And why read me?

Why read me?

Because you will feel better, I guarantee it.

Positive words, good thoughts, dot connections that bring out the chuckle inside you — when you are done reading.

P.S. These words are also records for my young daughters to read someday. Words hidden in plain sight.

My All Time Most Viewed Stories

  1. How to Be Ridiculously Likable (This Really Works)

The story I would like many of you to read as it answers- “What is in it for you?”

  1. Please be selfish — Truth bombs that will change your life.

If you liked what you read, please sign up for my “connect the dots” short story-letter at this link.

What is your measure for happiness?

Image for post
Image for post

“Let us make up our own game,” I shared with my 7-year-old. She was equally animated.

The tiles on the floor gave me an idea. The game was simple (see picture above) — speak aloud a positive word and jump forward.

And the words trickled — good, excellent, fabulous, delighted and more. As we crossed each other, we turned 180 degrees and continued by jumping backwards facing each other. We played the game, back and forth, for a couple of rounds.

Soon, positive words were in short supply and so, we switched to “something that makes you happy.” Personally, I was glad we improvised. As parents, we all have prisms on what small things make our children happy and my daughter surprised me [more about this later]. …

5 words, That’s it

Image for post
Image for post

I am a collector of hidden treasures in plain sight. Words — simple, ordinary words — used slightly differently can uplift our conversations.

1. Something vs. Anything: What I learned from Doctor’s language.

Prof. John Heritage of University of California, Los Angles studied how patients responded to a simple follow-up question, “is there anything else we need to take care of today?” To compare the results, one set of doctors used a small twist, “is there something else we need to take care of today?”

The something option provided statistically significant increase of reporting concerns. You are welcome to dwell into the technical details of the research here.

I discovered the practical punch line to be immensely useful — you have a friend mourning through a loss or you sense that your boss is in a pickle. …

Life’s like that

He was a kindness factory.

Image for post
Image for post
Delivering Happiness Book, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

When people mourn a person and not his achievements, it makes me sit up and notice.

Joel Shansen was a student when he cold emailed Tony Hsieh. Tony was running Zappos then.

Joel got this reply. “Love the creative idea, cc’ing my team to help put this together for you.”

In Joel’s words — “He carved out time to help a young kid he never knew. His email back and willingness to help with my idea blew me away at the humility he led his life with.”

Long Journey Ventures partner, Cyan Banister noticed while walking around Zappos that employees were more enthusiastic than the norm. …

Wish I had the guts and gumption to master this selfish skill early in life.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Radu Florin

Something that is selfish or more mildly put, self-centered should be easy to conquer. After all, our minds are wired that way. Or so we think.

Here is the unvarnished truth. Being kind to yourself is harder than being kind to others.

Not because we are selfless. Only because we are not self conscious.

Here are few truths that are hidden in plain sight.

We live in our minds, not in our moments.

The two faculties of humans are vivid memories and unbridled imagination. Both are great possibilities. Even greater possibility are our moments.

For me, one daily moment is walking hand in hand, in lock step with my daughters on their way to school. I often wonder — what happens if I can suspend my memories and fully immerse in those moments? For those fleeting moments, I experience unexplained inner joy waffling in front of me. …

Mom at her best on what matters

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Element5 Digital

At a holiday family dinner, about 6 years ago, my mom shared: “Kids run toward the parents as soon as they are home, their enthusiasm undiminished by the passage of the day while the parents feel mentally exhausted. Why is that?”

As a newly minted parent, I paused to soak in this perspective. I added- “Maybe adults should pursue their passion as profession?” She responded, “That would be ideal, but what would be more pragmatic is to find ways to reduce mental exhaustion in whatever you do”. …

Many times, the right question/thought is more important than answers to questions

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by mahdis mousavi

Jeff Bezos said the following and I was blown away.

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Quino Al

1) When many in the world run to catch the early train to work, I like to lay awake in bed for another 10 minutes.

Lying in bed, cozy in thoughts, I like to imagine how success looks like for that day.

Apparently, I am not the only one. The Olympic champion Michael Phelps, in his words, “before I doze off or immediately after I get up, I can visualize how I want the perfect race to go. I can see the start, the strokes, the walls, the turns, the finish, the strategy, all of it. It’s so vivid that I can see incredible detail, down even to the wake behind me.”

In my life, the mental eye’s power of visualization and planning has worked wonders — superseding all others. …

Sometimes, you don’t need a Quentin Tarantino movie for a roller coaster ride.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by John Bengs

I was at a dinner table with a friend. He casually chimed in, ”When you first said you were writing, I thought you would write about food.” I arched my head back. Yes, like lot of folks from Indian subcontinent, I have animated conversations about food. He surprised me with his extrapolation to writing — perceptions are always good to know.

I chuckled and with a broad smile added, “I get inspired by daily life incidents and correlations to professional life.” …

Why is always an interesting question. The answer — not so much.

Here is an interesting statistic: Fortune 500 CEO, on average, read 4 to 5 books a month! Regular Joe’s statistic is less than 1 book a year. Why do leaders who spend most of their time interacting with others spend time reading books? Is there anything more than the obvious- knowledge is power? I think it has got to do with words like rapport, credibility, trust — building blocks of human relationships — be it in sales, career management and even leadership. Let me explain.

Image for post
Image for post

The 2X2 window above was inspired by the work of two psychologists, Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham (Joe+ Harry =Johari), whose work focused on self-awareness. There is something precious (incidentally, that is meaning for Johari in Swahili) about this approach — namely having “you” and “others”, in one view. Why restrict this great idea to just self-awareness? In an expanded form, it can be a cornerstone of human relationships and success. …


Karthik Rajan

Stories to fuel your mind. Theme: life’s hidden treasures in plain sight. Goal: Warm tone, solid content, crisp stories. About me: one google search away.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store