Ask Himanshu Rai

Have any questions about management, philosophy, education, literature, yoga, mountaineering in India, or psychological issues or all of these?

Disclaimer:The responses in this column given by me are based on my learnings and experience. They should, by no means, be taken as a substitute for medical/professional help.

    1. Dear Sir,

      I have posted questions to you in the past, never got back to thank you for your responses. I cannot explain how greatly your inputs have helped me in the past 1-2 years. In fact, with each day I appreciate even more the importance of the thoughts that you would put across in your lectures.

      Well, I am trying to figure out my self and heres what troubles me.

      I have come across people in my life who have been great at certain things. One of them has been great in creating a personal presence and taking charge of situations. Another has been great with situations involving negotiations or bonding with peers. Yet another has been great at always taking the right path, choosing the right thing (however subjective), to do. One more has been great at captivating the other persons attention through his antics and storytelling skills.

      During the course of my life, I have picked up traits from such people.

      So much so that as I would go about doing my daily work / living my life, and come across situations; I could almost visualize myself being that person and performing the act. Right now, while I dont visualize myself being that persons, whenever confronted by a situation, I recall him, involuntarily.

      Somehow, this realization takes me back to the difference between method acting and classical acting that you spoke of in your classes.

      What troubles me is that this realization hurts my pride. It posts several questions on my individuality. More so, because these persons have been my peers.

      Why, would you believe, that I experience this? Do you believe this is most normal with the majority of people? Should I accept this as my reality? Or should I make efforts to change it? How?

      1. I am glad that I have been of some help to you. Coming to your question, you are doing a great disservice to yourself by letting this affect your pride. All of us, to some or the other extent, are influenced by people around us, as well as, by people we read or hear about (including fiction and mythology),. While we strive to be individuals, we cannot escape playing out the series of reciprocal roles that we get into right from the time we are born. Since these roles have been shaped by others before us as well as by collective consciousness of that particular time and space, it is imminent that we be affected by this collective construction. Those very peers that you seem to be emulating in some way or the other might be getting influenced by YOU in many other ways. And thats our reality. So quit fretting, and rejoice in what you are and what you can be!

    2. Could you suggest the most authentic and reliable source for reading Mahabharata ?

      Most sources seem to paraphrase it. I would like the original unadulterated version which was written by Ved Vyas.

      1. The original unadulterated version, in my opinion, is not available. All versions published these days have prakshipt (contaminations), in it. The better version of the lot is published by Gita Press and is translated by Sahityacharya Pandit Ramnarayandutt Shastri Pandey.

    3. Hello Sir

      I am one of your ex-students. I am having a terrible situation which is burning me out.

      I am looking for a life partner but very very fixated with a girls beauty. I have had so many meetings with girls where I found them very good as a person but I was not attracted to them. As you say, love is attraction, respect and trust. Since attraction is missing I hate losing on good prospects.

      At the same time, again and again I see so many beautiful and gorgeous women with stupid nothing looking guys. I get so jealous. My heart boils and burns inside. I somehow feel I deserve a beautiful girl as I have been qualified from and working with top companies in the country.

      I know everything about theory of karma and desire but I hate to accept not having that person in my life without which I find my life worthless. I am imagining to trade everything if I could get this one beautiful partner who I would madly be in love with and genuinely loves me in return.

      Please help.

      Mr. Depressed.

      Please help me

      1. Hi Sir,
        Well I happen to chance upon your response of not being fixated upon the good looking dimension when looking for a life partner. I completely second your view. However I happen to read about a study published in the TOI recently (I do not recall the date), that reveals than men shall always find an unknown female face attractive while women find a known male face attractive. Assuming the study is methodologically rigorous, this means that men can never stop ogling and hence cannot help feel jealous (which is very very bad news!),. I believe the only way out is contentment and practicing spirituality (you are the best person on this advice),. But I think your answer shall be more complete to our friend if you may reveal the attributes/parameters/dimensions he shall keep in mind when he chooses (assuming it is for marriage and that too arranged marriage), his bride. And it shall be even more better if you rank the dimensions.

        Surya (your one more student),

        1. Although you havent really mentioned what you mean by beautiful, given the tone of your statements, I asssume you mean good looking in the conventional sense of the word. First, you are assuming that you will fall in love only with someone who is conventionally good looking or drop-dead gorgeous. Free your mind from this obsession and you will be pleasantly surprised. If you look for people with a preconceived set of characteristics in your mind, then you will never love the person! You will instead love the set of characteristics that YOU attribute to the person. And then later, if some other person, who scores more than this person on this rating scale in your head comes along, you will become disillusioned with the previous one and go after the next! This is a vicious cycle and it can lead only to perpetual dissatisfaction, and often, destruction. And I am not even talking about the moral compass here!
          You have to give yourself a chance to fall in love with some person, without any preset parameters. By no means am I saying that you should not, or would not, get married to a conventionally good looking girl. All I am saying is dont start with that parametric notion. This is not an object whose specs you need to predetremine, but a living, loving human being who has to betaken for what she is.
          No point being jealous either. Jealousy consumes you totally, and if you have read Othello, you would know what I am talking about. However, your jealousy is directed towards no one in particular, and thats certainly a good news! Keep your heart and mind open, and you will surely meet someone you can love forever.

    4. Hi sir,

      I have heard about you from a friend of mine who is your student.
      I have terribly low self esteem. I am 24, have great communication skills and am studying in one of the premier b schools of the country.
      My issue is that I have terribly low self esteem. Despite of making it to a college where most people just aspire to be I feel that I have not done enough. I feel that I have missed many opportunities in college. This might sound funny but sometimes I also tie my self worth to something as trivial as the number of likes on my Facebook profile picture.
      I am not sure what is the reason. I am an only kid and only about a year back have I moved out of the comforts of my home. I feel this is creating a mental block and is hampering my potential. I feel that I am not popular enough in college. I am unable to even get over a relationship which I was in for the past 6 years and is keeping me unhappy.
      Kindly guide me how to deal with all these issues.

      1. I see two separate problems here: One, your understanding of self-esteem, and two, your desire to become more popular, and may I venture, more likeable?

        First of all, Self esteem is the sense of worth and esteem you have in your own eyes, and thus, cannot be linked with externalities. You have to learn to seek happiness from within. Your experiences in the past have eroded your sense of self-worth, and therefore, you are now seeking approbation from the outside world to restore it. This wont work. It might do good to your sense of pride, but it wont last long. You need to strengthen your core. Put the past behind you and revel in your present. Look at your achievements in life and tell yourself that there is no reason why these will not continue pouring in. Introspect and figure out what in life really makes you happy. Once you have figured it out, you will get a sense of direction. This will also help you get over your mental block, if any, and push you towards the realization of your potential. Talk to yourself every morning just after you get up and every night before sleeping. Remember, happiness and grief are both transitory and thus you ought to look for THAT thing which would give you peace and bliss.

        Should you wish to be popular, the best way of achieving it is to read like a maniac! When you have an eclectic repertoire of reading, you can make and participate in any conversation and be a contributing part of it. Develop a hobby and make yourself good at it. Very good. be good at what you do and how you talk (not just the language but the content), and people will want to be around you!

    5. Sir,
      I need your guidance and valuable suggestions. I joined the corporate world last year after taking voluntary retirement from the central government services.
      I have a passion and sincere interest for motivational talks on topics like stress management, laughing, leadership etc. I have been giving small talks since last few years but I am not formally trained.
      I sincerely want to contribute something to our school children by educating them the importance of positive thinking, personality development, stress management etc. But before taking a decision firstly I want to take advice from you whether i should Opt this path and secondly where can I get a formal training on motivational talks.
      Can you please guide me as to how to go about.

      1. If you are passionate about this path, then it certainly IS the path for you. Now what you need to do is to back up your passion with knowledge and learning. Pick up the topics that you feel most passionate about and then look up for training programs offered on these by premier institutes like the IIMs. Many IIMs including IIML offer 3-5 day MDPs on topics such as Leadership, Communication Skills, Stress Management etc. Attend these MDPs and build up your knowledge base. This will also help you in networking with people from related fields.

        1. Sir,
          Thank you very much for a prompt, very encouraging and a valuable reply.As suggested by you i have been reading these books. Now that you have encouraged me and reiterated on my passion and belief,I will take a step forward towards this. I will find the courses and will do one. Bye the way sir, As per your website you also undertake such training courses for individuals?? Kindly update me on locations. I am presently working at Mumbai
          Thanks once again

    6. Respected Himanshu Sir,
      Nice to see you on your website.

      I was going through the Human resource management subject and was referring Grievance management and discipline.

      I saw you have written a critical study on Employee grievance management. Is there a possibility that this can be shared with me.

      Gaurav Joshi
      GMPE 06/013.

      1. Certainly. You can find that paper if you do a google search. Alternatively, you can email me and I will send you that paper.

    7. I want to know that how do I find purpose of my existence. is their any concrete way or its trial and error? or is it a long process to explore? or is there anything like purpose of existence? or we just have to live our lives as they come and live them as a responsible human being.

      1. The purpose of one’s life is to realize one’s destiny! As I have explained elsewhere, this is what we call one’s Swadharma, which is one’s responsibility, one’s duty and one’s Karma, that one is good at, and by virtue of one being good at it, it becomes one’s responsibility to follow it! It’s a realization of one’s potential (in the sense of self actualization), and then acting on it. If you wish to find it out you can try any of the three ways: One, you could continue following your heart, try out different things and then figure out what you enjoy the most. Two, you could reflect on your past: what kind of stuff did you like, what kind of assignments did you enjoy, what kind of things excited you in your life, and so on, and then intellectually draw a conclusion through deductive reasoning. Or three, you take in a guru, a teacher, a guide, who could talk to you, evaluate your skills, your attitude, your personality, and then suggest what is it that you ought to do with your life. Either of these ways is effective, so just go ahead and make your choice!
        You would know that you have made the right choice when you start having fun in living life; when life feels beautiful.

      1. There are multiple ethical theories that dwell on the means to categorize actions into moral and immoral. I will briefly outline 3 important ones. Consequentialism that states that the consequences of a particular action form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action in so much as a morally right action is one that produces a good outcome, or consequence. Deontology approach to ethics determines goodness or rightness from examining acts, or the rules and duties that the person doing the act strove to fulfill, and thus, an act may be considered right even if the act produces a bad consequence. Finally, Utilitarianism, which is a form of consequentialism, argues that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all people. Take your pick!

    8. Sir,
      I should really applaud you for taking out time to make your own website, write a blog on current events and answer (mostly philosophical), questions.
      Your areas of interest are also interesting … related to Human & Organizational psychology.

      This leads me to an interesting topic of discussion. I think human psychology is a double edged sword. The theories and concepts of human psychology are very interesting. On the flip side, the experiments done for psychology may not be accurate and more importantly, the interpretations of the results of these experiments may be even more inaccurate.

      Human psychology may draw a lot of conclusions/predictions given a humans personality traits and experiences. However, humans can surpass these expectations. Ultimately, whether you can surpass expectation depends on how motivated you are to accomplish something.
      Can we measure motivation, happiness and energy of a person? I think we can only feel it :),

      Can we measure the effect a person has on the team and the effect a team has on a person? The same person may perform better in one team than the others ?

      1. Thank you very much for your kind and motivating words. Coming to your question, yes, we can measure the levels of motivation albeit with a caveat. Motivation is a result of the interaction between an individual and the situation, and can be defined as the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort towards attaining a goal. The caveat is that we can measure the attitudinal aspect of motivation (and not behavioral), that is, the individuals predisposition and inclination towards a certain behaviour. Behaviour, by its very definition can be studied only post hoc. Similarly happiness and energy can be measured in attitudinal terms.
        The influence of a person on the team and vice versa can also be measured; however, you are right in saying that the same person may perform differently in different teams. The relationship between an individuals ability and performance is influenced by certain factors called moderators. These moderators may include environmental factors such as state of economy, organizational factors such as Perceived Organizational Support, Quality of Leader Member Exchange etc., team factors such as team identity, team cohesiveness etc., and individual and demographic factors. One needs to evolve a comprehensive model to generate predictive capabilities for such situations.

      1. Different philosophies explain the meaning, nature, and the method of doing Pooja. I would talk about two such philosophies. The Vedic philosophy considers Karma as Pooja, and thus pooja refers to performing your duties to the best of your abilities. This concept is in line with the maxim of Work is Worship, and finds a resonance in many thoughts cutting across religions. When you put your heart and soul into your work, it is known as Tapasya, the philosophy adds.

        The popular meaning of Pooja is paying obeisance to God, and the nature and the method are varied across cultures and boundaries. Among Hindus, Pooja could be a simple ritual undertaken in the mornings and involving chanting of mantras/shlokas from scriptures and/or aratis, or it could be a detailed process involving several steps. One of the detailed types of Puja involves sixteen steps viz Dhyaana, Aavahana, Aasana, Paadya, Arghya, Aachmana, Snana, Vastra, Yajyopaveet, Gandha, Archana, Dhoopa, Deepa, Naivedya, Tamboola and Aarati.

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