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 :-)