How many of you have ever over packed for a trip on an air-plane? How many of you, once you reach at your destination, realise that you don’t need most of what you brought? You make a mental note for next time not to bring so much.

But, now with all the new luggage rules and regulations, you really can’t take too much with you anymore. So, the decision has been made for you. Isn’t life like this too? When we were children, our parents made decisions for us. But, when we become adults, we start making our own decisions.

Needless to say, some of these decisions are not always the best. But, this is how we learn. Picture your life as the backpack.

We are born, we go to school, we play and we grow. Our backpacks are pretty light as we have others taking on responsibility for us. Our parents, teachers, siblings and extended family members are all helping us to carry our backpacks for us.

Then, we grew up, graduated from school, got a job and started taking on responsibility for carrying our own backpacks.

At this point of time, the weight is bearable as we embark on what is called the Journey of Life.

The funny thing is that most of us could not wait to get here! Somewhere on the way to adulthood, we may have had heart-breaks or loss that weighs our backpacks down, but we are young and strong and keep going. Eventually, most of us get married and start families.

This increased responsibility starts adding more weight to our backpacks. But, we are oblivious of the added weight, as our hearts are light with the love for our spouse and our children.

Time goes on and the roles that we play within our relationships start to take their toll. We are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and so on. The straps are getting uncomfortable. The added stress starts putting impact on us, and we react by overeating, overworking, drinking, taking drugs, indulging in infidelity, or just plain checking out.

Our bodies become heavy, tired and sluggish.

Then, as we go along, comes more to add to the backpack: problems in our relationships, at work, with our children or our families. The straps start digging in, can you feel them?

Just when we think things are getting better, our parents start having health issues. Now, we are juggling our own family, our parents, and whatever else is going on. Can you feel the weight? Are the straps leaving gouges on your shoulders yet?

Sometimes, it gets to the point when the weight is almost too much to bear. We cannot take and go on anymore. Our strength is gone. Some may give up at this point, some may check out, using drugs or alcohol to numb themselves to the world around them. Some will walk away from their responsibilities, or wish that they should.

What is the difference between those who walk away from their responsibilities and those of us that carry our backpacks fully loaded, so to speak, and still get up every day and still take care of our families, do our jobs, visit our parents or hang out with friends?

The answer is simple.

The former ones lack spirituality and values like faith, love, compassion, forgiveness whereas the latter ones keep these values intact in their life. They make a choice everyday of what they put into their backpacks to offset the weight.

They make a choice everyday to lighten their load. They choose having faith in God, their coaches and their family members, and, most importantly, in themselves also.

What are you choosing to put into your backpack, called life?

Is it anger, pain and suffering, or is it love, compassion and forgiveness?

If it is the latter, you are well on your way to lightening your backpack. So, take care of and be conscious of what are you choosing today? What are you putting into your backpack? I know what is mine. You can remake or repack your backpack by choosing and putting values in it I leave you with an option to repack.

Don’t let what is in your backpack at present define your life. You can redefine your life by choosing or putting values and spirituality in it and thereby lead a value-based life.

Originally at https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/life-as-the-backpack

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People are on the right track.

Turning off notifications is a good idea as a way to avoid constant reminders that someone, somewhere, has said something that may require our attention and remove it from the people who are in front of us.

Limiting use of phones at dinner is another simple way to take a small break from social media availability and focus on the people you are with in real life.

This can also be a way to practice limiting use at other times, as you become more used to having your phone turned off or in another room.

Here are some additional strategies that can work:

•Go Offline at Certain Times of Day: If you create windows when you are not available (like dinnertime, after a certain time of night, or even every other hour), you begin to teach yourself how to limit your availability. You also teach others not to expect you to be constantly available. This small boundary may make it easier to disconnect at other times and in other ways.

•Become Comfortable with "Sleep Mode": Putting your phone on "sleep mode" and only checking it once an hour is a good way to keep notifications functional but silent, so you can choose when to let them interrupt your day. This puts you in greater control.

•Ask People to Call You On It: Enlist help by announcing that you’d like to check your phone less when you are with people. You can even make a pact with others that none of you will be on your phones when you are together, as in "olden times" (like 2005). This can help you to stay connected with those you’re with, and make it into a game of sorts, rather than something you try to do alone.

•Delete Your Apps: If you delete social media apps on your phone, you’ll be forced to only use them when you are at your computer or tablet. This makes it more challenging to maintain a mindless habit of checking your phone, but it doesn’t cut you off entirely. The idea is to make yourself think about it more, and to make social media less available—but not completely inaccessible.

•Try Meditation: Because checking your phone can be such an insidious habit, it’s easy to do it without thinking. Getting into a new habit like meditation can help you to become more conscious of the present moment, the here and now. That can also help you to get into the practice of being here, now, rather than wondering who else is saying something online. Practice being fully present and it will become easier to keep your phone in your pocket.

by Rituparna Malini at https://www.speakingtree.in/blog/phone-detox-5-ways-to-go-back-to-good-old-days/m-lite

A decade ago, we started a new annual tradition: sitting down to write a letter about our work in philanthropy. We got the idea from our friend Warren Buffett, who’s been writing brilliant reports to the shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway for more than half a century.

This year we’re marking our 10th letter by answering 10 tough questions about our work that people often ask us. Here is one of them. You can read the rest at gatesletter.com.

Why are you really giving your money away—what’s in it for you?

Bill: It’s not because we think about how we’ll be remembered. We would be delighted if someday diseases like polio and malaria are a distant memory, and the fact that we worked on them is too.

There are two reasons to do something like this. One is that it’s meaningful work. Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy. We think that’s a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you’ve taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society.

The other reason is that we have fun doing it. Both of us love digging into the science behind our work. At Microsoft, I got deep into computer science. At the foundation, it’s computer science plus biology, chemistry, agronomy, and more. I’ll spend hours talking to a crop researcher or an HIV expert, and then I’ll go home, dying to tell Melinda what I’ve learned.

It’s rare to have a job where you get to have both a big impact and a lot of fun. I had it with Microsoft, and I have it with the foundation. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the bulk of my time.

Melinda: We both come from families that believed in leaving the world better than you found it. My parents made sure my siblings and I took the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church to heart. Bill’s mom was known, and his dad still is known, for showing up to advocate for a dizzying number of important causes and support more local organizations than you can count.

When we got to know Warren Buffett, we discovered that he was steeped in those same values, even though he grew up in a different place and at a different time. When Warren entrusted us with giving away a large portion of his wealth, we redoubled our efforts to live up to the values we share.

Of course, these values are not unique to the three of us. Millions of people give back by volunteering their time and donating money to help others. We are, however, in the more unusual position of having a lot of money to donate. Our goal is to do what our parents taught us and do our part to make the world better.

Bill and I have been doing this work, more or less full-time, for 17 years. That’s the majority of our marriage. It’s almost the entirety of our children’s lives. By now the foundation’s work has become inseparable from who we are. We do the work because it’s our life.

We’ve tried to pass on values to our children by talking with them about the foundation’s work, and, as they’ve gotten older, taking them with us on trips so they can see it for themselves. We’ve connected to each other through thousands of daily debriefs on learning sessions, site visits, and strategy meetings. Where we go, who we spend our time with, what we read and watch and listen to—these decisions are made through the prism of our work at the foundation (when we’re not watching The Crown).

Maybe 20 years ago, we could have made a different choice about what to do with our wealth. But now it’s impossible to imagine. If we’d decided to live a different life then, we wouldn’t be us now. This is who we chose to be.

Read the rest of our Annual Letter and ask us your toughest question at gatesletter.com.

Written by

Bill Gates
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Originally at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-were-really-giving-our-money-away-bill-gates

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