[5-Bullet Tuesday] An Unusual Way To Find the Perfect Path

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

What I’m reading –

Sapiens – A brief history of humankind. Completely loving reading this book since I picked it from the British Council Library last week (Yes, library has opened, and I am going to the park too- following COVID protocols, of course but what a delight to have some normalcy back!) The book’s got such amazing insights that you just can’t leave it once you start reading. Unlike any other history book I imagine. 

The poem I loved—

When the times are hard, remember that it’s preparation of something beautiful, like the April showers bring the May flowers.. Listen in to this poem for hope and faith during tough times.. 

 

Quote I’m pondering —

Kiss s…l…o…w…l…y,
Laugh InSaNeLy,
Live TRULY and 
Forgive quickly! 
– Paulo Coelho

Story I loved reading—

Patrick Murray tells the story of his mentor – Joel Weldon is a great mentor and teacher of mine. His advice is always so simple and clear and is delivered with real impact. And that’s because when he teaches you something, you believe, you really believe…

This makes a lot of sense. Yes, I can do this!

Perhaps you’ve had a teacher or mentor like that yourself over the years.

Even if you haven’t, I’m sure you’ll get an insight from this story Joel shares.

When Joel first arrived as a student at Farmingdale Ag & Tech school in 1960 to commence a 2-year building construction course, the new tech building had just been finished.

And the one thing Joel noticed on the very first day of going to that completed building was there were no sidewalks.

Now this was a large area where the campus was, with lots of grass separating all of the different buildings. A beautiful campus.

They had dorms and a cafeteria, a student union building and general education buildings where English classes were held. But they were all separate buildings.

There were beautiful grass fields. But around the tech building, no sidewalks!

That’s because Mr Romanelli (Joel’s concrete instructor) had worked with the architects and engineers on the new tech building and helped convince them not to put in sidewalks for one year.

And at first the architects said why wouldn’t we put in sidewalks?

Well, we want to listen to the students, Mr Romanelli said.

So a year later in 1961 the paths were determined. And all that the architects and engineers had to do was look at the grass fields surrounding the tech building and follow the paths the students had made.

The shortest, most direct way to the dorms, to the cafeteria, to the student union building, to the other buildings on campus. And once they saw the footpaths trodden in the grass, they had the PERFECT PATH.

Then they poured the concrete sidewalks and the side benefit of all of that was they had beautiful green grass on campus. Nobody walked across the grass because the paths were made where the students wanted to walk.

It’s the same when our children are learning something new. Wouldn’t it be great if they built their own perfect path? As parents, all we need to do is watch where they are trodden on the grass. What do they enjoy doing? And then, facilitate them in achieving the paths they defined on their own.

Can you imagine how much of a difference this would make?

[Story Credit: Patrick Murray]                                            

My aha moment this week —

In Denmark, there are libraries where you can borrow a person instead of a book to listen to their life story for 30 minutes. The goal is to fight against prejudice. Every person has a title – ′′ unemployed “, ′′ refugee “, ′′ bipolar “, etc. – but listening to their story makes you realize how not to ′′ judge a book by its cover “. This innovative and brilliant project is active in more than 50 countries. It’s called ′′ The Human Library “.


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Your choice: Heaven or Hell.

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Story I loved

A man dies and goes to the gate of Heaven and Hell. Since the man had been good all his life, God gives him an option to choose where he’d like to go. The man requests God to allow him to see both Heaven and Hell, before confirming. God gladly concedes to that request.

So, he first enters the gate of Hell. He is surprised to see there us a big dining table and people sitting around it in their chairs. He notices some of the world’s best delicacies being served on the table. Every one is being offered their favorite dishes. People have also been given forks and knives which they are supposed to use to eat. However, he notices there is one problem – People are hungry but not eating. He sees that the reason for that is that the forks and knives are giant sized, almost the size of a sword. Therefore, no one is able to use them to eat. And so they are dying of hunger even though the food is right in front of them.

The man then goes inside Heaven. He sees the exact same arrangement there too – the same huge dining table, the delicious looking food and the oversized forks and knives. However, he notices one difference – People are eating. People on one side of the table were feeding the ones on the other side. No one was left unfed.

Help others.
Feed them.
It is the same world.
Make it Heaven and not Hell.
You will be satisfied and you’ll be fed too.

Quotes I’m pondering —

Gandhi’s Top 10 quotes to help us live in bliss:

  1. Change Yourself
  2. You are in control
  3. Forgive and let go!
  4. Take care of This Moment
  5. Without action, you aren’t going anywhere
  6. Persist.
  7. Everyone is HUMAN
  8. See the good in people and help them
  9. Grow and Evolve
  10. Be Congruent. Be Authentic. Be Your True Self.

What I learnt –

I learnt the importance of meditation by this short anecdote.

Lord Buddha was once asked, “What have you gained by meditation?

He replied, “Nothing.

Then, after a little pause, he added, “But let me tell you what I have lost – Anger, Anxiety, Insecurity, Fears, Depression…

A page from my old diary–

Enjoy every moment of every day. Learn from Dogs:

  1. When a loved one comes home, run to greet them.
  2. Never pass up an opportunity to go for a joyride.
  3. Experience fresh air and wind in your face to be be pure ecstasy
  4. Stretch before rising
  5. Run, romp and play daily.
  6. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  7. Avoid biting when a little growl would do.
  8. On cool days, like on your back on the grass.
  9. Drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  10. Dance when you’re happy and wag your entire body.
  11. Be loyal.
  12. Delight in simple joy of a long walk.
  13. Don’t pretend.
  14. Dig until you find, if what you want is buried.
  15. Sit close, be silent, and nuzzle, when someone is having a bad day.

What I’m looking forward to —

There are two authors who I have read almost all books of – John Maxwell and Robin Sharma. So, I couldn’t resist myself from pre-ordering Robin Sharma’s upcoming book The Every Day Hero Manifesto. I have had a love-hate relationship with Robin Sharma’s writings but I just can’t ignore him.

Expecting some new and practical ideas from the book rather than the old goody goody stuff. Would love to share and hear your views on Robin Sharma books.                      


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Be Careful of Your Thoughts!

Hi, How are you feeling? Yeah, tune in and verbalize it.

If you’ve read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, it says that thoughts are things and  that where attention goes, energy flows.

How you’re feeling can make or mar your day, your life and even your destiny. Therefore, we all should do ourselves a favor and consciously work towards keeping our mind in a happy and focused state.

Well, and that’s regardless of the circumstances of course.

This weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, are things I’m enjoying or pondering to keep me in a positive frame of mind.

The simple message from my old diary–

Be careful of your thoughts, for they become your words.
Be careful of your words, for they become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for they become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for they become your character.
Be careful of your character, for it becomes your destiny.

(-Source unknown)

A Soul’s Prayer that served food for my wailing soul

Am I close enough to YOU?
Have I spent everything I love?
Have I let go of the strings?
Have I given up on my fears?
Am I close enough to YOU?
Have I given up all biases and prejudices?
Have I seen YOU in a wailing kid?
Have I seen YOU in an invalid?
Have I lent a shoulder to the trembling hand?
Have I wiped a tear and made someone smile?
Am I close enough to YOU?
Have I learnt to listen?
Have I inspired a Dream?
Have I seen a clear stream of reason?
Have I set myself free?
May be some day, I dissolve in YOU.
May be some day, there is no I, only YOU!

-a humble disciple

What motivated me to act now

One day, you will wake up and there won’t t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted.

-Manuscript found in ACCRA by Paulo Coelho

Quote I’m pondering —

Some people are so poor: All they have is money!

What I learnt –

All the above may look like gyan. After all, all said and done, how do we make it happen? Well, this good old Robin Sharma quote tells a lot about the secret to making it all happen using Discipline as the tool:

Cost of discipline is always less than the pain of regret.


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What My 8-Year Old Taught Me About Delegation

You always wanted to start a handmade jewelry business, but have no idea about how to manage the finances?
You dream to start a Podcast but have no clue how the technology works?
You’re overworked but your employees and partners are chilling? 

Does that sound familiar?

Dear friends, we all have our boundaries but is there a way we can realize our dreams despite our limitations? Is it possible?

Until a month back, I was reeling under pressure of personal and professional demands, when someone reminded me what Batman famously said:

“All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.”

Can I ignore my limits too? Can I become limitless. Achieve BIG things. And if so how?

Well, I learnt that the answer lies in learning the Art of Delegation. 

Delegation is the process of assigning and entrusting work to another person.

As I delved deeper into understanding Delegating, I thought of those closest to me, my family members and realized that I had all varieties present at home:

  • Those who keep defaulting but never delegate:

Tanav, have you done your homework 
No, Papa
Do you need help?
No Papa
Would you be able to submit it?
IDK, Papa

That’s my dear twelve year old son, Tanav and perhaps me too! These people have work, don’t know how to do it, and yet they keep defaulting and consider it a crime to ask for help. That, even when others would be happy to extend their helping hand

  • Those who would work themselves to death but won’t delegate:

My candle burns at both the ends, it won’t last the night; But Oh my God and hey my friends, it gives a wonderful light.

They’re overworked, and yet keep taking on more responsibilities eventually burning themselves out. – That’s my better half, Deepti, sincere to the core, always asking to give her more.

  • Those who are perfecting the art of delegation:

Papa, I need to read the morning news at school assembly tomorrow, can you please help me prepare for it?
Brother, can you please help me find my laptop charger?
Mom, I need your help for my art work.

That’s my darling eight year old daughter, Sohana. They delegate and look relaxed and in control. They are able to find time to enjoy, complete their responsibilities and are able to make an impact.

There was a thing or two I could learn about the process of Delegation from my limitless daughter, Sohana.

Here’s what I found I was missing out on:

Where as I would foolishly think that I could do it faster myself, Sohana knows that it would be much quicker if it was delegated

Where as I feel they won’t be able to do it as well as I will. Sohana trusts.

While I consider it a waste of time to clarify and articulate, Sohana is clear and articulates what’s needed and by when. 

When the why is clear, the how appears 

I worried that the person I’ll delegate to will get all the credit. Where as Sohana only focuses on the outcome.

Where as I wasn’t thinking about ‘What is in it for them?’ , she considers that top priority. If I’m helping her with her speech, she knows it gives me utmost satisfaction as I dream of her becoming a great orator. If it’s her brother helping her find her charger, he will in turn get to use her comfy office chair for his class. 

She sets timelines upfront. Papa, I need you to decide the news to be read by 4 PM.

She empathically gives Praise, Feedback and Elevates 

People don’t do what we expect. They do what we inspect with respect.

Sohana’s example shows us that we don’t have to do everything ourselves. And yet, we can achieve anything we set our eyes on.

According to John C. Maxwell, author of Developing the Leaders Around You, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. But if you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”

I would leave you with the following questions:

  • Are you delegating enough to achieve your dreams?
  • What stops you from delegating?
  • What are some of the things you’ll do now to overcome it?

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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Have You Found Your Purpose?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

How I found my purpose–

While we’re all busy doing things – at work , in communities and in our personal lives, how often do we keep our purpose at the center of it all?

In fact, how often do we even know what our purpose in doing these things really is?

Thank you District 41 District Director, Ranjit Acharya, DTM for having a 20 minutes 1:1 ice breaker cum mentoring session with me.  This is where you shared  with me your own dream of helping other leaders identify their purpose and then support them in achieving it.

Here’s what we were able to frame as my purpose at least for this one year.

Have you framed your purpose yet?

If not, work with your mentor and do it now. Once it’s ready, place it strategically so that it serves as a reminder for you to do only those things that will take you closer to achieving it.

Training I loved:

District Officers Training Program (22-25th July 2021) organized by District 41, Toastmasters International. While there were loads of learning to share, here are some communication tips to share from session with Shivpriya Gauri, DTM:

  1. Respect the chair in all written communication- Hi Nimish Joseph, DTM, and not Hey Nimish 
  2. Remember the Organization Communication flow: For Toastmasters, it goes from club to Area Director to Division Director to District and the other way round.
  3. When calling upon someone, say Distinguished Toastmaster followed by the name such as Let me call upon the stage Distinguished Toastmaster Ankur Yadav. 
  4. If you’re inviting leaders from outside of District 41, make sure Area Director and Division Director are aware. This will allow the District leadership to make arrangements accordingly to uphold the name of District 41.

The daily yoga I’m loving–

Attending daily online Yoga for over 2 months now. I feel changed – no more aches, pains and complains. And not just me, my wife, children, in laws, nieces and many other relatives join these sessions. (Side benefit: It’s a good way to meet and greet each other without risking spreading any infections.)

Hats off to the dedication of the भारतीय योग संस्थान. These experts conduct three one hour sessions daily (5:45 AM, 7:15 AM and 5:00 PM IST) and provide personalized guidance. No strings attached.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect. Now, do yourself a favor and join (email or comment and I’ll be happy to share the latest virtual class link.)

What I figured—

Confused about when to use Email and when to drop a message on Social Media – Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram et al?

Here’s what Shivpriya Gauri, DTM had to say:

Email is the Primary Communication Mode while Social Media is  useful for a follow-up, to expedite or to reiterate the message.

What I learnt about decision making –

You have any upcoming school or college reunion. Will you attend or not?

Well, if there is no conflict it’s easy to decide. Of course you will attend. But what if you had already signed up to a 3 days training program that you’ll have to miss if you attended the reunion?

Ranjit Acharya, DTM, District 41 Director reminded the attendees that those are the times when the following quote from Mahabharata would come in useful to make decisions:

“अनुकूलस्य संकल्प: प्रतिकूलस्य वर्जनम् |

प्रभु की शरण प्राप्ति में जो बातें अनुकूल हों उसकी प्रतिज्ञा करना और प्रतिकूल का त्याग करना |

One must consider attainment of one’s purpose as attainment of God, and hence anything that takes you closer to achieving your purpose should be done, and anything that takes you away from it should be rejected.

Now I know that college reunion will have to be next time without any FOMO or guilt of not attending it.


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Be Limitless by Learning to Delegate

W

ho at your home is best at the art of delegation?

If you ask me, I have all varieties present:

  • Those who keep defaulting but never delegate: They have work, don’t know how to do it, and yet they keep defaulting and consider it a crime to ask for help. That, even when others would be happy to extend their helping hand – That’s my dear son, Tanav and perhaps me too!
  • Who work themselves to death but don’t delegate: They’re overworked, and yet keep taking on more responsibilities eventually burning themselves out. – That’s my better half, Dinky she’s sincere to the core, always asking to gimme more.

My candle burns at both the ends, it won’t last the night; But Oh my God and hey my friends, it gives a wonderful light.

  • Delegate. Delegate. Delegate: They delegate almost everything on their plate – they’re relaxed and always look in control. All they spend time doing is checking the status of the last task they delegated. – That’s my darling daughter, Sohana. Can you please search the charger for me, Papa?

Of course, we all love all our family members to the moon and back. And those examples are just meant to understand the Spectrum of Delegation

The real question is:

Why Should We Delegate? And if we should, How to Learn the ABCs of this Art?

Batman has famously said:

“All men have limits. They learn what they are and learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.” – Batman

Can you and I ignore our limits too?

Yes we can. Become limitless. Achieve BIG things. And the way to do so is through learning the Art of Delegation. 

Delegation Myths You Must Overcome First: 

  1. They will not be able to do it as well as I will (Lack of trust)
  2. I’ll not be able to communicate what’s needed and by when (Self-doubt)
  3. It’ll be faster for me to do it myself (Excuse)
  4. Person I delegate to will get all the glory (Insecurity)
  5. I will lose control in the process (another form of Insecurity)

Tips To Learn the Art of Delegation: 

  1. Clarify the why of the task in your own mind

    When the why is clear, the how appears

  2. Delegate to the right person at best, a motivated person at least
  3. Explain ‘What is in it for them?’  
  4. Set deadlines and progress reporting upfront. Keep enough buffer. 

    People don’t do what you expect. They do what you (Leaders) inspect with respect.

  5. Don’t just delegate Responsibility. Delegate Authority too. – Authority helps them grow as leaders.
  6. Give Praise, Feedback and Elevate them for Higher Opportunities
  7. Don’t be a Perfectionist. – Be empathic. Take baby steps.

Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Yet, you can achieve anything you set your eyes on.

You don’t have to do everything. Even Batman had Robin.

Well, now take a moment and ask yourself this question: What stops you from delegating and what are some of the things you’ll do now to overcome it?


PS: This post is inspired by the keynote I attended by Suganthi Periasamy, DTM, Region 13 Advisor – at DOTP, District 41, Toastmasters International on 23rd July 2021. #Gratitude


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WHAT IS BEAUTY?

Attended the farewell of Mrs Amita Mulla Wattal, Principal – Springdales Pusa, today. Zoom Zindabad.
Hysterical moment- Those who know Mrs. Wattal know her as a woman of substance, one who always practiced what she preached.
I particularly loved the lines of Urdu Shayari she recited at the end of her speech. I later googled the full version and translated it for myself and you 🙂
A little longish – read it when you have some peaceful time – I’m sure you will find it inspiring. (I’ll look forward to your feedback on my amateurish translating abilities.)
WHAT IS BEAUTY?
ḳhizāñ kī rut meñ gulāb lahja banā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai,
havā kī zad pe diyā jalānā jalā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(During difficult times (autumn), maintaining a positive tone like a rose - that is beauty,
When the wind is blowing hard, to light up a lamp, and keep it lit - that is beauty!)
zarā sī laġhzish pe toḌ dete haiñ sab ta.alluq zamāne vaale ,
so aise vaisoñ se bhī ta.alluq banā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !


(At the slightest mistake, people break the relationships,
but to keep up with hundreds of such relations - that is beauty!)
kisī ko denā ye mashvara ki vo dukh bichhaḌne kā bhuul jaa.e ,
aur aise lamhe meñ apne aañsū chhupā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !


(Advising someone that they should forget the pain of separation,
and in times like these, hiding ones own tears - that is beauty!)
ḳhayāl apnā mizāj apnā pasand apnī kamāl kyā hai ,
jo yaar chāhe vo haal apnā banā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(Ones own thought, ones own temperament, ones own taste, what is the beauty in this?
whatever the beloved wants, to mould oneself like that- that is beauty!)
kisī kī rah se ḳhudā kī ḳhātir uThā ke kāñTe haTā ke patthar ,
phir us ke aage nigāh apnī jhukā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(From someone's path, for God's sake, picking thorns and removing rocks,
and on top of that, staying humble with eyes downcast- that is beauty!)
vo jis ko dekhe to dukh kā lashkar bhī laḌkhaḌā.e shikast khaa.e ,
laboñ pe apne vo muskurāhaT sajā ke rakhnā kamāl ye hai !

(Seeing which, an army of sorrow also trembles down to defeat,
decorating that smile forever on your face - that is beauty!)


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] 15 Minute Family Ritual

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

What I’m reading –

I recently read an article which claimed using 15 minutes daily in a certain way can change the course of your life over time.

I can’t agree more to that and have gained from that for several years. There are various things one could do in those 15 minutes, such as exercise, meditation, reflection or journaling.

However, I have often wondered that these are all best done alone and if there was something similar we could do together as a family that would be equally rewarding?

What family ritual are we following —

So, in addition to these 15 minutes alone, I now know a daily 15 minute ritual as a family that’s equally or perhaps even more rewarding.

I call it the Family Scrum Meeting – An informal way to understand what we’re all focusing on, what would make us happy or if there is somewhere we can help each other.

How do we spice up our 15 minute meetings –

Add some food for thought such as today. we started with sharing the origin of the idiom “Throw the baby with the bath water“. It brought many giggles and smiles as I explained the picture we see below.

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." | Medieval, European history, History

Quote I’m pondering — Sohana, my eight year old daughter, shared a simple yet powerful quote in today’s Family Scrum Meeting:

Peace begins with a smile

What I learnt —

Tanav, my twelve year old son, shared that it would make him really happy if he studied with Mom or Dad. It was a pleasant surprise to know that he actually enjoys reading with us because he would hardly admit it otherwise.

PS: In the same meeting, Dinky, my dear wife, shared a beautiful idea – #LookForABook drive- Each one of us will identify a book that we’d like to read and then we would gift it to each other. That’s something nice to look forward to. If you have any book ideas for me, please let me know.

PPS: All the above was covered in less than 15 minutes. It was fun. Created memories. And most importantly, it brought us a little closer together as a family.

That is us, what about you.. What do you think about that idea? What other family rituals you follow that you think help strengthen your family bond?

I’ll look forward to hear from you. Until next time, Ciao!


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[5-Bullet Thursday] Why It Pays To Lighten Up

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Thursday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Poem I loved reading – I even recited this one to my children. Great sense of imagination and funnily relatable in today’s tough COVID situation. Give it a read to lighten your load a bit:

A man standing at the bus stop
reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn’t even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.

—Denver Butson (Source: link)

What brought me a smile —