Category Archives: Happiness Evangelist

What Do I Need to Be Happy?

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore 

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What do we really need right now, to be happy?

A new car, a new house, a new friend…

What do we lack right now?

Does anything need to change in order for us to be happy?

What do we really need? Do we really need anything in order to be happy?

Powerful Questions. Food for thought.

Sharon Salzberg, the author of the book “The Kindness Handbook” (http://www.flipkart.com/kindness-handbook-practical-companion/p/itmdyjz4nhmhhgcq?pid=9781591796558&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=The+kindness+handbook&ref=fed7a838-4f9a-4347-ad86-ce392709fb79) shares her experience while staying at a monastery in South East Asia. At the monastery, there was generally no charge for staying and the food was donated by “groups or families who come to the center to make the offerings”. Therefore, the food that was provided was varied depending on the circumstances of those donating. Sometimes, bountiful. Sometimes, meager.

Sharon recounts: “Time after time, I went into the dining room for a meal and looked at the faces of the people who had made the offering, since they commonly come to watch you receive it. They would look radiant, so happy that they’d had an opportunity to feed us, to offer something that would help sustain us. They seemed so happy that we were going to be meditating, exploring the truth, and purifying our minds and hearts on the strength of their offering. In that moment, when they were so genuinely grateful for the chance to give, I would ask myself, ‘What do I really need right now in order to be happy?” I realized that I was getting fed a lot more by their joy and delight than I was by the actual food”.

As we journey through our manifold experiences in life, we yearn for happiness and spend time and energy looking for it. I have come to believe that performing acts of kindnesses is what brings me true, genuine and abiding happiness.

I asked some of our colleagues about what truly makes them happy. This is what they had to say:

… spending time with my family especially with my daughter makes me feel happy; when I work hard and do things differently, a bit of appreciation makes me feel happy.

… being truthful and down to earth even in a critical situation & living a simple life makes me happy.

… I feel happy when I can help my fellow people… and see them happy.

… talking to Dad makes me happy – his composed and relaxed voice reflecting patience & satisfaction with his accomplishments  gives me energy and motivation to keep trying until I succeed.

What makes you happy? What do you need to be happy?

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Sharing = Caring = Making a Difference

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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The Mumbai Dabbawala’s deliver 120 tons of food each day, out of which 16 tons is uneaten.

At the same time, on Mumbai’s streets, there are two hundred thousand children who go hungry every day.

The ‘Share My Dabba’ initiative, a joint effort between the Happy Life Welfare Society and The Dabbawala Foundation, gets the leftover food in dabbas to the hungry street children using a tiny sticker and the extensive and efficient dabbawala network.

The dabbawalas separate the dabbas marked with the sticker & volunteers share the food with the hungry children.

Here’s a video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZC1czZofyY

A simple sticker that demonstrates that SHARING = CARING.

A small gesture that makes a difference to 200,000 and more children every single day.

Food for thought.

Make Others HAPPY :-)

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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Anne Frank wanted to be a writer.

She became one, but only after her death in a Nazi concentration camp at the young age of 15.

While in hiding from the Nazis for 2 long years, she could say with confidence that she “wanted to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those” she had “never met”.

She believed that whoever is happy will make others happy as well.

Happiness and wanting to make others happy even when in hiding and in pain…

How do we compare?

Do we want to make others happy?

Are we attentive, polite and courteous?

Do we display kindness and concern?

The time to be MINDFUL is now. And the place to be MINDFUL is here.

Kindness Recycled

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama

There are everyday stories of kindness, compassion, warmth and love that fill our hearts with inspiration and hope. We are an amazing community of Happiest Minds where we can be kind to one another, grow together and spread ripples of kindness throughout the world. Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty.

I learnt lessons on kindness from my father…in his carrying goodies in the car to give to people at traffic lights, in giving blankets to the homeless who live on the streets, in providing the means for education to many, many financially challenged children, in giving an unused pair of spectacles to an old lady at a traffic signal after she bumped into the car because she could not see and also taking her to the optician…there are many such instances….the list continues to grow.

I learnt to be kind and gracious by just looking at his life…I am still learning…

No act of kindness, no matter how small…is ever wasted (Aesop)…they always return to you…

One Woman…

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

To All the Wonderful Women!!

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Thank you for enriching lives, for making them better, fuller, more meaningful, bringing joy and love, care and concern, expanding thinking, bringing freshness, cooking fabulous meals, gossiping, laughing, caring, tending, listening, goading, rapping on knuckles from time to time and loving unconditionally.

We bow our heads in deep respect and gratitude, lift our hearts in love and raise our hands in salute!

“One Woman” is a musical celebration of women worldwide, featuring 25 artists from 20 countries across the globe. The song calls for change and celebrates acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who daily make extraordinary contributions to their countries and communities. The lyrics are inspired by stories of women whom UN Women, the UN organization charged with advancing women’s empowerment and gender equality worldwide, has supported. “One Woman” is the first theme song for a UN organization. www.song.unwomen.org

One Woman – Lyrics by Beth Blatt

In Kigali, she wakes up,
She makes a choice,
In Hanoi, Natal, Ramallah.
In Tangier, she takes a breath,
Lifts up her voice,
In Lahore, La Paz, Kampala.
Though she’s half a world away
Something in me wants to say …

We are One Woman,
You cry and I hear you.
We are One Woman,
You hurt, and I hurt, too.
We are One Woman,
Your hopes are mine.
We shall shine.

In Juarez she speaks the truth,
She reaches out,
Then teaches others how to.
In Jaipur, she gives her name,
She lives without shame
In Manila, Salta, Embu.
Though we’re different as can be,
We’re connected, she with me

We are One Woman,
Your courage keeps me strong.
We are One Woman,
You sing, I sing along.
We are One Woman,
Your dreams are mine.
And we shall shine.
We shall shine.

And one man, he hears her voice.
And one man, he fights her fight.
Day by day, he lets go the old ways,
One Woman at a time.
Though she’s half a world away,
Something in me wants to say.

We are One Woman,
Your victories lift us all.
We are One Woman,
You rise and I stand tall.
We are One Woman,
Your world is mine
And we shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.

You can download the song at: http://bit.ly/UN_Theme_Song_OneWoman

Mindful – A Short Story

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

Please read this real life experience of Kent Nerburn, a cab driver, in which a life transforming experience blurred the line between the receiver and the giver.

When we are mindful of another, we bring happiness and joy…to them and to ourselves.

A CAB RIDE I’LL NEVER FORGET….

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am. When I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good man,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.  “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “Oh, there are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  Our hug ended with her remark, “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy.”  After a slight pause, she added, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

The FLIP Manifesto: Dan Pink

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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Daniel H. Pink in his book The FLIP Manifesto: Sixteen Counterintuitive Ideas About Motivation, Innovation, and Leadershipoffers 16 pieces of advice that run counter to and often directly contradict with what you might have heard hitherto.

He mentions that he is not offering this ‘contrarian counsel’ for the sake of being ‘clever or controversial’, but because in his research he has found individuals and organizations who have often flipped conventional wisdom, doing great things. The sixteen ideas are:

MOTIVATION

  1. Start doubting yourself.
  2. Pay people too much.
  3. Increase sales by eliminating sales commissions.
  4. Take as much vacation as you want whenever you want it.
  5. Give up trying to find your passion.
  6. Keep a To-Don’t list.

INNOVATION

  1. Do the reverse of whatever you’re doing now.
  2. Pass your problem to someone else.
  3. Repeat after me: BO-GOA.
  4. Carve out time for non-commissioned work.

LEADERSHIP

  1. Establish a Department of Why.
  2. Scrap performance reviews.
  3. For Godsakes, talk like a human being.
  4. Stop trying to maximize shareholder value.
  5. Take the “E” test.
  6. Talk less, listen more.