02 June 2014

22 Things that we can learn from happy people

There are two types of people in the world: those who are happy, and those who are unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn't come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within.
 The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
  The question is: How do they do that?
  It's quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they ...
 1. Don't hold grudges.
  Happy people understand that it's better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you'll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

  2. Treat everyone with kindness.
  Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

  3. See problems as challenges.
  The word "problem" is never part of a happy person's vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

  4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
  There's a popular saying that goes something like this: "The happiest people don't have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have."
You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don't have.

   5. Dream big.
  People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don't. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

  6. Don't sweat the small stuff.
  Happy people ask themselves, "Will this problem matter a year from now?" They understand that life's too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

  7. Speak well of others.
  Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

  8. Never make excuses.
  Benjamin Franklin once said, "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." Happy people don't make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

  9. Get absorbed into the present.
  Happy people don't dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they're doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

  10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
  Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

  11. Avoid social comparison.
  Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you're better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You'll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

  12. Choose friends wisely.
  Misery loves company. That's why it's important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

  13. Never seek approval from others.
  Happy people don't care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it's impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone's approval but your own.

   14. Take the time to listen.
  Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others' wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

  15. Nurture social relationships.
  A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

  16. Meditate.
  Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don't have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

  17. Eat well.
  Junk food makes you sluggish, and it's difficult to be happy when you're in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body's ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

  18. Exercise.
  Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

  19. Live minimally.
  Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

  20. Tell the truth.
  Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others' trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

  21. Establish personal control.
  Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don't let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one's own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

  22. Accept what cannot be changed.
  Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you'll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

My thanks to Harry Daswani for this piece.

27 May 2014

Knowledge without grace

One can choose their friends but not always their neighbours. With God's grace I have always had wonderful neighbours, that is until very recently.

A neighbour moved in recently to stay with her mother. She is a highly educated 'professional', but totally devoid of civility and possesses a bitter personality. An obnoxious person, she knows all her rights but is ignorant about her responsibilities.

A fascinating product of our current education and political system she is. Weaned on social and political entitlements and blinded by her 'professional knowledge', this was a good example of the new modern world we have been creating.

Knowledge without grace is both ugly and destructive.

Sharing and caring have been sacrificed at the altar of greed and 'professional' creed.

I try to give her a wide berth but it is difficult not to cross the path of neighbours especially when one lives in an apartment complex. Every encounter is dreadful and it is not difficult to appreciate why she has no friends. I felt angry initially, but now there is only pity.

On the bright side,  I am now even more appreciative of the many wonderful people that are in my life.  God bless my friends and neighbours.

15 May 2014

Song Unsung.

The song that I came to sing remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing and in unstringing my instrument.
The time has not come true,
the words have not been rightly set;
Only there is the agony of wishing in my heart.
The blossom has not opened; only the wind is sighing by.
I have not seen His face, nor have I listened to His voice;
only I have heard His gentle footsteps from the road before my house.
The lifelong day has passed in spreading His seat on the floor;
but the lamp has not been lit and I cannot ask Him into my house.
I live in the hope of meeting with Him; but this meeting is not yet.

-  Rabindranath Tagore

11 May 2014

Fastest form of communication.

The fastest form of communication and sending a message is. 
 not the telephone, 
 nor the telegraph, 
 not the television, 

It's Tell-A-Woman.

------  Bunker Roy (Founder of Barefoot College)

  • Great success in communities comes only when the women are involved in a positive manner. 
  • Educate a man and he alone is educated, educate a woman and the whole family is educated. 

26 March 2014

Indian Democracy - You have a choice

We are often reminded that India is the largest democracy, and we have the freedom to choose.

In the din of psuedo-secularism, psuedo-nationalism, and psuedo-honesty, there is unfortunately little to choose from.

I am an optimist and will therefore choose to vote for change. 
With change there is hope but without change we are doomed. 

This may the only time in 5 years, I can make my political choice felt by the politicians. 

I am going to vote, will you?

05 February 2014


Power hungry people always find a way to get to the top of the pyramid of power or die trying. They know how to use and discard people and manipulate levers of power effectively. Power is so intoxicating that people who acquire it become insatiable and typically want more and more until they themselves are consumed by power itself.

Democracy as it was born gave relief to the masses and a good shot at changing their means of survival and progress. It however requires that the people exercise wisdom in the choices they make. Democracy is unfortunately under siege. Instead of providing a better world and India, it has in fact mutated into something toxic called an 'ineptocracy'.

People are made to believe that democracy provides a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Nothing can be further from the truth. Leaving aside the rhetoric, the press briefings and speeches, it is now 'a government of the evil, by the cunning and power hungry for the benefit of a select few.'

History clearly shows that across the world across nearly all time that a group of people representing a marginal percentage of  the population are the 'haves' and the vast majority are the 'have nots'. The politician needs the money and resources of the haves and the voting numbers of the 'have nots', while promising to protect each group from the other.

Our current model of government evolved a long time ago and the result is INEPTOCRACY, which can be defined as; 

A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

When a state reaches a position where approximately 50% of it's citizens rely on the largess of the state for their continued sustenance, the form of government becomes one of ineptocracy.

The least capable to lead are not fools, they are extremely intelligent and cunning with questionable morals. They just know how to game the system and devote their whole lives in manipulating the system. The only consolation for Indians is that this disease is not restricted to our country but even to most of the developed countries.

People making choices on careers and electing their leaders should do a bit of homework and then make informed choices on how to proceed. I for one, am not going to vote for people that will push us further towards an ineptocracy. 


What are the management lessons I can share with you?

An outcome of my many years of teaching and consulting with organisations and families, it is observed that there are 3 possible types of leaders, based on rewards and punishments. 

The first is the briber. This person is normally an incompetent person and has no other choice but to keep bribing the people to support him or her. This is not difficult to implement because one can always be gracious with someone else's money and resources. This is why the government of India under the UPA leadership has been compelled to spend Rs 11 trillion in past decade in programs of highly questionable value. The follower or employee gladly takes the bribes but often feels offended and alienated. When the sops dry up the followers leave and seek other alternatives.  A problem for bribers is that the followers or dependents become addicted to sops and soon grow dissatisfied and they need even larger doses of bribes. Such leaders are initially lauded but soon despised, and they are almost always never respected. 

The second type are the slave drivers or 'intimidators', the primary tool they use is fear. They so intimidate the followers that they do not dare disobey. They work towards crushing the individuality and collective identity of people. Once implemented this approach delivers very fast results and impact of change can be rapid. This is possibly what is happening in China. Unfortunately gains tend to reverse as soon as the fear factor diminishes. The performance of followers is also just above bare minimum so that they escape punishment. Many school teachers and administrations also use this approach. Such leaders are often hated. They demand respect but almost never get it. 

The third type are the true leaders, they use a blend of positive reinforcement while wielding a big stick.  They normally have a well thought out strategy which is communicated and excites their followers. The leader's dream becomes the dream and vision of the followers. This is based on educating, facilitating, supporting and encouraging followers. Performers are suitably rewarded after evaluation by a transparent system, and non performers are encouraged to perform better after due dialogue and analysis. The laggards are often cast aside and supported to survive but fall behind the main group.  This approach is the foundation and builds a meritocracy. Typically leaders adopting this style of leadership are hated and loved at the same time, but always command respect.

11 November 2013

Owning yourself

The Individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

-  Friedrich Nietzche