Skip to content

Category: attitude

Serial-cribber

There’s this guy I met the other day.

He was sitting at his desk – the front desk.

He seemed really bored, and was watching some video on his phone.

“How irresponsible”, I thought to myself. “Sitting at the front desk of an office and watching videos”.

I casually asked him how he was and what he was upto. He said he had been at the job for a year. He needed the money desperately to make ends meet. I enquired about his work timings. 8 am to 8 pm he said.

“5 days a week right?”

“No sir, I have to come on Saturdays and Sundays as well.”

Imagine that, no weekends off, no breaks, just an insane 7 day work week, and that too for a pittance. I couldn’t see him complaining though. He was doing what needed to be done, and with a smile. A good lesson for the serial-cribber in me.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

CWG – part 3

Blood, sweat and tears is often used loosely by white collared folks when they’ve achieved something after a lot of struggle. The sweat and the tears may well be true. But the blood part? Not so much.

Not that it has to be. Imagine getting a small cut on the finger or a hair pull on the scalp or a mouth ulcer. That pain is felt throughout the day.

But imagine having a dislocated shoulder, or intense cramps, or stitches on the knee. And then imagine going on to win a medal on the world stage. Quite exceptional isn’t it? All that and more happened this time in these games.

The question I asked myself is, should I find ways to complain, or solutions to problems?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

How to keep a positive attitude?

We know that “attitude is everything”. There’s even a book with exactly this title. People say you can change your life and your destiny if you change your attitude. But how to do this?

Shivani Didi of the Brahma Kumari group has some tips that she talks about in her videos:

  1. Read something spiritual or read positive books for 30 minutes within the first two hours of your day
  2. Do not read newspapers (or any negative information) at least till lunch time every day
  3. Do not watch any negative or sensational stuff on TV either in the morning or within two hours of bedtime
  4. Associate with those who have a positive attitude, and keep away from habitual grumblers
  5. Stop complaining, and instead appreciate all the positive things around you

So cool isn’t it? And not that tough to follow!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Positive reinforcement

Imagine you just concluded something important. It’s now time for feedback. Self-feedback.

There are just two questions to ask.

The first is, “What did I do right?”

The second one would obviously be, “What did I do wrong?”

But no, there’s a better second question. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, we could ask “What should I do differently?”

The outcome of the two variations of the second question is the same. But the way it is phrased makes all the difference. The best part? Both question 1 and variation 2 of question 2 will be positive reinforces. Neither doom nor gloom!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Kadanaaynu pannaadhey!

This was the example a very senior satsangi gave recently in a satsang. And it was very funny!

This is a Tamil phrase which means “don’t do your work as though you are paying back some loans/dues”.

It’s a common saying down South, and is often expressed by irate parents who see their kids going about their work or studies in a completely uninterested fashion.

This phrase was mentioned yesterday when the speaker was asked about how we should be going about our work.

“With full dhriti and utsaaha, or perseverance or excitement, no matter how boring the work.”

Doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look out for better opportunities, but whatever we are doing currently, that needs to be done with the best intentions and mindset, not as though we were forcefully and woefully repaying a debt (even if in reality, some EMIs are to be paid each month 😄).

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

The real shark

On a recent episode of Shark Tank, a lady who was pitching spoke about how her father never believed she could/would ever be successful. The man wanted a son, but got her instead, and she broke down about how this would always scare her.

But she never gave up, always chasing her dreams, and that brought her to the sharky stage that day.

Robert, one of the sharks, who was already “out”, came back “in” at that point, and spoke of his own learnings. How he was always told throughout his childhood by everyone around him that he would never ever be successful.

Maybe this is quite a common experience. But what he said after that was key.

He said that after many years, he realized that the problem was not all those naysayers at all, but he himself. All his success came as soon as he yanked himself and his own negative thoughts that were standing in the path of his future.

Good lesson for any one of us that might have some negative thoughts from time to time!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

This is how you conquer fear

Fear is a struggle for most people. As one quote says, you don’t need to put a gun to a person’s head to make him afraid. You just need to ask him to go on stage to speak in public.

Of course, fear has more facets than just to do with public speaking. Even in day to day work, when faced with something unfamiliar, new, uncomfortable and uncertain, there is often a feeling of dread. The mouth dries up, the stomach ties up, and the brain fries up. This leads to anxiety, and eventual (or immediate) underperformance. What to do?

A common solution would be to “stay calm” or “try to calm yourself down” or “take a few deep breaths buddy”. This is good advice in general, except that when fear has already struck and when your adrenaline is pumping and heart rate is already high, trying to calm yourself down hardly works.

According to some research, we need to transform our mindset at the time into that of excitement. Trying to calm down a body engulfed by fear is like yanking the hand brake when the car is hurtling forward at 100 kmph. But excitement? “Yes I’m unsure of how this will work out but boy am I so excited to try out this new job!”

This is really just a shift in mindset, but do try it out the next time you face any sort of fear. Try telling your mind that you are so excited by this opportunity, and watch in amazement as the fear melts away, replaced by enthusiasm and eagerness!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Greenest grass

On a recent rural trip, I couldn’t help but marvel at some homes on the way. Yes they were rudimentary, but also so peaceful. There were cattle grazing, elders lounging around in the sun, kids playing by a small brook, and lush pristine green as far as the eye could see.

The immediate thought that comes to city dwellers in such circumstances is, “What am I slogging for really every single day in the concrete jungle I’m living in? All the money in the world cannot buy such experiences in nature and simplicity. Wish I could live here instead.”

Mine was a day trip, and I had to head back to base in the evening. This meant I passed by the same rural homes, although this time after sundown.

It was pitch dark. A few earthen lamps lit the patios. But enough to warn of any wild animals, especially snakes in the grass, or other creatures lurking in the shadows? Not a chance. Men and women walking along the sides of the main roads could only be seen if lit by the high-beam flashlights of passing vehicles. God forbid if someone was driving with low or no lights. All the dazzling serenity and beauty of the place in the morning, was replaced by an eerie silence instead.

Surely these were the good old days, where waking up with sunrise and winding down by sunset were the order of the day. But can we follow this in our city lifestyles? Will that keep us happy, or is this just greener grass?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Please select justification

What’s good and what’s not? Can a bad thing also be a good thing?

My work recently required me to send a bunch of emails. All similar emails, similar content, but with changing only the names, addressing each recipient individually.

These kinds of one-off tasks can get boring and repetitive (because they are!), but sometimes just need to be done.

Each time I would hit the “Send Email” button, a pop-up would show up: “Please select justification for sending this email outside the office domain”, and I’d have to select “Official Purpose” and that would be it. But if I had to do this for each time I had to send those 50-60 emails, it was becoming irritating.

Until, after about the 20th email, in a hurry, I forgot to change the name of the recipient, and hit send. Oops! I realized my mistake in that split second itself, and my heart jumped into my mouth. Luckily, there was a pop-up “Please select justification…”

Phew. Saved by that same pesky pop-up! Again, what’s good and what’s not? Can a bad thing also be a good thing?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Whose problems?

Everyone’s got problems. Some are big, some are small. But no, rarely would anyone consider their own problems as small.

My Guru used to say that if a lot of people are complaining about their problems, they should all be brought together. Like at a dining table, and then made to discuss their problems, one by one. Then at the end of the discussion, the choice should be given to each one to exchange their problems with others.

Would anyone be ready to exchange? Absolutely not! While their own problems are bad, the other person’s problems are even worse, so we are better off with our own! So what is the takeaway? Quit cribbing, and be happy with what we’ve got.

The corollary? As the saying goes, “Don’t tell people your problems. Eighty percent don’t care and the other twenty percent are glad you have them.”

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

The art of war

Was reading about a war situation. One family of 6, two parents and 4 of their children, were stuck in their home as war broke out. They thought they were safe, until an enemy missile exploded barely 500 meters away from their home.

They dashed into their car and decided to make a run for the border. Only 5 of them though. Because the eldest, at 18 years of age, decided to stay back and fight for his country.

The other 5 somehow managed to reach the border, staying in all sorts of temporary encampments enroute. With great difficulty, they crossed over into the neighbouring country.

The husband ensured his family was safe, and the next morning began the drive back home, to join his son in the fight. Whether the wife and 3 kids would ever see their husband/father/brother/son again, was a question no one had the answer to…

Meanwhile, what silly tiny immaterial problem in my life was I complaining about again today morning?

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Titular

CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, Head of Legal, Head of Sales, Executive Director, Managing Director, Senior Vice President, Senior Partner, Senior Principal etc etc.

These are all lovely titles.

Everyone wants them.

But can everyone handle them?

Each of these titles comes with truckloads of stress and deadlines and deliverables and insane client demands.

If we run after the titles alone, we will experience nothing more than stress and anxiety.

However, if we focus on adding value to those around us, neither will we be stressed, nor will we need any titles. Paradoxically, all the titles in the world will come running to us!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Thud

A few years ago, my grandmother set out for an early evening walk around the colony.

The area had a lot of trees, and so was nice and green, while also providing decent shade from the sun.

Midway into her walk… and a large branch from a tall tree above, broke off and grazed her hand.

She returned home immediately, and had to put some medication, but it was nothing serious.

It might seem like this was a small incident, but she herself knew it’s importance. Not that the branch broke off, but where exactly she was at the time. Just one step to the right or left, and the branch would have hit her on the head. And with such a hard blow…

We may egoistically think we are in full control of our lives. But we don’t even know what can fall from the sky when we step out for an innocuous walk.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Renovation

We were doing some home renovation recently.

Workers would come in at 10 am, and work all the way till 9 pm. A few breaks for chai and lunch and the like.

But work they would. It’s brutal, painstaking, physical labour. Painting, carpentry, plumbing, masonry, you name it.

And they would work 7 days a week. Why? Because they are daily wage earners. One day off means one day off their wages as well.

They’re probably a 2 day train journey away from their families. So they have everything to crib about.

And yet, they take the time to smile and joke and laugh among themselves.

The actual work they do is not what is valuable. The attitude that keeps them happy inspite of it, is what is truly priceless.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Scientific monkeys

We know we get nervous before important situations in life. How to understand this? Centuries of evolution has made the human brain react to circumstances in one of two ways. 1 – Monkey, or 2 – Scientist.

When in Monkey mode, the brain is scared, escapist, releasing cortisol and looking to run. In Scientist mode however, it is calm, relaxed and looking to learn.

How do we maximize Scientist mode over Monkey mode? We can learn from Firefighters. The first fire breakout for a new firefighter is a scary experience. But as s/he gets to their 20th fire, which could be 10x bigger than their first, they are cool, calm and collected. Why? Because they are prepared and have seen this before.

Therein lies a clue. Preparation helps. Like if you are scared of the time-crunch of a 3 hour exam, practise taking tests within 2.5 hours itself. Laughter helps too. No better way than laughing about a problem you are going through. All of this is maya anyway, and really doesn’t matter in the long run. More laughter = less cortisol!

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

How much to donate?

Took a rickshaw ride to the metro station today. Turned out to be a very expensive one. Instead of paying x, I paid 10x.

Why? Because the rickshaw driver got a 10-second call in between, told me he just got news that his wife delivered twins, and congratulated himself. He then said all was good till 5 days ago when his father passed away. And that his wife was in ICU and that he had no money to buy her medicines. He wiped a (possibly) non-existent tear from his left eye too, whilst slapping his forehead a few times.

I gave him a little cash, and he asked for more because “medicines are expensive”. I told him that’s all I had, and he motioned to the QR code stuck on his vehicle and said I could transfer the money to him. To which I reminded him that the meter showed x, and that I’d just paid him 10x.

Even 10x really wasn’t a very big number – hardly anything. Maybe I should have been more generous – because what if he was being genuine? But some of this also seemed like it was pre-rehearsed. Was he lying? Was this a scam? I have no clue. No way of finding out.

My Guru says a) donate 10% of your post-tax income, and b) to make said donation only to the cause he has selected (education for the underprivileged). Why ‘only‘? Because he has already done the research, and knows the practical difficulties of trying to help everyone and supporting every cause. While ad-hoc folks asking for money like the example today is not uncommon in India, following principles ‘a’ and ‘b’ is what gives me peace of mind.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Inflation

There’s inflation everywhere now.

The whole world is talking about it, and the whole world is reeling from it as well.

Many shelves are empty, especially electronics with semi-conductor chips in them.

In developed countries, wage inflation is so rampant, that 5 star hotels have stopped room service, and many restaurants and bars have been clubbed together.

Inflation is pinching everyone.

But there’s one type of inflation that pinches the most.

And this is called the inflated ego. No explanation necessary 😄

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Stone throw

We know this story, but it is worth recollecting again.

There was a wise woman traveling in the mountains. She found a precious stone. The following day she met another traveller who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveller saw the precious stone at that time, and asked the lady for it.

She handed the precious stone over with zero hesitation. The traveller left, happy like never before. He thought he was now set for life.

But he came back shortly thereafter, to return the stone to the wise lady.

Why? Because he told her he wanted something even more precious than the precious stone. What could that be?

Only the ability and attitude to be able to give away something so precious in the first place.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Desert rose

“Oh desert rose eh ley hi ey ley…” crooned the legendary singer Sting many years ago.

I have never figured out the words after ‘rose’, but that’s digressing from the point.

No one likes deserts no? Not desserts, which are universally loved (except by the 22 year old trying desperately to get his abs to show!), but the dry arid landscapes that parch your throat just by thinking about them.

A dry barren dune-filled land is always considered infertile and useless. “What will anyone do with such a place?” is the first thing that comes to mind.

But even weaknesses can be turned into strengths. That’s my learning. We know this, but still get dejected in the face of adversity. Here’s a nice line I saw about the Indian state of Rajasthan, as part of a tourism advertisement.

“A pioneer in the green revolution (to generate solar energy) in India with 300-330 sunny days a year, which is comparable to the deserts of California and Nevada!”

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment

Classy

As I board a 16 hour flight for a business trip, I see people seated in different parts of the airplane.

The majority are in Economy.

The minority are divided between First and Business.

Everyone reaches the same destination, no partiality there.

But the journey? Vastly different, whether quality of service, legroom or food and beverage options etc.

No different than life outside an aircraft.

The end game is fixed. But the journey is what matters – what we do, what we make of it, and how we impact those around us.

Like it? Please share it!
Leave a Comment