Some useful tips to live a magical life


A monk decides to meditate alone, away from his monastery. He takes his boat out to the middle of the lake, moors it there, closes his eyes and begins his meditation.

After a few hours of undisturbed silence, he suddenly feels the bump of another boat colliding with his own. With his eyes still closed, he senses his anger rising, and by the time he opens his eyes, he is ready to scream at the boatman who dared disturb his meditation.

But when he opens his eyes, he sees it’s an empty boat that had probably got untethered and floated to the middle of the lake.


At that moment, the monk achieves self-realization, and understands that the anger is within him; it merely needs the bump of an external object to provoke it out of him.

From then on, whenever he comes across someone who irritates him or provokes him to anger, he reminds himself,

“The other person is merely an empty boat. The anger is within me.”

Some useful & timeless tips to live a magical life

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay ‘them’

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever.. Never let the brain idle. ‘An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ And the devil’s name is Alzheimer’s.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

We all need to live life to its fullest each day, Worry about nothing, pray about everything!!!


About company secretary


Quick Reference to “Company Secretary”.

Legal Provision:-

Section 2(24), 2(25), 2(51), 203, 205, of Companies Act, 2013.

Rule 8A of Companies (Appointment and Remuneration of Managerial Personnel) Rules, 2014.

Company Secretaries Act, 1980.


1. In simple words, Company Secretary means A Member of Institute of Company Secretaries of India.

2. Membership is either Associate Member (ACS) or Fellow Member (FCS).

3. ACS is the first membership of ICSI and if that person completed 5 years from date of ACS membership then he/she can apply for fellow member.

4. PCS i.e. Practising Company Secretary must have membership number plus Certificate of Practice ( COP number). He must be in full time practice.

5. Any Company having paid up capital of ₹ 5 cr or more should have whole time cs in employment.

6. Company Secretary is considered as Key Managerial Personnel.

7. The Secretarial Audit can done by PCS only.

8. Form DIR-12 and MGT-14 is required to file for appointment of CS in Company.

9. Basically, Company Secretary is the Compliance officer. He has to ensure about Compliance of Companies under various Acts, rules etc.

10. A Company Secretary must not hold office in more than one Company except in its subsidiary Company at the same time.

11. The Form MR-1 is not required to filed for appointment of Company Secretary.

Never give up

*”I remember the historic football match between Nigeria and Brazil in Atlanta 1996.*
Brazil was the king of global football and they knew it.
Nigeria losing to Brazil that night would not be a big deal.

Till around 77th minutes (about 12 minutes to the end of the game) Brazil was obviously dominating the game. The score line was *Brazil 3, Nigeria 1.*
Despite the *Brazil squad including star names such as Carlos, Rivaldo, Bebeto and Ronaldo,* Nigerians watching the game still think Nigeria did not deserve such humiliation by Brazil boys, we had been beaten mercilessly.

*Nigerians became angry toward the end of the match;*
many had turned off their Television sets, some were shedding tears.
*While few hoped and prayed that we would not be further disgraced with yet another goal.*
But the unimaginable happened in the game.
*At about 78th minutes* Victor Ikepba stroked from 20 meters to score the second goal, everything changed beyond the *3:2* score line.
*Pressure came upon Brazil.*
*And hope for the Nigeria* *players*, they became more motivated and began to fire shots from every angle.
*Then another miracle*, at the *90th minute,* just before the final whistle, *Kanu Nwankwo* turned and flipped the ball over *Dida-The Brazilian keeper,* and it was another goal, *the equalizer.*
What a wonderful match.
And there was a rule then,
“the Golden Goal”.
That the first to score in the extra time wins the game.
*Then came the decisive goal from ‘Papilo’*
in just 3 minutes of the extra time.
*And that was how the messy game became a message.*

_**A lot can still be done this year to make it a glorious year,_
_the remaining part of the year is sufficient to define the whole year._**

*Don’t loose hope now.*
*It is too early to give up on your beautiful expectations for this year.*
*It is not over until it is over.*
_Wipe off the tears and buckle your shoes._

1. Review
2. Re-strategize
3. Relaunch.

*You will win.*
_Resist the pull of fatigue regardless of the past_ _disappointments,_
_delayed gratification,_
_and broken, promises._
Keep moving..

Be motivated, hardworking & disciplined


4 apps keep you calm & relaxed

Android Meditating Apps

So how do we clear this cluttered mind? Surely, setting aside our smart gadgets is not a practical solution nor is the choice of going up to the Himalayas to meditate.

So why not go by the old English saying of killing two birds with one stone and turn to our smartphones for help?


1. Calm – Meditate, Sleep, Relax

Calm has a varied list of topics which you can choose depending on your sour spot, including the free seven-day guided meditation exercises. And if you are among the new age crowd who have trouble falling asleep, Calm has a collection of soothing bed-time audio stories that will help you to fall into natural sleep.

Meditation Apps (2)


Meditation Apps (4)

Then there is the Breathe program, which is a compilation of short breathing exercises coupled with soothing music.

Plus, this app comes with amazing themes, so even if you aren’t doing any meditation the theme music will make sure that you leave all the worry behind.

If you ask me, my favorite is the rain theme, nothing’s more calming than listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops.

The paid version which opens up much more programs including the 21-day guided course for the general well-being, among many others.

2. Insight Timer – Meditation App

An app with 1.1M registered user, Insight Timer does a hell of a job when it comes to meditation. It has over 3000+ guided meditations and the best part is that it’s completely free with no locked contents.

Meditation Apps (7)


Meditation Apps (8)

The app is huge, with a ton of contents like guided meditation, basic meditation, and self-meditation.

So if you want to grab a few minutes of zen, tap on Timer and loose yourself to the hum of guitar strings.

Most of the contents are free, however, you might need to shell out few bucks for some of the audio tracks in the Timer tab.

3. Headspace – meditation

If you are a beginner to the field of meditation, Headspace will make it easy for you to break ground. The free course consist of a 10-day program which lasts for 10 minutes each, helping you to create a habit out of it.

Meditation Apps (5)


Meditation Apps (6)

Unlike the other apps, this one has a few features beyond the ‘zen circle’. For instance, one of them is designed to reduce the fear of flying while another one promises to increase mindfulness.

The downside of Headspace is most of the cool programs are hidden behind the paywall. But then, what’s the harm in investing in a good lifestyle choice when you see the [free] courses yielding results.

4. Meditation Music – Relax, Yoga

People say that music is the ultimate stress buster and if you are one who goes by this mantra, then you will love the Meditation music app. As indicative of its name, this app has a collection of meditation music.

Meditation Apps (1)


Meditation Apps (9)

The timer can be set to turn off the music automatically. The UI is super-simple, one merely needs to choose the music, adjust the timer and sit back and relax.

Ahoy.. iOS user, unwind and relax with the help of these apps.

So..Keep Calm and Meditate

Our mind is an incredible place where thousands of thoughts and creative ideas are born daily, but it’s dimmed by stress, anxiety, and over-thinking. And meditation is one of the many ways by which we can keep a healthy mind. The best thing about these apps is they can be used almost anywhere, even during your work hours or on your way home. So when are you starting?

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11 successful people giving best advice on success

My father, Charlie Harrington, was my first and best mentor. He taught me to analyze my day on a dollar-a-minute basis. Every Sunday, I examine the week ahead. I evaluate where to dedicate my time before moving things around. I ask, How long will this take? What’s my upside? What’s the opportunity cost?

I turn down free equity in people’s businesses every day because they want too much of my time: a weekly one-hour call, a monthly face-to-face meeting, a quarterly retreat. But it’s a startup. If it makes $1 million in three years, I’ll get 5 percent, which is $50,000. The math isn’t worth it.

I recently acquired 2 million shares of stock in a public company, trading at 60 cents a share. They only asked for a quarterly board meeting—two in person. The upside made it worth my time.

Kevin Harrington, inventor of the infomercial, pioneer of the “As Seen on TV” industry, and original Shark on Shark Tank

11 Ways to Stay Motivated From People Who Refused to Quit
2. Your income correlates with the value you bring.

I met my mentor, Bill Mitchell, at 20 years old. I vividly remember his best advice: He asked about my goals, and I replied, “To earn $250,000 in commissions.” Laughing, he said, “Don’t focus on making money until after 30 years old.”

This seemed crazy because he was wildly successful, so I asked, “Why not?” He explained if you chase money, you’ll always just chase money and rarely be happy. “Instead, become more valuable than anyone. Deliver more service, help everyone achieve goals and become their best. And guess what will happen? Buckets of money will be given to you.”

Too many in today’s world want life’s riches, but very few understand and act on my mentor’s advice: Your income always directly correlates to the value you bring to the market.

—Tom Ferry, founder and CEO of Tom Ferry International, ranked the No. 1 real estate coach by the Swanepoel Power 200, and New York Times best-selling author of Life! By Design

Danae Ringelmann
3. Humbly say yes.

My mentor taught me, “The world likes inertia. It loves to say no. As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to keep saying yesand create the change that the world doesn’t yet know it needs. Don’t expect any thanks or pats on the back. Seeing the change you helped shepherd will be enough reward in itself.

Danae Ringelmann, founder and chief development officer of Indiegogo

10 Morning Routines of Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs
4. Remember the human touch.

Bill Draper, my father, told me that it doesn’t matter who is doing the selling or who is doing the buying; it’s the human connection that counts. I think about that every time I raise a fund or hear an entrepreneur pitch me.

Tim Draper, legendary VC, founder of Draper Associates and DFJ 

michael oved
5. Don’t get in your own way.

The advice I’ve carried throughout my career is, “Three things bring great people down: fear, greed and ego.” If you look back at the downfall of any leader throughout history, you’ll find they exhibited at least one of these traits, if not all of them.

Vinnie Viola, a man who beat the odds by becoming a self-made billionaire after growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, and whose father was a truck driver, told me this one night over a drink while we were in Austin. His advice guided me to make some of the most successful business partnerships by focusing my efforts on people who are level-headed, generous and humble. And I too strive to exhibit these qualities in my own life.

Michael Oved, founder of Swap Protocol; passionate about a future where people fearlessly trade digital value without third-party intervention

Bret Lockett
6. Be very careful how you spend the first and last two hours of each day.

My closest mentor—one of the most successful leaders in the financial industry—gave me this tidbit early in my career: “Most people wake up reactively, adhering to the world’s needs, not their own.” In a world of unlimited communication, people don’t disconnect from society to analyze their lives.

The first two hours of your day should be spent aligning your short-term efforts with your long-term goals. I wake up during the week at 3:30 a.m., taking the time to meditate and read for 20 minutes. Then I spend an hour doing an intensive workout like circuit training or hiking.

The last two hours of your day dictates your energy for the next day. I spend an hour studying or learning a new skill, and the last hour planning my next day.

Learn to work harder on yourself than your job.

Bret Lockett, former NFL player, and senior partner of M2Jets; connect with M2Jets on Instagram

Yuli Ziv
7. Think big; don’t be afraid to be bold.

Becoming an entrepreneur takes you from making a nice salary to suddenly raising or juggling budgets worth the same amount. Your scale completely changes. At times, it’s terrifying to think of the risk taken with the money you could have lived off for a long time.

One of the investors in my first company, who was a successful entrepreneur with multiple businesses, pushed me to scale quickly and not waste time on building things slow. His advice: “Think big; don’t be afraid to do bold things that will put your ideas and business on the map.”

It pushed me to try bold strategies that still pay off today. Whether it’s investing in a new product that generates press buzz or betting on an expensive employee who will pay off with dividends, “not afraid to think big” became my mantra.

Yuli Ziv, founder and CEO of Style Coalition, bestselling author of Millionaire Influencer, and immigrant entrepreneur who bootstrapped her business from zero to millions

alison dunn
8. Choose your spouse wisely.

A mentor once shared this powerful piece of advice: “The only person in your whole life you get to choose is your spouse—everyone else is given to us: parents, siblings, schoolmates, co-workers, neighbors, even your children—so choose wisely.”

I wholeheartedly believe that choosing a life partner is one of the single greatest influences on our life’s journey—from our health to our wealth, from the depth and breadth of the life we live.

Whether you’re single, married or divorced, now is the time to work on “who you need to be” to attract, evolve or improve the relationship with your current or future soul mate. It’s a choice—choose wisely.

Allison Dunn, president and CEO of Deliberate Directions, and award-winning executive business coach

Joe Kakaty
9. Invest in authentic relationships.

Business is personal. Be willing to give in relationships happily, whether it’s your time, a favor or information relevant to the success of their business. Authentic relationships require an investment of time, energy and effort, so select the right people to spend time with, and enthusiastically invest in those relationships.

Additionally, integrity and character will always matter if your goal is to build real and trusting relationships. Be the type of person you would want to do business with.

Joe Kakaty, co-founder and president of Poker Central

Joshua Harris
10. Live within your means.

The best piece of advice I ever got was, “Don’t numb your desire for success by using debt to live outside your means.” Using debt to acquire luxuries or a lifestyle outside your current income takes away any fire to hit your success goals. You in effect put the work and reward backward.

I didn’t take a vacation for years until I got my business to a consistent point that my lifestyle cannot even make a dent in it. If you’re living well within your means and investing in education and skills, one day you’ll wake up with more than enough to afford the things you want, and have the cash reserves.

Joshua Harris, founder of Quantum Jump Consultingstarted first business at 12 and now teaches entrepreneurs how to start and grow a digital marketing business from scratch

11 Ways to Stay Motivated From People Who Refused to Quit
11. Be grateful, have fun and take care of others.

My amazing parents will always be my favorite mentors. As immigrants, they did whatever it took to take care of our family as six of us packed in a two-bedroom apartment in Redondo Beach, California.

They both worked two full-time jobs, yet made time to go dancing, take us to the beach, and give food or money to those less fortunate. They both eventually became successful businesspeople, yet continued to live by the same altruistic principles no matter how much they were worth monetarily.

Today, my extended family still takes the time to have fun together, gratefully enjoy the things money can’t

Read mark zuckerberg’s full commencement address at Harvard

Overseers, faculty, alumni, friends, proud parents, members of the ad board, and graduates of the greatest university in the world,

I’m honored to be with you today because, let’s face it, you accomplished something I never could. If I get through this speech, it’ll be the first time I actually finish something at Harvard. Class of 2017, congratulations!

I’m an unlikely speaker, not just because I dropped out, but because we’re technically in the same generation. We walked this yard less than a decade apart, studied the same ideas and slept through the same Ec10 lectures. We may have taken different paths to get here, especially if you came all the way from the Quad, but today I want to share what I’ve learned about our generation and the world we’re building together.

Mark Zuckerberg Commencement Address | Harvard Commencement 2017

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg gave his address at Harvard’s 366th Commencement on May 25, 2017 at Tercentenary Theatre.

But first, the last couple of days have brought back a lot of good memories.

How many of you remember exactly what you were doing when you got that email telling you that you got into Harvard? I was playing Civilization and I ran downstairs, got my dad, and for some reason, his reaction was to video me opening the email. That could have been a really sad video. I swear getting into Harvard is still the thing my parents are most proud of me for.

What about your first lecture at Harvard? Mine was Computer Science 121 with the incredible Harry Lewis. I was late so I threw on a t-shirt and didn’t realize until afterwards it was inside out and backwards with my tag sticking out the front. I couldn’t figure out why no one would talk to me — except one guy, KX Jin, he just went with it. We ended up doing our problem sets together, and now he runs a big part of Facebook. And that, Class of 2017, is why you should be nice to people.

But my best memory from Harvard was meeting Priscilla. I had just launched this prank website Facemash, and the ad board wanted to “see me”. Everyone thought I was going to get kicked out. My parents came to help me pack. My friends threw me a going away party. As luck would have it, Priscilla was at that party with her friend. We met in line for the bathroom in the Pfoho Belltower, and in what must be one of the all time romantic lines, I said: “I’m going to get kicked out in three days, so we need to go on a date quickly.”

Actually, any of you graduating can use that line.

I didn’t end up getting kicked out — I did that to myself. Priscilla and I started dating. And, you know, that movie made it seem like Facemash was so important to creating Facebook. It wasn’t. But without Facemash I wouldn’t have met Priscilla, and she’s the most important person in my life, so you could say it was the most important thing I built in my time here.

We’ve all started lifelong friendships here, and some of us even families. That’s why I’m so grateful to this place. Thanks, Harvard.

Today I want to talk about purpose. But I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. We’re millennials. We’ll try to do that instinctively. Instead, I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

One of my favorite stories is when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon”.

Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.

You’re graduating at a time when this is especially important. When our parents graduated, purpose reliably came from your job, your church, your community. But today, technology and automation are eliminating many jobs. Membership in communities is declining. Many people feel disconnected and depressed, and are trying to fill a void.

As I’ve traveled around, I’ve sat with children in juvenile detention and opioid addicts, who told me their lives could have turned out differently if they just had something to do, an after school program or somewhere to go. I’ve met factory workers who know their old jobs aren’t coming back and are trying to find their place.

To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose.

I remember the night I launched Facebook from my little dorm in Kirkland House. I went to Noch’s with my friend KX. I remember telling him I was excited to connect the Harvard community, but one day someone would connect the whole world.

The thing is, it never even occurred to me that someone might be us. We were just college kids. We didn’t know anything about that. There were all these big technology companies with resources. I just assumed one of them would do it. But this idea was so clear to us — that all people want to connect. So we just kept moving forward, day by day.

I know a lot of you will have your own stories just like this. A change in the world that seems so clear you’re sure someone else will do it. But they won’t. You will.

But it’s not enough to have purpose yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others.

I found that out the hard way. You see, my hope was never to build a company, but to make an impact. And as all these people started joining us, I just assumed that’s what they cared about too, so I never explained what I hoped we’d build.

A couple years in, some big companies wanted to buy us. I didn’t want to sell. I wanted to see if we could connect more people. We were building the first News Feed, and I thought if we could just launch this, it could change how we learn about the world.

Nearly everyone else wanted to sell. Without a sense of higher purpose, this was the startup dream come true. It tore our company apart. After one tense argument, an advisor told me if I didn’t agree to sell, I would regret the decision for the rest of my life. Relationships were so frayed that within a year or so every single person on the management team was gone.

That was my hardest time leading Facebook. I believed in what we were doing, but I felt alone. And worse, it was my fault. I wondered if I was just wrong, an imposter, a 22 year-old kid who had no idea how the world worked.

Now, years later, I understand that *is* how things work with no sense of higher purpose. It’s up to us to create it so we can all keep moving forward together.

Today I want to talk about three ways to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.

First, let’s take on big meaningful projects.

Our generation will have to deal with tens of millions of jobs replaced by automation like self-driving cars and trucks. But we have the potential to do so much more together.

Every generation has its defining works. More than 300,000 people worked to put a man on the moon – including that janitor. Millions of volunteers immunized children around the world against polio. Millions of more people built the Hoover dam and other great projects.

These projects didn’t just provide purpose for the people doing those jobs, they gave our whole country a sense of pride that we could do great things.

Now it’s our turn to do great things. I know, you’re probably thinking: I don’t know how to build a dam, or get a million people involved in anything.

But let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.

If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook.

Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started. Oh, you know what else movies get wrong about innovation? No one writes math formulas on glass. That’s not a thing.

It’s good to be idealistic. But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.

In our society, we often don’t do big things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes that we ignore all the things wrong today if we do nothing. The reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.

So what are we waiting for? It’s time for our generation-defining public works. How about stopping climate change before we destroy the planet and getting millions of people involved manufacturing and installing solar panels? How about curing all diseases and asking volunteers to track their health data and share their genomes? Today we spend 50x more treating people who are sick than we spend finding cures so people don’t get sick in the first place. That makes no sense. We can fix this. How about modernizing democracy so everyone can vote online, and personalizing education so everyone can learn?

These achievements are within our reach. Let’s do them all in a way that gives everyone in our society a role. Let’s do big things, not only to create progress, but to create purpose.

So taking on big meaningful projects is the first thing we can do to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose.

The second is redefining equality to give everyone the freedom they need to pursue purpose.

Many of our parents had stable jobs throughout their careers. Now we’re all entrepreneurial, whether we’re starting projects or finding or role. And that’s great. Our culture of entrepreneurship is how we create so much progress.

Now, an entrepreneurial culture thrives when it’s easy to try lots of new ideas. Facebook wasn’t the first thing I built. I also built games, chat systems, study tools and music players. I’m not alone. JK Rowling got rejected 12 times before publishing Harry Potter. Even Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs to get Halo. The greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail.

But today, we have a level of wealth inequality that hurts everyone. When you don’t have the freedom to take your idea and turn it into a historic enterprise, we all lose. Right now our society is way over-indexed on rewarding success and we don’t do nearly enough to make it easy for everyone to take lots of shots.

Let’s face it. There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.

Look, I know a lot of entrepreneurs, and I don’t know a single person who gave up on starting a business because they might not make enough money. But I know lots of people who haven’t pursued dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.

We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky too. If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had.

Every generation expands its definition of equality. Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights. They had the New Deal and Great Society. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation.

We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things. We’re going to change jobs many times, so we need affordable childcare to get to work and healthcare that aren’t tied to one company. We’re all going to make mistakes, so we need a society that focuses less on locking us up or stigmatizing us. And as technology keeps changing, we need to focus more on continuous education throughout our lives.

And yes, giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it. Many of you will do well and you should too.

That’s why Priscilla and I started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and committed our wealth to promoting equal opportunity. These are the values of our generation. It was never a question of if we were going to do this. The only question was when.

Millennials are already one of the most charitable generations in history. In one year, three of four US millennials made a donation and seven out of ten raised money for charity.

But it’s not just about money. You can also give time. I promise you, if you take an hour or two a week — that’s all it takes to give someone a hand, to help them reach their potential.

Maybe you think that’s too much time. I used to. When Priscilla graduated from Harvard she became a teacher, and before she’d do education work with me, she told me I needed to teach a class. I complained: “Well, I’m kind of busy. I’m running this company.” But she insisted, so I taught a middle school program on entrepreneurship at the local Boys and Girls Club.

I taught them lessons on product development and marketing, and they taught me what it’s like feeling targeted for your race and having a family member in prison. I shared stories from my time in school, and they shared their hope of one day going to college too. For five years now, I’ve been having dinner with those kids every month. One of them threw me and Priscilla our first baby shower. And next year they’re going to college. Every one of them. First in their families.

We can all make time to give someone a hand. Let’s give everyone the freedom to pursue their purpose — not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because when more people can turn their dreams into something great, we’re all better for it.

Purpose doesn’t only come from work. The third way we can create a sense of purpose for everyone is by building community. And when our generation says “everyone”, we mean everyone in the world.

Quick show of hands: how many of you are from another country? Now, how many of you are friends with one of these folks? Now we’re talking. We have grown up connected.

In a survey asking millennials around the world what defines our identity, the most popular answer wasn’t nationality, religion or ethnicity, it was “citizen of the world”. That’s a big deal.

Every generation expands the circle of people we consider “one of us”. For us, it now encompasses the entire world.

We understand the great arc of human history bends towards people coming together in ever greater numbers — from tribes to cities to nations — to achieve things we couldn’t on our own.

We get that our greatest opportunities are now global — we can be the generation that ends poverty, that ends disease. We get that our greatest challenges need global responses too — no country can fight climate change alone or prevent pandemics. Progress now requires coming together not just as cities or nations, but also as a global community.

But we live in an unstable time. There are people left behind by globalization across the world. It’s hard to care about people in other places if we don’t feel good about our lives here at home. There’s pressure to turn inwards.

This is the struggle of our time. The forces of freedom, openness and global community against the forces of authoritarianism, isolationism and nationalism. Forces for the flow of knowledge, trade and immigration against those who would slow them down. This is not a battle of nations, it’s a battle of ideas. There are people in every country for global connection and good people against it.

This isn’t going to be decided at the UN either. It’s going to happen at the local level, when enough of us feel a sense of purpose and stability in our own lives that we can open up and start caring about everyone. The best way to do that is to start building local communities right now.

We all get meaning from our communities. Whether our communities are houses or sports teams, churches or music groups, they give us that sense we are part of something bigger, that we are not alone; they give us the strength to expand our horizons.

That’s why it’s so striking that for decades, membership in all kinds of groups has declined as much as one-quarter. That’s a lot of people who now need to find purpose somewhere else.

But I know we can rebuild our communities and start new ones because many of you already are.

I met Agnes Igoye, who’s graduating today. Where are you, Agnes? She spent her childhood navigating conflict zones in Uganda, and now she trains thousands of law enforcement officers to keep communities safe.

I met Kayla Oakley and Niha Jain, graduating today, too. Stand up. Kayla and Niha started a non-profit that connects people suffering from illnesses with people in their communities willing to help.

I met David Razu Aznar, graduating from the Kennedy School today. David, stand up. He’s a former city councilor who successfully led the battle to make Mexico City the first Latin American city to pass marriage equality — even before San Francisco.

This is my story too. A student in a dorm room, connecting one community at a time, and keeping at it until one day we connect the whole world.

Change starts local. Even global changes start small — with people like us. In our generation, the struggle of whether we connect more, whether we achieve our biggest opportunities, comes down to this — your ability to build communities and create a world where every single person has a sense of purpose.

Class of 2017, you are graduating into a world that needs purpose. It’s up to you to create it.

Now, you may be thinking: can I really do this?

Remember when I told you about that class I taught at the Boys and Girls Club? One day after class I was talking to them about college, and one of my top students raised his hand and said he wasn’t sure he could go because he’s undocumented. He didn’t know if they’d let him in.

Last year I took him out to breakfast for his birthday. I wanted to get him a present, so I asked him and he started talking about students he saw struggling and said “You know, I’d really just like a book on social justice.”

I was blown away. Here’s a young guy who has every reason to be cynical. He didn’t know if the country he calls home — the only one he’s known — would deny him his dream of going to college. But he wasn’t feeling sorry for himself. He wasn’t even thinking of himself. He has a greater sense of purpose, and he’s going to bring people along with him.

It says something about our current situation that I can’t even say his name because I don’t want to put him at risk. But if a high school senior who doesn’t know what the future holds can do his part to move the world forward, then we owe it to the world to do our part too.

Before you walk out those gates one last time, as we sit in front of Memorial Church, I am reminded of a prayer, Mi Shebeirach, that I say whenever I face a challenge, that I sing to my daughter thinking about her future when I tuck her into bed. It goes:

“May the source of strength, who blessed the ones before us, help us *find the courage* to make our lives a blessing.”

I hope you find the courage to make your life a blessing.

Congratulations, Class of ’17! Good luck out there.

The secrets of people who never get sick

“Some lucky folk claim to never get a cold or take days off work. Can we become more like them?

Some lucky folk claim to never get a cold or take days off work. Can we become more like them?
10.05 EST Last modified on Wednesday 22 February 2017 12.39 EST
Every now and then one pops up at work, down the pub, in the park, outside the school gate, or in your own family’s mythology. The person who claims never to get sick. Colds brush past them without leaving so much as a sniffle. They laugh in the flushed face of flu, spray hand sanitiser in the rheumy eyes of infection, and never take a day off work. They appear to be superhuman, with the kind of kickass immune systems the rest of us mere ailing mortals can only dream about as we dissolve another 1,000mg vitamin C tablet and hope for the best. What are their secrets? Can we become more like them? Do they even exist?
“I hardly ever get a cold, bug or infection,” says Lore Lucas, a 97-year-old Jewish refugee and Holocaust survivor who has lived in Glasgow since 1946. “I never drank or smoked, I sleep well and I like a little rest during the day, preferably in bed, or rather on the bed … just shoes off.” What about her diet? “I have been known to have a great dislike for cheese,” she replies, “and I really do not like the Scottish specialities mince, haggis, or porridge.”
During her professional life, first as a maternity nurse in Geneva, where she lived after fleeing Nazi Germany in March, 1938, and then as an office secretary, Lucas never had a day off due to sickness. Did she get ill after the war? “By that time, I was fully aware I would never see my parents, sister, grandparents, ever again,” she says. “Very traumatic … but matters turned much to my favour when I got married in 1946.” Lucas, who has one son and granddaughter and has been a widow for 30 years, puts her exceptional health down to a combination of good genes and a good life. Oh, and a good game of bridge. “To keep active, I play a lot,” she confesses over email as “my hearing aids do not work too well on the phone”. “I am quite addicted, I play in various clubs, and enjoy a social game at home.”

Can you boost your immune system with lemon and ginger tea? Photograph: Getty/iStockphoto

On average, each of us will get around 200 colds in a lifetime. Though some appear to suffer more than others, there is no evidence or, indeed, research on why, or if, that is really the case. “It’s pretty much hearsay and self-reporting,” says Dr Natalie Riddell, a lecturer in immunology at the University of Surrey and spokesperson for the British Society for Immunology. “I need more evidence before I can believe these people really exist.” Though there is no scientifically proven link between lifestyle and enhanced immune function, the immune-boosting industry and our unshakeable belief in it continues to flourish like flu during fresher’s week. Nutritional supplements alone, thought to be one of the world’s fastest-growing businesses, are predicted to be worth $60bn (£48bn) by 2021. As the American writer Eula Biss notes in her excellent book about vaccination, On Immunity, “building, boosting, and supplementing one’s personal immune system is a kind of cultural obsession of the moment”.
Meanwhile, for doctors and immunologists, the notion of superhuman health remains at best unproven and at worst a fiction. This is because of the highly individual and complex nature of our immune systems, which are almost as specific to each of us as our fingerprints. “Some of us inherit a set of immune system genes that are particularly good at dealing with one particular virus,” explains Daniel Davis, professor of immunology at the University of Manchester and author of The Compatibility Gene, which explores how immune system genes shape our biology. “But that is not to say that you or I would have a better or worse immune system. All it means is that you would deal with a particular flu virus better than me. There is an inherent diversity in how our immune systems respond to different diseases and that diversity is essential to how our species survives disease.”

On average, each of us will get around 200 colds in a lifetime. Photograph: Sam Edwards/Getty Images

Much of this diversity comes down to our inherited genetic makeup. “The greatest diversity in all of the 25,000 genes that make up the human genome is in our few immune system genes,” Davis explains. “That means that the genes that vary most between us all are the ones that influence the immune system.”
This unparalleled diversity makes generalisations about stronger or weaker immune systems meaningless. It also throws into question the benefits of all the products out there claiming to boost our immunity; antioxidants, vitamin C, hot lemon and ginger tea, garlic, echinacea, or wheatgrass. Do any of them work?
“The bottom line is that we simply don’t know,” Davis says. Or, as GP and Guardian contributor Ann Robinson puts it: “Keep your scepticism wrapped around you like a cloak.”
So why do some people simply seem to be better at fighting infection than others? “Maybe people at the top end have been primed through early exposure to bugs, fully vaccinated, and so on,” Robinson says. “Each person is wired to be slightly better at fighting off some illnesses and slightly worse at fighting off others,” is how Davis explains it. Both also point to growing evidence that our gut microbiome – the range and quantity of microbes in our guts – impacts the immune system. So there is a link between diet and immunity? “It’s a hot topic,” Davis says, carefully. “Although gut microbiome directly affects the immune system, precisely how isn’t yet clear.”
For 55-year-old architect Jenny Hunter, who “very, very rarely gets ill”, lifestyle and attitude play a part. “My mum didn’t tolerate illness,” she recalls of her childhood, the first five years of which were spent in Australia. “If I thought I was ill she would send me to school and say I’d feel better. She was right … brutal, but right.” What does she do to maintain her health? “My grandfather used to have a cold bath every morning but I don’t have any secrets or perversions,” she laughs. “I have a good diet, keep busy, and I do yoga, pilates and running every week. And I do think happiness plays a part. My default setting is that life is good.”
For Riddell, lifestyle plays a significant part in the functioning of our immune response. “The immune system is not solely governed by genetics,” she insists. “One of my research interests looks at how stress can negatively impact immune function. We have seen a dampening of immune responses among, say care-givers, versus the non-care-giving community.”

Is sleep the key to good health? Photograph: Getty Images/Rubberball

Thomas Walters is a writer and retired academic who refuses to tell me his age but concedes that he is “probably in his final decade”. He has never seen himself as a person who gets ill – in fact, the only illness he can recall having as an adult is shingles, “which passed amazingly quickly”. His lifestyle, like those of all the people I speak to who claim to never get sick, is balanced, moderate, social, and suffused with a positive outlook. “I drink a reasonable amount – one glass of wine a day and sometimes whisky,” he tells me. “I’ve always walked as often as possible. I did smoke for a brief period … Gauloises, because I liked France and the blue packets, but I gave up easily. I sleep extremely well, enjoy my dreams, and have very few nightmares. I tend to work until 10pm and have just finished a book about a late-Victorian architect. I would say my brain is as good as it’s ever been.”
Does he think his good health might be inherited? “I’m three-quarters Welsh peasant and one-quarter French peasant,” he notes. “Tough people. Plenty of my relatives checked out in their 90s, although my parents didn’t live to a great age. My father had a very stressful career and my mother had cancer and died in her mid-60s. I’ve never had that kind of career stress.” Later, Walters emails me with a warning: “Remember, even the healthiest of whales has barnacles growing on it, and bears the scars from scraping against undersea rocks. I recall a Hindu sage who once said: ‘The body itself is a disease.’”

We regard health as the reward for lifestyle choices. Photograph: davidf/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Part of our fascination with the idea of superhuman resistance to illness is the way we view health itself. Not as “a transient state that we may be exiled from without warning”, writes Biss in On Immunity, but as an identity. “Health, it is implied, is the reward for living the way we live, and lifestyle is its own variety of immunity.” For doctors and immunologists, this not only demonstrates a false understanding of the way the immune system operates – the innate and acquired systems working in tandem to neutralise infection so that a cold is, in fact, evidence of an immune system working robustly – it is an unhelpful, even dangerous way to view illness.
“It’s why doctors worry about positive-psychology arguments,” says Robinson. “It implies that if you ‘succumb’ to illness, you’ve somehow lost. Beware the lure of positive psychology if it suggests you’re weak if you get ill.” Perhaps we should view viruses not as the enemy but as the educators of our immune systems. “We might view colds as little boosts and challenges to our immune systems,” Robinson says. “Maybe when we get over a virus we should remember not to moan about the cold but to give thanks to our immune system for fighting it.” Does she believe in the phenomenon of people who never get ill? “I can see neither the evidence nor the benefit of so-called superhumans,” is her reply.
“It’s pretty hard to know whether there is such a phenomena,” Davis agrees. “For me, there is an exceptionally important message in this. All the great tragedies, from slavery to the Holocaust, have come down to a misunderstanding of the differences between people. Not only is our greatest human difference nothing to do with how we look, it is down to our immune systems, and there is no hierarchy in them.” For Davis, narrowing the diversity of our immune systems, even if it were possible, would be undesirable. “That kind of misinformation can lead to people saying we can create humans that are better than others. I strongly believe that is not the case.”
As far as Walters is concerned, “we can do nothing about any of it other than take care of ourselves”. So does he have any tips on how to become, if not superhumans, then our most healthy selves? “Maintain a constant high pitch of curiosity,” he replies after some thought.
• Some names in this piece have been changed
How to never get ill
• Be realistic. There is no such thing.
• Don’t smoke and don’t drink too much alcohol.
• Wash your hands regularly but remember that infections are mostly passed on through proximity. “If you want to avoid a person’s cold on the tube you are better off moving carriage than using hand sanitiser,” says GP Ann Robinson.

Travel sick: infections are mostly passed on through proximity. Photograph: Alamy

• Exercise regularly, moderately and remember to rest. There is evidence that regular exercise, which improves circulation, can boost immunity, though to what extent is unknown.
• Manage stress. “The best established link in terms of how lifestyle impacts the immune system is that stress levels relate to your immune system’s behaviour.” says Professor Daniel Davis. Chronic longterm stress produces cortisol, which neutralises immune cells.
• Immunise, immunise, immunise: if you’re likely to be at increased risk of infection, whether through chemotherapy, long-term steroid use, or pregnancy, get yourself vaccinated.
• Maintain a healthy and varied diet, but don’t go overboard. This connects to the latest research around the importance of our gut microbiome. “A lot of the chemicals important to our immune system originate in the gut,” says Robinson.
• Sleep well. “Sleep has a massive impact on the immune system,” says Dr Riddell. “It’s under the control of circadian rhythms and disturbing it can throw out your immune system.”
• Stay connected. “If there is one thing that’s the enemy of wellbeing it’s loneliness,” says Robinson. “Get out there and connect with people … if not with their viruses.””

Originally published on the