The Story Of An Eagle…

The eagle has the longest life span among birds. It can live up to 70 years. However, to reach this stage the eagle must make some hard hitting decisions

After flying for 40 long years, the eagle’s talons are no longer sharp enough to catch the prey it needs as food. The long sharp beak is bent…it’s old aged & thick wings become heavy & get stuck to the chest. This makes it difficult for the eagle to fly. Can you imagine the torture of a bird when it cannot fly? It’s similar to the torture that you & I undergo when we know we cannot walk!

The eagle is now left with only two choices in life. To die or to begin a process of change that lasts 150 days.  The process is painful. It requires the eagle to fly to a mountain top and nest itself there throughout the change. The eagle then starts knocking it’s beak out till the beak is out. And then it waits patiently for a new beak to grow. The next stage is for the eagle to pluck it’s talons out. The eagle does this and waits for a new set of talons to grow. The last stage is for this majestic bird to pluck it’s feathers out. Then wait patiently for the feathers to grow. 

After 5 months of this step by step change, the eagle is “reborn” and is ready to take flight and live for another 30 years. 

When I read this, I had goose bumps. The sheer physical torture that an eagle goes through to live 30 years is a lesson for all of us. Change has become an inevitable part of all our lives. Yet, how many of us focus on whether that change is doing something positive for us or not!!! The eagle’s story brought out some paradigms in life for me.

Decision Making – in life we all reach situations where we have to take decisions. We all do take decisions in life. The question is are they timely decisions or are they procrastinated ones? Timely decisions help us in moving ahead with actions…procrastinated ones may not have the same impact or worse, may not have any impact at all. The decision to change something in life is always a difficult one…as we are habituated to a comfort zone. Very often the change itself may not be a difficult one to implement, it is our mental paradigm that makes it difficult. 

Emotional Strength – this is the mental paradigm I referred to earlier. And I will narrate a personal example…am sure many of us go through this in our lives. One of the changes I implemented in my life was to get up early in the morning…to get a head start & finish my morning chores. Now the moment my alarm rang in the morning, the first thought was “let me snooze for another 5 minutes :)”…sounds familiar? That’s when I realized the earth’s gravitational pull is the strongest in the morning…it just refuses to let you get from your bed…:):):). However, Mother Earth was just an excuse for my weakness. I had to condition myself to be mentally strong to push myself out of bed and start my day. So, emotional strength comes from getting rid of this deadly ailment called “excusitis”

Change Paradigms – very often when we focus on bringing about change in our lives, we focus on the end objective so frequently, that we lose out on the step by step approach to change. Change is not something that happens overnight. Change is a process…remember the eagle & the 150 day process. It has been said that for any change to be effectively implemented by us, we need to follow the process for 21 days at least. It takes the human mind 21 days to condition itself. After that the process is easy…your mind demands it! It is those 21 days that we need to focus on everyday acts that will help us condition ourselves. 

Single Handed Approach – I have also realized that any change that I implement in life must start with me & me alone. Like the eagle sits alone to go through the painful process…what I need to do in my life, I need to do it alone. The others around me will support me, give me words of encouragement, stand by me when I feel the pains & the pressure…but, the emotions, feelings & experiences I go through are mine & mine alone. I need to be one with myself to learn from those experiences. It is a single handed approach!

Many a times, in order to survive we need to implement a process of change. We sometimes must get rid of old memories, habits, traditions & experiences. Only when we are free from past burdens, are we free to enjoy the present and work towards the future. Our lives are not determined by what happens around us, but by how we react to what happens around us. Not by what life brings to us…but by what attitude we bring to life. We all reach a stage in life when we have to make noticeable changes in our lifestyle, work, approach & attitude. So…let us change to affect that change!!!

Have a soaring day ahead :):):) 


Success…Mantra Or Recipe

I am writing after a while…all this while my mind has been pondering about the word “success”. Yesterday I spent time with a self made millionaire, who was asked by someone “What is the mantra for your success?”. The same question has been asked by thousands & thousands of people world over to a Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Azim Premji, Mukesh Ambani, Akio Morita, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Shakira, George Clooney, Amitabh Bachchan and others.

When I talk about success so passionately, a lot of my friends have told me that success means different things to different people. Sure I agree…my understanding is irrespective of what success means to you and in whatever field you achieve it, the recipe to achieve that success will be the same. Wouldn’t it?

That brings me back to the question…do successful people really have a recipe or a mantra that brings the success? Yes!!!  Yes, they do have a mantra or recipe. For me achieving success is like cooking a superb dish. The end result may be a simple dish, but the ingredients need to be in the right proportion. So what are the ingredients I am talking about? Let’s get to the kitchen of life…

To your pan of Passion, using the ladle of Positive Attitude, add the following ingredients. Mind you the ingredients are very BASIC 🙂

Belief – In order for you to achieve anything in your life – you have to first believe. You need to believe in yourself that you can achieve it. You must have faith in your goals and your path to that success. Once your mind is convinced that you can do it, nothing is impossible. Belief is the ‘mind and heart’ & ‘think and feel’ part of the recipe.

Action – Nothing moves until you do something. You belief alone is not enough…you need to act on that belief. However, if my passion is high, then my belief will move me to act. When you act upon what you believe, there is focus. And there is energy. That energy propels you to greater heights.

Skills – My passion, belief and action will come to nothing if I do not upgrade my skills required for my work. Skills are those tools that will help me move closer inch by inch, foot by foot everyday towards my goal post. In a fiercely competitive world, if I don’t increase my knowledge and hone my skills, what am I attracting? Not success for sure!

IntegrityIntegrity of thought & deed. Integrity to yourself and others working with you. Without this there is no credibility I can build for myself. Integrity will also tell that there are no short cuts to success. I have to find my path and walk on on it. Sometimes it will be smooth, mostly it is uphill. It is during those uphill walks, that my integrity will enable & empower me.

Consistency – The little waterfall did not change the shape of the rock because of it’s force, but by its consistent contact with the rock. Look at any successful person around you. What has worked for them is the consistency of action in their field. It could be a carpenter carving a beautiful chair or a musician creating music or playing an instrument. Relentless pursuit is what brings us closer to success.

Once this BASIC recipe starts simmering in your pan of Passion, then you need to add the right seasoning of Determination, Discipline & Dedication. Mix it up in a way that suits your life’s purpose and then you automatically have a purposeful life!!!

Here’s wishing you all a delicious day ahead 🙂 🙂 🙂


Be The One Who Builds The Temple…

To every triumph, some failure leads

For every accomplishment, agony heeds

The must of desire masters through design

Just a vision that every ambition needs

Truly powerful ambition, in an individual, carries others along with him. Ambition comes from a unique perspective on life. In some, it is limited in horizon. While some others can have a large-hearted, all-inclusive ambition. What is your type?
About a 1000 years ago, a sage was drawn to a construction site. He watched from the edge of a clearing in the forest as the workmen bent over their individual tasks.
Finally his curiosity drove him to one workman at the edge of the site, whom he asked “What are you doing, my good man?” The workman looked up briefly and went back to his work “I’m working” he said curtly.
Not satisfied with the answer, the sage approached a second workman to ask him the same question. “You can see I’m breaking stones” he replied.
The sage was made of stern stuff and he wasn’t leaving without an answer, so he walked over to a third workman with the question. “I’m building a temple” replied this workman smilingly.
The incident opened the sage’s eyes, because all three of them were breaking boulders into smaller stones, but in their minds they were not doing the same jobs.
The third workman was working for a cause much larger than himself and it showed in his approach to work.
You can just do a day’s work, or build a career, a team, an organization, or a nation
An individual’s overpowering ambition can be the glue that holds together and powers forward a team, an army or a country.
This has been proven time and again by various leaders from history. Alexander The Great, and Gandhi are just two names from the past.
Working as an entrepreneur, I have always found that my ambition fuels my vision. If I am not self motivated to achieve my milestones, smaller goals leading to my bigger dreams, how on earth will I achieve my vision? Isn’t that the stuff visions are supposed to be made of? I have also seen certain others who quit their jobs and start working on their own…but just fade away with the sunset soon. After some introspection & talking to some fellow entrepreneurs, I realized that if your internal motivation needs external strokes regularly, then it’s no longer internal motivation.
Of course, we are all human and do need some powerful external inspiration to move ahead at times. It could be either a situation or a person who can inspire us. What has worked for some of us is “collective ambition”. This has helped us achieve what we want in life…not everything…we are still work in progress :). What is “collective ambition”? It’s a special ingredient that allows us to have“…a story that depicts our purpose, vision and plans on how to achieve our dreams.”
Seven ingredients of collective ambition:
1. Purpose: our raison d’etre, our why.
2. Vision: what we want to achieve in a given time frame.
3. Targets and milestones: the metrics used to assess the extent to which the team has progressed toward its vision.
4. Strategic and operational priorities: The actions we will take and not take in pursuit of our vision.
5. Brand promise: The commitments we make to our new partners in terms of empowering them to achieve their dreams.
6. Core values: Our guiding principles that dictate what we stand for in good and bad times.
7. Leader behaviors: How we build our leaders & how they will act, day-by-day and in the long term, to implement vision and strategy as they strive to fulfill their brand promise and live up to their values.
These seven ingredients need to be interwoven to create the ambition machinery. This machinery also needs what we call as the “glue” & “grease”. Glue creates the collective sense in our team, and the ‘grease’ enables it to function efficiently! Unlike everywhere, we focus on a business that builds people and not use people to build the business…sounds esoteric? We can always have a discussion on that…
Till then…expand your ambition and your horizon.
Grow the small pictures that others see, so your big picture gets progressively even bigger. You can choose your perspective and your role in life.
Be the one who builds the temple.

Language Of The Souls…

Music is the shorthand of emotion…the language of souls – Leo Tolstoy.  

When we seek to express or evoke emotion we turn to melody. It is on this premise that entire movie industry is based on. How else do we account for heroes & heroines breaking into a song at the drop of a hat :). There is an inner connection between music and the spirit. When language aspires to the transcendent and the soul longs to break free of the gravitational pull of the earth, it modulates into song. Music, said Arnold Bennett is “a language which the soul alone understands but which the soul can never translate.” It is, in Richter’s words “the poetry of the air.”  Goethe said, “Religious worship cannot do without music. It is one of the foremost means to work upon man with an effect of marvel.”

Words are the language of the mind. Music is the language of the soul. Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons.  You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body, said Oliver Wendell Holmes.

We use music in every aspect of life and one of music’s most prominent and most important role has been within the realm of religion. In various world religions, whether it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Hinduism, music plays a significant part in the way that the believers relate to their Gods, to other believers, and in how they understand and pass down their religion. Music works as a means of expressing passion and gratitude to the subject of worship and for religious adherents to convey their feelings to the deity of choice.

Every day, in Judaism, the morning prayers are with Pesukei de-Zimra, the ‘Verses of Song’ with their magnificent crescendo, Psalm 150, in which instruments and the human voice combine to sing God’s praises.

The most important texts in Hinduism are the Vedas. The Veda “is regarded by some Hindus as a timeless revelation which is not of human authorship, is eternal, and contains all knowledge, while others regard it to be the revelation of God.” The original four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda are all comprised of hymns, songs, and mantras. Hindu devotional music is called Bhajan and finds it roots in Sama Veda.  With easy lilting flow, the colloquial renderings, these are sung in a group comprising devotees, with a lead singer.

Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith.  Most Christian music involves singing, whether by the whole congregation (assembly) or a specialized subgroup—such as a duet, trio, quartet, madrigal, choir, or worship band. One of the earliest forms of worship music in the church was the Gregorian chant. Pope Gregory I was acknowledged as the first person to order such music in the church, hinting the name “Gregorian” chant. The chant took place around 590–604 CE (reign of Pope Gregory I). 

While the question of permissibility of music in Islamic jurisprudence is historically disputed, and there are two perspectives, music nevertheless does exist as part of offering praises to the Lord. Certain sects of the mystic Sufi Muslims, believe that music impels a person to seek the spiritual world.  It is said that, “the nature of music’s influence on man very much depends on the basic intentions of the listener (Shiloah, 1995). Therefore, music is not inherently evil: rather, the listener’s interpretation of musical experience can be evil.”

Irrespective of what the source is, whether it is religious music, instrumental music, pop, rock, classical etc, one common factor is transcending racial, cultural, and ideological boundaries, music is a universal language that brings together human beings from all different origins, backgrounds, and ethnicities. Used in many cultures and traditions as a vehicle for inner reflection and contemplation, music invigorates the spirit and strengthens higher love. In addition, in recent years musicologists have explored numerous therapeutic and psychological benefits of music.

In his book, Musicophilia, the neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks tells the poignant story of Clive Wearing, an eminent musicologist who was struck by a devastating brain infection. The result was acute amnesia. He was unable to remember anything for more than a few seconds. As his wife Deborah put it, ‘It was as if every waking moment was the first waking moment.’

Unable to thread experiences together, he was caught in an endless present that had no connection with anything that had gone before. One day his wife found him holding a chocolate in one hand and repeatedly covering and uncovering it with the other hand, saying each time, ‘Look, it’s new.’ ‘It’s the same chocolate’, she said. ‘No’, he replied, ‘look. It’s changed.’ He had no past at all. In a moment of awareness he said about himself, ‘I haven’t heard anything, seen anything, touched anything, smelled anything. It’s like being dead.’

Two things broke through his isolation. One was his love for his wife. The other was music. He could still sing, play the organ and conduct a choir with all his old skill and verve. What was it about music, Sacks asked, that enabled him, while playing or conducting, to overcome his amnesia? The answer was that when we ‘remember’ a melody, we recall one note at a time, yet each note relates to the whole. Victor Zuckerkandl, who wrote, ‘Hearing a melody is hearing, having heard, and being about to hear, all at once. Every melody declares to us that the past can be there without being remembered, the future without being foreknown.’ Music is a form of sensed continuity that can sometimes break through the most overpowering disconnections in our experience of time. 

Music is also like faith. Music integrates. And as music connects note to note, so faith connects episode to episode, life to life, age to age in a timeless melody that breaks into time. I will say music is a signal of transcendence. So, every generation needs new songs. The history of human spirit is written in the songs we sing. The words do not change, but each generation needs its own melodies.

When the soul sings, the human spirit soars!