Wednesday, August 31, 2011

True Story - Why this happened to me

By Satish Nair (Jodhpur India) 

You might be heard of Arthur Ashe, the US Tennis Legend, the only black player to win all the grand slam trophies in tennis, who died of AIDS, which he contracted when he underwent a heart operation, such is the fate that without his knowledge, he could get contracted with such a devastating disease.

While lying on the hospital bed, he was getting messages around the world and one fan asked him why the destiny chose him for this ailment.

See his reply, “5 croes children try to play tennis, 50 lacs could learn to play tennis, even 5 lacs amateur enter into professional tennis and 50000 entered into the professional circuit. 5000 could play in the grand slam, 50 were able to enter in the main draw of Wimbledon, 4 were in the semifinals, 2 in the final and finally only one could win the final and when I won the championship, I never asked the almighty, WHY ME, similarly when I am suffering from pain, I never could ask Why me?”. Great reply from a legend. He meant that normally when we are delighted from happiness, we never asked the god why this happened to us, we never even try to find out how we become happier than others, but when we face hurdles and saddened by some roadblocks, we started to complain and ask god for the reasons. This is the difference between a LEGEND and an ordinary.

One become a legend only when he could feel the happiness and pain equally, this is an attribute, if one could adept to himself, he will be able to succeed in any area of life, in sports or in life. The Roman thinker Senika said in 1st century that “The height of luck and the depth of sadness will be felt alike, one who will be delighted, those who face the life’s ups and downs with equal prospect” 

The famous psychologist, Karl Young (1875-1961) once said “Every coin has two sides, happiness and sadness are equally responsible for making the real life, if we feel happiness always, then there is no meaning of word happiness”.

Bhagawan Budha said “The sage, who seeks moksha, should give equal importance to perseverance, hard work, patience, if he wants to get the moksha”.

Krishna advised to Arjun in Kurukshetra that “Happiness & sadness and gain & losses are to be taken evenly in ones life and hey Arjun, you should prepare for the war against the evils”

The populace of Ayodhya amazed to see same Shree Ram when he was preparing to become king of Ayodhya and when he prepared to go to jungle for the exile for long 14 years, on both the occasions, he remained as the same person, calm and composed even in the hard times. If we can not do that much sacrifice, we can be remained calm when there are small and minute commotions in our life. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It is easy to crtticize but difficult to improve

Once upon a time there was a painter who had just completed his course. He took 3 days and painted beautiful scenery. He wanted people's opinion about his caliber and painting skills.

 He put his creation at a busy street-crossing. And just down below a board which read -"I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake."

While he came back in the evening to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses) and some people had even written their comments on the painting.

Disheartened and broken completely he ran to his master's place and burst into tears.

This young artist was breathing heavily and master heard him saying"I'm useless and if this is what I have learnt to paint I'm not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely. I feel like dying"

Master smiled and suggested "My Son, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learnt flawless painting. Do as I say without questioning it. It WILL work."
Young artist reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master. Master took that gracefully and smiled.
"Come with me." master said.
They reached the same street-square early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now master took out another board which read -"Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it."
Master and disciple walked back home.
They both visited the place same evening. Young painter was surprised to see that actually there was not a single correction done so far. Next day again they visited and found painting remained untouched. They say the painting was kept there for a month for no correction came in!

Moral of the story

It is easier to criticize, but DIFFICULT TO IMPROVE! So don't get carried away or judge yourself by someone else's criticism and feel depressed...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Personal Excellence

By Binod Bidwaik

You must have read this story. But let me tell you it once again. A gentleman was once visiting a temple under construction. In the temple premises, he saw a sculptor making an idol of God.  Suddenly he saw, just a few meters away, another identical idol was lying. Surprised he asked the sculptor, do you need two statutes of the same idol.
“No” said the sculptor.  “We need only one, but the first one got damaged at the last stage.”

The gentleman examined the statue. No apparent damage was visible.  “Where the damage is?” Gentleman asked. “There is a scratch on the nose of the idol. But where are you going to keep the idol?”

The sculptor replied that it will be installed on a pillar 20 feet high. The gentleman asked, “When the idol will be 20 feet away from the eyes of the beholder, who is going to know that there is scratch on the nose anyways?”

The sculptor looked at the gentleman, smiled and said, "The God knows it and I know it ". 
The desire to excel should be exclusive of the fact whether someone appreciates it or not. Excellence is a drive from Inside not Outside.

An excellent life does not result from chance, fate, or good luck, but from a succession of excellent days lived in pursuit of a worthy purpose.
I went around an asked several dozen of my friends what they thought of when they thought of excellence – and here are some of the things they mentioned…  Great works of art, incredible feats of engineering, astounding accomplishments in science – like landing a human being on the moon – and of course the amazing levels of excellence attained by world-class cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and others.

Which then lead me to ask them WHO they thought of when they thought of people that they felt embodied the true meaning of excellence…?

The question is how they made this all. The only answer is through their personal excellence. 
What is actually Excellence means?
Anything which you call excellence is
  • Unusual / Unique
  • Valuable
  • Superior
  • Outstanding
  • The Best
  • Surpassing all others
AS I looked at the definition of excellence – and at my own experience with people questing for excellence – it occurred to me that there is not really one set “position” or a single point that could be called “Excellence” – it is actually on a continuum…
I encourage you to be valuable – to work to be unusual and unique and to strive to become “Outstanding” but I caution you – that to cross that line to move toward superior – or to commit yourself and your life to becoming “The Best in the World” – that is a goal that may actually cost you your life – and everything in it!  To be the best – truly best in the world – is amazing – it can be done – but what it may cost you I don’t want to even imagine. 

My suggestions is absolutely strive for excellence – settle for nothing less – but aim for “Balanced Excellence” – a life of tremendous value – to yourself, your family, your career and community – a life of well-rounded excellence.

The Formula for Excellence
Decided what it is that you really want to achieve.
Determine exactly what it will take to achieve it.
Focus every bit of energy and effort to achieve it.

The foundation of this all is your core values.  The core of excellence – the thing that differentiates the regular man from the excellent man is – clear, specific and strong VALUES.  There are many, many things that you can value – family, god, career, success, charity, contribution, honor – but to achieve any level of success your life must be “Values-Based.”

So what I have found is that people who achieve on a massive scale…

A Personal Philosophy of Excellence
You must define – in your own words – what excellence means to you and how you will pursue it and measure it in your own life.

The foundation of excellence is built on Values, Integrity Discipline and Focus efforts.
  • You must clearly define what excellence is to you.
  • Your definition must be “values based.”
  • You must have a specific and detailed plan to achieve you goals.
  • You must be incredibly curious about what it will take to achieve your goals.
  • You must FOCUS intently on achieving your goals.
  • You must have the discipline to keep focused on your goals – regardless of setbacks and difficulties.
  • You must have the discipline to say “NO”
  • You must have the self-discipline to make excellence a habit.
  • You must have the discipline to pursue excellence – even when those around you may not want you to…
  • You can’t just talk about excellence – you must live it.
  • If you want to achieve more than others – you have to work harder and longer – there is no reward without effort.
  • The work of excellence is measured in years and decades – not days and weeks.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

True story -Good salary is not the only motivator

Tamer Momtaz.,Egypt , worked in banking sector for 13 years

I worked in a famous bank and I was very happy , but under the stress of money I went to another Gulf bank in Egypt where I saw the salary only and I forgot that there are other things that cannot be ignored. The community in the workplace where I worked had many problems between individuals and there was no values. There every employee hated them self before they hated others, I was not able to live in this atmosphere and had sufferings, therefore I left work and I sat at home for 4 months , discharged and exhausted all the savings with my wife and 4 children and i lived in sadness. I was very miserable and then God helped me to find new work in a respectful bank with lower salary than before but encouraged me to learn and got a MBA degree and I am now studying a PhD. Work is not only about money, but many things integrated with the love of people and a staff of values. I cannot describe to you the taste of sadness when I see my colleagues who have continued in the earlier bank I worked in, they pant in a vicious circle.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he ! could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Capitalize on it !

You must have noticed that every now and then we get a chance to highlight our skills, abilities and earn some browney points at workplace. But most of the time we end up regretting that we could not utilize the opportunity as we could have been. May be because we did not identify the opportunity, may be because we were not ready to rock, etc. However these moments of intense activity or public limelight are our moments to enhave our career.

Let’s share and freeze on some of the moments where you can leave your good impression and utilize that in your career growth. It will help to do a little preparation beforehand. They can be:
  • First day at workplace
  • Giving a presentation
  • Giving an exhibition
  • Participating in an important meeting
  • While handling a crisis/ working on deadline
  • Dealing with clients/vendors/media
  • Organizing a function at workplace
  • Taking responsibilities/initiatives apart from assigned work
  • Working on company newsletter
  • Supervising some out of the schedule office work like organizing party/relocation etc.
A lot of people, when presented with such an option, will be filled nervousness, dismay and tension. People may not like to take initiatives for presentation, exhibition, out of scheduled work or taking some additional responsibility. The general response is, “Why me?”. Well, its very simple if you want to get extra you have to work extra. You need to understand that these are some career enhancing moments and you better take the opportunity to shine and grow. After all there are no bad jobs, only bad attitude to jobs.

So, always look for ways of making such jobs better, more interesting, quicker and understand that they are providing you with the opportunity to shine.

Share your views on how you seize opportunities to shine in your work routine. In my next post I shall discuss about some ways to generate these career enhancing moments and become the favorite at workplace.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five important lessons to learn from the humble pencil

It tells you that:-

 1 Anything you do will always leave a mark.

 2 However, you can always correct a mistake.

 3 Life is what you are from inside and not from outside.

 4 To make you work better, you will have to undergo painful sharpening.

5 Finally, to be the best you can be, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you – your parents,your teacher, your mentor or your institution.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What is a Sacrifice

Chat between  a Solider and  Software Engineer  in Shatabdi Train ........
Vivek Pradhan was not a happy man. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Shatabdi express could not cool  his frayed nerves. He was the Project Manager and still not  entitled to air travel. It was not the prestige he sought, he had tried
to reason with the admin person, it was the savings in time. As PM, he had so many things to do!! He opened his case and took out the laptop, determined to put the time to some good use.

"Are you from the software industry sir," the man beside him was staring appreciatively at the laptop. Vivek glanced briefly and  mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with
exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car.

 "You people have brought so much advancement to the country, Sir.  Today everything is getting computerized."

"Thanks," smiled Vivek, turning around to give the man a look. He  always found it difficult to resist appreciation. The man was young and stockily built like a sportsman. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury like a small town boy in a prep school. He probably was a railway sportsman making the most of his free traveling pass.

"You people always amaze me," the man continued, "You sit in an office and write something on a computer and  it does so many big things outside."

Vivek smiled  deprecatingly. Naiveness demanded reasoning not anger. "It is not as simple as that my friend. It is not just a question of writing a few lines. There is a lot of process that goes behind it."

For a moment, he was tempted to explain the entire Software Development Life cycle but restrained himself to a single statement.
"It is complex, very complex."

"It has to be. No wonder you people are so highly  paid!," came the  reply.

This was not turning out as Vivek had thought. A hint of  belligerence crept into his so far affable, persuasive tone.

"Everyone just sees the money. No one sees the amount of hard work we have to put in. Indians have such a narrow concept of hard work. Just because we sit in an air-conditioned office, does not mean our brows do not sweat. You exercise the muscle;
we exercise the mind and believe me that is no less taxing."

He could see, he had the man where he wanted, and it was time to drive home the point. "Let me give you an example. Take this train The entire railway reservation system is computerized. You can book a train ticket between any two stations from any of the hundreds of  computerized booking centres across the country. Thousands of transactions accessing a single database, at a time concurrently; data integrity,  locking, data security. Do  you understand the complexity in
designing and  coding such a system?"

The man was awe stuck ; quite like a child at a planetarium. This was something big and beyond his imagination. "You design and code such things."

"I used to," Vivek paused for effect, "but now I am the Project Manager."

"Oh!" sighed the man, as if the storm had passed over, "so your life is easy now."

This was like the last straw for Vivek. He retorted, "Oh come on, does life ever get easy as you
go up the ladder. Responsibility only brings more work. Design and coding!

That is the easier part. Now I do not do it, but I am responsible for it and believe me, that is far more stressfu! My job is to get the work done in time and with the highest quality. To tell you
about the pressures, there is the customer at one end, always  changing his requirements, the
user at the other, wanting something else, and your boss, always expecting you to have finished it yesterday."

Vivek paused in his diatribe, his belligerence fading with self-realization. What he had said, was not merely the outburst of a wronged man, it was the truth. And one need not get angry while
defending the truth.

"My friend," he concluded triumphantly, "you don't know what it is to be in the Line of Fire".

The man sat back in his chair, his eyes closed as if in realization. When he spoke after sometime, it was with a calm certainty that surprised Vivek.

"I know sir,..... I know what it is to be in the Line of Fire......."  He was staring blankly, as if no
passenger, no train existed, just a vast expanse of time.

"There were 30 of us when we were ordered to capture Point 4875 in the cover of the night. The enemy was firing from the top.  There was no knowing where the next bullet was going to come from and for whom.  In the morning when we finally hoisted the tricolour at the  top only 4 of us were alive."

"You are a...?"

"I am Subedar Sushant from the 13 J&K Rifles on duty at Peak 4875 in Kargil. They tell me I have completed my term and can opt for a soft assignment. But, tell me sir, can one give up duty just because it makes life easier. On the dawn of that capture, one of my colleagues lay injured in the snow, open to enemy fire while we were hiding behind a bunker. It was my job to go and fetch that soldier to  safety. But my Captain Batra Sahib refused me permission and went ahead himself.  "He said that the first pledge he had taken as a Gentleman Cadet was to put the safety and welfare of the nation foremost followed by the safety and welfare of the men he commanded. ..his own personal safety came last, always and every time.  "He was killed as he shielded and brought that injured soldier into the bunker. Every morning thereafter, as we stood guard, I could see him taking all those bullets, which were actually meant for me . I know sir....I know, what it is to be in the Line of Fire."

Vivek looked at him in disbelief not sure of how to respond. Abruptly, he switched off the laptop.  It seemed trivial, even insulting to edit a Word document in the presence of a man for whom valour and duty was a daily part of life; valour and sense of duty which he had so far
attributed only to epical heroes.

The train slowed down as it pulled into the station, and Subedar Sushant picked up his bags to

"It was nice meeting you sir."

Vivek fumbled with the handshake.

This hand... had climbed mountains, pressed the trigger, and hoisted the tricolour.

Suddenly, as if by impulse, he stood up at attention and his right hand went up in an impromptu salute.
It was the least he felt he could do for the country.

PS: The incident he narrated during the capture of Peak 4875 is a true-life incident during the
Kargil war. Capt. Batra sacrificed his life while trying to save one of the men he commanded, as victory was within sight. For this and various other acts of bravery, he was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the nation's highest military award.
Live humbly, there are great people around us, let us learn!  Life isn't about how to survive
the storm, but how to dance in the  rain!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

4 ways to get noticed at the workplace

There is a popular saying – “what gets measured, gets reviewed and what gets reviewed, gets improved and rewarded”. Applied at the workplace, it means that to get rewarded, your work should get measured first and noticed too. At the end of the day we all want recognition of our hard work. Recognition comes when you are able to promote your skills and worth to other co-workers. There is a need to show to your colleagues and seniors about your skills and the reason why you exist in the company – whether it’s a large organization or small. You need to enhance your visibility to get more responsibility and recognition.

There could be many ways to get noticed at workplace. A few ideas are:

1. Take time out to stroll: Do you know who make your cheques? Who advises your boss about your leaves/appraisal and other issues. There are many other departments in your organization apart from your own. It’s good to know people from your department but it’s always useful to gel with other people also. So don’t hesitate in exchanging ‘hellos’ with members of different teams and processes.

2. Spread the word: While I agree that ‘actions speak louder than words’ but nowadays this statement seems less applicable. These days actions and words seem to be speaking with the same force. So spread your words. Participate constructively in meetings. Write regularly in company newsletter. Appreciate colleagues for good work done. Reply with qualitative suggestions/solutions in group emails.

3. Extend a helping hand: There are always a few employees in an organisation, who are always ready to help. This not only sharpens the employee’s skill but also makes him popular among the people. There is usually an impression that this person can be counted upon, whenever required. So interesting things like mentoring new joinees, sharing some business tricks with colleagues/reportees. Helping people preparing presentation or using a new software/tool etc. will surely go a long way.

4. Step up: Its all about taking initiative as people always remember who did the things first; no one remembers the second one. Be the first to raise your hand high when you think that you can work on a particular task. Genuine effort always gets noticed and helps build a positive reputation at the workplace.

I fully agree that there is no replacement to hard work. However if you remember not to shy away from self promoting activity and PR at workplace it will surely help to create a positive image and help  you to get ahead at your workplace.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What you give comes back to you

This is a true story that had happened in 1892 at Stanford University . Its moral will always be relevant.
A young, 18-year-old student was struggling to pay his fees. He was an orphan, and not know­ing where to turn for money, he came up with a bright idea. A friend and he decided to host a musical concert on campus to raise money for their education.
They reached out to  the great pianist Ignacy J. Paderewski. His manager demanded a guaranteed fee of $2000 for the piano recital. A deal was struck. And the boys began to work to make the concert a success.
The big day arrived. Paderewski performed at Stanford. But unfortunately, they had not managed to sell enough tickets. The total col­lection was only $1600. Disappointed, they went to Paderewski and explained their plight. They gave him the entire $1600, plus a cheque for the balance $400. They promised to honour the cheque soonest possible.
"No." said Paderewski. "This is not acceptable." He tore up the cheque, returned the $1600 and told the two boys "Here's the $1600. Please deduct whatever expenses you have incurred. Keep the money you need for your fees. And just give me whatever is left" The boys were surprised, and thanked him profusely.
It was a small act of kindness. But it clearly marked out Paderewski as a great human being. Why should he help two people he did not even know? We all come across situations like these in our lives. And most of us only think "If I help them, what would hap­pen to me?" The truly great people think, "If I don't help them, what will happen to them?" They don't do it expecting something in return. They do it because they feel it's the right thing to do.
Paderewski later went on to become the Prime Minister of Poland . He was a great leader, but unfortunately when the World War began, Poland was ravaged. There were over 1.5 mil­lion people starving in his country, and no money to feed them. Paderewski did not know where to turn for help. He reached out to the US Food and Relief Administration for help.
The head there was a man called Herbert Hoover - who later went on to become the US President. Hoover agreed to help and quickly shipped tons of food grains to feed the starving Polish people. A calamity was averted.
Paderewski was relieved. He decided to go across to meet Hoover and personally thank him. When Paderewski began to thank Hoover for his noble gesture, Hoover quickly interjected and said, "You shouldn't be thanking me Mr. Prime Minister. You may not remember this, but several years ago, you helped two young students go through college in the US . I was one of them."
The world is a wonderful place. What goes around comes around ! Sometimes we notice it, sometimes we don't.