Archive for the ‘Literary Gems’ Category
Tap Dancing To Work ~ Warren Buffett on practically everything from 1966 to 2012 ~ compiled by Carol LoomisMonday, March 18th, 2013
For Warren Buffett Fans this Book is a Must Possess
Carol Loomis’s “Tap Dancing To Work ~ Warren Buffett on practically everything from 1966 to 2012″
I read it this week end in one sitting till 2 am Sunday Morning !
How Warren Buffett got his first Stock Book at Age 8 and his first Share Purchase at Age 11 ! ~ how he was rejected by Harvard ~ and got accepted at Columbia to study under his ‘Intellectual Father’ Benjamin Graham ~ tried all stock trading methodologies including technical ~ how he returned funds to investors in 1969 and suggested they invest in municipal bonds as he saw no returns from Equities ! ~ how he never invests looking at macros~ how he invested US $ 500 Million in Petro China on just reading the Annual Report ! and got out inside years at superb gains before the fall but how these gains set off the Loss suffered on another Petrol Share purchase of Conoco at a high cost in 2007 and 2008~ how he met Bill Gates who only came for the day spend gathering of a few at his Mothers because he had promised her !
Better Yet is you read the Book
And those who want Warren Buffett’s latest Investment Insights and our extensive take on his 2012 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter that was issued earlier this month on March 1,2013 and whether Shareholders have benefited, you can visit the coverage here
Richard Branson’s ‘Screw Business As Usual’ is fairly interesting but not as racy and peppy as his earlier booksSunday, December 9th, 2012
Richard Branson’s ”Screw Business As Usual” ~ Is written in first person in his signature racy style ~ yet found it not as racy and peppy as his earlier books ~ more an encouraging pat for many he believes are making a difference to Planet Earth and the Species,including Humans,on it and for some a clear ‘plug’
Many of those who read it may view it more like a Compilation Endeavour of Social,Economic and Environmental Issues that dog our World and how these are being tackled by enterprising and concerned Individuals and Entities,including Branson and his Virgin Group
One of his earlier efforts ” Screw It,Let’s Do It” changed my view of Richard Branson ~ in fact it charged me up as there were a host of situational similarities I saw between Branson and me ~ for instance both of us have cheated Death more than once ! ~ the only difference is that his adventures over the Ocean & in the Air were out of Choice and mine out of Chance in Bomb Blasts,Sahara Desert and in a Road Accident !
In the Preface itself of “Screw Business As Usual” one gets a sense of what the Book is all about ~ “It’s at moments like these one realises how unimportant ‘stuff ‘ is” says Branson when he along with Family & Friends that included Kate Winslet of ‘Titanic’ fame ,watch as the House on his Necker Island was reduced to ashes in a fire caused by lightening that struck the Balinese Roof ~ Yet the Positive Energy radiates ~”The future is still ours to hold and share” says Branson as he rallies all to come around and have breakfast and pitch in with ideas and discuss how to rebuild the House
The Book is all about exploring this next great frontier where the boundaries between work and higher purpose are merging into one,where doing good really is good for business
It’s a Long Read ~ 372 Pages,not counting the 12 pages that include the Preface ~ Seven Chapters that begin with Capitalism 24902 and ends with Power of Communities
The Essence is to turn typical corporate business culture and philanthropy on it’s head,and move away from just the ‘golden cheque’ philosophy to leveraging everything in the business to drive change ~ Capitalism 24902 conveys that every single person on earth is responsible for taking care of the 24902 circumference miles of our planet ~ it’s not just ‘doing good’ but it’s ‘doing better’ and having fun along the way
Branson relates several situations and endeavours ,some of which that his Virgin Group has got involved in to ‘do better’ for the world we live in
Many of these are fascinating :
~ one of which is about an enterprising and concerned Indian,Gyanesh Pandey who creates eco friendly and cheap Electricity from a waste product,Rice Husk for the Villagers in Bihar,India
~ another is of an American of Indian Origin,Jigar Shah who created SunEdison for Solar Energy
~ a third is of Chris Kilham,an ethobotanist who New York Times describes as “part David Attenborough,part Indiana Jones” ~ he has gone from being a hippie with a passion for yoga and yoghurt to unlocking the health secrets that plants hold ~ one of his early trips was to India to locate exotic plants that were mentioned in the ancient manuscripts~ he met up with witch doctors,shamans and ordinary people who used these plants as medicines and herbal remedies ~ this resulted in a holistic health course “The Shaman’s Pharmacy’
Of course many of Branson’s references gave me a sense of ‘plugging’ too,especially of the US Giants Wall Mart and GE ‘s efforts to control emissions ! ~ Let me tell you this ~ USA is one of the biggest polluters and yet is not a signatory to the UN Climate Protocols of Kyoto ~ The Copenhagen effort too was thwarted being dominated and bullied by USA
An absorbing chapter is ‘Gaia Rocks’ ~ Gaia is the Greek Goddess of Earth and is the name given by James Lovelock to his theory of Earth being alive and therefore a living organism that can enjoy good health or suffer disease ~ he relays bad news that the Earth is seriously ill and will soon lapse into a coma that will last for 100000 years !.We are responsible and we will suffer,he cries~ ” We are destroying our own home .With every species and habitat we destroy we are upsetting the balance of Gaia!”
….and Branson adds ” So why worry about lemurs,sharks,tigers,elephants and parks when we have so many other issues in the world?How we treat the world is a reflection of our humanity,our intelligence,our conscience,and,ultimately,our very survival.The rapid depletion of our natural resources since the start of the Industrial Age is the root cause of mny of the impending environmental issues,such as climate change”
Branson’s personal mantra for success has always been :
- Have passion for what you do
- Believe in Yourself and Your Product and Customer
- Have Fun
….and to all of this he has added ‘Do Good’
You would ‘do good’ by buying his new book ~ but you would ‘do better’ by perhaps simply borrowing it from a library,like I have done
We Love you and Need you Now more than Ever !
Incredibly through AHIMSA you successfully challenged the British to Quit India and our great nation became Free !
How do we successfully challenge these Domestic Demoralising ,Devastating ,Destructing,Disillusioning Demons of Corruption!
You fought for the Harijans and the Downtrodden and against Untouchability ~ but those who govern us have not left a single element untouched to corrupt ! ~ Air has been corrupted by the 2G Spectrum Scam ~ Earth has been raped by Coalgate Scam ~ Water has been evaporated by the Irrigation Scam ~Fire has been tainted by Defence Scams !
You tell us not to lose faith in Humanity! ~ We have not ! though even the United Nations are as un-united as never before ! and therefore helpless to really make a difference and prevent the crimes against humanity being committed in all continents even as this post is being expressed ~ Men,Women & Children are being killed senselessly that we are in grave danger of losing our senses !
You tell us that an Eye for an Eye will only make the whole World Go Blind ~ We can See this !
You tell us that we can be judged by how we treat our Animals ! ~ But what when Humans become Animals !
You tell us that we must be the Change we want to see ! ~ It’s Happening Bapu though frustratingly slow and I hope I live to see it !
You tell us that first they ignore you,then they laugh at you,then they fight you and then you win! ~ We shall Win Bapu so that future generations enjoy the shade of the trees that we are planting now !
You tell us that True Happiness is when what we think,what we say and what we do are in Harmony~though we seem to be living in a state of perpetual chaos,we are moving towards being in sync on this!
You tell us that Non Violence is an indestructible creed and we must remain Non violent even when there is Violence all around us
~ Very Difficult Bapu! ~ often we feel the only way to rid evil is to get a ‘Shahenshah’ (Amitabh Bacchan Movie) do the job for us !,one way or the other !
You tell us that there is no Higher God than Truth ! ~ We Swear By God that the Truth is Mind Boggling Corruption at the Highest Level! ~ and there are no Gods there Bapu !~ only Shameless & Blatant & Naked Lies and Untruths !
You tell us that the Weak can never Forgive ~ We are Strong Bapu ! for Suffering has made us so! So should we forgive those who we elected to govern us and who are shamelessly corrupt to the core ! ?
You tell us to Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner !~ So do we Love those who are Corrupt !?
You remind us that Health is the real Wealth not Gold and Silver ~ The Truth is that our Health is going Down while the Health of Gold and Silver is going Up ! ~ appears these are inversely co-related !
You tell us that no one can hurt us without our permission ~ But Bapu we did not permit this physical and mental rape that has broken down gates and barriers and ravaged and savaged us ! ~ So should we continue to keep the hope and faith that what goes round will come round !
Bapu,we deserve who we elect ! ~ and so the blame lies with us ! and ,as you proclaimed loud and clear,we therefore must be the change that we want to see !
And We therefore need a new Breed of Selfless Politicians to be born and be elected to govern our great Nation~these are already rising from the People to truly make our Democracy Honest and Vibrant and Thriving in all senses ~ truly a Government for the people,of the people and by the people! and we shall support them ~ First the Powers that Are ignored them,then laughed and ridiculed them,now the fight has become personal and vindictive and vicious! ~ in the end ,Bapu,as you say We shall Win and get a real Lokpal to throw out those raping and murdering our Democracy and keep in check and make accountable,responsible and transparent those who we elect or appoint or select for entrusting the Powers to them to govern !
Love you Bapu,Alway will ! ~ Where there is Love there is Life ! ~ You said that too !
Bapu,you are far above being accepted or remembered by any worldly recognition being bestowed on you ~ even a Nobel Prize,which they colluded never to give you ! and now how they confess and regret their selfish and deliberate action to deprive you of it ! ~ not that you ever craved for it or that it mattered to you !
As You simply put it ~ “My Message is My Life” ~ and how simply you lived it ~weaving your own khadi loins on the Charkha ! ~ you lived what you believed in ! ~Such Strength requires an indomitable spirit and courage !
How can we not be Inspired !
…and so Bapu we shall always carry you in our hearts !~ and ,as you always commanded to speak the Truth Always, we hope always in our pockets and purses and wallets too !
My Favourite Superstar of yesteryears,Rajesh Khanna just passed away ~ RIP ‘Kaka’ ! ~ His Classic screen soothe keep echoing “Pushpa,I hate Tears !”Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
My Favourite Superstar,Rajesh Khanna just passed away ~ RIP ‘Kaka’ !
Kaka,just as you soothed Sharmila Tagore in Amar Prem with the classic ” Pushpa,I hate Tears ” I can hear you constantly echo to me as you move to Heaven ” Gaurav,I hate Tears !”
Born in Amritsar as Jatin Khanna on 29-12-1942 ~ Moved to Heaven from Mumbai as Superstar Rajesh Khanna on 18-7-2012
Aradhana,Amar Prem,Anand ~ What a ‘Safar’ ! ~ For me these ‘A’s tower over the other Superstar ‘A’ ~ and I was a young kid under 10 when he delivered these Classics in 1970 to 1972 and I was hooked onto him ~ He walked straight into my heart with his Screen Songs ! I’m a Romantic and clearly inspired by Rajesh Khanna’s Romanticm
He won the Filmfare best Actor Award in 1971 for ‘Saccha Jhutha’ and won it again in 1972 for the super hit ‘Anand’ ~ remember him classically addressing a young emotionally intense Amitabh as “Babu Moshai ” in it~ Filmfare presented him an Award in 1991 for completing 25 years in the Indian Film Industy and gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005
He walked straight into my heart with his Screen Songs ! I’m a Romantic and live the Combination of Legendary Singer and my No 1 ,Kishore Kumar and my No I Hero ,Rajesh Khanna ~ a Classic duo that gave some of India’s greatest Songs
Here’s a YouTube compilation in brief of Rajesh Khanna’s Famous Songs
Yeh Joh Mohabbat hai ~ Zindagi Ka Safar hai yeh kaisa safar ~ Yeh Kya Hua~Pyar Deewana Hota Hai ~ Jai Jai Shiv Shankar ~ Mere Sapno ki Rani ~ Zindagi kay Safar may joh guzar jaate hai joh makaam woh phir nahe aate ~Roop Tera Mastana ~Maine tere liye hi saat rang kay sapnay chunay ~ Chingari koi ~Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana ~ Chala jata hoon kisi ki dhun main ~Vadhaa tera Vadhaa ~ Oh Mera Dil kay Chaain ~ Gulabi aakhen joh maine dekhi…….I could go on and on and hear them over a thousand times over again and again and I have !~I love them all ~ I’m listening to them while I blog this…….
He courted some of India’s most beautiful women on Screen ~ Sharmila Tagore,Hema Malini,Mumtaz,Asha Parekh,Tanuja,Tina Munim but swept and was swept away by the overnight and just 16 year old sensation Dimple Kapadia in ‘Bobby’ who he married
An Era has ended but the Legend will Live On ~ He died many times in his Movies ~ he acted in 163 in all ~Kati Patang,Amar Prem,Anand,Aradhana,Safar,Mere Jeevan Saathi,Aaan Milo Sajna,Haathi Mere Saathi,Saacha Jhutha…..and Now He’s now No More with us on Planet Earth
Rajesh Khanna ~A Super Star that can simply never be replaced and is now with the Stars above ~ perhaps accepting the Invitation from Kishore Kumar to join him
Now everytime I gaze at the Stars above,and it will be more frequent than before , I shall be entertained by my super Duo Singer Kishore Kumar and Actor Rajesh Khanna from up above
Kaka,just as you soothed Sharmila Tagore in Amar Prem with the classic ” Pushpa,I hate Tears ” I can hear you constantly echo to me as you move to Heaven ” Gaurav,I hate Tears !”
And over A Billion Indians can’t hold back their Tears today for you, Rajesh Khanna
RIP Kaka ~ You continue to Live in Me through your Classic Screen Songs
Extract from a Speech by Chetan Bhagatat Symbiosis“Don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order. There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.“Life is one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same is with life where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die…One thing about nurturing the spark – don’t take life seriously. Life is not meant to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a prepaid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? …It’s OK, bunk a few classes, scoring low in couple of papers, goof up a few interviews, take leave from work, fall in love, little fights with your spouse. We are people, not programmed c…”
“Don’t be serious, be sincere.”
Penn grad speech: paths are made by walking (Nipun Mehta)
This is a transcript of the Baccalaureate address to UPenn’s graduating class of 2012, delivered by Nipun Mehta. Nipun is the founder of ServiceSpace..org, a nonprofit that works at the intersection of gift-economy, technology and volunteerism. His popular TED talk Designing for Generosity provides an overview of their work and guiding principles.
(Offbeat Graduation Speech Gets Standing Ovation: 2012′s Baccalaureate speaker at the University of Pennsylvania was an unconventional choice for an Ivy League school. To address their newly-minted graduates, aspiring to dazzling careers, they picked a man who has never in his adult life, applied for a job. A man who hasn’t worked for pay in nearly a decade, and whose self-stated mission is simply “to bring smiles to the world and stillness to my heart”. This off-the-radar speaker launched his address with a startling piece of advice. Following up with four key insights gleaned from a radical 1000 km walking pilgrimage through the villages of India. As he closed his one-of-a-kind Graduation Day speech, the sea of cap and gowned students rose to their feet for a standing ovation. What follows is the full transcript of the talk by Nipun Mehta.)
Thank you to my distinguished friends, President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price and Rev. Charles Howard for inviting me to share a few reflections on this joyous occasion. It is an honor and privilege to congratulate you — UPenn’s class of 2012.
Right now each one of you is sitting on the runway of life primed for takeoff. You are some of the world’s most gifted, elite, and driven college graduates – and you are undeniably ready to fly. So what I’m about to say next may sound a bit crazy. I want to urge you, not to fly, but to – walk. Four years ago, you walked into this marvelous laboratory of higher learning. Today, heads held high, you walk to receive your diplomas.. Tomorrow, you will walk into a world of infinite possibilities.
But walking, in our high-speed world, has unfortunately fallen out of favor. The word “pedestrian” itself is used to describe something ordinary and commonplace. Yet, walking with intention has deep roots. Australia’s aboriginal youth go on walkabouts as a rite of passage; Native American tribes conduct vision quests in the wilderness; in Europe, for centuries, people have walked the Camino de Santiago, which spans the breadth of Spain. Such pilgrims place one foot firmly in front of the other, to fall in step with the rhythms of the universe and the cadence of their own hearts.
Back in 2005, six months into our marriage, my wife and I decided to “step it up” ourselves and go on a walking pilgrimage. At the peak of our efforts with Service Space, we wondered if we had the capacity to put aside our worldly success and seek higher truths. Have you ever thought of something and then just known that it had to happen? It was one of those things. So we sold all our major belongings, and bought a one-way ticket to India. Our plan was to head to Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram, since he had always been an inspiration to us, and then walk South. Between the two of us, we budgeted a dollar a day, mostly for incidentals — which meant that for our survival we had to depend utterly on the kindness of strangers. We ate whatever food was offered and slept wherever place was offered.
Now, I do have to say, such ideas come with a warning: do not try this at home, because your partner might not exactly welcome this kind of honeymoon..
For us, this walk was a pilgrimage — and our goal was simply to be in a space larger than our egos, and to allow that compassion to guide us in unscripted acts of service along the way. Stripped entirely of our comfort zone and accustomed identities, could we still “keep it real”? That was our challenge.
We ended up walking 1000 kilometers over three months. In that period, we encountered the very best and the very worst of human nature — not just in others, but also within ourselves.
Soon after we ended the pilgrimage, my uncle casually popped the million dollar question at the dinner table: “So, Nipun, what did you learn from this walk?” I didn’t know where to begin. But quite spontaneously, an acronym — W-A-L-K — came to mind, which encompassed the key lessons we had learned, and continue to relearn, even to this day. As you start the next phase of your journey, I want to share those nuggets with the hope that it might illuminate your path in some small way too.
The W in WALK stands for Witness. When you walk, you quite literally see more. Your field of vision is nearly 180 degrees, compared to 40 degrees when you’re traveling at 62 mph. Higher speeds smudge our peripheral vision, whereas walking actually broadens your canvas and dramatically shifts the objects of your attention. For instance, on our pilgrimage, we would notice the sunrise everyday, and how, at sunset, the birds would congregate for a little party of their own. Instead of adding Facebook friends online, we were actually making friends in person, often over a cup of hot “chai”. Life around us came alive in a new way.
A walking pace is the speed of community. Where high speeds facilitate separation, a slower pace gifts us an opportunity to commune.
As we traversed rural India at the speed of a couple of miles per hour, it became clear how much we could learn simply by bearing witness to the villagers’ way of life. Their entire mental model is different — the multiplication of wants is replaced by the basic fulfillment of human needs.When you are no longer preoccupied with asking for more and more stuff; then you just take what is given and give what is taken. Life is simple again. A farmer explained it to us this way: “You cannot make the clouds rain more, you cannot make the sun shine less. They are just nature’s gifts — take it or leave it.”
When the things around you are seen as gifts, they are no longer a means to an end; they are the means and the end. And thus, a cow-herder will tend to his animals with the compassion of a father, a village woman will wait 3 hours for a delayed bus without a trace of anger, a child will spend countless hours fascinated by stars in the galaxy, and finding his place in the vast cosmos.
So with today’s modernized tools at your ready disposal, don’t let yourself zoom obliviously from point A to point B on the highways of life; try walking the backroads of the world, where you will witness a profoundly inextricable connection with all living things.
The A in WALK stands for Accept. When walking in this way, you place yourself in the palm of the universe, and face its realities head on. We walked at the peak of summer, in merciless temperatures hovering above 120 degrees. Sometimes we were hungry, exhausted and even frustrated. Our bodies ached for just that extra drink of water, a few more moments in the shade, or just that little spark of human kindness. Many times we received that extra bit, and our hearts would overflow with gratitude. But sometimes we were abruptly refused, and we had to cultivate the capacity to accept the gifts hidden in even the most challenging of moments.
I remember one such day, when we approached a rest house along a barren highway. As heavy trucks whizzed past, we saw a sign, announcing that guests were hosted at no charge. “Ah, our lucky day,” we thought in delight. I stepped inside eagerly. The man behind the desk looked up and asked sharply, “Are you here to see the temple?” A simple yes from my lips would have instantly granted us a full meal and a room for the night. But it wouldn’t have been the truth. So instead, I said, “Well, technically, no sir. We’re on a walking pilgrimage to become better people. But we would be glad to visit the temple.” Rather abruptly, he retorted: “Um, sorry, we can’t host you.” Something about his curt arrogance triggered a slew of negative emotions. I wanted to make a snide remark in return and slam the door on my way out. Instead, I held my raging ego in check. In that state of physical and mental exhaustion, it felt like a Herculean task– but through the inner turmoil a voice surfaced within, telling me to accept the reality of this moment.
There was a quiet metamorphosis in me. I humbly let go of my defenses, accepted my fate that day, and turned to leave without a murmur. Perhaps the man behind the counter sensed this shift in me, because he yelled out just then, “So what exactly are you doing again?” After my brief explanation he said, “Look, I can’t feed you or host you, because rules are rules. But there are restrooms out in the back. You could sleep outside the male restroom and your wife can sleep outside the female restroom.” Though he was being kind, his offer felt like salt in my wounds. We had no choice but to accept.
That day we fasted and that night, we slept by the bathrooms. A small lie could’ve bought us an upgrade, but that would’ve been no pilgrimage. As I went to sleep with a wall separating me from my wife, I had this beautiful, unbidden vision of a couple climbing to the top of a mountain from two different sides. Midway through this difficult ascent, as the man contemplated giving up, a small sparrow flew by with this counsel, “Don’t quit now, friend. Your wife is eager to see you at the top.” He kept climbing. A few days later, when the wife found herself on the brink of quitting, the little sparrow showed up with the same message. Step by step, their love sustained their journey all the way to the mountaintop. Visited by the timely grace of this vision, I shed a few grateful tears — and this story became a touchstone not only in our relationship, but many other noble friendships as well.
So I encourage you to cultivate equanimity and accept whatever life tosses into your laps — when you do that, you will be blessed with the insight of an inner transformation that is yours to keep for all of time.
The L in WALK stands for Love. The more we learned from nature, and built a kind of inner resilience to external circumstances, the more we fell into our natural state — which was to be loving. In our dominant paradigm, Hollywood has insidiously co-opted the word, but the love I’m talking about here is the kind of love that only knows one thing — to give with no strings attached. Purely. Selflessly.
Most of us believe that to give, we first need to have something to give. The trouble with that is, that when we are taking stock of what we have, we almost always make accounting errors. Oscar Wilde once quipped, “Now-a-days, people know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” We have forgotten how to value things without a price tag. Hence, when we get to our most abundant gifts — like attention, insight, compassion — we confuse their worth because they’re, well, priceless.
On our walking pilgrimage, we noticed that those who had the least were most readily equipped to honor the priceless. In urban cities, the people we encountered began with an unspoken wariness: “Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” In the countryside, on the other hand, villagers almost always met us with an open-hearted curiosity launching straight in with: “Hey buddy, you don’t look local. What’s your story?”
In the villages, your worth wasn’t assessed by your business card, professional network or your salary. That innate simplicity allowed them to love life and cherish all its connections.
Extremely poor villagers, who couldn’t even afford their own meals, would often borrow food from their neighbors to feed us. When we tried to refuse, they would simply explain: “To us, the guest is God. This is our offering to the divine in you that connects us to each other.” Now, how could one refuse that? Street vendors often gifted us vegetables; in a very touching moment, an armless fruit-seller once insisted on giving us a slice of watermelon. Everyone, no matter how old, would be overjoyed to give us directions, even when they weren’t fully sure of them. And I still remember the woman who generously gave us water when we were extremely thirsty — only to later discover that she had to walk 10 kilometers at 4AM to get that one bucket of water. These people knew how to give, not because they had a lot, but because they knew how to love life. They didn’t need any credit or assurance that you would ever return to pay them back. Rather, they just trusted in the pay-it-forward circle of giving.
When you come alive in this way, you’ll realize that true generosity doesn’t start when you have some thing to give, but rather when there’s nothing in you that’s trying to take. So I hope that you will make all your precious moments an expression of loving life.
And lastly, the K in WALK stands for Know Thyself.
Sages have long informed us that when we serve others unconditionally, we shift from the me-to-the-we and connect more deeply with the other. That matrix of inter-connections allows for a profound quality of mental quietude. Like a still lake undisturbed by waves or ripples, we are then able to see clearly into who we are and how we can live in deep harmony with the environment around us.
When one foot walks, the other rests. Doing and being have to be in balance.
Our rational mind wants to rightfully ensure progress, but our intuitive mind also needs space for the emergent, unknown and unplanned to arise. Doing is certainly important, but when we aren’t aware of our internal ecosystem, we get so vested in our plans and actions, that we don’t notice the buildup of mental residue. Over time, that unconscious internal noise starts polluting our motivations, our ethics and our spirit. And so, it is critical to still the mind. A melody, after all, can only be created with the silence in between the notes.
As we walked — witnessed, accepted, loved — our vision of the world indeed grew clearer. That clarity, paradoxically enough, blurred our previous distinctions between me versus we, inner transformation versus external impact, and selfishness versus selflessness. They were inextricably connected. When a poor farmer gave me a tomato as a parting gift, with tears rolling down his eyes, was I receiving or giving? When sat for hours in silent meditation, was the benefit solely mine or would it ripple out into the world? When I lifted the haystack off an old man’s head and carried it for a kilometer, was I serving him or serving myself?
Which is to say, don’t just go through life — grow through life. It will be easy and tempting for you to arrive at reflexive answers — but make it a point, instead, to acknowledge mystery and welcome rich questions … questions that nudge you towards a greater understanding of this world and your place in it.
That’s W-A-L-K. And today, at this momentous milestone of your life, you came in walking and you will go out walking. As you walk on into a world that is increasingly aiming to move beyond the speed of thought, I hope you will each remember the importance of traveling at the speed of thoughtfulness. I hope that you will take time to witness our magnificent interconnections. That you will accept the beautiful gifts of life even when they aren’t pretty, that you will practice loving selflessly and strive to know your deepest nature.
I want to close with a story about my great grandfather. He was a man of little wealth who still managed to give every single day of his life. Each morning, he had a ritual of going on a walk — and as he walked, he diligently fed the ant hills along his path with small pinches of wheat flour. Now that is an act of micro generosity so small that it might seem utterly negligible, in the grand scheme of the universe. How does it matter? It matters in that it changed him inside. And my great grandfather’s goodness shaped the worldview of my grandparents who in turn influenced that of their children — my parents. Today those ants and the ant hills are gone, but my great grandpa’s spirit is very much embedded in all my actions and their future ripples. It is precisely these small, often invisible, acts of inner transformation that mold the stuff of our being, and bend the arc of our shared destiny.
On your walk, today and always, I wish you the eyes to see the anthills and the heart to feed them with joy.
May you be blessed. Change yourself — change the world.
‘Synchronicity’….Carl Jung coined it to stand for ‘Meaningful Coincidences’….James Redfield used it to introduce his ‘First Insight’ as being aware of ‘Chance Coincidences’…..and I keep experiencing it !Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
‘Synchronicity’….Carl Jung coined it to stand for ‘Meaningful Coincidences’….James Redfield used it to introduce his ‘First Insight’ as being aware of ‘Chance Coincidences’…..and I keep experiencing it !
How many times your Dreams or Thoughts are immediately followed by an exact Reality ?
How often are you thinking of a person you have not met for years and as if on cue he or she calls you or crosses the Road ahead ?
How often you desire or covet or need something badly and have no idea how to get it….impossible or improbable it seems at that moment….and you get it ! ?
These are all instances of ‘Synchronicity’ or Meaningful Coincidences……means you are in the Flow……A Force or Spirit at work guiding these to happen
…and I’ve been repeatedly experiencing this……
On Saturday morning I passed Chunabhatti an eastern suburb of Mumbai and not my daily route….rarely go past …..and an elderly NRI ex Client from Kuwait flashed through my mind….when in Mumbai he resides at his house in Chunabhatti and we have not been in touch for the past three years as 2008 was a bad year for Markets and I had some difficulty in urging clients to have the patience and conviction of our selections… we had positioned his Equity Portfolio beautifully to surge on recovery…..over 40 % of the portfolio was in Sesa Goa at ex bonus and ex split Rs 165…and it had fallen to less than Rs 70 in October 2008 !…..but he did hold this selection as I learnt today…read below
Then yesterday,Monday evening wife asked what should the Cook make for Dinner…would Vegetable Biryani be alright ?…she does make this rather well so I mumbled ‘Alright’…..while it was being cooked and despite the lovely aroma of Long grained Basmati Rice and the strong flavours of well cooked Cauliflower and Potatoes and other Vegetables,I felt something was missing…..Ah ! it was absence of some Spanish Saffron ! or Kesar !…..we did not have any stock of it….and the same NRI Client from Kuwait flashed through my mind !….he had gifted me four boxes of Spanish Saffron over three years ago !
And Guess what !?…..he called today !….had come to Mumbai on a medical emergency and asked me to pray for him as he had undergone a critical bypass surgery as there were seven blockages !….is now recovering and wants to meet up with me !….and tells me that he sold 9000 shares of Sesa Goa at Rs 430 and yet has 19000 left !…price is just a shade below Rs 300 today…so what should he do…can he buy at this price ? he inquired……..told him I was so happy he made great monies on our Scrip Sesa Goa and congratulated him for having the conviction and temperament to hold on to it…….. that ‘Health is Wealth’ for him now and he should focus on his full and fast recovery from the bypass…….. Sesa Goa will come and Go !
He is going to be here for the rest of May……Plan to meet up with him for Tea……..am in the flow……and that’s a positive
Have any of you experienced ‘Synchronicity’ ?….do share your experiences….believe me these are not mere coincidences !…there is a Spirit guiding these events to happen….even an Intuition is a type of Synchronicity……
You want to empower your thinking some more on these lines read James Redfield’s ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ where he introduces his First Nine Insights of which ‘Syncrhonicity’ is the First
Warren E Buffett’s Annual Shareholder Letter for Berkshire Hathaway’s Performance in 2009…as always an Inspiring ReadFriday, March 5th, 2010
It’s always a ‘Must’ read every year….Living Investment Guru,Warren E Buffett’s Annual Letter to his shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway….his insights,his ‘packing a punch’ at many issues,his confessions,his core heartwarming values,his demystifying the rationale for his investment decisions,his philosophy and his fabulous sense of humour…and he’s all of 79!
Warren E Buffett has never authored a Book…does he need to!…If ever there was a Nobel Prize for Financial Journalism,his Annual Letter would be the Winner every year !
Access his latest one of February 26,2010 below
….and I’m sure you’ll want to become a Shareholder of BH to access the Annual Meet which Buffett himself bills as the ‘Woodstock of Capitalists’!…it’s traditionally held on the First Saturday in May….this year it’s on May 1,2010
Mind you it’s BH share is not cheap….One Original ‘A’ Common Stock is quoted at US $ 124080 !…that’s Rs 57 lakh or Rs 5.7 Million Rupees (US $ 1=Rs 46)….To make it affordable BH issues in 1996 the ‘B’ Common Stock which was prescribed by BH to be valued at 1/30th of the ‘A’ Share but carried only 1/200th of Voting Rights
Interestingly on November 3,2009,BH passed a resolution to splt the ‘B’ Share 50:1 ratio to facilitate small shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe to get the BH ‘B’ share in the acquisition deal,should they opt for it…..This has resulted in the Share Quotation of the ‘B’ Share to be under US $ 83 yesterday (just Rs 3800)…this computes to a pre-split share price of US $ 4150 (Rs 1.91 lakhs)
In 1981,there were just 12 shareholders who attended the Omaha Meet…In 2009 there were 35000 who did !…This year they obviously expect much more….Both ‘A’ and ‘B’ Shareholders get the Annual Report and an Invite coupon attached with it for the Annual meet…they need to fill it and send it back to BH…and within a week their Credentials will arrive for the Meet…As I’ve said,the Meet is always held on the first Saturday in May…this year it’s May 1,2010…and the Report is send to shareholders as on Record Date ,which is normally 60 days before the Meet Date…It takes three days to register you as the shareholder from your date of purchase…so play it safe and buy the BH share by the third week of Feb if you intend attending the BH Meet that year…you will receive the Report early March and can initiate the process to attend the Meet
For a die hard Value Investor,Omaha is the ‘Mecca’…even for others,it would be an experience worth experiencing….So begin Planning to be in Omaha on Saturday May 7, 2011 now !
Two Years ago,I read Richard Branson’s Quick Read and Lessons in Life “Screw It,Let’s Do It”
You Must read it too !..The Quick Read version is just Rs 150…ask your bookstore for a discount…the extended version a little more
I was floored…I have to admit that I changed my opinion of him…from an eccentric,lady killer,unethical go-getter and a carpetbagger to one who has a conscience and is a big and exciting risk taker by choice…and one who lives Life to the Full
I actually bought several copies and distributed it to clients and friends and relatives…It has been reprinted seven times in 2006 and thrice in 2007 to meet the demand !
Recently I again rewarded some participants ,for their interaction in my workshops, with it.
What also got me was that Richard and I have something in Common…we’ve both cheated Death Thrice !…Difference being he did so out of Choice…a Powerboat race across the Atlantic and two hot air balloon adventures across the Atlantic and the Pacific….. and me out of Tragic Chance…Bomb Blast at the BSE,trapped in the Worst Sandstorm in the Sahara Desert in Egypt and a near tragic Car Accident !
But this is about Richard Branson……
Richard Branson tried Crossing the Atlantic to Ireland to win the ‘Blue Riband’ on the Virgin Atlantic Challenger while Joan was delivering their first son…The son was born,but Richard’s Powerboat died on him with the hull splitting in a fierce storm and all of the crew being rescued of the raft after radioing out “Mayday ! Mayday! Mayday!”…he came back six years later in Virgin Atlantic Challenger II….but with sea water entering their fuel tanks and the engines stalling it looked like they had lost again….Richard Branson motivated his crew for one last try and somehow got the engines working and they won…Keep Trying and Never Give Up was his Big Lesson from this Adventure
Immediately he was challenged to cross the Atlantic yet again by a Swede, Per Lindstrand…but this time together in a Hot Air Balloon…He accepted after learning Per had two kids too !….He took lessons in Flying the Hot Air Balloon in Spain….They actually crossed the Atlantic to Ireland…but had serious landing Issues..When they flew into a thick Fog and missed the Beach,Per panicked and jumped into the ice cold waters…with only Richard’s weight to tackle,the ballon simply flew away higher..Fuel was low,Radio was not working and Richard weighed his options…he could parachute out into the ice cold ocean or stay put and while he was alive work out something…he chose the latter and was saved by a rescue helicopter…They pulled out Per from the Sea just before he would have froze to death…..Lessons learnt were several….Never Give Up….If you want to do something,just do it…prepare well…. have faith in yourself…help each other….Whatever your Goal,you’ll never succeed unless you let go of your fears and fly…Love your Family….Richard knew that he could die on this Adventure…so before he took it,he wrote a letter to his children saying “Live Life to the Full.Enjoy every minute of it.Love and look after Mum.”
Next Richard and Per embarked on a Hot Air Balloon to cross 8000 miles over the Pacific Ocean from Japan to America….This was an even more riskier journey than the one they had done before…As you can imagine,they faced challenges that threatened their Life…they finally landed in the wilderness of Canada and it took eight hours to rescue them…but they had done it !
“Life is too short to be unhappy”.Read the Book to find out how Richard’s enterprising mind gave birth to Virgin Music and what inspired Virgin Airlines,Virgin Trains and now Virgin Galactica…and the most inspiring of all,for me that is,how he finally got his ‘Necker’ island…says Richard “I can make up mind about people and ideas in sixty seconds.I rely more on gut instincts than thick reports.”
There’s a lot more inspiring stuff in the Book…..Richard calls these Lessons in Life, Simple Truths. It’s written in first person and in a racy style….just go ahead and read it !…and share it with others !