Blog Archive

What is Happiness?


Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. - Mahatma Gandhi

For decades, we've been taught that economic growth and buying more stuff will make us happy. The good news is, there’s a better kind to be happy: It starts with meaningful work, loving relationships, and a thriving natural world.

In the last 100 years, we got very confused about happiness. The way we define happiness drives what we do, what we’re willing to sacrifice, and how we spend our money and our time.

Advertisers spend billions spreading the illusion that more stuff will bring us happiness. And policy makers of all political stripes spread the message that economic growth leads to well-being.

Sustainable happiness is built on a healthy natural world and a vibrant and fair society. Happiness comes, through good and bad times, because it starts with the fundamental requirements and aspirations of being human.

The good news is that sustainable happiness is achievable, it could be available to everyone, and it doesn’t have to cost. It begins by assuring that everyone can obtain a basic level of material security.

It turns out that we don’t need to use up and produce the stuff that is supposed to make us happy. We don’t need people working in sweatshop conditions to produce cheap stuff to feed an endless appetite for possessions. We don’t even need economic growth.

Sustainable happiness comes from other sources. We need loving relationships, thriving natural and human communities, opportunities for meaningful work, and a few simple practices, like gratitude. With that definition of sustainable happiness, we really can have it all.

 Picture source

Resolve Conflict

There has probably never been a time where there has been so much fear and conflict across the world, not just across oceans and borders but across the breakfast table. In fact many now prefer conflict to peace, as they become addicted to the actions of anger and aggression, and the adrenaline rush which results. They don't really want conflict to end, in fact, they will say that some conflict is good to get things done and stimulate change. They are not aware that they are killing themselves.
All conflict is simply a symptom of attachment to a position. And as we know, this generates fear, and fear, if allowed to stay, eventually kills it's host.
All solutions are based on detachment or letting go. But that will be difficult until we can see that all possession is an illusion, that we have nothing to lose and that there are no victories in winning.

Dont Fear - Try These Recommendations

By Junaid Tahir Fear is one of the major blocking obstacles against your success. You tend to compromise with your circumstances and prefer to continue your status quo condition because you are afraid of making decisions. Since you lack in courage you cannot move forward in your life with liberty.

On the other hand successful people are those who take risks in life. Successful people understand that taking risks will lead them experience new horizons in their field, will give them more vision and more confidence,  give them wisdom and success by exposing them to more and more challenges and consequently help them achieve their dreams. Such people keep taking new risks in order to achieve what they want to achieve. Whenever there is a doubtful situation they take the next baby step in order to determine whether it is fine to move ahead. In case they fail, they take one step back and re-determine their direction using their analytical skills. 

So if you would like to live a successful life, you must defeat your fears. The reasons for being under the clouds of fear might be because of several doubts or unanswered questions in your mind.  In this article, I have compiled and answered a few of such queries in order to boost your confidence level:

Question: Do I have enough info in making this decision?
Answer: You may or may not have the full information as of now. However you can gather all the facts by consulting the right professionals, by reading books, by discussing with your friends and well-wishers, by posting your questions to online forums, by studying the market and by taking advice from experienced people. Once you have collected all the information, write it on a piece of paper; positive points on one side and negative points on another side. Now read them slowly with full focus. Once done, you are all set for making the decision.

Question: What if I fail?
Answer: Consider the worst case scenario as this gives you inner strength and makes you prepare for it. However if the worst case as per your thinking is a serious disaster then reduce your risks by reducing your goals, your investment, energies, efforts etc. Change some of the points from your original plan and re-asses the worst case.

Question: Do I have the capability to do it:  
Answer: See if you can learn it by reading, training, counseling or brain storming. Believe in your inner powers. List down the capabilities required for a specific task and start polishing yourself in each domain one by one. This might take some time but once you learn and polish your skills you will be able to make wonders in your domain.

Question: What will people say?  
Answer: People will comment any way. It's your life and you have all the authority to do what you want to do in order to achieve what you want to achieve. Don't worry about social factors, instead focus on your plans and decisions. Evil social factors will die their death one by one once you start producing the results. Strengthen your thoughts, avoid the unnecessary criticism and you will be able to set new trends in your domain.

Question: Is anyone else afraid of same thing? 
Answer: Yes everyone is afraid of failures but only bold people make bold moves to accomplish things. Remember, common people see things while they are happening whereas smart people make things happen.

Question: What If I am trapped in tragic Situation:
Answer: To overcome a tragic fearful situation is to think of a genius person and imagine how he would have acted under the same condition. You will definitely get a new idea to try.

Closing my article by emphasizing one more time to throw your fears away, convert your risks into new opportunities, execute your plans and live like an independent and prosperous soul. Your inner confidence, your guts and your will power can make things happen. If others can do it you can do it too so believe in the power of now and go ahead and grab the success.

Some Recommended Articles:

Junaid Tahir is a UAE based Telecommunications Manager. He is a passionate blogger and write articles on wisdom, stress management and leadership. His 130+ articles are available at his personal blog

Explaining Strengths and Weaknesses in an Interview

Explaining Strengths and Weaknesses in an Interview

Nobody is perfect!!

You must remember that nobody is perfect and that this possible employer knows that.

A really great way of telling someone about a flaw is to always add a suggestion of improving that flaw. For example you could say, " I'm always told that I am a bit too slow... but that's only because I want to do the best job I can. I guess you could say I'm a bit anal when it comes to perfection." An employer can only look at that as being a great characteristic, and in no way a negative quality to possess.

Talking about your strengths is a tricky one; you do not want to come across as egotistical. From my interviewee, an excellent answer I like to get is this: " I am very headstrong. I really like to be challenged in my job, and I just want to learn as much as I can in my position. At the end of the day I need to be able to look back on my day and feel good about the job that I've done. I guess you could call it sense of self worth. That's why I always put my all into everything I do."

  • Your strengths should already be noted in your resume and cover letter. Go over them (i.e., the strengths) again with the interviewer.
  • One of my biggest strengths is my communication skills. I work very well with all kinds of people, and understand that everyone has different perspectives about projects and work tasks - so when I work with others I realize that everyone comes to the table with different priorities and objectives. I keep this in mind when I communicate tasks that need to be accomplished with positive reinforcement and awareness of what others are working on.
  • A positive attitude will not differentiate you from the crowd. A good attitude is expected of every employee. Also you should back up what you say with an example. For example, don't just say you have good customer service skills prove it by also telling them how you won a company award or received positive customer comment letters for your good service.
  • My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As customer service manager at my last job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive team.
  • Hard worker
  • Punctual
  • Determined
  • Able to prioritize
  • Believe in myself; self-confidence
  • I have the ability to cope with failures and try to learn from my mistakes.
  • I like to work in team and have been an active participant and organizer at several places.
  • One of my greatest strengths I've acquired during my education is good analytical and planning skills. This has always benefited me to set goals and try to achieve them. But at the same time, I'm driven by the thoughts of success.
  • Full commitment to my work
  • Highly energetic
  • Love to learn new things.
  • Having good interpersonal skills
  • Well organized and like to be neat with all of my work
  • A good helper towards those who need it
  • I am a team player and work well with others.
  • I have great communication skills.
  • I am a quick learner. I have great problem-solving skills and am willing to learn new things to get the job done.
  • You should answer with things you "are improving upon," e.g., "I believe I should always be improving upon myself, good or bad." You are answering the dreaded question without looking like an egotistical maniac, and showing the interviewer that you see yourself as a work in progress, trying to better all of your qualities.
  • For your weakness, just pick one that is not going to disqualify you from the job, and then follow up with - this is what really matters - the examples of what you are doing (or have done) to fix your weakness. The most important point here is to show that you learn from your mistakes and your weakness, and you are taking the corrective action to fix the situation - and stress that! For example, if the job does not require public speaking, you can say that your weakness is you are afraid of speaking in front of the public. Then tell the interviewers that you have joined a Toastmaster club or public speech course to overcome the problem. Remind them that when you identify a problem, you actively take actions to correct it, and that is how you do things.
  • Don't try to use a cliche or try to present a strength as a weakness by saying your weakness is that you are a workaholic. No one will believe that answer. Being too emotional will make the recruiter wonder if your interpersonal skills are lacking. Give a true weakness but one of modest size. Shows that you have taken steps to correct the weakness. For example you want to improve your MS Excel skills so you are taking a course on that now.
  • I used to have trouble with procrastinating, now I have learned to write down a list of things that I need to do, and keep a calender to keep track of deadlines. I have found that this not only helps me to finish things on time, but it has also helped me to be more organized.
  • For my weakness, I always say that some people say I'm over-friendly. You can't go wrong with that one. Usually, the person interviewing is like "Oh, that's not a bad thing at all."
  • I'm a little egoistic when it comes to winning things and get a little ruthless too.
  • I lose patience sometimes when I am not in a position to complete the assigned job in time.
  • I have to work on having more patience and giving myself a break, because I always want everything done at once.
  • Tend to go to any limits while helping my friends.
  • I am too focused on my work and I need to find more time to relax.
  • I'm too focused on work and need to develop some after-hours hobbies.
  • I'm a workaholic person and love to dedicate myself to the work I'm doing. But at the same time I forget to keep a balance between other things which I'm trying to improve on.
  • Take whatever is your best quality and also describe it as your worst. It often is, as we are all made up like two sides of a coin. Try it out with different qualities and accomplishments and see how it works. For example ... The best thing about me is that I am able to see the big picture in a situation. The worst thing about me is that I can see the big picture in a situation. This is the best thing because I can remove myself from the emotion of a decision that needs to be made and act accordingly. It is a bad thing because I often can see the conclusion quicker than the other participants in a project and that can cause frustration sometimes amongst them.
  • My strength is my flexibility to handle change. As Software developer at my last job, I was able to turn around a negative working environment and develop a very supportive team. Always turn weakness into a positive. If you lack experience or skills for example state this but also state that you are willing to learn, or that it is an area which you would like to improve on.

    Example 1:
    "I do not have much experience with customer service, but I would like to gain experience in this area. I get along well with people, I am able to listen and am a good communicator so I feel that I would get on well in a customer based environment."

    Example 2:
    "I am not too experienced with computers, but I am always willing to learn new skills. I have used computers a little in the past and this is one area which I would like to improve on. I am usually very quick at picking up new skills especially when it is something that I need to learn."

    Notes on interviewing
  • This question unfortunately has become a staple in the interview process and is an easy way out for an interviewer who can't think of any other questions. The reason this is a bad question is simply this: If someone has a weakness that could jeopardize his chance of getting the job, he will never reveal it. So the only answers that this question receives are false answers intended to placate the interviewer. A good interviewer won't ask this question. I'm always tempted to answer this way: "Mr. Interviewer, I always have a hard time with that question. What would your answer be to the question?"
  • A good interviewer wouldn't dream of asking someone this question. As the interviewer, you will not get truthful answers from the weakness part of the question, and as the interviewee, you can end up coming across as egotistical and boastful when answering about your strengths. A good interviewer shouldn't want to make you uncomfortable.

Answer Sample

"My strengths are my ability to be flexible; I've seen companies go through changes in structure and management philosophy. I've had to adjust my style to the new environment several times. My weakness is my tendency to over-work so I pace myself now."
The key is to turn the weakness - a negative character trait - into something positive.


No trick: Honesty is the best policy

Whatever you do, tell the truth. While there are certainly answers that interviewers prefer to hear, it has to match reality. Why? First, it's generally not good to get hired for a job that you're not matched well for. If you like new, exciting, dynamic situations but you're looking for a job on an assembly line, you're not going to be happy; saying that you like repetitive work doesn't make sense. Second, any good interviewer will check your references. If your answers don't match what they hear, you're almost certain to lose the chance for job.
Don't ever list as a weakness the following: "I take on too many things and work to hard, and just don't know where to stop." It's a cliche, completely transparent, and I can tell you that it rarely makes the desired impression.


Another opinion

This question is usually asked by prospective employers from candidates applying to them for employment. To answer this question the following procedure should be helpful:
1) Find out what nature of work "the team" in question does.
2) Assuming you are interested in that type of work, list what formal training courses you have taken and qualifications acquired in that field or a related field. Next, mention whatever practical experience you in the field. List any relevant worthwhile achievements you have made. Such specifics will carry lot of weight.
3) As a general plus point, say that you are a team worker and get on well with others, if you feel this is true.


An interviewer's perspective

I ask this question and whenever I get an answer like "I work too hard" I know I'm dealing with somebody that I can't really trust, and that I'm going to have a hard time developing an open and honest working relationship with. And I know that I still don't know the person's other weaknesses.

At least with me, an interviewee has a much better chance if I think he or she is honestly telling me about a weakness. And then I can decide whether or not I can work around that weakness. One person told me that he needs fixed deadlines because otherwise he keeps finding additional things to add and it's hard for him to finish the project. I decided this was something I could live with and I hired him. We all have weaknesses. And if you think you're going to outsmart me with nonsense or evasion, you're hurting your chances with me.

Note: There are comments associated with this question. See the discussion page to add to the conversation

Doctors Looting People In the Name of Health

By Junaid Tahir,
Recently a news has been published in an Indian newspaper according to which some renowned doctors have resigned from their posts in New Delhi. The reason being, their CEO or CFO have  been pushing them to increase hospital earnings through following approaches:

  1. Converting the minor injuries cases to Operational Procedure. Needless to mention, when a patient undergoes a surgical procedure, the hospital earns huge money in comparison to what the patient pays for the normal consultancy fees.
  2. Extending the duration of  in-patients' stay in hospital so that earnings of hospital can be increased as a result of medical and general facilities provided to the patients for the extended time.
  3. Start the diabetes medicines for the people who are on the verge of developing diabetes, whereas there is a huge possibility that the patient can recover by exercise or diet changes.
  4. Giving costly medicines (such as antibiotics/BP control/anti-acids etc.) even if the customer may only need anti-allergy or basic off-the-shelf medicine.
  5. Creating emotional situation to convert normal pregnancy cases to procedural deliveries.
  6. Prescribing costly medicines (as doctors and hospitals get percentage based commission for each medicine sold). 
The whole purpose here is to draw your attention to the fact that medical profession has turned into huge money-making business. The patients are treated as money-making machines.  Huge amount of revenue is generated with above mentioned tricks/approaches.
So here are some recommendations;
  1. Before you visit your doctor, do a little online research about your symptoms. (You may have an instant issue which could heal itself in a week time automatically). Yes, your body is capable of fighting a lot of diseases naturally.
  2. Ask the doctor a lot of questions about your symptoms giving him the message that you have the proper back-ground knowledge, so he won't be able to deceive you.
  3. Ask the doctor if you can bypass the medicines or use minimal dosage of medicines to recover.
  4. If the doctor prescribes you a lot of medical tests, ask him the reasoning for each test on how important this test is?
  5. If the doctor concludes that you have a specific disease such as high BP, Diabetes, heart issue or any other chronic disease, then do consider taking second opinion to be sure about it. Trust me, visiting a second doctor gives you a lot of exposure about your health concern and enables you to have better decision on what needs to be done for recovery. 

With the hope that respective ministries and authorities are setting strong mechanisms to eradicate and minimize this issue, you need to know that your health as well as your money are very precious, hence do not let anyone play with or steal your valuable possessions at any cost. 
Wishing you the best of health, a happy and healthy body, mind and soul !

Other health articles you may like:

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What does 10 grams of carbohydrates look like?
10 foods that unclogs arteries in a totally natural way
What is the 100-day Stepathlon programme?
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10 Reasons You Become Unattractive And You’re Not Aware of It


Excel: Lookup and Return Values in an Entire Row/Column

VLOOKUP is one of the most used functions in Excel. It looks for a value in a range and returns a corresponding value in a specified column number.
Now I came across a problem where I had to lookup entire row and return the values in all the columns from that row (instead of returning a single value).
So here is what I had to do. In the below data set, I had Sales Rep names and the Sales they made in 4 quarters in 2012. I had a drop down with their names, and I wanted to extract the maximum sales for that Sales Rep in those four quarters.
xLookup Entire Row / Column
I could come up with 2 different ways to do this – Using INDEX or VLOOKUP.

Lookup Entire Row / Column Using INDEX Formula

Here is the formula I created to do this using Index
How it works:
Let first look at the INDEX function that is wrapped inside the LARGE function.
Let's closely analyze the arguments of the INDEX function:
  • Array – $B$4:$F$1
  • Row Number –  MATCH(H3,$B$4:$B$13,0)
  • Column Number – 0
Notice that I have used column number as 0.
The trick here is that when you use column number as 0, it returns all the values in all the columns. So if I select John in the drop down, the index formula would return all the 4 sales values for John {91064,71690,67574,25427}.
Now I can use the Large function to extract the largest value
ExcelTip #1 – Use Column/Row number as 0 in Index formula to return all the values in Columns/Rows.

Lookup Entire Row / Column Using VLOOKUP Formula

While Index formula is neat, clean and robust, VLOOKUP way is a bit complex. It also ends up making the function volatile. However, there is an amazing trick that I would share in this section. Here is the formula:
How it works
  • ROW(INDIRECT("2:"&COUNTA($B$4:$F$4))) – This formula returns an array {2;3;4;5}. Note that since it uses INDIRECT, this makes this formula volatile.
  • VLOOKUP(H3,B4:F13,ROW(INDIRECT("2:"&COUNTA($B$4:$F$4))),FALSE) – Here is the best part. When you put these together, it becomes VLOOKUP(H3,B4:F13,{2;3;4;5},FALSE). Now notice that instead of a single column number, I have given it an array of column numbers. And VLOOKUP obediently looks up values in all these columns and returns an array.
  • Now just use LARGE function to extract the largest value.
Remember to use Control + Shift + Enter to use this formula.
ExcelTip #2 – In VLOOKUP, instead of using a single column number, if you use an array of column numbers, it will return an array of lookup values.
Related Tutorials:

Being Persistent

Image result for breaking stone manually

A Stone Is broken by the
Last stroke of a hammer,
This doesn’t mean the
First stroke is Useless,

Inspiration: In The Worst Times

Image result for true strength

In the worst time of your life
You realize
Your True Friends
Your True Strength.
The True Strength is gained via tough and thorough struggles.
Never give up !

Wise Wealth!

There are many words for which we have forgotten the meaning - love is one such word, and wealth is another. When we hear or use the word wealth today we immediately conjure images of huge cheques, large properties, five star holidays and the very best in everything.

In fact it is this limited form of wealth, measured and defined essentially by money which blocks the realization and manifestation of true wealth. Every human being is wealthy beyond imagination; but not in their bank accounts. Real wealth is completely intangible, invisible and deeply internal. Every human being is a unique individual spiritual entity. And as such, a source of the most precious energy in the universe.

Love is the gold of the soul. We are each that gold at the core of our being. But few of us are aware of it, let alone consciously tapping it and expressing it. No one teaches us that love is what we are, that our purpose in life is to know it, and give it, and that when we do, all other energies, including the material stuff, will come back to us. We are taught instead that love is dead, love is daft, love is for softies, love is sex, loving is losing not winning, love is indulgence, love is about doing deals in our relationships. No wonder we are stressed out.

We have a totally distorted view of wealth and an inherited belief system which clouds our view and access to the riches we contain within our heart. No wonder there is spiritual poverty amidst affluence, no wonder the destitute wander streets paved with the riches of their neighbours. No wonder the children in the villages of India have a smile that lights up your soul, while the kids in 'material land' are always miserable with their lot!

Are you wealthy, or are you Wealthy