Being Happy

Being happy is something that everyone looks for consciously or unconsciously. But happiness is nothing to found in the outside world, it is something that only you can really deal with. Here are a few traits of a human being that influence his/her happiness.


Happiness=Satisfaction 
I believe that happy people are always happy. They find a way to be happy. Actually, they have to find a way to be sad. That’s just their nature. No matter how much their life plays around with them, in an effort to make them upset or go through tough times, the optimistic are always happy. They believe that life has something in store for them.
On the other hand, sad people always find a way to be sad. Even if life gives them roses they sit with them and cry over the fact that they didn’t get lilies. They tend to expect more than what they get.  
That’s probably why kids who have been spoilt by their parents in their initial years have such a problem being happy. They are so used to being pleased and pampered by their parents that their demands become unexpectedly high, making it tough for them to be satisfied with what they get.
Research proves that being happy=satisfaction with what you have. It refers to how people who are happy do not obsess themselves with what they COULD HAVE. Rather it’s the unhappy people who do.
A study found that the Scandinavians are the happiest people in the world. Why? They spend a majority of their time in darkness, and freezing temperature. They can sit around thinking about how they could have been living in better weather conditions and end up convincing themselves that all that goes wrong is due to the terrible weather conditions. But yet they are happy. Isn’t that amazing? The reason behind their happiness is that they are satisfied with what they have.



Money=UNhappiness
While writing this I figured that if satisfaction leads to happiness, then money must be one of the keys to UNhappiness, for the reason that money makes most people greedy. As they get more, they want even more. No wonder they say “Money cannot buy happiness”!


Happiness is Contagious
When you smile, the world smiles with you. Happiness is contagious.When you are in an atmosphere where people are always laughing and enjoying life to the fullest, you automatically start to live life there way. The same happens when you are surrounded by unhappy people. As Oscar Wilde said “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”That is why it is believed that smiling at a stranger can make not only his day, but also a lot of other people’s because chances are that he too will smile at another stranger the very same day!



Being Happy, and not knowing it!
Most people who are happy do not know it. They fail to acknowledge the small instances of happiness that are experienced in day to day life, like smiling at a stranger, making a new friend, going for a movie with your best friends, etc. They expect happiness to come with success or money or what not.
I came across this website called http://www.1000awesomethings.com which talks about small pleasures of life such as those which I just mentioned.

Of course there a bunch of other things that influence happiness such as success and relationships, but they really can’t mess with you if you are one of an optimistic nature. 
Abraham Lincoln once said “A person will be just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
So keep the smiles coming all day long!

Keeping your neurons busy!

Today I tried the most interesting thing. I tried using my left hand in everything I do, instead of my right.  My parent’s yoga teacher told me a few years back that using the right or the left hand doesn’t come from birth. It’s about the practice and the balance of the mind i.e. if you use your left hand more, you automatically become left handed, and if you use your right hand more you become right handed.
But wanting to be a left hander is not the reason I tried this. It turns out that doing things differently ends up sharpening your brain.
During our vacation in Orlando, I learnt that brain power is one source of energy that in inexhaustible. (unlike fuel, etc) The other day my uncle told me about how one uses only 5% of the brain. And the person who used 10% is the one we call a genius. But that turned out to be a myth. (according to sources of the internet.) They claim that going by the myth, injury of certain parts of the brain (i.e. the unused ones) should not affect you in any way since they are not used.
Then a few days later, I came across this website which talked about how to increase your brain power and how to use your brain to the full capacity. It had a couple of ways to do that, like brushing with your left hand, or taking another route to work , or doing a lot of brain puzzles, and using different kind of keypads to type.
Today, I tried brushing with y left hand, and it was harder than I thought it would be. I was telling my aunt who visited today that she should try doing the same. Nodding her head she said “Neurobics”. I had no idea what that was, but she told me. She said it was Neuron’s Aerobics. Exercising the brain.
My theory is that by using your left hand to do certain things, you aren’t actually using the same part of your brain more, but you are using another part of the brain.  You may know that the left part of the brain which is more analytical controls the right part of your body (arms lgs, etc) and the right part of your brain which enhances creativity,  controls the left part of your body. So by using your left hand to do things that you would otherwise use your right hand for, you are sharpening the right side of the brain, which happens to be the creative one.
But then that implies that left handed beings are more creative and less analytical than the right handed ones. That actually may be true. But then what is not true is that all right handed people are analytical. I happen to know barely any left handed people and yet I know people who are extremely creative.
My aunt said that by doing things differently (taking different routes, using your left hand) you are challenging the brain. The brain catches the smallest of change. Even if you start using a ball point pen after having used a pencil for quite some time, you are exercising the brain.
Well in that case by using different kinds of writing material everyday , the brain can get a hell lot of exercise. Another way to exercise the brain is to supposedly take a shower with your eyes closed. I’m guessing this helps exercise the brain since you have to force your brain to remember where things are. Having a shower is such a regular part of everyone’s routine, that people do it mechanically without thinking. So by closing your eyes your eliminating the unconsciousness in the actions of reaching out for the soap or turning the shower knob, and forcing your brain to think and remember where those things are.
Another great way to increase brain power is to continuously write one page on a word document (or any other software for that matter) without stopping to think or correct spelling and grammar errors. This enables you to think fast. I tried this, but it takes a lot of practice to be able to do that. To not stop at all, I mean. It is easy to go half a page without having to put extreme pressure on your brain. But when you get half way through the page, you run out of sane things to write about. So the first time you try that, your second half of the page is just a recurrence of the first half in different words .
I once read a book called “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time”. Randomest book ever.  It was about a troubled boy who decides to investigate the murder of a dog in the neighborhood. While on his little mission, he discovers a bunch of secrets about his own life that was well kept with his divorced mom and dad. Now this book is written from the point of view of the boy. So he writes whatever he is thinking about with a good amount of details. In random parts of the book when he’s bored or he wants to avoid thinking about something that is worrying him, he starts squaring number in his heads. (2X2=4X2=8X2=16 and so on.) Way to keep your brain busy!
Working on your vocabulary is another way. So is picking up a random object and thinking of multiple things it could be used as. For eg, pick up a pencil, and then think of a 100 things that the pencil can be used as.
Your brain is the controller of your body. Spending time on keeping it sharp is one of the most productive things you’ll ever do.
Not using it actually ends up making it blunter and less intelligent than before!
So keep the neurons busy!

Irony:The Arab Spring

The other day I sat at home, thinking about the Arab Spring. And I realized the kind of irony (and also courage) involved.

I say courage because the Arabs seem to have overcome the fear of bullets. We see a pattern each time. The people revolt. The ruler freaks out. Orders the army to save the day. Army comes and shoots a few. Crowds Disperse. But after one week, they’re back. Back and fully alive! Growing bigger and bigger in number.
It seems to me, that they don’t care to live if living means being oppressed and having to feel threatened by arms and ammunition everyday

What is surprising is, is that the army doesn’t realize what it’s doing. It (the army) just doesn’t realize that they are among those being oppressed by the rulers and if they decide to side with the people, they become responsible for a free and happier nation! That is one feeling that is hard to bear. Isn’t it?

Another thing is, is that the rulers have a huge advantage i.e.. of being rulers of conservative countries where a large part of the country may not want modernization to take place, not that it surely will if a government is formed, it’s just that their mindset makes them think so. Guarding their culture is important to them. But yet, we see all kinds of people on our TV screens protesting on the streets.

The rulers on the other hand fail to see the kind of consequences that they will suffer whether they are thrown off or not. If they are thrown off, then their fate rests with the will of the country. If not, then they live a life disturbed by regular uprisings and unstability in the country, which in turn leads to fall of the economy and pressure (which subsequently leads to isolation) from the outside world.
The longer they try to stay in power, the more they are messing with any luck they may have in the future. 

These Arab people have all the moral support of the world, and also the empathy of countries who have gone through struggles against oppression.
Here’s hoping to seeing them join emerge from their bad times soon!

Say YES to MESS


Cluttered Desks, reckless shelves, drawers which look like dustbins..
Shouting parents, maids in a futile attempt to clean your room, sleeping on one side of the  bed with books shoved to the other side..familiar?
Face it we’re too messy, Our desks and dining room tables are piled with things; our  cupboards are bursting with clothes and old things. And with the ethical system telling us to be neat and clean and organized, we feel really bad about being messy.
We feel the need to straighten that mess to distinguish ourselves from animals, or so that other people don’t think of us as animals, whatever the reason may be!

But then again, consider this: 

1.      Humans, like Garfield are messy by nature. They aren’t robots programmed to put things where they found them. Tell me one thing, when you come home from school or work, how many of you actually go and put your bags neatly inside a cupboard or on a table? I’m guessing most of you just dump it the first place you see and then go hunting for it the next morning, My point is that since it comes so naturally to us, we really shouldn’t try to battle such strong and powerful forces of nature.




2.      Being organized is time consuming. Don’t your parents constantly tell you not to waste time? Well, what is the point of tidying up your room, when its likely to be in the same condition in another few hours? Now isn’t THAT a waste of time? Would you believe that people who keep their desks very neat spend an average of 36 percent more time looking for things than people who keep a fairly messy desk?




3.      Neat people are humourless and inflexible prigs.They’re people who seem to have nothing better to do than to spend more time organizing their things than actually using them! On the other hand, messy people signify happiness and contentment and aren’t so crazily obsesses with keeping things in order all the time.


4.      Messy people are more artistic, not that they see the mess on their table and say “oh what a beautiful painting this would make” But they generally have a more artistic sense than people who are neat and organized and prefer having things in order.
5.      Albert Einstein said “If a cluttered desk signifies a cluttered mind, what does an empty mind signify?” Albert Einstein
      wasn’t exactly the neatest person in the world either. This is a picture of his desk
       at Princeton. This just proves that genius=messiness. Now if Einstein, a genius who probably worked more in a 
       day than any of us have worked in our entire lives, could find all his crazy scientific formulas in such a mess, I’m sure our mess is worth keeping. Sure we have more formulas these days than Einstein did in his days, but still!
6.      Did you know that a book has been written called the perfect mess. Even the New York Times had published an article about it. 
       You know how hard it is to get books published these days. And the New York times featured it!  We must give it SOME credit and respect.
So look at the facts. There is no point trying to fight against nature. They are less time consuming. Messiness is a sign of a contented and an artistic mind. Einstein was messy. New York Times published a book on how mess is good.
So tell your parents/spouses to stop feeling bad, there are more urgent things to worry about. For instance, the end of the world in 2012, extinction of the polar bear and global warming. 
Now it is up to you to decide whether you want to clean up your rooms and tables or just remember what I said and say YES TO MESS!

The Power of One

Wael Ghonim led two lives. He spent his mornings at the office of google as the marketing head, and he spent his nights on facebook.

Dear readers, like us he did spend his time on facebook. But unlike us he did not while away his time by checking out people’s pictures, commenting on friend’s status and chatting. His facebook hours were devoted to making Egypt a free and fair democracy!

Let me warn you, the first time I heard this story, I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that one ordinary man could alone trigger something so incredible. Today I am going to share with you two life changing stories

For those of you who don’t know there was a recent uprising in Egypt which led to the overthrowing of President Mubarak, a pressing and unfair dictator.
Now when you think of protests and uprisings you think of activist giving speeches, putting up posters, gaining public support. But when you think of THIS protest, you think of an anonymous, invisible leader, one who doesn’t care for power, but cares for freedom for his country.

Wael Ghonim organized the revolution on facebook. He created a facebook page in the name of a late popular Egyptian leader. As people went on liking the page, he gained support. He managed to get 60,000 people to like the page.  Any status update that he put up on the page, would appear on his supporters home page. He used it to organize events and reach out to a wide range of people. That is how he organized the protest at Tahrir Square which led to the overthrowing of Mubarak.

As soon as the Egyptian authorities realized that a movement was underway, they tried to sabotage it. Now normally, these people would have caught hold of the activists, put them in jail and open fire on the crowd. But here, there was no activist who was leading the movement, and alas, the troops were on the side of the public. So here’s what they did– they cut off the internet and phone connections in an attempt to halt communication. Infact, when the authorities found out that he was behind this movement, they secretly detained him for 11 days. But despite all that, the message had reached the public and the protest happened with a 50,000 strong crowd.
What followed was a free country. This man alone changed the scenario of Egypt’s political system. Not only that but he managed to awaken Middle eastern world! Inspired by Egypt, there were uprisings in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, etc
Now if he could use facebook to bring change why cant the rest?

——

Now coming to India..Narayan Krishnan is another such man who resides in the town of Madurai.
Narayan Krishnan, an award winning chef of a five star hotel in Mumbai was offered an elite job in Switzerland. Before going to Europe he decided to make a quick visit to his hometown, Madurai. Well, it turned out that the trip would be much longer than he intended it to be.
He saw an extremely old man eating his own waste. He was dying of acute hunger. Narayanan got him some food and that old man’s eyes filled with tears of happiness as he gobbled it down. So Narayanan Krishnan immediately decided that he would feed the poor and the homeless for the rest of his life.

He started in 2002. He feeds breakfast, lunch and dinner to the people who live and die on the streets, to elderly people and to those who are mentally ill. Has fed over 1.6 million meals since 2002. He feeds about 450 people everyday in Madurai. He went on to found  trust called the akshaya trust. Apart from feeding the underprivileged, he gives them shaves and haircuts with the aim of restoring their dignity and is also in the process of constructing a home for all these people.


This one man changed the life of so many just by caring for those who are uncared for.

Such is the Power of One.

If Wael Ghonim could change the Arab World and Narayanan could go from feeding highly paying elites to helpless roadside dwellers, why cant we? They didn’t have a huge amount of money or a powerful father!

One tree starts a forest, 
One smile begins a friendship, 
One candle destroys the darkness, 
One star can lead a ship. 
One life can make the difference, 

..and that one is YOU







Do schools kill creativity?

A girl was drawing a picture of god. People around her said “No one knows what god looks like.” And she said “They would in a minute”.
Kids will take a chance. They will not worry about being wrong. They will take a risk. The same is unfortunately not true about adults.
If you are not prepared to be wrong you wont come with anything
original. By the time they get to be adults they have lost that capacity. They are frightened of being wrong.
Schools are run in a way where mistakes are the worst things that can happen. We are educating people out of their creative capacity.
Picasso said “ All children are born artists.” We don’t grow into creativity but we grow out of it, or rather get educated out of it.
Do you know where Shakespeare was born? He was born in stratford. Can you imagine of Shakespeare as a child? Being 7 and going to school? He must have been 7 sometime and been in someone’s English class.
How annoying would it have been? Checking all of his English assignments and telling him to work harder on his English. Can you imagine his mom telling him “Go to bed now and put the pencil down. and stop speaking like that. Its confusing everybody.”
If this had been the case Shakespeare wouldn’t have been what he is today. People wouldn’t know him like they do.
Same hierarchy of subjects everywhere. At the top is maths and languages, then humanities and then the arts.
Maths is very important but so is dance. After all, we do have bodies, don’t we?
The main output of education is to produce university professors who typically live in their heads. They look upon their body as a form of transport for their heads.
There was no such education system before the 19th century. They all came into being to meet the needs of the green revolution.
You’re always told not to do what you like. Don’t do art, don’t do music. You’ll never get a job like this.
Highly talented, brilliant and creative people think they are not capable because of the bad system of university entrance. Anybody not good at school was never valued and stigmatized. In the next 30 years according to UNESCO more people will be graduating through university than since the beginning of history. Degrees aren’t worth anything. Isn’t that true? Earlier if a student had a degree he had a job and if he didn’t have a job it was because he didn’t want one.
Now you need a PhD where you needed an MA and you now need an MA where you needed a BA degree. This is because of academic inflation. My father once met a person who had done his BA. Can you guess what job he was doing? He is one of the security guards in our colony.
We know three things about intelligence:
1. It is diverse-visually, in sound
2. It is dynamic- wonderfully interactive creativity is a process of having original ideas which have values
3. It is distinct.

But the current education system
1. enforces rules upon us and instructs us to do things in a specific manner
2. focuses on all kinds of subjects, not allowing professionals in the country to be experts in their domain.
3. enables the majority of the population, who by the way do not want to become lawyers or doctors to waste their time and kill creativity.
4. doesn’t allow our schools to be flexible. They have very limited co-curricular activities.

The 20th century saw the rule of the left brained-the analyzers. But with the 21st century comes the renaissance of the right brained people.

LET THE CREATIVITY RULE!


Source: Ted Talk by Ken Robinson