Monday, December 30, 2013


Labels. We can't think without using them, can we? They turn into disastrous and murderous weapons when we employ them to judge people, events and ideas. How many times do we pause before sticking an imaginary label on someone or something? How many times are we willing to pull off that label despite realizing that perception is different from reality. How many times are we incorrigibly convinced that our labels are right forever? 

Is it possible to stop our conditioning, experiences and intellectual limitations from dictating to our labels? Can we settle for labels that are empty until we are sufficiently engaged with the person, event or idea to know that the labels must perhaps remain empty forever? I don't know (to quote my niece on most matters). 

The right place for labels is in the mind's lab where we secretly examine the label from multiple angles and don't let any of our prejudices and past experiences influence us while at it and......finally, shred them to pieces rather than let them splatter black on things yet to come. 


Some thoughts take off elegantly and enthusiastically into the bright and blue sky and your spirit soars along, with a song on its lips.

Some thoughts, meanwhile, speedily slide down into a dark and endless abyss and drag your spirit down even as it resists and trips.

To silently watch both with stoic equanimity and see that they both are equally unreal is what works, as 'spirituality' often quips. 

To Believe or Not to Believe

Buddha is quoted thus: "Don't believe everything you read". Abraham Lincoln also apparently warned people to not believe everything on the Internet. I don't know; Lincoln was the one quoted in that poster I saw on the Internet. 

Logically speaking, how could we anyway believe everything we read? Just when you had permanently concluded that laughter is good for health, some researchers come out of their isolated offices and tell you that your organs might get ruptured or displaced if you laugh too much. 

Just when you were sure that deep introspection is what might make you a better human being, some psychologists warn you about the side effects of deep thinking. Who wants to be a better human being but, at the same time, slightly insane? (Makes you wonder how they arrived at such a conclusion without thinking too much). 

Not a single so-called Universal truth is left untouched or unchallenged. There are many ways to use rational thoughts to either construct or destroy the same case. People, meanwhile, simply choose what they want to believe and ignore everything else. 

What next? We must simply wait for Mark Twain to tell us (via the Internet, of course) to start believing everything we read. That way, we'll take ourselves less seriously and life will be a lot more fun. 

Bird Murmurations

Perhaps the mother of all magical moments in nature 
The murmuration of birds mixed with lilting music

The magnificence of watching the winged creatures in rapture 
Merging and leaving in what seems like a divine trick   

The mesmerizing patterns that they draw in the sky
Makes one desire to belong to the unrehearsed dance 

As millions of birds prove they were born to fly 
Maybe man can some day learn to orchestrate so, once he comes out of the trance

Genius - Focus

“The secret of genius is focus. If you can laser your attention on any subject or project, it will reveal its blueprint to you. George Washington Carver discovered 325 uses for the peanut and 100 for the sweet potato! Great geniuses are powerful focusers. Many have been called eccentric or insane because they put aside worldly concerns for the sake of their music, art, architecture, drama, inventing, or writing. But they are the individuals who change the world, while those with scattered attention wade through mediocre lives. Geniuses don’t fritter their precious minds on mass trends. They create the trends that alter the masses.” ~ Alan Cohen 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Question that I spotted recently- How does time influence us? HT: John Hovell

Such a critical question that many of us probably don't think about often! A movie I watched has helped me refine my thoughts on this topic. Thinking about it linearly, at one extreme end of the spectrum, we have people who are slaves of time and will dance to its tunes almost always. 

Ironically, these are the people who want to conquer time, squeeze in everything possible and stuff the 'Time' bag till they are sure it can't hold any more. Which implies they are always under pressure and the dark cloud of unfinished tasks constantly hovers over their heads. They are likely to just fleet through most things in life as they are waiting for the next thing to happen. I can't help but think that the problem has become more severe with the explosion of concepts like multi-tasking, social networking and the subsequent personalized information glut. (Earlier it was plain information glut, with no special messages attached to it which means it was easier to ignore). 

Those of us who are stuck in this constantly churning wheel of time would hardly enjoy the ride. And we have ourselves to blame for it. We are perhaps competing against others with time as the measure, have no clue about our real priorities and are addicted to busyness so as to shut off our wandering minds. 

At the other end of the spectrum, we have people who may have no respect whatsoever for time and would rarely care about its delicate rules or limitations. Such a strong lack of respect for time can be no good either. It smacks of a lack of purpose, lack of knowledge of situations, lack of awareness of other social elements and addiction to laziness. 

As in everything else, we need to hunt for Zen, the middle path, that lets us get the better of time when it really matters (a surgery, a relationship etc) and let it go when there is a need to pause for breath, joy, meaning and clarity of thought. A middle path that lets us take our eyes off the clock, slow down frequently and enjoy the moment that we occupy so much that the clock too is forced to stop in order to watch us. 

In short, too much focus on time will lead to a negative impact on the quality of our lives while a lack of focus on time will reduce the quality of the positive impact we have on life.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


The spirit that often wants to break free
Amidst its ignorance of what will be

The determination to find the energy to soar 
The desire to breakthrough the silence and roar

Almost the entire world yet to explore
Piled up and untouched ideas galore 

Even as one sees the intense human spirit flow and grow
The heart of every cell wishes for peace to lend its glow

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Gut-wrenching noise of the goat from across the street. 
It is hard to bear the sound of his agonizing bleat. 

He somehow knows what is in store but probably hopes for a miracle. 
What he does not know is half the world has to cry for the other half to cackle. 

Note: This post is not intended to offend or hurt anyone. It is only the expression of a personal feeling and can be applied in multiple situations.

How a Good Person Can Really Win - A Book Review

Book Review: Pavan Choudary’s “How A Good Person Can Really Win

I enjoy reading genuine self-help books that combine inspiring thoughts with compelling and actionable approaches, ideas and tips. A visit to a well-stocked book shop will prove to you that there is no dearth of books in the self-help sectionBut as a devoted pursuer of books, I think there are a few things to be wary of.

Depending on the phase of life you are in, your view of life in general and preferred approaches to dealing with its challenges, some books stimulate your thoughts and coax you into taking positive action while some other books are, at best, boring or misleading. Before you impulsively purchase a book, you need to relax, sit down, flip through the book, connect with its theme, structure and ideas. You also need to check if the writing style of the author appeals to your subconscious before you pick it up and rely on it to change your life. 

Well, for a change, I did not have to do any of this to read "How a Good Person Can Really Win" (HGPCRW). The book found me via my blog. To start with, I feel quite lucky about it. 

HGPCRW is not a book that one reads, feels good about and forgets. Nor is it a book that gives you something on the lines of a DIY (do it yourself) kit that you build and reuse everywhere. I think it is a book that you need to keep on your table and refer to regularly. It has plenty of interesting and thought-provoking stories and snippets that one cannot read once and absorb forever. It is a 'situational' book; a book that will give you something to ponder over in many important situations that you may find yourself in. 

The book is split into three parts and the author has done some excellent and appropriate anecdotal research for each of these sections. Part 1 outlines the characteristics of people who resort to vile-like qualities characters. Part 2 unveils advice for the naive and is focused on specific situations. Part 3 gives the reader a set of powerful values to derive inspiration from.

Part 1, to me, was interesting and somewhat like reading the Politics and Page 3 sections of the newspaper. :-) It also made me wonder if normally good-natured people would resort to any of the vile-like methods when under severe pressure. When I moved on to Part 2, I was excited and intrigued by the stories and the anecdotes. Some situations were so familiar that I found myself grinning and reading the insights with gratitude. Part 3 seemed shorter than the other two parts but was a fascinating read because it was packed with concise and powerful ideas. 

In a nut shell, I think this book will be a reliable "guide" that can be approached for advice during difficult situations. The insights will, I think, fascinate and appeal to many a mind.

Disclaimer: The publishers offered me the book for a review. However, the review is a pure reflection of my own experiences and thoughts and not influenced by any external entities

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!

This post is in response to the excellent IndiBlogger contest "The Idea Caravan"  jointly conducted by Franklin Templeton Investments 

The contest presents a number of inspiring TEDx format videos that throw the spotlight on people passionate about a specific cause and let them share their stories 

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.


The talk that I've zeroed in on is the one by:

Arunachalam Muruganantham -

Watching this man talk, I am filled with as much positivism and hope as with wonder. If one were to use the phrase "Food for thought" in the context of his talk, what one sees is an exciting and quirky buffet; a long queue of healthy as well as tasty dishes!

This talk, in a nut shell, is profound at many levels. 

Ironically, I am, perhaps, not going to promote his cause per se as much as the other underlying messages that this man has for the world. 

  • To start with, the talk is delivered in the form of an engaging story, filled with passion and natural humor. A great way to connect with and influence the audience, whatever may be the cause! #Leadership
  • Even for a language enthusiast like me, the spelling mistakes and broken English were not distractions. It was easy to dive into his talk with the curiosity that is natural when one watches a 'little educated person' (in his own words) whose impressive ideas contradict such a declaration. #Passion
  • If it was not already clear, it becomes clear after listening to this man that real education is not necessarily about going to school, religiously running through prescribed text books and clearing exams with high scores. Raw talent, that highly sophisticated and not so well understood element, cannot be ruled out. But it needs to be supported by a lot of reading, observing, thinking, adapting and doing and this is quite different from formal education! For example, he talks about a fascinating management idea such as "fail fast in order to succeed"! #Ideas #Education
  • He goes on to passionately advocate that Business is not about chasing money; it is about pursuing something that will have a measurable social impact! The precise measure is, in my view, a point that needs to be very carefully determined, but if all corporate entities were to have such an attitude, it is hard to fathom the good that it can do to the world at large. #Values
  • It is more than obvious, as one watches him, that we can learn to achieve anything, however ignorant we may be at the start. The approach that he emphasizes upon as a solution is "trial and error". Of course, it needs to be backed by purpose, vision and patience. #Perseverance 
  • He declares "To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!" Now, if that's not one of the simplest and most amazing philosophies in life, I don't know one when I see one. What a positive way of looking at a problem and turning it on its head in one swift and glorious gesture. #Wisdom #Positive_Thinking
  • Other subtle messages that come through are worth every minute of the talk - one needs to be prepared to take a lot of risks, throw caution to the winds, appear weird and maybe even lose the people because of whom one was inspired in the first place! #Paradox 
I'd like to finish by saying that this story is a perfect example of the fact that success does not come easy, but if one is obsessed with the purpose, dismissing the obstacles in the path of success begins to look extraordinarily easy

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Where Are We Going?

Arguably, the world at large is increasingly building low-quality products and services and is not able to support the multitude of greedily acquired customers because of wanting to scale up and grow (greed, unreal targets and what not) whilst not investing in equivalent support structures. 

This means excessive multitasking, absence or lack of well-placed specialists, lack of focus on the core product or service, complexity etc. At the other end, sometimes the supporting structure even when present is so detached and clueless that it does more damage to the existing equation. Think call-centers. 

Systems and individuals are stretching so much to keep pace with the world that they go beyond natural limits of elasticity and lose their original strength gradually or break. More alarmingly, such a misled world influences systems and individuals to lose sight of or compromise their real needs and values. :-/ #banks #insurance #outsourcing #retail #manufacturing #construction #you-name-it 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Chimp Behavior

Don't ever judge a Chimpanzee by the way it behaves while stuck in a cage, especially if it has never been locked up in a cage, in the past. (You may, however, arrive at a few thoughtful conclusions about its nature when you study it in its natural habitat). 

The poor creature will need to be locked up in a cage regularly and frequently enough for there to be a reliable pattern in its behavior. If it is true that apes learn from mistakes, then there could be an improvement over a period of time. Only if the Chimp is conscious of its behavior and desires to change it. What this implies is that you may end up changing its natural behavior when you subject it continuously to an alien environment. 

Coping with the World

The really ominous thing about today's world is that if one is overly sensitive, then one is likely to give in and dissolve into smithereens, one or more atoms at a time, when constantly faced with what the majority of society suffers from in one form or the other - incompetence, apathy, selfishness, superficiality, hypocritical-ness, meaninglessness, greed, cruelty, sadism, discrimination and a whole lot of other depressing things that I better stop making a list of. 

Arguably, you don't really need the media to blow it up and negatively impact your mind. Families suffer from it, organizations you work for suffer from it, banks you rely on to safeguard your earnings suffer from it, service providers you rely on to execute your tasks suffer from it and even the temple you go to for peace of mind is subjected to these ills. 

To feed into inspiring literature and thoughts and then swing back to reality might actually backfire as you struggle to cope with what you increasingly aspire for and the unyielding, chaotic and yawning gap you see when you come back to reality. If you're lucky enough to cross paths with many of those who are successfully endeavoring to make a difference, change and adapt themselves without impacting their values and attitude, little rays of hope begin to fall on you gently. If you are not filled with an infinite ability to bounce back and recreate your original strength to cope with reality as is, the only option begins to look like leaving reality, creating your own imaginary world and letting the delusion keep you ostensibly protected and happy. Buddha chose solitude and separation to understand life, Ramana chose solitude and silence and so did many other souls looking for liberation. 

A fascinating connection that occurred to me, in this context, is the mythological (Hindu) story of Ganesha (the Elephant God), Karthikeyan (his brother), Narada (the mischievous and wandering sage) and the mango that he used to create a rift between the brothers. I have listened to this story a gazillion times but this is the first time I am arriving at such an interpretation. 

Narada tempted the brothers with a single delicious-looking mango and said he could give it to only one person and suggested that they run a unique race to determine the winner. He said he would give it to the person who came around the world faster than the other. Without wasting a single second, Karthikeyan mounted his peacock and started his journey around the world. Ganesha, meanwhile, thought through it and mounted his mouse and quickly went around his Parents (who were nearby), Lord Shiva (one of the three super powers and the one in charge of re-creation through destruction) and Parvathi Devi. That, of course, took no longer than a blink of the eye. He then claimed the mango from the sage and declared that he had come around the world as His parents represented the world to Him. Narada could not deny the truth in it and therefore gave away the mango to Ganesha. 

Meanwhile, Karthikeyan returned from his world trip and went to Narada, confident that he was the winner. But, alas, he discovered that Ganesha had already claimed the mango and won it. Karthikeyan did not perceive the judgment to be fair and was enraged. He decided to leave all his possessions behind and go far away atop a mountain, and be a recluse. This, I now suspect, is a story to indicate what a person who is not tuned into worldly affairs and its subtleties will be subjected to, however sincere and dedicated he is with his tasks. Tell your child this story and see whose side she takes. You may see signs of either a worldly charlatan (I am not talking about a fraud exactly, but someone who knows how to twist things in his favor) or a person with an idealistic and simple view of what the truth is (and thinks that the world will see it the same way).  

In the modern world, there are many Karthikeyan-like recluses (such as Watterson) who have decided that happiness does not lie, for them, in coping with the real world (which in any case is not a one-time activity but something that has to be done for an entire life-time) but going away (literally) into their own shell, designed to be as self-sufficient as possible. This may, of course, call for relinquishing many materialistic and worldly desires. But the moral of the story may be that we should recognize whether we are worldly competitors who can figure out how to win the game or recluses who should carve out our own thing and stop complaining about the world. ;-)

Saturday, June 01, 2013


When you remind yourself every day that others may never ever see things from your perspective, you grow more tolerant and self-reliant. 

When you remind yourself every day that you may never ever see things from others' perspective, you grow more compassionate and learn to leave them alone.

Friday, May 03, 2013


Recent ideas and thoughts that I'd like to gather on this blog. 

Life, Psychology

When you compare, you lose your CORE. What you are left with is only mpa - madness, (self)pity or arrogance. Hint: CO-mpa-RE.



The only situation in which you can blame yourself wholeheartedly for inappropriate results is when you hold the reigns. It's no use saying that the reigns are not in your hands. Sometimes, you need to realize the need to grab it and then grab it somehow (sigh...but how?) or shut up, dance to others' tunes and, ultimately, waste your time, effort and energy. 



Situations wherein one connects with nature, (or good human interpretations of nature like music, stories or art), a human being or a paradox are perhaps the only times in which one feels truly alive and aware. Not when one accomplishes something for that ceases to matter after a while, not when one gets an idea for that may become obsolete or change and evolve, not even when one learns something for one may have to unlearn that under different circumstances.


Social, Relationships, Mentoring

Advice is plain ice. Insight is choco-nut delight or fruit-n-nut delight (as you like it).
Plain ice is free and can be dunked into anything and everything. Water, juice, coffee, tea etc. It treats everything as equal. A customized ice cream on the other hand needs effort, knowledge and patience and is consumed with relish. It is lovingly garnished with nuts and delivered one spoon at a time. 


Psychology, Human Behavior, Conditioning 

To have an open mind is akin to standing in front of fast approaching waves on the sea shore. You must be prepared to withstand the worst onslaught. It may touch your feet gently and go away. It may wet you just a little or a lot. It may overwhelm you, knock you down and fill your mouth with water that you are likely to spit out in an instant. The thing to note, however, is that the grains of sand that stick to you drop off as you walk back home.    



When you genuinely share what you know - not because you want to teach others, not because you want to influence or manipulate others, not because you want to be acknowledged or praised, and not because you want to receive something in return but because you simply want to express yourself and connect with another mind - you can't really fathom the impact it has on others and what you yourself end up learning and earning from it.

God, Life

One of the most common situations that people (rationalists) use to question whether God exists is to point their finger at seemingly nice people suffering or dying either too early or in an unfair manner. It can't possibly be that simple if there is no such thing as "the single truth". They might as well be questioning our knowledge of the intricacies of Karma, the existence of free will and its consequences and the complex interdependence of society.


Leadership, Psychology, Human Behavior

Two familiar but always interesting things that caught my attention in a recent movie I watched.
a. Even the most challenging of tasks that the people concerned are skeptical of will begin to look appealing and worthwhile when a leader uses the right words - cleverly connected and genuine words - to inspire and encourage them. Underlying this simple truth is the more complex fact that the leader must have an uncanny knack of customizing the message in order for it to speak to a specific person in a specific context. The more reusable the message, as it flows down the hierarchy, the better! ;-) And, in the real world, there will, of course, be people whose minds need to be pried open.  b. The human ego can sometimes expand to a size that is bigger than the galaxy we live in and when it crosses a certain circumference area, it ceases to look awful and starts looking hilarious  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Life of a Child

How to engage a guest at home - Tips from a three year old. Demonstrate your ability to recognize chess coins by their names and random alphabets in the newspaper. Serve imaginary coffee multiple times. Show where the juice is stored in the fridge. Suggest that the guest should drink water with a straw. Say bye when the guest gets up to leave and persevere until the guest disappears. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Social Chemistry

I think at the bottom of every human action and reaction, there is an equation. The equation that he/she shares with someone or something.  Catalysts may or may not be present. A person's behavior, ideas, capabilities and emotions are shaped by this equation. It does not mean that a person has no control over his life but his personality is likely to be shaped by these equations. 

When i first heard it, I was mesmerized by the quip that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it and I still am, but it is deceptive to think that the story of a person's life is based on his reactions alone. It is a sequence of equations. You never know what's going to happen at the end because one or more components of these equations are unknown. You are one part of a given equation and the presence of other entities in it changes the output of the equation and contributes to what you become.  

Victor Frankl was an amazing human being, but he would have probably never written his book or identified his immense strength if he hadn't been subjected to torture.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Learning from Nature

Life is a Roller Coaster Ride

How does one plan for a roller coaster ride? One cannot. All one can do is have some thumb rules. Put on the seat belts, hold on to something stable, laugh off the nervousness, don't look down, scream with all your might when you're scared, claw at the person nearby (if one is sure one will not be pushed off the seat as a consequence) and learn to relax and meditate on the path to becoming a seasoned roller coaster rider. #Life

Being Human

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming." - Anonymous > Think about it if you happen to be a leader, parent, teacher or mentor! 

Life is an Equation

I think at the bottom of every human action and reaction, there is an equation. The equation that he/she shares with someone or something. Catalysts may or may not be present. A person's behavior, ideas, capabilities and emotions are shaped by this equation. It does not mean that a person has no control over his life but his personality is likely to be shaped by these equations. 

When i first heard it, I was mesmerized by the quip that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it and I still am, but it is deceptive to think that the story of a person's life is based on his reactions alone. It is a sequence of equations. You never know what's going to happen at the end because one or more components of these equations are unknown. You are one part of a given equation and the presence of other entities in it changes the output of the equation and contributes to what you become. 

Victor Frankl was an amazing human being, but he would have probably never written his book or identified his immense strength if he hadn't been subjected to torture. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


A tree; A bare tree.

No green leaves,
No gentle breeze.
No shade to rest,
No cozy nest.
A tree nevertheless.

No special crown,
Branches gone.
No flowers or fruits, 
But glad for the roots. 
A tree nevertheless.

Trunk under water,
Got nothing to alter. 
Half wet, half dry,
Somewhat bold, somewhat shy.
A tree nevertheless.

Faith deep in the bark, 
Embracing the dark.
Silent and stoic,
Still a seed of frolic.
A tree nevertheless.

A bird in sight,
A bird with wings!
A bird that sings!
The Sun is blazing away,
Miracles are on their way!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Power of the Written Word

"Each of us has a deep-seated need to reciprocate favors, regardless of whether the quid pro quo is on par with one another. Each of us has a deep-seated need to maintain an internally consistent view of who we are as individuals."

"Apparently, the simple act of writing something down, no matter how innocuous, becomes our perspective. We behave—and change our beliefs, accordingly—to satisfy a need to remain consistent with what we write" 


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chase Cars or Cats?

When life puts you in a situation that makes you feel like a Dog chasing Cars on the road but you'd rather be a Dog that chases Cats, here are some of the things you could do to bark off the blues (in no particular order). 

Chase Cats when life is not looking *chuckle*

Look for Cars with Cats inside them *wink*

Hang out with a community of Dogs that tells you how nice it is to chase cars *make sure you put on a sober expression all the time*

Study, analyze, dissect and write a report on Cars and the differences between chasing a Honda vs Toyota vs Benz vs Ferrari etc *distribute it as a PDF* 

Discuss the ethical issues related to the chasing of Cats, with philosophical Dogs *make notes* 

(Screech. Stop. Run)


If you are creative, highly obsessed with ideas, prefer drowning in solitude with your unconventional dreams and have less than average social intelligence and are clumsy with your relationships (highly correlated in my opinion) then be prepared to fail, be misunderstood, be neglected, be harassed, fight crazy battles, justify and explain, suffer, and, generally speaking, pay the price for being a misfit. Ironically, a small section of the society is likely to refer to you as a genius when you are alive and - posthumously - everyone may refer to you as a genius. :-/ 

Tag: Famous and infamous personalities 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Why Companies Exist

From frivolous efforts at charity and CSR, to more serious all-round investment in support of social issues/challenges. Not always successful but fragmented and continuous focus on going green, customer delight and employee engagement. 

Jargons like diversity, no discrimination and ombudsman, commercially motivated but inclusive ideas like intrapreneurship and crowd sourcing, to independent and near altruistic operations for enhancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Some organizations seem to have come a full moral circle but we still have text books that claim companies exist in order to make a profit.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Trends in Collaborative Education/Learning

Thanks to Ferina Santos - @ferinasantos - for sharing this excellent article on trends in Education. I think it is a wonderful overview of what the future of education is going to be like. No prizes for guessing that the emphasis is on collective and collaborative learning techniques and mechanisms! 

Read the full article here: The author is: Miriam Clifford - @miriamoclifford on Twitter 

Here are some excerpts that appealed to my mind:


Groups tend to learn through “discussion, clarification of ideas, and evaluation of other’s ideas”.  Perhaps information that is discussed is retained in long term memory.  Research by Webb suggests that students who worked collaboratively on math computational problems earned significantly higher scores than those who worked alone.  Plus, students who demonstrated lower levels of achievement improved when working in diverse groups. 
Many studies such as those by Robert Slavin at Johns Hopkins have considered how cooperative learning helps children develop social and interpersonal skills.  Experts have argued that the social and psychological effect on self-esteem and personal development are just as important as the learning itself. 


The quality of discussions is a predictor of the achievement of the group.  Instructors should provide a model of how a successful group functions.  Shared leadership is best.  Students should work together on the task and maintenance functions of a group.  Roles are important in group development. Task functions include:

  • Initiating Discussions
  • Clarifying points
  • Summarizing
  • Challenging assumptions/devil’s advocate
  • Providing or researching information
  • Reaching a consensus.

Maintenance involves the harmony and emotional well-being of a group.  Maintenance includes roles such as:
  • Sensing group feelings
  • Harmonizing
  • Compromising and encouraging
  • Time-keeping
  • Relieving tension
  • Bringing people into discussion
Focus on enhancing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Design assignments that allow room for varied interpretations.  Different types of problems might focus on categorizing, planning, taking multiple perspectives, or forming solutions

The article winds up by reminding us about the criticisms of collaboration (it may not allow for individual thinking) and asks us to beware of group-think (groups may end up going by the views of a few confident and dominant people and may not really reach a consensus) 

I am passionate about how we can reinvent education and learning methods so children are more engaged, excited and enthusiastic to be life-long learners. Of course, the other dimension is that they must be able to apply what they learn in their lives and, furthermore, use it to determine what their lives must be like (find their passion and gift and share it with the world.) I hope we are on the verge of a revolution! :-)