MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I stopped reading the newspaper long time back. With the news full of scams, murders, rapes and corruption, it makes all of us feel helpless and resigned. “Nothing can change this country” – we say and get on with our daily routines. This feeling of resignation makes us blind. It makes us somebody who is only ready to blame and not take any responsibility. It makes us blame the authorities, government, neighbours, schools, colleges and youngsters – basically everybody other than the people living under our own houses.

As a kid, I saw my father make a difference to a small community when he first started a waste management program. I saw him work hard, toil his days only in educating people about segregating waste. That step of his was a huge inspiration for me. Waste segregation not only made our colony cleaner but it helped those poor rag-pickers who got clean dry waste to be recycled. He changed a few lives and inspired many.

I grew up and came to Bangalore. I joined a few NGO’s. I soon found that here work was being done even at a bigger scale. Providing learning skills to underprivileged kids, teaching English and Computers to underprivileged kids, working on waste segregation at a much larger scale, basic sex education to kids and working against child sexual abuse – I have largely touched these areas while working with many people. I realised that world is full of passionate and enthusiastic people who are not resigned but all ready to make a difference at their own scale.

I belong to a sikh family and in Sikhism, we are taught to do “Seva” (service) to the mankind. There have been times in my childhood when I used to go with my parents and sister to a gurudwara (Sikh temple) just to do seva there. It could be anything – polishing shoes of the people who have come to visit, serving food to those who have to come to eat, clean and sweep the whole area, etc. As a kid, I used to enjoy it because there were other kids and my sister and we used to have loads of fun. As I grew older, I learnt more and more the importance of it. I was a school topper and a vice captain because of it there might have been a bit of arrogance in me. But as the Sunday arrived and I polished shoes of those strangers and served food to those who are not even fortunate to go to a private school – the experience brought me to the right level of humility.

This is what art of giving is all about. It about feeling humble and feeling human. I have gone to old age homes for volunteering and the feeling that I get after an old lady says that she wished her daughter was like me – is worth a million dollars. It touches you right through. It is the perfect way of forgetting all of your petty problems in life and believe that there are indeed a million people who need you. As part of a program, I have taught English to young college kids (from lesser privileged backgrounds) with the intention to help them look for a job for themselves. Even today when I get a call from one of my students telling me that she got placed in another company as an accountant – I feel special.

I read somewhere – the right time to do service is just anytime but the best time to do service is when you are at the highest point in your life. Just when you got that promotion or you got a 40% hike or you bought that villa you always wanted to buy or you bought that super expensive sports car – that is the time when you should sign up for a program and volunteer to help those who are in a need. Donating money is also service but not an effective service, because you can never keep track of your money. And by donating money you will never get a feeling of giving. You must give your TIME. And when you spend time in service while being at your highest highs – you will be brought back to ground and humility. You will know in reality of what kind of sufferings people go through and that happiness is not that promotion, villa or car. Happiness is being in touch with the real souls.

It is easy to sit at home and blame the government or the authorities for not doing what you expect. It is very difficult to take it up in your hands and do the bit of your contribution. I loved what Aamir Khan said in Satyamev Jayate, he said that there are a billion burning issues in this country called India… child labour, infanticides, waste hazards, child sexual abuses, etc. Just take up one issue that is close to your heart and try to make a difference to it. If you are really passionate about it, you will go to just any level to get that issue eradicated from our society. And the best part is that in the process you will inspire many more to join you and take your mission forward with you. You will realise just how many people are willing to work on it – they are just waiting for the right leaders. You don’t have to be politician or a policy maker to make a difference. Just get out of your comfortable homes and start working on that one issue that is close to your heart. In a country of 1 billion people, even if 10% of us take up a cause and a mission to bring about a change, corrupt politicians will be weakened.

There are a lot of people who are doing a lot for their society, who have made it a mission of their lives to make a difference to the people who are not even related to them. Some of them are known by a few people in their colonies, other in their states and some go on to win noble prizes for that. It depends what scale do you want to work on? Start small and get inspired!

TRUE FORGIVENESS & GENUINE REPENTANCE BRING ABOUT RECONCILIATION


Forgiveness

TRUE FORGIVENESS

Reconciliation and Restoration does not happen immediately. It’s a gradual process which begins with true forgiveness. When we forgive someone from the heart without holding on to resentment…reconciliation begins. This is one side of the story.

GENUINE REPENTANCE

Reconciliation is a process which takes time to rebuild the trust…but again it depends on the genuine repentance on the part of the offender. This is the other side of the story.

HARMONY BETWEEN BOTH

Reconciliation focuses on restoring broken relationships and bringing about harmony. And where trust is deeply broken it takes much time.

FORGIVENESS FINALIZES RESTORATION 

Forgiving a person who has hurt us very badly is very difficult and regaining that trust seems even more difficult. But when we truly want to re-establish our relationship and forgive from our heart, we experience immeasurable joy and peace that words cannot express.

Therefore, friends…forgive, reconcile and restore …and reward yourself with peace and joy.

Indira Patra

A FOR ATTITUDE

A for Attitude

“The Problem is not the Problem; the Problem is Your Attitude about the Problem”

Captain Jack Sparrow in, “The Pirates of the Caribbean”

If you have ever ventured, to see the movie, “ The Pirates of the Caribbean”, then I’m sure you have come across Johnny Depp’s character Captain Jack Sparrow’s incongruent voice saying this. It was music for my ears, while I lapped up this hugely popular flick. “How true”, I thought.

I’m a Surgeon, by profession, in a very busy Mission Hospital. Since the days of Medical School, it was always my passion to pick the best Medical minds at my disposal, for a formula which will lead to success. I just wasn’t satisfied becoming a Doctor; my sojourn always was to become a successful one. My interactions, with these top notch Doctors, revealed one thing – Attitude. As my Plastic Surgery Professor, would famously say, “Just like a great building stands on strong foundation, so does success. And the foundation of Success is Attitude”. Yes, people, it’s not, ‘A’ for Apple but ‘A’ for Attitude that leads to success.

Attitudes are established ways of responding to people and situations that we have learned, based on the belief, values and assumptions we hold. Attitude become manifest through our behavior. It is attitude that determines how fast you achieve your goal or how well you acquire a set of skills or knowledge. Attitudes also provide a framework to solve the problem. A study done at Harvard University, found that when a person gets a job, 85% of the time it’s because of their attitude, and only 15% of the time because of how smart they are.

Attitude drives behavior, which further determines how you interpret a given event. Any pathway to success will be replete with several obstacles. Your attitude determines what those obstacles mean and therefore how well you deal with them. If you have a lousy attitude, you’ll see obstacles as threats and annoyances. Even if you overcome them, you’ll find the process frustrating, which will make future obstacles harder to cope with. If you’ve got a positive attitude, you’ll see obstacles as interesting or even fun. Even if you fail to overcome them, you’ll find the process invigorating, which will make future obstacles easier to overcome. I ran into a perfect example of this the other day. I was trying to find out a parking space on a two wheeler, when suddenly a car zipped around a blind corner and we would have crashed if we both hadn’t quickly braked. My heart skipped a beat. My immediate thought was that it’s a good thing that we both had quick reflexes for braking but I should have slowed down early. For me it was a bugle before accident and I promised myself to be careful. The car driver, a lady, with four children, looked at me with eyes of contempt while dishing out expletives. Clearly still furious she drove away faster which predisposes her to an imminent accident sometime later. Same event but different outcomes because of different attitudes. Everything in life is exactly like this. Stuff happens. Your attitude determines how you interpret and experience those events, and therefore strategies and tactics you’ll follow in the future. This is not to say that people who suffer from lousy attitudes don’t win sometimes. They do, but it’s always with massive hassle and complaint. When they finally win, they feel exhausted. Similarly, having an upbeat attitude doesn’t bulletproof you against failure. You’ll fail sometimes, but your attitude makes it easy to learn from your mistakes. And when you do win, you feel exhilarated.

For those of you who already feel that they do not possess it, there is good news. Attitude that leads to success can be developed. Nobody is born with it; otherwise men like Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Sachin Tendulkar, and APJ Abdul Kalam wouldn’t be successful. The other day I was watching an old video of Ramakant Archrekar being interviewed about his famous pupil, Sachin Tendulkar. He was candidly telling about 5 characteristics of attitude that Tendulkar had, which eventually led him to be successful. These I found are universally true for everyone in every situation. I call it the, “5 U’s” of Attitude.

#1. UNFLINCHING POSITIVITY
Charles Swindoll once said that, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. Sachin always wanted to be a fast bowler and was told by coaches that he cannot become one. He never lost the positivity and made it big with his batting. It is we who decide if we will remain positive or negative. No one else has a role to play in this.

#2. UNQUESTIONABLE HONESTY
Honesty with oneself is the main cog in the wheel called Success. If we aren’t honest with ourselves then chances are we won’t with everything else.

#3. UNFATHOMABLE COMMITMENT
In all the years that Sachin played, critics never could find fault in his commitment. Every goal setting for success falls flat if there is lack of commitment. Our commitment should be 110% to be able to achieve what we plan.

#4. UNRELINQUISHING FAITH
You can never win if you do not believe that God has a role to play in every success that is achievable. World’s best Footballer, Argentina and Barcelona star, Lionel Messi once said, “When you do what you can’t do, God will do what you can’t”. Sachin himself was a highly religious guy.

#5. UNRESPITEFUL BELIEF
Sun Tzu in his book, “The Art of War”, states that, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win”. We definitely try to win at all costs but with the wrong mindset and attitude. To win though we must be thinking positive and should get rid of that, “Stinking Thinking”, I call it.

So remember, always be positive in your actions and honest with yourself and others and remember to give 110% percent in everything you do. Have Faith in God and Believe with all your heart and mind that you are a winner, and you will then develop a winning attitude and you will be successful in life.

If there is one quote that I can suggest for you to live your life by is the one by Winston Churchil…. “ NEVER, NEVER, NEVER , GIVE UP”!!!.

Author’s Bio: Dr. Anupam Dey is a General Surgeon in a Mission Hospital at BISSAMCUTTACK, ODISHA. He is a thinker and a thought provoking writer.

WORK CULTURE – INTEND TO SERVE THE WORLD

Serving Attitude

Think for yourself – do you get up every Monday morning feeling horrible Monday blues, not wanting to go to work? Do you start craving for Friday as soon as Wednesday arrives? Yes – you would say and the reason would be a nasty boss, crazy deadlines, uncooperative peers and overall “I hate my job” attitude. In all of this, do we ever really think about the value that we are creating by slogging day and night? Why are you working? I am sure the reason is not “just to earn money”. Multiple researches have proven that job satisfaction is always rated higher than the compensation while choosing a job. It doesn’t matter what you are working as – engineer, doctor, chartered accountant, lawyer, business person, finance consultant, security guard, maid servant or even the sweeper – you are bringing value to somebody. And that somebody is your “customer”. In other words, you are serving your customer.

What is that “value” that you are creating for your customer? Why whatever you create is important to your customer? Do you understand these questions? Do you understand the value that you create? It is important to see the big picture of the world and to know exactly where your work fits in that world.

I work for Philips Healthcare and I write software for a living. Yes right, that is what I do! But why do I do it? It gives me money that pays my monthly bills; but more importantly, I know somewhere in some part of the world, the working software that I wrote is helping a doctor save a life. And that is where I serve my customer. That is the big picture that I always try to recreate in my head. Keeping that in mind, not only is it inspiring me to go to work but also I can think better ways to help that doctor save a life.

The best businesses in the world have been the best because they brought something to the world that world was craving for. Like Thomas Alva Edison said “I go around the world to see what the world needs and then work on inventing a solution for it”. Understand the big picture. You are doing something for the world – something worthwhile, even if it sounds like a nuisance today.

If something that you do doesn’t serve anybody in the world, then you are wasting your time and your precious life. When you work – make sure you are serving somebody and you understand what it is that you are serving.

Let me tell you a little story! There was a boy who was working in a hospital. His only responsibility was to dispose-off the unidentified dead bodies. He was paid Rs. 100/- per body. Now who would like to have a job of that kind? But that was the only place where he could earn enough to buy his food for the day. So, he started with the job – initially he just burnt the bodies at the banks of the river and washed the ashes in the river. But as he kept working for a couple of months, he noticed other families doing the last rites for their loved ones at the same river bank. On asking the priest about the last rites, he was told that respecting the dead body and doing the last rites properly gives peace to the soul of the deceased. It impacted the young boy’s heart and he started covering the body with an old sheet of cloth. He started placing flowers on the body and did a bit of prayers for the soul. He did not know any of the deceased. He did not know their names or religion, all he knew was that he was helping their souls rest in peace. He was creating value for the souls of the dead.

He spoke to some Government authorities who came to analyze the health of the river and realized how unburnt bodies polluted the river. He then decided to burn every dead body to the completion and flow down only the ashes in the river. So, he set his own quality standards. He did not need any authorities or any procedures to tell him how to do his job properly, he just worked for himself. He knew who he was serving and why was he doing what he did. He had no recognition, no awards, nobody asking him why he was doing his job a certain way. It is one of the jobs that nobody would want to take up, but this little boy still saw a value in doing it properly. Not only was he serving the deceased and their souls but he was also serving the environment and the society using that river for various purposes.

You get such powerful inspirational result when you intend to serve. It makes you go beyond the obvious daily routines of your job. It makes you think over and above of what you are told to do. It makes you love your job, no matter how crappy it may sound to you today. It can make the Monday blues disappear and make your weekdays as much worthwhile as the weekends. And yes, it also helps you climb the ladder of success – irrespective of what success means to you!

Author’s Bio: Prabhjot Kaur Saini, is a Software Engineer and is currently working in Bangalore. She is an engineer by profession and also a thinker and writer with a philosophical heart. She can be contacted at: ‘prabhjot.varsha@gmail.com’

FOCUSSED or ENTANGLED???

Work Culture

In 1999 when the Super Cyclone swept over Odisha it devastated Bhubaneswar and Cuttack especially the latter. I hadn’t witnessed the cyclone as I was in Balasore during cyclone. But when I returned back to Cuttack I was dumb founded seeing the degree of devastation. I remember there’s rubbish everywhere because of the broken trees, water logging on the roads and houses, bent electric poles and so on. There’s no current in the whole city. There’s a question in everybody’s mind how and when the Cuttack will come back to normalcy… when the electric current will come back and people will be relieved. I remember within17 days the current came back, the poles stood straight and tall, the broken trees were removed and there was no water logging. Cuttack people were relieved.

All these could happen because of the help of the workers from our neighbouring state. They were efficient, sincere and hard working. They had a good work culture which made all of us appreciate their able help during our time of turmoil.

What does the phrase “Work Culture” means? I searched in Google to understand and mention that here. I liked this one which is very simple and clear to understand. It goes like this: “Work culture refers to the mentality of the employees which further decides the character of the organization.” We can ask, what it means in case of a single individual. The work culture of an individual represents his/her character and his/her attitude towards the work he/she does.

My boss always says, “Entanglements” at work place makes us insincere. If we are entangled with other things then we are not sincere at our work.

Entanglement and Focus are enemies of each other. When we are ENTANGLED we are not focussed in our work. And when we are FOCUSSED at work we can’t be entangled in any other things.

Our work culture will display whether we are FOCUSSED or ENTANGLED.

Let’s keep interacting throughout this week on the week’s topic: “Work Culture.”

Stay Blessed!

Author’s Bio: Chiradeep Patra is a finance man who works in a NGO at Kolkata. He is a writer, motivator & counselor.