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The Paradox of Privacy

Am an immigrant hear in The US for employment. So obviously I did not have the luxury of growing up here and shaping my views and thought process in line with most Americans. Of course when you come from a different culture you start noticing a lot of paradox in the culture you are trying to embrace.

One such is this notion of privacy here. The level of importance that is given to privacy in the US in just mind boggling.Modified_Confused_Smiley_by_Prince_of_Powerpoint So much so if a Presidential nominee does not deal with the questions around privacy appropriately, it could break their primary candidacy in the elections… You may have noticed that recently in the republican primary debates… I remember seeing this movie ‘Enemy of the state’ starring Will Smith. The whole movie plot is around privacy.

Anyways, coming to the important point about the paradox… I findTypical Door it incomprehensible as to how little people care for their privacy in the public toilets or toilets at work places. A typical workplace toilet looks like this one. Just look at the gap between the frame and door. A place where you are pretty much going to be pants and under pants down, a place for all practical purposes you could be displaying your private parts to the person walking in from the other side, it seems absolutely ok to people here. Read the rest of this entry


Is Positive thinking overrated?

I recently read an article in Times of India on the subject of ‘power of negative thinking’. It was partially a review of the book “Happiness for people who cant stand positive thinking” by Oliver Burkeman. The title of this book and article immediately got me hooked wanted to read further. It is certainly a topic that has been in my mind for a sometime now.

The most important point the article covered was how people in an effort to think positive fail to get prepared for the worst thing could happen. When we always think positively that we can achieve something and work towards that without recognizing the potential pitfalls, we tend to get easily disappointed when we face failure. With disappointment comes stress and sadness. So his point is that when we want to achieve something, start off by planning for the worst thing that could happen.

I certainly agree with the author that preparing for the worst is one aspect that positive thinking lacks. But I would like to suggest a mid-ground here… How about ‘Cautious thinking’??? or perhaps ‘Realistic thinking’??? I neither want to go all out saying that I want to achieve something without being cognizant of what could go wrong, nor do I want to think about all the potential things that could go wrong and tell myself that well if so many things could go wrong why even try it. The problem with negative thinking is just that – not many people have the ability to carry on with something despite knowing the list of things could go wrong…

You need to have positive thinking for setting your goals in life. What you set as goals are basically what you desire. But you need to know is that, you first have to ‘deserve to desire’. So you do everything you need to first deserve what you desire. And please be aware is to deserve is not a one shot affair. It is an iterative process and you may not deserve in your first attempt. Well who is going to tell you if you deserve something or not?? Answer is that it is none other than yourself…

Perhaps what positive thinking has done so far is that it has made a bunch of authors rich… 😉

So what do you think?? 🙂

Pictures – courtesy google.

Managing kids by Provocation

“Do you want to want to eat this Pizza slice or should I give it to your sister???…” “You pestered me so much to get this chess board do you want to play with this or should I give it to your cousin???…” “Are you coming in or should I close the door??? ”

These are common questions that I have seen many parents or grandparents ask their children to make them do something…  Most often than not, these questions result in our children doing what we wanted them to do… (Unless you chose the wrong provocative questionJ)

In other words, parents and grandparents manage their children by provocation to make them do something that we want them to do.

I think this method of managing kids is good and bad… One possible good thing about this method is that, it is a very good tactical solution that can be handy for us to make them do something immediately. The other benefit could be that the children will have a sense of fear that if they don’t follow the instructions, they might lose something they like…

But in the long run I think this may have a psychological impact on kids and also have a severe impact in shaping up their character.

In my view there are a few major problems with this provocation theory:

a)      These negative statements or questions from us, instigate a sense of constant competition in their minds. For the kids, the only source of motivation of doing something seems to be imaginary completion and not the actual benefits.

b)      Over a period kids learn that we don’t really mean what we say… That’s a very dangerous thing to happen I guess. The trust factor will slowly be lost between parents and kids…

c)       The more parents get things done this way, the more they start pushing what they want the kids to do irrespective of whether that action is really needed or not.

I want to particularly focus on the last point above. Out of all the things that parents get done by provoking the kids, how many of those are really needed to be done immediately? May be all of them are or may be only some of them are… I am not being judgmental here because I have to admit that I myself use some of those provocative questions.

Am just saying that we just have to give it a thought. Let us not use this technique on kids when it does not really warrant. Let us as much as possible tell them the benefit of them doing something rather than getting it done by provocation.

Looking at the brighter side…

After a long streak of working from home, today I decided to go to office… As usual i started searching for my ID card just seconds before i was going to get down to catch the bus… (Thanks to my daughter who likes playing with my badge). But it was my mistake I shud have checked that earlier… Anyways I had to come to office without my badge/ID card.. In our office building there are two level access – one for getting through the lobby and the other for entering our floor (36th floor)… On a normal day I will get a temporary pass for going thru the lobby and when I reach my floor I would ask help from one of team members to open the door for me… Due to snow and transport issues no one came into office today and everyone worked from home…

So I explained the siuation to the security gaurd in the main lobby and asked him if he can help me get into my floor.. He readilly agreed and came up with me to open the door.. On the elevator I told him that I was really sorry for the trouble…

He said, “No.. No.. Don’t feel sorry at all.. Am happy that you asked me for help. It is so much better than standing in the lobby all day and just keep looking people come and go…”

At first I just giggled and thanked him.. But once I came in, I just thought about what he said… He really did teach me a couple of lessons..

A) Despite the fact that he had to come all the way up to open the door just for me, he still looked at the brighter side…
That he is getting a break… It is so easy to complaint when things don’t happen per our plan… But it takes great character to look at the brighter side and not feel bogged down..

B) Sometimes, I use to feel that I am in a kind of stressful job and all that… But think about the kind of mental stress that security gaurds will be going thru every day… All that they have to do the whole day is just stand there and look at people.. May be a half a dozen times in there career they may have to react to an emergency and react to that situation deligently as if they have been doing it daily… There are many stressful jobs like this and everyone is putting up with it… I have no reasons what so ever to complaint about stress…

There is Tamil song written by the great poet Kannadhasan which says “unakkum kezhe ullavar kodi, yenni parthu nimadhi thedu…” It means there a crore people below you (deprived of things).. Think about them and feel better…:-)