366 Days of 2016 – Make them Count

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year 2016 (once again).

It is not unusual to see another ‘leap year’. The beauty is that there is one extra day (29 Feb).

Don’t spend it just counting an extra day. Make it count. It is a blessing to be alive and receive another year (especially one with an extra day), don’t waste it living someone’s else life. Live your dreams, your passion, every day of the year. Make sure you do something worthwhile with all that nature has showered on you. Remember there are many who are not this blessed.

So, my message for the year is “Do not count your days, make them count.”

Best wishes for an entrepreneurial life


It’s Monday, not Sunday! So what?

In recent times I have been infrequent in my posting on the blog. Its not that interesting things are not happening in life, but just that excuses seem to have taken greater control. Hence I decided that I will write from last Sunday (yesterday). But for some reason, I had enough excuses to not pick the computer and type those words. As I was reflecting over this, I told myself “Since you have decided to write every Sunday, let me start next Sunday.” But on closer objective viewing I soon realised that it has been the same excuse which has kept me from writing over the last few weeks / months.

So, I decided to fight over this excuse inside me. I told myself I will start today, even though it is Monday and not Sunday. I can always go back to Sunday from the coming weekend. At least I would have started and hopefully this will bring back the old discipline and routine to writing.

I see this in almost every individual I meet. Even the so called successful ones fight this problem almost every day. They win over their excuses and make things happen. And that seems to make the difference between those who do and the ones don’t. So, my urge to every entrepreneur and/or entrepreneurial individual I meet is – win over your excuses to doing. There will be a hundred forces which stop you along the way, but don’t be stopped. Just thrive. Just push that little bit. That is all it takes to be happy. The fact that you tried.

There is nothing greater than trying. The sports season is at its peak on the campus I stay – so in true sportsman spirit – lets play for playing is the only thing.

Lets not try to be perfect for there is no such thing in the world. Think about it. But more importantly start actioning your thoughts.

Lets start!

Books and Me: Thrive

Book Title: ThriveThrive Book Cover

Author: Arianna Huffington

In a fast paced and competitive world there is no one who does not measure himself / herself against each other. People are comparing themselves with everyone possible and either feeling good or feeling bad, both feelings are sadly, temporary. Much of this comparison arises from two factors that have become the widely used measures: money and power. Since these two are measurable, most people end up falling in line to measuring success based on these. Because these are two measures that have fairly standard measures, they also become easy to compare and fall prey to feelings.

According to the author (who is successful and popular across both measures) the inevitable problem with living based on the above measures is that the individual is lost in the process of seeking worldly success. No please don’t stop reading – she is not against worldly success, but she provides a view to how we can truly be successful in our own eyes. Now, this is really difficult, because when the game is over, we are almost left with only ourselves and it is then that the real question of success comes up. When this happens, most successful people have regretted their choices to be successful in the currently understood way. The author quotes her own experience of having hit this ceiling, thankfully early in life, to make corrections.

The book defines a third metric apart from the above two, which happens to be the title of the book: Thrive. This is the third metric and it contains four components that make it up:

  • Our well being
  • Our ability to draw on our inner intuition and wisdom
  • Our sense of wonder
  • Our capacity for compassion and giving

The book is sprinkled with enough interesting anecdotes from the author’s life and the lives of other interesting personalities. The one I liked the most was her mother, who seems to have had a huge impact on the author’s life. I was very touched by her mother’s approach to life, especially towards the end of her life. I loved reading the portion of the book that speaks about ‘Death’ as it is a concept that is close to my heart. The book is not any emotional treatise on how to die or how to live better by sleeping for hours a day – it is filled with enough references to scientific studies from respected journals. While I loved every section of the book, I enjoyed the section on ‘walking’, ‘death’, and ‘giving’ more than the others.

Routines in life are important and they should be set by us based on our priorities. We must ensure our life is balanced so as to have no regrets in life. Many of the practices suggested in the book seem to help in bringing some order to today’s chaotic and turbulent lifestyle. I think every young person must read this book and benefit from it. If we can take away even one or two ideas and put it to practice in our lives, we will see phenomenal difference to the way we lead our lives. Even though the book refers to woman to a larger extent than men, the advice applies to all equally.

I must thank the author to reveal so much about her mom’s life as it has inspired me to re-look at my own and has also reinforced my study of philosophy.

Thank you Ms Arianna Huffington for sharing such a wonderful book with us!

Happy Reading!

Books and Me: E is for Exceptional

Book Title :  E is for Exceptional

Author:  Rob Yeung

Who doesn’t want to be exceptional? Who doesn’t want to be successful? These are some of the reasons why books under the category ‘Success’, ’Self help’ and ‘Personal Improvement’ sell. Infact, picking a book in this category would actually be difficult if you walk into the book store. This is because this genre is probably has the maximum number of titles published, has maximum number of books sold and has a wide range of authors with multiple titles.

I picked this book up, just to read one in this genre for a change.  As a serious student of Vedanta I am beginning to stop trying to become anything. It may sound a bit absurd, the subject of Vedanta is built on different assumptions; and much deeper truths. If you are interested in knowing more I will invite you to read my weekly posts under the category ‘Vedanta and Me’

Coming back to the book, the author Rob Yeung states that there are eight capabilities that distinguish exceptional people from the rest. They include Awe, Cherishing, Authenticity, Centredness, Connecting, Daring, Citizenship and Visioning.

Except for a few words – most the remaining are fairly banal across literature in this genre.  The author also acknowledges that many of these practices or the terms used may not be very new or different; but he makes an earnest request to attempt turning some of these capabilities into actions and persisting till success is achieved.

Some of the interesting things I found in this book include:

  1. Using a wide range of examples from various paths of life
  2. Make number of references to scientific studies to arrive at conclusions
  3. Taking each of these capabilities deeper and breaking them down so as to make them actionable
  4. Providing number of opportunities, to test these capabilities via exercises
  5. A few instances where widely accepted practices have been proven factually wrong through scientific study

Personally I liked the notes section at the end of the book that provided a number of references for serious further reading.

If you are looking at wanting to prune your actions and/or behaviours on the professional plane, this would be a worthwhile book to kick start your journey.

The One Minute Teacher by Spencer Johnson & Constance Johnson

The one minute teacher
The one minute teacher

I am a person who is not a great fan of these quick fix solutions to learning and work. I feel happy working hard and thinking hard to come up with more than ordinary. It sometimes looks funny with much of the world looking at smart work. But over a period of time I think my approach though conservative is still sturdy and keeps me going, rather happily! When it comes to two-minute solutions; the ones I like the most are Maggi Noodles, McDonalds Burger and other instant food mixes. The only place where I indulge even though I don’t believe in these quick fix traps is with books – I just buy them even in doubt (true bibliophile) and read them voraciously. This is one more book bought that way!

The “One Minute Teacher” was bought because it had the word “Teacher” in it! There was no other reason honestly – especially with my bias towards more tougher and sturdier solutions and books. I did read it over my evening coffee, all in one go. Since I had started teaching I am constantly looking to know more about teachers, teaching and education as an industry. Education as an industry and teaching in specific has been a fascination since childhood. Probably that’s why I always get entangled in some academic initiative. Why all this when this looks like a book review? Truly after reading this book I was in for some surprise. This book has little to do with the hard part of the teaching profession, has very little to do with the soft part of being a teacher, and personally I expected something totally different from the book – which I obviously did not get. But I did get something else.

The book gives a 3-step approach (each requires one minute commitment) to learning. You set your one-minute goal; then provide yourself one minute praises (whenever you do something good) and give yourself one-minute recoveries (whenever you do something wrong)!! Now that’s not rocket science or some great thing which makes the book a must read. But just the one minute praises section was worth the price of the book and the amount of time I spent reading it. We spend most of our days acknowledging our errors or mistakes and most people almost always identify your mistakes or help you with suggestions for improvement. How often have you stopped even for a second and said to yourself, “Man, you have done a great job. You are good” At times I feel we may have done it – but how frequently. When we make statements of this nature it improves one’s self-esteem and improves our ability to go ahead with a much better attitude. And more importantly the author asks why not appreciate our good work even on small wins? It was a feel good read. I learnt something from this book and I will make sure I find more opportunities to appreciate students at every opportunity without thinking that I may be exploited or made fun of as a teacher!

Though there are similar interesting anecdotes and learnings from the book on goal setting and recoveries, I feel they need more thinking (very personal view). Otherwise it is a very good and easy read, makes one feel good and definitely gives you a tip or two for learning to feel better. If there is one thing that I would suggest is a better title – “One minute Learner” rather than a teacher – felt like a misnomer.