Saturday, September 1, 2012

Where is your lemonade stall?

The short monsoon is over and sun is out again. The sun’s scorching heat leaves us pining for something cool. At such times, what a relief it to come across young little kids with smiling faces, beckoning us to have some lemonade from their stalls.

Lemonade stalls, such a simple and yet an effective way to instill entrepreneurship skills in kids at a young age. There are so many ways in which we can encourage kids to be more responsible at a young age.

My first video game was from the money I earned by selling ice cream at a fair. It was a great experience and taught me big concepts such as inventory, sales, marketing, discounting in simple hands on way.

In our effort to provide our child with the best and give him all the comforts of life, we forget these important lessons that can help your child form a strong foundation. So go on, encourage them to take up a small project.
While there are plenty of ideas to help kids understand the value of money, to instill a sense of creativity in kids and at the same time help them get awarded for their efforts. Here are a few to get you started. How about a little arts and crafts show? Get some kids together over the weekend, help them create small items such as greeting cards, decorative pieces and then have a small exhibition in the house in the evening.

Monday, January 23, 2012

If its in my life... Its my responsibility!

If its in my life, it’s my responsibility. The secret to success is this simple. A recent passion of mine was to understand what makes a legend a legend. How are these special few able to become such inspirations whilst the majority others live lives which appear ordinary at best, and a chore at worst. I wanted to get inside the heads of these marvels and understand what made the difference?

Finally, I know. A single line philosophy can change everything around and it is this: If it’s in my life, it’s my responsibility. The man thrown on the railway platform could have blamed the officer or cried at his bad luck – but he didn’t. Instead, he took responsibility for what happened to him. The result? An ordinary barrister emerged as the Father of the Nation.

She could have wept and questioned God for creating such inequalities as she beheld the sight of extreme poverty outside her school – but she didn’t. Instead, she took responsibility for what she saw. The result? Years after she has died, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity feed millions of people each day.

Too often, I have given in to the temptation of blaming others for what was going wrong in my life. Last year my husband had too many financial responsibilities and we were unable to go for holidays or buy things we needed. Somewhere I began to resent him. However, once this sentence: If it’s in my life, it’s my responsibility came into my life, I realized that if I wanted certain luxuries, I should be able to fund for them. Why depend on him? This simple shift enabled me to begin a lucrative project which is also deeply enriching.

Today I realize that Life unfolded even better plans for me, than I had from my own life. The tough times didn’t last, but the invaluable lessons they taught me, did. No experience was unnecessary. Although I didn’t have the wisdom then, I now know, if it’s in my life, it’s my responsibility. I no longer shun my life, or the inherent responsibilities that come along with it. The result? I feel like I am living a dream.

I don’t leave things to chance or to another person, until I have fulfilled my part of the deal. If my health is not fine, I take control. If my relationship with a friend is not as intimate as I want it to be, instead of waiting for her to call, I take responsibility. Expectations from others or Life has, at least to a small extent, turned over to expectations from self. The best part about this is that the moment I stopped expecting another to give me happiness, love or financial security, and decided it’s my responsibility and worked towards it, with a sleight of hand Life turned the cards in my favour. From the smallest of issues like the coffee not being to my liking to the larger ones like dealing with health issues or struggling with marriage, I remind myself: if it’s in my life, it’s my responsibility. I will do my best and only then life will do the rest. Let’s not turn the equation around and spend our lives in an agonized waiting…

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Which circle is bigger?

Are you ready for a challenge? Look at the drawing below and guess which of the two circles in the centre is bigger? Is it the one on the left? Or perhaps, the one on right? Be sure of your answer and only then read below. Don’t cheat!

When I was asked this question on some quiz site on the internet, I knew they were trying to get me to click the circle on the left. So I decided to outwit them and clicked on the one on the right! (Super smart me, no?) Imagine my surprise when the answer flashed across the screen: “Sorry, you are wrong. Both the circles are the same size!” Skeptic of the first order, I immediately drew out a ruler and measured the two (If you are like me, try it too!) and was stunned to find that indeed both these circles are just the same! Just because one is surrounded by circles smaller than itself and the other by ones bigger than itself, my perception got skewed into believing that one is small and the other is big. This puzzle really got me thinking…

So often in life I had believed that people outside me, and their opinion about me, is more significant than what I think of myself. All through school I believed I couldn’t dance. I loved dancing, I loved losing my body to the rhythm of the music, and yet, I never had the courage to try out for any of the auditions for the lovely annual dance shows in school. I would watch the graceful dancers perform with longing and imagine myself up on stage, but after all, I couldn’t dance. This belief, I identified, came from an experience in the childhood. My cousins and I were having a dance competition and each one of us would dance and the others would give scores. When my turn came, I did my best, and yet my cousins gave me very low marks. Since that day I believed that I couldn’t dance. And I didn’t dance until five years back. People outside me had unknowingly and unintentionally convinced me something about me. All because, like the seemingly small circle on the right, I believed that what others thought of me was the greater truth and what I desired for myself was just wishful thinking.

I wrote a book on breast cancer and for this I met several women across the country to get accounts of their recovery. Some women were able to overcome cancer even in Stage 4 when all doctors had given up on them. Others, whose cancer had been detected in the early stages, had succumbed. I know of at least five women personally, who overcame the disease almost two decades ago, when the doctor had given them just a few months to live. Today they are ‘living’ inspirations. I often thought to myself, what had worked? Love? Family support? Belief? Life Mission? Divine intervention? Or was it a mix of it all? Perhaps it was different for each. However, today I am able to sum up their victory in one line – one thing that was common for all. Each woman who was able to conquer cancer, had faith that she was much bigger and stronger than a few cells gone wrong. It’s that simple. Like the seemingly large circle on the left they believed, whatever may be the problem, it’s much smaller than them. They can handle it. And they did!

It’s only in the last couple of years that I have begun to realize how important it is to realize that no matter what, I need to draw the circle of my life by keeping myself at the center and realize that all the other opinions, relationships and situations are secondary to me. I earlier thought this would make me into a selfish or self centered person, however, in reality it’s quite the opposite. I have been able to, to some extent, allow my positive self beliefs to triumph over people’s negative beliefs (and my own deep rooted negative ones!) about me. I have been able to say no within the relationship and therefore not had to say no to the relationship. And I have realized that no matter what situation one is in: combating a disease or handling a divorce, grieving over the death of a loved one or trying to overcome financial debts – they will be able to overcome it provided they believe they are bigger than the problems in their lives. For me, this realization has been groundbreaking. For the first time, I have been able to gift myself the most precious present of all: a self esteem which is becoming healthier each day. So, which circle defines you at the moment?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dont agonize over getting it right!

WoW brings you tips that will help you not just improve your writing but also your lives... Simple steps make all the difference! :)

Dont agonize over getting it right!

WoW writing...
Haven't we all been there… Writing something and then revising it and editing, then again revising and editing, revising and editing. Hardly is the case that we are satisfied with what we have written at the very first go. But don’t agonize over getting it right! Let your work be for a while, a few days if need be, forget all about it and then come back to it fresh. If you know there are problems with your work which you cant seem to fix, try getting it read from a friend or colleague, they might be able to offer valuable feedback! The more you dwell over something that’s not working right, the more you will think around those lines and will not be able to break the shackles to get a fresh perspective.

WoW life...
You ask for apples and life throws lemons at you. Not everything in life will work out the way you expected it to, but that’s just life! Don’t agonize over getting it right, getting it the way you had planned. We need to have faith and believe that whatever happens, happens for the best. If you are having problems in your relationships, be it at home or with friends, give it time, look away for some time. Then when you revisit, you might see the situation in a completely different light and might be able to deal with it better. Don’t obsess with working things out that very minute!

Try it, wow your self!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sacred self

She has been with me since the day I was born. I have often hated her, blamed her, burdened her with guilt and done all sorts of things I never should have, but did. And yet, she remained. With me, within me. Yes, I am speaking of the ‘self’, that lives with us from the day that we are born to the day we die.

So often, I have treated myself in a way that I would never imagine treating another. If a little child is scared of something, will you take the child and scream and shout at it or will you lovingly hold the child, tell it ‘it’s okay’ and comfort it? We all have a scared inner child who is afraid of the unknown, afraid of the numerous rides life puts it through. I have one too. And I have hated myself, been so harsh on myself just because at times I get scared. I have got frustrated with myself. Furious even. I have internally screamed at myself and today when I think of all the harsh things I have said to myself, tears flow down my cheeks. It’s okay. To be scared. And to admit that I am scared. When one is scared, they need comforting, not yelling… and so too with ourselves.

When someone fails, what do you do? Inspire them to do better next time? Motivate them for another try? And yet when we ourselves fail, we subject ourselves to such a beating. We curse ourselves, believe we are good for nothing and think that we can never do anything right. It’s okay. To make mistakes. To fail. When it’s okay for others, why is it not so for you? Who has achieved anything great in life before first getting a taste of failure? Let’s love ourselves when we succeed, and yes, when we fail. In fact, when we fail, we need it the most.

I can give to others, only what I have. If I have mangoes, I will be able to give mangoes. If I have oranges, oranges is what I will give. If I hate myself, the very person who matters the most, hatred is what I will give out. If I resent myself, resentment is what I will exude all across. If I am insecure, insecurity if what I will pass on. But if I love myself, if I learn to accept myself irrespective of my numerous weaknesses, if I love myself unconditionally, it is this pure love that I will give to anyone who comes in contact with me.

I have so much time for my work, for my colleagues, for my family and friends, but how much time do I spend each day with my sacred self? How often do we detach ourselves from all our roles – being a mother, being a son, being a teacher and just experience ourselves as the pure selves that we actually are. There is nothing selfish in loving ourselves. Nothing self centered about it. Close your eyes right now as you finish reading this article. Tell yourself a sincere, “I Love you”. We all need love. Each one us needs acceptance. From others, but even more, from ourselves.

 Megha Bajaj

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Be positive.. Not Negative!

WoW brings you tips that will help you not just improve your writing but also your lives... Simple steps make all the difference! :)

Be positive, not negative!
WoW Writing...
The power of positivity can never be underestimated, so how do you bring about this positivity in writing? Try saying what something is, rather than what it isn't. Focusing on the negative leads your mind towards it and emphasizes the negativity. If I told you a particular brand is inexpensive,  your mind will still automatically focus on the "expensive" in "inexpensive". A better way to put it would be to say - this brand is quite economical!
If you want to say "writing is not difficult" try saying "writing is relatively simple". Similarly, if you want to say that "this process is error-free" , you can express it positively by saying that "the process is consistent"!
Conscious effort for a few days will lead to a positive change in your writing.

WoW Life!
Day in and day out people talk about the importance of positivity. Positive attitude brings about more positivity to your life whereas thinking negatively attracts unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Lost your job? Be positive and reflect on the many doors that this situation opens - spending more time with family, focusing on doing what you really want to do. Didn’t get something that you really wanted? Maybe there's something better in store for you!
Every cloud has a silver lining to it, look for your silver lining and keep shining. You need not be the cheeriest person in the world, but simple efforts will lead to profound changes in your life.
Wonder of Words

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Simplifly... Simply FLY

Who says that time cannot be turned? Look at me, I have taken the wheel of hours in my hand and gently tipped it backwards. It moves slowly, gracefully, round and round- anti- clockwise.

I became eight years old once again. It happened a few months ago. I chanced upon an old copy of my favorite fairy tales book. I read of Cinderella, I became Snow White, I danced with Thumbelina, went through adventures of Hansel and Gretel and felt like I am in heaven once again. The beauty of fairy tales and almost all other ‘kiddy’ books that one reads is in its simplicity. No, not just of language but of the thought. I realized that all the characters in fairy tales go through their share of mishaps and challenges but they remain absolutely untouched by them. The characters remain good. They remain beautiful. They remain simple. Little wonder, all of them in time, live happily ever after. I loved every page of every fairy tale because I knew, I had complete faith that ultimately it would all end happily. As I stared out of my balcony that night, in to wonderland, or so it seemed since I had just completed the entire book I realized..

Everything in life had become such a big deal. Taking a string of relationship, another of health, one of profession and yet another of positive thinking I had knotted all of them around me so tightly that without realizing I had strangled and tangled my spirit. Having a beautiful relationship and sustaining it seemed impossible. Feeling healthy, pain free and blithe again seemed hard. I loved my work as a writer but often doubts and fears clouded the dreams. Over the years I had complicated my life so much. And yes, I had done it. No one else. As I gazed at the stars I realized about ninety percent of my problems were self created. Beautiful relationships seemed impossible because my relationship with myself was not all right. I was constantly judging myself. Constantly wondering if I was all right? The only consolation was that most people around me seem to be doing the same. Indeed, if you just look around you will realize half of people’s lives get wasted in questioning themselves. I realized a simple solution to this would be to love myself. Yes, I would strive to become better each day… that makes life exciting but at the same time I will constantly remind myself that I am one of God’s most beautiful and precious creations. The minute I start thinking like this, a lot of self doubts and question marks clouding over would disappear.

I desire health. Yes. Do I deserve health? No. I realized my sleeping times were irregular; I ate almost everything I could lay my hands upon and exercised my mind much more than my body. I wanted to feel vibrant, I wanted to feel energetic. That night I realized that all I need to do is give my body the little attention it deserves. And the way to health can actually be fun. Eating healthy and fresh food, regular walks and sleeping times. It’s so simple. Health became an issue only because I made it one- but by taking simple, progressive steps towards my body so much can be achieved. ‘It’s not so simple okay…’ your mind may start thinking. Look at all the healthy people around you and you will know it actually is that simple.

Doubts. Depression. Dullness. Dread. The four deadly D’s in my life. I found a very simple solution to these, meditation. By beginning and ending my days with concentrating on my breathing and introspecting all these four, and much more, could be taken care of. Clarity shoved doubts away. Cheerfulness occupied the space of depression. Energetic enthusiasm became a part of who I am and fear is gradually being replaced by faith. There is so much meditation can do and yet for years I resisted sitting still and silent for just a few minutes in a day. The solution was so simple that I was unwilling to accept this could be the answer to all my woes- but well, life is actually so simple. I only complicated it because I could not accept that it was actually so simple. Somewhere I had heard that life was tough, life was a challenge, life was a struggle and I made that my reality. The illusions shattered and today I know life is only a series of experiences… to make them appear simple or complicated is the function of the mind.

K.I.S.S. , KEEP IT SIMPLE, SWEETHEART, has become the new philosophy that I abide by.

Megha Bajaj