No. 35, Date: 1st May 2023
Theme: Insights from Japanese words and concepts
When we talk about the country Japan and its people, a sense of respect and appreciation automatically comes to mind. Japan is a developed Asian country with an advanced economy and technology. Japanese advanced computer hardwire engineering, Robotics, automobiles, medical equipment, telecommunication & remote sensing instruments, TVs, digital watches, cameras, etc. are famous worldwide.
“Nippon” is another way to pronounce “Japan” in Japanese. It is also a more traditional and formal way of referring to the country. Japan has a rich culture, tradition, food, painting, sculpture, architecture and heritage. The Japanese are sober, gentle, and dedicated to hard work for quality things. In spite of its devastating defeat in World War II (with the fall of atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki), Japan recovered, to become a truly powerful nation.
Japan is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, which means a group of islands. Though there are around 3,000 islands in the archipelago, Japan’s four main islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Tokyo is the capital of Japan. Japan is a densely populated country; it presently has 12.5 crore people (approximately 30% of whom are above the age of 65). The total land area is 3,77,973 sq. km., with a total coastline of 29,751 km. Almost four fifths of Japan is covered with mountains. The highest peak is Mount Fuji. It is a cone-shaped volcano. Japan also has 200 volcanoes, 60 of which are active. Industrial manufacturing including electronics, modern farming (precision agriculture) and fishing are main occupations of Japan.
In India, we frequently heard certain Japanese words, i.e., Zen, Suzuki, Sony, Honda, Kawasaki, Origami, Bonsai, Tsunami, Sayonara, Kaizen, Ninja, etc. But there are many Japanese words and concepts from which we can get insights and learn valuable lessons for working and living.
Few inspiring Japanese words and concepts:
Wa is a Japanese term that refers to the concept of harmony and peaceful unity. It is a fundamental aspect of Japanese culture and society, and it is
reflected in a wide range of practices and customs.
The concept of harmony emphasizes the importance of creating a harmonious balance between individuals, groups, and the natural world. It values cooperation, consensus-building, and conflict resolution through dialogue and compromise.
In practical terms, wa can be seen in many aspects of Japanese life, from the emphasis on group harmony in the workplace and social interactions to the importance of preserving the natural environment and respecting traditional cultural practices.
Wa is also reflected in the traditional Japanese arts, including tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and calligraphy, which emphasize the beauty of simplicity, balance, and harmony.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept that emphasises the beauty of imperfection, impermanence, and authenticity in objects and nature. It is a philosophy that values simplicity, humility, and naturalness.
The term wabi-sabi comes from two Japanese words: wabi, which refers to a rustic simplicity or understated elegance, and sabi, which means the beauty of ageing and the natural cycle of growth and decay.
In practical terms, wabi-sabi can be seen in the use of rough, unrefined materials, asymmetrical designs, and irregular shapes in art, pottery, and architecture. It also emphasises the importance of empty space around objects, the beauty of natural materials and processes, and the passage of time.
Kintsugi is a Japanese art form that involves repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer, highlighting the fractures rather than hiding them. The
word “kintsugi” means “golden joinery” in Japanese.
The technique of kintsugi involves filling the cracks and breaks in a piece of pottery with a special glue made from lacquer mixed with gold or silver powder. The result is a restored piece of pottery that has visible seams of gold or silver running through it, highlighting the beauty of its imperfections.
Kintsugi is more than just a technique for repairing broken pottery; it is a philosophy that values the beauty of imperfection and impermanence. It is based on the belief that something that has been broken and repaired can become even more beautiful and valuable than it was before.
Bushido is the traditional code of conduct observed by the samurai, the warrior class of feudal Japan. It is a set of ethical and moral principles that govern the behaviour of samurai and emphasise the values of honour, loyalty, courage, and self-discipline.
The term “Bushido” literally means “the way of the warrior,” and it encompasses a range of principles and practises that were central to the samurai way of life. These included loyalty to one’s lord, self-discipline and self-control, martial prowess, and a deep sense of honour and duty.
Bushido emphasised the importance of living a life of integrity and self-discipline, and it stressed the need for samurai to cultivate inner strength and resilience in the face of adversity. It also placed a strong emphasis on the value of sacrifice, with samurai often expected to be willing to give up their lives for their lord or their cause.
While the traditional samurai class no longer exists in Japan, the legacy of Bushido continues to have a strong influence on Japanese culture and society. Many people still find inspiration in it, and those who want to lead a life of honour and self-control continue to study and admire its principles.
Mottainai is a Japanese term that conveys a sense of regret about waste and an appreciation for the value of resources. It is often translated as “what a waste” or “don’t waste,” but its meaning goes beyond these simple translations.
The term mottainai can be applied to a wide range of situations, from wasting food and resources to failing to appreciate the value of something. It is based on
the idea that everything has inherent value and should not be wasted or taken for granted.
Mottainai is a deeply ingrained value in Japanese culture, reflecting the importance of frugality, sustainability, and respect for the environment. It is often taught to children as a way of instilling these values and encouraging them
to take responsibility for their actions and their impact on the world around them.
In recent years, the concept of mottainai has gained wider recognition outside of Japan, with organisations and individuals around the world embracing its message of sustainability and responsible resource use.
Omoiyari is a Japanese term that conveys the concept of empathy and consideration for others. It is often translated as “compassion” or “thoughtfulness” and is an important value in Japanese culture.
The term omoiyari is based on the idea of putting oneself in someone else’s shoes and understanding their feelings and perspectives. It emphasises the importance of considering the needs and feelings of others and behaving in a way that shows respect and consideration.
Omoiyari is reflected in many aspects of Japanese life, from the emphasis on politeness and respect in social interactions to the importance of group harmony and consensus-building in the workplace.
The value of omoiyari is also evident in many of Japan’s cultural practises and traditions, including the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, and calligraphy, which emphasise the importance of mindfulness, attention to detail, and appreciation for beauty.
Gaman is a Japanese term that refers to the concept of enduring hardship with patience and perseverance. It is often translated as “perseverance” or “endurance” and is an important value in Japanese culture.
The term gaman is based on the idea of accepting difficult circumstances without complaint and continuing to work towards one’s goals. It emphasises the importance of resilience, determination, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Gaman is reflected in many aspects of Japanese life, from the emphasis on hard work and perseverance in education and the workplace to the importance of personal discipline and self-control in daily life.
The value of gaman is also evident in many of Japan’s cultural practises and traditions, including martial arts, tea ceremonies, and flower arrangements, which emphasise the importance of patience, self-discipline, and attention to detail.
Kaizen is a Japanese term that refers to the philosophy of continuous improvement. It is often used in the context of business management, but it can be applied to many areas of life, including personal development and self-improvement.
The philosophy of kaizen is based on the idea that small, incremental improvements made over time can lead to significant and lasting change. It emphasises the importance of continuous learning, experimentation, and adaptation in order to achieve ongoing improvement.
In practical terms, kaizen can be applied to many aspects of business, including manufacturing processes, quality control, and customer service. It involves identifying areas for improvement, setting goals, and implementing changes in a systematic and collaborative way.
The philosophy of kaizen is also often used in personal development and self-improvement, emphasising the importance of setting goals, developing good habits, and taking small, consistent actions towards improvement.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that refers to the sense of purpose and fulfilment that come from having a meaningful life. It is a combination of the Japanese words “iki,” meaning life, and “gai,” meaning value or worth.
The concept of ikigai is based on the idea that everyone has a unique reason for
being and that discovering and pursuing that reason can bring a deep sense of satisfaction and joy to one’s life. It is often described as a sense of “doing what you love” or “finding your calling.”
To find one’s ikigai, it is necessary to consider four elements: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. The intersection of these four elements is believed to be where one’s ikigai lies.
Ikigai is often associated with a sense of purposeful living and a deep appreciation for the simple things in life. It is also linked to the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which emphasises the beauty of imperfection and the importance
of finding beauty in the everyday.
There are several similarities between Indian and Japanese philosophy and culture.
Buddhism: Buddhism, which originated in India and spread to Japan, has influenced both India and Japan. Buddhism emphasises the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which focus on the reduction of suffering and achieving enlightenment.
Respect for elders: Both Indian and Japanese cultures emphasise the importance of respecting elders. In Japan, this is known as “kanso,” while in India, it is known as “veneration.”
Importance of harmony: Both Indian and Japanese cultures place a great
emphasis on harmony, whether it is in interpersonal relationships or in the
natural world. In Japan, this is known as “wa,” while in India, it is known as “dharma.”
Nature’s influence: Nature has a significant impact on both Indian and Japanese cultures.In India, nature is often seen as divine, while in Japan, there is a strong emphasis on the beauty and tranquilly of nature.
Art and aesthetics: Both Indian and Japanese cultures have a long history of artistic expression, including painting, sculpture, and architecture. Both cultures also place a strong emphasis on aesthetics and beauty.
Emphasis on self-discipline: Both Indian and Japanese cultures place a strong emphasis on self-discipline and self-control. In India, this is known as “tapas,” while in Japan, it is known as “jishuku.”
Meditation: Both Indian and Japanese cultures have a tradition of meditation, which is seen as a way to achieve inner peace and enlightenment.
There are many things that people can learn from the Japanese culture and way of life.
Respect and manners: Japanese people are known for their polite and respectful nature, and this is reflected in their behaviour and daily interactions
Hard work and discipline: Japanese people have a strong work ethic and are known for their discipline and dedication to their jobs.
Attention to detail: Japanese people place great emphasis on quality and attention to detail, which is reflected in many aspects of their culture, including their food, art, and products.
Appreciation of nature: Japanese people have a deep respect for nature, and this is reflected in their traditional gardens, landscape design, and art.
Simplicity and minimalism: Japanese people often value simplicity and minimalism, and this can be seen in their architecture, interior design, and fashion.
Group harmony: Japanese people value group harmony and cooperation, and this is reflected in their collectivist culture and the importance placed on group decision-making.
“Arigatou gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます) is a polite form of the Japanese expression of gratitude *”arigatou” (ありがとう) or Thank you. It is used in more formal situations, such as when speaking with elders, superiors, or strangers.
Newsletter No. 34, Date: 15th April 2023
Theme: Know Thyself
He went up to her and asked her for water. She agreed to give him water, but asked him, “Who are you? Introduce yourself.”
Kalidasa thought that an ordinary village woman was not worthy of knowing who Kalidasa was. So he said, “I am a traveler.”
But the woman replied, “In this world there are only two travelers — the Sun and the Moon. Both Rise and Set every day and keep travelling perpetually.”
Then Kalidasa said, “Alright then, I am a guest.” The woman promptly replied, “In this world there are only two guests — Youth and Wealth … both are temporary and hence can only be called as guests.”
Intrigued Kalidasa said, “I am a Tolerant person (Sahansheel vyakti).” Now the woman replied, “In this world only two truly know the meaning of Tolerance — Bhoomi (Earth) and Bruksha (Tree). How much ever you stamp the earth or throw stones at the tree (for the fruits), both continue to nurture us.”
Now Kalidasa was completely perplexed. He said, “Fine. I am a stubborn person (Hatavaadi).” The woman smiled and said, “There are only two truly stubborn personalities — our nails and our hair. We keep cutting them non-stop, but they continue to grow.”
Kalidasa had been patient so far, but now in anger he said, “I am a fool” Now the woman gave a wide smile and said, “There are only two kinds of fools in this world — a King who rules without having any capability or knowledge & a Minister who is a sycophant to such a King and lavishes praises on such a useless king.”
Kalidasa realized that he had been outsmarted. He fell at the feet of the woman and when he touched her feet and then got up, whom did he see?
Mata Saraswati — the Goddess of Learning and Wisdom. She said, “Kalidasa, you are wise. But only if you know yourself do you become a Manushya (human being). A person without any awareness of self has not reached the pinnacle of being a Human.”
When someone ask about ourselves, we introduce us as a manager, secretary, teacher, doctor, engineer, Financial Analyst, IT professional etc. with variety of qualifications i.e. MBA, Chartered Accountant, PhD., Master of Social Work etc. Some introduce themselves as a mother, grandfather evening mention as a pet-lover, gardener, traveller, etc.
Are we simple a person of certain name, age (no. of years old), sex (gender orientation), belong to a certain race, from a native place, just having a qualification and doing certain kind of job, holding certain positions, having some hobbies? Sometimes these are become our masks we wear and keep on changing.
We are more than our qualifications, positions holding in any organization / society or having certain skillsets. We are sum of many things with some core values and potentials to be harnessed to express ourselves and also to do many great things in the world.
Then question arise… Who are we … what are our true potentials? How can we identify our true Self….our authenticity… how can we utilize our strengths for the benefits of others?
Following sayings…. Quotations may throw some lights on our self-awareness, self-identity, self-actualization, harnessing true potentials etc.
“Know Thyself” — Socrates
(Know Thyself is a Greek maxims inscribed in the forecourt of the temple of Apollo at Delphi, Socrates used this in his teachings)
Know Thyself emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and introspection. It is a call to reflect on one’s own character, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.
To “know thyself” is to gain a deeper understanding of one’s own identity, values, and purpose in life. This knowledge can help individuals make better decisions, set meaningful goals, and live a more fulfilling life.
“Be a light unto yourself.” — Buddha
“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom; Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Lao Tzu
“All power is within you …Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak… Stand up and express the divinity within you.” — Swami Vivekananda
“I must first be the change that I wish to bring about in my world.” — Gandhi
“Self is merely a window from which we see and experience the ongoing narratives of life.” — Debashis Chatterjee
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” — Oscar Wide
“As I have said the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. Great peace makers are all people of integrity, of honesty but humility.” — Nelson Mandela
“A warrior of light knows that in the silence of his heart he will hear an order that will guide him” — Paulo Coelho
“It is not mountains we conquer but ourselves.” — Edmund Hillary
Action Points …
How to go about it …. How to be aware, explore, know, learn and utilize self Let’s start with Socrates. “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing”. Start with openness, without any pre-conceived idea, bias or views about self or worldly knowledge. Just observe the thoughts, feelings and emotions of yourself and Reflect.
Self-awareness can be cultivated through practices such as meditation, journaling, therapy, and honest self-reflection. By taking the time to reflect on one’s own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, individuals can gain insight into their own patterns of behavior and make conscious choices about how to live their lives.
It takes immense time and effort and much patience for Self-exploration. Indian Rishis (Sages / Saints) put no. of years in Tapashya (Meditation) just to know about themselves. It is easy to gain worldly knowledge and develop skillsets than to know yourself. A person can travel thousand miles easily but it is difficult for him to a journey inside of his mind.
Another way of knowing self is seeking feedback from others about one’s behaviour and working style. JOHARI WINDOW a simple model for self-awareness, developed by Luft and Ingham may be tried. It is two dimensional model with four quadrants reveals four areas of knowledge about the self. I. Arena: Known to Self and also Known to others II. Blind Area: Known to others but Not known to Self III. Closed Area: Known to Self but not known to others and IV. Dark area: Not known to self and also not known to others.
The conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna in the Mahabharata (in the beginning of the holy war at Kurukhetra between Kauravas and Pandavas) as described in the Bhagavad-Gita (Hindu spiritual scripture) will be great help for knowing one’s true potentials.
A common man in his day-today life may be engaged with his own-self by fixing certain time of the day…with a schedule NOTHING to DO but just to withdraw from stimulus of outside world, sit quietly in the relaxed state and observing his own thoughts and feelings. Writing journal on events and feelings of the day before going to bed may also be practiced.
Knowing oneself is an ongoing process that requires ongoing effort and introspection. It is a journey of self-discovery that can lead to greater self-acceptance, compassion, and personal growth.
Finally, a piece of advice from Dr. Debashis Chatterjee, Director IIM — Kozhikode, India “We can begin to expand our identification with our emotional self by replacing some of the *“I THINK” expressions with “I FEEL” expressions. This will enable us to stay in touch with what we are feeling from moment to moment. We become emotionally more literate as a result of this.”
Newsletter No. 33, Date: 25th Jan. 2023
Theme: Insights for Leading and Living – 5 P’s
To thrive individuals and companies will need 1. Purpose, 2. Perspective, 3. Perceptiveness, 4. Pioneering, and 5. Persistence.
Sooner or later those who succeed have a sense of where they are trying to go and some clear goals.
A star to steer by and outcomes to measure progress against.
If one does not know where one is trying to go it is unlikely one can get there.
Today in a world that is accelerating, changing and overwhelming with stimuli, data and news this is key or one is just tossed and turned by the latest blast of news and information.
In time this purpose or these purposes get chiseled into one’s individual DNA or the fabric and culture of successful individuals and companies.
When a company is successful it is often seen as driven by a purpose, it has teams built with individuals passionately aligned against a common outcome.
The passion many equate with those who succeed are usually driven by a focus and ferociousness of purpose.
With time and experience comes a sense of perspective.
An understanding that the world does not revolve around oneself which allows one to become more empathetic, generous and invest in relationships.
A sense of perspective also brings with it the realization that life and career while in one way are short in other ways span decades and will bring a tangle of good and bad, ups and downs. To succeed one needs to grimace and march on in the bad times while not losing all sense of proportion and propriety when the force appears to be with us.
Machines do not yet have perspective. Their memory is not our memory. Everyone is a compilation of where they have been and what they have experienced and mining and learning from this history is key.
Perspective is also important to companies, so they see where they fit in their eco-systems and can determine both who to partner with but also to visualize their category broadly enough to see opportunities and threats outside a narrow slice of geography, time, or market.
Successful people and firms also put things in perspective when explaining and making their case. They place things in historical or other frameworks to build convincing stories.
The Cambridge dictionary defines someone who is perceptive as one who is “very good at noticing and understanding things that many people do not notice”.
This noticing and understanding can be about being emphatic in how one deals with people or seeing a niche or hiccup in a process that many may miss or to be self-aware of one’s weaknesses and mental models.
Perception will be key to ensure our relevance in a world of AI, diverse and globalized marketplace and generational differences in attitudes and behaviors.
Perception can be honed and grown and will be a key for success as it will be what helps differentiate carbon based analog feeling individuals from increasingly powerful silicon based digital computing machines.
Our perception and their power and precision will be what will drive profitable results. Their roots tie them down but rather use roots to feed their wings to fly to the future. These innovations can be across a range of a company’s system from supply chain to logistics to customer service to pricing to engineering breakthroughs to re-thinking their business.
Long lasting firms and successful individuals innovate, invent and are idea driven. They do not let their roots tie them down but rather use roots to feed their wings to fly to the future. These innovations can be across a range of a company’s system from supply chain to logistics to customer service to pricing to engineering breakthroughs to re-thinking their business.
To succeed as an individual eventually everyone needs to become who they are.
We need to find our voice and superpower and each of us in doing so pioneer by becoming special and differentiated in our own way.
Defining oneself is an act of pioneering.
Switching jobs, cities and goals are all acts of taking a different path and trading the known for the unknown.
In a world that will be shifting around us we need to be able to re-invent our boundaries.
Living is an act of constant resurrection and re-invention.
We are all capable of being pioneers.
Part of persistence is continued practice.
Practice of a craft, a skill, an art.
A portion of it is patience and recognizing that the reaction to a thing is what will determine how the thing affects us and often not reacting but instead waiting is the most prudent thing to do.
A lot of persistence is recognizing that it is in the everyday doing, the everyday improvements, the everyday re-invention, and repair after setbacks that forge us in the foundry and furnace of industry and life.
It is sculpting each block of stone and placing them together that builds the cathedral.
Day by day. Year by year.
The power of compounding skills, relationships, and returns.
Reference : Rishad Tobaccowala (The Future Does Not Fit In The Containers Of The Past)
Newsletter No. 32, Date: 18th Jan. 2023
Theme: Ideas to Learn (with fun)
🐜Ant Anthology 🐜
🐜 A very little Ant = Infant
🐜 A very big Ant = Giant
🐜 A fat animal Ant = Elephant
🐜 Ant that hangs in the chain = Pendant
🐜 Ant that gives flowers, vegetables and fruits = Plant
🐜 Ant that keeps financial accounts = Accountant
🐜 Ant that does excellent in study = Brilliant
🐜 Ant applying for a job = Applicant
🐜 Ant that is a specialist = Consultant
🐜 A spy Ant = Informant
🐜 Ant that has a gun = Militant
🐜 A proud Ant = Arrogant
🐜 Ant that is cruel and oppressive = Tyrant
🐜 Ant that doesn’t want to change: Reluctant
🐜 Ant that occupies a flat = Occupant
🐜 Ant that is important = Significant
🐜 A sarcastic Ant = Mordant
🐜 An extremely fast Ant = Instant
🐜 A shouting Ant = Rant
🐜 An Ant that doesn’t change = Constant
🐜 A dirty Ant = Pollutant
🐜 Ant you don’t like = Irritant
🐜 Ant that covers the bottom of the body = Pant
🐜 Ant that sells food = Restaurant
🐜 Ant that participates in events = Participant
🐜 Ant that kills virus and bacteria = Disinfectant
🐜 Ant which is not there = Vacant
🐜 Ant which helps in chores of home = Servant
🐜 Ant which does not obey to anyone = Adamant
🐜 Ant which is not in use for long = Dormant
🐜 Ant which replaces body parts and saves lives = Implant
🐜 Ant which moves from one place to other = Migrant
🐜 Ant which helps in an arrest = Warrant
🐜 Ant which controls others = Dominant
🐜 Ant which is not knowledgeable = Ignorant
🐜 Ant which is shy = Hesitant
🐜 Ant which sells goods and services = Merchant
🐜 Ant which removes friction = Lubricant
🐜 Ant not required any more = Redundant
🐜 Ant which is beautiful and fashionable = Elegant
🐜 Ant that is nice and enjoyable = Pleasant
🐜 Ant which excites = Stimulant
Reference : From a WhatsApp group
No. 31, Date: 11th Jan. 2023
Theme: Insights for Living
Life is about Loss, Love and Learning (the 3 L’s)
When you live your life are there some underlying beliefs and truths that drive you or you measure yourself against? If we are to grow, where are we trying to go?
I have long believed that if there is a competition it is not with other people but to get better every day and to get closer to what you believe or your ideals.
Your success is not housed in other people’s minds (what they think of you) but in their hearts (what they feel about you) and in your mind (what you think of yourself).
Loss is central to the human experience in three ways. The first is we often lose in our attempts to succeed. We lose pitches, Clients, jobs, and opportunities. Many times, we win. Some people win little, and others win a lot. But we all lose. But these losses are not the big ones. The second bigger losses are the losses we will face of loved ones and friends either because relationships end, or death comes, and our final loss is that of our lives.
How we live amidst this loss defines a large part of life.
The joy we make is because time is precious, and this moment of victory may not last forever. Given that loss is part of human existence it pays to be kind and to think about how to help those in loss for do not ask for whom the bell tolls since it tolls for you.
A big part of what makes life worth living despite the guarantee of loss is the hope of love. Love of people, of work, of art, of culture. Love may not compute but computers do not love.
There is a great deal of progress made over generations on who one can love, the ability to do things one loves and because of modern technology to be exposed to new worlds, horizons, and things to love.
Learning is particularly joyous. Learning in its first form is building knowledge. With great knowledge and practice we build skills and craftsmanship. Learning to see things from other perspectives gives us understanding. Sometimes if we are lucky, we can graduate from knowledge, skills and understanding to wisdom.
Deliberate Practice: Professor Anders Ericcson who passed away last year wrote a book called “Peak” which is the best study of deliberate practice. Deliberate practice involves three components 1) immediate feedback, 2) clear goals and 3) focus on technique. According to his research, the lack of deliberate practice explained why so many people reach only basic proficiency at something, whether it be a sport, pastime, or profession, without ever attaining elite status.
Today we are living in a diverse, global, and connected world where we have to work together, we have to fuse our different cultures and beliefs and constantly adapt and improvise.
We should invest in upgrading our own mental and emotional operating systems.
Be Open. To other ideas. To other perspectives. To other people. To other cultures.
Be kind to others and to yourself.
Reference: From Rishad Tobaccowala’s Blog “The Future Does Not Fit In The Containers Of The Past”
No. 30, Date: 4th Jan. 2023
Theme: Information for learning
How do some animals become transparent ?
Some animals camouflage themselves by being ‘transparent’. Recently scientists gleaned insight into how Glassfrogs – a species known for this ability – are able to achieve such transparency.
Glassfrogs live in the American tropics and are nocturnal amphibians that spend their days sleeping upside down on translucent leaves that match the colour of their backs — a common camouflage tactic. Their translucent skin and muscle allow their bones and organs to be visible – hence the name. Recent research has proposed that this adaptation masks the frogs’ outlines on their leafy perches, making them harder for predators to spot.
Transparency is a common form of camouflage among animals that live in water, but rare on land. In vertebrates, attaining transparency is difficult because their circulatory system is full of red blood cells that interact with light. Studies have shown that ice fish and larval eels achieve transparency by not producing haemoglobin and red blood cells.
But Glassfrogs use an alternative strategy. Resting Glassfrogs increase transparency two to threefold by removing nearly 90 percent of their red blood cells from circulation and packing them within their liver, which contains reflective guanine crystals. Whenever the frogs need to become active again, they bring the red blood cells back into the blood, which gives the frogs the ability to move around — at which point, light absorption from these cells breaks transparency.
In most vertebrates, aggregating red blood cells can lead to potentially dangerous blood clots in veins and arteries. But Glassfrogs don’t experience clotting. Though it’s unclear how, understanding this could lead to insights into treatments in people for blood clots.
Reference: By Science writer Jacob Koshy The Hindu Newsletter – Science for All
No. 29, Date: 28th Dec. 2022
Theme: Information for Learning: Difference between “http” and “https”
Thousands of Credit / Debit Cards compromised in India due to this !
Some of you may be aware of this difference, but it is worth sharing for many those who are not.
The main difference between “http://” and “https://” is all about keeping you secure.
HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol and HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure.
The “S” (big surprise) stands for “Secure”
In HTTP, URL begins with “http://” whereas In HTTPS URL starts with “https://”
• HTTP uses port number 80 for communication and HTTPS uses 443
• HTTP Works at Application Layer and HTTPS works at Transport Layer
• In HTTP, Encryption is absent and Encryption is present in HTTPS
• HTTP does not require any certificates and HTTPS needs SSL Certificates
• HTTP used to transfer the text, video, images via web pages while HTTPS used to transfer data securely via network.
• HTTP is unreliable while HTTPS is reliable.
• HTTP can be hacked easily but it is difficult to hack HTTPS
• HTTP shows symbol means Info or Not secure
• HTTPS shows symbol means Secure 🔒
If you visit a Website or Web Page, and look at the address in the Web Browser, it is likely to begin with the following: “http://”
This means that the Website is talking to your Browser using the regular unsecured language. In other words, it is possible for someone to “eavesdrop” on your computer’s conversation with the Website. If you fill out a form on the Website, someone might see the information you send to that site.
This is why you should not enter your Credit Card Number in an “http://” Website! But if the Web Address begins with “https://”, that means your Computer is talking to the Website in a Secure Code that no one can eavesdrop on.
If a Website ever asks you to enter your Credit/Debit Card Information, you should look to see if the Web Address begins with https://
If it doesn’t, you should NEVER enter any Sensitive Information such as a Credit/Debit Card Number etc.
While checking the name of any Website, first look for the domain extension (Eg: “.com” or “.org”, “.co.in”, “.net” etc). The name just before this is the domain name of the Website. Eg: in the above case, “http://amazon.diwali-festivals.com”, the word before “.com” is “diwali-festivals” (and NOT “amazon”). So, this Webpage does not belong to “amazon.com” but belongs to “diwali-festivals.com”, which we all haven’t heard of before. You can similarly check for bank frauds.
Before your e-banking logins, make sure that the name just before “.com” is the name of your bank. Eg: “something. icicibank.com” belongs to ICICI; but, “icicibank.some1else.com” belongs to “some1else.”
On some sites, you can visit a more secure version of the page:
- Select the address bar.
- Delete http://, and enter https:// instead.
If that doesn’t work, contact the site owner to ask that they secure the site and your data with HTTPS.
Always look for this symbol 🔒for secure data and financial transactions
No. 28, Date: 21st Dec. 2022
Theme: Ideas for Leading : How Leaders should handle public criticism
The last few years have wrought a wave of employee activism and public critiques of leaders. Elon Musk’s recent experiences at Twitter may be an extreme case, but the swift public scolding from employees and the world indicates that when it comes to expressing our sharp disapproval, leaders are fair game.
As a leader, all eyes are on you. Sometimes that attention will be positive – but when things go badly, not so much. If you’re facing criticism from your employees, what’s the best way to respond? If you’re a leader who’s facing down the strident criticism of those you lead (and even if you’re not, you’d be wise to assume your turn may be around the corner),
Here are some strategies that can help when you’re in the (public) eye of the storm
# Accept that it’s part of the job
Given the number of decisions you make each week, you’ll inevitably get things wrong and disappoint people from time to time. If you focus too much on the failures, you’ll risk losing confidence, clouding your judgment in the future.
# Don’t focus on fairness
Rather than focusing on whether or not you deserve the blame, focus instead on solving the problem, responding to anyone who’s been harmed, and learning from what happened.
# Set the record straight with facts, not emotions
Defensiveness will only fuel people’s derision. If there’s inaccurate information feeding the frenzied reactions, do what you can to replace it with facts.
# Be humble, transparent, and open-minded
Ask yourself what lessons you can learn from the experience. Do you need to lead differently? Have you made unfounded assumptions? Look closely enough, and you’ll find important insights.
# Take action and report back
Commit to a new direction, clarifying what you’ll change and how you’ll avoid repeating the problem – and update your team on progress over time.
Bearing the brunt of widespread public criticism is one of every leader’s worst nightmares. And it appears as though the harshness is only intensifying as employees broadcast their anger and intolerance of behavior they deem wrong. This is definitely the stuff they don’t teach you in business school, or anywhere But anyone who wants to lead needs to prepare well in advance for the moment they face their inquisition. You can get through it, even come out on top, but you need to be ready.”
Do yourself – and your organization – a favor and prepare yourself for the moment when the fingers of accusation point your way. Define and sharpen the values you want to guide you through. Rehearse the messages you hope to convey. Study other leaders who have navigated such crises well and poorly to learn from their experiences. And perhaps, with your eyes tuned well to the cost of such experiences, you may get to avoid it.
Reference: Article by Ron Carucci (Harvard Business Review)
No. 27, Date: 14th Dec.. 2022
Theme: Information on FIFA World Cup
# FIFA : Fédération Internationale de Football Association
# FIFA World Cup: International football tournament contested by the men’s national teams
# No. of affiliated associations (countries): 211
# Host country for 2022: Qatar
# La’eeb is the Official Mascot for this year’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. La’eeb is an Arabic word meaning Super-skilled player.
# The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 slogan is “Now is All”.
“when you live your dream, realise your destiny – and own the moment.”
# This year’s emblem design resembles the traditional woolen shawl that men and women wear across the Arab world during the winter months
# No. of Stadiums in Qatar : 8
# Teams: 32
# Periodicity of FIFA world cup : 4 years
# Tournament months: Generally held in the month of June – July but due to extreme heat condition in Qatar it is being organized in November – December
# Prize money for all 32 qualifying teams : $440 million
# First FIFA World Cup: 1930 in Uruguay (Won by Uruguay, runners up : Argentina)
# Countries won FIFA World Cup so far: 8 (Uruguay, Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Spain, Italy, France, and England)
# No World Cup Played between 1938 to 1959 due to World War II.
# Russia could not qualify for 2022 tournament due to its’ Ukraine invasion (Poland, Sweden and Czech Republic refused to play with Russia in preliminary qualification rounds)
# India qualified for FIFA world cup in the year 1950 but could not play due to lack of fund to travel to Brazil
# First Women’s World cup held in 1991 (USA was champion), next will be held in 2023 in Australia & New Zealand
# France’s Stéphanie Frappart, Salima Mukansanga from Rwanda, and Yoshimi Yamashita from Japan became the first three female referees to be appointed to a men’s World Cup in 2022
# FIFA World Cup 2022 : Famous Players : Lionel Messi (Argentina), Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Nemar (Brazil), Kyliane Mbappe (France), Harry Kane (England)
# Final match will be played on 18th Dec. 2022
# Teams for Final match: Argentina vs (France or Morocco)
# Next FIFA World Cup will be held in 2026 (jointly in USA, Canada and Mexico)
Reader’s Digest (Nov. 2022)
Enjoy All Goals of FIFA World Cup 2022
No. 26, Date: 7th Dec. 2022
Theme: Inspiration from a dedicated retired Teacher
“The day I got my postgraduate degree, I didn’t waste a minute – I rushed back to my village, Ausgrum in West Bengal to become a teacher. Yes, I had higher salary offers from schools in bigger towns, but for me, the Rs.169, I was offered at my school village meant everything; I was hungry to teach the students from my village who needed a good teacher the most.
And I taught at my school for 39 years and only retired because I’d hit my ‘retirement age’– 60, what a ridiculous concept!
So there I was at 60, retired and expected to spend my years drinking sugary tea and whiling away my time on the charpoy! But I was restless, I didn’t want to retire and kept asking myself, ‘What shall I do now?’ A few days later, I got the answer.
One morning, around 6:30 AM, I saw 3 young girls enter my house. I was shocked when they told me they had cycled for over 23 kms to see the Master who’d retired! They were young tribal girls who were desperate to learn; with folded hands they asked, ‘Masterji, will you teach us?’ I immediately agreed and said, ‘I can teach you, but you will have to pay my school fees for the whole year – are you ready to pay?’
They said, ‘Yes, Masterji, we will manage the money somehow.’
So I said, ‘Yes, my fee is Rs.2/- for the whole year!’
They were so happy, they hugged me and said, ‘We will pay you Rs.2/- and 4 chocolates also!’
I was elated. So, after they left, I put on my dhoti and went straight back to my school and requested them to give me a classroom to teach…they refused. But I wasn’t going to stop – I had years of teaching left in me, so I went back home, cleaned my verandah and decided to start teaching there.
That was in 2004 – my Pathshala started with those 3 girls and today we have over 350 students per year, most of whom are young tribal girls. My day still starts at 6 AM with a walk around the village and then I open my doors to students coming from all over– some of the girls walk for 20 plus kilometres; I have so much to learn from them.
Over the years, my students have gone on to become professors, heads of departments and IT professionals – they always call me and give me the good news and as always, I ask them to please give me some chocolates! And last year, when I won the Padmashree, my phone didn’t stop ringing; the whole village celebrated with me – it was a happy day, but I still didn’t allow my students to bunk class.
And my doors are open to all – come visit me and my Pathshala anytime; our village is beautiful and all my students are bright – I am sure you can learn something from them.
I am a simple teacher from Bengal who enjoys his tea and evening naps on his charpoy. The highlight of my life is being called Master Moshai – I want to teach until my last breath; it’s what I was put on this planet to do!”
Padma Shri winner 2021 for Literature and Education. A 78 year old retired school teacher from Purba Bardhaman, WB. He is recognised for his free coaching center named “Sadai Fakirer Pathsala”
No. 24, Date: 23rd Nov. 2022
Topic: The Six C’s of Future Skills
Today like never before we are living in a world of rapid transformation and change. New industries rise and fall and the inter-connected unstoppable forces of globalization, demographic change and technology twist and toss all of us.
In this landscape how do we identify the key skills that we will need from talent or hone our own skills?
What will remain relevant and in demand in an age of shorter and shorter half-lives of firms and business models?
Six key skills will be essential in the future.
Three of these have to do with individual competence (Cognition, Creativity, Curiosity) and three how we connect with each other and the world outside our minds (Collaborate, Communicate, Convince).
Very few people will be world class in all six areas, but we all need to grow to be very good in at least two in each area.
Many companies hire or tolerate unbalanced people who are ultra-strong in individual skills such as cognition and creativity but are terrible at collaborating or communicating and learn that these lop-sided folks almost never ever last.
Being great at collaborating and communicating but being lack luster in cognitive or creative and other skills also flames out as these folks do not earn credibility of insiders or clients. Similarly, brilliance without some basic people and communication skills always ends up poisoning cultures and eventually flaming out because the organization rejects these “smart porcupines”
The 3 Cs of Individual Competence
Cognition. Creativity. Curiosity.
Cognition is simply learning to think and keeping your mental operating system constantly upgraded. This requires deliberate practice and sustained work. Improved cognition is achievable.
But one must work at it and many of us are so swamped with keeping up with our daily workload that we do not invest in growing our skills and expertise. This proves to eventually lead to irrelevance as the needs for yesterday’s skill sets erode and one has not replaced them with a new set of skills for the future.
Creativity is connecting dots in new ways, looking beyond the obvious and this skill will be key as AI powered computers, data crunch and co-relate faster than we ever will.
To be human is to be creative.
Creativity is at its heart the way we deal with a world of change by adapting, evolving, and re-inventing.
We need to learn and feed this inside us. The future will be about data driven storytelling and not just data or storytelling and the ability to leverage modern machines and algorithms to unleash connection and meaning will depend on creativity.
Curiosity is simply being alive to possibilities, questioning the status quo and asking what if ? Today the key competitor or opportunity in any category comes from outside it.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but the lack of curiosity killed the careers of many people.
The 3C’s of Connecting
Being cognitively gifted, creative, and curious will not be enough since we are living in a connected world where eco-systems, teams and linkages is how ideas are born, value created, and long-term careers forged. For these we need to hone and build and train for three other skills.
Collaborate: Collaboration is key to work in a world where API’s (Application Protocol Interfaces) are not just about handshakes between software/hardware but between individuals with different skills, teams in different countries, partners, suppliers and much more.
Communicate: Learn to write. Learn to speak. Learn to present. It may be so old school but watch the people who succeed, and they are good at communication. And all of these can be taught and learned.
But communication is not a one-way street and as important as it to write, speak and present it is as critical to be able to listen, to hear and to understand what others are saying with an open mind and a sense of empathy.
Convince: Every one of us is a salesperson regardless of what we believe our title is. This is true even if we do not sell anything at work. We must convince colleagues of our points of view. We all must learn to convince and learn to sell.
In the end every one of us is responsible for our own careers. We should not outsource our future to somebody else. We should evaluate ourselves and our teams on the 6C’s and invest time and learning utilizing both company and external resources to keep honing and up skilling ourselves.
The future will not adapt to us.
We must adapt, grow, and transform ourselves for the future.
Reference: Rishad Tobaccowala’s Blog The Future Does Not Fit in the Containers of the Past.
No. – 23 Date – 18th Nov. 2022
Theme: Lead with Compassion
Most of us think we have to make a difficult, binary choice between being a good person or being a tough, effective leader. This is a false dichotomy. In truth, doing hard things is often the most human thing to do. There are two key ingredients:: – wisdom and compassion – and it takes learning and practice to lead with both, as well as some unlearning of conventional management habits.
There are four important techniques you can apply in being a wise, compassionate leader:
Here are four ways to infuse compassion into your leadership:
I. Remember the Golden Rule:
Treat others the way you want to be treated. While this may sound like a cliché, it’s the root of compassionate leadership. This is basically an expression of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. This is especially true in today’s increasingly diverse work environment. We need to balance putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes with not assuming we understand their reality, which requires good listening.
II. Listen intently:
If you can hear your employees with an open mind and a willingness to learn, not only will you become wiser, you’ll also become better equipped to help them. If you have an important conversation coming up, take extra time to prepare. This can mean establishing the right kind of environment so that you can be fully present or setting an intention to really hear and feel what the other person wants and feels versus focusing on fixing a problem.
III. Be prepared to serve:
Whenever you’re about to engage with someone on your team, take a moment to reflect on what might be going on with them. Then ask yourself: What support might they need? Be prepared to offer help.
IV. Stretch people to see their potential:
When someone’s already doing well, you might fear that pushing them to do more could be discouraging or demotivating. Instead of shying away from these uncomfortable conversations, reframe them as an indication of true care. Challenging people to grow is ultimately an act of kindness.
When we practice wise compassion by bringing more of our humanity to our leadership, we can create a culture in which others increase their focus on real human connections. As leaders, we should never underestimate the impact we have on people. We have the power to control their livelihood. We have power over the work they do. And we have power over how they feel treated. This is a huge responsibility.
This makes it of the utmost importance to do the hard work of leadership in a human way, so that we can be more successful in positively impacting people’s work experience, their sense of commitment, and their job performance.
Reference : Harvard Business Review (Becoming a More Humane Leader, by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter)
No. – 22 Date – 11th Nov. 2022
Theme: The Virtues That Foster Success
✔️ Serenity Be tranquil within. Let that inner peace and inner joy radiate through a serene countenance. A serene countenance is peaceful, smiling, and serious and does not betray any violent emotions. It is like the surface of a still lake.
✔️ Regularity Be regular in your daily habits, work, and spiritual practices. Get up at a particular time. Be clock-like in your daily activities. You will be free from worry, anxiety, and haphazard and shabby work. You will do the right thing at the right moment.
✔️ Absence of Vanity Do not boast of your birth, position, qualifications, and spiritual attainments. Praise others. See the good in everything. Treat even the lowest creature with respect and as your equal.
✔️ Sincerity Let your words agree with your thoughts. Let your actions agree with your words; let there be harmony among your thoughts, words, and actions.
✔️ Simplicity Be artless. Be simple in your speech. Do not twist words or topics. Be plain; avoid diplomacy, cunningness, and crookedness. Be simple in your dress. Be simple with your food.
✔️ Veracity Be truthful. Stick to your promises. Do not exaggerate. Do not twist the facts. Think twice before you speak. Speak truthfully. Speak sweetly. Be precise in what you say.
✔️ Equanimity Be calm. Bear insults patiently. Bear injury, suffering, failure, and disrespect calmly. Do not be elated by praise, pleasure, success, or honour. Look upon them with equal vision. Behave alike towards friends and foes. Never let anything disturb your inner peace.
✔️ Fixity Remember that you cannot achieve anything if you are fickle-minded. Choose your goal or ideal. Always remember that; never let it go out of your mind, even for a moment.
✔️ Non-Irritability Irritability is the precursor to violent outbursts of anger.
✔️ Adaptability Understand well the nature of people with whom you come into contact. Adjust your mode of approach toward them. Adjust yourself in such a way as to be pleasing to them. Joyfully bear with the eccentricities of other people. Always react in a harmonious manner. Serve all and love all. Have the feeling that the Lord is in all as the Self of all.
✔️ Humility Respect everybody. Bow with folded hands before everybody. Do not talk in a loud voice before elders and venerable persons. Look at the toes while you walk. See the Lord in all and feel that you are His servant and so the servant of all. Consider none as inferior to you. Love and respect all and serve them with affection.
✔️ Tenacity This is the natural friend of fixity. Once you have fixed your aim and chosen your path, stick to it. Do not waver. Be steadfast. Never compromise on your fundamental principles. Have the attitude, “I may give up my life but I will not swerve from the path.” I will not break my vows.” Then your willpower will be strong and irresistible.
✔️ Integrity Develop an integral personality. Tie up all the loose ends of your character. Become a man of high moral principles. Lead a life of righteousness. Let righteousness waft its sweet fragrance from you. Everyone will trust you, obey you, respect you and revere you.
✔️ Nobility Shun mean-mindedness as dung and poison. Never look into the defects of others. Always appreciate the good qualities of everyone. Be dignified in bearing. Never stoop to ignoble thoughts, words, and actions. Watch for disturbances in the mental equilibrium. Watch for the ripples of anger that might arise in the lake of the mind. Quell them then and there. Do not allow them to assume greater proportions. Then you will attain peace.
✔️ Magnanimity Take a broad view of things. Ignore the faults of others. Be great and noble-minded in whatever you do. Avoid silly talk and childish prattle. Let not the mind dwell on little and insignificant things.
✔️ Charity Give, give and give. This is the secret of abundance. Radiate thoughts of goodness and love. Forgive the faults of others. Bless the man who injures you. Share what you have with others. Disseminate spiritual knowledge to one and all. Use the material wealth, knowledge, and spiritual wisdom that you possess as a divine trust.
✔️ Generosity In whatever you give, be liberal. Have a large heart. Do not be miserly. Take delight in the joys of others, by making them happy. Generosity is a sister virtue of charity. It is the fulfillment of charity, magnanimity, and nobility.
✔️ Purity Be pure at heart. Eradicate lust, anger, greed and other evil tendencies. Be pure in your thoughts. Always keep God in mind. Think of the well-being of all. Be pure in your words; never utter harsh or unkind words. Be pure in your body as well, keeping it clean and healthy. Keep your dress and surroundings clean. Observe the rules of physical, mental, moral, and spiritual hygiene.
Reference: Sri Swami Sivananda (Wisdom, Sept., 2012)
No. 21, Date: 23rd Sept. 2022
Theme: Time, Life and Productivity
Life is a journey through reality and time in search of meaning.
A definition of success is the ability to spend time the way you want to spend it or gives you joy.
To be free to use your time to pay attention to what matters and what matters to you.
Time and Life
Franz Kafka wrote “The meaning of life is that it stops”
And most of us can calculate the robust and healthy days left if we are lucky by subtracting our age from 80 (around which much begins to go wrong physically and sometimes also one may see a diminishment in mental faculties leading to a much more constrained life) and multiplying it by 365 days.
If you are 60 you have less than 7500 days. If you are 40 you have 15,000 days.
So, when someone asks you to do things without some form of fair compensation (it does not have to be money but could be learning, experience or the joy of helping) or does not respect your time, do remember you are the one paying for their dis-respect and their cheap valuation of your life!
Time and Productivity
Five ways to make time productive.
Many people recognizing the limitations of time tend to try to do as much as possible. They multi-task and run around in a frenzy. Usually all they achieve is more multi-tasking and more frenzy. Doing more stuff is not the same as achievement. Activity is not productivity. Showing how busy you are does not show how important you are.
The key to doing less is to focus. Two key filters
a) Comparative Advantage:
Spend your time doing things that you can do better than most people. Some focus areas are easy like being a spouse or a parent, since you should be able to do this better than other folks. However, for many of the errands you run and the assignments you take on at work, it is important to ask if you can outsource or delegate or find a colleague who is better than you.
b) Positive Outcome:
Where you can choose you should only do things which give you a positive outcome. Either you 1) earn a financial reward, 2) learn something new, 3) help someone else or the team get better or 4) experience feels good. If it is not one of those four outcomes and it is avoidable, why are you doing it?
You can scale yourself and your impact and therefore save time. Two ways to do this is to use “leverage” and “momentum”.
Much of what we do as white-collar workers is to listen, think, create, communicate and sell. Basically with a few exceptions our success is based on how we are as communicators and sellers of ideas and points of view in building and motivating people and teams.
Today technology and scheduling allow people to leverage. You can use social media, good writing and speaking skills to reach many people that you need to communicate and sell your thinking to. You are not limited to small meetings and groups. You can decide if you are senior to gather folks at the right conference or meeting versus repeating yourself again and again.
The trend is your friend. To not waste your time, you need to understand the underlying trend that is driving your firm or your business and, in most cases, align with it. The world is going global. The world is going digital. Every company has a built in DNA. If you are going to go against the flow prepare for much loss of time and grief.
4. Do new things: The essence of life is new experiences. Often what we remember, and which gives time certain elongation and depth are new experiences. These do not just have to be travels or new relationships and new jobs but could be as simple as walking down a new street, eating at a new place and going to a new cultural event. If there is a way to tattoo the moment into your memory you should try too.
5. Give your time to others: One of the best ways to use your time is to use it not on yourself but on others. Nothing is as rewarding as helping other people, mentoring younger people, and forgetting about yourself in your time equation.
Three behaviors/beliefs that are common to most successful individuals and firms:
The Power of Compound Interest/Compound Improvement:
The most powerful concept in gaining wealth or knowledge is continuous growth over a sustained time.
See early what others see late:
Almost every successful person or company recognized a trend when it was a little stream rather than a gushing river and then committed to align with it.
They just keep on going through adversity and setback and they remember Queen Elizabeth the First who said “Time dissolves more problems than man solves”
Life does not have to be lived forward and understood backward if we decide to pay attention.
Be aware of the fading moments of now.
Look around you. Watch the special quality of light or listen to the hiss of the air duct. Treasure the conversations and even the repetition and lack of differentiation of day after day.
Because one day it will not be so…
Reference: Rishad Tobaccowala
From his blog series, “Future Does Not Fit in the Containers of the Past
No. 20, Date: 16th Sept. 2022
Theme: Bright-Line Rules
A bright-line rule refers to a clearly defined rule or standard. It is a rule with clear interpretation and very little wiggle room. It establishes a bright line for what the rule is saying and what it is not saying.
The story behind the Bright-Line Rule
In USA, in the year 1966, a man named Ernesto Miranda was arrested in Phoenix. The police had very little to go on, but they suspected Miranda of kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old woman ten days earlier. The officers interrogated Miranda for two hours and were rewarded for their effort: Miranda admitted to the rape charge and signed a confession paper.
There was just one problem. During the interrogation, Miranda had been alone and at no point was he informed that he had the right to legal counsel.
When the case went to trial, Miranda’s written confession was used as evidence. He was quickly convicted, but his lawyer appealed because Miranda had never been informed of his rights and thus, according to his lawyer, the confession was not voluntary. The Arizona Supreme Court upheld the decision, but eventually the case made it to the United States Supreme Court.
The United States Supreme Court overturned the Miranda ruling by a vote of 5 to 4 because “The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he has the right to remain silent, and that anything he says will be used against him in court; he must be clearly informed that he has the right to consult with a lawyer and to have the lawyer with him during interrogation, and that, if he is indigent, a lawyer will be appointed to represent him.”
The Supreme Court had just created a bright-line rule. Plain and simple. Clear and bright.
Consider some common examples:
• We might say that we want to check email less frequently.
• We might say that we want to drink moderately.
• We might say that we want to save more for retirement.
• We might say that we want to eat healthier.
But what do these statements really mean?
It can be easy to make promises like this to yourself, but they do not create bright lines. Fuzzy statements make progress hard to measure, and the things we measure are the things we improve.
Now, do we need to measure every area of our lives? Of course not. But if something is important to you, then you should establish a bright line for it.
Consider the following alternatives:
• I only process email between 11AM and 6PM.
• I enjoy a maximum of 2 drinks per night.
• I save $500 per month for retirement.
• I eat at least two types of vegetables per day.
These statements establish bright lines.
These statements make action steps precise and obvious.
Vague promises will never lead to clear results.
How Bright Lines Unleash Your Hidden Willpower
Here are two reasons why:
First, bright lines shift the conversation in your head from one of sacrifice to one of empowerment. When you don’t have a bright line established and you choose not to do something, the tendency is to say, “Oh, I can’t do it this time.” Conversely, when you do have a bright line clearly set, your response can simply be, “No thanks, I don’t do that.” Bright lines help you avoid making just-this-once exceptions. Instead, you are following a new identity that you have created for yourself.
Second, by establishing clear decisions in your life, you conserve willpower for other important choices. Here’s the problem with trying to make daily decisions in muddy water: Without bright lines, you must decide whether a situation fits your standards every time. With bright lines, the decision is made ahead of time. Because of this, you are less likely to suffer from decision fatigue and more likely to have willpower left over for work, relationships, and other health habits.
I am setting my Bright-Line Rules
I. Do Meditation and Yoga (minimum 30 minutes and 5 days in a week)
II. Not to read or watch News before 10 am (except Saturday and Sunday)
Anyone can set few Bright-Line Rules on different aspects to eliminate / stop a bad (unproductive) habit or start a new productive / healthy habit
Reference: James Clear (Author of the Book: Atomic Habits)
No. 18, Date: 2nd Sept. 2022
Theme: Emotional Intelligence (EI); Part – IV
Learning and applying Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Reference Book : EI by Rajagopalan Purushothaman
Can Emotional Intelligence be learned? Is it possible to apply Emotional Intelligence to varied settings, i.e. family, groups, workplace, sports, networking etc.?
Yes. One can learn and apply Emotional Intelligence in varied settings.
Research conducted worldwide has proved that with age and practice Emotional Intelligence increases.
Many researchers and practitioners have proposed various ways to increase Emotional Intelligence.
According to Rajagopalan, one needs to work on three (3) things i.e. Mindfulness, Resilience and Compassion to build Emotional Intelligence.
Mindfulness is being in the present moment. Mindfulness is about experiencing people, situations and nature in the present moment. It is about eliminating thoughts related to the problems, challenges and misfortunes of the past and the concerns, worries and uncertainties of the future. It is the state of mind that focuses on the present, feels and enjoys the surrounding environment.
It is the second component of building EI. The manner in which we treat our body has a profound impact on our EI. We notice that disturbed sleep, unhealthy food and secondary lifestyle devoid of physical activities impact moods and make us feel irritated.
Compassion is triggered by empathy. Compassion is being sensitive to the distress and pain of others with a commitment to try to do something about it. Compassion demands action from us. Just feeling for somebody in suffering can pity or sympathy, but compassion is a higher level of emotion. Four attributes of compassion are Distress tolerance, Nod-judgmental, Sensitivity and Interest.
Driving Emotional Intelligence (EI)
Driving EI is about implementing EI while dealing with real-life situations and people. In order to gain a common understanding of the steps that help us drive EI, here is an analogy of driving a car. Brake, Mirrors, Gears, Rules and Steers help us to navigate through the traffic. Similarly, driving EI helps us navigate through difficult and challenging life situations.
These steps are sequential and need to be practised, especially when faced with challenging situations and people.
Brake: Pause and witness the stress caused by the situation and consciously reduce it
Mirrors: Witness the emotions you are experiencing and collect them together
Gears: Shift perspective and approach whenever necessary to overcome challenges and difficulties in life
Rules: Following the rule of EI helps to communicate with respect and dignity.
Steer: Steering is about being persuasive and influencing, thereby attracting the attention of others.
The ability to manage emotions in a complex, fast-changing and uncertain world is a significant challenge for all of us. No effort is too small in building and driving Emotional Intelligence.
Practice is the key
Next Friday: Determination
No. 17, Date: 26th Aug. 2022
Theme: Emotional Intelligence (EI); Part – III
Emotional Intelligence (EI) in the Indian Context
(Reference N. Gayatri and K. Meenakshi, VIT University, Vellore)
The Bhagavad-Gita (The Divine Song) considered to be the fifth Veda, is lord Krishna’s moral guidance to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is considered the essence of the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) (Easwaran, 1995).
The Bhagavad-Gita refers to the emotionally intelligence person as a ‘Sthithapragny’ (the emotionally stable person). A Sthithapragny, according to Krishna, is one who remains unperturbed in the face of calamity and takes good or evil with equanimity. He is neither happy when something good happens, nor is he affected when things go against him.
There are many striking similarities between Krishna’s emotionally stable person (Sthisthapragnya) and Mayer and Salovey’s emotionally intelligent person. Mayer and Salovey list as the skills pertaining to the fourth branch of their ability model (Salovey, Mayer & Caruso, 2002)
• Ability to be open to feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant
• Ability to monitor and reflect on emotions
• Ability to engage, prolong, or detach from an emotional state
• Ability to manage emotions in oneself and
• Ability to manage emotions in others
Though the Bhagavad-Gita does not speak of the fundamental requirement of emotional intelligence. It stresses the effectiveness of being able to control and manage emotions. Krishna does not merely stress on effective emotional management but first spells out the reasons that lead emotional disturbances and then moves on to the way of dealing with them. Krishna offers a systematic analysis of the problem at hand and a solution as well. Krishna’s advice becomes more practical. The course of action that he advises Arjuna is one can be followed by anyone at any place. The guidance is universal in nature and holds meaning even to present-day life.
Tracing the root cause of all emotional turmoil, Krishna identifies desire and anger as the two vices that lead an individual to his downfall.
“Thinking of objects, attachment to them is formed in a man. From attachment longing, and from longing anger grows. From anger comes delusion, and from delusion loss of memory. From loss of memory comes the ruin of discrimination, and from the ruin of discrimination, he perishes”
(Swami Swarupananda, 1996) (Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. – II, Slokas 62, 63)
The Bhagavad-Gita refers to the emotionally intelligent person as Sthithapragny (the emotionally stable person). Krishna answers Arjuna in twenty one Slokas (55 – 72) discussing in detail the qualities of an emotionally stable person.
“He whose mind is not shaken by adversity; who does not hanker after happiness, who has become free from affection, fear and wrath, is indeed the Muni of steady wisdom.”
“He who is everywhere unattached, not pleased at receiving good, nor vexed at evil, his wisdom is fixed.”
“When also, like the tortoise drawing its limbs, he can completely withdraw the senses from their objects, then his wisdom becomes steady.”
(Swami Swarupananda, 1996) (Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. – II, Slokas 56, 57 & 58)
To achieve emotional stability, Krishna show the path of ‘Nishkama Karma’: action with detachment to action. As seen earlier, emotional instability stems from attachment to and a longing for a desired object. So Krishna’s advice is to detach oneself from the fruits of one’s action.
“Thy right to work only; but never to the fruits thereof. Be thou not the producer of the fruits of (thy) action; neither let thy attachment be towards inaction.”
“The wise possessed of this evenness of mind abandoning the fruits of their actions, freed for ever from the fetters of birth, go to that state which is beyond all evil.”
“In tranquility, all sorrow is destroyed. For the intellect in him, who is tranquil minded is soon established in firmness.”
(Swami Swarupananda, 1996) (Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. – II, Slokas 47, 51 & 65)
Mulla and Krishnan (2007), in their research, pointed out that Karma Yoga and Emotional Intelligence are highly correlated.
Emotional Intelligence is the research topic of my ongoing PhD program at IUJ, Ranchi
Last Part – IV Learning and Improving EI will be shared on 2nd Sept 2022
No. 16, Date: 19th Aug. 2022
Theme: Emotional Intelligence (EI); Part – II
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a multi-dimensional concept which has a significant influence on the behaviour of human beings.
Emotional Intelligence w.r.t. Human Personality
Three components of Human Personality (by Ajay K Jain, MDI, Gurugram)
I. Cognition II. Affect III. Conation
Cognition refers to an implicit process of knowing the real world and it is related to our rational and logical thinking, learning and remembering, analysis and prediction etc. The concept of intelligence belongs to cognitive aspects of human personality, wherein “Intelligence is the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to deal effectively with the environment.
Affect refers to the emotional interpretation of perceptions, information or knowledge. It is generally associated with one’s attachment (positive or negative) to people, objects, ideas etc. Mood and feelings are related to affective aspects of human personality. In several social psychological experiments, it has been confirmed that mood or emotions directly affect the cognitive skills or functioning of the memory. For example, people tend to forget things quickly when they are exposed to highly irritating or depressive situations while remembering things better under positive mood conditions. It means there is a complex interrelationship between cognitive and affective processes.
Conative (or motivation) refers to the personal, intentional, planned, deliberate, goal-oriented or striving component of motivation, the proactive (as opposed to reactive or habitual) aspects of behaviour.
Cognitive, affective and conative aspects interact with each other in any situation, but one may dominate the other in some cases. Cognitive aspects were emphasized more because of its link with IQ and decision-making.
Definitions and Concept of Emotional Intelligence
“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate
emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” – Mayer & Salovey
“Emotional intelligence is a different type of intelligence. It‘s about being – heart smart, not just book smart.” – Jeanne Segal
“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, assess and control one’s own emotions, emotions of others and that of groups.” – Daniel Goleman
“Emotional Intelligence can help in understanding ourselves and others. It can bring meaning to an age of math and reduce the “algos” which in Latin means “pain” in the algorithmically tuned streams that colonize our minds.” – Rishad Tobaccowala
“Emotional Intelligence is an ability to perform under stressful conditions through cognitive controlled affective processes.” – Ajay K Jain
Emotional intelligence is the product of two main skills: Personal and Social competence. Personal Competence focuses on an individual and is divided into self-awareness, and Self-management. Social competence focuses more on how one behaves with other people and is divided into social awareness and relationship management
The three internal hallmarks of emotional intelligence pertinent to self are:
• Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one’s moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
• Self-regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgement and think before acting.
• Motivation is a passion to work for reasons that go beyond the external drive for knowledge, utility, surroundings, others, power or methodology and are based on an internal drive or propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
Externally, EI is a measure of what goes on between self and others.
• Social-awareness is the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people and how one’s words and actions affect others.
• Relationship Management is one’s ability to influence the emotional clarity of others through a proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.
Cognitive intelligence works well under normal conditions of life; however, emotional intelligence is needed under stressful conditions.
An appropriate combination of cognitive and affective processes leads to a better understanding of the situation and problems before attempting to solve them.
Emotional Intelligence is balancing emotional and rational thinking.
Emotional Intelligence is the research topic of my ongoing PhD program at IUJ, Ranchi
Part – III (EI in Indian Context) will be shared on 26th Aug. 2022
No. 15, Date: 12th Aug. 2022
Theme: Emotional Intelligence (EI) – Part-I
The world is becoming VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) with globalization and technological advancement (digital era). There are hyper competitions, frequent changes, conflicting demands from stakeholders, technological disruption, knowledge-based intervention and customer-driven processes among organizations. Human capital has become a scarce resource. Workplace adaptation, productivity, collaboration and job satisfaction for an employee in an organization have become more complex.
According to a study by World Economic Forum “Skills on-demand beyond 2020 would be complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility. It specifies Emotional Intelligence (EI) as one of the many vital competencies.
Several research studies have shown that Emotional Intelligence is essential for accomplishment in academics, marriage, family, groups, sports, health, workplace, and other social settings.
Do you believe what Daniel Goleman (author of the famous book: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ) mentioned?
“One needs to have 20 per cent IQ and 80 EQ to be successful in life”
He also wrote that “If your emotional abilities aren’t in your own hands, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
What is IQ and what is EQ?
IQ – Intelligence Quotient: Merriam-Webster defines IQ as “a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person. Determined by either the ratio of the mental age (as reported on a standardized test) to the chronological age multiplied by 100 – or a score determined by one’s performance on a standardized intelligence test relative to the average performance of others of the same age.”
IQ is related to reason, logic, rationale, calculation, estimation etc.
EQ – Emotional Quotient is defined as an individual’s ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity. EQ is often referred to as Emotional Intelligence (EI) as the terms are interchangeable.
What is Emotion ?
Oxford English Dictionary defines emotion as “any agitation or disturbance of mind, feeling, passion; any vehement or excited mental state”
Emotion is a neural impulse that moves an organism to action. Emotions are specific and intense and are a reaction to a particular event. Emotions are social.
Sometimes one uses the term emotion with affect, moods and feeling in an interchanging way. For a clear understanding, Affect is a general term that covers emotions, feelings and moods. Moods are diffused and unfocused. Feelings are personal and biographical and whereas Emotions are social and action-oriented.
According to Goleman (1995), “emotion refers to a feeling and its distinctive thoughts, psychological and biological states and range of propensities to act” There are hundreds of emotions, along with their blends, variations, mutants and nuances. Some of the primary emotions are Anger, Sadness, Fear, Enjoyment, Love, Surprise, Disgust and Shame.
Fear is the most dominant and frequently occurring emotion. Whereas Anger is the most destructive emotion
Emotional Intelligence is the research topic of my ongoing PhD program at IUJ, Ranchi
Part – II will be shared on 19th Aug. 2022
No. 14, Date: 5th Aug. 2022
Theme: Vile & Naive
In the world of power, there are broadly two kinds of people –
Vile – Those for whom only ends matter
Naïve – Those for whom means are as important as the ends
Lots of ambition but little conscience.
Free of moral constraints, free to act the way he pleases.
He is faithful to his ambition – that is his source of strength.
He isn’t sensitive or kind, and life isn’t a picnic for him.
He often toadies up to more powerful and arrogant.
He believes in self-praise and encourages others to praise him.
He makes problems that he has already solved.
He changes his strategies to prevent other people from recognizing them.
He shifts his position and traverses indirect routes to keep other people from anticipating him.
As his objective changes, so do his form.
He has no principle, no integrity.
There are two (2) types of Viles
The first type is Schemer
His path is circuitous.
He poses to be what he is not.
He is a wolf masquerading as the sheep.
He is a friendly thief.
The second type is the intimidator
He uses force to get his work done.
He believes what can’t be solved through force needs more force.
His confidence multiplies his success rate.
Gradually he acquires an awesome reputation.
Then he rides roughshod over others.
His is overburdened by his socialization in early years.
He is kind and compassionate and wishes to be seen as such.
He is modest about his achievements.
Means, as well as ends, matter to him.
He is respectful to his superiors as well as to his subordinates.
He knows what he will stand for and what he will oppose since his conscience tells him that.
He does not understand when to duck and when to fire.
Sometimes he should pick up the hatchet but very often, he doesn’t even have a hatchet.
In the struggle for power, sometimes Naïve wins, but more often it is Vile.
Advice for the Vile
Don’t be seduced by self-importance. It is not the whistle that pulls the train.
Never speak well of yourself if you wish your men to speak well of you.
Inauspicious events arise when you detest hearing about your errors.
Survive on self-merit if you wish to survive long
Forget about making an impression. Concentrate on contributing
When you start crowing, you stop growing
Advice for the Naive
Only goodness cannot help to survive.
One should use creativity and wisdom to be successful and overcome crisis
When people brag, stay silent.
Be assertive when the situation demands it.
Reference: By Pawan Choudary Book – When you are Sinking Become a Submarine
The Friday Funda (TFF)
No. 13, Date: 29th July 2022
Theme: The Art of Asking Great Questions
While listening is an important skill, the art of asking questions is equally, if not more, important when it comes to learning more about your work tasks, unlocking hidden opportunities, delivering better results, and mitigating unforeseen risks.
# Great questions demonstrate that you’re thoroughly prepared for a conversation. When you convey to your client, colleague, or manager that you did your homework and are aware of the broader situation, they’ll feel respected and be more inclined to share information that makes it easier for you to do your job well.
# Great questions illustrate the expertise you bring to the table, without showing it off. When you try to show off, the topic of the conversation starts revolving around you. A good conversation requires both parties to get a chance to speak and understand each other.
# Great questions invite others to deepen or broaden their thinking, and challenge their beliefs. Such questions will likely be reciprocated with loyalty and trust. They can also help uncover new opportunities for you and your clients or colleagues. If you don’t stretch yourselves, neither of you will grow.
# Questions can also result in uncovering additional opportunities for you. If you stick with what the client already knows, the solution will be in that limited space. But if you introduce new ways of thinking, you might just open the conversation and trigger bigger, deeper challenges that will require work from your end to make it happen.
# Many of us find ourselves worrying more about saying the right thing in a conversation, as opposed to asking the right question.
Personal development and growth begin when you demonstrate curiosity by asking questions.
Reference: By Tijs Besieux, Ascend, Harvard Business Review