Life – A Series Of Stories

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Phillip Pullman story4

I love listening to stories & story telling.There is a lot that we take away listening to stories. Some stories impact us immediately and some crop up at different intervals in our lives and leave their footprints. I have believed that everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes us what we are. We build ourselves out of that story. Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here!

I would like to share some stories that have impacted & inspired me and I carry them with me now. I know as a story teller I must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story2story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. So, I am hoping that these resonate with you all in some way.

Food For The Soul

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer, a building contractor, of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

His employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but it was easy to see that his heart was no longer in his work. He had lost his enthusiasm and had resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and his boss came to inspect the new house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built for ourselves. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

 

How Great Love Is

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, and all of the others including Love. story1

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you here.”

Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness let me go with you.” “Oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!” Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name.

When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?”

“It was Time”, Knowledge answered.

“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

 

The Fence

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad or worse than a physical one.”

 

Big Rocks Of Life

A while back I was reading about an expert on subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.  story3

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”

By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.” The title of this letter is the “Big Rocks” of Life.

What are the big rocks in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all.

So, tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the “big rocks” in my life or business? Then, put those in your jar.

The last one is a personal favourite, as a lot of people ask me how I pack multiple activities in my life. My response to them I have found my big rocks…time to find yours now 🙂

 

I’m Motivated…Therefore, I Am!

Gautam Buddha once said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” Very true. I am giving this a little twist and adding, “My mind is motivated…therefore I am!”

What brought this on? A multitude of interactions with people from different walks of life and a few movies I have watched over a period of time. Let me start with the movies. I saw “Mardaani”…a movie which has a heroine as the honest, passionate cop who uncovers a human trafficking racket in India. This is just one among the few from Bollywood. Hollywood has it’s share of such movies. One hero or heroine who is charged with a sense of mission, achievement and passion to make a difference. They are willing to overcome whatever obstacles come their way, throw a few challenges to people around them and generally come out looking good after achieving their goal. Love life

On the other hand, in my interactions with people around me – friends, family, acquaintances, people I work with – I have discovered what Zig Ziglar says is 100% true.” People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily.”

So, what struck me was why is it that a handful of people are inspired or motivated to do that much more in life, while, a majority go through life as a burden?

I draw my inspiration from some of the people around me…people who are “full of beans”, so to speak. One person I can name is a dear friend Chaya Srivatsa, whose zest for life is so infectious that it leaves me on a high. And then there are two old men (both in their 70’s) who keep me on my toes – Venky Patil & Niranjan Malik, both father figures for me – the former my biological and the latter, my godfather. Such enthusiasm for life they have and such happiness they spread.

My own excitement about living life knows no bounds. I chose the adrenalin rush that life brings, I opt for the positivity that comes with the sunrise every morning…therefore, life allows me to live the way I want to. People have asked me what works for me and I am sharing that with all my readers.

1. Life is a plan. Have you ever planned an event? When we plan, do we not take contingencies into account? People who plan for obstacles are more likely to stick with projects than those who don’t. There have been innumerable surveys conducted that have proved when you have a plan B, you are more likely to succeed in achieving your results, because, you don’t get stuck only with plan A. Michelle Tillis Lederman of New York City practiced this strategy when she was writing a book (11 Laws of Likability) last year. She installed blinds on her home-office door to minimize disruptions and hired an editor to give feedback on each chapter so she wouldn’t get stuck along the way. She also established rules, like checking e-mails only after she had written for two hours. “It was easier to follow this plan,” says Lederman, “than to wrestle with every distraction in the moment.”

2. Believe in ability. One person whose work I have admired is Prof Albert Bandura, professor of psychology at Stanford University. His work has shown that people who have perceived self-efficacy (that is, the belief that they can accomplish what they set out to do) perform better than those who don’t. That self-belief is what helped Ingrid Daniels of Newark, New Jersey, leave a stable corporate job to develop a T-shirt line after the birth of her first child. “It never occurred to me I could fail, even though I had no experience,” she says. Today Daniels runs two successful small businesses (the T-shirt company and a line of stationery), which allows her to stay at home with her three children. We have a great many examples like this all around us. Personally, this was a challenge I overcame myself, to be able to do what I want to do in life, rather than be stuck with what is “expected of me” because others perceive me in certain ways.  mandela

A quote that made a difference to my thinking goes as follows: People always say you have changed when they find you don’t fit into their framework.

3. SMART goals. I can’t emphasize enough about this. The best example I can give is when we all embark on weight loss programs. Over ambitious goals and hoping to fit in jeans that are two sizes smaller, is a sure shot way of remaining where we are. I am personally guilty of this. So, what I decided was to stick to realistic goals that were/are more achievable. Goals that are a stretch but not an overreach…stretch, so that I feel I have gone the extra mile and seen the results. Working on the goals or dreams everyday is the key to sustaining that bit motivation.

4. Declare your dreams. What good is it when your dreams die with you? For they surely will if you do not share them with anyone. As children we are encouraged to dream, parents feel happy when a child talks about his or her aspirations. What happens as the child grows? They are asked to be realistic. You may say that my previous point spoke about being realistic. Yes, that is for goals. If my dreams aren’t big enough, what will I look forward to?

More important, do not stop sharing and talking about your dreams. When you share, you are internally motivated to go out and do something more about fulfilling your dreams.

5. You are your priority. Put your needs first, even when it feels utterly selfish. You will derail your progress if you sacrifice yourself for others in order to please them. Very often we are inundated with comments like, “C’mon don’t be mean…just this once.”, “You’re doing it for me”, “I’ll be hurt if you don’t do this.”, “How can you do this?” etc, etc. Remember, these people may mean well…but, the dream is not theirs, it is yours. So, you have to become a priority with yourself. Also, when you are happy from inside, you will make others happy.  Inspirational-Quotes-483

6. Raise the challenge bar. One of the simplest ways of moving ahead and reaching goal posts is when we challenge ourselves that much more everyday. It’s hard to remain enthusiastic when everything stays the same. However, only I can change the status quo…right? Athletes and sports people do this constantly, as do creative people. They are constantly pushing the envelope where their talent and skills are concerned. It is that much more interesting when you do things a little differently.

7. Keep learning. One of the reasons I continue to love the man I love, is his curiosity to learn something new in every situation, from everyone he meets. In fact, he keeps my learning curve growing because of the knowledge he keeps sharing with me. It could be bits and bytes about travel, politics, work in the office, books, music, culture, friends, family…just about anything. The process of getting to the goal, rather than just eyeing the finish line., is so much more enjoyable. Very often we forget that.

8. Always focus on the personal aspect, deeper meaning. We are more likely to realize our goals and fulfil our dreams when there is personal significance attached to them. For example, I always set emotionally connected dates to reach certain milestones in life – birthdays, anniversaries are the best target days. The sense of achievement is fantastic! Similarly, doing something because it has an emotional connect is much more meaningful, than just doing something for the sake of it. So, go ahead and find the deeper meaning.

Vincent Van Gogh said, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” I could not agree more. My passion is what fuels me…do you have one is my question? Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears…..and finally, we become what we believe.

Remain inspired, remain motivated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soulfully Simple…

Very often its our belief in ourselves, in people around us and the Universe that enables us to on. And I have found that stories have their own way uplifting us, giving us food for thought and bringing a smile to our face. 🙂

By now most of my readers would have understood that I love stories…and I learn from them, get inspired from them. I also love poetry/poems. And like we have unsung heroes, I have read some amazing poetry by “unsung poets”. Here I share with you some of them which have touched me.

Now is the Time

Now is the time to shine;
To make the dream become alive;
To show the world what we can do,
And prove what they thought,
But never knew
Now is the time
In our hearts and in our minds
To all we’ve ever dreamed to do.
And when the time has come,
And when our Journeys’ through
We’ll leave a legacy behind.
Now is the time to earn our place
Among the great ones of the past,
For life is too short, and time much too fast.
Now is the time
To prove to ourselves,
That it was well worth out while
To get up when we fell.
Now is the time to shine,
To make the Dream become alive.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out:
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

The Will To Win

If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and
your sleep for it

If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry
and cheap for it

If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,

If gladly you’ll sweat for it,
Fret for it, Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,

If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,

If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,

If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it!