Thursday, 25 November, 2010

What is the most important sign of Yoga Practice ?

I have completed my fifth project in Toastmasters , half the road is covered to reach first mile-stone!, Feels good.

Fifth project is "Your Body speaks" ,it is about using body language to enhance the delivery of speech. I struggled for topic for this project & then realized that it is not the topic , but how one fills the details in the outline. Hence I choose the subject familiar to me, Yoga. I approached it from the misconceptions about yoga & emphasized that one of the most important aspects of yoga is being aware of "breathing" & Hence the title :

Breath in ,Breath out !

Toastmasters good evening ,

Have you heard of DOGA , D-O-G-A , DOGA is yoga for dogs !.

Is it surprising for you ? It was certainly for me !.

Like this – there are many misconceptions about yoga. Yoga is a sport ,It is a exercise ,work-out . Some says it is just a acrobatics – like standing on head ,or placing your toe on your shoulder , which requires rubber like body , bone-less flexibility !.

These all are misconceptions. It is not real yoga , then what is Yoga ?

General purpose of this talk is to inform you about yoga & specific purpose is to clarify what the real yoga means . I won't go in intricacies of philosophical & theological discussions. But in its simplest form, yoga is “Controlling the mind”.

For instance , you may want to focus on this speech , but get distracted by mail on mobile, phone or voice from next room. Or another example is you get angry with sight of some people, may be your Boss. You get irritated , agitated & gyrating with the idea to kill him !.

This all is originated in mind, a mad monkey like animal , always flickering, wondering & running in all directions.

Yoga is concern of this , how can it control this mad monkey !.

Lets see how it tries this. When you get angry , what is the first visible change ? Your breathing changes its pattern , it looses its balance !.

Lets understand this breathing connection with a example.

Suppose you have gone for trekking , it is hot simmering sunny day. In the scorching weather , you had to walk long, you are sweating , thirsty , your throat is dry ! And suddenly you see the vending machine. Oh what a relief !.

You take out your wallet , insert a 100 yen coin, buy a cold coke or lemon, feel its cool touch, wet your lips , & touch your mouth to it !.

What happened ? Next time observe it carefully , your eyes are closed , breath almost stopped , & mind is super-quiet & calm.

Yes that is the link – your mind & breath are closely connected. Breath is your door-way to your mind. When you loose focus , loose concentration or get angry : you loose your breathing balance.

Breath-n-mind is the greatest contribution of yoga .

Whether you are poor or rich, day-n-night, work or home ,your breath is always with you. If you get in touch with breath & you get in touch with your life.

Yoga teaches that , step-by-step, systematically , methodically & diligently it teaches to monitor your breath-in & breath-out.

Master your breath , master your mind & your destiny too.

Are you convinced now that one of most important element of yoga is breath-control. Dogs can not control breath , hence DOGA can not be yoga. Real yoga is not acrobatics, nor work-out is .

Yoga is beyond that . It is becoming aware of your breath-in & breath-out .

So toast masters - next time someone boasts of yoga , check if he is aware of breathing !!.

Saturday, 7 August, 2010

Best Place to work !

This fourth toast-master project is my most memorable one.

First I had already committed the date . Before due date, even after toiling with two three ideas , I was not ready with the speech. Then I decided to take a short-cut. I used my Organization Behavior assignment of book review Maverick. I reviewed "Maverick" - a story of turn around of Brazilian business. I rewritten my assignment to suit 6 minutes speech. At that time I followed all project-4 requirements. I could finalize the draft after 4 to 5 revisions in the Starbucks.

Now only one day was left for rehearsal. So I practiced from early morning, while having breakfast , along with commuting, & during lunch hour . Finally I practiced it mentally while going to venue in train, and I delivered my speech. In spite of Anxiety , delivery was confident, smooth and free flowing. Practice helps !. I could feel the "Positive feedback". Later evaluator also gave good feedback.

Surprisingly speech won the best prepared speech award for that day. For me it become memorable as comparatively with less preparation , it gave more rewarding results.

Here is the draft of speech.

Best Place to work!

Fellow toastmaster , which day you like more - Friday or Monday ?
If you are cheerful , happy , and excited on Monday morning ,than Friday evening - then you belong to the better work place.

And How is this workplace - all employees reach at dot 0900 , all wears starched ,spotless suits and shiny shoes. Your idea will change - Mine also got changed after reading this book Maverick . Purpose of this speech is to introduce you to this book and firm called SEMCO - S-E-M-C-O . The book is all about the change - Change for better workplace .

Change made by people ,for people and by people.

First is flexibility . Flexibility in everything . Flexibility in arriving , leaving , holidays , dress - literary about everything. For example - look at our Monday morning routine. We rush , run to catch subway . It is peak hour ,as usual crowded . People ,People ,every where people. I use Tozai-sen , So much crowded ,that there is special subway staff to push people and close doors. I always feel like overblown balloon, someday it is going to burst open !.

How great it will be if we can avoid this time and reach office - may be just 15 min. late ,for some 30 min late ?

Crowed is not the only thing - You may wish to spend morning for a dear one - with simmering ,steamy hot coffee , or you may wish to hold the soft , smooth hand of your two year innocent child and walk for Hoiku-en.

This is possible - only with one single ,easy and simple step. You should have flexibility in office time. Semco does that . All employees -not only white collar staff ,but blue collar workers too - can come to office as per their convenience.

Company does not bother as long as work is done. But this single ,simple and easy step balances their work-life beautifully. Semco is flexible not only in arrival time ,but also in everything . You can decide your parking space , color of your office, color of factory , your furniture. You can
decide job-rotations , holidays & training. The height of flexibility is employees can decide their salaries too. Yes - Salaries too.

Another thing is your manager , your boss. Unavoidable evil. isn't it ?
(Pause ! )

Many feel that boss is like a devil - who stands between you & your evaluation , You & your promotion too. He is the one who drives you and your ( low voice ) increments and bonus .

What if we can reverse this ? So instead manager rates you , you rate your manager. Semco does exactly that !. Instead boss hire employees , employee interviews and hires boss. Employee
decide - if their manager need to be promoted or not.

Do you think this all is odd, weird and strange . But this book with 36 chapters and 300 pages is full of such odd things.

Like ....
No Organization Chart , Semco doesnʼt need one.
No pyramidal or hierarchical structures with CEO at top ,then VP , then middle managers and then staff. Semco does not have any hierarchies .
And no designations for employees . Obvisouly Semco donʼt need HR department too.
So no HR ,No secretarial staff.

Sounds odd ,but note that firm is a huge success by any standards and any measures .

What is the secret of this success ?
It is collective decision making. It is not a mere Nemawashi - or simply consensus making . It is genuine collective decision making , true participative & democratic decision making.

Employees are not distant , disconnected ,abstract , faceless number. They are part & parcel of this Semco. They are spirit & soul . They are the force behind Semco Success.

Toastmasters now if you want to read this book ,my purpose is served .

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, 8 June, 2010

Single Habit to Change your life !.

This is my third speech on the journey of Toastmasters . I gave this speech on 24-Dec-2009, taken almost two months since my Second speech. I took more time as I want to put this habit in practice and then preach about it. It proved fruitful , speech made a good impact earning me first in house "best speaker" recognition !

Toastmaster's third prepared speech project is "Get to the point". Objectives of this project are -
  • Selecting speech topic with its general and specific purpose.
  • Organize speech so as to achieve its best purpose.
  • Ensure beginning ,body and conclusion reinforce the purpose.
This time too , I prepared speech just little above 5 minutes , so as to finish within 6 minutes.

Google and web resources helped me lot to gather the content for this speech , mainly Steve Pavlina , Zen habits blog.

Here is the draft of the speech.

A One Habit to Change Your Life.

How do you start your day ? Snooze alarm and go back to sleep ? or Jump out of bed and rush to catch overcrowded train ? If people are meant to pop out of bed , they would be sleeping in toaster , but we don’t . we sleep on bed .isn’t it ? Fellow Toastmasters , if this is the way you start your day , this speech is for you. In general this is to pursue you and specific purpose is to encourage you to wake up bit early. So lets see some of the benefits of early rising.

If you are rushing , jumping and popping out of bed , you are triggering your day with stress. Stress doesn’t go away . It builds through out the day . Stress is root cause of many modern day diseases like blood pressure, stroke including killer heart attack. You name a life-style disease ,stress will be related to it. Further stress drops your capacity to work. So the 8 hour work will take more time 10 hours , 12 hours , again you will work late ,go home late , sleep late and wake up late. So vicious cycle continues. Break the cycle ,just by waking up 10 minutes early. Just 10 minutes . There is one more health benefit. You will actually find the time for breakfast - first and most important meal of the day. It will not be quick and rush meal. In fact relaxed breakfast will balance your lunch and dinner too.

Other than healthy life, early rising has other benefits too - like easy commute . you can go to office bit early, and avoid morning rush hour. You will get a place to sit ,at least to stand properly. You can use this time for listening or reading something of your choice. Reaching office early ,before heavy work flow starts - helps to schedule priorities . You can focus on goals on daily basis. See how many times we crib about not having time for friend,family or helping fellow toastmaster ? or nurturing for our own hobby ? For example - I used to squeeze 45 minutes to one hour on my commute .I used to reach office early almost by one hour . And spend this time on study. It helped me to complete my MBA with good grades without any impact on office work. You too can work on your goals. Your boss ,colleagues and friends will be surprised with your productivity. That helps in advancing job and hobbies - and ultimately increased earning too ! so wake up early and get wealthy too.

Last but not least ,there are other benefits. Other than just being healthy and wealthy. You can witness the glory of nature in the morning hours. Have you ever seen how blackness of night fades out and blueness of sky creeps in ? Have you seen the brilliant changing colors of sky ? how about those warm rays wrapping around mount Fuji ? Early morning people are not rushing , cars are not polluting . visit some nearby garden or Koen to see the magic of nature in morning hours. This is the most serene ,calm and poise time of the day. No wonder that artists, mystics and saints thinks this is the best time for contemplation and mediation. The Experience is beyond the words. It is more than intelligence or genius. It is called wisdom, wisdom of life.

That is what Benjamin Franklin said - early to bed and early to rise ,makes man healthy ,wealthy and wise. Toastmasters it is new year time , time to make new resolutions .So make a resolution to wake up early and be healthy ,wealthy and wise.

Friday, 5 March, 2010

"The next management Guru"

Pathways -my Blog - though little more than one year old - it is still do not have any single subject focus as such . Postings also have sometime too big gap between them .... (Doesn't that happens often on all blogs !! ).

I am using my blog as a public journal of my learning and thought process. And I am still learning the tricks of trades about what to blog ,when to blog and how !. I am neither tracking about readership ( How many ? ) nor its development and I wish to keep this in the same way.

Then I feel elevated when Angushman asked me suddenly to contribute on TNMG.

I feel TNMG is a nice effort particularly in the area of Management and Business studies . And being group blog - there is synergy from different areas of management . Readership is also growing . Few of them comment at different places like Facebook ,twitter or on mail. Reader feedback and comments do motivate one to write more. So I hope I will contribute more in the area of Organization Behavior. So watch the place.

I have two posts on TNMG ,
and hope to write more ( what should be the ideal target , post a week ? or post a month ?)