How NOT to be a jerk?

An excerpt from Congratulations, You’ve Failed.

“The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.”– Marilyn Monroe

I am sorry to not include advice on how not to be a jerk for females. The reason is because there is already a whole lot of existing literature out there in religious, social and cultural books advising women. I am not prejudiced but I feel men need a little more help, so here it is.

  1. Offer her a coat if she is cold outdoors.
  2. Offer her a blanket if she is cold indoors.
  3. Hold the door for her.
  4. Don’t check her phone or emails behind her back. Trust issues should be dealt separately.
  5. Don’t humiliate her in front of your friends and family.
  6. Respect her dreams, ambition and career choices.
  7. While you are together, don’t play with your phone. Nothing can be ruder.
  8. TALK- for god sake, communicate how you feel. If you are not good at expressing your feelings, WORK on it or break up but please don’t expect the person to continue the relationship with a healthy mute person.
  9. Don’t try to control your partner. Or else, like Beth Behr says in 2 Broke Girls, ‘one of these nights, she is coming after you, probably in the dark, probably with a knife…’ Well, that was too extreme but you get my point. Don’t push someone to the extent that they begin to hate you.
  10. Don’t comment on other women’s body parts when you are with her. No matter how ‘cool’ she might act, this is unacceptable.
  11. Don’t spend a fortune on your own grooming products and give her a speech when she spends on hers.
  12. Don’t get jealous of anyone she speaks with. Again, deal with trust issues separately. A suspicious husband is better in grave.
  13. Don’t try to show off yourself as an alpha male and get in trouble with the police or other men.
  14. Be a friend who she can rely on and can’t wait to share her life with rather than a judgmental snob.
  15. Don’t ever forget to cuddle for long. Pearls are collected from the shore after the waves return to the sea.
  16. Don’t force her to do things or try things which she is uncomfortable with. You may end up in prison.
  17. Don’t expect her to do your laundry and dishes. She is not your mother. Share household responsibilities.
  18. Take her for long drives and dinners out. A simple change in the environment can be wondrous.
  19. Don’t lie about your relationship status in public or with friends. If you are unsure, let that be transparent. But if you are in a full fledged relationship and act like a single person, the results can be catastrophic when she finds out about it.
  20. Don’t put her in the least priority file of your life. If she is that unimportant, just break up and let her be someone else’s priority.
  21. This goes without saying but please don’t play with two women at the same time. Finish with one off first and only then move on to another. Be genuine.

The list can go on but the point is if you genuinely care for her, it will show. And if you are faking it, that would come across pretty easy too. Don’t take your partner for granted, this might be your best shot.
Bless you.

5 LIFE CHANGING lessons in PRODUCTIVITY-managing life and being effective

We often worry about our productivity. Nothing is worse than being unable to complete your tasks as planned due to no good reason. If you want to increase your productivity, here are the instant things to do that will help.

  1. Control chaos
A clutter free desk is like a clutter free mind. You may have loads of files or papers on your table, lists on your wall and icons on your computer screen. No matter what medium, make sure you don’t see more than 3 things at a time. Make sure your desk has even lesser papers. Organize your stationary in proper holders so everything is reachable when needed. I often tend to work with a lot of printed data at once and I like to play around with my material. While I am working, I place all my papers on my desk or over the floor and go back and forth with my papers. It looks chaotic but as an individual that works better with visual and tangible things, I am at my best. But this does not mean I should leave all the papers behind after I finish. To begin your next task with a fresh perspective, you need to bring this one to a closure and clear your desk and your mind.
  1. Be foolish-ask questions
If you have a Team Leader or Manager that instructs you, you may notice that you don’t always get the instructions right. There are unclear statements. It could be due to language difference, industry jargon or simply because of diverted attention. If there are things we don’t understand, we often tend to pretend like we did. We don’t ask questions because we don’t want to look foolish. The fact is, if you ask questions, you’re being intelligent. Clarity is the mother of productivity. If you know exactly what to do and how to do it, there is nothing that can stop you from doing it well. Most times, productivity is pathetic not because people are less skilled but simply because they do not understand what is required but they are too proud to ask. Don’t be like that.
  1. Momentum
This factor is best related to my PhD studies. When you have large list of tasks to complete for a project, you tend to postpone it to the last minute. Study, the night before final exam. Print the travel tickets on the way to the airport. Finish the business report by pulling an all nighter. We all do that at some point. The exact word for this disease is ‘procrastination’. The cure is to build momentum. Make sure you divide your task into small bits over a period of time frame and complete each sub task as and when due, no excuses. Keeping the momentum helps PhD students finish an 80K word thesis before viva.
  1. Emailing
The worst enemy of your productivity is emailing. Unless you are a secretary and your job depends on electronic communication, DO NOT open your inbox first thing in the morning. When you start your work, begin with your most important list of things to do for that day. Planning is necessary and without a plan you will be lost and never productive. Your inbox can divert your attention to useless things and other people’s urgent tasks and keep you from yours. Open your inbox after you have done at least half of your tasks.
  1. Play
People underestimate the importance of play and fun. Whether you work from home or at a tall sky scrapper, find time to play. By play I mean activities like meditation, light chats and enjoying food. Taking a brief nap, resting peacefully at a lounge and other relaxation activities can have huge impacts on both your productivity and creativity. Did you know that Google employees are left free to spend almost 20% of their paid work time to pursue their hobbies and things of interest also called ‘special projects’? This is where many of products take birth. They also have swimming pools, gyms, video games and other such amusing facilities at Googleplex including massage therapists and barbers.

So, make sure you incorporate these simple, logical but highly effective strategies in your work and see the difference.

What is the best way to learn life?

The best way to learn life is to know which part you want to learn. This is why it is compelling to begin with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Don’t worry if it sounds too complex, it is really simple. Here is the pyramid.

TRAVEL: As you can see, the base of the pyramid is our basic needs. To explore about these, travel to some part of the world where food and water is scarce. This is not just the basic human need to survive, it is also the most difficult to bear. Apparently, our existence can be wiped out without it yet we pay so little attention to learning about these. It is not enough to go to a grocery shop and buy your food. To know about where it comes from, how many people don’t have enough food, the consequences of excess food, the quality of your air, the source of the water you drink, basics of safe sex and importance of non drugged sleep are just some starting points in your journey to learn life.

EARN: Next come the need for financial resources, health and home. This is a mix of many things. You can learn about these beginning from menial or low wage jobs in order to understand how the world works, the rules of spending hard earned cash and a lot more. Trust me, spending your parents money will never teach you these.

HOME: Love, sense of belongingness and sexual intimacy go back to the parents. The best way to learn about all this is from your parents; what to do and what NOT to do as well. As a child, you see your parents as role models and assume what they do are ‘usual’. The way your parents interact with each other or fight with each other has a great influence on you and will stay with you forever. Whenever you enter in a relationship, you’ll act like your parents did (more often than not).

UNIVERSITY: The next set of needs can be best learnt at school, university or college. When you learn or get an education, you reach that second last level in the hierarchy. This is where ‘good’ candidates stay or rather pretend to stay.

YOURSELF: The topmost area is reserved for greatness. To learn greatness, you must know about the things below. The greatness triangle is also called ‘self-actualization’. It involves skills like problem solving, creativity, morality etc. In other words, it contains people who are great, the ones who contribute to the welfare of the entire society, not just of themselves. To learn how to be great, you must learn to be the best of what you can be and contribute it to make the world a better place.


What just touched my heart?

Hello my beautiful readers,

Something just touched my heart and I want to share it with you.
When all the politicians in the world were busy killing Muslims in the Middle East, somewhere in a parallel universe, Jews and Muslims were hugging each other.

Watch this video to find out what am I talking about… What just touched my heart?

Respects and Love,

PS. I pray we all learn to live at peace with each other

Why does everyone need help at times, no matter how strong, mighty or powerful?

Excerpt from Congratulations, You’ve Failed…

Mindset # 3 The ‘rain puppy’ factor

Imagine a rainy day and a view from your window. You see a little white puppy, completely soak, dripping with sad eyes, staring deeply at you. When we fail, we feel like that puppy on the rainy day. Let me take you through some thoughts of mine when the rain puppy creeps in-

  1. I am the saddest person on earth.
  2. There is no one in the whole world that understands or cares about me.
  3. I am so poor; I could eat out of a dumpster soon. 
  4. I will die alone and my cat might eat me.
  5. Without an expensive college education, I will never be a well to do, rich person.
  6. My dreams will never come true because I have no support from anyone at all.
  7. My life was may be a mistake and all I can expect from it is disappointment.

You get my point, right? The rain puppy factor makes you feel like you are the only sad soul in the world who needs all the sympathy and care you possibly can. You may focus on the things that you don’t have and pity yourself for living your life in rough conditions.

Guess what dude? Most of us have been there, done that. Feeling sorry for ourselves is natural. When we share our troubles with family and friends, even then, most people will just get some entertainment value out of your misery and very rare will actually help. You are extremely lucky if you have more people ready to listen and help you out, but again, check their intentions.

Anyway, focusing on the rain puppy, you might genuinely need support for the troubles you are going through. You might be facing bullies at work or school, you may be facing mental and/or physical abuse in your relationship, someone could be stalking you, or you may be simply feeling lost and worried with the ‘empty nest’ syndrome after your children have grown up and left you. Disease, financial stress, eating disorders, million things could be worrying you and most of them would make you feel like the rain puppy.
Whatever your problem may be, seek help! Most people in self help books and gurus will tell you to get that sad feeling out of yourself by some abstract thought process but I disagree with that. Whenever you feel like a rain puppy, there is a genuine reason behind it. Your mindset should know how to differentiate between useless stress and genuine stress. If you feel like you are undergoing a genuine stress, go to Google and search what sort of help is available. Thanks to the internet age, there are wonderful charity organizations working almost in every corner of the world that offer free and confidential advice to people who need help.
I am not against being brave; I am just more realistic with my options. When you are always pushed to be brave, take up all the challenges and fight on your own, you are being unrealistic with yourself and more likely to fall face first. Being brave is good but at times in life; our internal strength to fight back vanishes due to natural reasons. Here is a perfect example.

A wife is constantly being mentally abused by her husband. Although she is a Harvard graduate and is a professional woman, she still remains in the marriage. People like you and I would ask why the hell does she stay? She is an educated woman, she is financially stable, and why doesn’t she just leave? The fact is, although she is all those things, she is also a human being with a body system. Due to stress, the cortisol hormone in her body increases which in turn shuts down the thinking capacity of her brain. She may look normal from outside, but her brain works differently. Which is why even the toughest of us, need help at times.

This was an example of the genuine rain puppy. The useless rain puppy factor is when we complain about not having enough money to buy some new car or not being able to go for holidays twice a year. You can still seek help on those issues from gurus and consultants on those particular areas but these are more of useless stress factors which you need to eliminate.

Can you Change The World? What does it mean and take to change the world?

Hello Lovely people,

To change the world means different things to different people. Most importantly when we see disturbing things around us, we feel that deep desire inside our souls and say ‘I wish I could change the world’. 

While there are a lot of theories to changing the world, lets just be honest about it and ask- 
Can we really change the world?
Isn’t it just a vague thing to say, since the world is too big?
What can one tiny human being possibly do to change the world and what for?
And also, there comes a time when you think ‘I don’t give a damn anymore, I have my own problems going on’.
You concentrate on your 9 to 5 job and simply ignore the things around you.
You feel you are not responsible and someone, someday will take care of it.
You feel you give charity to some remote organization in India and that satisfies your desire to be altruistic.
You want to help but you don’t find time or resources to change the world.
In your late teens and early twenties, ‘changing the world’ sounds like a mission you are on. But as you grow older, you realize you’ve got enough to change within yourself and you simply stop caring for the world. 
Coming back to the question- CAN YOU AND I REALLY CHANGE THE WORLD?
The answer is both NO and YES.
NO, because yes, the world is too big and after a while you simply lose the motivation. More so, when you see the greedy politicians, corruption, people killing each other, your friends and family stabbing behind your back, you just lose faith in the goodness of humanity. You may feel that no one cares about you (except for a few people) so why should you bother to worry about the entire world. This is logical and obvious. 
But then you see the faces of those who love you. May be two innocent children hugging you all night long on those rainy thundery nights. A wife holding your hand through your tantrums and mood swings over your nasty boss. Or a husband standing by you during your PMS and other social troubles. You may not care for the entire world, for all those people who hurt you or give you pain. But you do care for these three people.
And then appears the TRUTH.
When you help mankind in anyway, to change the world into a better place, 
you don’t do it for the whole world
you do it for the three people you care most about.
It is easy to say that ‘I did not go ahead and study or pursue my dreams because I had to take care of my children’. But people who do go ahead and pursue their dreams against all odds, they are the ones who make a real contribution to their children. 
I recently read about the fantastic astronaut Massimino (the one you saw on The Big Bang Theory Show too) about his spacewalk  and the time he was struggling to fix the telescope. He said in his interview that at that desperate moment when he was up there, floating in dead space, he did not think of the entire world. He just thought of his two children, that they would not be able to see how Planet Earth looked like from the space. Of course there is a sense to make a contribution to humanity but lets face it; we human beings care more when our own flesh and blood is involved. He thought of his kids and got inspired further and successfully fixed the telescope which has given us the ‘never before’, priceless pictures of Planet Earth that are now used for research and innovation. Read his interview here. Mike spends months as he works at NASA, many times away from his wife and children. But the contribution he is making to changing the world, is not just for his own children but for the entire humanity. 
If you want to change the world, make sure you have a strong motivation to keep you going. This motivation is the people around you, the people who would go to any distance for your good. You don’t do it for the billion people, you do it for that one person who you care for more than the billion. I remember my Dad once told me that if he had to sell his blood to send me to school, he would. Fifteen years later, I still remember his words and everything that I do, I do it for him; for my little brother who deserves a better world when he grows up… 
Yes, you can change a lot in the world but only if you care enough, love enough and don’t hide behind excuses of inadequate resources and knowledge. Just go out there and search for it, stand up for something or you really will fall for everything. Let me also warn you, it is not child’s play and sacrifices are needed. But at the end of the day, when you see your loved ones smiling and proud of you, all is forgotten 😀
Love and Light

Coming home for summer? ~ By Shahla Khan

Hello my beautiful readers,
I am pretty excited to share my recently published poem with you.Here it goes…

Coming home for summer?
Well, it’s a long story, you see!

I get asked this question often,
When the sunshine is warm and pleasant,
People pack up and leave in haste,
For family reunion bliss.

I remember how home felt,
The fragrance of Biryani in the air,
Mom, busy preparing to welcome me,
Dad arranging a proxy at his office,
For a day off, so he could pick me up,
My five-year-old brother jumping with joy,
For the toys I would bring as gifts.

When I left home he was an infant,
I remember the day of my departure,
I did not even go to his room,
He was asleep and I was too weak.

To read more Visit here.

Coming home for summer? ~ By Shahla Khan

Hello my beautiful readers,
I am pretty excited to share my recently published poem with you.Here it goes…

Coming home for summer?
Well, it’s a long story, you see!

I get asked this question often,
When the sunshine is warm and pleasant,
People pack up and leave in haste,
For family reunion bliss.

I remember how home felt,
The fragrance of Biryani in the air,
Mom, busy preparing to welcome me,
Dad arranging a proxy at his office,
For a day off, so he could pick me up,
My five-year-old brother jumping with joy,
For the toys I would bring as gifts.

When I left home he was an infant,
I remember the day of my departure,
I did not even go to his room,
He was asleep and I was too weak.

To read more Visit here.

Are you richer than these kids?

I see them almost naked
Dancing in the priceless rain
The joy in their eyes
No sign of angst or pain…

I have so much more in the bank
I have a wardrobe and a bed…
But I cant think of the last time
I joyed over a piece of bread…

I keep my head down and work
Never found time to enjoy the rain…
And in the end when I raised my eyes,
Life had passed me by, all seems in vain…

When all is said and done
What matters is just this…
The peace in our hearts
The soulful childish bliss..

Be poor, stay hungry, live humble
Who cares if you’re homeless or small…
But if you learn to live happy
You’ll actually have it all…

Shahla Khan

It’s all about the MONEY MONEY MONEY! ON ‘BBC Documentary: Who Gets the Best Jobs?’

Money, money, money

Must be funny

In the rich man’s world…

Money, money, money

Always sunny

In the rich man’s world…

– ABBA Writer(s): Benny Goran Bror Andersson, Bjoern K. Ulvaeus

I want to pull my hair out in frustration when I see what the hell is going on around us.
In my own little world, I used to to assume that my future depends on my aspirations and the harder I work for it, the closer I will get to it. But the more you delve into the dark realities of this world, you begin to question your very own assumptions. Coming from a middle class background, I did have access to fairly good education but certainly not the best in the world. This BBC Documentary really pushed me to stare in the eyes of dark truths I did not know existed.
The documentary begins with the case of ‘Unpaid internships’. To get the best jobs in the most competitive industries, there are large numbers of unpaid interns willing to work for free just to get a foot in the door. Sadly not all of us can afford working for free for long periods and even if we do, out of 50, they take only 5 people on board as real staff. What happens to the rest?
I empathise with this issue because I have been in a similar rut. I wanted to do a PhD, in aspirations of better career opportunities and of course to live my dream life. I never had a mentor who could guide me into this route nor did I have any connections in Academia. When I began applying for PhD admissions, I had no idea how a research proposal is made. I learnt it all by myself and not to a very high level. Nevertheless, I secured a self funded seat in the UK at a non elite university. A self funded seat means an adult lion of debt roaring at you for probably 10 years of your life but I was confident it would be worth it. I began my studies and the debt went up. There used to be teaching hours in the university for part time staff but they are allotted to the full time staff ONLY now. I need to study but who would pay my bills? If I get a part time minimum wage job, how do I manage studying?
Another horrible issue rightly targeted in the documentary is the sky high ‘University fees’. I am from a middle class background and could afford a ‘loan’ in a non elite university. What about those who cannot afford a loan? Are they any less intelligent than I am? Are they any less likely to make a difference in the world? Of course not! It’s all the money game. If I came from a wealthier background, I could have gone to an elite university. Where is our sanity? Is our education nothing but DIOR BAGS; only those who are rich can carry one no matter how dumb? Apparently it looks like we have commercialised education to that extent. 
Interestingly that begins at schools. A private school shown in the documentary costs about GBP 12K annually. Of course when parents can afford it, they  prefer to send their kids to such schools because of the higher standards. When I take a step back and look at this world and the way we manage our economies, I shudder. On one hand we have kids in this world who have nothing to eat and we are making all these Millennium Development Goals to provide basic primary and secondary education to every child in the world. On the other hand, we have the wealthy societies (people who work for UN, businesses who are socially responsible) who are spending their last penny to ensure their kids study in the top schools and universities, get the top jobs and live top class lives. 
“4 in 5 Finance Directors have been privately educated.”

It feels like it is all B.S., complete utter B.S. Who are we kidding? These hungry homeless kids or ourselves? It seems to me like this dirty little charity of an education- the primary education which we offer these kids is-
1. to clear our guilt conscious, to tell ourselves how altruistic we are.
2. to keep them busy with the little scraps of meat when we enjoy the steak, so they don’t revolt in hunger.
3. to create an illusion of progress for them.
But seriously, think about it. 
If you have the funds to send your kid to a school worth GBP 12,000 annually, would you rather divide the sum and send one poor kid and your own kid to a same public school where the fee is not so high?
Is it fair that we spend millions and millions of pounds at just the university infrastructure, get fat pay cheques,  and expect the poorer sections of the society(basically middle class students who are on average under 32000 USD of debt) to ‘just be thankful’ for what they get (our leftovers, may be)?
How likely it is for a person from a poor or a middle class background to land a job in the upper sections of the economic society and pay their loans without depression?
Not to forget, what the narrator calls the ‘Psychological barriers’ in the documentary. When a student from a middle class background somehow ends up in an elite class university or work environment, they are made to feel like an alien. And that certainly creates a psychological barrier for such students. Most young children in the poorer backgrounds do not dream of landing a job as a doctor,lawyer, engineer or financier because of these psychological barriers. They were never shown the interior worlds of these professions and they do not know what is it like to be one. They don’t see themselves as ever being one because they were never encouraged to build that ladder from where they are to those positions.
Then of course there is the ‘Culture gap’. It is like two different worlds out there. A world for the wealthy elite kids with Oxford and Cambridge tag on their foreheads and a world for the mass crowds who assemble burgers or scan bar codes, standing on their feet for straight 11 hour shifts (despite Master’s degrees)! 
No matter how hard you and I study, is there anything in the world out there for us? 
Top professions hire graduates from top universities..are you one of them?
If not, what is your future going to be like?
Are you going to be a scavenger feeding on the leftover dead meat and never have a share in the fresh feast of life?
It is TIME TO CHANGE a few things around and it begins with you. For today, just ponder over what is YOUR share in the society and what can you do to give back.
For more thought stimulating reads, watch this blog!

#BBC #RichardBilton #HEA #AlanMilburn #MDG #University #studentloans