Monthly Archives: July 2010

A confession

My flight from Spokane was about to land at Denver International Airport.  I was sitting near exit row.  I hurried myself to put my iPod and laptop in my bag.

“Would you please ______  the ________?”

“I am sorry. Can you repeat what you are saying?“ I said.

“Would you ______  the ________?”

I still could not understand what the flight attendant was talking about.  Without wasting any second, I began to imagine any instruction or protocol required for those who sit near “exit row” of the airplane.

Looking at the confusing look of my face, my fellow passenger stretched his arm and opened the window cover.  Only then I realized what the flight attendant was trying to tell me.

Bemused with my poor understanding of her instruction, the flight attendant whispered loudly to her fellow flight attendant – “I thought he (me) said he understood English”.

I must confess that it was painful when someone like her judged me within seconds without understanding various possibilities. Possibilities like, flight attendant was talking way faster – she was using sentence without window or anything in it for easy guessing – I was very absent-minded after listening a powerful story in my iPod.

With a heavy heart, I came outside of airport to catch the bus.  The bus driver asked me about my destination before putting my luggage in proper compartment. I said “Baseline” in my accent.

I saw the same confusing look that I must have while trying to decipher the flight attendant’s question. Before I could speak the second word, bus driver guessed my destination and nodded positively before moving on to the next passengers waiting with their heavy luggage.

This series of events about language barrier and misunderstanding reaffirm my thought about how I should respond to this kind of embarrassment.  I am sure many of my international friends whose native language is not English must have gone through similar incidents to some extent.

It’s not what has happened to us, it’s our choice or reaction to what has happened determines the outcome.

We often expect others to change to cover our limitations.  Instead of learning English or anything else for that matter in proper way, we sometimes wish other to understand our shortcoming and being nice to us.  Why?  Are we not judging other in the spur of moments? If yes, it is just another day to remind us the ground reality.
The reality is that we all should take responsibility to overcome our shortcoming.  Taking things personal does not do any good to us rather makes us trapped in our excuses.  It is nice if others are less judgmental.  But this is the very opportunity we sometimes need to break out of our own misery and be a better person than what we are.

I felt lot better after these thoughts. Bus started moving, so do my thoughts – a step closer to where I like to belong.

Do you have experienced similar embarrassment and learned something positive out of it? Please share my view if you like it.

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Paulie - The epic journey of a parrot to find his little friend

“There are things in life you put off, because you think you’re gonna do them later. But the real thing Ivy taught me is you gotta live like there may not be a later.”

This is my favorite quote from the movie “Paulie“. The movie is about plight of a parrot named “Paulie” who was trying to find his lost friend “Marie”.

In his way, he met many amazing people whose lives were touched by his selfless attitude and vice versa. He also found many selfish people who used him for their advantages. He was tortured, emotionally broken and challenged  in his way to find his little girl, Marie.

This epic animal-adventure story may be made for children, but this movie has many messages that can touch anyone’s life. The messages are more clear when we have something to relate to Paulie and his journey.

Paulie could not have endured all difficulties in his way or would have lost his focus if he has no “Marie” in his life. Like Paulie, each one of us are having that journey to find someone or something in life.

As long as our life is driven by the desire to find our own “Marie” of our life, we will pass through anything and everything. Marie does not have to be a person but could be anything that will fulfill us.

Do you know what is driving you and who is your “Marie”?  If yes, you will get it as long you have the wish and determination to have it. If no, then the time to look for one is never late yet.

Braking free out of our own misery

Dogs won't see the wall, they see a way to cross it. Why not us?

I am going to be 4th year of my PhD and have no noteworthy progress (publications) to measure my success.  But my life is never more hopeful as it is now amid of all hopeless situations as foreseen by many of my friends.  I have found my way to make up for the lost time and have a successful career by end of my PhD.

Life was not as hopeless as it used to be for last few years.  I changed my major from Physics to Environmental Engineering when I have everything to take from Physics.  Then 3 years was a struggle to find my tone during my MS in Environmental Engineering.  And now, three years into my PhD where I finally felt like to find my lost rhythm.  I have this hope of everything can be possible and I will become what I am working for.

When I look back, there is thousands well-articulated excuses to convince all that I have not done that badly, if anything – it is because of circumstances (bla bla..).  The excuses that most of us can throw so convincingly that failure seems a natural disaster like tsunami – that we have no control on it.

This attitude of being focused on problems, circumstances and other’s fault dangerously cripples our ability to think a way out of it. We are hold hostage to the world we created, the world that is so negative that one can find a negative reason in everything.  Being negative does not change anything, but makes it worse until there is celestial blast to shatter everything we believe.

Should we not try to break this wall of negativity before the blast and have a fresh air to look at everything in different prospective?  If yes, how do you wake a non-sleeping human from the world of denial where everything is conspired against him/her.

Here I need your help to tell me if you have learned anything about it so that I can get out of my denial, if any or help someone coming out of his or her negative world.  Feel free to write me email or post it in comment section.  I will appreciate a lot for your thought on it.

Here are my checklists that you can add on to find if anyone needs to change his or her approach for better future.

  1. Does anything bother someone for more than years and there is nothing s/he can do about it other than worrying about everyday?
  2. Is s/he doing the same thing over and over and waiting for the misery to go away somehow?
  3. Is s/he feeling alone in this world where none understand him/her or even they understand, cannot help him/her?
  4. Does s/he have dying desire to be someone else other than who s/he is now?
  5. Does s/he have issues that preventing him or her to have happy personal or professional life?

If s/he has even one YES to any of these questions, s/he is ready to try something new in life.  First thing that helped me to break out of my cage of negative world is to stop worrying about other’s opinion, projected consequence and start trusting more on myself.  I stop giving too much attention to anyone who judges me for anything, though I tried my best to listen to their say on my matter.

The more I look my part that is contributing to the misery, the more I found myself focused on solution.  That prevented me to have those desperate feelings to depend on others.  Truth is none can help us unless we are not that desperate to make the best out of anyone’s help – how little it may be.

Time is to stop looking at the problem and focus more on solution and self. It does not matter how much you try to solve world’s problem.  If it is by cost of your own problem, your future will be a liability to you.  So lets not live a life dictated by others and circumstance, but a life that is earned by us. I am glad to learn from your experience on how you overcome your difficulties.

Success is what count at the end irrespective of how we start. Success changes everything – it will make cynics to run away from you and friends to run toward you and life will be never same again. I will end this post with a phrase from Darren Hardy, the editor of “success magazine” – man who earned six figure at age of 18, and have earned million dollar by age of 21 and now multimillion dollar business by helping people achieving their success.

Unsuccessful people think about what they don’t want most of the time. They talk about problems, listen to news & gossip, & spend their time blaming circumstances, situations & others. Successful people think about what they want & how they will get it. They are intensely focused on their goals & the information needed to help obtain them.”

Which person are YOU?” Please share this post if you like it.

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Who am I?

Dual personalities

Ever since I have started writing blog, I got mixed reactions from my friends. Some appreciated the writer and thinker inside me. Some other friends openly or secretly found it hard to digest what I am writing here.  Because their personal experience with me may convey very different messages – a difference between what I say and what I have done.

I am thankful for having these wonderful friends who are so honest in their opinions towards me. I must admit whole-heartedly that all of them are RIGHT. I am the same person whose action may make some people doubt me and still the same person whose writing may reflect opposite thought.

I cannot separate my action from myself with an excuse that I did not know or I was not aware of xyz things. I am what I did and what I am doing and will be doing. My action defines me better way than what I write here or say there. The consequence of my action is solely mine. No excuses, period.

I cannot guarantee doing the right things all the time or writing the best piece all the time that most can agree with. I will make mistakes. That’s why you are there to correct me with your thoughts, suggestion, comments and criticism. But I will always own my mistake as gracefully as my righteousness.

Because, both are the wheels of my bike that is leading to where I want to be. The wheels that is turning with every piece of thought I am going through, with every piece of writing I am posting here, with every piece of action I am taking. And every turn it makes, I am discovering who I am.

I like to know how you are learning more about yourself. What are the wheels in your bike?

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Progress is all about continuity

Progress is all about moving in right track, not sitting there

Progress is all about moving in right track, not sitting there

I was on my way to see my friend, Tesfa in his lab. His lab is one hallway away from where I works.  I came across some quotes posted on doors in the way.   I got interested and started reading all quotes until I was hit by a cart.  This incident became more relevant because that moment, I was reading this quote.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there” – Will Rogers

It was a pure coincidence that I was in right track to see my friend, but I was blocking the hallway reading these amazing quotes that inevitably invited something wrong to happen.  Had I kept moving in the hallway, it would have been a perfect walk without any incident.  But I am glad that this thing happened in the hallway, not in highway, where the repercussions could be more costly and devastating.

We all understand or connect to this principle so well when we are driving in highway.  But few of us really understand that our career or life is a journey that is held in the balance of moving in right direction – not knowing or sitting in the right track.  If you ever ride a bike, you would understand.  Riding a bike is harder when the movement is slower and it crashes when it ceases to move.   Same can be said about everything we do in our life.

In the end, moving in the wrong track is not that different from sitting in the right track – both will not lead us anywhere near to our goal.  This simple incident today made me think twice if I am sitting on the right track or moving.  I realized that I was sitting on a right track (Example, my Ph.D.) for a long time and to some extent I am doing so even now.

What about you? Please share this post if you like it.

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