All of us have met people in our life, who always live for others.  We may call them “Selfless” people.  I have also met many people in my life this way.  One of them is my eldest sister.  Born as the eldest member in my family, she was born as a premature child.  My parents were not sure if she will survive and grow as a healthy child.  But, since she was the first kid for our parents, they took extra care and nourished her to grow as a child.

Later, she grew up as a scholastic child and did very well in her academics.  Even, as a child, she inherited my father’s patience and the seflessness of my mother.  I have always admired her selfless nature.  Even as the eldest among four siblings in our home, she would care for us more than herself.  She would finish her home work even before we got up and helped all of us do our work.

 I sometimes wonder what motivates these selfless people.  Is it their ability to serve others, which is the real drive in their life ?  They never think of themselves from morning to night.  It looks as if they are born for serving others.  They get up thinking what I can do for others.  I have silently admired my sister all through her life. I regret that I have never really told her how much I admire this nature of hers.Today as I write this blog, I hope I am able to make up for my life’s regret.  I am sure that it is difficult for any of us to be like them in our real lives.  Even, if we pretend to be like them, we cannot ape them.  But, we definitely can observe them and learn from them.  We can try in our way to serve others in whatever little ways we can.  It can even be like serving your own family or friends.

In my book, selflessness is like Godliness.  One need not visit a temple, mosque, church or monastery to seek God’s blessings.  It is these small deeds of service, which can take us closer to God.  No religion in the world compels us to visit a religious place.  All relgions encourage us to serve mankind.  We need to find opportunities to serve others.  

Many of us claim we do not find opportunities to serve others.  We need not look for them.  They knock at your doors every day or may be every hour in your life.  It is our ability to sense them and make use of them.  If we do not have the ability to sense them, we could learn from people around us.  I am privileged to have a sister in my family.  So, we may have them in our family or friends circle.  It is our ability to spot them, admire them and learn from them.

Life is full of opportunities.  Most of us look outside our spheres of life for the eternal truth.  The truth lies within us.  Similarly, life lessons can be learnt from your family members, friends and even colleagues at work.  We seek Gurus in life to learn life lessons.  It is time to realize that our near and dear ones can be our gurus.  We need not look outside for them but even a glimpse within our sphere can help us spot them.

Let us refresh our lives today and start today with a small service to anyone in our life, without expecting anything in return.  This act of kindness will give us joy, which money can never buy.

S Ramesh Shankar

Born to be “Happy”

We all are born in life with equal measure of joy and sorrow. All of us go through life with all its ups and downs. While some choose to be happy others are sad. I some times find even when people go through similar events in life, some drown themselves in sadness, while others bounce back even before the event is over.

It may be fair to say that God gives us joy and sorrow in equal measure. God also bestows us with the things we want in life as per our needs. But some are happy while others are sad under similar conditions. If we try to understand this better, we realize that the environment is the same and the benefits similar to different individuals. But some choose to be happy, while others unhappy because God always fulfills our needs and not our greed.

In my view, life always has choices. We can choose to be happy if we want to and unhappy if we choose to. One factor which may help us to choose happiness in life is contentment. If we are content with what we have, we may be happy always. On the contrary, if we are greedy to want more all the time, we may never be happy because there is always be a gap between what we have and what we want in life.

I have always admired people who are happy in life.  While some may wonder if they are over optimistic and not realistic in life. In my view, it is not over optimism. It is one’s ability to bounce back. Even the happy go lucky people face tough and sad situations in life. It is their ability to take it in their stride and bounce back much before others sense their sadness.

Let us take some simple examples from life. If one loses a match, the choice for the players is to sink in sorrow and brood hours over why they lost. On the contrary, we see sportspersons, who take it in their stride and look at lessons learnt and bounce back even before we realize that they lost the match.

A child can easily teach us of how to be happy in life.  Even when a child is injured either physically or emotionally, they spring back even before we realize it.  It is this ability of a child we forget as we grow into adults.  We refuse to let go and hence take time to revive ourselves.   We just need to kindle the child in us under trying circumstances.  

All of us would have also met people in our lives who look happy at all times. It is not that they do not have their share of miseries in life. It is their ability to absorb, adapt and recotiate.  They realize that others in the world also face similar miseries and possibly their miseries are less grave than others. They choose to be happy and forget their miseries at the earliest. It is this quality, which we need to imbibe from them. We do not need to go around the world to search for them. They may be present amongst our own family, friends or colleagues in the workplace.

As in the photo above, I learnt this attribute from my wife. 

Let us choose to be happy and spread happiness around us always.

S Ramesh Shankar

Something good in everybody

There is something good in everybody around us.  We spend most of our time finding faults with others.  It is easier to find fault than to find the goodness in others.  Let us try to change the way we look at others.  If we spend a little time everyday to observe and admire one good quality in someone in our life, our life may be different.  We may not only learn that good quality and we can try to imbibe it but also make the other person happier that day.

While many of us are comfortable in sharing what we don’t like in others easily, we find it difficult to praise people in front of them.  Next , we are not very keen to look at the positives of others.  This could be a cultural issue.  But, after all each of us have a responsibility to change the culture of the organisation.  After all, we have known many brilliant individuals, who have changed the way society thinks on a particular subject.  We can become one of them if we start thinking this way.

We could put a black nail on a white wall and ask people around us what do they see on the wall.  Most people will point out the black nail and not see the beautiful white wall all around the nail.  Similarly, in real life, we all see the negatives of others easily and do not notice the positives of the same people.  May be it is time to rewind the clock and see others from a positive prism.

I have tried a small experiment in some of my training programmes.  This is not something I invented but I learnt from late Kathy Dannemiller, one of the inventors of large scale interactive processes way back in 1995. You could end a training programme by asking each participant to observe, note down one positive quality about his/her neighbour in the class during the course of that training .  Then, they could look at the eyes of his/her neighbour and share the positive quality they have observed in them.  You can see the joy in their eyes.

The power of positivity in life is endless.  You have to experience the appreciation to believe this.  If each of us try to recall when was the last time, someone appreciated something positive in us, it may be a long time since it happened.  On the other hand, if you want to recall when someone criticised you, you may recall immediately.  It is in our psyche to look at the gaps and holes in others always.

Let us resolve to ourself that we will meet every family member every day and share one positive quality we like in them that day.  Similarly, we can do with our office colleagues.  I can assure you that life will be very different. It will be full of energy and possibilities.  We will always have options for everything in life and there will be hordes of people around us, who will be keen to contribute to our success.

Like in the photo above, we met the senior union representatives of our global parent in Germany during their recent visit to India and had so much to learn from them within a week’s interaction with them.

Can we promise to admire the positivity in others from today ?  

S Ramesh Shankar


Our pet “Sandy”

An ability to repay a non monetary debt would be “Gratitude” in my books. There are many incidents in our lives, where parents, friends and relatives come to our rescue, when we are in trouble. They bail us out without expecting anything in return. We feel good to come out of a difficulty but sooner than later forget that someone had helped us, when we needed it most.

I have many instances in my life, where I have benefited from such acts of generosity from my friends, family and relatives. My wife once told me that one of her relatives helped her fund her higher education when she was a child. As she grew up, this could have easily been forgotten as her relative was well off and did not bother that he helped her. But, she remembers this act of kindness throughout her life and is grateful for the same even today. Today, when God has helped us meet all our material needs in life, she has always insisted that we should support some needy children in their education as her sense of gratitude to someone who helped her. Even today after more than three decades, she bows in reverence to the relative who helped her.

I have another personal experience in my own life. My father was admitted in hospital and was serious and in an intensive care unit. I had just started my career and I was short of financial resources to support my father’s treatment. At this critical juncture, when some of my close people around me did not help me, here was a relative and friend, who went out of the way to financially support me, without expecting anything in return. I am indebted to them throughout my life. Today, I look at opportunities of how I could help them and others in distress as this act of support can never be measured in monetary terms or repaid. Today, even if I am in a position to repay them financially with all the interest till date, I will fail in my duties if I am not grateful to them for the rest of my life for their act of kindness.

I should say that even animals teach us to be grateful to others. I had a Labrador at home some years back. Her name was Sandy. I recall many days in my life when I was on tour, she would not eat or sleep till my wife and kids ate and slept. She was grateful to them since they had reared her during her younger days and taken care of her for all her needs. Her sense of gratitude sometimes put us to shame when we realised that we were more selfish then even animals as greedy human beings.

It is the sense of gratitude, which grounds you and makes you realize that money cannot buy everything in life and if you forget to repay your non monetary debts, it is you , who lose not the lenders.

Shall we commit to be grateful in life ?

S Ramesh Shankar