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“If you want your life experience to be bright, choose to contribute.”

Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard is a great book that is in an allegory format. The story teaches many life lessons, such as overcoming our fears, living life on our terms, and making a difference in the world. It is a book that I highly recommend; the storyline might not be easy to follow with the multiple characters and scenes, but it contains many messages for navigating life.

What if you were handed a golden ticket that could magically start your life anew?

That question is at the heart of Life’s Golden Ticket. Brendon Burchard tells the story of a man who is so trapped in the prison of his past that he cannot see the possibilities, the choices, and the gifts before him. To soothe his fiancee Mary, clinging to life in a hospital bed, the man takes the envelope she offers and heads to an old, abandoned amusement park that she begs him to visit.

To his surprise, when he steps through the rusted entrance gates, the park magically comes to life. Guided by the wise groundskeeper Henry, the man will encounter park employees, answer difficult questions, overcome obstacles, listen to lessons from those wiser than he, and take a hard look at himself.

At the end of his journey, the man opens Mary’s mysterious envelope. Inside is a golden ticket — the final phase in turning his tragic life’s story of loss and regret into a triumphant tale of love and redemption.

Here are my favourite takeaways from reading Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard:

In his great book, Lead the Field, Earl Nathingale shares a great story about goal achievement:

The story goes that the president of a big steel company had granted an interview to an efficiency expert named Ivy Lee. Lee was telling his prospective client how he could help him do a better job of managing the company, when the president broke in to say something to the effect that he wasn’t at present managing as well as he knew how. He went on to tell Ivy Lee that what was needed wasn’t more knowing, but a lot more doing. He said, “We know what we should be doing. If you can show us a better way of getting it done, I’ll listen to you – and pay you anything within reason you ask.” 

Lee then said that he could give him something in 20 minutes that would increase his efficiency by at least 50 percent. He then handed the executive a blank sheet of paper and said, “Write down on this paper the six most important things you have to do tomorrow.” The executive thought about it and did as requested. It took him about three or four minutes. 

Lee then said, “Now number them in the order of their importance to you and to the company.” That took another, three, four, or five minutes. 

Then Lee said, “Now put the paper in your pocket, and the first thing tomorrow morning, take it out and look at item number one. Don’t look at the others, just number one, and start working on it. And if you can, stay with it until it’s completed. Then take item number two the same way; then number three, and so on, until you have to quit for the day.” 

“Don’t worry if you have finished only one or two items on your list. The others can wait. If you can’t finish them all by this method, you couldn’t have finished them with any other method. And without some system, you’d probably take 10 times as long to finish them – and might not even have them in the order of their importance.” 

“Do this every working day,” Lee went on. “After you’ve convinced yourself of the value of this system, have your men try it. Try it as long as you like, and then send me your check for whatever you think the idea is worth.” 

The entire interview hadn’t taken more than a half-hour. In a few weeks, the story has it, the company president sent Ivy Lee a check for $25,000, with a letter saying the lesson was the most profitable, from a money standpoint, he had ever learned in his life. And it is said that this plan was largely responsible for turning what was then a little-known steel company into one of the biggest independent steel producers in the world. 

One idea! The idea of taking things one at a time, in their proper order; of staying with one task until it’s successfully completed before going on to the next; of living one day at a time.

For the next seven days, try the $25,000 idea in your life. Tonight, write on a slip of paper the six most important things you have to do. Then number them in the order of their importance. Tomorrow morning, go to work on item number one, and stay with it until it’s successfully completed. Then move on to number two, and so on. When you’ve finished with all six, get another piece of paper, and repeat the process. 

You’ll be astonished and delighted by the order this brings into your life – and by the rate of speed with which you’ll be able to accomplish the things that need doing, in the order of their importance. This simple but tremendously effective method will take all the confusion out of your life. You’ll never find yourself running around in circles, wondering what to do next. 

As you use this method, remember to live the best you can, one day at a time. You need not worry about tomorrow, or the next day, or what’s going to happen at the end of the month. One day at a time, handled successfully, will carry you over every hurdle; it will solve every problem. You can relax in the happy knowledge that successful tasks make successful days, which, in turn, build a successful life. This is the kind of unassailable logic no one can argue with. It will work every time – for every person.

The reason for writing down what you consider only the most important things to do is obvious. Handling each task during the day successfully is important to the degree of the importance of the task itself. Successfully doing a lot of unnecessary things can be pretty much a waste of time. Make certain that the tasks you take time to do efficiently are important tasks – tasks that move you ahead, steadily, toward your goal. 

A human life is really nothing more than a collection of minutes, hours, and days. These are the building materials. And it’s left strictly up to us to determine the kind and size of structure we build.

Success is a matter of sticking to a set of commonsense principles anyone can master. In Lead the Field Earl Nightingale explains these guidelines: the magic word in life is ATTITUDE. It determines your actions, as well as the actions of others. It tells the world what you expect from it. When you accept responsibility for your attitude, you accept responsibility for your entire life.

Success or failure as a human being is not a matter of luck, or circumstance, or fate, or the breaks, or who you know – or any of the other tiresome, old myths and clichés by which the ignorant tend to excuse themselves. It’s a matter of following a common sense paradigm of rules – guidelines anyone can follow.

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” – Earl Nightingale. 

The Magic Word: Attitude

We all want good results from life, in our home, in our work, and in all our contacts with other people. The most important single factor that guarantees good results, day in, day out, all the months and years of our lives, is a healthy attitude! Attitude is the magic word. 

Attitude is defined as “the position or bearing as indicating action, feeling, or mood.” And it is our actions, feelings, or moods that determine the actions, feelings, or moods of others. Our attitude tells the world what we expect in return. If it’s a cheerful, expectant attitude, it says to everyone with whom we come in contact that we expect the best in our dealings with our world.

Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations. If we feel that our environment could stand some improvement, we can bring about that change for the better by improving our attitude. The world plays no favorites. It’s impersonal. It doesn’t care who succeeds or who fails. Nor does it care if we change. Our attitude toward life doesn’t affect the world and the people in it nearly as much as it affects us.

 Cause and effect.

Everything we say or do will cause a corresponding effect. If we’re cheerful, glad to be experiencing this miracle of life, others will reflect that good cheer back to us. We are the kind of people others enjoy being around. 

You and I are responsible for our lives. You and I produce causes all day long, every day of our lives. The environment can return to us only a corresponding effect. That’s why I say that each of us determines the quality of his or her own life. We get back what we put out.

The cause must precede the effect, or the effect cannot occur. This is why people who try to get something for nothing are only fooling themselves and earning the disillusionment and frustration they must one day reap. 

Remember that everything in the entire limitless universe operates according to the law of cause and effect. There are no exceptions to this. Nothing happens by accident. For every result, there’s a cause. You have only to take care of the cause; the effect will always, without exception, take care of itself. Good cause; good effect. No cause; no effect. Bad cause; bad effect. It’s as reliable as the rising of the sun.

Goals

We become what we think about. And when we’re possessed by an exciting goal, we reach it. That’s why it’s been said, “Be choosy, therefore, what you set your heart upon. For if you want it strongly enough, you’ll get it.”

You see, the trouble with people is not that they can’t achieve their goals – they can do that, all right. The trouble is that they don’t set goals. They leave their future to chance and find out, sooner or later and to their sorrow, that chance doesn’t work – that they’ve missed the boat. 

Money

Above all, realize that money cannot be sought directly. Money, like happiness, is an effect. It’s a result of a cause, and the cause is valuable service. 

It’s not the job; it’s the person. It’s not your present circumstances that count; it’s the circumstances you make up your mind to achieve that are important. The only limit on your income is you. And the income you decide upon can be achieved within the framework of your present work, or within the industry or profession where you already have a start and a place. If not there, it can be found somewhere else. 

All you need is a plan – the road map – and the courage to press on to your destination, knowing in advance that there will be problems and setbacks, but knowing also that nothing on earth can stand in the way of a plan, backed by persistence and determination. 

With the income that you intend to earn written down on a card, spend a part of each day thinking of ways in which you can increase your service, knowing that you have only to manage this, and the income will take care of itself. Since the amount of money you want to earn is more than you’re now receiving, your part of the bargain is to find ways of increasing your service until the gap has been bridged – and more than bridged! 

Above all, realize that money cannot be sought directly. Money, like happiness, is an effect. It’s a result of a cause, and the cause is valuable service. 

Keep money in its proper place. It’s a servant – nothing more. It’s a tool with which we can live better, see more of the world, give our youngsters the education they need and a good start in life. It’s the means to a happy, carefree retirement in later years. Money is necessary to modern life, but keep it in its place. You need only so much food to enjoy good health; you really need only so much money to live comfortably, securely, and well. Too much emphasis on money reverses the whole picture; you then become the servant, and the money becomes the master. 

Continuous Learning

 “Each of us must find his own 15-minute period each day for reading. It’s better if it’s regular. The only requirement is the will to read. With it, you can find 15 minutes, no matter how busy the day. That means you will read half a book a week, two books a month, 20 a year, and 1,000 in a reading lifetime. It’s an easy way to become well-read.” And it takes just 15 minutes a day.

We acquire the skills of living successfully through knowledge. Knowledge, properly applied, is power – and knowledge is available to everybody.  The degree of a person’s ignorance will determine his place in the world. Everyone is born ignorant and must, for a time, live in ignorance. But remember this: Anyone who remains ignorant has only himself to blame.

“Books extend our narrow present back into the limitless past. They show us the mistakes of the men and women before us and share with us recipes for human success. There’s nothing to be done which books [and let me add audio programs] will not help us do much better.” 

Luck

Luck has been defined as what happens when preparedness meets opportunity. A great opportunity will only make the unprepared, the unqualified, appear ridiculous. For every one of us, opportunities are all around us. Our ability to see them will depend, in large part, on how well we have prepared ourselves. 

A strong person cannot make a weak person strong; but a weak person can become strong on his own by following a specific course of action for a sufficient length of time. And a person who’s already strong can become a lot stronger…

Self-Awareness

When a person has no identity of his own, that person will seek to find his identity in a larger group. That’s why joining groups of various kinds is so popular. In that way, we get a badge, a label, that tells us what we are. Now we are properly labeled. This is not to say that successful men and women do not belong to organizations. They certainly do, and they make major contributions to their organizations. But they don’t need the organizations for identity. They are quite aware of who and what they are. And if their organizations did not exist, they would be successful, independent performers in society. They would never feel lost. 

Successful people follow independent paths. This is the important point to remember. At some point in their lives, they break away from the crowd and start on a path of their own. That’s the adult, the intelligent thing for human creatures to do. In striking off on an independent path, they are not necessarily alone. It’s just that they join a much smaller group of like-minded people. We can’t take the whole crowd into that top 5 percent. 

Daily Success

A goal sometimes seems so far off, and our progress often appears to be so painfully slow, that we have a tendency to lose heart. It sometimes seems we’ll never make the grade. And we come close to falling back into old habits that, while they may be comfortable now, lead to nowhere. 

Well, there’s a way to beat this. It’s been used successfully by many of the world’s most successful people, and it’s been advocated by many of the greatest thinkers. It’s to live successfully one day at a time! 

A lifetime is comprised of days, strung together into weeks, months, and years. Let’s reduce it to a single day, and then, still further, to each task of that day. 

A successful life is nothing more than a lot of successful days put together. It’s going to take so many days to reach your goal. If this goal is to be reached in a minimum amount of time, every day must count. 

Think of a single day as a building block with which you’re building the tower of your life. Just as a stonemason can put only one stone in place at a time, you can live only one day at a time. And it’s the way in which these stones are placed that will determine the beauty and strength of your tower. If each stone is successfully placed, the tower will be a success. If, on the other hand, the stones are put down in a hit-or-miss fashion, the whole tower is in danger.

All the best in your quest to get better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

AWS Educate recently announced the release of five new learning resources and badges for students to jump-start their learning goals and for educators to teach in a virtual or blended environment. The resources focus on robotics, innovation, and Amazon Honeycode.

AWS Educate provides students, educators, and U.S. veterans with no-cost access to self-paced cloud content, training, collaboration tools, and the AWS Educate Job Board. Students who use AWS Educate get access to hands-on learning experiences for the most in-demand cloud jobs through 13 specialty badges and 12 AWS Educate Cloud Career Pathways.

Each badge takes participants through about 10 hours of learning content and focuses on specialty areas of the cloud-like gaming, Internet of Things (IoT), or startups. Each pathway maps back to an in-demand job role like software development engineer or data scientist and includes 30-50 hours of learning per pathway. Badges and pathways feature quizzes, knowledge checks, and projects to ensure students are on the right track.

Upon completion of an AWS Educate pathway or badge, students earn a digital credential in their portfolio. Then, they can check out the AWS Educate Job Board to explore job and internship opportunities from Amazon and its customers around the world.

Upon completion of an AWS Educate pathway or badge, students earn a digital credential in their portfolio. Then, they can check out the AWS Educate Job Board to explore job and internship opportunities from Amazon and its customers around the world.

New AWS Educate badges include:

  • AWS RoboMaker Badge Series: Introductory cloud robotics courses designed to help students, educators, and entry-level developers build robotics applications with robot operating system (ROS) and AWS RoboMaker. There are currently three courses in the series:
    • Course 0: Fundamentals of Robotics – In this course, learn how robots work, what problems they need to solve, and how they’re controlled.
    • Course 1a: Getting Started with Ubuntu – In this course, learn which development environments robots use, how to set up the environment to run the ROS, and everything you need to write programs for robots in ROS.
    • Course 1b: Getting Started with AWS – In this course, get started setting up the development environment on the cloud using AWS RoboMaker.
  • Innovation Badge: Designed for students and educators to help build innovation skills to augment and amplify innovation around the world using Amazon’s innovation process. In this badge, you’ll learn the phases of design thinking, the culture of innovation at Amazon and the Amazon Leadership Principles, organizational criteria for application of innovative thinking, and major mechanisms used to innovate.
  • Honeycode Badge: Amazon Honeycode can transform the way teams and businesses track and monitor the work being done. In this badge, you’ll learn to build your own productivity app and improve it using Amazon Honeycode’s feature-rich interface. As you move through this badge, you’ll be introduced to prerequisite information you should know to be successful with Amazon Honeycode and knowledge and activities for creating apps.

AWS Educate provides its members with free access to learning content and AWS services designed to build knowledge and skills in cloud computing. It is available globally to students who are 14 or older, with the exceptions of China, Switzerland, and European Economic Area countries (16 or older); and Algeria, Lebanon, and Portugal (18 or older). The AWS Educate Terms & Conditions govern participation in the AWS Educate Program. Use of AWS Promotional Credits are subject to the AWS Promotional Credit Terms & Conditions.

To enroll in an AWS Educate badge or pathway, sign up today.

Source: AWS Public Sector Blog

A Routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program. A lot of us focus on the goal/goal setting but one of the easiest way to get your goals achieved is to have systems and daily routines. As Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.” How you do anything is how you do everything, you get rewarded in public for what you repeatedly do in private.

In his book, Million Dollar Habits: 10 Simple Steps to Getting Everything You Want, Author and speaker Robert Ringer, writes about the power of daily routines and habits:

  • Remember, life is nothing more than the sum total of many successful years;
  • a successful year is nothing more than the sum total of many successful months;
  • a successful month is nothing more than the sum total of many successful weeks;
  • a successful week is nothing more than the sum total of many successful days.
  • That’s why practicing successful habits day in and day out is the most certain way to win over the long term

Here are some great quotes on having daily routines:

Erdal Arıkan (born 1958) is a Turkish professor in the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. In 2013, Arıkan received the IEEE W.R.G. Baker Award for his contributions to information theory, particularly for his development of polar coding. In December 2017 he was honored with the 2018 Richard W. Hamming Medal. In June 2018, he received the Shannon Award.

In Earl Nightingale’s very inspiring and influential book, lead the field; he shares the story of Russell Herman Conwell (Founder of Temple University). Dr. Conwell gave over 6,000 lectures on “Acres of Diamonds.” He was able to raise several million dollars, with which he founded Temple University.

In 1843, a man was born who was to have a profound effect upon the lives of millions of people. His name was Russell Herman Conwell. He became a lawyer, then a newspaper editor, and, finally, a clergyman. During his church career, an incident occurred that was to change his life and the lives of countless others. 

In his seminal book on goal setting, Author and Motivational Speaker Brian Tracy shares twenty-one principles of goal setting and goal achieving – he says: “There are no unrealistic goals; there are merely unrealistic deadlines.” A goal is a dream with a deadline, and if you do not set the goals, you can not magically achieve it. Goals by Brian Tracy is one of the few books I have read at least five times as goal setting is a continuous, lifelong process.

The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

Here are my favorite takeaways from reading, Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want — Faster Than You Ever Thought by Brian Tracy:

“There are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic deadlines.” – Brian Tracy

It is that time of the year again for new years resolutions, we want to exercise more, read more books, eat healthier, spend more time with family and friends, lose weight, save more money, the list is endless. The challenge with a lot of this new year resolutions is that they are mere wishes as most of us go back to our lives of quite desperation, tip toeing through live and we go back to where we started by february/march.

Gyms around the world always see a surge in the number of people in their facilities and they already know this new year gym goers would soon drop out of the fitness program. The reason a lot of us would not follow through on our new year resolutions just like the new year gym-goers is that we have not mastered the art of goal setting. The key to achieving any goal requires what I call the DCE framework: Decide, Commit and Execute.

It’s great to be alive, and be
—A part of all that’s going on;
To live and work and feel and see
—Life lived each day from early dawn;
To rise and with the morning light
—Go forth until the hours grow late,
Then joyously return at night
—And rest from honest toil—it’s great!

It’s great to be a living part
—Of all the surging world alive,
And lend a hand in field and mart,
—A worker in this human hive;
To live and earn and dare to do,
—Nor ever shirk or deviate
From course or purpose we pursue!
—Until the goal is won—it’s great!

Blue Ocean Strategy is a book published in 2004 written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, professors at INSEAD. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne are Professors of Strategy at INSEAD, one of the world’s top business schools, and co-directors of the INSEAD Blue Ocean Strategy Institute in Fontainebleau, France.

The book is one of the most impactful business books have ever read, my first reading was around 2010, and have since read the book more than 3 times and it keeps resonating each time. Blue ocean strategy breaks from the stranglehold of competition. At the book’s core is the notion of a shift from competing to creating new market space and hence making the competition irrelevant.

Blue ocean strategy challenges companies to break out of the red ocean of bloody competition by creating uncontested market space that makes the competition irrelevant. Instead of dividing up existing—and often shrinking—demand and benchmarking competitors, blue ocean strategy is about growing demand and breaking away from the competition.

Here are my favourite take-aways from reading, Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne:

In line with Microsoft’s effort to support their customer’s cloud journey, Microsoft has announced the launch of the Azure Enablement show. It is a series of technical conversations with a community of Microsoft experts, addressing common questions and challenges in your cloud adoption journey.

A collection of technical conversations addressing common cloud adoption challenges. 

Cloud Adoption Framework Series

Well-Architected Series

Series 1: Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure

The Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure series has three modules right now: Introduction, Azure landing zones, and Governance.

Episode one: Overview of the Cloud Adoption Framework

Episode two: Assess your cloud readiness using Microsoft assessments
The second module in the series is focused on Azure landing zones, a set of architecture guidelines, reference implementations, and code samples based on proven practices to prepare cloud environments. 

This module will help you prepare your cloud environment with the necessary governance, compliance, and operational requirements specific to your organization’s needs.

Episode one: Prepare your cloud environments using Azure landing zones

Episode two: Choosing the best Azure landing zone option

Episode three: ‘Start small and expand’ Azure landing zones approach

Episode four: Create an enterprise-scale architecture in Azure

Episode five: Dig into enterprise scale architecture methodology

Third Module: Governance Methodology

The third module in this debut version of the show focuses on the governance methodology of the Cloud Adoption Framework which guides you through the process of striking a balance between control and compliance on one side, and delivering speed and agility on the other, while you adopt the cloud.

Episode one: Establish cloud governance and compliance

Episode two: Implement cost control, budget, forecast, and allocation

Episode three: Identity baseline with authentication and access control

Episode four: Implement security baseline through corporate policy

Episode five: Cloud governance using IaC, Azure Policy, and Blueprints

Episode six: Govern and manage Azure resources at scale

Series 2: Azure Well-Architected

The Azure Well-Architected series is aimed at helping you build, design, and manage high quality workloads in Azure

Episode one: Architect successful workloads on Azure: Introduction module

Episode two: Ask the right questions about your Azure workloads

Episode three (Part 1): Essential advice for improving Azure workloads

Episode three (Part 2): Essential advice for improving your Azure workloads

The  cost optimization pillar of the Well-Architected Framework

Episode one: Start optimizing your Azure costs

Episode two (Part 1): Diving deeper into Azure cost optimization

Episode two (Part 2): Diving deeper into Azure cost optimization

Reliability Module

Episode one: Start improving the reliability of your Azure workloads

Episode two (Part 1): Diving deeper into Azure workload reliability

Episode two (Part 2): Diving deeper into Azure workload reliability

Official Webpage of the Microsoft Azure Enablement Show

‘The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.’ – Michangelo

It is that time of the year again where we are all making New Year’s resolutions, setting goals, wishes, re-awakening but a lot of us would not follow through because we are obsessed with the goal but not with the process, we write the goals but we do not decide and commit to following through, we do not set up the systems and routine that would make the goals achievable.

A Goal is a dream with a deadline, to achieve your goals this year; you need to set SMART Goals. Ask yourself, are my goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound.

Here are some great quotes on Goals: