Mumbai is in a state of chaos. All traffic signals across the entire city have stopped working.
Shahwaz Ali Mirza, head of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, receives an anonymous email claiming it to be a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. He quickly puts together a crack team that includes his protege, IG Cybercrime Vikrant Singh, and gets to work trawling the dark web for more information on this mystery attack. However, a move to bring forward the hacker backfires, leading to a second, deadlier attack on Mumbai’s lifeline, the railway system.
It is their first brush with cyberterrorism: a zero-day vulnerability in the Indian government’s system that could bring the country to its knees. Racing against time and investigating a case unlike any other, in Zero Day, Mirza and Vikrant face the most dangerous mission of their lives
I love reading crime novels. Especially the pace they pick up after a few chapters and the urge they give me to complete it sooner. The novel Zero-day by Hussain Zaidi gives you a lot of twists turns and edge-of-seat moments.
In a busy city like Mumbai, a cyber attack is getting the city to a standstill. What would be the problem? More than physical terror, this time everything goes digital. A hacking attempt into the city’s traffic system brings the city to chaos.
The ATS chief received an anonymous email on the threat and the subsequent actions were taken by his team with occurrences of politics, and a wee bit of romance making it an interesting read.
Trying to find the identity of the hacker, to handling a national emergency situation in a smart way the book has its own nuances by the author with which he keeps the reader engaged. The language is simple and also makes the situations nail-biting through the narration. Characters Mirza and Vikrant had great bonding that helped in cracking the mystery. A crisp power-packed story that definitely would keep mystery lovers engaged.
S.. Hussain Zaidi is one of the most prolific crime writers in India. The investigations into the Mumbai mafia that he has conducted in books such as Dongri to Dubai, Mafia Queens of Mumbai and My Name is Abu Salem are among the finest investigative reporting of all time.
As the Resident Editor of the newspaper The Asian Age, Zaidi began his career in journalism. He then worked for several other publications, including The Indian Express, Mid Day, and Mumbai Mirror. Authors like Misha Glenny in McMafia and Vikram Chandra in Sacred Games drew on his in-depth research into the Mumbai mafia for their works. Adrian Levy, the author of books like The Meadows on Kashmir terrorism and The Siege on 26/11 attacks, consults him on a variety of subjects.
His reporting on the Mumbai mafia has spanned decades. Black Friday, written in 2002, is a book about the 1993 Mumbai bombings, which had 13 explosions and caused 250 deaths. Two years later, in 2004, Anurag Kashyap adapted the book into a film also titled Black Friday. As a result of the controversy surrounding the film, the Indian Censor Board refused to allow its release in India for three years, and the Supreme Court of India eventually allowed its release after a unanimous judgment in the Bombay blasts case delivered by TADA court.
Zaidi conducted an interview with the suspected bombing mastermind Dawood Ibrahim for the book Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia, a history of the Mumbai mafia involving the Mumbai mafia. In 2012, Sanjay Gupta adapted the book into the film Shootout at Wadala.
Phantom, the 2015 film starring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, is based on Zaidi’s book Mumbai Avengers, and the screenplay for it was written with Zaidi’s assistance.
As an associate producer, he worked on the HBO documentary Terror in Mumbai, which tells the story of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
Shopping is a therapy to many. Checking out the aisles of stuff going round trying to see if you could pick up something, look at what others choose to shop are all various events that one would notice when you set out to shop. They could also be disadvantageous to few. When the pandemic hit, we were all holed up at our homes. Shops big or small were all closed up. The world of offline shopping didn’t expect to see itself going into a black hole which was taking it to darkness for an infinite period. And for those whom I mentioned that shopping was a therapy it was a total crash landing.
Ecommerce even way before pandemic was well established. In fact, there were a sect of people who stopped doing offline shopping and only stuck to shopping online. I myself belong to that category. I found that it made my way of shopping much easier and whenever I want to.
The pandemic was also the time when businesses decided that they will have to shift to the online paradigm. They knew that was the only way that the Business would continue to see the light until the pandemic ends.
Online shopping through e-commerce saw a drastic rise in purchasing capabilities thanks to the pandemic. Vendors continued to move ahead with their business collaborating by onboarding their business with already existing ecommerce majors or sought to make a standalone website.
While we still reel under the pandemic wave, ecommerce still continues to boom even if shops open up online because some of the recent users felt that the choice, they made to shop online convinced them that this could make it easier for them.
Vendors in the tier 2 cities also saw through vast expansion in their reach through the online venture that they decided to go on with it even if the pandemic is gone forever. If it is boosting your economy why not continue to do it was what they thought.
The steady rise in the shopping trend also contributed to the economy. Be it whatever category that is being shopped the country is benefited through the taxes. So this helps boost the economy of the nation as well.
So why would people continue to shop online or why does online shopping remain popular trend?
Ease of shopping.
Ecommerce brought in the comfort of shopping from home. I needn’t get squished in the crowds or wait for the sales person to show me other options similar. I can shop while cooking, reading or even while lying down on the bed.
Everything within few clicks
The technology in ecommerce is so very advanced that within a few clicks and scrolls I could shop for the entire family. Right from choosing to making the payment it is all very simplified.
Options to share
Say I’m shopping for my mom, I don’t have to drag her to the shop, make her wait and patiently check on what she chooses. With the apps available on phones, we could check and share across, get to know the choice, make payment and get it delivered. Especially a savior if you stay away from home. Also makes both of you happy, doesn’t it?
The ecommerce website algorithm is so well versed in understanding the human actions because while you keep shopping, we are also shown similar interests or even options that would go well with the commodity that we are about to buy. This makes our planning much easier. Say I’m buying an attire, I also get suggestions on the accessories that would go well with the look. I needn’t go look for it separately that I just hit one click buy this combo and my job is done.
Ease of payments
The biggest problems when it comes to offline shopping is the big queues at the billing desk. The change for the currency and the working condition of card swiping machine. It really makes you go nuts when you’re almost about to get your cart billed, the card machine stops working or there is no proper change. Online shopping has hassle free payment methods like using debit cards, credit cards, net banking, UPI and digital wallets. Added to that you get amazing discounts if you’re using any particular type of cards. You also get the option to choose COD(Cash on Delivery), I don’t think that would even be possible when you do offline shopping.
There is no worry of theft in case of shopping in a crowded place, the payment you make is secure.
Online shopping payments methods also offer various cashbacks which is great to lure in customers. Who wouldn’t want to save some money?
Augmented reality and virtual reality
This has made it easy especially when it comes to trials in case of apparels and accessories and the order of placement when it comes to furniture or home décor. I cannot really imagine how the piece of décor or furniture would suit my space by imagining it over in my head rather than getting to see a real image of how it would actually look on my screen.
Reviews and comparisons
Reviews and comparisons between different brands is made clear when you shop online. You get to know what you actually buy is going to be genuine and worth the investment that you are going to make. This won’t be possible in offline shopping.
Online shopping has way more advantages than its disadvantages. The ecommerce industry is continuing to see steady rise as we speak as the word of mouth and even digitization spreads its benefits. As long as people continue to shop online, they would be seen as one of the main contributors to the country’s economy.
Bored roommates use a planchette to contact a legendary ghost that haunts Pune University. Will she answer? Is the abandoned Khairatabad Science College in Hyderabad really haunted? A gang of students break inside to investigate. Nirav and Pavi love each other . . . most of the time. Will exploring a forbidden place inside IIT Kharagpur bring them closer? From strange sightings to urban legends, from haunted buildings to not-so-friendly ghosts, colleges in India have their fair share of spine-tingling tales, be it Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, St. Bede’s College in Shimla or Delhi University. Young Blood is a collection of ten tales that reimagine college urban legends and true first-person accounts, that promises to terrify even die-hard fans of horror.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chandrima Das has a B.Tech in Computer Science from NIT Durgapur and an MBA from IIM Calcutta. After a decade-long career in management consulting, she followed her passion for writing. Her digital debut The Talking Dead was a bestseller in the horror category. She’s performed live at storytelling events with Tall Tales and Kommune, and was published in The Best Of Tall Tales.
I enjoy horror as a genre in both watching movies and reading books. Though many would disagree that horror books do not give you the same vibe when you read them as much as you watch movies in that genre. But individuals differ and its all in the reader’s mind I would say.
So, when I knew there was this chance to review the book, I knew I should definitely not miss the chance of reading book in my favourite genre. The blurb intrigued me further because not long enough my husband and I were discussing about planchette and was coincidentally mentioned in the blurb as well. The book has ten stories from different institutions across the country and involves the various tales that haunt the campuses. The stories gave me chills at certain points. I wantedly chose to read them at nights so that it adds to the thrill and the author sure didn’t disappoint me.
Each story sets a different stage and addresses a social issue pertaining to the modern age. I loved the way how the author connected the tale and the social issues. The nature of how each story was narrated is one of the biggest pluses that does not let you keep the book down once you start reading.
The author through her writing makes you feel that you are in the tale experiencing the horrific events when you are just right there on your bed reading the book. That is a win-win for any author to make the reader transport to the bookish world.
The stories and the notes at the end made a well-connected read. I’d suggest not to read notes at last but as and when you finish a story for a much greater reading experience.
The book is a must read for those who love horror and who would want to try the genre too.
As much as all of us want to make ourselves presentable in terms of physical appearance and also to smell good, we fail to notice one of the most important after effects.
As per studies an average human uses about 30 gallons of water to wash . And when I say wash it does include the chemicals we wash away too like soap, face washes, shower gel. This not only goes to our drain but ends up in the aquatic ecosystem.
All this because certain substances are non biodegradable and we also end up consuming the aquatic life which have been affected by the harmful chemicals. So it is indirectly affecting us.
They not only affect by indirect usage by us but also when being tested directly on animals that’s another topic of discussion.
What are the products that harm the environment??
Oxybenzone is predominantly found in sunscreens. Since sunscreen is widely used in tropical places they end up being present in the water harming aquatic life. They have an adverse effect on the coral reefs which ends up bleaching them. Hence always choose a safe sunscreen that doesn’t have oxybenzone.
Parabens are mainly used as a preservative in cosmetics like primer. They end up being found on the tissues of aquatic life. They can damage coral reefs and introduce reproductive issues in aquatic life.
Mostly present in soaps and handwashes, triclosan also can be present in toothpastes in minimal quantities. They end up killing the algae which is food for majority of aquatic life. Also cause hormonal problems in dolphins and disturbs ecological balance.
Silicone in whitening creams
High levels of siloxane, a derivative of silicone was found deposited in skin of fish and other marine life denoting the fact that it fails to leave the skin.
Microbeads contains polyethylene and propylene
Face washes, shower gels, detergents all have variants which have plastic microbeads. Aquatic life predominantly fishes misunderstand the beads to be fish food and end up confusion them. It takes hundreds of years for them to break down to simpler substances.
Wet wipes having plastic fibres
The wet wipes we use for convenience has plastic fibres which does not disintegrated instead binds to fats from the sewer and clogs drains. They cannot be recycled and hence end up polluting the environment and drains. So avoid sheet masks and wipe pads too.
In addition to all these a major contributor is the packaging which the products come in. Mainly packed with plastic and cardboard though their main purpose served is safe transportation and for usage purposes. These packing materials also contribute to keeping the environment polluted.
The beauty industry has been named to be contributing to the environment degradation because they pollute the landfill and end up in pollution.
The cardboard is made from tree pulp which also indicates harm to trees used for packaging materials. On top of this, companies also use mixed materials like polyethylene which are non biodegradable and end up in the aquatic life adding more fuel to the already existing pollution problem.
Almost all products have chemicals in them which cannot be broken down to the lowest levels. These products cannot be destroyed either. A
As consumers we cannot abstain from buying products but the choices we make can bring in a lot for difference.
Next time before buying make sure to check labels and help conserve the environment by embracing brands that are eco friendly and contribute our part to preserving the mother earth.
Inspiration from consumers who opposed using such chemicals has made brands adopt green strategies. This also proves that in the end the consumer has the power to change the strategies for businesses and help them undertake sustainable practices.
Responsible purchasing choices should be practiced and proper education what should be avoided citing the adverse effects, consumers will definitely have an impact on reducing the harmful effects.
Naithy Cherozil is a rich and successful business woman from Mumbai who marries the young and handsome model Tony D’Souza after the death of her spouse. Little does she know that the ideal sex slave of her husband is the sleeper cell of a terror outfit. Events in her life take unforeseen turns as the male Mata Hari is activated.Prem Rollands is a ‘Kalari’ exponent and a brilliant student whose world revolves around his brother Arun. Things go awry when the police kill Arun under mysterious circumstances. Prem kills the inspector in retribution and is on the run. He is on the lookout to find the dark secrets leading to Arun’s death. Prem must avenge those who have plotted to kill his brother.Eighteen year old Alice Cherozil knows more about computers and mystery games than a girl of her age. Her life falls apart when her mother is hospitalised and in a coma. She is playing the ultimate mystery game of her life as the web of secrets surrounding two precious diamonds and her stepfather threaten to destroy her family. She overcomes the moral dilemma to kill her stepfather. Alice must outwit the underworld and stay ahead of all to save her mother’s life or the guilt of her failure will haunt her forever.As the lives of Naithy, Prem and Alice cross each other they must retain their faith and protect their beloved ones, even at the cost of their own lives.
A master piece from the Best-selling and Award -winning author of Men and Dreams int he Dhauladhar .A riveting saga of love, lust, betrayal, intrigue and revenge.
Set in a contemporary mood style the novel is a fast paced thriller. The second from the author of Men and Dreams in The Dhauladhar . Based on the idea of keeping faith and notion of being one’s loved person, the novel has all elements like love, suspense, thriller, violence encompassed within it.
The opening where Alice Cherozil holds a knife remembering a passage from the bible is where it all starts. A gory and a deep intensive description about how she first contemplates and then proceeds with a firm determination wherein she ends up murdering her step-father Tony Dsouza.
How Tony becomes her step-father is altogether a different story wherein her mother Naithy who loses her husband as one of the victim’s of the Mumbai terror attack. She marries Tony, a model and ended up becoming him sex slave. Thereafter she slips into coma post an accident.
There is yet another story plot simultaneous wherein two brothers(Arun and Prem) who fled with money raping Naithy. Arun on the other hand is killed by the police for which Prem seeks revenge and is waiting upon a chance to avenge his brother’s death.
An action packed sequence follows as Alice does not foresee a lot things when she charted the plan to murder , Tony. But she finally managed to kill him and runs away. Prem looks to kill both Alice and Naithy and God it makes you wonder for a second why on earth all this is happening.
The plot narrows down to some underworld connections which seemingly makes it appear like a British political drama which will all the more leave you gaping and roll the eye balls on multiple occasions. Trust me I don’t remember the number of times I did that.
Even though I found the novel gripping and the plot to be intriguing I needed a break at times, just because everything was going overboard for me. Too many storylines which seem to run parallel and lot of motives which underlie bringing into picture more characters seeking revenge for one another.
I still couldn’t decipher myself as to who I should be putting forth as the protagonist because there were a lot many characters that seemed important at the spur of the moment and then vanished.
The book does have some loose ends but that does not stop you from finishing it. I found the language a bit difficult and it being in the second person narrative , took me time to comprehend what was happening. But applaud to the descriptive nature of writing style.
The book cover is well designed with a blood drop dripping from heart shaped diamond kind of giving you a hint of what can be expected.
Kochery C. Shibu is a retired naval officer. A graduate from the National Defence Academy he has held several important posts in the Indian Navy. Post his retirement he has executed hydroelectric projects in the Cauvery river basin in Karnataka, Beas river basin in Himachal and lately Teesta river basin in Sikkim. He holds a postgraduate degree in Defence Studies from Chennai University, and MA in English Literature from Pune University. Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar is his debut novel. The technical content of the novel, namely the setting up of a hydro-project is drawn from his experience in these projects since 2005, as are many of the characters inspired from those whom he encountered at the project site. Kochery C. Shibu was born in Kochi and now lives in Bangalore with his wife and daughter.
Parenting always comes with a major responsibility of keeping children safe. As a parent we are not only responsible for bringing them up as good human beings but also responsible for raising a healthy child. This cannot be seen as duty, rather it comes out of parental love and impulse to keep the kids safe from physical harm and diseases.
In the growing years, it is necessary to keep an eye on the child’s growth. Also important is strong immunity. That’s why doctors ask about any kind of symptoms and other health conditions during regular visits.
Immunity in children is another area of concern. Children easily contract infections from elders and can pass on the infection to senior citizens. Since we are already battling a pandemic for which we have the vaccination drive ongoing, here’s what my doctor told me about flu vaccines.
Influenza can lead to dangerous complications and children in the age group of 6 months to 8 years are especially vulnerable. The elderly too are at a risk. Keeping them all safe is a priority and the best way to be protected is to get the flu shot.
When the pandemic hit us, it took some time before a vaccine was available. However, that is not the case with flu since we already have the vaccine handy. It is just that people need to be made aware of the importance of administering the shots, as well as educated about the right vaccine and the time when they should take it. The flu shot is crucial for 360° protection.
Best time to get your flu shot
The WHO has recommended that the Southern Hemisphere (SH) vaccine is the ideal vaccine for India. Influenza vaccination is most effective when local circulating viruses are well-matched with vaccine antigens for SH. Since the peak season of flu in the larger part of the country starts between mid-summer to monsoons, now is the right time to vaccinate against flu for effective protection.
Flu vaccine should be taken annually. However, getting vaccinated early for subsequent seasons is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults says CDC. Protection fades over time, so not getting vaccinated with the vaccine containing the right seasonal strains may leave one more vulnerable. Vaccination can be done throughout the SH flu season, into September or later.
We did see a lot of pediatric cases during the second wave of covid-19, so it is much needed for us as parents to keep ourselves updated on the vaccine schedules for the kids. For diseases like influenza, it is very much a necessity that the entire family is vaccinated. The responsibility lies with us parents to make all the members of the family aware of the consequences and therefore as a proactive measure it is a must to take the flu shot.
Do remember if the adults in the family have recently taken the covid vaccine, there can be a gap of 14 days before they take the flu shot.
Though maintaining good hygiene is a great way to keep away from flu, getting vaccinated gives you an upper hand to prevent getting infected.
CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine, which will help in reducing the additional burden to the healthcare services who strive to keep our population safe.
AS per CDC, below are the benefits of the flu vaccine:
Flu vaccination helps you to keep away from becoming sick due to flu.
Flu-associated hospitalization is greatly reduced for kids and adults when the flu vaccine is administered.
Lately, you could see the whole skincare world talking a lot about active ingredients. The most commonly talked about is Niacinamide.
Niacinamide also known as nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3. An essential nutrient whose deficiency could lead to disorders of skin,kidney and brain. Taking niacinamide can prevent the deficiency.
The ingredient has much more to offer when it is used in the general skin department. Applying niacinamide topically is proven to help in treating skin conditions like eczema and acne.
Benefits of niacinamide
Niacinamide is mainly recommended for people who have puffy skin and rosacea. The anti-inflammatory properties aid in reducing the redness. Skin immunity can be boosted as niacinamide helps in building keratin, the protein that keeps skin firm and healthy.
The lipid barrier that niacinamide helps in building aids in retaining moisture of the skin. This is much beneficial for people who have eczema or mature skin.
When you skin is smooth and moisturized due to topical application of niacinamide it helps in minimizing the pores.
Retention of moisture isn’t beneficial only when the skin is dry. Regulation of the amount of oil that the sebaceous glands produce is one of the most important benefits of using niacinamide.
Concurrent rebuilding of healthy skin cells and also protecting skin from harmful ultraviolet radiation is a benefit of niacinamide as well.
5% concentration of niacinamide in application can help in treating pigmentation and also fight against signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. The application also helped in fading dark spots. The results cannot be visible instantaneously but over a period of four weeks.
Niacinamide helps in treating aggressive acne conditions like pustules. The application over a period of time helps in improving skin texture and lesser number of lesions on the skin.
Niacinamide helps protect skin against environmental stresses like dust, pollution and sun damage. It also offers protection to regenerate the healthy skin cells.
FOOD over supplements
Instead of directly taking a supplement to lessen the deficiency it is always best to try improving intake of vitamins through food. Some sources of vitamin B3 are eggs,fish , milk and green vegetables. So next time don’t reject when your offered an extra portion of any of these over the table.
Ingredients that you can include in skincare routine along with niacinamide
Vitamin C, Kojic acid and hyaluronic acid are ingredients that can be paired with niacinamide in your skincare routine for clear skin.
How to use ?
Niacinamide can work wonders on your skin post cleansing, cause that is when your skin is free of impurities and oil.
Post that you can apply moisturizer and sunscreen before heading out.
The ingredient niacinamide can be included in your AM and PM skincare routine.
Here are some of my tried and tested niacinamide products
NYKAA SKINRX 10% niacinamide
This is mainly used for spot correction. The serum is composed of 10% niacinamide, 1% zinc and 1% alpha arbutin for spot correction of dark spots, blemishes and pigmentation.
Nature can play a major role to leave a profound effect or impact on our brain. This in turn influences our behaviour helping us to alleviate stress and anxiety. Increase in attention , creative thinking and social connections are also being observed as nature’s touch to leeaad a good mental health. We’re still in the beginning stage to find more and more evidences to prove the above.
Nature helps to heal
Spending time in a greener and nature dense environment had its effects on improving self-esteem and alleviating depressive symptoms on those suffering from mental health issues.
Not only improvisation of mental health but also significant progres in physical well-being, reduction in muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure is also observed to be some of the benefits to indulge in nature therapy.
The multiple incoming sensory signals is caused by soothing effect of nature. Lush greenery, mild natural sounds and nice fragrance also have their place in contributing to good mental health. The sight of flowers or even the scent of roses can leave a relaxed effect.
There are numerous ways to enjoy nature right from the comfort of your home. Tending a garden, working from the outdoors, meditation outdoors than doing them inside is a great change. Working or doing your daily tasks with natural light from the sun and sky is also a great way to enjoy nature indoors.
The sight of an unpleasant environment on the other hand can reverse the healing effect. Regardless of age people find nature to be soothing and pleasing. ‘ Healing Gardens ‘ is a book that cites over two-thirds of people choose natural sights to resort to when being stressed.
A recent research also proves that having a small plant indoors in offices, hospitals and at work or school can have an lessening effect on stress and anxiety.
Nature’s help in soothing
In addition to above effects of nature to heal we often resort to nature when experiencing pain and discomfort.
Our bodies are genetically engineered to look out for trees, water and natural elements and when we absorb the natural scenes we get distracted from pain and discomfort.
This was evidently seen when two sets of people post surgery where made to stay in rooms facing trees and the other group facing wall. It was fascinating to know people who see natural scenary showed better pain management than people who were made to see the wall.
Nature helps in restoring
Nature also helps to aid better general wellbeing. Almost 95% of people would assure that they felt relieved from being depressed or stressed after spending time outdoors. It also helps calm anxious mind keeping it more balanced.When you’re in a positive mood and good psychological well-being it in turn improves vitality and meaningfulness. The ability to stay more focused or pay attention also improves when we spend time looking at nature. Nature is inherently interesting to us humans that we tend to focus naturally on what we are currently experiencing. So this serves to calm down the overactive mind and keep it refreshed for the upcoming tasks.
Research also shows that children with ADHD shower improved attention span after spending time in nature.
Nature helps in making connections
When people spend time in nature it helps them connect to one another and also to the world outside.It is also said that people who surrounded their houses with trees and greenery ended up knowing more people,have more concern with helping out each other and have strong sense of belonging than tenants who do not have trees around. They also have increased feelings unity towards their neighbours.
These people show better capacity to deal with life demands ,less violence and aggression between domestic partners.
When brain activity during nature exposure is studied it was evident that the parts of brain that are associated with empathy and love lit up and it ignited the fear and anxiety in urban scenaries.
Deadly screen time
Too much of time spent before screens lacking time to enjoy nature is said to increase depressive symptoms and isolation. In the worst case it can also lead to loss of empathy and altruism.
Nurture children with nature
So it is advisable if we bring up the younger generation to spend very less time in front of the screen and to engage with nature. They could take a walk around the block, read by the window or play outdoor games.
The book released in 1987 since then its been one of the best sellers in Personal Development. The book helped transform people around the world in terms of their life and work.
All of us want to reach our destination and achieve our goals. As the title suggests why wouldn’t one want to learn the habits of effective people. Since we all want to achieve the goals one way to success would be to take note of habits that would help you through the journey.So putting more in terms of productivity and efficiency will help us reach there.
But hands down the book does end up teaching you a lot more than the seven habits. Called the treasure trove of productivity and the wisdom that helps you reach achievement if you still haven’t found the treasure box, its just right there waiting for you to open the chest.
There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles. – Stephen Covey
Covey’s belief is that the way we see the entire world is through our perception. SO if we want to bring about a change in any situation we would first need to bring in the change in us. And when we say the change in us it would also mean the change in the way we perceive things.
Long long ago the success foundation was laid on character ethic which would be courage , justice, patience, integrity, modesty. But as time passed around in 1920s success moved to personality ethic which included public image, behavior and attitude.
Now all people want is faster solutions and way up the ladder. The moment they see someone or team or an organization succeed they jump with questions on how to and gaining knowledge on the techniques. But these short term solutions will not address the underlying solution but will manage to help you achieve success in short time.
Covey writes,”The way we see the problem is the problem,” We as humans must undergo what is called the paradigm shifts to go deep and change the fundamentals rather than just go about on changing the behavior and attitude on the outside just to achieve.
Now that is where Covey comes up with the seven habits that can help you out.
Habits 1,2,3 help to move from dependence to independent.Self-mastery Habits 4,5,6 help move from independence to interdependence that’s where you focus on teamwork, collaborating and communicating. Habit 7 helps on continuous growth and improvement and embodies the other habits.
Habit 1 Be proactive
Our ability to examine the character and decide how to view the self in situations and control our effectiveness is what makes us stand apart from the other beings. So to be effective one needs to be proactive.
Reactive people believe world is happening to them. They feel victimized and lose control. They think the problem is out which rightly points out that their thought is the actual problem.
However on the other hand the proactive people understand they responsibility which drills down to how you would respond to the situation.
Challenge yourself to test the principle of proactivity by doing the following: 1. Start replacing reactive language with proactive language. Reactive = “He makes me so mad.” Proactive = “I control my own feelings.” 2. Convert reactive tasks into proactive ones.
HAbit 2 Begin with the end in mind
Picture your destination in mind.Use your imaginative power to visualize what you want to see yourself become and use the conscience to plan what values will guide you.
We find it easy to make ourselves busy. Let it be working hard to achieve promotion, high pay. We don’t pause to evaluate if this is what we really want that keeps us busy.
So habit 2 will make sure we start with the end in mind so that we know the steps we take are in the right path leading to the clear destination.
Habit 3 Put First Things First
Effective management means we put first things first. The discipline that helps you prioritize what is more important than what is more urgent is what matters. Habit three helps you to go after the goals set by habit two and execute them on order of priority and moment basis.
So in a disciplined manner to stay focused on the journey we need to have the willpower do something when you actually don’t want to. We need to act according to the values rather than giving in to desires.
“Think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.” -Stephen Covey
Habit 4 Think Win win
For effective interdependent relationship we must be sure to create win-win relationship which mutually benefit and satisfy the participants.
Covey explains that there are six paradigms of human interaction: 1. Win-Win: A situation where both people win wherein the solution and argument is beneficial and satisfactory. 2. Win-Lose: This is prone to use position,power and personality to get things done. Rather its “If I win, you lose.” 3. Lose-Win:These people are quick to please and gain strength from popularity or acceptance something like “I lose, you win.” 4. Lose-Lose: This would be a combination of two people who are win -lose where they’re both ego invested, stubborn and end up losing. 5. Win: These people get what they wish for and do not necessarily want the other to lose which would mean irrelevant to them. 6. Win-Win or No Deal: If you can’t reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial, there is no deal.
The safe and best option is to create a win-win situation. In win-lose and lose-win one person gets what they want, but thats only for the moment and will definitely make an impact in the relationship moving forward. As a backup it is important we use win-win or no deal. The no deal leaves your mind free cause you needn’t manipulate people or make changes in your agenda.
“To go for Win-Win, you not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous.” -Stephen Covey
Habit 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Much before offering advice or suggestions or to interact with the other person we must understand them in a deep manner and their perceptions through the way of empathic listening. Seeking to understand and to be understood first requires learning to listen. We all know the below split up suggested by communication experts.
10% of our communication is represented by our words 30% is represented by our sounds 60% is represented by our body language
The second part of Habit 5 is ” … then to be understood.” This is equally critical in achieving Win-Win solutions.
Habit 6. Synergize
We have an opportunity to create a synergy by not only understanding but also valuing the differences in the other perspective.Through being open and creative we would be able to uncover new possibilities by the synergy created.
The combination of the rest of the habits actually prepares you for habit 6.
There are 4 dimensions of nature that needs to be exercised and balanced on a regular basis.
PHYSICAL: Exercising the body to increase capacity to work and adapt. Eat well, exercise ,rest and relax. Focusing on this dimension helps develop muscles of being proactive.
SPIRITUAL: Reinforcing commitment to our value and to provide leadership to the life is the goal of spiritual dimension renewal. Meditation on a daily basis, immersing in music or literature, communicating with nature are ways to practice this renewal. This helps to practice habit 2 where we revise and commit ourselves to values on a continued basis so we begin with the end in mind.
Mental Dimension: Expanding mind is goal of renewing mental dimension.Reading a good book, recording the experiences in journal and watch programs which enrich mind and life. This helps in practicing habit 3 to maximize the use of resource and time by effectively managing ourselves.
Social/Emotional Dimension: Social or emotional dimension renewal is to have the goal of developing meaningful relationships. Deeply understanding people, making contributions which help in improving other lives, practice and maintain abundance mentality and help others find success helps renew this dimension.
Social and emotional dimension renewal helps to make us practice 4,5,6 and by recognizing existence of win-win solutions, understanding others and finding new alternatives through synergy.
Opening new possibilities and alternatives is possible through synergy.As a group you can collectively shunt the old scripts and write new ones.
For example, if you plant two plants close together, their roots will co-mingle and improve the quality of the soil, so that both plants will grow better than they would on their own.
Valuing the differences in terms of mental, psychological and emotional differences is the real essence of synergy.
Habit 7. Sharpen the Saw
Devoting time to renew ourselves physically, spiritually,mentally and socially will make us effective. Continuous renewal will increase the ability to practice habits on increase that is synergistic.
Taking the time for renewal and sharpening the saw is what habit 7 is focused on. It surrounds the other habits by making sure each of the one is possible by enhancing ourselves which is the greatest asset.
The real beauty of the 7 Habits is that improvement in one habit synergistically increases our ability to improve the rest.
Michelle Obama, the name lit up the room and also inspiration to many of us. Whatever she is today is self-made and that’s something that everyone wants to become one day. She was not born with a silver spoon but she did come out with flying colors. She was never helped to go up the ladder, yet she was there before no one knew it. She had fought tooth and nail to reach and become whoever she is now and marrying the most powerful man or should I put it rightly to say the love of her life and becoming the FLOTUS.
YOUR ROLE AS A PARENT
Your role as the parent is not only to be their role model to shape them up and make them look up to you but also a good companion. From Michelle’s memoir that is so inspiring that right from when she was small she was taught “Not to let anyone walk over you and to stand up when someone tries to bully.” Well I must say that should be the most important lesson any parent must teach their little one. Standing up for themselves and not letting them be vulnerable for someone to hurt them.
The bond between mom and daughter should be transparent and open. More than a parent they should be friends with each other which will help them make this relationship work. Young Michelle was always fascinated by coming up with creative solutions to common problems right from the time of preschool. She was equally encouraged by her mom , Marian Robinson to continue doing so. She would share all her adventures with her mom which made her mom well aware of what Michelle would think and do.
To me, there was magic in the learning.
But her enthusiasm dropped when she was in grade two. Noticed by her mom about her demotivation in school,she got to understand it was due to her teacher at school who was cruel to students. So instead of dealing like every other parent, she took up the matter to the Principal who with the other authorities agreed to promote her to the next grade since she had enough knowledge.
So as a parent, instead of treating the kids as an immature human being, if they’re mood swings are noticed by paying attention and try to understand the emotional let down they’re experiencing it can play a great part in evolving the childhood experiences of the kid.
My mother maintained the sort of parental mind-set that I now recognize as brilliant and nearly impossible to emulate — kind of unflappable Zen neutrality… She wasn’t quick to judge and she wasn’t quick to meddle. Instead, she monitored our moods and bore benevolent witness to whatever travails or triumphs a day might bring… When we’d done something great, we received just enough praise to know she was happy with us, but never so much that it became the reason we did what we did.
Being a woman in a (male) dominated world
As a kid, Michelle was enriched and instilled with knowledge on the wonders that good education would bring her even in her later ages. She passed college in flying colors and being among underdogs but she paved her way through landing in a well-paid job is a story that inspires every reader who picks the book on how the magic of a hard working person can help destroy all the barriers be it color or birth.
Michelle does share her experience of being the only woman and in particular african-american woman in most of the rooms and still managing to succeed.
Women endure entire lifetimes of these indignities — in the form of catcalls, groping, assault, oppression. These things injure us. They sap our strength. Some of the cuts are so small they’re barely visible. Others are huge and gaping, leaving scars that never heal. Either way, they accumulate. We carry them everywhere, to and from school and work, at home while raising our children, at our places of worship, anytime we try to advance.
Love doesn’t define you and don’t let it
Michelle’s love story and the way she settled down is a fairy tale indeed. You need to have your hold when you are in a relationship. Happiness might give you an impression that it depends on the physical presence and emotional fallback to the availability of your partner, but in reality it isn’t.
It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be.
Your partner’s vision and ambition shouldn’t be overshadowing on you. Instead it should be the one that would pave way for you to grow and bring out the best in you. This is exactly what Michelle talks about. She also includes qualities that help in making the marriage hold together, but also makes you understand that in addition to compatibility adjustment/flexibility is equally important to hold the family together.
The answer, I’m guessing, is probably the best and most sustaining answer to nearly every question arising inside a marriage, no matter who you are or what the issue is: You find ways to adapt. If you’re in it forever, there’s really no choice.
Our partners might not have the same vision as us and something that would seem different than what we thought,but that does not mean even in the literal sense that you do not love them and vice versa. The key is in the commitment that the partners take where in you make the relationship work helping you both achieve what you wanted not without your hearts beating for each other.
Just like everyone of us she wasn’t prepared motherhood because she also found it exhausting. The fact that her hubster could go to the gym and she had to struggle with kids made it even worse. She then realized that instead of cribbing on that she could find ways to make time for herself.
My favourite quotes
“So many of us go through life with our stories hidden, feeling ashamed or afraid when our whole truth doesn’t live up to some established ideal.”
“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.”
“Inspiration on its own was shallow; you had to back it up with hard work.”
“It was possible, I knew, to live on two planes at once—to have one’s feet planted in reality but pointed in the direction of progress.”
“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”