Monday, November 28, 2011

Finish Impeccably

Remember the New Year day January 1, 2011. You decided to make this year as one of the best years of your life. You had lot of dreams for the 12 months to fall. You might also have developed a plan to reach your goals. I am sure you have taken actions for few weeks and then went off track. This is the case with most of the people. Still, if you are in those few who set and reached goals. I congratulate you and wish the best for the month ahead. Here are ten things you can do to make this December, best month in the year and finish impeccably (irrespective of the status of all other goals which you set in the beginning):  
  1. Read ‘The Ultimate Gift’ by Jim Stovall. You will definitely learn to live a more fulfilled life.
  2. Watch ‘I Am Kalam’. My most important learning from this tremendous movie is: circumstances are nothing and you are the master of your destiny.
  3. Wash, get ironed and donate your old winter clothes. I do this on traffic lights while travelling to office. Enjoy the smile and happiness within.
  4. Unplug your TV (at least for 2 weeks) and feel all the peace and abundance of time at your disposal. Experience the laughter with your loved ones in this time.
  5. Go on a vacation for two days, preferably to a place closer to nature i.e. mountains, rivers, lakes, forests etc.
  6. Write ‘Thank You Cards’ to at least five persons who contributed maximum to your development & growth in health, wealth & happiness. There are very few things as powerful as a sincere, hand-written thank-you note. Share your gratitude with those who helped you this year. Tell them how they helped you and what it meant to you.
  7. Write down your top three values. Make a decision to drive your life on the basis of these three words/phrases. I bet, you will live more gracefully and build better legacy. For me the top three values are: Love, Integrity & Excellence.
  8. Find out your three best heroes (For me the names are Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi & Abraham Lincoln). Hang up their portraits on the walls of your home, read their biographies, master their lives and list down the qualities in each one of them which influence you the most. Now, decide to get one habit from each hero.
  9. Contribute to world peace – love your family. After receiving Nobel Prize, Mother Teresa was called on the stage to speak on, ‘How can we contribute to world peace?’ This angel spoke, ‘Go to your home and love your family.’ Yes, be a role model to your kids and do not do anything which you do not want your kids to emulate. Refrain from things which do not make your parents feel proud of you. Be a responsible citizen. Just practice it for a month. It will definitely make the world a better place to live.  
  10. Join this blog and visit regularly. J
Thank you for reading. Stay blessed. Keep shining. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lincoln's letter to his son's teacher

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just, all men are not true.
But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician, there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend.
Steer him away from envy,
if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that,
the bullies are the easiest to lick…
Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books…
But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside.
In the school teach him
it is far honorable to fail than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon…
Teach him to listen to all men…
but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good that comes through.
Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently but do not cuddle him,
because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow, my son!

~ Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Story of a Pencil

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point, he asked: ‘Are you writing a story about me’? His grandmother stopped writing the letter and said to her grandson:’ I am writing about you, but more important than the words is the pencil I am using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up’. Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.’ But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’
‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on to them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.
First quality: you are capable of great things but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God and He always guides us according to His will.
Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener .That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.
Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.
Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.
Fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. In just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’.
Apart from the five awesome metaphorically put qualities of a pencil, I would like to add a sixth quality: there are times, when a nicely sharpened tip breaks, may be caused by extreme pressure or by dropping to the ground. But know that all it needs is more sharpening and it can be as good as new. Remember, success is all about bouncing back. 
Source: “Like the Flowing River” by Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recharge Your Battery - Keep Quiet

                                        Silence is a source of great strength.   – Lao Tzu
Anna Hazare’s fast for a dozen days in his seventies has left questions on the lips of many doctors, body builders and yoga gurus. When asked the secret of the strength this Gandhian simply said, ‘this is the power of brahmacharya (celibacy).’ After breaking the fast, Mr Hazare believed that verbal communication with people was leaving him very weak. Hence he started maun vrata (vow of silence). Mahatma Gandhi used to observe silence on Mondays and Vinoba Bhave too observed silence during emergency days which he called as ‘Anushashan Parva’ i.e. period of discipline. Osho too, once said he loves people who observe silence and laugh a lot as their progress on the spiritual path is very fast.
I have a friend who just speaks in all gatherings. While another friend who just listens in all the meetings and there are few more who maintains a rhythm in every interaction.  The first remained exhausted, the second non effective and the third one is a man of wisdom, very efficient in all his endeavors. He has got best friendship in the circle. Silence & speaking both are equally important and actually there must be a rhythm in speaking & silence. Even in the professions like sales which is considered as synonym of speaking more and being extrovert – silence is a great virtue. Salespeople often do not hear the needs of the customer because they are focusing on the qualities of their product. Guess what? It’s not about you or your product. It’s about the customers, their needs and their concerns. You won’t know what those concerns are unless you develop the ability to listen and ask great questions.
I personally experimented and experienced fruits of silence. At times my silence stretched to more than 3 weeks in my student life. A one/two/three day of silence was very common for me and here are the benefits I reaped:
Silence is Creative: In Business, at school, home or NGO, more and more we are required to ‘think outside the box’ and to come up with new ideas. Creativity is not found within the known. Creativity means to bring the new into being. All ‘thinking about’ is simply juggling with the old. You might come up with an answer but this is not developing creativity. Creativity needs the silence of ‘non-thinking.’ It requires that you quiet the chattering mind. Silence and creativity are one.
Silence gives Rest: Entering your inner silence gives you deep rest. The rhythm of the body slows. The rate of breathing slows. Your heart rate drops. You enter the present moment. You enter your essential self. There is no need to go anywhere. There is no place to go. This is your time for relaxation. I have observed on the holidays when I talk (a lot) on phone get tired more than a usual working day at office. This is your time for simply letting go and letting be. Learn to rest regularly in the silence of your body.
Silence builds Trust: Silence allows you to trust yourself. You give yourself time to listen to your inner voice. You learn to discover your unique ways of knowing. You discover that you do know the answers. You simply think others know better than you do. You have been taught this for most of your life. Listening silently to the promptings of your heart you begin got know your own voice. You become your own master. It develops concentration which in turn boosts up your confidence.
Silence brings Balance: Silence allows for balance. It balances your natural rhythms. You ‘do’ and then you stop ‘doing.’ You ‘do’ and then you ‘be.’ This is easy to remember. It is the rhythm ‘Do, be, do, be, do…….’ All of nature follows this rhythm. We are human beings who have somehow transformed into human doings. We have forgotten the joy of silently being in the present.
Silence promotes the Inner: Silence is not just something we experience on the outside. It is equally, if not more important, to learn art of silence that is internal. It promotes peace within. This is a place of real sanctuary from the noise and haste of this 21st Century. Once, we become a disciple of silence. This then becomes our favored practice.
Silence promotes the Real: Many of us are afraid of silence. We will do almost anything to avoid silence. When I am silent people often ask me, ‘Mukesh, is there anything wrong?’ For some people silence has become wrong. It is a form of communication many avoid. Living your life without periods of silence is akin to playing music without silence between the nodes. I believe when someone is upset all he needs to do is just get silent for couple of hours.
Silence allows Listening: Most people in our world long to be truly heard. Those who enter a period of silence each day learn to hear the song of their heart. They learn to listen to the song that only they have come to sing. When they listen to the song of their heart they find more love and compassion enter their dealings with others. 

Gift yourself a rest of silence each day, may be for just 60 minutes. This will develop a greater sense of well being in all aspects of your busy life. You can be centered and still while everyone else rushes around. Use silence as an anchor in your life and make it wonderful. 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, ‘As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, do it. I derive these from silence.’ This ‘New Mahatma in the Manufacturing – Anna, is a true follower of the father of the nation’. I would say, this is a welcome act. What do YOU think?