Posted in Life Gyan

How to Overcome Grief…

No human in this world is untouched by grief or disappointment. Both grief and disappointment can be the source of a huge emotional turbulence. And surprisingly when people are dealing with change either at the personal level or at the work place they may also feel similar emotional turbulence.

There may be many instances of grief throughout our life – a wife may grieve the death of her husband, a teenager may grieve the ending of a relationship, or one may grieve the loss of a pet.  Similarly one can feel a deep sense of disappointment when their trust is shattered. Even significant events in personal life or at workplace may have a similar impact when people are unable to cope up with the change. For example a mother who is unable to accept the departure of her child when he or she leaves home for the first time for higher studies or employees unable to handle role change due to organisational restructuring or merger/acquisition.

In 1969, a Swiss psychiatrist, Kübler-Ross first introduced her five stage grief model in her book On Death and Dying. These five stages are –

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Kubler-Ross wrote that these are normal reactions all people have to tragic news. In fact she called them defense mechanisms or coping mechanisms. And this is exactly what they are when we apply the model to coping with change.

Also she said that we don’t move through these five stages one at a time, in a neat, linear, step by step manner. That would be far too easy! What happens is that we occupy different stages at different times and can even move back to stages we have been in before. Kubler-Ross said the stages can last for different periods of time and will replace each other or exist at times side by side.

Learning about these five stages can help us understand our own emotions and help us in coping with them in a better manner. It would be ideal, if we can reach the “acceptance” stage. However it is possible that some people get stuck in other stages and find it difficult to move on.

The Five Stages of Grief

Denial : When you first hear about the tragic news, denial or shock is usually the initial reaction.
“I can’t believe it”, “This can’t be happening”, “Tell me this is not true”
This is also a defence mechanism that gives us time to absorb the news before moving on to the other stages. It is the initial stage of numbness and shock. It is like the pigeon closing its eyes when it sees the cat. That way, It assumes that since the pigeon can’t see the cat, the cat does not exist.

Anger : When the initial shock fades away and we realize that it is real then the denial usually changes to anger. We look to blame others, God or even the government for making it happen to you. You find it incomprehensible how something like this could happen to you.
“Why me? ” Life’s not fair!”
Mental health professionals believe that anger is a necessary stage of grief – it is part of the healing process. It’s important to truly feel the anger. The more you truly feel the anger, the more quickly it will dissipate, and the more quickly you will heal. It is not healthy to suppress your feelings of anger.

Bargaining : It is an attempt to postpone the inevitable. Usually, you try to strike a deal with God. You might falsely make yourself believe that you can avoid the grief through this type of negotiation. If you change this, I’ll change that. In this stage people also experience guilt and go into an endless series of “what ifs”: What if I had left the house 5 minutes sooner? The accident would have never happened. What if I encouraged him to go to the doctor six months ago like I first thought? The cancer could have been found sooner “

Depression : When we realize that Bargaining is not going to work then the true impact of the change, the loss hits us. It can lead people to a sad state, feeling low energy, worthless and feeling depressed. Some people may even experience suicidal thoughts. the state of depression can be noticeable in the body language of the person, drooping shoulders, withdrawn from the team – thinking “What is the point of all this?

People dealing with change at work may feel demotivated and uncertain about their future. They may feel why they need to give their best when they see that the Organization is not committed towards them. During this time there may be increase in sick leaves or absentism from work.

Acceptance : In this stage people start coming back to grip with reality. They realize that denying or fighting the change is not going to make the change go away. It is not a happy place but they finally accept that the world has changed and they need to move on too. People realize that thier partner may not return but life must go on. They realize that things are not going to be same at the workplace, It’s not a “good” thing, but it’s something you can move forward from. For the first time people might start considering their options. This can be a creative space as it forces people to explore and look for new possibilities.

In this stage, you may start making new friends or setting new goals. You know that the change is here to stay but you move, grow, and evolve into your new reality.

Posted in Life Gyan


Take a look at the picture above. Doesn’t it look a bit strange? What do you see? A fox is trying to catch a prey however in doing do it does not realize that it has leapt off a cliff.

What is the correlation of this picture with our own lives? Do we take such irrational steps in our life too when we are obsessed with something. In the madness of pursuing the obsession, sometimes we may commit fatal mistakes.

There are three key lessons to be learned from the picture above. And once you have read the lessons below this picture will get imprinted in your memory forever and remind you of these lessons so that you can avoid making such fatal mistakes.

Lesson 1 : Sometimes the best response to provocation is not to fight at all.

Lesson 2 : Not all opportunities are to be taken, some are traps

Lesson 3 : A person can become so determined to destroy another person that they become blind to thier own actions and consequences and end up destroying themselves

Have you come across any such examples in your own life or those around you?

Posted in Life Gyan

Dreams & Wishful Thinking

Remember the time when you had a number of dreams? Every other day you would come up with a new idea which according to you would change the world. While some people call it “flight of fantasy” or “day dreaming” but for you, probably that was one of the most beautiful part of growing up. It may be not an exaggeration, if I said that these thoughts gave us “wings” and took us on the “flight of imagination”. And even today, when nostalgia knocks softly, you open the door to those memories. The twinkle in your eyes and the smile on your face whisper, “Ah! Those were the days!”

Similar to the growing up years, later too in life, every once in a while a new desire pops up in your creative mind. For a few moments this new idea serves an escape from the mundane, the daily grind. However, almost immediately we tell ourselves, we are now “grown-up” and “mature” and need to be “practical”  – the flight gets stalled just as it is about to take off. You know that with your current constraints, you cannot chase this any further. The idea disappears in a jiffy.

There are a very few who are able to pursue their passion and bring their dreams to reality. Their stories become beacons, illuminating the path for others.

In solitude and quiet moments, most people see flashes of their dream life, but by then they have lost the courage to even acknowledge them as possible. Also after battling the myriad battles of life, most people have lost their capacity to take risk. Instead they prefer the comfort of the mundane. They laugh at their own dreams and call them wishful thinking.

Then as their own kids grow up their unfulfilled dreams get rekindled. They see a ray of hope. They unknowingly start considering their kids as the vehicle thru which they can achieve their own unfulfilled dreams. However it is better to return to sanity before it is too late. One must not impose their own dreams on the kids. It is better to allow the kids to explore their own interest and only ask clarifying questions to help them choose the right path for themselves.

So, did I pursue my dreams? Perhaps not all of them. But I’ve learned that dreams aren’t lost completely — they evolve. They weave themselves into the fabric of our lives, coloring our choices, our passions, and in someway creating our legacy. And sometimes, when the wind is just right, I catch a glimpse of those paper airplanes, soaring still, leaving trails of possibility in their wake.

Did you?

Posted in Books

Are You Really Reading More?

The number of books sold in 2023 surpassed that of 2022. And similar numbers were reported for 2022, where more books were sold compared to 2021. These numbers point that an increasing number of people are being drawn to reading books every year despite the other digital distractions and an ever busier life.

However, not all books sold are read. Unfortunately, this statistic is not widely reported. In a survey conducted by Gallup they found that the average number of books read is going down every year. People buy a lot of books but most people are unable to read them for a plethora of reasons. I’m sure all of us have a bunch of unread books at home which we bought with great hope but unable to find time to turn those pages.

If you are also sailing in the same boat and miss reading books, here is a simple workaround you can try till you get the control back on your reading time. I have been using this for the last couple of years and have found this to be an effective alternative. Yes ! I am asking you to switch to audiobooks. These are great alternatives to physical books or Kindle if you are unable to find time to read.

There are various great apps available for both IOS & Android. Also an increasing amount of books are now available in audiobooks format. I primarily use Audible. I use my commute time to listen to audiobooks and have managed to finish 6 audiobooks in 2023. In comparison i could only finish 2 short books in the physical book format. It goes without saying that switching to audiobooks has reduced the amount of music I listen to by almost 80% but as it is said life is all about the choices you make.

Sharing my book recommendations from the books I have read in 2023 – please do share your book recommendations.

Posted in Life Gyan

Three Beautiful Stories

Storytelling is the most powerful way
to put ideas into the world.

– Robert McKee

From time immemorial stories have always fascinated mankind. And story-tellers have used various means to convey their message viz. narration, theatre, cinema or by writing. Some people tell stories to entertain and make you laugh. Some to impart life lessons. Yet others use this as a medium to touch upon difficult topics of social importance. And some tell stories to hide the truth.

No matter what the medium is, or what the end goal is, the job is said to be well done if you are able to convey your ideas in the most impactful manner to your audience.

Now there are few other type of stories. Those that leave you with a question to ponder or provide you some food for thought. They make you revisit the assumptions that you had always believed in your life. They do not just fade away after you have turned the page – they stay in your psyche for a long time. Some can even alter the way you perceive and live life. Today I am going to share three such stories with you which did just that for me.

The stories are itself simple but the life lessons they hold are really valuable. I urge you to go through each story one by one and reflect on the lesson rather than rushing through this post. Once you have gone thru them, pause and reflect. And if possible do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

So which story did you find the most impactful? Please do let me know in the comments section below.

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

30 Short but Impactful Habits

1. Write things down – our brains are for having ideas, not holding them.

2. Take a second to pause before you respond. Become less reactive.

3. Read something every day. Even just one page.

4. Write something every day. Even just one paragraph.

5. Automate and batch as much as you can. Our brains have more room to be creative when they’re not constantly making decisions.

6. Get some sun on your skin as early as you can in the day.

7. When your brain hurts. Stop working. Take a quick break to disconnect and recharge.

8. Limit your to-do list to the top 3 most important tasks of the day.

9. Write down anything that resonates with you.

10. Break down goals into the smallest steps possible

11. Value your time above all else.

12. Find hobbies that engage your mind and soul – do them as often as you can.

13. Place your phone outside the room while you’re working.

14. Track everything you do for one day to the minute. Find where the time-sinks are.

15. Stop comparing you behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.

16. Be bored more often. Our minds get the best ideas when they are allowed to wander.

17. Listen more than you speak.

18. Create more than you consume.

19. Compliment more than you complain.

20. Delete apps you don’t use.

21. Donate clothes you don’t wear.

22. Serve others as much as you can. This is a powerful source of happiness

23. Make a habit of reaching out to old friends.

24. Never say “yes” simply because you feel obligated.

25. Take care of your information diet – Junk info hurts our brains like junk food hurts our bodies.

26. Look at your phone less, look at people’s eyes more.

27. Revisit things that have brought you joy in the past. They will probably do it again.

28. Set time limits on tasks. Use “Parkinson’s Law” in your favor.

29. Remember people’s names and use them often.

30. Remember you’re going to die one day.

Posted in Life Gyan

Six Ways to Expand Your Horizon

Here are six ways to expand your horizon and to have a broader world view.  Each of the below listed items will help you push the boundaries associated with a different aspect of your life. As a result you will become a more fearless and confident person. Over a period of time, it will enhance your wisdom and give you a broader perspective of the world.

(1) Travel to new places – Travelling is one of the best way to expand your horizons in many aspects simultaneously.  By travelling I mean visiting a new place preferably outside your own state/country – a new region which has different culture, different staple food and different clothing. There is no dearth of options in India as we are known for unity in diversity. You can go to any state and experience the diversity. Once you travel be sure to observe how the people and customs are same or different from your home state. Relish the local food, interact with local people. This will help you get a very different perspective not only of life in general but even of the assumptions and beliefs you have held mentally so far.

(2) Learn a new skill – Learning a new skill like swimming, accounting or coding can be a great experience. It adds a new dimension to your personality. It provides another channel to express your creativity. Learning a new skill will help you come up with new ideas which you were not capable of thinking because you lacked this knowledge. It also opens up new possibilities for you to explore.

(3) Read books – First of all reading itself is a rewarding experience. Even though you may think – who reads books these days and lot of people adopting kindle and other digital means of reading but the data suggests that more books are sold each year. According to the website Books of Brilliance The country that reads the most books is India! They led every country on the map with an average of 10 hours and 42 minutes. That is enough to finish a book and start a new one in the same week! So incase you are not already in to reading, go pick a book if you do not want to be left behind. And if you already love reading try reading books from a different genre that would certainly open your mind to a whole new domain.

(4) Try different cuisines – Don’t be afraid to try a different cuisine once in a while. Next time when planning to go out, choose a cuisine or food item which you have never tried earlier like Sushi or Gelato or anything else that catches your fancy. The idea is to subject your senses to experience something different from what they are used to.

(5) Pick up a new hobby – Trying out a new hobby can be really fun and refreshing at the same time. Pick up something you have never done earlier. There are so many new hobbies that you can explore like starting a Bullet Journal or drawing Zentangles if you are the creative kind. You can try hydroponic farming or Origami. or even blogging. There is no dearth of new and novelty hobbies these days. Also the availability of so much information online and even online/offline classes makes it easy to pick and explore new things.

(6) Live in different geographical region/country – If possible relocate to a different geographical region or country and stay there for at least an year to experience the whole cycle of seasons, customs and festivals of that area. It will change your assumptions and boost your empathy to a different level. It will help you be sensitive to the thoughts and feeling of others especially when you are dealing with a diverse group of people.

This is just the start. You can apply this to any area of your life for example if you usually practice yoga you could try zumba, if you do kick boxing you can try pranayama or meditation. It is all about moving out of your comfort zone and embracing change. Whenever you do any new activity which is outside of the usual or routine, in some way or the other it will expand your current limits.

Be curious. That is the key. Never stop learning. To learn anything new, your cup needs to be half empty. And to be able to learn continuously, you should be able to expand the size of your cup so that there is always space to accommodate more and absorb new knowledge.

Posted in Life Gyan

Don’t Confuse Lifestyle with Life !

I came across this story a few years ago and the lesson has stayed with me over the years. A few days ago something reminded me of this story and I decided to share this with everyone for the sheer simplicity and the powerful message it carries.

A group of alumni, who were very successful in their careers, decided to get together to visit their old university professor. After they all reunited, the conversation of the alumni soon turned into complaints about work, relationships and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all of his old students had a cup of coffee in hand, they sat down together and the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is, of course normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that can also be the source of much of your dissatisfaction, problems and stress.

It’s important to know that the cup itself adds no real quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just chosen because its perceived to be more special or expensive. What all of you really wanted was experience of the coffee, not the cup, but you unconsciously went for the best cups. Some of you tried to get the best cup first or began eyeing each other’s cups to see if yours was nice enough.

Now consider this: Life is a bit like the cup of coffee; the jobs, money possessions and position in society are the cups. They are just tools and structures that contain or hold together the current story of your life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee.

Here is my advice to you – Savour the coffee, not the cups! What you really want is to be happy. The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

Posted in Life Gyan

20 Things People Learn Too Late

1. Don’t tell people more than they need to know, respect your privacy.

2. Every challenge, hard time, and pain you endure will turn into strength, resilience and blessings.

3. Don’t argue with people who want to misunderstand you – Starve them with silence.

4. Life is short, don’t forget to make a life and not just a living.

5. You don’t need to explain yourself or get anyone’s approval to live your life.

6. Keep your standards high and  don’t settle for something because it’s available.

7. Boundaries are your responsibility, you decide what is and what isn’t allowed in your life.

8. You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.

9. Never expect to get back what you give or you will always be disappointed.

10. Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from and don’t let someone who has done nothing, tell you how to do anything.

11. If you keep waiting for the “right time” you will keep wasting all of your time.

12. Don’t let people trigger you. Control your reaction and leave them powerless.

13. Stop expecting loyalty from people who can’t give you honesty.

14. Accept people for who they are and not who you want them to be.

15. Life doesn’t always give us the experiences we want, it gives us the experiences we need to learn and grow.

16. The best revenge is no revenge. Improve yourself and forget they exist.

17. The people who belong in your life want to be there, they don’t need to be chased.

18. It takes time to build trust but only seconds to lose.

19. No one is going to come and save you because You are perfectly capable of Saving Yourself.

20. Don’t judge people and their choices when you don’t understand their reasons.