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Black Tie  International Magazine
Meera Gandhi
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Meera Gandhi  / 3 Tips The Column

Society, Inspiration, Spirituality
 
meera gandhi
 


International philanthropist and global icon Meera Gandhi has played many roles over the course of her life. As the founder and CEO of The Giving Back Foundation, Meera has traveled the world in service of the underprivileged. As a former volunteer at Ashadaan, she learnt the joy of self-sacrifice from Mother Teresa herself. As a mother, she raised her three children while successfully managing her philanthropic, business and social engagements. 

 
3 TIPS TO DEAL WITH DIFFICULT
SITUATIONS IN LIFE
July 21, 2024

 Respond positively: Sometimes, life doesn’t present us with the
best situations, but we have the freedom to choose a positive
response. This is what makes us a winner.

 Be selfless: The path to peace and happiness should always
be above having the upper hand.

 Treasure freedom and joy: The choice of personal freedom and
happiness must be above any other choice we make in life.

I had a close friend visiting my family home in Dubai. I was excited to invite my friend into my life and share the beautiful relationship I have with my parents and my siblings.

At dinner on the second night, while I was trying to weave my friend into our family conversations, I noticed that he was only interested in talking to my brother’s partner about their country and was oblivious to all our efforts to include him.

Instead of relaxing and letting people enjoy themselves the way
 they wanted, I felt upset and undermined.

The next day again, a similar situation transpired.

I felt a strong sense of indignation and a simple matter soon became so ridiculously important in my head.

Instead of meditating and letting it all go, I decided it was best to end
 the friendship at this point.

So, I did, even though it
made me both sad and miserable.

I headed back to New York, to my country home, where looking at
the river and nature, I realized that I had let other people’s behavior,
inappropriate as it was, affect me even though I had not done
anything wrong.

I was taking on their poor karmic behavior upon myself.

The minute I decided not to judge them and to be free of the negative
thoughts, suddenly the situation did not seem difficult or even that
important any more.

 A feeling of peace washed over me and I learnt that the feeling of peace was more important than the feeling of being undermined!

I just needed to consciously choose!

The key to dealing with difficult situations is to step back and
understand what is difficult—step away and understand the real reason
for worry.

And solutions indeed appear.

It is the simple nature of life.

Every problem has a solution.

We simply have to look for it, stay centered and non - judgemental.

Today, this person remains one of my best friends and advisers
in business.
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS TO MAKE POSITIVE
CHANGES IN OUR LIFE
July 14, 2024

 Make small changes: Start small, whatever that means. This
applies regardless of whether we’re making better choices
like increasing physical activities, choosing healthier foods, or
reducing stress by making time to listen to soothing music
and so on.

 Build regularly: Practise regularity. With constant regularity
comes progress.

Act with sincerity: Be sincere. With sincerity, we make our
resolve stick.

Change is happening all the time, whether we know it or not.

The right actions and the right kind of thinking change things in a direction that will have a positive impact on our life.

The year 2013 was tough for me. I had too many things on my
plate: a move back to NYC, renovations at two properties, children
in London, LA and Rhode Island, difficult divorce proceedings and a
Foundation that was active in many countries and several live projects
at once.

I had a fragrance line that was now being packaged and I
did not know how to deal with everything all at once. Feeling rather
overwhelmed, I stopped to pause one day and decided that I would
change my thinking and do one thing at a time.

I would not allow thoughts of other projects and things to cloud
that moment. It worked!

Soon I was doing one thing at a time; and with clarity of purpose and
renewed focus, I made great strides in all areas!

When I think of positive and dynamic change, my thoughts bring
back memories of my mother, Ellen Mary.

Mom is a force of nature!

We moved to Pune, India, in 1969; and found a residence within the
Institute of Armament Technology campus, which was right across
the National Defence Academy (NDA).

 It’s important for me to name these two establishments as my story involves both places.

My mother is a devout Catholic. She always took all three of her
children to church every Sunday.

My father is a Hindu, but he has always supported Mom’s decision to raise us Catholic and said to us, ‘Good values are essential, it does not matter which religious base they are taught from!’

There was no church on the campus, and the cathedral in Pune
was nearly two hours away.

Someone told my mother that there was a Catholic mass that was held every Sunday at 5 p.m., in a small church across the Khadakwasla Lake near NDA.

My mother rode a Vespa scooter in those days; a very stylish Italian scarf fluttered around her head and shoulders.

‘We will have to get to mass, so let’s try,’ she told the three of us.
‘We will have to get there on my Vespa scooter.’

Mom held Sunita, who was three years old back then and was
standing in the front.

My brother and I sat in the back, holding on tightly. Crossing the lake over a narrow bridge was bad enough, but when we got to the village across the river, to our great dismay, the church sat on top of a steep hill.

‘Hold on!’ Mom said. ‘Let’s say a Hail Mary and get to the top!’
She geared up and, sure enough, got us to the top of the hill. She
did this for three years and in all kinds of weather.

Not once did we doubt that Mom would not be able to get us there, and then back, in one piece. She was driven by the conviction of her faith and knew that it was the right thing to do.

I would get to mass and listen to the Lord’s word each Sunday
and we are so much stronger for that.

In these ways, we learnt that any situation can be overcome.

There was always a solution and there was nothing to be afraid of.

Doing things to make positive changes in our lives is essential, and
Mom gave the earliest example of this when I was just seven years old.

This memory brings a huge smile to my face even now; my brother
and sister just love talking about this adventure which we enjoyed
together every single Sunday!
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HOW TO BE MINDFUL ABOUT
OTHER PEOPLE IN OUR LIFE
July 7, 2024

 
Avoid hurting others: Always make sure you are not hurting
another person in your life, whether you believe he or she
deserves it or not.

 Be deliberate: Be aware of your choices and then be fearless,
because when we are aware and fearless, we lend a lot of
confidence to the people around us.

 Mind your legacy: When we leave this planet, the only thing
we leave behind are our good deeds. So, it’s very important
that we are mindful of other people because it is the only
sentiment we leave behind when we’re gone.

Life has taught me that we are all intrinsically connected.

We cannot hurt another person without hurting ourselves.

Recently, I have been renovating my home.

I have a team helping with the construction. I am always mindful of their needs and make sure that they are safe while working.

I am mindful that they eat on time and don’t stress themselves on the job site.

As a result, they have delivered impeccable work. Deliberate actions, along with fearless and honest leadership, inspire people to give their very best. Furthermore being mindful of other people’s needs creates a win-win situation for everyone!

I grew up in India, surrounded by buas, phuphajis, taijis and taujis,
mausas and mausis, and I knew all my cousins.

In short, I grew up with a huge, loving extended family who, I felt, supported and loved me very much.

When Aditya Kishore Bhartiya, my avant garde phuphaji,
passed away, and rather too young as he was only sixty-three years
old when he died, I recall how at his funeral in Delhi people did not
speak about how successful he was and how much money
he  had made.

They talked about how mindful he was while dealing with everyone,
young and old.

Our legacy, in truth, is only the impact we leave on those around us. So let us be more mindful of them, and ensure that we understand their needs better.

Also, one of the people I most admire in the world is Dr Mohammad
Yunus. I had the privilege of meeting him at the Times Center, New
York, where he was speaking at a New York Times event.

My three children were with me, and he took his time speaking
to them.

Cultivating the younger generation is something he believes in, just
as much as I do.

I have learnt many lessons while following his journey in Bangladesh,
especially through the manner in which he understands the power of
every human.

When he started the Grameen Foundation, which gave unsecured loans to the poorest people in Bangladesh, they used the money wisely and always repaid the loan, unlike what his critics had predicted.

These were group-reinforced loans, so people within the group looked out for each other and the loans were always repaid.

The businesses grew, and so did the confidence of the empowered
new business owners. The upliftment of everyone is the upliftment
of ourselves—as we are all connected.

It is true that when we help another person grow, we grow ourselves,
even if we are not aware of it.

Thus, it is supremely important to be mindful of all those around us, and recognize their needs as well as our own.
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON CREATING A BETTER SITUATION
June 30, 2024

 
Act consciously: Be conscious about every single action
you take.

 Fulfil what you say you will: When you vouch to do something,
make sure you deliver on that promise.

Commandeer your situation: Remember that we have the ability
to change our situation through our thoughts and emotions.


You are a powerful being. It’s true, you are. Even though it may seem unlikely at times, you have the ability to influence or even create a situation around yourself.

Look around you, understand that many of the elements that surround you are optional.

Be kind, be noble, but also be happy; it will only add to the
 happiness of others.

Fine-tune yourself, and fine-tune the circumstances around
you, no matter how long it takes.

There have been times when several people have been placing
their demands on me—seeking my time, energy and resources.

It was particularly stressful for me when I was going through my divorce in 2013. I was simultaneously trying to make sure my three beautiful and amazing children were unaffected by the worst of it.

I wanted to move back into my townhouse and recreate their childhood home, decorating their bedrooms so they could continue their transition from children to young adults smoothly.

Keeping so many balls up in the air with construction, paperwork, the Giving Back Foundation, my recent life in Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai was at times too much for me.

My parents were 100 per cent by my side, and so were
my children, but my confusion and sadness carried on for three years.
This is when I was introduced to Sadhguru by my close friends,
Shilpa and Yakub Mathews, in 2016.

I started meditating twice a day and soon, I began to calm down and approach everything with the understanding that it was all a part of the universal divine consciousness.

Immediately, I could sense a mental shift, and every situation around me—big and small—began to feel better and better!

I would say my mother is the best example of how to create a
better situation around oneself.

Having come over to India from Ireland in 1959, when mixed-race marriages in Saharanpur and small Indian cities were still unheard of, my mother was not worried.

She made the best of her surroundings with whatever little she had.

When Dad sailed away to sea and she was with her in-laws in Saharanpur, where most people only spoke Hindi,
Mom was not perplexed.

She started learning Hindi and willingly went into the marketplace with any relative who asked her to go with them to do errands.

Gradually, she began to wear a salwar kameez and other traditional clothes; she had them tailored so that they would fit better.

If she was homesick, she would go to the local British bakery
in Saharanpur.

Her father was a baker and a good pastry reminded her of
Dublin, and her happy childhood and loving parents.

Throughout her life, Mom has always created the best situations around herself instead of giving in to negative situations.

Her positive way of dealing with everything gave her a sense of power and control over her own life, even though many could have said that being married at a very early age, and staying with her in-laws in a small town in another country, with no common language and miles and miles away from her homeland, could have been daunting.

But not for Mom. She won hearts, left, right and centre.

She went to church every Sunday, introduced Christmas
to her Hindu relatives, and had the whole clan accompany her to the
 town for an ice cream on Sunday evenings—a tradition Mom started
in her new home. My father was
so proud of her, and here they are,
happily married after sixty years!

Creating a better situation for ourselves around us is contagious.

It
has a long shelf life and makes everything better
for all those near us!
#  #  #
3TIPS ON HOW TO RISE ABOVE A
CURRENT SITUATION
June 23, 2024

Find your way out: Even if you think you are at rock bottom,
remember there is always a way out.

There’s always a solution: For every problem, there is definitely
a solution. This is the yin and the yang. It is the way that the
world works; it’s as simple as that!

 Visualize the solution: If you can visualize a solution,
 you can find it.

Everyone gets stuck in a rut at times. The important thing is to know how to climb out of it.

I have dealt with several difficult situations in my life, but
probably none were as difficult as the year 2016, when all should have
been smooth sailing.  On paper, it all seemed well.

My divorce was behind me and my children were doing well.
I was living in my townhouse on Park Avenue in New York City.

The Giving Back Foundation’s work was more meaningful than ever, and a number of magazines, newspapers and editors from around the world were reaching out and calling at the office to feature me
in their editorials.

It was gratifying and validating.

However, my soul was not at peace. I was doing too many things and
was being pulled in too many directions. I was traveling too much,
attending too many events and it was all making me feel dizzy, exhausted and unclear.

One evening, I lay down to sleep, and the next morning, I did
not want to get out of bed. The thought of another busy and crazy
day had started to make me feel like my life was not truly focused
on what should make me happy. I sat down and began to ask myself:
What do I really want to do in life?

Just then, a close friend called and said he wanted me to host a
Diwali party at my townhouse; Sadhguru would come too and
deliver a talk there.

I invited one hundred and twenty of my dear friends and
that evening, I received my answer.

During the talk, Sadhguru said thoughts are energy fields.

Think about what makes you joyful, and then, proceed to
 accomplish your goal. But clarity is essential.

I started meditating, calming down, and ended up producing,
scripting, and airing calming information in the form of an entire
season of television—thirteen episodes with the B4U TV—
addressing topics such as peace, joyfulness and happiness.

That was the beginning of understanding who I truly was, and possibly what my true mission in life was about.

My takeaway was that no matter how much despair we feel, the
answer to the problem is always available to us.

We must seek it wit patience and conviction, reminding ourselves
 that no matter what, things will be all right if we conduct ourselves in the correct manner.

There are multiple solutions to every problem.

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS TO STAY ACTIVE
June 16, 2024

 Do something physical: We all know how busy our lives can
get. We’re commuting, working long hours, getting up early,
getting home late. However, it’s very important to be active.
So, just go out and do something physically invigorating, no
matter what time it is, morning or night.

 Do what you love: Do something that you love. Dance to music,
go on a bike ride, practice martial arts, or do yoga. Just do
something that you love doing.

 Work as a team: Do something with a team. Studies have
shown that activities that are done in a team have a longlasting impact on our mind and we tend to keep up too. What
is good for the brain is good for the soul!

Health is one of the most important gifts a person can enjoy on earth. It is almost a passport to happiness. And while our bodies are resilient testaments to the universe’s passion, our health can often be fragile. Taking care of ourselves is, indeed, our duty towards the divine.

When I was growing up in Mumbai as a teenager, one of my
closest friends was Seema Poddar Agarwal. We used to bike to the
Colaba sea pool in Navy Nagar. After biking, we would swim, have a
Rodger soda and bike back.

On the way, we would talk about things, mostly nature, as we both loved watching birds, looking at the ocean waves for hours and observing the Bombay crabs in the sand.

This had a profound effect on my psyche. I understood that when we exercise and move ourselves to do things that bring us closer to nature, we are joyful!

Today, when I speak to groups of young people, I find myself telling
them to do things as a team, to find joy in movement, and it all goes
back to those many happy hours of biking in my youth in Mumbai!

Staying active by doing something we love reminds me of the
year 1998. I fondly remember my family life in Mumbai in 1998 when
being active meant taking a very unusual step! Kabir, my youngest
child, was a year old and I was looking for a preschool for him.

We looked at West Wind but it was full, and another prospect, a woman
starting a new preschool in Mumbai, had to return to New Zealand.
With the days passing and no preschool for Kabir, I decided to start
one myself. I wrote to a preschool in New York City to request a
curriculum and started hiring teachers in Mumbai.

I put the word out and had twenty students right away; and then I had to close the roster. I had a fantastic baby nurse, Sister Pramilla, who kept medical records for all the children (mostly from overseas and so it was really useful), and a local doctor, Dr Balsekar, who would come in to meet the international mothers so they knew him and where his clinic was in case of any emergencies.

With a fantastic curriculum and inspired teachers, I started the
International Playschool of Mumbai and it was a very rewarding
experience for me, the teachers, the students and the parents as well.

There is a funny moment from this period which I absolutely must
share with you.

The children were picked up at 11.30 a.m. from the preschool every day.

 On Fridays, we had started noticing that the driveway was crammed with cars from about 10.30 a.m. onwards.

In the beginning, I paid no attention to it, but soon it became clear
that many of the nannies and drivers came earlier on Friday as they
wanted to meet or get a glimpse or a photo with Vivek Vaswani
from Bollywood.

Vivek was a classmate of mine from high school and he
taught speech and drama every Friday at our preschool! It was quite
funny, and even though we requested the cars to arrive only at 11.20
a.m., this routine remained the same over the three years I ran
the preschool.

I am in touch with many of the children I taught as well as their
parents. They have all gone on to become strong, intelligent members
of society.

 I think of those three years of the International Preschool
with great gratitude and pride! Needless to say, those tots kept me
constantly on my toes, and I never felt more active or healthier!

 If there is a lesson here, let it be that there is no shortage of activities
we can undertake to stay active. If you can’t find the right one,
start it yourself!

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS TO CELEBRATE LIFE
June 9, 2024

 
Be aware of life: Actively think about your life and choose the
moments you want to celebrate.

 Celebrate others: Make sure others are celebrated; when we
choose to celebrate others, we automatically feel a sense of
lightness, a sense of joy and even a sense of euphoria.

 Choose positivity: Celebration is a state of mind. Choose to
be positive and choose to celebrate every moment.
It’s in our hands.

Life is precious. This is said so much that often these three words lose their meaning and the sentiment is taken for granted. But we must concede that life is indeed precious, and in the vast
expanse of endless space and infinite time, life is also rare.

Thus, we should take time out of the pursuit of routine life to remember to celebrate this beautiful gift of life by looking at nature and treasuring
each and every moment.

For my twentieth birthday, I expressed to my father that I wanted
a family picnic on Badkhal Lake in Delhi. I thought it would be a
small group—my brother, sister and my parents—picnicking by the
lake. January in Delhi is usually very pleasant. The weather is perfect,
the worst of the winter has passed and the season dips its first toes
into spring.

As the days rolled up to 28 January, my birthday, there
was some secrecy in the house. I had not been involved in all the
planning. The day of my birthday arrived and there was a huge bus
outside our house.

My bedroom in Moti Bagh faced the main road,
so I was the first to see the bus pull up.

‘Strange,’ I thought. DTC buses usually stay on the main road.
Then, my parents came out and when we got into the bus, Usha
baji, one of my favourite aunts, wished me ‘Happy Birthday!’ in a shrill
voice, brimming with excitement. ‘We are all going on a family picnic
to Badhkal Lake.’

Surrounded by my family and extended family, my parents had
created this extraordinary celebration for me.

Complete with our helpers, the gas range and the fresh food cooked on site, it was a marvelous day of celebration that stands out as a particularly memorable day in my childhood.

We swam in the lake, ate and chatted merrily and then, exhausted, we started to head back around six o’clock in the evening.

We arrived home at 8.30 p.m., and soon, I tumbled into bed exhausted, happy and full of gratitude to my dear parents who always went the extra mile to make our birthdays so very special!

Here’s to life and celebration!

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS TO CREATE
RAINBOWS IN LIFE
June 2, 2024

 
Love all beings: Love in action is like a beautiful rainbow
without an end.

Accept everything: Sound, light, breath—everything on the
planet vibrates on a certain frequency. When we accept things,
it only means that we are choosing to vibrate on the same
frequency as the situation. This is a rainbow in formation.

 Serve from the heart: Serving from the heart creates a rainbow
wherever we go!

In August 2018, I was in Jupiter, Florida, enjoying some rest, exercise, yoga and meditation.

My youngest child, Kabir, had just graduated from Harvard and my daughters were happily at work—one of them in the field of music, and the other lobbying for organic farming—as they were determined to contribute to the world!

With my children settled, I felt that my primary responsibility as a
mother had been met and that I needed to continue working globally
and use the Giving Back Foundation better to serve more sections
of humanity on various levels.

But how? I felt stuck. No donations were coming into the foundation, and while my TV show was moving forward with thirteen episodes on B4U TV, it was still not quite the
correct format.

Also the fragrance line that I had spent millions on developing was not in the right place to hit the market.

As I was sitting outside on my patio overlooking the golf course,
I noticed how everything looked fresh and green and renewed.

It had been raining all night. Just then, the biggest rainbow I had ever seen appeared in front of me. It was mesmerizing. In that moment, I was totally awestruck!

Time stood still and I don’t know how long I spent looking at
the rainbow!

It was my instinctive Noah’s ark moment when God said to me,
‘Move forward in faith, my child.’

I realized that I did not need donations to continue my mentoring work. COVID-19 had stoked concerns about mental health issues and the tips
I had been posting on Instagram had started to resonate with
a lot of people.

The rainbow showed me that I was on a simple, but correct path; and that it was the best way I could help people.

Since then, rainbows have been my guiding light; the signs are
everywhere when I need reassurance.

Now, I want to create rainbows for everyone around me so people can grow, be happy and feel fulfilled just like I feel! It was a simple shift.

So, look for your sign and let it guide you further!

There are signs everywhere to guide you,
as Oprah Winfrey attests in her book.
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HOW TO BE ASSERTIVE
WITHOUT BEING UNKIND TO OTHERS
May 26, 2024

 
Be firm but kind: Be clear about what you want,
but also be mindful of others.

 Have clear intentions: Know within yourself what you need
to do and think of ways of doing it without hurting anyone.

 Set personal boundaries: Personal boundaries are silent but
strong assertions in themselves.

We are all on a personal journey towards fulfillment.

Thus, it is inevitable that our desires brush against the desires of someone else, and so, create conflict.

We must remember that such conflicts provide us with an occasion to empathize with our fellow traveler, and not see this as an opportunity to engage in anger or any negative emotion.

We can still get what we want, and we don’t have to hurt or put anyone down to get it.

Boundaries are something I find very hard to execute and live
by in my own life.

By nature, I am a kind person who can be firm, but too often I am swayed to help others beyond my real personal capacity.

This has caused me a lot of stress, as it has often been hard for me to say ‘no’ when people have reached out with their problems.

Other people’s expectations make saying ‘no’ a little harder
for
me.

Being CEO of the Giving Back Foundation, I have experienced
some non-thinking people say things like “You are a giving back
person, how can you say no to me?”, or “Why are you telling me
that I am late for an appointment?”, or “What, can’t you help me?”.

I have to calmly explain to myself and then to others that I don’t often
have the bandwidth to help.

Sometimes it is as simple as starting a meeting on time to help complete the meeting in the given time.

The latecomers have been annoyed by this but over the years I have
realized that the best way forward is to stay on the path of truth.

It is the correct path.
I have set certain personal boundaries for myself.

They are silent but firm.

For example: if I have been up since 5.30 a.m., have worked
a full day and am exhausted, and after dinner my friends say it’s only
11 p.m., let’s go to such-and-such new place, I politely decline and
go home to rest, no matter how much I am pushed.

I definitely feel that I made the right decision the next day!
Boundaries are not about upsetting other people; they have more
to do with making the correct decisions for ourselves.

Once we know and understand this, it’s both a joy and an easy process, and usually, all parties gain through this process!

When I think of being assertive without being unkind to others,
my thoughts go back to New Delhi in 1984. Padmini Lulla was the
leading agent to scout amateur talent for print and movie ads.

I had done a number of projects with her successfully, including Pan Ketchup and Hero Cycles. She called me up one day and said that she had a very lucrative modeling campaign for me, and the four people she
had picked had to meet the sponsors at her office.

I got there quite excited, but I did not know the product.

When I arrived, they explained that it was for a popular Indian
 brand of cigarettes.

I immediately said, ‘I am sorry. I cannot do this ad as I believe
that smoking is very harmful to our health.’

Padmini looked at me, smiled and said, ‘Are you sure? This job
pays ten times more than the other assignments you have done.’
‘Yes, I am very sure,’ I said.

‘Okay, then. No worries, we will try to get another model here to
meet the sponsors today.  Here is your travel fee and thank you
for your time.’

This is how I have set my personal boundaries, and Padmini Lulla,
who being a real professional, totally respected that.

So will others in her place. Padmini, as I have been told by my friends, has spoken to others about this incident and said that she has always respected me for my decision.

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP GOALS REALISTIC
May 19, 2024

Evaluate your goals: A goal must excite you, not overwhelm you.

 Keep your goals exciting: The drive to accomplish a goal
 should motivate you.

 Nurture goals: Remember that goals are important for survival
and a healthy self-esteem. Nurture your goals carefully and
stay focused.


Goals are a simple way of organizing our desires, ambitions and aims in life. It is easy to be swept away in the whirlwind of life and lose track of what we want to build towards.

We make goals to remind ourselves to stay true to the decisions we take in our psyche.

In January 2018, I decided that I needed to set a multitude
of goals for myself. Each goal I set would have taken a year each to
complete, but I decided that I would work on all of them simultaneously.

After all, each goal was connected to the other in some way.

Each goal was intensive:

The first was developing branding and packaging for a new mission-based fragrance line I wanted to launch, the second was renovating my home in Manhattan, the third was renovating another home in the country, the fourth was spending time with my grown kids who by then had their own apartments across different cities in the US, the fifth was responding to a television show sizzle that some
producers had approached me for, and lastly, maintaining a healthy weight and planning to get enough sleep every night.

To these, I also added another goal.

I wanted to explore another partnership for the Giving Back Foundation in upstate New York.

I was very happy when I wrote down my goals, but as I went
through the year and started achieving some of them, I realized that
I was putting less time into my health, sleep and exercise.

I had listed my goals, but I had not prioritized them well enough.

I began to feel tired, even though I was quite excited that I was making good progress with the things I had set out to do earlier in the year.

So, I went back to my list and started reorganizing those goals.

Prioritizing them better.

Putting family, health and wellness first.

The year was super smooth after that!

The excitement of the journey was back and I was no longer focused on the destination.

The key is to do our best every moment, and the outcome will automatically be good.

I felt good. I knew that my goals and life were back on track!

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HOW TO RESOLVE CONFLICTS
May 12, 2024

 
Pause and think: Don’t react. Pause, take a deep breath and
think before you act or speak.

 Let go to gain: The more we let go, the more we may gain.

 We are all connected: We need to always remind ourselves
that we are connected to everything else. When we remember
this, conflict tends to dissolve automatically.

We live in a fast-paced and interconnected world where conflicts are bound to occur. One evening, I went for dinner with a colleague.

We had been working on a joint project all day, after which we decided to go have dinner at a new restaurant that had opened nearby
to treat ourselves.

We went back to our respective hotels, freshened up and met at 7 p.m. for dinner.

During the course of the project, I had been independently working
on a book that was finally taking an interesting shape and I felt it
would be of good value to readers.

I was considering translating it into a couple of languages and so had many thoughts swirling in my head, all unrelated to the project that I had been working on all day with my friend.

We were seated at Maxim’s restaurant owned by Elin Nordegren,
the amazing ex-wife of Tiger Woods. The restaurant was filled with the buzz of interesting people.

I started talking excitedly about my book, but it seemed like my
friend was not into speaking about it. I changed the topic.

After an hour, the book forced itself back into my mind and I started talking about how I would be going to India on a health trip, meet the publisher there, and even explore the possibility of translating it into several languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, French, German, Chinese and Russian.

I asked him, ‘What would be a better city in Russia for the launch—
Petersburg or Moscow?

That is, if we do end up getting the book translated.’

My friend, who is from Russia, suddenly grew very silent and
seemed upset. Upon asking him what the matter was, I realized that
he had misunderstood me. He thought that I was asking if it was even
worth launching in either of those two cities!

He, naturally, felt upset and undermined. All the while, that was the furthest thing from my mind!

So, here was a conflict. First, I had to take a huge breath and
pause to fully understand what he was mad about.

The answer was clear: he had misunderstood; I was truly excited about the possibility of selling my book in Russia while he thought I was dismissing Russia.

My actual excitement had not been clearly communicated!

I had to let go and take time to explain that I really wanted to
publish the book in several languages as I had friends all around
 the world.

As soon as I did that, my friend was swimming with ideas
about how to promote the book on Russian Instagram, especially as
he has many Instagram friends who are both stars and influencers.

So, the moment I let go of his outburst, I gained more ground with my
friend who then shared some really useful inputs with me.

From this experience I learned that when working on interconnected projects with people, conflict has to be resolved quickly to move on to other projects that are in progress.

Letting go of another’s outburst is a really sensible, mature thing to do.

I think I do have an affinity for problem solving.

I learnt to do this at The Cathedral and John Connon School
in the twelfth standard.

We had all been studying rigorously for the upcoming board exams, so my classmate, Vivek Vaswani, suggested that we bunk the last two classes and go out as a group to see a movie.

I was a bit scared, especially as I was the head girl of the school, but I
was soon convinced. Other friends were going and the movie was only
an hour and a half long, after which we would come back to oversee
the house games for the juniors and all would be fine!

First note to self: if your intuition says there might be trouble, do
take a moment to listen to it.

That day, I did not listen to my intuition and about a dozen of us went for a movie. Shalini D’Souza, Sheila Juwadkar, Vikram Gandhi, Phiroz Dubash, Vispi Patel, Nitin Jasani, Somi Hazare and Deven Khote, Anurag and Tarang Jain, and myself.

The movie was funny until suddenly one guy who had been sitting
one row ahead of us said that that we had put our feet on the seat
in front of us, and that our shoes had been touching his seat for the
entire duration of the film.

His brother stood up and said they were offended and that they had to take back their honour.

In a flash, he ripped Phiroz’s shirt while the other moviegoers
shouted at us to shut up.

The manager arrived and asked us what the problem was. Somi
immediately took charge. He told the manager that these were his
rugby friends whom he had not seen in a long time.

Somi gestured to us to keep filing out of the theatre.
Outside, Somi thwarted every effort by the goons to harm us.
‘Hey,’ he said to the gundas. ‘What are you doing tomorrow, after school? 4 p.m?’ They said nothing.

‘We’ll meet you in front of the wall outside our front gate.
We will have a surprise for you.’

By this time, I was wondering if there was more drama unraveling
on the screen in the theatre, or before me in real life!

‘We will be there,’ they said. ‘We are not afraid of you stupid,
private school types and we’ll take your girls too.’

Somi, smiling throughout, said, ‘Okay, till tomorrow!’ and we ran,
cramming into two taxis and rushed back through the Bombay Gym
squash courts side entrance so we could sneak back into school.

We were fortunate that no teachers were upset. However, the
difficult situation was handled by Somi.

He came up to each of us and collected one rupee, fifty paise, ten rupees and so on, and then he asked the snack guy at the gate to roast his best peanuts and chana with onion and lemon and cut the best raw mango, ‘kairi’, complete with salt and chili.

When the guys arrived, ready to fight, Somi had these snacks
ready and soon they were eating them and drinking chai! Rumour
has it, they invited Somi to play in their Marine Lines kabaddi team!

So, we truly have thousands of ways of resolving conflicts!

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL
ENTREPRENEUR BUSINESS
May 5, 2024

 Identify your passion: Identify what you are passionate about!

 Be astute: Know when to enter and when to exit the market.

 Don’t hurt others: Make sure you don’t hurt anybody
 in the process of reaching your goals.

Success can mean different things to different people.

To some, it may encompass financial accomplishments
or business triumphs.

 To others, it may mean an unburdened heart and
the knowledge of a positive impact delivered by one’s actions.

The most fortunate of us figure out how to succeed at both!

I was speaking to the Greek tycoon Makis who has built a very
successful global business of clothing and dyeing and has a significant
presence in India as well.

The Garibaldis of Florence held a dinner for
me in Capri, where Makis and his beautiful wife were seated next to
me. I asked him about how he started his business, and during the
course of that dinner, he gave me a masterclass in entrepreneurship,
which has helped me immensely in my own pursuits.

Makis told me that the way to build a successful entrepreneurship
business is to first be clear about what you want to build. Then, be
prepared to work day and night to accomplish your goals.

Third, make
sure you trust your core people.

If they disappoint you by repeating their mistakes despite your timely interventions and requests, replace them immediately!

Finally, never hurt people in the process of achieving your goals.

The most important thing that he shared that evening in Capri
was that I should know when to enter a business and when
 to exit it.

Always have an exit plan at the back of your mind.

Never be too arrogant to think that you will be needed forever.

Things change, tastes change, technologies change,
 and we have to keep all this in mind.

The one thing that should not change is your passion for your idea.

You must bring that to work every single day
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON OWNERSHIP
April 28, 2024

 
Ownership is a myth: While we are on this planet, we have to
understand that we never really own anything, not even real
estate. When we pass away, we leave it all behind.

Ownership is transient: We have to understand that our
belongings are loaned to us by the universe to enhance our
lives, and so, we should cherish the things we have.

Welcome joy, not stress: We should not be attached to things.
We should enjoy our belongings as their purpose is to bring
joy into our lives and not stress.

Let’s examine our relationship to material things.

We own things because they connect us to people, to places,
 to life experiences.

They provide shelter, safety and enable us to take care of ourselves and accomplish whatever goals we set out to accomplish.

These things are useful while we are alive, but we must always remember that the minute we die, they are of no use to
us whatsoever.

The ownership of things gives us a sense of status and
safety. This, in turn, help us attain our goals and wishes.

Ownership, thus, has a powerful effect on the earth and the people around us as it enables us to fulfill our mission on this planet.
It is best to consider the things we own as loans.

So, we must
take care of these things and make sure that they are actually serving our needs on this journey of life.

Non-attachment or aparigraha (a Sanskrit word for non-possession and non-greed) is an important quality to cultivate in our lives.

We must remember this while acquiring ownership of homes, cars, clothes, jewellery, books, digital equipment and other worldly objects.

The biggest mistake we make when we acquire all that we strive for
with hard work is that we forget to enjoy it!

Don’t make that mistake.

Enjoy your things; you deserve it. Enjoy it without attachment, without
greed, and without boastfulness or ungratefulness!

You deserve to own some of the earth’s wealth.

Work hard and enjoy it!
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HOW TO RECHARGE YOUR HOME
AND WORKSPACE
April 21, 2024

 Put the focus on joy: Look around your room, look at the
thing, the object or the piece of art that makes you happy
and joyful, and move it into a central position in your room.

 Allow for spontaneity: Our energies are always changing, and
we should feel free to move little things in and out of our
work and our home spaces.

 Let it reflect
you: Take a moment to make sure that your
space is resonating with your current energy at that particular
point in time.

It is an underappreciated fact that spaces have a profound effect on us. Whether it is our mood, our psyche or our drive—the aura of the space we are in has the potential to help us or hinder us.

Ourspace can make our tasks feel inspired or make them
feel like a chore.

Luckily, small changes can have a big impact on how our
surroundings affect us.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time we struggle to adjust to the aura of our home or workspace—a few thoughtful flourishes are enough to bring the space closer to how we want it to be at
any given time.

Early in 2021, I was transitioning from my Manhattan townhouse
to my home in the country, Ledgewood.

While packing, I found that over twenty-five years of living in the same townhouse had produced a collection of too many paintings, objets d’art, furniture, clothes, crockery and silverware!

Instead of it being a liberating experience, my impending move was becoming an overdrawn battle of dealing with things that had lost their relevance to me years ago.

On the advice of an interior designer friend, Gilbert Holmes,
I took up the mantra: ‘Declutter, Declutter, Declutter.’

So, a tonne of things were sent to several charities for redistribution
among those who needed them the most. Perfect! What a great sense
of joy and relief!

Decluttering is freeing as we let go of what no longer serves our
needs in our current stage of life!

We need to surround ourselves only with things that serve our
current energy.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate the importance of having
 some emptiness.

Thoughts need some empty walls and spaces so the good ideas can incubate and take flight. Get rid of things!

Let others enjoy them; it’s okay. Just do what keeps you happily charged and motivated to get your work done!

It’s also important to not forget the unseen dimension of the
aura.

The thing I do most often is that I light a scented candle,
in every room each day.

 I use my own Giving Candle, and it changes the energy—after
all, it has herbs and flowers of my choosing, which I prepared while
I meditated on the aroma—and is an extraordinarily transformative
tool to have in the house.

I also add a little spray of the Giving fragrance on the crown
chakra and in front of the yoga mat before yoga practice or my
 daily meditation.

The three key herbs chamomile, rosemary and basil are
excellent for cleansing and purifying!

Let’s give the best to ourselves and our spaces as we live fully
each day of our lives!
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON BEING A GOOD LEADER
April 14, 2024
 
 Be compassionate: Compassion is the emotional trait that
enables managers to become strong leaders.

Deliver on your promises: Never disappoint those
who work under you.

Lead by example: Encourage cooperation, giving back and
love in your team. Don’t forget to lead by example!

Aleader is someone who can direct human efforts in the best possible direction to achieve the best possible outcome.

A leader looks at the pros and cons of a situation as well
as the different ways of accomplishing goals, and should effectively
communicate these to the team.

Therefore, strong analytical skills and
a process that the team can understand well are important.

As a leader, I never ask anyone to do anything I would not do myself.
If I ask for something to be done—I am 100 per cent responsible if something goes wrong, having directed this action.

It’s also important to compensate everyone involved fairly, and
reward them by telling the team or person what they did right along
with monetary compensation.

Finally, stay on the project until it is done, because as a leader,
there might be challenges that need answers that only you can provide!

Above all, when you select people to work for you, trust them!

When I think of leadership in my own life, my thoughts go back
to my earlier experiences of leadership in Mumbai at the St. Anne’s
High School at Fort, and at The Cathedral and John Connon School.

At both schools, I was elected the head girl of the student council
and then, at the University of Delhi, I was elected the Vice President
and President of JMC (Jesus and Mary College).

I always thought of leadership as a service. For me, it was a way
to use my skills and my ‘ins’ with the college administration to solve
problems for other people who are of my age, or to put forward ideas
they might be passionate about.

Being a leader was a joy as I loved
interacting with all kinds of people, understanding their different points of view and finding solutions to their problems.

I would sit in the JMC canteen, eating my chana bhatura and
drinking karak chai, listening to things that were going on in college,
or in other colleges and in the lives of others.

 If someone needed something done, they knew I was just an ear away and always happy to help optimize a situation, if it fell within
my value system.

I held up certain values of honesty, integrity and rightful living,
which basically meant not hurting another human, and no one could
sway me from my principles.

This quality of keeping true to one’s inner compass that I developed
 at JMC in Delhi and imbibed from the nuns has literally taken me through life, keeping me ‘on course’ during many
challenging moments!
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON TRYING TO MAKE A TRAVEL OR
SCHEDULING DECISION
April 7, 2024
 

 Schedule correctly: When you hear the proposed date of travel,
ask yourself whether it sounds comfortable or stressful.

 Be flexible: If the date of travel sounds stressful and unaligned
with current happenings, reschedule!

 Prioritize: Ask yourself whether you really need this trip or
not. Can the same thing be accomplished by phone or video
conference? Prioritize time.

Travel has been one of the definitive factors in my life, just as it is in the lives of millions. It is how I gain a deeper understanding of the world and its many glorious cultures, languages and people.

My travel experiences have always been a source of great joy and learning to me. No matter the original purpose of each trip, I always try to make the most of it by trying something new, visiting family, or meeting an old friend along the way.

Adopting a multitasking mindset also helps you adopt a
mindset of flexibility.

By structuring your time, this rule can be applied to
 so many other aspects of your life.

However, like anything else, too much travel is not a good idea.
I wrote down these tips before most travel came to a grinding halt
at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was starting to feel the stress of traveling constantly and it was becoming very unsettling.

It’s not like I had much of a choice in the matter either.

My three children were studying in London, Rhode Island and Washington, DC, while I was living between Hong Kong and India, managing home and the demands of a married life, and running the Giving Back Foundation.

It was a thinly spread existence!

 I was caught in a cycle of planning, packing, traveling, arriving, unpacking, attending meetings or meeting family, packing for the trip back, and repeating each step all over again.

It was very exhausting, important as it was, and joyful as I could see
and guide my children!

My takeaway from these years of extensive travel was simple: if
you don’t absolutely need to take the trip, try to find a solution by
videoconferencing.

If you are too busy, find another date to travel.

Finally, when you do decide to take the trip, pack calmly,
meditate on the plane and enjoy the trip.

 If you are going to go the mile anyway,
you might as well enjoy the trip!
 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HOW TO RECHARGE YOUR HOME
AND WORKSPACE
March 31, 2024
 
 Put the focus on joy: Look around your room, look at the
thing, the object or the piece of art that makes you happy
and joyful, and move it into a central position in your room.

 Allow for spontaneity: Our energies are always changing, and
we should feel free to move little things in and out of our
work and our home spaces.

 Let it reflect
you: Take a moment to make sure that your
space is resonating with your current energy at that particular
point in time.

It is an underappreciated fact that spaces have a profound effect on us. Whether it is our mood, our psyche or our drive—the aura of the space we are in has the potential to help us or hinder us.

 Our space can make our tasks feel inspired or make them feel
 like a chore.

Luckily, small changes can have a big impact on how our
surroundings affect us.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time we struggle to adjust
 to the aura of our home or workspace—a few thoughtful flourishes are enough to bring the space closer to how we want it to be at
any given time.

Early in 2021, I was transitioning from my Manhattan townhouse
to my home in the country, Ledgewood.

While packing, I found that over twenty-five years of living in the same townhouse had produced a collection of too many paintings, objets d’art, furniture, clothes, crockery and silverware!

Instead of it being a liberating experience, my impending move was becoming an overdrawn battle of dealing with things that had lost their relevance to me years ago.

On the advice of an interior designer friend, Gilbert Holmes,
I took up the mantra: ‘Declutter, Declutter, Declutter.’

So, a tonne of things were sent to several charities for redistribution
among those who needed them the most. Perfect!

What a great sense of joy and relief!

Decluttering is freeing as we let go of what no longer serves our
needs in our current stage of life!

We need to surround ourselves only with things that serve our
current energy.

Furthermore, don’t underestimate the importance of
having some emptiness.

Thoughts need some empty walls and spaces so the good ideas can incubate and take flight.

Get rid of things! Let others enjoy them; it’s okay.

Just do what keeps you happily charged and motivated
 to get your work done!

It’s also important to not forget the unseen dimension of the aura.
The thing I do most often is that I light a scented candle,
in every room each day.

I use my own Giving Candle, and it changes the energy—
after all, it has herbs and flowers of my choosing, which I prepared while I meditated on the aroma—and is an extraordinarily transformative tool to have in the house.

I also add a little spray of the Giving fragrance on the crown
chakra and in front of the yoga mat before yoga practice or my
daily meditation.

The three key herbs chamomile, rosemary and basil are
excellent for cleansing and purifying!

Let’s give the best to ourselves and our spaces as we live fully
each day of our lives!

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON OWNERSHIP
March 24, 2024

 
Ownership is a myth: While we are on this planet, we have to
understand that we never really own anything, not even real
estate. When we pass away, we leave it all behind.

Ownership is transient: We have to understand that our
belongings are loaned to us by the universe to enhance our
lives, and so, we should cherish the things we have.

Welcome joy, not stress: We should not be attached to things.
We should enjoy our belongings as their purpose is to bring
joy into our lives and not stress.

Let’s examine our relationship to material things.

We own things because they connect us to people, to places, to life experiences. They provide shelter, safety and enable us to take care of ourselves and accomplish whatever goals we set out to accomplish.

These things are useful while we are alive, but we must always remember that the minute we die,  they are of no use to us whatsoever.

The ownership of things gives us a sense of status and
safety. This, in turn, help us attain our goals and wishes.

Ownership, thus, has a powerful effect on the earth and the people around us as it enables us to fulfill our mission on this planet.

It is best to consider the things we own as loans. So, we must
take care of these things and make sure that they are actually serving
our needs on this journey of life.

Non-attachment or aparigraha (a Sanskrit word for non-possession and non-greed) is an important quality to cultivate in our lives.

We must remember this while acquiring ownership of homes, cars, clothes, jewellery, books, digital equipment and other worldly objects.

The biggest mistake we make when we acquire all that we strive for
with hard work is that we forget to enjoy it!

Don’t make that mistake.

Enjoy your things; you deserve it. Enjoy it without attachment,
without greed, and without boastfulness or ungratefulness!

You deserve to own some of the earth’s wealth.

Work hard and enjoy it!
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON BEING A GOOD LEADER
March 17, 2024
 Be compassionate: Compassion is the emotional trait that
enables managers to become strong leaders.

Deliver on your promises: Never disappoint those
who work under you.

Lead by example: Encourage cooperation, giving back and
love in your team. Don’t forget to lead by example!

Aleader is someone who can direct human efforts in the best possible direction to achieve the best possible outcome.

A leader looks at the pros and cons of a situation as well
as the different ways of accomplishing goals, and should effectively
communicate these to the team.

Therefore, strong analytical skills and a process that the team
can understand well are important.

As a leader, I never ask anyone to do anything I would not do myself.

If I ask for something to be done—I am 100 per cent responsible
 if something goes wrong, having directed this action.

It’s also important to compensate everyone involved fairly, and
reward them by telling the team or person what they did right along
with monetary compensation.

Finally, stay on the project until it is done, because as a leader,
there might be challenges that need answers that only you can provide!

Above all, when you select people to work for you, trust them!

When I think of leadership in my own life, my thoughts go back
to my earlier experiences of leadership in Mumbai at the St. Anne’s
High School at Fort, and at The Cathedral and John Connon School.

At both schools, I was elected the head girl of the student council
and then, at the University of Delhi, I was elected the Vice President
and President of JMC (Jesus and Mary College).

I always thought of leadership as a service. For me, it was a way
to use my skills and my ‘ins’ with the college administration to solve
problems for other people who are of my age, or to put forward ideas
they might be passionate about.

Being a leader was a joy as I loved interacting with all kinds of people, understanding their different points of view and finding solutions
to their problems.

I would sit in the JMC canteen, eating my chana bhatura and
drinking karak chai, listening to things that were going on in college,
or in other colleges and in the lives of others.

If someone needed something done, they knew I was just an ear away and always happy to help optimize a situation, if it fell within
my value system.

I held up certain values of honesty, integrity and rightful living,
which basically meant not hurting another human, and no one could
sway me from my principles.

This quality of keeping true to one’s inner compass that I developed at JMC in Delhi and imbibed from the nuns has literally taken me through life, keeping me ‘on course’ during many
challenging moments!
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON TRYING TO MAKE A TRAVEL OR
SCHEDULING DECISION
March 10, 2024

Schedule correctly: When you hear the proposed date of travel,
ask yourself whether it sounds comfortable or stressful.

 Be flexible: If the date of travel sounds stressful and unaligned
with current happenings, reschedule!

 Prioritize: Ask yourself whether you really need this trip or
not. Can the same thing be accomplished by phone or video
conference? Prioritize time.

Travel has been one of the definitive factors in my life, just as it is in the lives of millions. It is how I gain a deeper understanding of the world and its many glorious cultures, languages and people.

My travel experiences have always been a source of great joy and learning to me. No matter the original purpose of
each trip, I always try to make the most of it by trying something
new, visiting family, or meeting an old friend along the way.

Adopting a multitasking mindset also helps you adopt a
mindset of flexibility.

By structuring your time, this rule can be applied to so many other
aspects of your life.

However, like anything else, too much travel is not a good idea.
I wrote down these tips before most travel came to a grinding halt
at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was starting to feel the stress of traveling constantly and it was becoming very unsettling.

It’s not like I had much of a choice in the matter either.
My three children were studying in London, Rhode Island and Washington, DC, while I was living between Hong Kong and India, managing home and the demands of a married life, and running the Giving Back Foundation.

It was a thinly spread existence! I was caught in a cycle of planning,
packing, travelling, arriving, unpacking, attending meetings or meeting
family, packing for the trip back, and repeating each step all over again.
It was very exhausting, important as it was, and joyful as I could see
and guide my children!

My takeaway from these years of extensive travel was simple: if
you don’t absolutely need to take the trip, try to find a solution
 by videoconferencing.

 If you are too busy, find another date to travel.

Finally, when you do decide to take the trip, pack calmly,
meditate on the plane and enjoy the trip.

If you are going to go the mile anyway,
you might as well enjoy the trip!
 
#  #  #
3TIPS TO ACCOMPLISH AND SUCCEED IN
YOUR WORK LIFE
March 3, 2024
 
Do your best: Perform any task you are doing to the very
best of your ability. With determination, you will be able to
accomplish any task and any goal.

 Don’t hurt others: Do not accomplish things at the cost of
anyone in the short or long run. Accomplishing things to the
detriment of others will inhibit your ability to be truly successful
in the long run.

 Believe in your work: Believe in what you are doing.
Self confidence is essential to accomplishing a goal successfully.

Success is seen as the measure of one’s will. Those with the strongest will and the dedication to back it succeed. But is that all there is to it?
 I think there is an even simpler definition.

The formula to becoming an accomplished person is simple.
Perform your work to the best of your ability in every given moment.

That’s it! Nothing more is needed!

I remember attending a sewing class at the Convent of Jesus and
Mary School in Delhi. I was six years old, and was working on the
embroidery for a tea cosy. I was painstakingly sewing in the outline
of the red flowers in ‘chain stitch’ and filling the petals in
to give the teacher.

Before I knew it, the bell rang and my neighbour said, ‘Oops!
You did not finish the green stems! We were supposed to have all that
done. The teacher will be so mad at you!’

I was nervous as I took my work up to the needlework teacher’s
desk. She looked at my embroidery and said, ‘This is flawless.’

She held it up to the class and said, ‘Look at this example of neat work.
All of you should talk less and focus on doing such beautiful work.’

‘But I did not get to the green stems,’ I said softly.

‘Yes, I see that,’ said the teacher kindly. ‘You will have to come
in five minutes early for the next class, missing five minutes of break
time, so that you can get this done.’

She was smiling. ‘But your work is excellent,’ she added.
This is one of my earliest memories of being commended
 for my work.

 I understood the power of excellence and enjoyed the feeling
of doing my best and knowing that it was the way forward.

While working hard on our personal goals, we have to believe in them and accomplish them without hurting anyone—even ourselves—in the
process. These ideas have led many great people to accomplish their
ideas with ease and success.

When I think about success, I remember the cycling race organized
by the Jaycee Committee in 1978. I was then a teenager in Mumbai.

 I loved bicycling and wanted to take part in the amateur cycling race,
which was to start at the Flora restaurant in Worli and end at the
Oberoi Hotel at Nariman Point.

I told my parents that I wanted to participate and they said that I had to practice the route and work hard if I wanted to succeed.

I wanted to accomplish more than just finishing the race;
I wanted to win the race.

My father said he would help me. Every morning, at 5 a.m., he would drive me and my bike to the Flora restaurant and I would get down with my bike and ride the route; my father would drive the car alongside, encouraging me.

On the day of the race, I felt strong and calm. I had worked hard and
was excited about the race. The race flagged off and I started cycling.
I gave it my best and kept going strong.

As I was biking, I could hear people cheering along the roadside. I realized they were cheering me on as I was ahead in the race.

I was the leader and quite a bit ahead of the other cyclists. I kept on giving it my best shot and soon saw the finish line ribbon, and crossed it. It felt so good that I had won the race and that my hard work
had paid off.

I was just fifteen and I could see the joy and pride on the faces of my parents and my younger brother and sister. I went to hug and thank my father for waking up so early every day—before his long day of work—to help me practise for this race!

When the time came for the medals to be presented, I received
a terrible blow. I was told that I was disqualified since I was not an
‘amateur’ cyclist.

They said that I came in three kilometres ahead of the girl who came in second; there was no way I was an amateur!

The girl who finished second was the daughter of someone in the Jaycee
Committee, and it seemed like they used the ‘not amateur’ argument
as an excuse to disqualify me.

I was very disappointed, and even more so for having seen the sadness in my father’s eyes. It crushed me.

I did not mind my hard work being in vain, but my father had woken
up each day with so much love and dedication. It was unfair and that
moment hurt me more than anything in life.

When we got home, my father called me and said, ‘You are a
champion in my eyes. We are
so proud of you! You won the race and
were successful and no one can take that away from you!’

His words have stayed with me. Isn’t it worth more than any medal?

This incident taught me the meaning of success. I learnt to ascertain
what success means to me and that I don’t have to prove
anything to anyone.

The feeling of knowing that I have done my best and succeeded
is the best and truest feeling of success!

 
#  #  #
3 TIPS ON HARD WORK
February 25, 2024

 Hard work creates accomplishments: Hard work initially feels
difficult, but through hard work we can accomplish much; and
accomplishment itself is joy.

We must work hard: Through hard work we learn that we are
competent and able, and can handle anything.

 Hard work connects us: Know that accomplishment at an
individual level is connected to accomplishment on a universal
level. We are connected to the universe through our hard
work. In turn, it connects us to the universal energy on earth.
In turn, it connects us to the universal energy on earth.
‘Work is love made visible,’ said Kahlil Gibran, and these words
have held true in my own life. When I understood that my individual effort is definitely connected to accomplishment on a universal level, it gave me faith and confidence. I was able to understand that we are not alone in our endeavors.

Many other forces—visible and invisible—are supporting
our efforts. Is this not a powerful piece of knowledge to keep in our
minds as we give our all to the work we undertake?

The harder we work, the more competent we become, and the
more knowledge we gain. This makes hard work easier and easier
over time.

These are gained skills we can pass on to the younger
generations so they may accomplish the same tasks with greater ease.

We also know that we will have newer technologies at hand, taking
the planet’s accomplishments to a higher degree of sophistication and
complexity, while making the task easier to accomplish.

This is, after all, how we evolve. This is the story of evolution!
I remember that for a time during my childhood we lived in Pune,
at the Indian Institute of Armament Technology campus.

My fatherhad found a spot on the Khadakwasla Lake, and grown
fond of takinga small boat out every evening. Then,
he had a small jetty built.

Every day after his office closed, my father would go there to oversee the
construction. Many days after school, I would be on the waterfront,
watching the digging and building as the marina took shape.

It was soon named ‘The Naval Experimental Bay’ and today, an expanded version of the same stands proudly, with boats docking on it and several events being held there. It was, and is, a product of hard work and one man’s vision. Thus, at the young age of seven
 
I learnt that if you think
of something, you can certainly do it.

Hard work and perseverance are the only things we need
 to accomplish it all!


Accomplishment is joy and happiness, and together they are the
reason why we are on this planet. Therefore, hard work that can benefit
others as well as ourselves is a very important part of our journey on
earth. Think of it as fun and it will be fun, think of it as easy and it
will be easy, just ascertain whether it’s useful or not
and then proceed accordingly!

Here’s to hard work and joyfulness!
“We are to the Universe only
as much as we give back to it.”

 
#  #  #
"Reach for the moon because we all can"
Meera Gandhi
3 TIPS ON HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF
YOUR EDUCATION
February 18, 2024

Write clearly: Learn to be direct and forthright while writing.
 Express yourself convincingly: Learn to make readers
 truly understand.

 Think analytically: Develop critical thinking skills. By thinking
critically, one can weigh options sensibly and make the best
decision for oneself and others in
every situation.

E
ducation is the gift of information that is passed down to us
from other people’s experiences.


We get this informational input so we can use it as a springboard, utilizing this treasure trove of knowledge we don’t have to labor to learn first-hand. Once I understood this, I started learning with gusto, knowing that all this knowledge was a gift that was going to make my life easier, and my choices more informed.

I also hoped that it would help me find the answers to some of the
existential questions posed by my soul from time to time.

Throughout their childhood and even later, I encouraged my three children to love learning. School and college can be a very happy time in life, and I
always communicated this to my children by being present at all school
events and making their school and college life a top priority. A love
for learning is key to growth and a calm, successful life!

Armed with education, we have to add our unique thinking to the
mix and express our thoughts clearly—in speech and writing—and
also think analytically while listening to our consciousness, the best
guide. Utilizing information provided by our education, enables us to
glide through life, making good decisions for ourselves and others and
creating win-win outcomes for all!


Although learning is a lifelong enterprise, the thought of education
takes me back to my own years at school.

 My family moved a lot due to my father’s work, and we kept shuttling across three major cities in India—Pune, Mumbai and Delhi. I studied at St. Anne’s in Pune, then the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Delhi.

When we moved to Mumbai,
I went to St. Anne’s in Fort, Mumbai, and then The Cathedral and
John Connon School for my high school years.

Each of these formative school years stressed on clear writing skills, but Cathedral in Mumbai really taught me how to express myself convincingly. Debate and elocution are taken seriously at Cathedral!

At the United World College, I learnt how to make decisions that had a positive impact on the entire community of students.

The clear ideology of win-win was instilled in me at the United
World College. Later, I went to Boston University where I got my MBA
and learned more sophisticated analytical skills.

My journey of learning didn’t stop there as every day brings forth a teaching moment. We just have to be aware of what we are learning, from where and from whom, so that we can utilize those skills when the right time comes.
"Grow wings...Fly towards your dreams...
The Universe will support you"
 
#  #  #

February 9, 2024
3 TIPS TO BRING LOVE AND KEEP LOVE IN A RELATIONSHIP

  Let things pass: Forgive and forget small things,
even if they have hurt you momentarily.

 Love without expectations: Love unconditionally and love without expecting anything in return.

 Take a walk in nature: Try to take a walk with a person you love.

The stability of nature cements the bonds of love.


The primary reason people are hurt when they are in love is that they expect the other person to be just like them.

Love is a powerful connector and once in love, two people begin to vibrate on a similar frequency; they even begin to think similar thoughts as they share unique life experiences together.

The problems start with expectations.

Each expects the other to be able to think their thoughts
and feel all their feelings.

These expectations become too much, and soon the love begins to wane.

Love is something that changes our body’s chemical composition.

One has to enjoy the moment, and the flurry of the serotonin
flowing through the body.

You need not worry about tomorrow or what will happen!

The beauty of love is that it works only as long as it generates the chemicals necessary for both parties.

When it doesn’t do so, other wonderful things can be accomplished together. However, wanting love to remain static is not realistic and this expectation sets people up for sadness unnecessarily.

I think forgiveness, walking together in nature and no expectations are the three pillars that can keep love alive
Meera is the author of 3 Tips: The Essentials for Peace, Joy and Success; and the host of the successful Instagram series 3 Tips and The Meera Gandhi Show on B4U Network. Her latest media project is the wellness themed 3 Tips by Meera Gandhi Podcast.
www.3tips.org
 
Click here  for Meera Gandhi Main Page
 

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