Successes of United Nations (bonus)

Despite all its failures, inconsistencies and difficulties, check the below  list of successes of the UN:

  • The first and foremost is that it has prevented the occurrence of any further world wars. Instrumental in the maintenance of international balance of power.
  • It played a significant role in disarming the world and making it nuclear free (well, almost). Various treaty negotiations like ‘Partial Test Ban Treaty’ and ‘Nuclear non-proliferation treaty’ have been signed under UN.
  • Demise of colonialism and imperialism on one hand and apartheid on the other had UN sanctions behind them.
  • The UN acted as vanguard for the protection of human rights of the people of the world, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
  • UN agencies and affiliates such as WHO, UNICEF, and UNESCO have keenly participated in the transformation of the international social sector.
  • Limited but moderately successful peace-brokering arrangements and peace-keeping operations in a number of conflict zones (since 1945, the UN has been credited with negotiating 172 peaceful settlements that have ended regional conflicts).
  • The world body was also instrumental in institutionalization of international laws and world legal framework.
  • Passage of various conventions and declarations on child, women, climate, etc, highlights the extra-political affairs of the otherwise political world body.
  • UN interventions in a number of peace missions in Africa have done reasonably well to control the situation.

Musings on imitation, induction and how we perceive success

An idea has been afloat in my mind. What success means for us and how we go about becoming successful.

There are numerous systems, frameworks and theories of how to become successful. Your nearest bookstores, to be sure, contains – if it is a bookstore at all – at least few books about success theories or stories of those who became successful. Success theories are all woven around an abstract, feel-good, visionary set of terms, neatly connected and logically resound.

Steven Covey’s “7 habits of highly effective people” is perhaps the best one among those theories from the Western standpoint and “Karmic management” of Michael Roach is the best from the Eastern, both comprising the cumulative wisdom, philosophy, experiences and stories of countless successful personalities in the West and East correspondingly.

These two as well as many theories, like most of scientific theories, are inductive in their nature, i.e. you have a number of facts/experiments/information and you induce a logical frame, encompassing and describing them all. This is the status-quo mode of thinking about everything in our lives, and we love it because it is easy to grasp, intuitive and logical.

We connect dots, left by others who were successful before us. We draw a line and we think if we move along this line as closely as possible, we will arrive to success in our own lives. We also tend to think that the line we connected and are treading along is the only possible way of connecting those dots. We are wrong on both accounts.

We have idea of what our own, benchmarked with universal, success looks or needs to look like, and usually we are quite adamant about it.

Whether you know it or not, but inductive theories about success are usually aesthetically appealing, seemingly simple and logical, but are, with some notable exceptions, misleading. I am not saying that Covey and Roach are wrong, but that their theories are merely descriptive and need to be learnt/considered, not imitated/followed.

Induction is at the heart of imitation. Human history is one continuous story of imitation. It goes like this. There is someone visionary – what this term means is relative to the period and context of the history – who lives his life fulfilling his dreams and potential, and whose ideas/dreams/actions spill over – during or after his life – a certain number of peers, who find solace, appeal or hope in those ideas, internalizing them and in turn spreading them and sometimes building upon them. Religions are one example, science is another.

You no doubt saw (on TV or real life) a man sporting a beard, dressed in a traditional Arab white robe and who carries a book in his hand. A Muslim, you think. You think so because he fits the image of a Muslim that you read or saw. He follows the teachings of Islam and carries Koran. He follows those teachings. Whether he agrees, or is convinced is irrelevant, as he is pious and obeys those whom he considers wiser than him. His self-image is that of Muslim, and this is what he wants everyone to think of him. He treads the path (the line) recommended in teachings (points) in the hope of living a good, worthy life. Whether he succeeds in his life and lives up to his dreams is another story.

You no doubt saw a youth dressed up in what looks like the singer 50-Cent: a certain type of cap, seated above his forehead under a certain angle; a long lousy t-shirt and a baggy pair of jeans that look like they are about to fall down; colorful, shining pair of snickers. A hip-hop/rap fan, you think. Whether he is truly into that sort of music or even finds comfortable dressing as he does is another question. He follows the social code of those who are fans of that type of music and lifestyle, personified by the singer. His self-image is of someone stylish and who is into hip-hop/rap. Music is his thing, and he loves hanging out with those who are like him, i.e. appearance-wise look like him and have similar tastes in music, and thinks of those as his close circle/family and key to his future success. Whether he attains that success is another story.

We gather information, through our personal experiences, stories we read or hear about and we build our stereotypes about all aspects of life as well as success. We then dogmatize these stereotypes, build generalization upon them, draw number of characteristic criteria from those generalization and then freely apply those criteria in order to identify and describe multiple facets of our lives.

Wise words from the movie “Forbidden Kingdom” need to remind us what the success really is. The protagonist of the movie, American teenager Jason, who is a fan of martial arts, magically finds himself in ancient China and meets a number of idiosyncratic characters. Jason’s story-line resembles much our own. In one episode, while he is training in kung-fu, the background narration cites:

Learn the form, but seek the formless. Hear the soundless. Learn it all, then forget it all. Learn The Way, then find your own way.

Imitation, at its best, is the stage of “learning the form.” We learn what has been taught and reached us, the universal truths and wisdoms, the lives of success. 99% of us stop here. We live our lives following or imitating, never going any further.

The path to success goes further. It includes internalization of those wisdoms and experiences of others into ourselves, making the transition from mind (as a purely intellectual) to heart (realm of feelings and experiences).

And finally, it includes “finding you own way,” based on all that was learnt and internalized.

We are the ones that will shape the form as well as details of our own success, just like those great personalities and visionaries did back in their times – not one of them came to be successful, visionary, or important by imitation, but by creation and recreation of themselves.

Why failure is the ONLY path to success

Failure. Success. What association do we have with each? Google search of the word “success” returns nearly 281 million results whereas that of “failure” 119 million. These are telling numbers and they seem to reveal the underlying “logic” of our lives. We are afraid of failures, whether they are in our personal lives and in our careers (whether changing a job/career or starting your own business).

Many are driven and inspired by success stories, recipes and recommendations of others. Success, even if it is not yours, feels good. It feels comfortable. Present and future, in that one instant, seem to become brighter and more rewarding. We live in that instant and want to stay in it.

Many are afraid of failure. We hide our failures. We try to forget them. We mostly attribute our failures to a bad luck, an out-of-control happenstance or an incident. Very few of us openly admit a failure, even less their part in it.

What we don’t necessarily know is that fear of failure destroys any chance for a possible success in future. What we also might not know is that failure breeds success.

Throughout our history, many a successful entrepreneurs, businessmen, politicians, scientists failed first before reaching success. Google returns about 672,000 search results for “failure quotes,” and each of those pages – this is a good example –  contains quotations and saying of those who made history.

I selected excerpts from some of modern (and currently very) successful entrepreneurs, businessmen and bloggers who tell of their failure stories and experiences.

Brazilian blogger Luciano Passuello, who is passionate about the world of our minds, thinks that failure “is the only way to go far enough”

Have you failed before? Was it as terrible as you had anticipated? Well, here you are reading this article, so it seems you survived all right. Truth is, failure is almost never as bad as we imagine. Fear of failure is usually much worse than failure itself.

Ryan Healy, dubbed “Most Referred Direct Response Copywriter on the Internet,” during his early youth, trying to grab on courses and lectures promising success and fortune,  admits

I was what they call a “hyper responder.” I’d buy just about anything that promised freedom and fortune. I bought programs about how to trade the commodities market (and I actually did that and made money); I bought programs on how to bet the horses; I even bought a program about how to become a “waste auditor.”

But as my drive intensified, I began to make larger investments.

I dropped $5,000 on a real estate investment course. I realized too late that I was uncomfortable using the techniques in the program; it was basically worthless to me.

And while that loss hurt, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as the next mistake I was about to make.

Yes, he made mistakes. We all do. But he came out of these mistakes and experiences a stronger person.

Ben Settle, an email marketing expert and web entrepreneur, thinks that

Because weird as it sounds, failure is a requirement for success.

And like it or not, without failure you can’t truly succeed, so avoiding it pretty much makes you dead in the water right out the gate.

I’ve met (and worked with) some serious “power players” in business. Not just on the Internet, but offline biz owners, too. I’m talking about people who sometimes make more scratch in a DAY than the average working stiff makes in 6 months toiling away for the corporate beast masters.

And you know what all these people have in common?

They started out as miserable FAILURES.

Last but not least, remember one thing. If you are failing or what you are doing is failing and things just seem plain bleak and without any perspective, then perhaps, it is time to give up what you are doing and start anew. Or perhaps, it is time to start doing something else.

As a serial entrepreneur and bestselling co-author of Trust Agents, Chris Brogan puts it

There is a right time to give up. There’s a right time to quit. The trick, and it is a HUGE trick, is knowing which is which.

adding that

Remember that surrender is every bit as much a part of strategy as victory. Learning when to surrender or lose a smaller battle has been part of the success plan of every major war ever fought. The trick is in knowing what really matters, and never letting go of that. The problem we have is that we fall into the trenches and think the battle is the war.

Failure. Success. Two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other.

Embrace your failure and you will succeed.

Introducing failures

Hello, my name is Hayk and I am going to talk about failures. Why failures? What failures? Why me?

Failures because there is countless number of websites, individuals out there on the Web, at business conferences, during political rallies, and simply at any avenue where human activity takes place that talk about successes. It is normal. Success is something we all aspire in our everyday lives, in achievement of our goals. We are inspired, motivated and driven by successes of others. Our line of thinking is simple – if we find “secret formula” or get a glimpse of major factors causing success, be it personal or professional, we might then be able to imitate or adopt it to extent where our own affairs will improve and we will feel ourselves achieving our objectives and gaining higher grounds. Failures, on the other hand, are not easy to cope with, learn from, or let go. Failures are taken at their negative face value and as such are usually shun and rubbed under carpet. Many prefer to forget than to review and learn from them. Sites documenting failures are scarce, if any, biased, and full of stereotypical and prejudgmental conclusions. This blog will attempt to balance things out.

Failures I will discuss here vary in subject matter, scope and nature. Personal, business, political failures will feature here. I will draw on history, politics, economics, psychology, physiology, etc.

Well, I am no expert in failure management (I coined the term, it seems?) nor I am expert in history, economics or any other discipline I am going to talk about in this blog. What makes me qualified to talk about failures? Well, nothing, really. I am merely going to document failures in as balanced and objective way as possible. I will leave “lessons learnt” and “conclusions” to you. I am a mere scribe, if you prefer.

So let’s begin, then?