Only 3 seconds to stop the anger….

What causes rational people to lose their temper? You can blame this on your genes. During a training session we conducted on Managing your Emotions, a participant said “last week I was under a lot of work pressure. A team member walked into my room & insisted on discussing a project. I was aware the projectdidn’t have an immediate dead line. I ended up yelling at him and said he should send an email and request for a time to speak, instead of barging in unannounced”

The participant said that he felt terrible about the way he had behaved. His team member began to send him emails, every time he wanted to speak. The easy & collaborative relationship they had shared earlier morphed into a formal exchange.

We explored why this had happened.

The term “Amygdala Hijack” was coined by Daniel Goleman. He used the term to recognize that we retain an ancient structure in our brain (Amygdala) that is designed to respond swiftly to a threat.

When faced with a perceived threat, our body will react the same way as if we were faced with an actual physical threat to our life. This is responsible for us “losing it”.

How do we deal with such a situation?You have 3 seconds to calm yourself, before the hormones flood your brain. Practice watching your emotions. Take control, before its too late.

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A Screenshot of a GrowthMindset

If someone asked me to describe a #growthmindset, it might take more than a 1000 words for a somewhat satisfactory explanation. This picture explains a growth mindset in an instant… stretching your comfort zone, looking for ways to improve return on investment and learn learnlearn.

The auto driver in the picture is looking at the share price of a stock he is obviously following closely, while ferrying his passengers around.

For me, this picture is not about the growth story of the Indian stock exchange; it is the story of a human being with limited education and limited means (this is an estimation) who is looking for avenues to #betterhislife.

Undoubtedly the stock market is a double edged sword, it comes with its share of ups and downs. I look at the optimistic side, this gentleman is looking at exploring a completely “new” way of improving his productive potential…

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Can Women be gender biased?

If I had to picture people with #biases, very stereotypical images flood my brain. Then I heard an anecdote from a successful ladyventure capitalist who was talking about her experience with biases at the workplace. It changed my mental imagery.

In a previous job with a Fortune 500 company, the HR team had conducted an experiment. They sent 2 CV’s for the same #jobdescription for a fitment check. The interesting part of the experiment was that the CV actually belonged to the same person…the name on 1 CV was male and on the other was female. The fitment results for the CV which had the #male name was much higher than the CV that had the #female name.

The CV went out to both men and women working in the organization. The results reflected both their opinions. This was a surprise, even for me !!!!

Most of us are unaware of our biases. We think of ourselves as fairly #objective…until we learn otherwise.

Building Awareness of #UnconsciousBiases’ and making the Hiring process “Objective” and “Neutral” is key to promoting #GenderDiversity !!!!!

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Winning against all Odds

I have a friend from college whose life changed completely, after a car accident that left her paralyzed waist down. Life has been a constant #struggle for her. I have seen her struggle at fairly close quarters. When I read about #successstories like Avni Lekhara’s, I marvel at the inner strength this feat would require.

In 2012, at the age of 10, Avni was in a car accident that caused severe spinal cord injuries and left her wheelchair-bound. Three years later, her father encouraged her to take up shooting as a professional sport. She tried both archery and rifle shooting.

After reading Olympic Gold Medalist Abinav Bindra’s autobiography – A Shot at History, she decided to pursue rifle shooting professionally. Despite being doubtful about her decisions, Avni continued to work hard and practise regularly.

Things fell into place, Anvi participated in several states, national and World-level championships, and even won medals..

Avani Lekhara created sporting history after becoming the first Indian woman to win two medals – gold and bronze – at the Paralympics in 2021.

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How to harness creativity, the “Salvador Dali“way

Modern research in Neuroscience validates some methods Salvador Dali, the famous painter used to generate creative ideas. The same principles can be used to generate out of the box solutions at the workplace.

Dalí was constantly exploring new ways of artistic creativity. He worked through a number of ways to conceive of fantastical imagery.

Dali applied the methods of Surrealism, tapping deep into the non-rational mechanisms of his mind—dreams, the imagination, and the subconscious to draw inspiration from.

He would often place a tin plate on the floor, and sit beside a chair, holding a spoon over the plate. As soon as his body relaxed and begin to doze off, the spoon would slip from his fingers and bang on the plate. This immediately woke him. From there he was able to capture the surreal images present in his mind.

Salvador Dalí was fascinated by images that appeared to him between states of sleep and wakefulness. These images proved to be extremely vivid, colorful, and bizarre.

Often the “eureka” moment comes when we are not actively thinking about the problem. The conscious mind sometimes blocks solutions from coming to us. When we get “stuck”, it helps to “let go” and let the powerful subconscious mind discover the solution.

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How Olympic champion Tom Daley deals with STRESS

Olympic champion Tom Daley was captured knitting in the stands during the women’s 3m springboard diving final was going on. When the camera shifted its focus from the ongoing sport to the stands, the gold medalist was sitting there concentrating on stitching.

One could wonder why an Olympian was knitting, just before one of the most important events of his life.

In case you thought, this was a one off event, a Twitter user (after seeing Tom Daley’s viral video) wrote, ‘Very calming. My grandad was a mine sweeper in the Navy during World War II. All the Navy men knitted to calm their nerves.’

Research now shows that physically “doing” something is a great way to expend negative energy, relieve stress and calm the nerves. Completion of a physical task releases “dopamine”, the feel good hormone.
If I have had a stressful day at work, a walk in the park really helps me. Can’t possibly take a walk in the middle of a work day. Some possible alternatives:

1. Sort out my desk drawers

2. Clean my purse

3. Take a slow walk to the water cooler

Daley won his first Olympic gold medal at this year’s Games. The thread had another tweet that showed a video of Daley talking about how he knit a pouch for the medal he won.

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Are IQ and EQ positively correlated?

While the jury for me is still out on whether there is a positive or a negative correlation between Intelligence Quotient and Emotional Quotient. There are studies that argue both sides eloquently. People that succeed are those that are able to manage their failures better than others.

As a teenager, I saw Vinod Kambli and Sachin Tendulkar make their International debuts in 1989. While Sachin went to onto create history, Vinod did not perform to potential (his shot selection was deemed to be better than Sachin’s). Attitude was a big reason. Recently, I heard an interesting perspective from Harsha Bhogle. He said that Vinod Kambli had a flaw in his technique that bowler’s exploited. He struggled against the short pitched delivery. Till 1994, his talent had carried him. He never got over this low in his career and he played his last test match for India at 23.

Earlier as a student and now as a Leader at Shradha HRD, I have seen this theme repeated continuously. Life will bring its share of highs and lows. Team members that are able to maintain their equanimity through the tumultuous phases, keep their head down and work are inevitably those that end up with the promotion!!!!!!!!

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A hypothesis…if 100 monkeys speculated on the stock market for a week. They bought and sold stock like crazy…half would make a profit and half a loss. Then 50 continued, if we continued this iterative process, we would have a winner after 7 weeks. Lets say he’s the “success monkey”. We would look to find his “success principles”. How could the monkey get it right 7 weeks in a row?

Sounds strange, but its reality. We are often victims of the “outcome bias”.

In hindsight, if we look at the recent spurt in global oil prices, there is enough evidence to suggest, they would have. Some said they would go up and some said not. We need to examine what the predictions were based on? Was it just chance, the right answer was picked on or was there a clear rational thought behind it?

A bad result doesn’t mean a bad decision and vice versa. Instead of blaming yourself for a bad result or congratulating yourself for a coincidental success, remember…why did you choose what you did?

Were the reasons right and understandable? Then stick to your process…

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Software Engineer’s Inspirational Story of Never Giving Up On His Dreams, Join Indian Army at the Age of 39

Many of us give up on our dreams. We feel it’s too late, the task seems daunting, we feel unaccomplished….Sathish Kumar, a software engineer joined the Indian Territorial Army at 39. He shared his story on LinkedIn. Inspirational!!!!

Written Exam

Out of 1.5 lakh candidates, Satish was one of 2079 candidates selected for the personal interview. At 37, Satish was the oldest candidate to reach Pune, for the interview. Self doubt crept in. “Why would they select a much older candidate”?

Personal Interview

After being interviewed by a Major General, 2 Lt Cols, a psychologist, Sathish was selected for the Service Selection Board round.A 5-day process, toughest to get through. The process was delayed from April to July 2020 due to Covid

Service Selection Board

Out of 172 candidates that appeared on Day 1, only 16 cleared. Sathish described how tough the next 4 days were. He was one of the 4 candidates who got selected.

Medical Examination

All 4 got rejected, based on stringent Army guidelines. There was an opportunity given to appeal the rejection. Satish cleared the medical in Sept2020.


Satish finally got his offer letter in April 2021&was assigned to the 118 Infantry (TA) battalion of the Grenadiers Regiment. After 2 years he finally became a Lieutenant

Source: Indiatimes

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Why Satya Nadella doesn’t endorse Work from Home?

Is there a mental cost of#WorkfromHome? Is permanent work from home desirable?In an interview with the New York Times,Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella said that permanently working from home can be “damaging for social interaction and mental health for workers”.

This statement resonated with me.

While the current pandemic has made it necessary for us to Work from Home, communicate via video conferences, its not the same as the connect of a physical meeting.

I miss sitting around the lunch table with colleagues

I miss the “I’m glad the weekend is here” banter

I miss the 2 minute informal connect with clients before & after a meeting

I miss just the “#humanconnection” that comes with a physical workplace

Attending online classes for students is not the same as being at school or college. One of the nicest parts of growing up is being around friends at school.

Virtual classrooms are necessary in today’s times and can be a valuable tool to reach audiences at multiple locations. However, the richness of communication that emerges in a physical classroom cannot be ignored, especially while addressing competencies related to Personal transformation.

I personally feel, Work from Home is great in some situations BUT we need to balance it with the “social connect”,while deciding an optimal work mix!!

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For true #brilliance in results, you can’t make a better version of an existing product. You need #originalthought as well as a “fresh approach”. The miracle that took place at Microsoft under Satya Nadella, bears testament to this fact

Under Ballmer, Microsoft  tried to copy everything Apple did.For every iPod, there was a Zune; for every iPad, a Surface tablet; for every iOS device, a Windows Phone.It also was tied to the core product: Windows.

Nadella started by selling PCs to corporate buyers. He later oversaw engineering for Bing, the company’s search engine, before taking over Azure.

Colleagues swear they’ve never seen him get upset, raise his voice, or fire off an angry email. Shelley Bransten, a Microsoft corporate vice president, suggests that what makes Nadella #unique is that he has “no swagger.”

Equally, he has been #adamant that the firm must move to cloud, compete head-to-head with Amazon’s AWS and ditch the Windows mentality.

Under Nadella, it cut funding to Windows and built an enormous cloud computing business, putting it ahead of Google and making progress in key areas against the dominant player, Amazon Web Services. “I don’t know of any other software company in the history of technology that fell onto hard times and has recovered so well,” says Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Inc.

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What do prolific INVENTORS have to say about INVENTION?

Leading Indian patent holders say that inventions and innovations is a mind game. “I Can” is more important than IQ says Sandeep R Patil at IBM with 307 patents to his name. He says anyone can become an inventor, not just those in labs or those with high IQ. The invention process Sandeep says is psychological in nature. The key to invention is to train your mind to question the obvious:

1. Why does the clock move clockwise?

2. Why are manholes round?

Rajiv V Joshi with 267 patents, a technical lead from IBM says for idea generation you need to have observation capabilities. It’s a mind game that you have to conquer. There will be many adversities in the process but don’t give up. You will definitely succeed.

Sarabjit Rakshit with 705 patents, a data architect from IBM says that his ideas mostly come to him when he’s reading or watching tv, not consciously thinking about them. He makes a note of the idea, starts reflecting on it and then shares it with his teams if he feels there’s merit in it.

What does it take to have more than 100 patents to your name?

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NICE GUYS do finish first

It’s rare for Indian Cricket fans to cheer a team that beat them in a World Cup. The reason is special. The New Zealand Cricket teams are known as the “nice guys of cricket”.

Due to their fair and positive style of playing they have become the world’s “second favourite team” (after the home team of course).

Leading from the front is the Captain, Kane Williamson who is arguably considered the best Captain in Cricket today:

1. He always has a smile on this face, even in defeat. He has always displayed great Sportsmanship (remember the 2019 World Cup final)

2. His team mates acknowledge him as a very intelligent cricketer (always a couple of overs ahead of the game)

3. As an individual contributor his batting scores have been outstanding(Williamson has the highest test average (65.74) in the last three years (minimum 1000 runs))

4.What he’s done for New Zealand cricket – not just his own performance,– but he’s taken everyone else with him, and their career numbers have improved, their performances have improved.

Sometimes nice guys do finish first…

For me, they always come first!!!

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A truly amazing story of a Chennai based auto driver that gives lessons to large corporations like Vodafone, Hyundai and Ted X at IIT, on building customer loyalty, even in Covid times.

Annadurai hasn’t finished Class 12, looks like your average auto driver & can talk to you about anything- startups, innovations, the latest in the Economic Times.His auto has magazines, snacks, books, laptop, tablets, mini-television set &refreshing drinks. All these are no-cost services for his passengers.

Annadurai feels his education started when he started identifying & prioritising ideas to win over customers.He needed to be fantastic at observation & have extensive knowledge to strike up meaningful conversations .

Steps to build customer loyalty

1.Passengers feel irritated in traffic jams: the WiFi keeps them engaged

2.A customer urgently needed a laptop & Anndurai felt bad, not being able to help: he bought a laptop & tablet(led to social media selfies which in turn increased his customers)

3.People often didn’t always have change & sometimes they would forgo the money: he got a swiping machine.

4.Office growing crowd skipped breakfast: started the snack section comprising fruits, wafers, coconut water & more

5.Learnt to say hello in 9 languages & names of Hindi movies, scientists, famous places and sports

6.When the pandemic affected his earnings, he still gave free rides, masks & sanitisers to the needy.

The result

Average monthly income: Rs 1,18,000. He spends Rs 19,000 on products &services to keep customers happy.

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Is GRIEVING self indulgent?

Do you think it is important to grieve? I felt grieving kept us chained to the past& could even be self-indulgent at times. A recent conversation gave me a different perspective. A friend lost someone very dear, completely unexpectedly. She was grappling with the emotions of loss, pain, anger & sadness.

Those around her were encouraging her to get back on her feet, telling her she needed to focus onothers around her &she must spring back to her normal self.

And she said, “I know my duties, my responsibilities,but the others don’t know what I have lost. I cannot go back to life as though nothing has happened. I need to come to terms with this.”

I view myself as a pragmatic person. My mantra for dealing with pain is to forget the past & focus on the task at hand.

Somewhere during the conversation, a realization dawned; while trying to comfort those closest to us, we tell them to forget what’s happened, focus on the present&move on. The advice is well intentioned but may not be the best way to deal with this situation.

Grieving is part of the healing process. The mind needs to process what’s happened, work through it & then it will automatically move on.

Listening to someone, helping them talk through their feelings, just being there, might be a more effective way to help heal.

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How GRATITUDE transformed the situation for a COVID-19 survivor

A 75 year old was being released from the hospital after undergoing treatment for Covid. On being presented an additional bill for Rs. 6,000 for an Oxygen cylinder that had been omitted, he burst into tears. His family rallied around him and said, costs don’t matter…

Here’s what he said next..

“I’m not crying because I have to pay the extra money, I’m crying because of the debt I have to pay to nature for the 75 years of free Oxygen that I have used.”

We take for granted, so much that is given to us. Its life changing moments like this that bring a realization of how much we “have”.

The emotion of Gratitude doesn’t change the situation we are in but it certainly changes the way we look at the situation.

Is your glass half empty or half full?

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Leadership lessons during Covid

This is an amazing story of a young 21year old, who achieved the milestone of keeping his village Covid free. To me this a story on #Leadershipskills and a #Cando attitude.

Ruturaj Deshmukh is the youngest Sarpanch in Maharashtra. Ghatne village has 1,500 inhabitants and not a single case of #COVID from March 2020 to April 2021.

How was this achieved?

Together with his team, Deshmukh took the following steps

1. Framed a 5-point programme involving tracing, testing, treatment, vaccination and adherence to COVID- appropriate behaviour.

2. Built awareness among people to remove hesitancy about COVID-19 testing

3. ASHA workers were roped in to visit every house and monitor blood oxygen level and temperature.

4. “Corona safety kits” comprising a face mask, hand sanitiser, disinfectant,&vitamin tablets, supplied

5.Residents that travelled outside for work were randomly tested while outsiders coming to the village quarantined

Ghatne gram panchayat is planning to set up a 20-bed isolation centre and a paediatrics task force with two doctors in the village.

His vision: to make Ghatne the first fully #vaccinated village in Solapur.

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Why do Good Managers have biases?

Why do managers have #favorites? To find the answer to this question, ask yourself a completely unrelated question: who are the people closest to you? Are they #similar to you or completely different? 9 times out of 10, we are closest to people that are like us: in demographics, outlook and often even behavior patterns.

As managers we display the same behaviors. We gravitate towards people that are like us and away from people that are different from us. There is a bias “towards” some team members and a bias “against” some team members. Sometimes this is a #consciousbias and sometimes it is happens, even without our knowing it: #unconsciousbias.

#Biases were possibly created when #primitiveman was in the jungles. His tribe were people that were #like him and were to be trusted. The others were not to be trusted and kept at a distance. This was necessary at that time, for survival.

Our survival isn’t at stake,however we have retained the same behavior patterns!!!!

How does one #removebiases?

1.Pay close attention to your inherent biases: likes and dislikes

2.Actively look to work with people that are different from you

3.Be objective; not governed by likes and dislikes

Are you able to put yourself under the microscope and view the #biases that exist?

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How do you test if you are an EMPATHETIC interviewer?

Ask yourself these 3 questions to check if you are an #empatheticinterviewer? A recent conversation with a young lawyer,about a job interview led to an insight on how interviewers can add to the “interview experience”

The #interviewee had an upcoming interview with a Tier 1 law firm. Despite having the necessary qualifications and experience, he had been unable to clear his last 3 interviews.

He reached out to me before his interview and revealed he was a #nervousinterviewee. His ask: “what should I say/not say during the interview so that I have a better chance of being selected?”

Over the years #ShradhaHRD has been involved with several interventions on #effectiveinterviewing and I did share my perspective on what an interviewee needs to do to showcase his/her profile.

A thought stayed with me for a couple of days; what can interviewers do to improve the process, beyond the general hygiene factors:

The #solution:

1.Do I do enough to make the interviewee comfortable? (this will vary based on nervousness levels)

2.Do I ask the interviewee the right questions to showcase his/her profile? (will need to be customized)

3. And FINALLY…did I give the interviewee feedback on their profile/interview? (if this is done, it genuinely helps interviewees and demonstrates empathy)

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Why WOMEN make better INVESTORS then men?

Do women get better returns on #FinancialInvestments or men? I asked 20 people this question. 18 out of 20 people, said….Men. Data tells us differently. Survey results released by #ETMoney on International Women’s Day:

1. Women investors were found to be more #disciplined while investing

2. Better adherence to #assetallocation, based on age than men

3. Stick to a systematic investment plan better, as compared to men

4. Over a 4 year period, women recorded #betterreturns on investment than men

5. In 2020, a challenging year for investors globally, women recorded returns of 14% on average while men recorded returns of 11%

A large percentage of women I know (including serious career women), shy away from handling their finances (me included, till a couple of years ago). This survey gives a clear reason why, we as women should step up and get involved in our #financialplanning. For me it was a little bit of a comfort zone to leave the stress to someone else. Once I started, I found it liberating. There was a sense of taking control.

I believe each of us should take up tasks based on our core competence but till we don’t try, how do we know how good we can be.

To all the super talented & intelligent women I know: stretch your #comfortzone and step up!!!!!!

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