Got to love it when the World Map is portrayed in a different way.
It has been a year since I posted on this blog. The past year has been better than the previous year and although I may not be exactly where I want to be, the skills and lessons I have learnt will definitely bring me closer to turning my dreams into reality in 2014.
Here are 3 things that I learnt through this year:
-Play with the cards you are dealt with and do it with a smile.
-The job or situation you hate will develop skills within you that will only help you. So keep going.
-Do not get comfortable with anything. Always seek to improve on your situation.
As I reflect on those 3 things, one thing that I have noticed with myself and the close and ambitious friends I have around me, is that we are on the edge at the moment. We can either go right or left. Right is the path where the rest of our generation is walking; it is comfortable, it has strict rules, it will keep you financially safe for life. Left is the path where few walk; it is dark, the only thing you can see are your next 2 steps, there is no comfort, there is only survival and the only light you have is the light you share with the world.
The left path will be the underlying theme of this year. It is the path to walk on if you fear mediocrity. It is time to enjoy comfort in discomfort.
Have a risky new year!
I have tried to make resolutions before and have naturally failed to keep up with them after the New Year’s hype has died down. I was even cheeky enough to have the following resolution for a recent year:
“Do not make a resolution.”
That resolution ended before it began and I realised I was not good at keeping resolutions.
And that got me thinking.
How does a change in year change a person’s attitude? Why do people suddenly feel like they can create rules for themselves and believe that a new year will mean that they will stick to resolutions?
The fact is, people do not change between 31st December to 1st January, they change over a period of time. This is the reason why I have decided against making an abrupt resolution for this year; instead, have decided to reflect on the past year and ensure I keep moving forward with the positives that have come out of 2012.
What I have learnt from 2012:
-Confidence in yourself is important in this dog-eat-dog World.
-You cannot love another if you do not love yourself.
-Take a chance. Give people, places and things a chance. You’ll be surprised where it leads you.
-Indolence is not fun when it is a regular occurrence.
-Keep moving forward.
-Only you can make things happen.
-You can literally do anything you want to; all you need is a strong vision and firm actions.
-Learn new skills.
-Commit yourself to your tasks.
-Take each day as it comes. Clichéd but true.
“The caste system”.
I dislike it. A lot.
But I despise the assumption that the caste system is connected to religion, even more.
One religion that the caste system is generally assumed to be synonymous with is the Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism as it’s popularly known. I do not have a comprehensive knowledge about all the literature that makes up Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma, nevertheless, I would like to share my thoughts regarding this issue in the hope that it can provide a counter-argument (or make people think about the topic, at least) to the caste system stigma attached to Hinduism.
“The Caste System”
Here are some points on the caste system that seems to be commonly acknowledged:
-The caste system is a structure and Brahmins are at the top and the “Untouchables” are at the bottom.
-The structure is rigid and is prescribed by God and it cannot be changed.
-The structure gives certain rights to one caste over the other.
-Your caste is dependent on the household you are born into and the job you do.
The Caste System
Now onto some ideas about the actual caste system, its uses in non-Hindu societies and Hindu societies.
I have found that there are two ways to understand the caste system; one is economic and the other is spiritual.
The economic understanding would argue that society is split up into different sections based on the job you or your family undertakes. In this sense, the Brahmins are placed at the top as they are seen to be full of knowledge and the Sudras are placed at the bottom because they are the workers of society. This distinction is very similar to the feudal societies that existed in many Western civilisations prior to the industrial revolution. For example, the King’s divine right to rule is no different to the supposed Brahmin right to knowledge and religion, the Sudra’s role to work for others is no different to the labourers and the Dalit (or Untouchables) are no different to the peasants. These divisions in societies occur in Muslim, Christian, Hindu and even Atheist societies.
The economic example shows that society in all parts of the World, in all eras, has been divided along these lines so to assume that the caste system is a Hindu phenomenon is naive.
Having said this, many people will counter this and point out lines from scriptures and show that Hinduism agrees with a rigid caste system.
There is no doubt that Hindu scriptures do mention the caste system, but the understanding of the system seems to be lost in translation.
The Hindu version of the caste system is a dynamic system, one where humans are able to change from being a Brahmin to being a Kshatriya, to being a Vaishya, to being a Sudra.
As Shri Krishna states in The Gita:
“I created the four divisions of human society based on aptitude and vocation. Though I am the author of this system of the division of labour, one should know that I do nothing directly and I am eternal.” (4.13)
“The division of human labor is also based on the qualities inherent in peoples’ nature or their make up.” (18.41)
The idea that Brahmin do certain things and behave in certain ways compared to Sudras, for example, is quite true if you think about it. Any spiritually aware person (regardless of religion) will behave in a certain way. Those who are genuinely spiritually enlightened will be of a calm and understanding nature. Take Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus for example; both spiritually on levels higher than many of us, and both were peaceful in nature. This is how the Brahmin person, or spiritually inclined person, will behave as they have a greater knowledge of God and understand that there is no need for anger and hatred as the consequences are always negative. In this sense anyone can be a Brahmin assuming they have the spiritual awareness that goes with the title.
The image below represents the Hindu Caste System in a visual form. It shows that those who have a greater level of self awareness have a higher form of consciousness thus they are known as “Brahmin”.
In other words, the Hindu caste system is based on a person’s attitude, which affects their spiritual awareness, which ultimately affects the way they behave and their nature which then affects their karma and the way they interact with other people, as opposed to merely focusing on the economic role society labels a person with, as soon as they are born.
Furthermore, the Dalit caste is also known as the “Untouchables” because their role in society is a role where the tasks can be seen as dirty. This has meant that society keeps away from them as they view them as unclean because of the tasks they undertake. Nevertheless, many great people from history were from the supposed lower caste.
One of Shri Krishna’s best friend was Sudama, a poor man. Although their social places on Earth were of extreme sides of the spectrum, the Lord himself had a special place for Sudama in His heart, so who are we to assume we cannot touch the supposed lower caste or befriend them?
Additionally, some of the most exalted people in Hindu history supposedly come from the lower castes. The writers of the Ramayan and Mahabharat are Valmiki and Ved Vyas and both are supposed to be from a low caste. Two knowledgeable men with divine insight and great skill of Poetry coming from a low caste is also a great representative of how the caste system in the Hindu tradition is not merely based on the jobs that people do in society; rather, it arguably focuses on the spiritual awareness a person possesses.
Finally, before I end, I would like to say thank you for reading this far (I am aware the post is quite long) and I would also like to point out, once again, that I do not have complete knowledge of this issue and I am always learning about the Sanatana Dharma, so if you have read this and wish to know more, I would recommend reading the scriptures themselves and pondering this issue further to gain a complete insight into it. Having said that, I hope my humble and simplistic post has opened up new avenues of thought which will hopefully dispel the negative connotations associated with the caste system and its link to Hinduism and the uses of negative connotations as justifications for doing wrong towards fellow human beings.
Everyone has an opinion on what will happen at the end of this year. Personally, I do not think the entire World will end just yet and if it does then clearly I am no Mayan.
Anyways, here are some scientific facts (cough) I have learnt about the Mayan civilisation:
-They want the World to party at the same time on the same day. They were clearly a kind bunch.
-They were hungry for fame and wanted higher celebrity status than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
-The Mayan civilisation were known for their practical jokes.
-The Mayans were made extinct before they could add more dates to their calendar.
-The Mayans loved getting drunk.
Having said that, Death generally puts Life into perspective and if there is one thing that we should learn from the idea that the World is going to end, it is this;
-Death is the fact of Life; whether you are Rich or Poor, all our ends will be the same. Therefore material things are useless in front of Death which means that we should endeavor to increase our kindness towards all other Beings over trying to step on people so we can have the most money, the best clothes and the fanciest of homes.
If you are looking for a typical post aimed at the recent graduate who needs tips on conducting the type of interview that will make the interviewer do the gangnam style; this is not it.
This post will instead focus on things that interviewers should never do.
Yup you read that correctly. Interviewers can be susceptible to mishaps too. After all, they are also humans (so I’m told) and as we all know, humans are talented at making all kinds of mistakes.
We are often told that an interview is a two-way process, so being the annoying, inquisitive child that questions why the sky is blue, I tend to create a mental analysis of a company when I am at an interview whilst the interviewer is analysing my credentials as a potential employee (it’s only fair!).
Interviews are the first connection between a candidate and the firm, so positive first impressions from the interviewer are as important as the impressions from a candidate. The main reason for this is that companies undertaking interviews are seeking someone to do work for them and generally, candidates often apply to more than one place, therefore companies need to stand out from the other organisations that the candidate has applied to.
So here is some advice to the interviewer from candidates around the world:
-Do not read a CV for the first time whilst the candidate is sitting opposite you. If you do, at least try not to mention the fact that you are viewing the CV for the first time, to the candidate.
-Do not go into the interview without knowing exactly what your company wants from the candidate; especially if the role is voluntary or only pays expenses. This can put off candidates from accepting a potential job offer as it raises suspicion about the kind of tasks the company will make the candidate do. Being overworked, especially when tasks have nothing to do with the role that was initially applied for, and not being paid for the extra work is akin to modern-day slavery.
-If you are going to pay the candidate; make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of what the company will pay the candidate. Whether the role is unpaid, commission only or set salary, candidates would like the facts to be transparent so that they can be sure they will get what they are entitled to.
I have mentioned 3 points but I am sure that there are probably a countless number of other “don’ts” for interviewers. Feel free to share your own points below.
Ever sat at home and watched a charity advert?
They tend to be depressing. Moreover, how many people actually donate after watching a charity advert? Not me.
I’m no monster with a heart made of rock, but I rarely feel like giving money to charity is enough and prefer action for charity as opposed to sending a blank cheque to an office and hoping it goes to the people who need it. Having said that, I’m sure the money does go to the people in need, but what’s the use of money going to the people in need when the public is apprehensive about sending charities their hard earned cash?
One thing that I have recently been thinking about is a way to mix businesses, customers and charity work together. Businesses and companies use clever marketing ideas all the time but when they enhance business whilst giving to charity and making a difference, you could argue that businesses have essentially found gold dust.
Here are two examples of calling the general public to give to charity:
The first Business/Charity Mix I will look at is the recent Innocent Drinks partnership with Age UK. For those that do not know, Age UK is a charity which aims to improve the lives of the elderly. Although we are only just reaching the end of November, the British weather has been particularly cold this year and unfortunately this means that the elderly population of Britain will be under threat from diseases and deaths related to the cold. Every year there are over 20,000 cold-related deaths during the Winter months (December-March) compare to other times during the year and Age UK have so far achieved much success in providing blankets and other forms of help to the elderly population of Britain.
This idea, by the wonderfully creative marketing team at Innocent Drinks, is a great way to mix fun, a bit of knitting and charity work together whilst continuing to make money from selling their products.
Make sure you wrap yourself, your drink and some lovely grandparents up with an awesome woolly hat this Winter, because it is getting cold…Brr!
The second Business/Charity Mix I want to share with you is something called the Humble Bundle. It does exactly what the title says it is. The Humble Bundle site is one for anyone interested in purchasing top games for a cheap price whilst having the option to pay whatever you wish to whoever you wish.
Sounds amazing right?
Not only can you purchase at the price you wish, you can choose to give the money to developers, the website that runs this idea or to a charitable cause. Furthermore, Humble Bundle allows you to split the money you are paying to all three of these stakeholders!
So take a look at it. Currently they have a Games Bundle deal that is worth checking out before the time runs out!
That is how you do business, engage customers and help charity!