12 October 2016

The dark side of a woman

We worship the 9 avatars of a woman during Navratri. As women we all strive to achieve what we desire while maintaining a balance between family, work and health. And while we all strive to "Do good and be good", one can only hope to 'let go' of the anger within.
Incidently, on the occasion of Dusshera, i happened to read an article which interestingly puts light on the dark side of a woman. Do read at leisure: The dark side of female rivalry

13 July 2016

Semantic Barriers in Effective Communication

As humans living in a community, we need to interact with other people. However, a person may have different types of interactions and as a result has different experiences(and therefore relationships) with different people.  
In my pursuit of understanding what i call "Why misunderstandings occur" :) , i happened to come across some articles on the internet which sort of gave me a scientific explanation of why things work out with some and don't with others.

Semantic barriers are the misunderstandings that occur when people try to communicate an idea, but simultaneously having completely different meanings in mind for the words.

These barriers or misunderstandings come from differences in language, education, and culture. Obviously if the sender is speaking in English and the receiver doesn't understand English, there's a problem. But even if the sender and receiver speak English, they may not speak the same dialect. The words they use may not mean the same thing.
Personal factors like difference in judgment, social values, inferiority complex, bias attitude, time pressure, communication inability, etc. broaden the psychological distance between the sender and the receiver.

For example: 
1) If we order a soda in Washington, DC, we'll get a soft drink. If we order a soda in Detroit, we'll get a drink made of soda water and flavored syrup with ice cream floating in it. 

2) If one is from the United States and he is speaking to a Scot from Glasgow, the American may have a hard time simply understanding his pronunciation. And his accent may be incomprehensible to the person from Scot. The receiver may use complicated words or phrases that the sender doesn't understand, such as "to ratiocinate" instead of "to reason," or "I am extremely appreciative of your efforts in my behalf" instead of "Thank you." 

3) In some cultures, the use of titles before names is extremely important as a sign of respect, while greeting someone we've just met using his or her first name (as many Americans do) would be considered quite rude.

4) We say "Dhanyavad" which means in Hindi 'Thank you,' but the same word in Guajarati means 'congratulations'. 

Normally, people understand the message in terms of their own behavior and experience.  Well, as the saying goes "Everyone is right from his/her own perspective"! :)

11 April 2015

How to not be hard on yourself

Nice thoughts depicted in pictures! :)

12 June 2013

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Recently, my husband had a day-long training in office. They were given the book "StrengthsFinder 2.0" which he brought back home and suggested that i read it. 
This is unlike any other self-help book. Based on some thorough research, it comes with a code for an online assessment to gauge what your top 5 stengths are. The core philosophy is this : "you are more likely to excel when you invest your energy in developing your strengths instead of correcting your weakness". 

Our Society is so obsessed with focussing on people's shortcomings. Our books, movies and folklore are filled with stories of the underdog who beats one-in-a-million odds. We celebrate those who triumph over their lack of natural ability more that we recognize those who capitalize on their innate talents. In every culture, we have this fixation for 'weakness' in a person, nicely put, 'areas of improvement'. What we do not realize is that each person has a greater potential for success in specific areas...so the key for human development is building on who you already are.

The book lists and details out 34 most common talents. On going through each of these talents, one realizes what his/her strengths and 'lack of talent' are. The book then lists out what you can do to further sharpen this strength (10 ideas for action), or if there is a weakness, to partner with someone who has more talent in something that you are lacking.

For me, the book came closest to evaluating my strengths. Knowing one's strengths can really make a difference in not only in one's career but also can build confidence in one's personal life. Do read! :)

13 June 2012

On Sharing

My husband and I alternately take our son Siddharth to the park every evening. There are all kinds of kids in a public park. Just as Sid excitedly sat on one of the swings today, a small girl came running to us asking me to get Sid to vacate the swing as she wanted to sit. Thankfully, her mum caught up with her and asked her to wait for her turn. Considering the maturity shown by the parent, I told the kid that she could sit on the swing after about two minutes.

"It is difficult to teach these kids to share", said the lady with a resigned expression. “I was at my daughter's school today. In the parent-teacher's meeting, we had a discussion on how to teach the ‘sharing concept’ to a child when it is so unnatural to an adult" she said.

True! It is difficult for adults to share anything. If I was asked to share something with someone, my reaction would probably be “why should I?". Also, one might consider sharing with relatives and friends. But why share anything with a stranger? Especially, if the object to be shared is limited, one would rather fight it out than share – similar to the 'survival of the fittest'.

I guess the feeling of sharing has also got something to do with feeling content. Only when you've had the satisfaction, you are ready to give.

20 April 2012

Art of Giving

My father-in-law recently forwarded an interesting email. Here it is:

"Life is stricter than a teacher. A teacher teaches a lesson first & then takes an examination. Life takes examination first & then teaches a lesson.”
Rivers do not drink their own water, nor do tree eat their own fruit, nor do rain clouds eat the grains reared by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others! Even after accepting that giving is good and that one must learn to give, several questions need to be answered.

1) When should one give?
We all know the famous incident from Mahabharata: Yudhisthir asks a beggar seeking alms to come the next day. On this, Bhim teases Yudhisthir (his brother) that he has conquered death for he is sure that he will be around the next day to give. Yudhisthir gets the message.
One does not know really whether one will be there tomorrow to give!
The time to give therefore is now.

2) How much to give?
One recalls the famous incident from history : Rana Pratap was reeling after defeat from the Moghals. He had lost his army, he had lost his wealth, and most important, he had lost hope, his will to fight. At that time, in his darkest hour, his erstwhile minister, Bhamasha, came seeking him and placed his entire fortune at the disposal of Rana Pratap. With this, Rana Pratap raised an army and lived to fight another day.
The answer to this question how much to give is: "Give as much as one can!

3) What to give?
It is not only money that can be given away. It could be a flower or even a smile. It is not how much one gives but how one gives that really matters. When you give a smile to a stranger that may be the only good thing received by him in days and weeks!
 "You can give anything but you must give with all your heart!"

4) Whom to give?
Many times we avoid giving by finding fault with the person who is seeking. However, being judgmental and rejecting a person on the presumption that he may not be the most deserving is not justified.
"Give without being judgmental!"

5) How to give?
Coming to the manner of giving, one has to ensure that the receiver does not feel humiliated, nor the giver feels proud by giving. In giving, follow the advice 'Let not your left hand know what your right hand gives? Charity without publicity and fanfare is the highest form of charity.'
'Give quietly!'
While giving, let not the recipient feel small or humiliated. After all, what we give never really belonged to us. We come to this world with nothing and will go with nothing. The thing gifted was only with us for a temporary period. Why then take pride in giving away something which really did not belong to us?
Give with grace and with a feeling of gratitude.

6) What should one feel after giving?
We all know the story of Eklavya. When Dronacharya asked him for his right thumb as "Guru Dakshina, he unhesitatingly cut off the thumb and gave it to Dronacharya.
There is a little known sequel to this story. Eklavya was asked whether he ever regretted the act of giving away his thumb. He replied, and the reply has to be believed to be true, as it was asked to him when he was dying. His reply was "Yes! I regretted this only once in my life. It was when Pandavas were coming in to kill Dronacharya who was broken hearted on the false news of death of his son, Ashwathama, and had stopped fighting. It was then that I regretted the loss of my thumb. If the thumb was there, no one could have dared hurt my Guru?
 The message to us is clear. Give and never regret giving!

7) How much should we provide for our heirs?
Ask yourself 'are we taking away from them the gift of work? - A source of happiness?
The answer is given by Warren Buffett: "Leave your kids enough to do anything, but not enough to do nothing!"

I would conclude by quoting Saint Kabir: "When the wealth in the house increases, when water fills a boat, throw them out with both hands!"

Surely, there is something to learn from this email! :)