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A to Z Reflections Z for Zeal Y for You X for Xerox
Friday, May 9, 2014
A to Z Reflections...


I want to start to with just one word from last month...WOW! It has been one of the most eventful months in my life as a blogger! I smile at myself with a little pat on the back as I look back and realize that I’ve been able to join all those who finished the race from the A-Z of posting everyday while managing to comment on every other blog!




If you've been a regular here, you would know that I am not a regular blogger. I think I have managed to maintain around 9 posts in a year since the past 3 years. Never once did I think I would be able to write everyday for a whole month that too at a single stretch!

When I heard about this challenge for the first time, there was something inside me that made me want to take it up. It came almost immediately to write on relationships as that was something I had been learning to build in my own life.

The Challenges I had to face in the A-Z Challenge:

The question of writing 26 posts alone was a major challenge. I had never written more than 9 posts in a year; this was almost close to impossible!

When I first started in on the challenge, I had decided to start writing it a month before so that I wouldn't have to face the pressure of writing every day. So I listed out 26 values I had to write on.

With the huge number of patients in the clinic and the laughter and the cries of my precious new born at home, I conveniently kept postponing writing out the posts for each value. This kept happening till the last week of March. Then reality hit me! I scrambled for time as I managed to finish writing A-C by the first week of April!

I couldn't write at home so I squeezed time in the clinic to finish writing for that first week and then the next thing I know: my laptop decided to dump me after 6 long years of being together! Apparently the monitor and the motherboard had died! With it my hopes of writing in the clinic were also gone. It was then I came so close to deciding I was going to quit.

But then the old adage: ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’ was definitely imminent in me. I decided to write in the early morning hours when everyone was asleep.

By this time, I had already reached on writing the required post of the day. There were days when I thought I wouldn't be able to write anything at all. But I managed to write a single post everyday in the month of April. I managed to help my wife look after my son too!


I want to take this time to thank everyone who’s been involved! 

A big one goes to my wife, Anu! In midst of everything, she would take time to read every single blog and make edits as and when necessary before posting.

My sister: Hilda who made this whole blog possible. Sitting through all the codes, finding the right pictures for the content; she’s the one responsible for the whole new look of the blog as well!

My good friend: Maya, who sat through reading every single post editing the grammatical errors right through.

Thank you to all the organizers on the A-Z team... This must have been the month in which not only did I write but also read quite a lot! Reading is so crucial to writing!

Finally, a big thank YOU! It was you who read all the posts and left such encouraging comments. Some of those comments truly made my day! Note: I still haven’t been able to reply to all of those, I will be doing so in the coming weeks!

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Z for Zeal

With $50 in his pocket, Dustin Hoffman headed to New York, hoping to find work as an actor. Inexperienced and unknown, Hoffman struggled to find employment. Acting gigs were not paying his bills, so he worked an assortment of odd jobs to stay afloat, including typing for the Yellow Pages, stringing together Hawaiian leis, and checking coats at a local theater.

Undaunted by sparse opportunities, Hoffman clung to his passion. He took whatever acting jobs would come his way, always hoping to be discovered. Each time he acted, even in humble roles, he added to his experience and fanned the flame of his passion.
Hoffman’s passion stayed sharp because of the company he kept. Two of his best friends were fellow “starving artists,” also trying to make a break as actors. Their names? Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall. Together, Hoffman, Duvall, and Hackman supported one another, validated each other’s dreams, and shared the ups and downs of life as aspiring actors.

Acting was the common passion that all three of them shared. As a result, their relationship grew much stronger. Despite the struggles they had to go through, it was their zeal for acting that kept them together and kept them going forward. People often tend to distance themselves when they don’t share a common passion.

Z-Zeal

Take any two people who share a strong relationship with each other and you will find that both of them share a common passion; something that they are both zealous about. It is often what cements that relationship.

Everyone has a dream; something that they are passionate about; something that drives them from within. The truth is that some pursue it whilst others give it up. In order for us to develop a strong relationship with any one, the key is in finding what their dreams/passions are and being able to relate to it. When we find it, we enter their heart. The more we help them pursue their dreams and visions, the deeper we take the relationship.

You can know a lot about a person and still not understand him. More information isn’t always the answer. To really understand people, you must know what they want, and that requires you to go beyond the head and consider the heart.

Take Away Principle: In order for us to develop a strong relationship with anyone, the key is in finding what their dreams/passions are and being able to relate to it. The more we help them pursue their dreams and visions, the deeper we take the relationship.

Tips on finding a person’s zeal:
1.      Accept that people are different and may not share the same passions as we do.
2.      Ask good questions. What makes them happy? What makes them sad? What gets them excited?
3.      Don't make assumptions about people based on their background, profession, race, or gender.

4.      Be genuinely interested in them and support them if you relate to their passions.
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Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Y for You

In this entire series, we’ve been looking at various values that one ought to possess in order to build strong lasting relationships with people. Now, we must remember that just by practicing these values may not help in building strong relationships with everyone. But it will help us understand and connect with others better and as a result understand ourselves.

What’s important is not how other people relate to us, what’s important is how we relate to others. We can’t control other people’s actions and reactions but we can control ours. We can’t determine how they feel about us but we can determine how we feel about them. The most important person in any relationship is you.

Y-YOU

This is why it is very important to accept yourself for who you are. We cannot build strong relationships with others if we don’t have a strong relationship with ourselves. Every one of us has insecurities and issues that we wish we could change about ourselves. Sometimes we allow these insecurities/ issues to get the better of us and we feel insignificant and worthless in the eyes of others. Often times it undermines our ability to reach our highest potential.

Like any Marine, Scott Winkler travelled to Iraq knowing that danger was part of the equation. However, he never suspected to find it lurking in the back of a supply truck. While unloading a fifty-pound box, Scott’s leg became caught in a strap, and he collapsed to the sand, landing on his back with his torso grotesquely contorted and his knees facing the earth. Surgery could not repair the damage, leaving the young man paralyzed. Initially experiencing bouts of depression, Scott finally reached a place where he said, “Enough is enough.” Unwilling to stay on life’s sidelines, he began training for the Paralympics. Within two years, he held the world record in the adaptive shot put and took part in the Beijing Paralympic Games.

There was nothing Scott could do to change his condition. However he refused to let a tragic accident define him. He believed that he could still achieve despite his disability and that made him a success.

What is important is coming to terms with who we are. When we do that, we are able to focus on our strengths and develop them enabling us to become secure in ourselves.


Take Away Principle: We cannot build strong relationships with others until we’ve built a strong relationship with ourselves.

Tips on building yourself:
1.      Understand that you are unique.
2.      Increase your value by trying to fix those things which are within your power to change.
3.      Do not allow circumstances or situations to define you.
4.      Come to terms with your weaknesses.

5.      Work on your strengths and develop them.  
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Monday, April 28, 2014
X for Xerox

A relationship is like a bridge that connects two people to each other. A bridge cannot exist if the points are not strong in themselves. All the previous 23 values we’ve been looking at how to build strong relationships with others. This post and the next is how we build ourselves. Building ourselves helps us in building strong relationships with others.

“For many years Monterey, a California coast town, was a pelican's paradise. As the fishermen cleaned their fish, they flung the offal to the pelicans. The birds grew fat, lazy, and contented. Eventually, however the offal was utilized, and there were no longer snacks for the pelicans. When the change came the pelicans made no effort to fish for themselves. They waited around and grew gaunt and thin. Many starved to death. They had forgotten how to fish for themselves. The problem was solved by importing new pelicans from the south, birds accustomed to foraging for themselves. They were placed among their starving cousins, and the newcomers immediately started catching fish. Before long, the hungry pelicans followed suit, and the famine was ended.” – Taken from Bits & Pieces, June 23, 1994, p. 17. 

X-Xerox

Recently I got into conversation with someone who regularly read my blogs. They told me that the values that I have been writing are great but found some of them quite difficult to implement. I simply told them to find someone who does it well and Xerox it from them.

Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde once said, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”

Nothing worth knowing can be taught but it definitely can be caught. When we find people who excel in certain values in their lives and look and model them, overtime those values become a part of us.
If we were to evaluate every area of our lives, some of the best things we do today are as a result of learning it from someone who did it well. We build stronger relationships with others when we relate to those who are good at building relationships. When we identify the area that we are weak at and find and model someone who’s good at it; overtime we become good at it.

Too many people attribute their poor behavior to others around them: “I did it because I've seen him/her do it.” “If he/she can do and get away with it then why can't I?” “He/she did the same, you didn't tell them anything!” Sounds familiar? We have often said these as kids, haven't we?

In his book, “The Next Generation Leader”, Andy Stanley writes, “We have a tendency to measure ourselves against people around us. They become our point of reference.”

This is why we need someone who is good at the values we want to develop: so that our references are always worthy of emulating from.

Take Away Principle: If there are values that we find difficult to incorporate into our lives, we need to find someone who is good at it and model from them.

Tips on Xeroxing:
1.      Identify those values that we find difficult to implement.
2.      Find someone who does it well.
3.      Ask them if they would take time to teach you.
4.      Spend time with them watching and learning how and when they do it.

5.      Emulate them and slowly make those values a part of you.
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Saturday, April 26, 2014
W for Words

French journalist and politician Emile de Girardin once said on the power of words: Well chosen words have stopped armies, changed defeat into victory, & saved empires.

A few years ago, we got together with a few couples and were sharing on the power of words. Almost all of us could remember the strong hurtful words that were spoken either by our teachers, our parents and some of them our close friends. What was more interesting was that most of us had done things in our lives to disprove some of the things that were spoken about us.

W-Words

Isn't it true that we've often loved to be around those people who have always spoken words of affirmation and appreciation? We choose to be around those people simply because we feel more valued in their presence. It gives us security and boosts our morale to pursue the things that we've been into even more.

Words have the power to hurt or heal a person. We cannot underestimate the impact that our words have on an individual.  Words have the power to shape lives especially in children. Positive words make them secure whereas if they have been abused, they grow up becoming insecure. Words can make or break a person. As a result, they can make or break a relationship in the long run.

Appreciating people always appreciates them as individuals and therefore appreciates the relationship. Affirming people always affirms them as individuals and therefore affirms the relationship.

Psychologist William James has said, "In every person from the cradle to the grave, there is a deep craving to be appreciated."

Appreciation always brings out the best in people. And when that appreciation is coupled with acceptance, love and encouragement, the bond between the people grow and it creates a strong relationship.

Take Away Principle: Words have the power to make or break an individual. Positive words can make a person secure and therefore even securing the relationship.

Tips on speaking affirmation and appreciation:
1.      Take note of what everyone is doing.
Always observe and watch what everyone is doing. It helps us to find key moments where appreciation can be truly given.
2.      Appreciate sincerely.
When giving appreciation, never give it for the sake of giving, but mean every word that is said. Let it come from the heart.
3.      Appreciate specifically.
Don't appreciate generally. But specifically point out what was it that they did that made the difference.
4.      Appreciate privately.
Do take time to appreciate privately. Let them know personally what it meant for them to contribute to the event.
5.      Appreciate publically.

Appreciating privately encourages people but appreciating publicly affirms them. Both are necessary. Always take time to appreciate them in front of others.
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Friday, April 25, 2014
V for Value


Director Frank Darabont of the film, “The Green Mile” talks about how Academy Award winner Tom Hanks helped Michael Duncan to achieve his best- 
“Fifteen, twenty years from now what I will remember about filming the Green Mile;  it was one thing and I will never forget this: As we were shooting, the camera is on Michael Duncan first, I realized I was getting distracted by Hanks. He was delivering an academy award winning performance off the camera for Michael Duncan; to give him every possible thing he needs or can use to deliver the best possible performance. He wanted Michael to do so well and look so good. I will never forget that.”

In 1999, Michael Clarke Duncan was nominated for an academy award as Best Actor in a supporting role category. Thus kick-started his career and so did their relationship.
At Michael Clarke’s funeral in 2012, Tom Hanks was one of the first stars to pay tribute to him. He said, “'He was magic. He was a big love of man, and his passing leaves us stunned.”

Tom Hanks like so many other actors could have been the first to bail out on Duncan. Instead he offered to help and it obviously paid off. Tom Hanks added immense value to Duncan thereby enabling him to become successful. They shared a close relationship.

V-Value

When people think about us, do they say to themselves, "My life is better because of that person"?  Their response probably answers the question of whether we are adding value to them.  

Many people end up being discouraged and dissatisfied because they haven’t been able to achieve their dreams yet. When we enter with the mindset of adding value to them and help them achieve their dreams, the relationship that we have with that individual goes to a higher level.

When we add value to someone, we make their lives more valuable. It elevates them from where they are and the more higher they go, the higher we go.

Zig Ziglar says, "You can get everything in life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." 

When we approach any individual with the mindset of adding value to them in whatever way we can, not only do they become successful but so do we. Adding value is always a win-win situation.

Take Away Principle: 
Adding value is a win-win situation. When we add value to someone, we make their lives more valuable hence making our relationship more valuable.

Tips on adding value:
1. Make yourself more valuable. You can only make them valuable if you’re valuable.
2. Find out what they value you for and work on making it better.
3. Sincerely listen to them. Ask the question: what’s their dream and help them achieve it.
4. Accompany them on their journey and in turn they will accompany you.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014
U for Understanding


John Steinbeck  once said, “Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” 


How do you feel when you are misunderstood? Few things are more difficult to live with than being misunderstood. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable. We carry feelings of loneliness, frustration, disappointment and eventually resentment. How many times have we made the statement, “Only if he/she really understood me.”?

U-Understanding

Father Damien was a priest who became famous for his willingness to serve lepers. He moved to Kalawao, a village on the island of Molokai in Hawaii that had been quarantined to serve as a leper colony. For sixteen years he lived in their midst. He learned to speak their language. He bandaged their wounds, embraced the bodies no one else would touch, preached to hearts that would otherwise have been left alone. He organized schools, bands, and choirs. He built homes so that the lepers could have shelter. He built two thousand coffins by hand so that when they died, they could be buried with dignity. Slowly, it was said, Kalawao became a place to live rather than a place to die, for Father Damien offered hope.

Father Damien was not careful about keeping his distance. He did nothing to separate himself from his people. He dipped his fingers in the pot bowl along with the patients. He shared his pipe. He did not always wash his hands after bandaging open sores. He got close. For this, the people loved him.
Then one day he stood up and began his sermon with two words: “We lepers.....”

The key for a strong connection in any relationship is in understanding the other person. Understanding him/her helps us to know them better. We actually form a bridge into their world getting to know what’s on their heart and mind.

In his book, “Becoming a Person of Influence”, Dr. John Maxwell says, “To understand the mind of a person, look at what he has achieved and to understand the heart of a person, look at what he dreams of becoming.”

Understanding someone is like opening a door and finding something new. The thing about people is that when you open one door and discover something you will soon find that there is another door to open. Understanding people is a lifelong process.


Take Away Principle: 

Taking time to understand people helps us to form a bridge into their world enabling us to from a stronger connection in our relationship.

Tips on understanding:

1. To understand someone, focus on their needs.
2. Remember that each person is different.
3. Take time to understand their backgrounds.
4. Learn about their past.
5. Assess their personality.

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