7 Inspiring Books to Read

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WE are only limited by what we could imagine and nothing helps us increase our vision and imagination as a good book. Books are the treasure troves where we can dive and bring out the gems of life. Reading books can benefit us in some unimaginable ways. Books are fun, books are knowledge, books are uplifting and what not. Though there cannot be a small list of books to read, we have tried to give a small list here.

1. As a man Thinketh

This book by James Allen is a very short but powerful read. Message of the book is how one’s thoughts ultimately dictate his actions. We can control all the aspects of our life by the power of our mind. The book is based on the concept of sowing and reaping. What thoughts you plant in your mind, such results you will reap in near future. If you have positive thoughts, you will have an abundant and fulfilling life. But if you allow negative thoughts to take over, your life will attract more misery. This classic book can benefit anyone regardless of age, faith or background.

2. Think and Grow Rich

Think and grow Rich written by Napoleon Hill in 1937 is another all time classic. The book makes one question what wealth really is. Getting wealthy is not only growing in financial terms but also in social and personal terms. As a matter of fact Napoleon Hill spent 20 years of his life interviewing millionaires of his time to know their thought process and behaviors that made them immensely successful.The book deals with 13 steps for wealth creation like Desire, Faith, Imagination and Subconscious mind among others.

3. The Power of Positive Thinking

This book by Norman Vincent Peale is somewhat based on spirituality and encourages reader to believe in God and gives various anecdotes to substantiate his views. The book suggests how Positive thinking is an attitude where you focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results. Even when some negative thought arises in your mind, be aware of it and try to replace it with a constructive one. This is a kind of book which gives you hope and strength. This is a book for you, if you are inclined toward believing their is a power above you, controlling your destiny.

4. The story of My Experiments with Truth

This autobiography of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi covers his life from childhood through to 1921, after which as per him there was no point of writing further as his life was fully in public domain. The book reaffirms his faith in Ahimsa of thought and deeds; how the character of a person continuously evolves and how everyone has his own share of vice and virtues. He has written how after experimenting with smoking, drinking and even stealing, he grew into a person he was. The book also talks in detail about religion, family, early marriage, cleanliness and satyagraha. In the end it gives account of great efforts made by him for khadi promotion for self reliance of the country.

5. Wings of Fire

An autobiography of APJ Abdul Kalam details how a person of modest background rose through the ranks with sheer hard work and became the President of India. The book inspires readers to dream and dare. It also give some personal lessons on management like delegation, team building and qualities of leader to share achievements with the team but own up the failures himself. Book has a very strong message of positive thinking and never to procrastinate.

6. Man’s search for Meaning

This book is about personal experiences of the author, Viktor Frankl in a concentration camp during World War II. Frankl writes how when we face difficulties and suffering, we can cope with it, find meaning in it and move forward. To do this one needs to find a purpose to life, feel positive and imagine that outcome has come real. It says suffering in itself is meaningless, we give our suffering the meaning by the way we respond to it. There will always be situations beyond one’s control but the ultimate power, of choice of your response to the situation remains with you. This book is simple yet profound.

7. Awaken the Giant within

This bestseller by Anthony Robbins is a great motivational read. It gives the message that the biggest power that we have with us is the power of choice and to alter our belief system. The choices like what you will focus on, what you will think, how you feel and what you do regarding it. The meaning you attach to the situations may be the only hurdle in achieving the desired results in life. Give a different meaning to it and get a different result. Robbins talks about five elements of core belief, value, reference, question and your emotional state. He says changing any or all of these elements will profoundly change your life.

Above is our list of some good inspirational books but no way could it be limited to these only. A vast ocean of knowledge and resources is lying, waiting for us in libraries and book shops. Indulge yourself in some good book reading and grow into the person you have always desired to be.

When was the last time you read a book? ……….. Start now ………

 

Steps to Easy Weight Loss

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Weight gain or loss is a complicated mix of various factors like your genetic makeup, hormonal controls, dietary habits and the environmental factors like sleep, physical activity and stress. Any imbalance, these factors cause in energy equation will be finally reflected in your weight loss or gain.

For weight loss primary requirement is to create an energy deficit whereby you consume less calories than you can burn. Follow these few simple steps during your daily routine to achieve your goal of weight loss.

1. Active life

Have an active life. See how we are operating our life these days. We have a box life, where we start our day with travelling in a box car, to working in a box office and having entertainment in front of an idiot box. We have forgotten to incorporate in our life any activity. Travelling small distances on cycle or may be walking down the street for picking our groceries is no rocket science, but frankly how many of us do it. While working in our offices rather than messaging our colleagues on mail, we may just walk to their cubicle. Instead of elevator try to take stairs. These may be very easy things to do but also very easy not to do.

2. Sleep proper

Just have a look on your sleep patterns. If you are short on sleep, it can affect your weight. Experts agree that getting adequate sleep is important to health, well being and your weight. Research tells us that when people are sleeping less they tend to have increased late-night snacking and more often than not choose high-carb snacks. There are two hormones ghrelin, for food craving or emptiness and leptin, for satiety or fullness which control your eating patterns and hunger, and sleep deprivation adversely affects these two. In addition to these there is cortisol which is a stress hormone released on sleep deprivation and cause body to conserve energy and keep your weight high. Take at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily to heal from the stress of the day.

3. Hydrate

First point to remember is that you don’t require water only to remain hydrated, but it is one of the main source. Water as such is good for weight loss, as it is 100% calorie free and when you drink a glass before meals, it gives the feeling of satiated. Amount of water required will depend on various factors like weather, your physical activity levels and body size. Feeling of thirst and dry mouth may sometime be misinterpreted by body with other symptoms like urge to snack. Drinking water is also said to increase your body metabolism and thus may help in your goal of weight loss.

4. Exercise

Most simple requirement of weight loss is that you must burn more calories than you consume. After you keep a tab on what you eat to limit calories, for effective weight loss you need to exercise also. Exercising will increase your body metabolism, which is the process of body converting what you eat and drink into energy.

Include at least 30 minutes of physical activity during the day as anaerobic exercises like cycling, jogging etc. Strength training like weight lifting etc also will help as they increases the muscle mass of the body and thus the calorie consumption.

A point to consider here is that exercising induce release of cortisol but this reduces on regular exercises, at the same time release of adrenaline allow more fat to be burned from under the skin and exercising muscle.

5. Food

For weight loss the food should be high on fiber and protein rich. Fiber helps you feel full without adding much calories to your diet. Soluble fiber absorbs water and moves slowly through your gut and thus slows the absorption of sugar, meaning lower insulin levels and less fat storage. High fiber food also acts as prebiotic. Out of all the meals of the day the most important for weight loss is breakfast. See the reasons Why You Should Never Skip Breakfast

High protein diet is ideal for weight loss. By replacing carbs and fats with proteins there is reduction in hunger hormone and increase in satiety hormones. this is the main reason why proteins make you lose more weight. Also it is known that body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy without the presence of either carbohydrates or proteins. So continuing intake of proteins while burning fats is important.

One should avoid processes food to the maximum. Processed food are high on sugar, and sugar in itself can cause many harm. Sugar has empty calories and may have adverse effects on metabolism. Processed foods because of high salt level generally are more likable to taste buds and thus cause overeating. Refined carbohydrates in processed food are also bad for your health.

Get close to natural products like cinnamon tea, green tea, ginger, ginseng, honey and lemon. All these help in detoxifying your body and lose weight .

In the end keep in mind it is easier to cut 125 calories in a day than to burn 125 calories. And if you think how will a meager 125 calories cut will help, remember consistency is the key. If you cut 125 calories per day it will result an average weight loss of 7-8 Kg in a year.

So don’t go on any crash diet or heavy gym sessions or any other kind of overdrive for short burst of period rather loose weight by taking these small seemingly insignificant but consistent steps.

7 Essentials of a Happy Life

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Who doesn’t want to be happy in life? Happiness is the most pursued goal in anybody’s life. But where to look for it, and what to do? We have many examples of people around us who might be very wealthy or with celebrity status but still aren’t happy. Because happiness is not in some material possessions, financial position or even your status in society. Wisdom is knowing that happiness is already inside us, we just have to look deep within us and make a choice to remain happy. Take some time out of your seemingly busy life and think what makes you happy.

Looking at the scope of this writing only some of the essentials of happy life could be summarized here.

1. Passion – Do what you Love

Passion is the intense emotion which gives you the fuel, the energy to perform with great enthusiasm what you’ve always wanted to do, to live the life you are born to live. You can never be happy unless whatever you do, you do with passion. It covers all dimensions of one’s life whether they are concerning relations, intellect or occupation. When you have passion, life moves to an entirely different level of fulfillment and satisfaction. Passion allows one to weather the storms of life no matter how hard they are.

As Maya Angelou said “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”

2. Love and Gratitude

Love is a strong feeling of affection, a great interest and pleasure in something. Most people seek its expression in romantic relationships but there are many kinds of love. Love may be kinship or feeling of familiarity, friendship, romantic or divine Love. Love is unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of others. If there is only one great happiness in life, it is to love and be loved.

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai lama

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3. Courage – Face the Challenges

Courage is strength in the face of pain and the ability to do something that frightens others. It is to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, in spite of criticism. Courage is a choice, a decision to pursue one’s dreams and make them come true. In life one will face defeats, challenges and difficult times, and only courage to face all these will take one across these. If true happiness comes from fulfillment of heart’s desires then one will require to develop a lot of courage because life will keep on throwing hurdles your way and you need to keep emerging a winner, and if you fail, remember what Robert G. Ingersoll said “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.”

4. Spirituality – Know Yourself

Spirituality is the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material things. Spirituality is search for the meaning of life and the ways to connect with something bigger than ourselves. Sometimes people confuse spirituality with religion, which it is not. Religion is attached to practices whereas spirituality is looking inside oneself. Studies have found that people who prioritize spiritual, altruistic or family goals over material successes are a lot happier. True happiness comes to one who realizes that we are all one at some level. Spirituality tells us what we can or cannot control, it allows people to learn to experience gratitude. A spiritual mind is never disturbed under any circumstances, and remain equipoise d in Happiness and Distress. Therefore he is always calm, quiet and patient. Spirituality teaches one that he is beyond this material body and is thus freed from the conception of false ego.

5. Be a Giver, not a Taker

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Yet today most of us are busy struggling to find happiness in gathering up achievements, spending money and running after the physical goods. When we help someone we develop a relation with them and have a sense of fulfillment, and helping does not means to help in money matters only but all gestures, may be small like helping someone in chores or to stand with them at times of difficulty. Giving gives you purpose and a purpose driven life makes one happy. Helping others will only serve to open your world in so many ways  you can not even imagine and make you a lot more happy.

As Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

6. Optimism – Think Positive

Optimism is hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something. Optimism is the attitude of positive thinking and belief that you only are responsible for your happiness. The quality to see good in everything and trust that more good things are going to happen in future though you may not see them right now. Hope is the single biggest emotion that keeps us marching ahead. Optimism takes no account of present and depends on how one can visualize her/his future and enables them to hold their head high during difficult moments. When life hits you hard, Optimism only can lift you up by feeding your brain that the circumstances are temporary, local and changeable. If you approach life with a sense of hope and optimism, you are more likely to have great possibilities realized and positive results.

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller

7. Grow – Find your Purpose

Continuous growth and lifelong learning are what separate people who sustain their effectiveness from those who do not. Develop your insights about yourself and your areas of growth. Progress and growth keep people satisfied and hopeful for life and make them happy. In difficult times too one needs to embrace pain and struggle because with these come growth and happiness.

In William Butler Yeats’ words, “Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth, we are happy when we are growing.”

Every aspect of human life is governed by a number of emotions and feelings, but happiness is a prime feeling  which makes one’s life worth living. It is a choice that comes from within, and we ourselves are responsible for it. No one or nothing, however precious in the material world can make us feel happy about ourselves.

Everybody exists, but only few live. Let’s be the few!

3 Qualities of an Effective Manager

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True leaders and great managers in today’s workplace must instill a high performance mindset and at the same time create a culture whose foundation promotes teamwork and competitiveness for the advancement of the whole organization. They must earn the trust of their colleagues and inspire team unity. Best managers are always proactive and motivate each member of their team.

Anyone desiring to be such a leader will find it difficult to get anywhere without some basic people management skills. He needs to provide great inspiration to his people so that he is loved by his staff and at the same time also get the job done and improve the company’s bottom line. Though a lot is required to be a highly effective manager but 3 most indispensable qualities required are: his clarity of goals, sense of genuinely praising others to motivate and a way to reprimand without hurting anyone.

1. Clarity of Goals

Clarity of goals is one of the most important qualities. Clarity for the manager as well as clarity for the staff. Remember you need to come to final goals after a lot of brainstorming. One method is to analyze all your goals yourself first and then from this big list of goals select final goals keeping in mind the time tested principle of 80-20. Remember 20% of your goals when completed will give you 80% of results, so be very sure about your “20%.”

Next step would be to pass on these goals to your team and ensure everybody agrees on these goals. Make your goals very clear, and for that to be possible it is required that there should be only limited number of goals (those which fall in 20% category). Try to limit this list to only 3-4 goals for the sake of clarity and focus.

Make sure every body writes down their goals, because an unwritten goal is a sure recipe for failure. Also encourage your people to think about the right work behavior for achieving these goals. Ask your staff to write these goals in a diary or a pad which they could see daily or even better many times during the day, so that clarity of goal will act like a gyroscope that won’t allow them to be distracted from their final goal. Encourage your people to review their performance regularly with the help of these written goals and analyze whether their behavior matches the goals.

This policy works because ‘the number one motivator of people is feedback on results.’ We like to know how we are doing and if we are doing well, we feel good.

2. Genuinely Praising

Praising is also one of the most important roles of an effective manager that help people reach their full potential by telling them what they are doing right. It is a known fact that a motivated person and one who feels good about himself produces good results. Tell people immediately about what they have done right. Try to give specific positive feedback. Tell them how their work makes you feel good and how it helps the organization and other team members. Give some pause during the praising so they can themselves feel how good you feel. In those moments encourage and motivate them to do more and make them aware of their potential if they follow on the same path of focus and dedication. Remember to give your praising process a more personal touch by shaking hands with them in a very warm and firm manner. This will go a long way in getting better personal rapport with your people.

Remember that nobody knows how to do everything well from day one and only encouragement works with people who are not secure in what they are doing. Praise is the fuel which can drive the whole enterprise.

3. Art of Reprimand

Reprimand is also a very necessary requirement for an effective manager.You need to tell your people beforehand, what you expect of them, that you are going to let them know how they are doing in no uncertain terms. Reprimand them immediately but take care to convey your message that you are reprimanding the behavior and not the person. Show them how what they did was wrong. Again be specific and show them how their behavior does not match goals. Tell them how you feel and how their work is not in sync with the organization goals. Stop for some uncomfortable silence during the reprimand so they can themselves feel how you feel. Again shake hands or give a personal touch and make them realize that you are on their side and part of the team and what you have said is honest view of their efforts and not about them as a person. Tell them how valuable they are for the organization. In the end realize yourself once the reprimand is over, it’s over and no bitterness should last.

These practices are very simple but highly effective. Following these principles, an effective manager can have his own “kicks and hugs” style of management, which was given only according to strictly outlined and previously mapped goals and do not create a climate of fear.

Further these ideas are not just for work places, they can easily be applied to other areas of personal relations too.

7 Dangers to Human Virtue

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Seven Social Sins or Dangers to human Virtue is a list that was first published by Mahatma Gandhi in his weekly newspaper Young India on October 22, 1925. Later he gave the same list to his grandson Arun Gandhi written on a piece of paper on their final day together shortly before his assassination. Gandhi also wrote that he does not want readers to know these things merely through the intellect  but to know them through the heart so as to avoid them. The seven sins are:

1. Wealth without work

To some it may look like ultimate success but actually it is one of the most deadly sins. This may include gambling, stock market playing, manipulating people or markets. There are many networking marketing systems that involve making a pyramidal structure under one and getting big amounts in commissions as others work. These may sound great financial strategies but most often the underlying emotion is greed. That’s why such people are never satisfied and remain trapped in the viscous cycle of materialistic pleasures. When the basic requirement of working to earn your bread is not there, what will one do with his or her free time. Everybody knows that an empty mind is the devil’s workshop. Soon the person will be engulfed in other sinful activities.

2. Pleasure without conscience

I ….. me ……. myself …… This seems to be the guiding policy for some. They neglect their families just to enjoy themselves. Naturally the more we acquire, the more we desire and complicate our life with more anxiety, insecurity and irritations. Food for thought here is whether independence is so desirable. Isn’t it true that we are social beings and to remain interdependent and having social responsibility is our biggest asset? Satisfaction is not in possessing but in sharing and being sensitive and considerate.

3. Knowledge without character

Character is the Crown and Glory of life. Knowledge is important but Character is even more so. Knowledge without a strong character is dangerous. Don’t we have many examples of people in history who were very knowledgeable but because of their character they were never revered. Take the example of Ravana in Hindu mythology; he was very knowledgeable but because of his ego and false pride, ultimate misery was brought to his people. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our scientific power has run out our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” We have reached moon but are so far away from our own families. How many of us know that Mahatma Gandhi though he himself was a barrister didn’t sent his children to English school rather emphasized that they remain with him in ashram and at that school of experience learn the simplicity and the spirit of service.

4. Business without ethics

Contrary to what some may think, a business which is not deeply attached to it’s values does not succeed. Steven Covey in his book, ‘Seven habits of highly effective people’ emphasized on the habit of win-win. This golden rule of win-win is a spirit of morality, fairness, trust and mutual benefits. Wealth and power may be a big agenda for few but this must be understood that all businesses are ultimately based on moral foundations. Some businesses may short-change their customers or other business associates, and with this lack of business ethics endanger the future of the company.

5. Science without humanity

When science is used to discover more and more destructive weapons that even threaten to wipe out the whole mankind, it is a prime example of science without humanity. Science was developed to assist the humans and today just look around you, aren’t we all becoming slaves of technology? We must act and live as human beings and not as animals. We must act with moral compass, without greed, anger or vengeance. We have allowed the science to control our bodies. Medical science today is a boon but only at the hand of a well meaning doctor, a doctor who is greedy may misuse his scientific knowledge in advising you something which you may not even require at the first place. We need to remember that science itself has no humanity, it is an automated process and will work equally for a soldier or a terrorist, a Roosevelt or a Hitler.

6. Religion without sacrifice

Worship means reverence and respect paid to God. Worship therefore means loving and serving all creatures. Worship includes sacrifice at its very core which means selfless service to mankind. As an old saying goes ,“One person’s faith is another person’s fantasy.” We see so many examples of people fighting in the name of religion, whereas true religion is based on spirituality, love, compassion and understanding. True worship demands sacrifice that how we translate our beliefs into practice and our life styles. As Mahatma Gandhi once, on being asked about Christianity replied, “From what I have read it is an admirable religion, however I do not see any white people practicing it.”

7. Politics without principle

Regarding politics without principle Mahatma Gandhi said having politics without truth to justify, dictate the action creates chaos, which ultimately leads to violence. The healthy society will have a social will, a value system which is aligned with correct principles. But if you get a corrupt thinking politics without principles you get a sick society with distorted values. Politics is not meant for the fulfillment of the selfish aims and greed, but its sole purpose is selfless service. We must understand that we do not remain on earth forever and whatever we have with us is given only for short duration.We are supposed to make the best use of it for humanity. Through politics, huge changes could be brought about in the world.

Being a person of character and virtue is not easy, but ultimately being a good human being benefits everyone. The above list represents seven ways of living that is as relevant today as it was in 1925, if not more.

“As Human beings our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.”Mahatma Gandhi

8 REQUIREMENTS TO BE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL

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Do you have what it takes to be successful. As a matter of fact there can not be one or two qualities that are required to make a person successful, neither the scope of success could be limited to either of career, finance or relations only, rather success is a mindset where the individual is at peace with the various facets of his or her life. Success is the journey it is not a destination. Following are some of the most important requirements for one to be successful

1. Persistence

One of the most important requisites for a successful life is the quality of persistence. It requires that one remain on course in spite of difficulties or opposition with complete dedication. Never give up is an old and wise saying. Keep pushing on the door and it will open.

2. Passion

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” – Joseph Campbell. It is said that if you really do what you like you will never require to go to work again, rather you will enjoy and produce best quality results. A man with great enthusiasm and deep striving emotions will produce only master pieces.

3. Don’t listen to little-man

We are all surrounded by people who silently discourage us and deprive us of the confidence, hope and spirit. They are always ready to deter you with all the objections in the world and would kill your dreams in the nascent stage. Successful people listen more to their own calling than to listen to the naysayers.

4. Risk taking

Risk by definition is potential of gaining or losing something of value. If you don’t take risks you won’t lose but also there won’t be any chance of gains. Come to think of it life itself is risky. In the twilight of your life you will be more sorry for the chances you didn’t take rather than the failures. Failures are the biggest teachers for any individual. It is said that if you have not failed then you are not dong anything worthwhile.

5. Focus on signal over noise

As famous Elon Musk once said “you must focus on signal over noise”, if you realize that doing something does not add value to the product or the job then drop that thing. Don’t follow the trend and have herd mentality but look for greater purpose and do something which will add value to people. If something is important then it must be done.

6. Be problem solver

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we inherently look for the problems rather than the solutions. A great leader will always face the problem rather than running away from it. An unattended problem will become a bigger ghost tomorrow.

7. Attract Great people

Remember none of us is smarter than all of us. Always attract great people for your work and if you are working for others than work for some one whom you honestly respect. People with greater intellect and better habits will force you to rise up to their level thus growing you as an individual.

8. Work super hard

There is simply no substitute for super hard work. As Tim Notke said “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Most of the time people excuse themselves from the rigors of the job and avoid the discipline of consistent hard work.

In the end I will say that work so hard that one day your signature become an autograph.

Wishing all of you a successful and blessed life.

Related article: How To Have A Winning Attitude

Happiness and Distress

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One should be equal in both happiness and distress, always remain tolerant, satisfied, self-controlled and engaged in purpose beyond self with determination having mind and intelligence fixed on almighty. A conscious and motivated person is never disturbed in any circumstances.  He should neither feel envy, nor animosity towards anyone. He should be calm, quite and patient despite the distressful conditions.He should be full of joy and with control on his senses focus on the blessings he has received. Remember of all the emotions in our life the biggest and the most powerful emotion is the emotion of GRATITUDE.

STAY THANKFUL …………. STAY BLESSED ………….. STAY MOTIVATED