The Ant Corporate Story

The Ant Corporate Story

Every day, an Ant arrived at work, was productive and was happy.
The Chief, a lion, was surprised to see that the Ant was working without supervision.
He thought if the Ant could produce so much without supervision, wouldn’t she produce even more if he had a supervisor!
So he recruited a Cockroach who had extensive experience as supervisor and who was famous for writing excellent reports.
The Cockroach’s first decision was to set up a clocking in attendance system.
He also needed a secretary to help him write and type his reports and he recruited a Spider, who managed the archives and monitored all phone calls.
The Lion was delighted by the Cockroach’s reports and asked him to produce graphs to describe production rates and to analyze trends, so that he could use them for presentations at Board meetings.

The Ant Corporate Story
So the Cockroach had to buy a new computer and a laser printer and recruited a fly to manage the IT department.

The Ant, who had once been so productive and relaxed, hated this new plethora of paperwork and meetings which used up most of his time.!

The lion came to the conclusion that it was high time to nominate a person in charge of the department where the Ant worked.

The position was given to the Cicada, whose first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for his office.
The new in-charge, the Cicada, also needed a computer and a personal assistant ,who he brought from his previous department, to help him prepare a Work and Budget Control Strategic Optimization Plan.
The Department where the Ant works is now became a sad place, where nobody laughs anymore and everybody is always upset.
It was at that time that the Cicada convinced the boss, the Lion, of the absolute necessity to start a climatic study of the environment.
Having reviewed the charges for running the Ant’s department, the lion found out that the production was much less than before.
So he recruited the Owl, a renowned consultant to carry out an audit and suggest solutions.
The owl spent months in the department and came up with an enormous report, in several volumes, that concluded: The department is over staffed..

Any guesses who’s fired?
Obviously the Ant. Because he exhibited lack of motivation and negative attitude.!


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Happy Madras Day – 375th Year Anniversary of Chennai

August 22 is celebrated as Madras Day. On this 375th Anniversary of Madras (Chennai) here are some old (nostalgic) photos of yesteryear Madras.

Happy Madras Day

All photos from public domain.

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Let Go To Hold

To Hold, You must first open your hand. Let Go - Lao Tzu

It is paradoxical but true that the ties that bind are the ties that loosen the bonds of human relationship. It happens in so many relationships that we try our utmost to hold onto the object of our affections and succeed in losing it. It is most often seen in parents ʻimprisoningʼ their children.

I know of a young lecturer who seldom goes to his parents. He says, “I love my parents all right, but I am really afraid of visiting them as they are very possessive and treat me not as a being but as a piece of their property.”

Another common manifestation of it is seen in the overpossessive wife. She becomes a virtual jailor and would not allow her husband to move out alone even if his business and prestige suffer.

This occurs in intimate friendships too. I know of one such friendship where one friend crippled the otherʼs independence of action by laying excessive claims on his time and attention.

Its acutest form is seen in two people in love. The more insecure of the two gets fits of jealousy, the purpose of which is to ʻimprisonʼ the beloved one to retain a monopoly of his or her affection.

In our desperate attempts to hold on, we grip too tightly or pull the strings too tightly, thus damaging the delicate relationships.To Hold, You must first open your hand. Let Go - Lao Tzu

Take the metaphor of a child trying to hold a pet bird in his hands. If he keeps his palm open, the bird stays, the moment he tries to close his fingers, the bird feels uneasy, flutters and flies away. This is the case with human relationships. The more we try to clutch too tightly, the object of our love tries to move away from us as his or her sense of security and independence are threatened.

In other words, the object resents our imposition of emotional and mental slavery. No one likes to be a pale and ineffectual copy of anotherʼs will.

In our desire to hold anotherʼs affection we tend to overlook the lesson that the closest relationship is sustained and nurtured by loose bonds.

The head of one of the closest and happiest families I know told me, “I never believed in holding my children by tying them too closely to me. I let them feel free. I have watched them making mistakes knowing a difficult experience was the best for them. Had I protected them, it would have pained me all the more to see them blundering in adult life.”

How different from another another situation where the son is neither allowed a free hand in the money he earns nor in the time he has. His parents look upon him as a son par excellence, a model of filial duty obedience.

But the son laments along with his wife, “We have no life our own. We are mere extensions of our fathers and mothers.”

They do not have the courage to overthrow the ʻimperialistsʼ as years of emotional and mental slavery have drained all independence from them. The stronger we want our relationships to be the greater the necessity of allowing blank spaces which can act as shock absorbers.

We forget that mighty oaks cannot grow in tiny flower pots.

ʻOpening our palmsʼ requires some mental readjustments. We have to put aside our rights, our inflated egos, our easily-hurt feelings. Life would become easier and free from emotional stabs if we were not to expect much from others. Then, when something pleasant happens, we are agreeably surprised.

This attitude brings relief, reassurance, and serenity. By loosening our bonds, we never lose a relationship.

The loosening allows more room for enabling the ʻrootsʼ to go deeper. It strengthens our relationships.

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Google Adsense introduces NEFT for Indian Publishers

Earlier today, i got an email from Adsense saying my account has been upgraded to a new payments system.

payments upgrade

Clicking on the settings took me to a new page to add the bank account details that you can see below. Since there is not much of a chatter about this yet i am hoping this does not turn out to be an April Fool joke.

neft bank account

At the same time Google also sent an email with the following

You may have noticed some new changes to the “Payments” and “Account
Settings” pages in your account. We’ve made some changes to improve our
payments system, and we’d like to let you know about the added benefits
of the new payments processes.

After this upgrade, we will issue payments by international wire
transfer. Wire transfer is a fast, secure, and reliable alternative to
receiving payments by check, and you will typically receive your
payment much faster with this payment method. Google pays most fees
involved with sending wire transfer payments and does not charge a fee
for this service. We recommend that you ask your bank about any fees or
commissions they may charge for receiving wire transfers. Visit our
Help Center for full details about receiving payments by wire transfer
(https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/3372975).

With this change, we will no longer offer payments by check. Please
continue with receiving and depositing any outstanding checks as we
make this transition. The normal 60-day waiting period from the check
issue date will apply to check cancellations, and additional time may
be necessary to incorporate the canceled amount into the next scheduled
payment.

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One Quality That Makes People More Likely to Succeed

Success

In the 1960s, a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel began conducting a series of important psychological studies.

During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children — most of them around the ages of 4 and 5 years old — and revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success in health, work, and life.

Let’s talk about what happened and, more importantly, how you can use it.

The Marshmallow Experiment

The experiment began by bringing each child into a private room, sitting them down in a chair, and placing a marshmallow on the table in front of them.

At this point, the researcher offered a deal to the child.

The researcher told the child that he was going to leave the room and that if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, then they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. However, if the child decided to eat the first one before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second marshmallow.

So the choice was simple: one treat right now or two treats later.

The researcher left the room for 15 minutes.

As you can imagine, the footage of the children waiting alone in the room was rather entertaining. Some kids jumped up and ate the first marshmallow as soon as the researcher closed the door. Others wiggled and bounced and scooted in their chairs as they tried to restrain themselves, but eventually gave in to temptation a few minutes later. And finally, a few of the children did manage to wait the entire time.

Published in 1972, this popular study became known as The Marshmallow Experiment, but it wasn’t the treat that made it famous. The interesting part came years later.

The Power of Delayed Gratification

As the years rolled on and the children grew up, the researchers conducted follow up studies and tracked each child’s progress in a number of areas. What they found was surprising.

The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. (You can see the follow-up studies here, here, and here.)

The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years and over and over again, the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeed in whatever capacity they were measuring. In other words, this series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life.

And if you look around, you’ll see this playing out everywhere…

  • If you delay the gratification of watching television and get your homework done now, then you’ll learn more and get better grades.
  • If you delay the gratification of buying desserts and chips at the store, then you’ll eat healthier when you get home.
  • If you delay the gratification of finishing your workout early and put in a few more reps, then you’ll be stronger.

… and countless other examples.

Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.

This brings us to an interesting question: Did some children naturally have more self-control, and thus were destined for success? Or can you learn to develop this important trait?

What Determines Your Ability to Delay Gratification?

Researchers at the University of Rochester decided to replicate the marshmallow experiment, but with an important twist. (You can read the study here.)

Before offering the child the marshmallow, the researchers split the children into two groups.

The first group was exposed to a series of unreliable experiences. For example, the researcher gave the child a small box of crayons and promised to bring a bigger one, but never did. Then the researcher gave the child a small sticker and promised to bring a better selection of stickers, but never did.

Meanwhile, the second group had very reliable experiences. They were promised better crayons and got them. They were told about the better stickers and then they received them.

You can imagine the impact these experiences had on the marshmallow test. The children in the unreliable group had no reason to trust that the researchers would bring a second marshmallow and thus they didn’t wait very long to eat the first one.

Meanwhile, the children in the second group were training their brains to see delayed gratification as a positive. Every time the researcher made a promise and then delivered on it, the child’s brain registered two things: 1) waiting for gratification is worth it and 2) I have the capability to wait. As a result, the second group waited an average of four times longer than the first group.

In other words, the child’s ability to delay gratification and display self-control was not a predetermined trait, but rather was impacted by the experiences and environment that surrounded them. In fact, the effects of the environment were almost instantaneous. Just a few minutes of reliable or unreliable experiences were enough to push the actions of each child in one direction or another.

What can you and I learn from all of this?

How to Become Better at Delaying Gratification

Before we go further, let’s clear one thing up: for one reason or another, the Marshmallow Experiment has become particularly popular. You’ll find it mentioned in nearly every major media outlet. But these studies are just one piece of data, a small insight into the story of success. Human behavior (and life in general) is a lot more complex than that, so let’s not pretend that one choice a four-year-old makes will determine the rest of his or her life.

But…

The studies above do make one thing clear: if you want to succeed at something, at some point you will need to find the ability to be disciplined and take action instead of becoming distracted and doing what’s easy. Success in nearly every field requires you to ignore doing something easier (delaying gratification) in favor of doing something harder (doing the work and putting in your reps).

But the key takeaway here is that even if you don’t feel like you’re good at delaying gratification now, you can train yourself to become better simply by making a few small improvements. In the case of the children in the study, this meant being exposed to a reliable environment where the researcher promised something and then delivered it.

You and I can do the same thing. We can train our ability to delay gratification, just like we can train our muscles in the gym. And you can do it in the same way as the child and the researcher: by promising something small and then delivering. Over and over again until your brain says, 1) yes, it’s worth it to wait and 2) yes, I have the capability to do this.

Here are 4 simple ways to do exactly that:

  1. Start incredibly small. Make your new habit “so easy you can’t say no.” (Hat tip to Leo Babauta.)
  2. Improve one thing, by one percent. Do it again tomorrow.
  3. Use the “Seinfeld Strategy” to maintain consistency.
  4. Find a way to get started in less than 2 minutes.
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The Evolution of Indian Matrimony System

Matrimony

While the post is titled as “The Evolution of Indian Matrimony System”, it is better titled as “The Sorry State of Indian Matrimony”.

Matrimony

Picture courtesy: www.loveviawords.com

On a daily basis, thanks to my work, i come across an endless stream of matrimony requests from a lot of people. Many times i wonder why people are finding it so difficult to find a suitable guy/girl for their children. I mean, it should not be too hard to find someone when India is home to a billion+ people. Then it struck me that the problem is not the availability of brides or bridegrooms, the problem lies in the fact that people’s expectations, over the years, has changed. From what it used to be 25 years ago, it is now a crazy world of (sometimes) bizarre expectations. So here is a litle comparion from what is used to be and what it is now.

What it used to be in 90’s:

In the 90’s the primary requirement for a guy (aka bridegroom) was he should have a good job and must be from a good family. For the girls (aka bride) she should be a good homemaker, must come from a good family and must be fairly good looking.

It was as simple as that.

What it is now in the 2000’s:

Fast forward 25 years and this is where it gets crazy. While the listed below are not mentioned in all cases, it is generally agreed that 90% of is talked (and stressed) upon.

A guy should have a good job, good education (preferably from an overseas university), must earn good money (aka lots or financially secure), should own a house or a car or both, must be good looking (for visual reference look at the hottest hero at the moment), must be willing to live separately with the future wife (aka leave all your family behind), should spend quality time with the future wife (in simple terms, no social life without the wife or in other words maintain a fine balance between work and personal life), should not be a smoker, should not be a drinker (though occasional social drink without the knowledge of family is ok), must appreciate the values of the girl, must come from a decent, respectable family, well mannered, respectable, decent and most of all should be in the age group of 24 to 30.

On the other hand, A girl must be slim, good looking (refer to the hottest heroine at the moment), must be working (though not insisted at times), must also be well educated, come from a good family, smart and independent (read should not be nagging), should know to take care of the house (read cooking and other domestic work), family oriented, caring, friendly, should be in the age group of 23 to 28, must be willing to relocate (aka ditch your family, friends and all),

If i have missed anything, do post your comments and let me know.

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Dec 2013 Power Cut Schedule

The 2-hour load shedding is back in Chennai from Monday, Dec 2nd, 2013. After 4 months, due to lack of rain and reduction in wind energy, the load shedding has been resumed.

The new two hour load shedding timings from december 2 for Chennai and its suburbs are below:

 two-hour load shedding schedule

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Why be Angry?

It is normal to feel angry because generally the reason for anger is out of our control. But it is not necessary to get angry when that is in our control. When things do not work out as one wants, when the other people do not respond as one wants, when someone hurts one’s precious prestige, one does feel angry.

But why vent that anger? How does one express anger? By shouting or by hitting out. It takes too many nerves and too much energy to get angry and shout. Moreover, see what it does to the face. If we see our faces in the mirror while we are angry, we will probably stop being angry. The face is distorted by anger. Nothing in the features and complexion is left that can be called beautiful. The lips snarl. The eyes pucker. The face contorts. The complexion becomes red and purple which are not gainly shades. The red is not the same as the pretty pinkish red when one blushes.

And then we splutter when we are angry. We are not able to pronounce the words carefully and afterwards we keep realizing that this is what we should have said and this is what we shouldn’t have said. And then we regret the cruel words that one wishes one could call back. The barbs one wishes to recall after saying it unthinkingly at the spontaneous burst when hitting out is more important than discretion. Because anger makes one lose control over oneself.

Generally we like to be in control but when we are angry we lose our reasoning power. We lose our humanity and kindness. We can do things when we are angry that we would shudder at in normal circumstances.

anger management

We kick, we bite we snarl, we hammer, we can kill too. Anger brings out bestiality and kills all that is soft and tender. Why make ourself expend so much energy as well as spoil our own balance by getting angry? But we do it. We get angry.

At times the stimulus and the response are not in tandem.  The ways to express anger can be many. One person may bang the door while another may close it quietly but go away with venom in the heart. Because those who are the preys of anger also get angry. They can’t tolerate a hit at their prestige and so enmity is excited.

So anger achieves nothing but enemies. The fact that one person got angry meant that he could not forgive and forget. The recipient of the anger also cannot forget and forgive and then starts animosity, enemity, revenge and hatred.

All these are negative emotions that corrode the body, heart and mind of human beings. So why nurture them? Why not try to forget the cause of anger? Why not try to stop from reacting? Why not try to forgive the reason for the anger?

If you cannot, then why become a beast while expressing anger? One can still be firm that will be more effective than shouting.

Mothers also have reason to be angry because they have a tough time with their children because, in the process of learning, children do violate discipline. Now, if the mother shouts, after a time, the child becomes used to the shouting and shouting becomes ineffective.

The same goes for beating. Often, students who are beaten by their teachers become immune to slaps and just grin while the teacher is expending his energy in beating them.

If a mother keeps her ‘cool’ despite being angry, she can think out how to tackle her child. She can speak in a firm voice and say that his or her behaviour was unacceptable and ask the child to mend his or her ways.

The right way for the mother is to let the child know that there is a limit to what she can endure and that when she means stop, it means stop or the kid may be punished. This anticipation of punishment is more fearsome and is more effective than actually punishing the child.

When one starts at the bottom of the musical scale, then one has the choice of climbing higher to the higher notes. But if one starts at the highest note, where will the voice go? The same goes about one’s anger.

If you start from the lowest you can speak higher and louder. But when you start at the highest and loudest, you might burst your own vein. Often, people who suffer high blood pressure feel anger quickly but, if they get angry, they can get higher blood pressure. so it is better to react patiently and slowly raise one’s voice than shout from the beginning. Outshouting others can give you momentary satisfaction of a revenge well taken, but it hardly achieves anything substantial.

It is possible to quell anger. One should wait for some time before reacting to a given stimulus. The old cliche of counting up to 10 is really effective. One can try to understand the other’s point of view. Then one will not feel so easily affronted by what the other person has said or done. One can increase one’s confidence.

Those who are really confident, don’t get affected by what other people may say. They know what they are and it does not matter if someone’s opinion is different about them.

But unconfident people and women mostly are very easily touched to the quick by what people say and then they get angry. This is because emotions surmount logic. Becoming reasonable and logical can help in curbing anger.

Moreover, one should be ready to accept that human nature is fallible. If one feels that one can make mistakes and it does not need condemnation, then there will be less cause for anger towards oneself. If one thinks that others can make mistakes and accept that gracefully, then the violence of anger may be less because tolerance will be sharper. So an exercise of patience and tolerance will help in preventing the expression of anger.

Breathing deeply does calm the mind and when the mind is calm it is easier to control the mind from a futile exhibition of anger. Yoga and meditation allow the mind to be cool and tranquil also and prevent undue hassles of anger venting.

An attitude of taking life as it comes makes a person more adept at quelling anger. When we expect life to be problematic, then we will not feel angry when life does not behave properly. So we should have a readiness to believe that bad things can happen to us. At times trying to suppress anger may be harmful because a person may seethe and carry the poison within. So it is best not to react at the moment but talk about the cause of anger in a rational and peaceful frame of mind.

We can be quietly expressive of anger also. For instance, two people are fighting. Both are angry. One is shouting but the other does not raise his voice. Then it would be felt by all the listeners and onlookers that the one who is shouting may be the real culprit who started the fight in the first place whereas it could be that the person who has a lower sound to his voice, may be the real culprit as, in a soft voice, he may be insulting, instigating the other man to a strong reaction. Whatever the anger quotient of a human being, anger is a disease that can cause a person to become sick.

So it is imperative that people try to distance themselves from getting angry or expressing anger. If it festers in the heart and mind, one can first calm down and then talk out the person who is the cause of the anger.

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How to Rise Above Adversity by Positive Thinking

When calamity strikes, we react emotionally and give way to self-pity. This brings haunting fears which pervade thought and action. It poisons the wellsprings of present joy and future happiness. It is a destructive emotion. It parches your outlook, paralyses your capabilities, puts off your accomplishments, prohibits excellence and prevents growth.

Losing part of her leg in an accident at the peak of her dancing career couldn’t hold back actress and dancer Sudha Chandran’s determination and passion for dancing. After the amputation of her right leg, she got a prosthetic Jaipur foot; she started dancing again and performed on stage. This bagged her chance to act and depict her own real-life story in the movies — Mayuri in Telegu and the Hindi version of it Naache Mayuri. She is a dazzling example of a winning spirit against adverse situations.

Change your thinking. T.A. Williams says, “To rectify the distortions which fear creates, introspection is absolutely essential.” Think right and you will find a way out. It is not what befalls you that matters but how you react to it. There are millions of people who have gone under the steamroller of fate. But there are others who, despite repeated blows, have stuck to their guns. They have mastered the art of rolling with the blows. They stagger but they do get up. Learn from them.

Healthy thinking does not kill anyone. It is anxiety which does that. It is not the movement that destroys the machine, it is the friction. Why do depressing and anxious thoughts come back again and again? The reason is that we have locked them into our minds. We also do not purge our memory of the unsavory experiences of the past.

The burdens of anxiety are, in fact, skeletons which tumble out of the memory cupboard at the press of an invisible magic button. If you suffer from this syndrome, shed the notion that you are the victim of circumstances. You are the centre of your own equilibrium. Failure to realize it makes you as ineffective and without will as the weathervane which is swayed by the slightest wind. Tell yourself, “I am not the flotsam and jetsam of ideas. I am the product of my own sculpting.” Look at the lives of those who, despite the heaviest odds and physical handicaps, have achieved success. They have converted regrets into rewards.

Louis Pasteur’s work was accomplished under the most heartbreaking circumstances. At the age of 46 he had suffered a paralytic stroke which handicapped him for the rest of his life. Yet, he achieved a titanic success.

Charles Darwin was plagued by ill-health all his life. He had never known a single day of perfect health. Look at the prodigious volumes of work he produced. “While man sits on the cushions of advantages, he goes to sleep. When pushed, tormented, defeated, he has the chance to learn something. He has been put to his wits, on his manhood, he has gained facts, learnt about his ignorance, it cured the insanity of conceit, has got moderation and real skill,” Emerson said.

Santon Kirkham, who wrote a great book, Shut In while he was confined to bed for more than 26 years says, “As the most barren regions of earth yield something to the botanist and geologist, the most desolate aspects of life are not wholly without interest to the philosopher.”

Beethoven suffered from deafness. He could not hear the melodies he composed. He says in exasperation, “If I were only rid of this affliction, I would embrace the world. No I cannot endure it, I will seize fate by the throat.”

Those who successfully surmount handicaps seize them by the throat. So can you.

Traumatic experiences, failure at work, unsuccessful relationships, insecurities, inferiority complexes, tend to haunt one throughout life, sometimes assuming proportions of a devastating nature.

You find your fingers pulling at your hair. You find yourself pacing up and down your room like a caged animal. You are in a foul mood. You are haunted by a vague feeling of impending doom. Such things happen to all of us. Only situations differ and so does the intensity of the reaction.

10 helpful hints

  • When you torment yourself with imaginary fears, reverses and setbacks, you write your epitaph.
  • Move on. Don’t yield to self-pity. Acting like a victim threatens your future happiness.
  • Eliminate the negative with two simple resolves: ‘I can’ and ‘I will’.
  • You carry your worst enemy within yourself. Defeat it.
  • Those who live in mental cocoons seldom grow to their full potential.
  • Dwell not on gloom. Give up crippling thoughts. Replace them with cheerful ones.
  • Your shadow looks menacing when it precedes you, but means nothing when it follows you.
  • Self-pity is emotional poison. Purge your thinking of it.
  • Don’t think that other people will be as sorry for you as you are for yourself. They may laugh at you.
  • Don’t think it is somebody else’s job to get you out of your mess. Do it yourself.

Believe in Yourself

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