Start determined,Go with the flow – Vipassana

Are you ready to live for few days without the following?

  • without mobile phone?
  • without TV, internet?
  • without wallet and credit cards?
  • without talking to others in silence?  Be in silence with group of people ? Not even use sign language or any other means of communication.
  • without reading, writing and signing or doing heavy physical exercises.
  • without food for taste. You are provided food to live.

Can one live within a bounded location  accepting to live without all the above? It will not surprise me if your answer is “No”. Sharing in this blog of having lived in bounded location for 10 days agreeing to be without all the above.

Vipassana-Grid

Enrolled myself in 10 day meditation program at Dhamma Setu Vipassana Meditation Center, Chennai. Check this link to know more about location and facilities.  Took  oath/promise to adhere strictly during course duration  for 10 days.

  • To adhere to all rules and code of conduct of center
  • To not leave meditation camp till completion of the program ( 10 days).
  • To abstain from killing any being, stealing, all sexual activity, telling lies, using all intoxicants( like alcohol, drugs, etc).
  • To observe Noble Silence from the beginning of the course until the morning of the last full day.  Any form of communication with fellow student, whether by gestures, sign language, written notes, etc., is prohibited.

Effectively rules focus to take great care of the participants so that their actions do not disturb anyone and they do not notice distractions caused by others. I attended the program(9 Aug To 20 Aug.), where I am going to learn of myself working in isolation.

Prior to start, I handed my mobile, wallet and books for safe keeping. The program & facilities of shelter, food  are offered free.  Simple vegetarian food is provided 2  times a day at 6:30 am, 11 am and snack at 5 pm, along with purified water around clock. The day schedule starts at 4:30 AM( wake by 4:00) to ends at 9:00 PM(lights off by 9:30).

During mid course duration, I realized that rather than cribbing about pain or ache, it is better to walk into the pain and watch it. The strangest thing happened. The pain/ache just melted away. Some times, the pain/ache in one body part disappears and appears in another body part. Once you watch/observe, all of them melt away.
this too
I survived 10 days of Vipasanna,  finding my answer to be “Yes” for these questions.

  • Can I walk with my minds only on our feet?
  • Can I sit with back straight and not slouched?
  • Can I sit crossed legs for 20 to 30 minutes closed eyes & not changing body posture?
  • Can I live days without dinner and also reduce my food intake?
  • Can I take time to chew food and eat, rather than gobbling food faster?
  • Are other  responsible or I   Am I responsible for my miseries and my pain?

At end of program, I felt that program helped me to observe myself better and increased my awareness. Good, I neither has expectation of becoming happier or wiser at the end. May be I am more attentive to myself. While Sunday came with a sense of calmness, I feel getting the same lost faster in last 2 days. While I still find myself in to misery due to external scenarios, absent-minded, I  seem to catch change that happens within me more quicker than before and attempt to get mind to arrive at state of equanimous.

 

allhappy

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Ignore, Accept, Forget

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We meet different types of people in our life in diverse areas of  work, family circles, social circles or as part of community. With some people, we develop relationship and with a few it ends up as transaction . Each and every relationship or transaction comes with its own actions and interactions, added with emotions that arise in people engaged in transaction or relationship. Started to observe few scenarios in my life and my family, and shared here.

Scenario 1: While one person focus to nurture and develop relationship, the second person focus may focus on what is required to complete successful transaction. The second person may prioritize the transnational outcome of success than people working to achieve the outcome.  If you are the first person who does not like this experience, how do you put aside your feelings?

Scenario 2: Two persons focus to nurture and create  transparency in relationship  between them and other working with them.  The first person  fails to communicate some information to other person or hides information without any specific intention.  Due to destiny, the other person becomes aware about the information misrepresented to him or withheld from him. On realizing this, the first person acknowledges the miss of not sharing vital information, adds “Sorry” followed with eagerness to push things  under the carpet.

The other person feels let down or may even feel cheated.  At times, the other person cannot  afford to have conflict or walk away from the first person( a boss or customer or powerful person).   As the other person, how do you put aside your feelings?

Scenario 3: Assume  person in focus  is  good to his/her relatives, help them whenever asked for and also been a support for them in times of adversity. May be was doing a “Pay forward” expecting  support in bad times in future.  Remember that the person has no control over how others would react in his/her bad times. If you are this person, getting pushed in to bad state caused by interaction or action of people that he helped/supported earlier, how do you put aside your feelings?

Ask yourself whether you want to forget, ignore or accept situation.

What did you do when a child had a bad cut finger? Still child thought of it, it hurts and is painful. Some one distracted child with chocolate,child probably forget the discomfort. The basis instinct of your brain is to ignore pain if it can. On other hand, try removing chocolate form the child, child gets time to think about his wound and starts crying feeling the pain again.

You can distract attention away from negative energy. There is nothing to be learnt, as your brain already knows how to ignore things not important to us. On facing scenario similar to the above, Why do I suffer, feel sorry for myself  & spend the rest of my life in misery? Can I learn to accept it, co-exist with it & ignore it when I feel like it.

Forget the other person involved and look at what you feel. May the other person is happy with situation. May the other person does not want to develop relationship with you and build trust. Start to learn this as a nuisance, that interrupts your daily life and drives you up the wall. No way to force other person to return your feelings.  You have no control over how other person feels or choose to do with his or her life.

Delete old emails or remove anything that brings back old memories of the incident and stop you from forgetting the same.  In olden days without technology and people has bad conversation, there was time for them to meet again.With the passage of time, people did forget. Today, we have stored older emails and recordings to remind of the past and prevents us to move forward. Delete the person from your contacts.

Give yourself time to feel upset. Feelings don’t just “go away” if you ignore them–they come out in other. Give yourself the time and space to express your sadness. Be careful not to get caught up in your sadness. At a certain point, you need  to start making moves to heal and its time to focus on feeling better.

Give yourself much more space as possible. If possible, please take a break from this person for a while. That does not mean to cut him/her out completely. Some  distance becomes necessary for you to put these feelings to rest. if the person is part of your daily life, find ways to do everything that can minimize your contact with him. Do not visit their home or do not sit next to them at lunch, of walk away from the person. Staying away from someone you really like can be hard, but it’s an important part of putting a stop to these feelings

Make new friends One gets to think that no one else exists or no one can make you happy. Meet new people and you are reminded that this is not true. While it is okay for some time to be alone, spending time with other people speed-ens the healing process and distract you. You can attempt to talk to someone, if you cannot let it go.

Creates new hobbies or activities for life to redirect your focus and not think about your feelings for this person. Stop giving yourself time to think about it. May be concentrate on studies or work or volunteer for a cause you are passionate about

Start to have fun Laughter can make you feel good and happy. Spend time with people who make you laugh or doing things you love. Laughing relieve your heart from the ache.

Learn to like yourself There can be a major setback to your self-esteem after rejection and forces you to focus only on your perceived faults. Focus on good things that you have done, write down your achievements and write down things you really like about yourself. When you feel down, read the list you have written.

Let us accept that we face times when we need to push aside our emotions to get through a difficult situation. While no one can ask you to live in a state of pain and emotions, take interest to practice managing the pain  to get through a difficult situation. While one may not ignore pain in full , one can re-focus pain and emotions to be less negative. At end, do not  comfort eat as this would not do any good in long run and do not  expect results right away.

Privacy Vs Security In A Big Data World

[Copied article contents Privacy Vs Security In A Big Data World for my reference]

What I do know, however — and I thank him for this — is that Snowden helped bring the discussion of big data privacy and security to the public square — and not just the American public square, but the global one as well. This is a good thing, because in this era of big data, not to mention the Internet of Things, we can no longer relegate this discussion to the privacy freaks and security geeks in the back room. It’s a discussion in which we all should participate.

To understand it better, let’s take a brief look at some of the privacy and security issues in the context of the (big) data lifecycle.

In data security circles, the six stages of the data lifecycle are well known: create, store, use, share, archive, and destroy. While these six stages have a strong foundation in security, an interesting thing to note is the fact that the two privacy-related stages — use and share — are situated squarely in the middle. Is it just a coincidence that privacy is at the heart of the matter?

Create
If data is not collected and/or created, there is no need to secure it. This may seem obvious, but it’s astonishing how many websites and apps forget or disregard this point. They collect it all “just in case” –- with little consideration on how the data may be handled downstream.
Why this matters: Data security begins at the point of creation or collection. Organizations need to be deliberate in the data they request or receive, and individuals should be mindful of the data they’re sharing — whether it’s sensitive data on a financial site or a viral video on YouTube. If this data is not secured, it could end up in the wrong hands.

Store
With the volume of big data being generated these days, it’s not just a question of what data to store, but also how to store it all without blowing the budget. Open-source big data technologies are helping to greatly reduce the cost of data storage, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Why this matters: If an organization creates or collects data, it becomes their responsibility -– not the individuals’ -– to secure and protect it from corruption, destruction, interception, loss, or unauthorized access. Some organizations take this responsibility more seriously than others.

Use
When an individual sets up a new account with an organization through its website/app, the individual is asked to read and agree to the terms of service and/or privacy policy. This legal contract typically defines how the individual’s data will be managed and used inside and outside the organization. Granted, few people read this legalese, but our expectation is that the organization will use our data “responsibly,” and when this usage changes, we expect to be notified.
Why this matters: It’s the usage — not the collection or storage — of data that concerns most people. It’s this stage where individuals want to be in control. For example, they want to set the dial on how public or private their data should be, who can access their data, and whether their data (aggregated or not) can be sold or rented to third parties. In this big data era, when organizations don’t provide this level of privacy control, they risk losing the loyalty and trust of their customers and users.

Share
Organizations continue to share data between internal systems and external partners, but with the advent of social networks and “smart” devices, sharing data has become a public pastime — even to the point of “selfie” narcissism.
Why this matters: On one hand, individuals want control on how their personal data is being used. Yet some of these same individuals show little to no constraint on what personal data they’re sharing. Even though it’s the responsibility of the organization behind the website or app to secure users’ data and respect privacy settings (if they exist), it’s up to the individual to determine what and how much information they’re willing to share. If you put it on the Internet, it’s not a question of if, but when, your information may be used in unintended ways.

Archive
Between big data technologies and the cloud, it’s become relatively cost-effective for organizations to store data for longer periods of time, if not indefinitely. In some cases, regulations stipulate how long certain data will live — like in the US financial and health industries — but, in most cases, the budget and space constraints are being alleviated.
Why this matters: Being able to store more data for longer periods of time at a fraction of the cost is an appealing proposition for organizations. The more exciting proposition, however, is the ability to analyze even more data over greater periods of time to discover new questions, patterns, trends, and anomalies. The gotcha here is: The more data an organization stores and archives, the more data it has to secure.

Destroy
If and when data is tagged for destruction, the question is to what extent. For example, if a website user requests that his account be deleted, what does this mean? Is it just the access to his account/data removed (so that he can request access later if he changes his mind) or does a deletion request trigger the destruction of all his data, including archived data? The answer most likely lies somewhere in between for most organizations.
Why this matters: Regulations and governance policies will dictate the extent to which data may be destroyed for many organizations. The data that does not get destroyed must then be secured. So using the example above, if a website user requests that his account be deleted, and he receives an email notification to that effect, what he doesn’t know is what personal data, if any, still exists in the organization’s systems. He may still be vulnerable to a potential data breach, long after he’s been deleted.
It cuts both ways
While a citizen’s right to privacy and freedom from government surveillance has been top of mind for Edward Snowden, national security has been top of mind for the US government.

And therein lies the rub: security cuts both ways. On one hand, it’s the responsibility of an organization to secure and protect any digital information it collects, stores, and transmits. But on the other hand, our governments are knocking on organizations’ doors demanding access to this protected information — all in the name of preserving national security.

How to Make World Do Work for You

[ Copied from equitymaster email on investment, as it applies to a wider horizon]
Have you ever tried to make a toddler listen when they’re cranky? Trust me, there’s no more difficult job on planet Earth. No matter how hard you try, everything will come to a naught if the kid’s mind is made up.

But what really gets my goat is when the mother comes up, indulges the kind in some sweet talk and voila, the kid is literally eating out of her hands. Instructions, any mother will tell you, never work with a child. You can never expect a child to do what you want him to do. If you really need him to comply, first, be really patient. And second, clearly spell out what’s in it for the kid. Unless the kid sees some benefit in what we are asking him to do, you’ll never get anywhere.
This makes a lot of sense. In fact, it has much wider implications. It will not only help you persuade a child but also achieve success across many walks of life. Joseph Tussman, the prolific American educator, is responsible for one of my all-time favourite quotes:
 
What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.
 
The success mantra
So, what’s the mantra for success? The idea is to find rules that tell us how the world really works and build models around them. You see, there are general principles that have consistently given the desired results going back thousands of years. These are timeless rules that can help us make better decisions. 
If your principles aren’t in sync with reality, you are unlikely to be successful. All you’ll end up with is failure and frustration, like when you give instructions to recalcitrant toddler without explaining what’s in it for him.

Focus on where the real value is

Read this blog contents in article as guidance for existing financial or banking firms interested to  take advantage  of Digital banking. Copied generic part of articles here for my reference( forgot the actual source. Sorry!)

Focus on where the real value is Launching a successful new business requires complete clarity about what its value drivers are. While this seem like an obvious point, we find it is often overlooked. Instead, there is a temptation to copy or replicate existing models.
Constantly test to refine the customer experience Launching a successful new digital-banking business requires a marriage of traditional consumer research and a deep, real-time understanding of the behavior and pain points of individual customers. This means a constant and rapid stream of prototypes starting with the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and subsequent iterations in order to figure out what will make the customer experience superior across all touch-points. This sort of “real life” testing is critical for identifying what customers actually value as opposed to what they might say they value. It also yields up to 70 percent fewer defects and errors.
Organize for creativity, flexibility, and speed Building a business using a constantly iterative approach requires a way of working that banks typically aren’t used to. There are three areas where a different way of operating needs to be nurtured.

  • Cross-team collaboration. The core group building the digital bank should have a solid understanding of not just the new technology architecture, but also of the bank’s design and brand and the economics of its business model.
  • A ‘garage like’ working environment. While an actual garage isn’t necessary, a physical space that provides a nurturing environment for creative thinking and prototyping is. This means open spaces, plenty of whiteboards and worktables where people can congregate and work together, as well as habits that foster innovation, such as so-called sprints
  • A central ‘control tower’ team. Launching a digital bank is a juggling act, with multiple miniprojects running at the same time. It is the job of the control-tower team to make sure all these projects are coordinated by moving resources to necessary teams quickly or prioritizing initiatives so that timeline targets can be met. The team must work to identify bottlenecks and then either quickly resolve them or refer the problems upward to the CEO or the board.

Create an ecosystem of partnerships Successfully launching a new digital-banking business requires quickly acquiring a critical mass of customers. Two industries with large amounts of digital customers who can help the process are e-commerce marketplaces and telecommunications.
Build a two-speed IT operating model To implement the test-and-learn approach and short release cycles that are so critical for launching and operating a competitive digital bank, two different yet integrated IT systems are needed: the traditional, slower, secure and stable, transaction-focused legacy back end and a rapid, flexible, customer-centric front end.
Get creative with marketing To communicate such distinct selling points cost-effectively, banks must cultivate word-of-mouth recommendations and feedback through social media

Corporate Sustainability

Sustainability begins with a principled approach to doing business.

Born with privilege of father reading  company annual reports where he invests in small amounts and also involved in creating his company annual reports, I started to read Indian company annual reports from age of 12. In 1990s, there was no internet, my father used to have stack of hard bounds (Carries few today also) and started reading. In those days my curiosity made me check for last page and both sides of back cover (in annual report) to see pictures and photos that describe social  and community initiatives of corporate.

On receiving MindTree  annual report last week, I observed there was less or no data on CSR and got surprised.  Today I received sustainability report, that has half number of pages compared to pages in  annual report.  My respect of the company increased in my mind. Learnt about The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact  and you can find more in this article. Copied them for my reference to my blog.

Human Rights

  • Principle 1 Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights;
  • Principle 2 Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Labor

  • Principle 3 Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • Principle 4 The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
  • Principle 5 The effective abolition of child labor;
  • Principle 6 The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Environment

  • Principle 7 Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8 Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility;
  • Principle 9 Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

Anti-corruption

  • Principle 10 Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. 23

What does a Great Father Do?

Today my daughters wished for Father’s Day. It raised question how should father be to children. Sharing  real life story observed and asking myself “How will I behave with my children in adverse condition where I have no control?” and “Can I be father to my daughters like the father to his son in the story?”

“This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too. “

Once upon time, there was father and mother. The retired father had a son and daughter. The son went to engineering college.The son was healthy guy, involved in sports and leading social-curricular activities at college.  The son was college students chairman and coordinated placements also. In his final year, the son got placement in non-IT firm, which was very much aligned to his passion and got placement in IT company.

The son wanted to be in India, with responsibility of taking care his retired parents. When son submitted his medical checkup for non-IT firm, the company send him an email that they are withdrawing the offer and the reason was that he has only one kidney. Yes, one of his kidneys was removed when he was less than 2 years old. The son was broken and could not comprehend the reason, as he never have thought someone would reject him based on physical ailment and have involved in lot of automotive work with passion.  The son went to attend the initial training for IT firm and realized his mind not ready for IT job.

Here comes the real test for father. Your son was confident with his success and for no logical reasons, he has been thrown away from pedestal and how do you  support him. The father supported his son and asked him to do what is best for him. The son joined a job in his area of interest  paying him salary less than Rs 10,000 p.m. This job was a really tight job being on the shop floor and hectic interacting with lot of people.

The father motivated son to appear for GRE/TOEFL. The father enabled son with internet dongle( not common in those days) month, downloaded application, printed them, filled them and got pay order for application fees and send application to colleges, travelling where needed.  The son got admission in to college in USA and had no scholarship.  The father said that he will support with his means. The son quit his job to come and prepare and the father has bought one-way ticket. When you leave job, you lose your medial insurance also.

Here comes the second test for  father. The son plays volleyball every day and one day he slips and his ribs are broken. His visa interview is around. The father and his friends admit him in hospital and they perform minor surgery.  The father acknowledge that falling in sports was natural.  when your children make mistake that impacts their life, as parents we get annoyed and hurt them with our words. The father did not say anything and spend a lot of money, which was limited at his life stage.

Here comes the third test for father: After 2 weeks, they find that surgery has not healed and the surgery needs to be repeated. The father was broken in heart. Visa interview is coming, tickets are booked, son does not have job and son is in hospital, need to spend money, which is  limited and they have to repeat surgery.

The father ran around found an elderly doctor waiting till late night. His only priority was his son life and not him. The elderly doctor said that he would take care  son’s priority and not others. The son may attend visa interview and will not be able to travel on booked date and can travel after week of the booked date.

Before his retirement, the father  bought car and he loved driving  the car. He sold the car and paid for second surgery. He explained others that there is problem with his ears and does not want to drive and hence he is selling his car.  As there was no money to get another fresh ticket, he ran around  and literally pleaded/ requested many people and  with doctor’s  letter was able to get ticket transferred to later date without additional payment.

Readers can see connect between this story and Sujatha‘ story, which I have read also. When I observed this father-son journey, it came across as new age variant and decided to write and wish all fathers Father Day.