Transcendence = Happiness & Bliss

Any given situation has four attributes, yourself, the second force- a human, animal, antagonist etc, could be a friend, peer, senior or subordinate or on the other extreme a wild animal, the prevailing situation- either full of challenges, opportunities, misery, happiness, fear, hope, injury or loss of life and the fourth force – is the outcome, which will manifest after a time lapse, but is presently hidden in the time – space continuum.

 

In life & death situations it is reflex or instinct for survival that will take over the rational mind, forcing you in the “fight or flight mode”. In all other situations after you have put in your best, it is transcending the given circumstance that will help you overcome the perceived obstacle. We humans have an uncanny gift of imagination. No other species on planet earth can look forward in time and space and create a reality other than the existing one. This is the most marvelous tool in overcoming any situation life has to offer.

For example you are due for a promotion, your hard work, appraisals, presentations, giving up on holidays for your job etc all are clear in your mind’s eye, the days are tense & nights are spent tossing about in bed fearing the worst, what if, you do not make the cut ?There will be tremendous loss of face , your colleagues will snigger behind your back, you will not gain financially etc.

 

Your imagination can help; it is like placing a powerful multi dimensional camera to look at the other side of a high obstacle. The immediate view is, the outcome you fear the most & is not very favorable to you , the intermediate view is, you have moved on to a new job, location, have a new set of friends, your colleagues do not scheme & plot as much, you are happier than you were in your previous job. The far ground reveals a contended you , with a house of your own & your beautiful grandchildren playing with you & asking you questions regarding your world travel and so on. The view touching the horizon shows an elderly man with no malice, cheerful, with a self belief that you are still alive, healthy & kicking.

An altogether beautiful scenario!! each & every situation in life can be met head on with an in built factor of imagination. Should things happen to my liking well and good if not, then so what? My imagination will help me transcend the given situation and provide me methods to cope up. Why do you think the creator gave human beings the power of imagination?

 

It is given to us to make our world more beautiful & blissful, full of happiness, mirth & laughter. The paintings of  Vincent Van Gogh, Michael Angelo, Da Vinci, music of Pavrotti, Mozart, Beethoven, movies of Satyajit Ray, Ghatak, Guru Dutt, frescos & gargoyles in Italy, the grand architecture of France,  all are works of individual imagination put down on  celluloid, canvas, paper, marble or granite. If there was no imagination & creativity there would have been no air, sea or land travel. No planes to fly, no cruise liners for vacations, no cars to zip across states, no poems to read, no movies to view, no music to enjoy, in fact no variety in our food & life style. The earth would have been the dullest place to live. Imagination was given to humans to lead a better quality of life than the animals or lower order species on the planet.

 

  

 

 

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How A Personality Check ( P-Check) Can Help You Win Deals & Negotiations ?

Some one rightly said that, to each person the World is the size of his own head. A limitation that stretches as far as Individual thinking & imagination extends.  To succeed in any venture it is essential to communicate your ideas.  Negotiations are a part of business deals. Negotiating a business deal is a complex process arrived at by being prepared. The more you rely on gut feel & spontaineity the more you are likely to fail.

Personality is defined as the characteristic set of behaviors, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors. While there is no generally agreed upon definition of personality, most theories focus on motivation and psychological interactions with one’s environment.Human beings have a multi layered personality, more often than not what you see & observe are behavioral nuances acquired & being practiced to get along with the business at hand. What you see is not the entire Personality, as every one is putting his best foot forward.

Meeting some one for the first time for business is a Power game. The more you lose   yours the other gains. An ideal situation is to meet as equals. How this can be achieved is as follows :-

  • Read about the Company ( business of the person you are going to meet)
  • Understand what the business is all about.
  • Get as much information about the person you are going to meet for the business deal ( age, schooling ,college,parents,background,siblings, interests,peeves if any )
  • Even trivia will help,the more informed you are, the better armed you will feel.
  • Dress sharp & be well groomed for the occassion.
  • Shake hands firmly while looking the person in the eye. Repeat his introduction “Mr Kumar what a pleasure it is to meet you”.
  • If the meeting is at a common place, become territorial, put your car keys, mobile etc on the table in front of you.
  • If the meeting is in the Office of the person you are meeting ,do not occupy any territory except the seat /chair offered to you. Keep your hands off the table in your lap. Do not let the other person feel threatened,remember it is his space/office.
  •  Use humour as it is a powerful tool in today’s stressed work environment. Use self deprecating humour as it un- arms the other person. Practice makes it perfect.
  • If common curtesies of tea /coffee /green- tea have not been exchanged initially, wait to spring a surprise & ask for a glass of water mid way during the conversation.It helps in putting your opponent on the backfoot in the manners department.
  • Never ask for any personal preference for tea /coffee once the curtesy has not been extended. At a common place be the first mover to extend it.
  • Make notes,write down something, it shows you are diligent.
  • Practice making diagrams & annotating them, turn the page towards the opponent & ask for clarifications on the steps /process ( a neatly drawn line diagram at the spur of the moment will carry you far as it reflects clarity of thought)
  • While laughing  at a joke push your head back & expose your throat,it is a primitive gesture  of showing you are un- afraid. This will win you friends.
  • One way to remain in control is to converse in small sentences & draw response. Do not lose your audience by being long winded.
  • Smile often,use your hands effectively when required, in explaining some issue.
  • Sit upright ( not up- tight) with your shoulders square & chin up, for heavens sake do not slouch or slump in your seat.
  • Nod often if you agree ( every one likes a live feed back ), before voicing a disagreement lace it with ” could we view it differently“, ” I have one more option we can consider“, ” A thought just occured to me while we were discussing” & so on.
  • Your voice, its pitch, accent, cadence matters, it reflects on your schooling & educational background.
  • Read books as it will add depth to your conversational ability.

 

Lastly remember, 85 % of all Deals / Negotiations are based on Presentation, Personality & Projection ability & only 15 % on Technical skills

Ideas: Selling Snow To An Eskimo!!

To be able to pitch a product for some one else to buy, is a Herculean task . Ever wondered  why, many of the overhyped sales  persons fail ? The reasons are more scientific than you think. It has to do with a few principles,some skill  & a dash of art.

Various stages for the entire sales pitch should be :-

  • Stage 1 – Detailed knowledge  of the product.
  • Stage 2 – Rehearsals.
  • Stage 3 – Arranging a meeting with the client.
  • Stage 4 –  P- check ( Personality / background info about the client )
  • Stage 5 –  Meeting the client / preliminaries.
  • Stage 6 –  Briefing the client.
  • Stage 7 –  Winding up.
  • Stage 8 –  Follow up.
  • Stage 9 –  Actual sale / no sale.
  • Stage 10 – Contact.

 

Stage 1 – Detailed Knowledge of the Product

  1. Needless to discuss,unless you know the product in detail you cannot even venture to sell.
  2. Read, understand  the product,touch ,feel ,smell,listen to some one briefing you about it,visually analyse its colour contrast etc.
  3. Update yourself with the latest information regarding the product in the market.

Stage 2 –  Rehearsals

  1. Rehearse your brief ( sales pitch) in front of a mirror.
  2. Human attention span is fleeting, practice voice modulation.
  3.  Time utiilized in rehearsing is never wasted.

Stage 3 – Arranging a Meeting with the Client

  1.  While opening any conversation over the phone, introduce yourself ( name ) commence with  right time to speak to you, sir /madam ?,  hope I am not disturbing you ?,  if you are busy, can I call you later ? & so on. Make the Client feel, his / her time is important.
  2.  In a one to one scenario,hand over your business card & take time when you can visit the client.
  3. While sending E -mails for a meeting, keep the communication brief, never be verbose or frame long sentences.
  4. Post lunch meetings are more fruitful, as there is satiation of hunger & the client is more relaxed.

Stage 4 – P-Check ( Personality / Background Info about the Client)

  1.  The more information you have about the client ,better will be your outcome.
  2.  Background , family details, strong likes /dislikes if any?
  3.  Eating habits.
  4.  Interest in ,Movies / Music / Art /Hobbies.
  5.  Friends & aquaintances.
  6.  Details of Company,When it commenced operations ? What does your client do ?

Stage 5Meeting the Client / Preliminaries

  1.  Your own personal grooming is of paramount importance, look sharp ,clean & smart.
  2. Do not be sloppy & carry sheafs of paper in your hand, carry all material in a portfolio case.
  3. Look efficient & professsional, shake hands with a firm clasp, look the client in the eye while doing so ( a namaste depending on the culture / client)
  4. Keep your voice soft & not over bearing, smile & wait for being asked to be seated.
  5. Observe the surroundings, it will help you say something nice to the client to “break the ice” & start a conversation.

Stage 6 – Briefing the Client

  1.  Take permission before you begin, Can I start Sir/Madam? Permission to begin ? Is it alright to commence now? and so on.
  2.  Be as vivid as possible. Clients are of three types, Visual,Kinesthetic, Auditory.
  3.   You do not know beforehand your client is of which type?use pictures, graphs, charts & drawings ( Visual), let him touch & hold the product (Kinesthetic) and strike a cord by using good words & phrases ( Auditory)
  4. You are also getting live feedback from the Client & his body language ( nodding of head,leaning towards you,eye contact, alertness etc) modify your  focus as  you go along.
  5. People buy products because they need them,create a need for the product.
  6. The throw of your voice is impportant,for a client sitting close, lower the volume, do not shriek, pitch , cadence,pronounciation & vocabulary  all are important.
  7.  Use power words, new & exciting, clearly ,obviously ,trust,proven, fun, money -saving, healthy, comfort & security , new discovery, happiness & joy, powerful results & value.
  8.   Remember there is great power power in words, do not hitch too many power words together. Never use but as it takes away the meaning from the words spoken before. Example ” I would like to buy this car but I think its too expensive”.
  9. Some  standard jargon:- 
  •   Anchor – Stimulus or trigger assoc with a specific response.
  •   Calibration –  Marking or specifying a response.
  •   Generalization-  A mental rep of a whole category of experiences
  •   Mapping- Indls unique mental rep of the external world.
  •   Outcomes – Desired state of goals.
  •   Reframing – Changing the framework around the meaning.
  •   Presupposition- A useful assumption or belief to adopt.
  •   Strategy- A set of steps that produce specific outcomes.
  •   Submodalities – specific building blocks & qualities required.
  •   Time Line – Specific dates/time for completion of project.
  •   Modelling /Mirroring /Matching -replicating successful behavior.
  •   Congruence – when all responses internal & external are aligned.

 

Stage 7 – Winding up                                                                                                                            

  1. Do not be impatient  in closing /concluding a briefing.
  2. Repeat / highlight the main points .
  3. Asking well framed questions elicits better response from the client & the answers let you peek into his mind.
  4. Thank the client for sparing his time .
  5. Shake hands firmly & leave something for recall ( visiting card /brochure/handout)

 

 

Stage 8 – Follow up 

  1. Immediate – on return to your Office,follow up by  E-mail /Whatsapp/ SMS highlighting  some important aspect /decision of the meeting.
  2. Intermediate – after two to three days asking for covenient time line from the Client.
  3. Time bound – as per time & date given by the Client.Never be late in follow up when a time line has been given.
  4. Save the Clients meeting in brief in your data base.

 

Stage 9 –  Actual Sale / No Sale 

  1. Try to facilitate the process.
  2. Be present to tie up loose ends if the deal /sale is big.
  3. Join in the festivities ( sharing sweets/chocolates etc)
  4. See off the Client with a smile.
  5. In case of no sale do not lose heart, refine your process ,success is around the corner .

Stage 10 –  Contact 

  1. Client relations are built over a long period of time.
  2. A call once in six months to refresh or jog memory of the Client is never a bad idea.
  3. Do not make a sales pitch every time you call, be nice & courteous , make small talk, wait !!.

Be determined in your efforts, because even the Universe falls in love with a stubborn heart. 

Original Wit – One Liners & More

1. Under occupation a Nation produces only four kinds of people. Cooks, Clerks , Coolies & Toadies ( yes men)

2. Class is not only how well you talk ( communicate) it is also how well you behave.

3.  I am  an Army, Infantry, Specialist Doctor, I do implants, I implant bullets. I do this as a profession, but as a humane  measure, I give free bullet implants to terrorists & anti -nationals.

4. Who cares if some one works hard ? a mule does this ( hard work) all day long. What matters is efficiency.

5. Efficiency is adhering to office hours,clearing files in time, reaching home with clock work precision, at the precise hour, it has its uses, but are you effective ??

6. Where you are going depends a lot on where you are coming from.

7. Sitting behind a big desk, in a big office, with big sounding titles will never make you big. You are truly big when your writ runs beyond your office verandah in your absence. 

8. What is there in it for me ( greed)? is the summary of most humans on planet earth. Build your narrative, spinning answers around this & you have willing sheep ready for the slaughterhouse.

9. Look before you leap is good advice, but if you look too long you never leap at all.

10. As an Officer / Leader you are never late for an assignment, the best cover up is “running behind schedule due to other important committments”.

11. At times the writing on the wall is not in bold print / font or maybe your eyes are faltering due to old age. Quit honourably before you are unceremoniously removed.

Basics of Creativity & Innovation

Ever wondered what the present education system is doing to the students? well it is strangling Creativity & Innovation. The whole process has become merciless with education now becoming a trade practice. High fees, tuitions, cumbersome ever expanding syllabus, poorly trained teachers, race for securing top grades,stress,early burnout, shortage of white collared jobs, to sum it up, immense frustration. Education & Learning has stopped becoming a pursuit worth chasing or aspiring for.

Multiple factors are at play to get a good education. Most of the schools can make a child literate (capable of completing the three R’s ,viz Reading – (W) Riting – ( A) Rithmetic)  but to be truly educated  is a different concept altogether. The factors that are at play to be educated  ( in random order) :-

  • Family Background
  • The School &  its  Infrastructure
  • Standard of Teachers ( how is knowledge being imparted)
  • Self Study( reading – writing – analysing)
  • Peer Group
  • Willingnesss to Learn
  • Vision of the Principal
  • Available Distractions & Ability to Cope( with them)- TV, Gaming,Chatting,Internet
  • Sports & Health
  • Dietary habits ( overeating will result in sluggishness)
  • Discipline & Focus ( regularity)
  • Humility ( we are all points on the learning curve)
  • Genetics

Educated Person – is one who is literate ( of course) & understands the purpose of creation. His mind & intelligence are in his control,the society can trust him & he is a person of character,gentle , dutiful & respectful towards everyone. A certain sense of responsibility gets attached to being educated. Skills & learning are utilized or applied for the benefit of people.

Literate Person- a person who can read & write. One is generally literate by first grade or  first standard but can the child be called educated ? its about acquiring skills & learning. Literacy does not develop finer reasoning & analytical skills.Literate person may not be educated but vice versa is always true ie educated person will always be literate.

Mostly an educated person can contribute in the process of Creativity & Innovation in Schools & later ? A  proposed method :-

  •  LKG to Grade 3 – no formal teaching,only alphabets, & numerics. Lots of visuals in one book highlighting important aspects of our country India, civic sense, hygiene, moral science,respect for elders,  learning through song & dance, love for country & practical learning with usage of all five senses. Difference between hearing & listening.
  • Grade 4 to Grade 8 –  focussed curriculum,reduced syllabus,progressive learning,five day week, interest in maths to be aroused by innovative techniques rather than boring lectures, laughter & fun filled learning. Music lessons (piano/violin / wind instruments) mandatory as a class thrice a week. No regimentation or school uniform on Friday’s ( before commencement of weekend)
  • Grade 9 to Grade 10 – focus on concepts, enhanced reading,writing, speaking & analytical skills, brain storming open sessions on certain topics, do not tolerate plagiarism, all projects to be done in class ( across one full day), industrial visits,guest lectures,games & sports,CCA .
  • Grade 11 to Grade 12 – special streams viz Science, Humanities, Commerce etc. Practice method explained in previos blog ( Advanced Teaching Methods),discuss innovations done by technically advanced countries everyday, Teachers to act as facilitators, encourage original thought process, make syndicates /study groups, encourage students to learn from peers even off school hours,visit to school by scientists, innovators, thinkers.

 

Some quality suggestions :-

  • Never ask a child to give a definition by rote ( word to word),encourage synonyms & interplay of words to get the message across.
  • Ruthlessly cut out any hint of Plagiarism in a project or essay.
  • Encourage precise & concise writing over verbosity.
  • Design innovative approaches to make Maths & Physics interesting.
  • Screen a science related movie once a month for standard 8  upwards & discuss in open forum.
  • Develop enquiry,questions,doubts, a scientific temperament in schools & allow students to come up with their own theories, how so ever impractical. Then ask peers  to recommend how to implement or put it to scientific scrutiny.
  • Create a prestgious reward mechanism for the best theory /project in school.
  • A scientific innovation/discovery/research any where in the world mentioned in the Newspaper/Press/TV/ Internet, should be announced in morning assembly. 

 

Schools can act as incubation centres for preparing a ready crop of Creative & Innovative persons with a scientific temper by following the a/m methods.

Next blog on how to develop creative thinking follows !!

Ideas : Advanced Teaching Methods

I have often wondered what is that holds back our education system ? Why our children are low on creativity & innovation? Research has recently proven that learning Sanskrit language enhances the grey cells in the brain & promotes better retention of facts & figures. If this be the truth why after years of our ancestors learning Sanskrit we are still unable to develop cutting edge technology?

The answers are a bit complex & will require detailed explanation. The problem lies at two points, the house hold of the learner & the School where this purpoted learning  is being imparted.

Average House holds have the following general atmospherics :-

  • The father is literate / semi – literate/ illiterate, earning for a living.
  • The Mother is literate/semi- literate / illiterate working or handling house hold chores.
  • The enrolment itself starts  on  a wrong note with the age of the ward being falsified to cater for unforeseen circumstances ( failures in class)
  • The conversation in the house is to pass exams & get a job ( A Govt job is manna from heaven)
  • Parents take pride in putting a child on display for guests visiting the house to show how smart the child is in rote learning/cramming by reciting poems etc from school curriculum.
  • Tuitions are now a must as the school has abandoned responsibility of education.
  • Majority of the households give a spin to the concept of Reservation & create negativity that unless the child is a topper there would be no jobs.
  • Among students where Reservation is available as a guarantee , there is a crisis of confidence to excel & beat colleagues by securing better grades  in academic pursuit, as the be all & end all of all aspiration is to get a job by means fair or foul.

 

The School has generally the following Eco-system:-

  • Government aided schools are in a mess ,as the Infrastructure is archaic.
  • Even the poorest of Parent desires to put his children in a private run English Medium school ( reality could be otherwise)
  • Private schools made on subsidized Govt land have become mini empires with their own rites,rituals, process of enrollment , fee structure.
  • Getting one’s ward into a decent school  is a Herculean task & is energy sapping.
  • Once the ward is enrolled in school  , Parents themselves become achievers.
  • Some schools are like cults, bowing ,scraping, subservience can lead to rewards like monitor badges, school appointments.
  • Teaching ,Learning ,Innovating, Research & Development, Modification of Curriculum, Brainstorming,Out of the box thinking & Laughter are all casualties as teachers have to complete the syllabus with little scope of deviation from dictating notes & at times lack of imagination.
  • Teaching is not among the highly paid jobs in the country.
  • Most teachers are misfits as the process of hiring teachers lacks detailed scrutiny & rigour of selection.

To understand & learn a topic quickly these six questions may come in handy (Journalists often use these to narrate their story coherently) :-

Who are the Characters involved ( names,groups,party’s etc) ?

Where are the events unfolding ( location,places,geographical area) ?

What is happening  ( event ,action,work)?

When is it  occuring ( time frame ,dates,year ) ?

Why is it happening ( background information, reasons,causes) ?

How is it impacting ( importance, people,relevance,context) ?

 

It is a known fact that peer learning is the most effective way of teaching or learning, provided the peer who is imparting education or learning has a grip on the subject. For this a teacher pre-designates a topic or lesson to be prepared by the whole class. There is a law of normal distribution which manifests in more ways than one. In a class of say 50 students there will always be 07 or 08 who are brilliant ,sharp,quick on the uptake, who can comprehend & assimilate the topic given . The normal bell curve explaining this phenomenon looks like this :-

 

 

Image result for bell curve for normal distribution

             |——– 16%———–|———————– 68%————————|————–16%———|

( laggards/tail enders)       ( mediocres / average students)      ( toppers/ brilliant)

 

there would be 34 -35 students who are average students ,who may not be able to grasp the topic in its entirety but feign in the class that they have understood every aspect related to the topic. The tail enders , laggards comprise of 07 or 08 students who despite trying their best are struggling to cope with the topic, trying to understand its nuances.

The Teacher  being a facilitator can organize the class in a syndicate or group set up  with one brilliant student, five average students & one or two laggards. Thus creating  seven to eight syndicates wherein the toppers are the communicators who discuss & explain the concept to everyone in their syndicate or group. The teacher goes around monitoring , observing each group from close quarters & as a sample, checks with the weakest student whether the concept has been undertood or otherwise. Notes for the topic are kept as pre- arranged photocopies,tagged books,CD,Pen drive for the class to carry after the lesson is over. To begin with this can commence in class rooms  once a week & then the frequency can be increased. This would be effective from Class 8 onwards, depending on degree of difficulty of the topic / lesson.

This method will have some immediate spin offs:-

  • Learning would be faster & better.
  • Learning will become fun and a game ( because in some other subject, some one else will become the leader of the syndicate)
  • The shy studious type, intelligent but reticent will open up & speak, as he/she  will have to explain the topic to his/her  peers /colleagues.
  • Students will come better prepared as they may not want to be found wanting in front of their colleagues.
  • The average students & tail enders will learn to catch up.
  • Teacher will become a facilitator taking the students on a journey of self discovery.

 

More on how Creativity & Innovation can be initiated in students in my next blog 

 

 

 

 

Territory : Internal Vs External (Kshetra & Kshetrajna)

  1. From the day we join training academies to be transformed from a rookie boy cadet to a trained Officer warrior (gentleman ?) by a process of unparalleled rigorous & thorough training, we are taught to be achievers. In academics, military subjects, sports etc. Achievement is good but a warrior is human & humans need nourishment. The body needs physical nourishment; mind needs mental nourishment, our innermost feelings like hopes/fears/dreams/emotions need reference points and sorting ofcourse our atma/soul/conscience needs righteous reinforcement.

 

  1. Among the entire species that inhabits planet earth, only humans, being on top of the evolutionary ladder are the one’s who can think, imagine & rationalize. They do not exist only for hunting /gathering food, given a chance a human wants to expand, grow and make a sense of the happenings around him to find meaning in life. Human beings are also territorial.

 

  1. We all are aware within us the atma/soul/conscience exists which acts as a judge /policeman/gatekeeper to gently remind us of right conduct/empathy and duty. This is the Kshestragna.Since atma is intangible, immeasurable & cannot be quantified in the physical world, it gets a short shrift, most often neglected, leading to one sided growth.

 

  1. As Officers we are programmed to achieve. Everything from day one has to be quantifiable. Marks, grades, courses, appraisals, ranks, power, pelf, perks, size of bungalows and brass on the uniform. This is the Kshetra (territory). Because the atma resides in a physical body it perforce gets to be defined with individual achievement or property /expanded self.

 

  1. A hierarchical organization like the military infuses a fierce competitive spirit of chasing the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”, in a mistaken belief that the next rank/ more power will bring us greater happiness/ satisfaction even if it is I- Me –Myself or a self serving mode. We need to realize that we really feel expansive or big when we touch others lives positively or contribute to something/cause bigger than our own puny self. Our own personal glory /achievements will yield diminishing returns unless the Kshetragna is well catered for.

 

  1. To grow as a balanced human being & more so a warrior who has an exalted value system of sacrifice & duty it is imperative to understand that growth is both external & internal. The Kshetra (external achievements) & Kshetragnainner expansion) have to be in sync. One cannot exist at the cost of the other. In fact both have to be developed in tandem. Many miserable failures today in higher ranks are due to skewed growth externally. They may have all the fancy titles, awards, property & material possessions but feel emptiness/ hollowness in their twilight years. Some carry the burden of guilt to their graves for having done nothing worthwhile & having harmed the deserving subordinates in their own career progression.

 

  1. Introspection, empathy & sensitivity to the environment is the key to balanced growth as a warrior. It is the Kshetra Kshetragna that requires wholesome nourishment. Without quantifiable external achievements how would one achieve a sense of self worth / identity? And without righteous internal nourishment how does one make peace with himself. A harmonious / aligned (internally & externally) individual will not only bring glory to himself but will also be a constant source of inspiration to others .

 

 In fact Lord Sri Krishna while narrating the Holy Bhagvat Gita to Warrior Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra delves on this behavioral aspect of humans. I have made an attempt to explain its connotation in modern times.