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Sunday, 18 December 2011
Let this blog find you in a serene state of mind, cool & calm about life!!
Baby giraffes never go to a business school. But they learn a very important management lesson early in life. A lesson that all of us would do well to remember.
The birth of a baby giraffe is quite an earth-shaking event. The baby falls from its mother’s womb, some eight feet above the ground. It shrivels up and lies still, too weak to move.
The mother giraffe lovingly lowers her neck to kiss the baby giraffe. And then something incredible happens. She lifts her long leg and kicks the baby giraffe, sending it flying up in the air and tumbling down on the ground.
As the baby lies curled up, the mother kicks the baby again and again. Until the baby giraffe, still trembling and tired, pushes its limbs and for the first time learns to stand on its feet. Happy to see the baby standing on its own feet, the mother giraffe comes over and gives it yet another kick. The baby giraffe falls one more time, but now quickly recovers and stands up.
Mama Giraffe is delighted. She knows that her baby has learnt an important lesson:
Never mind how hard you fall, always remember to pick yourself up and get back on your feet.
Why does the mother giraffe do this? She knows that lions and leopards love giraffe meat. So unless the baby giraffe quickly learns to stand and run with the pack – it will have no chance of survival.
Most of us though are not quite as lucky as baby giraffes. No one teaches us to stand up every time we fall. When we fail, when we are down, we just give up.
No one kicks us out of our comfort zone to remind us that to survive and succeed, we need to learn to get back on our feet.
If you study the lives of successful people though, you will see a recurring pattern. Were they always successful in all they did? No.
Did success come to them quick and easy? No, You will find that the common streak running through their lives is their ability to stand up every time they fall. The ability of the baby giraffe!
The road to success is never an easy one. There are several obstacles, and you are bound to fall sooner or later. You will hit a road block, you will taste failure. But success lies in being able to get up every time you fall.
May this story inspire you to come out wiser, stronger & shining from every fall.
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Thursday, 17 November 2011
Let this note find you among lots of well wishers who go out of the way and help you shine in life!!
I was referred to read two sports related books recently by a friend.
- A shot in history – by Abhinav Bindra (first solo Olympic gold medalist from India)
- OPEN – an autobiography by Andre Agassi
Both the books are master pieces by themselves. Written straight from the heart. I have practically zero sports background. But I could relate to what all goes behind to make a world class champion player.
Here is another of my favorite story from the book “The habit of winning” by Prakash Iyer. You may find this interesting!!
Whose parachute are you packing?
Charlie Plumb is an incredible guy. A decorated US war veteran, a navy fighter pilot. And a fabulous example of the indomitable human spirit.
He flew the F-4 Phantom fighter aircraft on seventy-four successful combat mission over North Vietnam. With five days to go to his return home, on his 75th mission, disaster struck. His plane was shot down. Luckily, Captain Plumb managed to eject out of the aircraft and activate his parachute. That saved his life. Unluckily for him, he was captured and jailed, confined to a tiny cell--8 feet by 8 feet. He spent the next 2103 days--that’s six long years--being tortured and humiliated as a prisoner of war before he could finally return home.
Charlie now spends his time sharing his story with others, helping people discover the strengths they need to tap into to overcome challenges in their own lives. He talks of the fear and the loneliness, the stench emanating from the bucket that served as his toilet, the darkness and the gloom in his cell. And he talks of surviving, of not letting the spirit take a beating, of never giving up.
But my favourite Charlie Plumb story is set in happier times. It’s not about the six years of misery in a Vietnam jail but about a calm evening in a restaurant in Kansas City, several years later. Charlie was enjoying his meal when he noticed a gentleman seated a few tables away. He had to notice him. The gentleman was staring at him.
Charlie didn’t think much of it until, a few minutes later, the man walked up to him and said: ‘You’re Charlie Plumb?’
‘Yes,’ replied Captain Plumb, standing up and extending his hand in greeting.
‘You flew jet fighters in Vietnam. You were on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down. You parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years as a prisoner of war,’ continued the stranger.
‘How in the world do you know all that?’ asked Captain Plumb.
He replied. ‘I was the guy who packed your parachute.’
Captain Plumb was left quite speechless, a sense of shock mixed with awe, even as the man continued with a twinkle in his eye, ’I guess it worked!’
Captain plumb thanked the man again, and again, and before parting, he couldn’t help asking: ‘Do you remember all the parachutes you packed?’
‘Not quite,’ came the reply. ‘It’s enough for me just to know that I have served.’
Later that night, as Captain Plumb tossed about in his bed, his mind flashed back to his days as a fighter pilot. He wondered how many times he may have passed by the ‘parachute packer’ without even acknowledging his presence. He wondered if he ever said ‘Good morning!’ or ‘How are you?’ to the man. After all, Captain Plumb was a fighter pilot and the other guy was just a sailor. He couldn’t have cared less.
We may not all be fighter pilots but we all have our parachute packers. People who build our safety nets, encourage us and, in their own small ways, make our successes possible. They remain unsung but somewhere inside, you know they made a difference. It could be that teacher from primary school, that salesman in a faraway town, that workman in the factory, that super-efficient secretary or that accounts clerk who always seemed to have the information you urgently needed…Through life’s challenges, through the take-offs and crash landings in your career and life, they were the people who made it all possible when the going got tough, they kept you going. They just did their jobs—but boy, they sure made you look good. Who do you turn to when the chips are down? So who is packing your parachute?
Unlike Captain Plumb, we aren’t always fortunate enough to come face to face with our parachute packers. So we often don’t get the chance to say thank you. Good idea then to think of the parachute packers in your life, and pick up the phone to thank them. Today. Now.
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Let this note find you full with enthusiasm & energy to deal with the various challenges & excitement life is offering you!!
One of my recent favorite books has been “The habit of winning” By Prakash Iyer. It is written in very simple language. It contains lots of real life inspiring short stories. The interesting part was that when I got the book, I simply could not put it down. I used to sneak every 5 minutes I had between two meetings or any other work to read one more story.
The following two stories on “Making of Champions” are taken from this book. You may find them inspiring.
1. Karoly Takacs – Pistol shooter
Karoly was a sergeant in the Hungarian army. In 1938, the twenty-eight-year-old was the country’s top pistol shooter, having won most major national and international championships. He was--by a mile--the favourite to win gold at the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Then, disaster struck.
At an army training session, a hand grenade accidentally exploded in Karoly’s Hand. And blew it away. His shooting hand. Not only did his entire Olympic dream crash, he also lost a limb.
‘Why me?’ Karoly could have been excused for asking the question most of us would have asked. You would understand it too if he wallowed in self-pity, an understandable reaction for someone after such a tragic turn of events. You would sympathize with him if he were to become a recluse, a living example of how fate can devastate the best-laid plans.
Oh no, not Karoly. He was made of sterner stuff.
Instead of focusing on what he had lost--his right hand, his potentially gold medal-winning shooting hand--he chose to focus on what he still had. He had mental strength, the mindset of a winner, the determination to succeed and yes, a healthy left hand. A left hand which, he thought, he could train and transform into the world’s best shooting hand.
After a month in hospital, Karoly went out and, away from the glare of the world, began practicing to shoot with the left hand. Despite the pain his body still reeled under, despite the strain the left hand had to undergo to also do all that the right hand had earlier done, he stayed focused on his goal: to make his left hand the best shooting hand in the world.
One year later, Karoly resurfaced at the national shooting championship in Hungary. His colleagues were delighted to see him. They complimented him on his courage, and his fabulous gesture of coming over to see them shoot. But they were taken aback when Karoly told them that he wasn’t there to see them shoot; he was there to compete with them.
And compete he did. In fact, Karoly won the championship. Just one year after losing his right hand. He won with his left hand.
Karoly’s decision to practice quietly, away from scrutiny, was significant. It is easy for people to ridicule you for dreaming big. It is also very easy for you to stay afloat in your misery for a sympathy wave laps at you from all over.
Unfortunately for Karoly, his Olympic dream remained unrealized for a while, as two successive Games were cancelled due to the world war.
In 1948, the Olympics came to London. Karoly was chosen to represent Hungary in the pistol shooting event. And he won gold. Shooting with his left hand.
Imagine being a gold medal favourite, losing your shooting hand in an accident, yet picking yourself up from the shattered mess, training your left hand to shoot as well or better, and going on to win the Olympic gold.
Four years later. Helsinki Olympics. Pistol shooting event. Who won gold? No surprises here. Karoly Takacs.
That is the stuff champions are made of.
2. ‘Main Khelega!’ (I will play….): Sachin Tendulkar
24 February 2010: An entire nation erupted with joy as Sachin Tendulkar became the first cricketer to score a double century in a One-day International. In 2961 previous games in international cricket, no man had been able to go on the 200-run mark. And it was only fitting that the man with highest number of runs in Test and One-day cricket (and the highest number of centuries in both forms of the game) had achieved the feat.
As newspapers filled column space with stories and vignettes chronicling the life of India’s greatest cricketer, I thought about my favourite Sachin story. It’s a story that Navjot Singh Sidhu, former Indian cricketer-turned-politician, loves to tell. While the world rises to salute a truly outstanding cricketer, this little tale probably explains, in some small measure, the making of genius. A giant among men. The little Legend!
December 1989, Sialkot, Pakistan. It was the fourth Test match of the India--Pakistan series. And, as it happens, just the fourth Test of Sachin’s career.
Making his debut at sixteen, the cherub-faced, fuzzy-haired Sachin had already won admirers, being widely seen as a precocious talent. However, several young stars had sparkled briefly in India’s cricketing firmament and then, almost as suddenly, faded away—a gross injustice to their enormous talents. Let down on the long highway to success by a faltering mental make-up, that didn’t quite back up their reserves of talent. Would Sachin go the same way? Was he being blooded too early for his own good?
The series was level 0-0 after three Tests. Despite conceding first innings lead of 65 in the fourth Test, Pakistan hit back strongly through blistering spells from Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, reducing India to 38 runs for 4 wickets in their second innings. India was suddenly staring at defeat, with which they would lose the series too.
In walked Sachin to join Sidhu. Experienced pros like Sanjay Manjrekar and Kris Srikkanth, Mohammed Azharuddin and Ravi Shastri had found the Pak attack too hot to handle and were back in the pavilion. How would the new kid on the block cope?
Waqar bowled a nasty bouncer that went smack on Sachin’s nose. The poor boy was badly hit and his nose began to bleed profusely. It made for a sad sight on TV, and most women watching were convinced that there ought to be a law to prevent a sixteen-year-old from being subjected to such brutality.
As the Indian team physiotherapist rushed to offer first-aid and the Pakistanis gathered to check out the bloody sight, Sidhu recalls walking down to a shaken—and still bleeding—Sachin. As the physio tried to stop the bleeding, Sidhu suggested to Sachin that he should retire hurt and come out later. That would give him time to get his nose fixed, regain his composure and hopefully return to a less menacing attack. ‘Go take a break,’ said Sidhu. He feared this might just be the end of another promising career.
‘Come in, I’ll attend to you,’ said the helpful physio.
But Sachin brushed them away, almost annoyed that they should even suggest that he walk away. ’Main khelega!’’ he said. ‘I’ll play.’ And, in that moment, says Sidhu, a star was born. Those two words verbalized the fierce determination of a young man who wasn’t going to quit.
Sachin could have gone into the relative comfort of the dressing room but he didn’t. People watching would have understood but he knew his heart wouldn’t understand. The heat was on. India was in trouble. The pace attack had its tail up. The blood was staining his gloves, his shirt, his face, his spirit.
But the kid would have none of it. Main Khelega it was. Sachin went on to score 57 runs and shared in the match-saving 101-run partnership with Sidhu. With two words--main khelega--talent transformed into genius, that day in Sialkot.
It’s always like that. What separates champions from mere mortals is not just talent. It’s attitude. It’s mental strength. It’s the willingness to fight when the chips are down. It’s the main khelega spirit. The spirit that puts the team’s need ahead of one’s own interest. Main khelega say’s it’s not just about me, it’s about my team.
There are times in our lives when the pressure mounts and we feel like throwing in the towel and calling it quits. That’s just the time when you need to put your hand up and be counted. Time to say main khelega.
As a leader, you may often feel that the world is conspiring to knock you down. You may be looking to win but defeat stares you in the face. At times like these, all a leader looks for is a few good men in his team. For people who say main khelega. And this spirit is contagious. As one man puts his hand up, another hand goes up. And another. And a team starts believing in itself. In its ability to fight, and win.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Let this note find you fully self-expressed in your relationships with others.
In our workshops, topic on building high quality enriching relationships shows up regularly. And one of the most important relationships is between spouses/ partners. It is long term. It is consciously entered into by choice. Here are some interesting thoughts on this special relationship.
From completing each other TO expressing together:
For a long time, it has been considered that marriage is equivalent of two hemispheres coming together and making a perfect sphere.
It was said that they completed each other. Things are changing now. Actually when two people are in love, at that moment, their frequency matches. By design human beings are unique. They grow differently, learn at different paces. So, frequency does diverge.
Now, as the rates of growth diverge, the spherical shape tends to get distorted. To avoid distortion partners have to match their rates of growth. E.g if one partner is growing very fast, he/she will have to restrict his/her growth to match with the other & vice versa. So now they have managed to keep the sphere in place, but lot of stress is built in.
In present times, it may be worthwhile to take a relationship as two complete spheres coming together. So, two complete persons come together to express and share life. Two spheres touching each other make a sign of “Infinity” ∞.
Notice in this connection, there are infinite possibilities. There is room for both to grow at their own pace without straining the other person. Even if the rate of growth of one sphere is more, it maintains the connection and the sign without distortion or stress!
Possessiveness in relationships:
I also read some interesting articles on possessiveness. I noticed that when kids are young especially 1-2 year old, they have no concept of it. They simply own the entire world. They will readily share their toys and also play with others’. Only at the age of 3 or 4, “I” is born in them. They are taught to possess their own belongings and avoid taking what belongs to others. This continues and takes a new form when they grow up and enter into relationships!
Only objects can be possessed. A human is born free. The moment we have an agenda, reason for someone else in our life, it means we are with that person because of that reason. That person becomes an object of desire, emotional support, financial security, social acceptance. Note that he/she has turned into an “object”.
What is the significance of an object? Object has no life. Frequency of humans keeps changing & evolving. Objects have a limited frequency. When a person is related to with an agenda, he/she simply exists and the true possibility of a flowering relationship disappears. If in a relationship both partners have various agendas, it would be like two objects relating to each other!! Such relationship has much less life than what was truly possible.
We thought of creating an empowering declaration that can mark a new beginning in any relationship. Here is a sample that you may find applicable for existing and new relationships:
“The INTENT from now on....
I choose to absolutely express myself at all points of time in this relationship from now on. I promise to surface my true potential always. I promise to create an environment that will allow my partner to be at his/her best and glowing all the time.
I shall always honour individuality and privacy of my partner. I will create an atmosphere of absolute freedom around me and honour my partner’s choices about himself/herself. He/she would be always free to do what he/she wishes to do. This includes spending time, attention, money or any other resources owned by him/her in any manner he/she chooses!
I shall treat my partner as a perfect human being and respect his/her creativity & spontaneity.
I will support my partner unconditionally in fulfilling his/her true purpose of this life.
Everyone who comes in contact with us will experience expansiveness, growth and freedom.
We will make this world a more expressive, bubbly place, full of fun & joy.
SO IT IS NOW”
I am told that this intent is quite challenging to adhere to in totality. I sincerely feel that this may allow the spark to continue for a long time in a relationship.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Few years back I had read a book: “Mutant Message Down Under” by Marlo Morgan. It is an amazing book. It is an account by an American woman doctor who managed to cross the Australian outback from east-coast to west-coast with an aboriginal tribe.
I learnt that time that most of central Australia (called outback) is an extremely tough, hot, completely dry desert. Averse to all life, even trekkers cannot cross it easily with all their water supplies. No one survives there, except for the aborigines. These people who call themselves “REAL PEOPLE” have an amazing relationship with the environment. They communicate well telepathically and have little need for spoken words. They are really connected with nature. They live in harmony with it. They carry no possessions and leave no traces. They use everything that comes on their way with lot of honour. By looking at a plant they can sense if it’s underground tuber is ripe to be eaten. They have their own innovative ways to find water in that extreme climate. They even healed a compound fracture in 2 days!!
As I read the book, I started realizing that in the name of progress, or taming nature, lot of original insights and knowledge has been suppressed. Interestingly these people call the progressive society MUTANTS! - who have mutated from the original design.
Last week I came across another book “Mutant Message from Forever” by the same author. In this the aborigines have an interesting view on emotions. What follows here is an excerpt from that book. You may find it interesting even for our society!!
“Earth is a place for learning by experiencing. As a Forever spirit, you desired to come here and helped to create the way to do so. It was your energy that took the essence of food your mother ate and created a body from what was available. You were aware of the environment, the hereditary, the situations you were setting up and agreed that it was the perfect place for you to experience a special sort of spiritual enrichment.
“If we could only remember our Foreverness, we would easily see that the earth is the school of emotion. Our energy is combined differently from the energy of other things like rain or fire and is different from the energy of other growing forms, the plants and animals. It is unique. We as humans are here to experience emotion and to use our bodies as vehicles to achieve emotional wisdom.
“The body is the way in which humans receive guidance from the spirit world, from the Source, from all our ancestors, from our own perfect Forever Self. All the body senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling, and smelling – are connected to emotions. Actually, I should say emotion is connected to the senses, because the emotion is the foundation.
“Babies are born in a state of emotional peace. What happens to their senses is linked to emotional feelings. As we grow older, for instance, the sound of eagle’s wings seems either to make us feel at ease or to feel apprehension, depending upon our experience with an eagle or what we believe from what we have seen or been told.
“I know as Medicine Man, that when people are aware of this, they can live healthier lives, and I know as a Clever Man, that knowing enables them to bring more Forever light into this human time.”
Googana stood up and, borrowing a digging stick, he began to draw designs in the sand.
“This is the Rainbow Snake. It is the pattern coming from the Source and moving across and under the earth. It is part of the life force going through us like this,”
Googana said, pointing to one of the designs he had just drawn. “The emotion of anger is shaped like this spear.
“When a person becomes angry, instead of flowing freely like water over slippery rocks, the energy of life is pushed off to each side and becomes sharp and pointed. It digs into the body and injures your organs. Just as a spear will inflict a wound and is difficult to pull out, so too, is anger.
“The energy of resentment is like this,” Googana continued,
pointing to another design. “Resentment, too, has a pointed end, but it also contains a barb, so it digs into the person and clings much longer. Resentment is more destructive than anger because it lasts longer.
“When you worry, the energy pattern goes down like this,” Googana said, drawing another design.
“Envy, jealousy, or guilt are more complex then worry and the knots can be in your stomach, under your skin, or can slow the life flow anywhere.
“Sadness is a very minor disruption. And grief is a form of sadness that is actually a loving bond. It can last for the survivor’s lifetime.
“Fear brings things to a halt. It disrupts blood flow, heartbeat, breathing, thinking, digestion – everything. Fear is an interesting emotion because it isn’t actually human. It was taken from the animals, where it serves a wonderful, very temporary survival role. No animal lives in fear. People originally had nothing to fear. They knew they were Forever. They knew any pain or discomfort was temporary. Now fear has become a major energy force surrounding our planet. This is the harm it does inside you.
“When you are happy, smiling, laughing, feeling good, this is how the body receives and uses energy,” he said, pointing to another design.
“And peace, quiet, rest is like this drawing.
“Emotional detachment, such as observation free of judgement is a smooth, complete, healthy, life-enhancing energy like this.
“So you see,” Googana continued, “You are responsible for your energy and for the discipline of your emotions. Everyone experiences how it feels to be in a negative state, but to linger and not to learn from it is to be irresponsible, immature, and unwise. There is alive and non-alive time. Just because someone is breathing doesn’t mean he is alive. Depression is not spending your time alive. It is necessary to mature, to live a long healthy time. Ultimately, we are all accountable for our time as humans and how we use our free-will gift.
“In mutant terms, I think they would refer to it as an eternal scorecard. There is an entry indicating how many seconds you were alive. The record is divided into how many seconds of your life you spent in peace, feeling fulfilled, feeling good, as you do when you help someone else, seconds spent in the joy of laughter or in the bliss of music. Also recorded are the times over your one hundred years or so of existence when you were angry and chose to stay angry, or felt hatred and harboured it.
“Every word you utter goes out into the vapour and can never be recaptured. You can say ‘I’m sorry,’ but that doesn’t retract the first energy. Intent is energy. Action is energy. But a person may act one way with a very hidden intention. All human consciousness is cumulative. There is now such a thick layer surrounding Mother Earth that in some places people are fed by taking in the breath and thought of collective victimness and in turn they replace the void with more of the same. There is also a layer that developed from the beliefs and actions of, ‘me first, nothing else counts, get what is wanted at any cost, it doesn’t matter.’ People’s intentions have been to see what can be invented, what can be used without any concern for the life left tomorrow or even if life will be possible tomorrow. Spirits of the newborns and young children are so wonderfully positive that many now come to earth and stay only a short time. They put all their energy into balancing and eventually removing the negative.
“We as individuals either add to this destructive force by everything we do daily, or we direct our energy into supporting the harmony, beauty, and preservation of life on this earth.
“Your life, your body, your future can be like this,”
“or, this can be your world.
You alone determine which it will be.
“Human life is a spiral, we come from Forever and we return there, we hope at a higher level. Time is a circle, and our relationships are also circles. As aboriginal children, we learnt early in life the importance of closing each circle, each relationship. If there is a disagreement we will stay awake until it is resolved. We wouldn’t go to sleep hoping to find a solution tomorrow or at some future date. That would be leaving a circle open with frayed ends.”
“But,” Beatrice asked, “What if you asked someone to do something? Say you asked a person three or four times, and he failed to do it. Certainly you would be disappointed in that person. It would not be easy just to say forget it, and close the circle on a positive note, as you say.”
“Well, the alternative is to continue to associate the emotion of disappointment with that person. Ten years later the mere thought or mention of that name would cause the feeling, which in turn would cause physical distortion to your body. You must admit that that isn’t very wise.”
“So how would you handle it?” Beatrice asked. “What would you do?”
“Personally I would say to the other person, ‘Guess what? I felt disappointed when you ignored my asking you to do me a favour and I asked again and again and felt more and more disappointed.’ I would laugh and add, ‘I must be a slow learner. I should have realized after your first response that you weren’t going to do this. It wasn’t something you wanted to do. You probably thought it was pretty silly when I asked again. You are right. It was silly. I am sorry it took me so long to see that you weren’t interested.’ We would end up laughing at my actions and both would be the wiser for the encounter. Then my circle would be closed.”
“But what if it were a really serious matter? For instance, a relative of yours was doing or saying things that were very offensive to you. It really upset you. The person was truly acting in a manner that, as you say, didn’t smell right for you. What would you do about the circle in that relationship?”
“I would say to this relative quite firmly, ‘I love you but I do not like the actions you take. I realize they are not a mistake. I know it is right for you to be this way because that is how you chose to express yourself. But I have tried and I cannot accept what you say and do as being right for me, so I must now release our relationship. I cannot put any more energy into it. I love you, but I do not like what you do. So you have my best wishes and good-bye.’”
“Wow,” Beatrice said. “So you are saying that if I close the circle on a spiritual high, that’s the end of it for me! If the other person accepts, then the circle is closed for him too. If he doesn’t accept what I say, it doesn’t matter because any circle left with frayed edges is strictly his circle, his spiritual challenge. He is keeping it open.”
“Exactly. You don’t have to like everybody. Not everybody is likeable. What you did agree to do before you were born was to love everyone. It is easy to do. Love the Forever in all people, and put your energy into those who are of like consciousness. The only way you can influence anyone else is by example. They aren’t going to change until they are ready. And remember, it is okay. In the scheme of Forever, it really is okay.
“You have come into this world on one level of spiritual awareness and have the opportunity to leave on a broadened plane.”
After a moment of thinking, Beatrice asked, “What about people from years ago? People I still feel resentment towards. Someone I may never see again.”
“No matter. Have the talk silently and send it to them on a rainbow wherever he or she might be. It will find them. Turn your old judgement into an observation. No one has to be forgiven. We just have to be more understanding. Heal the wound in your mind, in your emotions, in your wholeness. Close the circle and walk forward.”
Excerpt from “Mutant Message from Forever – a novel of aboriginal wisdom” by Marlo Morgan
I sincerely wish that this excerpt give you a new insight to emotions in life.