Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Welcoming the New Year

Welcoming the New Year

Introduction: The cycle goes on! An old year comes to an end and the new approaches. Very soon the world will step out into the New Year, waving a good-bye to 2010. How can one welcome the New Year and make the most of it? This article will help you to celebrate the New Year in a true sense of the term, ‘New’.

Look back with gratitude: The primary thing we got to do to welcome the New Year is not to forget the blessings that the past year has bestowed on us. Look back and think how God or Providence has brought you through the past year. Recount your good times and bad times and be grateful for them. Yes, you read it right! Be grateful even for your bad times for if you have the right attitude, you will know that even what was unpleasant had a purpose in your life. It was probably a lesson to teach you valuable things. So enter the New Year with a heart of gratitude towards God, people, the Universe and everything.

Set Goals: Well I don’t need to say this. Do I? We all do set goals at the start of the New Year. But don’t set vague goals. Divide your life in different stages like Professional, Family, Social, and Health etc. Set yearly goals for all these areas. For example, your professional goal could be to be promoted to the next level, for that you may need the step to go to the Management class you’ve been procrastinating. You may want to spend some days of the year exclusively for your family members; you got to do some saving, planning and set aside time for your dear ones and their needs. Your social goal may be to contribute to some charity or your church, decide the amount or value you want to contribute this year. Your goal for your health may be to get slimmer and cut on the red meat or go for a jog. Then just start doing it. Remember, if you don’t plan your year, someone or something else will plan it for you and you will run for things that you won’t be pleased doing and reaching.

Give joy: One worthwhile goal to make your life fruitful in this New Year would be to decide to give joy to others. Make it a point that the persons you encounter in the New Year would leave your presence feeling brighter, happier and encouraged. Smile and people will smile back to you. Love and you will receive love. Give and you will be given. To give joy it is primary that you yourself remain happy and joyful. You cannot give what you don’t possess. So be filled with joy and laughter. The Universe gives back what you send to it. Remember this principle, if you have this goal of giving joy, you will end up in the New Year getting joy in abundance.

Be Proactive: Proactiveness is aptly described in the quote, “If your ship doesn’t come to the shore, swim out to meet it.” It means taking appropriate action beforehand to manipulate the outcome of your desire. Before I see the consequences that would be unpleasant, I take action and control the outcome. Before the doctor shows me a red signal for my health condition, I start jogging. Before the semester marks show poor performance, I start studying daily. Before my customers look for the second option, I make them feel at home in my organization. Before the emergency sets in, I save enough money in my saving account. Proactiveness will give me a sense of control over events in the New Year. At the end, I would look back and say, ‘I came, I saw and I conquered.’ Have a blessed year! (Sohan)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taking control over you mind

Taking Control over Your Mind

Introduction: A young boy watches a successful businessman working and deploying orders to his subordinates one day. He gets fascinated by the idea that he would be a successful entrepreneur one day and do the same. He is filled with passion and enthusiasm. Now his life is changed for in his thoughts he carries the picture of the successful entrepreneur all day long. His friends and family see a drastic change in the way he talks and walks, the way he behaves. He is now serious about his purpose in life. He gives more attention to his studies and class attendance. He has few selected friends who all dream of making it big in the world, who carry their own similar dreams in their hearts. They always discuss about the same when they gather together, they encourage each other’s ideas, and they help each other to dream big. After 20 years there is a buzz in the business circle about a budding new entrepreneur. They admire as they talk of his business skills, his daring to take unprecedented risks and his abilities to communicate and connect to his clients and customers. Who is this young man? He is the same boy who got fascinated by the idea of being a successful businessman, who nurtured that idea, put his thoughts to action and now reaps the harvest of his thoughts. “As a man thinketh so is he.” (The Bible). Thoughts are real things and they go on make a personality- successful or unsuccessful, happy or sad, confident or fearful. The truth of the matter is that those who control their thoughts and their minds are successful, happy and content but if the mind controls you then the reverse is true. So how do we go about controlling our minds?

1. Realize that you are the master of your mind: Many people go through all their lives without realizing that they should be the ones who should be controlling their thought life. They feel that their thoughts are on auto-pilot. They just accept whatever thoughts that come to their minds. So if they have these thoughts that are gloomy, depressed and unhealthy, they accept them, they feel them and act accordingly. They start feeling that there’s nothing that this life has to offer them. They feel trapped; they feel like victims of circumstances, people and chance. They complain and whine and have resentment towards God and others. The tragedy is that many of the people go to the graves without realizing their potentials for they have never learnt to master their minds. Edmund Hillary when he climbed Mount Everest, was questioned about his great feat. He replied wisely when he said, “It’s not about conquering mountains, it’s about conquering yourself.” There is an ounce of truth in that quote, one who conquers himself, his mind, is unstoppable.

2. Monitor your thoughts: The second essential that we require to do is to watch what thoughts come to us all day long. If we have come to know that our thoughts make us then it is vital that I know what I am thinking all day long or at any given moment of time. So sit down and jot down your thoughts, what are they telling you? Are they condemning you, belittling you, putting you in depression or are they encouraging you, uplifting you and honoring you. One way to know what we are thinking at any point of time is to monitor our feelings for it is our thoughts that give way to our feelings. So if you are feeling sad, it is mirroring your types of thoughts, if you are joyous, you know what thoughts you are thinking. Some people find it useful to write down their thoughts. Once you monitor your thoughts, you will be surprised how illogical some negative thoughts can be. You will realize what harm or benefit your thoughts are doing to you. Unless I diagnose the problem, I cannot cure it. To change your thought life it is vital, that you learn to monitor and get aware of your thoughts at a given point of time.

3. Replace unhealthy thoughts: The third step is logical conclusion of the first two. Once you realize that you can be master of your thoughts, once you become aware of your thoughts and what are they doing to your life, you now have to graduate to the next step and that is, replace unhealthy thoughts with healthy and wholesome thoughts. You get into a state of emotion at any given point of time by the nature of your thoughts and if you want to get into a better state of emotion, it is vital that you change your thoughts. Our minds are like monkeys that hold on to the nuts, even though the monkeys know that holding on to them can get them into trouble. In India here, people keep nuts in a slightly open cage where the monkey can slide in its hand inside just enough to reach the nuts. When its fist is closed as it holds the nuts, it cannot bring it out. It has to leave the nuts to slide out its hand. But surprisingly the monkey holds on to the nuts and gets caught. Many times we hold on to things that are keeping us trapped. Success, joy and fulfillment elude us because we keep on holding to unhealthy thoughts. The secret is to let go and allow better thoughts to take over your mind.

4. To control your mind, control your breath: Many of us are unaware that the way we breathe goes on to affect our lives in a tremendous way. Is there a science of breathing? Surely, there is a science behind breathing. Have you ever seen a small baby breathing, it is called as natural and scientific breathing. You will notice that the child always breathes from deep down his stomach and that’s why a small child below a year would move his tummy as he or she breathes. As we grow into adulthood, we learn unnatural way of breathing. We breathe in a shallow way. We breathe from our chests or from our throats. Our breaths are no more rhythmic. This affects our mind and physical health. Remember the primary requirement for any human being is oxygen. If your body cells are oxygenated properly, you will have a good health and a healthy mind. Your mind would be more alert if you can breathe properly as the oxygen level to your brain would plenty, but on the contrary if you breathe in a shallow way, you would have a mind that is not alert, but confused and blurred because it has not been receiving its quota of oxygen required. It is vital that every day you take some time out for yourself and sit in a quiet place where you can meditate. Count your breaths up to six as you inhale, then hold till you count six and release as you again count to six. Think nothing but of your breath at this time. Continue in the same fashion for ten minutes and gradually as you feel comfortable increase your time. This simple exercise will go a long way to improve your concentration, health and of course the control you have over your mind. You will realize that you can now master your mind and direct your thoughts to the things that you want.

5. Take time out for yourself everyday: In the world of 21st century, there is hardly any time for a person to catch his breath. It is a great paradox that though many of the technological gadgets are invented to make our life simpler and easier so that we can find more time for ourselves, they have made our lives just the opposite. We are busier than ever. Even with our hi-tech computers, palm tops and cell phones, we hardly have any time left ourselves and our loved ones. In the din and bustle of everyday life, it is vital that we find some time for ourselves. A private time, a quiet time, where no one can disturb us is the most essential requirement for every person. You may have this time in your room or out in the woods where no one is there to disturb you. Of course keep your cell phones and other gadgets away from you during this time. During this time you many pray to God, meditate, or read some inspirational material. Try not to think of anything else at this time. You may also use this time to listen to the voice of universal wisdom guiding you. Use this time to know more about yourselves. Know your dreams, aspirations, your strengths and potentials. Use this mind to sharpen your thoughts, sharpen your skills, and sharpen your mind. A place of solitude will give your mind the necessary break to relax, retreat and rejuvenate so that it becomes more alert, focused and controlled. If you can’t seem to find any free time for yourself, try getting up an hour earlier. Morning times when still the whole world is still slumbering is the best time to take out for yourself.

Conclusion: “The mind can be a cruel master but a faithful servant.” It is vital that you run your mind and your thoughts so that you ultimately run your life. If you religiously use the above given steps to learn to control your mind, they will do wonders for you and your mind. Let me end by this well known saying, “Watch your thoughts; they become words, watch your words; they become emotions, watch your emotions; they become actions, watch your actions; they become habits, watch your habits; they become your character and watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” Remember it is not about conquering mountains, but conquering yourselves, your mind.
Joy be all yours

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Good Leader

A Good Leader
Introduction: Who is a good leader? When we think of leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa we invoke the images of good leader in our minds. On the contrary when we think of leaders like Adolf Hitler, Stalin and Fidel Castro we invoke the image of bad leadership in our minds. Dearth of good leadership is pervasive today in all fields like politics, business, religion and sports. So let us come to our primary question, ‘who is a good leader?’ and when we think of good leader what kind of qualities and traits he or she displays. Let’s take a survey of it.

Vision that encompasses the good of all: A good leader has the ability to see beyond. In other words he or she is a person who has a vision but that vision is not for his own welfare but for the welfare of all. In other words he or she believes in Win-Win situation. It’s not a selfish vision that serves the purpose of self but it is a vision that encompasses the welfare of others as well. It is not a vision that says, ‘I win at the cost of your loss but a vision that says, ‘I win and help you also to win’. That’s the basic difference when it comes to distinguish between good and bad leadership. So to be a good leader, have a vision for the future. You don’t want to be complacent in the present situation that is restricting you. You want to move ahead, reach that place and help others to reach that place where you will find betterment and bliss. Barack Obama’s vision encompassed the good of all. ‘We need a change’ Here the words, ‘We’ are important, it shows a vision that the change is for the benefit of all.

Courage that treads on the unbeaten track: The second trait of good leadership is Courage. It’s the courage that embraces the challenge of taking the unbeaten path. “Two roads diverged in the woods, And, I took the less travelled by, and that has made all the difference” says, Robert Frost. A good leader knows that the beaten track won’t help him or her reach his ideal or vision. He got to choose the unbeaten track; he got to muster up enough courage to go against the current. He knows very well, “Only the dead fish swim with the current.” Even in the face of peer pressure, when things look gleam and dark, he or she keeps the faith to keep on keeping on the unbeaten track. In the world fraught with dishonesty, there was Abraham Lincoln who took the road of honesty, in the world fraught with callousness, there was Mother Teresa who took the road of Love and in the world fraught with suppression and violence there was Gandhi who took the road of Non- violence and Truth. To be a good leader, have the courage to embrace the unfamiliar, insecure and the unknown.

Inspiration that enthuses life: The third trait of good leadership is that he/she is a good motivator. He brings life in the face of death and gloom, he brings joy and merriment in the face of sorrow and despair, and he brings faith and hope in the face of hopelessness and despair. There are many people out there who are uninspired, hopeless and in despair. They need to be enthused with life! They need a good leader who will take the initiative to do that. Somebody said, “If you are not inspired, you have expired.” That’s very true for the word ‘inspiration’ means ‘breathing life into’ and expire means, ‘sucking life out of’. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of “The Power of Positive of Thinking” tells of an incident where in a seminar he met a president of a company who wanted to fire a certain employee. Dr. Peale suggested that instead of firing him why doesn’t he try to put fire in him. In other words he suggested him to encourage and motivate the employee and when the Director of the company followed the suggestion, the employee really started performing well. This example tells us that many times what people need is just inspiration that can motivate them to go on to the next level.

Communication that connects: The other thing in the list of being a good leader is effective communication skills. But here when we say communication, we are not just talking of certain formalities to be observed. We are talking about being a communicator who connects to people. A good leader is one who reaches out and touches people’s heart. He or she is a connector. He can build bridges where once there were gulfs, he can fill the vacuum of despair and despondency by sharing his love and life with people. When the leader communicates, people hear and hear do they, with respect and awe. People respect and are able to connect to a leader because not of what he or she speaks but they also know that the leader will stand true to his or her words. “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears; that I cannot hear what you are saying.” A good leader is what he or she says. He or she is man/woman of action.

Legacy that continues: Finally let us conclude our survey of good leadership qualities by this very important point that a good leader displays and without which the cycle of good leadership won’t be complete. A good leader leaves behind him or her good leaders to continue his legacy. Good leaders train and encourage the next level and the next generation of leaders. They don’t feel threatened by an upcoming young leader who may display better dynamism. Rather they would guide and encourage so that when it’s time for them to step aside, the show continues. So training the younger generation and encouraging leadership qualities in them is the other trait of good leadership. Many times we find an organization that is run superbly because of one dynamic leader but when it’s time for him or her to step down there is no one to take over. The next generation of leader has not been encouraged as a result, the new leader cannot keep up to the expectations that match the performance of the first leader and the organization starts taking a dip. It’s very vital to encourage and develop the next leaders to take over and that’s not an option but obligation.

Conclusion: So here we are, if a leader displays or even learns and inculcates the above mentioned qualities, he or she can prove to be an effective leader. Finally, let me end up by saying, that good leaders are not born but made. A person who was touring different cities happened to visit a particular city. He encountered an old man sitting at the gates of the city and he asked him, “Were any great leaders’ born in this city?” “Nope”, the man quipped, “only babies”. Friends, the moral of the story is that we can always work ourselves to be a good leader and don’t forget as Robin Sharma says that if you breathe and live, you are a leader and leadership starts by leading yourself first
Joy be all yours.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Communicate to connect

Communicate to ConnectIntroduction: Communication is the order of the day in the 21st century. There is boom in communication technology with the availability of internet, cell-phones and Blue-tooth technology. We are all frantic about communicating to connect to our friends, relatives and business partners. The fact of the matter is human beings are social beings and they are supposed to communicate. Communication is happening at the board room meetings, it is occurring when two friends are chatting through the web; it is also happening when out in the jungle against all odds the Sage is in solitude and meditating to attain enlightenment. So how to master communication in the age of technology and communication? How to connect effectively with your friends, customers, colleagues, self and God? This article will throw a light on this topic.
Communicating with Self- We may be unaware of the fact that we all are constantly communicating with ourselves. We usually focus on communicating with others than self. Most of the programs are developed to help people communicate with their clients, customers, juniors and seniors effectively. But the quality of our communication will be directly proportional to the quality of our communication with ourselves. How you communicate with yourself will have a telling effect on how you communicate with others. The manner in which we communicate with ourselves decides whether we are peaceful, happy and content with our lives or whether we are frustrated, depressed and dissatisfied with our lives. Remember that we communicate with ourselves by the thoughts we think and what we say about ourselves when we are alone or in presence of others. If you are a person who thinks negatively and constantly have thought like, ‘can’t do’, ‘it’s hopeless’, ‘it won’t work’, ‘I am a victim’ etc. then you are communicating with yourself to fail in life. When you speak about yourself in solitude or in presence of others what do you say? Do you berate yourself? When people compliment you on your job, do you accept it or reject it demeaning yourself. If you do so then you are communicating to yourself that you don’t amount much in this world and that whatever you do doesn’t make any difference. You got to have a positive self image about yourself and start having thoughts that give joy, peace and health to you. If you improve your communication with yourself then you will learn to have healthy relations with others and then you will communicate effectively with them. Learn to meditate everyday for sometime during the day. Sit in a comfortable place and think thoughts that only focus on the good and positive. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes every day and that simple exercise would go a long way to help you to improve your communication with self. Sit and take an inventory of the words that you use daily. If you use words that de- motivate and
Communicating with others: When we communicate with others, we should remember what the Sages of the old used to practice before they uttered any word out of their mouth breaking their long held silence. They used to have a ‘Three-Gate’ test for a word to fall out of their mouths. The first gate test asked the question “Is it helpful?” The second asked, “Is it necessary?” and finally the third gate test asked, “Is it kind?” If a word passed all these tests then it was allowed to come out of their mouths. Follow this wisdom of the yore and you will drastically improve your communication with others. The bottom line is this that you may be communicating with your superiors, colleagues or juniors but what you say should be necessary, helpful and kind for others and yourself. “A soft answer turns away wrath” says the ancient Scriptures. Your words have power to incite or inspire, to make or break, to be cherished or remembered with vengeance. So choose the right words to improve your communication with others. Have words that spread joy, peace, health and honor. If you do this you will be paid back in same proportion. People will love to communicate with you. Your words would be like the honey dripping from a honey comb. No matter from what position you want to communicate or to whom you want to communicate, the bottom line is this that if you show that you communicate to care, you will be an effective communicator.
Silence as Communication tool: When we think of communication, most people would think that communication is about the words that we use. Some would say it also involves the body language and tonality and very few would be aware that Silence is also a form of communication. When you have an argument with your spouse, what does he or she do? They don’t talk with you. In silence, they are communicating their displeasure for the argument that occurred, so keeping silent is also a form of communicating. When someone is speaking, we learn to have patience and give that person our ears. When we are silent, we are communicating that we are listening and giving him chance to speak, we are showing through our silence that we value his speech. There is a story in the Bible, where the prophet Elijah is scared of a Queen who has issued a death warrant against him and he runs into the wilderness to avoid getting caught. He is troubled and sees a vision. In the vision he sees a storm, fire bypassing him. He feels that God is in the storm or the wind. But he is wrong. After these phenomena, he finds a lull, a silence and then he hears the voice of God speaking and encouraging him. There’s a lesson for us to learn in this incident. When you are silent, you are open to God or the Universe or the Nature communicating to you. Enlightenment and Wisdom is gained in silence that is why, Buddha was alone in silence meditating under a tree when he got enlightenment. The man against an empire, Gandhi knew the power of Silence and so he adopted a method that was unique, passive resistance. Oppose the British Empire but be not loud in the methods you use, through your silence communicate your opposition. We knew that the whole British Empire had to bend before this form of resistance. So silence has great value, benefits and power in it. Use it to your advantage. “Be still and know that I am God.” When you are still, you will realize that you are a part of the divine; you have it in you all that is required to reach your goals and be a success.
Conclusion: Communicate to connect. The aim of your communication should always be to connect, connecting to your real self, connecting and reaching to others’ hearts and connecting to the Supreme. May you communicate effectively and may you connect effectively as you communicate.
Joy be all yours. (Sohan)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Living your life to the fullest

Live Your Life to the Fullest!
Introduction: Living to the fullest is accurately described in the quote of Abraham Lincoln, “And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” So let me ask you at the outset. Are you living your life to the fullest? By that I mean are you inspired, are you motivated to live? Is it a joy for you to face a new day, every day? Do you pursue your dreams passionately and do you feel that you are contributing to the society around you? Have you found real meaning of life? If you are saying ‘no’ to any of the questions above, this article is for you. In this article, I will be giving you some points that will help you to live your life to the fullest and find real meaning in your life.
Discover your purpose/passion: May I take the audacity to ask you, “Why are you here on planet earth?” What would your answer be to that? What’s your purpose in life? What are you passionate about? If you want to live your life to the fullest, you need to live for a purpose as the saying goes, “The purpose of life is to have a purposeful life”. To experience a life that is lived to the fullest, you got to discover your passion and your purpose, for it is in pursuing your purpose in life that you will find true meaning in your life. You will find your life worth living. Can you imagine Sachin Tendulkar without Cricket or Mother Teresa without Love or for that matter Bill Gates without Windows Software? These people are remembered for they discovered their true purpose in their lives and then they gave themselves to it fully. Your purpose may be to be a Singer, or to act in films or to teach in a school or college or to romance machines by being an engineer or it could even be to serve people through expounding the spiritual truths behind the mundane religious rituals. Discover your purpose in life and you will discover a new YOU.
Plan your route: Once you have discovered why you are here, now you need to know how you reach your purpose and passion. You need to chalk out your course to reach your goal. You need to decide on your short term goals and long term goals. Your long term goal would also be the place of your purpose or passion. You may reach there in the next 15 years or 10 years. But then you also got to plan a route that it every day pushing you ahead towards that goal and so you also have the short term goals in picture. So if you plan to be businessperson one day, you would want to complete your graduation in the next 3 years, then maybe you would plan to do MBA in the following 2 years and then work for some time as a Managing Executive in a good company that would give you a good experience of the way a business runs and then when you think enough is enough, you embark on your own and jump on to your ultimate passion. Planning your route and walking on it every day will help you to live everyday meaningfully knowing that what you do every day is not purposeless but serving to that greater purpose in your life. You will become excited as you have your passion and purpose in front of your eyes and the everyday mundane activities would turn into exciting events.
Change your perspective: How you view the world, decides where you reach in life. How you view the world decides whether you will find a fulfilled life or an empty life. Your perspective towards life is very important in keeping you happy and upbeat in life. The difference between those who find their lives fulfilled and those who don’t is their perspective, how they look at it. Do you look at the glass half filled or half empty? Do you see the rose balancing on thorns or blooming despite of thorns? Do you see opportunity in the difficulty or the difficulty in the opportunity? Your answers will show you your perspective. If you bear a negative perspective, you have to make efforts to change and graduate to an optimistic perspective. A person who views his future with hope, his present with joy and his past with gratitude is the person who will find fulfillment in his or her life. Things will start looking better when you give them a better look. Indeed “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.”
Take Action: Action is momentum and momentum is life. If you are not taking action on your goals, you are dead. The water that flows brings life, but the water that is stagnant brings death and disease. One bold action of faith will release an event or series of corresponding actions and finally you will come to realize your goals. When you want to live your life to the fullest you should be daily taking actions that are giving momentum to your life and the momentum will bring in the excitement in your life, the momentum will help you to reach your goals in life. If you sit thinking what to do and how to do too long, you would invite pessimism and doubt in your life and that doubt and pessimism will keep you away from taking action and if you don’t take an action you won’t have momentum and you will not see your goals realized which will further trouble you into depression and feeling of failure. Action is antidote to depression and negativism. Actions should start with improving yourself, your life. Take daily action that will take you to the next level. When you become unbeatable than nothing can stop you from achieving your goal and then life will be fun.
Take time out for your family and friends: Life is not all work. As Dalai Lama put it, “The goal of life is not to achieve sales target, it is to be happy.” To live your life to the fullest, you should be able to balance between work and your family. You should know when to stop your activities and start fulfilling your responsibilities at home. Spend time with your wife, go out for a candle-lit dinner with her and watch her eyes gleaming with pleasure for you, it will bring an unique satisfaction in your life that you won’t experience elsewhere. Play with your children or go out with them for a walk, learn to give your ears to what they have to say. Hear them before you go on preaching anything to them. Don’t preach them, but advice them on matters like a friend. They would be happy to know that their greatest friend on whom they can rely on are at their home. As you see your wife and children grow with you, you will find joy, satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. Take time out for your friends; go out with them to the Cafeteria and break bread with them. These varied activities will bring variety and fun in your life. Variety is the spice of life they say and it is so true.

Invest in your health and looks: To experience your life to the fullest, you should also be in the pink of your health. You should be pain and disease free. There goes a saying that many people first spend their time in earning money and then spend their money in earning back their lost health. Don’t be one them. Be wise, if you care for your health and looks now, they would do good for you to keep you healthy, active and alive for a long run. Your physique is like the goose that gives you the golden eggs, you got to feed and exercise the goose properly to keep you giving the golden eggs. If you neglect the goose or try to suck all life out of it to achieve voraciously what you desire, your health would break down and the golden eggs would stop coming. Drink plenty of water; take a good intake of vegetables balanced with your non-veg diet. Hit the gym if you can or even walking everyday or jogging or for that matter swimming, cycling, stretching just for 20 minutes a day would do wonders for your health. When your body is healthy, and energy flows out of you, you will be more active, feel alive and joyful.
Take time to smell the flowers and help others to smell them too: Finally, don’t forget to smell the flowers by the wayside as you trudge on the path to achieve your dreams. Take a moment out, watch the rainbow and cherish its beauty in your heart, give time to hum your favorite tune, have some time to play your favorite game of squash, go out on an excursion for sight-seeing. The bottom line is rejuvenating yourself by filling your life with work, duties, fun and relaxation. Believe me, you will get up from your bed with a fire in your belly and end your day with a prayer of gratitude. Don’t forget there are people around you who have forgotten to do this, help them to see the beauty this world has to offer, motivate and coach them in living the success principles, invest your time and money to help and uplift those in need. Contribute and give back to the people around you, it is your duty to do so for you wouldn’t have been without them. When you do this and find that one soul was able to breathe better because of you, you will have the joy of living your life to the fullest.
Conclusion: Friends, the universe, the creation of God, is in abundance and it wants you to live in abundance. The secret to abundant life is recognizing this fact and taking the above steps to experience life at its best and fullest. Raise a toast to your dream and your life. May you have life in your years as you go along the path of life.
Joy be all yours

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Good Teacher

A Good Teacher
Introduction: Do you want to understand a good teacher? Go to a potter maker or a sculptor and observe the art of sculpting a statuette or making a pot. You would find a wonderful imagery of teacher moulding a students life. 5th September of every year is celebrated as a Teacher’s Day in the Indian subcontinent. It is done to honor the first Vice-President of Independent India and the second President of Independent India Dr. Radhakrishnan. This day gives us all a chance to celebrate and honor our teachers who have had a major part in moulding and making our lives. This article which will survey the qualities of a good teacher, is a humble tribute to the noble profession of teaching of which I am a part and also to all my teachers who have played a major part in my life to make me what I am.
A good teacher is a good student: The relationship between a student and teacher is undivided. There can be no teacher without students. Every teacher was once a student. A good teacher is a good student evolved.
If you are planning to enter the noble profession of teaching remember the very first requirement is that you should be a good student and remain a student all your life. By that statement I mean, that you should always be open to learn more and more about your subject. Knowledge is in state of evolution at all times and you should also evlove as a teacher. You should get better and better and possess the thirst of knowing and learning more. To be a good teacher , there is no substitute to evolving and upgrading yourself everyday.

A good teacher is a good friend: To be a good teacher, you should be able to maintain a friendly relation with your students. You should learn to make them feel comfortable in your presence. You should not appear to be dominating and ovebearing authority.
You should be able to maintain a balance between discipline and fun. If you are overbearing and dominating, there is danger of alienating the student from learning the subject forever. You as a teacher are the Ambassador of the Subject you are dealing with. So tread carefully. A student should not stop learning a subject, because he did not like his teacher or because he bears a grunt against his teacher. So laugh, have fun, play games. Be creative in your approach of teaching. But while doing this you also draw a line of discipline which the students should know that they are forbiddent to cross. If you befriend your students, you are helping them to love and learn the subject efficiently.

A good teacher is a good leader: Remember when you decided to be a teacher, you have automatically donned the role of leading the students. You are either leading the students in the right or the wrong path. But there is no denying to the fact that you are a leader who is leading them.
As a good leader is a visionary, so you should be too. You should decide where you want to lead the students at the end of the course, where should they be standing. So chalk out the direction you want to lead them in and then walk on it as they slowly follow you. As a leader be pointer to direction that the students ought to take, but also lead by an example. If the students find that your path is different than that you teach, they won’t follow your teachings and instructions. So lead by an example.

A good teacher allows mistake: As a good teacher remember that your classroom is a labrotary where students would experiment with different things and make mistakes. Allow them to make mistakes.
If you expect them to be perfect in the classroom, then they are no students at all, they have attained mastery. A student learn by trial and error method. Students should be allowed to make mistakes, but also they should not ignore the mistake, you ought to point to them where and why they went wrong and help them to befriend their mistakes and learn from them. As a good teacher, mistakes would be assisting you in teaching the students. They learn more from their mistakes, if allowed than anything else.

A good teacher bridges the gap between theory and practice: This point is very important for being a successful teacher. You could be a good teacher, you could be an intelligent teacher that quotes from Shakespeare or knows the in and outs of the Pythagoras Theroem but if you are not going to show the students how it is practically helpful, you are building castles in the air.
Students can only learn well if they are taught and shown how the subject you are teaching is practically helpful for them. Try to relate your theories to the practical world and you will be surprised how quickly the student would grasp the concepts. To teach about the burning passion of desire to be successful, Socrates once took a student in a river and drowned his face in the water so that he could not breathe. He took him out and asked, “What was one thing that you desired more under water?” The obvious reply was “Air”. Socrates replied, “When you want success with the same burning passion, you will be successful.” That’s bridging the gap of understanding between the theory and the practical.

A good teacher is a teacher who inspires: Finally let me conclude by giving one the most important part at the end. A good teacher is a teacher who inspires students.
There are many people, circumstance, events in this world that pull down or depress a student. So students out there are in need of motivation. You got to give him that motivation, that inspiration. The opposite of inspire is expire. If your students are not inspired, they are as well as dead. So you got to put life in them. You got to show them hope, not a vague dream or a fantasy.
A good teacher will help student find his or her hidden potentials, he will point out his weakness and encourage the student to take necessary action to eliminate his or her weaknesses and give fuel to his strenghts. You could motivate students by telling them great stories of great people, through your own exempalary life, by being at their side when they need you the most. A good teacher will always be available to go the extra mile for his students.
Conclusion: Let me conclude by this quote: A mediocre teacher tells, a good teacher explains, a superior teacher demonstrates but a great teacher inspires. Happy Teacher’s Day!
Joy be all yours.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to start your day?

How to start your day?
Introduction: “Well begun is half done” so goes the maxim. It tells us the importance of a good start. It is vital in every field. If your team scores the important runs or points in the beginning, you are off to a confident game play ahead and have good chances to win the game. The pilots know that for a good voyage, the plane has to take off well from the terra- firma. A hundred meters sprinter would value the importance of a good start the most, if he starts quick and well than it becomes easy for him to take the lead and touch the finishing line before others. If we take this principle and apply it to our lives and master the art of starting our day well, we would have a more fulfilled, satisfying and accomplishing day in our lives. Below I am giving 10 tips that would go a long way to help you to start your day well.
1. Rise early: The beauty of a day is at its peak at the earliest. Don’t waste that beauty by getting up late. If you rise early, you would have plenty of time for yourself. The common complain is, “I don’t have enough time”. Let me ask you who has? You may be a king or a pauper but all have the gift of 24 hours in day and we can manage our time properly by rising early. Rising early would keep you more fresh and alive for the whole part of the day.
2. Rise with gratitude: This is very important. When you rise, you got to be thankful to God for the beautiful day ahead. You should shout like the writer in Bible, “This is the day, that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Thank God that he has kept you alive for the day and you have the pirvilege to live and experience the day that many did not have. Your attitude at the start of the day will decide your tone for the rest of the day.
3. Exercise: “Take care of your body, for it is the only place you have to live in.” says, Jim Rohn. Invest the early hours of the day of taking time for yourself, for your good health. Go for some physical activity, like jogging, walking, swimming, weight training, yoga, stretching etc. Do whatever, you feel good and alive to do. Exercise need not be for long time. 20 minutes of exercise at the start would go a long way to keep you healthy, fit and oxygenated for the rest of the day.
4. Quiet Time: “Silence is golden, speech silvern” says an ancient proverb. Before you rush into the hustle and bustle of the day be sure to spend some quality time in silence. In this time maybe 20 minutes everyday, you could meditate, visualize, do deep breathing exercise, read something encouraging. Be at a place where no one can disturb you. You could also go outdoors if appropriate. In silence, hear God’s voice guiding you. Seek it inside your heart not on the outside. There is a spark of divinity in each one of us. We should take time to connect and get wisdom for living and making decisions from this divine connection. In Quiet Time, you would do well to give exercise to your spirit.
5. Read or hear something positive: To set a positive tone for the day be not in a hurry to rush for the morning newspaper or the T.V. set for the news. The News media today is more interested in the negative news. Of course you can keep in touch with the world around you through these mediums. But morning time is precious, read or hear something positive. A motivational book, scriptures to motivate you, a motivational talk of 5 minutes. What you take in during the early hours of the day will mould you and make your attitude for the rest of the day.
6. Replace negative thoughts with positive: Usually when we wake up and are up to performing our morning duties like brushing teeth, bathing etc. we tend to think and worry about the day ahead or remember where we went wrong yesterday and what opportunities we missed. Replace these worries and negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Whenever you have such thoughts start singing or do something that will distract your mind from concentrating on the negative. Once you do that now replace it with a positive thought and start focusing on it.
7. Have a King’s breakfast: One should have a breakfast like a king is a common wisdom. Your body needs the essentials nutrients at the start of the day to provide you energy for the rest of the day. Replenish your body with a good breakfast and plenty of water. Don’t skip this or ignore this. It will go a long way to keep you in good health throughout the day. Watch what you eat, instead of snacks, settle for a full and wholesome diet.
8. Plan and set goals: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”, If you start you day without knowing what and when to do something, you would spend the rest of the day in wasting your time and being confused. So plan what would you do from the time you set your foot in your office or the college. Keep some breaks in between two important tasks where you could find some time to refresh yourself for the further task. Let the break be not more than 10 minutes. Concentrate on doing the important and that which sounds difficult first. Also know your prime time of the day when you are able to concentrate at your best, keep important things in this prime time.
9. Decide to give your very best: Before you begin or step out into the new day, decide to give your best shot in everything you will be doing today. Don’t think of yesterday or tomorrow. Just think of today. If you are going to meet clients for a sale, decide to give your best efforts to make and close a sale. If you are going to attend a lecture, decide to give yourself fully to hear the lecture and learn something new today. Decide to live in this day as if it is going to be the last day of your life.
10. Step out and conquer: Friends, lastly, if you do all the above, you will be now fully prepared to take on the day. So don’t forget to venture out. “The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” So take that step out of your home. No matter you may have something difficult to face today, go ahead and face it. Sometimes the worries of things to come are worse than the real incidents. Better to go out and fail by trying than never try at all. Let me assure you if you start well you would also fair well in whatever you take in your hands for the day.
Joy be all yours.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ten tips to make better first impression

Ten tips to make a better first impression
Introduction: Marketing is the order of the day. Whether it is a product advertisement that is bombarded at every commercial break on the Television or marketing your skills and talents for you to acquire that coveted job everyone is into marketing. The youth of today is more conscious about how he or she can make a better first impression in an interview, in a college among friends, or at the annual social function. So here are some tips to make a better first impression:

1. Smile! It only takes 7 muscles to smile while more than 50 to frown. Smile is the cheapest and best cosmetic in the world that would greatly enhance your face – value.

2. Dress: You should dress according to the occasion. If you are a professional or appearing for an interview, formals are a must. College and other casual occasions, you could settle for Casuals. Wear what comforts you and suits you well rather than copying what your Actors wear.

3. Words: You shall be judged by the words of your mouth. This rule applies everywhere. Words are the photo images of what goes on in your heart. So use kind words, avoid invectives at all costs. Use positive and encouraging words so that your personality will become attractive and draw more friends. “Please”, “Sorry”, “Thank you” and “Excuse me” are four magic words that do wonders. Don’t forget to use them appropriately.

4. Appreciate: Appreciate God for giving you life. Appreciate your parents for providing and nurturing you, appreciate your friends for being there when you needed them, appreciate your enemies for they will show what lacks in you, so that you can work on it. Appreciation on lips will be like a sweet honey dripping out of your lips that would draw others to you.

5. Be selfless: Don’t always think of yourself. Don’t pity yourself and your condition. Take time out for others; lend a helping hand to your friends, colleagues, teachers, boss and parents. When you help others, you forget your worries and cares and it greatly enhances your self confidence.

6. Radiate Optimism: It has been now scientifically tested and proved that positive thinkers thrive better than pessimistic people in all areas of their life. Thoughts make a man or woman say the ancient Scriptures. Thoughts will influence your actions, habits, character and destiny. Look at the glass half full, blossom like the rose flower on thorns and make others smile.

7. Read good Literature: “Successful people have libraries; others big Plasma screens in their homes”, says Jim Rohn (Motivational Speaker). Read at least one good book per month that would encourage you to the next level and increase also your vocabulary and knowledge. A well read person stands out of the common crowd. Read self help books, biographies of great personalities and good literature.

8. Play: Get into the habit of playing one game that would give you physical exercise. Take time out daily to jog, play soccer, or squash that would enhance your physique. Exercise will not only keep you in shape, it would relax you mentally and oxygenate your body, giving you better concentration and mental strength.

9. Inculcate good habits: It is a myth that youngsters that smoke and drink look cool. The opposite is true. You would greatly degrade your self image among friends and society by getting into smoking, drugs and drinks. It would also harm your health in the long term. So give up bad habits! Eat healthier food, drink healthier drinks. Good health would naturally attract others.

10. Be yourself: Finally be yourself. Don’t be a copy cat. Clones and clowns have limitations. You are original and unique. Your looks are unique, your skills and talents are unique. You need not be the other. So relax! Don’t waste your time in copying and trying to be the other. Appreciate yourself and be yourself.

Joy be all yours.


Monday, August 9, 2010


ResponsibilityIntroduction: Responsibility can be very well defined as “the ability to choose one’s response to the event he or she encounters.” Are you happy in life? Are your relations pleasurable and meaningful? Is your work satisfying and gives you a high? Are you healthy in your mind and body? Are you studying the right course that’s taking you towards your desired goal in life? Are you content and satisfied with all the areas of your life? Are you contributing to the society and humanity on this planet?
I know many of the questions would be difficult for you to reply, especially in the affirmative. Well if you are not satisfied about the outcome in your life in even one of the areas mentioned above, then this article is for you.

Understanding Responsibility: Human beings are specially endowed by God with the gift of choosing their responses. Animals have limited response- ability. If you try to hit a dog with a stick, it’s going to do one of the two things, run or make you run (by attacking you). It has limited response giving capacity.
But we as human beings have greater abilities to choose our responses to the events that we encounter in life. That’s why Jesus in Bible says, if someone strikes you on one cheek, turn the other, if someone takes your tunic, give him your coat too and if someone forces you to walk some distance, walk a mile with him.
Gandhi echoed what Jesus says in the Bible, especially the phrase, “turning the cheek”. But many people have misinterpreted and misunderstood what the great people before us have told us. Understanding that you alone are responsible for your actions and the outcome thereof will give you a greater degree of freedom. You won’t feel trapped by the circumstances outside and people to decide your mood or actions. You know that you can now choose your mood or actions to the events and people you encounter in life.

Benefits of Responsibility: As stated above once you are aware of the fact that you can choose your response; it would afford you a greater degree of freedom in all areas of your life. No longer are you dependent whether the climate is sunny or cloudy today, you are not dependent on your wife and boss or colleagues to make your day and you can be happy despite of the fact that they did not treat you well, because you are choosing your response.
You won’t wait for the boss to increase you perks and salary to do good work, which would be depending on the stimulus to boost a positive response. You will do your work sincerely and give your best shot each time because you have chosen your response.
The results will be seen in the long term. Soon people will find you to be the most attractive person; they will want to know how you can be so happy and content. Your boss and your spouse will start noticing you that your responses are different and positive even when they treat you unfairly. The result will be that when it comes for promotion in the company the boss will have your name first on his list. Your spouse will start changing his or her behavior toward you and you will experience a more peaceful and happy family life. You will feel to be in more control of your life than anytime; you will feel genuine freedom for the first time.

How to be Responsible: Now let’s come to the most important point and see what steps we can take toward being more responsible in life.
First becoming aware of the right knowledge is winning half the battle. This article is aimed at that. You are being made aware of the fact that your life is and will be proportional to the responses you give to the events you encounter in life and the good news is that we can choose our responses. Once you are aware of this fact, the next time you encounter anything you will now know that you can always choose, you always do have a choice to make. So when your doctor has advised you to pull down the extra pounds that you carry and the next time you encounter a situation where you are offered a chocolate cake, you know what to do.
Secondly become a proactive person. Don’t wait for events to happen to you for taking actions. Don’t wait till you get debt ridden to save money, don’t wait to spend time with your family till the divorced is filed, don’t wait for the boss to serve you a memo for completing your target clients, don’t wait for the medical reports to sound the danger signal to take time to exercise. In FIFA 2010, I noticed that many good teams played passively without much attacking the opponents. They were awakened to attack only when goals were scored against them but by that time it was too late and they lost.
Thirdly, evaluate yourself for your actions throughout the day. You could do this exercise at the end of the day in the late evening or before you go off to bed. Run the day’s events through your mind and see how you reacted to different events at home, office, school, college etc. Did you choose nobler responses or were your actions motivated by emotions, people and circumstances. If you fail in some areas, become aware of them, forgive yourself and resolve to do better the next time.

Conclusion: I love the poem “Abu Ben Adhem” by Leigh Hunt. Abu Ben Adhem is the head of his tribe. He loves and serves his people faithfully; moreover he loves and serves God. One day an angel visits him in his dream, the angel seems to be writing in a book of gold. Abu musters up his courage to ask what is that he is writing. The angel replies that he is writing the names of those ‘who love the Lord.’ Abu’s name deserves to be there so he asks whether his name is one in the list. To his dismay he is given a negative reply. But watch now how Abu chooses his responses, “Cheerily still” he tells the angel to write his name as ‘one who loves His fellowmen”. Abu though discouraged doesn’t stop responding with love and service and the angel visits him second time and shows him the golden book and the list of all those ‘whom the love of the Lord had blest’, the poem ends in climax, “And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest” God has rewarded him by putting his name as the first person that deserves God’s love and blessing. And all this because Abu Ben Adhem has chosen the right response to the event he encounters. So friends, the next time you encounter anything, know that you have the freedom to choose your response and in your choice lies your happiness, fulfillment and liberty. “Between the stimulus and the response there lies a gap and in that gap lies our greatest freedom, the freedom to choose and on our choice depends our happiness and freedom in life” Victor Frankl.
Joy be all yours.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Champions: The stuff they are made of.

Champions: The stuff they are made of

Introduction: Champions! We see them everywhere. We adore them, we love them and we secretly envy them. We all desire to be like them. We all have our own idols who are champions in different capacities and areas but let me at the outset tell you something, that you are a champion! Yes, that’s true. You have it in you (though you may not have realized it) to be a champion. That’s how the Intelligent Creator of this Universe, God has designed you and that’s what he has purposed you for. The challenge for everyone of us is to realize this that we are champions, we have in us the stuff that champions are made up of, if we are willing to work on it and bring it up to fulfill our dreams and goals in life. This article will make you aware of the qualities as a champion that you need to nurture, develop and demonstrate.
1. Champions are dreamers: When we probe the lives of Champions, we see one common trait in all of them i.e. the ability to dream big. Yes, Champions are those who dare to dream big. They are not content to be where they are. So they always dream about the place, the Promised Land where they would stand one day as Champions.
They are not just wishers. We all wish for a better future, a better job, a better boss, a better income, a better savings, a better spouse, a better world, but rarely we are willing to make necessary changes in us so that things would start getting better with our world. If you fall into this category, then you are no more than a well- wisher. But Champions are dreamers not only do they wish for better life but take appropriate actions for it starting with their own lives. Yes, for a better job conditions they start to give 110% at their work place, for a better spouse they start loving their spouses selflessly, for better income they start saving their 10% of the income, for a better boss they start being a better employee, for better health they start eating healthy food and exercising everyday.
Mark Spitz the winner of 7 gold medals at swimming events in Munich Olympics in 1972 used to spend 8 hours everyday under water. This he continued to do 365 days a year without holidays, and for many years he put this as a regular practice, the result is that a champion was born. How many of us are willing to be a Mark Spitz?
How many of us are willing to be under water everyday even 1 hour. We wish to be a champion and have it in us to be one but many people remain mediocre because they aren’t willing to pay the price for their dreams. Champions not only dream big but go for their dreams, they give their all for achieving their dreams and when their dreams are fulfilled the world knows a new Champion.
2. Champions are Focused: Focus is what keeps Champions on the course of their dreams. Focus is what keeps them motivated when they feel down and the circumstances are against them. Focus is what makes Champions out of common people. The second trait that Champions have is Focus. First they dream big, formulate goals and then they focus on their goals.
Focus is important to be successful at any endeavor in life. If you want to realize the power of focus, take a magnifying glass and expose it to the sunlight. Allow the sun rays to pass through the glass and hold a paper under the glass. The sunlight that is scattered is now focused and targeted on the paper and lo, the paper burns! That shows the power of focus. When you are focused, you will be able to do great things and Champions realize this.
Focus is wonderfully explained in the bright quote by Stephen Covey as, “The main thing is to keep the main thing as the main thing” When you are focused you know what comes as the main thing in life and at all times and every circumstances your thoughts, words and actions are guided by this main thing. In other words you eat, drink and sleep on it..
Focus helps you not to get off the track at any time and even when you do, you are quick to realize it and come back on the track. Focus is like waking on the rope, you cannot afford to step out of the line or you are down. Why could Mark Spitz dare to remain underwater for eight hours daily for years together is that he was completely focused on his goals the Olympic gold medals.
3. Champions are risk-takers: Champions have the courage to take risk to realize their dreams. That is the other trait we find in them. Risk taking could be defined as, “the courage to come out of one’s comfort zone”.
Yes, Champions are willing to come out of their comfort zone. They are willing to stretch themselves out of their comfort zone and in the process of stretching themselves out of their comfort zone, they learn to grow. We all have our own comfort zones.
Our comfort zones could be our families that we don’t want to be far from, our city that we have lived in all our lives, our work place and the pay- check that it gives us, it could be our old habits that die hard, it could be our unwillingness to embrace new change because we dread to change our state and are unsure of our future. Champions grow themselves out of their comfort zones, they surely feel the same insecurity initially while moving out of their comfort zones, but they feel the fear and do it anyway.
Champions could be called Entrepreneurs in the modern sense of the term. Just as Entrepreneurs venture out and take risk in starting a new business project, so do Champions take risks. But Champions also calculate the possibilities that could turn out after the risk is taken. In other words Champions take calculated risks but they dare to take risks and that is what distinguishes them from the common crowd.
We do know that the Eagle is a bird that flies at a higher altitude than other birds. Do you know how a Mother Eagle trains her eaglets to fly? When they come of certain age, she just pushes them out of their nests and they start falling down. On the way down they learn to flap their wings and fly. If they do not flap their wings the mother will catch hold of them take them on her back to a certain height and again let them go off. In this process they learn to fly. Now it is certainly a risk to push the children off the edge, but the mother Eagle knows that unless that is done, they won’t learn to fly. That’s an attitude of a Champion.
When you take risks, in the process you would develop lot of potentials that hitherto were hidden in you. You will learn to flap your wings, you will learn to fly, you will know more of your potentials.
4. Champions fall down only to get up: “When times are tough, champions are made by going on for one more round.” That quote, sums up my next point very well. Champions do face tough times like any one out there but tough times only make them tougher. Champions outlast tough times, as Robert Schuller says, “Tough times do not last but, tough people do.”
There are times of despair, discouragement and downslides in a champion’s life. Champions are laughed at; face derision and cynicism from the people around them. People usually become uncomfortable with a person who goes against the tide. Champions take a different route of discipline, dedication and determination. They become completely focused on achieving their goals and dreams. This calls for criticism from many around them
When on the way Champions fall, people are quick to attack them like blood hounds. They pounce on them at every opportunity they get and try to discourage them. But Champions take all these things in their stride and continue on their path with self belief.
When Champions find that there is no one that can encourage them, they encourage themselves. In Bible, there is an incident when King David of Israel was very discouraged as King Saul sought his life, his family members were taken away by raiding soldiers and his fellowmen rose against him. The Bible tells us that at this time, “David encouraged himself in the Lord.” That’s a mark of a Champion.
A Marathi poet talks of how a tree wood that was cut as fire wood began to blossom again with green leaves, the poet goes on to say that the tree itself was surprised about it’s hidden potential. Yes, Champions find that hidden potential, that connection with the Almighty, that much needed encouragement in tough times and they get up and continue.
5. Champions carry a heart filled with gratitude: Finally, the last mark of a Champion is when they reach their goals and find their dreams realized, they do not forget to come back to the place where they started it all. They come back to give to the society with a heart of gratitude. Champions are always willing to give back with gratitude to their families, friends, their mentors, teachers, their neighborhood, their societies, their nation and their world. They pass on the baton of Championship to upcoming generation through encouragement, guidance and sense of gratitude in their heart.
This is the reason that our world is filled with examples of people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Ambedkar, Martin Luther King Jr. etc. Real Champions do not live for themselves but for others. They are like the rose flower that blossom on thorns of obstacles only to give joy to others.
We have examples of the world’s richest people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates giving Billions of Dollars for the welfare of society. It is a great example of Champions who have risen to the peak in business world alighting down from the peak to lend a helping hand to others to climb their own peaks. That’s the mark of a Champion. That’s the heart that Champions carry around, a heart filled with gratitude.
Conclusion: Let me end by reminding you that there is a Champion in you, ready to break forth and reveal himself or herself to the world. Champions are not only those who rise to fame and fortune. Champions are hidden in every one of us single individuals. We have to realize this and work on the above mentioned qualities so that we hewn out the rough edges and sublimate and shape the Champion in us. “Nothing in this world has been ever achieved without enthusiasm and passion.” So my prayer is that this article may ignite the flame of passion and enthusiasm in you that may help you discover the Champion in you and help you to rise above, soar and touch your dreams. I salute the Champion in you. May you be a Champion!
Joy be all yours

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Vision of Beyond

<strong>The Vision of Beyond>

Introduction: Who is a seer? Seer is a person, a prophet who has the gift of seeing beyond the present situation into the future. In other words he or she is a person who possesses the vision of beyond. What once was thought to be the gift of exclusive class- the seers, is now the general requirement of every successful entrepreneur. Very few people in this world actually have developed this art of seeing beyond the present situation into the future. Most of us are victims of the disease called Myopia in ophthalmologic terms. Myopia is short- sightedness. A person can only see the things that are near him. He has trouble to see the things which are far off. In figurative sense, if I borrow the term we all have myopia when we look at different situations that encounter us on day to day basis. For example, what happens when troubles besiege you from all sides? You are overwhelmed with disappointment and discouragement and many of us become guilty of giving up at the first try. This is because we cannot see beyond the troubles that besiege us. But then there are people who have developed gifted eyesight that sees the situation not as it is but what it could be. They are the people who are ready to face the short-term losses for long term benefits. They are the people who will brave the storm knowing that it would lead them to discover new promised lands. In this article we will try to see how we could develop that blessed eyesight which sees opportunities in difficulties, blessings in misfortunes, light in obscurity and life in mortality.

Physical Eyesight tells us half-truth: Remember what we see with our physical eyes is limited. You could look at a caterpillar and feel the ugly itches it gives to your body and never see it of any use. But your eyesight is telling you only the half truth. We all know that one day the same caterpillar would turn into a beautiful butterfly which everyone admires and longs to touch. So the first thing in developing eyesight that sees beyond is to know that your physical eyesight is limited. Physical eyesight will only give you the picture of things as they appear to be at the moment. But they cannot grasp the hidden potential a situation, thing or person may possess. Physical eyes tend to overlook such things and many times we react on the half truth that our physical eyes tell us. For example let’s say on a particular day, you see a person who seems to be gloomy and doesn’t interact with anyone. You form a conclusion that he is very rude and egoistic. The truth maybe that day he has faced some untoward incident in his life. His wife maybe sick or he may be facing some problems regarding his children. He may be in meditative mood that day brooding over how to overcome the situation he is facing. So he appears to be aloof. On other days, he may be very outgoing and jovial person who loves to make new friends and enjoys company. So are your eyes at the given moment telling you the whole truth? Of course not! I remember a story from my English text in school days. There was a woman who moved into a certain neighborhood. She seemed to be a divorcee with two children. Most of the part of the day, the children used to be away from home. She used to send them out early morning. She used to be alone at home and had two male visitors regularly visiting her. The neighborhood was quick to judge her as a woman of suspicious character on the basis of what they saw. But the same neighborhood was ashamed when they came to know the truth. The woman’s husband had died a few years ago. She was suffering from a chronic disease. She didn’t wanted her children to see her suffering so she sent them away whole day. The men who visited her were her family doctor and lawyer. This story teaches us that not all that we see with our physical eyes is the whole truth. The physical eyes are limited to see only the three-dimensional space. They cannot see beyond, so don’t interpret events on the basis of what you see immediately, Always think what it could mean from other angle too.
Developing the Mental eyesight: You may be unconsciously aware of the fact that we also have what is known as mental eyesight. Just as you see pictures within the limits of three-dimensional space with your physical eyesight, you can also see pictures within you mind. Rather, most of the time we are busy forming pictures of what was or what could be in our mental eyesight. For example, the day your boss comes with a serious face and doesn’t greet you. Your mind starts busy picturing what could be the reason that he is somber. You picture in your mind the last day’s events; did you or someone in your office do something that offended your boss? Your mind also runs wild now and pictures the consequences of what could happen in the future. You see yourself in the office with the boss and you picture your boss shouting at you. You picture the day when you are given a memo and also the day when you are fired. You picture that your family is in trouble because you’ve lost the job. It’s time to put harness on the wild gallops of your mind and take control of it or it could lead you into depression. By now you must have been getting consciously aware of fact that we all have what is known as mental eyesight through which we form mental pictures in our minds. It is this faculty that we can use to our benefit when we want to develop the vision of beyond. How do we do this? Whenever you see an untoward incident or situation with your physical eyes, don’t immediately come to the conclusion that all is lost. Take the aid of your mental eyesight to see through the different options that could be possible. Remember this great truth, your physical eyesight is limited to the three dimensional space but your mental eyesight is not. It can cross the limits of three dimensions and reach unprecedented places. So when you encounter a negative situation, fall back on the resources of your mental eyesight. In your mind form a favorable picture of the negative situation. Your boss may look gloomy today but form the picture that it is nothing to do with you and he is very happy with you and though today he is not in mood because of some domestic problem, he is soon going to shower praises on you for your commitment and hard work. When you fail at something, don’t form the picture of a failure or loser in your mental eyesight rather form the picture that the failure is just an interval in your project and it is helping you to see what should be done, which way to be taken. Form a mental picture that you have reached your goals; you have accomplished what you always wanted. You faced failures but they were just detours in the course of your journey. You may be facing a storm in the ocean, look beyond that storm with the aid of your mental eyesight that you have reached the shores, the promised lands. Look in your mind that this storm that you are encountering is there not to dissuade you from your goal but rather push you toward your goal; it is making you stronger, richer and wiser. When you do this you’ll surely be on your way to develop the vision of beyond. That’s the meaning of walking by faith and not by eyesight. Here’s some wisdom, I’m not moved by what I see; I’m moved by what I want to see. Always allow that accomplished picture, that consummated dream to move you. Hold that picture firm in your mind, so firm that it moves you to action.

Don’t be Reactive, be Proactive: This is the final thing we ought to implement in our journey to develop the blessed vision of beyond. In the first two points, I have made it clear to you that whatever we see with our physical eyesight is not enough, it may not be offering you the whole truth. In the second point, we saw how we should develop the faculty of forming the favorable picture with the aid of our mental eyesight. Now the third and final thing we should remember is that we should not react immediately and let our minds run wild and then take some action based on ephemeral emotions. Rather than being reactive, be proactive. Proactive is opposite of Reactive. Reaction comes immediately on the basis of the stimulus. You respond to a stimulus that is reaction. But being proactive means, you choose your responses. It is here that the second point comes into picture, first use the faculty of your mental eyesight to form a favorable picture about the untoward situation you are facing and then choose your actions on the basis of that favorable picture. Sometimes you may have to develop the art of patience. You may have to take time to analyze the situation from all angles and then forming the favorable picture choose your action. Remember the wisdom of Victor Frankl, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” If we forget this and become reactive to the stimulus provided to us by our five senses, we are no better off than animals. God has made human beings different from animals in this regard that we can choose our responses to what happens to us. The power of choice is the greatest power bestowed on human beings by God. So be patient, analyze, use your mental eyesight and then act.

Conclusion: Let’s end with some famous words from the great Lincoln Memorial speech of Martin Luther King Jr. “I have a dream that one day on the red hill of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that one day my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!” It is because of the vision of beyond that people like Martin Luther King Jr. developed we see a free and fair nation of America today. So next time you seeing a wall, remember that there is a world beyond the wall, if only you could stretch out to reach it with the Vision of Beyond.

Joy be all yours

To be or not to be

To be or not to be
The power of decision making

Introduction: Decisions, decisions, decisions! Every moment of your life, you have to make decisions whether you like it or not. Even when you decide not take a decision, you are actually making a decision to be indecisive. It is because you have made a decision so you are reading this article and it is your decision that will keep you reading up to the end or you may decide to do otherwise. It is a simple truth of life that you are where you are because of the decisions you have made at certain point of time in your life. If that is the case then we out to know that there is tremendous potential hidden in our decisions to be revealed. We ought to know the art of decision making; we ought to learn the skills of making decisions that will influence our lives and the lives of others around us in a positive way. This article will make us aware of the skills of making decisions and how can we use them to our benefit.

Indecisiveness: The Hamlet’s syndrome of indecision making is a pervasive phenomenon. Just as Hamlet was plagued between the decisions about his scheming Uncle Claudius, who had committed a regicide by killing his father, marrying his mother and usurping his throne so, are many people plagued about their day to day decisions. Many times as common people, we fail to realize that the ability to take decisions is a gift from God and there is awesome power in decision making. “It’s in the moment of your decisions that your destiny is shaped”, says Anthony Robbins. That one quote made a tremendous impact in my own life. It was then I decided that I should commence into the field of Soft – Skills teaching for which I always had a passion. It is because that decision I took, that I have a good job and also I am writing this article. Remember whoever you are, every moment of your life you have to take decisions. It may be from a simple decision like which dress should you wear today or what you should have in your plate for dinner to decisions in the corporate world that move transactions, money and people. In fact God has bestowed this power of decision making to human beings exclusively. Animals or other creatures cannot distinguish between the good and bad and decide. So we are privileged creation of God that has been given the independent power of decision making. We should use it for our growth, peace, prosperity and well – being. But many times we are indecisive about things. We cannot decide between the choices laid before us. Somebody said that it is better to make wrong decisions than not making any at all. Wrong decisions will make the correct path more obvious so we should not shy away from wrong decisions. Yes, don’t be afraid of making decisions, for an indecisive person will meet the fate of Hamlet, that’s the lesson we get to learn from Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Decide to look at the positive side of life: When you get up in the morning, you have to decide between the two choices, whether you would look at the day with the eyes of hope and enthusiasm or you would complain and crib about how awful it is. Every situation that you encounter from thereon during the day would challenge you to take bold decisions or decisions that are influenced by outer circumstances. Remember this; your happiness is directly linked to the decision to look at the positive side even when the outer circumstances are pressurizing you to do otherwise. When your car tire is flat, you can decide to curse the car, the day and God or decide to remain unperturbed and choose to travel by a cab or in a friend’s car. When you face the heat at your workplace, you can decide to lash back and endanger your reputation in the work place or use the heat to warm up your chances of getting promoted by doing exactly and over of what is expected from you. When someone treats you wrong and overlooks you, you can choose to worry over the matter or decide to bypass the matter and show nothing but love to the one who wrongs you. “Do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil by good.” That should be our motto in such cases. When you encounter a situation you don’t like, you should have an eye on long term benefit about the situation rather than looking at the near discomfit it is causing you. Maybe your boss hands over to you a job that you dislike, so you fret and fume about it. But by doing the work without complaining, you will make an positive impression on your boss and after many years when the time comes for a higher post to be filled, your boss will have none other than you in his mind.

Decide to be courageous: “When you cannot make up your mind which of the two evenly balanced courses of action you should take- choose the bolder” says, Ezra Pound. There is an awesome truth hidden in this quote. Many times we shy away from taking the courageous or bolder decisions when we are faced with a dilemma. What do you do when you encounter a situation where you get a project for which you have to be away from your family members for some period? You are torn between the two options; you don’t feel secure leaving your comfort zone of family members, your colleagues and friends and venture into the unknown. Let me tell you in the olden days, when much of the new lands were to be discovered people rarely went out into the deep sea. They used to travel in parallel to the shore, always keeping the shore in their sight. But there was one man Columbus, who decided to travel perpendicular and not parallel to the sea shore. He ventured out deep into the sea, faced times of doubt, fear and storms but at the end of it he discovered many new lands. When your marriage is on the verge of breaking up you are faced with the decision of divorce but you choose the bolder one, to win over your mate once again to woo him or her once again, to fall in love once again. You decide to stick with her or him and you through your actions that emanate nothing but love you finally win. You decided to be courageous, it is always too soon to quit. You took the courageous decision and you and your posterity is benefited by your action. Everyone in the exam hall resorts to malpractice, the examiners don’t seem to care much about it. You stick to the courageous decision of not resorting to the malpractice of cheating, you study and you pass. Maybe on paper the others got better grades than you, but when it comes for the time of implementing what they have learnt, they are blank walls, while you a collage full of knowledge and wisdom. In life you are more successful, deep down in your heart you are happier and the smile on your lips is not a fake one. Bravo! Stick to the bolder, courageous decisions in life, they will take you ahead miles while keeping on your face the smiles.

Decide to rise above, to be nobler: Lastly, whenever you encounter a situation that challenges you to be mean and to be like the people around you choose the better option. Don’t soar on the average level, be like the eagle, rise higher, don’t swim with the current, be a live fish swim against the current, don’t react like the ordinary mortals, be proactive choose your response and choose the nobler side. Whenever the situation around you or the people around you pressurize you to take an action that seems to be less than noble don’t give in. Always stick to the nobler decisions in life. It may seem that for sometime you are missing the fun but on a long term basis you would be glad to know that what you viewed as fun was nothing but frivolity and vanity that would have pushed you off the course. Let me illustrate, many students when they venture out into their college years, they are pressurized by some students to hang outside the classrooms rather than hear the lectures of the teachers. Many students give in to this temptation. They while away their time outside in the college canteen or go for a movie or indulge in habits like smoking and drinking. Such habits seem to be fun for the moment but on the long term basis they destroy the student’s career. They change a student’s focus from academic goals to goals that are nothing but vanity. By the time a student realizes his or her mistakes, it is too late. So friends, don’t give in to decisions that are less noble, decide to rise above, decide to pursue the nobler, the higher, the better. Decide to be a winner; decide to pursue the lifestyle of winners. Remember in doing so, you may seem to loose the fun but you will sustain the joy in your heart forever.

Conclusion: I would like to conclude this article by the famous lines from the well-known poem, ‘The Road not taken’ of Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” May God bless you all readers and give you the courage to decide, to make decisions, to make mistakes, to learn and to grow. May we all be awaken to the awesome power of decision making.
Joy be all yours.

Unbeatable Mindset

Unbeatable Mindset
Introduction: In the year 1952, two men did what was unprecedented till then. Norgay Tenzing and Edmund Hillary climbed the highest peak in the world, the Mount Everest which was not conquered by man previously. When Edmund Hillary was interviewed later about his experience and how he could conquer the highest peak he said, “It is not about conquering mountains, it is about conquering yourself.” In other words he was trying to convey the message that when a human being conquers his mind, he can conquer anything and everything. Reaching milestones in life is all about having an Unbeatable Mindset. It is a mindset that says, “I don’t give up, I don’t quit, I can do it.” The world is filled with examples as of Norgay Tenzing and Edmund Hillary in every field like business, sports, politics etc. If we study all these people, they have one thing in common that is an Unbeatable Mindset. So how can we also possess an Unbeatable Mindset, or rather develop our Minds to that level where we will possess an Unbeatable Mindset? This article will help us in this very regard.
1. An open Mind: The first mark of an Unbeatable Mindset is to have an open mind. By an open mind, I mean a mind willing to study. A mind willing to be flexible, a mind that is ready to empathize with the other point of view. Many times we are bound by limits because we don’t want to have an open mindset. Our minds are hewn and shaped by culture, religions, nations, castes, families and societies around us. We tend to learn everything from our childhood from the above mentioned areas of life. We are inclined to behave and act as we are taught by our surroundings. So if your religion, nation, caste, culture tells you that certain things are bad and unacceptable, we tend to follow and continue with this trend in our adulthood. If our surroundings and people tell us that we cannot venture into the dark because there is evil lurking in the dark on a full moon or new moon day we tend to make this our belief and follow it religiously. When an astrologer tells us that you belong to this Sun sign or Moon sign and your personality is bound by this weakness we accept his words, welcome that weakness in our lives, befriend it and live with it our whole lives. When you are taught from your childhood that certain mountains are a taboo and you should avoid them, you are bound to keep yourself away from going in the proximity of those mountains and definitely from attempting to conquer them. So the first requirement is to have an open mind, a mind that will challenge limiting beliefs of people around us, what religions, cultures, societies imbibe in us. What if Edmund Hillary was taught not to associate with people from other countries or skin colour? The climbing on Mount Everest was a team effort, if he was not accompanied by Norgay Tensing who was a Nepali, it would have been different story altogether. So have an open mind, a mind that is willing to accept the different point of view and be flexible.
2. A Learning Mind: “When the student is ready the teacher appears” goes the saying. Life will always throw situation, people, and circumstances around us to teach us. “Remember there are no failures, only lessons to be learnt” says, Cherrie De Scott, the author of “IF Life are a Game these are the Rules.” But Life would teach us not forcefully, rather very subtly and only with the condition that we are willing to learn. People who conquer mountains have always been good students of Life. They have a humble mindset that is willing to learn, de-learn, re-learn, assimilate and execute what they Life has taught them. They are ready to give up their preconceived notions and beliefs and accept new ones that make them wiser. They remain students of a faculty for their whole lives even though they may be renowned as Masters of it. They make necessary alterations and evolve with times as they keep on learning. To possess a learning mind is to possess a mind that is constantly sharpened. There was a woodcutter hired by a company. He regularly cut trees for the company and got some money. He did so for five years. After some time another woodcutter was hired by the company. After some months he was immediately promoted and his salary hiked. Naturally, the previous woodcutter felt ignored. He went to the manager of the company; the manager said to him that he would be happy to give him promotion too but the new woodcutter was cutting more trees per day than him so they had promoted him. If he did the same, the company would hike his pay too. So the woodcutter went back and started hitting at the trees hard. But he was still able to manage only the same amount of trees everyday. So he was puzzled and told his query to the manager. The manager told him that he should consult the new woodcutter, maybe he knew the secret that both of them were unaware of. The woodcutter went to the new woodcutter and asked him the secret of his success. The new woodcutter replied, “The secret of cutting more trees is that after every tree I cut, I take some rest and sharpen my axe”. Friends, to possess an unbeatable mindset, it is important that we have minds that are open to sharpening, to undergo the process of learning, de-learning and relearning.
3. A mind that knows fear but acknowledges courage: There is a positive and encouraging advertisement that is being displayed on Television sets in India by a Cola company. Its motto is “Victory lies beyond your fears”. There is a great element of truth in it. When we look at successful people and the heights that they have gain in their career we are overawed by their career graphs that seem to soar like the eagle soaring in the blue sky. We feel that they are people who are specially gifted with the gift of courage. We feel that the things that they have attempted and risked are not for everyone. They were blessed from heaven to do that task. It won’t be possible for us to climb the same mountains they have because they were born fearless. But if we read and study carefully the lives of these great souls, we will be surprised to know that they are all common people who have risen out of their fears and touched great heights in life. They were people who knew fear but rather than acknowledging it or befriending it and limiting themselves and their progress, they chose to acknowledge courage and progress. There is a Chinese proverb that says, “When you stay with a problem long enough, it turns out to be a blessing.” In the same way when you stay with a fear long enough and refuse to quit, the fear will give way to courage. To be courageous, you first have to know what fear is. When you know fear and despite of it choose to be courageous, than you’ve graduated to have a mind that fearless. Look at the word, “Fear-less”. The fear is there but its effect has been lessened or made ‘nil’ in one’s life. In other words, the person knows fear but acknowledges courage. He is acquainted with the fact that there is fear, but he does not befriend it and let it paralyse his development. He rather chooses to befriend courage. He chooses to go beyond the fear and knows that real freedom lies there beyond his fears. Many times fears are illusory. Many times things don’t turn out as we feared them to turn out. Mark Twain said it well, “I am an old man and have known many troubles, but most of them never happened.” The troubles that Mark Twain feared never happened. Look at that quote! We cannot disagree with his wisdom. The wise thing to do is go beyond our fears. We should know fear but not befriend it, acknowledge and befriend courage. That will help us to posses an unbeatable mindset.
4. A mind that refuses to quit: The fourth factor to possess an unbeatable mindset is to have a mind that refuses to quit in face of trials, troubles and failures. A mind that accepts failures as the part of the process of success and learns from the failures will achieve its goals. Usually the common people around us give up too soon. When students encounter failure in examination many of them end their lives, when people lose in business they shut off their business and quit trying, when an interviewee fails to get the desired job he gets discouraged and despondent, when people find it difficult to adjust with their spouses because of the differences in thinking, they take the recourse of divorce. Remember, “It’s always too soon to give up; and it is always never too late to try again.” Between 1920 to 1952, seven major expeditions had failed to reach the Everest summit. Edmund Hillary had tried reaching in 1951 and 1952 and reattempted in 1953 when finally he and Tenzing Norgay reached the world’s highest peak. If you go behind the success stories of all the famous people, you will find that many times in their lives they have encountered failures. The only difference between them and the common crowd was that they choose to stay in the game longer than most of us do and that is why they emerged as winners at the end. We all know the great scientist Thomas Edison who invented the microphone, the incandescent light, the storage battery and other things. On December 1914 his laboratory was in flames due to combustion in the film room. All his life’s work was destroyed in the laboratory. He was 67 at that time. Many thought including his son Charles that he won’t be able to take it. But the next morning Edison looking at the ruins said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew” Three weeks after this disaster, he invented the phonograph. That’s the mind refusing to give up, the mark of an unbeatable mindset.
5. A noble mind: Finally, an unbeatable mindset is a mind that chooses nobler options in life. When it comes to choose between hate and love, revenge and forgiveness, strife and peace, loosing battles and winning war the nobler mind always chooses the later of the options. A nobler mind is willing to sacrifice the short term benefits for long term goals. A nobler mind always looks for the future benefits, benefits that would stay longer and is willing to sacrifice the alluring, pleasurable short term frivolities. A noble mind is willing to sacrifice the good for the best. Many times they say, “The good is many times the enemy of the best” What would have happened if Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu would have chosen to keep on working as a Principal of the reputed convent school and lead a comfortable life rather than be a ‘saint of the gutters?’Nothing much. We wouldn’t have known Mother Teresa. What would have happened if a young and promising barrister chose to stay in foreign country and pursue his career and profession rather than plunge himself in the Indian Freedom struggle? We wouldn’t have known the Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. What would have happened if the brave soldiers of our country chose a life of merriment and comfort rather than a life or vigilance and sacrifice, we surely won’t be very secure in such a country. Choose the nobler option, the option that will help you to rise above the common crowd, an option that would decorate your life with love, peace, joy, fulfilment and enlightenment. Drugs, addiction, gambling, cheating, fraud are options that many of the people around us choose and though it may give them a short-term ‘high’, on long term basis the effects would be worse than the people realize. So rise above the ordinary, you are meant to be nobler and leave a nobler legacy for your posterity to follow.
Conclusion: Wilma Rudolph was born in a family of 22 children, born prematurely. Scarlet fever took off her ability to walk and left her polio stricken. Segregation of the black people in U.S was the order of the day and Wilma happened to be a black person. Doctors gave the hope of her being able to walk again. But at the encouragement of her mother, she gave up her braces on legs and started walking, then running and participating in sports in her school. In many races she came last but refused to quit until the day dawned and she came first. She kept on participating and met Ed Temple who coached her for Olympics and on September 7th in Rome Wilma became the first American woman to win 3 gold medals defeating the world’s best runner in those times, Jutta Henin. That’s the story of an unbeatable mindset. So friends, we all can graduate to possess the unbeatable mindset, if we are willing to work on ourselves according to the above laid out tips. Remember if we possess an unbeatable mindset, we will surely be unbeatable.
Joy be all yours.