Saturday, December 30, 2006

Of learning

Today's scribble is inspired by John Wesley 's blog.

We're in an age when having just a college degree doesn't get anyone too far (ok, there are a few exceptions). For the average Jane (or the average Janaki, for that matter), there's stiff competition out there for that plum post, for the heavy paycheque and even for the corner desk. And that's when Jane or Janaki chooses to go back to school, figuratively speaking. They enrol in an educational program of some kind.

Needless to say, this back-to-school transition isn't easy. Apart from the very real threat of not getting a paycheque (if learning full-time), one needs to pay the fees and other expenses. Then it's a struggle to get into the right course and get out of it successfully.

Information overload is a real issue today. No matter what your field of interest, there's always someone who's got there and published stuff online (text, audio, podcast, video, feeds... whatever) ,or on paper. There's no way one can finish reading up everything on the internet about one's favourite topic. Thanks to blogging, new stuff is out there before one even realizes it.

Focus helps. It helps you assess what your strong points are and what you really want to be, before getting into a course (please note I said 'be' not 'do'). Einstein realized he had an extra-ordinary aptitude in physics, so he stuck to what he was best at.

The next key factor is the attitude. It's important to think and act positively, and to live with a sense of purpose. And that's where people like John Wesley come in handy. His site has several pointers on how to stay focused and to be open to learning new stuff. Good work, John!

Jack Welch says that there were two ways of completing school. One is by understanding the topic, its nuances and interpretations. And the other one is by cramming one's way to good grades.Welch continues to say that studying a subject is like having a farm. Land has to be ploughed and seeds sown at the right time. The land needs to be gardened and maintained with care. Only then will a good harvest ensue. There's nothing a farm returns if the farmer just crams up his tasks in the last minute.

Persistence and world-class discipline are key ingredients to success, whether in learning or anything else. Keep at it, no matter how hard it may seem. You'll be glad you did.

I almost forgot - Keep Smiling !

PS : Yours truly just enrolled in a distance learning MBA and is trying really hard to understand management accounting. That's also what prompted this scribble ;-)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Of people

An unexpected friendship is blooming at work.

This young lady joined our company a couple of months ago.

Way better looking than yours truly and from a better company, this girl had all the guys at hello. There were fist fights among the guys to even get her some coffee.

Now this irked me no end. These were all my friends until a minute ago (still are, really !), and now, they had no time to listen to me. To put it mildly, I resented this new creature.

The jealousy in me took no time to label her every attribute as evil. Her outfit, her accent, her spectacles and everything else. I ignored the very woman sitting next to me for the past three months. I must have been oh-so shameless.

Then came a company social last week, and we finally did talk to each other. And now I feel like SUCH a jerk for my behaviour. Far from being a bitch, she was actually quite intelligent and funny. We connected - big time.

Today she told me she quit. She'll be gone in a few days.

It was one of her reasons that stung me at the pit of my stomach. She said she had no one to talk to. Apparently the tasks assigned to her were not what she expected, and she was quite frustrated about it. Moreover, her 10-day old wedding gave her a lot of changes to cope with at home. All she needed was an adult-to-adult conversation with someone who cared.

I was late. I could've helped her stay. I could've supported her, and been there for her. But my jealousy and my ego blinded me.

So here are the lessons this new friend taught me - that appearances are deceptive, that I'm too quick to judge people, and that it never hurts to say hello the first time.

Some lessons I guess, are just learnt the hard way.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Miracle of Life

Every single moment of being alive is a miracle. And that's one thing the East and the West agree upon (finally!).

In the West, they talk about living life 'full out' and of filling every waking moment with profound passion. 'Live on the edge' they say, because you're gonna die anyway.

In the East, the connotation differs slightly. 'You never knew about today until yesterday, and have no idea about tomorrow. You might be dead the next moment and yet you seem so proud of yourself ' goes a famous Indian hymn. So, keep the faith. The One who keeps and cures all is watching over.

It amazes me how many people take their lives (and the lives of their loved ones) for granted. The old adage - when we live, we live like we'd never die and when we die, we die like we've never lived - rings true. Each living moment is a treasure and people while away their hours. People drive like there's no tomorrow. They spend time doing unproductive activities. And they spend countless hours in front of the TV watching re-runs, or in front of the computer 'just surfing around'.
Hey, life is also about having some fun. About living on the edge. About relaxation and games and surfing and TV. About some good drinks and (even better) sex. Like Robin says 'We're all going back to the same dust. We might as well have some fun while we're here'.

But the key word is 'balance'.

Death is a great leveller. We truly understand the value of something when we don't have it anymore. All of a sudden, we'd do anything for that hug, that kiss, that smile, that home-cooked meal, that word of encouragement. By then, it's a moment too late.

We're mortals, just a sigh on the edge of eternity. While we're here, we might as well spread the good spirit. The best use of time is in creating everlasting bonds with the people who matter. Then we continue to live in their memories long after we're gone. Now, that's one thing time can't kill.

Live and love as much as possible, because there's yet to be a day that returns. Because when it's time to go, there is nothing more tragic than realizing that our lives were meaningless.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I wonder...

This blog is a scribbling pad of insights about life.

The universe wants us to win, say the gurus. And each person we interact with is trying to teach us something. All we need to do is to be open to this learning.

This really is the first day. Of this second life. My best life yet.