Keller Series #1: Lessons Learnt from Life of Helen Keller

Dumb, deaf and blind, she became at the age of 19 months and rest of her life is nothing but an unforgettable saga of surmounting her physical obstacles and inspiring triumphs.


Credits: Google Images

By reading her biography, A Story of My Life, you will not only be inspired and moved by her words but will also be encouraged to imprint the story of you own life in the pages of your life’s run. Her embroiling story of grit, determination and perseverance despite having such physical challenges will force you to think and inspect your own life from a different angle and her lessons of gratitude and compassion will teach you meaning of love and relationship with its new different definition.

At the end of the read, you will be compelled to say what a marvel, what a wonder she was and was named Helen Keller and how through her courageous deeds she showed to the world what it means to have a vision in life without having vision in one’s own visual organ!

Therefore, there can be innumerable lessons to learn from her life, as revealed in her autobiography, but for this post today here come 3 lessons for you to think and ponder.

1. Accept with grace and gratitude what comes in your life. Born on 27 June 1880 in a small town in Tuscumbia, northern Alabama, Helen’s life was changed when she was caught by scarlet fever, as the doctors say now, at the age of 19 months, leaving her blind, deaf and dumb at such an early age. Struggling hard to understand what happened with her, she became a kind of an unruly child in her own home. The world became dark, black and colorless for her and so was her soul, searching and wandering for light and hope relentlessly.

It took her time to accept this, but she did accept her fate and embraced it with great love. But not as a pessimist but one of the greatest optimist in the human history. As she says

“Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow.”

2. Understand that Parents are our guardian Angels. While little Helen was struggling hard to find meaning of things, objects and people in her life, in many of her unsuccessful attempts, she ran amuck to explain to her parents her pain, her helplessness and her bewilderment, but in her sullen disguise. Her parents, despite being blown by the tragedy themselves took great care of Helen and handled her with great compassion and love.

Her father, Arthur H Keller, was a captain in the Confederate and her mother, Kate Adams was his second wife. In words of Helen, it was her mother who taught her the sign language which she mastered even before the arrival of her teacher.

Helen mentions how her parents made all the possible attempts to provide the best environment, nurturing and education to her and it was all result of their ceaseless efforts because of which she could meet her life’s transforming teacher Miss Anne Sullivan.

It was in their search for a teacher for Helen and on advice of Graham Bell that her parents visited Perkins Institute of Blind in Massachusetts and on recommendation of the Director of the Blind School they approached Miss Anne Sullivan as Helen’s Teacher. Her teacher’s arrival was no less than a miracle for Helen.

And talking of angels and lost opportunities in life thus says Helen, “I wonder what becomes of lost opportunities? Perhaps our guardian angel gathers them up as we drop them, and will give them back to us in the beautiful sometime when we have grown wiser, and learned how to use them rightly.”

3. Treasure Your Childhood and its beautiful memories. For no one could paint such vivid and inspiring picture with words as Helen did in her work. Writing her life’s story at the age of  22, she captures not only her beautiful childhood memories but also with candidness shares her daring and adventurous childhood pranks. In her words, “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.”

A naughty child as she was, she explained how, like all children of her age, she played many pranks. She shared her love for hunting guinea-fowl eggs and playing with her dog Belle. In one of her attempts she even tried to teach him her sign language but was disappointed to see his progress.

She loved preparing for Christmas. Enjoying fumes and multiple odors which filled the house at Christmas time, were the things for which she eagerly awaited.

As she unveiled her childhood memories, she mentioned one of her attempts where in order to dry her apron before the fire, she soon reached into its engulfment. Had her old nurse not come at right time, she would have been leaped and consumed by fire forever.

In fact, one day she even locked up her mother in the pantry, where she kept on waiting for her release while Helen kept on enjoying the jar’s pounding noise sitting outside her mom’s locked up room. And it was soon after this incident that her parents decided to look for a teacher for Helen’s grooming and mentoring.

And then her life changed with the arrival of her teacher and she realized that “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

Her lonely outcry then become a song of her companionship and her life bloomed and shined like rose in the early morning sun.

  • So, if you find the role of destiny and fate in your life, accept it with grace and gratitude as Helen did. Don’t crib, don’t repent and welcome it as a blessing in disguise.
  • Be thankful that you have your parents who shower their eternal blessings and love on you. Think about those who are bereft of this treasure. Aren’t you lucky enough for this?
  • Try to look for happiness pearls and crazy stories in your childhood kitty and you will be amazed to find them in galore. Don’t they make you so reach and wealthy already ?
  • And yes, you can see, hear, speak, admire and appreciate the things, nature, lands and oceans around you. But do you do that? Now think before you speak. Wonder before you travel. Appreciate nature and be grateful to all the things that you have. Ask those who don’t have.

Because Helen’s life inspires you to focus on developing the inner strength of your character and motivates you to travel deep down into your soul and see what vision and voice awaits there for its awakening deep within you.


Eat the Biggest Frog in the Morning


Credits: Google Images

Doesn’t this frog look huge, massive and ugly, I know, it does. And I am asking you to eat this biggest frog in the morning, any guesses?

Please don’t get me wrong and read why I want you to find your biggest frog first and then eat it at the earliest.

Regarding me, despite being a biology student in grade 12, I couldn’t do the dare devil act of dissecting either a frog or a rat. But I still remember the anatomy of Flower, its labeling of petals, carpel, stigma, style and sepals to a hazy extent. Botany section was all that we girls liked but understanding the hard facts of Zoology was all that we so much disliked.

And today, not only I try to find, catch and dissect the biggest frog first, but also try to eat it in the morning at the earliest. This is like putting first things first in the morning-eating the biggest frog. I know it is difficult, disgusting and terrifying, but this what I love striving everyday. Eating biggest frog makes me feel happier, productive and much better. You can also try this out-eating the biggest frog in the morning!

Okay, so before eating this biggest frog you must know why it is important to eat this frog.

Because this ugly frog stares us for so long that it drains us out of our energy and we are left exhausted and tired, with no stamina to handle the most important tasks at the end of the day says Brian Tracy.

This big frog stands for all the important things that we must do at priority, but keep on procrastinating and neglecting until we become victim of our own time and life.  And instead of acting and taking action, we feel like acted upon in our lives.

We all know that nothing in a day could be more satisfying than accomplishing what we must set to achieve at the beginning of the day. But, no matter how perfectly we plan the day well in advance, there come few things propping up, sapping our energy and diverting our mind. I can say all those little frogs hopping and chasing us everywhere we go and stay.

So what do we do? How do we start our day?

Well, there can be many ways to start our day but one could be to start it in the descending order. By this order I mean, thinking of time when we go to our bed and review our major achievements or outputs of the day. By starting in this way we could decide the biggest task and the most important task that will bring us better results and enhance our productivity. In short, identifying the biggest frog.

By eating this ugly frog first we will do the important things first, as a result we will be left with enough time and more energy to deal with the pressure of urgent things, leisure activities, family time and an hour of power for ourselves. I know it may sound easier at the moment but believe me, its execution becomes the toughest challenge. The tsunami of urgent things and unimportant tasks bogs us down everyday and we feel dog-tired and unsatisfied at the end of the day, leaving the ugly frog to stare at us for long times.

But, if we regularly execute this habit, the habit of eating the biggest frog first, we will get best results and will feel more productive and great at the beginning and at the end of our hectic day.

Because in words of Mark Twain, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

So eat the biggest frog first in the morning and then relax and feel energetic for the rest of the day.

And yes, I can’t leave you here in lurch, so, to know more about the biggest frog, how to find it, catch it and eat it in the morning, read Eat That frog by Brain Tracy.

WisdomLeads #7: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

When you have written all day long and edited your post for the fortieth time, when the temperature of your body seems to be constantly rising high and you can feel the pressure inside, when the only promise of the day seems to be your few ardent readers and few likes on the FB page, when this conclusion what you write makes sense to you only and few of your blog readers, when the thought of working on another post makes you sweat more and feel frustrated, when your mind seems to be trapped up in the whirlpool of negative thoughts and emotions, when the only thing that you can trust on is your cup of tea, and then you remind yourself of what James Allen said “Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom” in Chapter No 7 of “As a Man Thinketh”.

Great thought to remember in such situations, isn’t this? Of course, it is.

Peace and Serenity Conceptual Image

Credits: Google Images

So, before we discuss the wisdom nuggets shared by Allen in this chapter, I would like you to do this little exercise. Just do this. Turn the pages of your life’s book and remember all those incidents from the Experience chapters where you fumed with anger and took some hasty decisions. Be it personal, professional, family related or spiritual. I am sure you still remember what you did and how you spoke and why you did what you did, didn’t you?

So, if you analyze all those cases, which I do now in the times of reflection, you will realize that your temper, lack of self control or high emotional state was one of  the reasons to take any such decision. And whether that decision was right or wrong that will be another point of discussion.

So what do we do in such situations? And how do we react?

Remain calm and keep your mind like water, no more, no less, come the wise Answer.

And this is what Allen shares in this chapter. Calmness says Allen “is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.”

Describing the attributes of a calm man, says Allen that “The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good.”

But this calmness of mind is not so easy to attain. Just like any other skill which becomes stronger by practicing it, in the same manner, calmness of mind, too could be sharpened by practicing it on daily basis and its performance can be validated in the turbulent times. And once we achieve the calmness of mind, we gain what Allen calls as the strength of character.  And such a person calls Allen “is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. “Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet tempered, balanced life?””

Once we attain this lesson of serenity, which Allen calls “as the last lesson of culture and the fruitage of the soul.” We attain wisdom which in words of Allen is “more to be desired than gold-yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life-a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!”

And thus concluding the chapter, Allen advises us to master our thought and find the peace within,”In bark of your soul reclines the commanding Master; He does but sleep: wake Him. Self-control is strength; Right Thought is mastery; Calmness is power. Say unto your heart, “Peace, be still!””

So, “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amidst the storm.” And this is what is the truest wealth revealed by Allen, which is mastered by all the ancient masters and all the  great leaders alike.

WisdomLeads # 6: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Do you know why it is important to have dreams and ideals in your life? No. Then read what Allen says in Chapter No. 6 of “As a Man Thinketh.”

Dreaming-girl-imageCredits: Google Images

The dreamers are the saviours of the World. Begins Allen with these words. From the smallest things to the biggest inventions and greatest discoveries in the world, the dreamers seem to have the largest part in it, I think. Just look around yourself and observe the things and ideas around. From laptops to TV screens, gadgets, PCs and mobile phones; online stores to all kinds of medicines and all the greatest of books and not to miss this Google and Facebook thing. Everything seems to be culminations of someone’s vision and realization of someone’s dreams. Aren’t these things amazing? So, in words of Allen “Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them as the realities which it shall one day see and know.” 

The Dreamers are the Architects of heaven. “Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, labouring humanity would perish,” writes Allen.

How true and beautiful it is. Can you imagine your world without music and melody? Without compositions of Beethoven and Mozart? Without voice and music of Lata and AR Rehman? Won’t it be too drab and boring for all? And what about world without poetry and painters?Don’t we owe gratitude to all these architects of heaven for making our world alive and so beautiful? Haven’t these dreamers truly changed the face of the world?Delete them and you will find your world labouring and full of mundane.

Cherish your dreams and cherish your ideals. “He who cherishes a beautiful vision, a lofty ideal in his heart, will one day realize it,” says Allen. Columbus, Copernicus, and Buddha envisioned their perfect worlds and following their paths, they entered into their dream worlds, writes Allen and thus advises “Cherish your visions; cherish your ideals; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for out of them will grow all delightful conditions, all heavenly environment; of these, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built.”

Nelson Mandela, Junior Martin Luther King, Mahatama Gandhi and Mother Teresa were all such dreamers who built their visionary worlds, despite challenges and atrocities in their lives. And Malala Yousafzai is another one such.

There were many, there are many and there will be many, who, with the power of their thoughts and dreams , will cherish visions in their hearts and will leave marks on this world.

To desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve. “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your Vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your Ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” Says Allen.

To quote a few dreamers here like Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Wright Brothers, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Edison and Einstein, who become one with their ideal. In words of Allen thus “The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn; the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities.”

So, nurture the dream seedling in your heart and let it grow with the time, who knows the next name in the list of dreamers can be yours.

Become one with the Ideal. For those of us who always blame our circumstances and situation in life, Allen says that “Your circumstances may be uncongenial, but they shall not long remain so if you but perceive an Ideal and strive to reach it.” By giving example of a youth who despite living in abject poverty changes his destiny the day he decides to change his thoughts, so says Allen change your thoughts and change your circumstances and achieve what you envision in your heart. And just like this youth changed his life, says Allen, “and you too, youthful reader, will realize the vision(not the idle wish)of your heart, be it base or beautiful, or mixture of both, for you will always gravitate toward that which you, secretly, most love.” You will get the results of your thoughts and your dreams. No less, no more. Whatever be your present circumstances, you can always rise, fall or remain where you are with the power of your thoughts and your dreams.

Dreamers write their own Destiny. So for those of you who always believe in some luck Allen writes that “the thoughtless, the ignorant, and the insolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance.”

According to him, all those of us who look at the success of other people must also see is the struggle, trails and tribulations though which all these people have gone before realizing their dreams. We give credit to chance, but what we do not credit are their relentless efforts and their invincible faith in their dreams which changed their destinies.

So Allen says, “In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.”

And to sum up Allen says that “The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart-this you will build your life by, this you will become.”

Reading Books, Growing Minds # Reason 2


Have you ever heard of Chaos Theory or Butter Fly Effect?


I also didn’t know about this theory until I taught a chapter on Chaos: The Ultimate Asymmetry written by Arthur Fisher from the Best Science Writing Reading and Insights edited by Robert Gannon to B.Tech Students from 2008 to 2011. While teaching this chapter I not only found this theory quite interesting, but truly fascinating! Read why?

What this theory conveys is the idea of “sensitive dependence on initial conditions,” which Jules Henri Poincaré, a French mathematician and physicist explains in 1998 as “ A very small cause which escapes our notice determines a very considerable effect that we cannot fail to see, and then we say that effect is due to the chance…It may happen that very small differences in the initial conditions produce very great ones in the final phenomena.”

I think this theory makes great sense. A small habit, which could be reading a book for 20 minutes or an hour a day over a period of time, can bring enormous results. It is needless to say that small good acts and habits over a period of time bring successful results and bad habits not cared over a period of time produce fatal results. What we generalize is the fact that success is possible because of good luck and failure because of bad luck but the truth is hidden in sensitive dependence on initial conditions.

So, what I suggest is to read good books and work on focusing your sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This sensitive dependence on reading books for 30 minutes or an hour in a day may change the course of your life completely just like the butterfly effect. This effect may be visible when you use your mind to lead your life the way you want and take better decisions to take your life where you want.

This sensitive dependence on reading everyday will strengthen you mind as Joseph Addison says that, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” because studies have shown that reading books sharpens your brain, improves your memory, and power of focus and concentration. Just like exercising strengthens your muscles and tones them and improves the blood circulation in the entire body in the same manner reading good literature and good books improves functioning of your brain, improves your creative faculties, relaxes your mind and deepen your thought process. Reading good books recharge your mind and prepare you to workout efficiently throughout the day without mental and psychological exhaustion.

Like body needs vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins for its proper growth and development in the same manner books on different subjects from important areas of your life like : Health and Fitness, Mind Power and Wisdom Literature, Business and Its Growth, finance and its Management, Family and its care and Fulfilling Spiritual Needs, feed and nourish your mind and make you resistant and strong to navigate successfully in every day workforce dynamics and prepare you to meet the personal challenges effectively. And therefore, along with physical exercise, it is important for you to join the mental gym as well.

I am sure after reading this post you are ready to join the mental gym along with me and ready to work out. Aren’t you?