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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dreams,Goals and Targets.

Dream is a term talked very much these days. The word has found a place in the corporate world and whether people understand it or not, using this has become a fashion. The recent popularity of this term may be due to the fact that our Past President Dr. APJ.Abdul Kalam used this to motivate young people.


It is very true that once you have a strong dream, every thing around you will align to make you realise your dream. I can quote many instances in my own life to support this. The trouble is how to have a strong dream. It appears that ones dream very much depends on his basic attitude. If by virtue of your attitude, you are comfortable the way you are, reading a book like 'The Magic of Thinking Big ' will not move you even a little to form your own dream. To read the book itself you need to have an attitude.

All of us are born in environments that are never our choices. We are born with certain facilities and certain commitments. However the dream can just enter your inner being by some means. Just seeing a car can set your dream to own a car and travel by it. People who are highly creative are blessed with habit of dreaming and only people who can dream can become good leaders.

There are many leaders in government and corporate world of business. Most of them will be working towards goals set by their ultimate leaders. It just requires a high level of obedience and commitment. Their achievements are not their dreams but dreams of some one else. Many times in achieving the goals they experience stress and this reflects in loss of health also.

But if the goals set by others can be converted in to dreams of their own, then working towards the dream will be less strenuous. Work becomes an enjoyable activity. We may have to understand the terms target,goal and dream appropriately.

Target is some specific thing that should be hit. Let us consider that you are practicing shooting with a gun and you have an object in your front to hit. The 'target' means the object to be shot. The goal is to acquire the skill of hitting similar targets. The dream is to feel the repeated achievements of hitting the targets again and again.

Even before the practice starts, dream should start and then the goal is achieved and the target is hit. Mostly the dreams with respect to materialistic achievements and skill related achievements can come true. Dreams involving another individual will come true partially or may not come true at all.

This is the reason why many marriages are failures. The dream of the man and the women in many circumstances will not be the same. The husband may like to live in country side where as the wife's choice could be to live in a metropolitan town. The dreams must be parallel or simply one should dream and the other should take the life partner's dream.

Children are in most disadvantageous position because they are pestered by the parents' or teachers' dreams. Aggressive parents and teachers set very high targets to the kids and their mind, not able to accept the target will get weary and children become total failures. I saw a video clip on my face book added by one of my friends. A young boy obviously denied education,working in a tea stall brings a few glasses of tea for delivery at a nearby apartment. The boy thinking that the door of the apartment opens inwards pushes it hard and even try dashing on it. Suddenly the school going kid from the apartment returns home and he effortlessly opens the door that opens outwards. Then he points out to the sign board on the door that reads 'PULL' to the uneducated boy. The short film ends with the caption 'EDUCATION OPENS THE DOOR'.

Here I prefer that the caption should be 'EDUCATION IMPROVES VISION'. The educated kid had to act based on his vision and he opened the door. People are lead to believe that education can do every thing. Education is only a tool and attitude defines and portray a dream. A man with education may be denied many things he demands but a man with a dream will not be denied because what ever is required including optimum and relevant education for achieving the dream will be acquired by him. Some times too much of education without a dream or goal will prevent one from dreaming.

There is an ancient story of a father having only one sweet mango wanting to give it to his sons. The mango is a special one, for if one eats it he will become enlightened. The condition is that it should not be cut and shared and only one person should take it. He decides to announce a competition taking his wife in to confidence. Of his two sons who ever goes round the world and completes first will be presented the fruit. The younger boy is energetic and he owns a peacock that can fly him to any where he wants. With confidence of owning the peacock he sets out to go round the earth. The elder boy is a smart one. He considers the competition critically and finds out that his world is only his parents. His brother has misunderstood the word 'world' and taken a meaning as 'earth' and has proceeded in a wrong way. The elder one gets the fruit just by going round his parents in less than a minute.

Here we can consider the peacock as education. More than education intelligence is required to correctly interpret the meaning of the word 'world'. The intelligence can be induced by strong dream. The dream keeps one alert, intelligent and ready to act appropriately in every situation.

So any thing we want to achieve we should start dreaming the situations of living, having achieved what we wanted. The technique has worked for me all these years and it is going to take, not only me but all the dreamers like me through the pleasant journey.

If you have not set your dreams, you will be exploited by others. So set your dreams and don't exploit others but help them giving what they want in return to their services towards your dreams.

Dream to lead
Dream to give
Dream to help and
you shall
Get your followers,
Have enough  to give and
Blessed with full of energy to help.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Celebrating Silver Jubilee Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating wedding anniversary has gained prominence in our place only recently. The age old custom is to celebrate the 60th birth day and 80th birth day of men as wedding anniversaries. The celebration is usually arranged by the children of the couple and the children get ceremonious blessings. It is also considered as a time to recollect the past memories and express a feeling of gratitude by the children to their parents for all the unconditional love showered upon them till the event.


Religious rituals are performed and mostly the mantras uttered are in Sanskrit. Some Dravidian Saivait pray the God, reciting Tamil poems in a chorus and take the blessings of the couple.

However 25th wedding Anniversary is not a traditional function.

Jan 17,2011 happens to be the 25th wedding anniversary for me and I wanted that to be celebrated as a small soft skills session. The challenge in my mind was that I should not speak in front of my sons, relatives,neighbours, friends and my staff members but still should give insight into the marital life.

Luckily I am a member of Lions Clubs International and Y's Men International. People have to learn from these organizations how to conduct business meetings with very high level of emotional connect among the participants. The participation in these clubs are with family. So in one of the board meetings my wife and I proposed that we will host lunch or dinner for the January 2011 General Body Lions meeting.

There was a bright idea in my mind to request the President Lion A.Mohan and board members of our Club Lions club of Tirunagar Town to accommodate a special speech on 'Marital Life' in the General Body Meeting on our wedding day. The board members of the club approved the request. Every Lions club meeting should have a chief Guest who will speak about a specific subject for a duration of 20 to 25 min.

Our club is blessed with great orators and Lion Dr.P.Natanagurunathan was invited to speak on the subject. The meeting was a Lions meeting and all the Y's Men of my another association Y's Men's club of Madurai Majestic were invited as guests. One of the internationally prominent Past District Governor Lion NAK Gopalakrishna Raja being a member of our club was on stage to bless us. Ysm Dr.A.Sashikumar, Past District Governor of Y's Men International was a dignitary on the dais.

The meeting started at 11.30 AM and after the regular business session, senior Lion members felicitated us. Lion NAK Goplakrishna Raja kept his speech short observing the tradition of Lions giving extra minutes for the chief guest Lion Dr.P. Natanagurunathan.

Lion Dr.Natanagurunathan gave a captivating speech describing the divinity of the marital life. He beautifully explained that if the duties with respect to the families of both husband's side and wife's side is discharged with commitment, there is a fulfillment that keeps the couple happy.

He stated that our scriptures define four stages in social life of an individual. First being the Brahmacharyam followed by Gruhastham, Vanaprastham and Sanyasam. The Gruhastham is the marital life with great amount of responsibilities. Vanaprastham is also in the same structure of the Gruhastham but the responsibilities will be taken over by the grown up children. Sanyasm is optional for those who want to renounce the family life in search of truth and God.

One becomes fully eligible for Sanyasam only after competely discharging the responsibilities in the earlier stages. Marriage is the blissful arrangement to give fullness to existence as human. The speaker in a flawless fluent regional language Tamil, related the events in my life to explain Gruhastham. The speech was enlightening for the unmarried and younger couples. The elders could take a mental tour of their past to feel happy about their own achievements. The message was very clear stressing the importance of Gruhastham and Vanaprastham which forms the marital life.

Then it was my eldest son's turn to talk about his experience in the family. His speech was also very much liked by the audience. He quoted many instances of encouragement and freedom given to him. He could beautifully relate many of his achievements to the timely support from both parents.

I had nothing to speak except to thank every one. My wish has been fulfilled by all who addressed before me. The meeting served as a short workshop on marital life.

Men and women are born as dependents. They grow up and become independent. The independence is soon realized to be difficult and they choose to become interdependent in the arrangement called marriage. Basically men and women have different emotional make up. They learn to accommodate each other and support each other in marital life. Children are the happiest when the marital arrangement is undisturbed. So both men and women learn what unconditional love is. Children normally do not listen to all the advices of the parents when they become adolescents but never fail to pick up the good things.

Celebrations should be designed to reinforce values. Our humble attempt to reinforce the values of the marital life appears to have done this effectively.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

SURVIVAL OF THE SMARTEST

Let me start this post with a question, 'What smart means?'
Smart could mean clever and very alert. One who is successful financially with adequate time at his/her disposal can be considered very smart.

The real challenge is that society takes all steps to prepare us to be less smart and to the advantage of the administrators and capitalists, but we may have to get psychologically reconditioned to become smart. You are first put in school and taught lot of things which you may not require in the whole of your life. Still there is no way to learn how to read and write and know some fundamental science and mathematics. By the time one is in class 8, what ever is required to be smart has been covered in the academic curriculum but because of the torturous learning process the students gain far less insight. Three or four years are subsequently wasted preparing for some qualifying examinations. Then one is supposed to study a degree to get a job. Thus the society delays your smart moves towards your dreams. For that matter, you will not even be allowed to dream. You will repeatedly be directed to study and get high scores. Then your skill lies in finding a suitable job for what you have studied and the grades you have scored.


You have to work for the societies dreams. The business men and politicians are ever smarter. They have learnt to be smarter by their own efforts. They have mass media under their control and orchestrate the life style and culture. Liquor is used to their advantage and a common man cannot understand all these things. In India even a cultural phenomenon like monogamy is used to the advantage of people at the top.

There is a popular film song in Tamil that starts quoting a dialogue between the snake in the neck of Lord Shiva (Hindu God) and an eagle. The eagle is supposed to carry Lord Shiva adoring the snack in his neck. The snake is imagined to enquire the eagle ' How is life?' and the eagle replies ' If every one is in their respective places every thing is fine'. The snake is the smartest species depicted here. The snake if found on the land by the eagle, then it is an easy prey for the eagle.

So occupying the position of the snake is the greatest smartness and maintaining the position is the special soft skill required to survive. Becoming a politician or a business man or a bureaucrat is a very smart move that requires all together a very strong will power.

Being smart requires a high degree of manipulation. All trivial works will have to be delegated and the positional advantage should be used at all times in making money, spending least time for making money. Identifying a way to do this is the trick of the game.

If one is sentimental and empathetic there will be conflict in the mind to resolve and act smartly. The ruthless smart move is explained in Mahabharatha. In the war front, when the warrior Karna is working to free the wheels of his chariots, Sree Krishna directs Arjuna to shoot the arrow on Karna. Here the position of Karna, being by the side of atrocious Dhuriyodhana is not favourable to the well being of the society and the smart move is justified. The rules of the war is grossly violated but the result is worth the violation.

If you are very happy in your present position and smart enough to save your position you will find this article absolutely useless. The cream of Vedas as contained in Bhagavath Geetha has been passed on to disciples from the Sun God to Manu and then to Ikshvagu. Then there was an interruption. People started feeling happy in their own positions. The cream of the smart knowledge was forgotten because it was of no use.

After sometimes, things started going wrong at the top but people were so adapted to rules and sentiments that they could not act smartly and bring an end to the atrocity. So to a capable person Arjuna, at an appropriate time when he was facing conflict between rules, sentiments and well being of the society, Bagavath Geetha was retold by Lord Sree Krishna. The time had come to learn the rules of being smart.

It appears history is getting repeated and if we assume that we are one of the capable person, we may have to learn to be smart and bring the economy under our control.

In the days to come smartest will survive and they are the fittest.

One can hear the wake up call for all Arjunas

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Performance

Recently a story was circulated on the email. Somebody wanted to write a motivational piece to build the confidence of the readers. The story has been written with two characters, the God and a person who meets Him with the grievance that God is partial to bless very few with ability to achieve great things. God convinces that all are created with will to try any thing but only society imposes the conviction in every one of us that things cannot be done so easily.

The will of every one is to try to perform. But doubtfulness in the minds is brought about by others. Normally people tell someone attempting a new venture based on their own conviction that success is difficult.

Society talks of hard work. The successful people are taught to say that hard work brought them success. I personally have many successes and if you ask me, I will sincerely say that the reason for success is not hard work but work with involvement. When I scored cent percent marks in examinations I recall that I never was focused on the mark but was focused in writing answers accurately.

The focus on perfection and joy of working step by step has brought all successes. When we are involved in the work, the results can be any thing. Desired result is just a goal and trying again and again is not hard work but a joy. When we are totally involved, we don't even perceive certain bodily inconveniences. We just ignore hunger, sleep and bodily discomfort. The attitude is to learn or to achieve.

In learning, the first step is always clumsy. A certain amount of repetitions is required by the time we learn a skill. To achieve proficiency the activity should become involuntary. We will be able to try new techniques and sometimes completely redesign the method the more we do a thing over and over again.

Society looks for the result. Society always compares what you have achieved with what others have. If your achievement is anything less than others', society never recognizes. Society wants competition. But competitions never produce masterpieces. I don't think Shakespeare competed with anybody. So is Bill Gates or any of the recent tycoons. There is huge amount of money involved in making people compete. The ego is amply fueled. But society wants to see people fail. Then only others can involve and give advices. Easy money is there in speculation. So when there is competition, one can expect only manipulations and not real good performance.

There used to be a story about a tooth paste company increasing its sales by increasing the diameter of the mouth of the tooth paste tube. It is a case of clear manipulation receiving ample appreciation.

So, to achieve great results one need to be involved in the process without even a slight distracting thought about the result. The joy of performing and achieving proficiency is much more than the results.

To perform one needs to be enthusiastic, involved in the work and enjoy every process of the work.

Many an occasion we have responsibilities to do some work without our liking. At such times, if one can accepts the work and learn to enjoy the process, mind get relieved from the stress of inner turmoil. The results of such works will also be great.


Present moment living, involving in the job at hand and enjoying the process itself is the highest form of bliss which can bring immense peace. Try and you will concur with my views. Don't comment from what you already know. Experience the bliss.

You can see a highly creative being in you and you will start loving you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Secret of Masterpieces.

Thinking is an automatic process and is similar to a stream of water. Under the influence of emotions the stream becomes faster or even turbulent. The attitude and its extension as emotion determine the speed of the stream of thinking. The attitude can either be positive or negative. The negative attitude gives rise to anger, fear, jealousy, lust and anxiety. Lust can transform into anger, fear and anxiety. These emotions will result in destruction. Laziness is a negative attitude which will result in self destruction. Love is the positive mental attitude.


Every human being has all above said attitudes and the emotions associated with each of them. It is impossible not to have negative attitude. But it is possible to decide our course of action based on love. Love for the environment, the fellow human being and the other living things around. Love is usually unconditional and the action born out of love focuses on giving and adding value to the relationship.


The good thing is that, even when the negative emotions occupy one’s mind, it is possible to observe the flow of thinking and one can become aware of the negative thoughts. Then consciously by focusing on activities like intense observation of things around and involving oneself in creative works, the mind can be freed from negative emotions.


Creative thinking can arise out of calmness. It is like a clear steady stream.


Generally the emotions are triggered by external stimulus or by the past experience of an individual. When the emotions are triggered, it is possible to sit quietly and watch the thought process. Chanting the pranav manthra that is the natural sound of resonance 'OM' and watching its vibration eases the nerves and a calmness is induced. Care has to be taken not to indulge in this calmness for long. After achieving a momentary calmness one should try to become aware of the disturbance and understand its nature. A little bit of philosophical knowledge will help better understanding. Once the nature is understood we may start diverting the thoughts by involving in some activities. Physical activities relieve the stress much faster. This is required to release the mind from  inertia. Just chanting of OM or concentrating on an object does not complete meditation. Without becoming aware of the nature of disturbance and without understanding  the reason for the stress, if the mind is repeatedly trained to escape, then the mind becomes very dull. Stopping the thoughts can never be the solution though it is also a state in which people can spend hours and hours and call themselves to be blissfully happy. All the medical equipments will indicate favourable parameters when some one is monitored in such slumber. People are convinced to believe that this is the ultimate. Inaction is never the way of living for any living being. Inaction has amply been discouraged in Bagavat Geeta.

However, positive stress is essential for most of the creative activities. The individual cannot lead a team without positive stress because leadership itself is a passionate activity. So only by understanding we can allow the positive stress and calm down the negative stress.


Awareness of the thinking at every instant is what is required to channelize the stream of thinking in a desired route.


By practicing awareness the thinking can become calm. By acting from a calm and focused mind set, any activity can be performed with great concentration and the results of such activity will be marvelous. Masterpieces are born out of such focused actions.