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Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

There is a basic philosophy fundamental to efficiency in society. That is the philosophy of faith:

faith in the ability of ourselves and others to improve and grow;

faith in God and humanity forever proclaiming that life has meaning, that God is at work in the world and that man discovers him when he discovers what is best in himself, when he discovers the other fellow and gives him a chance to live, grow and develop.

Few people are blessed with all the internal qualities and external circumstances that automatically assure efficiency in society. One must work to achieve them.

This means striving for a better understanding of ourselves and others. It means working out our problems and seeking the assistance of others when we need it.

It takes a live fish to swim upstream, but any old log can flow down. Even in this space age many are carried away by the current of superstition, prejudice of caste, creed and color which constantly militate against truth, peace and joy which carry us through distressing situations that might otherwise shatter us.

Tagore says: 'A tree lives by its roots and by its leaves; it draws life from the soil and from the winds. But the leaves come and go, they dry and fall, they work under sunshine and are idle in the dark. It is the root that works day and night, constant, steady, eternal; it spreads itself and sucks in the vital juices of mother earth and sends them to the tree to keep it living, standing erect.

'We too have leaves that come and go, and roots that stay… and make us stay.'

Our roots are in humanity, in man who is our brother who has a soul like ours, the ability to understand friendship, the capacity to create.

Friendship

At home, at work in the office, or in business, you depend on others. You look around to discover qualities that you need to perfect yourself. You may discover them in a friend who has a generous spirit, who may stand by you in time of need, a silent partner, interested in everything that interests you.

Love and appreciation, both within and without marriage, is based on friendship, and enumerates seven steps on which friendship is built.

1. Friendship is not competitive. Friends are happy for each other's accomplishments and successes for the reason that they take nothing from either, but append to each.

2. Friendship is affectionate. It allows us to share more to others. Since the other believes in us and what we wish to be, we are able to become what we want to be. Love in friendship is two people looking together in the same direction.

3. Friendship is assurance: it is the belief that you can allow yourself be significant to a friend. If we allow ourselves to be significant to others, we allow them to create demands upon us; if someone perceives we are significant to him, that person wants us and we should react by sharing ourselves to him.

4. Friendship is light-hearted. Playfulness enables us to relax, to let 'our air down,' to lower our defenses, to cast away our inhibitions.

5. Friendship develops in a slow pace. It should not be mass-produced. It needs prudence, tact, delicacy, diplomacy, and urbanity.

6. Friendship is tolerant. It develops out of common commitments, values, and interest. The joys of friendship are purchased at a high price, but a price that, paradoxically enough, makes us richer rather than poorer.

7. Friendship has the ability for more development, ever prepared to surpass the obstacles of egoism, never grows tired of starting anew.

People under tension of competition often feel that they have to 'get there first,' no matter if the goal is trivial as getting ahead on the main road. Unless one controls himself and respects his brother, everything becomes a race in which somebody is bound to get hurt. If competition is contagious, so is love and cooperation. When you give the other fellow a chance, you often make things easier for yourself. If he no longer feels that you are a threat to him, he will stop being a threat to you.

Sail calmly on troubled waters

Adelbert Stifter, the great German short story writer, had a highly passionate temperament. His popularity stirred others to envy, and to pull him down in the eyes of the public his critics criticized him vehemently and unjustly. He was so frustrated and angry with this unfair deal that he fell sick and died early.

In social life we are thrown in the company of characters of quite different colors altogether. Some are morose, some vulgar, some flighty, some killjoys, some harsh, some sociable, etc. We have our own character which has affinity toward some characters and repulsion for some other. So we flare up or at least work up a simmering resentment when something in someone's behavior does not please us. We shun the envious, the proud, the crude, and if we are forced to be in their company we get our nerves in tension.

Tension in interpersonal relationships cannot be altogether done away with, but it can certainly be reduced. How much it can be reduced depends on our emotional maturity and on the others's emotional maturity - the degree to which we have been able to adjust ourselves to outside realities.

If we blow our top at every silly thing that happens we shall soon be left to our own company. People dread dynamite and are wary about how close they come to it. They prefer rather to dump it altogether somewhere than live with it always fearing a blow-up.

We can work out our frustrations and fears in more constructive ways instead of making them spoil our chances for friendship. This needs a lot of patience, understanding and respect for others' personalities.

Go easy on others' individuality

Courtesy pays good dividends. It absorbs the shocks of biting remarks and smoothens the jars and jolts of the cogs and wheels of life. Bovee, the great lover of mankind, says, ‘The small courtesies sweeten life, the greater ennoble it.’

Courtesy is thinking and acting with love. It is the realization of the fact that others also have the same desire for getting appreciation and praise. It is going out of the way to make things pleasant for others.

A courteous person appreciates what others do for him and lets them know about it.

The following points will make you efficient in courtesy:

1. Don't expect others to bear your troubles, they have their own.

2. Give others the best of your ability, but don't take yourself to task if you can't manage to achieve perfection in your endeavors.

3. Go easy with criticism. Instead of being critical of another person's behavior, search out his good points and help him to develop them.

4. Make yourself available. Many have the feeling that they are neglected, slighted or 'left out.'

5. Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and help them to become what they are capable of being.

6. Be considerate to your superiors, associates or employees. Don't take things for granted.

If I were you

We all enjoy giving advice and often it takes a good deal of self-control not to tell our co-workers, neighbors and friends how to run their life. But they will like us better if we don't.

Keep this always in mind: Beware of giving advice you are not qualified to give - even though you are asked for it.

Benjamin Franklin teaches efficiency and prudence when he writes:

'If you are a spectator while others are playing a game, observe the most perfect silence. For, if you give advice, you offend both parties, him against whom you give it, because it may cause the loss of his game; him in whose favor you may give it, because, if it be good and he follows it he loses the pleasure he might have had, if you had permitted him to think until it had occurred to him. Even after a move or moves, you, must not, by replacing the pieces, show how they might have been placed better for that displeases, and may occasion disputes and doubts about their true situation. If you have a mind to exercise or show your judgment, do it in playing your own game, when you have an opportunity, not in criticizing, or meddling with or counseling the play of others.'

Franklin spoke about counseling in chess, but the same can be applied to any situation in the bigger game of life. The giving of unasked or unqualified advice is only asking for unnecessary trouble.

Respect others' rights

Much misunderstanding, conflict and bitterness would vanish from the social scene if each one of us clearly understood and respected everyone else's rights. Every individual man has rights of his own irrespective of who he is. Besides these there are other rights given by one's position in the society like the rights of an executive or a parent.

Let us remind ourselves of some of the basic rights that accrue to every human person by the very fact that he is a human being:

The right to keep oneself in life.

The right to educate oneself, so that he gets an all-round formation - physical, psychological, moral.

The right to live in society in a way that befits human dignity.

The right against exploitation.

The right to safeguard one's property and good name.

The right not to be discriminated against on irrational grounds.

The great majority of us are just common people - neither saints nor felons, and the way we deny others their rights are not so conspicuous. We may thoughtlessly gossip here, grab a few pesos there through petty dishonesty, but in doing such things we deny others their rights. And in doing this we show we are not fully mature, like the road hog who claims three quarters of the road for himself, forgetting that others have their rights too.

A socially efficient man respects others' rights, and where there is a conflict of his rights with others' rights, he shows himself willing to deprive himself of the use of his right or to come to an agreeable compromise.

Friends vs. manipulators

A friend is one who likes you in spite of your shortcomings. A manipulator is one who feigns friendship with you because you are useful to him.

Most friendships are maintained because they are useful - the friends see in one another some good, and they like it. They learn from each other and grow up. But the manipulators want to handle people so that they themselves get some benefit – a promotion, some work done, some feeling of superiority given. The manipulator's only motive is to get people to do what he wants them to do.

The seven types of manipulators:

1. The dictator. He or she exaggerates his or her power, orders people around, and dominates others in order to control them.

2. The fox. He or she is the opposite of the dictator, and usually the dictator's victim. Such a manipulator puts on an act - stupid-like-a-fox - to get things done by posing as the weakling.

3. The crier. Tears come easily to this person to put on the appearance of a clinging vine, who exaggerates his or her dependency and lets others do his or her work.

4. The tough fellow. This bully controls people by implied threats, by humiliating others, embarrassing them, nagging and aggressiveness.

5. The nice guy. He is the opposite of the bully. He or she 'kills with kindness' by exaggerated caring and loving concern, to get things done for self.

6. The judge. One can't tell this person anything: he knows it all. He distrusts everybody and is highly critical of everything. In his resentfulness he is slow to forgive.

7. The defender. He is the opposite of the judge. He is the martyr who is over-sympathetic, spoiling others to the point of stunting their growth.

Watch your kinesics

In recent years a new and exciting science has been uncovered and explored. It is called body language. Both its written form and the scientific study of it have been labeled kinesics.

Body language has shed new light in the dynamics of interfamily and social relationships. If the mother crosses her legs first and the rest of the family then follows suit, she has set the lead for the family action, though she, as well as the rest of the family, may not be aware she is doing it.

Of all parts of the human body that are used to transmit information, the eyes are the most important and can transmit the most subtle nuances.

Byethel Barrett says that sometimes a look is worth a thousand words and she describes a few types that have a negative influence on others:

The look of annihilation. This is a frozen stare. The brow is furrowed, the lips are firm with no trace of smile. Total destruction is in the air. It's the look that engenders the comment, 'If looks could kill…’

The dead pan. This look resembles fish on chipped ice in a meat market. It is not infrequently used on hapless teachers right after they've made a point. It means you do not want to communicate and are making no bones about it.

The martyr's mask. This is a look of extreme pain. Biting the lower lip helps. Tears, if this fails.

The deadly squint. The look involves the jaw, which is set firm. The eyes are narrow and menacing. The mouth is straight lines. It means, 'Do it, or else,' or 'Don't do it, or else.'

The resigned look. The eyes are rolled back and the mouth moves in wordless monologue. What it is saying is anybody's guess.

A gesture or a look is expressive and they have a language which all understand. A look may kill love or revive it. A good look is a letter of recommendation and secures cooperation, appreciation and understanding.

If you want efficiency, be sure that your look darts sunshine in your associates or employees.

The Secret to having many friends

If you carefully observe those who have many Friends and those who don't, you will notice this striking difference in their behavior: Those who have more friends are more considerate than those who have less. The success formula of those with many friends employ is the old, well-known rule, 'Do to others what you wish others should do to you.'

The more we assimilate this rule into our personalities the less we have to bother about lack of friends, and the less we need to be nervous about pleasing others. If we genuinely want others to have what we would like to have, to feel as we should like to feel, we shall never have dearth of friends. If we make this rule the rule of conduct in our life we shall automatically change into charming personalities, considerate, tactful and helpful. And, as everybody knows, people fall for a charming personality just as flies fall for a honey drop.

Society | Self-Help


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