Book Review : Impatient Optimist – Bill Gates in his own words by Lisa Rogak

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‘This is how I see the world, and it should make one thing clear: I am an optimist. But I am an impatient optimist.’

                                                                                                          –   Bill Gates

A biography but not in the usual sense of the word, this book attempts to give us a glimpse into the life and personality of one of the world’s richest businessmen who spearheaded the digital technology revolution as the CEO of his brainchild and  tech-giant Microsoft. After dropping out of Harvard University in the junior year  and later co-founding  the company  with his friend Paul Allen in 1976, there was no turning back for this ingenious scientist who at a young age of 31, became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.  This book tries to explore various aspects of his life – from his decision to step down as CEO and engage in philanthropic work, his relationship with Paul Allen, his successor Steve Ballmer and Apple’s Steve Jobs, the nature of his philanthropic work and his foundation, his take on business, future trends in technology, his family, his legacy and his attitude towards various things in general.

His take on success –

‘Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.’

Now the surprising element of the biography is that it is not in text format. Lisa Rogak has experimented with the conventional  style , and has presented the biography as a collection of quotations by Bill Gates  collected from various sources –print media , public interactions, conferences and business events, online journals etc. At first, it is hard to realize how a book replete with his sayings can be helpful  in providing an insight into the mind of this venerated personality – but as one reads through the pages –the words  indeed prove to be the words of wisdom and open the doors of  enlightenment. As the pages are turned, the reader himself can make a sketch of his character. The process is very much similar to real life – we hear/know what people say on the basis of which we form a portrait of the person in our mind. This approach also eliminates any prejudice or bias – a figment of author’s mind – which can set in the minds of the reader if he reads through the author’s lens. All in all, a commendable effort by Lisa Rogak, I must say. A possible drawback could be that this format does  not give a detailed description of his life or incorporate third person’s views about him. The quotes are also not arranged chronologically but categorically. It does provide a list of his significant life events in brief at the end – but it is very similar to the way we list events in history matched with its year.

If you are looking for an inspirational, light reading or are simply interested in his life– this book is a good bet. But if you want a detailed description of his life, this book might disappoint you. My suggestion to the readers – go for this book for the innovative style of writing.  It will be a refreshing change. The inspiration and wisdom which you would get out of it could be the icing on the cake.

You can buy the book here :  http://fkrt.it/Iv2HT!NNNN

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Hard Work Vs Luck

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Giving up all the pleasures

Burning the midnight oil

Way beyond all measures

That’s how hard he toiled !

       ~           

Day after day, night after night

Perseverance was his game

He never ever let out of sight,

His goal, his purpose, his aim !

          ~           

But on one arduous occasion,

Luck gave him no favor,

Left his morale with abrasions

His will power wavered.

           ~         

Disappointed and despondent,

He started doubting his merit,

Hard work was replaced by lament

Luck was something he did not inherit

          ~            

But then one fine day, he resolved

Not to give up in the fight

Failure made him evolve

Into a person of great will and might

~  

Numerous times in his struggle he fell

But he was never to be backed down

And steadily increased, his drive to excel

Toughest obstacle could not knock him down.

~  

Again he fell, and got up

And the cycle continued

Till the time when even Luck asked him

“What have you got in you ?”

~  

“Oh mighty warrior, the shining knight”

“I have tried my best to defeat you”

“But you bounce back every time

“How on earth, I have no clue”

~  

Persistent effort is the secret, he said

Hard work is the key

 Luck – “I can hold no longer, take your success

Today, you have defeated me ! “

~  

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Parents, you are wrong when ………

Parents are the angels we have on Earth who take care of us, when God is too busy maintaining balance and peace in the world. This position of theirs earns respect and gratitude of the child. Believe me when I say that every child feels (and should feel) indebted to his parents, for giving him life and more importantly for making it worth living, at some or all times throughout his existence on Earth. Parents are like the anchor of our boat, keeping us afloat in this gigantic ocean of worldly drifts and waves.be-affectionate

But does that mean they cannot do anything wrong? No, it does not.

Parents are wrong when they lay too much pressure on their child to excel in the ongoing rat race to prove one’s worth in this materialistic world. I am not generalizing here. I know there are many parents who support their child through thick and thin. And if you are one of them, I salute you!

But then, I also know about parents for whom boasting about their child’s success and achievement is so important to maintain their ‘status’ in the society, that in the process of creating a success story, they often lead to tales of broken dreams. They want to produce geniuses. And in this era of cut throat competition, they want their child to go to a reputed college, earn a hefty salary and marry a partner of their choice. Looks extremely well planned, isn’t it ? But I tend to disagree. Between all the meticulous contemplation and planning about a child’s future, where have they taken into account their child’s dreams and aspirations? Parents might put forth an argument that they have seen the world and they are experienced enough to judge what is good for their child and what is bad. I totally agree. 2015-02-12-13-02-59.shattered dreamBut how is crushing of a child’s dreams would do any good to him. I know ‘crushing’ is a harsh word to use in this context but I don’t intend to use euphemism when I want to express my views clearly and without any softening or exaggeration. In certain situations, parents might not even know that they are ‘crushing’ their child’s dream. Ignoring it and asking him to blindly follow the rat in the race cannot absolve them of the fact that they are killing the seed inside him which can give birth to a tree in future. Or even if it is not a tree, even if it is just a sapling – yet a sapling is better than a dead and a wasted seed.428c516b7a78d17d0abc6a7fbd726081

A child is already indebted to his parents. He always wants to give them all the happiness of the world and make them feel proud. But does that mean he has to do everything that his parents’ desire irrespective of what he truly yearns for- ignoring his own dreams? After all, parents want them to be happy, right! What if he is happy doing his own little thing rather than walking the trodden path? Parents want best for their child but what if their perception of best for him isn’t aligned with his happiness? What if he is happy following his risky and uncertain field of interest and not the conventional and certain area of employment?

What if his heart is full when his pockets are not? What if his eyes shine and not his resume?

What if a distant relative or an insensitive neighbor doesn’t approve of your child’s ‘unusual success story’. It will still be a success story for him.

What if your child scores less than what you expected – what if he is not the topper but your neighbor’s kid is ? Should that mean he does not deserve to be your kid or you should pay less attention on him and concentrate more on your younger kid who excels in his education? Should that mean he isn’t a man of good character – worthy of every happiness and love?

You might feel by now that I am too rude or too insensitive and cynical about parent’s emotions and intentions. Or I am a rebellious child myself trying to let off the steam by pouring my frustration out into words. Believe me, I am not. What I am doing here is sharing my experience, not as a victim, but as a witness of the sufferings of an oppressed child who is so low on confidence today because of his/her failure to prove his worth to his/her parents. Let’s call him/her X. X considers himself a loser because he is not able to satisfy his parents’ ever-growing expectations. He has achieved a lot in his life, but not enough to achieve his parent’s satisfaction.

00221917e13e0f4d267d1aDo you approve of this? Should parents burden their child with so many expectations that a child spends his entire life trying to prove his worth?

Why are studies and grades a metric to judge whether a child is a good child or not? Why is a resume a standard to declare a child successful and not his character or nature? Why a child is always marked on his intellectual abilities rather than humane feelings and demeanor?

This culture is so deeply rooted in our society that I fear children losing the courage to confront their parents with their dreams. And therefore, parents need to understand and the younger generation needs to learn.

I am never going to let my child feel what X felt.

I will water the seed inside my little kid’s heart and will watch it grow. Whether it grows into a big, lush tree or a tiny sapling – future will tell – neither do I care because I will be busy looking at the smile on my kid’s face !

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P.S – My idea is not to offend parents in general or doubt their sincere intentions for their kids, neither I am painting parents as dream-killers. I just want to give every parent a chance to reconsider their parenting – to make sure they do not fall into the category of dream-killers.

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Mutual Admiration Sessions

The man who discovered fire meets the man who invented the wheel ('I've always admired your work).

Me: “I am feeling so low today. There is so much competition out there in the world. I feel I am not worth anything.”

Roomie (visibly panicked) : “ What happened ? Are the mid-sems result out? ”

Me : “No! It’s just that I don’t know what I am doing with my life.”

Roomie: “ Why are you in a brown study today ? ” Don’t tell me you have completed the entire Supernatural series and have no more episodes to watch. The ‘Sherlock’ episode has come out. You can watch that.”

Me : “ I am serious. I am 20 now and I am just not satisfied with what I am today. I feel worthless.”

Oh! by the way, I did complete the Supernatural series, and I have put the ‘Sherlock’ episode on download.

That’s not the point. I think I don’t have the qualities to be a successful person in life. How will I fulfill my aspirations when I am not even confident enough about my abilities and strengths? Forget the aspirations, I don’t even feel good as a human being !!”

Roomie (in a saturnine tone) : “Well, I am on the same page with you ! Indeed there are so much expectations and hopes with one’s life that I am scared and afraid of facing the world after college. I want to live a happy and successful life and the fear of failure haunts me everyday.”

Me (histrionically) : “Am I ever going to cheer up ?? Will I ever regain my confidence? Am I good for anything? Oh, how I wish someone could bring me back to life !

Roomie: Don’t lose heart! Ok, Let’s do one thing. Let’s play a game so that we can both cheer up and regain the lost confidence.

Me: What game?

Roomie : You list one strength/ admirable quality that I have , and then I will list yours. We will keep rotating the turns. But no exaggeration and pretense ! You don’t have to flatter me. It should be genuine.

Me: Will that work?

Roomie : I have not tried, but let’s check !

    ~

And man did it work! By the end of a 15 minute-long session, alternatively admiring the other person and hearing words of praise for yourself, the mood was lifted , the missing confidence regained and a lesson was learnt.

The account dates back to my college days and is one of the most vivid moments that I shared with my room-mate. That day, we learnt two things:

  1. Admiration lifts our mood and helps us regain confidence. So that day we promised to each other that if ever, either of us feels low or disheartened or worthless in life, the other would come to the rescue – not only to shower admiration on the gloomy friend and cheer her up, but also to make her see the beauty in the world by making her to praise the former.
  1. A girl understands a fellow girl’s mindset so well! 🙂

From that day, it was a secret we both had kept to ourselves, until this day when I am letting the cat out of the bag. We even gave a name to the game – ‘Mutual Admiration Sessions’.

Well the game was a stroke of serendipity, but can it not be extrapolated to our life ?

During the course of the journey we call life, we often come across predicaments which tend to shatter our confidence in our own being. Our worth becomes a blurred image and we tend to question the correctness of every decision we take, owing to the failures we encountered in the past or harbingers of discouragement we came across. Ideally, our conscience should remind us of the accomplishments we have achieved in the past and the greater heights we are capable of reaching in future – we know it as self-confidence. But at certain times, our conscience ceases to communicate and gets buried under a thick cover of apprehensions and doubt. We need an external agent to lift that cover and show us a picture of what truly we are capable.

The endeavor should not be equated to chest thumping – the intention is not to get blinded by the admiring words showered upon by the ‘mutual admiring partner’. That’s why, it is mutual. You will hear praise for yourself, but you will also have to point out qualities that you admire in your fellow participant. It will negate the probability of getting lost in narcissism. Eventually, when the cover is lifted, your mood will be lifted along with your confidence.

I also believe that some people will find it silly and childish and immature.

When somebody is depressed and low, and has lost all the trust and faith on oneself and one’s capabilities, how can such a stupid game help?

My answer to all those people:

You have been serious all your life. Try being silly for a change !

It might work for you, it might not ! I give no guarantee. But at least it will be worth a try.

Well, it helped me and my roomie ! 🙂

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‘Supernatural’ is more than just a television show!

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For those who don’t know what I am going to talk about – Supernatural is an American horror television series and as the name suggests, it is a story of two brothers hunting supernatural elements and protecting the world which takes them to different places and on arduous trips, exploring their brotherhood on the way.

Don’t Worry ! No Spoilers ahead !

It was Love at first sight
After watching 10 successful seasons and 200+ episodes, I still recollect the fond memories of the day I was introduced to the Winchester boys by my roommate. It was the night before our last mid-semester exam in 2nd year of our college. Well, I guess she wanted to have a nice, little break from the monotony of her study routine; a break I could not afford because of the not-so-monotonous study routine of mine. Oh! Those exam days – I am glad they are over!
Well, she was watching one of the episodes of the 1st season when I happened to peep at her laptop screen (owing to the lack of interest I have in studies – this was inevitable). I saw a man with scary, yellow eyes scaring off a tall, cute boy – I thought, ‘This looks intriguing’. My curiosity heightened and owing to my inability to control it any further, I asked her – ‘What is this you are watching?’ – Quite ignorant of the fact that it would become one of my favorite shows in the coming days. She explained to me the scene and the background story in a nutshell which intrigued me even more, after which she made me have a look at the Winchester boys!
I got lost in Sam’s cute looks and Dean’s mesmerizing eyes.

Love has to be patient
But even today, I give a pat on my back for inhibiting my strong desire to watch the two men fight ghosts in their luxurious Impala. I went back to study consoling myself saying that I would get freedom from the books the next day and then there would be no barrier between us.

The first date
It was magical. Not only the boys, but also the story. It was different. It was appealing. No wonder, I was hooked on to the series for the next three days, completing the entire season.

Our growing relationship
Since the first day I laid my eyes on these two boys, till now – after 10 seasons – I have felt an extreme sense of possessiveness and admiration for them. It is more than just a horror drama to me: I will tell you why :
1. I have stopped getting scared of ghosts, witches, vengeful spirits, vampires- name any supernatural entity- and I have seen Dean and Sam fighting them and coming out victorious with flying colors. So if they can, I can too! ( I have also learnt some tricks) 😛 😀

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2. My vocabulary and knowledge of supernatural elements have increased fourfold. For e.g. – I know about shape shifters , or crossroad demons, hell hounds, spells, devil’s trap, vengeful spirit and many more. ( hehehe !! 😀 )

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3. I have fallen in awe with the portrayal of brotherhood between the two boys – After all, it is all about family, isn’t it? The blood relationship – the only thing which overcomes their difference of thoughts and mindset – They taught me that ‘Nothing in this world is above family’. 🙂

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4. But at the same time, their family is not limited to blood ties. In the family business where you have to trust your partner with your life, Dean and Sam have made loyal friends whose friendship will last a lifetime. ‘Will-die-for-friend Friendship’. :’)

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5. They have shown me that no matter what, the evil needs to be punished – no matter who the evil doer is! Evil can never win- at least when Sam and Dean are around.

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6. They have always been for each other- always got each other’s back in troubled times. It is a treat to watch their brotherly moments. 🙂

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Clearly, my admiration for the show and its characters is not hard to make out. After watching each episode umpteen number of times of the last 10 seasons, I am eagerly waiting to see what the 11th season has in store for the two brothers and their coterie.

In deep love with Sam & Dean Winchester ❤

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A Content Heart

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                     ‘ You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough’

– William Blake

No matter who we are, where we are born or what we do, each one of us has a single goal to achieve in life – to attain contentment. If you are satisfied with what you have and feel fortunate about it, you will automatically be happy. Whatever we do in life, everything is directed to that broader goal – to achieve satisfaction and happiness. And the one reason we are way too far from this goal is because our metrics are faulty. We tend to compare ourselves with someone who has achieved greater heights than us, or has greater number of opportunities than us, or greater wealth, health or accolades– in a nutshell, the person is on a higher pedestal than us. Without putting ourselves in their shoes, we tend to judge their life and worse – we compare ourselves with them. We have the natural instinct to feel low and beat ourselves up pondering over things we don’t have while we see others enjoying . This feeling of incompleteness brings remorse and not contentment.

If we continue on the same road, the desire of achieving contentment will be a distant goal. Being ambitious is great. But being ignorant of what you have is a disease which will never let you bask in your own glory.

The first step towards the goal would be to recognize your privileges. If you are reading this right now, you belong to a privilege class – Yes – you have access to internet – you have a computer/laptop/mobile – you have education to comprehend my words – you have mental stability to understand the thought – you have the eyesight to see the picture. Think of people living in this world without these things, and let me assure you – there ARE people living in this world without these things I mentioned – even worse – there are people living in this world without the basic needs and comfort we enjoy in our everyday lives.

So should we not be ambitious and just be content with what we have? No, that is not my idea of a content and happy life. Work hard to achieve what you want in life, fulfill every dream you have. But don’t let you heart sink by comparing your life with somebody else‘s , thinking that you have got less. Even if you want to compare, compare with someone who has much less than you have, and think how bravely he is fighting life’s battle. Probably then, we all would respect what we have in life and be happy and content– at the same time persevering to achieve a little more . This empathy towards the less privileged will keep us grounded and bring the element of satisfaction in our life. That‘s the secret, my friend, for a happy – and more importantly a content life as former is a direct consequence of the latter.

 A content heart is a happy heart.

–  Amateur

Humor Me

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‘Little Birdie flying in the sky,

I look up and it shits in my eye

I don’t mind, I don’t cry

But I thank god that cows don’t fly !! ‘

                                                                                                     – Anonymous

Did you have this thought when you wiped bird’s shit off your eyes or clothes? If yes, then you are probably the person I am going to eulogize in this piece. Your commendable positive attitude deserves a special mention. But it is not your optimism I am going to talk about. It is your sense of humor – which is lacking in people nowadays – the ability to laugh off your worries, the skill of facing vagaries of life with a smile, or probably a joke! Believe me, you rock!

A few days back, I was watching a famous actress’s interview, in which she revealed that she was a victim of depression during those times when she was at the pinnacle of her career. It was an eye opener. If a person like her having all the materialistic comforts–established career, financial security, fame, accolades and recognition – can lack emotional stability, it speaks volumes of the fact that depression does not take into account a person’s career or money or success before attacking someone, not even age – She is in her 20s. So everyone is vulnerable. However, she won this battle with flying colors. And now she has launched an initiative to help people fighting depression – an inspirational effort indeed.

We need to look at the bigger picture here. I just recounted one incident – there are several poignant stories of broken hearts, failures, abuse – easily falling prey to depression. Suicide is the aftermath when a heart is not able to bear more pain and wants to stop beating. The elixir which can release people from the clutches of depression is a good sense of humor – which is so rare today. By a sense of humor, I don’t hint at people becoming comedians and cracking jokes at every chance they get. In fact, humor has little to do with jokes. Humor enables you to laugh at yourself, releasing the anxiety and stress you have been carrying all around. It allows you to make fun of the troubles you are in, the predicaments you face and the tribulations you have to undergo- find the humor in life. It is the ability to let go and not take life too seriously. I am not a great fan of this author’s writing, but I truly believe what he said “Don’t be serious in life. Be Sincere.” Remember Heath Ledger , the joker in the Batman – saying in his menacing voice – ‘Why So Serious’? Well, in the movie , his intention was different from the point I am trying to make here, but his words are the key – Why so serious?

Life is too short to be taken seriously but too important to be not taken sincerely.

A short disclaimer here – a good sense of humor does not provide solutions to your problem. If you are living your life in this world and not in mountains, you have got to face troubles and YOU have to sought them out. But a good sense of humor will definitely make that journey a pleasurable one, rescuing you from the darkness of depression and giving you the courage to go on and reach the destination- no matter how many obstacles you have to overcome.

Live life sincerely.

Dance, rejoice, laugh, love, play, work – do everything you want to do , but do it sincerely and not seriously.

Find the humor in life and let it take away all your anxiety and stress while your brains find a solution.

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