Vaccines, virus and hope — in keeping with the last year, March has maintained its roller-coaster trajectory too. But when you are on a roller-coaster, you have two options. Squeeze your eyes shut and scream with fear. Or strap in, open your eyes wide in anticipation and enjoy the ups and downs, the twists and turns.
While we can’t control which way the roller-coaster goes, we can always choose our responses and emotions. In this dose of Victory Vitamin, I aim to spread some positivity to help you stay connected so that you can make your choice more effectively. Though delivered late, it is piping hot with useful messages and relevant updates. Ready for the ride?
1. Idly in Italy
As an Indian author, I recently had the opportunity to take the flavour of local literature all the way to Italy! I presented ‘Father Your Team’ at Fiera Virtuale del Libro Italia — the world’s largest book fair, held in Italy.
The book fair was held from 6 March – 21 March, and was attended by renowned authors from all around the world. The event (sponsored by the legendary publisher Ontime Books) was a spectacular one indeed, with author interviews, live rock performances, cultural shows, book launches and reviews — all held virtually.
But don’t feel like you missed out! You can watch my presentation on ‘Father Of Your Team’ here on this link. I am sure you will love the first story — ‘The Lord, The Lodge and That Cup Of Tea’. Do let me know what you think, by writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The Father Manager becomes the Project Manager’s best friend
If you are familiar with the process of getting a Project Management Professional Certification, you’ll know that it’s hard. The questions are situational, and only less than 50% of the applicants make it through to receive the coveted certification from the Project Management Institute. And sustaining this success is even more difficult. After months of preparation, even those who have earned the PMP certification often fail to renew it by accumulating Professional Development Units (PDUs).
But now, Freddie has made it easier for them. ‘Father Of Your Team’ is now accepted by the Project Management Institute as relevant reading for leaders in charge of projects — which means that Project Managers can use it to accumulate PDUs and renew their PMP Certification!
What’s coming up?
1.The Sweetness Returns
Author interviews, the Chennai Book Fair and my involvement in various workshops have all buffeted my time, keeping me from the dessert — a sweet engagement called ‘Sweeten Your Worklife the Storyway’. This weekly Facebook Live session was put on hold for the last few weeks.
But with so many queries and interest from viewers, I realised that the show must go on! So this Saturday, 27 March at 8 pm (IST), I will be back online with a brand new story. This one will be about the iconic boxer Muhammad Ali, so you will see me armed with a pair of boxing gloves. While I will be pulling no punches, you can expect to go back with a few of my punchlines!
What did I do differently?
1. From one classical language to another
We hear of the ills of social media every day — but why not use it for good too? Why not use it to show appreciation for a stranger halfway around the world? That’s exactly what I did a few months ago, when I sent in a word of appreciation for a poem written by Eva Petropoylou, the award-winning poet from Greece.
The Facebook friendship that sparked off led to me translating her poem from one classical language (Greek) to another (Tamil). That was intellectually stimulating — I had to spend hours fine tuning the translated poem to make sure that the language remained rich and appealing. At the end of it, Eva was thrilled to share it with her friends — and I became known to people from Greece, Albania, Ontario, and Egypt, among other countries! That just made me realise that the world is a small place after all, and we are just one message away from someone on the other side of it. So go ahead — show appreciation for someone’s work today!
2. Fear and the forgotten love
When we are safe, we tend to take safety for granted. Only when we are fearful, do we change our behaviour to actively seek out safety. That’s what we are seeing a lot of these days, as people procrastinate going in for their vaccines, even with hospitals right around the corner. I wondered how to spread this message in a way that would be impactful, inspiring and would prompt urgent action. My solution?
I drove to a war cemetery about 10 miles from my home, and posted a message urging people to facilitate quicker vaccination for the older generation.
The next day, I got a call from a colleague who lives in the US, whose parents live here in a south Indian metro city. He started off by thanking me profusely. He said that due to his hectic schedule, he hadn’t managed to speak to his parents properly for over three weeks. But the sight of the cemetery in my message induced fear and he arranged for his parents to be vaccinated the same day. Mission accomplished!
3. The little laughter champions
You might remember my Humorology certificate, which I had mentioned in one of my previous newsletters. This month, I had a chance to impart my knowledge to others. But these were not just any participants — this session I conducted was exclusively for children under 20. There were students from over 7 countries, including a child whose grandmother was my teacher in school!
Through this session that I called ‘Haha for Aha Life’, I taught them how to craft wisecracks and look at life in a more humorous way. I was impressed with the speed at which they absorbed this knowledge. Being able to shape the perceptions of the next generation through ‘Young Empowerment Talks’ by BrainCiti left me happy and content — and I was blown away by how well the young champions Ridha, Alia and Omar Khan anchored the show!
Events that touched me
1. The astute author of the Abysmal Thief
Over at the Chennai Book Fair, I was walking to the Emerald Publishers stall when I was stopped by an eleven-year-old boy. He turned out to be a child author!
I was honoured to meet Sharvanth S. and hear all about his book ‘The Abysmal Thief and Other Stories’. I was with the beloved Bengali author and writing coach Raja Singho at the time, and we were both impressed, not just by Sharvanth’s writing skills at such a young age, but also by his confidence at approaching a stranger and presenting his book so enthusiastically. We posed for a photo with him, I purchased his book, and then went on my way.
A few days later, I heard some exciting news. Sharvanth S. had set a record in the India Book of Records 2022, as the youngest person to write detective fiction!
My reading list
Articles I loved
1. How to reclaim your time and lead a happier life
2.How pandemic fatigue attacks the one job of leadership you can’t delegate
1.How would you move Mount Fuji by William Poundstone
Interviews can be fun — if you are the interviewer. But what about when you are the interview candidate? Over the last few years, companies like Microsoft have become well-known for posing mind-bending puzzles at their interviews. This book covers some of these questions that are designed to test the candidate’s attitude and power of lateral thinking.
2. The World’s Top Business Gurus by Ian Wallis
Think of your favorite multi-starrer movie — did it make you feel like you were getting maximum bang for your buck? This book is the literary equivalent of that.
It brings together 28 business gurus in a way that’s most informative and engaging. Each chapter starts with a brief bio of the guru — their expertise, their title and what they are known for. From there, it goes on to the concepts they introduced, how organisations embraced those concepts, and how they have paved the way for other theories and paradigms. Michael Porter, Stephen Covey, Tom Peters, Warren Buffett, Peter Drucker, Michael Gerber, Peter Senge, Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard, Charles Handy are among the gurus who make an appearance in this handy book. I highly recommend it to any management student, leader or entrepreneur.
And here is a little tidbit about the publisher, Jaico. This internationally renowned publishing house was established in 1946 — and the name was especially significant. ‘Jai’ means victory in Hindi, and the name was chosen to commemorate India’s independence. This was one of the first houses in India to publish English translations of non-English writings by Indian authors. This spirit of support and care for their countrymen is intact even today — I experienced it first-hand at the Chennai Book Fair with the wonderful way their staff looked after the customers.
1. He who laughs last, laughs longest
On 1st April, the world celebrates All Fool’s Day, with people playing silly pranks on each other. This year, you can take a wiser step forward.
1st April is the half-way point of the first half of the year. Why not take this time to revisit the New Year resolutions you made, the habits you promised to form, and the goals you set out for yourself? Instead of the Fool, allow the Critic in you to emerge. Ask that critic to give you a hard-hitting review, and take their feedback to charting out a new path towards the better ‘You’. I guarantee, you’ll be enjoying yourself long after April Fool’s Day has come and gone.
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