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Sunday, May 31, 2015



We're all guilty of putting other things in our lives before our own happiness. Whether it's your job, children, your partner -or even your addiction to social media -that takes up most of your time, you probably need to become more `mindful'. What exactly is that? Well, mental health experts describe it as knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology , says that it can be an `antidote to the tunnel vision' we have developed in modern life, helping us to enjoy the world and making us happier. Psychological therapist Emma Kenny , who has worked for 17 years in therapy and 10 years in the media, gives us 12 steps to help increase our mindfulness.
Having `me' time is essential for positive mental health. Spending time doing things that inspire you makes you happy. Whether it's baking, walking the dog, salsa dancing or practising meditation, self-activity inspires a positive attitude.
Happiness comes from nurturing relationships, so make sure you make time for yours. Whether it's scheduling a date night with your partner, taking the kids to the park or having some cake with a friend, connection is an essential role in happiness.
Make sure you list the things that you want from your life and then note how you intend to achieve them. Setting goals and working towards achieving them makes us feel great about ourselves and ensures you can reflect on your success.
It doesn't matter how -be it taking a long soak in the bath, listening to relaxing music, or by going for an energising run; relaxing is essential in happiness. Try to set aside at least 20 minutes a day simply winding down.
Before you can make anyone else happy, you need to make sure you are. Look after your own needs first, this way you will have energy for everyone else's.
Instead of thinking of it as saying no to someone, think of it instead as saying yes to you. People who accept that saying no is a good thing, tend to feel happier and less overwhelmed than people who agree to do whatever they are asked.
Taking risks make us happy. Trying a new activity, facing a fear or joining a new interest group can feel scary, but the rewards are worth it. People who take risks tend to be happier and more successful than those who don't.
So many of us are second guessing what's going to happen that we fail to experience what's happening right now and consequently end up missing out.Take a breath and look at how amazing your life is right now.
Stop comparing your life on social media with everyone else's. By putting your laptop, smart phone and tablets away, even if just for an evening or a couple of hours per day, you will significantly reduce anxiety.
Go for a walk or run in the fresh air, aside from being fantastic for your physical health, getting outside is fantastic for psychological well-being.When was the last time you simply stepped out and observed things around you? Sometimes, just sitting and watching the world go by can be a therapeutic experience.
Whether it's a day to pamper yourself or a trip to the theatre with your best friend, rewarding yourself for simply being you is a great way to boost self esteem.
Identify your personal strengths for a positivity boost! Noting how skilled we are in certain areas of our lives can remind us of just how talented we are and make us feel great.
Pets give unconditional love.Spending quality time with your pet can be an enriching and calming experience. Take your pet for a walk or play catch. Their happiness is bound to rub off on you!
Catching up with old friends and reliving memories can actually be a great way to unwind and also boost your happiness levels. Whether you're meeting at a coffee shop or a swanky dinner place, laughing about old times will make you happy.
No matter how much you regret your past, holding on to it will never help you move ahead in life. Make peace with the past and learn to forgive -first yourself and then others.
As innocuous as it sounds, taking deep breaths especially when you're bogged down with stress will help you deal with anxiety better.
Daily Mirror


STRESS SPECIAL .........................How to Transform Stress into Courage and Connection

How to Transform Stress into Courage and Connection

Stress doesn't always lead to fight-or-flight, says Kelly McGonigal. It can also activate brain systems that help us connect with other people.
In the late 1990s, two psychology researchers at UCLA were talking about how the female scientists in their lab responded differently to stress than the men did. The men would disappear into their offices; the women would bring cookies to lab meetings and bond over coffee. Forget fight-or-flight, they joked. The women were tending and befriending.
The joke stuck in the mind of one of the women, postdoctoral researcher Laura Cousino Klein. Psychology research has suggested that stress leads to aggression, but that wasn’t her experience. And it didn’t fit with what she observed in other women either. They were more likely to want to talk with someone about their stress, spend time with their loved ones, or channel their stress into caring for others. She wondered if it was possible that science had gotten stress wrong.
Klein decided to dig deeper into the science, and she made the surprising discovery that 90 percent of the published research on stress was conducted on males. This was true of animal studies as well as human studies. When Klein shared this observation with Shelley Taylor, the director of the lab she worked in, something clicked for her, too. Taylor challenged her lab to study the social side of stress, especially in women. Looking at both animal and human research, they found evidence that stress can increase caring, cooperation, and compassion.
While the tend-and-befriend theory began as an investigation into the female response to stress, it quickly expanded to include men—in part because male scientists said, “Hey, we tend and befriend, too!”
Taylor’s team, along with other research groups, began to demonstrate that stress doesn’t only motivate self-defense, as scientists had long believed. It can also unleash the instinct to protect your tribe. This instinct sometimes expresses itself differently in men than it does in women, but the two sexes share it. In times of stress, both men and women have been shown to become more trusting, generous, and willing to risk their own well-being to protect others.
Why would stress lead to caring?
From an evolutionary point of view, we have the tend-and-befriend response in our repertoire first and foremost to make sure we protect our offspring. Think of a mama grizzly protecting her cubs, or a father pulling his son from the wreckage of a burning car. The most important thing they need is the willingness to act even when their own lives are at risk.
To make sure we have the courage to protect our loved ones, the tend-and-befriend response must counter our basic survival instinct to avoid harm. We need fearlessness in those moments, along with confidence that our actions can make a difference. If we think there’s nothing we can do, we might give up. And if we are frozen in fear, our loved ones will perish.
At its core, the tend-and-befriend response is a biological state engineered to reduce fear and increase hope. The best way to understand how the tend-and-befriend response does this is to look at how it affects your brain:
·         The social caregiving system is regulated by oxytocin. When this system is activated, you feel more empathy, connection, and trust, as well as a stronger desire to bond or be close with others. This network also inhibits the fear centers of the brain, increasing your courage.
·         The reward system releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Activation of the reward system increases motivation while dampening fear. When your stress response includes a rush of dopamine, you feel optimistic about your ability to do something meaningful. Dopamine also primes the brain for physical action, making sure you don’t freeze under pressure.
·         The attunement system is driven by the neurotransmitter serotonin. When this system is activated, it enhances your perception, intuition, and self-control. This makes it easier to understand what is needed, and helps ensure that your actions have the biggest positive impact. In other words, a tend-and-befriend response makes you social, brave, and smart. It provides both the courage and hope we need to propel us into action and the awareness to act skillfully.
Here’s where things get interesting. A tend-and-befriend response may have evolved to help us protect offspring, but when you are in that state, your bravery translates to any challenge you face. And—this is the most important part—anytime you choose to help others, you activate this state. Caring for others triggers the biology of courage and creates hope.
Whether you are overwhelmed by your own stress or the suffering of others, the way to find hope is to connect, not to escape. The benefits of taking a tend-and-befriend approach go beyond helping your loved ones, although this, of course, is an important function. In any situation where you feel powerless, doing something to support others can help you sustain your motivation and optimism.
The tend-and-befriend theory doesn’t say that stress alwaysleads to caring—stress can indeed make us angry and defensive. The theory simply says that stress can, and often does, make people more caring. And when we care for others, it changes our biochemistry, activating systems of the brain that produce feelings of hope and courage.
I wrote my book The Upside of Stress with that purpose in mind: to help you discover your own strength and compassion. Seeing the upside of stress is not about deciding whether stress is either all good or all bad. It’s about how choosing to see the good in stress, and in yourself, can help you meet the challenges in your life. Tending and befriend is one of the best ways to do this, and to transform your own stress into a catalyst for courage and connection.
By Kelly McGonigal |

ENTREPRENEUR STARTUP SPECIAL .....................(1) Start Upcountry


Entrepreneurs are spreading their wings in the unlikeliest of locations, thousands of kilometres away from the well-travelled and storied startup hubs

Startups in India absorbed over a billion dollars in the first quarter of 2015. For the most part, the investors chased ven tures based in India's largest cities: Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. However, in the last few months, they have also been casting their net fur ther afield into India's hinter land. Historically, India's non metros and small towns have been a poor place to do busi ness --much less try to seed and catalyse the growth of a startup -but things have slowly begun to change.
Venture capitalists (VCs) point to some of these trends.
“As an early-stage tech fund... we are focused on discovering the next wave of entrepreneurs from emerging parts of India,“ says Karan Mohla, executive director & head of digital con sumer investments, IDG Ven tures. “There has been a signifi cant increase in digital consum er activity, especially in the last couple of years and more of this is being driven by consum ers beyond the Top 10 cities.
Tier II and III cities are growing faster in terms of their online consumption of goods and ser vices compared to bigger cities and often drive 60-70% of transactions of ecommerce companies.“
Entrepreneurship and start ing up is no longer a big city phe nomenon. As the success stories of Indian entrepreneurs are cel ebrated, more people in the hin terland are being emboldened to try their hand at starting up.
Across small town India, in plac es as diverse as Dharamshala, Udupi, Udaipur and Guwahati, the startup culture has taken hold and is producing dozens of entrepreneurs with nifty ideas.
Udupi, a town in coastal Kar nataka, is best known as the birthplace of Darshini, a chain of quick service south Indian restaurants. However, Robos oft, a startup based there, has attracted millions of dollars from VC funds for its range of mobile apps and games. Hubli, also in Karnataka, has gone from a budding software ser vices destination to a hub of startups, backed by the likes of Gururaj Deshpande, an early technology entrepreneur. In Dharmashala in Himachal, ventures such as Mindgrep, Moonpeak Media and Earth Store have all been founded and nurtured in the bracing climate offered by the Himalayas.
Serial entrepreneurs Karthic Ravindranathan and Abhilash Thirupathy chased their startup dreams with Shakti Aerospace and Healthcare Magic r e s p e c t i v e l y, both in Bengalu ru, but for their latest cleantech venture, Surya Power, they came home to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. “Our products are targeted at the hinterland and we want to be close to our markets,“ says Ravindranathan.
Arohan Foods is possibly the only VC-funded venture in the northeast and its three founders, Anabil Goswami, Arindom Hazarika and Rana Pratap Brahma, gave up careers in Mumbai to head for Guwahati. “It made no sense being in a large city for our business; we wanted to be close to the source,“ says Goswami, who co-founded the branded pork venture four years ago. Investors say that entrepreneurs from small towns appear to be more charged to succeed and willing to put in the hard yards to make their startups flourish. It also helps that costs -from human resources to rentals -are l o w e r, c o m mutes are shorter and fewer people quit jobs. “Many employees prefer to be in smaller towns... [they are] closer to family, [have] manageable work hours ... In the end, there has to be a net long-term productivity gain for the model to work,“ says Kumar Shiralagi, managing director of earlystage VC firm Kalaari Capital.
Robosoft, where Kalaari has invested, is in Udupi for its talent base alone. “The proximity to good educational institutions (Manipal Institute of Technology, whose graduates include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, is an hour away) in the region has helped,“ he adds.
But is this enough? Some entrepreneurs suggest that while a small-town launch may be handy to keep costs low initially, moving to a large city may be only a matter of time.Unni Koroth, Abdul Hisham, Arvind GS, Arun Raveendran, Abdul Salam and Vishwajith A started Foradian Networks, a provider of technology solutions for the education sector in Kasaragod, perhaps Kerala's most backward district. While being in the boondocks helped keep early cash burn low, hitting the big time required the founders to shift to Bengaluru.“Our business has been growing 300% year on year since we moved two years ago,“ says Koroth. “We all had families and deep ties to Kerala. This was our most difficult, but necessary move.“
The startups we have profiled in the following pages may also be confronted with such tough choices. Yet, as they try to make it big, they'll surely inspire many more in small-town India to take the big leap and start out on their own.
Rahul Sachitanand


CEO SPECIAL........................ CEO’S PRODUCTIVITY SECRETS (3)


6.    “Be prompt in communication, engage in soft diplomacy“
“I have a meeting with my direct reports every fortnight, but we also have a
system of “war room“ meetings, which requires everyone to assemble with
one hour notice. War room meetings are called when we have a big transaction
coming up and they happen once a fortnight. I've set myself a standard of
responding to emails within 24 hours and SMS and WhatsApp messages
within two hours. As the country head of a MNC headquartered in New York,
I often receive visitors from other countries. I've made it a habit to take foreign
guests out to dinner. Most Americans visiting India want to go shopping and
I accompany them if they're looking for antiques and handicrafts.
If they're looking to buy clothes, my wife steps in.“

7.    “Write down everything“
“I do a lot of read ingnot books, but articles and blogs. These are mostly articles
written by startup heroes like Paul Graham of Y Combinator. These are very in
sightful ­ like how to manage macros and what kind of people you want to hire.
Another guy, who I follow is Aaron Levie, cofounder of Box. I never miss his
blog posts. The other habit I have is that I write down everything from micros
and macros. My room is full of scribbling pads which I have used over the years.
I finish one note pad every week. On Saturdays, I review my goals, which helps
you validate. I also use the ColorNote app for drawing goal setting graphs.“

8.    “Ab tum batao“
“If you come to my office and speak to me, the phrase that you will most hear
would be “Ab tum batao (now, you say).“ Now, this has become an office joke.
I have a habit of making people repeat what I said in meetings. Through this,
I am able to detect whether my colleagues have understood what I have said
or not. Mostly, people get only 50% of what I just said. So, when somebody
is late to a meeting, I don't repeat myself, but I make someone else repeat
what I spoke for the benefit of the late comer. If something is lost in
communication, I clarify. I have slight dyslexia. So, I listen to audio books
on my way to office. When I reach the office, I am usually half way through
a book. I am interested in astrophysics and quantum physics.It makes me
realise that we are very insignificant in the larger universal scheme of things.
The only time we have, is now.“

9.    “Use social media to connect with people“
“For the past 7 years, I have been doing Yoga in the mornings. I am very active
on Twitter. I have found that normally people who don't reply to you via email,
usually respond quicker on Twitter. I connect with my teammates also on social
media so that I can get to know my colleagues better.We even have a
WhatsApp group in office. My husband Rohan (also the cofounder) and I have
lunch with our colleagues every day.We have a kitchen in the office. So,
we don't do any other lunch meetings.“

10.           “Meet new people, stay updated“
“Our business is all about new ideas. This can only come from meeting people
from various walks of business like entrepreneurs, investors. I meet 710 people
a week. This helps me in ideation. I try to remain updated about global business
developments. I follow articles and blogs of Warren Buffett and Jim Rogers.
This gives me a long term perspective. Mornings, I dedicate to tracking news
and markets. I devote the first half of the day to meetings and second half for
internal office work. I try to catch up with friends offline rather than social
media sites. But I am very active on LinkedIn, which helps to connect with people in the investment banking ecosystem.“

By Dibeyendu Ganguly & Dearton Hector
With inputs from Priyanka Sangani and Moinak Mitra


HR SPECIAL......................... Welcome To The New Era Of Human Resources

Welcome To The New Era Of Human Resources

The function of human resources departments has remained the same for over 100 years. That's all about to change.
It is believed that the first human resources department was established by The National Cash Register Company in 1901 following a bitter strike. Then referred to as "personnel," the new department’s role was largely compliance-based, and focused on record keeping, workplace safety, wage management, and employee grievances.
"A hundred years later, a lot of organizations are still running HR that same way; focusing on risk, focusing on compliance, focusing on the transactional side of it, but there's this whole new era, and things like unions and pensions and transparency of the workplace have changed," says Jason Averbook, CEO of the Marcus Buckingham Company, a Beverly Hills-based management training and consulting firm.
HR is at a crossroads, as technology can now accomplish many of those traditional responsibilities faster, cheaper, and better than before.
According to Averbook, HR is at a crossroads, as technology can now accomplish many of those traditional responsibilities faster, cheaper, and better than before. "It's now moving from transaction to interaction," he said.
Today there are countless recruiting platforms, onboarding programs, and talent management systems available to employers, and many, including Averbook, have argued that HR as a whole will have to quickly adapt or face extinction.
The New Rules Of Work
"For many many years people have screamed that we're approaching the death of the recruiter, the death of the HR function," says Darren Bounds, CEO of Breezy HR, an application-tracking platform for small businesses. Bounds adds that Breezy HR and applications like it can now replace one or two dedicated HR staff within organizations under 50 employees. "The people who shouted it out were just a little too early or just being a little bit extreme, but it's been happening for many years."
While the writing has been on the wall for some time, many factors that point to this outcome have only recently come to fruition. Recruiting software has become more advanced and cost-effective, big data has become a centerpiece of talent management, and 2015 marks the first year that millennials represent a majority of the American workforce, a generation that makes career decisions differently than previous ones. "It’s a perfect storm," said Bounds, and one that he believes will lead to drastic changes in the role of human resources departments moving forward.
"I think we're approaching a tipping point, but we haven't hit it yet," says Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse, an online career platform. "I don't think we'll get to that tipping point until a far greater percentage of companies out there realize that trying to recruit great people through a really tired 500-word text-only job posting is probably not the best strategy for success."
Minshew believes that this tipping point doesn’t necessarily spell the end of HR, only an evolution, perhaps even an opportunity.
"Do I think this wave of technology in the HR recruitment space right now is going to put a lot of HR and recruitment professionals out of their job? Absolutely not," she says. "In fact, I think it has the opportunity to be a renaissance of sorts for the space."
As recruiting gets more competitive and organizations put further emphasis on acquiring and retaining top talent, many believe that HR professionals of the near future will be part of the core management team.
But the industry has thus far been slow to react to these changes. In a recent survey by Deloitte, only 22% of respondents said that HR is adapting to the changing needs of their workforce, and only 20% feel that HR can adequately plan for the company’s future talent needs. It also predicted that 60% of enterprise recruitment technology would be replaced in the next 18 months.
The study, titled "Reinventing HR: An Extreme Makeover," points to some of the areas where skills need to be improved, such as applying social technologies to the HR management function, embracing social media for talent acquisition, enabling greater innovation and customer satisfaction, and increased knowledge sharing through social technologies.
"Those are capabilities that many HR organizations have not yet honed," says Art Mazor, the principal of human capital at Deloitte Consulting, and lead author of the study. "HR is typically looked toward as the stewards of culture, but if you don't have those capabilities to bring the culture to a new place, specifically around innovation and driving customer satisfaction, HR is going to struggle, and the organization is going to struggle as a result."
The study also found that 80% of survey respondents believe that their company’s HR skills are a significant issue, a gap that will need to be accounted for quickly in order to meet the demands of this new era in HR.
HR professionals that embrace the opportunities that technology can provide, however, are able to better allocate their time toward gathering insights beyond their own four walls, outgrowing the traditional concentration on internal compliance.
As an example Mazor points to the evolution of financial management, which grew from serving basic accounting needs to the CFOs of today, who serve a core function on leadership teams.
"I think we're seeing a very similar evolution in another function known as HR," he says, adding that some companies have already assigned a chief human resources officer. "If you look at the evolution going back to when we called HR ‘personnel,’ it's come a long way as a function since then, and I think now there's a major shift yet again enabled by these tools and technologies that are finally allowing the HR function to look outside the tactical, administrative reporting and data gathering to bring insights and drive business strategy and results."
By Jared Lindzon

Saturday, May 30, 2015

PERSONAL SPECIAL...................... 9 Ways Mentally-Strong People Prevent Self-Pity From Becoming Self-Destructive

9 Ways Mentally-Strong People Prevent Self-Pity From Becoming Self-Destructive

Whether you've been dumped by your partner, or you're facing a financial crisis, throwing a pity party won't help. In fact, feeling sorry for yourself can become downright self-destructive. It makes overcoming adversity difficult -- if not impossible -- and it keeps you stuck.
Mentally-strong people refuse to allow self-pity to sabotage their success. Instead, they use life's inevitable hardships as a way to grow stronger and become better. Here's how mentally-strong people avoid the self-pity trap:

1. They Face Their Feelings
Mentally-strong people allow themselves to experience emotions like grief, disappointment, and loneliness head on. They don't distract themselves from uncomfortable emotions by questioning whether their problems are fair, or by convincing themselves they've suffered more than those around them. They know the best way to deal with discomfort is to just get through it.

2. They Recognize Warning Signs of the Downward Spiral
When you focus on everything that is going wrong in your life, your thoughts become exaggeratedly negative. And those negative thoughts will negatively affect your behavior if you dwell on them. The combination of negative thinking and inactivity fuels further feelings of self-pity. Mentally strong people recognize when they're at risk of becoming caught in this downward spiral and they take action to prevent themselves from living a pitiful life.

3. They Question Their Perceptions
Our emotional state influences how we perceive reality. When you're feeling sorry for yourself, you're likely to focus on the bad things going on in your life, while overlooking the good. Mentally strong people question whether their thoughts represent reality.
They ask themselves questions like, "Is my luck always bad?" or "Is my entire life really ruined?" Asking themselves these types of questions allows them to recognize when they're outlook isn't realistic. This allows them to create a more realistic perception of their situation.

4. They Turn their Negative Thoughts into Behavioral Experiments
Mentally strong people don't allow their negative thinking to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, when they find themselves thinking things like, "I could never put on a presentation as good as this one," they respond by saying, "Challenge accepted!" They perform behavioral experiments to prove their negative thinking wrong.

5. They Reserve their Resources for Productive Activities
Every minute you spend hosting your own pity party is 60 seconds you delay working on a solution. Mentally strong people refuse to waste their precious time and energy dwelling on their misery. Instead, they devote their finite resources to productive activities that can improve their situation.

6. They Practice Gratitude
It's impossible to feel self-pity and gratitude at the same time. While self-pity is about thinking, "I deserve better," gratitude is about thinking, "I have more than I need." Mentally strong people recognize all that they have to be grateful for in life -- right down to the fresh air to breathe and clean water to drink.

7. They Help Other People
It's hard to feel sorry for your problems when you're helping those who are less fortunate. Problems like demanding customers or declining sales don't seem so bad when you're reminded that there are people who lack food and shelter. Rather than ruminate on their own inconveniences, mentally strong people strive to improve the lives of others.

8. They Refuse to Complain
Venting to other people about the magnitude of your problems fuels feelings of self-pity. Mentally strong people don't try to gain sympathy from others by complaining about their difficult circumstances. Instead, they either take action to make things better, or they accept the situations that they can't change.

9. They Maintain an Optimistic Outlook
Some of life's problems can't be prevented nor solved. The loss of loved ones, natural disasters, and certain health conditions are problems that most people will face at one time or another. Mentally strong people keep an optimistic outlook about their ability to handle whatever life throws their way.

Build Mental Strength
Developing mental strength is similar to building physical strength. If you wanted to become physically strong you'd need good habits -- like lifting weights. But you'd also need to get rid of bad habits, like eating too many sweets. Developing mental strength requires good habits -- and it also requires you to give up destructive habits, like self-pity.
Everyone has the ability to build mental strength. By developing an increased ability to regulate your thoughts, manage your emotions and behave productively despite your circumstances, you'll grow stronger and become better.
Amy Morin
Psychotherapist and author of '13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do'