Quotes of Swami Vivekananda

Quotes of Swami Vivekananda

In this post I have compiled popular quotes of Swami Vivekananda.

I have personally read the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda as well as Life of Swami Vivekananda. From these books I have compiled some of his best pearls of knowledge and wisdom, and arranged them by different topics.

Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Spirituality & Religion

1. You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

2. Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.

3. The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.

4. As different streams having different sources all mingle their waters in the sea, so different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to God.

5. May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Ahura-Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of the Christians give strength to you to carry out your noble idea.

6. Man is to become divine by realizing the divine. Idols or temples, or churches or books, are only the supports, the help of his spiritual childhood.

7. The moment I have realized God sitting in the temple of every human body, the moment I stand in reverence before every human being and see God in him – that moment I am free from bondage, everything that binds vanishes, and I am free.

Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Spirituality and Religion

Image Courtesy: jtrsoftware

8. Look upon every man, woman, and everyone as God. You cannot help anyone, you can only serve: serve the children of the Lord, serve the Lord Himself, if you have the privilege.

9. Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.

10. Despondency is not religion, whatever else it may be. By being pleasant always and smiling, it takes you nearer to God, nearer than any prayer.

11. He is an atheist who does not believe in himself. The old religions said that he was an atheist who did not believe in God. The new religion says that he is an atheist who does not believe in himself.

12. Each soul is potentially Divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Self-Development

Swami Vivekananda Quotes on Self-Development

Image Courtesy: cityrockz

13. You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.

14. We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.

15. The more we come out and do good to others, the more our hearts will be purified, and God will be in them.

16. Our duty is to encourage every one in his struggle to live up to his own highest idea, and strive at the same time to make the ideal as near as possible to the Truth.

17. The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.

18. Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.

19. All love is expansion, all selfishness is contraction. Love is therefore the only law of life. He who loves lives, he who is selfish is dying. Therefore love for love’s sake, because it is law of life, just as you breathe to live.

20. Our first duty is not to hate ourselves, because to advance we must have faith in ourselves first and then in God. Those who have no faith in themselves can never have faith in God.

21. As soon as I think that I am a little body, I want to preserve it, to protect it, to keep it nice at the expense of other bodies; then you and I become separate. First get rid of the delusion ‘I am the body’, then only will we want real knowledge.

22. Beware of compromises. Hold on to your own principles in weal or woe and never adjust them to others’ “fads” through the greed of getting supporters.

23. Truth, purity and unselfishness — wherever these are present, there is no power below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition.

24. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence & mercy in the world and thus, become pure and perfect. Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellowmen?

Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Inspiration

Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Inspiration

Image Courtesy: wikipedia

25. Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.

26. Arise! Awake! and stop not until the goal is reached.

27. Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.

28. All the powers in the universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

29. The Vedanta recognizes no sin it only recognizes error. And the greatest error, says the Vedanta is to say that you are weak, that you are a sinner, a miserable creature, and that you have no power and you cannot do this and that.

30. I, for one, thoroughly believe that no power in the universe can withhold from anyone anything they really deserve.

31. Stand as a rock; you are indestructible. You are the Self (atman), the God of the universe.

Eternal Wisdom of Swami Vivekananda

Eternal Wisdom of Swami Vivekananda

37. The world is the great gymnasium where we come to make ourselves strong.

38. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.

39. When an idea exclusively occupies the mind, it is transformed into an actual physical or mental state.

40. If faith in ourselves had been more extensively taught and practiced, I am sure a very large portion of the evils and miseries that we have would have vanished.

41. All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.

42. The greatest religion is to be true to your own nature. Have faith in yourselves.

43. Comfort is no test of truth. Truth is often far from being comfortable.

44. They alone live, who live for others.

45. We reap what we sow we are the makers of our own fate. The wind is blowing; those vessels whose sails are unfurled catch it, and go forward on their way, but those which have their sails furled do not catch the wind. Is that the fault of the wind? We make our own destiny.

46. Each work has to pass through these stages—ridicule, opposition, and then acceptance. Those who think ahead of their time are sure to be misunderstood.

47. All truth is eternal. Truth is nobody’s property; no race, no individual can lay any exclusive claim to it. Truth is the nature of all souls.

48. There is no limit to the power of the human mind. The more concentrated it is, the more power is brought to bear on one point.

Swami Vivekananda on Work

Arise Awake and Stop Not till the goal is reached
49. Even the greatest fool can accomplish a task if it were after his or her heart. But the intelligent ones are those who can convert every work into one that suits their taste.

50. The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow. The strength and force of the blow come through concentration.

51. Great work requires great and persistent effort for a long time. … Character has to be established through a thousand stumbles.

52. Few heart-whole, sincere, and energetic men and women can do more in a year than a mob in a century.

53. When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it as worship.

54. Work and worship are necessary to take away the veil, to lift off the bondage and illusion.

55. Work hard. Be holy and pure and the fire will come.

56. Work for the idea, not the person.

57. To work properly… you have first to give up the idea of attachment. Secondly, do not mix in the fray, hold yourself as a witness and go on working. My master used to say, “Look upon your children as a nurse does.” The nurse will take your baby and fondle it and play with it and behave towards it as gently as if it were her own child; but as soon as you give her notice to quit, she is ready to start off bag and baggage from the house. Everything in the shape of attachment is forgotten.

58. Work unto death — I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with you.

59. Work, work, for, to work only for the good of others is life.

60. Work, work, work — let this be your motto.

Swami Vivekananda Quotes of Fearlessness

Swami Vivekananda Quotes of Fearlessness

Image Courtesy: RKM Khar

61. Fear is death, fear is sin, fear is hell, fear is unrighteousness, and fear is wrong life. All the negative thoughts and ideas that are in the world have proceeded from this evil spirit of fear.

62. If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bombshell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word “fearlessness.”

63. Face the brutes. That is a lesson for all life—face the terrible, face it boldly. Like the monkeys, the hardships of life fall back when we cease to flee before them.

64. Work on, brave hearts, fail not — no saying nay; work on — the Lord is behind the work. Mahashakti is with you.

65. Work on! Hold on! Be brave! Dare anything and everything!

66. All this fear that pursues us comes from believing in matter.

67. All this is our work, our fear — fear, the beginning of misery, of disease, etc. By being nervous and fearful we injure others, by being so fearful to hurt we hurt more. By trying so much to avoid evil we fall into its jaws.

68. Always say, “I have no fear.” Tell this to everybody –“Have no fear”.

Quotes of Swami Vivekananda on Fearlessness

69. Do not be afraid. Great things are going to be done, my child. Take heart.

70. Generally speaking, human religion begins with fear. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” But later comes the higher idea. “Perfect love casteth out fear.” Traces of fear will remain with us until we get knowledge, know what God is. Christ, being man, had to see impurity and denounced it; but God, infinitely higher, does not see iniquity and cannot be angry. Denunciation is never the highest. David’s hands were smeared with blood; he could not build the temple. (Bible, Samuel, Chap. XVII — end.)

71. If you read the Vedas, you will find this word always repeated — fearlessness — fear nothing. Fear is a sign of weakness. A man must go about his duties without taking notice of the sneers and the ridicule of the world.

72. You need not be afraid of anything.

Swami Vivekananda Quote

Swami Vivekananda Quotes on India

73. The Land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, towards generosity, towards purity, towards calmness – it is India.

74. It is the duty of every person to contribute in the development and progress of India.

75. Whether you believe in spirituality or not, for the sake of the national life, you have to get a hold on spirituality and keep to it. Then stretch the other hand out and gain all you can from other races, but everything must be subordinated to that one ideal of life; and out of that a wonderful, glorious, future India will come – I am sure it is coming – a greater India than ever was.

Vivekananda Quotes India Bharat MataImage Courtesy: sumasurya

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That’s it. Hope you enjoyed reading about some of Swami Vivekananda’s most popular quotes.

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How to be happy

I know this is a vast topic. But it will definitely be an interesting idea to investigate. What makes someone happy? Why is happiness not the same for everybody? More importantly what is happiness? In this post I will try to explore in depth on how to be happy and try to answer many such questions.

At the onset, please accept my apologies for the length of the post. I had intended it to be the usual 750+ words post but ended up going into ~2500 words. I have tried to include a lot of references and links to present my ideas in a detailed way.

My request to you is that, please do read it. 🙂

During my last 3 months in Indiblogger I have come across some wonderful writers. In this article, I have also referenced the works of 3 individuals who have shared their opinion on “happiness”. They are

  • Lata of Lata Wonders. You can read more about her here.
  • Alok Singhal of The Learning Curve. You can read about him here.
  • Somali Chakrabarti of Scribble and Scrawl. You can read more about her here.

And please read this post slowly. Take each part separately, and do share your comments and views and opinions.

What is happiness?

Different people have different definitions of happiness

  • Happiness, gladness or joy is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Wikipedia.
  • Happiness emerges from Self-respect. (Lata) 
  • Evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby say that happiness comes from “encountering unexpected positive events”.
  • Advaitins (the follower of Advaita Vedanta as propounded by Adi Shankarcharya) believe that true happiness is achieved when a person become One with Brahman (the Supreme Principle) or to put it technically sat-chit-ananda is possible when one realizes the non-duality of our existence.

How to be Happy - Smiley

Henry David Thoreau one said, “Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

But is that really so? Ancient Indian texts categorically state that one CAN CHOOSE and in fact SHOULD BECOME happy.

Modern day psychologists say that one can choose to be happy. Here is what Tom Valeo says in “Choosing To Be Happy Strategies for Happiness: 7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person“.

” … psychologists who study happiness … believe we can pursue happiness. We can do this by thwarting negative emotions such as pessimism, resentment, and anger. And we can foster positive emotions, such as empathy, serenity, and especially gratitude.”

Stress is the opposite of happiness. As William James says, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

Step 1 of How to be Happy : Ask yourself “What do I want from life?”

I think this is pretty much the starting point of our journey towards happiness. When someone sits alone and asks herself, “What do I want from life? What is really my purpose?”, rest assured that that is the very first step on the road to self-realization. Without self-realization there can be no real happiness. It will be fleeting and momentary.

Here is what Gretchen Rubin says in her wonderful article “10 Ways to Be Happier – How happy are you―really? If there’s room for improvement, try one of these suggestions.

A few years ago, on a morning like any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw that the years were slipping by.

“What do I want from life?” I asked myself. “Well…I want to be happy.” I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. I had friends; I had my health; I didn’t have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily. Is that how a happy person would act?

Lata in her wonderful post “In search of happiness” makes the following observation.

“This may sound contradictory but the truth is I found happiness the day I gave up the notion of happiness.”

Mostly, we tend to define our happiness by our success in various aspects of life – material possessions, imagined status, popularity, a desire for one particular love fulfilled et.al.

When we don’t achieve our desires, we live in a constant state of discontent and unhappiness.

I was no different.”

And finally when your’s truly looks back at his  older post, “The way to Happiness – The Three Stages” , here is what he had to say then, and it pretty much holds true now, except that things have improved for the better.

“I am 32 years now.

My hair has streaks of gray, there are bags under my eyes and my trouser waists have kept on shrinking. Or more probably I have gained weight and my waistline has expanded :). Anyway I digress.

Earlier I could walk 2-3 kms per day and climb 4-5 floors easily – now I use an elevator to go from 1st floor to the second floor. Plus I feel tensed all the time, I cannot relax and feel dissatisfied at work. In fact, I am a true corporate manager.

And I have begun to realize how bad things have become. Must go to back to first principles.”

How to be Happy - Life

Image Courtesy: Matthewmorris

I daresay that pretty much sums up what many of us feel. If you have any similar life experiences please do share, so that they may added to this post.

Will a foreign trip really make me happy? Will a new SurfacePro really make me happy? Once we start asking ourselves these questions, we start going inwards into our Inner Self.

As the Wise Men of the Old say, The Answer Lies Within. But how do we get to that answer? I have talked about this briefly in one of my earlier articles “The Answer Lies Within“.

However the way to self-realization is not easy. Looking inwards is a science that cannot be mastered in a day. One cannot simply sit one fine day in padmasana and introspect and become self-realized. Even a gigantic soul like the Lord Buddha took many years to gain self-realization. That’s why Sadhana or intense practice is such a important concept in Indian thought.

Having said that we can start with small steps. Real baby steps. But over time these small steps add up like a compounding machine and give you results you never imagined before.

Step 2 of How to be Happy : I intend to be happy

Once we are done with the first step, we need to make a promise to ourself. I intend to be happy. I shall stay happy no matter what.

Philosopher Bertrand Russel in his book “The Conquest of Happiness” says, “Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth, like a ripe fruit. … Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part.”

Tom G Stevens in his book You Can Choose to Be Happy, categorically states, “Choose to make happiness a top goal“.

Alok Singhal (of The Learning Curve fame) sums it up very nicely in his post “Secret to Happiness

“Many of us get angry at people when we don’t hear what we want to hear. It is a very common reaction! This response of ours has built over the years, maybe because of the way we were brought up or just something that we adapted from our environment.

But then, we would agree this reaction doesn’t do any good to us; rather, we end up doing terrible to ourselves and those around, even taking an extreme step in some cases. And, most of the times, it cannot change the situation also that led to the reaction in the first place. So why not behave in a way which doesn’t do any harm (mentally or physically) to us or those around? What if we train ourselves to be happy irrespective or at least don’t become red-faced?”

Step 3 of How to be Happy : Identify the pre-requisite steps

How to be Happy Baby Steps

Image Courtesy: Advisoranalyst

Now that you have set yourself a goal to be happy, you should first teach yourself how to examine yourself and fix your issues. You need to figure out the tools and methodologies for introspection and self-examination.

As our Ancient Texts say, the key to a happy life is 3 pronged.
1. Physical fitness
2. Mental fitness
3. Spiritual fitness

Unless we are fit at all these levels, we cannot be truly happy. Having said that, as and when we start tackling these 3 items, we will see DEFINITE and POSITIVE changes in our life.

Step 4 of How to be Happy : Physical Fitness

I have talked about this in one of my previous posts and I shall be sharing a modified version of the same write-up here.

Physical fitness is easier said than done. Many people join gyms as part of their new year resolutions, but then quit after a month or so. So a different solution is required.

We should not forget that we humans are ultimately animals, social or not is not relevant. Animals need to stay fit to survive and thrive – it is coded in our genes “Survival of the fittest”.

For Indians, the best options to stay physically fit are brisk walking and Yoga.

Walking

I am a big fan of walking and in this post have given many reasons on why you should walk.

Walking is perhaps the easiest fitness technique that Nature has naturally equipped us with. Walking does not require any special athletic talent or fancy equipment’s.

Walking is especially important for people like us who work in human capital intensive jobs like software or banking, where we spend a major part of our day sitting and essentially leading a sedentary life.

At least 20-30 minutes of walking is required to stay fit. But the walk must be brisk and sweat-inducing, else there would be limited benefits. It is better to walk if the distance involved is less than 1 km. It is useful to take the stairs whenever possible, instead of taking the elevator.

Yoga

How to be Happy - Cats doing Yoga

Image Courtesy: pinterest

Yoga literally means the union of One’s Self with the Universe. Physical exercises (asanas) are a small part of it.

Some asanas are very easy and have a lot of benefits and also help to calm and relax the mind. I have been doing padmasana (for my spine), vrikshasana (improves balance) andvajrasana (for digestion, what else).

Unless one is physically fit, one cannot be mentally fit. No physical wellness, no mental wellness. No mental wellness, no happiness.

Step 5 of How to be Happy :  Mental Fitness

There are a number of small things which we can do to improve our mental fitness. By simply stating that we will not be bogged down by negativity, we start becoming positive and happier.

Positive Attitude

A positive attitude helps us to deal with be happy, peaceful, hopeful and to appreciate the positives in life, says Somali Chakrabarti of Scribble and Scrawl Fame in her wonderful post “Break the Worry before it breaks you” and she goes on to quote a number of very inspiring sayings.

Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. – Bob Bitchin

Cultivate Gratitude

List down things that make you grateful. This will help you to move away from bitterness into happiness. Webmbd.

This has been beautifully capture by Somali in these two lines.

Count your blessings not your woes, count your friends not your foes. Image Courtesy.

How to be Happy - Scribble and Scrawl

Foster Forgiveness

Holding a grudge impacts us negatively by sapping oyr mental and physical energy. By fostering forgiveness one can convert the negativity of despair to the positivity of hope and happiness. Source: Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, happiness researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness.

Engage in Meaningful Activities

We must strive to engage in meaningful activities. It will make time fly, energize us and make us happier. Mundane and routine activities on the other hand will sap our energy and make us miserable. And idle brain (no work) as we all know is the worst, being the devil’s workshop.

Geroge Bernard Shaw once said: “The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation, because occupation means pre-occupation; and the pre-occupied person is neither happy nor unhappy, but simply alive and active. That is why it is necessary to happiness that one should be tired.”

Pretend to by Happy

Remember what Alfred Pennyworth tells Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins “You start pretending to have fun, you might have a little by accident.”

Conclusion

I have shared some of my thoughts on how to be happy. I have liberally referenced the work and experience of many people, and can justifiably say that I can see further by standing on the shoulder of giants. Happiness is a multi-faceted emotion and a lot of things go into making one happy. The easiest way to be happy is to find out those negative things that are making us unhappy and dealing with them. That has worked for me. I won’t say I am the happiest person on earth, but I am better off than when I had started this happiness experiment in May 2015.

The last stage of happiness is obviously spiritual happiness. I have not discussed that as I do not believe that I am qualified enough to talk about spirituality in different faiths. However, perhaps in a future post I may talk about what our Vedas and Upanishads say about happiness or bliss.

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That’s it. Hope you enjoyed reading about how to be happy.

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Software Engineering Principles in Everyday Life

Software Engineering Principles in Everyday Life

In the next few paragraphs I will talk about how to apply software engineering principles in everyday life.

Why on earth would I even want to do such a thing, you may wonder. Hold your horses. I will tell you why. Just read on.

Long ago, before I became a banker, I used to be a software engineer living the Information Technology dream of yearly foreign trips, eating out, drinking, using jargons, sleeping through meetings and generally expanding my waist-line (increasing prosperity, some would call it).

While there was plenty that was bad in the IT outsourcing set-up, there were quite a few things which were really good and which have helped me in my life.

First let us look at a definition of software engineering. As per IEEE Standard Glossary of Software Engineering Terminology, software engineering is the application of a systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software.

The keywords of importance are as below.

  • Systematic.
  • Disciplined.
  • Quantifiable.

As you can see, these three ideas mentioned above are universal ideas. And this is what we can learn from two important software engineering principles given below.

Separation of Concerns

Software Engineering Principles - Separation of Concern

Image Courtesy: Aspiring Craftsman

Separation of concerns is the idea that more efficacy is achieved when we separate task into different aspects (or concerns) and handle them separately. For example, for a software accuracy and efficiency might be two concerns and generally increased accuracy comes at the cost of reduced efficiency.

More than identifying the specific aspects, it is the realization that there are multiple aspects to a situation or project (in this case accuracy and efficiency), and that they need to be identified and acted upon, which is more important.

In life we often come across such situations. We try to treat the problem as one whole, apply generic solutions and fail. Once we realize that the problem actually has multiple aspects to it and try handling each separately, life becomes much easier.

For example someone who is looking for a new job may get bogged down when he does not get good opportunities. On analysis, he will see that these are separate problems.

  • Dissatisfaction with current job.
  • Search for a new job.
  • Spouse has to look for a new job.
  • Family moving to different place.

Identifying that theses are different aspects is the first major step to resolving mental conflicts.

ModularitySoftware Engineering Principles - Modularity

Image Courtesy: defit

In Software Engineering, modularity is the division of a software into components and handling each separately. For example a flight reservation system has multiple components – booking, changing schedules, canceling, viewing booking history and so on.

In the same way, we must modularize our life to discover our pain areas and act upon them.

For example, you may be unhappy about going to work everyday. So you try to sit and apply the principle of modularity and see that there are two modules – traveling to office and spending time in office.

While you enjoy spending time in office, you do not enjoy the 4 hours up-down commute and this affects your time at the office.

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That’s it. Hope you enjoyed reading about how to Apply Software Engineering Principles in everyday life.

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Further Reading

Software Engineering Principles

Featured Image Courtesy: medium.com

Thank you for reading “Software Engineering Principles in everyday life”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

3 Ways to Improve Team Productivity

Ways to Improve Team Productivity

Man is a social animal. That is why man has progressed so much. In the corporate world we all work in teams. Some teams are hyper-successful while some teams suck. If you have been in the latter teams, you will know how frustrating it can be to work in a team where nothing you do seems to make an impact. But that does not have to be the case. I will share with you 3 ways to improve team productivity.

1. Measure to Manage

Some new work comes to us. We go ahead and start working on it without proper planning or analysis, and send it without review.

End Result: Wasted Time. Wasted Effort. Shoddy Work. Client Dissatisfaction.

To avoid this we should learn to measure.

  • What is the scope of my work?
  • How much time will it take?
  • How many people need to work on it?
  • Is my review taking too much time?
  • Is certain sub-activity taking more time than others?

The moment we start measuring, we start getting answers to these questions. Team management because easier and productivity improves.

Ways to Improve Team Productivity Manage Risk

2. Manage Risk

How many of us sit down and try to jot down all the things that can go bad? Do we really know our risks? Have we developed contingency plans to deal with them?

Some of us do. Most of us don’t. In large organizations, there are Risk Teams. We think, why do we need to bother about risk, when there are separate teams for that?

Because only you will know risks which are peculiar to your team and can impact you badly. The risk team deals with high level organizational risks, but you as a team manager must deal with the lower but more pervasive risks and find solutions.

3. Do it right first time every time

If you have analyzed your task, measured your estimated time and effort, have carefully evaluated your risks and prepared a proper execution, review and contingency plan, your chances of making silly mistakes come down significantly.

This will help you to do it right the first time itself. Hopefully the client will not come back to you pointing out mistakes.

If you do it right the first time, every single time, your team morale and productivity will improve drastically.

— END —

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed these 3 Ways to Improve Team Productivity.

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Risk Management Image Courtesy: Positive Shift

Further Reading

You cant manage what you dont measure
What you can measure you can manage hokum

Thank you for reading “3 Ways to Improve Team Productivity”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.

How To Streamline Your Life

How to Streamline your Life

Life was meant to be simple. Yet over time it becomes cluttered and complicated. We start carrying excessive baggage – physical, emotional and mental and this slows us down. Life becomes difficult and  hectic, and you are always short of time. How do we simplify things? In this article, I will talk about 5 ways on how to streamline your life.

1. KISS Principle

KISS, which means Keep It Simple Stupid, is a design principle which states that mots systems work best if they are simple rather than complicated. Leonardo Da Vinci once famously said, Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

The same principle applies to life also. Life is after all nothing but a system. If we keep our lives simple, our wants limited, our needs fulfilled and stop harboring thoughts of world domination (or social media domination), we will be able to streamline our life.

2. Needs versus Wants

Most of us get confused between our needs and wants. So why don’t you sit one day in a cool and reasonably peaceful room, take a blank sheet of paper and do the following?

On the left side of the paper list down what all you think you need or want. On the right side try to categorize each item as a “need” (essential) or “want” (aspirational).

Trust me, the result will be quite interesting.

3. OCP Principle

In computer programming, there is this concept of OCP or “open-closed principle” according to which software should be open for extension and closed for modification. For example, for every new software upgrade (version 3.0 to 3.1), we generally don’t need to throw our system and get a new one – it all happens automatically without us even worrying. In most cases, the upgrade makes the system stronger and more robust and more useful.

Life is like a software. We should be open to new ideas, and allow them to automatically download to our psyche. This will help us become broad-minded, stronger and better people.

But we should also take care to remain closed to drastic negative changes and brain-washing.

Try anything once does not mean that we should do pot.

How to Streamline your Life using a Checklist

4. Checklist Manifesto

In his wonderful book Checklist Manifesto, Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School demonstrates how using checklists can help us manage the extreme complexity of the modern world.

  • When you prepare a checklist, you know what all is on the plate.
  • When you know the scope, you can plan accordingly and manage the progress.
  • This helps you to foresee possible risks and complications and avoid them in the first place.

5. Don’t read newspapers

Especially in the mornings.

Newspapers are inherently negative. They will sap your energy first thing in the morning and fill your mind with seeds of unhappy thoughts. Why go for all this trouble for news that you will not even remember after 30 minutes?

If you are desperate for news, wait till half the day is over.

— END —

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed it. All this will hopefully un-complicate and de-clutter and help to streamline your life.

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Images: Featured Image – Wikipedia

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You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself, said Swami Vivekananda.

What did he mean by this? What God was he talking about? What belief was he talking about?

At the very onset let us be very clear of the context. A major reason why there is so much strife and conflict in our world is because people tend to take things out of context and react to such misunderstandings.

Swami Vivekananda was a maha-purusha who was on a mission of nation-building, and was a nationalist to the core. He was a practicing Hindu. He was also an Advaita Vedantin.

Let us take each point one by one and try to analyze what he could have meant when he said, “You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself“.

1. As a Practicing Hindu

Hindu Philosophy is quite different from Abrahamic theology.

Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam are those which are based on the Old Testament. Abrahamic faiths have 4 principles in common.You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself - Abrahamic Theology

  1. a monotheistic external (somewhat anthropomorphic human like) God.
  2. a founder prophet.
  3. one Holy Book.
  4. minimal tolerance for contrarian points of view.

God is therefore something external to Man as per Abrahamic theology and His views are propagated by One Prophet in One Book, and any opposition to this position is dealt with swiftly and often violently.

Hindu Philosophy on the other hand, espouses an All-Encompassing Truth (called “Brahman” or “Tat”) which some called God. All the philosophical schools (Vedanta or Samkhya etc) agree to this point, however their other details vary significantly, on how this One Truth becomes many in our world.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself - Hindu AumIn other words, God being the All-encompassing Truth is Perfection. Therefore God is the perfection we all strive to achieve.

When Swami Vivekananda mentions God, he talks about this God. The Truth. The omnipresent. The One who is manifest and un-manifest at the same time. The One who is beyond our comprehension, yet from whom we spring forth.

He talks about this omnipresent Reality, both outside and within us.

2. As an Advaita Vedantin

Advaita Vedanta is a theory of absolute monism. It believes in One all-inclusive Reality from which the world appears to have sprung forth.

In other words, we are a PART of the SYSTEM. As per Advaita, we are therefore the SYSTEM. The SYSTEM is GOD. Ergo we are GOD.

Aham Brahmasmi“, says the Vedic Rishi. I am Brahman. I am That Eternal Truth. I am non-different from the One Supreme Reality.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself - InfinitityWhen I believe in myself, I automatically believe in God. Because I am That God. I have God in me.

I have the Potential of the Infinite in me. I am infinitely capable.

Why should I care for inconsequential and limiting ideas like monotheism or polytheism?

The moment I realize who I really am, the moment I realize that I am the same Supreme Reality from which this vast and beautiful Universe has sprung forth, the movement I realize that hidden within the depths of my soul is the same Infinite Force, I start believing in myself.

I become CONFIDENT. I start believing in God.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.

Image Source : Top 10 Scientific Unsolved Mysteries

3. As a Nation Builder

After 800 years of terrifying Islamic rule and 200 years of horrific British rule, the Indian psyche was at the lowest. People had lost all confidence and had little or no self-respect. They had forgotten the old lofty ideals of One Reality and were instead trying to propitiate deities.

Swords and guns had replaced cultured debates.

At this juncture came Swami Vivekananda.

You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself - FireJust like fire burns everything in its path, so too the dynamic fire of Swami Vivekananda burnt and destroyed superstitions, weaknesses and fatigue, and instilled confidence, self-respect and self-knowledge.

He made people believe in themselves rather than believing deities or parroting what any book said.

Thus we see the greatness of Swami Vivekananda as he transformed and energized people wherever he went with his positive ideas and views, and helped ordinary people to at least strive to achieve excellence.

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed it.

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Thank you for reading “You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself”. I hope you enjoyed it. Please leave your comments in the comment box below and do share with your friends and family.