- The fingerprints of Koala and Humans are very much similar so much so that they were confused with human prints at a crime scene.
- You cannot hum by closing your nose. You tried it didn’t you ?
- The mother of irony: The inventor of fire hydrant is not known because patents filed were burnt in a building which caught fire. However, the invention is credited to Frederick Graff Sr, there is no further evidence indicating that Graff was the first person to develop the fire hydrants.
- Horse is the only animal that cannot vomit.
- Earth is the only planet which is not named after a Greek or Roman god or goddess. No one knows who named The earth.
- Kiribati is the only country in the world which is on all 4 hemispheres.
- Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. Whereas Sahara is the largest sand desert in the world. The word Sahara itself means desert in Arabic. Atacama is the driest desert in the world.
- Uncopyrightable is the longest word in English without any repetition of letters.
- Leap years as we all know are the years that are divisible by 4. So is the year 1900 a leap year? Most of you said “yes” because it is divisible by 4. But it is not, centennial years must be divisible by 400 to acquire the tag of leap year. So the years 1600, 2000 are leap years and the years 1700, 1800, 1900 are not leap years. This is primarily done to adjust the gregorian calendar which we use to align with earth’s revolution around sun.
- A pinch of irony Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.
I am 11 year old mother… Oh please don’t misunderstand!! It simply means I am mother of 11 year old kid.. For that matter mother of a naughty and very very inquisitive kid. Today I am going to share with you this journey of question answer sessions, how to answer simple questions for perfectly taken for granted things, mother’s dimemma and of course mother son “we time”
My journey of story telling began when my son started speaking and started asking me questions. Initially his questions were limited to “what is this?” Or “what is that?” Being from a genre of modern mothers who believe that one should not kill the curiosity of the kid I tried to answer as many questions as possible.
My son would point at perfectly ordinary things and demand a story about them. He never liked typical stories meant for toddlers. Probably he was not able to correlate with them. Today I would share with you few of such mother- toddler stories and question-answer sessions.
Once while we were traveling by car he demanded, “Mamma please tell me story of this flyover” What the heck?? Story of a flyover?? Poor Mamma gathered her wits started narrating: The way which takes us from one place to another place is called as road. The road above road is called as flyover. The road below this road is called as subway. We use flyover and subway for…..The story went on.. Most importantly he seemed satisfied.
Once we went on our building terrace for cool air.. Again my 2.5- 3 year old question bank opened his mouth “Mamma tell me story of this water tank” My little one was pointing towards overhead water tank. Hmm.. Story?? That of a water tank??… I made a brave attempt…
Me: Ok tell me how do we get water??
Little one: by tanker (we were getting water supply by tankers for couple of months due to some problem)
Me: Great!! Do you know we do have one underground tank near society entrance??
Little one: Yessss
Me: The underground tank is filled with tanker water.
Little one: Then how it comes in this overhead tank??
Me: With the help of motor pump.
Little one: Then what happens??
Me: You see all these pipelines?? These pipelines carry water to taps in our kitchen and our bathroom. Now you tell me what do we do with this water??
Little one; Drink water
Me: Good!! And??
Little one: We bath…
Me: Correct!! We clean utensils and clothes, we water the plants….
I was feeling totally lost while telling this story but my my toddler’s eyes were gleaming with fascination.
Slowly we all mastered the art of story telling.. Many such stories were created about chairs, tables, trains, cars, crains. These stories centered around the what are these objects made up off, their utility, mode of operation etc.
Do you also get baffled as a parent when our little ones ask questions about perfectly ordinary things?? Can you also correlate with such unstoppable question banks?? I would love to hear about your experiences. Stay tuned for many more such stories, awkward questions and parenting experiences.
Below is the summary of Karma Yoga. The book is written based on lectures the Swami delivered in his rented rooms at 228 W 39th Street in December 1895 and January 1896. The classes were free of charge. Generally, the Swami held two classes daily- morning and evening. I hope this summary will help you understand about Swami Vivekananda.
- Watch a man do his most common actions; those are indeed the things which will tell you the real character of a great man.
- Great occasions rouse even the lowest of human beings to some kind of greatness, but he alone is the really great man whose character is great always, the same wherever he be.
- A fool may buy all the books in the world, and they will be in his library; but he will be able to read only those that he deserves to; and this deserving is produced by Karma
- The power is inside every man, so is knowing; the different works are like blows to bring them out, to cause these giants to wake up.
- Unselfishness is more paying, only people have not the patience to practice it.
- A carriage with four horses may rush down a hill unrestrained, or the coachman may curb the horses. Which is the greater manifestation of power, to let them go or to hold them?
- Even a fool may rule the whole world if he works and waits. Let him wait a few years, restrain that foolish idea of governing; and when that idea is wholly gone, he will be a power in the world.
- “To work we have the right, but not to the fruits thereof.” Leave the fruits alone. Why care for results? If you wish to help a man, never think what that man’s attitude should be towards you. If you want to do a great or a good work, do not trouble to think what the result will be. The ideal man is he who, in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude, finds the intensest activity, and in the midst of the intensest activity finds the silence and solitude of the desert. He has learnt the secret of restraint, he has controlled himself. He goes through the streets of a big city with all its traffic, and his mind is as calm as if he were in a cave, where not a sound could reach him; and he is intensely working all the time. That is the ideal of Karma- Yoga, and if you have attained to that you have really learnt the secret of work.
- But we have to begin from the beginning, to take up the works as they come to us and slowly make ourselves more unselfish every day. We must do the work and find out the motive power that prompts us; and, almost without exception, in the first years, we shall find that our motives are always selfish; but gradually this selfishness will melt by persistence, till at last will come the time when we shall be able to do really unselfish work. We may all hope that someday or other, as we struggle through the paths of life, there will come a time when we shall become perfectly unselfish; and the moment we attain to that, all our powers will be concentrated, and the knowledge which is ours will be manifest.
- The extreme positive and the extreme negative are always similar.
- I once met a man in my country whom I had known before as a very stupid, dull person, who knew nothing and had not the desire to know anything and was living the life of a brute. He asked me what he should do to know God, how he was to get free. “Can you tell a lie?” I asked him. “No,” he replied. “Then you must learn to do so. It is better to tell a lie than to be a brute, or a log of wood. You are inactive; you have not certainly reached the highest state, which is beyond all actions, calm and serene; you are too dull even to do something wicked.” That was an extreme case, of course, and I was joking with him; but what I meant was that a man must be active in order to pass through activity to perfect calmness.
- Inactivity should be avoided by all means. Activity always means resistance. Resist all evils, mental and physical; and when you have succeeded in resisting, then will calmness come. It is very easy to say, “Hate nobody, resist not evil,” but we know what that kind of thing generally means in practice. When the eyes of society are turned towards us, we may make a show of nonresistance, but in our hearts it is canker all the time. We feel the utter want of the calm of non-resistance; we feel that it would be better for us to resist. If you desire wealth, and know at the same time that the whole world regards him who aims at wealth as a very wicked man, you, perhaps, will not dare to plunge into the struggle for wealth, yet your mind will be running day and night after money. This is hypocrisy and will serve no purpose. Plunge into the world, and then, after a time, when you have suffered and enjoyed all that is in it, will renunciation come; then will calmness come. So fulfil your desire for power and everything else, and after you have fulfilled the desire, will come the time when you will know that they are all very little things; but until you have fulfilled this desire, until you have passed through that activity, it is impossible for you to come to the state of calmness, serenity, and self-surrender. These ideas of serenity and renunciation have been preached for thousands of years; everybody has heard of them from childhood, and yet we see very few in the world who have really reached that stage. I do not know if I have seen twenty persons in my life who are really calm and non-resisting, and I have travelled over half the world.
- It is the most difficult thing in this world to work and not care for the result, to help a man and never think that he ought to be grateful, to do some good work and at the same time never look to see whether it brings you name or fame, or nothing at all.
- A householder who does not struggle to get wealth is immoral. If he is lazy and content to lead an idle life, he is immoral, because upon him depend hundreds. If he gets riches, hundreds of others will be thereby supported.
- One idea comes out of all this–the condemnation of all weakness. This is a particular idea in all our teachings which I like, either in philosophy, or in religion, or in work. 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
- A spiritually strong and sound man will be strong in every other respect, if he so wishes. Until there is spiritual strength in man even physical needs cannot be well satisfied.
- Ignorance is death, knowledge is life
- What I am just at this moment is the effect of the sum total of all the impressions of my past life. This is really what is meant by character; each man’s character is determined by the sum total of these impressions.
- If a man continuously hears bad words, thinks bad thoughts, does bad actions, his mind will be full of bad impressions; and they will influence his thought and work without his being conscious of the fact
- Work, but let not the action or the thought produce a deep impression on the mind. Let the ripples come and go, let huge actions proceed from the muscles and the brain, but let them not make any deep impression on the soul.
- The whole of nature is for the soul, not the soul for nature.”
- Work through freedom! Work through love!
- Do you ask anything from your children in return for what you have given them? It is your duty to work for them, and there the matter ends. In whatever you do for a particular person, a city, or a state, assume the same attitude towards it as you have towards your children–expect nothing in return. If you can invariably take the position of a giver, in which everything given by you is a free offering to the world, without any thought of return, then will your work bring you no attachment. Attachment comes only where we expect a return.
- Be cheated millions of times and never ask a question, and never think of what you are doing.
- When we begin to work earnestly in the world, nature gives us blows right and left and soon enables us to find out our position. No man can long occupy satisfactorily a position for which he is not fit. There is no use in grumbling against nature’s adjustment. He who does the lower work is not therefore a lower man. No man is to be judged by the mere nature of his duties, but all should be judged by the manner and the spirit in which they perform them.
- Let the end and the means be joined into one.
- According to Karma-Yoga, the action one has done cannot be destroyed until it has borne its fruit; no power in nature can stop it from yielding its results.
- If we give up our attachment to this little universe of the senses or of the mind, we shall be free immediately. The only way to come out of bondage is to go beyond the limitations of law, to go beyond causation.
This is just the summary of his speeches. I request you to read the book to give you some idea about Swamiji’s philosophy and hopefully you will understand who he really was and not go by what we see or hear on the internet and from few people who project Swamiji differently.
As a software consultant and a project manager I worked with multiple companies on various small, medium and large engagements. This article is about the 10 things we as IT decision makers sometimes don’t follow. It is my perspective that by not following these 10 things, IT projects become complex, made complex or are done for no valid reason. By IT decision maker I mean everyone from the top management to project/program/product managers to architects and development leads.
1. Think before you start a new software project:
If your company, your business unit or your team think that they need to customize or build a completely new software then before starting the project think about following questions.
- How much of the manual effort we are going to save with this?
- Is there any other software or tool which can be used instead?
- Can we configure over customize? How big is the gap with configured software v/s customized one? Can we not live with this gap?
- Use 5 Whys technique.
2. Artificial intelligence:
Now a days AI has become a buzz word as if it did not exist earlier. Agreed that there is definite progress and huge benefit if used wisely. Just make sure artificial intelligence is not used in artificially intelligent way. For example using Machine Learning for simple tasks where Regular Expressions were enough. You would observe this in your organization everywhere now. Every other person you talk to will speak about AI and Bots. No doubt there is huge potential but if you want to get best out of it then it should be thought about at organization level and not at individual project level only. This will save you money, time and effort. E.g. don’t develop a Bot for every business unit, a Bot which pops up on every other website with the question “How may I help you?”. Having innovation strategy in place would help. Organizing brainstorming sessions, hackathons etc. will give you some clues on how to proceed and in which direction.
3. You don’t need round corners for every ‘DIV’ on your HTML page:
You will understand my point if you have faced a person who did not allow a web site to go live because a section on HTML page did not have rounded corners. You will find such scenarios and people in every organization. If you have such a person in your team, then you need to talk to him or her as early as possible in the lifecycle of the project. These are the individuals you will find are very passionate about their work and once you discuss with them you will be amazed with the knowledge and ideas they have to offer.
4.Enterprise applications have roadmap and thousands of customers to support:
The competition in enterprise software space is fierce. An enterprise application that used to get new updates in one or two years earlier has now come down to few months; on the other hand the competition between businesses in every industry is unimaginable. Businesses cannot afford to lose the competitive advantage by using outdated software and tools. However, too much focus on software customizations, enterprise application integrations etc. can create the very same problem that you are trying to solve. The best strategy is to align with the roadmap of enterprise applications you are using. Try to investigate future. Avoid every possible customization. Work with the software provider and push for enhancements in product features.
5. Talk to right set of people:
If you are the person responsible for allocating budget to a new software project then make sure your team consists of right set of people. Most of the times you will observe a person expert in technology X is assigned to decide the future which is heavily dependent on technology Y. Most of the times such person can provide strategic inputs as per her or his experience, but they will never be able to understand the complete picture. Try involving technical people in every discussion possible, encourage them to speak in the meetings. Involve at least one core technical resource in IT strategy discussions and don’t discount their suggestions unless you understand what they mean 😊. You can look at this funny YouTube video to understand my point.
6. Understand Agile and educate your team:
Just like AI, Agile is also something you will find being used in every project whether it is required or not. If you really understand what Agile is then first have common definition discussed with your team members. Everyone should understand same meaning of Agile in the project and follow the values and principles suggested under it. Unfortunately, there is lot of confusing material available online. A complete IT training industry is built around it. There are numerous courses, certifications and study materials are available but fundamentally it is all about using common sense and being honest. I find agilemanifesto.org the best source for the same.
7. Continuous learning is required:
Innovation in technology is happening at the speed of your thought, literally!! Any idea that comes to your mind is already getting designed, developed or even implemented somewhere in the world. You will never get a chance to learn it all, but you will have to spend at least few hours of the week to learn about the technology that is being used in your current project. Good news is that, even though the technology is moving fast it is becoming easier to learn and use. Every big organization in IT industry has come up with their own free courses. To list few https://www.edx.org, https://mva.microsoft.com/ , https://in.udacity.com/.
8. Community participation is very important:
Gone are the days when organizations especially the one providing IT services could create vertical and horizontal structures. Even gone are the days of old competing models like intellectual property-based v/s open source. We still see these structures in place in some shape or form but the lines between them are blurred. Even different IT giants are now collaborating more than ever before. In such an exciting time if one stays confined to her or his own project, own technology, own business unit it will never give her or him a different perspective to look at the project challenges. So, take every opportunity to participate in communities within and outside of your organization. Learn from others.
9. Minimize processes:
This is something that may not be in your hands. I am talking about organizational processes. But if you are playing the crucial role in the project try to minimize them to the point that it doesn’t affect organization and project. I am not suggesting doing it in any unethical way. In project management we do process tailoring. Try doing such exercise with required stakeholders. If you are not the authorized person at least try to highlight time consuming processes, suggest workarounds and try and have open discussion with concern people.
10. Learn to separate noise in the discussions:
In difficult conversation we focus too much on people than issues and ideas. As a decision maker it is a constant struggle to separate out noise from the discussion and take what needs to be done. We need to practice this every day.
Lastly, I would like to mention that this article is not written to undervalue any specific roles in the organizations. It is a gentle reminder for all of us working in IT industry to keep improving every day.