Sunday, 15 April 2007


From the Industrial Age we have now entered the Information Age. Education is very important today, but is the education given in school adequate to face the real world and its challenges? The job requirements today actually demand much more than just textbook knowledge.
A few decades back one could get school education and maybe a college degree and get a secure job and work in the same company throughout life. After retirement there was pension to take care of old age. While entering a job one knew exactly what benefits one would get for the whole job tenure and after retirement.
Today it is altogether a different story. The phrase ‘job security’ no longer exists. Formal education is not enough. Job switching is a continuous process. Companies are no more responsible for providing retirement benefits. Let me rather put it this way; you’d have to find how you will sustain yourself throughout life.
In short, good grades no more guarantee good jobs. Therefore it is time to realize this fact and take active steps. The problem does have a solution.
The solution can definitely be applied at all levels, but it would have maximum effect if begun at a very low level. Let me explain. What I mean by levels is mental maturity, or to simplify it I would consider age groups. It is easier to apply the grooming process at a younger age than an older age. This does not take away anything from the older people, but we will definitely agree that the older we get the more difficult it gets to change our beliefs and our way of thinking. Younger minds can be moulded better and easier.
Although the employment scenario is changing fast, our education system has still remained with old ideas and patterns. We know about educational breakthroughs and required changes, but for some reason or the other innovation in formal education does not seem to take place. Moreover I believe there are three types of teachers in our system. One teaches diligently and takes care of students and tries to bring about positive changes, one works diligently against any kind of change, and the third one does not bother about anything other than their own job security and money. The first type of teacher has now become as rare as precious gems.
So what do we do now? Should we lose all hope of any improvement and let pressure and stress engulf us? Should we just watch more and more students committing suicide as they are unable to keep up to expectations? I don’t think we can afford to give up. We absolutely should not give up. There is always a solution to every problem. First we need to study the problem thoroughly and the solution will automatically appear.
For example, we might be worried about not finding diligent, caring teachers. But then I have always believed that parents are the most important teachers. Children learn most by observing their parents.
Coming back to the problem of education not being adequate we will find that the solution lies in the mind. That is the most powerful thing God has given us. If we look into the word ‘education’ we will see that it comes from a Latin word ‘educare’, which means ‘to draw out’. But our system of ‘education’ believes in putting knowledge ‘in’. What we rather need to do is draw the genius ‘out’ of the mind for utilization. Now the question arises, “How do we do that?” I would again say, the answer lies in the mind itself!
Let us see how the education system affects the students. I am not talking about the details, I am concerned with the basics. Teachers punish pupils for making mistakes. Now, if you are afraid of making mistakes you will not want to do anything for fear of getting punished. There is too much emphasis on the importance of being right and the fear of being wrong. This fear prevents people from taking active steps. Here is where we begin with our solution. Parents play a big role in encouraging their children and prevent this unwanted fear to creep in. we need to inculcate a positive attitude towards education. This is the first step towards improvement.
It is my personal belief that there are two important factors in becoming successful. Human Relations Skills and Communication Skills give the winning edge to each individual. There are very few people who actually realise the importance of these two skills, let alone possess them!
The solution that we were discussing lies in these two skills – Human Relations Skills and Communication Skills. These give us the ‘right attitude’. Let me elaborate. With a positive attitude we can work our minds in the right direction which in turn will carve the way to success and happiness. On the same lines, communicating with people and building human relations skills gets incorporated into our positive attitude. So, how do we build a positive attitude?
Let us first study the prevalent ‘negativeness’ and why it is absolutely necessary to get rid of all ‘minuses’ and fill in all the ‘pluses’.
How often do we hear comments such as ‘I can’t do it’, ‘That’s impossible!’, ‘You have to kill yourself to do that’, ‘Forget it, its not my cup of tea’, ‘I can’t afford that car’? Very often indeed! Even these are familiar comments, ‘If you don’t study you will fail’, ‘Its going to rain today, the day will be a waste’, ‘I am not good enough’, ‘I am too poor!’
People spend too much time in speaking negative statements. Their self-perception is that of a weak, incapable, good-for-nothing person. This is where the downfall begins. But let’s cut the negative. What is most important to get rid of such negative thinking? Just one thing – BELIEF, belief in yourself, and belief in your Creator.
The power of belief is tremendous. When we believe we cannot, we are unable, just because we don’t try when we believe we cannot. On the other hand, if we use the power of ‘I Can!’ we try to find possibilities to do it. I will give you an example. I am a person who belongs to a middle-class family. I look at a small family car and I want to buy it. I realise I do not have the financial strength to buy the car. What do I immediately say to myself? I say ‘I can’t afford it’. This is what all of us say, no matter what the product is. If we don’t have the money we simply put it off by saying, ‘I can’t afford it’. This is the magic of words. The moment you say ‘I can’t’ you have a resigned feeling and drop the idea, but deep within you regret, and this regret causes that little invisible sorrow and pain and stress. Enough of this!
Let us use the magic of words differently. Let us try. The same person looks at the same car and realises that he does not have the money to buy it. But instead of resigning to the problem he tries to find a solution. So he asks himself, ‘How can I afford it?’ Think about this for a moment. You look at a product you want to buy and you don’t have the money, and ask yourself the question, ‘How can I afford it?’
What happens? The mind starts working, trying to find out possibilities. This is the difference between negative and positive. The results are contrasting. This is where we need to begin. We need to change our self-perception and start believing that we can achieve what we want, and with God by our side we can only win!
Before I move on, I must mention that school and college education is important. This is the basic need. The fundamental learning skills have to be built. But in order to succeed in life today the other piece of the puzzle is required. Education needs to be complete.
The missing piece of the puzzle that I am talking about is within us. Galileo had remarked, “You cannot teach a person anything, you can only help him find it within himself”. That is ‘educare’, as in Latin, which, as I have mentioned previously, means ‘to draw out’. Developing attitude is all about polishing and fine tuning the skills which are already present within us. Courage, confidence, kindness, empathy, belief, faith, name it and you have it within you. You only have to draw it out and then you will be able to utilize these qualities to achieve the highest in life.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Post Resignation Experience - Behaviour from others

What happens when you resign from a company? Well, you get to see the true nature of the relationship between you and each individual/employee in the company.

It is really interesting to note that certain people who would be so nice to you during your tenure in the company, would actually start behaving otherwise when they know you are leaving. However, it does not apply to every person. This kind of changed behaviour is seen only in a few people.

This experience, though, should not be taken lightly. Because you get to understand the true character of so many people, and understand whether these people value the relationship as human beings or are simply opportunistic and value the relationship if it is professionally beneficial for them.

Interestingly enough, I am going through such an experience and pondering over it. I kept asking myself how people can be so selfish or opportunistic that all that matters to them is their interest. Do such people actually care about the company and its interests? If they are least bothered about relationships, would they make good managers, and more importantly, good leaders?

I found that answers to these questions are in the negative. I can’t believe that there are such people in the capacity of a leader in a company! It seems true now that the corporate world does lack good leaders and people with good PR skills. It is a pity that a country like India with its potential to grow and improve would have to make do with such people.

I am really hoping to find a solution to this problem. Till then I would keep pondering. But definitely there must be a good solution, and I am looking forward to see a work world in India with excellent leadership guiding the ship to the greatest distances and great heights of achievement!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Blank. Blank. Blank.

Sometimes I feel so “Blank”! I wonder what some people think, and what they do! Human behaviour is a wonderful mystery.

I have spent years trying to understand different perceptions of diverse groups of people, only to find more questions than answers! The human mind interests me more than anything else, I find that there’s hardly an answer to questions on this one intangible “thing”.

Strange as it may seem, I have been unable to understand my own mind. There’s one intriguing aspect of the mind called “will-power.” How do we develop a strong will-power? How does a person change a certain aspect of his/her behaviour when it seems so difficult to do so? This is what we would term as “lack of will-power.” But why is it that inspite of being aware of the necessity for the change that we are unable to gather the so called “will-power” to do so?

Apart from different people who I have studied closely over the years, the person I have been able to study best has been me. I have tried to understand the strength of my will throughout the time since I became “mentally mature” to understand the effects of thought and the mind on human behaviour. I still find it difficult to control certain thought processes that develop in my mind. I can understand that those thoughts or the resulting behaviour may not be reasonable or logical; however, there is a “hidden process” which destroys all logic and reason and pushes me forward. It is like a civil war in the mind!

This same “hidden process” sometimes gives me the courage to take the boldest of steps which help me attain the highest levels of success in certain spheres. On the other hand, there are times when the resultant “civil war” in the mind causes the greatest mental disturbances and stress.

My friend had once mentioned that “Life is like a piano, white keys represent happiness and black keys represent sadness. But as you go through life’s journey, remember that both keys make MUSIC!”

Monday, 26 March 2007

Soft Skills Trainers - Change Agents

Being a change agent involves a thorough understanding of the human mind and the influence of external stimuli which can bring about a change. Human beings tend to develop a set mindset according to the external environment and the experiences they go through. Various people and incidents shape our thinking.

I have found that the best Trainers are those who are pretty intuitive in understanding the pulse of the group being trained as well as the characteristics of each individual. The first step to being a change agent is to understand the human mind.

It is my personal belief that every soft skills trainer needs to constantly research on how the mind learns, what are the external influences that can help a person to think independently and learn with an open mind. It is definitely not an easy task, however, with effort from all of us, we can build a solution which would in turn need constant modifications as humanity passes through various stages of progress and development.

An important tool to help bring about a positive change in the learning process is Motivation. As a wise man had said, "A Teacher's job is to inspire... not to teach!"

And as I would quote with inspiration from the wise man, "Inspire them, and they will learn!"

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Value Expression

The expression of Value is something so important in every person’s life. Yet, there’s such little thought put into it by most people, and most organizations. My perception on the importance of “Value Expression,” as I call it, was strengthened by my own personal experience.

When I began working for my present company, the Value Expression was balanced. Let me explain what I mean by it. Value can be either Tangible, or Intangible. By Tangible we could mean everything material, like money, gifts, incentives, and such others. By Intangible we could mean things like power, position, responsibilities, and such others.

I believe that there is a connection between the Tangible and the Intangible. A proper balance of the two is necessary for a person to be happy and content with his / her status or role in the company. If one is increased without a rise in the other, a disbalance is created.

I remember that I was happy when I began with a particular role in the company, and the money seemed to be the standard I had expected or perceived to go with the role and responsibilities.

However, when, a year later, I was promoted to a position of more power, and definitely greater responsibilities, I found that the balance between the Tangibles and the Intangibles had been lost. Tangibles were not increased. As I tried to use self-motivation to perform my new role even without the increased Tangibles, I found it to be a very difficult task. Although performance did not take a beating, the mental stress and exhaustion was tremendous. Finally when I was at the verge of losing my performance, the Tangibles were increased [after six months of increased Intangibles, and the disbalance]. However, I did not find any motivation at this point of time, since my new role and responsibilities had already created an impression of a certain Tangible Value which did not match the increased Tangibles provided by the company.

I decided to move on and join a company which would provide me the right Tangibles [as per my expectations]. However, again, it is to be noted whether this new company would be able to provide the right balance of Intangibles. I can only know when I begin working there.

Any Human Resource personnel needs to keep in mind the importance of Value Expression. This requires constant monitoring of work profiles, responsibilities, market standards of Value Expressions, and definitely the employee and his / her expectations. According to me, this is the fundamental retention strategy that any HR professional can utilize. This is where one needs to begin. No amount of coaxing, counseling, promises, or even plain money can help in retaining good people in a company. All you need to do is balance the Tangibles and Intangibles and create the right Value Expression, keeping in mind the expectations of the employee.

Monday, 5 March 2007


Decisions are so difficult! There are times I cannot even decide which food to have when I see a long menu in a restaurant! "Chicken Reshmi Kebab" or "Chicken Tandoori" or "Chicken Tikka" or...

But there are times when you need to decide on more important matters. Like a new career opportunity. I find myself mostly making decisions based on intuition and passion. I really do not understand why I do that, but somehow leading a life of values has always been more important for me than living a life of valuables. Money does not lure me anymore!

Many of my students ask me about which company to choose, which brand is better... inspite of all that the market says... I still believe that one must do what one wants to do and loves to do. The company, the brand does not bother me at all! Yes... sometimes I do think about it, and about the weight a big brand name carries, but where would I take that name... to the grave?!

Life itself throws so many challenges, decision making is one of them.

But whatever it is, as a good friend of mine had once advised, I always "follow my heart"!

Friday, 2 March 2007


All of a sudden I remembered a poem I had penned down a few years back…


Oh, that beauteous face, that fair chin,
That graceful touch from her soft skin,
The lovely rose would be beaten fair
When her soothing eyes would give a stare.

Oh! Of nature I have seen so much,
Never have I witnessed beauty such,
Even the sun would lose its grace
To the brightness on her pretty face.

If to me life's meaning becomes obscure
To her I shall turn for sure,
And look at her beauty till I die
And sleep in the arms of her deep-felt sigh.

Sometimes you see this pretty face and you think… or most of the times you just stop thinking. Time stands still. When God gives you the eyes to see the beauty in every human being you understand the true meaning of beauty.

Every person is beautiful; the free mind discovers this wonderful beauteous picture! Every thing you look at has the magnificence of God’s creative power! Every bit of everything has the grace of Nature’s touch! When you open the eyes of your mind you observe the wonderful gift of God… beauty! And do not ever forget… you are beautiful!

“Life is not in our hands, Living is.”

I wake up every morning and think about life. What is life? It is a question which is so difficult to answer. It has been 27 years that I have lived and I still do not know the answer to this question. Am I living to serve others, or am I living for myself? What is the purpose of life? It is so difficult to answer.

It is a crazy journey that we undertake, and throughout this journey we meet different people. There are some people who we understand, and there are many people who we don’t. Every time I think about life, I begin thinking about all the people I have met. Each person’s so different from the other. Just as life has been a mystery to me, so has been the human mind.

I was reading this book called “The Art of Joyful and Healthy Living” by Dr. Pinakin Shah. There was a wonderful piece of writing on the cover, “Life is not in our hands, Living is.” I found this to be so true. Yes, we do understand all the writing and jazz, but how much of it do we actually learn and apply in our lives? It’s such a struggle, or so it seems!

I have experienced living the two extremes in life, a span of time in my life when it was 80 per cent leisure time, and a span of time when it was 80 per cent work! Now I am trying to bring about a 50-50 balance. Difficult, but it is not impossible. Freeing the mind from thoughts about status in society and numerous material needs has helped me relax. The mind becomes less tense with lesser expectations! It’s an amazing feeling really, when I start feeling so light, I have never felt so light before this!

I got part of the answer to my question about life through this book I have mentioned. The following two quotes sums up this part:

“Never take life so seriously, you will never come out of it alive.” – Elbert Hubbard.

“Life is a mystery to be lived, not understood.”

As I move on in this wonderful journey of life, I leave you to contemplate on what I have just expressed. My contemplation continues…