Thursday, March 26, 2009

TED: John Wooden on true success

Just in time for March Madness!

Arguably one of the best coaches in college basketball ever, Coach John Wooden (now retired) of UCLA shares his definition of success in a talk with no PowerPoint slides. He narrates story after story each linked to his central message. He even quotes poetry without it seeming odd.

It would be interesting to deconstruct this talk based on Made to Stick's SUCCESS matrix (Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, and Story). For the record, Credible it easy for him - it's John Wooden with a simple message to back him up.


Friday, March 13, 2009

"Sound Guy Neck Crane"

This is funny - read it it will make you laugh. You can use it in many ways in many talks, presentations, or newsletters. Link it to a Swami ni Vaat or Vachnamrut, and you get a nice article. There are many times Bapa has made fun of the microphone, most recently in London Diwali the mic kept moving, he mentioned that even the mic was telling him to go.

Enjoy - and remember, we'd love to know how you managed to tuck this one into your presentation.

Sound Guy Neck Crane
Microphones are Nastiks (Atheists). I can’t prove this scientifically, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. I think it’s because Maharaj doesn’t need them. When He speaks in the Vachnamrut, His voice is loud and carries naturally, or He uses samadhi and mukto and miracles to amplify His message. So I imagine that microphones feel slighted and decided long ago to wage a very public anti campaign against Maharaj and Swami.
How else can you explain the shenanigans that occur on Sunday afternoon in almost every sabha with the sound system? From microphones that work perfectly during sound check and then refuse to work during sabha to that loud ear-bursting feedback that blossoms during the most inappropriate times, like right before a prarthna, sound systems are always punking the Mandir. And when they do, it’s so easy to pull out a “sound guy neck crane.”
The sound guy neck crane is the first thing we all do when the sound goes bananas in the middle of sabha. It’s a simple move, but I’ll walk you through the steps:
  1. Sound messes up. 
  2. You quickly try to remember where the sound guy is stationed in the sabha.
  3. You crane your neck to his position and stare at him with eyes that say, “Do you not hear this? That microphone is on fire! Why do you want sabha to suck? Do you hate Maharaj and Swami? That’s it, isn’t it? You hate Maharaj. You sweaty Nastik.” 
  4. Sound is restored. You turn back around and silently thank yourself for contributing to the rectification of the problem by pointing it out with your sound guy neck crane.
I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else. The only problem is that at my local Mandir about 5 different sevaks help run the sound on any given Sunday sabha and same sit in the audio room way up high and in the back but a few are on one side of the stage and yet some others are sitting in audience. So my head has to bounce around like I’m watching a tennis match (or desi volleyball) if I want to bust out a sound guy neck crane. “I see you in the audio room. You down at the side of the stage. You up on the corner of the stage, I’m seeing you too, and I’m not happy.” Bounce, bounce, bounce, crane, crane, crane.
That’s part of the reason I’m going to retire my sound guy neck crane. It’s just too much work at my Mandir. It’s also kind of a jerk thing to do. And by “kind of” I mean “really,” and by “jerk” I mean “words I can’t type without crazy *&# symbols.” From now on, when the sound messes up, I’m going to just do a sitting pag e laag the person next to me and whisper politely, “Microphones hate Maharaj.” It will be awkward the first 2, 3, or 400 times, but people usually like sitting paag e laags, and it will put the blame where it belongs: on Maharaj-hatin’ sound equipment.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Change Blindness

Our brain doesn't bother to understand most of the time, it just looks. Someone can change a variable right under our nose and we won't notice the difference.

The broader implication of this is that the more we choose to focus on one thing over another (i.e. social life over satsang), the less likely we are to be attentive to the other, notice its intricacies, and appreciate it for what it is. Satsang just becomes a part of the background image -- the part that we conveniently don't really pay attention to even though we think we are (e.g. there is a difference between doing puja and focusing on puja).

In short, our brains are wired to do only so much at once; take a look at this Youtube video.