Friday, January 11, 2008

Monkey see Monkey do!!!

Monkey see, monkey do!!

According to Wikipedia, Monkey see, monkey do is a traditional cliché that popped up in American culture in the early 1920s. The American version of this saying often refers to a child's learning process. The child observes another's behavior and then imitates it. The European interpretation of this cliché is slightly different. In the UK monkey see, monkey do refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works.
Whatever the definition, the underlying fact is that behavior breeds behavior. This is often referred to in social psychology studies as Modeling Theory. The basis of this theory is that by observing a model's behavior and imitating it, there will be a desired learned effect. Various tests have been done and documented to prove the theory. The tests are not only limited to children, even adults tend to imitated behavior and that is what feeds into group behavior.
If it is true, could we not use this to our advantage?
Last night I went for a Charity Dinner, in aid of a hospital in Vietnam. It was a black tie event and the intention was to raise a few Hundred thousand dollars. There was silent auction and stage auction. It all started on a quite note and slowly and surely it built up into a frenzy with people bidding higher and higher amounts to get their coveted object/service.
I was sitting and watching, how people were getting more and more boisterous with each bid . It was all for a great cause, so it was a wonderful gesture, but was the great cause the underlying motivator in this case? I don’t think so! The auction managed to raise over a million dollars. I think in the frenzy to outdo each other, people forgot the underlying cause. But hey….who is complaining??
My point being, that people in groups tend to ape each other without really thinking in detail about the consequences. Sometimes the consequences can be great, like what happened last night and sometimes they can be disastrous, like what happens during riots and other frenzied fanatical situations.
Why not try and use the “monkey see monkey do approach” to spread good will and good behavior. This brings to my mind the movie , “ Pay It Forward”, where the little boy starts this whole niceness movement. You do something nice for three people and those three will do something nice for three other people and each of those three will do something nice for three people each. This way, before we know it the niceness will spread all around.
A psychologist Alice Isen tried to test this theory. She went around Philadelphia leaving dimes in pay phones. The people who used those phones and found dimes were more likely to help a person who dropped a stack of papers( carefully coincided with the callers exit), compared with people who used phones that had empty coin return slots. She has done various other experiments like distributing cookies , bags of candy, stationary etc to show how random acts of kindness have motivated people to do more acts of kindness.
You can conduct your own experiments and find out how your behavior affects the others. Start shouting at your employee, child, spouse , friend or neighbor and see its snowball effect . You will make some people rather unhappy and angry. Or do something special and unexpected for your employee, child, spouse, friend or neighbor and see the reaction. You will definitely make them happy and they in turn will make someone else happy.
It has also been proven that people who do volunteer work are happier and healthier than those who don’t. The Santa Clause affect has major consequences on our health and well being.
So if you really want to feel good, go and make someone feel good, and they just might do the same.

After all Monkey see Monkey Do!!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Give before you can get

Give before you can get

In my research for “happiness in a bottle” . I came across various adages and quotations on happiness. Happiness is a choice thing- we can always choose happiness over unhappiness. It all comes down to perspective.
As a student of the art of happiness, I realized a very simple truth about happiness. ( the more you give the more you get), however this basic tenet about being there more joy in giving than receiving seems a bit hard to explain to a 5 year old.
Couple of days ago, my daughter and I were walking through a modern Hong Kong village and as usual I was giving her my pearls of wisdom about life and happiness and so on. As we were walking a little Chinese girl came out of her house and started looking at us. She must have been about 3-4 years old.
My daughter is 5 and a half and she was carrying a box of pretz . I told my daughter to give the box to the little girl and if she did that I would get her 2 in return. She stood there deliberating over it and tried to change the topic.
I stood firm and asked her to consider the offer one more time. She started bargaining with me and asked for 3 instead. We went back and forth and we finally agreed. As she was ready to part with her precious possession that she had managed to treble, she realized that the little girl had disappeared. She had gone back into the house and her grandfather had shut the door. Well! That was it, my daughter just lost her chance of trebling what she had.
We are the same; we hold on so tight for fear of losing what we have that we close ourselves to any other possibilities. Only if we could move beyond this fear, innumerable possibilities would open up.
Giving and gratitude allows us to receive more, where as selfishness brings about negative energy, because it implies lack. Feelings of lack close us towards the possibility of receiving and creating abundance. Truly recognizing the needs and wants of other people puts us in a higher vibration and allows for abundance to flow into our life.
Whatever you want more of, try giving it away. If you want more love, try giving love, you want more time, give your time to someone who needs it, you want more money, give money away. You want more happiness, try and make someone happy. You want more misery, go make someone miserable. You want good health……you don’t have to go and give your blood away, but go and spend some time with people who are unhealthy and bring a smile to their face, by giving them your time.
It is always the small things that make a big difference. A small seed becomes a big tree. A simple smile across the dance floor can find you the love of your life, A simple thank you can make someone’s day and just a change of your thought can bring about a change in your outside world.
It is true, that the more you give, the more you get. Just for one day…try and experience it for yourself. Do not for fear of losing hold on so tight that your hands get stuck in a fist and you are unable to open them to even receive. A closed fist can neither give, nor receive!!!!

How does it matter?

How does it matter what people say?????
I was at my daughter’s school this afternoon, helping with the organization of the forthcoming fair. We were trying to hang the streamers in seemingly unreachable places , contorting our bodies and our minds. I could not figure out how to get those streamers up around the tree branches without using little monkeys to do that for us. My friend….let’s call her Sue had a brilliant idea. She started tying the rope to a thick tape role and hauling it over trees and I was at the other end to catch the role and viola we had the tree wrapped.
Amongst all this craziness my friend started complaining about how miserable she was, living where she did, because the maids/helpers in her street were constantly bitching about her and were making it rather difficult for her to find a new helper.
Living in HKG has its perks. Most of us are lucky enough to afford full time help. There are over a 100,000 Pilipino domestic helpers in HKG, making them the most popular domestic helpers and especially their command of English makes it easier for the expat community to communicate with them in comparison to the locals, Indonesians , Sri Lankans etc. Unfortunately, these helpers spend far too much time away from their families and are sometimes treated with disrespect by some people. Some of them get angry, upset and bitter. They however have a very strong network and therefore gossip or facts tends to travel very quickly.
Sadly, my friend Sue, became a target of some malicious slander amongst the Pilipino domestic helper community and this started having a massive effect on her. She was stressing herself to the point of physical illness and it even started affecting her domestic situation. She could not even walk out on the street without thinking what people might be talking about her.
She is a lovely, kind and generous human being, so obviously there is no truth in the slander, but somehow it has affected her badly.
My question to her was, why should it bother you? It is completely untrue and therefore it should have no affect on the way you feel. But we are human, and we use “being human” as an excuse to display our fallibility. What people say to us or about us leaves a big impression on the way we judge ourselves.
Gossip is engaging, it makes us become a part of the community, it is social, and the more slander there is the more interesting it is. I have myself been guilty about this lowly habit, but we don’t realize it’s devastating effect on people. Well we can’t stop them from talking, but we can definitely shield ourselves from gossip, by not allowing it to affect us. If someone was to point towards you and say….hey look at the crazy woman with orange hair. You don’t have orange hair, so it won’t bother you. In fact you just may turnaround and think that the person saying that is completely crazy. So why when someone criticizes our behavior, should it bother us. Just as orange or green hair is their perspective, similarly their idea of your character is their perspective ( Do I make sense??).
Why should it matter what they think? As long as you are in the right, show yourself some respect. Never ever allow any one (and very often it is the people who don’t even matter) to affect you. If anyone puts you down, in any manner, it is not about you! It is about the other person’s perceptions! Now, if you put yourself down, then somewhere along the line you bought into that false belief.
Read the following story to illustrate the point. If we listen to what people say, we may as well give up living.
· A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the frogs they were as good as dead. The frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all of their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up fighting, he died. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out.When he got out, the other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
There! Just a matter of perspective, choose to hear and see only the good about you and about the people around you. Ignore the rest. It does not need to define your life. If you were to start listening to everything that people say about you, when will you ever have time to listen to yourself?
The last thing you want to do is give someone else the power and right over your moods. You alone are responsible for how you feel. No one can make you feel good or bad unless you allow them to.
Starting right now, make a promise to yourself, “I shall not allow other people’s perception of me affect me in any way. “ Remember, it is they who are suffering more as they probably have nothing worthwhile to occupy their time. Talking about you, gives them something to talk about and it gives them the momentary pleasure. Why deny them a little happiness!!!!!!!! ?????

Happiness is a habit

Happiness is a habit

Simply put, happiness is a habit. So can we train ourselves to be happy?
According to Wray Herbert as stated in the Newsweek- “research shows that our brains have certain hardwired propensities that might be exploited. For example, our brains tend to register frequently heard facts as true, even if they are patently false. As a result, our memories and beliefs are highly malleable and unreliable. We also tend, if unchecked by the conscious reasoning mind, to focus overly on risk, inconvenience, hassles—anything negative. “ Does it not therefore make sense to change our thinking to change our habits and thereby change our life?
Read the following paragraph
Cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed whotuit a pboerlm
I think most of you were able to read it, why ? .
Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?
What this proves is that our brains get used to the way we think. Our brain has a mind of its own that it develops due to the habits that we form. If we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, our brain circuitry gets hard wired to think in the negative realm and on the other hand optimists who think positively tend to hard wire their brains in a positive frame. The glass half full or half empty!!!!!
Also it has been proven that our unconscious/subconscious brain takes in about 80% of the information around us and our conscious brain can hold only 20% of the information at any given time. Therefore the more we surround ourselves with positive motivators such as positive people, positive messages, positive actions, books, programs the better it is for our brains to develop a positive outlook .
Take a look at the following box, a few diagonal lines with a red dot on the left side and a little + sign on the right.

Now, cover your right eye with your hand, then (using your left eye) look at the small cross to the right side of the image. Slowly moving your head towards the screen, while looking at the cross, at a certain point, the red dot will disappear.That's because the red dot is now in your blind spot, where the optic nerve joins the back of your eye. But here's the cool bit: the space where the red dot was gets filled in with the blue lines around it. Your brain fills in the space with what it thinks should be there, using whatever is around it!
Isn’t that interesting?
Your brain fills in the space with what it thinks should be there, using whatever is around it!
Yet again, we see how our brain reacts. It automatically finds solutions to its perceived problems. Once again it digs into its data bank to find the correct solution.
Now, let’s put it all in perspective. Let’s say you are the kind of person that sees the glass half full. You wake up and realize that you are 20 minutes late and now have to rush like a maniac and you will probably miss your 8.00 o-clock bus. Instead of cursing and panicking ( because that is just the way you are), you decide to enjoy your morning coffee and take a taxi to work instead. After all you don’t do that all the time so you see it as a luxury. You call your office and explain that you may be 15 -20 min late but you will still be there. You go out to hail a taxi and see a huge queue, you panic momentarily, but your sunny disposition does not allow that for long and you stand there listening to your iPod and smiling. Suddenly you feel a tap on your shoulder. You turn around and the person points you to someone who is waving at you. It is your colleague who is driving to work offering you a lift. Viola, problem solved. You are at work on time and you did not even pay for the taxi. You have a great day at work and the same colleague offers you a lift back.
Take two- same scenario, but you always see the glass half empty, the world is a miserable place and people are all out to get you. You wake up 20 minutes late, you curse and panic and inadvertently tip the lamp. It shatters to the floor. You curse more and scream at your spouse, helper, whoever is around to take your abuse. You have no time for breakfast so you rush out without even a cup of coffee. You have missed the bus and the taxi queue is long. You are angry, hungry and cursing. You don’t smile at anyone and keep cursing under your breath. People around you can feel your negativity and move away from you. Your colleague drives past, tries to get your attention, but you don’t seem to notice him and no one taps your shoulder, he drives away. You are hungry and irritable. You are massively late to work and your boss is really angry because you forgot to inform him/her about your tardiness. You have a miserable day at work and you feel like sh…t.
What a difference a day makes! But hold on, was it the day that made a difference or was it your attitude? Your attitude determines your next move and thereby changes the energy around you leading to a favorable or an unfavorable outcome.
You therefore have control over your circumstances. Many times however, we feel that we do not have control over the outcome. We may not have control over the outcome but we always have control over our outlook. Our habits form our attitude and our attitude forms our outlook, which in turn creates circumstances.
So, it makes sense to change our habits and thereby change our circumstances. Get into the habit of seeing the glass half full. It is after all a matter of perspective and training your brain.
It was thought that at around the age of 30 our brain capacity has been maximized and it is all downhill from there on . It has now been proven that the brain is highly malleable and trainable. It can be trained right till the day we leave this planet. Research is constantly being done to show the brains capacity to synthesize new brain cells and form new patterns. It is never too late to change your circumstances and become happier by adopting a happier attitude.
The next logical question would be, how to become happier? Well there is no hard and fast rule or a pill that can be taken. However there are things that we can do to become happier.
Start with a thank you journal. Every day find three things that you are grateful for. It could be as simple a steaming cup of coffee , a beautiful sunny day, a hug from your child, a compliment from a stranger , a request for friendship on MySpace or face book or as exotic as winning a million dollar lottery, a promotion at work, getting married to your dream partner and so on. Whatever you think you could be thankful for. Limit it to three a day, so that you have something for every day. This way you get into a habit of appreciation and gratitude and thereby start changing your brain pattern. Slowly and surely you brain starts developing new neural pathways that start looking out for things that give you reason to be happy and grateful. Your habits form your attitude and your attitude creates your outlook and you outlook creates your circumstances.
So get into the habit of being happy.
More later!!


GPS- Global Positioning System
I just got back from a holiday in Massachusetts, United States. We drove from New York to Boston to Cape Cod to Marshfield and back via the same route to New York. Not once did we lose our way or take a wrong turn to reach our destination. We used a GPS- the Global Positioning System to guide us on our chosen destination. All we had to do was punch in the destination and viola, a lovely voice guided us through all the right and left turns along with the estimated miles and minutes.
Wow! How easy it has become to drive in foreign places. As long as you know the destination, you will be guided through the journey.
This got me thinking, isn’t life the same? If we know the destination the path will be shown to us, we just have to be tuned in to the various signs on the way. There is unfortunately no GPS for the journey of life, but that is exactly what makes life so interesting and exciting.
I remembered my holiday to Italy last year, when we decided to drive from Rome to Viareggio via Tuscany and then back to Rome. This time we had no GPS and no particular destination. So we just started driving with a map and an, English to Italian translation book. As soon as we started driving we took a wrong turn and ended up exactly where we started. We laughed, cursed and started yet again. This time we drove for about 2- 3 hours following the signs to Tuscany. As we were driving we saw signs to a beautiful Agriturismo. (Agriturismo - a combination of the words for "agriculture" and "tourism" . These are generally old farm houses with lots of farm land and farm animals that are let out to tourists). We decided to follow the sign and drove through the most beautiful scenery and eventually ended up in the lovely old farm house.
We decided to spend a night there before heading on our journey. It was the best decision ever; we were like guests in the house. Special food and wine was prepared for us and we were given a guided farm tour. My daughter was in animal heaven. She made friends with the horse, the cows, the ducks, the pigs , the chicken…. You name it they had it.
Instead of staying one night, we stayed two nights and continued our journey. Having had such a wonderful experience we decided to look for another Agriturismo in Siena. This time however we were awfully disappointed. This was not really an Agriturismo, but some place trying to sell itself as one. The counter was manned by a surly old man who was probably having a bad day and did not hide the fact. We could have driven off to another place, but we were too tired, so decided to spend the night as it was already too late. Next day we were in a surprise of a life time. We did not know that Siena was hosting the Palio ( a horse race which attracts thousands of spectators from around the world). It was the most riveting thing I had ever seen. Now I understood why the man at the counter was so unhappy. He probably had worked a double shift.
From there on we continued our journey, stopping on the way at places we knew and some that we had no clue about. We saw lovely sights on the way and sometimes got thoroughly lost. All this added to the excitement and the adventure. We had a holiday of a life time.
The American holiday had its own charm. Here we were at ease. We spoke the language, had a GPS and had family and a home to go to. Yet another lovely holiday, but entirely different.
Coming back to life; Life is what we choose to make of it. We can choose to take the safe route , punch in the destination and let the journey begin or we can start on the journey and navigate the twists and turns on the way and wait for the surprises. Sometimes they may be pleasant and sometimes they may be unpleasant, but the overall experience will definitely be enriching. Just imagine if you had a plan for everything and knew exactly where you wanted to go and somehow there was a mal function in your GPS of life would you still be able to cope? The ideal way would be to have a destination in mind and let life offer the various paths, sometimes they may be better than what you had thought of.
There is no wrong or right way, it is your way. Whatever you choose will have its pros and cons and will eventually take you where you want to go, and even if you don’t reach the destination at least enjoy the journey. Don’t let yourself get too bogged down by the details or the exactness of the situation, let life bring forward the surprises.
GPS or no GPS, life is a journey, not a destination so let’s enjoy the ride.

Would you hug a stranger?

Would you hug a stranger?
I volunteer at my daughter school from time to time to help out with (GGR) Group Guided Reading. Today was one of those days. I helped out with Word Bingo, an interesting game where I was to say a word and the children had to find it on their word bingo sheet and cover it with a tick mark.
We did this for about 30 minutes and then the children left for lunch. I picked up my bag and was ready to leave , when suddenly I felt a pull on my jacket. I looked back and there was a little girl crying and trying to hug me. I asked her why she was crying, She said that someone had hit her with a skipping rope and she was hurt. I took her in my arms and gave her a big hug and she started to smile. Seeing me hug another child, my daughter came running to me and tried to claim her right on me by declaring to the girl , “ this is my mummy”. The little girl ( whose name I found out was Aila) still kept hugging me and wouldn’t let me go , but in about 5 minutes both Inara ( my daughter )and Aila had become friends and disappeared holding hands and laughing and giggling.
I was left there wondering , what just happened. This was such a beautiful scene. A complete stranger comes out of the blue, hugs you and then disappears having found a new friend. She has completely forgotten about her pain and is now jumping around.
How I wish we adults would do that, we get so bothered about what someone would think that we would never dare to hug a stranger. Well maybe after having had copious amounts of alcohol we have all gone and hugged strangers or maybe even done things that we may have regretted. But how many of us in our sobriety go to a stranger, hug them and tell them what was bothering us and then completely forget about it and move on. We get so bogged down by expectations and beliefs that we forget spontaneity. We weigh too many pros and cons and always try and stay within the societal norms. Sometimes these very boundaries lead to frustrations and mediocrity, so once in a while go out and do something outrageous. Go hug a total stranger and tell them your life’s troubles, your pleasures, your hope and your dreams. More often than not, you may just find a new friend.
We all need love, attention, care and hugs and happiness. If you are too proud to get those and give those to the people you know, go share it with complete strangers, it just may work.
As my friend Kenny ( says about happiness

“True happiness is simple. Feeling, being and peacefully living in the love of your spirit. Total acceptance and a desire for nothing. Just BEING. Take it one moment at a time. Just sit for one full minute, five full minutes, whatever. And JUST BE. Feel the love. LIVE IT. BE IT.”
And go hug the first stranger you meet. They might think you are crazy, but what the hell, be crazy for a while.

Why Wait??

Why wait till you are about to die to start living??

The doctor comes out looking rather grim and sullen. The look says it all, her cancer has spread and is not containable. She has barely six months to live. The doctor tells her to put her life in order and tell all the loved ones what she feels about them. For a few minutes she is devastated but then suddenly she is euphoric and decides to blow it all up, she finally decides to live!!!
Does the above sound like a movie script? Maybe it does, but it is not, this is a true story. A dear friend passed away a few days ago. She was 38. She was diagnosed with leukemia and by the time it was found out, it was a bit too late. However she really fought and lived every day of her remaining life. She left us all with some beautiful memories.
This reminds me of the movie “ The Last holiday” . Queen Latifa is told by the doctor, she has three weeks to live, and she decides to go for a holiday of a lifetime and blows all her savings. She does things she always wanted to do and visits places that were just a dream. In those three weeks she lives a lifetime. The movie however has a happy ending. Her reports had been mixed up and she was not going to die after all. But having lived for those three weeks she had really found out the true meaning of life and suddenly her life has a whole new meaning.
Unfortunately, my friend’s story did not have a happy ending. She passed away. But she really lived it up in the last few months of her life. Although weak and tired most of the time, she showed all of us the power of will. Her body was weak, but her will was strong. She travelled to all the places she wanted to, she even went bungee jumping and took dance lessons, she learn’t meditation and yoga. When she passed away, she looked peaceful and serene. She had actually lived before she died.
Only if she had lived when she was alive. She was a beautiful soul, but was not at peace, she was not married and this had been a major disappointment in her life. Mr. Right had somehow never showed up. She had been in a long term relationship but somehow when that did not work out; she had gone into a shell. She then became very critical and cynical of people and life. Every man she met, she would find something about him that she mistrusted. According to her, he was either married and wanted just an affair or was not willing to commit. He had children, he lived overseas, did not have a stable job and so on. If it was not this, it was that. She had gone to various fortune tellers, tarot card readers , palmists and feng shiu masters to find out about her future. Not one of them told her about her short life. All they said was, she would marry at a late age and would be very successful in her career. She was a successful lawyer. She had it all, a great job, a lovely house, enough money and loving friends, but she was very unhappy because all she wanted was a Mr. Right.
It is said that almost all physical ailments have an emotional trigger point, even something like a common cold will only attack you when you are emotionally weak and vulnerable. Cancer is definitely related to emotions, specially unmet needs and cynicism . You may want to debate this issue, but if you look around, there is generally a co-relation between illnesses and emotions, in fact Louise Hay – a well known author has even written a book about the various illnesses and their emotional biases.
I am pretty convinced about this and the more I dig the more convinced I get.
Why wait till we are about to die to start living? All our life we are waiting for something or someone to make us happy. Only if I could get that car, only if I could be promoted to Vice President, only if I could get married , or in some cases –divorced, only if I could have a child, only if my child became a genius…so many only if’s make our happiness conditional and lead us towards unhappiness. Again there might be some of you who will disagree with me and claim to be happy, but if you really delve deeper is there nothing that you would want? There always is, and it is a good thing, because if there was nothing to look forward to you may as well be a vegetable. A vegetable just is, it does not know its fate and does not care, you can slice it, boil it or sauté it.
It is good to have desires and goals, but they should never be a pre requisite to happiness. Happiness is something on the inside and one should not wait for it to come based on a fulfillment of a desire/need/want. Be happy today, live your life today, who knows if tomorrow exists!!!!!!
Do not wait for “ The Last holiday.” “ Live every day as if it is your last, because some day it just will be.”

Happy Hour

The other day, I went to my daughter’s school and was watching the young children running around and laughing. They were so full of Joie de vie’ (jest for life) that it was uplifting just looking at them.
I sat around for about 45 minutes just looking at them laughing, playing, running, falling , pushing and helping each other. Time just seemed to have flown.
The same afternoon , I had a meeting with the Vice Principals of school as I was to share with them my research on happiness. As I sat there, I thought of having something like a “happy hour” in the school.
Happy hour is traditionally associated with alcohol induced happiness, where you can have two drinks for the price of one. The ultimate aim being that of forgetting your sorrows by dowsing them in cheap alcohol!!
How about starting a happiness movement in schools, corporate offices, shops, factories and other work places where everyone takes a few minutes to really seek happiness. Happiness need not be something on the outside; each person may have to dig within to find a place of happiness/contentment.
When we are born we have no idea about our future, we smile when someone smiles, we laugh when we feel like laughing and we cry when we feel uncomfortable. As we grow, our environment starts to shape us. We are after all products of our environment. We are bombarded with duties and expectations. We start living our parents/caregivers dreams and somewhere down the line forget our own dreams. We forget that life is meant to be simple and that happiness is our birthright. We start looking for outside pleasures and waiting for things and people to make us happy. We relegate responsibility of our happiness to forces and people outside of us.
In school it becomes achievements- sports, academic, musical, theatrical and so on that define our worth. In college, it could be achievements plus a beautiful partner that may define our happiness thresholds. In work it could be our status, our job, then it becomes the physical accoutrements like cars, houses, diamonds, watches, designers clothes, shoes, etc, a never ending list of possessions. But somehow we still remain disillusioned and dissatisfied.
I read somewhere that we are all beings of energy and that we all have the same energy flowing within us and the more positive energy we have, the more positivity we attract in our life. Positivity has a way of attracting abundance and abundance comes through gratitude.
How about having a thank you journal and writing in it three things everyday that you are thankful and grateful for? The universe/god apparently likes to hear us say thank you. The more we say thank you the more we are given reasons to say thank you. The more we complain the more reasons we will have to complain.
Our brain is a muscle that gets conditioned in the way we think, if we constantly have negative thoughts we will fail to see the positive in a situation even when it is staring at us in the face, similarly if we are conditioned to see the positive in a situation our brain gets conditioned towards optimism and positivity. Even in a perceived negative situation we can find something to be grateful about. It seems a rather difficult endeavour at that time , but if we were to really look at the situation in its entirety, there may be a hidden benefit.
We all have limited life spans. We all have a choice. We either see the glass half full or see it half empty. Go ahead, indulge yourself and enjoy the happy hour to the full. Make it a daily habit to spend at least a few minutes of that happy hour finding things that you are grateful and finding the little pleasures that make you happy.
Have a quick look at the following realities compiled by Christopher Westra
Light, Dark
Heat, Cold
Abundance, Poverty
Health, Sickness
Faith, Doubt
Love, Fear
Present, Past and Future
Good, Evil
Pleasure, Pain
God, Devil
Righteousness, Sin
Spirit, Ego
Joy, MiseryHope, DespairWants, Don't WantsAcceptance, ResistanceFlow, BlockageLife, DeathVirtue, ViceForgiveness, Judgment
You can choose the right side or the left, if you have one you can’t have the other. Our Brain for all its capacity, is still limited in its processing of data . What would you rather have?

Teaching Children Happiness

Teaching children happiness!

I take my daughter for golf lessons, guitar lessons, painting lessons, mandarin lessons, yoga and ballet. She is taught reading writing and social interaction in her school, but no one teaches her about happiness . We all have grown up wanting happiness, but mistaking it to be something that can be found on the outside, through status, money, relationships, children and so on.
We are constantly looking for the next high, the next pleasure. Many of my friends have achieved a lot in their financial and professional status, but when I asked them the simple question “ Are you happy”? 80% of them could not answer me and went on to explain happiness and justifying its presence or lack.
Such a simple question and it came across as such a complicated one. What is it that we all want? All our pursuits are in search of happiness. The societal pillars of happiness are health, wealth, power and relationships. We look for all four for a balanced stool of happiness. If one of them is missing we claim to be unhappy or dissatisfied. We are all trying to fit in on the outside and in the bargain short changing ourselves on the inside.
The so stated conventional recipes of happiness have more often than not, been proven hollow. We always think that the other person with more money, status, the beautiful lover , a wonderful home , gorgeous children is happier than us and there is always something or someone better than us.
Just the other day, my husband and I were discussing our house. I said to him, “ you know, we should have bought the house opposite us instead of the one we did as that one has unobstructed sea view.” We were just bantering and talking about our property investment when suddenly my 5 year old daughter came out with the statement, “ mummy, daddy, the grass is not always greener on the other side.” Both of us were immediately silenced. She went on to explain, how her teacher Mr. Mead had told them that the grass that looks shiny from far is not so shiny when you go near.”
This was such a reality check for me. Here I go about teaching people how to be happy and find the happiness within and yet I am looking for it outside, in the physical accoutrements, my child’s achievements and the size of my diamonds. It is all so easy for me to preach, but when it comes to my own self I get bogged down by the same societal expectations and norms.
However, I am now making a conscious effort to seek that inner peace and happiness. At times my friends make fun of me and call me guru/mata shveita , but I guess it is acceptable, cause it still boosts my ego-yet another factor that encourages happiness on the outside.
Ever stop to think what your definition of happiness is? It invariably depends on factors outside of yourself…let’s see… a successful career, a mils and boon or a penthouse centerfold partner, an over achieving child, money in the bank, fancy cars, beautiful house…maybe one in each continent,….the list would be endless. These are however all pleasures and do not count towards real happiness.
In no way am I discounting these extraneous accomplishments, they surely add to the happiness quotient, but they are not necessarily the be all and end all. By all means aim at achieving all that your heart desires, it brings one step closer to the higher need- that of self actualization. According to Maslow’s theory of hierarchy of needs, one does need to fulfill his/her basic desires/needs in order to progress to a higher plain, but always remember that true happiness lies only on the inside.
We all owe it to the new generation to teach them the basics and the meaning of true happiness which is generally the happiness that comes having led a fulfilling, spiritual, helpful life. Teach your children the meaning of true happiness, happiness in being kind, being loving, being gentle and yet achieving what they would like to in the material world.

I read the following on the net:

YOU ARE WHAT YOU REPEATEDLY DOFirst you make your habits, and then your habits make you.You become a slave to your constantly repeated acts.What at first you chose, at last compels.Your thoughts lead you to a purpose.Your purpose moves you to take action.Your actions form your habits.Your habits determine your character,and your character fixes your destiny.Your habits are either the best of servantsor the worst of masters.Once in motion, a pattern tends to stay in motion.
So make it a point to teach your children the right habits, they are after all your future. Most of us derive vicarious pleasure via them in any case so let them be your ticket to happiness by sowing the seeds of happiness.
As Jack Canfield puts it,
If asked, could you name the five wealthiest people in the world, or five people who have won the Nobel Prize, or the last five Academy Award winners for best actor and actress? The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. When the applause dies, the awards tarnish, and achievements are forgotten; no one cares about who won which award. But if I asked you to list five teachers or mentors who believed in you and encouraged you, five friends who have helped you through a difficult time, five people who have taught you something worthwhile, or five people who have made you feel appreciated and special - that's much easier to do, isn't it? That’s because the people who make a difference in your life aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They're the ones who care.
Go ahead , teach your children to make a difference in some one’s life. It will be a sure ticket to happiness.

The Full Monty

The Full Monty

I was at my daughter’s school fair selling helium balloons and spinning the wheel of fortune for a bunch of kids dressed as pirates. The weather was beautiful and the atmosphere in the school was pretty electric. Lots of hamburgers, hot dogs and beer. What else does one need on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?
As I was dowsing my liver with wine and beer, I get a call from my friend Olivia to go for the showing of the hit musical “The Full Monty”. Hong Kong was hosting the American adaptation of the original 1997 British comedy film –The Full Monty
It didn’t take much convincing from her for me to part with HKD 600 to see 6 naked men. She picked me up at about 5.30 pm and we went for a really fancy dinner at the Dot Cod- a nice restaurant by the theater. Interestingly, there were a lot of women there tonight. Why I wonder?
Around 7.00 pm all the women start to leave and everyone is at the theatre to watch real men strip butt naked. What is it about nakedness that attracts us so much? It’s not as if we have never seen naked men before. Most of the women were in their 30’s so am sure everyone had seen naked men before. I think it is the vulnerability that we humans like to watch. Very often, more than the physical nakedness it is the nakedness of the soul that fascinates us.
Full Monty is a story of six unemployed steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, who decide to present a strip act at a local club after seeing their wives' enthusiasm for a touring company of professionals. As they prepare for the show, they work through their fears, self-consciousness, and anxieties; they overcome their inner inhibitions and find strength in their camaraderie. The show is more than a strip act, it is about the courage and the motivation of a father who does not want to lose his son, about a husband who would do anything to keep his wife happy. The misunderstanding that is due to the unsaid and the expected. I think the show is an amazing portrayal of the human spirit.
The shedding of physical clothes makes us vulnerable. Baring it all is never easy, whether it is the clothes on our body that cover our modesty or baring our soul. In fact it is harder to bare our soul especially to those who are near and dear. Shedding your inhibitions in front of strangers is sometimes easier than shedding them in front of people we know. Very often we keep up pretences to keep the harmony, we do not shed our clothes lest the world laughs at us, similarly we do not bare our soul, lest we come across as vulnerable and weak. But it is only in the shedding that we get the courage .
It is all very easy for us to sit back and watch the show, for it is just that –a show. Only if we could find a deeper meaning in the obvious. I think it is a great portrayal of the human spirit overcoming its insecurities and its inhibitions in the face of adversity. Once you shed the sheath that covers the spirit, life becomes much less cumbersome.
As Steve Jobs says succinctly…”Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. “
So go out…….get naked (metaphorically speaking) and start living. So what if the people laugh and sneer. Who will have the last laugh?
The audience paid money and the actors got paid……so who was laughing??? The fools like us who sit at sidelines and watch or the people who shed it all to follow their dreams.

Slow down

Slow down,

I just heard a talk on by Carl Honore, who is trying to start a slow movement. It’s interesting that I heard this talk, just as I mentioned these very words to my husband. He dialed a number and was put on hold for about 50 seconds and then when the person came on line, he was not the right person . He was then put on hold for maybe another 40 seconds , and by now, he was cursing…saying, “ how long does it take to get me a bl….. no.”. All this in a matter of 1 and a half minute, but hey that is far tooooo long. A full minute and half.
This is what this world of instant gratification has come down to, we are down to seconds, minutes seem too long. Everything is based on speed, I completely agree with Carl on this need to slow down, but where seconds and photo finishes differentiate the winners from losers, it might just take a wee bit more than plain talk.
I have seen with my very eyes, the devastating effects of speed. Just yesterday’s newspaper in HKG, reported two nasty accidents, one involving a Ferrari and the other a fast bike. Both riders were speeding to nowhere, just speeding. I am also a part of this speed culture and we tend to compare notes on how fast we drive, how fast can I get ready ( this is a blessing for men, on average a woman takes 40 minutes more than a man to dress), how quickly I devour my food and how many books can I read in a month.
My sister –in -law was also a part of this fast generation, she would go to the gym at 6 am for an aerobic class, come back, gulp her breakfast, go to work for a super hectic day at work, where she invariably had to meet deadlines and then get back exhausted to leave yet again for social engagements. A life that was full of action and gratification. Three years ago, she suffered a stroke, she was 40. She is now bedridden and paralyzed from the neck down. Her life slowed down completely, she has all the time in the world. She now has time for her friends, her family, her neighbors and the house hold help. She is doing things, she never did and saying things she never said. But all this has come at a very high cost.
Do we all need wake up calls to make us slow down? I have taken a sabbatical off work and started yoga and meditation, the most difficult things for speed addicts and believe me it drives me mad , but slowly and surely , I am slowing down.
After all there must be some truth in the saying, “ Slow and steady wins the race.” Have you ever stopped and noticed how turtles and snails always go back into their shell whenever they are in danger? I guess nature has a way of rewarding the slow and steady.
Next time, try and watch out for the sloths around and you will see that there is a certain kind of peace that they emanate. It irritates most of us, but they seem to be oblivious and at peace. Having said that, I tried to do a search on google for slow down and when a particular page did not open for a full 1 minute, I just lost my patience!! Guess “Slow down really meant, slow down.


The Mouse

Last night at about 9 pm I told my helper to prepare the dinner and leave it in the kitchen. We’d had a late lunch and weren’t particularly hungry, but at around 10.30 I started feeling a bit peckish and went into the kitchen to help myself to some nibbles. As soon as I turned on the kitchen light something dark jumped at me and then dropped on the floor and scuttled away. I screamed like I have never screamed. The whole house hold, both my helpers, my husband, my daughter and my dogs , everyone was by my side within a few seconds. I am sure my scream would have woken up the neighbors, I just hope it didn’t.
All this because of a harmless little mouse , which is almost a pet to my daughter. As if I need another pet! We have 2 hamsters, 2 dogs, 4 turtles, and about half a dozen fish. But this little thing, scared the kitchen lights out of me. Now the whole house hold had gathered around with brooms and sticks and we were like the drum warriors drumming the rat out. My husband and one of my helpers tried to trap the little fella behind the TV cabinet and my other helper and myself were jumping up and down like lunatics out in the open. However during all this my little daughter was crying helplessly and begging us not to harm the little miscreant. We were not going to harm him in any case, all, my husband wanted was to shoo him out, lest he bit into his precious silver oxide wires. We sort of knew of his presence, but had never really seen him. At times I would see little bits of paper , pieces of biscuit, or bread around and I always found it rather strange. We would leave the kitchen spotless and would wake up at times to find these bits all around. I had put the house hold on red alert and we even went out and bought those modern day mouse traps that just makes the mouse stick and does not hurt it in any way. We had placed it in various places rather discreetly, hoping little mickey/minnie would find its way onto this sticky gooey trap. But Darwin’s survival theory has confirmed evolutions’ role in developing the mouse brain , just so that it avoids any kind of traps. Obviously the human survival does not depend on avoiding the mouse trap, so each one of us in the house took turns to put either our foot or hand into the trap.
All my endeavors had failed to catch the mouse and after a while we had chosen to ignore the problem . Tonight however was different. The problem had suddenly taken form and now it was staring back at me with frightened eyes. The poor thing was so scared that it was running around like a headless chicken. And we the drum warriors were out in force to trap him and send him to the guillotine!
Why am I writing about this fairly innocuous incident? Maybe I just like writing as I am still practicing writing, but I think I saw something here that we all overlook in our rush to get on with life.
All the people in the house hold had different reactions to the same situation. My husband was angry and out to get the little pest, he saw it as a threat to his music system wires and would not rest till he had caught him. He kept banging and using various means to get him out in the open. One of my helpers was helping him and she had this smug look on her face. She was the brave one. The other helper was scared out of her wits and I was screaming trying to calm the house down, but instead adding to the chaos. Only my daughter was trying to save the little mouse. She thought it was rather cute and she wanted to pet him and feed him.
How our past experiences tend to colour our future thoughts. My daughter had never seen a mouse do any harm, therefore in her eyes it was a harmless creature, my husband had obviously suffered and experienced destruction at the hands of the little rodent and my scared helper had been scared by her brother when she was still young. Her fear never left her. I was petrified because I am just about petrified of anything that can jump on you and startle you. My brave helper was just following instructions as she was ambivalent about the whole thing.
So here we were each of us holding on to our thoughts and seeing the mouse in a different light. Some saw it as a problem and some couldn’t be bothered and for some it was an opportunity to have a new pet . If only we all could see things in a positive light, life would be so much more opportune and fulfilling.

Smile and say thanks

Smile and say thanks

You go to bed at night, waiting to drift into slumber land and you are almost half way there when a mosquito, decides to give you company for the night. You try to ignore it for a while and put your head inside the duvet and hope it would fly away. It does, but as soon as you are about to drift off, it rears its ugly head and comes right back, aiming at your ears and this time even leaves a little reminder of his existence. You satisfy your urge by itching and deriving the momentary pleasure out of the pain.
But that is it; your night has been ruined. You can’t go back to sleep. You keep tossing and turning and cursing God’s creation. The little mosquito has ruined your night and possibly your next morning.
I had one of those nights and woke up feeling miserable, heavy head, body ache, dark circle under the eyes and all the extras that accompany a sleepless night. I woke up kicking and cursing and was about to go into the “zone”. The zone being the usual negative circle where everything goes wrong. Some call it “waking up on the wrong side of bed”. Anyway, I get out of bed, go to the bathroom, the light bulb dies, I try not to react; I try to flush, the flush does not work; I go for a shower—fortunately nothing goes wrong. I go down for breakfast and am convinced I’ll get a burnt toast or my tea would be too cold or something, but nothing goes wrong there either. By now I am smiling, aha the bad day has transformed. I go happily to my car , put in the key , drive out and there ; I have a flat tire. I start screaming like a mad woman, “I knew it, I knew it”. It was too good to be true. Something had to go wrong; after all Ihad a miserable night; a miserable morning and it would surely turn out to be a miserable day.
I had made it my reality. I was expecting miserable things to happen; I was waiting for them to happen, so why would they not?
Author, speaker, guru- Mike Dooly from the book ‘secret’ says “your thoughts become your reality”. Here I was making my thoughts my reality. I took a deep breath, and went into damage control. I started remembering all that was wonderful that morning; it was a beautiful day- just right- not too hot, not too cold. I had worn my new autumn dress. My hair was looking nice- which is not always; my daughter had woken up herself and was ready for school. My helper had made my favorite style egg. Viola; there- I had a few things to be thankful for.
Luckily my husband was home, so he could change the car tire, but he didn’t have the time, so what was the next best thing. He let me drive his Masaratti, wow! The day was turning. I drove the fancy car, got special parking and from that moment on everything started going way better than expected. All I had done was, change my thoughts from negative to positive. I had started to show gratitude, I smiled at the mirror-apparently when you smile, you can’t hold on to any negative thoughts. ( I little trick if you are so upset and can’t really smile is to contort your left side of the face and it will release the same chemicals in your brain that are released when we smile. But make sure it is the left side and not the right, the right actually makes you sad. Go and give it a try.)
So happy smiling and have a wonderful day.

Shock to the senses

I just got back from Dhaka……..a place that in my opinion is a hell hole. Not because of the poverty and filth, but the corruption that accompanies that poverty and filth. The huge disparity between the have’s and the have not’s makes you believe in the law of karma. Why is it that some people are so blessed and the others can’t even put a morsel in their mouth.
The sight of semi naked, hungry , impoverished children makes me cringe at my excessive lifestyle. Every time I go to Bangladesh , I wish I can do something for these children who surround the car with their hands spread and their eyes despondent and melancholy , but all I do is either buy them some biscuits and fruit or just pretend not to see them and walk away.
It is amazing, how one gets immune to the poverty , the filth and the inability to make a difference. Every time I arrive in Dhaka, the first few days are a shock to the senses, but then slowly and surely I get inured to my surroundings and become oblivious to the futility of existence of these so called humans.
I may be completely out of line denigrating their existence , maybe they are completely satisfied in their state and because they don’t know any better don’t want any better, or maybe they look at me and ask themselves, WHY……. why does she have all that she does and I have nothing. I can only speculate as to what their brain must think.
Where on the one side you see the extreme poverty, on the other you see the excess seen in any first world country. I happened to be there when a well known DJ …Bally Sagoo, was in Dhaka for one night only. The tickets to the evening were sold out, each ticket costing about 40 USD . With about 1500 people queuing to get in , jostling to get a drink averaged at 6 USD and a plate of samosas costing 5 USD, one wonders about the poverty just outside those big wooden doors.
This is nothing new for me. Having grown up in India, I was very used to this sight of beggars outside five star hotels or any place that indulged in people’s fantasies, but I never did pay much attention to it. It was a part of life and one learn’t to accept it and ignore it. But now I find it more and more difficult to just accept it , ignore it and move on. Maybe because I am now a mother who feels responsible , or maybe because of my privileged lifestyle which demands introspection, or it’s just that time in life when there is a calling to do something.
I still have not been able to figure out a way to make a difference, but somehow, somewhere the seed has been planted and I hope I can do something…………even if it is to help one human being.
Each of us has the capability to make a difference. I just hope I can.


Observe the pain!!

Observe the pain

We spent the afternoon soaking in the sun on a beach with some friends and their children and had a wonderful time. I came back home and went straight to my computer to read my daily inspirational blogs and sure enough there was a wonderful one from Deepam ( about Self Inquiry, Being Content, Observation and Healing Pain. Interesting and Introspective read.
I went down to the TV room and there was this movie about a 8 year old boy suffering from AIDS. The doctors tell the family he has at the most one year to live and that too a rather painful one.
I was just the observer here. I was just watching the movie on the television, but I started feeling the pain of the boy and the family. The tears couldn’t stop and I felt a lump in my throat and started having a headache due to the crying and my shoulders started to weigh me down. All this was just because of a role played by actors on TV. I knew that this was not for real, and I knew in about 90 minutes it would all be over, but still I couldn’t remain detached and be an observer.
It felt real pain and then started cursing myself for continuing to see the movie, but I still did not get up and leave.
Self Enquiry
Why ?
Are we all masochists, do we like pain, I knew what the end would be, but I still stayed to watch the pain and the agony that the family goes through. It was traumatic and painful, but I kept watching and kept crying. Sure enough, it was over. I got up, put my daughter to bed and went about my daily chores.
As I was retiring for bed , I thought to myself, how can it be possible to remain detached , how can we just be observers of our life. All the enlightened gurus, tell us to remain detached and just observe the pain. If, even as someone watching a movie, I could not stay detached and it had such an effect on me, how in real life can I choose to remain detached? If I had to go through with the actual pain of something like that, how could I choose to be an observer.
I don’t think we humans can remain passive observers of our life, we partake in life with all our being. How then can we not react to pain and pleasure? It is all about the ego they say, It is the ego that hurts, ego that feels the pleasure and so on. But that is my question, how do you detach yourself from the ego , if we are nothing but our ego’s.
How many of us are capable of being unaffected by a dying child? How can we immunize ourselves against pain? Pray Tell.


Peter pan and the Power of Belief

Peter Pan and the power of belief

Went to see Peter pan tonight. Was not really keen on spending two hours with 4 children going ooh and aah over a flying boy. Peter Pan- the boy who never grew up. Once we arrived at the theatre, I saw so many adults and about 40% without children. I wondered why the adults were queuing to buy tickets to a fairytale about a boy who refused to grow up. Once inside I was transported into the fairytale. It made me realize that it was more than a story about a boy who never grew up. It was an amazing story about the power of belief.
The power of belief somehow diminishes as we grow up. Since childhood we are told so many stories, so many fairytales, so many folktales that we get lost and don’t know what to believe anymore . Doubt takes the place of belief and we start questioning our own actions. We start second guessing and cross guessing and start losing hope and faith.
There was a scene in the play where John, the older brother says he does not believe in fairies and as soon as he says that the little fairy starts disappearing. Taking their cue, all the pirates start shouting how they don’t believe in fairies and one by one all the fairies start to disappear. It is so simple yet so profound. Faith and belief are the panacea , if we lose the faith and stop believing we will pretty much kill all hope. And what is life without hope and faith? That is exactly what most of us do.
Every once in a while we should let the Peter Pan in each of us go for a flight and come back rejuvenated.
The first step towards renewal and regeneration is to become a child writes mythologist Joseph Campbell.
In the Greek Askiepian temple when people go for any kind of healing, they are first clothed in white linen and wrapped like a child in swaddling clothes. This is to regress them into child like stage that is free of doubt and full of hope and belief.
An Araki physician wrote. “ The medicine of the soul is the medicine of the body” and that medicine is belief and faith. When Peter Pan overpowers Captain Hook and forces him and his cronies to shout that they believe in fairies , the fairies start reviving and one by one they all come back to life. So even if the adult in us has lost all hope, its never too late to find the child in us to find that hope and belief. Too often we let society dictate our life. We feel obliged to do things a certain way because that is the norm. For once do what your inner child wants you to do and let the miracle of faith and belief revive the fairies in you.
Plant the tiny mustard seed of hope and let it flourish into a whole field.

Looks don't matter or do they??

Looks don’t matter, or do they?

Looks don’t matter! Such a clichéd statement. However much we may deny it, most if not all of us are influenced by physical characteristics.
I did a little experiment to find out. I made three profiles on a Blog site . All with the same interests and character but very different physical characteristics. On one of the profiles , I put myself as a fairly unattractive person and put a picture that was not very pleasing to the eye. A distorted image with excess body weight , messy hairdo and an unkempt look . On the second profile, I put a very attractive picture and portrayed myself as a tall, slim , perfectly proportioned 38 year old. The third profile was the real me. A natural mother and daughter picture.
The profiles of all the three were exactly the same. Same interests, same likes and dislikes, wanting to meet the same kind of people and wanting to network. Any guesses for who got the most no. of hits? Of course the profile with the most attractive picture. No surprises here, but there was a bit of a surprise element. There were more people wanting to be friends with the real me than the beautiful me. Why was that? I have studied a bit of psychology so I know the answer, but can you guess?
I went a step further, I sent out invitations to different people to become my friends. Almost all the ones who had been invited by the beautiful face agreed. About 90% from the real face agreed and only 40% from the unattractive face agreed to become friends. All this was not even in real life, it was just on a computer screen. Well maybe that is exactly why . The people did not get a chance to know the real person behind the mask, so they made their decision based on looks. So do looks really matter? I would say, they do. I just finished reading Malcom Gladwell’s “blink”. He talks about the “ The Warren Harding Error:” Mark Sullivan a journalist wrote this about him.
Harding was worth looking at. He was at the time about 35 years old. His head, features, shoulders and torso had a size that attracted attention; their proportions to each other made an effect which in any male at any place would justify more than the term handsome- in later years, when he came to be known beyond his local world, the word “Roman” was occasionally used in descriptions of him.
To quote Gladwell, “ Harding was not a particularly intelligent man. He liked to play pokerand golf and to drink and most of all, to chase women; infact his sexual appetites were stuff of legend. So who was Harding? He was the 29th president of United States. The question is why did he even become President? According to Harry Daugherty, “ He looked like a President”. Unfortunately he turned out to be a very incapable president. So decisions based primarily on looks are mostly misleading.
Human brains are however hardwired to appreciate beauty. There is enough evidence to show that attractive people get better treatment and are deemed as more lucky. NBC’s dateline conducted an experiment wherein they showed how almost always the more attractive people got better service and more people would go out of their way to help them.
So however shallow it might sound and however much we might like to deny , we are all influenced by looks.
Just do a simple experiment. Go to browse button in the Myspace website. When the page opens, watch out for the people whose profiles you would like to see. Very often it will be the people you find attractive. So even though beauty is only skin deep, it does leave a deep impression.


Ideas and Creativity

Ideas and creativity

What is an idea? The Webster’s dictionary defines it as ‘form or appearance of a thing as opposed to its reality’ i.e. something one thinks, knows or imagines. A concept, thereby implying that it is something intangible and ephemeral unless one converts it into a tangible resource.
A few days ago I received the following email
I am currently working on a project for my internship at an advertising company. I need to come up with simple messages that can be used in advertising regarding creativity and ideas. In specific, my project is about how we define ideas/creativity and how we value them/it. I would greatly appreciate, if you have some time, any help/suggestions you can give me with regards to this assignment. Since it is quite abstract, I thought to make two specific questions and ask people to give me their thoughts on them. I hope this way I can get some examples that would help put my project in the context of our daily lives. Ok, here are the questions if you have some time to write to me and help me with your thoughts on them 1) On how we define ideas: what is an example of a great/good idea you have heard/read/thought of yourself? Any idea, from any field is fine (art, business, work, daily life, comedy, humor etc etc). People define ideas and good ideas in different ways, so I thought by getting examples from people would be a good way for me to define the concept first 2) On how we value ideas: i don't know how you can value ideas, so I will create a hypothetical question/situation. Ideas/creativity, especially the good/brilliant ones, like somethings in life as per the mastercard commercial can be priceless. But priceless can be too abstract when it comes to understanding how we value ideas. Usually money is an indication of value so let me put this question in financial terms. If money was not an issue, say you won or had some money, any kind of amount, let's say a small one like $10-$15, would you invest/give it to someone who had a good idea he/she shared with you, or would you rather spend it to buy a cd, dvd, magazine or any other everyday small-value product you usually buy/like? The question can be turned in the other direction as well, what if someone you shared your good idea with, was very impressed with it and wanted to invest some money in it, would that make you feel that your idea was valued in a real sense compared to just receiving a good word for it, like "hey this was a good idea, good luck with it"? Your thoughts on the above would be greatly appreciated as they might give me insights for my project that I cannot come up with by myself. Any other thought/example you might want to share is fine as well. Sincerely

What a great idea! Getting people from around the world to help with an assignment. An intangible concept suddenly becomes tangible with an intrinsic value. i.e. XYZ will now have access to info that was till now in my brain and can be used towards completing the assignment.
English cartoonist and author Ashleigh said that” Good ideas are common, what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.” If I had a dollar for an idea, I’d be a millionaire…… how often we have said that to ourselves. I am definitely guilty of having “ wonderful ideas” ( As Carl Gustav said “ every one is in love with their ideas”) but have not yet made them tangible. So yes the value of an idea is intrinsically linked with the cash return it may garner. An idea is of no value to the idea generator or the rest of the world till it becomes a tangible value added outcome.
Also I think, idea is an extension of one’s ego/ passion/need. Very often the passion of the idea generator can be a key towards seeing the idea turn into reality or just fizzing away into the ether. Often the ideas don’t have to be radical to make an impact, they just have to be convertible into reality.
If one was to take any example from modern day or history, we can see that everything was someone’s idea and not necessarily it was the idea generator that reaped the benefits. If we were to take the example of Mc Donald’s, The two brothers whose name is plastered all over the planet ( with maybe opening one on the moon!!!) are not even thought of as the inventors of the idea. Mc Donalds is associated with Ray Kroc. Why? Because the two brothers Richard and Maurice or Dick and Mac who invented the fast food concept, lacked the drive and organizational skills needed to capitalize on their invention.
We can therefore safely surmise that an idea is of no value till we can attach tangibility and dollar return to it. In order for an idea to become successful, we need support from believers in the form of financial investment, or as Malcom Gladwell says in his book - The Tipping Point, enlist the help of Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen to spread your idea and create a stir.



The following is in response to a question regarding Tsunami. "if God exists why did the Tsunami Happen"

Namaste, “that which is GOD in me greets the GOD in you” I have grown up saying Namaste, but I did not know what it meant till tonight. Thank you, Tom.
Having grown up in a fairly religious family, I never questioned the existence of GOD. I was not allowed to choose my faith. I just had to follow my Grandparents idea of GOD. Sometimes I was dragged kicking and screaming to attend a service of GOD where I would sit sullenly and questioningly. I remember the worst times in my house being when we had to undertake a religious ceremony. As a child I was supposed to follow the rituals and the norms without questioning or disagreeingMy father had passed away at age of 34, and I was 9 years old, my brother was 4 and when my mother passed away 20 years later at a young age of 54, I started questioning this whole issue of existence of GOD. The God I had grown up fearing and yet praying to. How could the benevolent GOD do this. My mother was a devoted to her GOD Krishna. She would bathe, him, feed him, change his clothes, and then put him to bed in his night clothes. I found the whole process quite ridiculous and would often ask her why she was treating the so called savior like a little baby. She had her explanation which did not satisfy me. But when she fell ill and was fighting for her life in a hospital in Bangladesh, I started praying incessantly to her GOD Krishna. Hoping that he would save her and cure her. He did not listen to my prayers and made my brother and I orphans? My little belief in the entity called GOD started dwindling even more. But I had too many questions and no answers. Why would he do that to me? Was it because I did not practice any form of ritaulistic religion? Was my doubt the cause of my misery? I could not find any answers and whenever people asked me to have faith in GOD, I would get very aggressive and say, WHAT GOD?
I started to search for answers, I started reading as much literature as I could, both eastern and western. But my search would always steer towards spirituality and not religion. The more I read, the more I got convinced about the existence of GOD. The GOD within each one of us and not the image that I was supposed to pray to. The omnipresent, omnipotent GOD became a reality. If GOD exists in each one of us, he sure is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. It has 6 billion human forms and billions of non human forms. The existence of a punishing GOD who one has to fear became a myth. I had grown up fearing GOD, I was made to believe that I had to go to the temple to show my reverence. I had to partake in all the rituals or I would be punished, for everything that did not work out. Suddenly this new found knowledge gave me freedom to pursue GOD or the goodness that lies within. I started to like GOD, I started to look for the GOD in people and the more I looked, the more I found. My faith in GOD actually became stronger.
Then when I found a positive co-relation between mantra , meditation and a fulfilling life I started to believe even more in GOD, but the GOD being the I and the goodness in I. I don't believe there is a GOD that is keeping a record of no. of times we have called his name, or is keeping a score of how often we have gone to the church , temple or the synagogue. If there was such a GOD he would be a rather egotistical GOD.GOD and EVIL exist in each one of us. When something good happens we expect it to be the norm, but when something bad like a tsunami happens we immediately call it an act of GOD and expect answers from GOD. How often do we question when things are going fine. Do we ask GOD why it rains? Why does the sun shine? Why does the moon orbit the earth? Why is he providing us with all that we need for sustenance? No, we just explain it with science and the theory of evolution according to Darwin.
Why then can science not explain the tsunami? It can and it did? Where does GOD come in the picture?
But having an image of a benevolent GOD helps us humans to persevere in the face of calamity. It is not that anyone has ever seen or felt GOD, it is just the faith that GOD exists that helps people face adversities. It helps one to relegate responsibility and ownership of one’s actions.
Tsunami was a natural phenomenon that resulted in disastrous consequences. So many other things happen ( maybe at not such a vast scale though) that make us question “ WHY”,and we are left clueless.
Tsunami raised these questions for the skeptics and the believers, and many moved on the other side of the belief spectrum. More people started moving towards soul searching and spirituality instead of blindly following the laid down religious doctrines. More and more are now looking for the GOD within, instead of relying on the bearded GOD or the Elephant trunk GOD on the outside. All the Hindu GODS are not physical GODS, but are a depiction of the capability of the goodness within each one of us.
Maybe the Tsunami was just a reminder to each one of us to find that latent goodness within.


DeJa vu

Déjà vu
Just finished watching Déjà vu….. I know am a bit behind with my movies, but what can I say. TIME is of essence here.
Déjà vu… a feeling that one has had an experience previously!!! And what if we could change the past?
How often have we all wished we could/should have done things differently? How often we wish we could hit rewind and go back. Wish life was as easy as a computer program where you could go back, tab forward and erase or type at will, or a movie where everything happens in 90 to 110 minutes.
Real life is complicated. We live with our decisions, either to regret or to rejoice. I read somewhere that memory is a beautiful thing until we start dealing with the past.
How many times I must have wished that things were different, but all amount of wishing and praying does not and cannot change the past. ( Unless like the movie déjà vu…. We invent the time machine that can and will take us to the past). Maybe Sir Richard Branson is working on it as we speak.
The point being- why do we humans have a tendency to live in the past? We keep dwelling over the past and picturing what if scenarios in our head and therefore stop living in the present moment. I was guilty of this for a very long time. I would always think of the past and question and answer myself all the time and would ruin the present.
Things changed when I realized that I was not moving forward at all and people in my life had moved on. As of now we still don’t have the means to change the past, we can never forget it or deny it . All we can do is accept it for what it was and not blame ourselves for what we could have done for a different outcome.
I used beat myself over what if scenarios and blame myself for the decisions that I did or did not make, but then I realized that our decisions are based on the judgments we make at a particular time and maybe at that time it was the right decision. Maybe at that time it was the right choice based on the info available.
Was it the right decision? Was it a mistake ? Who knows? I am still searching and waiting for the time machine to take me back.


Atheism or Religious Fanatism

I was on the plane a few months ago and two people on either side of , including myself were reading ( The God Delusion). It was an obvious conversation starter.Interestingly, the lady o my left was a " devout atheist" and Richard dawkins was her God. The gentleman on my right was borderline agnostic and I came from a fairly religious Hindu Family. So here we were discussing and debating the existence or non existence of God. The flight was from Sydney to HKG so we had a few hours to put our points across. Well, is there really a god? I don't know? I have never seen him or her, however my mother claimed to have seen Krishna- the Hindu God of Love. I don't consider myself religious, but I am not an atheist either. So is agnostic a euphemism for atheist because we are too afraid to deny the existence of the almighty GOD

The latest buzz word , now a days is spirituality. When someone asks what religion are you I hear people promptly responding, " I don't have a religion but am a spiritual person". Are people now afraid to claim to be religious? I think so much negative propaganda has been attached with religion that someone with a reasonable IQ does not want to be associated with it. Richard's mention about the article by Paul G Bell identifying an inverse co-relation between Intelligence and Religious bent seems to make sense . India is supposed to be a very spiritual land. Many people head to India to find themselves, then how is it that so many of us are still searching for answers and are easily swayed by Charlatans pretending to be door keepers to the God's. True religion is the faith to follow the path of righteous living away from any dogma and rituals.Religion is a wonderful tool if used correctly, Fire can cook a meal and the same fire can cook a person, so it is not the fire that is bad it is the use of fire can be misappropriated. Similarly to completely deny the existence of GOD that seems to give hope to so many people may be out of line. However using the name of GOD to instill fear and following is a bigger blasphemy than denying the existence of GOD.Shouldn’t the whole debate on atheism vs GOD be on religious moderation vs religious fanatism.


The rabbit!

“The Rabbit”

OK, so I sat down to write my blog “the rabbit and my introduction to it”, when my daughter just walked in and insisted on taking the keyboard from my hands and started asking me . “Mommy what are you doing?”
I told her I was writing my blog, she asked me what a blog was and I explained that it was something like a book that you could read on the computer. She then started asking me what was I writing about? I told her I was writing about “the rabbit”. “Oh mommy, can I please buy a rabbit! Please mommy, please.” If only she knew!!!!!!! I am glad that in her unadulterated mind a rabbit is a furry four legged creature that hops around eating carrots and radish.
Well my Rabbit is manmade, runs on batteries and comes in different colours and different sizes!! You have probably guessed it by now, but it was only about 6 months ago that I even heard about it.
I was introduced to it by my friend Anj… It was a rather interesting morning. I had just finished Robert Winston’s , “ The Human Mind,” where he wrote about challenging the brain by doing things differently. i.e brushing your teeth with your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa, walking backwards, not doing the routine, but doing things differently.
I was staying with a friend in London, so I decided to give it a try. I brushed my teeth with the left hand, walked backwards and bumped into a table. As I was in unfamiliar surroundings, this was already a challenge, but what the hell…. In for a penny- in for a pound.
By now I was getting rather hungry, I opened the refrigerator, looking for something for breakfast. My friends had been on a two week holiday, so their refrigerator was pretty empty. Well no sweat, we had to do things differently today. I found some pita bread and humus and a bottle of chardonnay in the fridge. There was breakfast, staring right at me. A glass of buttery chardonnay!!! Very tempting, but I craved coffee, found the coffee, but no milk, I am still not cultured enough for black, I still like mine with cream and sugar. So had to go for the chardonnay. Oooh the arm twisting, wine is my weakness, but till now, had never had it for breakfast.
Thank you Dr. Winston. I could always blame you for the consequences. I was just planning to get some circuitry in the brain moving so as to create some more synapses. Anything in the name of science !!! But try as I might, I could not justify increasing my brain cells by dowsing them in 13% alcohol. But then again, I was supposed to do things against the norm, and this was surely against the norm.
Interesting start to what would turn out to be a rather interesting day.
I called my friend Anj who lived in St’ John’s Wood and we agreed to meet at Sloan Square. As soon as she arrived, she said, she wanted to go to Ann Summers
I prided myself in being a citizen of the world and knowing pretty much all that was worth knowing. But here I was without a clue on what Ann Summers was all about.
I met Anj and we made a straight dash to Ann summers- an upmarket sex toys shop. Wow!!! My eye balls literally popped out. Sexy lingerie, to things I could only imagine. I was a bit embarrassed walking in, but having had the chardonnay for breakfast helped. Hey Dr. Winston, I was doing all this in the name of science!!.
Well, we walked in pretty confidently and Anj asked for something with extra power. The staff at Ann summers is extremely friendly and knowledgeable;0) ;0). They make you feel right at home. Trust me the chardonnay helped. I walked around confidently asking for explanations and functions of all the gadgets. Then I was introduced to the Rabbit. My life has never been the same since. What can I say ?


The imperfection

The Imperfection!

It must have been about a year ago, I went out for dinner with this gorgeous young man. He had just been promoted to Captain ( Airline) and was very excited and enthusiastic. He asked the crew if they would like to join him for dinner. As is very often the case with us crew, we hate to commit and we generally say, “ If you see me, you see me, if not, just carry on without.” And very often you carry on without. Well this was no exception, just two of the crew- including me, showed up to join the Captain.
We went to the hotel bar for a drink and then proceeded for dinner. As we sat at the dinner table, I noticed something in the Captain’s left nostril, it was a “boogie” hanging precariously at the edge. I tried to get his attention but was unsuccessful. I should have just taken a tissue and asked him to clean it up, but I didn’t. Instead I kept pretending to be a party to the conversation, while the whole time I couldn’t get my eyes away from that little imperfection.
The Imperfection- ---- It made me realize, how shallow I had been. There was this gorgeous man buying me dinner and all I could pay attention to was the boogie in his nose. How often do we do that? How often we ruin perfect times, perfect relationships, perfect careers by focusing on what is not right. I have been guilty of this; I used to be looking out for faults and imperfections all the time. My job wasn’t right, my husband wasn’t romantic enough, my house wasn’t big enough…etc etc.
However starting last year, I changed my outlook towards life; I started seeing what was right and not what was wrong. Nothing changed physically, just my outlook and my attitude and that alone made so much difference. Everything now seems wonderful. Of course I have days when I revert to the old complaining me, but 90% of the time I can consciously come back to the positive me . I used to get excruciating headaches and could not go to bed without a sleeping pill. It has been over a year since I even took a panadol (paracetmol). I have surely experienced the benefits of positive thinking and know it works.
No, it hasn’t got me my millions yet and neither has my husband turned into Don Juan, but life is definitely more beautiful and fulfilling.
Look out for the perfections and life will be full of them.




About two weeks ago, I attended a Toastmaster ‘s gathering as a guest. Toastmasters are a group of people who get together regularly to practice public speaking. It is a non threatening atmosphere where one can overcome the fear of public speaking, which is actually the number two fear after fear of death.
I qualify in the category of knees shaking, palms sweating, voice cracking bunch of people who put public speaking even higher than the fear of death. So here I was trying to overcome my fear of public speaking by trying to speak in Public (which by the way I didn’t do). However I did get something out of the meeting.
The table topics topic that evening was Shangri-la. Table Topics is an extempore where anyone can say anything related to the topic for about 2 minutes. The table topics master introduces the topic and asks for volunteers to come forward and speak a few words.
She introduced Shangri-la as a fictional place described in the 1933 novel “ lost Horizon” by the British author James Hilton. In the book, "Shangri-La" is a mystical, harmonious valley, which has become synonymous with any earthly paradise—a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world.
She asked the audience if such a place existed, and if anyone had been there?
After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence one gentleman stood up to brave the audience and spoke about a place in New Zealand he had visited that reminded him of Shangri-la, another stood up and spoke about sky-diving and compared it to Shangri-la. Yet another spoke about spending a weekend with his children and how that was Shangri-la. By now I was getting a bit bored and frustrated and wanted to really get up and speak about what I thought was Shangri-la. But my shaking knees and racing heart beat stopped me from standing up. I just sat there kicking myself and thinking, I could do much better. But did I ? No, the fear of standing up in front of 40 people and allowing them to judge me as I was judging them paralyzed me and I just sat there frustrated.
Well, what is or where is Shangri-la? If one Googles the word Shangri-la , hundreds of links open up identifying Shangri-la as a paradise, a hotel, tour groups, publications and even a Shangri-la diet. Shangri-la means so many different things to different people. This mythical paradise has spawned such a big industry.
Have you ever stopped to find your Shangri-la?
What does Shangri-la mean to you? Is it really a place out there, somewhere ? A paradise? Utopia? Or does it exist in your heart? It has been said that Mind Matters Most and that anyone can manifest their desires provided they put their mind to it. ( I am still trying to manifest my fear of public speaking!!!!@$#$%^&) .
My Shangri-la is right here. In my heart, in my mind, in my everyday life. The fact that I wake up every morning surrounded by the beauty of nature, the sound of my daughter playing around. My dogs running around hungrily, the turtles basking in the sun and the phone ringing incessantly, inviting me out for yet another gathering of “Public speakers”. This is my Shangri-la. I choose it to be my Shangri-la.
I have travelled pretty much around the world, wined and dined in fine hotels and restaurants. Done a fair amount of adventure sport and have had momentary pleasures. All our life we are looking at satisfying the outwardly urges of pleasure and fulfillment. And when one has been there, done that, now what! sets in and makes one question this whole search for utopia/ paradise. I have done that and at times still do that. I still like to go to exotic locations for holidays, still like to indulge in gustatory delights and dream of jumping out of flying planes. Despite all of the above, I am contented to have found my Shangri-la. It stays with me all the time because I choose it to be. We can all find our Shangri-la and in our heart and still continue to search for the Shangri-la that exists somewhere out there.

Jig Saw Puzzle

Jig saw puzzle

This afternoon, my 5 year old daughter and I sat down to do some jig saw puzzles. My daughter was almost done with her 100 piece puzzle when she started tapping really hard on one of the pieces, trying her best to fit it in the slot. Try as she might, it just did not seem to fit. She was almost giving up in frustration when she saw a similar piece hiding under the mat. She immediately picked it up and put it where she had been tapping away. It immediately fit.

It made me think about life. Isn’t life a series of jigsaw puzzles. Some pieces fit right away and some just don’t feel right. Be it our jobs or our relationships. Very often we tap ourselves into fitting, but invariably when the fit is not there we get frustrated and angry and either give up completely or go looking for the missing piece.

Then the Eureka moment happens, you find the perfect piece. It fits tightly. The puzzle gets complete, but with the passage of time, that same perfect fit starts to loosen and starts falling out. Relationships follow the same pattern, we look for the perfect partner…sometimes compromising on the way. Then when we find the perfect partner we are ecstatic , and after a few years of the same perfect partner does not seem so perfect after all. But even though the piece has become loose, it still seems to fit better than others, so should we not really search for that perfect fit ?

Every jigsaw can be completed, some are just harder than others.
Patience is most definitely a virtue which many of us lack.

Love/luck /Happiness

Synthetic Happiness

I agree with Dan on the topic of “ synthetic happiness”. We all do have an innate ability to synthesize happiness. Once you get adept at it, you can’t tell the difference between natural and synthetic happiness, because it just becomes a state of mind. Happiness is very often a choice based on our decision.
Dan has collected scientific data to show how choices lead to unhappiness and I have collected enough non scientific data to prove the same. I met various highly accomplished individuals who had too many choices and were unhappy and on the other had individuals both accomplished and accomplished who had chosen to be happy under the given circumstances.
A few years ago , I met a lady, a very attractive Korean lady married to an attractive, very affluent man who loved her immensely. I was in a very similar situation, but both of us were miserable . We had all that a woman in her 30’s would want, loving and successful husbands, lovely children, house cars, club memberships and the works, but the basic ingredient – happiness was missing.
We met for coffee one day and tried to analyze, why we were so unhappy . We were both fairly attractive and therefore would get a fair amount of attention from the opposite sex . Instead of making us happy this was the real cause of our unhappiness. We always felt we had a choice of walking out of our marriages in search of greener pastures. We did and the results were disastrous. There were lots of tears and heart break. The green pasture was not so green after all. It was because we had taken our unhappiness with us on our travels .
Starting middle of last year, we both made a conscious effort at “synthesizing happiness”. I started appreciating my life and started looking out for what was right and not that was wrong or missing. Yes, Buddhist teaching , meditation and company of enlightened individuals helped a great deal.
I was addicted to pain killers and at one time , I was convinced I had Bipolar disorder. In my pursuit of happiness , I actually chased it away. Since I started synthesizing happiness, I have not needed any painkiller of any sort. Its now been almost two years that synthesized happiness has been my painkiller.
So getting back to the question of synthetic happiness and natural happiness , in my view it is all a matter of choice and outlook. If we think about the law of impermanence, we can rest assured that whatever it may be , happiness or misery , it will not endure. So choose happiness .

Expectation Vs Appreciation

Expectation VS Appreciation

I am in a suite in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Singapore. It has a huge bed with even bigger Pillows. I like it. I quickly run to check out the toilet. Toilets in hotels are always the highlight of the room for me. This particular toilet had a huge octagonal window right next to the super sized sunken bath tub. Sitting in the bath tub, I could watch the world go by.

I loved it, the little bath oil balls, the bulgari toiletries etc. As I was soaking in the luxury I noticed the wilted orchids in the bathroom and that was it. From then on I started to look out for what was missing or not up to my expectation.

The key word being “EXPECTATION”. My husband had stayed in the same hotel about a month ago and called me to tell me what a wonderful room it was and how everything was just so perfect. He insisted that I accompany him on the next trip, which I did. We brought our 5 year old daughter along and decided to have a short break in Singapore.

As we were about to retire for the night, I called house keeping for a children’s pillow and a hard pillow. House keeping called back saying they would send me the hard pillow, but were unable to find a child pillow. I went in for a shower and noticed that there was no shampoo or conditioner in the bath, just bath soap and body lotion. When I came out of the shower I noticed that the bed side clock was 5 hours behind time. By now I was a bit upset. I thought of calling the duty manager letting him/her know of my disappointment but didn’t I stewed , raved and ranted and yet did nothing about it.

Of course, I could not sleep. I was too miserable to sleep. The next morning, I waited to see if the hotel staff would notice the faux pas and fix them. I left the room and when I came back, went straight to the bathroom to see if the things were in order. Well, the orchids had been replaced and the toiletries provided, but somehow , I was still miserable.


Because, I had very high expectation and I was looking out for what was not there. I expected a bowl of fruit in the room, I expected fresh flowers, a personal welcome message instead of the generic one, something special for my child ( on a recent stay in the mandarin in HKG my friends children were treated like royalty).

My point being; my high expectation led me to disappointment.

If only , I had taken the time to be appreciative of the beautiful view from the giant window, The lovely bath oils , the fluffy robes and towels, No, all I was doing was cribbing and looking out for what was not there and not appreciating what was there.

Old habits die hard, the critic in me was desperately rearing its ugly head.
But by now I was aware of my old habit and immediately went into damage control. I changed my thinking into that of appreciation and gratitude. Had two glasses of wine and suddenly everything around me became beautiful. The fact was that I was in a lovely hotel, where all I had to do was press the house keeping button, remove the DND on the door and my room would be made up. Piping hot food and chilled champagne would be delivered to my room ( if I wanted), and I could watch the traffic jam from my bathroom!

The next evening, I decided to call the duty manger and told her that I was going to write an article on Expectation vs Appreciation and I would be mentioning my experience. The call was not for complaining, it was just to let her know that I would be writing something and even though my experience was not all positive, it was not a negative article.

Wow! There was immediate service recovery. The PR lady was Evelyn Yo and she was extremely apologetic and really nice. I had fruits and chocolates in my room. My daughter had goody bags which were very thoughtfully filled.

The next evening was even better, there was special children’s bathrobe, child slippers , child pillow and blanket for my daughter. Turn down service was impeccable and there was a lovely note from the house keeper. My expectation was met…..maybe even exceeded. All I had to do was be appreciative of what there was and ask for what was missing. It was that simple.

Life can be that simple if we allow it to be. Law Of Attraction states that we are responsible for everything in our life. We attract whatever there is, whether it is happiness or misery. I could have chosen to be miserable for the duration of my stay by complaining and expecting or I could have chosen to be appreciative and gracious and asked for more. I did the latter and my request was granted.

As Esther Hicks says “ ASK and it is GIVEN”.

Life can be so wonderful and fulfilling only if we choose to appreciate what there is and ask for more.

Luv/luck/ happiness