Saturday, 19 December 2015

the Joy Jar journey 2015

Dear Reader,

At the beginning of 2015, I had shared a concept of happiness/joy jar: Happiness jar - collecting moments of joy daily

In the last 350+ days we have had an amazing experience filling the family joy jar, sharing small & big joy moments. 

Our experiences during this year of collecting joys…

  • Joy moments are fleeting. If we missed this routine for a day, if was hard to recollect joy moments for that day when we attempted to catch up later. 
  • When we noted our joys at the end of the same day, they were numerous, filling both sides of the notepaper.
  • We found our own individual accomplishments featured fewer times. More often our nocturnal notings were about receiving, observing or making a meaningful contribution in our circle of family & friends.

Some friends who started a Joy Jar with their family had interesting stories to tell:

  • Ajit & family sat together & asked each other to share all the joy moments they could remember for year 2014. They kept throwing in the jar various chits with those moments and watched it fill up in a few hours.
  • Dinesh, his wife, son & daughter in law put chits in the jar throughout the week. After Sunday breakfast, they open the jar & share the joy moments of the past week. A summary is sent to Dinesh’s daughter in London who replies back with her own family’s joy moments for the week.
  • Friends with young children observed that adults are lot choosier about joy moments. They look for only big joy moments. Children instead find joy in little things. E.g. when we asked 6-yr-old Sargun, her joy moment of the day, she promptly replied: “Today dad was home whole day and I got to play with him!”. Sanay was delighted with the strawberries he ate that day while Sharanya was enthused about no homework and an unexpected school holiday in the middle of the week.

As 2015 ends, we invite you to start a family joy jar. Collect your daily joy moments, small and big. Conversations that made you smile, moments of laughter & togetherness, accomplishments, insights, silly moments, surprises… whatever brings you joy!!!

May your home radiate laughter, love & togetherness in the coming year.

Warm regards,

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Can changing my attitude change my luck?

Dear Reader,

Here is an interesting research on definition of Lucky and Unlucky. A friend shared this.

Why do some people get all the luck while others never get the breaks they deserve? A psychologist says he has discovered the answer.

Ten years ago, I set out to examine luck. I wanted to know why some people are always in the right place at the right time, while others consistently experience ill fortune. I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.

Hundreds of extraordinary men & women volunteered for my research & over the years, I have interviewed them, monitored their lives & had them take part in experiments.

The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into the causes of their luck, their thoughts & behaviour are responsible for much of their good & bad fortune. Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it & tell me how many photographs were inside.

On average, the unlucky people took about two minutes to count the photographs whereas the lucky people took just seconds. Why? Because the second page of the newspaper contained the message “Stop counting – There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was over two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it. Just for fun, I placed a second large message half way through the newspaper. This one announced: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed the opportunity because they were still too busy looking for photographs.

Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected. As a result, they miss opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. They go to parties intent on finding their perfect partner & so miss opportunities to make good friends. They look through newspapers determined to find certain types of job advertisements & miss other types of jobs.
Lucky people are more relaxed & open, and therefore see what is there rather than just what they are looking for. My research eventually revealed that lucky people generate good fortune via four principles:
-       They are skilled at creating & noticing chance opportunities,
-       make lucky decisions by listening to their intuition,
-       create self-fulfilling prophesies via positive expectations, and
-       adopt a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck into good.

Towards the end of the work, I wondered whether these principles could be used to create good luck. I asked a group of volunteers to spend a month carrying out exercises designed to help them think & behave like a lucky person. Dramatic results! These exercises helped them spot chance opportunities, listen to their intuition, expect to be lucky, and be more resilient to bad luck. One month later, the volunteers returned & described what had happened. The results were dramatic: 80% of people were now happier, more satisfied with their lives & perhaps most important of all, luckier.
The lucky people had become even luckier & the unlucky had become lucky. Finally, I had found the elusive "luck factor".
Here are Professor Wiseman's four top tips for becoming lucky:
1.     Listen to your gut instincts - they are normally right
2.     Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine
3.     Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well
4.     Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call.

Here is a link to the full 5 page article by Professor Richard Wiseman, University of Hertfordshire.

May this article inspire you to invite luck by an altered attitude.

Tip #3 can be very well implemented by keeping a family JOY JAR at home. Do take a look at the blog I wrote early this year: Happiness jar - collecting moments of joy daily.

Warm regards,

Monday, 19 October 2015

The desert pump - a story of faith in others

Dear Reader

Here is an inspiring story on faith in others:

The Desert Pump – author unknown

A man got lost in the desert. The water in his flask had run out two days ago, and he was on his last legs. He knew that if he didn't get some water soon, he would surely perish. The man saw a shack ahead of him. He thought it might be a mirage or hallucination, but having no other option, he moved toward it. As he got closer he realized it was quite real, so he dragged his weary body to the door with the last of his strength.

The shack was not occupied and seemed like it had been abandoned for quite some time. The man  entered, hoping against hope that he might find water inside.

His heart skipped a beat when he saw what was in the shack: a water pump. It had a pipe going down through the floor, perhaps tapping a source of water deep under-ground.

He began working the pump, but no water came out. He kept at it and still nothing happened. Finally he gave up from exhaustion and frustration. He threw up his hands in despair. It looked as if he was going to die after all.

Then the man noticed a bottle in one corner of the shack. It was filled with water and corked up to prevent evaporation.

He uncorked the bottle and was about to gulp down the life-giving water when he noticed a piece of paper attached to it. Handwriting on the paper read: "Use this water to start the pump. Don't forget to fill the bottle when you're done."

He had a dilemma. He could follow the instruction and pour the water into the pump, or he could ignore it and just drink the water.

What to do? If he let the water go into the pump, what assurance did he have that it would work? What if the pump malfunctioned? What if the pipe had a leak? What if the underground reservoir had long dried up?

But then... maybe the instruction was correct. Should he risk it? If it turned out to be false, he would be throwing away the last water he would ever see.

Hands trembling, he poured the water into the pump. Then he closed his eyes, said a prayer, and started working the pump.

He heard a gurgling sound, and then water came gushing out, more than he could possibly use. He luxuriated in the cool and refreshing stream. He was going to live!

After drinking his fill and feeling much better, he looked around the shack. He found a pencil and a map of the region. The map showed that he was still far away from civilization, but at least now he knew where he was and which direction to go.

He filled his flask for the journey ahead. He also filled the bottle and put the cork back in. Before leaving the shack, he added his own writing below the instruction: "Believe me, it works!"

May this story inspire you to take a leap of faith in your main dilemma in life and watch the magic unfold.

Warm regards,