Friday, January 30, 2009

Madras Musings

Letter to the Editor of 7days Claiming ‘Slumdog’ Wednesday 28 Jan, 2009

I totally agree with the reader Jayakrishna about his views on ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. While Danny Boyle’s depiction of poverty is not totally incorrect, there are several scenes in the film which was toofar-fetched. The scene where the boy Jamal jumps from the makeshift“toilet” was un! called for. And both the real life hosts of the TV show‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ namely Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan were very courteous towards the contestants and treated each of them with the same amount of respect no matter which part of society they were from. Unlike the protagonist played by Anil Kapoor in the film. Even if this film were to bag all the Oscars it has been nominated for. We as Indians should not rejoice about them. On the occasion of our Republic Day, we should take a vow to improve our country and remove poverty so that no more movies romanticising our poverty should be made.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Measuring Success

How Do You Measure Success?By Shawn Driscoll

One of the places I often start with a new client is to have them answer this question: "At this stage of my life/career/business success is?"
By starting with a clear definition of what success looks like for them, we have a compass by which to measure their success.
But recently, I've started to notice an interesting pattern. Many of my clients, colleagues, and friends (and yes, even yours truly!) go after certain goals for one set of reasons, but then later measure their success against a completely different set of reasons or standards.
Here's an example of what I mean:
One of my clients had set a goal of increasing the visibility of her business by getting lots of PR. So, she set about doing the things that would get her media interviews and lots of visibility. And it worked like gangbusters! In less than 90 days she had been featured in several prominent national newspapers, radio shows and even television.
And yet, she came to a coaching call declaring the visibility plan a failure. Curious, I asked her how she saw this as a failure when she was being featured everywhere and had become an in demand expert to the media. She shot back "Well, I'm not making much more money than I was before all this media attention."
Aha! A new standard of measuring success was sneaking in. She initially said her goal was "to get lots of visibility"and she got exactly what she asked for. But now she was realizing she had a "secondary goal" to increase her revenue. The problem was that she hadn't actually put a plan in place to convert all the media attention into revenue because she never stated that goal. She was missing a step in her process because she hadn't clearly defined how she would measure success. Once we fixed that issue, and she made just a couple of small changes to her focus that she had a system for turning the attention into business, she brought in several new clients and had a week of record revenues.
That's the power of really having a clear definition of success, and then taking simple, straightforward actions to achieve it.
Another great example happens quite often with my executive career clients. They usually come to me after having taken a job that was their "dream job" and yet they are feeling frustrated, dissatisfied and discouraged.
Turns out, they went after the job because of the title, salary and prestige of the position-which they got. But now they are measuring success in the role against things like work/life balance, love of the work itself, the people they work with, and the challenge. It's those things that aren't measuring up and they feel like they've failed. But the truth is, they just weren't totally clear on what success for them was . Once they understand how they really measure success, they can easily get their career back on track.
So my point is this: be really clear about how you are measuring success in your life, and make sure the actions you take are toward that complete picture.
And if you find yourself frustrated or dissatisfied with where you are - look back and see what you set out to accomplish in the first place. My best bet is that you have accomplished what you set out to accomplish, but now you are measuring it against different standards of success. So, it's probably time to upgrade your 'success standards' and get them in alignment with what matters most, now.
Take a few minutes right now and answer this question, "At this stage of my life/career/business success is?"
Here's to your success!
About the Author: Career Success Coach Shawn Driscoll, of Succeed Coaching & Development is a certified coach, speaker and the author of "The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your Ideal Job". As an expert on career transition and the art of reinventing yourself she can teach you how to take control of your career and create your ideal work-life.

Forward about being a Hindu!!


Four years ago, I was flying from JFK NY Airport to SFO to attend a meeting at Monterey , CA An American girl was sitting on the right side, near window seat. It indeed was a long journey - it would take nearly seven hours. I was surprised to see the young girl reading a Bible unusual of young Americans. After some time she smiled and we had few acquaintances talk.I told her that I am from India
Then suddenly the girl asked: 'What's your faith?' 'What?' I didn't understand the question.
'I mean, what's your religion? Are you a Christian? Or a Muslim?'
'No!' I replied, 'I am neither Christian nor Muslim'. Apparently she appeared shocked to listen to that. 'Then who are you?' 'I am a Hindu', I said.
She looked at me as if she was seeing a caged animal. She could not understand what I was talking about.
A common man in Europe or US knows about Christianity and Islam, as they are the leading religions of the world today. But a Hindu, what?
I explained to her - I am born to a Hindu father and Hindu mother. Therefore, I am a Hindu by birth.
'Who is your prophet?' she asked.
'We don't have a prophet,' I replied.
'What's your Holy Book?'
'We don't have a single Holy Book, but we have hundreds and thousands of philosophical and sacred scriptures,' I replied.
'Oh, come on at least tell me who is your God?'
'What do you mean by that?'
'Like we have Jesus and Muslims have Allah - don't you have a God?'
I thought for a moment. Muslims and Christians believe one God (Male God) who created the world and takes an interest in the humans who inhabit it. Her mind is conditioned with that kind of belief.
According to her (or anybody who doesn't know about Hinduism), a religion needs to have one Prophet, one Holy book and one God. The mind is so conditioned and rigidly narrowed down to such a notion that anything else is not acceptable. I understood her perception and concept about faith. You can't compare Hinduism with any of the present leading religions where you have to believe in one concept of god.
I tried to explain to her: 'You can believe in one god and he can be a Hindu. You may believe in multiple deities and still you can be a Hindu. What's more - you may not believe in god at all, still you can be a Hindu. An atheist can also be a Hindu.'
This sounded very crazy to her. She couldn't imagine a religion so unorganized, still surviving for thousands of years, even after onslaught from foreign forces.
'I don't understand but it seems very interesting. Are you religious?' What can I tell to this American girl?
I said: 'I do not go to temple regularly. I do not make any regular rituals. I have learned some of the rituals in my younger days. I still enjoy doing it sometimes..'
'Enjoy? Are you not afraid of God?'
'God is a friend. No- I am not afraid of God. Nobody has made any compulsions on me to perform these rituals regularly.'
She thought for a while and then asked: 'Have you ever thought of converting to any other religion?'
'Why should I? Even if I challenge some of the rituals and faith in Hinduism, nobody can convert me from Hinduism. Because, being a Hindu allows me to think independently and objectively, without conditioning. I remain as a Hindu never by force, but choice.' I told her that Hinduism is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. It is not a religion like Christianity or Islam because it is not founded by any one person or does not have an organized controlling body like the Church or the Order, I added. There is no institution or authority..
'So, you don't believe in God?' she wanted everything in black and white.
'I didn't say that. I do not discard the divine reality. Our scripture, or Sruthis or Smrithis - Vedas and Upanishads or the Gita - say God might be there or he might not be there. But we pray to that supreme abstract authority (Para Brahma) that is the creator of this universe.'
'Why can't you believe in one personal God?'
'We have a concept - abstract - not a personal god. The concept or notion of a personal God, hiding behind the clouds of secrecy, telling us irrational stories through few men whom he sends as messengers, demanding us to worship him or punish us, does not make sense. I don't think that God is as silly as an autocratic emperor who wants others to respect him or fear him.' I told her that such notions are just fancies of less educated human imagination and fallacies, adding that generally ethnic religious practitioners in Hinduism believe in personal gods. The entry level Hinduism has over-whelming superstitions too. The philosophical side of Hinduism negates all superstitions.
'Good that you agree God might exist. You told that you pray. What is your prayer then?'
'Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,'
'Funny,' she laughed, 'What does it mean?'
'May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.'
'Hmm ..very interesting. I want to learn more about this religion. It is so democratic, broad-minded and free' she exclaimed.
'The fact is Hinduism is a religion of the individual, for the individual and by the individual with its roots in the Vedas and the Bhagavad-Gita. It is all about an individual approaching a personal God in an individual way according to his temperament and inner evolution - it is as simple as that.'
'How does anybody convert to Hinduism?'
'Nobody can convert you to Hinduism, because it is not a religion, but a set of beliefs and practices. Everything is acceptable in Hinduism because there is no single authority or organization either to accept it or to reject it or to oppose it on behalf of Hinduism.'
I told her - if you look for meaning in life, don't look for it in religions; don't go from one cult to another or from one guru to the next.
For a real seeker, I told her, the Bible itself gives guidelines when it says ' Kingdom of God is within you.' I reminded her of Christ's teaching about the love that we have for each other. That is where you can find the meaning of life.
Loving each and every creation of the God is absolute and real. 'Isavasyam idam sarvam' Isam (the God) is present (inhabits) here everywhere - nothing exists separate from the God, because God is present everywhere. Respect every living being and non-living things as God. That's what Hinduism teaches you.
Hinduism is referred to as Sanathana Dharma, the eternal faith. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the code of life. The most important aspect of Hinduism is being truthful to oneself. Hinduism has no monopoly on ideas.- It is open to all. Hindus believe in one God (not a personal one) expressed in different forms. For them, God is timeless and formless entity.
Ancestors of today's Hindus believe in eternal truths and cosmic laws and these truths are opened to anyone who seeks them. But there is a section of Hindus who are either superstitious or turned fanatic to make this an organized religion like others. The British coin the word 'Hindu' and considered it as a religion.
I said: 'Religions have become an MLM (multi-level- marketing) industry that has been trying to expand the market share by conversion. The biggest business in today's world is Spirituality. Hinduism is no exception'
I am a Hindu primarily because it professes Non-violence - 'Ahimsa Paramo Dharma' - Non violence is the highest duty. I am a Hindu because it doesn't conditions my mind with any faith system. A man/ woman who change 's his/her birth religion to another religion is a fake and does not value his/her morals, culture and values in life. Hinduism was the first religion originated. Be proud of your religion and be proud of who you are. Om Namo shiva……………

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Books , books and more books.

It's been a while since I posted anything meaningful on blogger. Well reason being that I was on holiday in December. And January has been really hectic with new projects , parties et al.

Apart from that for the first time in many years I have read 3 books in 2 months time. This is really an achievement for a time constrained person like me. The books are : The Immigrant by Manju Kapur, Married but Available by Abhijit Bhaduri and Grandmother's Tale by R.K.Narayan. Admitted that the last one was rather a small book but I consider all this an achievement nevertheless.

Of the lot the book I liked the most was Married but Available by Abhijit Bhaduri. Of course with due respect to R.K.Narayan who still remains my most favorite author till date. Its just that MBA(Married but Available) dealt with so many real life issues and yet had a good feel about it. And unlike most NRI authors it was not degrading India for a change.I liked the way he brought in simple management principles into the story and gave it a different perspective. I hope to read more of this author(unfortunately havent been able to spot his other book Mediocre but Arrogant).

I am yet to read the White Tiger by Aravind Adiga which is adorning my bookshelf currently. But I am sure I should finish that in another one week if I maintain this momentum with my books. Will try to review that ASAP.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Food for thought!!

When discussing about the ongoing war, I realised the lesson I learnt from playing the game of Risk. I quit the game early on primarily because I didn’t want to be attacked nor did I want to attack. While with the others it was only a question of winning. Even in real life people are only bothered about winning and they will trample whatever is on the way to achieving it. The final result of the game ? Nobody won! As is the case in real life nobody wins! But some people lost the lives of their loved ones.