TEDxSKE, and a discussion starts. I’m confused; it sounds like it revolves around solving the middle-eastern conflict.

I sit back. I don’t interfere. I’m aware of the energies in the room. I’m aware of the emotions. I’m aware of the uncontrolled reactions. I say nothing.

I observe with a birds-eye’s view; completely disconnected from the conversation, yet completely immersed in the chemistry of the group.

A few try to put the discussion back on track, with little success. There are too much emotions involved.  Suddenly, a realization starts to seep into my awareness.

It’s only when the gathering ends, that this realization is complete: all arguments start before anyone begins talking.

This is what was happening: most of us believe that there can only be one truth around a specific topic.  Thus, whenever anyone in the circle starts talking, the rest expect to hear a truth.

Then, they took this truth and compared it with the truth stored in their archive.  If the expected pronouncement was a match, green light, they nodded; if it was a mis-match, red light, emotions rose, and they reacted uncontrollably: the truth they expected to hear turned out to be a lie, or even a personal insult.

This cycle of arguments was happening so often that there was no communication taking place. There they were, a group of people, all passionate about solving the middle-eastern conflict, yet unable to perform the most basic requirement in solving any type of conflict: they couldn’t communicate.  Why?

Very simply, because every time anyone talked, they expected to hear a ‘truth’. What’s the cure?

People don’t share truths: people share experiences, feelings, emotions, perceptions, thoughts, etc. and we can all agree that two people can have different experiences around the same topic (even if there can only be one truth).

This is what you can do: when someone talks to you, never expect to hear a truth, expect to hear an experience. In his way, what you hear will never clash with your archive of information, because you genuinely believe that both experiences can co-exist. your mind would still be receptive and open, your emotions would still be contained, and communication would still be possible.

This discussion would surely not solve the middle-eastern conflict, but it can definitely help in solving the communication conflict, middle-eastern or not.

Part 2: Solving the communication conflict, middle-eastern or not.

Myfutileblabs said:”[…] What you have said above, is quite difficult to do when you’re faced with people who would NOT reciprocate it. As in…I could see their view as what they FEEL to be true, but they would always believe their truth to be the ONE and ONLY truth. Makes it hard for me to be understanding. […] but I guess that’s pretty selfish of me isn’t it? I should be the understanding party to BE understanding….it shouldn’t be a bargain ‘I’ll be understanding if you are too’ […]”

So what do you do if you understand that people share experiences, not truths, but the other people don’t? They start the argument, they attack, and they refuse to listen? they shut you out.

For example, my brother and I were discussing relativism and that’s such a relative topic by itself, that disagreement is inevitable, except if you approach it this way:

My brother said “relativism is this…”

(Note: The brother was reading the book published by World Youth Alliance WYA, Track a Training for applicants to their training semester in New York.  This document included articles on Relativism written by William Gairdner who lambasted cultures and philosophical views that promoted a relative view of nature and mankind’s morality and ethical conducts; in a sense the WYA wanted to disseminate a particular ideology camouflaged under training sessions for training trainers for their ideology.  Applicants were to write articles based on the suggested pieces in the handbook and sending them to the center by email.  It happened that Cedric sent one of his articles that was counter to the ideological expectation of the WYA and was denied acceptance to the program after initially encouraging him.  I was present during the discussion of William and his younger brother and participated in the final few minutes)

I replied “I think you’re right, because I believe that different people understand realism differently depending on what they know about the subject, which definition they read, from which education and cultural background they come from, etc.  What I read and know about relativism gave me my own understanding of it. I feel relativism could be a label, understood differently by different people. I would usually try not to use labels, as they could lead to misunderstandings.

Instead, I prefer to explain the way I see things; to explain my own experience of things; just to prevent these labels from creating misinterpretations.  I believe that sometimes, a big percentage of the population can explain a label in the same way.  And for that group, they would have reached a common understanding. And i feel each should explain his understanding of the label, so that they can all agree that they understand it similarly, and also share it with those who have experienced it differently.

The way I understand relativism, which I’m sure is different from the way other people understand it, is this…” (I doubt that William has read any philosophical or articles pertaining to relativism in order to sustain an argument in that topic.  It does not matter: the point is how to turn a discussion around with pertinent questions in order to comprehend the other’s view and acquire an understanding of the topic for a friendly communication.)

Note that my brother started with ‘relativism IS…’ which was my cue.  It means (for me) that he believes he’s sharing a truth, not his understanding of the label, and that he’s also expecting to hear a truth in return. I could have very simply said: “no! that’s not relativism…” or “yes, but that’s not what it is…”

This kind of reply would have instantly created a clash in the mind of my brother:  he expects to hear a truth.

By taking the approach of the ‘yes-but’ or ‘no’ options, I would have also supported his unhealthy expectations, and made him believe that he is wrong, that I am right, and that I’m going to lie to him by telling him something that isn’t THE truth.

This instantly stops him from listening; this causes his brain to think of ways to fight back and attack, regardless of what I’m going to say next. even if I say ‘yes, but…’ and I just repeat exactly what his definition, he will answer back with ‘you’re wrong…’ and add something meaningless to his own definition.

So let me dissect my first reply to my brother, and explain why I believe it works:  it has proven to really work in 100% of the times I engaged in such situations so far.

I also have to mention that in most cases, only steps 1 through 5 are required. I’ve included 6 through 9 to cover some extreme cases of truth expectation, or when you have no idea how the other person will react. Use them as you see fit and never change the order.

That’s how I’ve experienced the mind to work, and this is the order that the mind generally responds to.  Here’s the dissection:

  1. ‘i think you’re right…’ this drops his defenses, and he’s ready to listen now, because he expects to hear a truth, and you just approved that what you will say will match his archive of truths; he can relax and listen now. notice I didn’t use the word ‘but’. because as a general rule, the way the word ‘but’ is perceived, is that it automatically deletes or negates everything before it. if I say ‘yes, but’, I just cancelled the yes. meaning that I just told my brother that he lied to me, because he told me the WRONG truth.
  2. ‘[…], because…’ after I told my brother that he’s right, the word ‘because’ creates curiosity. people love to know the ‘why’. they love to understand, and hear someone telling them ‘why’ they are right. this makes them 100% receptive to what you’re going to say next.
  3. ‘I believe that…’ now that my brother is 100% receptive, I switch his expectations from: ‘he’s going to tell me the REAL reason to why I’m right’ to: ‘he’s going to tell me why HE believes I’m right, which might or might not the true’. and since people love to be right, and I’m telling him why I believe he’s right, his mind will find ways to justify what I’m saying, and convince itself that what I’m saying is true.
  4. ‘different people understand things differently…’ here I give him the reason why he’s right. I’ve prepared his mind to convince itself that what I’m going to say is true. and this makes him accept that the way he presented relativism might be different from the way I will present it, AND it will not clash with his presentation, because each of us can understand it differently. this also justifies why he’s right. he’s entitled to his own explanation, and for him to remain ‘right’ he was to also allow me to be ‘right’.
  5. ‘I feel relativism is…’ this goes hand in hand with the expectation I planted in my brother, he expects my interpretation, I gave him something even better: ‘a feeling’. which is something more personal than ‘I think’, and it’s even more justifiable in his head that 2 people can completely feel 2 different things about the same topic.
  6. ‘[…] i would usually try not to use labels, as they could lead to misunderstandings, and instead…’ after setting up the stage to explain my experience of relativism, there’s one last vital thing I did before I actually shared my experience. I gently diffused his belief that a word has only one definition, and i de-associated the word ‘relativism’ from his definition of the word. I also called it a label. people generally agree that the same object can have many labels, and many objects can have one label. now he’s ready to listen to how ‘i’ label relativism, and he’s totally ok and even expecting it to be different from his label.
  7. ‘[…] my own experience of things, just to prevent these labels from creating misinterpretations, I believe that…’ here I’ve explicitly told him that I will share an experience, prepared him for one, and explained the consequences to expecting a truth. now it’s also important to keep reminding him that I’m sharing an experience. you can see the keywords that I used throughout my reply to do just that.
  8. ‘i believe […] a big percentage of the population can explain a label in the same way […] and reach a common understanding; and i feel each should explain his understanding […] so that they can all agree […] and also share it with those who have experienced it differently…’ here, I gave the mind of my brother a justification to this objection that he had: ‘but there are facts, truths, and these have nothing to do with how people perceive them!’ and since he still wants to be right, he will use the explanation that I just fed him to self-diffuse his own objection.
  9. ‘ […] the way I understand relativism, which I’m sure is different from the way other people understand it, is this…’ finally, I share my experience of the subject. without forgetting to remind him first, that I’m still sharing an experience. and that this experience might be different for every person.

Expect to hear an experience and prepare the other to hear an experience every time you engage in a discussion.

Now you can understand the mind; learn the steps, and you’ll be armed with one of the more powerful tools to deal with people who believe their truth is the only truth.

Now you can help solve the communication conflict, middle-eastern or not.

let’s all get together on April 16th, 2011 and really communicate and share. that’s when TEDxRamallah is happening in Ramallah, in Amman, and in Beirut.  (End of quote).

Note 1:  This post was extracted from articles published by my nephew William Choukeir as notes in two parts, related to conversations on solving the communication conflict.  You may read the notes integrally on

Since I am writing this post to add my comments and inputs then, I will take the liberty of editing and abridging sections for convenience and for the flow of my thoughts. Paragraphs in parentheses are mine.

Note 2:  You may read my full reply and comments on


How “High-Energy” people recharge?

My previous article explained William Choukeir’s notes on on how to recharge in energy by meeting with high-energy individuals and how to go about recharging in energy associating in team-type energy-loaded activities.

Young people instinctively revolve around a “circle of friends” to recharge in energy from the “tribe”:  They may be lucky if one or more members in the tribe are of the high-energy types.

I am wondering:

First, how can people recharge in a polluted environment and eating manufactured poisoned food and consuming all kinds of drugs when they feel sick or under the weather, or depressed?

Second, what recharging medium is better or more effective:  walking in clean fresh nature as a team or  associating in conversation with high-energy people?

I suggest to William to  move on from subjective observations to experiment designed to observing cause and effects.

First, William has to measure “exponential explosion of energy“, not only from personal vibration levels in synch with another high-energy person but also using non-intrusive measuring tools that indicate levels of vibrations and observing (taking notes and recording) the quality of conversation and topic discussed, away from argumentation.

I know that William is proficient and ingenious investigating and researching appropriate tools when he sets his mind to it, and is convinced that his experimentation is ripe for scientific validation.

Second, I suggest to William to investigate with “tribes” or what I would prefer to call “circles of friends” of different age groups.

For example, it is important to realize that older group of people need to know the kinds of energy-loaded activities that are more appropriate to them.  We need to know if urban people recharge as quickly as rural people do, and how fast their energy is dissipated.  We need to know how this energy capturing, recharging, and dissipation change with age and environmental conditions.

Third, William need to investigate if tribes of rural only members behave differently than urban only tribes, quantitatively and qualitatively; and how a mixture of rural and urban members behave, how the tribe behaves in combination of gender, how tribe members working in urban settings but living in rural area differ from members working in rural conditions but living in urban conditions…

I conjecture (hypothesis) that the working environment (unhealthy, unsafe workplace, a job not liked, and uncooperative colleagues) deplete energy much faster than the pollution of the environment or living in close quarters where members of families sleep in the same room for lack of living space.




June 2021

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