Wednesday, December 31, 2008

i-TFTD #180

i-TFTD #180

#180-1. Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.

-Shari R. Barr

#180-2. People who deliberately *fully* before they take a step will spend their lives on one leg.

-Anthony De Mello, author of One Minute Wisdom

#180-3. Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.

-Jawaharal Nehru


The quote is humorous but presents a harsh truth. It hurts to accept it because we, perhaps subconsciously, adopt good moral behaviour with an expectation of direct benefit from Life/God/Society. Somerset Maugham rubbed it in for many of us in our eighth grade English class with his The Ant and the Grasshopper. Logical resolution for this can only come from a higher level of consciousness, what some popular authors call universal principles or laws. A longer term perspective is useful. Another perspective was touched upon in i-TFTD #15: The Law of Giving.

Seeking perfect information of all decision parameters leads to analysis paralysis. Most of us would benefit by increased risk taking and action orientation. Incidentally, Tony De Mello's books are the lightest reads with the deepest spiritual and practical lessons, subtly conveyed through funny anecdotes. Some of his other books that are perennial favourites with me are: The Prayer of the Frog, Song of the Bird and One Minute Nonsense.

We do not choose our parents. In most cases we do not get to choose our bosses. What we do under given circumstances determines a lot of how our future will be and how happy we feel with our achievements. That should exclusively occupy our attention. In this context, what we do includes how we approach a situation.

Friday, December 26, 2008

i-TFTD #179: Christmas Special

i-TFTD #179: Christmas Special

#179-1. Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone.

-Czeslaw Milosz, poet and novelist (1911-2004)

#179-2. The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.

-Wilhelm Stekel, physician and psychologist (1868-1940)

#179-3. There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience had brought it home.

-John Stuart Mill, British philosopher, economist, moral and political theorist (1806-1873)


Christmas reminds us of an unusual hero. Many such heroes who influence humanity as a whole, for generations to come, make the supreme sacrifice of their lives. Often, their significance is understood much later.

For most of us, living for a cause is a better choice than giving up life for one. This is especially important in todays world where so many misguided youth are induced to kill themselves for illegal, immoral and destructive causes.

Growing without hurting otherswhat a noble cause to live for!

We cannot afford to wait for personal experience to understand every important advice and practise it so we need to garner useful nuggets repeatedly from multiple sources. Keep reading inspiring quotes and stories, gentle i-TFTD subscribers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

i-TFTD #178

#178-1. We say friendship is important to us, but increasingly choose lifestyles that make us too busy and distracted to cultivate or preserve it.
-Peter Vajda


#178-2. You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with.
-Wayne W. Dyer


#178-3. An organization is a network of conversations. People's behavior is a function of conversation - how they see the world and how they talk about it to themselves and others.
-Steve Zaffron


Having a few close friends with whom one can share any thoughts and who accept us as we are, is a blessing. The first quote is from a blog post that highlights the importance of real friendship developed in the old-fashioned way, that—ironically—may not necessarily occur in today’s highly connected, online networked world.


An interesting thought experiment: would you like to have you as a friend? This may lead in different directions: whether you are being the kind of friend you would like to be; whether your behavior is likely to attract the kind of friends that you would like to have; whether you are trying to ignore aspects of yourself that could do with change…


Modern theories of employee engagement, such as the view from Gallup, suggest that one needs to have at least one close friend at the workplace. As mentioned before in i-TFTD, we spend most of our waking hours at work so it is useful to build healthy relationships that help us in various ways. Another recurring point in i-TFTD has been the critical importance of how something is articulated and presented. Organizations that neglect this eventually pay a heavy price.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

i-TFTD #177

i-TFTD #177

#177-1. Everybody has difficult years, but a lot of times the difficult years end up being the greatest years of your whole entire life, if you survive them.

-Brittany Murphy

#177-2. Year by year we are becoming better equipped to accomplish the things we are striving for. But what are we actually striving for?

-Bertrand De Jouvenal

#177-3. We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.

-Jimmy Carter


In general, difficult situations offer more learning value than easy ones yet we do not seek them out.

Many unpleasant things seem trivial when I relate them with my important, long-term goals. How often do I focus on those goals?

The last one might seem too simple or a bit confusing. How do we do it? By being clear about core and non-core. Being flexible and adaptable could be my rigid motto for all time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

i-TFTD #176

i-TFTD #176

#176-1. People don't resist change. They resist being changed!

-Peter Senge

#176-2. Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.

-Theodore Roosevelt

#176-3. You can only lead others where you yourself are prepared to go.

-Lachlan McLean


It is said that the fashion industry and product designers in general, introduce apparently new ideas while carefully maintaining continuity with the old and familiar because people often say they want change but do not like real change. Peter Senge is the guru who coined "The Learning Organization".

The third one is about "leading from the front". Unfortunately we see exceptions in society where cult leaders are able to lead others to self-destruction and mass destruction while they hide in safety.

The words of American President Roosevelt, who was responsible for the creation of "Teddy Bear", can be interpreted in different ways. If you have a big stick to wield, its power is maximum when it is not actually used but it is available and accompanies soft speaking.

Monday, December 8, 2008

i-TFTD #175

i-TFTD #175

#175-1. He who praises me on all occasions is a fool who despises me or a knave who wishes to cheat me.

-Chinese Proverb

#175-2. Continual cheerfulness is a sign of wisdom.

-Irish Proverb

#175-3. Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

-African Proverb


Anyone who has subordinates should guard against "yes-men" and ever-appreciative ones. Healthy difference of opinion is a sign of intelligence.

Continuous cheerfulness, especially in adverse times, requires a level of maturity and wisdom. Interestingly continuous smiling or laughing is notit is likely to be seen as a sign of cluelessness or lack of confidence.

Many times we act as though we want to be labelled as skillful sailors without tackling rough waters. Either give up the desire for the labelaccepting the reality of risk aversionor venture out boldly. Often we surprise ourselves discovering what we are capable of.

Friday, December 5, 2008

i-TFTD #174

i-TFTD #174

#174-1. If you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take any chances.

-Julia Sorel

#174-2. I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a temporary situation.

-Mike Todd

#174-3. It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.'

-Sam Levenson


Learning anything requires taking chances. Children do that a lot and learn rapidly: to walk, talk and everything else.

Being rich is not necessarily about the amount of money. Ask anybody you think is richtheir definition of a rich person would be someone else.

At least one pair of handsoursshould be working on our cause! Sometimes that is not the case because we are busy wringing them in frustration at not receiving support from others, or using them to point fingers. Recall if there have been situations in your life when someone did not act in the way you expected them to, and you figured out a solution yourself and eventually felt satisfied about your achievement. Maybe the person provided the best possible help by not helping.

Monday, December 1, 2008

i-TFTD #173: The Biggest Mind-Flip in Business Today

i-TFTD #173: The Biggest Mind-Flip in Business Today

by William C. Taylor (highlights mine)

William C. Taylor is the co-founder of Fast Company and the author of Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, with Polly LaBarre.

October 05, 2006

There is nothing more powerful in business than a truly original idea -- a distinctive point of view that redefines an industry, a breakthrough design that transforms a product category. In an era of hyper-competition and non-stop innovation, the one sustainable form of market leadership is thought leadership -- generating better ideas and making smarter adjustments than the competition.

So where do great ideas come from? The traditional answer is the stuff of entrepreneurial folklore, the creation myth of the creative process. Big ideas come from big thinkers: the eccentric genius, the inspired founder, the visionary CEO. Business history is filled with tales of breakthroughs fueled by unique imagination and individual determination. In this old model of innovation, the leader did the thinking, rank-and-file employees did the executing. If you were in charge, you were the "smartest person in the room."

But what happens when rivals become so numerous, when markets become so unpredictable, when technologies move so quickly, that no individual leader, no matter how inspired, can possibly think of everything? Then it becomes necessary to invent a new model of innovation. Today, one of the defining responsibilities of leadership is to attract the best ideas from the most peopleto master a world in which "nobody is as smart as everybody."

This is, I believe, the most important leadership mind-flip in business today. According to Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, the computer-book publisher, and an evangelist for open-source innovation, creativity is no longer about which companies have the most visionary executives, but who has the most compelling "architecture of participation." That is, which companies make it easy, interesting and rewarding for a wide range of contributors to offer ideas, solve problems and improve products? Ultimately, he argues, the companies that are most likely to dominate their business are the ones most adept at harnessing the collective intelligence of everyone with whom they do business.

Leaders who embrace this new mindset ask different questions of themselves than other leaders. Questions such as: Can I exude personal strength, even charisma, along with intellectual humility? Am I the kind of person with whom other smart people want to work and contribute ideas? Can I conduct myself as openly and transparently as the participants in my project?

Find the right answers to those questions, and you’re likely find yourself at the center of exciting innovations -- many of them from contributors whom you’ve never met.


The crazy, creative person stereotype is being replaced by the incremental innovation by many good thinking people. The fact that small, continuous improvements outweigh occasional, big-bang breakthroughs was strikingly demonstrated by Japanese manufacturing companies. The innovation process requires different kinds of contributors for success: questioners, dreamers, modifiers, adapters, practical converters, action-oriented implementers, business-oriented managers...