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Time Management


While I hardly stand any preaching off late, this slide share was concise and cool! I am pretty much in sync with most of the tips and felt it is just cool to replicate it as is! Great job by E.Garbugli!

How to get RICH and RETIRE early


I do realize the importance of managing personal finance– drawing the financial wall in my life model is a result of this appreciation.

At the same time, in the recent past, I hardly could keep my attention on any self-help books – call it getting impatient with preaching pals!  And I still go with the view that RICH is a very relative term – Being Happy and at Peace with one-self is Being Rich for me (do people under the same sun sign think this way? I was stumped when I heard a similar definition from the same fellow disguised alien who told me about Moneyball)

Nevertheless, I picked this book with lot of enthusiasm and pride – the author, Rajasekharan had been my colleague in his past corporate avatar and is one of the key enabler of the monthly early morning long walking sessions for a bunch of walking enthusiast like me. And this is the second time one of my friends have published his writing – It was Anitha just last year!

What I like in this book

  1. Caters to a large audience reference book – If you are 20+ and starting your career, you just start your financial planning with this book. If you are middle aged and still have another 15-20 years of salaried service, you still can get inputs to get rich.  If you over the middle age hump-this can still be a quick ready reference in matters of India financial markethow-to-get-rich-and-retire-early-275x275-imadhfd5hbt69ujz
  2. Weaving general leadership principles – “Inaction is costly”, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, “planning is like painting, the more valuable it becomes with more finer details you put in”,  “ financial planning is like going to gym -  got to be regular and long term” (knowing Raj and his love for Stephen Covey, this is not a surprise!)
  3. Excellent clarity
    1. Definition of rich – if your passive income equals your expenses
    2. Focus on basics  -  Long term financial planning is the basis of getting RICH
    3. Simple and easy language
  4. Super simple control diagram charts  -  which says what is RICH and sticks on to your head
  5. Good content flow   -
    1. Part one: makes the reader appreciate and define what RICH means at that individual’s level,
    2. Part two covers the why and how of long term financial planning followed by
    3. Part three which explains the various investment options in India and how to choose them to get an ROI of 15-20%
  6. Though it sounds like a self-help book, Raj has clearly established that each individual’s needs are very different based on their perspective of life – unique is the way he puts it candidly that it is all his views based on his experience
  7. The thorough details on various investment options –Debt, equities, mutual funds, insurance policies, gold, real estate.   The case of Asian Paints is well handled to enable even the beginners to understand and appreciate the intricacies of equities market

What I look for in the next edition

  1. Soft version of all the reference tables (a CD with the book)
  2. Consolidation of all questions at the end of each chapter
  3. A followup workshop based on this book -  I had the opportunity to be present in Raj’s book promotion session and I felt he can build a workshop based on this which will help many
  4. Hard bound cover  -  this is a book which can stay in the reference section for years to come
  5. Some more proof reading

UBUNTU – “I am because we are”


(If your search engine directed you here for  a search of Ubuntu operating system, it is still worth to read this small piece of Ubuntu philosophy!)

A very inspiring piece of information which was shared by one of the senior citizens in our condominium!

An anthropologist proposed a game to children of an African tribe.

The game goes like this  -  He puts a basket of apple near a tree and told the children that who ever reaches the finish line first in the running race will get the entire basket of apples.  When he told them to start running, they all took each others hands and ran together and then sat enjoying the apples together.

Obviously, the curious anthropologist asked “why did you do this? if one of you had ran first, that person could have enjoyed all the apples by himself”.  The children answered as a matter of fact ” Ubuntu, How can one of us be happy when all the others are sad?”.

Ubuntu  -  is the philosophy of African tribes  which can be summed up as I AM BECAUSE WE ARE!!

A very awe inspiring simple philosophy  -  triggers a very interesting debate about BEING HAPPY Vs BEING COMPETITIVE!!!

It always intrigues me to know that how philosophical the African tribes are and how great their sentiments are!

Related links:  Invictus   || The Help  ||  The Blind side

WORDS


It is been almost couple of years since I started being conscious of the power of words we use in our communication   -    this specific article  “Small words make a Difference” very nicely brings out the  impact  -  Remember  “BUT”,  “TRY”,  “HOPE TO, WANT TO”,  “SHOULD”, “CAN’T”  are best words to avoid using …..

You may also like :   Inspirational

Knowledge and Practice


It had been a long-standing challenge -   practising the knowledge.  It is an established documented fact (come on, I documented in this blog here….) that the outcome of any event depends on the response to that event.  I am yet to put that knowledge to use 100%.

I had two such events in the last 24 hours….making me introspect on how long it is going to take to get ourselves practice what we know….

The first incident made me realize the need to strongly emphasize in my communications on how much I value my ideals. While I have my ideals, I also believe that it is an individual’s prerogative of having their own ideals (rights and wrongs) which will vary with every individual. Oxymoron belief!

In this context, it becomes very important to react to someone’s thoughts in the right way – communicating the intent is extremely critical -   needs excellent clarity of thoughts and the choice of right words.   “my ideals are different. while what you say/do are different from mine, I appreciate it is your prerogative to do/what you think as long as it is beyond my boundary”.

The second incident made me realize that in the fit of the moment, you lose your knowledge and just react to a situation in a wrong way – your anxiety kills your knowledge and just after that few minutes you kick yourself for reacting to a situation without applying your knowledge …… phew!

In both the incidents, a particular value or reaction of an individual is not in alignment with my thoughts/values. While I can still look at the big picture and appreciate how much value each individual carry, I am still a long way in ensuring my confident reaction to the specific incidents.

This challenge is really dodging me…..knowledge and practice!!

My cup of morning tea – for the mind!


Like how we feed our body with food for physiological wellbeing, I strongly believe our mind and psyche needs constant food for psychological wellbeing  -  After a very tiring and long week at work, while the two movies (Love Happens, True Lies)  helped me relax, these two videos below made me ready to face another challenging week at work  -  it is just a total of 10 minutes to watch these two videos below and I know those concepts already -  but then, my psychological wellbeing needed these intakes again (like the cup of tea every morning!!)

ANYTHING IN THIS WORLD IS CREATED TWICE

FACING NEGATIVE PEOPLE

You may also like:  Interview with God || Being Happy || E+I+R=O

Education for Special Children in India


Couple of my friends have special children.  This has given me some insight into how much additional care is required for the special children.  Whatever little I could understand, it made me realize on how critical it is to their parents to constantly look for help to support and coach few basic life skills to their special children.  The biggest fear they go through is “how my special child will face the world after me?”  and “how much I can coach the child on the basic life skills so that the child can atleast sustain independently”.

I hear the facilities and support for the special children and the acceptance from society is comparatively better in developed countries in North America and Europe. In India it still needs a lot of improvement when it comes to bringing up a special child.

I recently bumped into this smart lady, who use to be my neighbour couple of years back  -  she is an engineer by profession and it is almost couple of years since I met with her  – on that evening, when I met her, we were exchanging the regular pleasantries and checking about each other’s life  -  family, work, children, time management, festivals…….and what I heard from her was very inspiring.

She has completely shifted her field from engineering to teaching -  as a special education teacher in one of the best schools in Bangalore.  She has done the required special courses to qualify as a special education teacher in the last two years. I could see the passion in her  -  she said “you know what is difficult in India?  It is still lack of awareness about the need to handle the special children specially – lack of awareness to consider them as a child who needs some additional support in their development and seamlessly interweave them into the regular curriculum…believe me, it takes lots and lots of effort and challenges even with well-educated crowd  -  even the teachers in the school need lot of coaxing to make this happen  -  I read a lot, I fight for the special children’s rights at school and I keep looking at what the other countries are doing for them  -  it takes a lot of my effort -  my spouse keeps telling me that I am stressing myself on this ……….but, I want to do it and make the difference in whatever small way to these kids…..”

I was so touched by her passion and for the right cause  -  I congratulated her and said that it takes lot of courage to do the right thing and stand for it.  It honestly makes me feel so energized to see such determination in woman and I am sure she is going to make a difference for the special children and their parents!   All the very best and God bless!

Home-schooling


It was a very typical Sunday evening but for the heavy rains lashing out – we were waiting after the music class hoping that the rains will stop. Children started talking and playing. I started a polite conversation with another mom who was also waiting for the rain to stop. When I inquired about how long it takes for her to reach home from the class, she said around 1.30 hours. As it was already 7.15 pm, I was calculating that it will be almost 9 pm for her to reach home. So, I made a comment “oh, it will be late for the kids…what time they need to leave home in the morning for school?” (am I being too obsessed with others problems or am I having OCD when it comes to punctuality?). Without getting touched by my unwarranted concern, she very calmly answered “they are home-schooling”. It took me a minute to orient and understand what she meant – while I have heard the concept of home-schooling, I have heard it very infrequently in India – few cases I knew of were from the perspective of specific reasons – security reasons for the royal kids, special children who need additional attention, etc.
Now I became even more curious and my mind was bubbling up with more and more questions….considering the rain gods were at mercy with me, I got into an interviewing mode with her

Why did you decide to do homeschooling?
It was more of an experiment – we wanted our children to be out of the rat race – we wanted them to learn for the sake of knowledge – we can only experiment with our own children
So, how is the schedule of a week day look?
Children get up early and spend time on yoga and pranayama. Then they help me in household chores – after breakfast, they spend around 3 hours per day on studies. As they are now on their own, they study other reference books or research on the internet. In the evening they go for basketball classes and play with the neighbourhood children.
Will they able to manage the board exams when they come to the senior classes (10th grade and 12th grade in India are board exams)?
Yes, ofcourse. The elder one is at 11th grade now and she did pretty well in her 10th classes.
Is homeschooling difficult?
Yes, it is difficult at the initial stages. I spent lot of time with the kids initially . I stopped working full time as homeschooling is possible only if an adult is at home guiding the children..

When I came back home, the conversation was going on replay mode in the back of my mind – made me log into the net and read more about home-schooling. I also happened to hit on this news article where the mom I spoke to and her kids were interviewed already – http://woman.intoday.in/woman/story.jsp?sid=6749

For me, home-schooling sounded like a great concept – making children learn for the sake of knowledge at their own pace and pulling them out of the rat race. While I still have reservations about the children’s view of it (my kids love the fun time they have with their classmates at school and they relate so much to school) and the impact of homeschooling on children’s social skills, I think it needs lots of dedication from the parent (invariably I read only about women supporting homeschooling of their kids full time).

Also, it takes lot of courage and the ability to take a risk if you try any thing which is out of ordinary – definetly the women who are handling the home-schooling for their children seem to be more courageous and is out of the ordinary here in India!!………..

All the best, folks!!!

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho


Alchemist

Honestly, this is the second time i am reading the book. I read it five to six years back and just remember that it was a DIFFERENT book. I remember that i did not completely get deeply into the book, but read it and felt it had something which i was not able to relate.

Again, when i picked up this book this time, it really made me read some pages again and again – the depth of the concept was amazing. I am not telling that my grey matter has become much heavier in the last 6 years :). I think i have become more open to see others views – more patient to see the world as it stands and that makes me understand this book much better than what i did the first time. I somehow also get a feeling that in another five years i may get to understand these books much differently than what i do now.

Today, this book evokes in me a unexplainable peace, a confidence on self, a confidence on life -reinforcement that things will go as we want it to go (sounds like James Allen‘s “As a man thinketh“). It reinforces that every small thing / person in this world is part of a bigger scheme. As individuals, we need to listen to our heart and when we honestly make a try to reach towards our destiny, all the things fall in place and make us reach our destiny.

The book can be a looked at as a guide in management training, self-development, and what not?

It reiterates the importance of Love in everyone’s life – loving the world is more important for oneself . Betterment in Love  is a great concept. “When we love, we always strive to become better than what we are. When we strive to become better than what we are, everything around us becomes better, too”

The book is a short story – this is how i looked at it 6 years back. The book is still narrating a story, after all. But the pearls of wisdom in the story are for the reader to pick and cherish.

It goes with my belief when Coelho talks about the “Beginner’s luck” and Principle of Favourability. He says “When people are young, they know what their destinies are. People are capable at any time in their lives of doing what they dream of.” He also says “Every search begins with the beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victors being severely tested”.

Many similar thoughts when it came to the analysis of fear..

  • There is only one thing which makes a dreamimpossible to achieve – the fear of failure.
  • The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.
  • Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the language of the world
  • People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.

He reiterates the fact that we are all part of a bigger scheme of things – “All things are the manifestation of one thing only. Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected and we are able to know everything because it’s all written there”

The importance of living in present (FISH is a good book to read on this) is covered well ……..

If you concentrate always on the present, you will be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a great festival because life is the moment we are living right now.

The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to present, you can improve upon it. And if you improve on the present what comes later will also be better. When we strive to become better than what we are, everything around us becomes better too. When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”

I am leaving this review open as I strongly believe that I have more to learn in this short book with the years to come.

Reading – made a joy!   God bless! :)

One Minute Mother – Spencer Johnson


  • Author – Spencer Johnson
  • Category – Self Help
  • My rating - 3 on 5

Yes!  It is a self-help book on parenting!

For me, parenting is a mixture of science and art   -   and you never end being a parent irrespective of whatever age your kids are!!  This short book from Spencer Johnson (author of many “one minute” series) reinforces that there are still few facts out there about parenting which can be put to use effectively in day-to-day parenting.

The book is designed to be a short story where an young mother-to-be goes in search of the secrets about good parenting.   She meets with an elderly woman who is the “one minute mother” and her daughters to collect the wisdom of being an effective mother.    The basics of human psychology are established when the author says “Children who like themselves like to behave themselves”.   This is followed by the sharing of the three communication secrets which helps to be a “one-minute-mother”.

  1. One minute goals  (Goal is a dream with deadline)
  2. One minute praising   (Catch them doing something right)
  3. One minute reprimand (Feedback is the breakfast of champions)

As a parent, it makes lot of sense to develop the sense of responsibility in our children and help them reach their full potential.   It takes lot of effort and  will to persevere through the challenging situations in parenting and keep our sanity.  Johnson highlights the importance of being in balance when he writes “The best way for a mother to keep her sanity is to keep her sense of humor”.   Can’t agree more here  :)

While the following tips hold good for any interpersonal relationships and mentoring, Johnson highlights and fits them rightfully into the parenting tips

  1. Teach children to like themselves and to like to behave themselves.  Enjoy yourselves in that process
  2. Set goals and praise and reprimand bad behavior ( tell them they are good, their behaviour was bad)
  3. Speak simple truth and express feelings clearly
  4. Hug your children and laugh often and show them you love them
  5. Encourage children to do as you do (be a living example)
  6. Pay attention to many little things that make life more enjoyable
  7. It is more important to start right away the right things than is to wait until we think we can do it right
  8. We become what we think about
  9. All things are ready if our minds be so
  10. Anxiety is fear of unknown and fear immobilizes people

The crux of the book remains in the fact that good parenting is ensuring that your children become independent and do right things by themselves.   “When the children are caught doing something right, they want to do something right again (one minute praising). It makes them feel good about themselves. And children who like themselves like to behave themselves. So, instead of behaving for their parents, they do it for themselves”

Given it is a short book  (100 pages +) and written like a story, it is worth spending some time to read through it – helps young parents and also the veteran parents (to revise the facts!!). 

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