17 QUESTIONS THAT CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE

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No matter how hard we try, life seems difficult at times, like the game of Clash of Clans. But before we win the game and make immortal our clan, it is important for us to earn the gold and elixir and save it for future life.

Now this treasure of elixir in life could be life transforming, if we know the art of asking the right questions like Einstein. Life in that case may seem easy,  finding answers to these life transforming queries.

In simple, “Ask and you shall receive.” Therefore, it is highly important that before our life comes to an end, we ask right questions and spend our life in pursuit of finding right answers.

Asking right and relevant questions is not only a powerful way of learning about our own selves but also is a great way to show us the path of our own strength and intelligence. This art of asking questions, is although not new. Indian Yogis and Acharayas, all Philosophers, researchers, scientists and scholars, leaders, writers, artists and teachers have been rigorously involved in asking profound questions since very long. And it is by asking such questions they have got the breakthrough discoveries in their lives.

And thus It is by asking the right questions, we too, can develop our own success system. Although, we all may have same questions, but our answers may differ. And you know why? Because of multiple reasons. Because our priorities, goals, talents, skills and dreams are different. So are our values and principles, making us unique and different and thus we must focus on asking the right questions from our own perspective and angle.

It is pertinent that we learn more by asking the questions and if we could ask the right questions at the onset, we could really head in the right direction sooner than later.

And therefore, here are 17 such questions which you must ask from yourself to transform your life:

  1. What are your natural gifts and talents?
  2. What are the things that matter most to you in your life? Why are those things so important to you?
  3. What exactly are the things which you want to achieve in your life? And why? Are those things in alignment with your natural gifts and talents?
  4. What are your core values and principles? What are your key strengths? What are the areas where you need to work on?
  5. How do you set your goals in each broader area of your life (personal/professional/health/spiritual/financial/family) so that you feel happier and successful?
  6. What are your exact goal(s) that you would want to achieve at the end of the each day/week/month of your life in each area of your life?
  7. What are your bigger dreams and vision?
  8. How accomplishment of those goals and dreams would make a difference in your life?How would you feel after accomplishing those goals?
  9. Would your goals and dreams be the same, if you know that you have only a month to live?
  10. Do you know the purpose of your life? Have your goals and dreams been aligned with that purpose?
  11. What are the obstacles and challenges that are prohibiting you to achieve those goals?
  12. Are those challenges and obstacles external or are they internal sources of interference in achievement of your goals?
  13. How could you work on these challenges so that you achieve your goals faster in your life?
  14. Would you feel wealthier, happier, successful, fulfilling and full of love after achieving your goals and dreams?
  15. Are you working on your own dreams or are you chasing the borrowed dreams of some others in your life?
  16. What are all those habits, skills, strategies that you need to work on so that you achieve your set goals?
  17. Would your dream make a difference to your life? Would it make a difference to life of others as well? How?

Now don’t sit. Take your writing pad. Read each question slowly. Write your answer gradually. You may not come with the answer at one go. Let your mind wander and think.

Ask your deeper self and steadily the mystery will unveil. You would know, why you are the way you are. Love yourself when you know. Remember, your goals may change with the passage of time and according to phases of your life and you must know that it is perfectly fine.

Don’t try to answer all the questions at one go. Take time. Probe and interrogate yourself profoundly. Because some of your answers may be life transforming.

And now when someone meets you and asks you certain questions know that  “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers,” as says Tony Robbins.

So, don’t wait for too long, ask what are your life transforming questions after all? And yes, don’t forget to share your questions here, so that together we could pass it on to others.

Suggested Reading:

For more questions read Book of Questions.

WHAT DOES LISTENING MEAN TO YOU?

Today I am not going to write, suggest or share with you anything.

But today, I would just want to ask you certain questions related with listening.

What does listening mean to you?

Why is it important for us to listen to someone?

Can’t we be happy with our own voices and speaking skills always?

Do we really listen to everyone with whom we communicate?

Do we listen from our ears or do we have our eyes also as our listening organs?

Do we really need to hone our listening skills? If yes, then how?

And is listening really an important gift to be given to others in our life? And when someone gives us this gift, should we really treasure it always?

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Credits:Google Images

All the above questions were prompted by this quote from the Spirit Science which was shared by one of my students.

And now, do you also believe in this quote?

Yes or no, whatever may be your case. Share with me your answers.

7 WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE IN A DAY

Time-management

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Fortunately we all have been gifted with 24 hours in a day and unfortunately we all wish for the day to have 48 hours in it so that we feel more productive and fulfilled at the end of our long day.

Now imagine this wish to be granted to us.

Lo! Nothing will change.

We will still be overwhelmed with the deluge of tasks at our hands and will keep on pushing our tasks till the end moment, procrastination will be our favorite gesture, as always, and we will continue our indulgence in the habit of self sabotage.

You know why?

Because we all have already too much into our platters, we can’t say no to others and we don’t understand that being busy is not synonymous with being productive.

So, what should we do to be more productive?

Answer is simple.

WE MUST WORK ON OURSELVES. MONITOR OUR HABITS. AND KEEP A CHECK ON OUR OWN PROGRESS.

So, here are the ways or habits on which we could work together to improve our productivity and get more things done so that we can have enough time to spend with our family, to pursue our passions and to do the things, which we must do to make our lives richer, healthier, happier and full of abundance.

1. Following 3 P’s: Prioritization, Planning and Preparation. These 3 P’s are indeed great keys. If we prioritize our tasks, plan our day and do some preparation well in advance, we can really double our productivity.

Most of the productive people follow these 3 P’s and they prioritize, plan and prepare for their most important tasks on their calender in weeks, months and a year in advance. By following these, they put all the big blocks of the most important tasks beforehand so that they get committed to do the most important tasks at utmost priority and do not get exhausted before time. They make sure to have enough time for each work and leave scope for urgent tasks to fit in between.

2. Getting up Early. I know most of us are night owls these days and not the early larks like our parents used to be, but if we can just start up our day by getting up half an hour early form our regular time, we could really make our day more productive and manage our time efficiently in many ways. Once, we analyse the benefits of this habits, we can increase the time and can get up an hour early before our daily time.

Watching the early rising sun, listening to chirping of birds, enjoying piping hot tea with our family members and be one and present in such moments. Aren’t these one of the most blessed things on the earth? And then why should we miss such amazing moments?

So without delay, we must start from today following the great advice by Benjamin Franklin: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Do we still need any other advice?

3. Charging our Batteries. Charging our physical and mental batteries are the most important rituals that we must do every morning. We can charge our batteries in any of the following ways in the morning:

  • 15 minutes of brisk walk.
  • 15 minutes workout in a gym.
  • 15 minutes of running.
  • 15 minutes of exercise.
  • 15 minutes of Yoga or Pranayam.
  • 15 minutes of Meditation.

Any of these physical exercises and breathing techniques will make us more energetic, alert and proactive for the rest of the day. We can always increase or decrease the time as per our schedule. Important is to follow any of these rituals. We must make sure to engage in any one of the following practices and must make it a regular part of our daily routine to be more efficient and productive in achieving our daily goals.

For charging our mental and spiritual batteries we must make sure to read some good literature either early in the morning or at any specific point of the day. We could also listen to audio books or podcasts while commuting to our office or work place everyday. Listening to these inspiring tasks will set the positive and enthusiastic momentum for us for the productive day to begin.

4. Fueling our body tanks. The fuel is important for our body with its quality and quantity both. Healthy and not heavy breakfast in the morning provides good energy to focus and complete the most important tasks at the beginning of the day. Balanced diet at lunch and evening snacks with family and light dinner at night will not only keep our body fit but will also allows us to feel more energetic and active throughout the day. Fortunately we all have access to this knowledge. But important is that we must implement all this knowledge in our daily diet planning and schedule.

I was very bad at meals management, now I am focusing on this habit of mine to get good benefits.

5. Eating the Biggest Frog in the Morning first. Beat procrastination everyday and do the most important task which you avoid doing most of the time. Remember the Pareto Principle of 80/20 rule.  According to this principle, doing 20% of the imporatnt task can enhance our results multiple times. We must force ourselves to do the 20% of the most important tasks, so that we achieve 80% of the results. Unfortunately most of us spend most of our time on completing the 80% of the tasks and procrastinating the most fruitful 20% of the tasks.

6. Beating the distraction dragon. No matter how hard we try each day to be focused, there comes up one thing or the other as an urgent task that we have to deal with. In such case we must have enough time to deal with the urgent work at the priority without losing focus of our important task at hand. Once we complete the urgent task, we should channelize our energy at important task again. There may be lot many distractions which come up, but we must know our day’s goal, so that we can resume our lost path soon.

7. Taking short breaks. We all have the working patters and as individuals me must know which are our most productive hours and when we need to take the shorter breaks. After working for an hour or two we can take a break and recharge ourselves and focus again on work at hand.

Having short breaks to regain our energy and getting associated with the like minded people allow us to stay focused on the tasks of great importance and high priorities.

Studies have shown if we take a siesta or a cat nap at some specific time of the day, it enhances our creativity and productivity. It makes us more energetic and we feel more focused at our work once again.

Besides following these habits there is something else also that needs to be done.

Since we all have become like smart phones these days. With lots of smart features installed into us as a result we all need more battery backup and need to charge ourselves often. So, what do we do?

WE NEED TO UNINSTALL THE UNWANTED FEATURES. KNOW OUR EACH DAY’S PURPOSE. MAKE SURE TO BE FULLY CHARGED UP TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE. IN SHORT-WE NEED TO BE MORE FOCUSED. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IS THE KEY.

But how?

We often try to be superman or superwoman, and aim at completing many tasks at hand. Result. We are less productive and get more exhausted at the end of the day. So, what do we do?

WE NEED TO BECOME A PERSON OF GREAT ACTION. IN SHORT- AN ACTION MAN or AN ACTION WOMAN. WITH FOCUS ON SINGLE TASK AT HAND.

Wishing you all a great productive day!

Suggest what strategies and habits you follow to make your day a highly productive day?

Suggested Readings:

Getting Things Done by James Allen

Living the 80/20 Rule Way Richard Koch

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

5 Answers You Must Know to Make Your Academic Life Successful

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You could be Bill Gates or Steve Jobs without dropping out of your college life, if you know how to make best use of your college life and its resources. If not, you would end up being Hamlet, thinking -to be or not to be.

Therefore, based on valuable insights from Prof PV Dhamija, a well acclaimed academician and English Professor with more than 40 years of experience in the field of teaching, and my own experiences in the academic field, I have tried to explore 5 questions and answers that you must know about your academic life to make best use of it.

So here starts those Q& A’s :

1. How can we define academic life?

“Academic life, for students, is a time of commitment to learning about life and its social obligations through information (books, journals, classroom learning etc.) and its practical applications,” says Prof Dhamija.

And here are some of the tips that you could follow to make best use of your college days.

  • From your Orientation day, decide be a proactive learner.  Make a commitment to yourself that you will spend most of your time at college in learning skills, gaining practical knowledge of different subjects, building relationships and gaining hands-on experiences. And having lots and loads of fun!
  • Make your entire learning process a great fun and not a boring stuff. So be open to making mistakes and learn better and faster from them.
  • Set your academic goals. Work on building right habits at the onset. Learn the art of Putting First Things First. Enjoy the worst that the college has to offer. This becomes part of your memory forever.
  • Make sure to attend all your classes and bunk only a few. Since true learning takes place outside the class room so leave scope for that as well. Experiences waiting out side the class room have much to offer you.
  • College life is nothing but beautiful collage of memories. So, make such collages often.

2. What are the main challenges that students face in their  academic life keeping the current context in mind? (Gen Y )

“Among many challenges that students face are access to right academic resources (competent teachers, suitable books, etc.) competition, peer pressure, procrastination and lethargy just to name a few,” says Prof PV Dhamija.

To face these challenges, you could strategically follow these tips:

  • Accept that there will be challenges and roadblocks and know that these challenges will make you smarter and will allow you to grow faster.
  • Don’t be under peer pressure. Work on your unique strengths and focus on honing your skills set.
  • Engage in meaningful discussions rather than wasting your time in trivial talks. Your time is too precious. Know how to make best use of it.
  • Make study groups. Do projects together. Write papers. Do your assignments sincerely and honestly. Participate enthusiastically in events of your great interest. Do all these things with your group and your college life will become great fun.
  • Be competitive. But remember to compete against your own self and not with others because when you compete with yourself, you always win. And competing with others, you may either win or lose. So, why not to win always?
  • Be in constant touch with your teachers, mentors and parents. They are your best resource persons and guides. Look for their support when needed. They will help you to be on your right academic track.

College Life 2Credits: Google Images

3. How can students draw maximum knowledge form the classes when they have other available sources to get information from?

“The best way to co-ordinate the classroom learning with out-of-the classroom study is to develop a strategy of making the two seriously and judiciously interact with each other, ” advises Prof Dhamija.

  • With the deluge of information available on internet today and smart phones devices, learning has become quite easier and challenging in both ways. So make judicious use of all your resources.
  • Your teachers spend hours in preparing lectures and based on their experiences, they make the lectures more palatable and digestible as per the needs of their students, so sit in their classes and learn to absorb those valuable nuggets from them.
  • Make a routine to visit your Library. Devote study hours there. Read course books, reference books and try your hands at reading journals and other sources of great value. Any yes, make sure to read good literature books , biographies and books on wisdom literature. I know the advice is too much!
  • Combine your class room notes with the other references and internet material that will make your assignments and answers the best.

4. How should students focus and prepare for their end term exams?

“They need to be systematic and regular.” Prof Dhamija

  • Set your own timetable and work daily. Be lazy with the bad habits and not with the good ones.
  • Be strict with yourself rather than your teacher and life being strict with you.
  • Beat procrastinate and learn the habit of eating the ugliest frog first everyday.
  • There is no short cut to get good scores at the end term exam until students know the importance of regular, systematic and strategic learning. So know that. And follow that.
  • If you study for knowledge, your knowledge will take care of your scores.

5. What are the most important lessons that the academic life has to teach to students?

“Among a slew of lessons that academic life teaches are hard work, commitment and perseverance, which form the bedrock upon which the future life is built.”

  • Learn the lessons of hard work, commitment and perseverance.
  • Invest in your relationship. Don’t make too many friends too fast. Be slow and take your time in understanding the person and relationship. Build relationships, not for the college days only but for the future life as well.
  • With focus, work on honing your ‘Q’s like : Intelligent Quotient, Emotional Quotient, Smartness Quotient, Communication Quotient, Financial Quotient and Spiritual Quotient.  These Q’s will be of great help in your present life and will take your forward in  your future life as well.

Since it is YOUR college life, so you need to define it and colour it the way you want. Watch movies, go on trips, join NGO’s, do internships, participate in events, be in college sports team, volunteer for a cause in which you believe, do service, go out for parties, organize fund raising , do all crazy things and perform all daring stunts that you want. Do all what you want to do and leave the rest for others to perform. And do I still need to remind you, it is your college life and do what matters most to you and explore what you want?

Suggested Readings :

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly effective Teens
  2. The Secret to Teen Power
  3. Never Eat Alone

5 Reasons You Should Meditate if You Want to Succeed in Life

Meditation

Credits: Google Images

This image of Buddha in deep meditation inspires you to awaken ‘the Buddha’ inside you.  And this Guest Post will give you 5 reasons why you should awaken the Buddha Inside!

This post is very special to me since it is written by one of my students whom I taught way back in 2005. A decent boy with humility and gratitude in his approach, I never thought and knew about his entrepreneurial side then.

Today, after leaving his high salary job as a Research Analyst at GlobalLogic, he is in pursuit of his dreams. He is now an entrepreneur and visionary in a deeper sense. His name is Mohit Agrawal and with great pride I share with you all his post to read and enjoy its great benefits!

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I have started my life as an entrepreneur and I’ve been meditating for over 6 months now.

By meditation, I mean any practice; spiritual routine or training that could be broadly described as ‘meditation’. If you haven’t meditated before, I would mention a couple of reasons so that you start mediation to get benefited in your life at great length.

This is a summary of my belief in meditation and how it has helped me in these six months to change my thought process and life style to a greater extent.  I have written it mainly from my entrepreneurial perspective, but I am sure it apples to all life styles in general.

And here are my five reasons that you can consider to start your meditation practice:

1. It’s Just a Great Exercise

I know most entrepreneurs barely get time to exercise. It’s a curse born out of chaotic lifestyles, constantly being committed to the business, and just not being able to prioritize what is good for you.

After a while, the body becomes stiff and bloated, and then getting down to some hard grinding exercise becomes a cruel option. A couple of years later, when you try to tie your shoelaces and feel like dying, you know you have hit the bottom of the fitness well. What to do next, I suggest start meditation!

All the meditation practices that I know of [Art of Living (AOL), Kriya Yoga, etc], have a simple built-in exercise routine in them.

If you find no other reason, then meditate just to keep your body alive.

2. Practicing Patience

One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs face is cultivating patience. We live in a world of instant gratification and apply the same rules of ‘instant success’ to ourselves. We revere start-up stories of entrepreneurs who have become overnight success stories and benchmark ourselves against them.

I truly believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of “Taking 10,000 hours to become good at something” (central theme of his book ‘Outliers’).

Now, patience is not easy to cultivate.

If I tell you to sit and stare at the door everyday for 20 minutes, you will break down the door, go insane or come to my house and break down my door!

I would rather suggest that you learn to meditate to develop patience.

Immediately the focus changes to observing your thoughts, your breath and other such techniques, and the process isn’t boring! It’s in fact great fun and challenging!

Now, imagine sitting patiently on a public ground, on a sunny evening with your eyes closed, without anything to think of, or to do…

3. Understanding Cause and Effect, aka Karma

Very clearly, if you meditate regularly and with utmost dedication, you begin to appreciate ‘cause and effect’.

For instance, I have begun to notice that my intuitive ability has increased significantly over the past few months, which I believe is the result of my meditation practices.

This intuition is really helping me in my start-up. I can ‘sense’ things – what are affecting me and people around me, etc more acutely than other people. I would say that is a direct, measurable benefit of meditation.

But I also now seem to understand subtler reasons of ‘why’, and not just ‘how’ and ‘what’.

No one understands the laws of Karma better than a start-up entrepreneur.

4. Accepting Change

Nothing is tougher than change.

It’s very nice to read bumper stickers that say ‘Change is the only thing which is constant’ and the other blah blah blah… But reality is that this Change SUCKS.

In many ways, meditation can help deal with Change.

To explain it simpler, the practice of meditation, its effects, its highs and benefits only increase with time.

5. Embracing Purpose

A year ago I had been placed in a top MNC and everybody was happy but deep inside me I knew something was missing.

Currently I am pursuing my purpose of life which is to help someone in any form of life. Somehow I believe that this meditation has connected me deeply to my inner self and I could see my confidence and decision making growing day by day.

I do believe in the words of Wayne W. Dyer that “When you are able to shift your inner awareness to how you can serve others, and when you make this the central focus of your life, you will then be in a position to know true miracles in your progress toward prosperity.”

And I am sure by connecting to your inner-self through the power of mediation, you will find a deeper meaning and may find the true purpose in your life soon.

So don’t delay, just start your mediation practice from today. Even for a minute or two and you will see a greater changes in your life in days to come!

Suggested Readings:

Autobiography of A Yogi 

How to Meditate Daily by Leo Babuta

You, Me and Lessons from Embarrassment in Life!

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Credits: Google Images

It is true that we all share the stories of our success with great courage but it requires greater strength to share the story of our failure, shame, regret and embarrassment with some minute details. So here is one for you, the latest one as of now, although I have many saved in my memory trunk and I will share with you in times to come, but this is for today to draw some lessons from.

And this is how the story begins…

My husband told me to be ready for the Eve’s Party (Ladies Party) and so was I; the day was 18th April 2015. The dress code was white and so was I dressed up to the nines. The time of the party was 5:00 PM and I and my neighbor reached there at half past five, which was perfect according to the Indian standard time.

Before entering the gates of the venue, we could hear the commotion and feel the energy and vibrations all around. The mere thought of getting an opportunity to interact with so many new ladies was itself so exciting and full of life that I could not hold control of my wandering mind. After all, I have been a social bird all these years, and this was the best place and opportunity to make new friends with so many new people, and that too, at such a formal get together.

We moved faster and reached the venue and with the best of formal smile on our faces, we looked for some familiar smiles in the crowd. Soon I searched and recognized two acquaintances and reached there to exchange my greetings with them. They reciprocated my greetings with the same warm gesture.  The party was all set and I could see all the ladies carrying themselves with panache and oozing out confidence with their friendly talks. They were all engaged in interaction and were showing the best of mannerism mixed with casual formalism.

Suddenly my neighbor called me back and then we were asked by one of the organizing members, “You are from which Department?” before I could make sense and context out of her questions, I replied, “not from any department but we are from Faculty House”. The lady did not handed over the chits to us, which she was handing over to the other invitees and that was the moment which gave us an emotional jolt and some kind of minor fracture to our coherent self.

Within no seconds we analyzed the situation and scrutinized the list of invited guests for the party and before we could know how to handle the situation, we realized it was already out of our control. We observed that party was hosted for all the Female members of the faculty and not for the wives of the male faculty members, since they were already invited a day before to the Adam’s Party. And thus, we two were there as the uninvited guests, sitting there with our blank and pale faces, with help-us-out-of-this-situation voice, shouting inside us but visible on our silent faces.

We both were shocked. We both were embarrassed. We were freezed and could not decide what to do next. My husband with great confidence had told me to attend this party, and this was one of the first occasions since my arrival to this place, which he had highly recommended me to be a part of. This was indeed a great party but unfortunately he could not understand that it was not for his wife. I felt anger boiling inside me and wished I could turn into a stone or a plant or furniture or any other object standing nearby. Emotionless and lifeless at least, I will be for some time. I would not be asked to introduce myself and would not feel fish out of water for sometime there.

Sitting there I felt that all of a sudden I was underwater and was gasping for breath. My supersonic micro expressions were too loud and with the best of my knowledge on the subject of non verbal communication (oculesics, kinesics, optics and haptics) I felt I was unable to exploit my experience to hide my non verbal cues . Although, I also knew that my readers were not clairvoyant and I was the one , who was sharing with them, my fears and non-verbal thoughts. But I was too helpless to perform any fake facial acrobatics at that time. I was embarrassed and I did not know how to react for few minutes.

Okay without boring you up to the death and cutting my long story short, let me share with you that me and my neighbor somehow managed to be part of that party for almost half an hour and after enjoying the snacks we excused ourselves with grace by taking the exit from the main door.

So, after eating the forbidden fruit of knowledge from the Garden of Eden, I learnt few lessons from my moments of Embarrassment,  which I would like to share with you:

  •  “Things turn out to be best for those who make the best of the way to turn things out for them,” says John Wooden.  We can keep this thought in our mind for facing such life’s situations. And inspired by the same thought, I thought, why not to use this incident to write this blog post and share its learning with all.
  • Practice mind like water. Remember this advice from Bruce Lee. Such experiences in life call for our action and  allow us to practice mind like water. Let’s not over react. Just respond to the situation and accept that we are in a situation which demands us to behave in a certain way.
  • Let us not take the things too personally. We at times are nothing but big bolls of ego mash-ups. This ego feels hurt, but we are not defined by this ‘I’ only, we are sometimes, something else also, mere consciousness. That moment cannot define us completely. It is just a context and a moment that we have to face for sometime.
  • Let go. This is one of the best moments in life when we can hone and practice and experiment our let go skill. The more we hone this skill, the better we feel. After all, on this earth there are billions of people who have undergone or will undergo such situations and we are just one of them.
  • Fly high and try to change perspective. Just imagine that we are in an aeroplane and from there we are trying to find our own home? Difficult task, isn’t this? Of course it is. These situations may also look too small if we try to look them from too far.  Try this out, it works.
  • Or we can save such memories for our experience trove and learn from them later on, if they are worth it. The lessons on failure, shame, embarrassment and struggle are the most treasured lessons of our life and if could live and be in those moments than there is nothing greater than that. We all will have something interesting to share with our friends and kids after all.
  • Don’t take that situation too seriously. It is better to laugh and share with others what we have gone through and when we share with others we just feel awesome and great.
  • We can write such incidents in our diary and journal and read them after a year or six months and see how much we draw strength from them. And if nothing else, they will make us laugh at least.
  • We can understand these situations as real life tests which examine our perception, learning, knowledge and personal power to handle such contexts. If we do not qualify the first then we should be prepared and ready for the next.
  • And we should be happy that we are growing mature after facing each such situation because, “The rate at which a person matures is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate,” says Douglas Engelbart.

It is true that the magnetism of such embarrassing moments is so strong that it does not allow us to enjoy our present and nor does it allow us to move ahead in our future for a longer duration of time.

Since it has happened with me and I am sure would have happened with you also where you would have found yourself confined in the incarceration of embarrassing moments in your life. But now, we know that we can always do something about them. We can easily come out of such situations in life. Although we cannot avoid them, nor can we predict about them, but with such lessons, we can always try to handle them smartly now onwards . Can’t we?

So, now it’s time for us to prepare ourselves for such situations in life well in advance. And as great people with their effort make a dent of embarrassment as the jewel in the crown of their life, so we can can also convert these embarrassing moments into glorifying moments of our life. And be ready for our next call as JK Rowling says that “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” Don’t these moments define us how we live our lives after all?

Chinese Bamboo Tree in the Google Age

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Credits: Google Images

From the Stone Age, we have now come to Google age, information age or so called the digital age. With laptops, mobile phones, gadgets and all technological devices all around, we live with our digital natives, in this fastest changing world.

Instant access to everything is the key feature of this age. Whatever and whenever we want to search, Google has its answer ready for us within fraction of seconds. If we want to purchase any product, Amazon, Flipkart, and all kinds of online stores have our orders ready to be delivered at our door steps within no time. Click the cursor and we get all our answers. Everything has just become so easy for all of us.

In this age, we love speed. Fast results. And quick progress. And interestingly in words of RD Laing, “We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.”

Now living in this age, with such perception of the present, do we still have existence of words like persistence and patience in our dictionary as the success mantras for our survival, growth and progress?

The answer could be found in a famous story of the Chinese bamboo tree here.

When the bamboo is planted, unlike any other plant, it does not show any sign of its progress in the very first year.

What happens in the second year? Does the seed grow? Does it show any sign of its progress? The answer is still a big No. The second year goes like the first year. No sign of growth and development. The farmer waters and fertilizes the plant with his consistent efforts and wait with persistence.

The third year comes and goes like the early two years showing no sign, no growth and no progress.

The forth years comes and still the farmer does not lose his hope. The result is the same like the first year, the second year and the third year. No sign. No growth. No progress. But the farmer is not discouraged by the result. He waits in hope. The reality is something different for him.

Then comes the fifth year, the farmer waters the plant with the same hope, with patience and perseverance and then the miracle happens. The plant grows within six weeks and shoots up between the height of 80 to 100 feet.

Now, what does the story convey? Was the tree grown in a single day? What would have been the result had the farmer not watered the plant in the fifth year?

Well, the answers of all these, we should all know, shouldn’t we? For all these years, the plant was working on its rooting. It was making its foundation strong. When the right time came. It grew, it bloomed and it reached for the sky.

The same lesson applies to many of our life situations.  And here are few lessons to be learnt from this Chinese bamboo tree in the Google age for all of us.

  • Despite living in this Google age, there are certain things which will take time. We cannot get them at the click of our mouse button. We need to be patient with them and practice perseverance.
  • Parenting, friendship and conjugal relationship will take time to bloom and flourish. We need to water these relationship consistently with love, care, mutual trust, faith and understanding and should not wait for the results instantly.
  • Certain habits, projects and dreams take time in their maturation and fulfillment. They may take one year, two years, three years, four years or may be five years like the Chinese bamboo tree. So, we need to be patient in such pursuits and must not give up just after watering at the beginning of the first season.

Blessed we are to be born in this Google age. But if we just learn to have patience and perseverance  in our lives, our lives would truly be wonderful and great!

HOW HIGH IS YOUR JUNK QUOTIENT (JQ)?

Junk Idea

Credits: Google Images

Do you know how high your Junk Quotient is?

Don’t get me wrong. I just want you to turn on your ‘JunkoMeter’ today and measure your junk quotient (JQ).

Just to share with you, I measured my JQ few days back, and I found it to be reasonably high.

Do you know how I did this?

Becoming a JI (Junk Inspector) few days back, I made a survey of all the rooms and collected all the evidences and proof. And I found these after scrutiny.

  • In my home, a gems box is now an eraser box, a shoe box stores Hot Wheels cars, a heavy hot wheels sit as a paper weight.
  • Old cups, mugs, purses and jam bottles are plants pots.
  • Old Duppatas are household covering sheets and old cotton Sarees are customized into Sarees keeping bags, also serving as sheets for shelves and clothes wrapping bags.
  • Book marks and cards made up of posters are kept in book shelves. And used chart papers are converted into inspirational wall quotes and few are blooming as flowers decorations on bed room walls.
  • Big carton boxes are Anvay’s toys resting room and are giving challenge to the best advertised Hope Shop 18 products and one side used A-4 size sheets are canvasses for his Picasso like paintings.

There are many such junk products and ideas and I can write breathlessly about all of them but that would be too long, time consuming and would not serve the purpose of this blog post. So, just imagine these as few specimens out of my junk workshop and to know more about them and see more, you are most welcome to visit my home.

But why my JQ is too high?

On its diagnosis and analysis, I found its history rooted in my childhood days and adolescent years. I immediately boarded my memory train and found these traces:

  • I used to watch The Good Home Show and many other TV shows like this on DD 1 with my mother and after the end of the show used to experiment with making of many things. I tried my hands at making wall hangings from broken bangles and ship made from ice cream sticks, toy train made form used match boxes and sweaters of my doll made from left out wool. Patch worked bags and note book for my teacher- teacher games. I also used to act as an anchor of my imaginary show, describing and sharing details of the products made with my imaginary audiences.
  • Next and the most powerful influence on me , as I can remember now,  was of my biology teacher, Mr SX Saxena, under whose guidance I did a project entitled, ‘Improvised Dustbins to Prevent Solid Waste Disposals’ in class XII. And this project was selected at regional level and I visited KV, IIT Kharagpur as part of Jawaharlal Nehru Science Exhibition for Children in 1999. Returning home after this project, I was emotionally drained, because the project was not selected but, since I was in love with this project and high about its objectives and benefits, I felt as if I could make a big difference to the whole world and to my city. Everything will be green and healthy and the world will look so beautiful and perfect. The dream and power to change the world, the way we want!This is how we think when we are too young and adolescent, don’t we? So this was one of the most significant influences.
  • My many friends and colleagues were also of great influence on me. And after marriage, my mother-in-law, I could say, acted as a true Waste Management Professor for me. Like me, her JQ is again too high. She gave me the best of home management tips with practical demonstrations and how to make best use of them. Reuse, redesign, rethink, explore and be creative and experimental are her best home making tips. Her influence indeed is very deep and profound on me.

So, based on learning from the above, I concluded that Junk too has life and at times like doctors, we too can give them a new shape and life. And what it requires is nothing but little time, efforts and creativity on our part  and the results are always worth.

What do I suggest you now?

Try to work out on honing your JQ. Who knows but this JQ could be a new sought after ‘Q’ after IQ and EQ required in the 21st Century?

  • So, decide to take out some leisure time from your busy schedule. Rest. Relax and then get ready with your team. You and your kids!
  • Saturday and Sunday can work best for you. Take a carton or any container and turn on your Junk GPS on and make a survey of all rooms and pick up all the items that you consider are junk or waste. You can categorize them as stationery items (old books, magazines, note books, diaries, news papers ), plastic products, metal things and clothes etc. There can be perishable things also but these go straight into you dustbins and would require little more effort which I am not talking here.
  • Make sure that you start picking up junk from one room first and then move on to another room next. Do it step by step and don’t exhaust yourself in one go. You can find emotional connect with many things but just pick it up if it does not serve any purpose. later on you can decide about this. Too much clutter or junk can serve as energy trapper also, as one of my friends says, so be alert and vigilant in the process.
  • Segregate the collected junk into separate categories. Now take them into your store room or attic room. Check what is of use and what could be reused and given a new shape and a new look. Now keep them separate. Pack the remaining junk into a box and seal them to be sold off to junk dealer.
  • Whatever left unused and reused for two to three months, let it go to the junk dealer.
  • Clothes and stationery items could easily be donated. You can visit any nearby orphanage or give them to poor children. These gifts from your end become source of abundance joy for those who could not afford these things at such ease.
  • Now enjoy more positivity and free space in your mind and rooms and celebrate your victory with your entire team of kids.

So, don’t wait for too long.  Work on increasing your JQ with your Intelligent Quotient( IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) . And don’t be surprised to see, how with a little touch here and a creative fold there you too, could convert a junk into a piece of innovative look.Unleash your creative zeal and sharpen your JQ with your little kinds and feel like Picasso and Rock garden creator Nek Chand.

And if you want to call me a junk maniac, junk lover, junkophile, junk artist, junk picker, junk architect, junk designer, junk juggler or a junk manager for that matter, I won’t mind. Since you too have become a part of my group now.

Why Listening to Inspiring Talks is so Important

Her talk is moving, so is her art,

Poetic, serene and yet so dynamic,

To me, her sculptures are nothing, but wonders of soul transcending magic!

ArtCredits: Google images

Hanging brightly in limitless sky, as you can see in the images above, her artistic creations remind me of Shelly’s Skylark which is “blithe Spirit” and “full heart in profuse strains of unpremeditated art” and Wordsworth Daffodils which, “Beside the lake, beneath the trees,” seem to be “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

But this was not her story eighteen years ago. Janet Echelman, who is a world famous American Artist and Sculptor now, shares in her TED talk that she became a self made artist because she couldn’t get admission to any of the 7 art schools where she applied and then decided to pursue her art, painting, all by herself.

After 10 years of painting, it was in 1997 she reached to India for her Fulbright Scholarship where discovered her magical material in fishernet at Mahabalipuram beaches. This was the time, when she was eagerly waiting for her paints to come by ship, so that she could put up her art exhibition and meet her deadlines, but it was then, she got to know about her missing paints which she could never retrieve again. In her decision to move on and look for her new art material around, she found this inspiration in the net material of Indian Fishermen. This become her paints and focal point of creativity and imagination. And using this Fishermen’s material, she transformed her imagination and creativity into sculptures of extraordinary marvel and  exquisite beauty of inspiration.

And today, she is known to amalgamate traditional craft with cutting edge technology and use materials for building permanent sculptures with soul touching beauty. In her pursuit, she is sharing the “rediscovery of wonder” through her artistic creations, her creations which breath, live and inspire the denizens of all over the world’s nations.

Moved by her talk, I decided to share three things that I learnt from her, which I am sure will make you happy as well.

1. A man can be destroyed but can’t be defeated said Earnest Hemingway. It was Janet’s spirit like the Old Man in the Hemingway’s  creation , The Old Man and The Sea, which forced her to prove her mettle to the rest of the world. Starting her journey as a self artist, without getting admission to any of the seven art colleges, losing her house in Bali, did not make her feel defeated, even at the loss of her art paints. She reflected, looked around and found her new paints, this time in the form of fishermen’s net. Rest is all history as well all know and can see now.

2. Imagination is more important than knowledge said Einstein. Creativity is within all of us. We need to listen to it and we need to pay heed to it. And this is what Janet’s Ted talk all about. She did take her imagination quite seriously and her architectural feats: Bellbottom Series, Red Peak,  Eye of the Storm, She Changes, Line Drawing, Water Sky garden to name a few, reveal nothing, but speak her creative zeal.

She looked around herself, mastered her craft and found herself blanketed in imagination Shawl. Listening to all her internal voices, she kept moving the steering for her art wheel with great patience.

3. Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all, said Stephan King. Certain things are destined to move out of your life like Janet’s paints. So let them go. The things can go but the learning and memory of them always remain. She gave command to the lost things and used their knowledge at her disposal, making her imagination alive. Missing nothing. Had Janet’s colours not gone missing forever, do you think she would have explored the new magic material for her art and sculpture? I am sure you know the answer.

So, let go of the old things and accept and the new things in life.

Like Janet story, we all have many inspiring stories around us. The need is to listen, learn and be inspired from them. I have shared one such with you, now it’s your turn to keep the ball rolling.