‘F’ – First things First

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In Life what matters is the priority or balance.Read the story below.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of small pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.” The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now”, said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions – things that, if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else – the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the rubbish. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand”.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that, no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers”.

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
― Stephen R. Covey

‘E’ – Enlightment

So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to dis identify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take the content of your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it. – Eckhart Tolle 

Once, there was a conference of Buddhist monks on the meaning of true spirituality.
Each monk went up to the stage and gave a long speech. Finally, it was the turn of a zen monk to speak.He went on the stage and simply started laughing. He laughed and laughed, from his being. The laughter just rose from his belly. he started shaking uncontrollably with laughter.

And his laughter was so infectious that all the others also started laughing, without even knowing why.Without their being aware of it, the monks produced a huge wave of positive energy in the room. The monks reached a state of tremendous elevation.

Their thinking was shattered and their being was filled with bliss.
The zen monk finally spoke: ‘This is true spirituality.’

 

Enlightenment  enriches the mind and empowers us to control the  mind and the body.

Once upon a time there was a person who was in search of enlightenment. He was seeking this  in all places. But he could not find  this in books , in holy places. … Then he heard that  there is an enlightened person who is working as a Butcher. And then he went to the shop to buy the piece of meat. On Entering the shop he shouted “I want the best piece available in this shop “.  And the Butcher told silently “Every pieces that is sold in this Shop is the Best Piece”.

This can be the secret of enlightenment. Seeing each and every moment as  a moment to live  , to cherish ..

Can we move towards this peace ?. Can we get enlightened ?

“From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Aum peace, peace, peace ” -

 

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. – Buddha

‘D’ – The power of Discipline

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” -  Benjamin Franklin

Self-discipline is the key to personal greatness. tt is the magic quality that opens all doors. But what we mean by discipline is not physical discipline. The word discipline means “disciple” . A disciple is a person who follows certain philosophy.He is a student , a disciple.

If you would like  to be a disciple identify a set of principles and philosophy which you would like to follow. Understanding the universal principles  is one of the key   to become a disciple.

Let us imagine a situation like this . You make a fake currency which looks better than the original  one and you go to a shop. Will the shop accept the fake currency ?. No it will not . Not because  of the fact that it does not have the similar look but because of the fact that it lacks authenticity.  What makes the currency authentic ?

The  currency can only be issued against the value of reserves the country has and also this reserve is the one which the government owns and not the one which  the  public have.This is the reason Government prints only that much currency which can be backed by solid reserves and not just a mere printed paper.This statement is not just a statement but has meaning attached to it. It means that this xxx rupees will give you xxx worth of goods or service.

Discipline is the power which  creates the reserve , the value.

“Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear—and doubt. Self-discipline allows a pitcher to feel his individuality, his inner strength, his talent. He is master of, rather than a slave to, his thoughts and emotions.”
— H.A. Dorfman
The Mental ABCs of Pitching

 

‘L’ – Listening

“Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals. ”― Sura Hart

The greatest of all the abilities is the ability to Listen. Seeking to understand and then to be understood. But most of the times  , this faculty is rarely used. There is  inner listening and outer listening. Creative artists and poets are great listeners.Their listening is called as total listening.

There is also selective listening. This is hearing what is not intended.

To give you an example of selective listening, let me share with you a story I heard about
a medical doctor who was invited as a guest speaker to address a group of alcoholics.
He wanted to make a demonstration that would be powerful enough to make people
realize that alcohol was injurious to their health. He had two containers, one with pure
distilled water and one with pure alcohol. He put an earthworm into the distilled water and
it swam beautifully and came up to the top. He put another earthworm into the alcohol
and it disintegrated in front of everyone’s eyes. He wanted to prove that this was what
alcohol did to the insides of our body.

He asked the group what the moral of the story was and one person from behind said, “If you drink alcohol you won’t have worms in your stomach.” Was that the message? Of course not. That was selective listening–we hear what we want to hear and not what is being said.

 

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” — Ralph Nichol

 

 

 

‘I’ – Integrity

Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.” – Barbara De Angelia

Integrity is the core of Leadership and Professionalism and is the best way to get to the top and stay there. There is a classic example which I would like to share

Major surgery requires not only a skilled surgeon, but also a number of skilled assistants to make certain that everything happens as it should. They function as a team. No one person, regardless of how brilliant he or she is, could pull off a major operation alone.
A new head nurse was starting her first assignment in a major medical center. She was in charge of all the nurses on the operating room team. She had full responsibility for performing all the duties nurses perform. When the surgery was complete, the surgeon said, “Okay, it’s time to close the incision. I need the sutures.”
The new head nurse responded, “Doctor, you used twelve sponges; we’ve only removed eleven.” The surgeon assured her that all of the sponges had been removed and he was ready to suture. She replied, “Doctor, you used twelve sponges; only eleven have been removed.”
With a bit of irritation in his voice, the doctor said, “I will accept full responsibility.” The nurse’s temper flew and she apparently stomped her foot and said, “Doctor, think of the patient!”
When she said that, the doctor smiled, lifted his foot and revealed the twelfth sponge. He looked at the nurse and said, “You’ll do.” Her integrity had been tested; she passed with flying colors.
The question is, how many of us, under identical circumstances, would have risked offending the surgeon, remembering that there was a possibility we had miscounted? But this nurse felt the patient’s life and health were at stake and she, without hesitation, did the right thing. Over the long haul, that’s the best way to get to the top and stay there.

 

“There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.” – Samuel Johnson

‘C’ – Courage

“Courage is looking fear  right in the eye and saying, “Get the hell out of my way, I’ve got things to do.”

Have you ever contemplated  on the sentence “” O God give the courage to change the things which can be changed  and serenity over the things which cannot be changed”. Note the key word “COURAGE ==> CHANGE”.

Courage is that one ingredient that separates the strong from the weak, the successful from the unsuccessful, and the great from the average. All the things you desire in life have one common handle that is made for the hand of the person of courage. Courage , the joy of living dangerously .

what is Courage ? . Courage  is not the absence of fear , it is  a resistance to fear . Courage  is the ladder of all other virtues . If you are not courageous , you cannot be truthful . How will you say truth if there is no courage . If you are not courageous you cannot be loving . How can you  be loving . You can create a bondage of love not be lovable . You are not living your full life if you are not courageous.You cannot inquire into life , you cannot give , you cannot be happy . Courage is a way of living . Courage  is the starting point. How can you pursue happiness without courage ? .

In the beginning , there is not much difference between a coward and a courageous person . A coward listens to this mind obeys it properly  and a courageous person sets it aside and moves forward. By doing courageous acts and keep on doing that , he becomes a courageous person.

Courage is a three letter word . I am  not telling a lie . Yes . Courage is about saying ‘Yes’ . Yes , it is always possible .You can dare to be you .  Courage is about possibility . All our dreams can come true if there is only we have the courage  to pursue.

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘E’ – Effective

“To maintain the P/PC Balance, the balance between the golden egg (production) and the health and welfare of the goose (production capability) is often a difficult judgment call. But I suggest it is the very essence of effectiveness.”
― Stephen R. Covey

Effectiveness – is a self discipline which should not be taken for granted , nor it should be neglected , but rather it should be learned and practiced . Effectiveness is related with Knowledge workers . Knowledge workers , information specialists or executives are the people whose work will be evaluated  based on the results , rather than the efforts or the Cost incurred . Knowledge workers as a matter of fact does not produces any physical  output , but rather they produce information , concepts , ideas which other people will be using and validating the effectiveness . Due to this Knowledge workers needs to make their work effective . Knowledge workers can be teachers , doctors , lawyers , of software engineers.

There are two types of measurements as far as the work is concerned . efficiency , the capability  to get the Things  Rightly Done and effectiveness the capability to Get the Right Things Done . Effective  executives or effective people does not have the same Kind of Temperament or personality , but they share one thing in common , that is the ability to get the Right things done .

How can we learn effectiveness ? Can we learn the effectiveness from any books or theory , can we acquire it as a Skill  or can we get it as a practice which is acquired by practicing . Effectiveness is a  quality which is acquired by practicing and there are some fundamental building blocks to be effective . These are Know the time , What can I contribute , Making Strengths effective , First  things First and Decision making.

Know the Time . An effective executive starts with a concrete plan . As the time forwards he understand that the plans keep on changing and the only one thing which he can manage is time . He manages the time by a three step process .  Reporting the time , managing the time and consolidating the time . He understands that some tasks needs to be delegated and some tasks needs to be avoided . By knowing  where the time goes and managing the time rather than the Tasks is the first step in becoming effective.

 what can I contribute – An effective  executive asks the Question what can I contribute rather that what Kind of efforts do I need to take . what can I contribute which is going to significantly improve the performance of the organization that i server .  Contribution for any Individual / Institution consists of three things – Direct results , building values and reaffirmation  of values and building people for tomorrow . To be able to contribute he should then focus on communications , Teamwork , Self-development and development of others . By asking this question what can I contribute which is going to improve the performance of the organization that I serve and working on the areas  which we have already discussed he becomes more effective

Making Strengths productive . Everyone is concerned with overcoming there weaknesses , but an  effective worker focuses  on making his strengths productive and making the weaknesses irrelevant . What he is bothered is what is the Unique ability which will help  the organization to excel . It is about the  performance capacity which he is bothered . To multiply the performance capacity using what ever aspirations , what ever  strengths in the individual becomes his job.

First things First . First things First is about shifting from immediate results to sustained efforts . it is regarded as a matter of courage rather that Analysis . What is Important , choosing the future against the past , Aiming High and Focusing on the opportunity rather than the problems are the  mental habits in First things First .

Decision making . Decision making is not problem Solving . It is about having a general Strategy and decisions are always perceptual . it is  based on the opinions and is a judgement . So an effective person looks for different opinions and takes his time and perceptual power to make the decisions.

Cause and effect, means and ends, seed and fruit cannot be severed; for the effect already blooms in the cause, the end preexists in the means, the fruit in the seed. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

.

‘E’ – Energy + Enthusiasm

Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry. – Mark Twain

Bringing Energy and Enthusiasm at work is one of the remarkable qualities of a  leader. Even though the work can get routine  and mundane an attitude can always bring a difference

One of the most interesting story which comes to my mind is that of Tom Sawyer. After Tom gets into trouble, Aunt Polly punishes him by making him whitewash the fence. But Tom Sawyer is full  of energy and  starts the work with full of energy and enthusiasm . The other boys after seeing this are even now ready to pay for getting an opportunity to do the piece  of work. By the time the fence is finished, Tom has become a wealthy boy as each boy was manipulated into buying a turn at the fence with their treasures: marbles, firecrackers, bits of glass, and other objects.

The whitewashing scene is famous for a several reasons. First of all, the scene demonstrates an interesting observation: “that Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and that Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.” The scene is also memorable because this classic manipulation is exactly the sort of thing that a rascal like Tom would do. The interaction between him and the other boys paints a vivid picture of Tom’s character.

A leader needs to bring this kind of enthusiasm. His investment is energy. In Bussiness the investment is capital whereas in life the investment is energy. What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists…and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want…and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.Can you Bring that kind of energy and enthusiasm ?

Every great and commanding movement in the annals of the world is due to the triumph of enthusiasm.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘C’ – The Paradigm Shift

Humanity travels  not from error to truth , but from smaller truths to bigger truths – Swami Vivekananda

Paradigm Shift  is a fundamental change in an individual’s or a society’s view of how things work in the world. The best example for this  is the shift from earth to sun as the center of solar  system.

How is possible to create the paradigm shift?. The only possibility to create the paradigm shift is to  change the perceptions. We must look at the lens through we see the world, as well as the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.

I would like to share a story,

Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled a prosperous country. One day, he went for a trip to some distant areas of his country. When he was back to his palace, he complained that his feet were very painful, because it was the first time that he went for such a long trip, and the road that he went through was very rough and stony. He then ordered his people to cover every road of the entire country with leather. Definitely, this would need thousands of cows’ skin, and would cost a huge amount of money.

Then one of his wise servant dared himself to tell the king, “Why do you have to spend that unnecessary amount of money ? Why don’t you just cut a little piece of leather to cover your feet ?” The king was surprised, but he later agreed to his suggestion, to make a “shoe” for himself.

There is actually a valuable lesson of life in this story : to make this world a happy place to live, you better change yourself – your heart; and not the world.

We all know the story of David and Goliath.

There was a giant who was bullying and harassing the children in the village. One day, a 17-year-old shepherd boy came to visit his brothers and asked, “Why don’t you stand up and fight the giant?” The brothers were terrified and they replied, “Don’t you see he is too big to hit?” But David said, “No, he is not too big to hit, he is too big to miss.” The rest is history. We all know what happened.

David killed the giant with a sling. Same giant, different perception.

Have you heard about this ?. it was May 6th 1954 . All the athletes were ready . and they took their stands . The gun banged and the race started . 1 m minute , 2 minute , 3 minutes and 3:59:4 milliseconds . The entire stadium got mesmerized and witnessed a historic event .

Roger banister , a medical student completed 1 mile in 4 minutes for the First time in the history of athletics . Seems to to be quite simple . 1 mile in 4 minutes . yet this event is recorded , till now as the greatest athletic achievement .

Why is this the greatest atheletic achievement ?

Was Roger Banister an Avatar or a Superman ?

The Answer is yes and also no

Why yes ?  He is an avatar because  be broke 3 barriers

First Doctors and Scientists after studying human body and also the past records concluded that it is impossible for a human being to cover 1 mile in 4 minutes

Atheltes who tried many times and failed agrued that it is Impossible  to complete this  1 mile in 4 minutes and
Finally a set of people argued that anything remakable can only be achieved by blind faith .
it was these beliefs that he broke

And why he is not an avatar ? Because once he achieved after few days  many atheltes were able to complete 1 mile in 4 minutes .

Why   is this  still called as the greatest achievement ? . Because he created a pardaigm shift a process called as positive thinking

 

The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust

 

‘W’ – The Power of Words – The Secret

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” – George Orwell

The power of words in unimaginable. In fact this is the Secret   of life. According to the Indian Vedic philosophy we can find this.

A glimpse was caught of things for ever unknown:
The letters stood out of the unmoving Word:
In the immutable nameless Origin
Was seen emerging as from fathomless seas
The trail of the Ideas that made the world …

Also  we can find the same in Bible

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Ans also from Bible

“Behold, a farmer went out to sow. As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away. Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them: and others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

I would like to share a beautiful story here.

An old blind man was sitting on a busy street corner in the rush-hour begging for money. On a cardboard sign, next to an empty tin cup, he had written: ‘Blind – Please help’.
No-one was giving him any money.A young advertising writer walked past and saw the blind man with his sign and empty cup, and also saw many people passing by completely unmoved, let alone stopping to give money.The advertising writer took a thick marker-pen from her pocket, turned the cardboard sheet back-to-front, and re-wrote the sign, then went on her way.Immediately, people began putting money into the tin cup.
After a while, when the cup was overflowing, the blind man asked a stranger to tell him what the sign now said.

“It says,” said the stranger, “‘It’s a beautiful day. You can see it. I cannot.’”

This is the power of right words, So think before you say something to your fellow being.

According to Indian philosophy , this story  reveals the importance of words.

The great  mystical  sage Narada came to  Valmiki’s  hermitage, Valmiki who received him with due honor, posed a question – who was an ideal man? The reply came from Narada in the form of Samkshepa Ramayana which formed the foundation on which the magnificent 24,000 verse edifice was built by Valmiki. Then, immersed deep into this story, Valmiki left for the river Tamasa with his disciple Bharadwaj. The pleasant and placid river reminded the seer of the mature and modest quality of his hero. He visualized a pure and pious man’s mind reflected in the deep waters. In the next instant he witnessed a heartless hunter mercilessly killing a male bird that was in love with its mate. The piteous wailing of the distressed female moved the heart of the sage so much that he spontaneously uttered a curse on the hunter. However, this curse came out of his mouth in the form of a ‘sloka’, a perfectly metrical composition, which surprised the sage himself: “No – You shall not command any respect in society for a long time as you have shot dead an innocent bird engrossed in love”. The sage had turned into a poet.

 

 

 

“Human beings did not have rights.  Human beings created, from nothing, the domain of human rights.  They called it up. They languaged it.  They communicated it.  Communication has that power.  It has the power not only to represent and not only to evoke, but literally to bring something into being.   And to know yourself, to know your self, as a context creator,  is to transform the quality of your life.” – Werner Erhard