Welcome positivity into your life (Part 3)

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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)

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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)

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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.

The Winter of 1984: Lest we forget

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The human history is marred with recurrent cases of violence, deceits and cover-ups. But still there are some dates, and especially some events, which are impossible to forget. As some of the most inhumane acts were committed, in broad daylight, on these dates while the civil society silently and helpless watched all this from a distance.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.- John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

Like any other year, 1984 probably started on a happy note. We Indians were thrilled on the 2nd of April when Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma was launched into space, aboard the Soyuz T-11.

The terrorism in the North-Western Indian state of Punjab and the demand for Khalistan prompted the then Indian government to launch Operation Blue Star on the 1st of June. On the 4th of June Indian troops stormed the Golden Temple at Amritsar to capture and kill the terrorists hiding inside it.

The aftermath of Operation Blue Star

On 31st of October the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh security guards. Her son Rajiv Gandhi succeeded her as the Prime Minister of India.

“When a big tree falls, earth shakes.” – Rajiv Gandhi

Between 31st October and 3rd November an estimated 2,700 to 10,000 Sikhs were killed during the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other areas. The mobs looted and damaged several Sikh homes, businesses and Gurdwaras in response to the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

An Industrial disaster, of epic proportions

On 3rd December one of the worst industrial disasters took place in Bhopal. A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, killed more than 2,000 people outright and injures anywhere from 15,000 to 22,000 others (some 6,000 of whom later die from their injuries).

The winter of 1984 was a period of mass genocide and massive government cover-ups. These were some of the darkest months in the history of Independent India. Probably the only expectation that the Indian people had from 1985 was a hope, that their country still remains democratic and that their fundamental rights aren’t violated once again.

It has been decades, yet the victims of the anti-Sikh riots and Bhopal gas tragedy still haven’t received any justice – but they still haven’t lost hope.

1990s: The Decade that Transformed India

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There is something nostalgic about the 90s. The very mention of it lightens the face even of the gravest person, and why shouldn’t it? After all it was a decade of innovation, optimism, globalisation and a period when the walls of authoritarianism finally started crumbling.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be young was very heaven. This is what William Wordsworth said about the French revolution, before the be-headings began and he returned to England. Just like Wordsworth’s romanticism for the French revolution, most of us have a very rosy picture of the 90s.

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Major events in the 90s that shaped India

Mandal Commission

Since government jobs and higher education institutes were dominated by people belonging to the upper castes. V.P. Singh, the Prime Minister of India at the time, tried to implement Mandal commission recommendations in August 1990 which led to protests and self-immolation across the country. While caste based reservation still remains a touchy subject in India, many poor people belonging to backward communities got government jobs owing to this policy and thus saved from further exploitation. This also led to the strengthening of regional political parties in India.

Economic liberalisation

In 1991, a balance of payment crisis pushed India to near bankruptcy. In return for a bailout, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forced economic reforms upon India. But this was good for the general public. Since state monopolies were broken, the economy was opened for trade and investment, private sector enterprises were encouraged. While implementing economic reforms was not an easy task, but a quarter of century after its implementation India became the sixth largest economy in the world.

Hindu-Muslim divide revisited

The demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 and Bombay bomb blasts in 1993 played an important role in bringing back the old animosities to the forefront. While vote bank politics was nothing new in India, but this certainly was the beginning of a new chapter.

The Idiot-box

The 90s is considered the best decade when it comes to Indian serials and shows. These programs not only provided entertainment, but they also made people aware of the country’s history, mythology, news, lifestyle, trends, etc. This helped people understand their country better, they became slightly liberal and most importantly it increased the aspirations of the people, especially the ones living in smaller cities. Seeing women on television, talking about their achievements or being felicitated for their accomplishments, also acted as an inspiration for many young girls.

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India – A nation evolving

The Indian government through their economic reforms and caste based reservation policy in the 90s made an effort to not only bridge the gap between the rich and poor, but also between people belonging to different castes and communities. But India is not only the largest democracy in the world but also a developing nation, as such it takes time to bring about a change in the society. Till then, India and its citizens are trying to find unity in their diversity as they conquer new challenges and create new milestones.

The economic liberalisation, which was followed by the rapid growth of private sector, has driven millions of people to different parts of the country – creating young, vibrant and liberal communities throughout the country.

Little boy meets God

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“Mama! Do you know where God lives?” Raghu asked his mother innocently.

Raghu’s mother, Sandhya, thought for a second and said. “No one knows where God lives. But he visits the park in the neighborhood sometimes on Sunday’s.”

“Today is Sunday!” Raghu spoke excitedly. “Will we be going to the park today?”

Sandhya pretended to think for a moment and said. “Okay. We will go to the park today. Tell your dad to get ready soon.”

“Okay.”

“Wait! When you meet God what are you going to offer him?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll pack pop-corn and sweet lemon juice.”

The three soon got ready and left for the park.

“If God decides to visit the park, he sits on either one of those three benches.” Sandhya said pointing towards the three empty benches.

Raghu started playing around the benches, while Sandhya and Rahul kept an eye on him from a distance.

Soon an old woman, with a slight limp, came and sat on one of the empty bench.

Raghu curiously started looked at her. The old woman observed him and smiled back at him.

Raghu silently sat next to the old woman and started observing the wrinkles on her face, which made her look all the more beautiful.

“Are you hungry?” Raghu asked. “I brought pop-corn and sweet lemon juice for you.”

“How did you know that it is my favourite?”

For the next 30 minutes the two laughed and talked.

“Where are your parents?” The old woman asked.

“There.” Raghu pointed in their direction and they waived back.

“Now go back to them.” The old woman said. She then kissed his forehead and happily left.

With a big smile Raghu returned back to his parents.

“So, did you meet God?” Rahul asked.

“Yes. God is a woman and she has pain in her right knee.” Raghu replied immediately.

When the old woman returned back to her home, there was a big smile on her face.

“You look very happy, met someone special today?” Her son enquired.

“I had pop-corn and sweet lemon juice with God. He is much younger than I thought and has a slight lisp.”

As we Hindus say about God’s presence, Yatra Tatra Sarvatra. Meaning that God is present, here there everywhere.

God is present everywhere. All we need to do is share our happiness and make others smile to feel him.

Doing good, does us good

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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

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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.

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Fight your own battles

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Once upon a time in India there lived a king among frogs named Gangadatta. He ruled over a group of frogs that lived in a well.

One day, Gangadatta left his kingdom. He was fed up of his relatives pestering him over small things and decided to take revenge on everyone who constantly tormented him.

Just as he came out of his well he saw a cobra entering a hole, he immediately decided of having all his relatives, which pestered him, eaten by the cobra.

He went to the entrance of the hole, and said. “My friend, I have come here to make friendship with you. I am Gangadatta, the king of frogs.”

Hearing the voice the cobra immediately realised that this is not his kith or kin, but his natural enemy. Hence he decided not to leave the hole, since he suspected this to be some kind of a vicious plan to catch and then kill him.

“We are no friends, we are natural enemies. Why are you talking all this nonsense? Timber and fire can never be friends.” The cobra said.

“You are absolutely correct. But I seek revenge on everyone who tormented me, compelling me to leave my very own kingdom. I can lead you to the well where my kingdom was, and you can eat as many frogs as you want.”

“But a well is built by layers of stone and I have no legs. How can I possibly get into the well? And even if I manage to do so, where will I be able to sit and eat the frogs? Go away!”

“There is a nice comfortable hole at the edge of the water, where you can sit and eat as many frogs as you like. I will lead you to the inside of the well, and to the comfortable hole. But promise me that you will eat only my annoying relatives and not my friends.”

“I am old and this offer looks too good to be turned down.” The cobra thought.

The cobra agreed to the friendship and followed the frog. He went into the hole as promised. Once there, he would eat one frog whenever he would feel hungry. As days went by, the number of frogs went down and finally all the frogs that tormented Gangadatta were dead.

“All the frogs that pestered you and compelled you to leave the kingdom are dead, now only your friends remain. Please give me some more food. You are a good friend of mine, and since you lead me here it is your responsibility to keep me well fed.” The cobra said.

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Gangadatta realised his mistake but was afraid that the cobra would eat him, hence he told him to start eating the remaining frogs in well too. Gangadatta saw all his close friends eaten. Soon there were no frogs left in the well, and the cobra wanted more frogs.

“If you let me leave the well, I will bring you more frogs from the neighbouring wells. So you will be able to satisfy your hunger.” Gangadatta told the cobra.

The cobra let him go. But even after his anxious wait for several days, Gangadatta did not return.

Finally the cobra requested a lizard that lived in the walls of the well. “Please ask Gangadatta to return back. I cannot bear the separation of my dear friend.”

The lizard conveyed the message to Gangadatta who replied. “I will never return to the well again. He is starving, and a starving person can go to any extent to fulfil his needs.”

Thus Gangadatta saved his life, and the cobra had to perish inside the well without any food.

The moral is: Fight your own battles; else you will surely be destroyed.

The road to success passes through the fields of failure

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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.

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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.

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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.