Power Cues, all around us!

I came in to the library with an agenda and accidentally picked up a book – “Power Cues” by Nick Morgan. It was as if the book invited me to pick it up. The author starts with three aspects that transformed his life: The Dalai Lama, My Father, and My Death. This was fascinating to me and invited me to read on. I read only the first two pages and the saw the promise in the book.

I was fascinated by his extremely brief note on Dalai Lama and how he wonderfully manifested happiness in silence instead of talking about it. Dalai Lama supposedly came late by over an hour and as soon as he came, he sat on the floor and just started seeing people around the auditorium. He did this for over 3 minutes; 3 minutes of complete silence. The audience were transfixed too, and then Dalai Lama laughed out with his innocence like a child saying “I better say something really important, I’ve kept you waiting for so long”. Nick mentions how the look and the silence spoke so wonderfully and how the audience connected with the speaker. Dalai Lama may have spoken about the science of happiness through a 3 minute silence than a 3 hour lecture by the most eminent scholars.

He makes a few interesting statements, not all of which are new but worth revisiting:

  • Most of our communication is unconscious: The unconscious mind is in charge of us. Our conscious brains can process forty bit of information a second while the unconscious mind handles 11 million bits of information per second.
  • Most decisions are made unconsciously and only became aware of them consciously afterward, and the delay can be as long as 9 nano seconds to a few seconds.
  • Power in human communications and relations is determined by the interplay of our unconscious minds. There are cues all around us.
  • We create leaders to make us feel safe and give us a group purpose or direction. Unlike other animal groups we need and want guidance
  • Overly concerned about body language – handshakes, maintaining a confident posture etc – occupy the conscious mind and distract you from what you are from within. This lack of congruence between the unconscious and the conscious can impact the communication.
  • Every communication is two conversations: the conscious (verbal / spoken) and the unconscious (non-verbal). Communication is effective when the two align.
  • Hands often know something that even the brain does not

Author suggests 7 Power Cues to help improve our communications with self and with the people around us:

  1. Self-Awareness: How do you show up when you walk into a room?
  2. Taking charge of your Non-Verbal communications by managing Emotions. What emotions do you convey through your body language for important moments, conversations, meetings and presentations?
  3. Reading others’ unconscious messages: What unconscious messages are you receiving from others?
  4. Discovering the mysteries of human voice, how you can turn your voice into a commanding instrument to take charge of a room. Do you have a leadership voice?
  5. Combining voice and a other Social Signals to increase success rate in meetings and social settings: What honest signals do you send out in key work and social situations?
  6. Using unconscious mind to make decisions, rid of phobias and fears, and create a more successful persona: is your unconscious mind holding you back or propelling you forward?
  7. Putting it all together to become a master storyteller who synchronizes brain waves with the listeners to enhance leadership capacity and move others to action: Are you telling powerful stories?

Each of these power cues seem interesting because it moves from how to use self-awareness, emotions, reading others, voice and social signals to make decisions and be a master storyteller. Storytellers captivate the audience by sucking them into the world they want to project.

He presents some interesting recent findings on brain research:

  • We gesture before we think consciously about what we are doing!
  • We have neurons that fire when we witness someone else expressing emotions – and they give us the exact same emotions
  • If we lost our ability to process emotion, we lose our ability to remember or decide anything
  • We emit low-frequency sounds that align with the most powerful person around through matching vocal tones
  • Our measurable nonverbal signals concerning our confidence in a negotiation predict success or failure far more accurately than the relative merits of our position or what we say
  • Neurons are distributed throughout our body, not just in the brain, including the heart and the gut
  • When we communicate with others, we align our brain patterns, even if we do not agree with each other

Can’t wait to read the entire book; the start has been quite interesting.

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Food for thought!

A really logical talk on how fast or processed food has overtaken our lives and how it permeated into our homes. People talk about weight and exercise but never of healthy living, and healthy living starts from home – in cooking and eating healthy food. Food we eat influences the body we have which influences the thoughts we create. So watch what you eat.


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The Curiosity of a Child

My soon-to-be-6-year-old son Shrivaas Kaushik (nick name – Shambhu) asks questions that sometimes leaves me thinking.

Today, in our usual casual conversations, he playfully asked: “Appa, in the world which is more, LAND or WATER?”

I replied: “Water, Shambhu”

Shrivaas: “But appa, how can water be there without land? what is below water? land, right? so land is more than water, right?”

All I could do was to give a contemplative pause and a smile in appreciation of the logic. Not that I did not have an answer or that the conversation stopped there, but I was simply in awe of the simplicity of the inquiry. He had asked something that many of us take for granted.

In a different occasion he said “Appa, I know how you can become younger – do not eat anything. When you eat you grow and become older, right? So when you do not eat you do not grow, you become younger. Right?”

This may be distorted logic but I see it more as an attempt to view something from a different or a new angle. Whether you are a student or a manager or an engineer or an entrepreneur or a job seeker, challenging the fundamentals uncovers the simple underlying truths. We just need to be prepared to see a new way of seeing things, phrasing our statements or thoughts.



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Secret of Prosperity!

Many of the ancient wisdom always prescribe a two sides approach – anukulasya sankalpah pratikulasya varjanam: accepting the beneficial and avoiding the opposite (that which is not beneficial).

Success has many definitions, however “prosperity” of any form (that which you are happy about) is success.  And successful people have these two habits – zeal and lack of lethargy (which leads to postponement and procrastination).

यत्रोऽत्साहसमारम्भो यत्रालस्यविहीनता ।
नयविक्रमसम्योगस्तत्र श्रीरचला ध्रुवम् ॥
- पञ्चतन्त्र, मित्रसम्प्राप्‍ति

yatrOtsAhasamArambho yatrAlasyaviheenatA |
nayavikramasamyogastatra shreerachalA dhruvam ||
- panchatantra, mitrasamprApti

Where there is the spirit of enterprise (zeal), where there is absence of laziness (idleness, want of energy), there certainly is the union (conjunction, merger, synthesis, alliance) of conduct and force (strength, intensity, courage), and (thus) steady (stable) good fortune (prosperity, auspiciousness, success).

I wish you good fortune.

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Life’s Endless Lessons!

Recently someone forwarded message reading “Written by Regina Brett , 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland , Ohio … “.  There is an ancient Sanskrit saying:  viShAdapyamRutaM grAhyaM bAlAdapi subhAShitam | amitrAdapi sadvRuttaM amEdhyAdapi kAMchanam || - manusmRuti


Nectar (elixir) should be extracted even from poison; a good thought or idea even from a small child; good character even from an enemy; gold even from garbage.

So, it does not matter whether Regina is 5 year old or 95 year old, lessons are very valuable. For the records, Regina is around 50+ now (http://www.reginabrett.com/life_lessons.php)


Here are Regina’s 50 Lessons from life. I had emboldened some that appealed to me more than the others:

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good!

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone, everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift..

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Talent – Rock Balance!

<iframe src=”//player.vimeo.com/video/56445325″ width=”500″ height=”281″ frameborder=”0″ webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/56445325″>GRAVITY GLUE-An Interview with Michael Grab</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/chuckrichardson”>Chuck Richardson</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

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Happiness and Emotions

There are many emotions that a human experiences, but I think there are only two states that matter – HAPPY and UNHAPPY (in fact there is only one state that matters – HAPPY, and the UNHAPPY state is just the absence of the HAPPY state). All the emotions are only an external manifestation of the these states.

Some people consider “Happy” as an emotion, which I have disagreed in the past. Yes, it is a matter of words and their interpretations, but even then I consider “Happiness” as a state, the undercurrent. Now, what is the difference between an emotion and a state? Wiki – Emotion is a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states. It is a pattern of physiological activity. Even the emotions have states and degrees. But then the state I am talking about is the foundation on which the different emotions surface.

Here is how I perceive it:

We are born with instincts and inclinations or tendencies, and grow up to develop preferences and expectations. We are by nature in the HAPPY state, and that is our natural state. When something (events or objects or people) aligns with our tendencies, instincts or expectations then we reach the HAPPY state, and the UNHAPPY state otherwise. The whole endeavor of human existence is to reach the HAPPY state because that is our nature. We have traversed so far away from who we are that HAPPINESS has become a state that is hard to reach.

The whole pursuit is to be happy (reach or be in that state), and anything that does not lead us to it leads us to the unhappy state. Somethings seem to make us happy while others unhappy. When in the happy state we experience and display positive emotions, for example, gratitude, excitement, smile, laughter, love, fun, delight and many such positive states stem from and lead to the HAPPY state. On the other hand, when the happy state cannot be reached, we experience and display not-so-positive (or negative) emotions such as anger, anxiety, hate, disliking, frustration, sadness, sorrow etc stem from and lead to the UNHAPPY state.

We pursue happiness by seeking pleasures, but pleasures are temporary, so is our ‘happiness’. In our attempts to scale the infinite through the finite, we experience the unhappy state more than the happy state. Some claim that we can reach the happiness state by simply being in the present – by being congruent. It is not easy but not impossible. Some claim to have experienced this via silence or meditation, some via devotion, some via work, some via exploring passion etc.

Anyway. The whole idea is – there are only two states (or one if you want to see it that way) that matter – HAPPY and UNHAPPY state, and all the emotions are manifestations of these state.

I am happy deep within.

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I LOVED this!

How I wish we did not see cows as “FOOD”, and instead saw them as wonderful beings that desire as much freedom as we do; as beings that want to live as much as would love to. I wish we stopped using animals like products for our benefit. What a sight to watch those wonderful beings experience freedom. Loved it.

We had cows at home and I love cows for they are such wonderful creatures.

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Only companions, no opponents!

Found this beautiful write up by Sue Knight (http://www.sueknight.com/), my NLP ‘Guru’ and Mentor:


My publisher has asked me to update my book NLP at Work where I reference Lance Armstrong as a model of excellence. And despite the motivation that I have experienced over the years via Armstrong I agree with the need to change this and have been studying Roger Federer; a sports person I have admired for years. One of the things that is remarkable about Federer is the way that he has always thought about his goals.

To use some of the words from his biography – “We are all pursuing the same goal. We do not need to be opponents.” He did not consider his opponents as rivals who wanted to ‘rob the butter from his bread’ as the sometimes reclusive Jimmy Connors would say. His opponents were more companions on a common path. This attitude made him a popular and well-liked person in the locker room. For Federer, tennis was not an individual sport with opponents who needed to be intimidated, but a common leisure activity with like-minded colleagues who, as part of a big team, were pursuing the same goal.

That is what I admire. That is the way to do business and the way to live life. There is no need to run people down to promote and market. When we work together we grow and contribute to the one system in which we are all connected. I like that.


Such a gem. NLP is about studying and adopting excellence in others, and excellence is all around us. This is the idea of “vasudaiva kutumbakam” – the whole world is my family.

Thank You Sue for showcasing a person who for me is excellence in every respect.

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