The 8th Habit

What is the big idea?

The eighth habit is “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.” Voice is Covey’s code for “unique personal significance.” Those who inspire others to find theirs are the leaders needed now and for the future, according to Covey.

Covey talks about the freedom of choice and the consequences of behavior.

Covey also talks about the four kinds of intelligence:
Physical intelligence
Mental intelligence
Emotional intelligence
Spiritual intelligence

A few favorite quotes from the book:

“Life is a mission, not a career.”

“The greatest and most inspiring mountain climbing achievements in history are not so much stories of individual achievement, but are stories of the extraordinary power of a unified, talented, prepared team that stays loyally committed to one another and to their shared vision to the end.”

“The successful person has formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do. Successful people don’t like doing them either, necessarily. But their dislike is subordinated by the strength of their purpose.”

On Unchaining Yourself and Breaking Free

In India, elephants don’t just roam royally in jungles and zoos. You will find elephants in temples and festivities as well. They are considered to be very auspicious and wise.

Grandpa TVS told me many stories when I was a child. One of those was about an elephant named Jumbo.

Grandpa’s story started out with a baby Jumbo being brought to a village by his mahout. Jumbo has got lots of energy and curiosity. Every day, the mahout trains Jumbo. The mahout ties down one of Jumbo’s foot to a big stone pillar with a big chain to prevent him from running away. For the first several years, Jumbo is constantly tugging at the big chain…trying to break away. He cannot break away because of the big chain that is holding him down. Meanwhile, Jumbo learns all the things the mahout wants him to learn.

Jumbo grows into a young strong elephant. He is well trained now. He knows how to follow his mahout’s directions and cues. Jumbo begins to do all the things the mahout wants him to do. Jumbo moves heavy pieces of log and turns huge stones over to build a huge temple. Jumbo is still trying to tug away from the big chain that is tying him down to the big stone pillar. But, he is unable to break free.

Jumbo matures and becomes an adult elephant. He helps the mahout move heavy pieces of log and turns huge stones over to build a huge bridge. The mahout puts a smaller chain on Jumbo’s foot. Jumbo is now strong enough to tug away the smaller chain that is tying him down to the big stone pillar and break free. But, he has forgotten to pull at the chain. From years of trying, he has “learnt” that there is no use tugging. So, he doesn’t tug anymore.

Jumbo matures further and becomes an aged elephant. He still remembers his family and jungle that he left behind. He remembers the watering hole and the fun that it represents. He would like to go back there. The mahout now puts a smaller jute chain on Jumbo’s foot. Jumbo has become weak. But, can pull at the jute chain with just one tug and break free. But, remember, he has forgotten to pull at the chain. So, he doesn’t tug anymore.

Grandpa TVS ended the story there. For many years during my childhood, I continued to bug Grandpa about whatever happened to Jumbo. I hypothesized various endings and proposed them to Grandpa. Grandpa continued to hear all my versions with great interest. But, he never did tell me what actually happened to Jumbo. As always, he left it up to my imagination.

Does that story sound awfully familiar to you?

Remember the unbridled energy of your own baby years?
Remember the unwavering hope of your own youth?
Remember all your dreams, beliefs, and wishes?
Remember all your losses, pain, and failures?
Remember, every time you tugged at the freakin’ iron chain and you couldn’t budge a freakin’ inch?
Remember how you kept tugging?
Remember that?

Hold that thought.
Can you go back to when you stopped tugging?
Can you?
I bet you are struggling to remember that moment.
It is very difficult for all of us.
Because, none of us remember when we forgot tugging.
It just happens.
One day.
We stop tugging.

Now, here is my ask: As the year draws to a close and you go through your pensive moments, try to think about what old beliefs are chaining you down that don’t serve you anymore? Have you forgotten to tug on an any chains (that don’t exist anymore)? Think about it. Don’t have to pick many. Pick just one chain. Just one.

Go ahead.
Break away.
Come on.
You can do it.

Unchain yourself. Break free.

That is my wish for you and wish for myself in 2018.

P.S. While you are it, for some inspiration on unchaining yourself and breaking free, read or watch “The Shawshank Redemption” during the holidays. Andy Dufresne is one of those guys who didn’t give up tugging after nearly two decades.

On Fate and Freewill

Fate brings us together with thousands of people during our lifetime.
Only few of those people stay on our journey for a lifetime.
The rest come into our life for our mutual learning, healing and/or growth and then move on.

When I was younger, I used to mourn such loss.
But, I am stronger now.
I understand everything happens for a reason.
So, I have become braver to let go and to exercise my free will.

After all, we are here to live and let live.

That said, the fine dance that fate plays with our life is beyond fascinating.

Is it not?

How has fate played with your life?
Have you exercised your free will recently?

On Women’s Equality and Rights

At Austin Hindu Temple, hanging with the Goddess of Education, Goddess of Bravery, Goddess of Wealth alongside other Gods.

As you can tell, women’s equality and rights is in my heritage and possibly embedded in my genome.

Women’s equality is not a slogan that I need to yell in a crowd to prove anything to anybody.

It is not in a board that I have to hold up in any rally.

It is simply in the way that I think and live.

Nobody can fundamentally change who we are and what we believe in.

Nobody can take what rightfully belongs to us….unless we allow them to.

Kudos to all the men who support and adore womankind and kudos to all the women who support and adore mankind.

True Freedom in Life

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like. – Will Rogers

When I was child, I had this recurring dream of flying like a bird.
It happened over and over again.
Sometimes, the bird flew over farms.
At other times, the bird flew over mountains.
After a few years, I got used to this visceral feeling of freedom.

However, true freedom didn’t come that easy in life as in my recurring childhood dreams.
I had to learn. Then un-learn.

Somewhere along this life, I found true freedom and aspiring to get more liberation of the mind.

I learnt I am not here to impress anybody.

I don’t need the speed cars.
I don’t need the big house.
I don’t need a rich husband.
I don’t need to be a trophy wife.
I don’t need 500$ boots or shoes.
I don’t need any jewelry.
I don’t need any fancy clothing.
I don’t need a sexy job.
I don’t need a big yacht.
In fact, I don’t need anything fancy at all.
I just need the bare essentials.

Can you pause for a moment and think about how liberating it is to live this way?

Nothing brings me up or down anymore.
Nothing really matters anymore.
Happiness is a choice.
It is not dependent on anything.

There are many learnings in life that are very liberating. And, most of the those learnings don’t come easy. You work hard to get there. But, once you get there to the learning point, there is no going back.

I wish both you and me speedy liberation of our mind.