Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I will be away from next week and will not be doing any new posting in my blog during this period.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Japanese and their Fish

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the water close to Japan has not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring the fish. If the return trip took more time, the fish were not fresh. To solve this problem, fish companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen fish. And they did not like the taste of frozen fish.

The frozen fish brought a lower price. So, fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, they were tired, dull, and lost their fresh-fish taste. The fishing industry faced an impending crisis!

But today, they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan. How did they manage? To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks but with a small shark.

The fish are challenged and hence are constantly on the move. The challenge they face keeps them alive and fresh!

Have you realized that some of us are also living in a pond but most of the time tired and dull? Basically in our lives, sharks are new challenges to keep us active. If you are steadily conquering challenges, you are happy. Your challenges keep you energized. Don't create success and revel in it in a state of inertia. You have the resources, skills and abilities to make a difference. Put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!

"Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character" - Albert Einstein

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Touchstone

When the great library of Alexandria burned, the story goes, one book was saved. But it was not a valuable book; and so a poor man, who could read a little, bought it for a few coppers. The book wasn't very interesting, but between its pages there was something very interesting indeed.

It was a thin strip of vellum on which was written the secret of the "Touchstone" ! The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold. The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles that looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: The real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles are cold. So the man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing pebbles.

He knew that if he picked up ordinary pebbles and threw them down again because they were cold, he might pick up the same pebble hundreds of times. So, when he felt one that was cold, he threw it into the sea. He spent a whole day doing this but none of them was the touchstone. Yet he went on and on this way. Pick up a pebble. Cold - throw it into the sea. Pick up another. Throw it into the sea.

The days stretched into weeks and the weeks into months. One day, however, about midafternoon, he picked up a pebble and it was warm. He threw it into the sea before he realized what he had done. He had formed such a strong habit of throwing each pebble into the sea that when the one he wanted came along, he still threw it away.

So it is with opportunity. Unless we are vigilant, it's easy to fail to recognize an opportunity when it is in hand and it's just as easy to throw it away.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Father and Daughter Story

Here is a short story with a beautiful message...

Little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter,
'Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river.'
The little girl said, 'No, Dad. You hold my hand.'
'What's the difference?' Asked the puzzled father.
'There's a big difference,' replied the little girl.

'If I hold your hand and something happens to me,
chances are that I may let your hand go.
But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens,
you will never let my hand go.'

In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.

So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Farmer and His Neighbours

There was a farmer who grew superior quality and award-winning corn.

Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won honour and prizes.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learnt something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours'.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.

"Why sir, “said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior, sub-standard and poor quality corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn.

If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbours grow good corn."

The farmer gave a superb insight into the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbours’ corn also improves. So it is in the other dimensions!

Those who choose to be at harmony must help their neighbours and colleagues to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well. The value of a life is measured by the lives it touches….


So please share the good practices, ideas, new learning with your family, friends, team members, neighbours….

“Success breeds Success"….

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Painter

Once upon a time there was a painter who had just completed his course under the disciple hood of a great painter. This young artist decided to assess his skills, so he decided to give his best strokes on the canvass. He took 3 days and painted beautiful scenery.

Suddenly an idea flashed in his mind and he put his creation at a busy street-crossing. And just down below a board which read-"Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake."

While he came back in the evening to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses) and some people had even written their comments on the painting.

Disheartened and broken completely he ran to his master's place and burst into tears. Sobbing and crying inconsolably he told his master about what happened and showed the pathetic state of his creation which was filled with marks everywhere. This young artist was breathing heavily and master heard him saying "I'm useless and if this is what I have learnt to paint I'm not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely.. I feel like dying "Master smiled and suggested "My Son, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learnt a flawless painting."

Young disciple couldn't believe it and said "I have lost faith in me and I don't think I am good enough... Don’t make false hopes...”"Do as I say without questioning it.. It WILL work." Master interrupted him. "Just paint exactly similar painting once again for me and give it to me. Young artist reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master. Master took that gracefully and smiled. "Come with me.” master said.

They reached the same street-square early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now master took out another board which read -"Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I'm new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it."

Master and disciple walked back home.

They both visited the place same evening. Young painter was surprised to see that actually there was not a single correction done so far. Next day again they visited and found the painting remained untouched..

They kept the painting there for a month but no correction was made on it!

It is easier to criticize, but difficult to improve.

If you want to help people improve their behavior it is worth investing your effort in learning how to help people change their behaviors, attitudes and skills.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared; he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress.

It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don't forget the power in the struggle. Live life without fear, confront all obstacles and know that you can overcome them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Farmer and The Old Mule

The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back: he should shake it off and step up! This he did, blow after blow. "Shake it off and step up... shake it off and step up... shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on shaking it off and stepping up!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him.

All because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

While the story above does make us smile, it does have wisdom in it. How we handle adversity determines our success in life. One of my favorite quotes on adversity is, "Adversity is a fact of life. It can't be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it." When faced with adversity we can give up and adopt the poor me attitude. Or we can look at adversity as an opportunity to find other ways to do things. We can be determined, persistent and persevere. It all comes down to your choice - and it is a choice of attitude! While reflecting on this story consider the following quotes on adversity:

"Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records." - William A. Ward

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." - Napoleon Hill

"Obstacles can't stop you. Problems can't stop you. Most of all other people can't stop you. Only you can stop you." - Jeffrey Gitomer

"Adversity precedes growth." - Rosemarie Rossett

"Prosperity is a great teacher; Adversity is a greater." - Hazlitt

"Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity." - Lou Holtz

"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time." - Og Mandino