Posted in Life Gyan

Put the Extra in the Ordinary

This is an excerpt from  “Living with a Purpose: The Importance of ‘Real Intent.”, Randall L. RiddThis story teaches us about the power of real intent – the real desire to do a job well.

There was a young man who had ambitions to work for a company because it paid very well and was very prestigious. He prepared his résumé and had several interviews. Eventually, he was given an entry-level position. Then he turned his ambition to his next goal—a supervisor position that would afford him even greater prestige and more pay. So he completed the tasks he was given. He came in early some mornings and stayed late so the boss would see him putting in long hours.

After five years a supervisor position became available. But, to the young man’s great dismay, another employee, who had only worked for the company for six months, was given the promotion. The young man was very angry, and he went to his boss and demanded an explanation.

The wise boss said, “Before I answer your questions, would you do a favor for me?”

“Yes, sure,” said the employee.

“Would you go to the store and buy some oranges? My wife needs them.”

The young man agreed and went to the store. When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”

“I don’t know,” the young man answered. “You just said to buy oranges, and these are oranges. Here they are.”

“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.

“Well, I’m not sure,” was the reply. “You gave me $30. Here is your receipt, and here is your change.”

“Thank you,” said the boss. “Now, please have a seat and pay careful attention.”

Then the boss called in the employee who had received the promotion and asked him to do the same job. He readily agreed and went to the store.

When he returned, the boss asked, “What kind of oranges did you buy?”

“Well,” he replied, “the store had many varieties—there were navel oranges, Valencia oranges, blood oranges, tangerines, and many others, and I didn’t know which kind to buy. But I remembered you said your wife needed the oranges, so I called her. She said she was having a party and that she was going to make orange juice. So I asked the grocer which of all these oranges would make the best orange juice. He said the Valencia orange was full of very sweet juice, so that’s what I bought. I dropped them by your home on my way back to the office. Your wife was very pleased.”

“How much did they cost?” the boss asked.

“Well, that was another problem. I didn’t know how many to buy, so I once again called your wife and asked her how many guests she was expecting. She said 20. I asked the grocer how many oranges would be needed to make juice for 20 people, and it was a lot. So, I asked the grocer if he could give me a quantity discount, and he did! These oranges normally cost 75 cents each, but I paid only 50 cents. Here is your change and the receipt.”

The boss smiled and said, “Thank you; you may go.”

He looked over at the young man who had been watching. The young man stood up, slumped his shoulders and said, “I see what you mean,” as he walked out of the office.

What was the difference between these two young men? They were both asked to buy oranges, and they did. You might say that one went the extra mile, or one was more efficient, or one paid more attention to detail. But the most important difference had to do with real intent rather than just going through the motions.

If you have the right intent and do your job with passion it surely will take you places. That is why it is often said that a work of quality is not produced by accident. There is a lot of effort behind it and above all there is an intent for excellence.

Posted in Life Gyan

Unspoken Social Rules

According to the Dr. Saul McLeod , who has been teaching psychology for over 17 years, “Social rules or norms are the unwritten rules of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are considered acceptable in a particular social group or culture. Norms provide us with an expected idea of how to behave…For example, we expect students to arrive to a lesson on time and complete their work.”

Social norms have existed from the time humans first started to live together in small. And the the norms evolve as the humans evolved into more sophisticated communities and societies. And it may be interesting to notice that the norms vary depending on geographies, social status, religious beliefs and so on. However, there is another side of the coin too. We also observe that there are many such unspoken social rules which are commonly accepted by a large majority of the people across the globe barring exceptions.

Time also plays a key role in influencing the social norms. If you look back in time, you will notice, many social behaviours which are common now were actually taboo a few years ago. So here is a list of a few contemporary social norms which you may find useful –

1. Don’t call someone more than twice continuously. If they don’t pick up your call, presume they have something important to attend to;

2. Return money that you have borrowed even before the person from whom you borrowed remembers or asks for it. It shows your integrity and character. Same goes with umbrellas, pens and books.

3. Never order the expensive dish on the menu when someone is giving you a lunch/dinner.

4. Don’t ask awkward questions like ‘Oh so you aren’t married yet?’ Or ‘Don’t you have kids’ or ‘Why didn’t you buy a house?’ Or why don’t you buy a car? For God’s sake it isn’t your problem;

5. Always open the door for the person coming behind you. It doesn’t matter if it is a guy or a girl, senior or junior. You don’t grow small by treating someone well in public;

6. If you take a taxi with a friend and he/she pays now, try paying next time;

7. Respect different shades of opinions. Remember what’s 6 to you will appear 9 to someone facing you. Besides, second opinion is good for an alternative;

8. Never interrupt people talking. Allow them to pour it out. As they say, hear them all and filter them all;

9. If you tease someone, and they don’t seem to enjoy it, stop it and never do it again;

10. Say “thank you” when someone is helping you.

11. Praise publicly. Criticize privately;

12. There’s almost never a reason to comment on someone’s weight. Just say, “You look fantastic.” If they want to talk about losing weight, they will;

13. When someone shows you a photo on their phone, don’t swipe left or right. You never know what’s next;

14. If a colleague tells you they have a doctors’ appointment, don’t ask what it’s for, just say “I hope you’re okay”. Don’t put them in the uncomfortable position of having to tell you their personal illness. If they want you to know, they’ll do so without your inquisitiveness;

15. Treat the cleaner with the same respect as the CEO. Nobody is impressed at how rude you can treat someone below you but people will notice if you treat them with respect;

16. If a person is speaking directly to you, staring at your phone is rude;

17. Never give advice until you’re asked;

18. When meeting someone after a long time, unless they want to talk about it, don’t ask them their age and salary;

19. Mind your business unless anything involves you directly – just stay out of it;

20. Remove your sunglasses if you are talking to anyone in the street. It is a sign of respect. More so, eye contact is as important as your speech; and

21. Never talk about your riches in the midst of the poor. Similarly, don’t talk about your children in the midst of the barren.

And last but not the least, APPRECIATION and GRATITUDE remain the easiest way of getting what you don’t have….

Posted in Leadership

Top Skill for 2020

Year 2020 will be remembered for a long time for the string of unexpected and unpredictable events that have happened and continue to happen, impacting lives of people across the globe. This has caused us to adapt to a lot of changes very very rapidly in a very short span of time. Staying indoors, maintaining personal hygiene, social distancing, work from home, wearing mask, valuing human lives etc. It has surprised everyone how a tiny virus can bring the entire world on its knees. And people are now bracing themselves for biological warfare as experts say that this is definitely not the last pandemic…

In the Pre-covid era, there was a lot of discussion around ‘CHANGE’ and being a change agent – how the world is changing very fast and that we all need to embrace change with examples of giants like Kodak and Nokia who failed to change with time and so on. 

However, in the last few months everyone has embraced change either voluntarily, forcibly or reluctantly. People have accepted that this is the ‘new normal’. The discussion is now shifting to surviving and thriving in the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world. And the top skill that people need now is the ability to deal with ambiguity

Gone are the days when people used to ask about 3 year and 5 year plans. In the current situation people do not have visibility about the next three months. This is truly a live example of paradigm shift. It is like shifting from a waterfall model to an agile approach to life. 

With the events in 2020 unfolding at a rapid pace – starting with Covid19 and then closely followed by multiple earthquakes, locusts attacks, war threats, Floods and asteroids passing close to earth, forest fires… it seems as if the world is playing the game of Jumanji where every roll of dice is triggering some new set of events, threats or challenges. 

Initially these events took everyone by surprise and many doomsday theories started getting popular on social media. However, soon people regained their mental balance and now people are exploring how to excel in the changed atmosphere – and here is the mantra –

  • Learn to deal with ambiguity – it is ok to feel a little uncomfortable
  • Be ready to take the next step even if the whole path is not visible 
  • Have faith. Believe that in the end everything will turn out to be good. This too shall pass
  • Approach the situation with an open mind & positive attitude
  • Calibrate your risk appetite – plan for all contingencies.
  • Last but not the least –  Take action. Small steps taken consistently over a period of time yield great results
Posted in Life Gyan

After The Lockdown…

After the lockdown…what is the one thing that you will do differently as an individual?

It could be
– reducing the consumption of one time use plastics
– continue to help with household  chores
– buy more from local vendors etc etc..

The point is – are we going to do anything different after this experience or will we be back to our older ways and that too with vengeance.

So what is it that you will change in your lifestyle?

Posted in Life Gyan

The Law of The Seed

Take a look at an apple tree. There might be five hundred apples on the tree, each with ten seeds. That’s a lot of seeds. We might ask, “Why would you need so many seeds to grow just a few more trees?”

Nature has something to teach us here. It’s telling us: “Most seeds never grow. So if you really want to make something happen, you had better try more than once. This might mean:

  • You’ll attend twenty interviews to get one job.
  • You’ll interview forty people to find one good employee.
  • You’ll talk to fifty people to sell one house, car, vacuum cleaner, insurance policy, or idea.
  • And you might meet a hundred acquaintances to find one special friend.

 When we understand the “Law of the Seed”, we don’t get so disappointed. We stop feeling like victims. Laws of nature are not things to take personally. We just need to understand them – and work with them. 

Successful people fail more often. They plant more seeds.

Posted in Life Gyan

Change Your Attitude – to Change Your Life !

This post is slightly longer but it is immensely valuable and I assure you it is well worth you time. After reading the entire post you will thank yourself for taking the time to read it completely. 

Here is a summary of the book and key points “Attitude is Everything” by Jeff Keller.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind – William James.


Jeff was a lawyer who changed his profession to become a motivational speaker. The key was wanting to share the message of being able to transform one’s life through the power of thought.Never underestimate your power to change yourself (H. Jackson Brown Jr). It starts with a decision to have a better life – take a stand. 

The book is divided in 3 sections “Think….Speak….Act”.

“Think” – success starts in the mind. “Speak” – how your attitude is reflected and influenced by language, watch your words. “Act” – the need to act to create a new reality.

Part 1 : Success begins in the mind

Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success (Dr Joyce Brothers).

Lesson 1: Your attitude is your window on the world. 

Why at the same event, do some people see it as a disaster yet someone else at the same event sees it as great – different experiences as seeing the world through a different window (attitude). Attitude; difference of seeing the world as “I Can” versus “I Cannot”. Everyone starts with a clean mental window. As you grow, so the window gets splattered with dirt – smudged with criticism; soiled with disappointment; clouded by doubt. Dirt just keeps building up, the trouble is often the window is not cleaned – wash your window! It is your job to keep your window clean. It is a choice, look through a dirty window or through a clean window – and this choice has consequences. A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes (Hugh Downs).

Success is applying various principles (which we look at later); however none of the principles can be activated without a clean window (positive attitude) – hence attitude is everything!

Lesson 2: You’re a human magnet

The secret is found in six words: We become what we think about Dominant thoughts rule the day. Nurture your mind with great thoughts (Benjamin Disraeli). The key is you are pulled in the direction of your DOMINANT thought pattern. Thought precedes action. Your beliefs have brought you to where you are and your circumstances reflect what you have been thinking about. If your thoughts don’t change, your results won’t change.

Repetition is the key. Everyday read something positive and uplifting. Everyday listen to a motivational cassette. Change your thinking and you change your life. Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations (Ralph Charell).
It will not happen overnight, just keep moving in a constant direction with effort, commitment and patience.

Lesson 3: Picture your way to success

You must first clearly see a thing in your mind before you can do it (Alex Morrison). Imagination is more important than knowledge (Albert Einstein). Visualisation is simply mental movies. Take responsibility for your own movies. Change the meaning of old movies. Facts cannot change, but you can change the interpretation/meaning of old movies. Consciously choose to view previous situations that made you feel smaller than you are, differently.Create new pictures, your mind is too stupid to know the difference. Picture your success; repetition. You have control over the pictures that occupy your mind. Relax and involve your senses. Do this several minutes everyday. Write a cheque to yourself. If you can dream it, you can do it (Walt Disney).

It works both ways. Keep negative thoughts or prompts away – what does the sticker do to you if you see it on your car several times everyday “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”. Change the meaning of old movies and develop empowering new movies.

Lesson 4: Make a commitment and you’ll move mountains

This is the willingness to do whatever it takes. Read this again. If it takes 5 steps, then I’ll do it. If it takes 55 steps, I’ll do it….
The key is that often you do not have to know exactly how you will achieve your goal; just that you will commit to getting there – doors somehow open; trust life and commit. With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable (Sir Thomas Buxton). A champion is always prepared to go one more round. One person with commitment is worth more than 100 people who have only an interest (Mary Cowley). Always be prepared to do whatever it takes – if you are not, don’t start.

Lesson 5: Turn your problems into opportunities

Problems. Don’t complain and who said life is fair. Look for the opportunity in every problem. The road to success often travels through adversity. No pressure, no diamonds (Mary Case). Disappointments are often blessings in disguise. The things which hurt, instruct (Benjamin Franklin). Frustration creates energy, direct it.

How does adversity serve us? It gives us perspective on what is important in life; it teaches us to be grateful; it brings out hidden potential; teaches us valuable lessons; builds confidence and self-esteem when overcome; opens new doors. Most importantly it encourages us to make changes and take action!

Part 2 : Watch your words

Repeat anything often enough and it will start to become you (Tom Hopkins).

Lesson 6: Your words blaze a trail

Your words have incredible power.
Thoughts > Words > Beliefs > Actions > Results and a destiny

In words are seen the state of mind, character and disposition of the speaker (Plutarch). Watch your words! Never discuss your goals with negative people. Stating and discussing goals creates commitment and accountability. The people who always talk about lack of money generally don’t accumulate much of it. Watch the emotion and impact on your body by the actual words used eg difference between “furious/livid” and peeved/annoyed” – lowers the emotional intensity. Choose words that will point you in the direction of your goals. Look at words you use in relationships, in finances, in your career, your health or what you believe you are capable of or your station in life. You have a choice, choose your words carefully.

Lesson 7: How are you?

Your day goes the way the corners of your mouth turns. When someone says “how are you” the responses are generally negative (“don’t ask”), mediocre (“okay”) or positive (“awesome”). A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks . Everyone lights up a room – some when they walk in, and some when they walk out! Just form a new habit and change the way others, and you, feel about you. What if I don’t feel great – if you are tired and I tell you that you have won a million rand, all of a sudden you feel fantastic – fix your mental state! How are you? Respond with enthusiasm. AWESOME.

Lesson 8: Stop complaining

Troubles, like babies, grow larger by nursing (Lady Holland). Nobody wants to hear about your aches and pains. Self-pity is an acid which eats holes in happiness (Earl Nightingale). Two complainers often start to outdo each other, the principle of escalation. Don’t let it rain on your parade. The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles (William Penn). Put things in perspective. Create a mental list of all those things and relationships around you for which you have to be grateful. If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed (Kate Halverson). Be a source of positive news, be a joy to be around.

Part 3 : Heaven helps those who act 

Nothing happens by itself. It all will come your way once you understand that you have to make it come your way, by your own exertions (Ben Stein).

Lesson 9: Associate with positive people
You will be known by, and your destiny influenced, by your friends. Avoid toxic people and keep the company of nourishing people. We become apart of what we are around. Your friends will stretch your vision…or choke your dreams. They impact your greatest asset, your mind. Tell me who you associate with and I will tell you who you are.

Lesson 10: Confront your fears and grow
Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain (Ralph Waldo Emerson). If you want to be successful, you must be willing to be uncomfortable. Don’t back away, confront. Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood (Marie Curie).

What is your “X” outside your comfort zone? Presentations or public speaking; your ideas or you being rejected; changing jobs; starting your own business; passing bad news up the line; talking to people at higher management levels; sales calls; fear of failure… When you do this you lower your self-esteem, reduce yourself inside, do not create breaks….He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he who loses courage loses all (Miguel de Cervantes).

Armed with a great attitude, decide to become a participant in life and explore your potential, confront your fears. Reframe the situation. Consider yourself an immediate winner when you take the step to confront your fear. Move forward. The only way to escape from the prison of fear is action (Joe Tye). Don’t be one of those who lets his regrets take the place of his dreams.

Lesson 11: Get out there and fail

Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again (Henry Ford). Toddlers keep on trying until they walk, they just don’t stop until they do, yet somehow as adults we shy away from failure. Failure is often a necessary part of growth and ultimate success. Undaunted by failure, just as long as the mistakes are new ones. The greatest mistake a person can make is to be afraid of making one (Elbert Hubbard). No such thing as failures, just results. Never give up. True success often means you will fail along the way, accept it, get up and try again. You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don’t try.

Lesson 12: Networking that gets results 

You can get everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want (Zig Ziglar). If you’re positive and enthusiastic, people will want to spend time with you. In business and in your personal life, network. Project a winning attitude, participate in projects and associations, serve others, be a good listener….call people from time to time just because you care. Meet new people, make them feel special, acknowledge good presentations, get them to talk about themselves and their interests. Think what you can do for others, life is round. Build you network and keep detailed notes and contact lists. Networking is a great help, yet you have to be good at what you do to succeed.


To change your circumstances, first start thinking differently (Norman Vincent Peale). Take control of your life. Act as if it were impossible to fail (Dorothea Brande). Play the one string you do have, your attitude, and with a final quote from Charles Swindoll:

The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.

Posted in Life Gyan

The New 10 Commandments of Life

How we lead our lives depends a lot on perspective. Two people looking at the same situation interpret it differently depending on their outlook for life. Read the below 10 Commandments and reflect back on your life and you outlook. These may give you a different perspective.

1) Heavy rains remind us of challenges in life. Never ask for a lighter rain. Just pray for a better umbrella. That is attitude.

2) When flood comes, fish eat ants & when flood recedes, ants eat fish. Only time matters. Just hold on, God gives opportunity to everyone!

3) Life is not about finding the right person, but creating the right relationship, it’s not how we care in the beginning, but how much we care till ending.

4) Some people always throw stones in your path. It depends on you what you make with them, Wall or Bridge?  Remember you are the architect of your life.

5) Every problem has (n+1) solutions, where n is the number of solutions that you have tried and 1 is that you have not tried. That’s life.

6) It is not important to hold all the good cards in life. But it’s important how well you play with the cards which you hold.

7) Often when we lose all hope & think this is the end, God smiles from above and says, `Relax dear it’s just a bend. Not the end’. Have Faith and have a successful life.

8) When you are sad, try to cheer up – just go to the mirror and say, `Damn I am really so cute` and you will overcome your sadness. But don’t make this a habit b’coz liars go to hell.

9) One of the basic  differences between God and human is, God gives, gives and forgives. But human gets, gets, gets and forgets. Be thankful in life!

10) Only two types of persons are happy in this world. First is Mad and second is Child. Be Mad to achieve what you desire and be a Child to enjoy what you have achieved.