Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Blind Girl on an Elephant

In this blog post, I am going o talk about an extraordinary person named Caroline Casey.  

When she was a just a kid, she wanted to become Mowgli and ride an elephant thru the dense jungle in India. As she grew up, in her teens, it was her dream to become a motorcycle racer. She imagined herself with her helmet on , riding a shining black motorcycle , her hair streaming on her face. 

On her seventeenth birthday, she accompanied her younger sister to the ophthalmologist to get her sister's eye tested because she had an eye problem and she wanted to become a pilot.  As usual , the doctor checked Caroline's eyes too. Caroline believed that all these years , the doctor just  did a fake eye test. The doctor noticed that it was her birthday and asked her "What are you doing today to celebrate the day , Caroline ? " . She replied excitedly "I am going to take my first driving lesson today - you see , I want to become a motorbike and car racer !". 

It was then that the doctor looked at her parents and said "You have not told her yet ?" . As her mother sobbed silently, Caroline heard the devastating truth.

She was "legally blind". She had ocular albinism, a genetic condition which happens once in 7000 births. In her own words, she could see just till where her hands extended to and beyond that it was "black vaseline" ! She could never drive !

So, how did she grow up till 17 and not know that she was blind ? 

It was due to her incredible parents ! They wanted her to have a childhood as free from labeling and prejudices as possible. So they invented an elaborate game.  Her sister, who’s three-and-a-half years younger than her, was born with vision impairment even worse than hers. Throughout her childhood visits to the eye doctor were designed to be a game to her to accompany her sister, not knowing that the play-acting where she got her eyes checked was real treatment.

Caroline grew up believing that she was normal. She played, learnt, had her crushes, did everything with the belief that she was just like any other kid ! The belief and the faith that her father and mother had instilled in her made her do everything . She went to a business school, he was trained as an archaeologist and started working with one of the best consultancy firms.

She decided that her "disability" will not hinder her doing anything - just like how she went abut her life till 17. But it was not easy. She says "The physical limitations of low vision are that I can't drive or cycle. I walk into doors. I start talking to strangers. I go to the gent’s toilet. I can't see the clothes I am putting on. I can't see the cutlery or my plate while sitting down to eat. When I am reading, I have to hold the book up to my nose. I can't read the signs at an airport. Sometimes I come across as rude because I am trying so hard to focus with my eyes that I end up ignoring people. The biggest challenge for me is exhaustion. I am always trying to see. The worst thing low vision has given me is extreme chronic back pain".  She is wobbly and falls very often and due to that she had a damaged back. 

But that did not stop her from dreaming. 

Since she could not take up biking, she did the next best things. She had been trained in archaeology and loved travelling, she went on traveling the world and went to Asia, Mexico, Australia and America. She could not do scuba diving but she did snorkeling ! She did varied things like being  landscape gardener and masseuse. Finally she joined Accenture and was doing a great job, till in 2000, to her dismay, she could feel that her vision was getting weaker and weaker and she had no other option to tell the HR about her condition and seek help. 

She was sent to a doctor who told her that she will stay like this and will not get better , ever.  That was the first time that Caroline broke down. She took time to process the bad news. It was catastrophic. 

After a few days, Caroline mulled over the point which the doctor had said . "What did you want to do when you were  child ? Nothing has been able to stop you till now and in future too nothing can stop you to achieve anything. You just have to believe in yourself. If YOU think you can , you will !"

That day she went back to her dream which she had dreamt as a child - to become Mowgli ! She says "I made a decision that day that I would go to India, become a mahout and travel across the country on elephant back.”. According to her, making the decision was the hardest part. Once you believe in something, the universe comes together to make it true  . The Law of attraction !

Caroline came to India in January 2001. Then she met her "Kanchi" - her elephant,  in Calicut . It was not a film. She had created her reality ! 

"As I walked up to her, we were both silent and looking at each other. I started crying because this was everything I had ever dreamed of. I touched my forehead to her trunk. I smelled bananas and muck and poo. The heat of her skin seeped into mine and I gave her my heart immediately "

Caroline trained and became a Mahaout ! 

"My mahout trainer was on the ground giving signals and speaking in Malayalam, not a world of which I could understand. I couldn't see his signals. Another problem was that I was a western woman riding bareback on an elephant, who is an embodiment of Ganesha. A lot of people had problems with that. Navigating situations like this was tricky. Trying to convince my trainers that I was capable, to break the stereotype of this weak-disabled person was the hardest thing I had to deal with".

She traveled from Kerela through Karnataka  and Tamilnadu. The blind girl on the elephant. In that trip she raised money for 6000 cataract operations. When she returned to Ireland, she chucked her job in Accenture and became a social entrepreneur and set up Kanchi . 

"I set up Kanchi  because my organization was always going to be named after my elephant, because disability is like the elephant in the room. And I wanted to make you see it in a positive way -- no charity, no pity. But I wanted to work only and truly with business and media leadership to totally reframe disability in a way that was exciting and possible."

What an amazing journey !  The grit, determination, passion and faith in oneself can move mountains. Caroline Casey is an example to the world. 

Hats off to her parents and her   who seeded the grains of hope in her with their bewildering game of making her believe that she was normal and the doctor , who revived and rekindled the hope in her again when she was overwhelmed and distressed. 

Let us all live life to the fullest and believe that we can achieve just anything - provided we have faith in ourselves and the determination to overcome all the odds !

I salute Caroline Casey !

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The peculiar advantage of talking to strangers

A few days back , my husband and I were getting ready to go for a get together of his school alumni.

He fidgeted . 

"There will be so many people whom I have not met for years . There will be their spouses and many people from different batches who are literally strangers to me " he grumbled. 

Not getting any response from me, he continued. 

"I know you are not bothered. You can strike up a conversation with anybody , even if they are strangers and happily chat with them and come back content !" 

I smiled. He was right. I had this uncanny knack of  striking up conversations with strangers. In fact , I quite like it. I like knowing about people , their feelings and all sorts of information about them. 

My daughter and my husband are sometimes exasperated and sometimes amazed . 

"Ma !" Minnie , my daughter says "In a 10 minute conversation, you have found out so much ! Really ...!". And sometimes , when she finds me talking and asking questions, she rounds up her eyes at me indicating to stop. 

I like to talk to strangers.  I find it strangely relaxing.

In the fleeting moments , I get to see a glimpse of a new persona. Everyone is unique. Each one of us have different feelings , emotions, exaltation and frustrations. And sometimes even with one sentence, one word or even a small facial twitch or slant of lips , expression in the eyes, many things are spoken. And these are the little things I like to observe. These fascinate me

There are different types of strangers. One type is from a distinct group. For example people from my workplace or my spouse's workplace. Another type is for example our school , college alumni group . There can be people unknown to me in my hobby groups of dramatics and singing. In these sorts of groups , there is a common thread which binds us together and we can strike up a conversation using the same. 

Another type are people who are completely unknown to us. For example , if you are traveling - either train or bus or plane, people sitting beside you. Or you are walking or sitting in a park and smile at a person passing by. The conversation can start when both of you see a common thing and comment. Or if they have a baby with them or a pet and you talk with them instead of the person and then depending on the situation, conversation with the person continues.  

Talking to complete strangers can be very relaxing, interesting and exhilarating. Of course , not every conversation will be like that , but yes there will be instances when the communication will just flow seamlessly - just like a river in tide.

So how is it possible that we communicate so well with strangers? There are two reasons. The first one is that it's a quick interaction. It has no consequences. It's easy to be honest with someone you're never going to see again.  The second reason is quite interesting. We have a bias when it comes to people we're close to. We expect them to understand us. We assume they do, and we expect them to read our minds. With a stranger, we have to start from scratch. We tell the whole story, we explain who the people are, how we feel about them; we spell out all the inside jokes. And guess what? Sometimes they do understand us a little better. 

There have been occasions when people have told me something true to them , something really personal -  their deep longings or frustrations. And then after that they gave an incredulous look.

"I feel so relaxed now. I have not been able to talk about this to anyone ! Thanks for listening !" . 

The beauty of talking to strangers or unknown people is that we make unexpected connections ! Sometimes while talking to them  you disclose something which is lying deep inside a corner of your heart and then you hear the other person resonate your thoughts or share a similar experience which might liberate you. It  makes you understand the same thing in a very different light. 

So the next time you are in an the company of  a stranger, try giving a compliment.  

Just like Do-Re-Mi , that is the best way to start ! 

Cheers !

Sunday, 15 April 2018

10 tips to deal with Organizational Politics

Several centuries ago, Pericles, a Greek Statesman said "Just because you do not take an interest in politics, it does not mean that politics won't take an interest in you !"

Whether you like it or not, you will have to deal with Politics. There is no organization where there is no politics.  

Organizational politics is defined as  Activities that are not required as part of one’s formal  role in the organization, but that influence, or attempt  to influence, the distribution of advantages or disadvantages within the organization. 

And Politics is not always bad.  You have to be in the system to change it. If you cannot deal with politics, you might be thrown out of the game .

The following are 10 tips to deal with Politics.

·  Foster relationships & Alliances: Relationships and alliances  can help you navigate the political landscape. You need to build up alliances well in advance of any political conflict. Good alliances helps us to be more aware of the going-ons and be prepared.
·   Every move should be for the best interest of the company: This is the  best thing you can do when in a politically charged company. No one can debate you motivation when it’s in the best interest of the company.
·  Always Tell the truth: However difficult the situation is , always tell the truth. You might feel that this will not make you look good and tempt you to skirt the issue. Make sure you have the facts straight and that you are striving to seek the truth about the situation.
·  Emails are not private: Be very careful about the written word. Email can be a curse in a political environment since it’s a record of half-baked ideas and half-truths. Use email sparingly. 
·   Stand up for yourself: When you right, let everyone know it. Don’t cower when someone attacks you. Rather, state the facts and be proud of how you handled the situation.

·       Agree to disagree: Sometimes a situation will descend into such chaos that the only solution is to agree to disagree. This should be your last alternative but it’s a powerful tool when you are deadlocked.
·     Help others: By helping others, you earn their trust and respect. You also earn their gratitude that will come in handy when you need help.
·  Be the peacemaker: It’s best that you get the reputation of someone who finds solutions to tricky problems. Being the peacemaker is one way to achieve that. Peacemakers are looked at favorably because they transcend the politics and focus on making progress.
·      Know When to Say “I don’t know”:  Saying I don’t know takes courage. It’s much better to say I don’t know than to try and make up an answer on the fly. When used correctly, those three simple words can diffuse a volatile situation for another day. Just be careful not to use it too much.
·    Admit when you are wrong: The power of admitting when you are wrong is seldom understood. When used correctly, it diffuses a politically charged situation within an instant. The trick is to use it sparingly since if you are wrong too often, people will start to question your competence.
Hope this helps !
Cheers !

Thursday, 8 March 2018

A Different Woman's Day

Heavily pregnant woman. 

She waited at the bus stand hoping to see a slightly vacant bus. But it was the peak time and with no other option, she alighted the bus. As expected, there were no vacant seats. Suddenly she felt someone touch her exposed back above the blouse. She turned around angrily, feeling helpless. A  young man was looking at her . She felt her anger rise above her guts and just as she was about to retort, he said "Madam, here is my seat , please sit ..". The lady was stunned  ... her eyes suddenly felt moist ... 

This Woman's day, let us celebrate young men like him ...

She was a known name in that Red-light area,  expert in the tricks and traps needed to lure her customers. Today she has to entertain a loafer - must be the spoilt and pampered brat of a stinkingly rich father .
He is already drunk ...
"Where is the booze , eh ? "
"Do you really want more ...? "
"YES !! Bring it ... FAST ! "
She made a face .  She knew his type very well . They will drink till their neck and then vomit on the bed and... but did she really have any choice ? She  started loosening her sari...

"Listen, where is your home ? How did you land up here ? "
She was taken aback . 
"Wha -at do you mean?"
"To hell with the usual things. Come and sit beside me ... let us talk .. you know, I do not have any real friend with whom I can just talk ? Neat adda ?"

Seconds passed into minutes and the minutes passed into hours till the night melted into the red dawn of a new beginning.

This woman's day, let us celebrate spoilt brats like him ...

The married woman had been nursing her bed ridden mother-in-law for days . All the household work , looking after her kids, cooking , shopping, relatives and on top of that her perpetually sick mother-in-law. Though she wanted to tell about her exhaustion to her husband, she kept mum... if she says something, he will misunderstand her and become angry  !

The door bell rang. A middle aged woman stood at the door. 

"Yes ? Whom do you want ?
"You , Memsab ... I am coming from the Ayah centre "
"Ayah Centre ? " She was surprised.
"Sahib had called up our centre . Said his mother was sick . He must have forgotten to tell you .. Why don't you call him up and ask ? "

She called up her husband and after putting the phone down she felt how much people misunderstand each other ...

This woman's day, let us celebrate husbands like him ...

The mad young woman was begging for food. No one took pity at her. Her clothes were in tatters , most of her body was exposed. She pointed at her naked stomach to show that she was hungry. 

"... Come here ... "

She turned back and saw four boys in their later teens. 

A woman's instinct perhaps, she glared at them and spat.  They pulled her by her hands and took her into the  abandoned godown. 

She bit them as they handed over a packet to her. 

"Take it . It has a pair of clothes and food. And from today you can stay here, do not roam about on the street. If you need anything, you can go to that club at the end of the road and tell us ".

Did the woman become mad a second time ? 

This woman's day, let us celebrate teenagers like them ... 

The girl writes poems, her own way , her own thoughts. She had told him a couple of times, read out her poems , but she did not see any enthusiasm in his eyes. 

She does not tell him anymore , just writes for herself. One night, he calls her up. 

"How would you like if your poetry book was published ? "
"Are you mad ? Who will print a book containing my poems ? "
"Why ? Me ? "
"You ? Do you know the money involved ? "
"Yes. I  have found out ."
"What... You ... but ..."
"Does everything needs to be told in words ? Or you think that if I read all your poems you will know that I like the fact that you write so well ? "

The girl, the budding poet,  lost all her words... 

This woman's day, let us celebrate partners like him ...

From the day the doctors told her that she will never become a mother , her crying has not ceased.  It is her fault, the doctor had said.  Oh ! Why does she not die of shame ?

"Be ready at 8.30 am tomorrow "
"Again a new doctor's opinion ? What more will we learn? The problem lies in me .."

Next day, as their car pulled in front of Saint Mary Home and school, she was surprised. 

"We are getting down here ? "
"We have come to pick up our daughter . You always wanted a girl, right ? "

The lady started crying again ... this time the tears were of happiness.

This woman's day, let us celebrate fathers like him ...

This Woman's day , let us give respect to the men like these in our lives. 

Let us acknowledge, that because of such men, we can be women like what we are  ! 


 Translated from a Bengali Writeup on WA

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Teeny Weeny : Cinderella

Cinderella : Hi Prince ! Are you awake ?

Prince : Hi ! Yes , I am ! Wassup ?You looked beautiful tonight .....

C : As I ran away today, the glass slipper broke !

P :  Hell ! Now how will I find you ?

C :  😅 ! Did you really want to ?

P : 😝 ! Not really. But how did you guess ?

C : I saw you loosen the screw on the heel of the glass shoe ...
C : Hey ! Where are you ? I was just joking 😈. Actually I saw you kissing my step sister ...
C : It's true , right ? 😌. All the best Prince ! Be happy !

The emoticons did not reflect her tears.  Her guess about the shoe and the step sister was correct .

Cinderella died that night.

Cinderellas do not exist anymore ....


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Key and the Hammer

The Key and the Hammer  

A Key and a Hammer lay on a table side by side. The hammer looked dejected , morose and quizzical.  

"What is the matter , brother Hammer ? You look sad and puzzled ! " The  key asked the Hammer.

"I am wondering ... " 

"What ? "

"I am much bigger and stronger than you, I weigh much more and am costlier than you , but ... "

"But what , big brother ? "

"Why is it that you are able to do what I can never ever do ? ". The Hammer sounded puzzled , jealous and dejected.

The Key waited to hear him out.

 "You can OPEN a lock. I can break it, destroy it , but I can never open it ! Please tell me , do tell me your trick of the trade " The Hammer pleaded. 

The Key smiled.  "Brother, it is very simple .It is because I go inside the lock. I touch it's heart and soul. That is why, just a small nudge from me opens it up ... "

At work , home or play, whatever we do, if we can touch the inner recesses of the heart and touch a person's soul , it becomes easy to get them open up. It is a great method used by charismatic and transformational leaders.

The Marble slab and the idol

A big slab of white marble and a small marble idol were being transported in a train to a temple.  

"Ahh fate ... ! See what it has done to me and what it has made you ... ". the marble slab whispered in the idol's ears . 

"Fate ? How come ?" The idol asked . 

"Well, both of us were cut from the same rock, but you will be put up on a pedestal and I will be put on the floor infront of you. The devotees will come and trample on me but they will bow their head to you ... if this is not fate then waht is it ?"

The idol looked at the slab calmly and said "It is not fate , my friend... When you were cut, the pressure put cracks on you. That is why they had to make you a slab. I have been cut and after that I have gone through thousands of hammer strikes. Then I have been chiseled with sharp tools and only after that I have become the idol. It is called resilience, my friend, not Fate .... "

Leaders do not crack or buckle under pressure . They are self confident and calm . They have the resilience to face any situation. 

They inspire their followers.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

4 Surprising Truths

The following are four surprising truths which have been established and validated by research.    Hope you find this interesting !

1. We don't notice what's right in front of us

Think you know what's going on around you? Really ?

In 1998, researchers from Harvard and Kent State University targeted pedestrians on a college campus to determine how much people notice about their immediate environments. An actor came up to a pedestrian and asked for directions. While the pedestrian was giving the directions, two men carrying a large wooden door walked between the actor and the pedestrian, completely blocking their view of each other for several seconds. During that time, the actor was replaced by another actor, one of a different height and build, and with a different outfit, haircut and voice. 

Half of the participants didn't notice the substitution.

The experiment was one of the first to illustrate the phenomenon of "change blindness," which shows just how selective we are about what we take in from any given visual scene -- and it seems that we rely on memory and pattern-recognition significantly more than we might think.

2. Power Corrupts

In this study conducted in 2003,  two students were instructed to write the paper, while the other was told to evaluate the paper and determine how much each student would be paid. 

In the middle of their work, a researcher brought in a plate of five cookies. Although generally the last cookie was never eaten, the "boss" almost always ate the fourth cookie -- and ate it sloppily, mouth open.

"When researchers give people power in scientific experiments, they are more likely to physically touch others in potentially inappropriate ways, to flirt in more direct fashion, to make risky choices and gambles, to make first offers in negotiations, to speak their mind, and to eat cookies like the Cookie Monster, with crumbs all over their chins and chests," noted Dacher Keltner, one of the study leaders. 

3. The only thing one needs to be happy

The 75-year Harvard Grant study --one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies ever conducted -- followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates from the classes of 1938-1940 (now well into their 90s) for 75 years, regularly collecting data on various aspects of their lives. The universal conclusion? Love really is all that matters, at least when it comes to determining long-term happiness and life satisfaction.

The study concluded that there are two pillars of happiness: "One is love. The other is finding a way of coping with life that does not push love away." 

4.  Delaying gratification can make you more successful

This study was done in Stanford University in the late 1960s . It tested preschool children's ability to resist the lure of instant gratification -- and it yielded some powerful insights about willpower and self-discipline. In the experiment, four-year-olds were put in a room by themselves with a marshmallow on a plate in front of them, and told that they could either eat the treat now, or if they waited until the researcher returned 15 minutes later, they could have two marshmallows.

While most of the children said they'd wait, they often struggled to resist and then gave in, eating the treat before the researcher returned. The children who did manage to hold off for the full 15 minutes generally used avoidance tactics, like turning away or covering their eyes. The implications of the children's behavior were significant: Those who were able to delay gratification were much less likely to be obese, or to have behavioural problems by the time they were teenagers, and were more successful later in life.

Monday, 22 January 2018

7 Best Tips for delivering an Outstanding Presentation

"Mam, I am so nervous ! I have prepared my presentation and worked hard on the tips given by you.  But still I am getting butterflies in my stomach... " .  

No, no,  don't be under the  illusion that this is a naive , young junior person.  The words were uttered by a 8 year  experienced manager, who had given several presentations in office. This time, the audience was different.  He was amongst a few others , assigned to present to the Board of Directors about his new idea for business incubation. 

I tried to calm him. "What is bothering you ? Try to be explicit ".

He thought for a minute and said "Two things - How can I get the Board to listen to me ? How can I keep their attention ? "

Whoever you are , all of us know that we feel flutters when we have to take the centre stage for presentation. And the manager had articulated quite explicitly . These are the key things which is needed for a successful presentation. Keeping the attention of the audience and getting them to listen to you. 

I had written about the importance of the Content.  You can read the post here : 7 Tips for Managing  Content of the PPT . 

In this post, I am going to talk about another very important aspect of a good presentation : " Connect ".  

  • Engagement vs. Attention : In schools of colleges , the teacher often says - Pay attention.  But in presentations, if cannot say so. In fact , I always prefer engagement over attention. My words should "engage" the audience. It should evoke curiosity.  It should build a rapport. A few ways to do this in the initial slides of the presentation:
    • Pose a question to the audience -  either to an individual or to the entire group
    • Ask the audience to imagine
    • Use startling facts

  • Voice Modulation : To some people it comes naturally and for others this needs lots of practice. Your voice should not be monotonic. Avoid extremes in pitch. Your voice is a very powerful instrument for connecting with the audience. They will laugh and cry with you if you can attain mastery of your voice. 

  • The Power of the Pause : I have seen many people just breeze through the slides, in a monotone without pauses. Even if the content of the presentation is very good, this will not create an impact. They fear that if they pause, the  audience will lose interest . Or they just want to get it over with.  The Pause is very powerful. If you can use a lag of 1 or 2 seconds before telling something which is crucial for the presentation, it will create a greater impact.

  • Eye Contact : If the audience is small, it is easy to keep eye contact with them . You just have to give a sweeping glance from left to right and then from right to left after a couple of slides.  In case you are on a podium, on the stage, with lights on you , then you should fix up a point in the air, just in the middle of the hall and deliver your presentation. 

  • Make it a conversation : If your presentation is not interactive, it is very difficult to connect and engage the audience. If appropriate, use humour. You have to look at the body language - a smile, a snigger, twitching of hands will give away the trouble makers, if any. There might be awkward questions from them . Just don't lose your temper.  You can thank them for their input and carry on or you can utilize their point to modify the direction of your talk. Do it calmly and intelligently. 

  • Storytelling : This is one of the most powerful tools to connect with the audience. Use powerful analogies, anecdotes and stories to make your presentation richer. This will get their attention and peak their interest. You should create an atmosphere where the people will feel the desire to take action.

  • Smile : I know it is not easy to smile when you are on the stage. But do it anyways. Smiling will loosen you up. Be free and fluid in your movements but avoid aimless movement. Watch out for mannerisms like tapping, swaying etc. 
All these are easier said than done. 

Practice is the key and that will take you towards perfection.  If you are nervous, rehearse in front of the mirror or in front of your friend or family and ask for feedback. 

Breathe deeply. Practice mentally. 

And remember ... a bit of fear is normal , as well as good for delivering a great presentation !

Cheers !

Friday, 12 January 2018

7 Best Ways to be Happy

We do not get everything in our life. 

Scene 1  : We aspire for something , we try hard and do whatever it takes to attain our goals but sometimes in spite of all our efforts , we fail.  We curse our fates, become depressed and unhappy. We mope around with long face , people try to console us , but we still are unhappy.

Scene 2 : Years pass by. And now when we look back at the incident and our failure, we thank our lucky stars that whatever happened was for the best !

I am sure all of us have gone through similar situations. But hang on ! There is a period between scene 1 and scene 2 where we keep on feeling miserable and unhappy and in that duration, we miss out on precious time ... the time which will never come back again !

So folks, here are some tips how we can try to be happy. But the catch is - we have to practice being happy. If we can follow these steps when we are feeling down and in the dumps, we will be able to enjoy our valuable and priceless gift - the present !

  • Think of the people who have bigger problems than you : Suppose you do not get the coveted promotion and you are really miserable. Think of the people who do not have a job ! If you are worried that your daughter has flunked in her maths exam , think of the parents who have specially abled children . Don't you think your problem just got smaller ? 

  • "This too shall pass "  : The famous writing on the wall.  Everything is temporary The sorrow that you feel now will pass and hang on ... if you ever feel that you are on cloud 9 , remember that that is also transient. 

  • Fake it till you feel it : Feelings follow actions. If you are  feeling low, deliberately act cheery, and you will find that you are  actually feeling happier. If you are  feeling angry at someone,  do something thoughtful for her and your feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.

  • Do not be too harsh to yourself : Sometimes , in the rush of things, we are too unkind to ourselves. We take ourselves too seriously, punish ourselves and start hating ourselves. Go slow !  Give yourself  a break.You are good. You are loved. You have had your wins. You have unique qualities and potential. Celebrate your small wins. Appreciate yourself. Love yourself.

  • Don't let time slip away : When people realise that their life is almost over and look back , they see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.  Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it. The biggest wake-up call here is that these people didn’t mean for this to happen—one day blended into the next, and “someday” passed by, and a call to follow a specific dream went unanswered. Scary, isn't it ? So, do not procrastinate, do not let the seconds melt away. Pursue your dreams. Let failures come , you can just bend your way and walk on the green grass on the other route, not losing track of the bigger goal. 

  • Optimism, Hope and Gratitude : The power of positive thinking is boundless.  Regular practice of positive thinking gives us hope and optimism.  Gratitude for what we have , a word of praise or appreciation for your child or subordinate , helping others, doing a good deed a week will make you happy.  For me , working with orphanages and old age homes are therapeutic. All of us are very busy in the rat race with the fear of being left out. If we can proactively fit in some time for good deeds and service to others , we will automatically be practicing "active" gratitude.  And believe me , it will make you profoundly happy and your problems will appear really trivial. 

  • Invest in strong relationships : Relationships are our strengths. It is empowering and liberating.  Strong bonds make us what we are. They define us. They are our life blood.  Whatever may be the situation, if we have robust bonds, we are saved. If we have strong ties with our parents, we know that whatever may be the situation, they are there with us and that gives us immense strength to fight back. So, nurture your relationships - with your parents, friends , spouse, siblings . Stay in touch with them. Spend time with them. 

Life is beautiful and precious. Do not waste it !

Choose happiness ! 

Do newer things, enjoy the "Fun of failure" , turn adversity into advantage, enjoy the "pauses" that life presents and love yourself !

Cheers !