After years of failure at everything he tried, a man sought advice from a wise monk in a nearby monastery. “Brother,” he said, “I just don’t have it in me to go on anymore. Can you think of any reason why I shouldn’t just quit?”

The monk took him out to the garden. “Look at the fern and the bamboo. Look closely.”

“What about them?”

“When I first planted them, I gave them both plenty of light and water. The fern grew quickly, and its green leaves covered the garden.

“But nothing came from the bamboo seed. Year after year the fern grew more beautiful, but the bamboo still didn’t sprout.

“Five years later, the bamboo started sending up shoots. Then in just a few months, it was taller than the fern. Why? It had spent those five years growing roots strong enough to support a great height.

“One year, the fern was flattened by a terrible windstorm, but the bamboo stood firm because of the deep, strong roots.

“Think about this,” the monk finished. “While others have been growing high, you have been growing the roots that will sustain you when the strong winds come. You will be able now to grow taller and stronger because of your deep roots.”

In my opinion, success is built on adversity and challenge, not on easy wins.


In our jobs, relationships, and even ordering dinner at a restaurant, life is full of choices. Most of the time, the decision is easy. You want chocolate or vanilla? Easy. But if you have a particularly important challenge and you're not sure how to approach it, here's a technique that can help: Brainstorm a "Do Want – Don’t Want" list.

Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center so that you have two columns. At the top of one column, write Do Want. At the top of the other, write Don't Want.

Then brainstorm everything you Do Want and Don't Want about the situation. Go back and forth between the sides freely. Write down each thing you think, no matter how silly it sounds. No one will read this but you.

For example, if you're stuck trying to figure out how to advance at work, create a Do Want/Don't Want list. Say things like, "I don't want my boss to think I'm being pushy." And "I do want my boss to see me as being supportive of her."

You'll uncover subconscious thoughts that might be sabotaging you, and you'll discover new approaches you might not have considered before.


In the army, they have a saying: "If it moves, salute it. If it doesn't, paint it." Insurance companies have a similar saying: "If it's worthless, ignore it. If it's valuable, insure it."

But as valuable as our pets are, is it worth insuring them?

It comes down to your finances and risk-tolerance. If your pet is healthy, and you have plenty of money, then insurance might not be worth it. It's common to pay $300/year or more for pet insurance.

Remember, like all insurance, the most common treatments aren't covered, so your expensive items like teeth cleanings probably will come out of pocket anyway.

If your pet needs to have an expensive treatment--say $5,000--your insurance may only cover a small fraction of that amount. In most cases, the total you pay for premiums will be greater than the benefit you receive back.

It makes more sense for you to put away a few hundred dollars each year in a household account to care for Fido in his old age.

However, before making that final decision, you might want to have a conversation with your pet's doctor.


On the road towards a cashless society, paying with plastic is the preferred way to go. A survey from CreditCard.com found that 51 percent of adults under 30 will use a credit or debit card for purchases under $5, while 77 percent of people 50 or older prefer to pay cash when buying something for $5 or less.

Debit cards are more popular than credit cards among the younger generation by a 3-to-1 margin, and hold a 2-to-1 margin among users of all ages.


1. Dear Photograph – The website features photographs of people holding up old pictures that were taken at the exact spot several years ago (dearphotograph.com).

2. Stratocam – This is like an online self-running slideshow showcasing some of the best satellite images found on Google Maps. (stratocam.com).

3. This Is Why I’m Broke – Unique products on the Internet that you never knew even existed. Stuff like an iPhone case that doubles as a bottle opener, sandals that resemble computer keyboards or a boat from World War II that you can actually buy (thisiswhyimbroke.com).

4. Is It Normal – Do you like to dip French fries in ice cream? The website will help you understand whether your thoughts, feelings and urges are normal or weird and just unique to you. People can ask questions and once it gets approved, the community can weigh in their thoughts (isitnormal.com).

5. Lamebook – Weird and hilarious stuff that people post on Facebook. The names and profile pictures of the Facebook users are blurred to protect real identity (lamebook.com).

6. Timelapse – Watch how a place has changed over a period of three decades through a series of satellite images from Google Maps. You can use the “Explore our World” link to watch the timelapse of any location on the planet (world.time.com).

7. Reasons My Son Is Crying – If you are a new parent, you’ll love this one. It documents the different reasons that little children cry, as submitted by parents around the world. Also available as a book (reasonsmysoniscrying.com).

8. LOL My Thesis – This site created by an Harvard University senior creates funny and lighthearted one-line summaries of theses like this one submitted by a Sociology student – “It turns out, an only child never fights with its siblings” (lolmythesis.com).

9. Useful Science – This website offers a collection of one-line summaries of research published in scientific journals on topics ranging from health to productivity to creativity (usefulscience.org).

10. 9-Eyes – A collection of interesting images as captured by Google Street view cards around the world. Also check out mapcrunch.com that catalogues street view scenes by location (9-eyes.com).