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10 Lessons From Dalai Lama That Will Change Your Life

10 Lessons From Dalai Lama That Will Change Your Life

It is not often that Oprah Winfrey is lost for words! Yet this was exactly what happened when she asked the Dalai Lama a very pertinent question, which is recounted in the book by Victor Chan entitled The Wisdom of Forgiveness.

She asked him, “Have you ever had to forgive yourself for something?” His Holiness replied, “My attitude towards mosquitoes is not very favorable, not very peaceful. Bed bugs also.”

Oprah was astounded that there was nothing else to be forgiven for in a life spanning 78 years.  Forgiveness and compassion for all living creatures are the two pillars of the Dalai Lama’s teachings. Let’s discover together how his teachings will change your life.

1. Be compassionate.

“The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is important to know it is human business, it is a question of human survival.”

Dalai Lama

Research now shows that when you are compassionate, you experience a similar feeling of pleasure as when you have sex, good food or a relaxing holiday. Basically, showing compassion is good for your health. Take compassionate action and get the “giver’s high.” Benefits are reduced stress, more regular heart beat and improved immune system.

You can show compassion by understanding the person’s feelings and emotions. That means talking to them and trying to share what they are going through. It is more demanding than a mere act of kindness. If you are compassionate, you are going to get emotionally involved. You also ask what help is needed. You could apply this to:

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  • A friend who is ill
  • Someone who has lost their job
  • A relative who has been bereaved
  • Someone going through a separation
  • A homeless person

2.  Be kind and help others.

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Dalai Lama

Being kind and generous costs little and the benefits you gain in happiness are considerable. That was the conclusion that Michael Norton and colleagues at the Harvard Business School came to, after doing some very interesting research. The volunteers who gave away some money were happier than those who had spent it on themselves.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Dalai Lama

3. Find happiness.

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

Dalai Lama

In the rat race, the one thing you really want at the end of the day is the capacity to find happiness.

When he was interviewed about this, the Dalai Lama said that we are bombarded with messages about material possessions. There are very few messages about forgiving, being compassionate, patient, tolerant, and kind. You really have to give those values top priority in order to be happy.

“Happiness is not ready made—it comes from our own actions.”

Dalai Lama

4. Discover inner peace.

The Dalai Lama advises everybody to spend a little time alone each day. Time to reflect and chase away the negative thoughts such as anger, resentment, jealousy, and tiredness. Try to replace those with positive emotions such as optimism, gratitude, love, and peace. He rightly says that the truly calm mind is the source of happiness and good health.

5. Do not harm others.

“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”

Dalai Lama

If you start telling lies, gossiping and spreading nasty rumors, bullying, and taking advantage of others, then the negative fallout from them will come back to haunt you. These are just a few of the actions that can harm others.

6. Nurture your friendships.

Friendships should never be undervalued. They need tender loving care because they can generate trust and affection. Real friendships will never depend on money or political clout.  It is a sad fact that neglected or stillborn friendships lead to loneliness. This is one of the risk factors which probably contributes to depression in our society.

7. Don’t let technology rule your life.

Did you know that the Dalai Lama has over 8 million followers on Twitter?  While he admires the advances in social media in helping us to communicate, he nevertheless warns against its overuse for the following reasons:

  • It can control your life—look at people in restaurants using their cell phones.
  • Who is in charge? You or the technology?
  • It is a poor substitute for real friendship.
  • It cannot help you to be compassionate.
  • Real human interaction will suffer.

“We are the controller of the technology. If we become a slave of technology, then that’s not good.”

Dalai Lama

 8. Don’t argue or fight; just negotiate.

“Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way.”

Dalai Lama

Whether it is an international crisis or an argument with your partner or boss, the key to a peaceful, non-violent outcome is dialogue. In this way, you learn the art of compromise and negotiation. His Holiness recommends that you should never bring up the past but concentrate on what is causing the present problem.

9. Be gentle with the earth.

In order to survive, we have a duty to preserve this planet as best we can. Learning how to recycle, looking at ways to create alternative energy, and learning about the current issues are all ways that can help to delay the tipping point.

 10. Learn from your failures.

“When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”

Dalai Lama

When you screw up, it is important to examine what went wrong. Maybe you sad the wrong thing or maybe you haven’t thought the whole process through. Perhaps there was a problem in planning the project and maybe you did not think about worst-case scenarios. Reflection can help you learn every time you fail.

Could these ten lessons really change your life? Try to apply them to your life and work. You will soon discover that truth, honesty, warm-heartedness and compassion will be the driving forces in your life and will help you to gain real happiness.

Tell us in the comments what teachings or quotes from the Dalai Lama have inspired you and how they have changed your life. 

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Featured photo credit: Dalai Lama/Kris Krug via Photo Pin

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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