Category Archive: Self Help

Aug 01 2017

Infographic – 4-Tier Process of Change Management


Change management, Infographic, managing change, self help, how to manage change


May 29 2013

Manager vs Leader

Managers and leaders are often referred to synonymously, but only leaders allow their employees to solve problems with their own insight. The truth of the matter is this: Every leader may not be a manager, but every manager should be a leader. It’s easy to see that leadership and management aren’t the same thing, but a manager who lacks effective leadership traits will drive a business into the ground faster than you can count to 10.

Change doesn’t happen overnight when it comes to transforming managers into leaders. It takes time and energy to improve the way you manage and utilize more leadership characteristics on a daily basis.

Here are some tips to help you make the necessary improvements:

1. Managers give answers, leaders ask questions. There’s nothing certain to turn your employees against you faster than shouting orders at them. Why not spare yourself the impending resentment and simply ask your employees this: “What would you do?” or “What do you think of this idea?” Allowing people to participate in the decision-making process will not only transform what could have been an order into something more easily swallowed–it also inspires creativity, motivation, and autonomy.

2. Managers criticize mistakes, leaders call attention to mistakes indirectly. It may seem more efficient to point out your employees’ mistakes directly, but this will only leave them feeling embarrassed and frustrated. You should really be giving them the chance to learn and grow from through your critiques. Instead, give your employees the chance to address their mistakes.

For example, say a project was sent to a client and you receive back a disgruntled message. Calmly ask your employee about the clients concern and whether they feel what was provided was on par. This will give them a chance to provide their input, while also improving for the future.

3. Managers forget to praise, leaders reward even the smallest improvement. Praise pays off when it comes to increasing the overall success of your company. Finding time to recognize your employees for even the smallest accomplishment will only increase their interest in what they do. If you’re interested in ensuring your employees take pride in all that they do, regular feedback and recognition is certain to do the trick. Everyone wants to be genuinely appreciated for their efforts.

4. Managers focus on the bad, leaders emphasize the good. This really comes down to seeing the cup half empty or half full. If you’re only willing to point out the flaws of a project or an employee, you’re not giving them much interest in learning or improving. Instead, create a sandwich effect. Start with some form of praise, follow with the criticism, and end with praise.

5. Managers want credit, leaders credit their teams. Managers who lack leadership abilities are always first to take credit. But effective leaders understand the importance of crediting their teams for the big wins. This pays off in the long run for creative a workplace with a more positive company culture and employees who are driven toward more successes as a team.

Management shouldn’t be approach through force, but rather through influence. Put these techniques in place to improve the way your employees perform.

Ispired by :Ilya Pozin, Founder of CIPLEX

Jan 27 2013

Steer your career in 2013!

I have been working on different teams, doing different things and exploring new avenues in last few years of my career. However, lately a sense has starting developing within me – where am I going? What direction is my career going in? I did have some fantastic moments in my career in the past and I am doing great things in present as well – but can I keep doing that for rest of my life?

I realized that we become so consumed in our careers that we fail to really think about our careers.

As a habitual reader, I came across a wonderful piece of information which outlines some steps to avoid the trap. It is a fruitful exercise which must not take more than a couple of hours to reflect on one’s career – and plan the next year.

Let’s see how it goes:

Step 1: Review 2012. Review the past year, month by month. Make a list of where you spent your time: include your major projects, responsibilities and accomplishments. No need to over-complicate this.

Step 2: Ask, “What is the news?” Look over your list and reflect on what is really going on. Think like a journalist and ask yourself: Why does this matter? What are the trends here? What happens if these trends continue?

Step 3: Ask “What would I do in my career if I could do anything?”Just brainstorm with no voice of criticism to hold you back. Just write out all the ideas that come to mind.

Step 4: Go back and spend a bit more time on Step 3. Too often we begin our career planning with our second best option in mind. We have a sense of what we would most love to do but we immediately push it aside. Why? Typically because “it is not realistic” which is code for, “I can’t make money doing this.” In this economy—in any economy—I understand why making money is critical. However, sometimes we pass by legitimate career paths because we set them aside too quickly.

Step 5: Write down six objectives for 2013. Make a list of the top six items you would like to accomplish in your career in 2013 and place them in priority order.

Step 6: Cross off the bottom five. Once you’re back to the whirlwind of work you’ll benefit from having a single “true north” career objective for the year.

Step 7: Make an action plan for first 2 months. Make a list of some quick wins you’d like to have in place end of March 2013.

Step 8: Decide what you will say no to. Make a list of the “good” things that will keep you from achieving your one “great” career objective. Think about how to delete, defer or delegate these other tasks. Emerson said, “The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there.”

A few hours spent wisely over the next couple of days could easily improve the quality of your life over the 8760 hours of 2013–and perhaps far beyond. After all, if we don’t design our careers, someone else will. (Greg McKeown)

Dec 03 2012


The design and performance of integrated systems and processes that create superior strategic, competitive and operational value through speed, flexibility and cross-purpose adaptability – can define Operational Excellence in any given organisation.

Operational Excellence is a methodical approach used to drive an organization toward world-class execution, integrating Operational Excellence concepts, methods and tools into an organization’s operating model, principles, and culture.

Operational Excellence, at the conceptual level can be understood as methodical designing of systems and processes that are integrated to deliver competitive and world class operational value by providing flexible and adaptable methods and tools for functioning.

It might be a bit perplexing to understand the right meaning of Operational Excellence. Let’s try to understand it from the perspective of an organization.

Every organization in the business world has the core focus on delivering quality product/services in time to earn maximum revenue. To achieve more, organizations need to scale and with scaling come the challenge of high level of management. Imagine an organization that wishes to grow many times its revenue and customer base but is completely ignorant about the maturity of its operations! Do you think it can achieve its goals? NO would be the obvious answer to this question.

The way an organization is designed to function defines the scope of growth. An organization with poor structure, systems and processes is destined to find it troublesome to grow beyond a certain point. By any chance if any such organization happens to grow to certain level of success, it will not be able to sustain it without improving the operational capabilities.

The key partners in achieving the operational maturity in any organization are People, Processes and Technology. These three working together can build sustainable and profitable organizations.

Nov 09 2012

Tips to be successful at your JOB

I came across a piece while browsing through some of the work of global leaders, who have been steering some of the greatest  establishments in the world.

Below is the extract of the same, which primarily was addressed to ‘New Employees’ in any organisation; however to me it seems to be mantra that everyone should apply – new or old!

These are a few tips to succeed as an employee at your workplace and it is applicable through the length breadth of any organisation’s chart.

  1. If you want to get ahead in the world, become a highly-concerned observer of the passing scene.
  2. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN – Don’t try to show off your knowledge – it will become known as you use it – if your mount is open, you are not learning
  3. Mentally challenge everything – not vocally – particularly the assumptions that are build into the situation
  4. Really listen to your peers – make them to like you – they are your best resources
  5. Do all possible to help your boss raise his/her status
  6. Develop a business plan for every assignment you are given – allocate your time and resources – develop calendar checkpoints
  7. Your availability is your most important asset – it should be directed UP, DOWN and SIDEWAYS
  8. Work at giving the perception and the fact that you are aware of the feelings and goals of others
  9. On entering a new situation, get an organization chart of your department showing names and responsibilities of your peers – walk the halls and let others see you
  10. Ask for help and show that you appreciate it, it is the best way to make friends
  11. Do not try to impress others by relating your education, travels or accomplishments – they will all become known in due time
  12. Do what you say you will do – if you can’t, let that be known
  13. Your first assignment is to become part of the team and not its leader

I, for sure, do relate to these words and can find a lot of meaning to all that has been said. Most of us always feel that we know all these things, but the big question is: Is just knowing it good enough? Are we applying these in our work life?

If your answer is YES, then you must be a successful person in professional life. Else, you know what you have to do!! Right!!

All the best!

Disclaimer: The above is not my creation and I do not intend to claim any right on it. I could not trace the source of this information, hence am not able to mention the same. 

Oct 14 2012

SMART and EFFECTIVE – At the same time!


It was just yesterday that I decided to put down my thoughts on a very common phenomenon  –  “SMARTER PEOPLE being INEFFECTIVE”. I personally have been a victim of this issue. Efficiency, as discussed here is not about BEING RIGHT but is about BEING ABLE TO GET THINGS DONE!

I will start with a short narration of an incidence.

 It is about a SMART guy who was pursuing his PG in Management. It was a great time for him since he was learning new things, was shaping himself for future and was looking for all the opportunities that he could get to improve himself. During the first few weeks at college he could make his place in the good books of professors as a SMART student. Many of his fellow batch-mates also had the same view about him. It was a good time and he was in high spirits! He was counted as one of the SMARTER people in the lot. But, the truth was way above his understanding and perception of it. Very soon, it hit him straight in the face. Read on to know how!

 The college (just like any other) had a practice of having one student as representative of the class for all internal matters – interaction with staff, management, getting things done etc. Since it was a bunch of SMART people, they wanted to have a fair process of selection of the Class Rep. The professor (a very SMART and EFFICIENT lady) came out with a plan of VOTING to select the CR from a bunch of nominees. Well, the idea got accepted by all and a consensus was built to go ahead for voting.

 Our guy, on the contrary had his own reservations on the process of selection since he felt that it would not be an unanimous selection. He suggested an alternative way of doing the voting which could be more effective. His idea was accepted by all and the professor also looked happy.

 Nomination process began – 3 of the fellow students (out of a batch of 60) expressed their interest to contest for the position and gave their nominations. Suddenly, people started shouting a name in chorus! Who was that? What? They all wanted him also to be nominated for the voting!! He could hear10-12 people proposing his to run for the post.

 “Ok” he said! ‘I give my name for the voting.”

 He felt good of the fact that people find him suitable to take up the responsibility. He was under an impression that people out there think of him as a SMART guy who can run the show well and can be really effective in the role.

 The voting started and ended as well in a jiffy. There were the results at the end of it!

 Well, not dramatizing it much – HE got just 2 votes out of 60! And guess what – 1 was his own (obviously he had to vote for himself – right!!).

That was a revelation for him. He was SMART but not EFFECTIVE.

He could not be effective – in making people sure about him being a good choice as their leader, in giving them confidence that if they choose him it will be in their good.  The same bunch who pushed him for nomination didn’t vote for him. Maybe they didn’t find him that good – or should I say that EFFECTIVE!

He still was the same SMART guy – but the batch had rejected him as a leader. He might know what was right but he always ended up explaining it to others as to why he was right. All of that was very infuriating for him.

Today, when I look back many years in my own life, I realize that no one can do everything alone. We all need help of other people at some point in time. We have to ensure that we can make it work when the time comes.

I could have been 100% RIGHT at times – but what about being EFFECTIVE? I had seen people getting annoyed when I was just stating facts. Maybe I was not able to take them ALONG or they were actually not following what I was trying to point out!

It precisely means that I was not able to INFLUENCE them! Yes, that’s the key word – INFLUENCE. If I can’t influence my audience (in any conversation); I will always face issues and will not succeed in making people work as per my plan, in turn making me ineffective.

Here are a few thoughts which came from self learning and from other’s experience that can help in working on this issue:

Mind (or Mend) the attitude:

Attitude plays a vital role in being effective. If you always assume that you know all the answers, you are very likely going to feel frustrated. Instead, you should let others share their views. You never know you might hear some great idea that would surprise you. Develop a learning attitude and respect inputs of others. Remember one thing, everyone likes to be consulted and asked.

Being the LISTENER (also) :

During conversations or meetings try to listen to others instead of arguing or cutting them in between. Do not try to impose your views about any issue but try to listen what others have to say about your ideas. Encourage others to share their ideas and pay complete attention to what they are saying. This might sound a strenuous activity but will win you support of the people.

No meaning in being ‘MEAN’ :

You might be surrounded by people who do not understand things in the first go and you might just try to be straightforward in telling them the right thing and help them. But it’s important to ensure that you are not being rude in an attempt to be practical. People might take you to be MEAN when you are just trying to correct them. They would see you as someone who is ignoring their thoughts and is looking to have an argument to justify himself. Instead, handle the conversations more amiably, respect other’s thoughts, have short arguments and build a consensus on the solution. ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ work wonder in this process.

Learn to stay quiet when it needs to:

When you are in a situation where you are up against many such people whom you think are not as smart as you but are trying to speak and put their thoughts; it’s always better to keep quiet and just observe. If you actually are the SMARTER one, they will anyhow turn towards you for solution. Speak then and make the difference. You don’t always have to TALK to show that you are SMART.

I have another short story to share here. Same bunch of management grads (in the last story ) were once sitting together, deciding on having a party. The preps were being discussed and lot of arguments were put regarding the place, food menu, music to be played, list of invitees etc etc. Our guy was also a part of the discussion and since he had been involved in many such plans earlier he was talking the most. Suddenly, one of the fellow members lost it over him and shouted, “What the hell you think of yourself? Why always it has to be you to decide everything? Don’t forget, we all are equally smart. We all are also good managers”

Her reference of being EQUALLY SMART was on the premise of being of the same batch. Our guy felt odd and decided in his own good to be quiet. The discussion went on and on for couple of hours but no decision was being made. Then the interesting thing happened. The same lady who had slammed our guy some time back reverted to him. She wanted him to help them reach to some decision. He obliged her and shared his views with the group. Everyone liked his idea and after iterations, it was finalized.

If you try to accomplish everything alone when you have to work with people, you will always face hindrances and difficulties. Instead, try to bring everyone along and focus on the effectiveness. You will be amazed with the results in getting the job done with better efficiency and to everyone’s satisfaction. By employing these methods you will get much more done from the same set of people without getting frustrated or opposed to.

Good luck!

May 22 2012

On the edge of the ‘BENCH’

I am writing to share an incident that has made me think about the way we manage organizations today. I am associated with IT Industry since early days of my career. Being the head of the function that takes care of hiring the talent (I prefer TALENT over RESOURCE or CANDIDATE), it was a part of my profile to interview people and determine the fitment in the organization. I must have interviewed hundreds on them in last few years of my career. As a part of process, we interview, give feedback, candidate is offered for the employment and if everything goes well the talent joins the organization. Owing to the busy schedules, we seldom do a follow up after the talent joins the organization as to how he/she is fairing and finding the organization (that is HR’s job, right!). In fact, in bigger organization, that is more of an automated mechanical process.

But, it was a bit different for me in particular since as per my work profile I was supposed to hire as well as keep track of a talent till he/she is in the organization. Assigning projects to them, seeking feedback from the project managers about their performance, manage their aspirations etc. were a part of my function. In the same process, management of BENCH (The bench refers to people who currently do not have any projects on hand – more relevant to IT industry) was completely my responsibility.

The story goes as below:

It is about this one particular talent, let’s call him John. John had been in IT industry for past year and a half (1 yr 5 months) and had changed 2 jobs before applying for my organization. Third job in 2 years!! Didn’t impress me at all as an interviewer! I had (kind of) made my mind already that this person would be no good, though it was against the principles of effective interviewing (I know!). Anyhow, as we got into discussion and the interview progressed, I realized that he had great passion for technology and wanted to make big on technical front in next 5-7 years.

I liked his enthusiasm and decided to give him an opportunity. Anyhow, we do not expect a 2 year (professional age) old kid to build a rocket for us – do we? So I decided to go ahead and hire him.

While I was giving my positive feedback (more of a final decision since I was the one to take the final call) I had this thought in my mind that John has never worked on a live project in both of his last jobs. He was put on BENCH in both of his earlier jobs! However, I overruled my apprehensions solely for the reason that his last 2 organizations were real big BRANDS.

Anyway, John was hired and he joined us after a month. He was very happy to join a growing organization since he could see huge potential for growth and learning for himself. More than that, he was happy to be working on a live project for the first time.

Like other organizations, we too have people on BENCH for some time before they are allocated live projects and John was informed about the same at the time of selection process. He had accepted that and was ready to wait for some time before he gets a project as per our instructions.

But I guess John’s destiny had other plans! The very next day of John’s joining; we received a project requirement which was matching John’s profile. I asked my colleague to call up John and give him the news of his allocation plan. John was happy, we were happy, everyone was happy!! Indeed it was a happy moment. Someone getting a project in a day’s time is wonderful. Finally, John was allotted the project and the meeting with the manager was fixed. He started working on the project with all the good feelings and dedication, clueless of the fact what time had in its store for him.

After just about a week, I got a call from John’s manager. He had called to express his dissatisfaction with John’s performance since as per him John didn’t have the required experience to work on a live project. He cited reasons like lack of exposure, lack of confidence and more lead time to gear up for the poor performance of John. Although John was working as the most junior member in the project; still it was not possible to continue with him as it was affecting the profitability of the project. Looking at the business criticality, we had to remove John from the project.

All hell broke loose on John! He was shattered, disturbed and disheartened. He was on the BENCH again. The fascination that he had felt around him in life vanished in a moment! Whole world came to a halt for him. But then, he was a strong guy! He gathered his thoughts and prepared himself to fight. To fight along with other 110 people on bench; waiting to be allotted a live project.

Days became weeks, but things didn’t change for John. We were not getting rightly matched project requirements for John. The world was moving ahead swiftly and John was feeling as if he was being left far behind in the race of success. But still he held his nerves. He kept calling, writing and probing frequently about any movement on his allocation.

One bright morning, I again got an opportunity where I could put John on a live project. I got a mail with a requirement from one of the projects, suiting John’s profile. John was informed, meeting was fixed and everyone was waiting for the results of the meeting eagerly. John looked very calm this time. He did not show any strong signs of joy or delight. I guess time had made him strong enough to take things as they come in life J.

Anyway, the meeting got over but the manager left us wandering for the result. He wanted some time to decide.

“Fair enough” we all thought! “Let’s give him some time.”

Next day, I got a call from the same manager early in the morning (10AM is the early morning as per office hours). He had called to inform that he cannot add John in his project team quoting a reason that he does not have valid experience. I immediately recalled what John had told me last evening about the meeting that there was no discussion on project experience as such in the meeting.

My inquisitive part promptly asked the question – “But how do you know that he does not have relevant experience?”

“I spoke to his last manager whom he worked with for a week!” he responded immediately.

He shared that the last manager had given the feedback about John after which it was decided that he could not be included in the team. I was surprised and equally annoyed too. How can one take a call based on someone else’s feedback, that too when the other person didn’t work with the guy long enough to comment? But, duty calls! Amid all these thoughts I called John to share the news with him. He calmly heard everything, thanked me for the information in the end and hung up the phone.

Process was completed! Another opportunity was closed for John.

Days passed by and I got busy with other things at work. John never called back or wrote for a new project. He used to come to office every day, spend the 8 hours of his quota doing things and go back. I could see him going out with friends for tea, chatting over lunch and I looked like he was having a good time. One day, suddenly I got a mail from John asking for a meeting to discuss something. Since he was writing to me after many days, I promptly accepted the request and fixed up a time to meet him.

We met in a meeting room. He greeted me and pulled a chair but this time he looked very uneasy. Red eyes, fumbling hands and shaking voice! He sat on the chair out in front of me, quiet, sobbing. I was surprised to see a grown up guy crying in front of me and that too at the workplace. It was a strange sight! I softly asked him as to what was wrong. He would not answer initially but then he looked at me and plainly asked me a question, hitting the nail on the head: “How will I gain experience if I am not given a live project?”

John had stimulated a never ending debate going on since ever in the corporate world – How would you get experience unless you are put on actual work?  Sounds similar to the Chicken-or-the-egg dilemma!

Somehow, this problem has become an inseparable part of our industry these days. John was the victim of the same mindset. We, as an industry could not nurture him in the early days of his career (made him sit on BENCH) and when he got old enough sitting there, we declared him unfit to be a part of the team! We are tagging talent based on their age in the industry without giving any heed to the passion for the work. We talk a lot about Training & Development, Mentoring, Coaching, Career Path, and Competency Development – but when it comes applying these basic practices like grooming talent things like Margins, Profits, Productivity come in the way.

We do not want to make conscious efforts to groom passionate young people who can make big in the field claiming that this will incur COSTas well as TIME – both being very critical for organizations these days.

No project manager wants a slow runner in his team since he believes that it would make his project suffer. He will have to put efforts in grooming the person and he finds it as an overhead. He wants all STARS in our team, but he does not want to groom any STAR.

Are we doing justice to the young people who enter the industry with high hopes and almost no understanding of its functioning?

People grow not by their passion and talent but just by being in the industry. In the rat-race of making more money by doing more projects delivered in time, organizations have naively given an upper seat to SKILL as compared to PASSION & TALENT. As organization, we preferred SKILLED people over TALENTED ones who might be really passionate about the work. This mindset has developed deep roots in operative of most of the corporate functions. A programmer will routinely become a project Manager after he has spent 10 years in the job; least that he has to do is KEEP WORKING!

There is no harm in this concept of career development but is this the only way of doing things?

I leave it for you to decide and if you get some answers, please share with me as well.

May 19 2012

“PARENTING” – How much is TOO much?

topnews.aeIt has been in my mind for couple of days now and I finally decided to word my thoughts about it. I have been thinking extensively about PARENTING, specifically from Indian context. When I say India, I am precisely referring to the structuring of the families, cultural and value system and our age old traditional legacies of INDIA.

All would agree that parenting is one of the toughest jobs and more so it has to be done well. Parents take care of all the things for kids when they are small and nurture them with intent to help them to be the best possible adults. Though, as I did share last time that I am not a parent yet, but I have many parents around me – my friends, relatives, neighbors, colleagues and many more.

I get to observe them and by the virtue of being able to compare the various styles of parenting of different parents, I feel that I have created my own understanding about the process.

Oh yes! You read it right! To me, Parenting is perhaps a process, which needs to move gradually from one stage to another, evolve from one phase to another. It has to be followed with certain considerations, keeping the desired outcome in mind. You cannot call something a process unless you know what is desired out of it and what inputs would it take to get the desired result. I am attempting to seek an answer to a very basic question about parenting – How MUCH is TOO MUCH??

This question is primarily from Indian context since we as a nation have changed a lot in last few decades. But did we evolve when it comes to parenting? Are we flexing ourselves to adapt to the changing eco-system or are we clinging on to the belief that ‘if my parents did an okay job with me then the same parenting style would work for my child as well?’

We must accept the fact that Change is inevitable. Our bodies change, our environment changes, technology changes, and our parenting skills MUST change with the times or we will have difficulty. We must look at these simple changes and then extrapolate that something is at work here bigger than us. “CHANGE” is happening hence our parenting must change. I would consistently make mistakes once I become a parent and will consistently make more mistakes as I become a grandparent. Parenting in 2012 is clearly different that 1912 and it will be much different in 2112.

From all my observation and studies, I have learnt that Recognition is a key in parenting. Recognition not of the acts of the child, but recognition of our defensive posture, our fear of doing the wrong intervention, and we must STOP externalizing blame on everything from teachers, friends, facebook, i-pads and McDonalds!
Parenting is taking responsibility. Taking responsibility – not for your children, but first and foremost for yourself.

When we recognize change and how technology has impacted everyone’s lives, as well as the want for immediate gratification (which is occurring faster and faster), then we can modify our parenting. But the question here is – How do we modify parenting? I think we need to know first  –  What are we doing? How are we fairing in what we are doing? If we are doing something completely wrong, then what is the right way of doing it?

I would share an interesting comparison done by Dan Neuharth ( It is an attempt to depict a differentiation in the way families behave. This comparison will answer some of the questions above –

Read on:



Parental love is relatively constant Parental love is given as a reward but withdrawn as punishment
Children get affection, attention, and nurturing touch Parents feel their children “owe” them
Children are told they are wanted and loved Children have to “earn” parental love
Children are seen and valued for who they are Children are treated as parental property
Children’s choices are accepted Parents use children to satisfy parental needs
Speaking honestly is valued more than speaking a certain way Children are told things like “Don’t ask why” and “Don’t say no”
Questioning and dissent are allowed Questioning and dissent are discouraged
Problems are acknowledged and addressed Problems are ignored or denied
It’s okay to feel sadness, fear, anger and joy Strong emotions are discouraged or blocked
Feelings are accepted as natural Feelings are considered dangerous
Children’s potentials are encouraged Children feel on trial
Children are praised when they succeed and given compassion when they fail Children are criticized more than praised
Parents set appropriate, consistent limits Discipline is often harsh and inflexible
Parents see their role as guides Parents see their role as bosses
Parents allow children reasonable control over their own bodies and activities Parents accord children little privacy
Children learn compassion for themselves Children lack compassion for themselves
Parents communicate their values but allow children to develop their own values Being right is more important than learning or being curious
Learning, humor, growth and play are present Family atmosphere feels stilted or chaotic
Connections with others are fostered Few genuine connections exist with outsiders
Parents pass on a broader vision of responsibility to others and to society Children are told “Everyone’s out to get you”

In my opinion, if parents find themselves on the other side of the road of having a healthy family, they can take steps to correct the actions that can cause more harm than good to the very ones they are trying to love and protect.

I will share more on this topic with a specific focus a particular type of Parents – HELICOPTER PARENTS. This section will be published next week.

Mar 14 2012

BUDDHISM – A different way of life

Lately, we have been talking a lot at home about BUDDHISM, its teachings, people following the religion and the difference they have felt in their lives after they adopted the religion!!

This is when an impulsive feeling started building inside me to know more about this globally putative religion.

While reading through the contributions of a few authors who have been writing on Buddhism, I learnt about the principles and teachings of the religion.

Chip Tolaney states that the aim of the Buddha was simply to show mankind how to live without turmoil and in harmony by following the Eight-Fold Path and the Ten Precepts, as well as the Four Noble Truths.

He describes it further that to understand the basic principles of Buddhism, it is not necessary to believe in heaven or hell or to chant mantras.

While monks must practice all the precepts, the lay Buddhist (if he is to be called Buddhist) is expected to follow the five main precepts.

Buddhist principles are based on the basic idea of cause and effect, also known in eastern philosophy as karma.

According to this law every intention, thought and action has a consequence that equals the energy invested in it.

From good deeds come good results. Leading a disciplined life can ensure that suffering is kept to a minimum. The calm mind that comes from a disciplined life leads down the path of spirituality to the goal of all human life – self realization, or what the Buddhists call Nirvana.

The Buddhist philosophy and way of life is laid out in the Three Jewels, the Four Noble Truths, the Eight Fold Path and the Five Precepts. The first three doctrines are pursued by those who either adopt a monastic life or are involved in a deep philosophical interpretation of Buddhism.

The Philosophy of Buddhism: The Buddha presented his philosophy in the Four Noble Truths:

  1. Life is suffering: Disease, death and emotional pain are inevitable.
  2. Attachment causes suffering: An attempt to derive happiness from things that have shape and form results in suffering because these are not permanent.
  3. To cure suffering, free yourself from attachment: The cause of suffering is attachment, so make attempts to free yourself from attachment.
  4. The eight-fold path will show you the way out of suffering: The Buddha taught practical ways to end suffering through eight pursuits – right speech, right action, right livelihood, right concentration, right view, right intention, right mindfulness, and right effort.

The Five Precepts are what a lay Buddhist is expected to follow in day-to-day living.

The Five Main Precepts:

  1. Refrain from killing: In order to live harmoniously with all living creatures and create positive instead of negative vibrations, the Buddhist must be vegetarian. This is necessary for the growth of
  2. Refrain from stealing: In order to be free of guilt, and not cause pain to others, Buddhists must not take anything that is not freely given.
  3. Refrain from sexual misconduct: The Buddha taught his disciples that sexual desire is the greatest obstacle to enlightenment, and the most difficult to overcome. Sexual misconduct is forbidden.
  4. Refrain from lying: To tell a lie is to deny the truth, and a Buddhist centers his life around truth – whether it is the truth of his spiritual path, the truth about himself, or the truth of the universe. Denial of the truth leads to confusion, guilt and disharmony.
  5. Refrain from drugs and alcohol: If we are to clearly see the truth, and gain an accurate perception of life and reality, our minds must be free from the delusion and fuzziness caused by alcohol and drugs. An alert mind is capable of controlling actions efficiently and directing them along virtuous paths.

Buddhism affords believers an oasis where they can regain equilibrium by following the Middle Way. Buddhism enables people to look at life anew and stop blaming God, the universe, and others for their plight. They are the creators of their own worlds. Once they can grasp this great truth, life becomes a joyful journey. I am not sure I can ever lead life as preached by Buddhism, however I will always try to come as closer to it as it may be in my capacity.

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