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Teachers Everywhere

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Festivals come once in a year but festivities are round the year.

Teachers Day comes once a year but teachers are with you, throughout the year.

Is learning the essence of life?

Not to everyone.

There are some who believe, and rightly so, that action is all that matters. Learning is the fuel, action is what puts it into motion.

There are others who have a cordial relationship with learning. They open their doors to learning once in a while- to let in some guests who are otherwise unwelcome generally.

And there are others who consider learning as an intruder and keep their senses on full alert to thwart any attempts from this unwanted intrusion in their zone of comfort.

To each his own. And we can rarely find fault with the different approaches. After all each of us has a right to decide how we wish to lead our lives, our priorities, our interests, grow, or evolve.

Gautam Buddha too was living in a blissful state of ignorance, in the lap of luxury, till he decided to explore and discover himself. This reveals two things – one, you can change course in life at any time, and two, it’s never too late.

Is learning self-realisation? Is it education? Is it discovery?

Does learning happen, or is it delivered by a teacher?

Can one learn without a teacher?

What role does a teacher have?

Teachers are not labelled. They may not necessarily be human. They may not be physically present. You can learn from a story, an anecdote, an observation, a thought.

You can stay untouched though surrounded by teachers, and you can learn despite the absence of teachers. The essence of learning is not what is being taught, but what is being learnt. And for that it is not the teacher in front of you, but the learner in you that seeks the teacher.

For those who seek teachers, they keep looking. For those who seek learning – teachers are everywhere.

Posted in: Celebrations, Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational, Work Culture

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Through to excellence

Once I received a beautiful birthday gift from my team. It was a small Ganesha idol. Like most of them, this one too was also beautifully crafted.

I recall what was told to me as I took the gift, “Like Ganesha, may you master as many arts as you can.”

I was perplexed. I inquired what that meant. Lord Ganesha was a master of sixty four arts, I was informed and hence the inspiration.

With the Lord of auspicious and good beginnings due to grace us this week, my mind wanders to that conversation and the meaning it has in our lives.

You are acknowledged as a master when you achieve excellence. You do well what you do; you perform well consistently; you raise the bar; and excellence pours out of you as naturally as perspiration after a workout, without sweating. You don’t have to extract excellence out of yourself, it oozes from you as if that’s all that it can draw from you.

So, is excellence a natural by-product or is it a dish prepared with an excellent recipe from outstanding ingredients?

A difficult question to answer, and even more unappetizing to digest.

If excellence is a by-product then what is it that you are working to produce? If it is just a recipe of ingredients and procedures, then why can’t everyone program excellence into their performances?

There is truth in both.

Yes it is true that those who get it as a by-product are not chasing excellence as a product or a destination. For them excellence is a manner. It is a way. It is a discipline. They want to do things well and in that quest, excellence becomes a constant companion. They don’t take excellence along, it chooses to ride in the company of such people.

Yes, excellence can be a dish. Have you seen those who consistently dish out good performances? Check their menu.

They have nothing else on their cards except excellence. They choose well in what they pursue; who they partner with; and they plan well. They believe good roadmaps are essential to beautiful destinations. They study in depth what it takes to dish out a great performance, and then put it in to make it one.

At each stage, from the aroma they can judge whether the dish is roasting as per their book. The book that is a compilation of carefully collected choice of ingredients and how they have to be cooked together. Every opportunity to them is a mouth-watering prospect to present a great dish on the table. For them excellence is what goes in and what comes out is no surprise.

So, is there something different about these two routes? One aims to perform well, and the other to deliver a good performance.

The first method aims at internal development. You develop yourself to a point that excellence, and nothing else flows out effortlessly from you. You build a pipeline of excellence. You don’t gather, it flows.

The second is about outlook. It is the way they look at things. You see through the lenses of excellence. You see clearly what you want; what it takes; and you put that in. You don’t waver from the path, and in doing this consistently it becomes second nature to you. It becomes your standard.

So is there anything common? Yes. It is the approach. You set out to be excellent, but you don’t seek it, you master it.

You imbibe it inside you. You don’t go to shop for it each time. You get it free with the way you go about. Your dedication, perseverance and untiring effort ensure that the excellence is a by-product of your every endeavour. When you go about doing anything, your planning, attention to detail, and adhering to your constantly updated recipe book ensures that the dish is always a lip-smacking one. There is a method to the madness.

So, what would you like? To be excellent, or to put excellence in your performances.

Whichever way you take to excellence, you can’t get to it, till you go through it.

Posted in: Festival, Festivals, India, Motivational

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Take It or Get It

Can you get something without wanting it? If you do manage to get it, what will you do with it? Will it mean anything to you or will you start looking at it differently once you get it.

Knowledge, learning, mentoring, direction, and development are some things that people expect to get from a Master or a Guru. The question however remains, ‘Do you have to take it?’ or ‘Do you have to get it?’

Knowledge is ubiquitous. People looking for it have found it from the most unsuspecting sources. Some have sought it and some have stumbled upon it. The key has been the desire, the hunger or the absolute need that has driven people. Yes, many people have become what they are all by themselves.

Self-suggestion makes you master of yourself. – W. Clement Stone

The essence of self-development lies in the two words that define it. Self and Development. You take it upon yourself to develop yourself and do everything you can towards that purpose.

However, a lifetime may not be enough to achieve what lies inside you if you were to work all by yourself. So in the journey you discover many people who help you discover more of yourself and achieve more.

A slave has but one master. An ambition man has as many, as there are people who helped him get his fortune. – Wilson Mizner

As the journey progresses one realizes that life is all about learning from others. And while there’s a lot to learn you do need someone to guide you, show you the path and bring light in the areas of darkness.

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. – Buddha

So, we are back to the same question. Do you take it? or Do you get it?

Liberation is not anywhere outside you. It is only within. If a man is anxious for deliverance, the internal Guru (Master) pulls him in and the external Guru pushes him into the Self. This is the grace of the Guru. – Ramana Maharshi

A true master can at the most only inspire you to live your being…live in your light – Swami Rajneesh

We teachers can only help the work going on, as servants wait upon a master. – Maria Montessori

The guru cannot awaken you; all that he can do is to point out what is. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

I hope all these words of the masters are a testimony that you have to take it. I hope we get it.

Posted in: Motivational, Work Culture

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