Friday, December 29, 2006

December 2006 update

I just noticed that i have not made a posting since 1st of December. Well you can’t really blame me as this was one of the most hectic months of my life.

First, the baby kept me busy. She immediately had two impacts on my life. First, she made me impatient to run back home. I didn’t want to miss her growing up. And I was trying to compete for her attention with my wife, as she was practically spending the whole day with her. I was getting jealous!

Then I was down with Chikungunya. It was one heck of a sickness. I was feeling as if a train had run me down! Couldn’t eat, couldn’t do anything else except maybe sleep. And I was down mentally as well. I was messing with my mind too.

So with all these going on, I had a pile of work at work to finish. I still have the pile. Still trying to device a way to either do it, or run from it.

Anyway, we have come to the end of one of the most eventful years of my life. A lot happened this year. Most of it good! (Material for another post around the 31st, hopefully)

Friday, December 01, 2006


I have passed the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam! Now I am a PMP.

In my last post about the PMP examination I mentioned that there were a lo tof questions which I felt could be very subjective. I am glad to note that my thinking is in line with what PMI designates as body of knowledge in project management.

Also, with this exam I have completed my professional development objective for the year. This was a target that I had set for myself sometime back, but I was not sure about covering it this year as the PMP exam in Sri Lanka kept getting postponed. With the constant postponements, I also sort of lost my touch on the knowledge areas and I had to completely study from scratch. But I am glad to fulfil my objective at least towards the latter part of the year.

I wish to thank a few people who made this possible for me. First I would like to thank Madu Fernando, who was my trainer in the accredited educational program, Aruna Kooragamage and the PMI Colombo chapter team for organizing the exam in Colombo. And Kevin, thanks for pushing me. Last, but not least my family, specially my wife who kept pushing me to study and taking all responsibilities of the baby and freeing me to study. Thank you love! tags: , , ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

CBNSat is back!

Good news to all CBNSat subscribers. Seems they have go the go ahead to start transmissions today. So we can look forward to our favorite programs again.

The past few months without any decent entertainment has been painful to say the least. There was nothing much worth watching on TV.

Wishing CBNSat a roaring success, on the rebound!

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Had a peaceful Sunday, after all

It was nice to be home on a Sunday without having to worry about any work. I did have a lot of work piled up for this week (which I am tackling right now), I made a decision to not to worry about them, as I needed to give myself a break and to spend some time with family.

I have been spending time with my family but during the last week, I was pretty much drained out by the time I went home. Which left me falling asleep and hardly spending anytime with the baby. So I needed to properly spend time with them, by being there with the body, mind and soul. Not just physically. My wife was also getting annoyed with me for not spending any quality time with them (her and the baby).

So I spent the Sunday, just playing around with the baby. Meddling with my computer as it had crashed the day before and looking for a car to buy. I guess I managed to spend time on all activities, but this time, I managed to spend the time on it without my mind bothering about something else. I think finishing the PMP exam was one heck of a relief!

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Live Writer Update for Blogger beta

I have been having this problem with inability to post to blogger blog, from the date I migrated my blogger account to the blogger beta. I knew that it had something to do with my migration but somehow missed out on looking for a Live Writer upgrade. When I faced this proglem again, only did I remember to look for a Writer update, and I found it. Seems it has been available for sometime. So if you too are having a problem with the blogger beta and Live Writer beta (notice that both are BETA's), donwload the updated Writer version from here:

Happy blogging with Blogger beta and Writer beta.

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PMP Exam

Today was my D-day. Had the PMP examination. This was a four hour marathon!

I am not going to disclose anything about the exam. I did sign on a paper that said that I am not going to disclose the questions to outside parties. But what I can say is that it was a very subjective exam. Meaning they had asked about what should be done in different situations. I felt that those answers could be very subjective as what each person would do will depend on a lot of environmental factors, organizational culture and the personal preferences and characteristics.

But what I found good about the exam was that it did not hinder me because I did not know the inputs, tools & techniques and the outputs by heart. I did read all of it, but could not remember all of them. I am not good at memorizing things. But where ever it made logical reasoning possible, i remembered the process. The exam was not that heavily dependant on these. They had asked for some of those, but i managed to answer them using logical reasoning and logical elimination.

Well, all of this would hold true if I do get pass the exam. As I said, since it was a very subjective set of questions, I guess it will depend on closely my thinking and PMI's thinking aligns. Let's wait and see.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Seagull Softwares is a scam

Seagull Softwares was a company that was promoting a work at home data entry job system in Sri Lanka. They charged a registration fee upfront which was 1.5 times the monthly pay, which meant you become profitable only after you complete two months with them.

But apparently the work was pretty easy. You could buy work slots and for a computer savvy persona slot was only about 10 minutes of work per day. So this would have become a method of easy money in most people's eyes.

It also offered a convenience like no other earning opportunity. It was flexible and it required not special training. Also, it allowed a lot of those who were unable to work an opportunity to earn. Specially given the fact that part-time work is virtually non-existent in Sri Lanka.
So they had a great demand. I heard that people stood in queues to register themselves in this scheme. There had been people who had bought hundreds of slots and was employing others to do the work.

Guess what, about a three days ago the Police has busted the place. The scammers have jumped the country. Apparently it was a racket which was run by a couple of Indians. The web site is registered under the name of Raj Sekr in Chennai. They have not made payments to people for the last month or so for the work performed. And there and been a lot of people who have registered but who had not completed one months work to become eligible to pay.
Somehow another smart fellow has managed to scam a lot of people and vanish with their money.

Who said there is free lunch? Or rather easy lunch...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Affno Strikes GOLD (twice) at BCS Awards

Last weekend was a great weekend for Affno as we won 2 Gold awards (for the two entries in two categories we participated in), won the Overall Silver Award, across all 13 categories and won a special award from the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

For this years National Best Quality Software awards, Affno submitted entries for 2 categories. We made an entry into the e-government category with our Town Planning Services Management Solution (TPSMS) as well as the Financial Applications category with Retail Market Booster (RMB) - our online stock trading solution. Out of all 13 categories FA was the most keenly contested category as it had the highest number of entries (11).

After the initial category presentations both our products were called for a second presentation, this time for the overall awards.

TPSMS won the e-government category. RMB won the FA category beating other solutions like online banking solutions. I think it was a well deserved award as RMB has already proven itself in the Sri Lankan market, with 6 of the top stock brokers going online with it! RMB also bagged the overall Silver award as well the Institute of Chartered Accountants award for the best Financial Application.

This makes Affno the most successful products company in Sri Lanka. There was no other company winning two categories and four awards in total. Great show Affno team!

As for my part I am very happy to be a part of this great team and for doing my bit in getting the awards for Affno, because I was a presenter for both presentations for RMB. But I missed the party last Sunday night as I my wifee was not feeling well and instead of going to the party I decided to stay at home with her. But hey, I was there when I was needed most, for both of them, for Affno and for my wife!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Registering for PMP exam

Finally the PMP (Project Management Exam) is going to be held in Colombo. The date has been fixed for 20th of November. To be able to sit for the exam you have to complete the registration by the 20th of October.

Filling up the registration form for the PMP exam is a project by itself. Since I posses an accredited educational qualification I have to show 4500 hours of project management work experience. This gets more complicated when you have to show a breakdown of time spent on each of the process groups; initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & control and closing.

My life was made a bit easier by the fact that the application form is available online and it can be filled and saved to continue later. Also, as you go along filling it, the application itself tells you how much more you need to cover in order to become eligible. This is the most interactive exam application form that I have filled. I have to admit, this is IT used in a practical manner.

I realized that I needed to run through my projects as I needed to first workout the time I have spent on each of the projects that I have managed earlier as well as to gather the time I have spent on each of the tasks so that I can work out the tie spent on each of the process group. Life was made simpler again by a spread sheet that was forwarded in the PMP study group email. This spreadsheet calculates the contact hours when you put in the dates. Good for me!

So now I have raked my brains and have come up with the projects that I have managed along with the time lines. A lot of my former colleagues helped me to find the dates lines of older projects. And having the old emails archived helped to a great deal too. The spreadsheet tells me that i have covered my 4500 contact hours. So now I am off to the online application form to put it all across to PMI.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Does pregnancy make a woman less capable?

I am prompted to write this due to a recent experience of a lady.

This particular lady was working for a very progressive (at least on the outset) company successfully managing a division of about 50 people. She was instrumental in setting up this division and she has trained the workforce single handedly to achieve very successful service levels. Her job was particularly made tough by the fact that Sri Lanka does not produce qualified people in this area. So it is essential to recruit and train the correct people for this job. And this particular division earned respect in general from within the company as well as from their customers for providing an efficient and courteous service.

Then this company expanded. Naturally this division was also expanded and diversified. She had participated on all the activities related to the expansion. She met the potential clients and had performed some activities beyond her scope such as training potential client organizations on behalf of her company. She identified her best staff to man the new operations and trained them further. She did everything that was expected out of her division to tackle this new business opportunity.

On the day before the launch of this new business, she was told, over the phone mind you, that the higher management of the company has decided to put another guy in charge of this operation because they felt she would not be able to handle it due to the fact that she was PREGNANT! And the person appointed was someone who had no clue about the operation, but because he was a guy, they thought he would be able to put in more time!

It is true that being pregnant she will not be able to spend her every working hour to the company. But they did not seem to have an issue with that when they got her involved in setting up the new operation. But after her doing the hard work, if they have a concern with her going on maternity, they should have the decency to discuss it openly with her, explain their concerns and let her be heard. But what they have done is unprofessional and unethical. Letting her find out from others that she will be replaced and after realizing that the cat has been let out, just confirming it over the phone, without giving her the due respect of telling it to her face to face!

What beats me is does it mean that being pregnant makes a woman less capable? They knew very well that she was pregnant when they requested her to help out with the ground work. They knew the time frames when she will be going on maternity leave. But still they never had any issue with her pregnancy then. But despite her doing all of that they had no decency to tell her properly that someone else will be appointed, probably because they know that their case was not very strong. So they get away by telling her over the phone!

It's pretty funny to me. Seems these guys have missed out the point. They are here because at some point their mothers decided to give birth to them. Obviously for a woman being a mother is more important than anything else. But holding that fact against her is a violation of her human rights. They are lucky that it is Sri Lankan lady and she does not want to take them to courts over the matter. But I believe that she has a pretty strong case. At least I think it is essential to bring such practices out to the open. Such companies should be avoided by the citizens, for their unfair and unethical treatment of mothers!

Contracting Vs. Permanent Employment

Came across this interesting post which was trying to compare the difference between permanent and contract positions. Where.Deers.&.Antelopes.Play It is a post that has started a very diverse discussion from different view points. What triggered me to write this post was because I was also once a contractor and I faced a few issues by virtue of being a contractor, especially in the case where I needed to raise some capitol from banks.

In Sri Lanka, no bank will ever lend you any money if you are a contractor. They seem to have taken the notion that permanent jobs are forever and contract jobs are temporary. I guess what they have not realized is the fact that no job is permanent, whether it is contract or permanent.

When I took up that particular post, I had no hesitations on taking up a contractual position as I had confidence on my self. I was confident of being able to get a renewal at the end of the term. I always believed in giving back my worth to the company that work. If I feel I am not doing my worth, I get worried before anyone else does.

So for me it was not much of a differentiator. What I was more interested in was the challenge and the environment. I was more concerned about delivering what was expected out of my, because one thing that I cannot bear, is being a failure in my own eyes.

But in general I think the environment also has to adopt to be more flexible towards contractors, specially in Sri Lanka. If the banking system shuts down contractors from basic needs such as getting a housing loan, car loan etc, then that is going to force some people to seek permanent jobs. This will create an undue demand for permanent jobs as well as makes it harder for companies to fill short term man power usages through contracting.

A lot of contract staff in Sri Lanka tend to work for foreign companies. This practice is adopted by these foreign companies to stay more flexible because of old labour laws that are in place, which makes it almost impossible for a company to fire an employee, unless that person commits some serious crime. So in order to not to get locked into carrying un-necessary luggage they prefer to get people on contract.

If the government wants to promote foreign investment, they will have to work on bringing in legitimacy to the contract workers, by amending laws that would ensure that they are treated in the same level as the permanent employees. If this is done, I think eventually Sri Lanka will also have a talented pool of contractors who will be able to quickly move in to a job and fulfil the requirements. This will also enable the companies to be more agile as they will have flexible access to talent; proven and exposed talent. People who are exposed to new technologies and more diverse situations, thus providing solutions that are proven and tested, avoiding the invention of the wheel over and over again.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Chinese @ Peach Valley

Ended up going out for dinner last night. We had no plan to dine out, but when we ran in to Lasal, we figured the best way to kill some time was by doing dinner. I hope the lie he told his mom to skip the dinner invitation he had would not be traced back to us!

Tried Chinese at Peach Valley last night. Lushi has fallen in love with a menu we tried sometime back and we went to try that again. Then we moved on to IlGilato down Duplication Street to have an ice cream. There was is a Cafe Lavinia that is co-housed in the same building. Tried the Caramel Latte. It was pretty good. Thankfully last night was not one of Lasal's vegetarian days, so we were free to try out the meat and fish as well.

Peach Vally is pretty amazing. You find the place packed to almost capacity almost on all nights. I am sure one part is their food. And the other is the fact that have a bar inhouse. So it doubles up as a restaurant / bar.

After a pretty hard week the weekend is finally here. I look forward to chillout, relax and some quality time with my family. I haven't visited my mother in about two weeks so must go see her. Amma I hope you would understand why I was unable to visit you as I was buried in work.

As for this weekend Lushi wants to do some cleanups around the house. Let's see how things go. I just hope that I wont catch a cold after the cleaning, which sometimes happens to me when I get exposed to dust!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Blogging using Windows Live Writer (Beta)

I am posting this entry using Windows Live Writer. So let's see how this turns out.

Out of the tools that were listed on, this was one of the tools which I liked because I thought that it would enable me to post to multiple blogs. Seems it does, but strangely it did not allow me to setup a Live Spaces Blog! Talk about ironies!

And one more thing. I ran a spell check after writing this post and it caught blogging as a word that is mis-spelled. This in a blogging tool. That's funny!

Friday, July 07, 2006

30 Day Trial for Regular Exercise

Steve Pavlina proposes a good technique for installing new habits. It is analogous to the shareware industry which allows you to try it before you buy it. Similarly, Pavlina suggests, when you want to adopt a new habit, without fretting about it and its impact of doing it forever, to make a commitment to adopt it for 30 days. And at the end of the 30 days, you can asses the benefits and decide whether you will continue with it or abandon it.

The mentality of starting something for 30 days is it will lessen the enormousness of the task. When we want to try something new, we usually get scared on the idea of doing it forever. But if we set our mind to do it only for 30 days, this initial resistance will be lesser as our mind will think of it as a temporary habit and will have less resistance for the first 30 days. But by the end of the 30 days, it should have got installed as a new habit.

I was thinking of areas that I can personally apply this principle in my life. One area that I really need to develop a habit is in regular exercise. Hence I decided to adopt this habit building method for exercising.

I have started exercising several times in the past but for some reason or the other, everytime I gave up after sometime. The last reason being my exercise machine broke down!

But this time I am going to start an exercise regime that is not dependent on any machine. And I will make it public as well. I will update on this blog everyday about my progress. This way I am adopting two methods of installing a new habit. the 30 day trial method and the public credibility. I will at least exercise to keep my credibility in public.

Hopefully, after 30 days, this would have become a habit!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Having a good day, everyday

This is a concept that is very valid. We are conditioned to think in terms of accomplishments and we spend a lot of our time, locked in tasks that we absolutely are not enjoying. We do these tasks targeting a goal and we forget to live each day in the process.

I wrote on this topic a few weeks earlier as well, but at that point I was concentrating on finding enjoyment in everyday tasks. But another thought hit me. What if we populate our days with things that we enjoy doing? What if we do things that we like doing and set our goals in such a way, that they are achievable by doing tasks that we enjoy doing. Doing that will help us come up with goals that are more congruent with the tasks that we enjoy, and the goals itself will be more congruent with our inner self.

There are a few basic things that you need to set in order to have a good day everyday. If you are stuck in a job that you hate, or hate your boss or your co-workers, I don't think you will be successful in having a good day. If that is the case, then may be you should look for a change. I know this personally because for a while I was in a job that I absolutely hated. It was such a relief to change that job and I found an immediate increase in my happiness levels and effectiveness. So find a job that would mean something for you. According to Stephan Covey a person looks to fulfill 4 aspects through their work, body/mind/mental/spiritual. Look for a job that fulfils all four aspects for you.

If you find this job, then that will solve a greater part of the equation for you. After finding this job, or converting your job to fulfill these aspects you need to look at ways to convert your tasks to enjoyable tasks. Some of the things like doing small tweaks to your environment, etc will help in some ways. You can find tips for these in Steve Pavlina's article here. Here Steve actually speaks of ways in which you can get more enjoyable tasks done in a day. I guess you can take that as a guide and come up with a list of things that you may like to include in your day. A few things that I enjoy having each day is the time that I spend with my family, specially my wife. I enjoy the time I spend driving to and from work with her. This is our private time that we talk about a lot of things.

In the mornings we talk of what we intend to do in the day and the evening ride is spent talking about how the day went off. This time is very important as it is the time that we spend on strengthening our relationship, finding out what's going on in each others work lives. This also frees up our evening for deeper level of communication!

In my view it is far more productive to enjoy the process rather than to focus on the end result. If you are going to spend the majority of your time locked in things that you don't enjoy for a few minutes of glory, you should really question the rationale behind your thinking. Your life is essentially the combination of all that time, not just a few moments of glory. So is it really worthwhile to sacrifice your life for a few moments of glory?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Live the moment

I have been having this image on my desktop because the moment I read it, it touched a very deep vein. And I realized that if this moment is not enjoyed we are never going to be happy, ever!

I remember a piece of advice that my father gave me long time back while I was back in school. He told me, that I should live my life in a way such that anytime you stop and look back, you should not have any regrets for things you have done and things you have not done. I never really understood the true meaning of this until I saw the above.

I was browsing Steve Pavlina's blog after a long time today and here it was, a post where he talks about living the present moment, called The Power of Now. Well is it a synchrocity or not I don't know, but it sure is a sign that is telling me that I should concentrate more on enjoying the present moment.

The way I see it enjoying the present moment has a lot to do with being contend with what you have. Either you are happy with what you are and have or you learn to be happy. My religious teaching tells me to find happiness with what is already there. And I never realized that it did not mean that we should not be ambitious, but rather it tells us to enjoy the present moment and not to leave living your life until your ambitions are achieved.

Reading Steve's post opned my eyes a bit more. That is why I thought of sharing the news through this hoping it will help more people. When you hear the good news, you should share it!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Presentation Tips

This is a very useful resource for anyone who will be making presentations as part of their work or education courses.

Whilst most of the tips can be attributed to common sense, it does give some points that you will not think of. It is a simple presentation in itself which is very easy to retain. I hate tips that run for pages. I think tips which are longer than a few short points defy the purpose. You are not reading the tips to remember a long list of tips. You are likely to pickup a few that will stick with you or appeal to you. In that sense this is a very good reading…

The Craig Web Experience: Presentation Tips

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The power of conditioning

I got this story on an email today. If this is true, it is the power of conditioning. Something that we need to break free from. It is interesting to read, and even more interesting to think long and hard about…

As I was passing the elephants, I suddenly stopped, confused by the fact
that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their
front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at
anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

I saw a trainer near by and asked why these beautiful, magnificent
animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. "Well," he said, "when
they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and,
at that age, it's enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to
believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so
they never try to break free." I was amazed. These animals could at any time
break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn't, they were
stuck right where they were.

"Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a
belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pausing in Pursuit

This is a very interesting post on the Fast Company Blog.

Can you honestly answer this question? When was the last time you can remember you not thinking about your business? Work? Or whatever that we are pursuing?

I was personally thinking very hard to remember this moment. But honestly, I could not think of a moment that work, or projects that I am involved in, were not hovering over my mind. Even if I was involved in something else, things to be done, to be completed were on the back of my head and I was never really free from the tasks.

I am sure the companies that we work for will like it, but is this the life we really want. We are so engrossed on the results, we forget to enjoy the process or to take a proper break? I always had a policy of leaving work at office, but lately, the other projects that I am involved in were taking up my free time. SO I am left with no free time, and my sub-conscious mind always working!

Heck, I need to change this pattern, before this hunger totally consumes me! I have a very important phase in my life coming up and I want to be completely involved in that. So let me put the work and projects aside, and try to be fully involved in these activities. I want to take a break in my pursuits and enjoy the moment. As it is said, I wanna enjoy the ride, not just the destination. For all I know, I may never really 'arrive', as the destination keeps changing, as the world changes!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ten Principles of Highly Ethical Business Leaders

I found these ten principles in a mail that I received from a colleague. This was a publication by the Institute For Business, Technology & Ethics.
  1. Treat all employees as unique, valuable individuals - Never treat anyone as though (s)he is dispensable, without value or just a number.
  2. Support each employees freedom, growth and development - Never view anyone through stereo types and images, or as fixed and unchangeable.
  3. Communicate to employees by name with respect - Never use or impose demeaning, trivializing, or derogatory names on others.
  4. Model and encourage a balanced life of good work and rest - Do not adopt policies or make demands on employees that undermine balanced lives.
  5. Honor and respect employee families - Never undervalue the significance of families and friends of employees.
  6. Protect employees' life, safety and health - Never harm or jeopardize the physical well being of anyone.
  7. Create a working environment free of sexual harassment - Do not allow communication or activity that is sexually inappropriate.
  8. Be fair and just in financial matters - Never tolerate unfair wages, prices or financial practices.
  9. Communicate honestly and truthfully - Never mischaracterize people, products, services or facts.
  10. Cultivate a positive attitude towards others and thier accomplishments - Do not give in to envy or the temptation to take credit for the work of others.

I think these are very good practices for any business leader to follow. These practices will build trust and faith. The relationship between the leader and the employees will be one based on trust and this will naturally lead to better results. Because now that the leader will discover that his/her employees are motivated than ever.

As the saying goes, the relationship is worth more than any short-term result.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Workplace Conflict Resolution

Workplace Conflict Resolution: People Management Tips: Managing Your Human Resources is a pretty good article on resolving conflicts at workplace. If you are a boss like, you are likely to faced at least one such situation where you would have had to step in to resolve conflicts between people in your team. I have had to do it and more recently my wife had to do it several times.

It lists three main points. While leaving you to go read the article for full details I will just list them here:
1. Do not avoid the conflict, hoping it will go away
2. Do not meet separately with people in conflict.
3. Do not believe, for even a moment, the only people who are affected by the conflict are the participants.

I think a very common mistake all of us do, when trying to resolve it is, we first meet the parties separately to get their side of the story. I think it deepens the conflict because, when you listen to them individually, it tends to polarize their stance more. It becomes self-fulfilling to them.

This article also lists steps you can take in resolving such conflicts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Aspiring Mangers: Do it Your Way

A very interesting article; Aspiring Mangers: Do it Your Way on the British Computer Society (BCS) web site re-confirms the basic notion of intention-manifestation.

In this article, which is based on a speech given by David Taylor, author of the Naked Leader series of management books, it is said: "work out where you want to go or who you want to be, and then do it. He stressed that it is not necessary to know how to get where you want to be; it's the 'what you want to be’ that is important. Concentrating on the what means the how falls into place. It's important to be persistent and active."

He has also said, "Don't spend all your time planning – take action. If something does not work in trying to reach your goal, try something else. Decide what you are going to do and close off every other possibility." This is the same what Steve Pavlina says in proposing Intention-Manifestation. He uses another term for this which he calls ready-fire-aim approach.

It is good to knoe that knowingly or unknowingly, there are more than one proponent for this model.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Accumulating Knowledge

I have always been a great fan of knowledge. Being a life-long student fascinates me! I have the knack for learning things, figuring things out and also to put two and two together. I have always wanted to know things; be it about the latest developments, news or politics. I just wanted to know. My curiosity always took the best of me. But I used to focus my attention on one subject for a while and once I figure it out, I tend to lose my interest or focus my attention on a new topic or a subject.

My introduction to the internet was a blessing. I have learned more on the web than I have learned from all other mediums combined. The ability to find information on any subject under the sun, in an instant, on demand, is a facility I wish I had while I was in school. The net is perfect for my learning pattern to learn about short topics, in resolving problems, in finding information on topics, where the knowledge can be absorbed fast.

When it comes to learning entirely new subjects in more detail, where the time investment required is significant and knowledge area is quite new to me, I tend to prefer the more traditional medium of printed books. Books have been and still are a big fascination for me. I was used to getting books as presents when I did well in an exam. My father, an avid reader, instilled the habit of learning from and loving books in us from a very early stage. Up to this date, both I and my brother are keen readers and book lovers. I still make it a habit to buy at least a new book every month. And I also delve into my personal library, where there are books that I inherited from my father, which I have not read so far. Once I pick up the basic foundation of a new knowledge area from books, I supplement, upgrade and enhance this knowledge from the web.

Another thing that I noticed while in the process of writing this post is how my learning pattern has evolved over time. When I was in junior school, till I was about 17, I was never a fan of self-learning. I was more of an absorber of knowledge when I was being taught. I tend to digest what I was taught, and went with this first digestion. I turned to books or self learning only when the first digestion was unclear or forgotten.

Gradually, this pattern changed towards self learning when I moved on to higher studies. Specially after high school, while in university, I picked up the habit of self learning. I was more comfortable to learn from books. I completed two professional diplomas mostly by self study. And in one of those exams, The British Computer Society Diploma examinations, I became the Best Worldwide Candidate. And this exam was done completely by studying on my own. That too was mostly just reading the recommended texts. This achievement instilled great confidence in me on my ability to learn on my own. And this confidence still serves me well to this day. Even when I go for training programs now, I tend concentrate on the books rather than the trainer. I am more confident in reading the book and understanding it rather than learning from the trainer.

Also, keeping abreast with the political and environmental changes is a great quest. What we term as general knowledge is being aware of what’s going around us. Knowing the happenings around us help us to better respond to changes, opportunities and threats.

One last thing. I have seen many people who are great in accumulating knowledge but are very poor in practical application. Knowledge is the tools that equip us in day to day life, in solving problems and finding solutions. Knowledge that is not applied is useless. To my eternal quest is to apply the knowledge that I have accumulated. One great way of applying it is by sharing it with others. Knowledge sharing allows innovative ways of applying the knowledge, simply because, different people apply it differently. As I have said in my personal mission statement, I look forward to share my knowledge freely and willingly!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Deciding What to Do With Your Life

There is a post with the above title in Steve Pavlina’s blog. This is a very interesting article. Also, this article re-iterates the points I have made based on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Steve’s article is like a summary of these three habits: Be Proactive, Begin With the End In Mind, and First Things First.

Steve starts off by making the point that if we do not make a conscious decision on what we do with our lives, we will end up living a life that is handed over to us. This is exactly the same point that Covey makes to drive the importance of being proactive and to begin with the end in mind. Basically, Covey’s first two habits drive the points: I am the creator, and I write the script of my life.

In Steve’s post he says that as we grow in consciousness we will ask ourselves the question, “what the heck am I going to do with my life?”. In Covey’s literature, Covey encourages the reader to find the answer to this question by practicing the habit of beginning with the end in mind. If you have come to the stage of asking yourself this question, after reading Steve’s posts I suggest you pick up 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and read it thorough.

As a first step Steve suggests that we try to understand the reality as accurately as possible. This is very similar to Covey’s habit of being proactive. The idea that Steve presents is very similar to the idea presented by Covey on Principles, values and beliefs.

In his post Steve questions us whether we are passionate about our lives right now? This is a very important question that we must get right. I have seen too many people who living thier lives for a moment that is to come in the future. They have put away their passion, happiness and content to the future. They are sacrificing their present for an unseen future. It is essential that what ever that you are doing right now, you are passionate about it. Live each day and each moment passionately. Whatever your purpose in life, it has to make sense to your life, right NOW!

Then comes the question: does your purpose make sense in the long run. This is the very question Covey asks his readers at the start of begin with the end in mind chapter in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you think at the end of your life and think, where you want to be, what you would want to achieve and the purpose of life that would make sense to you, then at the actual end of your life, you would not regret a living your life, the way you did. It is essential that we evaluate each action we take, each response, with the end in mind. By doing so, your actions will be congruent with your values and principles. So at the end, you will look back at your life and get a feeling of “I did my best!”, and leaves you at peace with yourself.

So if you see yourself coming to an end, then it is better for you to get out of it as early as possible and change directions. If your current job is not heading towards the future that you want to have, then change it now. AS Steve says, if you are happy even if your life end this moments, if you don’t have any regrets of things that you should have done, then you are on the right track. If not, work on eliminating those disappointments as early as possible.

The third question that Steve poses is whether our purpose makes sense at different levels of consciousness. This is the rational behind Coveys suggestion to base our center of principles. Because, as we develop our consciousness, we may change our beliefs and our values. But the correct principles are changeless. So, if our purpose is based on principles, then as our conscience grow, our core will remain unchanged, because they were based on the correct principles from the beginning. Because our values and beliefs were based on a changeless, solid foundation.

Finally Steve asks the question what happens to our purpose after our death? It is an interesting questions because very rarely that we think of existence of our purpose after our existence ceases. But if our purpose exceeds our physical existance, then we have given our purpose an immortal standing. If there are people who are willing to carry forward our purpose, after our death, and they are doing it through tier own convictions and free-will, then our purpose has exceeded human potential and has reached noble dimensions. If your legacy survives after your extinction, then your life has reached immortal dimensions.

Read this post. It is a very thought provoking post. And it will actually simulate your mind to seek the purpose of your life.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Personal Mission Satement - Ver 1.0

Okey, I have come up with a personal mission statement. If I keep this till I prefect this, I may never publish it. So I thought about just going ahead and putting it on here. So if I do make changes, I will add a new version. Anyway, I think publishing it is like officially adopting this as my creed! So, I am making a commitment to it.

Personal Mission Statement of Sampath Dassanayake:

  • I will be a light, not a judge.
  • Succeed at home first - I will love my family unconditionally and will be available.
  • Excel at work - I will give 100% to the job at hand, without worrying about the next promotion or the job.
  • Be proactive - I will act before being acted upon. I will be my own creator.
  • I will create my own destinity (Begin with the end in mind)
  • I will organize my life around deepest priorities. (First things first)
  • I will seek a win/win solution at all times.
  • I will seek to understand and then be understood.
  • I will look for Synergy in life.
  • I will work on balanced renewal of physical, mental, spriritual and social dimentions of my life.
  • I will develop at least one onew proficiency a year.
  • I will not fear mistakes nor failures. But I shall never forget the lesson.
  • I will work towards becoming financially independent.
  • I will keep my expenses within my earnings. I shall not get into debt beyond my earning capacity.

I have also created another mission statement around the current roles that I play. Here it is:

Roles and Goals:

  • Individual - Myself is my greatest asset. I will seek balanced renewal of my spiritual, mental, physical, emotional and social dimentions of my life.
  • Husband - My wife is my companion and best friend. I will be honest and true to her and will love her unconditionally and will accept her for who she is.
  • Son - I will love and care for my parents to the best of my ability.
  • Brother -I will be there for him as a friend whenever he needs me.
  • Employee - I will give my best to the job at hand without worrying about the next job or promotion.
  • Entreprenuer - I will work towards achieving my entrepreneurial dreams.
  • Teacher - I wil share my knowledge freely and willingly.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Intention - Manifestation - Why I have been failing so far

One of my posts have recieved a comment from Steve Pavlina!!! I am a great fan of Steve’s Blog and I have written a few posts based on Steve’s posts. And today, Steve has left a comment on one of my posts. I decided to write this post as a response to Steve’s comment. I actually started off writing this as a comment, but in doing so, I realized that it will be better posting it as a new post.

Yes, I understood that the model of Intention-Manifestation was focusing on the intention part alone. I read Steve’s posts on Intention-Manifestation and I understood his basis. I actually, understand it better than at the time that I wrote this post.

To be honest, I have not been successful so far on this model of goal achievement. I think the main reason behind it is, i still have not been able to come to terms with the fact that I can manifest something, just by intending it. I think my mind is standing on my way. It is not conditioned to think that this is possible. The years of reasoning and scripts handed over to me have taught me otherwise and I am trying very hard to breakaway from those scripts.

But I do not think that this model is false either. Because, this model is very close to the philosophy of Buddhism. According to the teachings of Buddha, it the Mind that is the supreme element that rules everything else. All buddhist teachings are geared towards achieving control over mind. Meditation is all about controlling the mind. The supreme bliss of Nibbana is achieved, when one gains full control over the mind. So this model is true. But years and years of conditioning has taught me things like “No guts, no glory” or “No pain, no gain”.

I have been reading since I wrote this last post and I have become a bit more convinced. But I still have a long way to go. I still have to master the art of Intending. I think that is where I am failing. I am still nt getting the intention pasrt quite right. So, natuarally, the manifestation is not happenning. Witha little bit of help from people like Steve, and from the reading that I have been dong lately I hope I can gain a little bit more control over my mind. And then, hopefully, I can also simplify my method of achieving goals!

Thanks Steve, for leaving a comment. The fact that you commented on a post of mine is enough o keep me motivated in continuing with this blog!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Personal Mission Statements

In todays’ world, almost all the companies have a Mission and a Vision. According to management philosophy, a company should atleast have a Mission, if not a Vision and a Mission. According to its proponents, having a Mission will help the company to galvanize its people around its purpose. Celebrity management guru Jack Welch has dedicated a complete chapter of his best selling book Winning on creating missions and the process to use in developing the mission within an organization.

So, if a mission helps a company to reach its goals, then why not use the same concept in our personal lives. This is the principle advocated by personal effectiveness guru’s like Stephen Covey. This is the basic idea that he presents in one of his habits in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
When we are considering creating a Personal Mission, then we have to ensure that this mission is congruent with our innermost values. More than the values, it is essential that the mission is aligned with the correct principles. Values are the map, principles are teh territory. we may end up with an invalid map. But we have to traverse the correct territory. So, a mission should evolve out of a Principle Center. As I have expalined in my earlier post, it is essential that we base our life on the correct principles. Covey dwelves more deeply into this topic in his article Center on Principles.

According to Frankl, as quoted by Covey, each of us detect our mission rather than invent it. This goes on to imply that we have to discover the mission out of our basic paradigms. We cannot totally become someone that we are not. It is man who is being questioned as to what the meaning of his life is; man cannot question life. Man can answer to life by being responsible for his own life! So we have to dwelve deep into our own lives and find out first, the innermost values. The next step is to align them with correct principles.

Creating a mission is dependant on the first habit of being proactive. As long as we do not accept the responsibility of our lives, we cannot write the script of life. Threfore, it is essential that we accet the responsibility for the life, before we proceed to write the script. Speaking of a computer metaphor, we will not write the program as long as we don’t accept the fact that we are the programmers.

Writing the Mission Statement:

As Covey writes, drafting a persons mission statement takes time and effort. It takes many revisions and treading unchartered territory. Because, essentially the personal mission becomes the criterion by which you evaluate all your actions. Also, the process may be as valuable as the product as well. Because, in the process, you discover yourself, maybe in a way that you never have before.

Discovering the personal mission requires one to use two skills that are associated with the right brain: imagination and conscience. It requires one to imagine the unchartered territory in the process of creating a personal mission. We have to imagine and visualize, what we want to achive out of our lives. What footprints do we want to leave in the hearts of those that we come to contact? While visualizing this future, we have to bring our conscience into play and evaluate it. We do not want to be become something that we dont believe in becoming, do we? By visualizing, we affirm or second the objective.
The effort put into visalization and affirmation will work as a form of programming our minds. When we visualize and affirm the destinity that we want to create, our mind gets accustomed to this detinity and it will influence our behaviour towards achieving that destinity. This is another reason why the proces is as important as the result. This is very similar to the priciples of intention-manifestation.

Another way of arriving at our mission is by identifying the roles that we play in life and then identify the accomplishments that you want to achive in each role, while maintaining a healthy balance between the roles. In todays’ context we have seen people succeeding in one area of life while failing in others. Good exampls are those who succeed in career sometimes fail as a spouse / parent. Therefore, it is essential that we identify this balanced achivements in each of the roles.

After reading this chapter in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People I have made an attempt at creating a personal mission statement for myself. It’s been a few weeks now, and I have still not arrived at a mission, that I am willing to adopt as my constitution. On a personal note, I have found the approach of identifying the roles more adaptable. Maybe this is because, my visualization and affirmation skills are not developed. When I tried visualizing the overall mission without getting into roles, I always visualized, parts. And I failed to visualize the complete whole. That made me think in terms of roles.

I will put up my personal mission statement once I am more comfortable with my creation. And in the mean time, if you are interested check out these great resources.
Creating a personal Mission Statement
And if you have any comments, please leave them here. I would like to know your views.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Blogging @ WordPress

I have started another blog at WordPress: Sampath's Mindspace. I was compelled to do this because Blogger has no feature to categorize posts. I wanted this feature of categorizing posts to enable me to organize my posts. Also, since of late I have been quite a bit of an effort to writing my posts, and I didn't like them dissapearing into archives fast, with very little ability of linking them together and organizing them.

I will keep on posting to this blog as well. I will mostly post the posts related to personal development to this blog. But I will maintain Sampath's Mindspace @ WordPress as my main blog. And if blogger decides to add these features in a future date, I will consider coming back to Blogger permenantly.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Begin with the End in Mind

It has been sometime since I read this chapter. To be honest now I am in the 4th chapter of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I got so caught up with reading, and other tasks, I intentionally skipped writing this article.

The basic idea presented in this chapter is about going through each day with an idea of where we want to be ultimately. But, for most of us, this idea about the ultimate destination is not clear.

How many of us go through life with a clear goal? How many of us have a clear vision? Do we spend each day doing things that move us closer to these objectives, or are we really moving away from them? Are we really clear about what we want from our lives? Or are we living lives that are being scripted by our upbringing, society and environment?

Covey starts the chapter with a high impact visualization exercise. He wants the user to imagine going to a funeral. And when you walk in and see the coffin, it is you who is lying in the coffin. It is your own funeral that you have come to. And there are four speeches to be made, one by your family, one by a friend, one by a colleague, and the last speaker from community or church. The basic question asked is, what do you want them to say? What character do you want them to see in you? The second question is, are you living your life that way?

With this powerful understanding, Covey drives into us the impact of living each day with that end in mind. Have this as the frame of reference to all the activities that we do each day. So each day will be spent in a meaningful way towards achieving that vision. Well at least, it wonÂ’t violate that vision.

There is another important factor. IF we are to know where we want to go, and to plan the means to achieve it, we have to figure out where we are. So the first understanding is to understand where we are now. By knowing that, we can figure out the direction that we need to step into. To borrow Covey's analogy, you donÂ’t want to be busy climbing a ladder, just to discover after reaching the top that the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall. This is the difference in efficiency (speed that you climb) and effectiveness (the wall the ladder is leaning against). Efficiency without effectiveness can be catastrophic. And Covey's argument is, we can only be truly effective, when we begin with the end in mind. As it says in Alice in Wonderland, if does'ntoesnÂ’t matter where you are going, then any road will do.
This is also the difference between leadership and management. Leadership is determining the right thing to do. Management is doing that thing right. We should think about effective leadership and efficient management.

For this principle of beginning with the end in mind to be practical, we have to understand that all things are created twice. That is, first it is created in the mind, then physically.

How many of us, go over and over a plan or a blueprint, before we actually build a house. Visualizing over and over again. But do we do the same with our lives? DonÂ’t you think, if the house we are going to build requires that level of attention to dedoesnt doesnÂ’t our lives deserve more? The funny part is, if we do not design our lives consciously, we will be living a life handed down to us by default. When we let life go on, without actually taking charge of it, we are living the life as designed and handed down to us, by others. So whether the first design was ours or not, what we are is the result of that first result!

To design our own life, we need to develop our self awareness, imagination and conscience. We need these human capabilities to design our lives, so the second creation will be the way we wanted it.

So, the golden question is, how do we write our own script in life? We have to use the human capabilities of self-awareness, imagination and conscience. Through self-awareness, we are aware of our own capabilities and limitations. Through imagination we have the ability to create in our minds, things that are yet to be realized, our potential. Through conscience we can develop the personal guidance needed in achieving our potential.

In the process of writing our own script, we will come face to face with scripts that are being handed down to us, which are limiting us and are ineffective. The realization of such limitations in itself will act as powerful paradigm shifts. When such ineffective scripts are discovered, we are able to respond by choosing write new scripts that are more congruent with our values and principles, which are more effective and is in harmony with our self.

So, what is the best way to make sure that we spend each passing day, minute, second with the end in mind? Covey suggests that we write a personal mission statement. You can call this your lifeÂ’s philosophy or your creed, but name not withstanding, it will be the guiding framework for you, like a constitution is the framework for a country. This mission statement will focus on what you want to be, your character and what you want to do and the values and principles upon which everything else will be evaluated.

Our mission statements should flow from the center of our circle of influence. This center is the collection of our most basic paradigms. Covey equals this to the lens through which we see the world. This center comprises of the most basic principles that we uphold and our values. It is through this center that we derive our sense of security, guidance, wisdom and power.

Covey describes 10 such centers; namely: spouse, family, money, work, possession, pleasure, friend and enemy. And he provides guidance on how we can identify our centers by describing how each center derives the sense of security, guidance, wisdom and power. And usually, from time to time we fluctuate from one center to another.

But, all of these centers have a flaw. We are allowing external factors to influence our sense of security, guidance, wisdom and power. The ideal center should be one that of principles. Then, our lives are built on a foundation that is solid and more permanent than the other centers.

And finally, Covey gives more guidance on writing the personal mission statement and using it throughout our lives. I hope to discuss that in another posting because I believe that in itself is worthy of its own posting.

NOTE: Reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has had a tremendous impact on how I see life and how I view my relationships. It has helped me identify my flaws and helped me to look at life in a different perspective. I see life in a more meaningful way now. As I read along and as I keep applying the underlying theory and practices into my life, I am sure that I will derive even deeper meaning out of life. I hope it will help you out as well.