Monday, March 29, 2010


An Apocryphal Story 

Here is an apocryphal story I had read long back about Alexander the Great and his encounter with the Greek philosopher Diogenes.

Alexander the Great, the Emperor of the World, who had conquered all lands and seas and considered himself the “son of a God” and before whom all knelt in veneration and reverence, one day early in the morning, was riding with his army through Greece. 

Suddenly he saw a man lying naked in the sand by the side of a river basking in the early morning sunlight. 

Curious, Alexander rode towards the naked man and sat imposingly on his horse towering over the emaciated prostrate man.

The Emperor Alexander was shocked to observe that the naked man seemed to be totally indifferent to the distinguished visitor and appeared nonchalantly oblivious of the bountiful entourage and captivating presence and charisma of the great Emperor. 

The stranger remained prostrate and made no attempt to get up and pay obeisance to the Emperor.

In fact the prostrate naked man continued lying down and totally ignored Alexander the Great sitting majestically on his horse. 

An angry soldier shouted at the naked man, “You there – do you know in whose presence you are…?” 

“Who is he…?” the prostrate man answered lazily, without the stir, making no move to get up. 

The astonished soldier proclaimed, “Wretched man, you are in the presence of His Exalted Highness Alexander the Great – Emperor of the World.”

“Oh,” the naked sunbather said impassively, continuing to lie down. He casually looked up at Alexander the Great mounted imposingly on his horse and said, “I am Diogenes.”  

“Ah, so you are the eccentric philosopher Diogenes…!” Alexander exclaimed, “I have always wanted to meet you – I have heard so many stories about you. Diogenes, I am impressed. I will grant you anything you wish. What do you desire…? Tell me Diogenes, what do you want, ask for anything in the world and it will be yours…” 

Still lying prostrate on the sand, Diogenes looked Emperor Alexander in the eye and said to him, “Please could you move a little to the side and get out of my sunlight, because you are blocking the sun and spoiling my sunbath. That is all I want from you…” 

Power is the reciprocal of desire, isn’t it…?
You cannot have power over someone who desires nothing from you…!
Think about it…


Sunday, March 28, 2010

HOW TO FIND YOUR PERFECT MATE - The Perfect Wife,,,The Perfect Husband

The Perfect Wife...The Perfect Husband...The Perfect Match...The Perfect Marriage

A Mulla Nasrudin Story   

There is a beautiful and bright young girl who lives in my neighbourhood.

She wants to get married but it seems that she just can’t seem to find anyone suitable matching her "stringent" requirements.

She is surrounded by so many “eligible” boys, colleagues at work, in her friends circle, if she prefers a "love" marriage; and also she has “seen” and “rejected” a large number of boys her parents and well-wishers keep lining up for her, in case she wants to go in for an "arranged" marriage.

None of the boys seems to come up to her perfect standards and high expectations. But one thing is sure - she does want to get married.
I wonder whether I should tell her this apocryphal Mulla Nasrudin Teaching story – THE PERFECT WIFE :

Mulla Nasrudin was sitting in a tea shop when a friend came excitedly to speak with him.
“I am about to get married,” his friend said, “and I am so very excited.”
“Congratulations,” Mulla Nasrudin said, nonchalant,  pokerfaced.
“Tell me, Nasrudin, have you ever thought of marriage yourself?” the about to get married friend asked Mulla Nasrudin who had remained a chronic bachelor.
Nasrudin replied, “Of course I did think of getting married. In my youth, in fact, I very much wanted to get married.”
“So, what happened...?” the friend asked curious.
“I wanted to find for myself the perfect wife,” Nasrudin said, “so I travelled looking for the perfect wife. I first went to Damascus. There I met a beautiful woman who was gracious, kind, and deeply spiritual, but she had no worldly knowledge."

"Oh, how sad...!" said the friend, " then what did you do...?

"Then I travelled further and went to Isphahan. There I met a woman who was both spiritual and worldly, beautiful in many ways, but her social graces were not of the highest standards.”
“What a tragedy...then what did you gave up...?” the friend asked.
“No...No...I don't give up so easily...and I very much wanted  to get I kept on searching for the perfect wife and travelled all over the world meeting so many women..." Nasrudin said.
“And did you find her...? Tell me, did you finally find the perfect wife...?” the friend asked eagerly.
“Yes,” Nasrudin said, “after travelling all over finally I went to Cairo and there after much searching I found her. She was spiritually deep, graceful, and beautiful in every respect, at home in the world and at home in the realms beyond it. I knew I had found the perfect wife.”
“Then why did you not marry her...?” the friend asked excitedly.
“Alas,” said Nasrudin as he shook his head in dismay, “Unfortunately, she was searching for the perfect husband.”
Dear Reader, please be so good as to advise me:
Should I tell the beautiful and bright young girl this Mulla Nasrudin story right now...?
Or should I wait till she perfects the art of remaining single...?


Friday, March 26, 2010


The NLP Way

Whenever I undergo any training or course, I try and apply the concepts and skills I learn during the program upon myself in order to ascertain efficacy of the training for I firmly believe in the time-tested adage that “The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating”.

Thus, the first thing I decided after completing NLP Practitioner Training was to try and apply the concepts I had learnt and imbibed on myself.

NLP stands for neuro-linguistic programming.  

Sounds complicated and high falutin, isn’t it...? 

Actually NLP is quite simple – let’s see how I applied it in my daily life.

At that point in time, I was a smoker. I had tried to quit smoking many times with little success.

Now I’d try a simple concept from NLP to give up smoking.

I succeeded beyond my expectations and gave up smoking in a day.

I conquered the craving, the urge, for smoking and never suffered any “withdrawal symptoms”.

I quit smoking forever in one go.

Let me describe to you, Dear Reader, that red letter day of my life.

I woke up early in the morning, as usual, made a cup of tea, and the moment I took a sip of the piping hot delicious tea, I felt the familiar crave for my first cigarette of the day.

I had identified my first “Smoking - Anchor”Tea.

I kept down the tempting cup of tea, made a note of the craving [anchor] in my diary, quickly heated a glass of water in the microwave oven, completed my ablutions, stepped out of my house, and embarked upon my customary morning constitutional brisk walk-cum-jog deeply rinsing and cleansing my lungs with pure refreshing morning air, which made me feel on top of the world.

I felt invigorated and happy. I had overcome my craving and not smoked my first cigarette of the day.

Returning refreshed from my brisk bracing morning walk, I stopped to pick up the newspaper, and spotted my friends ‘N’ and ‘S’ across the road beckoning me for our customary post-walk tête-à-tête with tea and cigarettes at our favorite the tea-stall.

Here lurked my second “Smoking - Anchor” – my smoker friends.

I felt tempted, but I steeled my resolve.

I waved out to my smoker friends, turned away and briskly headed home.

They must have thought I’d gone crazy, but it didn’t matter – I had avoided my second cigarette of the day.

That’s what I was going to do the entire day. Be aware, look inwards, fully cognizant and mindful in order to ensure that I identify all the stimuli that triggered in me the urge to smoke – my “smoking anchors” which could be anything, conscious and unconscious, internal and external, tangible or intangible – people, situations, events, feelings, smells, emotions, tendencies, moods, foods, social or organizational trends, practices, norms, peer-pressure.

Then I would conquer and triumph over these stimuli, demolish these negative “smoking-anchors” and establish and reinforce new positive “healthy” non-smoking anchors using a Technique called FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS

I’ll tell you more about Force Field Analysis later. You can read about this technique in my blog too:


Dear Reader, read on and see how my first non-smoking day progressed.

After breakfast, I didn’t drink my usual cup of coffee – a strong “smoking anchor” which triggered in me a strong irresistible craving and desperate desire to smoke.

I drank a glass of cold bland milk instead, and thereby averted my third cigarette of the day.

It was nine as I reached my workplace and I had not smoked a single cigarette. Rather I had not smoked my customary three cigarettes!

It was a long day ahead and I had to be cognizant, observe myself inwardly and devise strategies to tackle situations that elicited craving for smoking – recognize and conquer my “smoking anchors”.

Anchoring is a naturally occurring phenomenon, a natural process that usually occurs without our awareness.

An anchor is any representation in the human nervous system that triggers any other representation.

Anchors can operate in any representational system (sight, sound, feeling, sensation, smell, taste).

You create an anchor when you unconsciously set up a stimulus-response pattern.

Response [smoking] becomes associated with [anchored to] some stimulus; in such a way that perception of the stimulus [the anchor] leads by reflex to the anchored response [smoking] occurring.

Repeated Stimulus–Response [SR] action reinforces anchors and this is a vicious circle, especially in the context of “smoking anchors”.

The trick is to identify your “smoking anchors”, become conscious of these anchors and ensure you do not activate them.

And then transcend from the SR Paradigm to the SHOR Paradigm to set and fire new positive anchors.

What’s SHOR?

SHOR stands for Stimulus-Hypothesis-Options-Response – do read the article on SHOR Paradigm in my blog:

The moment I reached office I saw my colleague ‘B’ eagerly waiting for me, as he did every day.

Actually the freeloader was eagerly waiting to bum a cigarette off me for his first smoke of the day. “I only smoke other’s cigarettes” was his motto!

I politely told him I had quit smoking and told him to look for a cigarette elsewhere.

He looked at me in disbelief; taunted, jeered and badgered me a bit, but when I stood firm, he disappeared.

I had not smoked my fourth cigarette of the day!

I removed from my office my ashtray, my lighter, all vestiges of smoking, declared the entire place a no-smoking zone and put up signs to that effect.

The working day began. It was a tough and stressful working day. I was tired and suddenly my boss called me across to his office and offered me a cigarette.

I looked at the cigarette pack yearningly, tempted, overcome by a strong craving, desperate to have just that “one” cigarette.

Nothing like a “refreshing” smoke to drive my blues away and revitalize me – the “panacea” to my “stressed-out” state!

It was now or never!

I politely excused myself on the pretext of going to the toilet, but rushed out onto the terrace and took a brisk walk rinsing my lungs with fresh air, and by the time I returned I had lost the craving to smoke and realized that physical exercise is probably the best antidote – a positive “non-smoking” anchor – and, of course,

I had not smoked my fifth cigarette of the day!

It was the famous Stoic philosopher Epictetus who said:

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and cannot control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”

We often let our feelings set our anchors, govern our lives. We let feelings drive our thoughts, not realizing that thoughts drive actions, actions produce results, and results in turn produce more feelings, reinforce anchors, causing a vicious circle which may ultimately lead to loss of self-control.

Such “feeling-anchors” not totally controllable, as many times feelings are produced by external circumstances beyond your control, and if negative feelings are allowed to drive our thoughts and actions, then undesirable results emanate.

The best solution is to establish “thought-anchors” as drivers of your actions.

It is well within your control to think positive, good and interesting thoughts.

In fact, the happiest person is the one who thinks the most interesting and good thoughts, isn’t it?

That’s the essence of NLP.

Reprogram your anchors, recondition your mind, control your own life, change for the better, enhance your health and happiness, and elevate your plane of living.

This technique works for me, and I’m sure it’ll work for you too.

Maybe it is so effective because it is so breathtaking in its simplicity.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Vikram Karve educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU and The Lawrence School Lovedale, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book “Appetite for a Stroll”. Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.


A Primer

We may classify events can in a few broad categories based on their purpose and objective:
  1.  Leisure Events  [leisure, sport, music, recreation]
  2.  Cultural Events [ceremonial, religious, art, heritage, and folklore]
  3.  Personal Events [weddings, birthdays, anniversaries]
  4.  Organisational Events [commercial, political, charitable, sales, product launch, trade fairs, shows, road shows etc]
  5.  Academic Events [ conferences, workshops, seminars, symposium, unconference]

In this first part of the article, let us focus on Academic Events, since that’s what I am most conversant with, having been a teacher and training manager for most part of my career, and having participated in, actively presenting papers and passively as delegate, and also organised many Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, Symposia et al.

Of course, I have organized and participated in many other types of events as well, and may write about it subsequently.

The two main stakeholders in an academic event are the organisers and the participants or delegates.

From the academic point of view the Organisers view the event as one-way communication, a gathering where they impart information to the attendees. Of course, there may be other commercial and career ambition motives as well!.

The Delegates may look at the event from different points of view – there are a number of reasons why persons attend academic events like conferences: learning experience, enjoyment, professional networking, seeking peer group approval and prestige [by presenting their research papers], as a perk or reward for good performance etc.

Conference: A meeting of individuals or representatives of various bodies for the purpose of discussing and/or acting on topics of common interest or theme. A conference is a large event, lasting several days and attracting a large number of delegates. Typically a conference may attract more than a thousand delegates.

A session is an unbroken period within a conference; the plenary session is a session at which all delegates are present. The “Graveyard Shift” is the session immediately after lunch when most delegates are likely to feel drowsy, siesta and nap off. A poster session affords opportunity for authors of papers which are not actually presented in the conference to display posters, summaries and abstracts of their papers to delegates and stand by to discuss and answer questions. This is held during conference session breaks outside the main conference hall in the foyers and adjacent lobbies.

Convention: A convention, or congress, is a gathering of greater importance than a conference, much larger in size, with a few thousand participants, with a formal agenda and programme, with the aim of formulating policy.

Seminar: A seminar is a small to medium sized event with the number of delegates ranging from 20/30 to around 100/200. Seminars are compact one or two day events designed to educate and inform delegates of the subject(s) of interest and discuss issues of common concern.

Symposium: A symposium is a Seminar where only a single topic or subject is discussed in an informal way encouraging inter-delegate-speaker communication and debate.

Colloquium: In a colloquium one or more experts or eminent academicians deliver lectures on a subject followed by a question and answer session. A colloquium is purely academic in nature.

Workshop: A workshop is a small gathering of delegates to discuss and exchange ideas on specific topics or to solve particular problems. It is like a symposium but more formal in nature.

Meeting: A meeting is a much smaller event, maybe involving a few executives or invitees, discussing business or a precise agenda.

Information Flow: In a symposium and workshop the flow of information is between all the participants, delegates and speakers; whereas in a seminar and colloquium the flow of information is primarily one-way from the speakers to the audience. Of course, in a meeting there is more of presentation, deliberation and discussion with the aim of collective consensus and decision-making.

Clinic: A clinic is a meeting of a select group of persons with common interests, confronting and discussing real-life situations and problems, organised for the purpose of diagnosing, analysing and seeking solutions to specific problems.

Unconference: An “unconference” is a facilitated, participant-driven face-to-face conference centred on a theme or purpose.

At traditional conferences, the most productive moments often occur during informal networking, tête-à-tête and discussions between the formal sessions, in tea and lunch breaks and in the evenings – that is what an unconference aims to achieve.

The cardinal premise of an “unconference” is that there are no spectators and that everyone is a participant.

This sets the stage for everyone to actively contribute and is another factor in making this event so unique.

The idea of “unconference” probably emanated from the Fundamental Law of Conventional Conferences: “The sum of the expertise of the people in the audience is greater than the sum of expertise of the people on stage.”

The aim of an unconference is to break the barrier between the audience and the speakers on the podium. Members of the audience and participants write topics they're interested in on boards, consolidate the topics, and then break into discussion groups.

At traditional conferences, the most productive moments often occur during informal networking, tête-à-tête and discussions between the formal sessions, in tea and lunch breaks and in the evenings – that is what unconferences aim to achieve.

With the advent of the internet and increasing virtual interaction, meetings, conferencing, networking and modern forms of “formal” and “informal” web-based communication and learning technologies, the concept of “unconferencing” is more attractive than traditional conferences of the “old mould” type.

So how does one plan and organise such academic events?

There are so many aspects and factors to be considered – topic, venue, dates, programme, speakers, papers, delegates, technology, communication, budget, accommodation, food, entertainment, PR, promotion, publication, sponsorship, commercial aspects, check-off lists… I’ll end here now… more on this and about other types of events later on this blog.


Thursday, March 25, 2010


A Value Based Approach
Musings on Induction Training

Let us start with a famous Zen Story – EMPTY YOUR CUP

The Japanese master Nan-in gave audience to a professor of philosophy. Serving tea, Nan-in filled his visitor's cup, and kept pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could restrain himself no longer: "Stop! The cup is over full, no more will go in." Nan-in said: "Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

The aim of induction training is to facilitate seamless integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual values and organizational values. 

Learning comprises two pedagogic processes: 

Getting knowledge that is inside to move out, and
Getting knowledge that is outside to move in.

Thus the approach to induction training must be two pronged:

Encourage and mentor the trainee to look inwards, introspect, ruminate and discover their own personal values [inside > out], and
Clearly acquaint, apprise, educate, edify, and enlighten the trainees about organizational values [outside > in]

This will enable the trainer and trainee to identify the degree of value congruence (harmony) and value dissonance (mismatches) between individual personal values and organizational values and then by suitably employing techniques like Force Field Analysis we can mutually achieve strengthening of value congruencies whilst mitigating value dissonance thereby enabling harmonious induction of the new employee into the organization. 

Thus, induction training will make it easy for the new employee to seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of the organization, and also for the organization to smoothly absorb the new employee within its fold.

To be continued…
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.