To My Dear Visitors

The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates, I swiped them from Chesterfield, I stole them from Jesus, and I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rule, whose would you use ?
Dale Carnagie.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Three Wishes of Alexander The Great.

There is a very instructive incident involving the life of Alexander, the Great Greek King. Alexander, after conquering many kingdoms, was returning home. On the way, he fell ill and it took him to his death bed. With death staring him in his face, Alexander realized how his conquests, his great army, his sharp sword and all his wealth were of no consequence. He now longed to reach home to see his mother's face and bid her his last adieu. But, he had to accept the fact that his sinking health would not permit him to reach his distant homeland. So, the mighty conqueror lay prostrate and pale, helplessly waiting to breathe his last.
He called his generals and said, "I will depart from this world soon, I have three wishes, please carry them out without fail." With tears flowing down their cheeks, the generals agreed to abide by their king's last wishes.

"My first desire is that," said Alexander, "My physicians alone must carry my coffin."
After a pause, he continued, "Secondly, I desire that when my coffin is being carried to the grave, the path leading to the graveyard be strewn with gold, silver and precious stones which I have collected in my treasury."
The king felt exhausted after saying this. He took a minute's rest and continued. "My third and last wish is that both my hands be kept dangling out of my coffin."

The people who had gathered there wondered at the king's strange wishes. But no one dare bring the question to their lips. Alexander's favourite general kissed his hand and pressed them to his heart. "O king, we assure you that your wishes will all be fulfilled. But tell us why do you make such strange wishes?"

At this Alexander took a deep breath and said: "I would like the world to know of the three lessons I have just learnt. I want my physicians to carry my coffin because people should realize that no doctor can really cure anybody. They are powerless and cannot save a person from the clutches of death. So let not people take life for granted.

The second wish of strewing gold, silver and other riches on the way to the graveyard is to tell the people that not even a fraction of gold will come with me. I spent all my life earning riches but cannot take anything with me. Let people realize that it is a sheer waste of time to chase wealth.

And about my third wish of having my hands dangling out of the coffin, I wish people to know that I came empty handed into this world and empty handed I go out of this world.

With these words, the king closed his eyes. Soon he let death conquer him and breathed his last.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Small Gestures, Big Message

Conflict in the parent–child relationship could result in adolescent maladjustment. “My parents never give me any freedom ! I feel so trapped”. “At least your parents allow you to be free at home. Mine decide what I should do, when and how !” “My mom goes through my stuff, can you beat that”? “My Dad wants to know who I am talking to on the phone ! He stands behind me when I am chatting with you guys”! “It’s unfair”!

These are some of the feelings expressed by teenagers. Parenting is an art and in the recent years has come in for a lot of discussion. Most psychologists would lean towards supportive parenting. Others have made it an effective tool for control. Control can be both restrictive and reasoning. Restrictive control is based on force, threat or physical punishment. Parents who employ these means to discipline their child end up with rebellious and resentful children.
Reasoning control is based on explaining and understanding. This is where the parents and children discuss and agree upon rules and regulations.

Another aspect of control is monitoring. This is a protective aspect of parenting. It is not so much tracking and surveillance as of a free disclosure of information. Parents should build a solid foundation with their children from a very early age. A good and trustworthy relationship with the parents enables children to be open with their parents. This positive quality acts as a buffer and prevents negative adolescent behaviour. Also, it fosters internalization of parental values. This makes disciplining easy and non–confrontational.

A conflicting quality of parent–adolescent relationship results in adolescent maladjustment, like delinquency, aggressiveness, low self–esteem, anxiety, depression and deviance. Parent–child relationship reflects an assemblage of attitudes regarding each other that originated in the long history of bond between parent and child.

It is really important to realize that parenting does not rest on the big and obvious decisions about children. Parenting lies in the small gestures, in the little hugs and light smiles, in the caring and non–judgemental love, in that special emotional connection that only parents and children can share. All this generates mutual respect and love. Also, when the child makes a mistake it is important to correct him / her without affecting his / her self–esteem or decision–making skills.
Courtesy : Unknown.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Double Trouble

My heart missed a beat when I saw my pregnancy report positive again. Oh my god ! This one will come even before the first one celebrates his first birthday. The government’s repeated cry – “Doosra Kab ? Pehla school jaye tab” – had obviously fallen on my deaf ears. And also that advice about keeping a minimum of three-year gap between the two children. What would people say ? I was going to crazy with all these thoughts and decided to consult my gynaecologist who always had the right advice. And guide she did.

My daughter is 11 months younger than my son. I see god’s plan in my second child coming soon after the first. It not only saves us a lot of time and energy, but also money. The initial two years were tough handling both of them but things became easier with each passing year. I don’t need to deal with them at different levels, which is usually the case if the gap between siblings is two or three years or more. The two fight like crazy but they also help, share and behave like best of friends. Many school books, question papers, toys and games, stationery and even clothes {blurring of gender boundaries helped even more}are handed over to my daughter by her brother and she happily accepts them. This has taught my naughty son to keep many of his things in proper shape because he knows he has to pass them on to his sister. My daughter too has learnt to be patient as she knows she will be getting them from her brother after a year or so.

Economically speaking, raising two children with the minimum gap possible is one of the wisest things to do. Today, I can advice couples to plan their second child soon after the first one. If you are in good health, then waiting three years is sheer waste of time and resources. If you choose to go my way, you will produce one and raise another {almost} free.

Courtsey : Shalini Mitra, Off Track, HT, 10 Jan 08.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If You Want to Know How Much a Dog Loves You, Watch It’s Tail

A new study shows a dog wags it tail more to the right to demonstrate affection, left to show it has ‘Negative’ feelings.

Every dog lover knows how a pooch expresses its feelings. Ears close to the head, tense posture, and tail straight out from the body means “Don’t mess with me”. Ears perked up, wriggly body and vigorously wagging tail means “I am sooo happy to see you !’

But there is another, newly discovered, feature of dog body language that may surprise attentive pet owners and experts in canine behaviour. When dogs feel fundamentally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rumps. When they have negative feelings, their tail wgging is biased to the left.

A study describing the phenomenon, “Asymmetric tail-wagging responses by dogs to different emotive stimuli,’ appeared in the March 20 issue of Current Biology. The authors are Giorgio Vallortigara, a neuroscientist at the University of Trieste in Italy, and two veterinarians, Angelo Quaranta and Marcello Siniscalchi, at the University of Bari, also in Italy. It fits with the large body of research showing emotional asymmetry in the brain. Research has shown that in most animals, including birds, fish and frogs, the left brain specializes in behaviours involving what the scientists call “Approach and Energy Enrichment”. Because the left brain controls the right side of the body, such asymmetries are usually manifest in opposite sides of the body. Thus many birds seek food with their right eye {left brain /nourishment} and watch for predators with their left eye {right brain /danger}.

Dog tails are interesting, because they are in the midline of the dog’s body, neither left nor right. So do they show emotional asymmetry or not ? To find out, Dr. Vallortigara and his colleagues recruited 30 family pets of mixed breeds that were enrolled in an agility training program. The dogs were placed in a cage equipped with cameras that precisely tracked the angles of their tails wags. Then they were shown four stimuli through a slat in the front of the cage : their owner, an unfamiliar human, a cat, and an unfamiliar dominant dog. In each instance the test dog saw a person or animal for 1 minute, rested for 90 seconds and saw another view. Testing lasted 25 days with 10 sessions per day.

When the dogs saw their owners, their tails all wagged vigorously with a bias to the right side of their bodies.

Their tails wagged moderately, again more to the right, when faced with an unfamiliar human.

Looking at the cat, the dog’s tail again wagged more to the right but in a lower amplitude.

When the dogs looked at an aggressive, unfamiliar dog – a large Belgian shepherd Malinois – their tails all wagged with a bias to the left side of their bodies.

Thus when dogs were attracted to something, including a benign, approachable cat, their tails wagged right, and when they were fearful, their tails went left. It suggests that the muscles in the right side of the tail reflect positive emotions while the muscles in the left side express negative ones.

Animals that can do two important things at the same time, like eat and watch for predators, would be better off. Nerves that carry information from the skin, heart, liver, lungs and other internal organs are inherently asymmetrical. Thus information from the body that prompts an animal to slow down, eat, relax and restore itself is biased towards the left brain. Information from the body that tells an animal to run, fight, breathe faster and look out for danger is biased towards the right brain. In this way animals are naturally designed to cope with changing environment.

Courtsey : Sandra Blakeslee, New York, Indian Express, 25Apl 07.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lifestyle During Exams

For being successful in Exams follow a proper lifestyle.

Do Not Drink Coffee :
Caffeine in small doses acts as a stimulant and keeps you awake, so a cup once a day may be OK, Excessive coffee drinking gives side effects like tremors, fast pulse rate, irritability and stomach pain. Coffee also causes addiction.

Exercise during Exams :
Most children will say they have no time for exercise during exam days. They are already stressed out with lack of time how can they waste time in exercise? The fact is that exercise is all the more necessary during exam time because not only is it a " stress buster" but also has many other health benefits needed to keep fit during exam.

Diet :
Diet
is very important during teenage years. Improper diet will lead to poor growth and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

DO NOT miss breakfast. By the time you have lunch nearly 10+12 hours would have gone by after your last meal. This means your blood sugar level has gone down and you have nothing to provide your body with energy. This low blood sugar or Hypoglycemia causes short term memory problems, difficulty in concentration and problem solving.

DO NOT miss lunch. If you do so your blood sugar level will again dip down and you will have all symptoms of hypoglycemia and will not be able to perform after lunch hours. You will also be very fatigued by the time you come home and will not be able to study in the evening.

HAVE a good dinner so that you will sleep well and not feel stressed out while studying the next day.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep :
Try to keep a fixed time every night for sleeping as far as possible. Avoid prolonged afternoon sleeping. A short nap may be helpful. One hour before bedtime avoid stimulating your sensory system by too much noise like loud music, too much TV, arguments or fights. Three hours before sleep time avoid taking any food or liquids, which contain caffeine, like aerated cold drinks, drinks containing chocolate.

What happens if we sleep less than what our body Requires?
Do not stay awake late the night before the exam. It will only stress you. If you sleep less for a day or two your body copes up by taking more sleep over next two days. If continued for long then the body gets into what is known as sleep debt. Then you get symptoms of feeling tired and sleepy, headaches, body aches, poor digestion, irritability, short temperedness, inability to concentrate, etc.

Remember : It is the person who strives systematically who succeeds !

Best of Luck

Friday, March 6, 2009

How Big Is Your Regret List ?

Make a list of all the things you wanted to do but never got down to doing. Now think of the reasons why and if you think hard enough, you will realize that the only obstacle in the way was YOU. Either you were waiting – for the right opportunity, the right time, the right mood, etc. to get the job done or you were guilty of holding yourself back with a set of excuses : I am not ready, I can’t do it, the time’s not right, I’ll do it tomorrow, etc. Either way, it’s an opportunity wasted and regret tasted. And it tastes bitter.

When you regret something you become unhappy, get shackled to the past, waste your present and become hopelessly pessimistic about your future. Your confidence takes a beating as does your self esteem and self respect. You start doubting your capabilities and your attitude accelerates towards negativity. Nothing seems right and it seems right to think so. And from being a potential success, you turn yourself into a confirmed failure.

But life is not about regretting lost opportunities, it’s about counting the radiating possibilities. It’s about being positive, about looking ahead rather than looking back, it’s more about what you can do than what you have done. It’s about being happy. And the best way to do that is to have less to regret. So, how do you tackle your regret list ?

Just do it : From your regret list, select what you can still do and go ahead and just do it.

It’s up to me : Remember if it is to be, it is up to me. Do it yourself. Understand that there is never a right time or a right moment. Now is as right a time as any.

Grow as you go : Don’t wait to be fully ready. You never will be. Go ahead with what you have [in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude] and build you skills as you go along.

Create opportunities : Don’t wait for opportunities, create your own. Like Lakshmi Mittal said, “It’s not always that you get to hit the iron when it’s hot ; believe in hitting it so hard that it gets hot !”

Forget past failures : Failure is Not final until you quit. So don’t quit, take stock, regroup and go for it again.

Faith can move mountains : Have unflinching faith in yourself.

No pain, no gain : Learn to live out of your comfort zone. The road to success is marked with commitments and sacrifices.

Attitude of gratitude : Be happy with what you get, and what you get will always be happiness.

Celebrate every achievement : The more you celebrate the less you regret.

Remember, Never let yesterday’s regrets overshadow tomorrows Dreams !

Courtesy: Udayan Banerjee, Strategic Training Consultant and Advisor, udayansalim@gmail.com, HT Power Jobs, Feb 08.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Team Building !

Team building is easy, learn from the birds !
If one studies highly effective groups, one finds that they have a highly supportive team culture with shared vision, accountability and high levels of communication apart from great camaraderie and chemistry between team members.

Team dynamics can have a far reaching impact on the success of your business, and therefore it becomes important for a manager or an entrepreneur running a firm to understand the basic tenets of highly successful team building. Here is a take on what it takes to build a truly cohesive team:

Shared Goals and Vision :
Have you ever wondered why birds often fly in V formation? There is a scientific principle behind this natural instinct. Flying in formation improves the aerodynamic efficiency of the flight and reduces the effort needed by each bird in the group to fly against the wind. Not only that, when a large group of birds fly together in this manner, they can cover distances that are 70 per cent more than the distance covered by solo birds expending the same amount of energy.

Men, like birds, are designed to work faster and more efficiently in teams. People who share a common direction and goals can get the 'push' they need from each other and achieve better results for their efforts.

Trust and Respect :
It is difficult to have productive working relationships, let alone build effective teams, without trust. Trust is the all important precursor for establishing cooperation, motivation and credible communication in a team. Creating trust is not a passive activity. Both team players and leaders must earn this trust through behaviour and action that is consistent with the team spirit and goals.

Recognition of Individuality :
There is widespread misconception that team members have to sacrifice their individuality for the team cause. Rather, teams work best when members respect individual differences and believe that each one has something unique and important to contribute to the team. Recognising one another's efforts .and contributions helps build diversity and solidarity within the framework of the team.

Communication :
Effective communication is crucial to the success of a team. When team members do not have an organized process to share information with others in the team, they may be confused about what information to share with others, and even if they do, they may do it in a haphazard manner- resulting in unnecessary conflict, miscommunication and lost time. Common communication problems in teams include presumptions that other team members are already aware of information or problems concerning a situation, a reluctance to speak tip due to a culture of fear, limited opportunities to exchange information and a failure to recognise the responsibility to share information with the team. These problems, if allowed to fester, can severely damage the stability and productivity of the team.

Collaboration :
When different people work together, there is a possibility that there may be an overlap or conflict of the goals of individual team members. Successful collaboration ensures that each player is aware of how he is expected to contribute, it helps align. individual goals with team objectives and allows team members to work together towards common goals with commitment and collective accountability.

Camaraderie :
The popular term for team camaraderie is esprit de corps. A certain degree of affiliation and camaraderie is needed for any close working relationship, and especially for teams. Camaraderie helps establish common ground and creates an environment that encourages friendly exchange of views, encouragement and support, thereby raising the team performance to the next level. There are some pretty big challenges involved in translating these ideals into reality, but by the very act of choosing them to guide our team building process, we get the chance to improve, progress and strengthen the
foundations on which our teams are built.

Courtesy : Bindu Sridhar, faqs@cnkonline.com, The Hindu, Dec 3, 2008.