Leadership – The Differentiator!

Whenever posed with the topic of Leadership, it was always instinctive that leadership is a trait that is inborn for great leaders are such rarity. And as such, we often encounter the so-called effective leadership programs especially if one is in the corporate world. Such programs often involve trainings, sessions, assessments and the like which the speaker mentions having hardly any visible progress on the employees, in spite of such heavy investments. This is what she seems to have heard from people around for she has spent around 25 years observing the leadership traits.  

This TED talk questions as to what makes a great leader ? And I am surprised to find how the speaker connected it to our attitude and character building. In a nutshell, it’s all about how we develop our personality and the outlook. A very obvious but not so easy to explain question has it simplified by the speaker in the form of three basic questions; 

Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?  

The speaker further asks the viewer to introspect as to with whom one tends to spend time with. Experimentation and being ready for the days ahead in anticipation of likely changes is what distinguishes a great leader from others. A great leader is always ready to face the consequences who believes in action, rather than the reaction to unforeseen circumstances. In short, a great leader works towards shaping the future.

What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? 

We often tend to develop a deep connection with people with whom we are comfortable. However, the test of a great and efficient leader is who can establish a good connection with people who are diversified and might not be easy to handle. The differences can be in lot of perspectives – biological, physical, functional, political, socio-economic and cultural. Despite the differences, a great leader is someone who can be connected with easily and hence be trustworthy. Great leaders perceive this as a great chance to identify different patterns because of the highly diverse network they develop and who could come up with myriad solutions. I personally think this is one of the biggest differentiators of a great leader from the rest. 

Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? 

This question roots back to the one in the above point for which the speaker says that a great leader tends to avoid a practice with which he/she has become familiar/comfortable with. Instead, he/she tries to experiment and accept being different. Such leaders who build the emotional stamina to withstand roadblocks are often seen as perpetrators of the ‘courageous leap’.  

When we, especially the Management students, are often taught about the differences between a Leader and a Manager, this talk perfectly breaks the flow. It made me question my inherent concepts on leadership and provoked me to introspect my inner self.  

Here’s the link to this interesting talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader 

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The Future Of Early Cancer Detection !

Cancer – a topic which is close to my heart made me get started with the edition of TED Summaries from now on. I would like to sincerely thank a wonderful acquaintance and an amazing persona, Anusha Sridharan for having me getting involved in this beautiful collection.

We are no less aware of how prevalent the deadly disease, Cancer has come of age. We all must have had known someone close to us who in spite of having no bad habits and leading an almost perfect and healthy lifestyle, get hold of this disease. And by the time the symptoms appear, it’s generally Stage 3 or Stage 4 which makes the case even more difficult to treat and have the patient recover completely. The speaker says at least one in three get diagnosed with some or the other type of Cancer and one in four dies from this.

The biggest challenge with Cancer detection is that symptoms appear late. Even though we have had an advancement in the treatment procedures, we still use the old techniques when it is the time for detection, especially once the symptoms start to show their forms.

The speaker along with his fellow scientists who hail from Chile, Panama, Mexico, Israel, and Greece came up with a vision to have a way to detect cancer in the early stages itself. For, this is when a patient has the highest chances of complete recovery.

Since Cancer is altered gene regulation, they came up with a technique that deals with the molecular level of detection using the concept of ‘MicroRNAs’. RNAs are the ones producing the requisite proteins for myriad bodily functions and MicroRNAs are the intermediary to produce them. The MicroRNAs are highly sensitive small regulatory gene expressions.

The speaker further adds that since no two cancers are alike, there would be a unique molecular pattern pertaining to each type. The challenge is that the existing DNA technology cannot be used for the nucleotides are smaller than the DNA and that all are very similar making it difficult to differentiate.

As such, they came up with a model that used data science, a 3D printed device, and microbiology. All we need is around 1 ml of blood and this tool. The working prototype showed that the detection takes around 60 minutes of time to detect the MicroRNAs in the sample via chemical reactions, match with the various cancer patterns and predict the type. Currently, this has successfully detected pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and hepatic cancer.

This method would be open source for the goal is to make the detection easier, cheaper, reliable, accurate and affordable.

All in all, this talk simply blew my mind for the vision and the efforts that must have been put in to come up with such brilliance that has the potential to change the way Cancer is perceived in the society. We need more such advancements for us to conquer this traumatic disease.

The link to this talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/jorge_soto_the_future_of_early_cancer_detection#t-665370

The Road Less Taken!

I was reminded of the famous poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’ when I happened to get a glimpse of this book and wondered what would be so special about this book for the title had already caught my attention. And here, I am just done with this wonderful book by Dr. Scott Peck.

The most distinguishing factor about this non-fiction is the mindblowing way a Psychiatrist can so beautifully weave the pages of a book such as this. This book talks about the major facets of life while diving deep into explaining them out the way he gets to perceive through his practice of Psychiatry. There are lot many instances he puts on the paper to study human behavior and derive conclusions hidden therein. Ultimately, this book will somehow make us introspect the hidden persona we all carry within and make us think the way we tend to behave under different circumstances.

The writing is very simple, to the point, keeps the reader hooked to it and makes him/her look forward to the next section ahead.

Few of the lines from the book that particularly caught my attention;

“The feeling of being valuable-“I am a valuable person”-is essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self-discipline.”

“Some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline, we can solve all problems.”

“Truth or reality is avoided when it is painful.”

“Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.”

“It is true that love involves a change in the self, but this is an extension of the self rather than a sacrifice of the self.”

“Genuine love is a self-replenishing activity.”

“The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay.”

“The highest forms of love are inevitably totally free choices and not acts of conformity.”

“One’s feelings are the source of one’s energy; they provide the horsepower, or slave power, that makes it possible for us to accomplish the tasks of living.”

A must-read book for sure for everyone from all age-groups.

A Letter To The Special Person In Our Lives!

Mummy,

Over the years that have gone by, I always realized that I am your reflection. I see parts of yourself in me in myriad circumstances which just leave me awestruck.

But deep down, I have known that you are the greatest blessing in disguise for us. I have had my share of rantings, scoldings, tears of joy and when in pain, that have only made my journey with you worthwhile. I still recall the calmness of sleeping beside you that just put all my worries at bay. I am highly indebted to the wonderful and amazing persona in you which always strives to thrive for her kids and family. The way you understood me when everyone else around is only busy judging for no apparent reason(s), has only left me surprised and mesmerized that elevated my levels for respect for you.

It is because of you I am here that I stand as an independent woman whose source of never-ending inspiration would be no other person, but you. Those untiring efforts for our best health and happiness convey us your unconditional love towards us. You are my role model and my motivation to live on and be capable of love.

I sincerely apologize for all the misunderstandings, rantings and hurting moments that were never intentional. I might have never expressed, but I would like you to know that you are my most precious treasure in life! 🙂

“Thank you” is simply not enough for all the years of love you showered upon us.

A big salute to all the Mothers out there and wishing everyone a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Let’s count each moment spent with our Mothers as special and stay blessed! ❤

A Perfect Way To Start A Day!

A long pending post that I finally get to pen down here!  

A very obvious startle to the theme today would, of course, be exercise and/or yoga. True that and this is what the World Health Day 2017 made me realize in the sense that actually prompted me to bring more discipline in my life. On a friend’s suggestion, I got curious and interested enough to join Anahata Yoga’s exclusive session on doing 108 Surya Namaskars on a fine Sunday morning.   

Surya Namaskar - The Postures

And that had me join the troupe of almost 160-170 people from different age groups gathering at one place at 7 in the morning with the booster from the Anahata team to kick start and finish the 108 rounds of the Surya Namaskars. Ah! This was something that was going to be such a strenuous session that I didn’t anticipate. Anyway, the energy and vibes all around were so positive enough to have made me actually get close to the 108 figure. The team had quite a handful of people who were motivating us all along and helping us with all the 12 postures in each set. And they were there to push us when we felt tired and left behind. The vibrations, the postures, and the relaxation left after doing all these sets added to an experience that just made my day.   

I learned how these postures actually made the entire body undergo stretching and exercise. They were instrumental in bringing about the energy I felt I had lost owing to the daily chores. Even after all the muscle strain and the body pains, I found I was full of life and energy like never before! I had been rarely this active any day. Ah! The freshness and the mental peace this exercise left me with have pushed me to incorporate this simple yet so powerful technique in my day-to-day life. 

The Surya Namaskars are a great way to relieve stress and anxiety as well. There is a lot of research and technicalities behind this age-old practice, but yes are worth making a habit. These postures even help in reducing weight.   

So, this was meant to spread awareness about how we ourselves can make difference to our lives with all the small things, acts, and habits in life!  🙂

On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft!

This is Stephen King’s first book I took up to dig into his thoughts about writing. The curious kid in me had somehow got hold of this pretty famous book.  

As I kick started, I found the book to follow a storyline, as against my expectation of being more of a self-help book. Stephen talks about his initial days, the struggles he has had and how he keeps up with his writings and publications while dealing with personal experiences. This section is more of a narrative piece that simply goes on.  

As I keenly awaited for the actual content to catch my attention, I see a separate section completely dedicated to ‘On Writing’. Ah! I get to feel this is the point I and may be fellow writers like me had been waiting for!   

And then there he is, hitting on the main pointers when it comes to the technicalities about writing. He elaborates about some pillars of writing with their usage, importance and building them up;  

  1. Vocabulary 
  2. Grammar 
  3. Parts of speech 
  4. Elements of style 

It’s such a pleasure to read about Stephen talking about how one should take up the discourse to writing. He gives away noteworthy pointers to the readers with ample instances.  

Stephen emphasizes a lot on mastering the fundamentals of writing by getting a good grip on them. And then he extends his argument to imply that it takes a great deal of hard work, persistence, nd dedication to reach up to the next level of being a writer. He then proceeds to stress on how important is reading towards writing. Stephen also sheds an ample amount of time in explaining about the importance of building characters and storytelling, which is his genre.  

Stephen, then elaborates more about drafting and proofreading. And towards the end, leaves the reader with his personal choice of recommended books.  

Few of my favorites lines from the book would include – 

“Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.”  

“Writing is seduction. Good talk is a part of seduction.” 

“But there is that matter of commitment, whether a book is good or bad, a failure or a success. Words have weight.”  

“Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.”  

“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing.”  

“The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.”  

“When you’re writing, you’re creating your own worlds.”  

“You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”  

“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”  

A definite worth-reading book for all those budding writers around! 🙂

Books – My Lifeline!

My love for books has had its roots from time immemorial. I knew I always liked dwelling into the world of books since childhood, however, I rarely paid heed to my reading skills. I was interested in writing as well that took shape in and around my high school and then the passion faded over time. Though, I always loved the smell of books and have always been overprotective about them.  

It was during my graduation days when an avid reader of mine shared ‘The Alchemist’ with me. I was so smitten with this book and had thoroughly enjoyed this book, that simply couldn’t let my hands off it. A starting point to a newly discovered avocation was on its way. It was not long before I left it behind even until I had joined the corporate world.  

It was a few years back when I was new to the corporate, I started getting back to books again. As they say, the company matters and I had a colleague who was into reading and was kind enough to lend me a book by Jeffrey Archer. That was the booster I needed to get back to my reading. A few months later, a good accomplice of mine had introduced me to the world of books at the Goodreads. In the world and era of where social networking is defined by the likes of Facebook, Goodreads presented me a different world altogether. I realized I had read such less number of books in my lifetime until then and that books were the long lost love of my life.  

As I dived deep into the beautiful world of books, my passion only grew. Books gave me the much-needed solace and peace, especially in those stressful days. I started becoming more inclined towards books that influenced my thought process. The world present there in makes you forget the actual world around. And how amazing it is to see how each book can offer a different world of happiness to the readers.   

Books help to increase our intellectual prowess and add to our vocabulary. It’s a must-have feed for every writer, irrespective of the level he/she is currently at. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand.  

A great way to spend time is by reading books. The time spent with books is never wasted. It’s one such habit that does only good is highly recommended. I could clearly understand how people who imbibed the habit of reading since childhood stood out different from the rest of the lot. They tend to cultivate a different level of intelligence that leaves me flabbergasted. These are the kind of people who have their fundamentals of grammar and vocabulary clear. They can easily spot the errors and can even derive the meaning of a relatively unknown word just from the roots. And then this is the troupe that finds it effortless to crack difficult entrances like the Common Admission Test [CAT], when the other lot is busy contemplating what went wrong. All I say is developing fundamentals gradually develops over time and with appropriate application and reading is the best way to do that.  

I regretted how I the neglected the unfathomable magic the world of books weave and that I should have cultivated this habit long back.  

And needless to say, books make one of the most wonderful and useful gifts to anyone! 🙂  

All in all, books bring me the world where I get to find my soul. A day without reading is a day wasted.  

When people ask me how do I keep up with reading, in spite of the busy schedules, I just get to have a hearty laugh. I think we would find time for anything that is important to us. And books are the best friends in disguise. We would always find ways to do things we are passionate about. I always keep a book with me. I tend to read during my travels and make it a point to read something every day. Goodreads’ Reading Challenge also helps me keep up with reading. I ensure I touch different genres. Precisely speaking, it takes a great deal of discipline to get into this habit. However, books are no less than an addiction. You then wouldn’t mind spending time with them, in spite of all other priorities. It’s all individualistic, I would say.  

I still have a long way to go in the world of books. And this is to ask everyone out there to grab a book and embrace reading, for it’s never late to start.   

Before I sign off, here’s wishing everyone a very Happy World Book Day! ❤