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I love exploring new avenues with "passion for impossible" which were not treaded by others so far. Not bound by any race or country or religion for me to associate with and contribute in their life. Regular blogger sharing my folly as "wisdom" for others. Please visit my blog http://www.ncnarayanan.blogspot.com to learn the moment of truth I faced in my life that made me wiser to handle this complex phenomena called "LIFE" 

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I welcome you to my blog

Dear friend,
This blog is an effort to share all the mistakes committed by me in my Life. I wish to share them with a hope that you may learn from my mistake and avoid committing them all over again!

I am blending my wisdom with that of all great Masters who have shown me the Light.

This blog is dedicated to everyone from whom I learned. Wish you peaceful life ahead.

Love
NC

Monday, December 26, 2011

Kindle Life – Navarasa – Episode:8 Bhaya Rasa (Fear)


In my last posting I covered five out of the nine Navarasas for which I received lots of positive responses. I thank all those took time to send me appreciative words. In this episode I am covering the most important Rasa “Bhaya (Fear)” in greater details. Earlier, I was planning to write a separate blog on “Fear Management” in my Kindle Life series to share my wisdom on Fear, which has great significance in our life. It may be appropriate to cover this topic under Naverasa as it will stay in your mind for many more years to come and kindle you to use this wonderful emotion nature has bestowed on all living species.



Fear (Bhaya) a New Paradigm

Fear is one of the well-known Rasa for all of us as it almost appears in our transactions on a daily basis in one form or the other. We know only the negative effects of Bhaya Rasa as that is the first experience in our formative years and an impediment for our growth there after. Fear has its own positive effects, which needs to be understood.



What is Fear (Bhaya)?

Fear is one of the basic instincts Nature has incorporated in the brain of the very first form of life that appeared in this planet. Instinct is one of the operating systems, which governs the behavior of any living organism. Studying the anatomy of our brain Science says, there are two parts in our brain namely Limbic brain and Amygdale located at the lower part of our skull at the end of the spinal chord which stores the instincts in which Fear (Bhaya) is one of them. Control – Alt – Delete is not possible to get rid of this emotion!! 


Why Nature provided Fear (Bhaya)?

Nature created this universe as a “Spontaneous organization” which means it is “Self-reliant and self-sustaining”. A simple example of this concept is a rain forest and planetary motions, which regulates it without any external controller. When Nature decided to upgrade its species from Minerals to Plants and then to animals it had a peculiar difficulty of this self-sustenance! The lower versions namely minerals and plants are simpler models staying in a fixed place and hence needs simpler instincts as compared to the animal, which are mobile. The plants also have certain intelligence, which is very evident when we see them germinating when the seeds are placed beneath the earth and are moving towards the sun for making their food! I presume the plants don’t have Bhaya as their instincts!

When the nature made a more complex gadget called animal, it has to enhance the operating system with more features. It incorporated “Self-preservation” as one of the instincts which means that the animal must try to survive from its predators! Fear apparently is the emotion the nature chose to incorporate which will take care of the self-preservation needs of the animals. That is why when an animal encounters another species, it estimates first whether that animal will eat it or it can eat that? After this assessment, the animal is found to have “Flight or Fight response”.

In summary, we are the next generation models of the animals and during up gradation the Nature retained Fear, as it was needed for our survival. You may argue that we no longer live in forest and hence this Bhaya as an emotion can be deleted. Although this argument may be right in a way, still we need Bhaya for regulating us to prevent doing certain things, which will endanger our survival.

The Effects of Fear

As I mentioned earlier there are positive and negative effects of Fear. The positive effect is it prevents us from doing foolish things in the name of courage and putting ourselves in a problem. The negative effect is it intimidates us from acting in our life and there by we are not known to the rest of world.

The Types of Fears:

There are several types of Fears, each one of them having different effects in our life and I wish to deal with each one of them along with the Strategy to control them from intimidating our progress. The more frequent occurring Fears worth our attention are:
  1.           Fear of Strangers
  2.           Fear of ill-health (disease)
  3.      Fear of Public speaking (standing in front of people.
  4.      Fear of Death

1.    Fear of Strangers:


Fear of Strangers have its genesis from childhood conditioning when our parents have warned us from the danger a stranger could inflict upon us. We are sub-consciously programmed that any new person we meet in our life will be dangerous and should be avoided. The moment we meet a stranger our auto response says we must avoid them. Unfortunately all opportunity comes from meeting and negotiating with many people whom we don’t know.

Tips:

The only way we can overcome this fear response is re-educating our mind constantly that stranger we are meeting is as good as any human beings we already know. In fact the stranger is less harmful than the familiar people as they have no bias about us! When you meet a stranger, be sensitive to watch the fear response in you and stay with that and accept it. The moment you witness the fear response and stay with it coolly, it automatically subsides. Tell your mind the new person you are meeting is going to get added to your contacts and will become your friend and well wisher.

2. Fear of ill- health:

In the modern era one of the fear that robs our peace is the fear of loosing health. One of the reasons for this is the health campaign in the media always trying sell products using our fear as the emotion such as the sun flower oil to avoid heart attack and so on. If you look at closely the data of the time duration a human being is well as compared to the duration of illness, you will find 99.99% of the time most of us keep reasonably good health. This reveals the fact that plan of nature is “healthy by default” and not sickness. If that is the fact, why worry?

Tips:

Look at the animal kingdom, they are always keeping good health as compared to human beings; we don’t find all those disease that exists in our domain like tooth decay, diabetics etc are not found in them. The reason is the animals live exactly as per the plan and law of nature where as we violate all those laws and become un-natural.

Whenever the fear of ill health haunts you remind your mind “by default you are healthy & all that you feared in the past have never happened”. Whenever some one tells you that they have a health problem, don’t get into self-pity saying “If it happens to me…… etc”. Merely watch the mind harboring the fear of ill health and don’t cooperate by visualizing a bad time for you. Instead pray for that person for getting well soon which will be more valuable than your self-pity.
  
2.    Fear of Public speaking

There are several books written on this topic; however let me add two cents worth of wisdom to it! Why are we afraid of articulating ourselves in front of a gathering either in an official presentation or in a public speaking? This fear is the basic response of our animal instinct where our system is triggering the “Fear of attack”. Who is the attacker here? In this context our Limbic brain treats the audience as the Predator and us as the pray!! The response is “Flight or fight”. If you understand the genesis of this fear it becomes easier for overcoming it. Here are the way I control this response as a consultant and a trainer.

Tip-1:

Whenever I start my presentation few minutes before this fear starts and slowing rises in my bosom. When this fear response comes (it always comes irrespective of my experience) I observe it as though I am observing traffic flowing while I seeing from my balcony. I take a long breath and tell my mind I am not going to succumb to its menace. The moment I observe it looses its power on me.

Tip-2:

I tell my mind that the audience is not the predator and I am not the pray. The fact is that they are afraid of me and I am afraid of them too!! This is ridiculous and fun knowing it. The moment this fact is told to my Limbic brain, it eases out and drives me to become the Predator instead of pray!

Tip-3:

I tell my mind that I am the teacher and they are the students irrespective of the scenario be it a marketing pitch, CEO presentation or training to the senior level management etc. They have come to listen to me since they don’t know the subject what I am going to talk.

Tip-4:

One of the expectation of the mind is How the audience is going to assess? – the fear of ridicule or rejection! I re-educate my mind saying that, it is immaterial for me whether they appreciate or denounce. It is my karma to deliver what I have to deliver and my fulfillment is coming from my delivery than the result! This attitude puts me in a strong stature and flow.

3.    Fear of Death:

One of the strongest fears we all suffer privately in our bosom is “Fear of Death”. To overcome this unproductive brain drainer we need to get certain perspective about death. What is death? There are several masters have written volumes and science investigated “near death experiences” and reported many facts. Death is the end of one cycle to begin another!

The day we have born one thing we are certain is we will die some day. Among many other things nature has planned death is one among those, which governs this spontaneous organization. If we don’t learn the art of leaving our body, we can never master the art of living. Overcoming the fear of death is the most important necessity for making good use of life.

Tip-1:

Death is one of those mysteries of nature and is unknown. Getting worried about an unknown is foolishness. If anything is inevitable accepting it is the wise decision than confronting it. The day died and night has born, childhood died and youth has born and so on. All that ended has lead to the birth of something new.

Tip-2:

Try and complete your life in full with good relationship and clearing all passion as much as you can. Death is fearful only for those who did not live their life fully well. If you have lived well you will embrace death gracefully.

The balance Rasas in the next episode. Wish you a fearless life ahead.

Love
NC 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kindle Life – Navarasa – Episode:7

There are “Navarasa’s” (nine state of a being) mentioned in Vedic literatures as characteristics of human beings. I could not find an equivalent English word to describe a “Rasa” and kindly permit me to use the word “Rasa” through out this article. More than characteristics, I would imagine “Rasa” is the manifestation of behavior of human beings in each of these Rasa’s at different times in our Life. The nine Rasa’s are:
  • 1.     Hasya – Humour
  • 2.     Adbudha – Wonderment
  • 3.    Shringara – Romance (very approximate translation)
  • 4.    Raudra - Anger
  • 5.     Karuna – Compassion
  • 6.    Veera – Valor (Fearlessness)
  • 7.     Bhaya (Fear)
  • 8.     Bibhatsa – Disgust
  • 9.    Shanta – Peace 
We are indefinitely striving for the ninth Rasa “Shanta, the Peace” through several means throughout our life. We hardly reach there, as the means are invariably wrong which has no capability to take us to that destination! In this article I wish to cover the macro picture of each of these Rasa’s and their importance in our life.

1. Hasya – Humour:

 In our childhood we found everything amusing right from the butterfly to airplane and we never had any inhibitions to laugh and giggle. As we grew up whenever we laughed, we were told that we have to be serious to achieve in life. Parents and teachers progressively ensured that we loose our ability to have humour in life. In our corporate World humour has no place which acts as lubrication in our life and improves efficiency and relationship. The research shows the organization with lighter atmosphere achieves more and has the least attrition. Humour sabotages outcome is a myth and believing that seriousness means absence of humour is absurd.

People who blend humour in their transactions found to have better relationship and produce results better than people who are always serious. Medically smile is found to have therapeutic value for well-being. I recently attended E-Lab (Energy Lab) programme of Swami Shukbodananda where we were taught how to develop the sense of humour including flexing the cheek muscles, which have become rigid without usage of laughing. People with light heatedness are found to have healthy and long life. Let us have “Hasya Rasa” in our daily life.

2. Adbudha Rasa - Wonderment


The Adbudha rasa is an integral part of us when we have born. When we were a toddler we kept every object in our mouth to figure our what that object is all about. We were very curious and wondering to see everything around us. As we grew up, slowly got into the rut of conformity taking everything granted and no wonderment in spite of everything is a miracle around us. The heart beating, breathing, digesting and any other functions of the body happening without our conscious effort is a miracle. Earth rotating without a spinning mechanism, flowers blossoming, lotus not getting wetted by water and everything we see around us is a miracle. If we are  are  open for this vision there will be wonderment and we have closed our senses they are events of daily life. The falling apple was a wonder for only one human being when billions of them saw in the past and taken for granted as a normal incident. It was jokingly said when Newton asked his father “why the apply has fallen down?”, his father had no answer and seem to have said “My son it was falling during my father and grand father days as well! All of them took it, polished it and ate it! My son you also do the same!”

The learning quotient - LQ is a function of wonderment which kindles curiosity and some of us remain as learners throughout our life. “One who knows not that he knows not is a fool” which means that there are large domain in this universe still remains as a mystery to be unfolded and we don’t know that we don’t know. When we are in this domain the wonderment is the only Rasa that will help us investigate this mystery the nature has kept in its bosom and waiting its children’s to discover. Let Adbudha rasa keep your LQ drive your life.

3. Shringara Rasa – Romance


One of the experiences all of us would have gone through is Shringara – the romance either in our pre-marital or after marriage at least in the first six months. In Tamil there is a saying “Asai aruvadu nall, moham mupadu nall” which means that desire after marriage will last for 30 days and lust will last till sixty days. This means that the romance is temporary till the lust is present. All of those who fell in love or infatuation will recall that we felt the woman or men who we fell in love with is going to provide eternal happiness we experienced in the dating days! Alas, the fact is disastrous after marriage; why? The astronomical telephone bill during pre-marriage dating has not even reduced to answering sms once a day!

The Shringara rasa is not Lust for sex! It is far beyond the physical needs. Today needing a partner at adulthood is for either satisfying sexual needs or serving the person and that explains the disappearance of Shringara once the lust is fulfilled. Let me quote Kahlil Gibran’s version of marriage:

“You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of temple stand apart”

The Shringara is the most bonding ingredient between men and woman which adds spice to life even during the old age as it is free from lust for ephemeral aspects of life. If Shringara rasa is predominant during the married life it can keep the fire of love forever.

4. Raudra Rasa – Anger:


In my previous article “Anger Management” I presented the evil effects of anger. If anger is evil, the nature would not have created a Rasa of its kind. Let us look at the positive aspect of Raudra rasa.

The Raudra is divided into two rasas namely positive and negative. Positive anger ensures that you are not used as a doormat or taken for granted by the people around you. When anger expressed in a controlled manner it always has a positive effect. If the anger is expressed in an un-controlled manner it becomes a negative anger which spoils relationship and affects the image of the person. When one says “I am angry about ………” and expresses in a cool manner, the other person understands that the act is reprimanded and not the person. Often it is taken more seriously than expressed through an un-controlled anger. Raudra rasa hence is the positive anger that enhances your personality.

5. Karuna Rasa:  


The approximate translation of Karuna Rasa is what Buddha called as “Compassion”. It is not sympathy as it is often misunderstood. Sympathy leads to giving and enforces the ego of the giver feeling superior to the receiver. As Vivekananda says “Giving is possible only when the receiver is willing to accept and hence we need to thank the receiver for accepting our giving!”

Compassion is a state of a being where we are so tolerant to the people that none of their act can hurt you as you feel that “They knows not what they are doing” as Jesus said when he was crucified or Lord Buddha was spat on his face. In modern days we feel that when someone slaps us in one cheek, we should slap them in both their cheeks! It is very hard to make the modern man to understand what is compassion is all about.

There are several occasions we come across a situation in our family and professional life where we react heavily and regret later that those reactions could have been avoided. Such a feeling comes only when we are compassionate to those beings that we felt have hurt us. Hence compassion is none other than of a state of a being when we forgive those who commit mistakes and seemingly hurting us. Hence Karuna is an advanced state of a being which one can master after developing the previous 4 rasas.

The balance Rasa’s to follow soon. Wish you all the best to apply the Navarasa’s in your life.

Love
NC

Thursday, December 1, 2011

NC's Quotes


"Life is a biological process; Living is a choice you make"

"Human being saying "not feeling happy" is like fish saying “I am thirsty"

"Abundance or scarcity is a state of mind that decide your actions; Abundance expands your horizon"

"You can't create your future from your past"

"If you feel you are a product, you have limited possibilities; if you feel you are a process, you have abundant possibilities"

"Possibility thinking is the exclusive prerogative of human amongst all the species"

"Analyzing the past is like inspecting the garbage before disposal"

"Learn from your past; don't try to create your destiny from it"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Work Life Balance (Part-2):

==

Tip-1: Quality vs Quantity of time:

I remember long time back, when I was facilitating a Personal Growth lab for one of my clients, my daughter who was 14 years old then, accompanied me. While I was handling a session on work-life balance, one of the participants asked my daughter “Hi Sashi, your father being a busy consultant, may be hardly spending time at home; how do you feel about it?” And my daughter spontaneously answered, “It is not the quantity of time that is important but the quality of time is more important –and he spends Quality time with us!” I was amazed by her answer; as a young girl, she had rightly acknowledged her father’s contribution to her life.

I agree, in modern life style we get little time with the family and often we wish to stare at the idiot box most of that time instead of indulging in a conversation with our spouse or the children. Many of us feel that we can’t really have long, meaningful conversations with our children, as we do not really have much in common to talk about with them, considering the generation gap; and this thinking is the result of trying to find  meaning in whatever we do; which, at times, in not possible.! My grandson is 2 ½ years old and, I agree, it is not possible to discuss with him about my business plans. He has his own agenda while I spend time with him, and I decide to go with his agenda as that is the only thing that is possible! Even if I spend just half an hour with him, while he beats me at least twice in between, I have realized that I enjoy every moment (including beatings) of it, as I have to go back to my childhood to match his frequency. And it brings immense joy. Please remember, life is a bundle of human interactions and to spend quality time with our spouse and our children, we need to make a conscious choice and some adjustments.

Tip-2: Don’t aim to win all the time:
Many husbands avoid going home early as they think will have to negotiate conflicts with their wife and hence they tend to pretend they are busy at office. I am surprised to see how men and women can talk for hours when they are courting and that too without many conflicts and how things suddenly change once they are married. You’ll find them in perennial conflicts. Why? Well, finding an answer to this question is closer to attaining nirvana to me! How two human beings, who have started to share their life, can have huge conflicts in any conceivable agenda? The only root cause I could think of is that each one of them wants control the other human being – the aim is to win all the time. Even if they know secretly that their argument is futile. But they still want to win the argument and have an upper hand in the conversation. No wonder, divorces are increasing world over, including India, as both the spouses don’t want to give up their so called “rights”.

Life is not all about winning and controlling always.  It is also about being controlled and loosing, sometimes. While you play hide & seek game with your child, you hide in a place where the child can find you out because eventually you want the child to win. You derive pleasure in losing and not winning. Similarly, there are many occasions between husband and wife where losing can be more pleasurable than winning. For example, the wife always wants to select her husband’s clothes while she does not want her husband to choose her saris! Have you not experienced this when you affectionately buy her a sari, expecting she is going to hug and kiss you? But instead she ruins your excitement by scolding you to buy her such an expensive sari; because she thinks that the shop keeper charged you more than the real worth? Initially, I thought it is only me who has had this experience; but after checking with many friends, I concluded that all the husbands around, without exceptions, have resolved not to buy any clothes for their wives in their life time for having had similar experiences!  

Please allow your partner to decide few things without your interruptions. The sari is just a medium through which husband expresses his love and not an end in itself. Ignore the sari and see the love!

Tip-3: The Family came FIRST:          
We often have confusion, “Is the job for family or Family for the job?” The social arrangement called family has a strong rationale and it came first and the job came later; for the livelihood of the family and not the other way around! For some unknown reasons all species wish to live together – you see a flock of same feathers and herds of the same kind of animals. There is no system called marriage in an animal kingdom and it never posed any social problems also but the same logic cannot be extended to human beings who live in a society and are an advanced version of the same species.

Psychology says, “we exist in others listening” – what does this really mean? It means that I can be sane only in the presence of other human beings and my identity comes from others. For example, if I am alone on this planet, “I as NC” cannot be defined and I will also be another kind of animal altogether. So the necessity for a family comes from the paradigm that for remaining sane you need loved ones. – But we get so involved in everything else that we forget to love them back!!

Jobs came next; with the primary aim of supporting the family, but unfortunately they assume more significance than the family, which was the very reason for the job in the first place. The means has assumed more importance than the end. Unless we are conscious of this fact, there will be no redemption for us. For many, career assumes more importance than seeing a smile on the child’s face.

Tip-4: Make intelligent Choices
I recently met a successful young professional and was exchanging pleasantries with him on the topic of ‘work-life balance’. Quite surprisingly, he mentioned that he had stopped reading the newspaper and watching TV since last 3 years; so that he can gain time to spend with his family. I was happy to hear that my son and I did the same thing long time back. For a modern mind, this may look stupid as the obvious question that comes to our mind will be, “How do you know the developments in the country, without reading or watching the news, which is also needed to do your job better?” So he also cited a dialogue he had with his boss, who had questioned his ability to perform without reading economic times.

Let us deal with this rationale. My son Naveen used to say, “Newspaper is a good companion while you are on the toilet seat when your body is busy, so your mind also can be engaged on something!” If you carefully examine the contents of newspapers today, most of it covers politics and crimes, which is good for nothing and pollutes your mind. At least definitely not something you want to start your morning with! Tell me, for how many business decisions that we have taken, the inputs have come from the newspapers?  Unless otherwise you are a Narayana Murthy of Infosys or a CFO of a large corporate or if being updated on various happenings is a chronic need for your business! If you record yourself during your ‘TV viewing’ in a video camera and view it later, you will find your attention span and enjoyment!

It is not the argument in favour of or against the newspaper or TV. The real point is that at the cost of spending time with your loved ones, all other activities are simply worthless. It is the matter of choice you have to make.

Tip-5: Share & Build your Child         
According to me, one of the most awful schools of thought in India is keeping children at bay in the name of respect for elders. I grew up in Tamilnadu, where I hardly remember having any conversations with my parents; except being controlled by them on all occasions. We, inadvertently, seem to feel that children cannot understand complex things and so we tend to avoid sharing our thoughts and concerns with them. As kids, we were kept in dark on many matters that the family was negotiating. The fact is that the child starts learning when it is the womb itself and, to me, the very meaning of the “generation gap” is accepting with humility that the next generation is far more intelligent and sharp in learning. Indian epics are kept in our homes for the parents to instill values through storytelling in to their children. I used to share all my key learning with my children when they were very young, even if they yawned or showed signs of indifference. Now, when they are grown ups and lead their own lives, they say,  “Dad, all that you shared when we were young, was not making any sense then, but that was ingrained in our sub-conscious and it became the North Star of our life.” And I feel extremely happy to hear that.

Tip-6: Don’t fail to leave a memorable moment
I remember my son re-calling now an incident from his childhood’ when he was merely 5 years old. He got hurt while playing and was admitted to the hospital. On the day he was discharged, he wanted a Ferrari car (of course the toy car only!) but I found all shops closed. I made one of the shop keepers open his shop and bought him that Ferrari. I really doubt if the happiness that toy gave him back then can ever be equaled even if I were to gift him real Ferrari now. It may look like a silly event, but to that little child, it made all the difference with my assurance to him that, “I am there with him.”

The point I am making is Life is a bundle of such prima facie-trivial moments, which may not be equal to receiving a Nobel price but, when you look back in retrospect, you will remember such small joyous moments more than the Nobel prize. Seeing smile on the faces of your loved ones (including your spouse), needs only a small act of kindness and compassion but it is worth a million and the joy there from is unparalleled.

God Bless you
NC   

Monday, October 17, 2011

Business Excellence Vocational Award

I am pleased to announce that Rotary International has selected me for the Vocational Award for Business Excellence Consulting. I am thankful to all those supported and encouraged me to achieve this.
  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kindle Life: Work-Life Management – Episode:6 (Part-1)


One of the grievances all urban population has is the insufficient time available to spend with their family. The modern men and women are torn between the two priorities “Work” and “Family” and often feel they are either doing injustice to one of them. Work-life balance has become one of the HR agenda and often the reason for divorces and poor relationships in families these days. We reach home late evening almost tired enough to skip dinner and ready to hit the bed. The loved ones are waiting to share their day’s experiences and we are almost a volcano waiting to erupt! Obviously their story is not going to be as interesting as Alexander’s next strategic moves to win a war. We are more comfortable to stare at the stupid programme in the TV rather than play with our two year old child or grandchild. It ends up in poor quality and quantity of time spent with the family and waiting to start yet another day.

In this episode I wish to share few perspectives that will enable you to manage better work-life balance and be effective in both the departments.

Civilization – A Problem or an Opportunity?
This planet was an un-adulterated place till human race came into existence! If you visit Himalayas or Alaska you will appreciate how this planet will look like if human beings are not present here. Civilization distinguished human beings from rest of the species in this planet. Probably the creator had an agenda in putting this gadget called “Human being” in order to differentiate with His earlier versions. The Vedic hymns say that God created all species out of Him and gave higher intelligence to human beings to help them to figure out the source of their being which is God himself! That is why the other name for Nirvana is “self-realization” – realizing oneself of the Godhood; the ultimate purpose of human existence. But the so called civilization created an ever ending pursuit for material acquisition and the resulting misery. Today the modern man believes that material acquisition will make him happy and endlessly chases them!

The transition from Stone Age, agricultural age, metal age, industrial age to internet age has dramatically changed the lifestyle of human beings posing different challenges. One of those challenges is work-life balance. In the Stone Age the only issue haunting human beings were food as hunting for survival kept them busy. There were hardly any difference in life style between animals and human beings. Probably this must have been the happiest part of human evolution as they were living closest to the Mother Nature and had no great ambition for material prosperity! There were no religions, language, cast and creed which have divided people later into groups and created animosity. There is no “Russian dog and American dog”! Dog is a dog is dog even today!

Why we chase Wealth? - Research Findings!
Reference: From the book “CEO DAD” by Tom Stern - Davies-Black Publishing page 25-30
One of the startling conclusions of a scientific Swedish study carried out was the discovery that human beings devote main thinking to achievement and material gains. The anatomy of the human brain studied by this team of scientist reveals that the brain is divided into two major segments; one chasing power, status & success and other wishes to focus on the basic human instinct for seeking companionship and nurturing loved ones. The study shows that over the civilization, the tiny area of the brain reserved for home and family has been squeezed out of the skull completely, now resting in nasal passages. The study also shows that those people who are too ambitious often suffer a bout of colds and flu due to high level of stress. Stern jokingly says that “the area of the brain in charge of love and nurturing would be sneezed out of our evolution in less than quarter of a century”

Another groundbreaking study by the National society in the US reinforced the Swedish research. Its finding was the human brain is divided into 4 lobes of equal size having different paradigms. Bottom one fourth of the lobe called “Truth Lobe” which constantly murmurs that “we are nothing compared to the wonders of nature and can never equal its miracles” and drives the feeling of perennial inadequacy.

The upper half of this lobe is called “Denial Lobe” which challenges the truth lobe saying “what do you mean that we are nothing? What about Shakespeare, Helen of Troy etc? I will try to get there by striving for status!

The third quarter of the lobe is called “Deepest need lobe” which raises the alarm saying “Why am I wasting my life time with so called achievement? It does not get any better than experiencing the simple beautiful pleasures of human warmth and affection – A HAAPY HOME!”

While the third lobe was diverting you from the madness of status & power through material acquisition, the fourth lobe rightly called “Stupid Lobe” takes you back where you started the mad game by saying “Hang on a minute. We need more stuff!” It is hard to believe this fourth section can be so stupid yet so powerful.

The author Stern asks the question “If your brain insists on repeating such behaviour, how will you ever know what your real needs are? The thing you really don’t need always seem so important.

Try this simple morning affirmation as you awaken:
 “Getting by with less will bring me more”.

You may find the meaning of what Stern says very hard at this stage. Hang on few minutes and read further and it will dawn on you before you finish this article. If the bell rings, it will transform your life; if not it does not matter as you will carry on missing the beauty of Life!
Before I share few tips for improving work-life balance, we need to get the perspective of what is “Work” and “Life”; if not we may be shooting at dark on this topic.

What is Work? - A new Insight
Let us examine the difference between “Work” and “Play”. In essence both are activities with one difference between them. Play is wilfully chosen and work is imposed as inevitable! On a week end when you play tennis in the hot sun for hours and feel refreshed. On the other hand when you reach office even before starting your work you are tired! This leads to the premise that, work per say does not make us tired! The mind set with which work is undertaken makes us tired.

Swami Chimayananda in one of his books sights the life style of an innocent farmer in a village who goes to his paddy field at 5 am and starts ploughing the land in the hot sun till late evening. After coming back home he takes a nice bath in the cold water, sits in the cot and starts singing a folk song! He has no concept of tiredness and if at all anyone is justified to be tired, it must be this poor farmer has the rights to say that he is tired! In the urban scenario, an employee reaches office with all comforts and even before he starts his work he is tired. Chimayananda raises the question “Is the activity makes us tired or the attitude with which we do makes us tired?”

An anecdote from my own experience:
I pursued my education while employed till I finished my MS (Research) at IIT when I was 38 years old! I never complained that I could not have family life as this pursuit was chosen by me (and my wife) and not imposed by anyone! The adult education which was playful for me although it is very stressful to ride three horses viz Job, family and education. I finished with “S” grade (Supreme) in Finite Element Analysis. The same education imposed for a youngster is a pain for him.

From the above two anecdotes you may appreciate it is not the activity makes you tired; but the mentality with which you undertake makes you tired. These days an employee has no emotional bondage with his/her work and constantly in a search of a better package. When the work is done without a passion it becomes merely a motion without life in it.  

What is Life for a modern man?
This is an ocean of a question. For someone Life means “Indulgence” – eating, drinking and making love. For someone else it includes all that happiness comes out of spending with their loved ones. For spiritual aspirants it may be progressing in his/her spiritual journey to reach Nirvana some day. We see a strange difference in goal setting between men and women. Let us examine through the great thinker Rajneesh:

Men in general are focused on lofty goals – Alexander wanted to win over all kingdoms across the World and prove as a great warrior. Women are down to earth – baring few exceptions they are satisfied with small achievements. When you find men meet together their topics are generally capturing a great kingdom; while women meet they discuss what they cooked the previous day and the like! Men are very time conscious where as women wear wrist watches more as an ornament. If you have accompanied with your wife to a sari shop you will appreciate what I am taking about!  

 All of us got married without asking a question “why do we need to get married?” as we have done many other things in life like going to a university. We did it as everyone else has done it. As Swami Parthasarathy says we never used our intellect in many such decisions in life and marriage is one among them! We produced children as a natural follow on after marriage as everyone else has done it! We ended up in a unit called family and we don’t know what to do with it in the middle of our lofty pursuit to gain power and money through our career!
All these paraphernalia are created by our forefathers to create a sense of bondage to fulfil the deep human need of being together without which we will become insane within 6 weeks. Psychology says that we can remain sane only for 8 weeks without the presence of any human beings around us! If you have seen the movie “Cast Away” you will appreciate what I am talking about.

In essence life is not only achievement, it is also seemingly meaningless activities of playing with your children, gossiping with your wife while assisting her in the kitchen by cutting vegetables for her or occasionally cooking food for everyone and so on! For goal oriented men of modern days, it will look like Greek and Latin for him and may also seem it is waste of time. For those to whom it appears spending time with family is waste of time, please examine why you got married and do the needful!!

We will explore work-life balancing tips in Part-2
God bless you.
Love
NC