April 2011

“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils”           

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) French composer


Time is a great teacher when we dare to make mistakes.

Time is a greater and more effective teacher when we accept to learn from our mistakes.

Time is the greatest and wisest teacher when we learn from the mistakes of others and avoid to make them ourselves.

Time will eventually kill all of us, and since we don’t know when,

one of the most important lessons Time can teach us is:

To live each day like it was our last .

What would you do differently if you learned that you had 100 days left to live?



“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”

Pablo Picasso


Child with a dove

Pablo Picasso - Child with a Dove - Art Prints and Posters

If you dream of becoming an artist; a painter, a writer, a musician, an actor or an actress; what prevents you from using your free time to get started?

All of us have some free time. I know  most of us will tell others how very busy we are. The truth is that we are very good at making excuses.

I’m too tired…I don’t have enough money… I’m too old… I’m too young…My spouse won’t let me… It’s too expensive to take lessons… fill in the blank here ________________

How can some of us spend so much time watching TV, complain about our problems or gossip about others?

Why is it that some people seem to find the time to do things that they really care about for themselves or for others?

Each one of us have spare time to pursue our dream.

All we have to do is…to actually start.

“Life, we learn too late, is in the living, the tissue of every day and hour.”

Stephen Butler Leacock


But it’s never too late to wake up.

I respect all of you all the time.

I respect you when you bow in your mosque,

kneel in your temple,

pray in your church,

preach your message,

plow your fields,

invest your money,

run your business,

paint your masterpiece,

code your new software,

take care of your patients,

remove the trashes,

give a helping hand,

and when you work in your laboratory.

Because the same Sun shines for all of us.  All the time !



Do you ever find yourself saying:

When I’m older, I’ll do this…

Later, I’ll get to it…

One day, I will…

Or when it’s time or when I have a chance…

When I finish school, I’ll be able to…

When I have more money…

When I get married, I’ll be …

When the house is paid, we’ll go …

When the kids leave the house, we’ll move…

When I retire, I’ll have more time to…

When I’m dying… Oh no not already… AHHHHHHH…

We should learn to enjoy the road while we are travelling, because if we put all our hopes on the destination, we could be disappointed.

Most of the time, the anticipation is more exciting than the actual outcome.

For years, I wanted to be older, but NOT ANYMORE.

What about you ?


A weird thing I do is scribble in books. Do you know how many people I have offended by writing all kinds of notes in books?

Many times, people looked at what I was doing to my books with complete disbelief.

I wouldn’t write in other people’s book, of course, I write notes only in mine. I write comments with pencils and markers, jot down definitions, translations and I wouldn’t hesitate to rip a couple of pages from the book if there was no copier around me. The books can be quite messy after I’m done with them. I have a lot of respect for the message of the book and a complete disrespect for material support itself.

Why do I write my ideas in books? These are some of my reasons… Books are tools for me, books are interactive when I take notes, books are conversational when I argue with their content, they feed my mind and feed my soul. When I’m done with a book, it doesn’t look too good, but it saves me a lot of time later on when I refer to the book once again.

I encourage you to become a student of life by taking notes, taking pictures or by writing a journal.

Some people told me they don’t have time to write their thoughts. I think that we have a tendency to find time for the things that we really enjoy. We just have to see the value of doing it.

One day, perhaps you’ll be happy to look back at your notes and re-discover what you were thinking 1, 5, 10 or 25 years earlier.

Will you take time to write your thoughts?

Today I am posting the lyrics of this song from Nickelback. If you take the time to read these lyrics carefully, you will realize how much wisdom they contain. The point here is not whether you like or dislike Nickelback.

The point is simply to pay attention to the lyrics. This is why I did not include a link to the song itself. I didn’t want to distract you with the music.



If Today Was Your Last Day lyrics
Songwriters: Kroeger, Chad;

My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by
That first step you take is the longest stride

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had, if today was your last day?
What if, what if, if today was your last day?

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the price is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’re never living twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?

And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you’re dreaming of?
Swear up and down to God above
That you’d finally fall in love if today was your last day?

If today was your last day
Would you make your mark by mending a broken heart?
You know it’s never too late to shoot for the stars
Regardless of who you are

So do whatever it takes
‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life
Let nothing stand in your way
‘Cause the hands of time are never on your side

If today was your last day and tomorrow was too late
Could you say goodbye to yesterday?
Would you live each moment like your last?
Leave old pictures in the past?
Donate every dime you had?

And would you call those friends you never see?
Reminisce old memories?
Would you forgive your enemies?
And would you find that one you’re dreaming of
Swear up and down to God above
That you’d finally fall in love if today was your last day?

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.”

Carl Sandburg


Our time is like a bank account; every day we each have 1440 minutes that we can withdraw and we choose to invest as we want, the difference with a financial bank account is that we cannot make a deposit, only withdrawals.

What will you do with your withdrawals today?

This is an example of someone who’s life has been threatened by a potentially fatal disease.

I share his short message with you because it contains wisdom and experience.

Time takes on new meaning when yout life has been threatened. Zohn advises everyone to make a difference now, before something changes your mind for you.

“In the past I used to look pretty far ahead. When cancer came along, my perspective on the universe shifted a bit. It’s so cliché, but you have to take advantage of each day, each moment. We’re on this planet for a very short time, and  it’s not about how or when you leave it. It’s about making it a brighter place while you’re here”

Ethan Zohn

TV’s Survivor and cancer survivor


Many people working with me have told that they have trouble following my ideas. They are absolutely right. Sometimes, I have a hard time following my own ideas.

Why do they say that?

It is because I don’t hesitate to change my mind even if  I think or say the exact opposite the next day.

I think it is Ralph Waldo Emerson’s fault. He wrote many years ago:

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

What is the wisest thing to do?

Is it to try to defend a point that  no longer stand in the light of newly acquired information?

Or is it simply easier and faster to change your mind and change your direction?

So what if I said something yesterday and I change my mind today? Doesn’t it prove that I am more experienced and more knowledgable?

One of the most important qualities we can develop in a time of rapid change is flexibility. 

Today, perhaps the most important factor affecting our life is the speed of change. We are living in an age where change is taking place at a faster rate than ever before in human history. And if anything, the rate is increasing, year by year, if not day by day. Change today is not only faster, but it is also discontinuous, not following a straight line but starting, stopping, and moving in unpredictable directions. Change is coming at us from all sides and in so many different ways that it is often impossible to anticipate what might happen next. 

Change causes enormous stress for people who are fixed or rigid in their beliefs about how things should be. They fall in love with what they are doing  and are unwilling to change, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Don’t let this happen to you. 

To remain flexible, you must constantly be open, alert to new ideas and knowledge that can help you. One new idea can be enough to change your entire life.

Another driving change is the rapid growth and development of new technology.  Every advance in technology aimed at helping people to get things done faster, better, cheaper, or easier. And the speed of technological change is increasing every day. It’s exponential.

Be willing to admit, in each area of your life where you experience stress or resistance, that you could be wrong or that you have made a mistake.


Because it will happen to all of us at times.

What will you do to make sure you are not resisting change?

Will you be brave enough to change your mind?

I took speed reading lessons about 15 years ago. At first, I was skeptical, but after the course was over, I was able to read about 3 times faster and able to double my understanding and retention rate. It really works !

One thing with speed reading, at least in my case, is that is it useful when you’re reading your regular publications and when you are familiar with the topic. If your reading something completely unsual, you’ll probably have to take you time.


Every field has its own vocabulary and technical words that have a unique meaning to its environment.

Hurry, Hurry, it will save you time!

Sometimes we are hesitant to start something and all we need is a good K.I.T.A. ( Kick in the ass)

Once we’ve started, we can experience a feeling of satisfaction and sometimes pride.

Satisfaction of a job well done.

Try to remember a task that you have been delaying for a long time.

Try to remember the feeling after you finally did what you knew you had to do.

You were probably thinking… Why didn’t I do this before? Why didn’t I get this out my way or out my mind?

Another benefit of a good K.I.T.A. is to move you beyond your comfort zone.

I read another good book recently. I recommend you to read it. It is a very short new book by Seth Godin.

The Title is “Poke The Box”

What I like about Seth Godin is that he delivers the same message over and over in hundreds of different ways.

You will be challenged by messages that tell you :

Start something.

Initiate something.

Take a risk.

Act now.

Product Details

Will you kick yourself before life circumstances do?

Will you remain a spectator or will you become an actor?



Do you complain much?

What does it get you?

Probably not as much as you think.

Sometimes you may get attention for a short time.

Or, you may get your way sometimes. 

However, in the long run you are probably wasting your time.

You are likely getting a bad reputation and not getting much done.

Are You Whining or Doing Something About It?

I woke up one morning and I experienced this enthusiasm for life.  I had this urge to live every day of my life like it’s the last one.

This is what I wrote…at 7 A.M.   ( I read this a couple of days later and asked myself: Wouldn’t it be nice to feel like this all the time?)

There are so many places to visit, people to meet, books to read , books to write,  movies to watch, sports to practice, dances to learn , museums to visit, conversations to have, businesses to build, gardens to cultivate, pictures to draw, wine to taste, meals to cook, children to play with, jokes to laugh at, cars to drive, planes to fly, dogs to walk, great cities to discover…

My biggest challenge is to choose what I want first and foremost. My time is so limited and at the same time when I compare myself to other species, I have so much.

I look at the ravens and the squirrels in my backyard, no sooner that I put the bread and seeds for them to eat, a bunch of them come and pick some pieces. These creatures don’t waste any time and their lives are short and simple, yet very efficient.

What is the point of this comment? It is that some of us, humans, have a tendency to complicate simple things when we should just enjoy the moment.

We have so many possible activities to indulge in when we really think about it, it is overwhelming. Think of the type of teas and coffees to try, newspaper, magazines to read and web sites to discover.

It’s a world of unlimited possibilities.

Life is too short not to live to the fullest and not to do what we love to do.We have to live our passion in order to be completely happy. Maslow wrote many years ago , “What a man must be, he must be in order to be happy”.

Personally I try to constantly spend more time to work on the things that really make me happy.

I enjoy working on projects that make me enthusiastic. I spend quite a lot of time reading, writing, visiting art museums.I take my time to understand the works of art, the painter or the sculptor’s intentions. I like to exercise and to enjoy the outdoors activities to breathe some fresh air.

I really enjoy travelling and discovering new countries and new cities, new cultures and new people.

Ask yourself:

What are the limitations that are preventing you to live your dream’s life?

What do you really enjoy doing when you have free time?

How could you spend more time on what you really care about?


P.S. Here is an interesting TED talk on the secrets of success… ( short, inspiring and humoristic)




If you dread going into work today, perhaps it is because you are leaving a piece of yourself at home.

Ask yourself:

Am I taking enough risks at my job/ in life?

Am I too afraid of making mistakes at work/ in life?

Do I push myself outside of my comfort zone at work/ in life?

Am I able to re-invent myself at work/ in life?

Am I creative enough at work/ in life?

Am I getting along with my family members, my friends and co-workers?

Am I doing something good for someone for free?

Time Flies! Use your time well by avoiding meaningless busy work.

At every instant of every day, you are making a choice of how you spend your time.

You have a very limited amount of time, so your time is extremely valuable.

You can’t do everything you consider doing, or everything others demand of you.

You establish your real priorities in life by your choices of how you allocate your time.

Whenever you spend time on some mindless activity you have chosen your priorities…

But have you chosen well?

Life goes quickly and the clock is ticking.

Time is life’s most precious asset.

A human life has a potential of approximately 36525 days to live. (100 years)

Did you ever stop your daily activities to think about that?

Every night when I go to bed, when I fall asleep , I have one less  day to live.

Yes I know, It sounds obvious, but when was the last time  you really considered that? Were you ever aware of this?

This is what it looks like.

36525,36524,36523,36522 if I am a newborn.

27395,27394,27393,27393 if I am 25 years old      

18263,18262,18261,18260 if I am 50 years old      

9131,9130,9129,9128 if I am 75 years old

1826,1825,1824,1823 if I am 95 years old

365,364,363,362 if I am 99 years old

This scenario is based on a perfect life potential, in a perfect world.

Now, in reality, my life expectancy will be influenced by which part of the world I am born in. It also depends on whether I am born a male or a female.

Life expectancy may vary between 35 and 85 years old depending on which country I am born in.

For example if the life expectancy in my country of origin is 35 years old , I should expect to live 12780 days as a potential.

If the life expectancy in my country is 85 years old , I should expect to live approximatively 31046 days.

Next comes the hereditary factors on which I have very little control over, like an unexpected and unforgiving cancer and other uncontrollable circumstances such as car accidents, sport accidents, plane crashes…

Something to think about.

How long do you expect to live?       

One of the greatest difficulties to accomplish our goal is the constant disruptions from other people. The second one is our own lack of discipline when we recuperate a few minutes.

We are, indeed, many times our own worst enemy.

It is so easy to get sidetracked by email, the news or the distraction of the day, a sick child, losing the momentum after a long holiday or change of routine after travelling.

It takes a very strong desire and a strong vision to keep the focus on the important things that relate to our project. It also takes a deadline to get the job done.

When we keep our focus, we usually save a lot of time in the long run.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.”
Jackson Brown Jr., writer
Recently, I found myself complaining about lack of time.
After reading this quote, I have to admit none of my reasons and /or excuses are acceptable.

If you suddenly had all of your days free with no commitments or responsibilities…

What would you do?

You should start planning a “dream list” today.

Work on  this week by writing down the activities and goals you’d like to accomplish one day. Learn to swim? Start an exercise program? Write a book? Finish your basement? Then schedule an hour of time this week to work on your dream list. It might be a small, slightly indulgent non-urgent task, or a single piece of a much larger goal.

Typically your daily to-do list is packed with work and household responsibilities, leaving your personal pursuits as an afterthought. Planning small pieces of time for your dream list each week gives you a better, balanced life. And, don’t make it a major undertaking, a little progress each week will  add-up to an accomplished goal before you know it.

Remember: though the year is already one-fourth complete, there’s still tons of time to pursue your hopes and dreams. Get started this week.

When we face a challenge, we should try to focus on the future instead of the past. Instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, we should focus on where we want to be and what we want.

It is important to know exactly what we want and we must act on what we want. Action is what will transform our circumstances towards a more desirable future.

Let’s use our past experiences to guide us; while being appreciative of our present conditions, let’s dream of an outstanding future for ourselves, our family and friends and the rest of humanity.

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.”

Helen Keller


Helen Keller was not born blind and deaf; it was not until she was 19 months old that she contracted an illness described by doctors as “an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain”, which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness did not last for a particularly long time, but it left her deaf and blind.

For the rest of her life, she has learned many lessons even with what most of us would consider severe handicaps.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. One of the greatest things in life is to keep your mind young.”

Henry Ford



Not a bad quote for a so-called uneducated man…

You’re going to die. I’m going to die.  Everyone around us is going to die.

As a culture we don’t really like to talk about death. We prefer to be obesssed with youth, beauty, vitality, wealth, productivity, appearances and technology.

I also don’t talk about death that much because it seems like such a morbid topic, a real “downer.”  

When turning 45 recently, I’ve been thinking about life and death a lot this past week.  I was on a run a few days ago and thought to myself, “I wonder what it’s like to know you’re going to die?”  Then I thought, “Wait a minute, we’re all going to die, we just don’t know when.”

As simple as this thought was, it reminded me once more about the brevity of life.  I don’t live my life all that consciously aware of my own death.  My own thoughts about death often force me to avoid thinking about it altogether.  I do catch myself worrying about dying; sometimes more often than I’d like to admit, especially with our kids being as young as they are.

Contemplating death in a conscious way doesn’t have to freak us out.  Knowing that our human experience is limited and that at some mysterious point in the future our physical body will die is a kick at the right place.

But the best part of talking and thinking about death is this one: It’s a great “wake-up call to action”. It reminds us constantly that time is short and that we must use it in the best possible way.

Did you ever try to calculate how many potential days you have left to live according to the life expectancy?  (male, female, country of origin, hereditary factors.)

Once you figure this number out, re-organize your Top 5 priorities and start working on them ASAP.

Sometimes, our adult responsabilties (kids, career, aging parents) seem to stand in the way of progress. I admit life can be very challenging at times, but somehow, there is always a bit of personal time that we can recuperate if we pay attention. If you put these minutes to good use, eventually they will turn into hours of productive time. Day by day, you will slowly get closer to your dream.