The Daffodil Principle – a great read..

I remembered this story all of a sudden and felt it was worth re-posting.

Source: Nishanth’s Blog

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The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, ‘How can I put this to use today?’

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.
So work like you don’t need money. Love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching. :D

A very nice story to help understand what that means…
Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, ‘Mother, you must come to see the daffodils before they are over.’

I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from my house.
‘I will come next Tuesday’, I promised a little reluctantly on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. But, as I had promised I left for her home reluctantly. When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house, I was welcomed by the joyful sounds of happy children. I delightedly hugged and greeted my grandchildren.
‘Perhaps we can give the daffodils a go-by, Carolyn? The road is invisible in these clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see badly enough to drive another inch!’

My daughter smiled and said, ‘ It is okay mom. I can drive in this.’
We all went and my daughter was driving. The weather was sure bad. I was concerned. I suggested to Carolyn that we turned back.

My daughter persisted. ‘It’s all right, Mother, I promise. You will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.’

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand lettered sign with an arrow that read,! ‘Daffodil Garden.’ We got out of the car, each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then, as we turned a corner, I looked up and gasped. Before me, lay the most glorious sight.
It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it over the mountain peak and its surrounding slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, creamy white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron and butter yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted in large groups so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. There were five acres of flowers.

‘Who did this?’ I asked Carolyn.

‘Just one woman,’ Carolyn answered. ‘She lives on the property. That’s her home.’ Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house, small and modestly sitting in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio, we saw a poster. ‘Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking’, was the headline.

The first answer was- ‘50,000 bulbs,’ it read.

The second answer was, ‘One at a time, by one woman. Two hands, two feet, and one brain.’

The third answer was, ‘Began in 1958.’

For me, that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than forty years before, had begun, one bulb at a time, to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Planting one bulb at a time, year after year, this unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. One day at a time, she had created something of extraordinary magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration. And she created not for others, but for herself, for the nature, for her surroundings.

That is, learning to move toward implementing our vision and dreams – one step at a time, often just one baby-step at a time and learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things.
‘It makes me sad in a way,’ I admitted to Carolyn. ‘ What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty five or forty years ago and had worked away at it ‘one! bulb at a time’ through all those years? ‘Just think what I might have been able to achieve!’

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her usual direct way. ‘Start tomorrow,’ she said.

She was right. It’s so pointless to think of the lost hours of yesterdays. The way to make learning a lesson of celebration instead of a cause for regret is to only ask, ‘How can I put this to use today?’

Use the Daffodil Principle.
Stop waiting…..

Until our car or home is paid off
Until we get a new car or home
Until our children are married
Until we go back to school
Until we finish school
Until we move to new residence
Until we get married
Until we get a divorce
Until we have kids
Until the kids go to school
Until we retire
Until summer
Until New year
Until the festival

There is no better time than right now to be happy. Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

So work like you don’t need money. Love like you’ve never been hurt, and dance like no one’s watching…

Money bags..

The pulling power of money never ceases to amaze me..

It was weird watching Manchester City in the early part of the season with Gareth Barry(Aston Villa), Kolo Toure and Adebayor(Arsenal), Carlos Tevez(United), Roque Santa Cruz(Blackburn), Wayne Bridge(Chelsea) among others lining up.. A collection of top players from the other premier league clubs..

What about Real Madrid then?

Watching Cristiano Ronaldo(United), Kaka(AC Milan) and Xabi Alonso(Liverpool) linking up and thrashing Villareal is an un-real sight indeed..

Money bags at work..

ES2007S Blog Post 4: Evaluating Intercultural behavior

What and when?
I am going to take you back to a Fraternity House at the Stanford University. The date – 7th August, 2006. I was 18 years, 4 months and 19 days ago and I was the youngest student to have made it to RealAcad – an intense global venture management program. It was the 2nd day and while one part of me was skipping in delight at the thought of all the learning that was bound to take place, the other parts, were in shock..

Who?
I was surrounded by 18 top performers from all over the world. Our group consisted of 5 Indians, 3 Americans, 2 Belgians, 2 Brazilians and 1 each from Bolivia, China, Serbia, Mexico, Wales, Haiti and Kyrgystan. We had a tumultuous 1st day where one of our camp mates had fallen ill and had to be rushed into hospital. Added to this fact was the clashing of expectations of every individual in the camp and the 2nd day felt like a day out of the world war.

What happened?
I noticed two strong groups emerge. One group was a collection of all those from the west (Europe and the USA) who were fixated on the agenda while the rest (from Asia and South America) were those who weren’t as concerned about time and a fixed agenda. From my Indian lens, I just couldn’t understand the fixation behind following the agenda. After all, it was one of ‘them’ who had to be rushed to a hospital. Besides, I felt ‘their’ constant stress on the agenda was only throwing the camp further off the agenda.

More background
Every person in the room had tasted success in their professional lives, as top performers in companies like Microsoft, BCG, as entrepreneurs etc, and were leaders in every sense of the word. RealAcad promised to bring this entire team together and form a new entrepreneurial venture by the end of the sixth day. Every individual in the room, hence, was trying to pull the camp in the direction of their ideas.

What did I feel and do?
I strongly felt that being ‘efficient’ here would not do much to solve the inherent issues. In my understanding, the basic issue here was that the participants were unclear of how their expectations would be met given the open ended nature of the camp and only effective conversations that brought about alignment would help iron out our issues.

Luckily, the leadership team felt the same and we did iron these differences before we moved forward. This entire process took 2 whole days and caused further discontentment and angst. But, our leaders still persisted.

Results
Eventually, things came together by Thursday and in the remaining 48 hours, I was truly astounded by the impact of aligning a team with open and transparent communication. During this course, we also understood the point of view of our friends from the other side of the Suez Canal and planned our next steps effectively. By the time the camp closed on Saturday, we had created 4 new companies!

And hence, my 3 mantras for cross-cultural group success are –

Mantra 1: Be open(to new/weird ideas, behaviors, food habits etc)
Mantra 2: Seek to understand before trying to be understood
Mantra 3: Read Mantra 2 again.

And one last thing, I did learn never to forget an agenda!

Enjoyed my last NUS mid-sem break..

Here’s why…

1) For the first time, I took a BREAK! A complete break – no agenda, no schedule, no nothing. Work did get done but it was because it fitted right in.. else it was thrown right out..

2) For the first time, I have no mid-sem exams coming up in the next few weeks..

3) Went to Bintan and hence, visited a new country.. That’s 14 now..

4) I decided to indulge myself and played and finished Roadrash – yes, that’s all five levels and had gotten myself a Diablo and zoomed through the last 3 levels. It took me only about 7 hours.. 7 hours well spent..

5) I played football, swam – so all in all, I wasn’t just a couch potato. Watched 2 movies as well and yes, I didn’t like ‘My name is Khan’..

6) Watched Man Utd give AC Milan a whooping..

7) Most importantly.. just had fun.. was a complete break. There’s a lot to look forward to – Sparkz, finishing up FYP, finishing up module.. and the not-so-nice thought of 8 labs for my design module.. but hey, it’s my last semester at university.. and that’s awesome as well!

When it comes to good things, we tend to only celebrate firsts and not celebrate lasts.. I disagree. It’s been a wonderful 4 years.. and all good things come to an end..

I’m sure going to make it a happy one! :)

Just remembering my past mid-sem breaks –

1) 1st Semester – Mom came down to Singapore!! Boy, wasnt’ that fun! Also, played my first and only Kreeda – a sports event organized by the now – defunct ‘Society of Indian Scholars’. Our team was called ‘Bahaya Jangan Dekat’ (Malay – Danger! Keep out!)

2) 2nd Semester – The work fever had gripped me. Most of this break was spent in the office..

3) 3rd Semester – As above.. (but I had a Langkawi trip to look forward to in about 2 weeks..)

4) 4th Semester – As above..

5) 5th Semester – As above..

6) 6th Semester – IA – so, as above..

7) 7th Semester – The 10/10 adventure trip to Cameron Highlands!!

and now..

Wow, It’s been a long ride..