Are you a camel? How much will you tolerate before you protest and act?

Many of us behave like camels. We wait for the last straw beyond which we cannot tolerate anymore. The big and important question we need to ask ourselves is, "How much tolerance is optimum tolerance?"

Different situations call for different levels of tolerance. Let's take some examples to drive home the point.

  1. Colleague/Friend/children drinking and driving; Zero Tolerance

  2. Employee cheating on an expense statement; Zero Tolerance

  3. Your child lying to you; Zero tolerance

  4. Employee under performing because she has a learning curve; A mutually agreed level of performance and a stipulated time elapse before your tolerance will go to zero.

  5. An employee under performing because of an attitudinal problem; Mutually agreed performance level and clarification of your zero tolerance level.

There are many areas in our life we need to examine and think through to set our tolerance levels. While it is not realistic to have zero tolerance in all areas of our life, we, however, should be clear, in our minds, about our tolerance threshold.

Some sample areas to think through:

  1. Disorganized house

  2. Unplanned work

  3. Our weight

  4. The amount of sleep we get

  5. The time lapse between our vacations

  6. The amount we spend beyond our limits

  7. The amount of time lapse before we prepare for an exam

  8. The amount of time lapse before we submit our reports

  9. The amount of project delay before we put our foot down

  10. The number of customers lost before we re-look at our strategy

It is important to set standards of performance and determine our tolerance levels. It is my experience that the higher the standards we set for ourselves and others and lesser the tolerance levels we attribute to them, the more the chances we have that we perform at these high standards levels.

If you don't set standards and if you have not predetermined your tolerance level, you will, sooner or later, break your back because very soon, if not immediately, the last straw will be placed on your back.

I don't think you can go too far with a broken back.

Setting standards and tolerance levels for yourself and others will be one of the most fruitful activities you ever could undertake.

Now tell me how much will you tolerate the time lapse before you set standards and tolerance levels for various areas in your life?

How do you pack your day with experiences?

Our memories are made up of our day to day experiences in life. Some of these experiences come to us, on their own and some we create on our own, based on our choices; We can choose to stare at an excel sheet through out the day and come back home and further choose to stare at it, by working late night, to cite an extreme example.

What are the various option we have, in addition to our work at the office or at school or at home?

Here are a few of them:

  1. Listen to music
  2. Watch a movie
  3. Draw
  4. Write a story
  5. Spend time with our family
  6. Walk our dog
  7. Exercise
  8. Indulge in our hobby
  9. Prepare a budget
  10. Organize our house
  11. Read a book

We need to pack in a variety of activities into our days and we need to do this consciously; For most of us, our day gets packed, by chance and not by our choice.

The best way to begin, is by listing all activities that we enjoy and all the activities that are useful for us. Once we have such a list, lets call it the "experience list" for want of another name, we can then plan an entire week filled with varied activities that give us fun and are useful to us.

Without such a plan we will tend to do the same activities again and again while we could have done something else that would have given us immense satisfaction or joy.

As of me, I am putting this idea to work on a priority basis.

What about you? Try it out!

You may have, at the most, an experience of a Lifetime or an experience of a "Life week", at the least.

Do you have the universal prerequisites in you that qualify you to be befriended?

What are the universal prerequisites we need to possess that would predetermine our success in winning true friends?

I can list a few of them here:
  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Honesty
  3. Integrity
  4. Caring
  5. Kindness
  6. Loyalty
  7. Helpful
  8. Good listener
  9. Humility

We can keep adding to this list. These universal prerequisites operate in all the cultures. You need to have these prerequisites before you can be successful in winning and keeping friends for life.

Now compare this list with an another list:

  1. Having common interests; I love photography so do you.
  2. Wearing similar trendy clothes and fashionable dress; We like and wear fashionable and trendy clothes.
  3. Having a status; My family is famous so is yours.
  4. Being wealthy; I am rich so are you.
  5. Being beautiful; I am beautiful so are you.
  6. Having a common background; I am a geologist so are you.
  7. Having a common educational background; I am a MBA so are you.
  8. Belonging to the same hierarchy level; I am a CEO so are you.
  9. Having a common language; I speak Hindi so do you.

It is my experience that people give more importance to the second list rather than the first one. We quickly classify people using the second list and give our verdict: He is not fit to be our friend;She is fit to be our friend.

Invariably, friendship based on the second list will cause us trouble and give us heartbreaks. It will also prevent us from having true friends because we brush aside people based on a superficial scan.

Be careful of the criteria you use for friendship. Just because you cannot find a common ground immediately with a person does not mean that person cannot be your friend. You can always find a common ground together, later.

This is true in friendship, as well as in marriage. What is required is to get the basic DNA in us right.

Our DNA strands need to be composed of the first list.

What about you? What kind of DNA strand do you possess?

The MAGIC 21 --- How are you doing with respect to your new year resolutions?

Today I am doing a concurrent critique*:

How am I doing with respect to my new year resolutions?

I am doing fine with respect to all my new year resolutions. It is a great feeling. I have crossed the first barrier to make these new year resolutions a habit because it is already, the magic, 21 days. It takes 21 days to to form a habit.

This is also a time to be more careful and not allow any complacency to set in.

What are my learnings so far?
  1. Constant monitoring has led to this success
  2. Results I got because of the resolution such as weight loss got me really motivated
  3. Very big support of family to help me to keep the resolutions on track
  4. Some of the resolutions are joint resolutions, hence it is important to have shared family resolutions along with your own resolutions

What about you? You too have reached the magic 21 today. How are you faring?

* Concurrent critique is a technique I learnt in "Grid - The Power to Change" workshop conducted by Grid International.

For more details on critique and Grid - visit their website:

How do you focus?

I have this tendencey to focus on a single task or area to the exclusion of others. There are advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Task gets done quickly
  2. Task gets done with a mark of excellence
  3. I get lots of ideas because of my single minded focus
  4. Once it is complete, I get a sense of satisfaction of completeness


  1. Other tasks get neglected
  2. Important tasks get delayed
  3. Danger of missing out on urgent and important activities

The following disadvantages get magnified if it is a focus area rather than a single task and I get fascinated by it.

I have read all kinds of time management books and suggestions. None of them are complete in themselves;I think none of them will ever be.

The choices in front of every one of us are the following:

  1. Single, exclusive, unplanned focus
  2. Single, inclusive unplanned focus, (here you are alert to other tasks too)
  3. Single, exclusive, planned focus
  4. Single, inclusive, planned focus;leads to balance
  5. Multiple, inclusive, unplanned focus-(here you are on a random multitasking mode)
  6. Multiple, exclusive, planned focus-(here you are on a multitasking mode)

There must be a balance in focus in all areas of life. The focus must be planned, but not planned so much that we miss out on the opportunities that come to us at random or are unaware of the dangers that spring up suddenly.

How about you? How do you focus?

This is an important area for you to examine.