4 Deserts Race – Queenstown, NZ March ’19

Hello family, friends and colleagues.

In less than three weeks from now I will be participating in an ultramarathon, part of the 4 Deserts Race series – the world’s leading rough-country endurance footrace series.
This year’s ‘Racing the Planet’ event will be held in Queenstown New Zealand, where all competitors will race the 250 km distance while carrying all their own equipment and food.

As part of this challenge I have decided to raise funds to support the work of Assistance Dogs Australia by asking family, friends and colleagues to make a donation.


Assistance Dogs Australia train and place dogs with people in need (free of charge to the individual). It costs in excess of $35,000 to train each dog; everything from purchasing a puppy, to food, vaccinations, training, and placement of dog with client.

Assistance Dogs do not receive any government funding and therefore rely on the generosity of individuals, corporate and philanthropic organisations to provide their vital services to the community.

The services that these dogs are trained to provide are listed at the end of this message, but in addition to these services they provide love and companionship to people who might otherwise be lonely or isolated from the community. This of course comes naturally to dogs – no training required for unconditional friendship.

Please help Assistance Dogs Australia by giving whatever you can using the ‘Donate Now’ button, and please also spread the word by sharing my page with your friends and family.

Thank you in advance for your generosity, it’ll make a huge difference to the life of an adult or child living with a disability.



Services and benefits provided by assistance dogs:
• Open and close doors, drawers and cupboards
• Retrieve dropped items and fridge
• Retrieved dropped items
• Press the button at the traffic lights
• Take the washing out of the machine
• Remove items of clothing
• Pay the cashier at the shops
• Alert bark if their owner is in danger
• Assist with the development and improvement of motor skills
• Provide greater freedom and independence
• Reduce the need for a carer
• Improve self-esteem and confidence


Happy Holidays!!!

That’s a wrap on Toughlove Coaching Sessions for the Year 2017!

It’s been amazing to be surrounded by so many inspiring, beautiful people (……Tough, Crazy and Loud People Too!!)
Looking forward to many more ‘middle of the night’ training session and helping you kick some New Goals for 2018!
Happy Holidays, keep safe and jolly and keep moving!

The Dalai Lama Reveals How You Can Discover the True Nature of Reality

Have you ever wondered about the true nature of reality? Is everything an illusion or is it real?

The Dalai Lama, as one of the world’s most influential spiritual teachers, has thought deeply about this question.

He has shared with us a simple path for figuring it out and experiencing it for yourself.


The eight mundane concerns to let go of

The first step is to understand that there are eight mundane concerns that tend to dominate our lives. They are:

  • becoming elated when someone praises you;
  • becoming depressed when someone insults or belittles you;
  • feeling happy when you experience success;
  • being depressed when you experience failure;
  • being joyful when you acquire wealth;
  • feeling dispirited when you become poor;
  • being pleased when you have fame; and
  • feeling depressed when you lack recognition.

Someone seeking enlightenment into the true nature of reality should ensure that they are not being defiled by these thoughts.

By letting go of your attachment to these kinds of thoughts, you end up transforming your mind in very powerful ways.

Be glad when someone belittles you

As the Dalai Lama says:

“May I be gladdened when someone belittles me, and may I not take pleasure when someone praises me. If I do take pleasure in praise then it immediately increases my arrogance, pride, and conceit; whereas if I take pleasure in criticism, then at least it will open my eyes to my own shortcomings.”

This is indeed a powerful sentiment.

He continues:

“And may I, recognizing all things as illusion, devoid of clinging, be released from bondage.”

In the Buddhist teachings on the ultimate nature of reality, there are two significant time periods to consider:

  1. The actual meditation on emptiness.
  2. The period subsequent to the meditative session when you engage actively with the real world.

In the Dalai Lama’s view:

“Sometimes people have the idea that what really matters is single-pointed meditation on emptiness within the meditative session. They pay much less attention to how this experience should be applied in post-meditation periods. However, I think the post-meditation period is very important. The whole point of meditating on the ultimate nature of reality is to ensure that you are not fooled by appearances can often be deluding. With a deeper understanding of reality, you can go beyond appearances and relate to the world in a much more appropriate, effective, and realistic manner.”

He continues:

“The illusion-like nature of things can only be perceived if you have freed yourself from attachment to phenomena as independent discrete entities. Once you have succeeded in freeing yourself from such attachment, the perception of the illusion-like nature of reality will automatically arise. Whenever things appear to you, although they appear to have an independent or objective existence, you will know as a result of your meditation that this is not really the case. You will be aware that things are not as substantial and solid as they seem. The term ‘illusion’ therefore points to the disparity between how you perceive things and how they really are.”

Blinded by Risk. A small illustration of how this happens to all of us.

This post is a story about how a simple game gave us insight into something quite profound; the blinding effect of seemingly innocuous negative information.   

A number of years ago, we designed a small exercise to demonstrate the idea of how a company can have beliefs about business “truths” that prevent them from seeing important opportunities.

The example that got us thinking was the squeezable ketchup bottle. Heinz had dominated the market in ketchup sales.  When approached by the inventors of the plastic bottle, they dismissed it. They believed their traditional glass bottle and the ritual of coaxing the thick ketchup out by tapping the bottle was iconic of their brand and important to their customers, and therefore a key factor in maintaining their position.

We all know what happened.  Hunts picked up on the plastic bottle and stole a large portion of Heinz’s market share.   Although Heinz now has the plastic bottle, they lost critical dominance for a long time.  Now, nearly all condiments are available in plastic bottles. We started listing other radical ideas which had become important eventually but which were at first rejected by leading industries. The SUV, digital photography, the personal computer and even the television, were radical ideas at the time of invention. We ended up with 10 stories.

We realized that each of these stories has six components: 

  1. The idea itself.
  2. The reasons why it’s a good idea from the point of view of the company that adopted it.
  3. The reasons why the idea is not needed, too risky, or a violation of the product’s image from the point of view of the company that rejected it.
  4. The name of the company that avoided the idea and their market position at the time
  5. The name of the company that embraced the idea and their market position at the time.
  6. The eventual outcome financially for both companies.

We put the six elements of each story on a separate card and arranged them in a series to show how easy it would be to miss important ideas.  Given that we then had a set of 60 cards, we had the idea of color coding each of the six types just to keep them straight.  The reasons for not adopting the new innovation happened to be “red” cards.  The value of the idea was on a green card. The outcomes were on yellow cards, a description of the idea itself was on a blue card, and so on.

This small puzzle made it easy to see the point, but it also showed us something else.  Sometimes we asked people to complete the series and try to match the product with its story elements.

We noticed that when people started their series with the red card, it took them much longer to complete the sets. 

A little later, while giving a talk at a major university’s MBA program, we broke the audience into two teams.  So they wouldn’t know they were working with the same cards, we asked one group to arrange all the red cards vertically and add the matching cards from left to right in order to complete the 10 stories.  We asked the other team to do the same beginning with the green cards.  The “green team” finished in about 7 or 8 minutes. The “red” team never finished.  At the time this was very embarrassing for the participants and a little disconcerting to us, but it also intrigued me.

Starting your thinking with the reasons not to do something clearly had an impact, evenwhen you don’t know what the idea is yet (this was on the blue cards) and it’s not even your industry.    In groups, this effect turned out to be much worse.  We started doing this two-team exercise with groups before a presentation or a speech in order to illustrate how the starting point of a discussion can influence the whole outcome. We had to stop because after numerous tries we realized that no groupwho began with red cards ever finished their sets and this was very upsetting for them. 

What does this mean?

The original idea was to demonstrate the phenomenon philosophers refer to as “shared meaning”, which is specific to our species.  In other words, we participate with other people in common activities and as a result, eventually share their world view.  This happens on a very large scale – at one time everyone believed the earth was flat – or on a micro-cultural level, such as a group of friends having the same world-view. In the same way, people who work for the same company can come to share a common “truth” about the business they are in and what is possible.

But what we observed here was much more powerful and potentially much more disturbing. Even when people do not know each other, know anything about the innovation, or even work for the same company, the manner in which they are introduced to a common task can have a profound impact. A card with four lines indicating the risks of an idea caused them to be completely blinded. They literally could not find the cards that went logically with these risks but rather believed them as self-evident truths that cannot be challenged.  Conversely, the same kinds of teams of strangers who began with the positive outcomes of an idea—an idea that they also did not yet have knowledge of – had a smooth path to see not only the opportunities, but also to finding the card that described the risks, even though they turned out to be unfounded.

It is possible that we tapped into a fundamental cognitive mechanism. Beginning with a positive outcome may not only allow innovation to be recognized, but also put the risks in perspective.  In other words, it might actually be a more objective way to see the whole picture. 

But more to the point of this article, these two paths can happen easily, instantly, out of context and can be very hard to change once turned on.   A small starting thought may literally determine what you can see next in the landscape of information, even when solving a small card puzzle.

Fortunately, it can also be undone easily, instantly and out of context, but that’s the subject of my next post……

|FollowLia DiBello| President and CEO at WTRI

15 Powerful Quotes From Lao Tzu That Will Blow Your Mind Wide Open

Lao Tzu was the founder Taoism, the highly influential philosophy that emphasizes humility, mindful living and fulfilment in life.

He is known to have masterfully implemented detachment, letting go and simplicity in his life. Most importantly, he helped countless people discover their true purpose.

Lao Tzu has been a huge figure in Chinese culture and his teachings are still taught to this very day.

If you want to learn about harmonious and purposeful living, here are some of his most profound quotes that will make reconsider your priorities in life.

The 3 great treasures in life

“Simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world.”

True intelligence and power

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

Let go

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”

Be yourself

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everyone will respect you.”

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”

“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”

Live in the present moment

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

Don’t give up on your dreams

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.”

The art of simplicity

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”

“Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, Have few desires.”

You are eternal

“If you understand others you are smart. If you understand yourself you are illuminated. If you overcome others you are powerful. If you overcome yourself you have strength. If you know how to be satisfied you are rich. If you can act with vigor, you have a will. If you don’t lose your objectives you can be long-lasting. If you die without loss, you are eternal.”

The importance of kindness

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

Three precious things of life

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among men.”