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