Sunday, April 1, 2012

A must read, especially for all those who have children in their lives. Even otherwise. Thoughts are entirely from my friend Navinder Sachar

Notes on an Unhurried Journey

When we adults think of children there is a simple truth, which we ignore: childhood is not preparation for life, childhood is life. A child isn't getting ready to live, a child is living.

The child is constantly confronted with the nagging question, “What are you going to be?” Courageous would be the youngster who, looking the adult squarely in the face, would say,

“I'm not going to be anything; I already am.”

We adults would be shocked by such an insolent remark for we have forgotten, if indeed we ever knew, that a child is an active participating and contributing member of society from the time he is born.

Childhood isn’t a time when he is molded into a human who will then live life; he is a human who is living life. No child will miss the zest and joy of living unless these are denied him by adults who have convinced themselves that childhood is a period of preparation.

How much heartache we would save ourselves if we would recognize the child as a partner with adults in the process of living, rather than always viewing him as an apprentice. How much we would teach each other . . . adults with the experience and children with the freshness. How full both our lives could be.

A little child may not lead us, but at least we ought to discuss the trip with him for, after all, life is his and her journey, too.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Revealing Our Self to Ourself -

I am sharing my Coach Balwinder Sodhi's conversation and 'I' and beginning to grasp the occurring mirage hence seeing an opening for creating Who I AM by Choice - Indeed a Giant Thinking by my Landmark Coach. Read On folks this isn't occurring.

Heat was a profound puzzle in the early 19th century. Everyone intuitively knew that a hot object cooled to its surroundings and a cool object likewise warmed up. But a comprehensive theory of how heat really worked eluded scientists, as it had to explain some weird happenings. Hot things expanded; cold things contracted. Motion could disappear into heat. Heat could spark motion. When certain metals were heated, they gained weight, therefore, heat had weight. Early explorers into heat had no idea that they were investigating temperature, calories, friction, work efficiency, energy, and entropy—all terms they were to invent later.1

And so it is today with explorers who are attempting to come to grips with the elusive self-conscious “I”—to provide some insight into just what exactly goes into the nature of being human. From fields of philosophy, brain science, anthropology, linguistics, psychology, etc., people are actively investigating, inventing, and picking through strands of disparate evidence. For most of us, “I” is positional (“you” are there and “I” am here), a location in time and space, a point of view that accumulates all previous experiences and points of view. Does this “I” presume a substantial entity located inside our bodies, or is it located in our minds, our families, job titles, Facebook profiles, bank accounts—those trappings that help us maintain the meanings and understandings that we have up ’til now considered ourselves to be?

Theories abound. Sherlock Holmes was said to sometimes look for the logic of human behavior in plumes of pipe smoke; Shakespeare thought people became themselves through action and dialogue; Darwin saw human activity related to that of apes, albeit slightly more clever; Freud attributed the development of self to a cauldron of drives and motives of which we are largely unconscious. The Bhagavad Gita attributed human behavior to our attachments to our false or temporal selves in our material world. Philosophers Heidegger, Sartre, and Husserl thought the self’s way of existing to be a function of their involvement in worldly activities—physical, social, and historical. Biologists have tipped their hats to the genetic code (a matter of molecules); brain scientists to neural activity.

While theories and explanations are useful, also of enormous value is having direct, hands-on access to who we are as human beings—to being able to actually impact our actions, to change course should we so desire, to be the authors of our own lives. The single biggest stop to having this kind of access is one of identity (the “who” it is that we consider ourselves to be), coupled with the impulse we have to cling to and defend whatever notion of ourselves we already have. How we “arrive” at our identity is mostly inadvertent—essentially built from a series of what we see (consciously or not) as failures to do or be something. When these “apparent” failures arise, we make decisions about how to compensate for, respond to, and accommodate ourselves to them. So whether it is one or 10 or even 40 years later, when something inconsistent with how we see ourselves occurs, we still hold on to that with which we’ve identified— leaving us no powerful way to be with whatever is going on.

The degree to which our behavior is filtered by our identity goes unrecognized—the default filters then set our values; bestow meaning; determine the aims, limitations, and purpose of our daily life. They become “us,” they are “us,” and we only get what they allow—obscuring access to ourselves and to what’s really possible in being human. Unless the identity factor is addressed, the answer to the question, what does it mean to be human, gets looked at only through that lens. But stepping outside of our identity isn’t so easy—as it’s achieved a certain density throughout our lives—it is all we know of ourselves. The idea that another whole idea of self is available can be disconcerting, invalidating. In setting aside “all the usual things that gave us an ‘identity’—the accident of our time and place of birth, the accident of being a human being rather than a dog or a fish—we become aware that this so-called self is as arbitrary as our name. It’s like standing over an abyss, recognizing that ‘I,’ as we know it is not an absolute.”2 But it is here, with this recognition, where transformation occurs.

Transformation does not merely change our actions, it uncovers the structures of being and interpretation on which we are grounded. This revealing of our selves to ourselves occurs in a profound way that can alter the very possibility of what it means to be human. And while transformation is not an event, there is a definite before/after quality to it. Transformative learning gives us an awareness of the basic structures within which we know, think, and act in the world. This shift does not rid us of old contexts, it simply stops defining who we are. That is the single most powerful attribute of Landmark’s work.

“I am” is the language of identity. “I occur,” on the other hand, kind of jolts that perspective, orientation, and notion of ourselves. Each moment’s meaning happens inside of the background of understanding against which it occurs. The phenomenon of occurring begins to reveal and dismantle what we might normally have attributed to a “cause-and-effect” model or a just “the way things are” model of thought. But we don’t act out of what is there or what we know, or a cause-and-effect model—we act out of what “occurs”—our actions are directly correlated to how the world occurs for us.

For example, if the world “occurs” to us that it’s important to win, we take a lot of risks (we can’t win if we don’t); if the world occurs for us that it is important to avoid losing, we take very few risks (as we can only lose by taking risks). How the world occurs gives two totally different kinds of lives. Renowned physicist Richard Feynman wrote that two mathematically equivalent formulations can “occur” unequal. People investing their money who are told they’re likely to lose money every 30 years, invest differently than if they’re told they have a 3.3% chance of losing a certain amount each year.3 Same math, but occurring differently.

Another great example of this, as we sometimes demonstrate in our programs, is when we ask somebody who considers themselves very uncoordinated to play a game of catch. We throw them the ball, and as expected, they don’t catch it. When we change the game and ask them to just call out which way it’s spinning, they think of themselves as fully able to make the call accurately, and at the same time they (inadvertently) catch each ball. Changing the game alters the way it “occurs” for the player.

In each of these examples, what people are saying to themselves (how the world “occurs” for them) results in two totally different outcomes. Occurring is a phenomenon that arises in language. Language is far more than just a tool that describes or represents reality. To know the power of language, other than mere words, essentially requires a transformation from knowing ourselves as who we have considered ourselves to be (our identities), to knowing ourselves through language. We shift in the way we define ourselves—not merely in the way we think about our definition of self, nor merely in the way we believe our self to be, but in the actual experience of who we are as the one who defines who we are. Who we are is fundamentally a conversation—a phenomenon of language, created by our words—by our saying.

When identity stops being something that is fixed, real, or just the way it is, there is this ability to generate possibility. It’s worth seeing the difference in what an identity gives versus what possibility gives. Identity gives a “condition” in which life occurs. Possibility is a “clearing” in which life occurs. Possibilities are generated; conditions are by default. When we recognize that we are not our identities, and the space of nothing becomes available, who we are can show up as itself. It is from nothing that we have the space in which to create. From nothing, we can create something we know we created, so we don’t get stuck with what we create, because we can again create something else. Transformation leaves us with the presence of choice—no more, no less. The actual choosing remains of our own making.
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1 Adapted from Kevin Kelly, Out of Control, p. 404.
2 Adapted from Colin Wilson, The Mind Parasites, Oneiric Pr, 1990 (orig. pub. 1967).
3 Adapted from Nassim N. Taleb, Daniel G. Goldstein, and Mark W. Spitznagel, “The Six Mistakes Executives Make in Risk Management,” Harvard Business Review, 10/09.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kim & the Giant Mommy Deed

Reams of print have extolled the phoenix–like feats of Kim Clijsters.The former Number 1 women's tennis player who retired two years ago has been storming the battlements at the U.S. Open, cheered on by her husband and 18-month-old daughter—and thousands of men and women riveted by the very public spectacle of someone playing out their private story: A talented woman who dropped out at the top of her game to have a child and is now trying to step back into her career at the highest level. No matter whether Clijsters ends up hoisting the winner's hardware or smiling gamely from the sidelines — I'm posting this blog after Kims remarkable win the finals upstaging a teenager.She has proven without a doubt that women don't lose their competitive mojo just because they become mothers.

What Clijsters has done, said Stacey Allaster, the new chief executive of the Women's Tennis Association, in an article in The New York Times, "sends an incredible message to working moms that you can have a career and be successful at your profession."

The bottom line.

Nothing there should be that make us believe that women under go metamorphosis after attaining motherhood. More than ever smart women post marriage & motherhood are proving one and all that they are better than they were before & as competitive as they are into the future rubbing head & shoulders with the best talented men.

Importantly be it a man or a woman life's many stages can be lived in accordance to the time nature demands & yet return back to the arc lights & spotlights invigorated. Discriminate then we should not and despise those who do to bring the petty filters to stop talents coming back from stages of life they took off for. Suffice to say that we need to realize that we work to make a life and not the other way around. Be it a Man or a Mother!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reorienting Business Leadership and thinking at B Schools.

“The Global economic meltdown and erosion of trust require business schools to examine the fundamentals of education they provide – Arun Maria”

Americans and world citizens have ceased trusting business leaders. If the latest Fortune ranking is any indicator most czars at businesses have seen their leaders losing their bonuses and business jets in a hurry. And those who counted on their stewardship of businesses are losing jobs and homes like an avalanche growing in demonic propositions down hill.

Dime a dozen by each day are getting hit like a deer on the 101 highway blinded by High Power Sodium Vapor Glares as the global economy plummets to a gut wrenching bottomless black hole .

When Capitol Hill pumped tax payer’s money into private banks to restore liquidity and flow of credit in the economy, bank executives used the money to shore up corporate balance sheets. Most like AIG even spent it on perks and big fat bonuses raising the ire of the tax paying public.

The usual retort of most leaders, if examined seems to be in a state of inertia and dazed denial. Rhetoric that they spew are - “There are a few Bad Egg” & “ A Few Devilish Smart Crooks like Bernard Madoff as one off case” and likes.

This seems to have emanated from a fundamental flaw in the way we feted and admired business leadership and corporate performance. The Irony also seems to suggest the way the street rewards business leaders and their performance.

Company Boards they believed had an overwhelming charter to focus on the shareholder value creation agenda than preempt fraud. And that the onus of preventing frauds lay squarely on the back of the regulator.

Quarter on Quarter Bottom line or margin expansion, contributing to monetary and momentary book value bloating and notional wealth creation followed by a reward fat pay packets and behemoth bonuses seems to have created a set of socially flawed business gang of poster boys whom fledgling bright minds from top B Schools yearn to emulate.

With the ascent of capitalism and the extinction of Socialism in most part of the globe the world got carried away into vague rational of valuing money and wealth as a singular measure of the worth of human endeavor and individual worth.

The media magnet gravitate toward projecting those who were the money minting engines and showcased their vulgar visibility in the form of the fleet of Car , Private Jets, Islands they Owned or Trophy Wife they displayed at Business and Social gatherings and Page 3 news. Success there at any cost was the mantra that today’s Gen Y and Gen Z are fed at aspiration sign boards and the juvenile kids baring a few are lapping these social value roll calls with both their hands. This - to many old timers manifest as social blasphemy gravitating to doom days in future.

If money making was the ultimate sacrosanct goal in the altar of the Wall Street then the people in the business of making money with other people’s money sprang into the circus of unleashing weapons of mass destruction like over leveraged assets and demonic tools like some exotic derivatives.

Add to that they also managed to harness the ambition of the brightest young minds by the best B schools producing top talents with aspirations to follow the poster boys of an era created by blemished value creation centered around minting money with out integrity and social conscience. Attract they did with obscene pay packs and perks befitting a royal prince. Wizards they were those you managed unthinkable proliferation of the business of money spawning money.

The Best of the Breed of Varsities therefore altered the curricula and populated their faculties with gurus who mentored the kids to realize an aspiration to make money faster than the last generation thus answering the call of the wizards. Wizards did come calling every year doling currencies which in turn enhanced the pecking order of the varsities that enrolled a few more aspirants in a hurry for another batch to hatch with a flawed aspiration programmed in their minds.

Like the Icarus on the wings of wax, the wizards of this financial world flew further and further away from earth until their wings began to melt as they neared burning Sun and they came crashing down, like the Lehman Brothers and dragged the economy down with the weight of their collapse.

This is indeed a poignant situation calling for introspection. Academic Institutions that claim to produce leaders for the world must take the ones seriously and own the responsibility for the values they teach their graduated.

I am inspired by the Oscar performance and an inspiring speech delivered by the protagonist and actor Supreme “Al Pacino” In the Scent of a Woman”. A tirade he unleashes on the jury at school and the students gathering commenting on the brag that academic institution was a cradle of leadership.

Indeed the institutions, varsities and governments have the critical responsibility of handling tender minds to choose the difficult road of being righteous with a good set of humane and socially values along side producing profits and financial ROIs.

Today’s Business Schools in reality are vocational institutes providing their students with tools and skills to create financial returns as a sole fanatic zeal – A passport to their personal wealth and an addictive follower ship of the Lehman Brother kind corporate example and Bernad Maddoff kind of Business Leaders.

Business Schools need to reexamine their curricula, faculty and the essence of business leadership that they seeding in young impressionable minds who will be leaders of the tomorrows planet. B Schools need to reorient and invigorate the methods oriented towards developing a moral compass with in their graduates.

The brand of morality embedded in the DNA of the pass out should be as credible as the visible as of “Intel Inside” promo. This will enhance the rating of the varsities immeasurably and they ratings will be lasting and revered.

In my limited and partial and broad pointers .Real leaders need a moral compass that points to true north: To a path that improved the world as a better place for every one impartially. They cannot be guided to be narrowly focused on a self serving journey. A narrow goal of making money for thy self and their company. The means they use to create their wealth are more important than the ends they seek.

Do these leaders strengthen the society or weaken and corrupt them for their own gain? And what values they embody? Those who espouse more freedom for businesses and less regulation must accept that it is up to them to self regulate and therefore have their business headed by leaders who lead with their functional moral compass.

Else harsh and stringent regulations will be implanted with in turn impedes free entrepreneurial but facilitated prevention of business leaders from unwittingly – or deliberately – causing harm to the society and environment.

The global economic melt down and the bankruptcy of trust in today’s leaders demand transformative alterations in many institutes breeding next generation leaders. Board at Companies must orient themselves toward good and clean governance and not merely facilitate bean counters of bottom-line enhancing businesses.

The media should shun sensationalizing elements extolling vulgar visibility of personal wealth and blemished values and honor business icons and corporations who are role models of good values. Markets should reward Good governance and equitable legal wealth creation and society enhancing corporate citizenry with higher PE multiples. This measure will drive the desired transformations at corporations and in turn strive to excel to seek rewards from the street

Yes the business of business is not only business but good, responsible, clean business run with the foundation capital of integrity.

For the many aspiring business leaders in the making and the poster boys of today’s economy. I urge that you do a self assessment, is the ladder that you are scaling leaning against a wrong wall? Else while you put in your might and intellect it will take long to realize that the ladder was leaning of the wrong wall.

Two gentlemen realize this as they brace to spend the rest of their life behind bars in solitude and comforting the burnt embers of their inexorable tryst to amass money at any cost. What a waste of their potential.

ALAS ! BERNARD MADOFF AND RAMALINGA RAJU- And Raju Garu ! I won’t regret to have had the privilege of working with you in person. Cause otherwise it would have taken me a long time to realize this simple truth of the lasting benefits of Integrity. And I would have continued to float in the frivolous fizz of unrealistic boom.

Thank you gentlemen! Your deeds are an awakening to the generation many leaders whose ladders are leaning against the wrong wall. At least now because of your fall they have a chance to realign their ladders and aspirations to a right wall. The lessons are ever so precious and the business world I hope shapes into a better place.

Scent of a Woman - Al Pacino Speech - Inspiring and Relevant!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Trust many of you would have been familiar with the “STOP TALKING, START DOING” campaign by big blue? For close to a century IBM has been a bellwether and a harbinger of uber cool technologies which have profoundly impacted the way we work. Today this campaign is used to pitch their Innovation Mantra as a business proposition and a way of life.

Only Apple, Microsoft, HP and Google have come close to the impact that IBM has created as high proponents of influence on the way people work, live, entertain, communicate and collaborate. The IBM Corporation adopted and patented the word THINK and created product nomenclature like ThinkPad, ThinkCenter and Think Vantage etc to target the knowledge community which today consumes all their wares – from software to services and mainframes.

More than ever before the Knowledge Communities we live in are necessitating the need to think and think effectively. If in the industrial era people were paid to use tools such as hammers, saws and wedges to labor at work floors , the information era people excelled in subjecting their time to repetitive works like card punching, data entry , printing or emulating a pattern in the form of a codified language.

Today in the Knowledge Era, I humbly submit that people are paid to THINK in some of the smartest companies. Gen X enterprises who want to lead in the business domain shall adopt the culture of employing THINKERS at work.

The THOUGHT aspect is such a fundamental element in today world of knowledge economy that business are realizing what they mean when they mouth the “People are the most important assets in our company”.

The people assets in these enterprises have to do a few aspects in the chronology starting from Thinking to Doing to Talking and Teaching. Here is how & why they should:

Leaders in companies should stop managing their people and start facilitating them to think effectively. Today’s generations of employees are so well equipped in areas of their intellect and depth of the subject that little can be gained by command and control pattern of management. Today’s Gen X and Gen Y employees seek support and guidance on emotional intelligence and leaders who can facilitate them think and grow the thought discipline in a structured and unstructured manner will succeed immensely. Work environments need to be created to support them deploy their thinking and reward both failures and success to motivate active THINKING to DOING connect. This then should be a vital part of the “Employee Value Proposition”- EVA

All thought and no actualization makes Jack and Company a dull company. For thinking to have a play there needs to be less of control and more of coaching and mentoring for people to engage in fearless endeavor of bringing their ideas to work and play.
The entire process should be convened in a sporting environment where participation on doing, practicing etc is given prime importance. The THINKING to DOING behavior needs to be facilitated, enabled and coached for effective translation of the thought to action. Important factor in this loop is the treatment to FAILURE. Every failure should be systematically encouraged nurtured and guided to next steps with adequate counsel which does not hinders the THINKING or DOING.

One of the surest ways to motivate a desired employee behavior is to acknowledge and recognize the thought and the act. There can be no better way to up the morale of the people if praise for the thought and act are passionately acknowledge in public. Both failure and successes needs to be appropriately acknowledged.

In my view if we actively engage and value our experience in failure as much as we commemorate successes, as societies we would have upped the learning curve very sharply.

The amount of learning in the failures is abundant and rich. If only in the past we treated failures fairly we would have had more inventions and innovation at our disposal then we do today.

Avoiding a positive acknowledgement of the failure is a detrimental way to stifle ones initiative. An episode after which the people who have failed will cease to try attempt any thing if they weren’t sure.

So there is a need for today’s leaders to TALK and COMMUNICATE about failures and success passionately. Isn’t failure is a definitive way how not go about doing things which prevent success?


Once done with the THINKING, DOING, TALKING it time to teach and coach. Many a thoughts and action have been improved or taken to the next level by strong evangelism to the people who are seeking to learn from experience. People benefited from what was done uniquely in the past.

There are a few plus which you might want to consider:

Teaching from live proven examples happens to be the best forms of education material you can have for your students. Teaching gains a vital dimension because the subject is rich with elements of failure as much as it has of success.

It is the best form of presenting a thought to action to failure or success as learning instances. Think about how learning from the laboratory or dissection classes stay so fresh in our memory late into life.

If some thing has been done which creates value, why hold it back. Higher value creating is fostered when the case studies of failures and success are shared in a teaching medium.

STOP TALKING; START DOING may be in vogue in print and other forms of media. Thanks to IBM. But there are instances where THINKING, DOING, TALKING and TEACHING are already showing the way to the rest of the world.

If people at hadn’t thought, and thought of a superior search engine than Google Inc would any one have an alternative today? Imagine the many attempts which people made in the past which have failed which haven’t been shared? We are poorer by those many examples? May be people at should put this as a searchable data.