Is Yoga the way to a purposeful life?

In her book Árt of Choosing, Sheena Iyengar explains how different nationalities decides. An american believes in freedom, and in the ability to choose. An asian is very much comfortable, if her mother is comfortable with the decision. Too many brands suffocates a Russian, where as it is a delight for the American. In her experiment, she served coke, pepsi, soda and water to a group of Americans, and all of them unanimously agreed that they had the option of choosing among four brands, where as when the same experiment was repeated with a group of Russians, they unanimously said they had only two brands to choose from – that is soda and water.

Going by these, In India, all of us believe in one religion or other – and invariably vast majority of the Indians believe in God, from time immemorial. If we look at the successful Indians of the modern day, majority of them believe in God, and family. Take the case of the God of Indian cricket, Sachin Tendulkar; he believes in God, and he has a beautiful family. The same is the case with Ambani’s, Shah Rukh Khan, Bachans, Premji’s, Narayana Murthy, Rajiv Gandhi, Kapil Dev….. the list is long. Here the fundamental question is..can an Indian be happy if he is uprooted from his natural beliefs and value systems, and made to believe in value systems foreign to him. Surely, knowingly or unknowingly we are adopting the foreign habits and values…and these can really make the current generation a very unhappy generation. Going back to the roots, and protecting the ancient wisdom is the only way of out for being happy.  Ashtanga Yoga throws some light here. It’s practice can liberate us from the perils of materialism and lack of meaning of life, and lead us to a very clean, lean and agile way of living. For a layman like me (in Yoga), the word yoga meant only the physical exercise part of it (Asana). Contrary to that, Yoga is built on the following eight pillars, and the Ásanas’ are just one of them. Here are the eight pillars of Yoga;

  1. Yama (The five “abstentions”): non-violence, non-lying, non-covetousness, non-sensuality, and non-possessiveness.
  2. Niyama (The five “observances”): purity, contentment, austerity, study, and surrender to god.
  3. Asana: Literally means “seat”, and in Patanjali’s Sutras refers to the seated position used for meditation.
  4. Pranayama (“Suspending Breath”): Prāna, breath, “āyāma”, to restrain or stop. Also interpreted as control of the life force.
  5. Pratyahara (“Abstraction”): Withdrawal of the sense organs from external objects.
  6. Dharana (“Concentration”): Fixing the attention on a single object.
  7. Dhyana (“Meditation”): Intense contemplation of the nature of the object of meditation.
  8. Samādhi (“Liberation”): merging consciousness with the object of meditation.

Top 10 issues in outsourcing

  1. Wrong  vendor selection criteria and contract type
  2. Wrong project execution strategy
  3. Non availability of documented acceptance tests, at the component/system level, from the beginning of the project
  4. Wrong estimates
  5. Non availability of  agreed upon standards for engineering work
  6. Lack of  professional project tracking mechanisms
  7. Lack of role clarity
  8. Lack of professional ethics, and cultural diversity
  9. Bad design
  10. Bad teaming

 

(under crystallization)

My iPad experiences…

Yes, as many say, it is a bigger ipod, and I liked most of it’s features, except for some key features which are absent in the current version. I have the 32GB, wifi only version. iPad is indeed a lifestyle changing device. In the first place, I started spending more time with family than spending in front of the computer, because this device helps me to operate from the sofa in the living room, while with them. Last week I conducted a three day workshop on project management using only the ipad, and without my computer. I just copied my ppt slides to keynote application on ipod, and it started working on iPad without any problems. This means, I will be able to knock off at least one kilogram from my travel kit while traveling for business. While giving a presentation, the only thing I missed was a remote slide sorter. This posed a big problem as I had to walk up to the gadget to change the slides. Hope someone will resolve this soon.  A word of caution!, like a computer we cannot project the ipad screen through a projector. Ability to project is built into the application, not at the device level. For example, the presentation using keynote, youtube, movies and photos can be projected using a projector but pdfs, book readers and other documents cannot be projected. While giving a long presentation, the only connector slot on ipad is connected to the projector through the vga cable, and during this time charging the ipad is not possible. Since the battery lasts for about 8 hours, this is not a big problem. I managed by charging the battery during breaks. This can be permanently resolved by going for a ipad docking station, which is not currently available in India, as ipad is not yet officially launched in India. I dont know when Steve Jobs will correct his opinion about India, and make it a point to launch apple products in India as well along with the US release. Now the samsung tablet has already captured the market in India, and ipad will be a late entrant.

I am trying out sketchpad application for iPad. I could sketch an image with my fingers, save it on the iPad, and then blog it through the wordpress application for iPad. Luckily the wordpress for iPad can save blog posts as local drafts. This is a great feature to blog from locations without wifi. Now i have a copy of my bible on my iPad, which comes in handy while traveling. Slowly but surely aim coming to terms with the digital key board. It is very heavy to hold in one hand and read a book while lying down. It does not have any proper place to hold by one hand. As usual battery life is not a problem. If you are buying an ipad, buy the carry case, otherwise you can end up with scratches on the touch screen. The resolution and the response of the team is fantastic, and thats one of the reasons why I did not go for a samsung tablet. In one charging it goes on for at least seven to eight hours. There is no dearth of applications for an iPad. Every day new applications are released for the iPad at the AppStore. Definitely this is not a replacement for a computer. It is a great gadget to deal with Internet and audio visual entertainment, and it is designed for that. I am happy with it, even though the price is on the higher side. When compared to my desktop, the key plus point of ipad, when it comes to surfing the net is it’s significantly lesser boot time, which helps me to switch it on and off at will. That itself makes the web experience a lighter affair :-). Still exploring. Will get back with more, if found interesting 🙂

Be grateful to those who packs our parachutes!

Charles Plumb was a navy pilot. On his seventy sixth combat mission, he was shot down and parachuted into the enemy territory. He was captured and spent six years in prison. He survived and held lectures on the lessons he learned from his experiences. One day a man approached Mr.Plumb and his wife in a restaurant, and said “Áre you Mr.Plumb, the navy pilot?”. “yes, How did you know?” asked Plumb. “I packed your parachute”, the man replied.

Mr.Plumb was amazed, and grateful. “If the chute you packed had not worked, I would not have been here today…..”. Mr.Plumb refers to this in his lectures: his realization that the anonymous sailors who packed the parachutes held the pilot’s lives in their hands, and yet the pilots never gave these sailors a second thought; never even said “Hello”, let alone said ‘Thanks”.

Congratulations Rajesh Kumar PMP

Hi sir,

This is Rajesh Kumar from Dubai. I attended your Training course at Taj Gateway Hotel last year. Very much happy to inform you that I passed the PMP exam on 3rd Jan. Your course was very effective which helped me a lot to pass the exam. Many thanks for your support and guidelines.

Once again thank you very much for your support.

Warm regards,

Rajesh Kumar

Useful tips for the PMP aspirant

After undergoing the PMP certification process myself, and after training over 3000 PMP aspirants…here are the key tips for the PMP aspirant;

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) certification by PMI, USA, is a well known project management certification, recognized world wide. In most of the developed nations, it is even difficult to get a job as a project manager, without PMP certification. From my experience, no one has ever regretted by getting the PMP certification, and on the contrary their career progression was much faster (during recession, most of them could at least retain their jobs).
  • If the method of preparation is right, it is not very difficult to become a PMP certified project manager. One must budget at least eighty hours of their time for this, and it include the 35 contact hours training and the self study required before the exam.
  • Since, most of the questions are scenario based, relying blindly on mock tests, without having a fair understanding of the key project management concepts and their application in real life project management can often end up in failure in the exam, and interviews for better positions.
  • The preparation must be demarcated into two logical phases, the phase-1 focusing on understanding the project management best practices as per the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK), from a real life project perspective. The phase-2 should be dedicated to preparing for the exam, by doing exam practice. This is the sure success formula. If you go for the exam without a sound understanding of the project management concepts or without practicing the exams, you can end up in trouble.
  • Do not follow every other PMP book available in the market. Choose your own material and stick with it.
  • One must read the project management body of knowledge a couple of times. The first reading must be just to understand the structure of the document. The second reading must be an in-depth reading to understand the concepts in detail. If you read PMBOK, wihout undergoing a formal training on PMBOK based project management, you will sleep off. So read it, after attending the formal training by a trainer who has in-depth understanding of the concepts. Please avoid the trainers, who will just read out from the slides, the inputs, tools and techniques and the outputs of all the processes of PMBOK. They can make your preparation difficult. So look at the profile and the track record of the instructors, before enrolling for a course.
  • During the exam, you will have to answer 200 questions in 240 minutes (objective type, online, no negative marking), and score 61% for becoming a PMP certified project manager. So approximately we get 1 minute per question. This is quite sufficient because for some questions we will take only a few seconds, and the time thus saved can be used for difficult questions. For some questions could be quite confusing, and you will forced to gamble a bit. Since there is no negative marking, the risk associated with it is minimal.
  • More than anything else, during the test, what is tested to the core, is your ability to concentrate for four hours in a single stretch.
  • During the test, there can be moments of self doubt. Do not give up. After all it is a test, and you must win. When I took the test, when I was on the one hundredth question, I thought I am going to fail, but the very thought of preparing for the exam once again, pushed me to a ‘never say die’ attitude, and the questions started becoming easier and easier. Please play the game to win. It is only as difficult as one paper of your graduation, and it is never as difficult as your graduation.
  • After the 35 contact hours training, you can write the exam within the next five years (please check the PMP hand book for the latest information). From my experience as a trainer/mentor, I urge you to write the exam within 60 days of the completion of your 35 contact hours program, else you may forget the concepts learned during the training, and your PMP certification can become a never ending ending story. So do not take a break after the 35 contact hours, just continue with your studies and finish it off.
  • Very often, people ask me about the material to be purchased for preparation. Please do not buy any book which costs hundreds of dollars. It is not worth it, because as soon as you become a PMP, these PMP only books are a waste. There is no substitute for PMBOK, so please read it. You can try the ‘PMP exam simulator’ at www.classtube.com, which comprises of 400 good questions which is a good sample of the questions you will get for the final exam, and it is priced only USD 10/-.
  • In order to understand the steps involved in becoming a PMP certified project manager, please refer to the PMP hand book by PMI, USA. This is very elaborate and authentic. Please make it a point to read the section ‘Professional responsibility of a PMP certified project manager’ carefully. These are very important things for a practicing project manager. Apart from it, it can act as a great checklist to filter out the right answer, during the exam. If your answer is in violation to any point mentioned under the professional responsibilities, most probably it is a wrong answer.
  • PMP certification ensures that you have the right understanding of the basic project management practices. It is not a guarantee for your project management skills nor for your passion to demonstrate those skills. Conversion of the knowledge to skills depends on your passion towards project management as a career. This is the reason why all PMP certified project managers are not great project managers and vice-versa. This certification provides you with the basic foundation required to catapult your career into an exciting world of professional project management.

to be continued….