April 29, 2013
April 28, 2013
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This sounds a lot like a serving attitude.
Jeff Haden for Inc.com April 3, 2013.
Professional success is important to everyone, but still, success in business and in life means different things to different people–as well it should.
But one fact is universal: Real success, the kind that exists on multiple levels, is impossible without building great relationships. Real success is impossible unless you treat other people with kindness, regard, and respect.
After all, you can be a rich jerk… but you will also be a lonely jerk.
That’s why people who build extraordinary business relationships:
1. Take the hit.
A customer gets mad. A vendor complains about poor service. A mutual friend feels slighted.
Sometimes, whatever the issue and regardless of who is actually at fault, some people step in and take the hit. They’re willing to accept the criticism or abuse because they know they can handle it–and they know that maybe, just maybe, the other person can’t.
Few acts are more selfless than taking the undeserved hit. And few acts better cement a relationship.
2. Step in without being asked.
It’s easy to help when you’re asked. Most people will.
Very few people offer help before they have been asked, even though most of the time that is when a little help will make the greatest impact.
People who build extraordinary relationships pay close attention so they can tell when others are struggling. Then they offer to help, but not in a general, “Is there something I can do to help you?” way.
Instead they come up with specific ways they can help. That way they can push past the reflexive, “No, I’m okay…” objections. And they can roll up their sleeves and make a difference in another person’s life.
Not because they want to build a better relationship, although that is certainly the result, but simply because they care.
3. Answer the question that is not asked.
Where relationships are concerned, face value is usually without value. Often people will ask a different question than the one they really want answered.
A colleague might ask you whether he should teach a class at a local college; what he really wants to talk about is how to take his life in a different direction.
A partner might ask how you felt about the idea he presented during the last board meeting; what he really wants to talk about is his diminished role in the running of the company.
An employee might ask how you built a successful business; instead of kissing up he might be looking for some advice–and encouragement–to help him follow his own dreams.
Behind many simple questions is often a larger question that goes unasked. People who build great relationships think about what lies underneath so they can answer that question, too.
4. Know when to dial it back.
Outgoing and charismatic people are usually a lot of fun… until they aren’t. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, still, some people can’t stop “expressing their individuality.” (Admit it: You know at least one person so in love with his personality he can never dial it back.)
People who build great relationships know when to have fun and when to be serious, when to be over the top and when to be invisible, and when to take charge and when to follow.
Great relationships are multifaceted and therefore require multifaceted people willing to adapt to the situation–and to the people in that situation.
5. Prove they think of others.
People who build great relationships don’t just think about other people. They act on those thoughts.
One easy way is to give unexpected praise. Everyone loves unexpected praise–it’s like getting flowers not because it’s Valentine’s Day, but “just because.” Praise helps others feel better about themselves and lets them know you’re thinking about them (which, if you think about it, is flattering in itself.)
Take a little time every day to do something nice for someone you know, not because you’re expected to but simply because you can. When you do, your relationships improve dramatically.
6. Realize when they have acted poorly.
Most people apologize when their actions or words are called into question.
Very few people apologize before they are asked to–or even before anyone notices they should.
Responsibility is a key building block of a great relationship. People who take the blame, who say they are sorry and explain why they are sorry, who don’t try to push any of the blame back on the other person–those are people everyone wants in their lives, because they instantly turn a mistake into a bump in the road rather than a permanent roadblock.
7. Give consistently, receive occasionally.
A great relationship is mutually beneficial. In business terms that means connecting with people who can be mentors, who can share information, who can help create other connections; in short, that means going into a relationship wanting something.
The person who builds great relationships doesn’t think about what she wants; she starts by thinking about what she can give. She sees giving as the best way to establish a real relationship and a lasting connection. She approaches building relationships as if it’s all about the other person and not about her, and in the process builds relationships with people who follow the same approach.
In time they make real connections.
And in time they make real friends.
8. Value the message by always valuing the messenger.
When someone speaks from a position of position of power or authority or fame it’s tempting to place greater emphasis on their input, advice, and ideas.
We listen to Tony Hsieh. We listen to Norm Brodsky. We listen to Seth Godin.
The guy who mows our lawn? Maybe we don’t listen to him so much.
That’s unfortunate. Smart people strip away the framing that comes with the source–whether positive or negative–and consider the information, advice, or idea based solely on its merits.
People who build great relationships never automatically discount the message simply because they discount the messenger. They know good advice is good advice, regardless of where it comes from.
And they know good people are good people, regardless of their perceived “status.”
9. Start small… and are happy to stay small.
I sometimes wear a Reading Football Club sweatshirt. The checkout clerk at the grocery store noticed it one day and said, “Oh, you’re a Reading supporter? My team is Manchester United.”
Normally, since I’m pretty shy, I would have just nodded and said something innocuous, but for some reason I said, “You think Man U can beat Real Madrid next week?”
He gave me a huge smile and said, “Oh yeah. We’ll crush them!” (Too bad he was wrong.)
Now whenever I see him he waves, often from across the store. I almost always walk over, say hi, and talk briefly about soccer.
That’s as far as our relationship is likely to go and that’s okay. For a couple of minutes we transcend the customer/employee relationship and become two people brightening each other’s day.
And that’s enough, because every relationship, however minor and possibly fleeting, has value.
April 27, 2013
April 25, 2013
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From Abhay das:
Today is the appearance day of Shyamananda Pandit, and i thought you would appreciate the following pastime.
Syamananda Prabhu’s bhajana-kutir and full Samadhi are still present today in the remote village of Narasinghpur in Orissa’s Mayurbhanj District. Also present there are the two tanks that Syamananda had dug and installed as Radha Kund and Syama Kund.
The worship of Sri Sri Radha Mohanjiu was later passed on to one of Syamananda’s disciples, who became the mahant, temple manager. The local devotees tell an interesting story. The deity was maintained by some agricultural fields that the temple owned. No one was there to help with the farming, so the mahant was working in the fields and also taking care of the deities.
At one point he became very sick. Another devotee was brought in to worship the deities, but there was no one to tend to the fields. The time came to plow the land, but no one was available to do it. Understanding the situation, the mahant cried and prayed to Krishna, “My Lord! What can I do? If the fields are not plowed now then the planting will not be able to go on properly. Then there will be no crops, so how will we take care of You?”
The next morning when the pujari came to wake the deity, he was surprised to find that Krishna’s flute was gone. He also couldn’t understand why there was mud on the deity’s hands and feet. Just at that time a villager came by and congratulated the pujari for plowing the field so nicely the night before. “What are you saying?” the pujari asked, “I didn’t plow the field last night.”
The villager looked at him strangely, and said, “Well, come see for yourself!” When the pujari went to look, he was astonished to find that someone had nicely plowed the field during the night. Noticing something shiny on the ground, he bent down to pick it up – and found Krishna’s flute.
April 22, 2013
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The following is one of the projects I am working on.
May 13th-17th 2013
“During this five-day workshop, we will build the foundation, walls and roof of a 200 square foot cottage. The skills you’ll learn will include how to prepare the site, rammed-earth tire wall construction, bottle wall construction, straw bale construction and basic framing for window, door and roof construction.
“As part of this workshop, you will receive detailed construction drawings for the cottage – a sleeping cottage design that’s easy to build and everyone will love.”
See details here. Scholarships available for devotees.
April 20, 2013
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Ladakh, a remote district of India’s northernmost state, is currently benefiting from the largest off-grid renewable energy project in the world. The Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is spending INR473 billion (US$88.8 million) on decentralized solar and hydro technologies to bring energy security to this remote mountain region. Why Ladakh?
“Because we Ladakhis are closer to God,” smiles Jigmet Takpa, project director of the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA). “Our sunshine is high quality. We have an average of 320 sunny days every year and the mountain air is thin and cold, making the operation of photovoltaic systems highly efficient. Ladakh is a solar paradise.”
Ladakh, known as the Land of High Passes, is a high-altitude cold desert region in Jammu & Kashmir state, neighboring China to the east and Pakistan to the north. It is a focus of the 3.5 year Ladakh Renewable Energy Initiative (LREI), a 28.3 MW energy revolution, now in its final year.
Ladakh is manifesting a flagship role in national renewable energy policy. Although Ladakh is a small district with sparse population, its rugged geography means that many dispersed communities are beyond the viable reach of the regional grid system. Stand-alone renewables are the obvious solution. “The harsh environment makes it the perfect test case for the technology itself, and for future policy: to prove to the government and the public that renewables have a valid role to play,” says Dr. Parvind Saxena, director of MNRE in Delhi.
Electrifying rural areas is a prime government concern. Prime Minister Manoman Singh gave his personal commitment to electrify every Indian household by 2017. The 2005 Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) program has pursued grid electrification of villages, and the 2009 Remote Village Electrification Program makes off-grid provision, but 400 million Indians still lack access to modern forms of energy, and 20,000 villages are too remote to ever realistically be grid-connected.
Displacing High-cost Diesel
Beyond the social expectations, there is also a financial incentive to this initiative. “We noted that, bar a couple of small hydro projects, almost the entire region, including the Border Defense Force, was using diesel generation (DG) for electricity and kerosene for space heating, and due to Ladakh’s remote location, fuel is imported by road at a very high cost. Harsh winters close those roads for at least five months of the year, exacerbating energy vulnerability and deprivation,” says Saxena.
Prior to the LREI, Ladakh generated a total of 25 MW electricity. Of some 240 villages, 187 received electrification by micro-grid for a few hours each day, 75 percent by diesel and the remainder by small hydro. A few remote communities entirely lacked electricity.
“The high cost of DG in Ladakh, currently INR25-28/kWh (US$0.47-0.52), makes renewable energy very competitive,” says Takpa. “Off-grid solar PV-generated electricity worked out over 20 years’ system-life in Ladakh currently comes to INR16-18/kWh ($0.30-0.34). And the cost of solar keeps falling due to technological development and scalability.
The International Renewable Energy Agency‘s (IRENA) November 2012 report confirmed renewable energy as the default option for off-grid electricity provision, with solar PV now a cheaper option than diesel in many locations.
The LREI’s use of dispersed hydro and solar PV have rapidly replaced diesel to a large extent and avoided unnecessary extension of long, expensive grid lines. According to LREDA figures, the total expected saving of diesel in Ladakh from hydro and PV generation is 35 million litres per year or approximately INR1.6 billion ($32 million) annually, a substantial saving for the government.
April 19, 2013
My hemoglobin is low and I have no help so the spring planting with ISKCON and my garden get all the attention, alas poor blog.
Asparagus is coming in almost three weeks later than last year. 2012 March we had unusually warm weather and asparagus in the first week of April which was early. This year March was well below average and even the first week of April was wintery so the asparagus is later than usual.
The forsythia came in late but now is lingering beautifully as it is now like full blown spring with no frosts to tinge it. The daffodils started late but now the late ones are blooming at the same time as the earliest so that season is compressed.
At dialysis I am riding the bike but while in good energy it is 70 rpm I am lucky to do 50 rpm. They claim they are increasing the hormone to raise the hemoglobin but it takes weeks to resond and the increase three weeks ago clearly wasn’t enough.
April 17, 2013