Thursday, December 31, 2009

Quotes to help you toast the New Year

Dear Friend / Colleague,

Reposting a collection of quotes from Harvey Mackay's website as a toast for the new year.

Harvey Mackay's Column This Week Quotes to help you toast the New Year

One of the most innovative holiday greetings I received last year came from friends who sent a holiday card labeled "Quips and Quotes to help you toast the New Year." Since I am an aphorism junkie and always on the lookout for creative and interesting ways to stay in touch with my friends and readers, I especially welcomed their effort.
In fact, I liked it so much I decided to create my own version. Here is some of my best advice to guide you through 2010 and beyond.

They don't pay off on effort ... they pay off on results.
No one ever choked swallowing his or her pride.
Don't just mark time; use time to make your mark.
People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.
Technology should improve your life, not become your life.
The best way to be somebody is just to be yourself.
The best vitamin for making friends is B1.
It is not a question as to who is right but what is right.
The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing it exactly right.
Many people hear ... but few people listen.
There is no free tuition in the school of experience.
The person who has no goal does not fear failure.
The best way to get even is to forget.
It is better to forgive and forget than to resent and remember.
Make decisions with your heart and you'll wind up with heart disease.
People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be—not what you nag them to be.
You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth.
When you kill a little time, you may be murdering opportunity.
Education is an investment and never an expense.
Ideas won't work unless I do.
It's never right to do wrong, and it's never wrong to do right.
Your smile is more important than anything else you wear.
Gratitude shouldn't be an occasional incident but a continuous attitude.
Helping someone up won't pull you down.
Those that have the most to say usually say it with fewest words.
If you don't learn from your mistakes, there's no sense in making them.
People wrapped up in themselves make pretty small packages.
When is the last time you did something for the first time?

I also wanted to share these gems from unknown authors whose wisdom is timeless.

Smart is believing half of what you hear; brilliant is knowing which half to believe.
One thing I can give and still keep is my word.
Those who beef too much often land in the stew.
Compromise is always wrong when it means sacrificing principle.
Most people say they are willing to meet each other halfway; trouble is most people are pretty poor judges of distance.
If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Most people aim to do right; they just fail to pull the trigger.
Most people fail in life because the wishbone is where the backbone should be.
Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastery of it.
Friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.
Happiness can be thought, taught and caught—but not bought.
Burying your talents is a grave mistake.
Praise, like sunlight, helps all things to grow.
Life just gives you time and space—it's up to you to fill it.
The heaviest thing I can carry is a grudge.
A stumble may prevent a fall.
Failure is no more fatal than success is permanent.

Mackay's Moral: Not just words to live by, words to live better. Happy 2010!

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online. More information and learning tools can be found online at

Friday, December 25, 2009

Can India’s English edge remain forever? An opinion …

Dear Friend / Colleague,

What is a big factor that works in favor of India while being chosen as an Offshore IT destination is the advantage of “English Skills“. Ofcourse many indians would like to think that it is their logical/analytical and Engineering skills but there is no denying that “English Skills” do act as an important factor particularly when the Business is with the US and Western Europe.

India is not the only offshoring destination and now faces significant challenges from many other locations too for being the location of choice. And the challengers are very keen to bridge the gap between themselves and India, by doing whatever it takes to bridge the gap.

“English” and “Communication Skills” happen to be a key area that is being aggressively worked upon by some of these new locations. When we talk of new competing locations, the discussion is definitely incomplete without mentioning “China“. China is taking many aggressive measures to bridge their gap with India in terms of Communication skills handicap.
I have an interesting anecdote to share. At Organization level, these days we are working on adoption of BELIT(Business English Language Indicator Test) and Global English solution which is the self-paced mode systematic English Skill Improvement.

Our Wipro Chengdu(China) folks are clearly miles ahead in terms of their commitment and intensity with which they are approaching towards Global English learning i.e. English Communication Skills improvement as compared to the less than luke warm response that is witnessed in most of the Indian offshore locations. Either the Indian engineers do not really believe their English needs that much improvment or they are simply unable to find the time. But in under 1 month we have seen the top chinese learners putting 3 to 6 X effort than their indian counter-parts.
So, my question to you is - Is it a question of If (or) When, India is overtaken by China(Chinese) people in terms of English Communication Skills?

I think it is matter of When, and not If - What is your take on this question?

Jagan a.k.a. J2M

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ever heard of "Socrates Triple Filter Test"?

Dear Friend / Colleague,

Just a nice post on why one should not indulge in Gossip. May come as a bit preechy but if you have not heard about Socrates Triple Filter Test, might want to give a read and give it a thought. I did :-).


Harvey Mackay's Column This Week Spread the word: don't gossip
One day in ancient Greece an acquaintance met the great philosopher Socrates and said,
"Socrates, do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"Triple Filter?"
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and..."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
There would be no or little gossip if everyone followed Socrates' Triple Filter Test. But that is not the case. Gossip runs rampant.
It's no wonder legendary American humorist Erma Bombeck said: "Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It's gossip."
Someone has calculated that, if a rumor was started at midday, and was repeated within two seconds by everyone who heard it to two other people, who repeated it and kept the cycle going, by about 6:30 p.m. the same day everyone on earth would have heard it.
Of course, the Internet has brought gossiping up to warp speed. A rumor posted online can make it around the world in milliseconds. And although the post may seem anonymous and, therefore, "safe," the damage is potentially irreparable. Snopes, the urban legends reference site, can't debunk everything, after all.
Office gossip in particular is a major concern for a number of reasons. The Triple Filter Test could prevent plenty of misunderstandings and hard feelings in the workplace, where teamwork and cooperation are often central to productivity. How does someone work with another who insists on passing along information that may not be true, good or useful?
Spreading rumors about co-workers can create a hostile environment that customers will pick up on. This is a good reason for avoiding gossip. Plus the fact that I've seen many deals go down, due to gossip.
As advice columnist Dear Abby said, "It is almost impossible to throw dirt on someone without getting a little on yourself."
So clean up your act! The Triple Filter Test is simple to use. Truth alone is not enough reason to spread gossip. Who doesn't have an embarrassing truth that they want to remain private? And while good news may seem harmless enough, is it your news to share? But perhaps the most compelling reason to avoid gossip is the usefulness test. How will the information be used? I'm betting it won't be for positive reasons.
Maybe you've heard about the three ministers who went fishing. They were good friends, each of whom was a pastor at different churches in the same town. While they were fishing they began confessing their sins to each other.
The first pastor said, "Do you know what my big sin is? My big sin is drinking. I know it's wrong, but every Friday night I drive to a city where no one will recognize me, and I go to a saloon and get drunk. I know I shouldn't, but I can't help it. It's my big sin."
The second pastor said, "Well, to be honest with you, I've got a big sin too. My big sin is gambling. As a matter of fact, you know all the money I raised for that mission trip to India? I took it to Las Vegas instead and lost it all. I'm so ashamed. My big sin is gambling."
Finally it was the third pastor's turn. He said, "Guys, I probably should have gone first, because my big sin is gossiping."
Mackay's Moral: A word can be more powerful than a sword.

Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online. More information and learning tools can be found online at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Laughter - is n’t it indeed beautiful?

Dear Friend / Colleague,
These days i am on an accumulation mode - for taking a view on lighter side of life. One such takes is enclosed below :
Two venerable academicians returning from Nagpur Science congress were travelling in the same coupe. The one on the upper birth snored like a lion in distress and the other spent the night turning on his berth cursing.
When morning came the snorer got down, yawned and asked him companion, “Professor did you have a sound sleep”?
“Well” retored the victim bitterly, I had the sound and you had the sleep.
As my wife these days has been complaining with lot more “sound” about my “sleep” or rather my snoring, this joke made an instant connection with me :-).
As a practice i normally cite all my references and this extract came from “Academic Jokes” by S M Mathur.
Jagan a.k.a J2M

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Humour in (and as) medicine by Dr K P Misra

Dear Friend/Colleage,

Somehow stumbled upon this little joke book and sure there are few rib tickling while thought provoking takes in this book. Already tweating a couple of jokes on this - but doing a plain mail as well, in the beginning of the week. Hope it brightens your week ahead .. have a great week :-)

1. What is the epitaph on a Dentist's grave?
"This is the last cavity he filled"

2. Dr Misra being a senior consultant and cardiologist gives many lectures on hypertension and obesity etc and he frequent take in his lectures is
"Lifeline is inversely proportional to the WaistLine" :-).
The expression in Hindi is even better. "Jitni badi kamar hai - utni kam umar hai"

3. Expectedly Dr Misra talks a lot of benefits of regular exercise and in particular walking regularly as its beneficial effect in reducing blood pressure and reducing heart attack.

Then he adds that now-a-days nobody is walking regularly except for Opposition members in the parliament or respective assemblies. On the same thread one of his friends, once countered him - who said the art of walking is lost. How else i go from my house to the car garage? :)

It is just a Rs 60 book available from Flipkart :

Jagan a.k.a J2M

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Making Employees Better by Helping Them Get Worse

Dear Friend / Colleague,
Yes, you have read the title right. Don't freak out just as yet :). And don't think this is merely a title, that is using an unexpected caption just to get your attention, although this is also true to some extent. This ChangeThis manifesto - which is a fair peek into new book by a David Rendall, that you might want to check out, if you think you want want to explore newer ways of working with your employees/directs in order to derive the best from them. The key point is ofcourse, we need to leverage people's strengths rather than harp on weaknesses, is ofcourse well understood. But this message is delivered rather effectively (in my view) in a refreshingly new light. The concept of re-framing as talked in the book is really an interesting way to look at the overall big picture.
Thank you
Jagan a.k.a J2M
The Freak Factory: Making Employees Better by Helping Them Get Worse - by David Rendall
"If conventional approaches aren’t working, then what should we do? Instead of attacking people’s weaknesses, we need to find the strength that is hidden inside their apparently negative characteristics. It is time to stop trying to create well-rounded and balanced employees. We need employees that are unbalanced.
We need employees that are freaks. It is time to build a freak factory."

Coping with grief and loss ..

Dear you,
There was a death in my family last week :( . My mousaji(i.e. my mother’s only sister’s husband) died on the evening of 3rd Nov’09. He was 62 and was quite healthy but unfortunately died due to a case of undetected jaundice and due his own insistence that he is all well despite some warning signs.
After personally experiencing the sense of grief my aunt and her only son(aged 26) going thru, while i tried my best to comfort them, i was quite disturbed by the whole episode. I was in native place for around 3 days over last week doing the best i could - while musing over the topic of “Death - which is ofcourse inevitable for anyone”. But my thoughts are more focussed on “How one should cope with grief and a sense of loss“.
Death of someone near and dear is nothing but a massive change that falls upon an individual - so i was quite clear that it is a special case for Change Management although i was clear that there is definitely more to it. I was looking up for references on Coping with grief and sense of loss. Mostly such emotions occur only during loss of loves ones - while it is also possible incase other painful situations like divorce or even say a job loss - but may be with less intensity. While understandably it is change management at a generic level - grief will go through it’s own unique stages.
Some people always do better than others in terms of dealing with grief, here are the various stages talked about and i could find so much parallel - with each of the stages in terms of what i witnessed in close quarters. While the stages are represented to be somewhat sequential in nature - how much time a mourner spends in a phase can considerably vary from one another. Also a particular phase that is already past can easily resurface upon a trigger.
Reference is below - but after having read thru phases and finding much parallel in terms of what i had witnessed in close quarters - i am choosing the restate the content phases in my own words. Part of the reason is that this link is blocked by proxy as well and as i am writing this note i am unable to refer to the link myself and hence the need to restate the content based on my recollection.
1. Numbness and shock - This is what usually describes the initial reaction when the news is first broken to close relative - particularly when the death is least expected out of the loved one.
2. Denial and disbelief - After the initial reaction, the most usual reaction is deny that the event has not happened as it is quite easy thing to do - than face the reality and the consequences.
3. Pain and anguish - While first few phases may last only few minutes once the event registers well into the mind, one has to deal with inevitable pain associated with the loss. Usually it is in this phase all the wailing and brow-beating takes place and it can be quite painful for a close observer as it was for me.
4. Anger - In this phase we find outbursts from the grieving person onto anyone who can be blamed or held accountable for the loss of the dear one. It is in this phase they vent out their frustration and this phase can be difficult to bear for people in close quarters. This phase is particularly difficult one - as inevitable some of the the near and dear ones will be subjected to lot of outbursts as it was the case in my family. My old grand parents who are still alive have unfortunately got some flak from my mousi and it is a very difficult phase.
5. Bargaining - This is the phase where the mourner starts getting into a What if kind of analysis and the associated thoughts. If only i get a second chance - how would i approach the situation is the most common refrain. The plea is mostly with the God - to be given a second chance where some kind of avoidance measure could have been adopted. While an observer knows that there is absolutely no use with this kind of what if analysis - which goes again and again - apparently it is an important grief coping mechanism nevertheless.
6. Depression and guilt - During this phase, the mourner is consumed by guilt for not having acted such and such way because there is realization that the inevitable has already happened. All things that could have been done by either the mourner herself or some other person is agonizingly thought and over analyzed during this time.
7. Acceptance - By the very term this phase means the mourner is ready to accept the loss of the loved one and ready to move with what needs to be done. Reaching this phase can be agonizing long - ofcourse there is never a gaurantee that a relapse into an earlier phase does not happen, because for that all it needs is a small trigger and there are always enough triggers ready to go off all around you.
8. Hope - By this phase we are indicating that the mourner is now future focussed and hopeful having dealt with most of the grief and sense of loss. How much one would wish that mourner really fast forwards to get into this phase? Is n’t it ?
Note: Well - i am not quite sure, why i wanted to write this particular note. May be it is my way of dealing with the grief and also leaving a something as a reference - for anyone needing to do their own coping bit. Not that i would wish it for anyone even in my dreams - but simply because such experiences can not be simply ‘wished away’
-J2M (Journey to Mastery) - Hopefully it is not a Mystery

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's in your message - Information (OR) Persuasion?


Dear you,
What do you make out of most of the communication that you do? Would it categorize as Informative (or) Persuasive? Does your e-mails tend to go mostly with FYI (For your information) tag (or) with FYA (For your action) tag? Even when it is the latter, how much emphasis do you put in selling the action that you want the other person to take? Is n't real that most of communication tends to be informational kind. Ofcourse, we do tend to mark certain messages with FYA tag which in other words calling for the other person attention and action.
But even when calling for other person's action, are we persuasive enough? Is n't a point to ponder?

To inform (or) to persuade is key a consideration. There is a good changethis manifesto which covers this issue at good length.
This is actually preview of the book titled "Move the World" by Dean Brenner. As you would notice in the article, Dean argues rather forcefully that all communications that we need to make ought to be of "Persuasion" kind and none should be of merely of information kind. It is almost similar along the lines of an expression becoming common place which goes as "All Speaking outside our homes is Public Speaking".

Another key point made by Dean is that Communication is a tool for great leverage. The title of the book is aptly titled because as per author, the power of communication is immense that it could literally move people and the world, if utilized well. Archimedes is supposed to have famously said that "Give me large enough lever and a place to stand and i will move the earth(world)" which in essense conveys the power of leverage. Another great Greek personality Socrates is supposed to have said something entirely different. "If you want to move the world, first you should move yourself". So, which view would you subscribe to?

A key element of the "Move the World" book is the helpful mnemonic with which the method of communication is defined. It is called GAP method where

G - stands for the Goal, that you(the communicator) is seeking to achieve and how clear the communicator is about the overall objective to be achieved with help of communication.

A - stands for Audience awareness, basically customizing the message for audience

P - stands for your Plan for persuasion in your communication (as opposed to mere information)

Does this want you to rethink the way you are approaching your key communications? Feel free to post your comments or write back?

-J2M (Journey to Mastery - Hopefully it is not a Mystery :-) )

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Be a fan of "Skill", not just a "Knowledge" fan !!!

Dear you,

Don't we tend to over-emphasize Knowledge but not enough on the Skills. I often see not enough clarity between the two in the minds of people. Until very recently i hav been guilty of mixing the two myself. Well, I would NOT say that i got it all figured out but i would call this musing yet another small step in the never ending J2M :-).

Knowledge is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. It is very apparent with its' focus on "Know"ing .. it is right there in the word, is n't it? . However, skill emphasizes the "do" in other words action part of the equation. Now, just to get ourselves a little energized on the "Skills" aspect i have gotten aroud writng this musing, can't really call it a poetry :-( ..


Can we become fans of acquiring the necessary "Skill"

However it would require definite "Will"
Might involve taking a bitter "Pill"
Surely there is considerable "Drill"
So that eventually for us, the task becomes run-of-the-"Mill"

Now, are we willing to "kill" all our "ill"s in getting there?
Not pursuing this might result in a hefty "Bill"
Well, we may never get our complete "Fill"
However, should it stop from figuring out our "Gill"s?

Now do i hear you(the reader) saying "Chill" :-)
I hope i have not gone over the "hill"
Because the task at hand is not really that "uphill"
And a real skill fan will tell us about the "thrill"

With this i rest my "appeal".


Note : I acknowledge Sudip Majumdar(LBS colleague) for providing the initial fodder on this thread. First few lines are entirely his from a training program few months ago, i have just extended the idea fuerther.

-J2M (Journey to Mastery - Hopefully it is not a Mystery :-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yearning for Learning (or) is that Yearning for Earning .. :-) What is your take?

Dear you,

U can consider this pure word play, but this can be discussed little deeper. What do you see around you? Are people really inclined to learning for learning sake (or) only if the Learning translatable into some earning?

In other words is the Yearning is for learning (or) only earning?
Please discuss your views !!!

J2M (Journey to Mastery - Hopefully it is not Mystery :-)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

On "lee"SHUN" ing (listening)

Dear you,

Lee'SHUN'ing is the No. 1 element in getting to an Effective Communika'SHUN'.
However sometimes we 'SHUN' this either aware or unaware.

Almost everyone agrees that lee'SHUN'ing is very important, but most don't do enough.
Does n't it sound a big 'SHAM'?

Can better lee'SHUN'ing be a personal me'SHUN' (mission) for everyone of us?
Because talking much and lee'SHUN'ing less is the usual situa'SHUN' (situation) more often that not.

Does life afford such ku'SHUN' (cushion) ? I wonder !!!
From today, let better lee'SHUN'ing SHINE in every interaction of ours !!!

-J2M (Journey to Mastery - Hopefully it is not a mystery)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

India has got Talent !!!

Dear You,

I am not very big on either TV or films. This includes watching all kinds of talent and reality shows. However, upon hearing very favorable things about the Colors TV Channel program by name “India has got Talent”, I took opportunity to watch the entire final episode on 23rd Aug’09. I am very pleased with myself that I was able to do it. It is a great reaffirmation to the emphatic title of the program. Straightaway jumping to watch the final of a Talent show means that you are only viewing stuff that has already been validated by thousands of viewers multiple times over.

A very nice thing about the show is about the multiple formats allowed all in the same game. Basically a clear validation of the fact that Talent comes in all sizes and shapes. Although it does means the viewer has to choose between two things that compare like Apples vs. Oranges during the voting process purely on the basis of appeal alone. I guess it was not a mere coincidence that I happen to vote for Prince Dance troop (as it is evident that many other people too voted for them – given that they emerged the final winners). However there was lot of temptation to vote for few other teams as well such as
• Ventriloquism-cum-puppet show of Satyajit
• The impressive act by folks from Ujjain
• The excellent orchestra played by the 3 person band (by name MSonic) from Gauhati, Assam.

As I claim no significant expertise in either film or TV, I seek to use this point to connect to the fact that there can not possibly be a one-dimensional view to talent or for that matter Intelligence (IQ).

The theory of multiple intelligences was first proposed by Howard Gardner in 1983 and he defined that there are as many as eight different types of intelligences that human beings possess. The exhibit below clearly outlines them all as well as the indicative professions for someone high on a given type of intelligence (IQ)

These are:

1. Bodily-kinesthetic: where physical activity and muscular movement is involved. People who are oriented towards this typically learn better by getting up and moving around.
2. Inter-personal: people with high amount of inter personal intelligence, they tend to be extroverts. They have high sensitivity to others moods, feelings and motivations and they are known for their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group.
3. Verbal-linguistic: These people are good with words – spoken or written. They are good at explaining, writing, teaching or public speaking.
4. Logical-mathematical: This is domain of logic, reasoning, abstraction and numbers. This is most traditional area of IQ(Intelligence Quotient).
5. Naturalistic: It was originally not there but subsequently added. People with greater sensitivity towards nature and their place in it, while deeply caring about sustainability aspects can be considered here.
6. Intrapersonal: This area has to do with introspection (looking inward) and reflective capabilities. Usually people with this type of intelligence are highly self aware, capable of understanding their own emotions, goals and motivations.
7. Visual-spatial: People with this intelligence are very good at visualizing and mentally manipulating objects. Now-a-days when small kids go and learn the Abacus (Maths) through special tutoring, they are actually working on their visual and spatial skills to improve their math abilities.
8. Musical: This area has to do with rhythm, music and hearing, basically a potential A R Rahman.

It is quite possible for people to possess more than one intelligence and combine these in many creative ways to bring about good effects that otherwise unimagined so far.

So, instead of asking a question such as how Intelligent (smart) you are, a better question would be to ask how you are intelligent (smart) – in other words, ask yourself which of the above eight intelligences do you associate yourself most with? And are you prepared to work on that shaping that intelligence further as it can provide you a very fruitful career ahead.

So, in what way you are smart (Talented)? Let the other smart (Talented) people know ..

J2M (Journey to Mastery – Hopefully it is not a Mystery :-))

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is your home state and where you want to go?

Dear You,

My son is studying in third standard and as part of his Social Studies lesson he needs to learn all the states of Indian union along with their capitals. Not an easy task for his age. So I have got this giant India map hung up in his study room and I am beginning to use the map a Visual aid to show each of the states. The approach I am taking is start with his home state i.e. where he is currently located (i.e. Andhra Pradesh) and then move to other states in an alphabetical order. I point out each of the new states and also try to give examples of his friends or anyone from the neighborhood, if they happen to be from the given state so that he relate well to new state he is learning right now. For few places I also entice him about the place about what it is good for thereby raising his curiosity to visit someday.

You might wonder why I am talking about States as third standard geography possibly makes no sense here. It is just child play. My topic of discussion right now is about States but a different kind of states. These are “States of mind”. So what’s your take on states of mind that your mind will be going through most of the time? What might you be your predominant (home) state and what will be the desired that you would take your mind to?

A well renowned professor of Psychology by name Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I know it is a quite a tongue twister to be able spell it, but that’s not terribly importantJ), came up with a model/definition of possible states of mind.

He also modeled the state of mind along two dimensions.
Skill level - represented along X axis (closer to axis meaning low skill), while further along the axis meaning higher levels of skill.
Challenge level – represented along Y axis (closer to axis meaning low challenge) and further along the axis meaning higher levels of challenge.

As we can see from the above picture there are total – 8 states of mind represented as per the model.
• Apathy - is a combination of low skill and low challenge levels. When one’s skills is not adequately developed one tend to feel “indifferent” to the task, particularly when one is challenged to low level of challenge.

• Worry – is a combination of low skill when faced with moderate challenge. Similarly Anxiety is the state of low skill faced with high level of challenge. The worry and anxiety states are good states, if used constructively to improve one’s skill to higher levels.

• Boredom – as you can see this is a case of moderate skill faced with a low level to mid zone level of challenge, however this turns into helpful state of Arousal as the challenge level grows. There is a definite sense of excitement at this stage.

• Relaxation – high skills level when faced with low level of challenge. Many a times people tend to perform their favorite activities as a means of relaxation. At mid level of challenge it is called Control. Because with higher skill any mid level of challenge feels to be absolutely in control but even that is not best state to be.

• “The last but the best state to be in” is known as state of Flow which has high skill equally matched with high challenge. It is in such a state on tends to lose the sense of time and become highly absorbed in the activity. The activity also becomes intrinsically rewarding and very pleasurable for doer of the activity.

Question is what is the predominant state in which your mind stays most of the time? And what is the desired state of mind for you? Have you experienced the “State of Flow” – if yes, with what kind of activities?

Let discussions and comments flow.

J2M (Journey to Mastery – Hopefully it is not a Mystery :-)

The woods would be very silent, if …

Dear You,

What kind of sights and sounds the word “woods” bring to your mind? Have you ever been into any woods either trekking or following a trail? What kind of experiences, await you in the woods? Well I am not talking about my two cents about a latest RGV’s movie. Anyone starting to read this passage thinking of this as a commentary of the (in) famous director’s works or about the more recent work of his, you can stop reading this now. I have not seen the new horror genre movie of RGV, hence can’t comment on same. By the by, I am no film expert although I do have some passing knowledge about movies and I intend up movies only if there is strong connection with learning and development related concepts.

Back to the topic of what images come to your mind, by mere mention of woods? Tall trees forming canopy, thick green/brown foliage depending upon the season and singing/chirping birds will be definitely part of the expectation. Coming to think of it, the sounds are as important as the sights that await you deep inside woods. Sounds are made by mostly the birds and it is quite difficult to imagine woods without any sounds, is n’t it?

While this post is not about environment awareness, given the connection I should mention about “Silent Spring” a book written in 1962 by Rachel Carson – which poses the question “How does it feel to have one fine Spring morning when there are no birds left to sing”. This book helped raise lot of awareness about the harm caused by many pesticides such as DDT as arguably it killed and eliminated many bird species. Due to the debate raised by this legendary book, many harmful pesticides like DDT have been even banned in the western world from further use.

What I am talking here is very different topic. At woods do you only hear the best singing birds such as a Cuckoo or Nightingale alone sing (or) do you hear many other birds joining the singing/chirping act? Henry Van Dyke, a well noted American author, educator of 20th century once implored his readers with following motivating words. "Use what talents you possess: The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best."

So it is very important on part of every one of us whatever talent we have without worrying about whether it is really the best or not. Unless we try out, how the talent will improve further?

Let’s not have silent woods, classrooms or even for that matter this very campus arena forum itself. Whether you consider yourself to be really good in expressing yourself (or) only beginning to get a hang of expressing yourself, you are equally welcome at Wipro campus arena.

J2M (Journey to Mastery – Hopefully it is not a Mystery :-)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Dear You,

Have you played the game “Rock – Scissors – Paper” before? The game is sometimes is used a selection method in a similar way to flipping a coin or throwing a dice in order to choose a winner. Apparently kindergarten kids in different parts of the world play this quite a bit. I learned it myself from my brother's four and half year old son.

Played between two people, the game is really simple. Each player needs to pick one of the three possible options and flash it to the opponent while opponent also does the same. Both need to draw out their options in the same instance.

Rock is represented by clenched fist
Scissors is represented by two fingers indicating the Scissors
Paper is indicated by one’s palm kept in horizontal direction – indicating flat surface. The rules of the game are simple although little unexpected and fun.

Rock beats Scissors (as it can break the scissors). Scissors beats Paper (as it can cut through it) . The surprise package is that Paper beats Rock (as it can wrap around it). Remember it is the rules, so you can’t argue against them. And whenever the same symbol is drawn out by both Players – it is a tie – meaning no one scores over the other and they need to play further until one person wins.
So it is a game of intransitive relationship at work and not the conventional transitive relationship of A > B, B > C implying A > C. If you don’t get the game right away, no worries – best way to learn it is play it with a friend or colleague immediately. Do it now.

So, what is the big idea of “Rock – Scissors – Paper”? Given the three options which one you see yourself as? Rock, scissors (or) paper? Whatever be the option, you win against one but lose against another.

In my sincere view this is an important life lesson that applies to learning as well as success in life. While you could be better than someone else in your own work or study group at the same time someone else in your group is definitely better than you and you are better than someone else in some unique way. Is n’t it the truth? May not be against the same attribute but could be for a very different attribute because no single attribute (like academic achievement) alone tilts the scales of success either in life or in corporate career. A completely different attribute like “self confidence or willingness to explore the unfamiliar areas” may turn out to be more important, particularly during challenging times like the current times. Is n’t it?

So on a closing note, I would like to say that key to success in life is based on keen observation and appreciation of positive characteristics every one around you. Your initiative towards learning and sharing with in your study or work group will be more important than ever – in these times of immense challenge. No one can possibly do it alone and we all need to win the game together.
Feel free to post your comments and reactions on the thread.
J2M (Journey to Mastery – Hopefully it is not a Mystery :-)