Category Archives: Motivational Story

Leadership: Lesson learned from my recent field trip.

Field Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN

I was out of blogging over last one and half months due to my long awaiting trip to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee. This was one of the most successful trip I was part of as a leader. I had to overcome many adversaries to make things happened. I thought to share the lessons I learned from this trip – not academic lessons that may be meaningless to most.

The first few days in our trip were very challenging. We had missing equipment, broken setup, unavailability of pure water to do experiment, unfriendly bureaucracy with loads of excuses, and unfamiliar territory to overcome any problem.  The chance of getting anything done out of our ambitious plan within the tight schedule looked bleak.

I had to balance my thought between finding a way to get any work done and genuine complains against people (not my team) who were responsible for the problems.  It was hard for me to find any solution amid all the tension/pressure of problems and constant complains/frustration from other team members.

It is easy to get into complaining mode when we are victim of the fault of other. Nevertheless, we worked really hard to get things going on our first day.  At the end of the day, Joe – my advisor, sat with me after dinner.  What he said during that time changed the course of the events that were to follow. He said –

“You had given so much effort to put this trip together.  We flew hundreds of mile and spent thousands of dollars, our time and effort.  We did not come here to face the failure and go back empty handed.  The rewards of getting this work done or repercussion of failure is going to affect you more than anyone else, as this is your project and your PhD.  So make things happened and I believe you can as you always do.”

What a big difference a leader can make when he/she instills the faith on your ability as well as helps you focus on thing that matters the most! After that moment with Joe, I never looked back.  Complains, excuses and problems that came later never bothered me a bit.  I was very focused to solve anything and everything that came in the way of my team.

The belief that every problem is there to be solved was contagious to the team and everyone started making things happened.  A good team (Joe, Dave, Jim, Audrey and Brett), positive attitude and good leadership had made this trip successful that seemed impossible at first.

Though Joe gave me all the credit for good leadership and the successful trip, deep down inside I know that it was he and his faith on me has changed everything.  I learned that – there is no substitute to think positive and keep our focus on solution.

Now I am glad to realize that problems are there in our life for a reason – not to slow you down but to make you stronger, wiser and better than whom you are before.  Choice is yours how you see it.

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An untold love story

She woke up with the warmth presence of the charming and radiant man who always came to work from a distant east. This was the moment she had been waiting for all night. Her waiting was over.

She felt the joy and opened her eyes to find him calm and quite. He went on to his work smiling at everyone and she smiled back.  But he never noticed being unaware of the happiness that his presence was bringing in her daily life.

With the day passed by, he got busy in his work and day became tougher. So rough that he was too difficult to handle by anyone. Everyone felt the heat of his presence and tried to avoid him. But she still kept looking at him and never let him go out of her sight.

Clock was ticking. She did not know how many hours passed in between. She was still standing at the same place since the morning. But he was too busy to notice and moved from one end of the field to other end by evening. Exhausted and tired, he slowly walked away and disappeared in the west horizon before stars appeared in clear sky.

She had watched him again walking away. Her face became pale. Another day had passed. Yet, she could not tell him how much she loved him and how long she had been waiting for him to come next day.

Next morning, he came again. But she could not say anything. Many days were gone. She was tired and broken. Her body was falling apart. She could not stand any more for whole day to watch him working. She knew it was her last chance to tell him about her feeling. That day, she called him many times, but he was too busy to hear her voice.

Evening came, so did the night. Everything became quite for her. Her body was lying at east side of field, eyes opened as if she was still waiting for him to come. Nobody noticed her death.

Next morning, he came again. He felt something was missing and found her body lying on ground with a letter for him. He read it all without taking a breath. He never knew that someone could love her so much. But it was too late.

He got very angry on himself for not noticing her early and on the world for keeping him busy in work. His anger was felt everywhere. Everything seemed like burning hot. It made the wind started blowing heavily. The wind carried her and left it at the center of the field.

Hours passed by when he finally calmed down to find her broken and dry body across the field. This time, he could not stop crying. He cried so much that tears soaked her body and the field. Clouds noticed his sorrow and cried with him. He left broken-hearted before evening stars appeared in the distance sky.

A miracle happened that night. New lives were born from her dry body.  The field were filled with her offsprings. The birth of next generation – the generation that will tell the tale of her epic love story. This is the story of “sunflower” and her love “sun”.

There are many unspoken love stories like this where someone dies without being noticed. Hope the story will be passed on from generation to generation and will be told thousands times. So that not a single soul fades unnoticed, not a single life ends without being loved back.

There may be someone there who loves you as much as sunflower loves the sun, but could not able to reach you, because you are too busy. Hope his/her love never dies unnoticed.

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Power of Acknowledgment

Click here to watch the movie

Click the image to watch the movie

On August 1st, 2010, I received an forwarded email with a powerful story from a guy “Shreehari Prasad” whom I don’t know in person (not sure how he got my email, but I am glad that he did).

I sent the same email adding my personal message to some of my friends.  I took that opportunity to acknowledge everyone whom I remember for their contribution. A few of them replied back and shared their happiness for getting my email. Their words had made that day more beautiful.

Even a small acknowledgment can break the barrier, build the trust and strengthen the relationship with our friends and family member. We should not shy away from expressing our gratitude for other’s contribution.

This is the message of the powerful true story I received from a friend and shared with others by email. The story is about the power of acknowledgment that alters a 14 year-old boy’s life for ever.  You can watch this movie here. If you could not watch it (flash player required), then you may read the story as told here :


I make a difference

A teacher in New York decided to honor each of her seniors in High School by telling them the difference each of them had made. She called each student to the front of the class, one at a time. First, she told each of them how they had made a difference to her, and the class.

Then she presented each of them with a blue ribbon, imprinted with gold letters, which read, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.” Afterwards, the teacher decided to do a class project, to see what kind of impact recognition would have on a Community.

She gave each student three more blue ribbons, and instructed them to go out and spread this acknowledgment ceremony. Then they were to follow up on the results, see who honored whom, and report to the class in about a week.

One of the boys in the class went to a junior executive in a nearby company, and honored him for helping him with his career planning. He gave him a blue ribbon, and put it on his shirt.

Then he gave him two extra ribbons and said, “We’re doing a class project on recognition, and we’d like for you to go out, find some one to honor, and give them a blue ribbon. Then give them this extra blue ribbon, so they can acknowledge a third person, to keep this ceremony going. Then please get back to me and tell me what happened.”

Later that day, the junior executive went in to see his boss, who had a reputation of being kind of a grouchy fellow. He told him that he deeply admired him for being a creative genius. The boss seemed very surprised. The junior executive asked him if he would accept the gift of the blue ribbon, and give him permission to put it on him.

His boss said, “Well, sure.” The junior executive took one of the blue ribbons and placed it right on his boss’s jacket, above his heart. And then he asked, offering him the last ribbon, “Would you take this extra ribbon, and pass it on by honoring somebody else. The teenager who gave me these is doing a school project, and we want to keep this ribbon ceremony going and see how it affects people.”

That night, the boss came home and sat down with his 14-year-old son. He said, “The most incredible thing happened to me today. I was in my office, and one of my employees came in and told me he admired me, and gave me a blue ribbon for being a creative genius.

Imagine! He thinks I am a creative genius! Then he put a blue ribbon on me that says, “Who I Am Makes a Difference.” He gave me an extra ribbon and asked me to find somebody else to honor.

As I was driving home tonight, I started thinking about who I would honor with this ribbon, and I thought about you. I want to honor you. My days are hectic and when I come home, I don’t pay a lot of attention to you. I yell at you for not getting good enough grades and for your messy bedroom.

Somehow, tonight, I just wanted to sit here and, well, just let you know that you do make a difference to me. Besides your mother, you are the most important person in my life. You’re a great kid, and I love you!”

The startled boy started to sob and sob, and he couldn’t stop crying. His whole body shook. He looked up at his father and said through his tears, “Dad, earlier tonight I sat in my room and wrote a letter to you and Mom, explaining why I had took my life, and I asked you to forgive me.

I was going to commit suicide tonight after you were asleep. I just didn’t think that you cared at all. The letter is upstairs. I don’t think I’ll need it after all.”

His father walked upstairs and found a heartfelt letter full of anguish and pain. The boss went back to work a changed man. He was no longer a grouch, but made sure to let all of his employees know that they made a difference.

The junior executive helped many other young people with career planning, one being the boss’ son, and never forgot to let them know that they made a difference in his life.

In addition, the young man and his classmates learned a valuable lesson:

“Who you are DOES make a difference”.


If you like this story and feel that someone has made a difference in your life, please share this. Someone might be waiting there whose life is about to change receiving your gratitude. And so is yours!

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Power of compassion

Click here to watch the movie

Click the image to watch the movie

A spark is all it takes to start a mighty engine.  A sincere attention is all it’s needed to make a difference in someone’s life. Let’s be the spark and give our attention to someone who is in need. Who knows tomorrow is the day, we might find ourselves in the receiving end. Because giving is the first step of receiving.

This is an inspiring story published by Mary Robinson Raynold.  You can watch the story as flash movie or read it in this flash book (click on the link).  Else read it here in her words.


The Teddy Stallard Story

As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat was a little boy named Teddy Stallard.

Miss Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with other children, that his clothes were messy, and that he constantly needed a bath. And, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Miss Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Miss Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records, and she put Teddy’s off until the last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote:

“Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners. He is such a joy to be around.”

His second grade teacher wrote:

“Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness, and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote:

“His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote:

“Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Miss Thompson realized the problem, and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s.

His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Miss Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the students started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stallard stayed after school that day just long enough to say,

“Miss Thompson, today you smell just like my Mom used to.”

After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Miss Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind began to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.

By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class, and despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he’d ever had in his whole life!

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school. He’d stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.

Again he assured Miss Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he’d ever had. Then four more years passed, and yet another letter came. After he got his bachelor’s degree he had decided to go a little further.  She was still the best and favorite teacher he’d ever had. But now his name was a little longer… the letter was signed “Theodore F. Stallard, M.D.”

The story does not end here. There was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago, and he was wondering if Miss Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Miss Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stallard whispered in Miss Thompson’s ear:

“Thank you for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Miss Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.

She said, “Teddy you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you!”

You can never tell what type of impact you may have on another’s life by your actions or lack of action. Please consider this fact in your venture through life, and just try to make a difference in someone else’s life today.


What impact do you have on someone’s life today? Please share this story with your friends and family if you like it.

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$100 – A touching story

Are you spending enough time with the person you love?  Are you not neglecting something that is part of your present and future?  We all think we do it to some extent.  But how sure are we?

This following story is going to keep things in perspective.  I got it in one forwarded email from one of my friend.  Nothing more to say.  Story said it all.

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure, what is it?”
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?”
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”
SON: “Oh! (With his head down).
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow $50?”
The father was furious.
DAD: “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I work hard everyday for such this childish behavior.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.
The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?
After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think:
Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $ 50 and he really didn’t ask for money very often. The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

DAD: “Are you asleep, son?”

SON: “No daddy, I’m awake”.
DAD: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier. It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $50 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, smiling.
SON: “Oh, thank you daddy!”
Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills. The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

DAD: “Why do you want more money if you already have some?”

SON: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do.

“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.”
The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $100 worth of your time with someone you love? If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family.

Do you have time for your loved one? Please share this story with your friends and family members if you like it.

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