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Hope of the Week #34: Some Awesome Things

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So, I got inspired by the TED talk by Neil Pasricha and I decided to add some “awesome things” to this note.

Neil Pasricha recently did a talk on the 3 aspects of Awesomeness, which are include: Attitude, Authenticity and Awareness. By thinking of awesome small occurrences in your day, you are including all three:

– Authenticity: You are being true to yourself
– Awareness: You are being aware of small things that you usually take for granted
– Attitude: You have a great attitude in the face of hardship because of these small things, and you are able to approach life in a more positive manner.

So in a manner of speaking, HERE WE GO….

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I love it when… (this all happened this week!)

1. you see a bunch of ten year old boys in Sens jerseys clinging on to the front yellow bar of an OC transpo , so excited that they are on an adventure, and telling their Daddy excitedly that they won’t fall. AWESOME

2. when your own Dad doesn’t want you to step in a puddle when you come out of the car, so he turns the car completely so that you’ll be able to have the best walk towards the bus stop. AWESOME

3. meeting new people and laughing and learning from them. AWESOME

4. one of your all-time favourite singers replies to one of your post on Facebook (true story, true story!) AWESOME!

5. a bus driver gives you a Day Pass instead of a normal transfer because you had a friendly conversation with him, and you changed his fare sign from the express to the regular fare . AWESOME

6. when you try to not look at an attractive person because you think he/she might think you’re impressed, but you catch him/her looking at you, and you snicker gleefully to yourself. AWESOME!

7. when someone opens the door for you, or points out that you’ve dropped something valuable. AWESOME

8. when you see that your old friends are happy and confident. AWESOME.

9 when you get to giggle around with friends that you haven’t seen for years. AWESOME

10. The girl at Manch Wok charges you the price of a one item for a two item with coke, because you’ve been such a good customer over the years. AWESOME

11. The provincial government gives university students 30% of their fees back – including those who were on a full scholarship anyways. AWESOME – even though it doesn’t apply to me

12. When you had a great time at an event, and you weren’t expecting to find it so fun. AWESOME

13. when you have a random conversation with someone, just because he/she is from Britain, is Canadian, or is a Sens hockey fan. random, but AWESOME.

14. When you see all the Ismailis of university age so close knit and chilled out, that you admire our strength as a community. AWESOME

15. Watching six year old Ismaili junior volunteers wanting to clean the paats so eagerly, and having one of them come up to you and say proudly “Mowla’s house is SO CLEAN!” AWESOME (and really cute)

16. When a seventeen year old remembers the random advice you gave to her four months ago, and tells you that she put it into practice, and you feel like you’ve influenced someone slightly in a positive manner. AWESOME

17. when you get to talk to your little sister as an equal. AWESOME!

18. When you hear a prayer sung so beautifully that really touches you. AWESOME

19. When you get a chance to make a presentation to highschool students (and therefore possibly influence in a positive way), and they actually pick something up from your presentation. AWESOME

20. When a family friend’s two year old son can name the players of the Ottawa Senators according to their jersey numbers. AWESOME.. (and very impressive)

21. When you buy something nice and wear it the next day and feel good because you think you look nice. AWESOME (and then you change into jeans and a sweatshirt that same evening and get to chill with your family – even more awesome)

22. When you see the cutest babies of all time, and even though you’re not sure if you are a fatherly/motherly person, you can’t stop smiling. AWESOM

23. When you realize that the chicken wings are only 30c! each because of a special deal at the restaurant. AWESOME

24. The way all the Ottawa fans scream happily at each other after a great Sens game. AWESOME

25 Watching your mom at Aquafit, and then going to Zumba with her. AWESOME!

26. When you get some quiet time to read and appreciate others’ philosophies and theories. AWESOME

27. TED talks. AWESOME!

28. counting down the days to an exciting event. AWESOME.

29. When your realize you’re going to see your best friend and some old friends in a country you’d never thought you’d visit. AWESOME

30. When you get to jack up the music and dance like crazy because no one is watching you… in your bedroom. AWESOME

31. When you get to have green peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, and chicken on a pizza with your mom and dad, and there’s nobody you’d rather have pizza with. AWESOME.

32. When you see sixty year olds boogying to Zumba and realize that they are more fit than you are. AWESOME

33. You get a great coupon on GroupOn, Dealfind or one of those random sites. Muhahaha YOU WONT GET MORE MONEY FROM ME THAN NECESSARY!. AWESOME!

34. You realize you did the exact right number of awesome things to fit Hope of the Week #34 (and you wonder whether any of your tagged friends read through the entire thing). AWESOME!
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Neil Pasricha:

Neil Pasricha’s original talk is here:

I’ve watched it three times already, and I definitely recommend it.

His blog is here:

http://1000awesomethings.com


Hope of the Week:

The purpose of Hope of the Week is to remind readers that actions of nobility do exist.

The profit-seeking-press exists to sell themselves and therefore commonly depict what is more attractive to the public, rather than showing an unbiased overview of individual occurrences.

Thus in order get a more realistic balance of positive and negative information, one must actively seek for positive information, rather than relying on the National Post.

Without a balance of positive and negative information, attitudes of fatalism like ‘heck, my actions won’t make a difference anyways’ begin to grow. These attitudes are dangerous, and limit one’s potential contribution to his/her surrounding society.

To summarize, Hope of the Week seeks to inspire others by the existence of good, allowing us to believe and follow it ourselves.

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Hope of the Week #33: From Idea to Impact
By Sabrina Natasha Premji; Posted in Social Earth

For the last 6 months, I have spent countless hours looking at social innovations in primary health care settings in Kenya.

I have come across leading organizations harnessing the capabilities of entrepreneurs in rural communities. I have read case studies on the next ‘big thing’ in water purification, alternative energy and agriculture, and listened to hours’ worth of Tedtalks on the challenges faced by developing economies.

It is abundantly clear that there is no shortage in this world of brilliant people with brilliant ideas. Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking are common-speak amongst today’s generation of go-getters. But what is equally clear is it’s not all about the idea. Sure, a fancy new gadget can attract donor funding. Sure, a malnourished child holding a tech-savvy tool makes for a compelling photo on an NGO’s promotional material. But the stuff that really matters – the stuff behind the idea – is what defines the success of a project. Most of development work is uncannily unsexy. But that’s where you get to roll up your sleeves, throw yourself into the nitty gritty and do some real thinking. And that’s where I think the fun really begins.

But for most, the fun begins much earlier, in a well-polished boardroom table with suited colleagues who develop a product based on superficial notions of what a rural community in East Africa needs. An eloquently prepared PowerPoint deck showcases expected yields on a quarterly basis for the next 3 years, and suits adjourn the meeting visualizing this as the turning point for the NGO suffering donor fatigue or as the gold-standard in corporate social responsibility.

But then the innovation enters its implementation phase and things don’t seem to operate according to the colourful line graphs developed in a city thousands of miles away. Supply chains are faulty because of lack of maintenance of the one ambulance operating in the village. Male-dominated households prevent the product from reaching its target of women and children. People place more value on their chickens than a flashy device that holds no promise of putting food on the table or paying for school fees.

And that’s when you rely on the unsexy stuff. That’s when you admit to failure and spend a day in the field with a farmer understanding his major challenges. That’s when you shadow a nurse at a village dispensary to observe her overtaxed task-list and obstacles of providing good quality care.

It’s not just about the idea. It’s about the ability to listen to what people really need and understand how that idea fits into their values, their cultures, their lives. It’s about having the tact to observe inefficiencies and suggest simple, practical, cost-effective solutions.

And once you begin to understand the gaps and potential, that’s when you engage with the government to brainstorm how that idea is aligned with their strategic plan to ultimately ensure community ownership and sustainability. All too often, we judge governments in developing countries as corrupt and revert to creating our own parallel structures. Granted, parallel health structures for example, are necessary to prove the efficacy of a new innovation, to take a risk in a generally risk-averse area. But they are only sustainable if at some defined point, they merge into the infrastructure that currently exists.

The infrastructure that we as aid organizations should seek to improve, rather than developing new competing structures. And that requires talking. That requires listening. By observing, by conversing, we begin to shift the focus from a ‘donor agency-implementing agency’ feedback loop to an ‘implementing agency-community’-centred feedback loop. A structure that puts the beneficiaries back in the driving seat where they belong.

What I’ve learned is that even when you have the idea, the one that’s going to get you on the cover of Times magazine, the potential for change is limited unless you sit back, shut up and listen to what communities really need. Sustainable development requires engagement with communities beyond the surface-level, it requires the building of mutually-beneficial relationships and asking critical questions about the underlying system in place.

Because at the end of the day, an innovation is just a nicely packaged idea, unless it goes beyond the glamorous surface of cover photos and success stories and tackles the messy, muddled matters at the core of the issue.


Hope of the Week:

The purpose of Hope of the Week is to remind readers that actions of nobility do exist.

The profit-seeking-press exists to sell themselves and therefore commonly depict what is more attractive to the public, rather than showing an unbiased overview of individual occurrences.

Thus in order get a more realistic balance of positive and negative information, one must actively seek for positive information, rather than relying on the National Post.

Without a balance of positive and negative information, attitudes of fatalism like ‘heck, my actions won’t make a difference anyways’ begin to grow. These attitudes are dangerous, and limit one’s potential contribution to his/her surrounding society.

To summarize, Hope of the Week seeks to inspire others by the existence of good, allowing us to believe and follow it ourselves.

Hope of the Week #32

Hope of the Week #32: Neil Pasricha -1000 Awesome Things
The THREE As of Awesome – by Neil Pasricha

Please see:
http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/neil_pasricha_the_3_a_s_of_awesome.htm

1000 Awesome Things is a regularly updated, Webby Award winning blog written by Neil Pasricha, that posts one awesome thing in life each weekday.

The site was launched on June 20, 2008 and is counting down until it hits #1.

The topics covered on the blog are varied, and range from #981, Wearing underwear just out of the dryer, to #858, The other side of the pillow, and #773Watching your odometer click over a major milestone.

An awesome thing is posted every weekday and thus #1 will be posted on April 20,2012

The website has a live stats counter on it and has approximately 30 million hits

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Hope of the Week

The purpose of Hope of the Week is to remind readers that actions of nobility do exist.

The profit-seeking-press exists to sell themselves and therefore commonly depict what is more attractive to the public, rather than showing an unbiased overview of individual occurrences.

Thus in order get a more realistic balance of positive and negative information, one must actively seek for positive information, rather than relying on the National Post.

Without a balance of positive and negative information, attitudes of fatalism like ‘heck, my actions won’t make a difference anyways’ begin to grow. These attitudes are dangerous, and limit one’s potential contribution to his/her surrounding society.

To summarize, Hope of the Week seeks to inspire others by the existence of good, allowing us to believe and follow it ourselves.

Hope of the Week #30: Five Everyday Heroes

Hey guys, these are just five examples of hope from a site I discovered recently called “The Forgiveness Project”.

The Forgiveness Project works at a local, national and international level to help build a future free of conflict and violence by healing the wounds of the past.

For other stories, please click: http://theforgivenessproject.com/

1. GHAZI AND RAMI (Israel)

Ghazi Briegeith, a Palestinian electrician living in Hebron, and Rami Elhanan, an Israeli graphic designer from Jerusalem, met through the Parents’ Circle – a group of bereaved families supporting reconciliation and peace. Ghazi’s brother was killed at a checkpoint in 2000. Rami’s 14-year-old daughter was the victim of a suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 1997.

“If Ghazi and I can talk and stand together after paying the highest price possible, then anyone can.”

For Ghazi and Rami’s story, please click

http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/ghazi-briegeith-rami-elhanan-israel/

2. ARNO MICHAELS (USA)

From the age of 17 Arno Michaels was deeply involved in the white power movement. He was a founding member of what became the largest racist skinhead organization in the world.

He now works with a group of former US gang members and white supremacists to produce Life After Hate, a monthly online magazine dedicated to basic human goodness, and has developed Kindness Not Weakness, a character development movement which addresses bullying and other destructive behaviour. In 2010 he published his memoir Life After Hate.

“Forgiveness is a sublime example of humanity that I explore at every opportunity, because it was the unconditional forgiveness I was given by people who I once claimed to hate that demonstrated the way from there to here.”

For Arno Michael’s story, please click : http://http://theforgivenessproject.com/uncategorized/arno-michaels-usa/

3. JUDITH TOY:

On October 15th 1990, three members of Judith Toy’s family were brutally murdered in Pennsylvania, USA by Charles Grand. The perpetrator was the boy across the street, a family friend, 19 years old. Five years after, through her newfound practice of daily mindfulness in the Zen Buddhist tradition, Judith spontaneously forgave Charles. In 2011 she published Murder As A Call to Love which tells the story.

For Judith Toy’s story, please click: http://theforgivenessproject.com/uncategorized/judith-toy-usa/

4. JEAN-BAPTISTE NTAKIRUTIMANA (Rwanda)

Jean-Baptiste Ntakirutimana is a Tutsi whose family were murdered in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. In April 2008 he met the man who killed his mother.

“He was expecting me to want to kill him, which he said would be justice since he had killed my mother.”

For Jean-Baptiste Ntakirutimana’s story please click: http://theforgivenessproject.com/stories/jean-baptiste-ntakirutimana-rwanda/

5. Kemal Pervanic

Kemal Pervanic is a survivor of the notorious Omarska concentration camp, which was set up by Bosnian Serb forces in the early days of the Bosnian War. The camp, nominally an ‘investigation centre’, was uncovered by British journalists in 1992, leading to international outrage and condemnation. Kemal now lives in England and is the author of The Killing Days: My Journey Through the Bosnian War.

“I didn’t decide not to hate because I’m a good person. I decided not to hate because hating would have finished the job they’d started so successfully.”

Hope of the Week #30:

Hope of the Week:

 

The purpose of Hope of the Week is to remind readers that actions of nobility do exist.

The profit-seeking-press exists to sell themselves and therefore commonly depict what is more attractive to the public, rather than showing an unbiased overview of individual occurrences.

Thus in order get a more realistic balance of positive and negative information, one must actively seek for positive information, rather than relying on the National Post.

Without a balance of positive and negative information, attitudes of fatalism like ‘heck, my actions won’t make a difference anyways’ begin to grow. These attitudes are dangerous, and limit one’s potential contribution to his/her surrounding society.

To summarize, Hope of the Week seeks to inspire others by the existence of good, allowing us to believe and follow it ourselves.

Hope of the Week #29: The Coca Cola System Donates More than $2 Million USD for Flood Victims in Thailand

The Coca-Cola System Donates More Than $2 Million USD For Flood Victims In Thailand

By Achim Kram

Last updated 11/22/2011 12:41:04 PM

The Coca-Cola System Donates More Than $2 Million USD For Flood Victims In Thailand

The Coca-Cola system has committed more than $2 million USD to “Reunite to Relieve and Rebuild Thailand,” a sustainable flood relief initiative designed to provide emergency relief and rebuilding efforts to help victims of the devastating floods in Thailand.

As part of this $2 million USD, The Coca-Cola Foundation will contribute $1 million USD to Habitat for Humanity Thailand to rebuild schools and homes. Additionally, the Company is partnering with the Thai Red Cross and Habitat to mobilize groups of volunteers, set-up and run mobile kitchens and deliver bottled water and food.

The system is committing 5 million bottles of water for relief agencies, of which nearly 1 million are allocated to support the Thai Red Cross since the flood began earlier this year. By the end of November, more than 100,000 meals will have been provided to flood victims through the Company’s partnership with the Thai Red Cross. The Coca-Cola Company announced an expanded global partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies earlier this year.

To raise further awareness and public participation to support the Thai Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity Thailand, commercial advertising for all Coca-Cola brands has been put on hold until late November. Instead, TV and radio spots along with print ads have been re-directed to encourage public to “Reunite to Relieve and Rebuild Thailand” and to raise money as well as volunteer signups for the Thai Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity Thailand to assist in immediate flood relief and rebuilding.

It is estimated that the TV spots have reached 75 percent of the Thai public and recruited more than 3,000 volunteers to date. As the water recedes, these volunteers will help Habitat for Humanity Thailand clean, repair and rebuild hundreds of schools, shelters and homes across four provinces.

“This flood has hurt and affected many people and devastated numerous areas throughout Thailand,” said Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. “Our sympathy goes out to the people of Thailand, our customers, partners, suppliers and friends who have been affected and who are still under threat.”

All Company associates in Thailand are safe, but many are still at risk of losing their flooded homes. Nearly 1,500 associates of the Coca-Cola system in Thailand have seen their homes flooded and have been relocated. The Company will continue to provide relief support and aid to the people in the region.

About The Coca-Cola Foundation

The Coca-Cola Foundation has contributed more than $451 million in support of sustainable community initiatives worldwide. For more information about The Coca-Cola Foundation, please go to http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/citizenship/foundation_coke.html.

HOPE OF THE WEEK:

The purpose of Hope of the Week is to remind readers that actions of nobility do exist.

The profit-seeking-press exists to sell themselves and therefore commonly depict what is more attractive to the public, rather than showing an unbiased overview of individual occurrences.

Thus in order get a more realistic balance of positive and negative information, one must actively seek for positive information, rather than relying on the National Post.

Without a balance of positive and negative information, attitudes of fatalism like ‘heck, my actions won’t make a difference anyways’ begin to grow. These attitudes are dangerous, and limit one’s potential contribution to his/her surrounding society.

To summarize, Hope of the Week seeks to inspire others by the existence of good, allowing us to believe and follow it ourselves.

Hope of the Week #28: Sir Richard Branson: We must learn that doing good is good for business

Sir Richard Branson says the purchase of Northern Rock is part of his way to shake up the banking industry

Business can only hope to rescue the world from the escalating economic crisis if it consciously sets out to “do good” instead of merely concentrating on the bottom line. And companies that do so will actually become more profitable.

Utopian? Idealistic? Impractical? The sort of thing you’d expect to hear from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Occupy protesters, or the Prince of Wales? Save your scorn. The person passionately putting these points to me is one of the world’s most successful dealmakers and entrepreneurs — and has just pulled off one of the business coups of the year.

In the week that saw his surprise purchase of Northern Rock, Sir Richard Branson enthused about what he sees as a “vibrant and very marked sea change from the way business always used to be done when financial profit was the only driving force”.

The quote comes from his new book, uncompromisingly entitled Screw Business as Usual. Published, inevitably, by Virgin Books its theme is: “Doing good is good for business.”

“We need a new way of doing business to get out of the present crisis,” he told me. “Absolute greed has come close to bankrupting the world. Thanks to the crisis that certain businesses have dumped on everyone a lot of people are going to suffer on a global scale. All of us must learn. It is all the more important that those business leaders that are left standing try to be a force for good.”

Tell that to the bankers? That’s precisely what Sir Richard says he will now do. Buying Northern Rock, he says, makes Virgin Money the seventh biggest bank in Britain and he intends it both to “climb up the ladder through sensible growth” and to “shake up” the industry. If he succeeds it will have a nice symmetry as it was the excesses — and resulting collapse — of Northern Rock in 2007, followed by its nationalisation months later, that came to symbolise the moral and financial crisis of the banks.

“People are crying out for a different approach to banking,” he added. “We will try hard to create new force.”

The expanded enterprise will focus on retail banking — rather than investment — and intends, even in this credit-crunched crisis, to get out there and start lending.

“The bank we bought has still got quite a lot of spare cash. We also have spare cash. We will certainly be lending. I would like to tell our team to encourage giving young entrepreneurs a chance to get on their feet.

“We can make a difference. When Virgin comes into an industry we don’t drive people out of business, we sharpen them with good, fair competition.”

Certainly, Sir Richard’s entrepreneurship now has a distinctly evangelical edge. His book describes what, in perhaps an unfortunate echo of Tony Blair, he calls his “journey”. That journey began seven years ago when all was well with his world.

“I thought I was doing reasonably well as an entrepreneur and as a caring human being,” he writes. “My business life was running smoothly and my personal life was very happy. Good people were running each of Virgin’s 300 companies worldwide. But as I grew older it seemed that I was not making a big enough difference, particularly given my own incredible good fortune. I went from feeling content that things were going well to realising that I hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface of what needed to be done.”

Much of Sir Richard’s heightened determination has been devoted to the environment. In 2006, for example, he decided to devote the following decade of profits from his airline and train businesses to finding renewable fuels, particularly for aircraft. On Wednesday, partly thanks to his investment, a plane took to the skies 40 per cent powered by biofuel made from algae; last month he launched a project to make another type of jet fuel from waste gas from steel mills. But he also set out to apply the ethos to his health businesses and to Virgin Money, whose stated aim is “to make everbody better off”.

His book cites other companies that have done well on such a basis. They range from giants like Marks & Spencer (whose “Plan A” initiative made £70 million last year from green measures) and General Electric whose “Ecomagination” initiative generated $70 billion (£44 billion) over five years, to Innocent drinks and Ben and Jerry’s.

Much of the success comes from the boost to the bottom line through cutting waste, but Sir Richard also claims other benefits. “If companies become a force for good, the people working for them will be that much more motivated and their brands will shine that much brighter amongst others,” he told me.

A recent survey by LeapCR, a social software organisation, found that three quarters of employees wanted their companies to balance commercial success with social responsibility strategies. Another survey, conducted across 10 of the world’s largest countries by GDP, revealed that 93 per cent of consumers say they would buy a product because of its association with a good cause.

But reforming business, in Sir Richard’s view, is only one side of the coin when it comes to what the book calls “a massive generational shift that will blur the distinction between doing good and doing business”. The other is to make charities more businesslike.

He now spends four fifths of his time on “catalysing” non-profit ventures, run “just like you would run a business: spotting a gap, defining goals and recruiting the best chief executive”. “It doesn’t take much to build a new business,” he says.

“I’ve built quite a few and it’s about coming up with an idea, finding great people and letting them get on with it.”

Between launching his book on Tuesday and the announcement of the purchase of Northern Rock on Thursday he spent a day in San Francisco (“I have an enormous carbon footprint. That’s one of the reasons I am looking forward to running planes on clean fuels”) to see ”how, as a businessman, I can do something about the state of the oceans”. He is setting up a network of experts — the Ocean Elders — to be a “catalytic agent of change”.

Such an approach has perhaps been furthest developed by his Carbon War Room, set up to bring “a rigorous business approach” to tackling global warming. It has, for example, identified the energy efficiency of the world’s ships, enabling companies to choose to use those that require less fuel, thus reducing emissions and saving millions of dollars a year.

Another initiative has secured $650 million in private finance to improve energy consumption in buildings in Miami, Florida, and Sacramento, California, creating 17,000 jobs.

“We need,” he believes, “a new mindset to make capitalism an acceptable force in the world. If businesses are purely about profit and amassing bonuses, screwing people and the world in the process, then they will not be around for long, and don’t deserve to be.

“But if they start to be a force for good, I genuinely think we could get on top of most of the problems of the world. And people will have a lot of fun. It is just such a satisfying way of doing things.”

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HOPE OF THE WEEK

The purpose of Hope of the Week is to remind readers that actions of nobility do exist.

The profit-seeking-press exists to sell themselves and therefore commonly depict what is more attractive to the public, rather than showing an unbiased overview of individual occurrences.

Thus in order get a more realistic balance of positive and negative information, one must actively seek for positive information, rather than relying on the National Post.

Without a balance of positive and negative information, attitudes of fatalism like ‘heck, my actions won’t make a difference anyways’ begin to grow. These attitudes are dangerous, and limit one’s potential contribution to his/her surrounding society.

To summarize, Hope of the Week seeks to inspire others by the existence of good, allowing us to believe and follow it ourselves.

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