Eight Ways to Great Days

November 22, 2015

It goes without saying there are innumerable ways to live life to the full - bringing about GREAT days! It all depends on us however, as to how we go about it. I have dwelled on the topic 'Eight Ways to Great Days' for it is a 'title that rhymes' and moreover could expand on the 'rhyming sub-titles' that I found credible, quoting some real life examples. Just like one cannot cry over spilt milk, it is all the more important for us to think ahead but take the right decision with the set of circumstances at hand that would in turn lead to bright sunny days.

The following I reckon are 'eight ways to great days'
But then - you can 'add and subtract your own'
Inculcating them and putting into practise, it pays
As, it's on you and you alone the light is shone!

1. Play your role - set a goal:

All that we've been hearing about setting goals is true. 'Goals equal success, success equals goals.' If we are not satisfied with where we are, there is no point in running off just in any direction hoping things will work out for us. We need to decide what exactly we want. We need to be specific and if it is something that calls for making a note, must jot it down. It's easier to get virtually anywhere when we have a map.

'A decision they have never regretted' - Vernon and Marleen Rodrigues during their daughter Kiara's christening in September 2014 at Mangaluru

Decision to return to hometown: They tied the knot in December 2011 with Vernon having come down from the United States where he was employed in the IT Sector for a while. Soon, he took his newly wedded wife to the States as well. Now, going and trying to settle down in the States come what may, is the zeal of many amongst us, but not for this couple. They had a definite map for their future. Their plan was to stay in the USA for about a couple of years, making the best use of the time going around, seeing places. It was Vernon's and Marleen's desire to come back and settle down in their home town and start a family. And that is exactly what they followed and did. Vernon was least interested in exploring even the 'green card possibility' his Company could have granted him if he would had stayed put.

Thus they returned in September 2013 for good, started a family in August 2014 and had their daughter Kiara's first birthday party with much pomp and vigour in August 2015.

2. Who you see is who you'll be:

'Winners live life from the inside out while losers live life from the outside in.' Everything ever achieved was first seen in someone's mind. Getting a clear vision of what we will be like when we have achieved our goal, matters. We need to see the colours and the surrounding in our mind's eye. It has to become vivid on the inside of us before it becomes a reality.


'Of Dilkush, Parfeit, Chocolate Dad and Gadbad' – Savouring Ideals Ice Cream is a must of one's visit to Mangalore, 365 days of the year!

The Ice Cream we relish: When small, on innumerable occasions I have bought firecrackers from 'Ideal Crackers' during the Festival of Lights. During the off-season, the 'cracker stall' that used to have an extended foot on the Market Road would disappear. As told to my dad, they used to make enough profit by selling crackers in the short period of time that would sustain their other businesses until next Diwali arrived. After a few years however, the 'cracker stall' vanished as the Ice Cream know-how was innovated. Visionary S Prabhakar Kamath, having a clear cut focus plunged into what he thought would thrive, risking the immense competition at that time.Teaching himself the art of Ice Cream making, conducting experiments at home and testing its veracity on neighbours, he had come a long way… which he executed immaculately and thus the Venture was a hit! I know the story from close quarters, as my dad was the engineer for many of their expansion Projects in the late seventies and the early eighties. A land known for imparting quality education, having given birth to many financial institutions, having provided the highest Bollywood artists from South India- had also the distinction of having the largest Ice Cream Parlour in the country.

3. At the start, play the part:

An old adage says, "Play the part and you shall become". Once we see ourselves as having already achieved what we want, it should be easy to act as though we already have it. This is not being phony or lying. We're not talking about acting as if we're someone we aren't; rather it is performing at maximum levels. Be what you can be and you will be–notwithstanding the shortcomings you face. If we play our part wisely, only sky is the limit!

'CA: The toughest exam' – Falling into the 'pass category' is in itself a herculean task and topping it at an All India level is indeed an incredible effort!

CA topper of November 2012: My wife is a CA but she was born and brought up in a silver spoon as compared to the story of Prema Jayakumar, the all India topper in the November 2012 CA Final exams. With a pass percentage that is negligible, to top in the tough exam in her challenging conditions just did not come out of the blue. She played her part well and the restfollowed. She had every right to be proud and bask in the glory of her achievement. Daughter of an auto rickshaw driver hailing from Tamil Nadu, who lived in a crammed one-room chawl in Malad, Mumbai all but 280 sq ft, Prema, a rank holder in CA intermediate exams had topped the nationwide Chartered Accountancy final examination in her first attempt. She duly played her part and achieved what she aspired to be, burning the midnight oil and performing at maximum levels, in spite of the numerous limitations she encountered in her quest. She knew from the word 'go' what she wanted to accomplish and now that was done, saw in herself where this feat would lead her, saying the banking sector thrilled her.

4. Follow inner-voice over choice:

Something in all of us wants to do what's convenient rather than what's necessary - to be negative rather than positive. The voice inside ushowever will tell usthat we can do it, though the circumstances may not be all that conducive at the time of making our decision. We must choose to believe what we really want and go for it and have the courage to embrace the greatness for which we were born.

A Doctor's Secret: I would like to share a Doctor's little secret to success. My maternal Uncle is a Doctor and this Doctor was my Uncle's classmate in Davangere Medical College. Against his near and dear one's advice, he went ahead and set up his clinic on a particular location in Udupi those days. There were already a couple of Doctors of the same qualification in the vicinity who were doing very well and all wondered whether the said Doctor had made a right decision by opening his clinic somewhere between the two clinics. Within a few months however, he had patients coming in from all directions and his medical practice was a runaway success.

When people tell me something out of trust, I will never part with it with anyone because it's the 'trust that is placed in you' which is not meant to be given out by any means. This Doctor passed away a few years ago, his clinic ceased to exist and thus I would be excused if I share this. His mantra was simple. He employed an efficient good looking young girl as the clinic's receptionist. One of the main tasks of the receptionist was to note down the conversation she had with the patients and the chat between the patients and the ones they would accompany to the clinic.

Thus, the next time the patient was in for a consultation, the receptionist had the uncanny ability of making them feel at ease by enquiring about their well-being (rehearsing the background notes) thus making them feel very homely. In doing so, she filled in new details that were immediately accessible to the Doctor as well. The same case was with the Doctor, a sort of a jovial guy by nature, who would devout a certain amount of time at the beginning of his consultation enquiring about as to how they were doing, putting positive thoughts further updating his notes as he spoke and then undertaking the patient's diagnosis and prescribing medicines. The patients went away content and this vicious cycle continued and thus by sheer 'word of mouth' the Doctor's business had grown.

5. Don't debate, find what's great:

Don't bother arguing or trying to defend yourself when things don't go right. We need to look for the silver lining in every cloud. Every adversity contains the seed of at least an equal blessing. This can be tough to remember in the middle of a storm. But if we waste energy trying to stop the rain, we'll completely miss the rainbow and may not even be around to enjoy the flowers. Persevere and you shall conquer!

Alfred Dunhill's story: I am not a smoker and have never been, but was fascinated by Dunhill's success story that I had read on the Internet.

A Church in London had rules that it would not employ anyone, without formal high school education. The elderly Pastor was kind and not a sticker of rules. He allowed Alfred Dunhill, who lacked formal education as the caretaker to clean the pews, sweep the floor and keep the podium spick and span. Dunhill had put off taking his high school examination till it became too late. Once the old Pastor retired, he was replaced by a younger person who followed the rule book. As he came to know about the caretaker's education, he issued a notice to him that either he should get a high school certificate in six months or should resign.

Dunhill knew that he had no way out, but to quit. He started out his afternoon stroll in deep thought and got into Bond Street. Suddenly, he felt an urge to smoke. He could not find a single tobacco shop on the entire street. He walked further down into a side street where he could purchase his cigarette. He came back to the busy Bond Street. He realised that a small cigarette shop in the street would be a sound business proposition. He resigned at the Church and started a small shop on Bond Street which prospered way beyond his expectations. He noticed that many of his customers were coming from the other side of the Street. He started another shop on that side of the Bond Street. The two shops multiplied to four and then sixteen in three years.

Alfred Dunhill Co, was a leading tobacconist in England. He started machine-rolling cigarettes and introduced his own brand of Dunhill cigarettes. In five years, he was a millionaire many times over.

6. For super style, live in the NOW:

You are working towards your future. But true success is the progressive realisation of a worthwhile goal or dream. Don't overlook the joys of today and remember, guilt is the gift that keeps on giving. The past is past. Never allow your future to become a prisoner to the tyranny of the past. Wherever you are, be there! Life is not about what you couldn't do so far, it's about what you can still do. Pause and don't ever give up... Miracles happen every day!

Bollywood superhero with a Mangalurean connection Shahrukh Khan in the blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, has no qualm in admitting that he slept on benches and borrowed money

Reflect on these quotes which say it all:

I slept on benches and everyday, borrowed Rs. 20/- from a friend to travel to the film city – Shahrukh Khan
I failed in the 8th Standard – Sachin Tendulkar
I was rejected for the job in All India Radio because of my heavy voice– Amitabh Bacchan
I used to work in petrol bunks - Dhirubhai Ambani
I was a newspaper delivery boy– APJ Abdul Kalam
I used to sell tea as a young boy at a stall ata local railway station - Narendra Modi
At the age of 25, I was still a bus conductor - Rajnikant
I used to sleep on the floor in friends rooms returning coke bottles for food, money and getting weekly free meals at a local temple – Steve Jobs
I didn't even complete my University education – Bill Gates

7. Going all out, don't ever doubt:

Enthusiasm is a powerful force. Be sure you are moving towards something you really want, love and can be excited about. Whatever you do, do it with all your might – don't ever doubt!If you doubt, it may cost you. Let your goal put a fire in your belly and a lion in your heart. Live your life with passion. We all have great potential in us, the only thing that stops us from achieving what we are supposed to achieve is our hesitation, fear and shyness.

'Neil Armstrong creates history' - The first human FOOT on the moon: One small step for man … one giant leap for mankind!

Man's first landing on the moon: There are so many versions as to what transpiredafter the Apollo11 landed on the moon and moreover a theory whether man really made it to the moon at all though there were six manned landings between 1969 and 1972. Keeping all that aside…

Neil Armstrong, as we know was the first person to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.But, many of us would not be aware who was supposed to be the first person? His name is Edwin C Aldarin, also known as Buzz Aldrin. Sounds alien, right!He was the pilot for the Apollo mission, who was working for the American Air Force. In addition, he had the experience of space walking and hence was selected as the pilot. Neil Armstrong was employed by the American Navy and known for his courage and was selected as the co-pilot.

When the Apollo mission landed on the moon, they received a command from NASA, "pilot first."But Aldarin was hesitant "What will happen?", "Will I get sucked in or will I burn out?", etc. The hesitation was not for hours, but for a few seconds.In the meantime, NASA sent the next command, "co-pilot next."Within the next second, Neil Armstrong put his foot on the moon and became part of world history.

World history was changed in just 1 second - though Aldarin had the qualification and talent, because of hesitation; he is not recognised today.The world remembers only the person who comes first … this is how people loseout because of hesitation and fear. Whenever you see the moon, remember this, a moment's hesitation can stop us from our greatest victory.

8. After falling down, go one more round:

Resilience – the ability to bounce back, is a good quality to cultivate. Successful people don't talk about failure, but use the words 'setback' or 'challenge.' If we are not falling down from time to time, we'd better take another look at our goals. We might be living too far within our comfort zone. We might need to reach higher. One definition for success is, "Fall seven timesand get up eight!"

'Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day-after-tomorrow will be sunshine' – Jack Ma

Jack Ma's story: Yes, 'fall seven times and get up eight' is the theme of Jack Ma's story. Guess what? He failed a lot.

The founder of Alibaba Group – a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses, one of the world's richest men, Jack Ma is now thankful for the various failures that shaped his life. He failed primary school tests twice, middle school thrice and was rejected when he applied to join the police. He was rejected from Harvard 10 times.Harvard is hard to crack, but get this - the business magnate was even turned back by fast food chain KFC. "When KFC came to China in our city, 24 people went for the job - 23 got accepted," he says. The only person who didn't make the cut was him.

Today, he is having the last laugh, all the way to the bank.

I would like to conclude with a real story that I had read somewhere:

A well-known speaker started off his Seminar by holding up a Rs 500 note. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this Rs 500 note?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this note to one of you, but first let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the rupee note. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?"... and he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air. "My friends, you have learnt a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth the same Rs 500.

Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you'll never lose your value.

You are special - Don't ever forget it!

"Never let yesterday's disappointments overshadow tomorrow's dreams."
Start your day with this special thought and enjoy the weather along in your life.


Stephen P D'Souza Archives:



By Stephen P D'Souza, Melbourne, Australia
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Comment on this article

  • Chris, Kuwait

    Sun, Nov 29 2015

    Dear Stephen,

    You have great writing skills and your text contains sound, practical advice. It is a great motivator for many students who need a little extra push. It seems, I can always identify experiences in my own family with those you describe. What struck me was ‘Jack Ma's story….having the last laugh’ in your article. That reminded me of my son while at the age of 5 onwards with a medical condition, though intelligent, was termed as the most mischievous of all kids, at school (of course, not a single day went by without complaints). However, the kind Principal of the school was always supportive towards me and seeing me in distress comforted me saying that “no matter if the other kids’ parents have negative things to say, YOUR son will have the last laugh someday.”
    Today he is 18 years of age, very helpful, kind and loving at heart, stands tall, muscular, than all the other classmates of his age, who look up at him. He is still studying and intends to join Public Relations someday…well. I thank God for his blessings.

  • Vincent Dsa, Dubai/Shankeprpura

    Sat, Nov 28 2015

    Nice Article Stephen.Congratulations.

  • Stephen P. D'Souza, Kadri / Melbourne

    Sat, Nov 28 2015

    Madhusudan, Sushma, Anita, Jayashree, Vincent, Nisha – Many thanks for sparing a bit of your time in posting your comments on the piece of writing ‘Eight Ways to Great Days.’

    It is also important once we have realised ‘great days’ to have our feet firmly on the ground. Apart from the successes Mr. Kamath tasted in his Ice Cream venture, if I can recall when I was in Mangaluru, all the Entities of Ideal’s were closed for half a day as a mark of respect for a young waiter who had lost his life in a gruesome road accident on the same morning.

    ‘A butterfly lives only for a few days, but still it flies joyfully capturing many hearts. Each moment in life is indeed precious. Live it fully, live it lively …!’


  • nisha, udupi

    Fri, Nov 27 2015

    nice article...liked it

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Promenade Road,Fraze Town,B'lore 560005

    Thu, Nov 26 2015

    Excellent and I really got motivated to rethink about my unwanted doubts,clear it off and step into a safe future.Thank you so much.

  • Jayashree Walder, Dubai/Mlore

    Thu, Nov 26 2015

    Steve, well written. Liked the last paragraph in particular.

  • Eight Ways to Great Days, Anita Felix D'Souza

    Wed, Nov 25 2015

    nice one

  • Sushma, Bangalore/Melbourne

    Wed, Nov 25 2015

    Lively article Stephen....staying positive all along is the way to overcome challenges and move on staying happy.
    I believe in the "Power of Now."

  • Madhusudan Bhat, Bangalore

    Tue, Nov 24 2015

    Excellent Article specially the last paragraph makes sense. Yes we are all unique and special.

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