Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Eight Irresistible Priciples of Fun

I happened to find this animated movie at box of crayons. It is full of wisdom to infuse fun and zest in our lives.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Man in the Arena

The following passage is from Theodore Roosevelt's speech titled Citizenship in a Republic. It is also sometimes referred to as 'The Man in the Arena'.

Quote "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Unquote

Isn't it a fact that effort and courage bring much more happiness than simple musings and yet many of us don't take that one small step that stands between mediocrity and glory.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sleep and Productivity

I had previously posted on the relationship between sleep and mood. Arianna Huffington is a proponent of adequate sleep. In this small video, she uses humour to emphasize her point that sleep may be related to increased productivity and happiness.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


The skillful management of attention is the sine qua non of the good life and the key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience, from mood to productivity to relationships.
- Winifred Gallagher

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crafting the Job

Most people would like to have a ‘calling’ relationship with their work. However, they may be in occupations where they feel their callings are unanswered. However, it’s not the occupation, but the individual doing the work who defines the work orientation and makes meaning of the work. The same work may be viewed differently by different individuals.

People can realize a calling orientation by job crafting. Job crafting is defined as the physical and cognitive changes individuals make in the task or relational boundaries of their work. Individuals can redesign (craft) their work in ways that can enhance satisfaction, engagement, resilience and flourishing. This allows people to permeate their work with a personal and social meaning and allows one to view that through their work they are making a bigger contribution to the world.

Individuals can pursue unanswered callings by employing five different techniques to craft their jobs (task emphasizing, job expanding, and role reframing) and their leisure time (vicarious experiencing and hobby participating).

A. Job crafting

Task emphasizing: Involves accentuating tasks that are already formally a part of one’s job to pursue an unanswered calling.

This can be done either by (i) allocating additional time, energy or attention to an assigned task which relates to an unanswered calling or by (ii) changing the nature of an assigned task to incorporate aspects of an unanswered calling.

For example a manager who thinks that sharing knowledge or teaching is his calling can allocate more time for sharing knowledge with less experienced colleagues in a structured way.

Job expanding: Involves adding tasks to incorporate aspects of an unanswered calling.

This can be done either by (i) taking on short-term, temporary tasks or by (ii) adding new tasks to a job, which relate to the individual’s calling.

For example, an employee with a strong penchant for a foreign language can offer to be an interpreter when business visitors come or can join the team framing a business document in that language.

Role reframing: Involves modifying one’s perception of the meaning of his or her work to match an unanswered calling.

For example a cook with a creative inclination may perceive his work as an artistic expression rather than just the preparation of food.

B. Leisure crafting

Vicarious experiencing: Involves seeking fulfillment and meaningful experiences through participation of family (or friends and even celebrities) in an unanswered calling.

For example, a mother who perceives music as her calling but is involved in a catering job may gain fulfillment by helping her daughter to learn to play the piano and attending her concerts.

Hobby participating: Involves pursuing leisure and volunteer activities that individuals perceive as related to an unanswered calling.

For example, a salesperson who has a fondness for teaching and social issues may participate as a volunteer in community education programs like children literacy classes.


Berg JM, Grant AM, JohnsonV. When Callings Are Calling: Crafting Work and Leisure in Pursuit of Unanswered Occupational Callings. Organization Science. 2010; 21: 973-994. [PDF]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Working Relationship

The work we do (our ‘jobs’) takes up a significant portion of our lives and can be a source of drudgery or a source of elation (or a mix of emotions). The nature of the work itself could give rise to these emotions but a significant role is played by the way individuals view their work. According to experts, an individual can have three different relations with his or her work – Job, Career, Calling.

Job: People with a job orientation primarily see their work as a means to an end. They consider work as a mean to pay for necessities, support their families, and maximize their leisure time. The major interests and ambitions of Job holders are not expressed through their work.

Career: People with a career orientation have a deep personal involvement with their work. They primarily see work as a conduit to achievement and higher social standing. They are principally motivated by the challenge of work, increased self-esteem and the possibility of enhancing their status (social and organizational standing).

Calling: People with a calling orientation perceive their work as intrinsically enjoyable and fulfilling. They do not work for the financial gain or status enhancement and permeate their work with personal and social meaning. The work is usually associated with the belief that the work contributes to the greater good and makes the world a better place.

Individuals with a career orientation or a calling orientation are more deeply involved with their work as compared to those with a job orientation. Only for those with a calling orientation, work is an enriching and meaningful activity.

Although work orientation is more of an individual perspective, it has significant effects on the work group. In teams where the number of members with a calling orientations is higher, there is overall higher identification with the team, more commitment and healthier group processes. For teams with majority of career oriented members, there is weaker identification with the team, more conflict, less commitment to the team itself and more negative group processes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gratitude for a Scientist

Recently had the opportunity to listen to Dr. V.S. Ramachandran speak on the occasion of the launch of his new book The Tell-Tale Brain. Amongst other things the eminent scientist talked on topics like synesthesia, mirror neurons, mirror box etc. He made the topics easily comprehensible and fascinating.

During the period of interactions with the audience a young boy stood up. He looked smart and spoke articulately. He said he had come mainly to thank the neuroscientist. As the audience contemplated the possible reasons in their minds, the boy continued and disclosed that he had cerebral palsy. Sometime recently he had suffered from dislocation of the hip. This had subsequently caused him to change his lifestyle from a physically active one to a more inhibited one. He was scared to undertake any physical activity due to the fear of pain and due to doubts about his ability to undertake the activity. Then he had happened to view a video where Dr. V.S. Ramachandran had spoken about learned disability. After viewing the video and obtaining this new knowledge he had decided to challenge his limiting beliefs and had started undertaking activities which he was previously scared to perform. He once again started moving towards an active lifestyle and gained progressive confidence and satisfaction.

As the boy completed, I sensed a gentle smile on the neuroscientist’s lips. The boy’s expression of gratitude would have definitely made both him and the recipient happier. An insightful scientific talk had proved to be a source of inspiration, strength and happiness to a boy whom Dr. V.S. Ramachandran did not even know. The concurrent applause from the audience was perhaps an appreciation of the endeavour of both human beings.