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Innovation is Crucial to Success

innovation-is-crucialAre you resting on your laurels as a company completely ‘secure’ that you have accomplished enough and don’t need to create or innovate to remain successful? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. This thought process could have worked in the past when the number of products and companies were limited and simply tweaking the products and offerings sufficed to stay ahead. However, the market has changed significantly. It is the age of globalization and digitization and without innovation and sustainable creativity even survival would be only a dream.

The resources available to us are limited but the emergence of new technology and a spurt in new companies with varied products and services have increased the pressure on the resources. Given these factors, it has become imperative to think creatively and innovatively in order to improve efficiency, cut costs, increase productivity and encourage sustainability. Customer expectations have also changed – the customer of today is smart, tech-savvy and knows where to find the information they need. They are unwilling to settle for less or anything but the best. These new demands from and expectations of customers have also led to the innovation drive, as companies strive to gain market share, profits and veer customers away from competition and retain their existing customer base.

The major benefit of innovation for companies is that they would be able to ensure that their products and offerings stand head and shoulder above the crowd. Price wars are self-defeating and hence the only other way is to provide ingenious products that cannot be found elsewhere, services that no one else provide and top class customer service to match. While companies continue to strive to provide to customers what they continually expect, another great benchmark would be to observe and learn from competition. They could be doing something right and by doing it better, not only do companies prove their mettle in the realm of innovation but also are able to provide customized and personalized products and services that would have many takers in the market. Taking innovation few steps forward, companies can also create products before anyone else in the market does. In the words of Steve Jobs – “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This is a highly innovative way of thinking and spelt success for his company.

Innovation is the key to advancement. An innovative mind-set does not only serve a company but individuals, the society and the world at large. Innovation focuses on improvement and as a result raises the standard and quality of living and provides opportunities to all to better their lives. Breakthroughs and successes are achieved with a mind-set of innovation, as people think of better ways to do things with reduced costs, minimal labour and efficient processes. With an innovative thought process, people discover opportunities that they did not know existed either currently or in the future. It is no wonder then that companies are increasingly including innovation as part of their overall business strategy and encouraging their employees and other business partners to all think beyond what is immediately apparent.

Innovation becomes a benchmark – people begin to regard you as a leader thereby enhancing your reputation and leading to greater success. This is true in both one’s professional and personal life.

Self-Confidence is the Best Attire and Accessory

“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” – Samuel Johnson

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The quote above encompasses the essence of self-confidence and why it is so important for everyone. A lack of self-confidence puts people in a loop of failures and fears and such people seem to be stuck in a rut. Self-confidence is required in every realm of our life – even a young child needs to have it in order to take the first step in to the outside world when starting school. In adult life too, if you appear hesitant, nervous and overly rueful, people find it hard to work with you and you come across as being someone who will be incapable of taking decisions or doing anything independently. Conversely, people who appear sure of themselves, who seem to have answers and can take responsibility of things if and when they go wrong, are people who are respected and known to possess self-confidence.

It is said that you inspire in others what you are inside. So if you are a person who has self-confidence, your whole demeanour will reflect this and you will be able to inspire confidence in all those you meet and also garner their respect leading to your success. It is true that some people seem more confident than others even as kids but the good news is that this quality can be learned, built and sustained with the right techniques. Every effort made to gain and build on self-confidence is worth it. By my understanding, there are many reasons why each person must cultivate self-confidence.

  1. Self-confidence gives a person a great deal of happiness and allows the person to have a sense of joy and pleasure in whatever they do and undertake. They are sure of what the outcomes will be since they are controlling their actions.
  2. Having a sense of control, packs a punch. It allows a person to have a greater sense of worth for oneself. You learn to value yourself more and trust in your abilities. This in turn raises your self-esteem and lends a healthy pride to who you are as a person.
  3. Self-confidence rids you of nagging feelings of self-doubt. People who constantly ‘second guess’ themselves constantly feel stressed out and find themselves unable to achieve as much as they would like to or need to.
  4. Self-confidence is liberating and gives one a sense of freedom in the knowledge that they are strong and powerful. Challenges and problems don’t make them go weak and feel debilitated but rather spur them on to achieve greater heights. Such a person is naturally rid of useless fears and anxieties – the kind that riles and afflicts people who have low self-worth and confidence.
  5. People with a high level of self-confidence are also more comfortable socially. They are able to adapt to any kind of societal pressures and remain unaffected by the unreasonableness of others. This keeps them peaceful and in control.
  6. When the mind is without fear, the natural instinct becomes one of motivation and boosted energy. Self-confident people find it easier to achieve their goals and are more energized to help others achieve theirs too.
  1. People with self-confidence are more fun to be around. They are relaxed and are often the problem-solvers and the life of any gathering. Those around learn to respect and value such people.
  2. People with high self-confidence are able to sleep and have a better quality of life. It is a natural outcome of this trait.

BUILD self-confidence by recognizing your strengths and capabilities and also your shortcomings. Be aware of your words and body language and make improvements as your go along. Accept that failure is a part of life and that perfection is a myth. Strive to do your best – the outcomes will happen. Trust yourself more and don’t be afraid to make decisions and also take help when required. With clarity of mind, you will move ahead in life and develop self-confidence as time goes by.

 

 

Being Helpful Works Wonders

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What is it about another person that attracts you to them – makes them likeable and trustworthy? Among other traits, I believe that some people are more appealing than others because they are kind and helpful and will not hold back to extend support for those who need it. Being helpful does not mean that you take on every responsibility that belongs to someone else because they appear inadequate to manage on their own. Rather it means providing support to tide over the problem and also cope with any problems better in the future. Being helpful is not limited to any kind of action – there may be situations where using your resources of money and time may be of help and in others disseminating knowledge and skills could be of immense help. However you decide to be helpful is really a choice that you will make depending on your disposition to make a difference.

The eminent and highly acclaimed educator and author Stephen Covey mentions in his bestseller – The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – that interdependence is a much higher value than independence. This principle clearly translates to being helpful and needing help is the very basis of our society. Everyone at some point or the other needs a helping hand – this is irrespective of how successful, self-contained and sufficient someone may seem. Some people need help more than others and yet for a variety of reasons may be masking their need – so unless we really endeavour to know someone it is hard to ascertain what someone is really going through but may actually need help. So being helpful is also a trait that allows someone to reach out to another person just out of sheer respect and feeling of humanity.

Extending help does not always need to be enormous but the important thing is that it must have significance for the person to whom it is being provided. For example a friend noticed her maid a bit down and low on energy. She asked the maid the reason and got to know that the maid was hungry as she had not had breakfast because she had to rush to work in a household that was often mean to her. My friend prepared a nutritious breakfast and asked the maid to eat before she continued work. The reason my friend was able to notice a change in behaviour was because she is inherently helpful and kind. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture to lift the spirits and morale of those around us.

How important is the value of helpfulness to you? If you too want to be a helpful person but are unsure of whether someone needs your help or whether you can help at all, the best way to find out is to go ahead and ask, especially if you can sense someone’s discomfort. Being helpful is uplifting and a highly gratifying feeling. When you help someone the feeling you have is of being fulfilled and a sense of happiness that can only come from putting the resources at your disposal to good use. If you are feeling down, I can assure you, that the best way to feel better soon is by helping someone worse off than you. Try it!

Undiscovered Honeymoon Destinations in India

In this age of ‘frenzied working hours and mad chaos’ planning a marriage has begun to take up more time and energy than ever before. Marriage parties are becoming more lavish and there are so many things that need to be put in place. Naturally then by the time the last ritual is done, couples are exhausted and have had precious little time to spend with each other. I bring you some undiscovered honeymoon destinations, that will provide the much needed relaxation, seclusion and romance required by the newly-weds to start a wonderful life together.

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Visit Tarkarli Beach – an unexplored destination in Maharashtra, which is the perfect ‘secret’ getaway for a new couple. It offers hushed silences and relaxing breezes that gently caress the skin. The shimmering silvery sand and crystal blue waters are lined by the shadowy Casuarina trees. This beach is vacant most of the time allowing couples to enjoy some intimate moments amongst the picturesque settings.   Morning and evening are perfect for long romantic walks on the beach. Indulge in exciting adventures like scuba diving and snorkeling with your partner for an added adrenaline rush. Around this beach there are other locations that you can visit like the Sindhudurg Fort, Malvan Market, Dhamapur Lake and the Nivati Fort. If you are the outdoorsy type of couple, then indulge in activities like parasailing, jet-ski rides, bumper ride and kayaking. Explore wildlife through the different safaris including Dolphin Safari and a visit to Crocodile point.

If as a couple, exploring historical sites enthralls you then set your honeymoon at Hampi, Karnataka. Sitting adventurously between rocks and waterways, this is a grand and unique destination perfect for time of history and adventure with your special one for company. Hampi has a number of old and beautiful temples, some of which are adorned with breathtaking sculptures created by the rulers of Vijaynagar. Visit the Virupaksha temple, the Vitthal temple, Vithalswami and Hazara Rama temple to witness not just peace and calm but also some beautiful sites. Do not miss out on the 6.7meters tall statue of Lord Narasimha, the Lotus Mahal and the Matanga Hill. Just 15kms from Hampi is the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary for a wild experience. Great locale, tranquility and awesome sites!

Feel the rush of your pulse and experience the growing excitement when you enter the Thalon Cave, Manipur. It’s an unusual and exhilarating feeling to enter the dark cave lending a feel of going in to an unknown yet peaceful world. This cave was discovered only in 1946 by the Maharaja of Manipur, Budhachandra. Now part of the Manipur tourism festival the cave expedition is only open for 3 weeks. These long dark caves resonate with the mystical sounds of the sea. The intrigue, sensual darkness and spooky excitement of these caves makes it a must visit for ‘high octane’ couples. What’s better than to have an ‘adrenaline high’ together in an activity that is rare and distinct!

Beaches have a romantic and sensual feel to them. Add to this a heavy dose of mischief and you have the Hide and Seek Beach, in Orissa. The beach gets its name from the activity that happens during high and low tide, and is a rather mysterious and exciting phenomenon. In the low tide, the water of the sea recedes approximately 5 kilometers revealing the beach. During high tide, the waters flow back, and cover the beach entirely. This playful behavior of one of nature’s most beautiful yet powerful resources is rather amusing yet enticing and must be experienced.

Forests that appear like magical lands are like one’s childhood dreams come true. The Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji is the quintessential ‘magical land’ that has never failed to entice us. The ‘bridges’ are formed by the roots of the Indian Rubber tree and the local Khasis use betel nut trunks cut through the middle to ‘guide’ these routes in a particular direction. These roots, in the protective covering of betel nut trunks, grow out straight and take root in the soil. Some of these ‘bridges’ are over hundred feet in length and take around ten to fifteen years to become extraordinarily strong. Their strength keeps increasing with time since they are alive and continually growing. Some of these ‘bridges’ are well over 500 years old. The most interesting root bridge, and possibly the only kind in the world, is two bridges stacked one over another and is known as “Umshiang Double-Decker Root Bridge.

Start your life’s journey by building a lifetime of memories with trips to the ‘exotic, because of being extraordinary’ places. You can thank me later!

Winter Holiday Destination Jewels

Can hardly contain my excitement – winter just puts one in that mood. The warm fuzzy feeling, that touches every sense, you get from the ‘winter smell’, steaming bowls of soup, the fresh smell of a quilt and the heady aroma of warm peanuts. Does it get any better? Surprisingly it does – you are taking time off work and we will help you decide where to go for a winter vacation to escape the dull office and home chore routine. Check out these destinations that have options that range from skiing and sightseeing to birding and ‘doing nothing’ and have a cracking winter holiday:

WInter Holiday JewelsSattal is located in the top most recesses of Uttarakhand and it favors this season of intimacy and being in touch with the finer things in life. It offers its visitors the opportunity to savor the warmth of the brief sunlight through treks, walks, angling, birding or simply cuddling up with hot beverage in a lazy bed. Sattal is picturesque and abounds with nature’s beauty. It is an idyllic winter destination to wallow in the golden morning sun, misty evenings and cozy nights. There are places in which you can stay to experience the winter charm with rooms that afford you outstanding views without leaving the folds of the warm bedding. Friendly and adept staff would be at your service. They would know when you would need something or when you would rather be left alone with your imagination.   The resorts also have roaring bonfires with delicious snacks for those who just cannot get enough of the wintry chill. Sattal’s locales are enticing and would leave you feeling satiated but not enough to keep you from coming back.

Then there is Pauri. It is a tiny emerald village snuggled comfortably amongst 7 Himalayan ranges that are snow-bound during winter, scenic valleys, lush forests and sparkling rivulets. The locals are shy yet extremely hospitable and are steeped in the rich culture of the region. The tolling bells from the large number of temples, confirm the traditional and religious heritage of this region. Pauri is not only ideal as a winter vacation destination but also has an abundance of the much desired calm and tranquility for the tired city person. Matching Pauri’s sweet serenity are the unpretentious resorts that offer you a comfortable and wholesome stay. The ambience is one of gracious hospitality that is surprisingly ‘natural’ (pun intended) and no one betrays any signs of being hassled or ostentatious. Leave your worries and stress when you stay here amidst the innocence of Pauri.

Ramgarh is completely relaxed and serene – enough to hear the myriad thoughts that race through your mind and even has the capability of shutting out the unwanted ones! The sun’s favorite game during winter is ‘hide and seek’ – playing so with the fog. Its brilliant rays peep through the trees of the lush forests and verdant hills only to be overshadowed by the willowy fog that takes over. You could take an excursion to what is known as “The Writer’s Bungalow” where Rabindranath Tagore put to paper some key portions of his ‘Geetanjali’. If hearing the sounds of the forest is your idea of relaxing, then a leisurely walk in the orchards is for you. A visit to the tea gardens and sipping some freshly brewed tea adds aromatic warmth to the chilly weather. Noise and sharp sounds are conspicuous by their absence and Ramgarh lays out tranquility embraced in nature.

Winter thrill gets multiplied times over when you visit the snow laden Narkanda. It is only 65 kms from Shimla and yet remains unrushed, serene, beautiful and relaxed. The entire region is covered in the charming pristine white snow making it the ideal skiing destination. Don’t fret – the slopes offer easy terrain for first time skiers while the experienced skiers can challenge the slopes with their skills on higher descents. The majestic mountains seem so inviting despite their formidable height and tall sentinel like trees too seem happy donning their coats of white. Can winter be more fun?

Rajaji National Park boasts of a thick canopy of lush greenery, the chuckling of water bodies and the happy sounds of the wildlife. Winter is undoubtedly special here as the mist moves along delicately with the wild lending an aura of calm and serenity that is not even broken by the loud trumpeting of the majestic pachyderms and other wild beasts. The Park is the playground for birds too. During winter stream birds like The Himalayan Pied Kingfisher, White Capped Redstarts seem more at home. Migratory birds descend in large numbers and the orchestra of their tweets fills the air.

With so many alluring options, breaking away from the drudgery of the heavy laden city life seems even more necessary. Enjoy the gossamer winter in the midst of nature that touches every nerve and sense and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and upbeat ready to take on the next set of city challenges.