Returns vs increments

Its better to look for and reap returns on investments (be it time, money or effort) rather than wait for that increment, bonus or promotion?

Rather than just being frustrated and having vendetta against your boss or co-worker, why not start/create/build something of your own?

Are employees so fearful to leave the job? What are the parameters that hinder an employee from leaving the job from India perspective. This is a potential subject for research:)

Of course, it varies from person to person but just read this story of chaiwala earning a million in a month!

What do you think?

Advertisements

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Note: I wrote this post years back and it was still unpublished, as like many others. Now that I have got time off the job, I have started investing time in health and happiness, listening to podcasts and start writing again. I will start putting some words together….

—————————————————-

randypausch_wiki_2

As a child I dreamed of becoming a soldier and did not miss any TV serial regarding patriotism. But as we grow up, our innocence gets diminished and rationality plays a vital role in our day-to-day life. How many of us are happy in our life? And to be specific ‘Am I happy now?’ Ask this question to yourself for introspection.

Randy gave his Last lecture titled ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’ in Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 shortly before his death.

The Last Lecture is a memoir, a celebration of life, and a testament to the power of childhood dreams. But it is also, perhaps most of all, a book of lessons.

The book is filled with all the ideas and observations that Randy Pausch wanted to share with his three young children. “These are the things I won’t get the chance to tell them over the next twenty years,” he said. “I’m trying to put myself in a bottle that will one day wash up on the beach for them.” After the book was released, Randy was most moved and pleased to learn that educators — middle- and high-school teachers, as well as college professors — were showing the video of his lecture to their students, and then using the book as a companion teaching tool. Randy was also thrilled to receive countless emails from parents saying that the lessons in the book were resonating in their households, too — that they were using the book to spark a dialogue with their own children.

Many educators choose to first show their students the lecture, or clips from it. That way students

are familiar with Randy, the cadence of his voice, and the humor and heart to be found in his

delivery. When students then read the book, it’s as if they can hear the Randy they saw on stage.

The basic questions students might want to think about while reading the book are these:

Why has this lecture/book struck a chord with so many people?

Where is the speaker/author “coming from”?

What are my childhood dreams? How might I achieve them?

What were the dreams my parents had and how did they fulfill them?

Who are mentors I can turn to? What lessons have they taught me?

And what wisdom would I choose to impart to the world if it was my last chance? What are the

lessons of my own life?

Introduction

Randy Pausch describes his cancer as “an engineering problem.” How was this a helpful way to look

at his illness?

He talks about the lecture as a means of expression, and a way to reach his kids: “If I were a

painter, I would have painted for them. If I were a musician, I would have composed music. But I

am a lecturer. So I lectured.” There are so many ways to communicate. What are your own avenues

for self-expression?

Randy has always recognized the importance of time management. What did you think of his

decision to work on the book while riding his bike?

Chapter 1: An Injured Lion Still Wants to Roar

Randy almost didn’t go to Pittsburgh to deliver his last lecture. His wife Jai had wanted him to stay

home with her and the kids. What did you learn from his discussions with her about this?

Randy chose “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” as the topic for his lecture. In what

ways would this allow him to tell the story of his life, and to enable the dreams of others?

Chapter 3: The Elephant in the Room

Randy decided to begin his talk in a specific way – showing his CT scans, introducing “the elephant

in the room,” assuring everyone he’s not in denial, and doing push-ups. What made this effective?

What were you thinking watching this for the first time via video?

Chapter 4: The Parent Lottery

Randy said he realized many of his dreams because he had terrific parents. What details from his

childhood do you think led to the successes he had later in life? Are there lessons in Randy’s story

for people who’ve had less-fulfilling childhoods, or absentee parents? What advice might you give

to those who didn’t win “the parent lottery”?

Chapter 5: The Elevator in the Ranch House

In his talk, Randy encouraged parents to allow their children to paint on their bedroom walls. “As

a favor to me,” he said, “let ’em do it. Don’t worry about the home’s resale value.” The real message

he says he was trying to give was this: Find ways to help your kids be creative. Nurture those

instincts in them.

What would you paint on your bedroom walls if you were given permission to do so? What

other creative outlet would you like to pursue, if your parents gave the OK?

Chapter 6: Getting to Zero G

The chapter ends with the line: “If you can find an opening, you can probably find a way to float through

it.” What’s the lesson to be learned from Randy’s attempts to get onto that “Vomit Comet”?

Chapter 7: I Never Made It to the NFL

This is a chapter about football, but so many of the lessons in it can apply elsewhere in our lives:

Talk about ways fundamentals are important off the playing field, too.

Randy believed our critics are often the ones saying they still care about us. How in your own

life has a critic helped you become a better person?

Randy loved using “head fakes.” What are some other head fakes that teachers and parents

have used?

Chapter 11: The Happiest Place on Earth

Throughout the book, Randy says: “Brick walls are there for a reason. They’re not there to keep us

out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”

What are the brick walls you’ve faced in your own life? How did you get over them?

Chapter 12: The Park Is Open Until 8 p.m.

In this chapter, we see Randy as an advocate for his own medical care. We also get a sense of how he

decided to adopt a positive attitude. Have there been people in your own life who’ve faced the challenge

of serious illness? What did you learn from them? How has Randy’s journey made you consider

how you’ll approach your own mortality?

Chapter 14: The Dutch Uncle

Randy credits his professor Andy van Dam with telling him the tough-love things he needed to hear.

What was it about Dr. van Dam’s delivery and message that resonated with Randy? Who in your own

life has told you things about yourself that made you reconsider your actions or behavior?

Chapter 15: Pouring Soda in the Backseat

Throughout the book, Randy makes a distinction between “people” and “things.” What did you

think of his decision to empty that can of soda in the backseat of his car?

Chapter 17: Not All Fairy Tales End Smoothly

In this chapter and chapter 19 (about the birth of his son) Randy reminds readers that even wonderful

life events – such as a wedding or the birth of a child – are fraught with unexpected dangers. What

did you learn from the way Randy and Jai handled the problems before them in these chapters?

Chapter 18: Lucy, I’m Home

Was Randy right? Was there no need to fix the dents in those two damaged cars?

Chapter 21: Jai

It is clear in the book that Randy and Jai have a deep love for one another. And yet, like other married

couples, they’ve had to work hard on their relationship. Randy’s illness created additional challenges.

By reading about how they’ve faced the issues between them, what did you learn about getting along

with others, about mutual respect, and about the power of love?

Chapter 23: I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me…

What do you think of Randy’s time-management tips? Would you have walked out of that grocery

store, knowing you overpaid by $16.55? Do you have to-do lists?

Chapter 24: A Recovering Jerk

Randy believes the number one goal for educators should be helping students learn how to judge

themselves. How crucial do you think this is in the learning process? Have you relied on feedback

loops in your own life? Has anyone ever told you that you were being a jerk?

Chapter 27: The Promised Land

Randy and his colleagues tried to attract girls into the field of computer science. He’s proud of “The

Alice Project,” and calls it his greatest legacy. What advice would you give to his colleagues, as they

go about trying to carry on Randy’s vision?

Chapter 28: Dream Big

Randy missed the 1969 moonwalk because he was sent to bed by camp counselors. Have you ever

wished adults in your life were less rigid? What advice would you give to adults about helping kids

to dream big?

Chapter 29: Earnest Is Better Than Hip

Do you agree with Randy? Is earnest better than hip? Is fashion truly commerce masquerading as

hip? Or can fashion be a way in which people express themselves?

Chapter 32: Don’t Complain, Just Work Harder

Randy admired Sandy Blatt and Jackie Robinson because they didn’t complain. As Randy put it:

“Complaining is not a strategy.” Do you agree?

Chapter 35: Start By Sitting Together

Have you ever had trouble working in groups? How might Randy’s tips help you get along better

with others in the future?

Chapter 39: Be the First Penguin

Randy writes that “experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” How do you

think his First Penguin Award was able to inspire his students?

Chapter 41: The Lost Art of Thank-You Notes

Do you agree with Randy that handwritten thank-you notes, even in our computer age, can offer a

kind of magic? When was the last time you sent a handwritten thank-you?

Chapter 47: A Bad Apology Is Worse Than No Apology

Randy describes two “classic bad apologies.” Have you ever given someone such an apology? How

did it turn out?

Chapter 55: All You Have to Do Is Ask

What would you like to ask for that you haven’t been able to find the courage to articulate? What

do you think will happen if you “just ask”?

Chapter 56: Make a Decision: Tigger or Eeyore

OK. So which one are you? And why? If you’d like to be more of a Tigger, how might you go about

that?

Chapter 59: Dreams for My Children

Randy says parents don’t realize the power of their words: “Depending on a child’s age and sense

of self, an offhand comment from Mom or Dad can feel like a shove from a bulldozer.” Have you

ever felt that way?

What are the vital messages to be drawn from the way Randy is saying goodbye to his kids,

and from the tangible things he is leaving behind for them?

Chapter 61: The Dreams Will Come to You

Randy realized that he didn’t give the lecture because he wanted to. He gave it because he “had to.”

Are there things inside of you that “need to come out”?

As you read this final chapter of the book, what were the emotions you were feeling?

How would you describe the legacy of Randy Pausch?

The video and the presentation is available at http://www.TheLastLecture.com.

As Randy said, the book was written for his children, but it has been incredibly meaningful for him that young people are finding it both useful and inspirational.

Happy Independence Day

On the eve of 67th independence day, I wish you all a happy Independence day. But lets not stop by just wishing each other.
Lets a go a step further and do a bit of our duty to truly get freedom for what each one ought to do.

So, lets
1) vote candidates who will make India a better place to live.
2) elect officials who will minimize government interference in our lives
3) be aware of our rights and duties (at least to some extent)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_Rights,_Directive_Principles_and_Fundamental_Duties_of_India

What do you think? Feel free to add more in the comments.

Alone together

I prefer talking face to face rather than texting and chatting. I remember discussing about over-selves and our surroundings and any other topic that made sense at that point of time during school and college days. These discussions were mostly with friends rather than family members as family thought that I was too young to participate in their discussions.

As time passes, face to face discussions are being overtaken emails, texting and chatting. and we are hooked to it! Of course there could be reasons for not being in person at that point of time or place, but are we losing the human touch?

As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication and (in this video) asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have.

New Year resolutions and other upadates

First of all, a very happy new year to all the readers. I know its been 19 days post-New year, to be exactly. I have been keeping busy lately, especially from the start of the year! I want to take this opportunity to give you some updates (yes, yes, manager’s style of starting a meeting ;))

New Year resolution

The tradition of new year resolutions started as a moral favor- mostly to be good to others. In the course of time, these moral intentions were replaced by prayers and fasting. And now they are replaced by TODO list!

Every year I used to make New Year resolutions, only to find them being forgotten within some days. So this time I decided not to make any. Yes you read it rightJ. As Akshar has said, only thing that changes in the new year is the CALENDER; nothing else.

I am hoping to have a fantastic year ahead, both personally and professionally. Instead of resolutions, I am taking concrete steps to contribute to bridge the digital divide, work on tutoring and start working on a product/service.

Spoken Tutorial

This is an initiative by MHRD to pass on the knowledge of technology and free and open source software (FOSS) through the website to the masses that do not have the access to learn any software. This site provides videos and notes on FOSS in Indian regional languages.

I have actively started contributing to this project. I would urge you to participate/contribute in this effort to take software education to the masses and to bridge the digital divide!

Tutoring/Lectures

I love tutoring/teaching. I am not sure how, but that’s something in my blood. I have been helping my brother, sister, cousins and neighbor’s kids in their homework. It might sound very easy but its easier said than done, when compared to giving advice to others. Just ask a parent and you would know!

During college days, I wish I knew how to prepare myself before entering the industry. I want to help the current students to make them aware of the industry, be prepared and mould themselves accordingly. I hope this would bridge the industry-academia divide to some extent.

To practice myself, I have started technology sessions for team members. Soon I would be starting giving sessions on technology and programming to students; I am sure this will help the students immensely while starting their career.

New Product/Service

These days I have been thinking, discussing with friends and colleagues, brainstorming about creating a product or a service. Being in the IT industry, my thinking (and I am extrapolating this from my experience, that others in the industry too are thinking this way) has been restricted to creating only software products/services. But there are many possibilities/opportunities out there that are yet to be tapped. If you are thinking of creating a start-up and are want to have some ideas, do visit these articles written by Paul-

http://www.paulgraham.com/ideas.html

http://www.paulgraham.com/organic.html

I would like to hear about your ideas for new products/services/startup and engage, if possible.

I am currently accessing a possibility of creating a software product/service and its in the very early stages. More will follow as the idea materializes.

Swami Vivekananda

12th January marked the 150th birth anniversary of a person who dared to say “Give me 100 youths and I shall transform India”. Despite many odds and poverty, he visited America in 1893 to participate in the Chicago Parliament and got a standing ovation there.

I revere Swami Vivekananda, whose life and works remains an inspiration to me and the many.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

I will be going back to Pune within weeks. It was a good time spent here in the Maximum City.

Programmers and reading

A few days back, I was looking for good videos/links to interview questions on technical topics specifically for .NET. Unfortunately Google didn’t help me much to search for the required content. In the end I bought the book of questions and answers and found it useful to go through it, rather than spending time in searching for the content on net.

I was an avid reader during school and college days.I would spend the days and nights reading a novel-be it historical or a classic. However the reading habit slowly died out as i started working for the employer. Lately I have been trying to read Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, but I am stuck in the first chapter itself:(

Jeff Atwood (he is my favorite blogger) points out that programmers don’t read books, largely due to

  1. Programmers are addicted to computing devices, be it PC, laptop, tablet or a smart phone, and with the inefficient but relatively available internet connection, they prefer to find things online.
  2. The whole bunch of technical aspects are packed in the book, whereas the programmer would be interested to find out about the problem at hand.
  3. it does take a fair amount of time to read the whole book- and people don’t have time in this digital era.

I found stack overflow the right Q&A site for technical questions. Quora is a great Q&A site if you want to look for some specific content or if you are looking for an answer to a specific question.

The world has changed…

A few years back (dont remmeber the exact time; am I losing memory?) when I was in Pune, I had this thought that the world has changed – especially for the women, when I saw a girl with a laptop in a park. This image is a reflection of the same thought.

What do you think about this image? Does it make you think about the surroundings that have chnaged? I am eager to know your thoughts.

BTW, do check out the biography of “Lady with the lamp“.