Meaningless Goals

running-dog

A farmer had a dog that used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it.

One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a vehicle?”

The farmer replied “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he were to ever catch one?”

Many people in life behave like that dog, pursuing meaningless goals.

Reasons why you should travel

travelling

Many people think that we need to wait for our later years of life to explore the world, and that the only places worth visiting are those that have a religious or historical significance. Well, everyone has the right to decide what’s right for them. But there is much more to traveling than just visiting places of religious and historic significance. Here’s my list of 5 reasons why you should travel:

  1. Disconnecting with your regular life: You get the opportunity to forget your problems for at-least a week or so. Sometimes this distancing away from the problem helps you understand it in a different perspective, thus helping you to solve it.
  2. The art of being patient: Traveling involves a lot of waiting, like waiting for your flight, waiting for your meal to be served at the restaurant, waiting to see God (or just the idol). All this teaches you the art of waiting, making you less twitchy and more relaxed.
  3. Making friends isn’t that difficult: Once we reach a certain age we find it difficult to make friends, why? The reason is that we are too busy meeting deadlines. But when traveling, we aren’t chasing any deadlines, and hence we are relaxed. This makes it the perfect opportunity to make friends.
  4. Flexibility: Probably not in the physical sense, unless you are visiting a yoga retreat. While most of the traveling schedule is planned, either by you or your travel agent, but there is always a surprise or two waiting for you. Like the unplanned rains, which makes you wait at a restaurant and sample Parsi cuisine.
  5. Improves social skills: Making small talk with your fellow passengers or having a lively discussion at the local bar, traveling will surely improve you social skills.

Life is a wonderful gift, and there is nothing more wonderful than traveling the world we live, understanding different cultures and most importantly creating beautiful memories that we can share and cherish.

Welcome positivity into your life (Part 3)

beautiful-day

Creating a positive life

The first part of the series was, ‘Identifying negative people in your life‘. In the second part of the series we saw how to ‘Re-organizing your life – away from negative people‘. This is the third and the final part of the series, in this we will look at ways in which you can create your own sense of positivity.

Here are some ways.

1 Use positive affirmations: Maintaining a positive lifestyle isn’t the easiest of task, especially during the transition period. Hence there will be times when you struggle to maintain a positive attitude day to day. To overcome this start your day by saying a positive affirmation out-loud to yourself 5 to 10 times.

  • “I will” not lose my temper.
  • “I am” good at my job.
  • “I can” live without smoking.

2 Keep a check on yourself: It takes time to get rid of negative habits. Initially you will find yourself slipping back into your negative lifestyle or getting diverted from the goals that you have set for yourself. As such you need to keep a check on yourself. Some common mistakes that may happen are:

  • Accepting an invitation from a negative co-worker
  • Again start consuming junk food.
  • Endlessly watching television.
  • Your exercise plan falls apart.
  • Sleeping for more than 8 hours.

3 Focus on an activity you enjoy: Set aside a specific amount of time (per week) for a hobby or activity that you enjoy. This should be something doable and something that you enjoy like:

  • Knitting
  • Yoga
  • Tennis
  • Running

Channelizing your energy in the right direction will keep your negative emotions at bay.

4 Take care of yourself: There is a huge difference between leading a self-centered life and self-care. A self-centered person is someone who cannot think beyond himself/herself, while self-care simply means setting aside some “me time” for yourself every week. Use this time to connect with your real self, or maybe pamper yourself with a massage.

Now that you have started leading a positive lifestyle, the important thing is to follow a schedule. It may take some time to get used to your new lifestyle, but you will soon start seeing and enjoying the benefits of a positive lifestyle.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.

Stay positive and always remember to help the needy.

Welcome positivity into your life (Part 2)

jigsaw

Re-organizing your life – away from negative people

The first part of the series was, ‘Identifying negative people in your life‘. Now that you know how to identify negative people, the next step is to get rid of them.

Here are some steps that will help you get rid of negative people.

1 Limited contact or communication: Once we have identified negative people, the best thing would be to stay away from them. But it is easier said than done. Let’s look at it this way, what if that negative person happens to be your neighbor? You cannot indefinitely avoid your neighbor, or stop communicating with him/her for the rest of your life. Hence the realistic approach would be to limit your contact or communication with negative people.
Word of caution: There is a big difference between a negative person and a criminal/outlaw. If you believe or know that a person belongs to the second category, it is best that you stay away from that individual and stop communicating, unless you are a budding criminal or a method actor.

2 Make time for yourself: Once you have decided to stay away from negative people, the next thing that you need to do is plan activities to keep yourself busy. The reason being, your loneliness may not only make you vulnerable but also drive you back towards the very same negative people that you are trying to stay away from.
Here are some activities to keep you busy:

  • Yoga/Meditation
  • Book reading
  • Painting
  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Gym or mixed martial arts class
  • Cooking
  • How about starting your own blog?

3 Choosing your battles: After you have eliminated a couple of negative people from your life, you should not think that you will never encounter a negative person. Actually, something quite different would start happening. Since you know what qualities make a person negative, you will initially feel that you are meeting more negative people than earlier.
But this time when you encounter a negative person who tries to provoke you, think:
Is this where I make a stand?
Being positive is not about remaining silent, but it is about choosing your battles.

4 Help a friend: As mentioned earlier, negative people may not necessarily be evil. So if there is a friend or someone who you really care about, do help.
Start by giving small suggestions, as to how your friend can change his/her attitude towards life. If your friend is receptive and ready for a change, start sharing more. If you are able to save your friend from negativity, you would be really proud of yourself.

5 Meet positive people: Once you have decided to stay away from negative people, start making acquaintances with people who have a positive outlook towards life. While making new friends takes time, and it takes more time once you reach your thirties or forties. But the important thing is to start building a circle of people who have a positive outlook towards life. These people will not only help you grow in life, but will not be a drain on your time and energy and be unresponsive when you need them.
When making new friends, take things slow. Don’t open your heart to the very first person who is ready to listen to your feelings.

While we cannot control the way people in general behave or think, but we surely can change ourselves. A positive life may not make you the richest person in the world, but it would surely make you a happy individual.

Once you have re-organized your life away from negative people, the next step is to create a positive lifestyle. This is what the next and the final post of this series is going to be about.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.

Welcome positivity into your life (Part 1)

taunting

Identifying negative people in your life

Negative people will cause you more harm than good, if any. The best thing is to stay away from such people, but to do that you need to first identify the negative people around you. Below are some pointers which will help you identify the negative people.

  1. Relationships are about give and take: Negative people will suck your time and energy, when they want something from you. But they do not reciprocate in the same way when you need them.
  2. Some people are always critical: Constructive criticism is good; it helps us improve and move forward in life. But you will find that there are some people who are always critical about you, no matter what you do. Such people may insult you, pick on you, and make negative comments about your looks or aptitude.
  3. Short fuse: Agreeing to disagree is a sign of maturity. But there are some people who will start shouting at you no sooner than you contradict them or present your point of view, which is different from theirs.
  4. Negative about everything: There are few things in life which we love, we hate a couple of things and are okay with most of the things. But there are some people who are critical about everything; there is absolutely nothing in the whole wide world that pleases them.
  5. Perpetual liars: We all lie, but most of the things that we say are true. However, there are some people who are perpetual liars. Such people will lie to you about everything, and no sooner than you ask them a couple of questions they will change the topic.
  6. Bullies: There are some people who make it a point to unnecessarily tease you, as if they are looking for a reason to bicker with you or pick a fight.
  7. You did it: It takes courage to accept one’s mistake. When a project or a task fails, most people tend to blame the other person. But there are some people who make it a point to blame you for everything that is wrong in their lives.
Once you have identified the negative people in your life, the next step is to get rid of them – and that is what my next post is going to be about.

Always remember, you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind.

Doing good, does us good

handcuffed

To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task – Sophocles

There once lived a man who was very helpful and kindhearted. He would help someone even without asking them to pay him back. Owing to this habit of his, he did not have a lot of money, but he was able to live an agreeable and content life.

One day while he was walking on a dusty road, he saw a purse. He picked it up and noticed that the purse was empty.

“Yes this is my purse.” A beautiful young woman shouted, as she came running in his direction accompanied by a policeman.

“Where is my money?” The woman asked as tears ran down her cheeks.

“It was empty when I found it.” The man replied innocently.

“Please give me back my money. It is for my son’s medicines, he is very sick. He’s been like this since he was born, and he has no one but me to take care of him.” The woman begged.

woman-crying

The man thought. “She is a single mother, and she is definitely telling the truth. I should help this needy woman.”

“Take this.” The man said as he handed over all the money that he had.

The woman left and the policeman took the man for further questioning.

As the woman walked towards the medicine store she counted the money, only to realize that it was more than twice the money she was carrying in her purse.

A few days later, the woman was walking towards the same medical store to purchase medicines for her son when she realized that she is being followed by a man.

Fearing that she is again going to be robbed, like the last time. She tightly grabbed her purse against her chest and shouted. “Help! Help! This man is trying to rob me.”

Hearing her, a group of people immediately rushed towards the man and started beating him.

A policeman rushed to the scene and shouted. “Leave him! Leave him alone!”

Hearing the policeman’s words the crowd dispersed.

The woman observed the policeman’s face and realized that he was the same policeman whom she took along to inquire about her purse.

The woman then turned her attention towards the slightly bruised man sitting on the ground. “Look! He is the same person who robbed me last time.”

“He was not the one who stole your money. He is not a thief. But seeing your condition, and hearing about your son, he gave you whatever money he was carrying.” The policeman told.

“The only reason I was following you was to make sure that no one steals your money this time.” The man said, as the policeman helped him stand-up.

The woman felt ashamed for her actions and after a couple of seconds of silence, said. “Please don’t go anywhere. Come to our place, and have dinner. I am sure my son will enjoy your company.”

Sometimes in our anger, desperation or frustration we make wrong judgments. But if we get the opportunity to rectify our mistakes, we should not hesitate. Always be humble and kind towards others who are less fortunate.

5 realistic New Year resolutions

ny-resolutions

It is the same story around the globe. Every New Year people make a lot of commitments to themselves and to their friends and family. While everyone has a unique way of sharing their New Year resolutions with their loved ones, but it generally goes like this:

“I’ll join a gym.”

“I’ll completely stop eating junk food, and only eat healthy organic food.”

“I’ll make people notice myself at parties.”

“I’ll completely stop smoking.”

“I’ll definitely start jogging.”

Aren’t you tired of lying to yourself?

How about setting some realistic goals this year, here are my 5 suggestions.

  1. Visit 5 interesting places: I am sure there are a lot many places that you want to visit. Pick 5 places, spend a couple of days there, take a lot of photographs and create wonderful and life long memories.
  2. Learn a good party trick: Okay, even decent party trick would do the job. This will not only help you enjoy parties, but people will also start noticing you. So, you don’t need to remind them the next day that you actually did attend their party.
  3. Make world a better place: Start doing something nice and selfless for making this world a better place. Like start donating blood, sponsor a child, or at-least being considerate towards people belonging to other religion or race.
  4. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet: A drastic change in diet is not only difficult but in some cases not advisable. So why not take the middle-path and include fruits and vegetables in your diet, if you aren’t already having.
  5. Make a new friend every month: Why not start expanding your social circle. This will not only broaden your horizons, but you’ll find new ways to get the most out of life.

Happy New Year.JPEG

The road to success passes through the fields of failure

failure

Everyone passes through a period in their lives when nothing works in their favour. Whether you are a programmer or a politician, sometimes you pass through a phase when it seems that everyone is conspiring against you and that is why you are not succeeding.

The truth is, the road to success passes through the fields of failure. If you haven’t ever failed in your life, you can never be successful. All great people have failed in their life, at one point or the other, but failure did not stop them from working hard.

Henry Ford, the founder of world famous Ford motors failed many times before becoming a success. As a child Albert Einstein was slow to talk, and according to some he did not start speaking until the age of 4. Einstein did not grow up to become a world famous orator, but the talk about modern physics without his contribution is difficult, if not impossible.

Amitabh Bachchan.jpg

Miracles and success stories just don’t happen in the west. The story of Amitabh Bachchan is all inspiring, especially his second innings. The Indian cine legend faced financial crisis at the age of 57 in the year 2000. But he used his skill to his advantage and was the highest individual tax payer in the financial year 2012-2013. He is still one of the most sought after Bollywood actor.

Narendra Damodardas Modi is yet another example. He was blamed for the Godhra violence, one of the bloodiest controversies in the country’s history. But after investigations his name was cleared and he is the present Prime Minister of India.

Not to forget a failed lawyer, also called a half-naked fakir by some, used peaceful means to liberate India, and its neighbours, from the clutches of Britain, a warmongering nation.

Success Beckons.jpg

The simple fact of life is the road to success passes through the fields of failure. These stinking, sludge filled fields of failure are not easy to cross, but if you have the patience and determination to cross these marshy lands, success beckons you.

Never give up the struggle in life

elephant-and-rope

A man passing by the elephants suddenly stopped, with a confused expression on his face he stared at the huge creatures being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg – no thick chains, no cages. It was obvious that these elephants, if they wanted to, could easily break away from their bonds, but strangely for some reason they did not.

The man saw the elephant trainer and asked him. “Why are these animals not making an effort to get away? If they want they can easily break their bonds, isn’t it?”

With a smile on his face, the trainer responded. “Yes they can easily break their bonds. The thing is, when these elephants are young, and obviously small, we use the same size rope to tie them. At that age, that rope is sufficient to hold them. As they grow up, they believe that they cannot break away. They still believe that the rope can hold them and hence they make no effort to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, held by only a small rope, many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before.

There is nothing wrong with failure, just don’t make it a habit. The important thing in life is we should never give up struggle.

Diwali : Light that transcends religion

indian festival diwali vector background

????????????????????????????????????????

Contrary to the general belief, Diwali is not just a Hindu festival. It is a festival also celebrated by Jains, and Sikhs and some Buddhists.

Etymology

Diwali (or Divali) comes from the Sanskrit word Deepavali which literally means “series of lights”. Diwali is also known as dipotsava “festival of lights”.

diwali-fireworks

History

Diwali dates back to ancient times in India, as a festival after the summer harvest in the Hindu calendar month of Kartika. The Persian traveler and historian Al Biruni, in his 11th century memoir on India, wrote Deepavali being celebrated by Hindus on New Moon day of the month of Kartika.

goddess-lakshmi

Hinduism

  1. Diwali falls on a no moon night. To honor the homecoming of lord Ram people illuminated oil lamps. On this day lord Ram returned to Ayodhya, along with his wife and brother. 20 days ago and on the eve of Dussehra, lord Ram had killed demon Ravan.
  2. According to Mahabharata, on the eve of Diwali the Pandavs returned after spending 12 years of Vanvas (residing in a forest) and one year of Agyatavas (disguise).
  3. On the night of Diwali goddess Lakshmi chose lord Vishnu as her husband and they were married.
  4. Many Hindus in Odisha and West Bengal, worship goddess Kali, instead of goddess Lakshmi, and call the festival Kali Puja.
  5. In Braj and north central regions of India people mark Mount Govardhan, and celebrate legends about Lord Krishna. In other regions, the feast of Govardhan Puja (or Annakoot) is celebrated, with 56 or 108 different cuisines prepared, offered to Krishna, then shared and celebrated by the local community.
  6. In West and certain Northern parts of India, the festival of Diwali marks the start of a new Hindu year.

amritsar-golden-temple-00

Sikhism

On this day Guru Har Gobind freed himself and some Hindu kings from the Gwalior fort, from the prison of Mughal emperor Jahangir and arrived at Golden temple in Amritsar. The Sikhs celebrate Diwali as Bandi Choor Diwas.

mahavir

Jainism

Lord Mahavir attained Nirvana on this day at Pavapuri on 15th October 527 BCE. Jains celebrate Diwali as a day of remembering lord Mahavir. On Diwali morning, Nirvan Ladoo is offered after praying to lord Mahavir in all Jain temples all across the world.

buddha-face

Buddhism

The Newar people in Nepal, who are Buddhist and revere various deities in the Vajrayana tradition, celebrate the festival by worshiping Lakshmi. The Newar Buddhists in Nepalese valleys celebrate the Diwali festival over five days, in the same way and on the same days as the Hindu Diwali-Tihar festival.

A prayer for Diwali

shanti-shloka

Shanti Mantra (Mantra of peace). Brihadaranyaka Upanishads (1.3.28).

My Diwali message:

  • Light the lamp of love in your heart and stop hating people who do not agree with you.
  • Light the lamp of knowledge in your home to dispel the darkness that surrounds you and your family.
  • Light the lamp of compassion in your life and give something (howsoever small) to the impoverished.

References