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How many times have you ever participated in 100m or 50m races during your school days? How many times in your life you have dreamed of getting something – may be an admit into a top-notch program, cracking IIT-JEE, CAT, getting a promotion at office or getting the dream girl of your life? I am sure you would have definitely gone through all or some or at-least one of the above circumstances.

Sometimes, we go into our own cocoon and sit inside like a safe baby just like one of my friends, Roshan, always mentions himself. Some others, in fact a lot including me to some extent, say that why to risk so much. But isn’t life is about taking risks. Let me bring a small analogy.

Compare our upbringing to the upbringing of an animal child, such as a bird. We are always around our parents. As we grow, we always tend to come back. When we fall, they comfort us. When we make mistakes, they us. On the other hand, the first thing a bird learns is how to fly. Once she knows how to fly, she is of her own – to explore the world, to fly high into the sky, touch the sun.

Now, one might we also do that but wait, we used to do so as kids, as small children. We used to try to imagine a lion of may be blue color. I remember that as a small kid, I once asked my mother why the sky is blue or the grass is green. She could not answer. The question haunted me so much that I explored a lot of books in my school library till I found my answer. But to find one answer, I had to go through atleast of 30 books in the General Knowledge section. sometimes when I lie down and think about it, I think am I the same Deepak that I used to be.

The bottom line is we try to hide behind lame excuses and go back to sit behind in the pouch of our own Kangaroo. I vow to break my habit this year and I urge all of you to do the same. Fight for your DREAMS and don’t give them up so easily. If you ever wanted to play cricket, go get up, pad up and hot the ground. If you ever dreamed to be a writer, its time to get your pen and finish your book. If you ever wanted to be an actor, go get up and who knows you might be the next Shahrukh Khan. I am going to fight for my dreams and try all means to make it happen. Come and join me and chase your dream with utmost sincerity.

To be honest, I always wanted to be an Entrepreneur. This year I have taken a major step towards it and making a small move this month. With GOD’s grace and if certain other things work out since I am expecting few things to come through soon, I am going to chase my dream with sincerity. No more safe zones, no more lame excuses, MBA or not MBA does not matter – I just want o to live my dreams.

Let me caution you about the people around you. They will try all means to dampen your spirit. But don’t let them win. Its time for us and our dreams to win. As the source article from which this post is inspired, such people are monkeys who have give up their hope of living their dreams. So, don’t get bugged down ans tighten your seat belts. What are waiting?/ Are you ready to GET, SET and GO….. Trigger has been fired

Inspired from article from my favorite, John Maxwell – http://johnmaxwellonleadership.com/2011/01/03/fight-for-your-dreams-in-2011/

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Today, one of my friend, Anjali Gupta, posted a link to an article on twitter. I loved it so much that I could not resist myself from posting the a short note on it here on my blog. I am sure all of us somewhere deep down the line, will feel the same if we sit down to analyze our own life. The scenario is:

At the beginning of the day, faced with an overflowing inbox, a list of messages on your voicemail, and the to-do list from your last meeting, it’s tempting to want to “clear the decks” before you start on your own most important work. By the time you finally settle down to your own work, it could be mid-afternoon, when your energy has dipped and it’s hard to focus on anything properly. “Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better,” you tell yourself. But when tomorrow comes round there’s another pile of emails, phone messages, and to-do list items. If you carry on like this you will spend most of your time on reactive work, responding to incoming demands and answering questions framed by other people.

So sounds familiar? Do you feel the same way what I felt when I read the article? I am sure most of us surely do. Honestly, I have found Internet, mobile phones, emails very annoying sometimes as I prepare myself for my next goal in hand. Forutnately, I have been able to bring these activites a hell lot down in last few months. No more online on gtalk, no more chit-chatting. Trying very hard to concentrate on my goal because that is the biggest priority of my life.

The author cites the only solution to the issue at hand is: begin the day with creative work on my own top priorities.

Some of the key strategies that the author cites to make the change are:

  1. Creative work first, reactive work second.
  2. Tune out distractions.
  3. Make exceptions for VIPs.
  4. Be really efficient at reactive work.

I will, strongly, recommend all of you to go through this article in your free time if you are serious about your life and have a meaningful life.

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Today I delivered my P5 Speech. The original source of the speech is here. I did modify the speech at lot of places to suit my taste. The speech was very well appreciated and I won the “Best Prepared Speaker” for the session.

Is your body dead when you speak, or does your constant motion give your audience headaches?

Does your face signal fear or does it signal excitement for your topic?

Do your hands vibrate, or do they punctuate your words?

The fifth Toastmasters speech project encourages you to make every body movement enhance your speech rather than detract from it.

The project aims at complementing our message with our body during delivery. Specifically, we need to be aware of our:

  • posture,
  • body movement,
  • facial expressions, and
  • eye contact.

If we aren’t aware of our body language, we are missing an incredible opportunity to improve our effectiveness as a speaker. So here goes my speech titled “The Journey“:

One of my friends recently appeared for a driving test in California. After he cleared the test, the officer on duty congratulated him and remarked that he was known for disqualifying Indians in the test. My friend was bewildered and wanted to know the reasons for the same. The officer assured him that he finds most of the Indians concentrating too much on the road. At times, they’re not exactly aware of the fact they can look at places beyond the straight line of traffic. He often finds them not enjoying the journey, but rather going along the traffic.

I, personally, feel that he was right, at least to some extent.

We keep flowing along the traffic, barely realizing where we need to go. I’d go further to say: at times, we’re not even willing to stop for refueling, even when we’re running out of fuel. We fail to realize that our car is not exactly in the best shape and perhaps it seriously requires servicing to cope up with the demands of traffic. Now you may think that I am exaggerating a bit, but actually I’m not.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, it’s the journey of life I’m talking about. Life’s a journey, the mundane tasks that we keep on doing daily are the road, you’re the car and you’re the driver as well. . What I personally feel is that we’re concentrating so much on the road that we’ve forgotten to enjoy the journey or even to try to know where the road is taking us.

Now think of it again:
Are we not just going along the traffic? Most of us picked science, because this is what the toppers opt for. Then picked engineering because this is what Science students go for. Then, opted for Software jobs because this is where the money is. And yeah, many, many of us wrote GRE or CAT because this is what the best of the engineering students do. Just go back and think, at which point you chose your lane yourself? Oh right, some of us actually did, but most of us, just chose to follow them. Flowing along the traffic has become a second nature to us.

Okay, now you followed the herd and are in a lane, which you try to call as your own. Not a problem, as long as you know how to enjoy the journey. Frankly speaking, I don’t, but I’m trying hard for it. But even for those who do feel that they’re enjoying the life to the max, I sometimes feel that the enjoyment has become too mechanical, having a drink or two with people, having a lunch at a mall, watching a movie at a multiplex are typical ideas of enjoying life for most of us. But what we miss in this fast pace of life are the small joys of life. The small joys, when you see a smile on someone’s face and know that a little appreciation from your side is the reason for this. The small joys, which come along when you do something meaningful without expecting anything in return. And if you try for it, the opportunities are plentiful. Try doing something for your alma-mater for instance. You may not yet be in a position to increase the wage of your subordinate substantially, but sometimes just calling them up and saying “Good job, guys” is all you need to do. A pat on the back can do wonders to them and the joy in their voice may be the joy that you may be looking for yourself. In the words of our Munnabhai, Jaadu ki Jhappi dene ka maangta, Maamu!!!

At times, I find myself running out of fuel. But it’s these small joys that provide me the fuel to keep going. Enjoying the journey can be real hard if you don’t take regular time off to refuel yourself.
And well, even if you choose the right lane and get the fuel regularly, our cars do wear out with time. May be you’re no longer happy about the way the car’s doing. It may be time that it needs some servicing or may be a complete overhauling. And what do I mean by that in real life? Simply that, may be your current skills or life-style are not sufficient for you to move forward or to keep you happy. Try to keep learning. Join a music class, start a quiz club, think of learning a foreign language, write a blog or simply participate enthusiastically in the orators sessions with outmost proactiveness. Keep doing something that helps you polish your mind and makes sure that you’re simply vegetating away. Well, I need not tell this to anybody here; everybody sitting here surely realizes the value of maintenance and that is the reason we all are sitting here. But remember, even for the best of the cars, timely and regular service is mandatory.

Dear Toastmasters and Guests, if you’re the car, you’re the driver as well. The journey can be meaningful only if it’s you who’re driving your car to the right path, get the fuel regularly and get it serviced at regular intervals. Wish you all a very Happy, successful and meaningful journey!!!

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Few days back, I received an amazing article over my newsgroup and I could not resist myself sharing it. The fact is we see so many real life experiences pertaining to this situation that it becomes very very difficult to contain orselves against undesirable people and circumstances. In the below article, David cites one incidence of life that transformed his way of thinking and I feel the same applies to each one of us. Personally, I encounter people such as the ones mentioned in the article in my office, in my social gatherings and all around. I, generally, ignore such people completely but it pisses me off when people act very irresponsibly in the volunteer activities.

I was completely influenced by each and every word of David in the article and when I wrote an email seeking permission to publish the content of the below article on my blog, his response was very very humble and encouraging. In fact, we connected each other on a common platform of Software Industry. David is also publishing his book The Law of the Garbage Truck: How to Respond to People Who Dump on You, and How to Stop Dumping on Others, which will be released on October 5.  I am now looking forward to his book eagerly.

So , here goes the article:

How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important in your life.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson. And I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab. Here’s what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, the car skidded, the tires squealed, and at the very last moment our car stopped just one inch from the other car’s back-end.

I couldn’t believe it. But then I couldn’t believe what happened next. The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. How do I know? Ask any New Yorker, some words in New York come with a special face. And he even threw in a one finger salute! I couldn’t believe it!

But then here’s what really blew me away. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, “Why did you just do that!? This guy could have killed us!” And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.” He said: “Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they look for a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you.

So when someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Believe me. You’ll be happier.”
So I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me? And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the street? It was then that I said, “I don’t want their garbage and I’m not going to spread it anymore.”

I began to see Garbage Trucks. Like in the movie “The Sixth Sense,” the little boy said, “I see Dead People.” Well now “I see Garbage Trucks.” I see the load they’re carrying. I see them coming to dump it. And like my taxi driver, I don’t take it personally; I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time was Walter Payton. Every day on the football field, after being tackled, he would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground. He never dwelled on a hit. Payton was ready to make the next play his best. Over the years the best players from around the world in every sport have played this way: Muhammad Ali, Nadia Comaneci, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson, and Pele are just some of those players. And the most inspiring leaders have lived this way: Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King.

See, Roy Baumeister, a psychology researcher from Florida State University, found in his extensive research that you remember bad things more often than good things in your life. You store the bad memories more easily, and you recall them more frequently.

So the odds are against you when a Garbage Truck comes your way. But when you follow The Law of the Garbage Truck, you take back control of
your life. You make room for the good by letting go of the bad.

The best leaders know that they have to be ready for their next meeting. The best sales people know that they have to be ready for their next client. And the best parents know that they have to be ready to greet their children with hugs and kisses, no matter how many garbage trucks they might have faced that day. All of us know that we have to be fully present, and at our best for the people we care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their lives.

What about you? What would happen in your life, starting today, if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here’s my bet: You’ll be happier.
Source: http://davidjpollay.typepad.com/david_j_pollay/lawofthegarbagetruck.html David J. Pollay is the original author of the Law of Garbage Truck.

Hence, don’t allow anyone to dump his/her garbage on you. You can find hell lot of people around always trying to find a truck to dump their garbage. Don’t you remember when your school teacher would have scolded you of no fault of yours. The same situations can very well be observed from parents at home due to office tensions and the vice versa applies equally well. Beware of your own truck and do inspect what you are carrying and loading onto it. Good Luck and have a meaningful and successful life!!!

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Recently, I got an email from one of my friends and it really touched me. This post is going to be a question for all of us out here busy to make our marks in our own way without realizing how we might be affecting others life. I hope you will like the story as much as I did.

A woman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find her 5-year old son waiting for her at the door.

SON: ‘Mummy, may I ask you a question?’

MUM: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the woman.

SON: ‘Mummy, how much do you make an hour?’

MUM: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the woman said angrily.

SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

MUM: ‘If you must know, I make  $20 an hour.’

SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down..

SON: “Mummy, may I please borrow $5?”

The mother was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities. ‘

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door…

The woman sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the woman had calmed down , and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $5 and he really didn’t ask for money very often.The woman went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep, son?’ She asked.
‘No Mummy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy

‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the woman. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $5 you asked for.’

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you Mummy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the mother grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

‘Mummy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow.
I would like to have dinner with you.’

The mother was crushed. She put her arms around her little son, and she begged for his forgiveness.

In short, It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $20 worth of your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

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Yesterday, I gave my first ToastMaster speech – The IceBreaker. The only drawbacks in my speech were the pauses and oscillating around the podium like a pendulum. I hope I will improve on it in my upcoming speeches. My Speech was not original and was tweaked from this post to suit my requirements.

There is a lot of similarity between the two speeches but I prefer not to write my own speeches because even though I am a good orator, which I feel I am, I am not a so good writer.One another reason is the lack of time.  So, people familiar with the above post can ignore reading below unless they want to know a little bit more about me. I hope you like the speech and will incorporate this into your own speeches. During the course of speech, I had to cut down a lot when I saw the first yellow card in the third paragraph of the speech itself but on the whole, I am now researching on the topics and ideas for my speech 2.

Let me tell you all a little bit about The IceBreaker Speech and its goals before taking you through the speech itself:

Ice breaker (or Icebreaker) is a term which describes an activity which reduces tension and anxiety in a group. The Ice Breaker speech has three aims:

  1. Introduce yourself.
    Your ice breaker speech topic is you – something about your life, your job, your hobbies, your unique interests, your family, or any combination of these. You are an absolute authority on this topic, and everyone in the audience will learn something about you.
  2. Begin to conquer the fear of speaking in front of a group.
    It is nervewracking when speaking in front of a new group. If you feel this nervousness, remember that a Toastmaster audience is always supportive and understanding. Nobody is grading you, and nobody will mind if you stumble through 99 “Um”s and “Ah”s. If you get up, say something, and sit down, you have succeeded in this project.
  3. Provide a “base line” of your current strengths and weaknesses.
    Some new members have no public speaking experience, while others have years of presentations behind them. No matter where you fit into this spectrum, your goal is to improve from your starting point. This first speech helps club members gauge your current strengths so that they can make specific recommendations to help you improve.

Hello everyone my name is Deepak and I think life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get… Well almost.  If you’ve watched the movie Forest Gump then you probably recognize the quote.  To be more precise, I think life is like a box of chocolates and it is our job to find the sweetest and tastiest chocolate in the box.  This is a philosophy I live by and today I would like to share how it has shaped my life.

I was born in West Bengal, grew up in 6 states of India – Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharastra. As a child I grew up with an insatiable curiosity and a love for stories.  Naturally I gravitated towards movies, television and video games.  I loved to dream about epic medieval battles between knights and wizards, passionate romances between princes and princesses, and the bold and courageous deeds of superheroes.  I’ve always been interested in stories and adventures, but it wasn’t until I reached high school that I began to understand that it was possible to bridge the gap between reality and my beloved world of dreams.

My story starts with my father, who came from a small remote village to city to pursue his dream of becoming, famous, wealthy and influential; he studied Medical and eventually stumbled upon what we call the world of living GODs.  As a child I remember watching my father constantly working in a government hospital amidst improper infrastructure and support; the only time he wasn’t in the hospital was the time he used to find to play with us, help us with our studies, dining or sleeping. It was his dedication that I never went for tuition ever in my whole life.  Though I didn’t understand my father’s work, I remember how focused he was and how he excited he used to become whenever someone used to ask him about his operations and the new machines he used to get for the hospitals; during middle school he developed the bad habit of forcing my friends to sit down and listen to him talk about his inventions.  My father’s passion was so contagious that during my final year in high school, I decided to work with him on a the devastated areas of Orissa Super Cyclone and that was the first time I understood the power of passion; through his passion for helping my father was able to develop unbelievable relationships with most people; it was his passion for helping in whatever possible way for a better world that gave him the power to turn his ideas into reality.

During those times, I stumbled upon the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous American philosopher and writer who wrote a well-known essay Self Reliance; in it Emerson says: “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.”  His words became the impetus for self discovery and I began to pursue my own interests and passions – Computer Science. There were instances when I had to fight with my father for not taking up medical stream.

Over the years I’ve come to understand myself much better and I’ve also learned a great deal from my mistakes.  Looking back I realize how immature I was in not accepting my father’s wisdom and advice; but at the same time, I understand that I needed to walk my own path even if it meant upsetting my father.  Life truly is a long and bumpy roller coaster ride.  However, it is because of those bumps and turns along the way that I have been able to find my passion in life, which is to develop software for such a great company like Oracle.  There is nothing more important to me than that. The world we live in today is so complex and so full of possibilities that interesting discoveries can be found almost anywhere if we are only bold enough to look.

Though I’ve only lived for 27 years, by following my interests I’ve had the good fortune of stumbling on a number of truly fascinating people in my life: I’ve met a man who changed the picture of India in the world in the field of Information Technology – Mr. Narayana Murthy; I met people in remote villages of my state where forget about the road and basic amenities but in fact, they could barely manage food once in a day; I’ve met a man who was a mafia gang member, got arrested and sentenced for 5 years and then became an entrepreneur and today owning one of the most famous hotel of Bhubaneswar; a lady who devoted her whole life to the well being of the people around – Mother Teresa.

I like to think of life as a treasure hunt in which we are all participants looking for the biggest, brightest and most beautiful treasure of all.  If life is like a box of chocolates, like Forest Gump says, then our duty as treasure hunters is to find the very best piece of chocolate in the box.  The piece I am searching for is a life of interest marked by challenge, success, passion, love, and service.  We are all treasure hunters of life looking each searching for their own unique gem.  Thank you for listening to my story and I wish you all the best of luck on this treasure hunt called life.

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Yes, you heard it right. The D-Day is on Sunday and it has started knocking on  my door. I could hear it tapping at the door. The sound is clear and I am soon going to face the other side of the door for the second time in one year. I know that this time I am better prepared than last time but honestly, I could not yet see the magical figure that everyone sees before opening the door.

SUNDAY is the meeting day. Sunday, 23rd August, is a very auspicious day with Ganesh Chathurthi and as a follower of Lord Ganesha, I have truly submitted myself to HIM. I have done my hard work and I am confident that with a bit of luck, I will be definite;y be able to cross the magical mark across the door and I could see some light in my life across the door. This is very important, especially considering the crucial juncture I am in currently.

So, Om Ganeshaye Namah !!! Be with me my LORD !!! I need you and I seek your blessings and support to remove this darkness from my life.

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