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Friday, July 31, 2015

Forward for luck

This is a rat's ass- believed to be extremely lucky by ancient Egyptians because it signified abundance of grains. Forward it to 10 people in the next 5 mins and you will be blessed with a bag full of money, an extremely gorgeous spouse and full paid vacation - all in the next 24 hours.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dr. Kalam

Dr. Kalam was the chief guest of Tripura University convocation in 2001. Boro pishi (my eldest paternal aunt) had completed her Ph.D in Zoology. My paternal grandfather had passed away in January that year. Though we missed Grandpa on the occasion, I was elated to accompany her when the degree was conferred. It felt like an honor. We met some of her colleagues-professors of the university- one of whom exclaimed upon the similarities in our facial features. It runs in the family; we laughed.

But most of all, I remember seeing Dr. Kalam in person before he became the 11th President of India in 2002. What a humble man! You want to touch the sleeve of his coat just to know what greatness feels like. Not all politicians or leaders can command respect and admiration so effortlessly. What makes a man great? I am still trying to figure.

Boro pishi wanted me to get a doctorate when I grew up. I thought so too. Even after my MBA, I wanted to be a Doctor in Business Administration. But other things happened. I don't know if I will get a doctorate, but we share respect for a man. An educated but self-effacing man, who worked as a scientist in DRDO and ISRO. But most importantly - someone who was a genuine human being.

Friday, July 24, 2015

5 positive traits you could develop

Motivation: Most self-help books you read will start with a chapter on motivation and goals. And this is not just a vague idea about your destination. You need to visualize what you want. For example, when I was applying to a B-School I wanted to get into, I put an aerial view of the University as my laptop background. Each day I would see the image and say to myself, 'I will be there soon'. And I did. The trick is to get so engrossed in what you are doing that nothing should distract you. It also works for a relation you want to forge or improve. Your purpose or meaning in life might change with age, but what matters is that you are willing to offer yourself entirely to the cause.

Emotional stability :You have the image in mind; now you have to materialize it. And to do this you need hard work. You also need to have a calm approach to yourself and to others. You acknowledge that there are negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety, but you have to work with them rather than letting them overcome you. Indulgence is easy. There is a certain amount of gratification, but being able to control your extremes is a trait you certainly will find great use for in both your personal and professional lives.

Positive mindset: It is not easy to see the brighter side of everything, especially when nothing seems to go right. But you have to find a way- just one silver lining- in situations and in people. Include yourself in that list.

Self-Awareness: It takes a sagacious person to know his most authentic self. Your capability, who you are to others, who you can become- are all important aspects of your personality. You are not perfect, but as long as you enjoy learning from new experiences, you will become better. However, the learning is not a passive act; it is an active effort to progress, and it works wonder for even the most mediocre person. Politicians learn to speak publicly, arts students learn to code. You analyze your strengths and weakness and work accordingly.

Flexibility in behavior: Adaptation is critical to biological evolution because it provides improved function. Color change to camouflage from predators, a protein that works better with the change of environmental temperature, an anatomical modification that helps forage for resources- these are not very different from the psychological perspective of adaptation. You have a different persona for different people. You will not engage your 5-year old nephew in the same way you'd deliberate with a professional relation. There is no con in it; just an improved function to converse more efficaciously.

Here is a worksheet pdf to reflect on some of the points we discussed in this post: