Posted in Life Gyan

The Professor and the Golf Balls

“The most important things in life are not things” – sometimes we get so obsessed with our material possessions that we forget to give importance to the people in our lives. At other times we are busy chasing other shiny objects and completely lose focus of the important things of life. The below story is a simple way to understand this and remember to prioritise the important things in life.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.  The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes’.  The professor then produced two large cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed.

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.  The sand is everything else—the small stuff.  ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.  Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.  Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’  The coffee just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.

Posted in Life Gyan

Do Not Go Gentle Into The Night…

The words “Do not go gentle into the night…” caught my attention in the movie Interstellar which is a science fiction movie directed, co-written and produced by Christopher Nolan in 2014.

The movie is set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive. The film follows the adventures of a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for mankind.

It is a quite popular movie and very intriguing. So during the lockdown I was drawn to watch it once again as if some unanswered questions were pulling me towards it. I completed the movie and this poem is what I found. If you are interested in movies about space exploration you will like it too.

Let us first go through the famous poem by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) titled “Do not go gentle into that good night” before we try and understand what it means.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The beauty of many poems is that different people interpret the same text differently. This is because we all are unique beings by virtue of our upbringing, our perceptions of the world – honed by our experiences. Two people going through the same events of life experience them differently. Also culture, heritage and personal values play an important role as to how we interpret the words we come across. 

The reason why I like this poem is because it talks about making a mark on the canvas of this world. It speaks about perseverance and never-say-die attitude even though death is inevitable. It gives the message that when we accept our mortality, we understand what really matters in our life.

The author acknowledges that death is inevitable—We are all mortal beings and everyone has to die one day.

wise men at their end know dark is right

But that doesn’t mean that we should simply give up and give in to death. Instead, people should fight, fiercely and bravely, against death because life is precious and worth fighting for.

He goes on to say that when these people are confronted with death, they realise that they haven’t accomplished everything they wanted to. It connects them with their mortality and they fight against death so that they can have more time and leave a bigger impact on the world.

Similarly, the “wild men” that the author describes in lines 10-12, have spent their lives in a joyous and reckless fashion: they “caught and sang the sun in flight.” But, when they face death, they realize that that they “grieved it on its way.” In other words, they realize that they have regrets about the frivolous way they spent their time on Earth. Thus they fight for more time so that they can do something more worthwhile.

In both cases, then, death helps these very different people realize that their lives are precious—and that they need to use their time on earth as best as they can. The inevitability of death offers them a kind of corrective mechanism, helping them reconnect with what really matters in life. So even though death is inevitable, it’s worth fighting bravely against, because doing so helps reveal what really matters in life.

Posted in Life Gyan

Don’t Fall into the Trap…

Few reminders – 

  • Don’t  compare yourself with others.  
    Do not let it become the source of your misery. Someone else will always have a better pay, swankier car, bigger house and so on an so forth. 
  • Don’t let your material possessions become your identity.  
    Sometimes we attach too much importance to the car we drive, the house we own, where we go for holidays etc. We start equating material possessions with success. Often we start identifying our own value based on the quality and quantity of our material possessions and take great pleasure in flaunting them. And pretty soon this becomes a spiral – it feeds our ego and pushes us to acquire more and more material possessions. Owning and flaunting your wealth or pricey possessions may give you a temporary high but it isn’t sustainable and eventually results in the downfall of the person.
  • Be self aware when your decisions are driven by greed. 
    Chances are that your common sense has left you and greed has overcome your thinking. You may overlook most of the risks in pursuit of that shiny object feeding your greed. You may get lucky once or twice but remember there are no shortcuts to success. Yes luck may play a role in your success but most of it is your hard work and perseverance. 
  • Understand that money is important but is it not everything. 
    There are things that money can’t buy such as your health, the strength of your character, the bonding and love of your family, true friends. That is why is has always been said – 

When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; 
when health is lost, something is lost; 
when character is lost, all is lost.

Nurture hope and positivity. 
Be grateful for what you have in life. 
The more you are grateful for what you have, the more you will have to be grateful for. 

Posted in Life Gyan

I Have Learned…

  1. I have learned that no matter how good you are internally, people will judge you by your looks
  2. I have learned that your parents are your real treasure. But the sad part is that they won’t be with you forever
  3. I have learned that time is best healer
  4. I have learned that no matter what, the only person you can truly rely upon is yourself
  5. I have learned that attachment hurts
  6. I have learned that hard work pays
  7. i have learned that it is not what I have in life but who I have in my life that counts
Posted in Leadership

If . . .

“If—” is a poem by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written in 1895. He wrote a number of children stories. The all time favourite “Jungle Book” was also written by Rudyard Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you      
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,    
But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,    
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,    
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster    
And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken    
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,    
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings    
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings    
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew    
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you    
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,      
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,    
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute    
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,      
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Posted in Life Gyan


There was a farmer who used to sell a pound of butter to the baker. One day the baker decided to weigh the butter to see if he was getting a pound and he found that he was not. This angered him and he took the farmer to court. 

The judge asked the farmer if he was using any measure. The farmer replied, “Your Honor, I am primitive. I don’t have a proper measure, but I do have a scale.” 

The judge asked, “Then how do you weigh the butter?” 

The farmer replied “Your Honor, long before the baker started buying butter from me, I have been buying a pound loaf of bread from him. Every day when the baker brings the bread, I put it on the scale and give him the same weight in butter. If anyone is to be blamed, it is the baker.”  

So what do we learn from this story? 
We get back in life what we give to others. This is the principle of Karma. 
Whenever you take an action, ask yourself this question: Am I giving a fair value for the wages or money I hope to make? 

Honesty and dishonesty become a habit. 

Some people practice dishonesty and can lie with a straight face. Others lie so much that they don’t even know what the truth is anymore.

But who are they deceiving? Themselves!

Posted in Financial Gyan

Timeless Wisdom of Warren Buffet

Never depend on single income. Make investment to create a second source

If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need

Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving

Never test the depth of a river with both feet.

Do not put all eggs in one basket.

Honesty is a very expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people.

Posted in Life Gyan

No One Can Hurt You Without Your Consent

On the first day as President…  Abraham Lincoln entered to give his inaugural address, while just on the set, one man stood up. He was a rich Aristocrat…. 

He said, “Mr. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family” And the whole Senate burst out laughing; for they thought they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.

But Lincoln was a man of totally different mettle than them, as he just looked at the man, and said humbly, ” Sir, I know my father used to make shoes for you and your family, and there are many others here too I am sure, for whom he has made shoes….But I must say one thing, the way he made shoes….; nobody else could match. He was a genuine artisan; His shoes were not just shoes; he poured his whole heart and soul in it….and hence, I would like to humbly ask you sir….do you have any complaint? because I also know how to make shoes myself….and if you are in any way dissatisfied, I can make another pair for  you as a service for my late father. But as far as I know”, Lincoln added confidently, “nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a real genius in his line of work, a great creator….and I must indeed thank you, for reminding me of him on this day, for I am very fondly proud of my father.”

The whole Senate was dumb struck. They could not understand, as to what kind of a man Abraham Lincoln was. The humility about himself and the pride for his father, through quality of his work… say that not a single complaint had ever been heard….he also defined his own character, as well as his personal mettle.

Moral of the story :
No one can hurt you without your consent.
It is not what happens to us, that hurts us.
It’s how we react to what happens, hurts…….if we allow it to…..!!!

Posted in Books

Life’s Little Instructions

“Life’s Little Instructions”  –  This is the title of one of my favourite books. This book was originally written by H. Jackson Brown. The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book contains the 1,560 entries found in all three volumes of the New York Times Bestselling Life’s Little Instruction Book series.

This book like other books does not contain a story or a lot of text. It is a collection of one or two line sentences which originally were written as a gift from a father to a son, however its simplicity and practical advice is so appealing that it has been enjoyed by men and women of all ages. Even the lines on the cover page after the title reads…

Suggestions, Observations and Reminders on
How to Live a Happy and Rewarding Life.

My Story

I love reading and I first read this book during my college days. I was so inspired by its simplicity and relevance that I decided to gift one copy of this book to each of my friends as a parting gift towards the end of college. Though you may agree that it was a good idea but I was in college and had limited resources. I did not have enough money to buy a copy each for my friends.

To say that inspite of this shortcoming I was still determined would be an understatement. I wanted to share this treasure with my near and dear ones so badly that I decided to reproduce the whole text…manually.

I realised that it was not possible to write so many copies with hand so the other option would be to get it done on a computer. I am taking about the year 1998 in India and not many people would own a computer like today. I did not have one too.

But to my good fortune, one of my close friends Suyog Hebbar, who was pursuing Computer Science Engineering, had a desktop. And the icing on the cake was that he shared the apartment with me. So I discussed this idea with him and used his computer to key in the contents patiently. Slowly over a period of few days I was able to complete the typing, designed the cover page and saved it to a floppy disk for printing.

In those days mostly everyone used the dot-matrix printers. However I wanted a better print quality. So I decided to get one printed from the printing shop. I knew that Inkjet printing was very costly those days and as students we had limited funds for our monthly expenses. So all I could afford was one copy. Using this as the master copy I got multiple other copies xeroxed (photostat) and got them spiral bound and then gifted a copy to many of my friends with the hope that the gift would be valued not for its cost or beauty but for the content and underlying effort and feelings.

One such copy I also gave to my sister and she recently shared the cover page of the same with me which I am reproducing below.

After reading all this with patience you might be wondering what really is inside the covers of the book. So let me share a few of my favourite “Life Little Instructions” below. As you read these, pause for a moment before you move on to the next one.

Compliment three people every day.

Watch a sunrise at least once a year.

Remember other people’s birthdays.

Have a firm handshake.

Life is short.
Eat more pancakes and fewer rice cakes.

Sing in the shower.

Use the good silver.

Buy great books, even if you never read them.

Say “thank you” a lot.

Say “please” a lot.

Plant flowers every spring.

Be the first to say “hello.

Live beneath your means.

Drive inexpensive cars,
but own the best house you can afford.

Be forgiving of  yourself and others.

Learn the rules.
Then Break Some.

Learn three clean jokes.

Wear polished shoes.

Ask for a raise when you feel you’ve earned it.

If in a fight,
hit first and hit hard.

Return all the things you borrow.

Teach some kind of class.

Be a student in some kind of class.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Make new friends
but cherish the old ones.

Keep secrets.

Take lots of snapshots. 

Never give up on anyone.
Miracles happen everyday.

Don’t waste time learning the “tricks of the trade.”
Instead, learn the trade.

Surprise loved ones with little unexpected gifts.

Stop blaming others.
Take responsibility for every area of your life.

Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.

Use your wit to amuse, not abuse.

Be brave. Even if  you’re not, pretend to be.
No one can tell the difference.

Demand excellence and be willing to pay for it.

Don’t take good health for granted.

Someone will always be looking at you as an example of how to behave. Don’t disappoint.

Write “thank you” notes promptly.

If you haven’t read this book already, I strongly recommend you to try it. If you have read it long ago, you may gain some new insights by reviewing it again. Happy reading !