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Stress is the shadow of wrong imagination February 6, 2012

Posted by aglakadam in Management.
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Imagine this situation: 

You are in a happy holiday mood. You plan to have a joyful day with your family as such you decide to go on a long drive. You start driving your car on a highway where there is almost no traffic. You are tempted to explore the odometer and you press hard on the accelerator. The madness of speed invariably brings obnoxious consequences. As you approach a traffic signal square, you do not stop at the ‘red traffic signal’ but zip past it since there is no other car on either side of the four-way.  All of a sudden you get alerted by the sound of a police car siren. You see in the rear view mirror that the police car is approaching you at a still faster pace. You know that you have just committed a mistake and somehow the traffic police might have taken a note of it. The police car is at a distance where it would soon overtake you and ask you to stop. You feel stress mounting inside. You start imagining the consequences. What if you do not stop and rush at a still faster pace? Oh but the police might ask for more troops to stop me at the next turn! If they ask me to stop, I should obey them, says your inner voice. I am sure I will be fined for trespassing the traffic rule as well as for the rash driving. Oh God, please help me, they should not take me to the police station, I have no wrong intentions for sure. Your heart rate has increased and the effect seen as sweat drops on your forehead. You loose focus on the road and you’re only concentrated on the incoming harassment from behind. By now the police van is almost parallel to you. You have already started feeling very low, restless and insecure. Suddenly what happens is unbelievable for you. The police over took your car and went ahead,  probably they were chasing a different target. Oops, all the while you were thinking that the police was running after you!

When there is ‘terror alert’ announced by the intelligence agencies, the overall administration & police is on its toes. What happened with you in the above illustration was something similar, your mental mechanism was all of a sudden put on high alert. There was a temporary phase of worry, stress and shock for you. Did you realize that all this was fictitious and hypothetical? Nothing of what you had imagined was actually true? You were not the target of the police van and they never intended to put you behind bars. However it was you who negatively extrapolated the imaginary consequences and started palpitating.

Can you get back to the first few words of the above imaginary situation. You were in a happy welcome mood which eventually translated into anxious and nervous state of affair for you. All this happened only because of you. It was you who instigated the negative thoughts in your mental backdrop. The world outside was the same even when you started the day in a happy mood and when you got into the stressful situation.

I share yet another situational example for you here. There was one family which was on to start a holiday tour. They had to board the train at a particular scheduled time known to them in much advance. Due to certain household chores they got delayed to start from home. Unfortunately for them, that day, the train was scheduled to arrive on time. Father – mother and their kids were tight-fisted and had their fingers crossed while they were rushing to the railway station in the car. The angry husband was all the way shouting at his wife & scolding her for being slow in arranging travel preparations. Although they intended to be on a holiday mood their journey started with stress. The poor children were close-lipped somehow wanting that they should be able to board the train. Finally, it was a touch and go situation and they somehow managed to get into the train. Friends, wasn’t it true that even if the gentleman had not behaved in a stressful manner they would have been able to board the train? What actually happened was the head of the family imagined all negative consequences and got stressed out. 

We get exposed to similar situations many times in our daily life. In the process we sometimes unnecessarily invite a lot of stress and sadness into our life. The difference between stress and sorrow lies in the man’s perception. When you think bad, you feel bad. When you start feeling bad, it turns out to be worst for you personally.  Stress is like friction, it is a necessary evil.  Elementary level of stress is in-fact necessary for human being to survive. Stress is an energy & enthusiasm catalyst. It provokes a person to get into action mode and perform. Like you can store only a limited volume of fuel in your vehicle, human body is also designed to store a limited quantum of stress. As the stress grows more than the defined limit, it starts spilling and warns danger. It is our responsibility to disallow stress to walk along our life as soon as it becomes a liability. Finally it is our judgment to decide till what stage we would allow Mr. Stress to walk along with us in our journey of life!

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  • Never allow stress to be blown out of proportion because of unrealistic imaginations.
  • Stress is like a small stone found under the shadow of a huge mountain.
  • Invariably stress is created inside the human mind, it should be cured there itself.
  • We should learn to be good to stress and in return stress will always be good to us.
  • A basic amount of stress is must for us to excel in our ventures in life.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Feedback : md@fsindia.in

Beware, your mood may mislead you September 19, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Life and all, Management.
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Day 1, evening.

Shalin come fast, we have to go for the party. No Mumma, I am not feeling well today, I may not go along. Asked the mother : “But why?” The reply “am not sure, why so Mumma, but I don’t want to study either”.

Day 2, morning.

Shalin rushes out of the house and shouts at his mother in a jubilant tone “Bye Mom, I have a busy day today, will come back in the evening, take care and be happy”.

Just a matter of 12 hours and there is 180 degree shift in Shalin’s mood. Many a times in life we come across a static state of mind.  The mind stops to work and body does not respond to our feelings. This mostly happens post trauma. In the common slang we coin it as: “I am feeling sick” or “I don’t know why but I am feeling down.” In the guise of a down mood we shun our responsibilities. These are those syndromes which we need to guard against. We can dodge our responsibilities but we cannot dodge the consequences.

Mood kills maturity. Bad mood spells doom.

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Be a good pilot, learn to smoothly sail your flight even in the turbulence of your mood.

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : md@fsindia.in

How much homework is enough for students? August 7, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, National Issues.
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What is your homework policy?

I happened to be discussing about school education and child upbringing with one senior bureaucrat recently. The officer’s son was studying in one of the most prestigious ( & costly too!) school in the town, however he was still seemingly unhappy about his child’s performance at school and at home. He said, “Ajit Ji, readymade Maggy ko pani mein ubal ke agar gharwali khana parosegi to usne khana banaya bolenge kya?” ( If the housewife buys a ready to eat food, just boil’s it and arranges it for you to eat, will she be given the credit of preparing a good food?). I said, Not really. That’s what is happening to our children today. His complaint was that for every home work assignment which his son gets, he prefers to surf the internet, download the data, do a bit of copy-paste-reformat and finish the homework. I am afraid tomorrow he may upload his homework on face book and update the status!

When parent’s meet what they most of the time discuss and speak is about their children. A variety of ideas and information gets churned out in such discussions. One lady who shifted her son to a new school, feels it’s a very good school only because back home she had never seen her son so immoderately busy with his homework. In her words, “Now a day’s my son ‘studies’ a lot!” Actually her son is most of the times busy completing his homework.  On the contrary here is one senior banker who curses his son’s school like anything. What they tell the child to do at home is only to copy down the matter from textbook to homework copy. Worst is this that most of the time his son is on a multitasking mode. He does all his topo job (copy work) simultaneously while he is watching those film fare awards or other reality shows on the idiot box ( television). When cross questioned his son has a logical explanation “ Dad, till date not even a single such assignment has been checked by our teacher. She will only put a red colour mark to fulfill her statutory responsibility. Even if I write down the story of DON 2 in between the notes still I can get the “red colour OK mark and signature” from my teacher on the home work submission!”

Friends won’t you agree that doing such homework is just like eating a heavy dose of junk food which has no nourishment but only satisfies the sense of having eaten something!” If there is zero importance to homework given to children, it will only kill the students productive time and make him dull. I recall my school days when if I were to prepare for a debate on any topic first I used to use all my available information in the memory bank to scribble the preliminary framework. Then discuss it with parents and friends to make it more relevant ( obviously we did not have search engines those days!). Finally our teacher used to do the final cut and approve or disapprove the content. On the contrary in today’s era  if a student has to prepare for a debate, I can bet, 95 out of 100 students will log on to google.com and download the content (rest 5 might not have the  “right to internet” at home!)

In the current schooling system I have observed a gross disconnect between school homework and its expected output. Students from various schools share that they get homework from various subject teachers in different periods. Sometimes the summation of homework given by all the subject teachers in a particular day grossly surpasses the students capacity to accommodate. Students from lower classes are sometimes given assignments and projects which are very difficult for them to execute. In one school a class II student got an assignment to make a model of Roads and Buildings. This child has not been prepared to take on such an assignment on his own and as such the project gets outsourced to the kids parents or brother-sisters. This is a typical case of a fruitless home work. In the process the child learns to daringly fake in front of the world when she proclaims that she has done that project on her own! 

Be it an essay contest preparation or any kind of a project work submission there are off line and online companies which offer a readymade solution. This should not sound like news that there are various homework vendors available in big markets who offer to do your child’s homework in exchange of a few rupees! Home work is a booming business in a few metro’s now a days, specially the ‘bulk home work’s’ like summer home work or the winter homework!

Homework is defined as out-of-class tasks assigned to students as an extension or elaboration of classroom lessons. In effect I think, there could be three main purposes of  homework:

  1. Make the student practice at home what has been taught in school.
  2. Make her to prepare for the examinations.
  3. As an extended learning ( skill development and extra curriculum)

A lot of research has been done on the need and relevance of home work given to school children and its relevance in the current context. It has been found that homework is a largely effective in enhancing the student’s performance but only when it is executed by the student in the intended manner. According to a Duke professor of psychology Mr. Harris Cooper, there is a positive correlation between home work and student performance specially for secondary school students. Too much or too little home work, both work against the students learning aptitude. The research suggests assigning of 10 minutes of homework per day per grade-level. Accordingly class I students should get 10 minutes worth of homework while 9th graders can accommodate 90 minutes of homework.

Assigning homework should have educational value and should serve to enhance the learning. It should not attempt to supplement the time constraint in school in order to cover up the full course curriculum.  Homework is a tool which should be effectively and intelligently used by the school administration to leverage intellectual discipline and establishes desirable study habits. It should reinforce the lessons studied in school. As a by-product home work should bring the home and the school as well as the teacher and the parent close to each other.

LESSONS FOR EXCELLENCE :

  • Every school should have a well discussed and properly designed homework policy.
  • Before going for the internet resources, students should be educated and encouraged to at least attempt the first level of assignment with the available resource with him in his mind.
  • Feedback improves the effectiveness of homework, especially when the homework submission is genuinely reviewed and feedback given in a timely manner.
  • Attempt should be made to limit after school activities so that student has enough time to manage various other activities like sports, social networking, relationships etc.
  • Homework should entice the parents to monitor the child’s work at home, but it should not compel them to get into “on the job” execution support at home.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Why do people kill people? July 30, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in National Issues, parenting, Social Casue.
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PRELUDE :  Recently there was a robbery in the town. The  lone housewife at home was murdered ruthlessly by the robbers when she tried to resist. The thoughts in this write-up originate from this incident.

 

The whole city is sad. The news of a gruesome murder of an innocent house wife has sent shivers down the spine. The bone marrow has curled up and down. It’s not only unfortunate but also unbearable. How can one be so ruthless and so cruel to stab a lone woman at home? How daringly brutal it is. Has humanity touched its lowest ebbs? Are we all not safe and secure anymore?  What about our future generation, will they face more of such instances in their life? Of all why do such accidents happen at all? Is it only a law and order issue? Has this to do with police and administration or humanity and parenting? Many questions pass through the gray area and keep shaking the spirit.

It is important for us to understand the reasons which prompt an individual to indulge into such unscrupulous acts of crime. 

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Quench your thirst or cut your throat? July 9, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in aglakadam, Children n Students, parenting.
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Can you be the friend of your enemy? Think twice? It’s a request – read this question thrice & then answer: is it possible for you to be the friend of your enemy? In most probability you would reply in “a big NO”. It’s comprehensible, how can one befriend an enemy? This is sure shot impossible. Going further here is one more question “When did we first learn about friends and foes in life?” Was it at school or at home or while playing with friends on the playground?

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Listen 420 words per minute! July 4, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in aglakadam, Inspirational Story, Management.
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Recently I visited a school and read a quote which was written on the notice board in one of the class room. The quote says “Listening attentively is a silent flattery” Wow, what a wonderful thought it is and how powerful is this tool of listening!

There goes a story by Ed Brodow when he went to a bar in France and ordered for beer.  I want beer in a bottle, he ordered. Beer in a bottle was a old story for that country and hence the waitress was a bit surprised to find someone asking for it. She said, “Sir In-a-can”? He replied No, “In a bottle”. To this she again replied “Sure sir, In-a-can?” By now this gentleman was losing his gentleness. He mustered all his patience and said bring me in-a-can but please bring something for me fast. Within moments the lady brought beer “in a bottle” for this gentleman! Seeing the “Henican” brand of beer the gentleman understood the story right. In fact the waitress was asking him if he would want to have Henican brand of beer. Since “Henican” and “In-a-can” were rhyming words, he got confused. This is true for most of us, we rarely listen to what is being told we listen what resonates with our biased mindset.

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Be the “CEO of Happiness” June 25, 2011

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Be the “CEO of Happiness”

Everything in life is temporary in nature. Let’s look back to the days when we were kids. The house we lived in & the friends we lived with during those days would not be the same today. The life we lived in the past would have gone into the dark tunnels of dreams for most of us by now. In the process of growing up we come across various life situations and also learn to face them. There are surroundings we cannot change & hence we have to accept those as it is. All of us would have faced a situation when someone in the neighborhood died. We had no other option but to see the expressions of sorrow and pain demonstrated by the bereaved family. There was no choice but only compulsion to see them cry and in the process subconsciously we learned the fact of life.  I also had seen one such family in my school days who were crying loads of tears when they lost a loved one in their family. Things were very difficult at that very moment for them to accept. But as we know “change” is the only permanent element in life.  

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

Change is nothing but a challenge, take it smartly.  Be happy always.

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

Dhinka Chika – READY : The UP of SUCCESS June 11, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Management.
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I am not a film critic nor is this write up supposed to make a movie review.  Although I am inspired to pen down a few thoughts after having sailed a few hours of turbulence witnessing the 16 reel bollywood drama called READY. I get to understand that the producer has been successful in selling the movie tickets and is laughing all the way to his bank in just a few days performance. Surely he knew the secret to success in the industry. Was it Salman Khan, the dabang, who is responsible for this success or is this the new actress Asin or is it the marketing strategy which has made the movie a financial success? I feel the answer to these questions has been revealed in the movie itself. In one particular set of events in the story the hero of the movie mentions about MP & UP in a man’s life where MP stands for Memory Power & UP stands for “Unimaginable Power”.

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

4,90,000 parent’s failed in IIT ! May 28, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in career guidance and counselling, Children n Students, National Issues, parenting.
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4,90,000 parent’s failed in IIT !

“Sir, my son is average in studies, he is not an extra ordinary student. Can you please help us suggest him the right career?” Working as a career counselor we come across such statements from accompanying parent’s more often than less. It is really heartening to see parents de-motivating their ward when it is their responsibility to be the source of inspiration for them. Most of the times this happens unintentionally but it surely devaluates the self esteem of the child.

IIT Jee results are out. Almost five lac students participated in this engineering race and less than ten thousand students qualified to get admission into India’s best engineering institutes. As per statistics out of every 200 student only 1 got to enter the prestigious institutes! By all means this is a very tough competition. I read in newspaper that son of a vegetable vendor qualified for IIT Jee in Chhattisgarh. In Bangalore a student who works part time as a bartender in a wine shop got through in the examination. These are those special cases where the hard work and preparation got an opportunity to meet success.

Almost every school in India had a list of few students qualifying in the tests. For the school authorities and management the success of their students in similar examinations becomes a matter of pride and fuel for their growth & prosperity in future. Appreciation goes only to those who get the winning certificate. Students who qualify in the entrance examination get a lot of accolades. It’s like a festival of congratulations where the whole world wants to hug the winners. The school teachers, the coaching institutes, parents, friends and seniors – all clamor around the winners to claim their share of the credit in making the student a success. Banners, Posters and Media play a prominent role in glamorizing the success of these successful students. 

I sit back to think about the state of mind of the majority.  When the demand supply is lopsided & there is a rush to get the best, majority never wins. In any such competitive examination the majority lies with those who could not cross the barrier. What about the balance nine lakh ninety thousand students? Are they good for nothing? Are they not worth making a great career for themselves? Had there been 1000 more seats available in the education system, may be those borderline thousand students would also have got an opportunity to celebrate success.  Tragedy happens when many parent’s forget that these examinations are just a means of eliminating applicants in order to offer admission to selected students in their institutes. Parent’s forget the fact that these examinations are not to identify how dumb or how intelligent their ward is.

Father of a meritorious student informed me that his daughter did not qualify for JEE. This was a rude shock for the school, the teacher & for the friends. While the father was demonstrating absolute cool de-mean-our I could see dejection on the face of the kid. Sometimes there are no answers to questions in life. May be the child did not fill up the answer sheet properly, may be the answer sheet got mixed up, maybe she did not write the roll number correctly or maybe she did not understand the negative marking pattern of the examinations. Something surely went wrong somewhere.  It was time for the family and friends to accept the result and move ahead. What the father further said was heart stimulating “There is nothing to be shocked about failures in life. I do not take this as a heart break. My daughter has many other options for success and we are going party today!”  I recalled the proverb “Failure is nothing but a delayed success!”

Not all children are lucky to have so considerate & thoughtful parent.  It is the responsibility of biological parents to evolve into matured parent. Examinations like IIT JEE or any other engineering / medical examinations actually put the parent of contesting students to test. It is their natural anxiety to ensure that they want their ward to get the best. Many parent sacrifice their happiness and wealth to ensure that the child gets the best academic infrastructure.  I know of a father who sold of his only property to get his son educated at one of the best coaching institute in Rajasthan last season. In spite of his inputs his son did not qualify. As a result the whole family got mentally derailed and went into psychological disorder.  There are many such examples in the country. Out of the 4,90,000 families of students who did not qualify for IIT JEE this year, I am sure majority won’t be prepared to take the negative results. Dejections in life should as well be taken with dignity. Rejection does not mean the end of life, it only means there is an area of improvement.

Recently in a leading national daily there was a news item which said that a few students from IIM Ahemdabad and Bangalore were asked to tell what part of their childhood they would like to change given they had such an opportunity. A few students cried and said they wanted to become something else in their career and definitely not a management graduate! Their parent’s coerced them into the management education! One family came to us for guidance & psychometric career assessment. They were taken aback & broken down when we informed that their child has an aptitude into fine arts. Engineering or medical might not be the most apt career for the kid. The father was a senior PSU officer and desperately wanted to father an engineering student. Reason being he missed the engineering race in his career trajectory. In most of the family’s parent inflict their children with their unfulfilled career desires. A father – mother combine can become the best counselor for the child. They should properly access the strength areas of the child and direct the child into similar directions.

My dear parent’s, it’s not your children alone who face the examinations, it is you who have to actually pass or fail. It’s time to take responsibility and show reasonable upbringing ability at home.  It is vital for today’s parent to create the right atmosphere at home. It is their responsibility to prepare children to take on the challenges & examinations in life. Majority of the parent’s will have to learn to hold their anxiety and control their emotions. Do not just scold your child for his / her not performing upto expectations. Show them the varied options for the future and appraise them on the opportunities for improvement. If you feel you are not really competent to do this, hire professional services but please do not mess up with the mindset of your child. Believe me your kid takes your words very seriously. Your words can make him / her a leader or a laggard. In private or in public, always use positive adjectives for your children. You may not see immediate results of positive affirmations but negative words will surely kill the motivation instantly.

Lessons for Excellence :

  1. Results of any academic examination should never be treated as the ultimate result. The menu card in the restaurant of Life will have much more to offer beyond these results!
  2. Children should always have fallback options in place. If career plan A does not work, Plan B might! In-fact one should have a career plan C also in place.   
  3. Parent’s please note: your words and actions are being watched by your children. Please demonstrate absolute maturity when addressing the child’s performance ( or non performance ) in public or at home.
  4. Parent’s – never push your unfulfilled career aspirations down the throat of your child. Let her personality evolve in tune with her strengths.
  5. Finally, if the child fails in any examination   – he/she should not be blamed alone for it. Parent, School & society should take the collective responsibility.

 

Ajit Varwandkar

Email : info@fsindia.in

I don’t – NO April 23, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in Children n Students, Management, parenting.
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To pretend what you are not is a fetal error. It has been my conviction that “pretend” is a word which suites only those who are on the path to success. It is said that if you think you are not successful, does not matter, just pretend in front of the world that you are successful. Alternately when you are sad, pretend to yourself that “you are happy”, after some time the feeling of sadness will dilute. It works. It actually works wonders, take this tip and try once if you need to. Other than this anywhere else in life pretend is not a useful word / behavior. Life is not a fancy dress show where one pretends something or someone else. I quote a few observations where pretention is wrongly used by people in day to day life.
This starts right from the school days.

…………………..  Complete write-up in my forthcoming book…. for announcement on the book title and launch, pl keep visiting www.aglakadam.com  ……………………………………… 

 

Ajit Varwandkar
Email : info@fsindia.in