My grandma aka ‘Punch’ Paati is very intelligent yet emotional, may be old in terms of the year she was born but definitely not in the way she thinks and works. Bold, spiritual, inspirational, stubborn, creative and interesting are some of the words people use to describe her … to me she is all that and more. I have learnt so much from her that I thought I should share some of her “philosophies” with you all. Most of these are common sense and things you may have heard or read about. However, to me these are special because my grandma exemplifies them on a daily basis and applying them has made a difference in my life so far. I hope this post reminds you and helps you too.  Her thoughts may be applied to work as well (@work refers to those). So here goes…

Principle #1 Family First – “NO matter where you go… what you do…never ever move your family lower down your priority list.” She would also tell me “ remember your parents and sisters are like your two eyes… you should see the world through them and never forget them”. I think she wanted me to be family conscious and in a way self conscious regardless of what I do. I was leaving to Singapore to further my education when I was 16 so it was a natural thing for her to do i.e. send me with words of wisdom (punch dialogues too), so that I shall continue to be the good boy that she had raised me to be. I would also like to add that… when someone is on his/her deathbed … they don’t ask for material things but want to spend time with their loved ones and cherish past memories. So Family FIRST !

@work – these days people talk about career-man/woman need to put family behind or no money no life/wife/family etc etc… truth is at least for we Asians, family matters and it is this institution that provides us the moral and social base for us to grow and fly higher in life. As long as we hold on to this principle our social, socio-economic and other facets of life will be meaningful and fruitful. Or at least that’s what I think.

Principle #2 KISS – apart from the physical expression of love(yes she gives me a peck on my forehead and we wave to each other every morning when I leave for work… reminds me of school days) it also refers to the Keep It Simple St*^id principle. Applying this principle when she talks to us has also earned her the title ‘Punch’ Paati which in Tamil refers to a witty, ‘punch-dialogue’ delivering  grandma. For a detailed write-up on Punch dialogues click here. My grandma says “We make life so complicated that we forget…. the solutions to most of our problems is very simple”… especially when you apply Principle #3.

@work – when you are doing a presentation or communicating with your colleagues it pays to be simple and getting straight to the point.  We once had a PM who would beat around the bush before getting to the core of his message, my boss would always get restless and mad at times with him and so did our clients. Before long he was fired!   Don’t forget to have short and sweet ‘Punch’ dialogues need lessons call my grandma 😉

Principle #3 Forgive & Forget – Very often we are ‘stuck’ with our past prejudice or stereotypes of individuals which affects the way we interact with them. Grandma says… “forget all that, even if they have wronged  you … forgive them and if you have wronged seek forgiveness because you have a very short time to live in this World… just make it happy and worthwhile. Remember nobody is perfect and that includes you as well.

@ work – most of the issues people generally face at work are people related, very rarely you find people  talking/scolding their PC’s (some geeks do that too!). I realized that the lens (frames of reference) with which we form our perceptions defines the perception itself… when you talk to people and understand their perspective (or frame of reference) putting aside our assumptions/prejudice/stereotypes you will be more inclined to forgive and forget. It’s not easy initially but if a 75yr old can do that!!  Why not me?? I tried and I can assure you IT WORKS!

Principle #4 Recycle, Reuse and Reject (rarely) – I am always amazed how my grandma can be so creative about reusing stuff. For e.g.A Twistee’s chips bag is now used as a packaging cover for my lunch box (Yes I carry a lunch-box to office everyday). Sometimes she would re-cycle the leftovers in ways you can never comprehend. (NOTE: this would result in stomach upsets once in a while but when it clicks you have a new secret recipe to your portfolio). This principle helped me a lot in Japan where I learnt cooking/baking and explored a lot (thanks also to my mum and sisters who had set a very high benchmark)

@work – my boss always tells us to reuse paper and find ways to efficiently use and re-use stuff. You feel good when you do save papers knowing that you’re doing your bit to save trees (and also reduce the OPEX for your company ;-))

Principle #5 Trial Costs Nothing But When It comes $$’s and Cents Reduce – Sometimes you just have take your chances and try unchartered territories.  You never know what you may discover and more importantly your learning curve will never stagnate. However my grandma cautions me when it comes to spending money save or reduce (let me be honest she says “Bargain”). Her argument is this “You are happy to give the shop-keeper extra $1 or 2 when you buy stuff but say you pay him $99 when the bill is $100 he will not accept!

@work – we need to invest our resources be it time or money to learn new things. RnD is important for the growth and development of an individual/organization but definitely we will find ways to reduce and save $$’s and cents. If you still say NO, then you have not practiced Principle #4.

Principle #6 Eat-Pray-Exercise-Enjoy – you mess-up any one of those… it ruins your balance says my grandma. For e.g. if you don’t eat properly on time then your health deteriorates over time… and when you don’t exercise then you get sick/depressed over time… If you’re sick or sad it affects your performance (@ work too )… and then even if you have plenty of time you will neither be healthy nor happy to enjoy it. (Note: Exercise = Mental + Physical; remember all work and no play makes Ch00b a dull boy). According to my grandma prayer is probably the most important element in this equation as it provides the ‘manna’ for your soul and the value system to lead your life.

@work – “Where got life?” is the answer my good friend gives me whenever I ask him “How’s Life?” He is still laboring in one of the Big4. I want to ask him “Why Got Work? if you cannot enjoy/live the life you want ?”