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Yuvraj! – Yes, You can!


When I follow cricket as a news and live my life with two ardent cricket fans, it is inevitable I know Yuvraj to some extent  – I identify his name with these adjectives –  young, energetic, loving son to his parents, raring to make more of life and cricket………… and ofcourse, he is known in the Bollywood circuits also!

It was such a shocking piece of news when I heard  it   – ” Yuvraj has Cancer”

Knowing as much (actually, as little) as I know about Yuvraj and  his family with my as much knowledge about the “big C” disease, I can certainly empathize with what he and his family are going through.   While it makes it challenging for anyone to go through the deadly big ‘C’, it is even more challenging to be in the prime of your life and being knocked down by this big C for no fault of his!   Especially, knowing how his mother will be feeling now…………….I was really sad.  While I completely appreciate the philosophical “Life is just a journey”, this news still left me with an uncomfortable feeling.

And today morning, I was looking into Yahoo news and this is the link I got…………….the Cricket Vs Cancer ………made me  feel positive and hope that for Yuvraj,  the ONLY big C in his life will be the C in Cricket    –   if all the cricket fans and their family across the world can wish him and support him with their prayers for a minute   –  there definitely will be a miracle.

So, here is the wishing from me  and the sincere hopes –  “Yuvraj, Yes! You Can!” !!    The Big C in your life is ONLY the  BIG Cricket!

Join me in taking this HOPE statement (Yuvraj, Yes You Can!) across the globe to Boston!

Related Posts:  Sean Maloney –  Inspiring  ||  What is Right?

LLS – Self – Health – Rice Bran Oil


Rice Bran Oil was a chance discovery for me.  One of my neighbours was mentioning about rice bran oil. She was using this as her fatheRice Bran Oilr-in-law’s doctor prescribed this oil for him.  I wanted to try this and I liked the oil  (okay, actually……..I did not find any difference between this oil and the previous oil I was using!  :)  ).  It is almost two years now and I have been using only rice bran oil as the cooking oil for the entire family.   While I could not find any difference in the taste of the food cooked using rice bran oil, it gives me great satisfaction that I am using a healthy oil.

Rice bran oil is rich in vitamin E and has antioxidants and helps in cholesterol control.   In south of India, we get multiple brands of rice bran oil in most of the retail shops.  I use Akshath rice bran oil which is available in retails like Nilgris, Spencers, Reliance and Food world.

Also, the cost of rice bran oil is comparatively very less than the regular sunflower oil.   TRY IT!!!

This is part of the Self of LLS series  –  http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/life-and-learning-series-lls/.

LLS – Self – Health – Green Tea


I first heard about green tea 11 years back  –   my initial understanding was that green tea is an antioxidant which will help prevent cancer!

It took me another 9 years to appreciate the overall benefits of it and start drinking green tea!

You can read on this here

Probably, it is an acquired taste, but it helps to have hot green tea after a heavy meal….. It gives a very light feeling after you sip the large cup of hot green tea!   It goes with my belief that anything good for the mind is good for the physical health  :)

The easiest way to have green tea is to get one of those branded tea bags  –  Tetley, Lipton are available across the globe.   All you need is a glass of hot water and you just dip the tea bag and wait for a minute and half  –  the water turns into the light yellow clear liquid and you remove the tea bag and you are ready for your sip of green tea.

Tip  –  Keep a box of tea bags at your work desk…If you have hot water dispenser at work, you have ready-made tea in two minutes!! this duration is excluding the water cooler gossip while you collect water !!!  :) :)

Hot green tea!

Note that you MUST NOT add milk to green tea.

If you are a person with sweet tooth, try adding honey into the green tea or a dash of lemon into it!!

Go green(tea!!)

This is part of the Self of LLS series  –  http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/life-and-learning-series-lls/.

LLS – More on life!


While we were discussing about leadership and qualities that make a leader, RK mentioned about a note which he sent to his team as a New Year message. When he shared the outline of what was in that message, I was very interested as it had many common points with the life model I was consolidating for myself.  Subsequently, when he shared that note with me, I found it to be very close to the life model I put together….

As I started to share my life learning in this blog as part of Life and Learning series,  http://ireach.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/life-and-learning-series-lls/, I felt it is good to share his note also in this blog.  While RK gave his consent to share his note here, I still look forward for the day where he will share his knowledge to the society at large.I have edited this note so that the focus is maintained on the critical life learnings…

Here is my view of our performance in 2010, what to expect in 2011 and some thoughts for the New Year.

It is a long note. I usually don’t write such long notes but I felt it was necessary as I see huge potential for the group and exciting opportunities for the people to grow.!

Please take time to read this completely and feel free to share it with your teams.

2010 Performance:

<<SPECIFIC CONTENT CLIPPED>>

Welcome 2011…

<<SPECIFIC CONTENT CLIPPED>>

We MUST be deliberate in every action we take on a daily basis. We must never allow ourselves to be on ‘Autopilot’. There is no such thing as ‘Constant’. We should make efforts to improve all the time or risk ‘disintegration’.

At the core will be ‘Happy and Active’ teams.

Make 2011 the Best Year Ever…

Finally, I would like to pass on the tidbits of wisdom I have gathered over the years that have served me well.

Attitude and Behavior:

  • You must be purposeful with everything you do.
  • Success in any area is about 80% behavior and 20% knowledge. You know what to do (how to be healthy, how to fix project issues….). Problem lies with the person in the mirror you are looking at.
  • It is the daily discipline (like exercise every day) that determines your success. It is a constant struggle.
  • Do the things you must do whether you like it or not.
  • Stop blaming others. Take full responsibility for results you are getting.
  • Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones said ‘ No one ever makes right decision, you make a decision and then do everything to make it RIGHT’. So, don’t waste too much time contemplating.
  • Develop fanatical level of Integrity. Tom Stanley who wrote ‘The Millionaire Mind’ found that #1 correlating factor among 1st Generation Millionaires was ‘Integrity’. There is no short cut to success.
  • READ thought provoking books and biographies. You can’t be a leader if you are not a reader.
  • Be direct; speak your mind; make the point; but don’t argue to prove you are right. Choose Happiness over being Right.
  • NEVER Worry. As Earl Nightingale said worry brings fear and fear is crippling.
  • Putting in the effort is important. But in the end, only thing that matters is RESULT
  • ACTION – No amount of advice will help if you don’t take action. Don’t wait for perfect time to get started. Do it NOW.

Goal Setting and Getting:

  • Statistics show that less than 5% of the world’s population has written & measurable goals. Of this 5%, only half of them really achieve those goals. Strive to be part of this small elite group.
  • Having clear goals (big or small) increases your sense of purpose tremendously.
  • DON’T try to do too many things – you will be overwhelmed and will quit. Prioritize your goals and focus on a few important ones.
  • Break down the goals into daily/weekly activities.
  • Get Started. Remember what the famous Lau-Tzu said – ‘Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.
  • DAILY Action is critical. Take stock of the progress every week. If you are lagging behind, don’t worry but it is critical that you make progress (however small it is).

Health:

  • Just remember – If you don’t have good health, other areas just don’t matter.
  • We all know what to do to be healthy – Exercise everyday; Drink plenty of water; eat loads of raw veggies and some nuts; cut down on fat; cut down on 3 white poisons (rice, salt, sugar).
  • Don’t wait for a health disaster to strike you before acting. It may be too late. Wake up and take charge of your health while you still have time to set it right.

Career:

  • Do MORE than what you are paid to do. Consider it an investment for the future.
  • If you don’t have enough to do, look for opportunities to make yourself useful and create value. Don’t wait for your manager to tell you that you are a liability.
  • Do the best you can; expect the best from your team; don’t tolerate incompetence.
  • Your team is smarter than you think. Give them an opportunity to prove; don’t get in the way.
  • Thinking is the highest paid job in any industry. Take time to think before action. But Thinking without Action is ‘Day Dream’ and Action without Thinking is ‘Nightmare’.
  • Foster leadership;
  • There is no such thing as ‘Job Security’. But you can establish ‘Employment Security’ if you are best at what you do.!
  • Study your industry well; Know the new trends, don’t hesitate to implement new ideas
  • Just because it hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Happiness:

  • What is happiness? According to Harvard Professor and author of ‘Stumbling on Happiness’ Dan Gilbert, there is a very good chance you don’t know the answer or you will get it wrong.
  • Everyone wants to be happy. But very few know how to. Take time to study happiness.
  • Study shows that happy and positive people are lot more productive and innovative.
  • Some companies are now looking to hire optimistic/happy people more than specific skills.

Finance:

  • Managing money is a learned technique. Be purposeful with your money.
  • We all know what to do – Spend less than you make; Get out of debt; Set aside some money for rainy day.
  • Financial Independence should be of very high priority. Build a financial wall around your family.
  • Financial success comes to those who plan long term (10-20 years).
  • Hire a good financial advisor and invest wisely.

Relationships:

  • This is one area people tend to take for granted. Don’t let it be the case with you.

Make A Difference:

  • Ken Behring who once owned Seattle Seahawks described it the best – ‘Purpose of our life is to serve each other with the expression of who we truly are’.   Sense of fulfillment comes when you know that you are making a positive difference in this world. Don’t wait to become a millionaire to start this process.
  • Tithing is a very old concept and dates back to the Old Testament. While it is up to the individuals how he/she wants to contribute, donating up to 10% of income is not uncommon. But again, you should consider contributing what you feel comfortable.
  • Money is not the only way to contribute. Key is to quickly find 1-2 ways in which you can make a difference and get on with it.

Closing Remarks:

  • I know it is easy to get excited and overwhelmed at the same time reading this kind of note. Key is to take time to think what you want in each of the above areas and pick few things and act quickly. If you don’t act, you will lose interest.
  • Finally, remember Einstein’s famous quote on definition of Insanity – ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. If you want different result, something must change and it starts with changing yourself!

Life and Learning Series – LLS


When you are parenting a teenager and also when you are handling a critical team at work with senior people and also when you are handling your aged parents and also when you are running your household..……………you know you are old…  :) :) :) :) …..hey, wait!!!  I am beyond establishing that I am growing old…..I am trying to establish that we also pass through many experiences in life over these growing years!!!

Every day, when I go through the daily chores at work and at home – I learn …..And it struck me that it may be a good idea to consolidate and put them together.  While it will help to save my grey cells (when you get old, your grey cells lose capacity?), I also felt it may be a good thing to share with others so that they can pick one or two which suits them.

Motivated by the lack of simple and easy to follow guidelines, I am creating this series for all those who are starting to look for some simple directions in life.  I will share information about my experience.  We all know that life has its complexities and this is my bit to make it easy……….

It all started since last two years (probably coincides with my blogging effort?!!) –  I introspect a lot ….

The first simple question is   – WHAT DO I WANT IN LIFE?

While the question is too simple, take few minutes and think and write down the answer…..it may even seem simple initially to answer this question (unless you are like me, who gets different answers with each new day!) ……  slowly, check if

HOW MUCH OF MY DAILY TIME GOES IN THE EFFORT TO GET WHAT I WANT IN LIFE

This will make us go back to the first question again and you may feel tempted to change the answer to the first question (see, I have reasons on why I change my answer to question #1).

It is actually good to go through multiple iterations of this, as long as the multiple iterations take you much closer to the real answer to the question of WHAT DO I WANT IN LIFE.

I feel I have done multiple iterations and I feel I have figured out something on the answer to WHAT DO I WANT IN LIFE.  At a gross level, I find my life completely revolves around 5 key factors

  1. SELF –   Focus on my self  –  inclusive of my physical, mental and spiritual well being
  2. FAMILY, Friends and Life –  A lot of my life goes around family and friends and that becomes the second key factor in my life
  3. CAREER  –  Yes, there had been a time where I only thought of career…I even used career as an escape to face real life –  and now, life has taught me the criticality of balancing the critical factors in life –  I still view career as a critical part of my life
  4. PERSONAL INTERESTS –  May sound out of sync  –  you may wonder on how personal interests (read it as leisure activities, hobbies) become key factor of life…crazy!!!  I strongly believe that the time I spent on my personal interests makes me complete –  It was a refreshing surprise to me on how much a trek or a music class or blogging helps me ……and indeed, it is a critical factor
  5. SOCIETY@LARGE  –  these have been more of thoughts and less of action, but I know for sure this is a critical factor in my life –  I am slowly starting on few contributions in this space and I will make it.

When I looked at all my FABULOUS FIVE factors of my life, I knew that there is something more which needs to be put in to take care of the fabulous five and that ofcourse is the FINANCIAL WALL   –  the wall around the five key factors will help me keep my five critical factors intact.

Given that I am more of a visual person, here is my life model

Please note that this is a current version and there are very high possibilities that this may go through iterations in the coming days.

Going forward, I will share my life’s learning against each of these five critical factors and link it back here….Happy reading and learning!

Milk!


Everyone was in a hurry!  The birthday party is at 7 pm and when it was decided to attend the birthday party, it was already 6.30 pm.  The elder kids (7&8) were all ready…….The little three-year old nephew was so excited that he was running around the house with his toy car and driving it all over!!.

Sister-in-law was busy….-  she was getting things ready for dinner for the elderly folks staying back at home, getting herself ready, packing small things (when you go with three kids on a road for half hour, you will be surprised to know what all they demand  –  especially when we are stuck in the traffic inside a car!)  Suddenly she realized that little one is not interested in finishing his milk.   Being as patient as any mom can get (I admire her for her patience when it comes to little kids!), she was cajoling the little one to finish his milk.   But the time was ticking…………after five minutes of unsuccessful cajoling, she moved to the next mode – little threatening………”See, if you do not finish your milk now,you have to stay back at home with aunty” .

The little one continued to drive his little car on the dining table and with no wink of an eye he answered ”  Why?  Aunty also did not finish her milk?”   :) :) :) :)

Ofcourse, sister-in-law was stunned !!!

The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch


Short notes & good quotes

“The Park is open until 8 pm” – I am trying hard to practice this – in my communications (official as well as personal). It indeed was tough to start with, but by and large it has become a habit and a challenge when I sit down to write a note.

“Pouring soda in the backseat “- I want my children to understand me like this(who is more focussed on the children’s happiness) and also want them to be like that with their children. I believe in it.

“Look for the best in everybody” – is it not the same what the short story in Mahabaratha talks about – you can choose to see the rose or the thorn in a rose plant. I agree and again it needs lot of practice to make it as a habit.

“All you have to do is ASK” – well said and is always true and it took me some time to personally practice it

“Dream big, achieving your childhood dreams, time is all you have, and you may find one day that you have less than you think, start by sitting together, earnest is better than hip, no job is beneath you, we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand, you have a choice to have fun”– good quotes to remember and practice

To be honest, I found it very difficult to go over the book as it brought back memories. Given a choice, I would not have picked up this book by myself. But, after completing it, I felt indeed it is a good book, which I could have missed but for receiving it as a New Year gift!

Life – the best teacher!


When I was in my college years, I thought that IIMs in India are the best educational institutes and anyone who is graduating/studying in IIM are extraordinary.  Probably this perception (!!) was mostly the result of being parented by two profs at home!!  Education, University and all those academic related stuff was really overrated at home and was default given the highest priority!!.  I still believe they are important, but then the past twenty years have taught me that it solely depends on how an individual is utilizing the education he got in his life!

Over the last twenty years, I have slowly realized that an individual’s capability to face real life situations is not much to do with the educational institute he/she has graduated from  –  may be, this is after the careful analysis of the IIM graduates whom were my bosses,  my reports and my colleagues  – i very strongly believe now that an individual’s learning is mostly determined by how open he is for new ideas, his level of risk taking and interpersonal skills, than by who taught him/her and where he/she graduated from.

My belief was reinforced today, when i came across this article about Siddarth ” what all this IIMA grad learnt after his degree”.   A very inspiring true life story!  I am adding his book  “EAGLE SPOTTED, MESSAGE DECODED”  into my list of books to read!

Life definitely is the best teacher ever!!  And we ought to be thankful it gives us all these experiences to make us complete!

To quote Siddarth, “There were many lessons from IIM-A that might have helped me during my crisis. It teaches you to deal and live in pressure, race against time and win most times. But one thing that come to my mind when I look back at my years at IIM-A, I feel my course would have been complete if I was also taught life skills. How to deal with people and their inflated egos, how to lead and make people see the bigger picture as you see it. Education needs to  go beyond careers, placements and packages”.

Good luck, Siddarth and Nidhi!  God Bless!!

Physical Activity


It was dinner table – being the beginning of  a long weekend, the family was in relaxed mood and discussing everything under the sun.  The discussion turned into the recent communication by the block committee to ban all the children sports during 1 pm to 4 pm  –  this is to avoid noise during the nap time?!.  This communication from the committee drew lot of flak among the residents.  I added –  “the charm of this place for many residents is the time the kids spend outside the home, they are into physical activity most of the time – playing some games with their friends and in an enclosure where the parents feel relaxed about the safety of the kids.  Implementing the ban means these little ones are going to spend more time with the TV!”.   I could see the little one in my house did not like seeing his parent getting agitated on this issue….children always want positive energy around them.  When he saw my view was being reciprocated again on the dinner table  –  with additional inputs like  “I agree. Even with all these no ban hours, they have more energy during the evenings.  With this no ban plan, they will get glued to TV or computer games and end up in no physical activity”……

“TV and computer are also physical activity only  –  TV is for eyes and thumb (remote control operation) and computer it for all fingers and eyes”  –  Bang came the response from the little one!!

:)    :)   :)

What is right?


It was this article on euthanasia which was referred by RK –  it brought back the dilemma and memories!

Author has listed the five stages the dying people and their family go through – Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance

but my memory is clear…………

the first feeling was fear……..it came and set in – ‘what will we do without her ‘

then came –  ‘why me?’  –  ‘there are millions of poeple who are bad and why God chose us to go through this’

the associated anger  – ‘who did this to us? someone has done this to us, is God fair?’

denial  -‘this can not happen to us, we had been always good to all..there is something wrong…this can not be possible’

bargaining -  with the great LORD himself – so childishly – ‘i will never eat icecreams in my life for ever if she gets cured and lives, i will go around the sanctum 108 times with foot over foot…etc, etc’

and the acceptance –  WHICH NEVER CAME 100%….even today, i wish i could pick up the phone and talk to her and update her on the day’s happening, on the new watch i bought, etc, etc.

There were lots of moments where we had to decide  –   the doctors could lay down the pros and cons of each treatments  –  the cost, the pain, the side effects, the probability of cure (it is never 100%)….

The initial decisions were made with the  single focus of getting her back……we never discussed about the side effects, we never discussed the probability which was always less than 100%, we never checked if she was willing to go through the pain of the therapy……..

The days were long, the treatments were tough………slowly, the feeling of desperation was setting in………i could not stand seeing her going through these tough periods of physical agony…

It was one of those days –  I remember it was the day after a painful therapy – she was on the bed and still under pain of the therapy, I was helpless and trying to read a ‘sloka’ loudly at her bedside with a hope that it will reduce her pain – she looks at me and says ‘ do not worry,  I am going through all these as I want to live for some more time and spend all those additional hours with you and B’

I broke down and at that moment decided that I will do whatever I can to increase her life span – B and me were ready to go to any doctor, try all feasible things because she was ready to go through those pains for just being with us for another day.

But there were times where I felt guilty  – ‘ are we making her go through too much of a pain  just for our sake?’  But B had always his positive attitude to reassure. “even if we can extend her life by six months or so, there are chances that there is some breakthrough in the medicine/treatment.  The research is ongoing and there are lot of positive breakthrough in this field..we have to go through this..think of the chance…the new medicine can make her live for another two years and in that time, with all the research going on…there can  be a cure’

Today, when i read the article, i just could conclude that all it matters is what an individual feels  –   never a government or a medical board or a group of activists can decide for an individual on the right to live or die.

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