Nischala’s Blog-o-Rendezvous with Dr.BINDU HARI

About Dr.BINDU HARI
Dr. Bindu Hari is currently the Dean at NPS (National Public School) International Singapore, Senior Principal / Director at The International School Bangalore , Senior Principal of NPS Koramangala and NPS HSR schools. She joined the NPS group of institutes in 1990. Over the past several years, she has been instrumental in the growth of the group of institutions in India and also pioneered the foray abroad. She has done her M.Sc  and  Ph.D in chemistry and B.Ed.

The RENDEZVOUS
Personally this rendezvous was special because it was a way for me to re-connect with my past – to be specific, the school that I studied in. Looking back, I do think that NPS did shape my life in more ways than one – For starters, I was fortunate to study in one of the best schools in Bangalore way back in 1994. And by virtue of this experience, I can confidently say that there is a definite value in studying in a premier educational institute.

For those who don’t know about NPS, it was reputed to have the BEST (and most envied) academic records (for E.g.: In my batch, there were several students who were among the Top 100 in IIT entrance exam, several were Toppers in the Medical entrance exams like AIIMS, etc.) and many of them set records in these exams as well. It was a privilege to know some of these “great minds” back then; many of whom have made a global mark for themselves today. Second and probably more important was that I forged several life-long friendships here!  Last but not the least my tryst with NPS paved the way for my future – in terms of the subsequent formal education that I pursued; and also for my professional choices and growth.

Nischala: Good Afternoon Dr Bindu! Firstly, Thank you so much for your time Dr. Bindu. It’s a pleasure to connect with you after so many years!
Dr. Bindu: Hi! Good afternoon! Great to hear from you.. It’s wonderful to speak to you after so many years

Nischala:  Lets  start this rendezvous by  going back to your journey in the education sector – Specifically what inspired you to get associated with education, academia and NPS? Especially since you had a stellar academic record yourself and could really have pursued any other career of your choice.
Dr. Bindu: Looking back at my own life, I have always been interested in research.  After my Masters in Chemistry, I enrolled into a Ph. D programme and  really enjoyed the process of research a great deal. Classical research is an amazing process – collecting and playing with a lot of data, number crunching and drawing conclusions to prove or disprove a hypothesis almost every day! But the flip side is being in a  research lab all day, doing experiments and working on the computer results offer very limited or almost no social interaction. And after a point I realized that I needed more social interactions, communication and personal enrichment so I started teaching. I taught Chemistry at NPS Indiranagar  to  students in the middle years and senior school. That was an exciting experience for me – Simply because children think so differently from adults – they are full of ideas, enthusiasm and express the same in many different ways. It was a thoroughly enjoyable process! So if I look back to connect the dots, I started at the grass root level in teaching and grew from there!

I also have a very academic bent of mind. So I always knew that I would someday go back into the classroom – It is where I belong! Just that I probably did not know where I would start and how the journey would pan out! So today while I am responsible for several qualitative aspects in all the educational institutions, I still do take time to train or teach. For e.g.: School assemblies are teachable moments, I take a few sessions in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and I am involved in creating Training modules for teachers.

Nischala: That’s an interesting journey! So from what I understand the group has grown significantly over the past two decades. So can you elaborate a little on your presence and strength today – primarily in terms of the number of students you have an opportunity to mold and influence?
Dr. Bindu: Well, Yes! We’ve had a phenomenal growth in the last decade. So as of date, we have the NPS (National Public School) International Singapore, The International School Bangalore , NPS Indiranagar, NPS Koramangala, NPS Chennai, NPS Rajajinagar  and  NPS HSR . In 2013 we open our doors to students at NPS Mysore. As of date, we have about 12000 students across all schools and about 1700 teachers.

And then of course we have NAFL (National Academy for Learning) which was started in 1993. This school  aims  at providing international education in India in collaboration with CIE (Cambridge International Examinations), Cambridge. So students have an opportunity to appear for IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education). The success of the early experimental foray into international education led to the creation of TISB.

Nischala: That’s great to hear! It’s a good opportunity in India for students aspiring to get IGCSE. So from your view – Is there any difference between TISB and say NPS Indiranagar?
Dr.Bindu: The most significant difference is TISB has a heterogeneous student profile from across the globe – We have students from over 30 nationalities and this diversity enriches the learning experience as students develop cross cultural skills- awareness, sensitivity and communication early in life. In contrast, NPS has a homogenous student base and staff profile as the students are from almost every Indian state.

Also TISB is a residential school offering boarding facilities and hence living on campus offers a unique and exciting life experience as students develop self-reliance and independence early in life while actively contributing to community living.

The NPS group of schools, NAFL and TISB have emphasized academic rigour.  However, the vision of all our schools has evolved to include holistic education to enable students develop a broad range of multidimensional life skills and to achieve this end, there is an increased focus on multiple learning opportunities and co-curricular activities within and outside the school environment. NPS has and is continuously evolving in its educational programmes in order to prepare students for tomorrow’s global economy.

Across all our schools our students aim for admissions into the top 20 universities across the globe and top universities in India. Many of our students score top ranks in various competitive exams including IIT JEE, PMPD, AIEEE, AIIMS, CLAT etc. And the latest feather in our cap is our first student from NPS, HSR Layout will be heading to Oxford University to study History. There is increased awareness among students about educational opportunities across the globe and parents can afford to fund this education.

Nischala: This is awesome! Makes me a proud NPS-ite! So from all your experiences – What are your observations in terms of key changes in the students and this could be in any aspect – from an eagerness to learn, to awareness of technology, to a passion to do something unique, etc etc.?
Dr. Bindu: That’s an interesting and thought-provoking question! Firstly, students are more aware simply because they have access to vast amounts of information at a mouse click. Google is the answer to many questions! Greater information accessibility leads to greater exposure and presents students with more opportunities than probably students had a decade ago.

Secondly, this generation of students are “digital natives” – comfortable with technology, software, use of all Apple products including the iPAD, etc . They learn any new technology at the blink of an eye. In contrast, parents or teachers are “digital immigrants” and struggle to get started let alone achieve mastery!

Hence students are extremely confident because of greater exposure and opportunities presented to them from an early age. They tend to articulate with clarity and their ability to express orally or in writing is impressive. One of the reasons for confidence is that students are performing on stage at school from the age of 4 years and most of them have no fear of public speaking or interacting with a large audience.

However, an issue of concern is that children of today have limited attention span and patience. It is the world of instant gratification and real-world expectations are based on their experience in the digital world,i.e., at the click of a button. The real world however does not always work this way!

Nischala: That’s interesting to hear!What about parents? What are the significant differences you observe in parents with respect to their expectations on the role of school and education system and their involvement in the growth and development of their children?
Dr. Bindu: The reality of today is that most parents have 1 or 2 children and more recently most parents are opting to have only 1 child. Hence “Helicopter parenting” is very common. Parents hover around their child in an overly protective manner and bubble wrap them in a world of material comfort! Subsequently as children get older, some parents become demanding of the child!

Some parents are uninvolved with the life of their children as they are far too busy to spend time with their children and we do see children of neglect. Others are overly involved, i.e., they don’t give much space for child to grow and evolve. There are some parents who are involved to an appropriate degree in their children’s education.

Parenting styles vary between authoritative parenting, jellyfish parenting or assertive parenting.  There is no right or wrong here but the most effective parenting style in our experience is one in which the parent showers unconditional love, engages the child in conversation, uses teachable moments to highlight key messages and reasons in order make the child see reason.

As a school, we always communicate to the parents that education of a child is really a joint venture between the school and parents in order to accomplish the most we can in the best interest of the child. It is a very “child-centric” approach that we adopt. And we have always  had incredible support from our parents.

The other point I want to make is that today parents have greater purchasing power and are great providers for their children! There is a real danger of our children growing up with a sense of entitlement because of this.

And again the fact is that Parents will always be the child’s first teacher. So if a parent chooses to be resilient in a tough situation, the child learns  to be resilient! Children learn and absorb based on parent’s responses and reactions.  We emphasize the role of parents in the growth and development of the children at every opportunity that we get!

Nischala: And my next logical question is around teachers.  What are the noteworthy changes in the teaching community? – In terms of access to teachers and willingness for qualified individuals to take up teaching jobs?
Dr. Bindu: The fact is there is dearth of good teachers around the world. And even in India the ground reality is that it is very hard to find good teachers for subjects like History, Science and Math. And this is a real challenge for the country as a whole and will only compound with time. Finding passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated teachers is hard today and will become harder in the next decade.

Consider our own alumni – the best of our students go on to be lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc. And rarely does a youngster become a teacher by choice!

When we quiz 4 year olds on “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – They all want to be teachers. Interestingly in a Grade 7 class, it is 1 out of 90 students who aspire to be a teacher. And in Grade 11 or 12 no one wants to be a teacher. Youngsters don’t associate glamour or status with teaching and salaries for teachers are lower than other professions such as Doctors, Engineers and Lawyers. As a result youngsters don’t opt for teaching. In addition we live in a materialist society and family pressure drives students into other professions. In Bangalore which is considered India’s Silicon Valley, one can’t compare earnings of a teacher with that of an IT professional.

But as an institute we pay our teachers well – We are probably one of the highest paymasters in the Indian scenario, and so our teacher retention ratio is by far one of the best!  Of course most teachers also value the challenge,  the culture, the school environment and the style of running the institute and hence they stay on here.

On the positive side, another trend we are observing is many intelligent young mothers are pursuing teaching as a second career. We recently appointed a Chartered Accountant with 5 years of experience at E&Y (Ernst and Young) as a teacher-intern. Work life balance and family commitments are an important priority for many women and they take up teaching as a second career. We welcome this trend.

We have started a teacher-training center to draw intelligent and passionate people into teaching.  And we are getting some good response.

Nischala: Thats great to hear! So moving on how do you think technology will transform the education system?
Dr. Bindu: The environment today is dynamic, fluid and changing rapidly. And technology is a definite enabler in the education sector in more ways than one – by providing access to knowledge, enhancing the quality and ease of research, being the mode of distribution of content to students, monitoring and tracking student progress, making the process of differentiated assessment and pedagogy easier, and simplifying record keeping processes.

The  skillsets required in industry are changing and hence the need of the hour is really to build skills around creative thinking, critical reasoning, developing research skills, problem solving, compiling and processing and presenting data and information for a specific purpose.

Consequently the role of teachers is changing into a facilitator rather than a mere instructor who directs the class. Teachers are designers of learning experiences based on available resources – And resources can include print, video and digital resource, science and math equipment, etc.

Also there is a definite element of collaborative learning as on many aspects students end up being the “gurus” and teach the teachers. In addition, the nature of questions that students ask today is impressive – obviously based on inherent curiosity and inquisitiveness of the world around them and teachers may not have the all the answers. So we encourage enquiry-based learning and have started a new initiative at NPS for Grade 3 students!

The academic endeavor at our school is to subject the child to a range of experiences to facilitate awareness, comprehension, learning, collaboration and growth.

Nischala: That’s interesting. So can you elaborate on some of the other unique initiatives at NPS?
Dr. Bindu: At the school, we still value core academic skills – Language proficiency, Math, Science, etc. But we are aware that students need supplementary skills in addition to core academic skills to take them through life. For e.g.: We have started a new entrepreneurship course for Grade 6 students to develop Entrepreneurial Literacy. The aim is to sow the seed of entrepreneurship in the students; and even if only 10% become entrepreneurs it is great for India! We believe that entrepreneurial skills are critical for students if we look into the India’s future –It is what India needs. We started this as a pilot at NPS HSR and based on  the success of this programme, we plan to expand this initiative into all our other schools.

In fact the latest book by Subroto Bagchi  called MBA at 16  is really a co-creation of his interactions with 31 NPS students. So we are now planning to take this initiative to the next level where we work with students to create a concrete business plan and see if we can get funding to actually give life to some of these ideas.

Another emphasis is on developing and enhancing language skills of students. So we have introduced a Novel writing program for students of class 4 and 5 and this project stems from the fact that India has few child authors and fiction for children by Indian authors is rare. The emphasis is on getting the students to appreciate writing as a process.

So NPS is an evolving school. We respond to the needs of society, industry and skills for employability.

I must also credit the CBSE board for introducing the Adolescent Education Programme (AEP) for students in their teens. The fact is that young people are quite confused and have to deal with pressures from peers, pressure to perform, pressures related to body image, pressure from parents, pressure from society – and it’s not easy. These sessions  gets them to reflect, introspect, become self-aware and also talk with confidence about issues promoting or impeding their personality development and progress!

Nischala: This is very interesting and exciting to hear! I think exposure to such aspects at the school level is a great opportunity for students. So moving on, I’d like to ask you a very basic question – What does education really mean? And how is an “educated mind” different from a “literate mind”?
Dr. Bindu: It is an interesting question. So in my view, there are many kinds of literacy – academic, entrepreneurial, civic, environmental, health, information (In the context of whether the available information is authentic and accurate or not), media (In the context do you accept all that you see in media or is discernment and analysis a part of your thinking process), social, cross cultural, etc

However, the meaning of education is far broader than mere skills acquisition. Ideally, the aim of education is to make an individual a meaningful contributor to the community and society at large. And the values that a school imparts as part of informal learning makes an ocean of a difference – attributes such as self discipline, self regulation, work ethics, basic honesty, integrity, generosity, kindness, sharing, respect for the aged and  disadvantaged,  support of others in times of need etc. contribute in an intangible but important way to the refinement of a society. These may be old world, old fashioned values but these values are the glue that holds a society together. Societies that neglect to infuse and disregard these values are likely to disintegrate or implode sooner rather than later. Children must absorb this message from parents, school and society as a whole!

So an educated mind blends skills with knowledge and values for the betterment of both self and society.

Nischala: OK.. Moving on, Another aspect which I hear or read a lot about in the new generation of kids is related to health issues / lifestyle problems – primarily due to lack of exercise and incorrect food habits. What are your observations and experience here?
Dr. Bindu:  You are so right! Many parents use laptops as baby sitters (as opposed to TV two decades ago). The greatest concerns are violent computer games desensitizing our children and the ease of access to pornography which parents are unaware of.

We are creating a generation of couch potatoes who eat vast amounts of processed, high calorie, nutritionally poor junk food. In addition, children are no longer physically active or as involved in games or exercise outdoors as the generation before – These are concerns. This is leading to a significant increase in the percentage of lifestyle related health issues like obesity, Type 2 diabetis, etc and concerns such as the lack of concentration, distractedness, restlessness and the lack of social skills etc.

As a school, we have incorporated health literacy into our curriculum. However it is parents and students who have to make the final healthy choices. There is a vast difference between knowing and putting the knowledge into practice.

Nischala: Hmmm…So 10 years from now, what do you think will make a difference in the education system?
Dr. Bindu: As I see it there is a movement across the world in the education sector and technology is a very big part of this movement primarily due to ease of access to information at a low cost!

Hence the role of a teacher is gradually evolving into a facilitator of learning. There is debate and discussion about whether teachers will be required in future or not and whether technology will replace the classroom teacher? And my answer is that teachers CANNOT be dispensed with- EVER!  They will always have the power to mould, groom and influence development in the intellectual, emotional, social, and psychological domains. As long as schools exist, teachers will be required and will always have a key role in education!

Nischala: Moving on,What really keeps you going as an educator?
Dr. Bindu: It is one of the most enjoyable journeys in my life. Walking into school every morning is a wonderful feeling. The environment is lively and animated – You have to experience it to truly understand what I mean. Each day presents a different set of challenges and changes to deal with continuously.

Each of us at school makes  an emotional investment in the lives of our students every minute of the day at every single instance we interact with our students. The underpinning of every interaction is to make a child feel secure and safe before he or she embarks on learning through exploration. It is unique to a school and the profession of teaching. It is truly a calling.

Being around children is a joyous experience. The young are idealistic, they have ideals and idols. You have to engage in conversation with a 10 year old to understand how analytical and intelligent they are, you have to talk to them and prepare to be surprised by their dreams and thoughts without limits and boundaries. These refreshing interactions keep us adults flexible and adaptable.

A few days ago, I was talking to one of my young students who has juvenile diabetes. To be honest, I was impressed with his temperance, humility and knowledge.  He is so widely read, so mature and well rooted for his age! We derive joy, energy and hope from these interactions with children which give us strength to forge ahead!

I believe a teacher has to be an eternal optimist, one can’t be a teacher and not be optimistic – You NEVER EVER give up on your kids!

Nischala: So looking back, what are the unforgettable moments in your journey as an educator?
Dr. Bindu: At the school, we believe that incremental progress and every tiny step in the right direction for each and every child is worth celebrating. Acknowledgement, recognition, appreciation and praise is woven into fabric of the school to make it an affirming environment for a child.

While we value the best in ability, talent and skills, we celebrate the success of those who struggle to conquer the smallest developmental milestone. So there are really many rewarding moments of happiness in the life of an educator.

But if I had to recall a recent episode it is this… It was extremely fulfilling to see an  NPS Alumnus  present the welcome address to a 5000 member audience in the presence of the former  President of India Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam at a graduation ceremony of an engineering college. She stood at the podium and delivered the perfect welcome address – I had goose bumps and I still have them as I recall the speech. I’ve seen her as a shy 7-year-old child at my school and there she was delivering a speech with assured confidence which many will remember for a lifetime! William Wordsworth said “Child is the father of man”.. And that’s so true. What a child is today is there for all to see. And what they are likely to achieve tomorrow? – No one can predict.

It is hard to explain the bond between a teacher and student – you can’t capture it all and express it in words. Every teacher  has emotionally invested in the child and the intangibles including affection, compassion and empathy play a big role. As a result, an educator  is constantly  evolving and developing while demonstrating and role modeling with every interaction and this is an extraordinary experience for any educator and a very fulfilling one. It’s really hard to express, explain, comprehend or measure – But if you’ve ever taught a child and seen them blossom in life,  you feel happy and proud!

Nischala: I’d like to end with any other key message  to students and parents.
Dr. Bindu: To the students I say “Believe in yourself always”. And what every teacher and parent should do is create a climate of positive expectation and express an affirming message so the children live up to these expectations. Having faith in our children is critical for education and life!

Nischala: Thank You so much for your time. It was an absolute pleasure.
Dr. Bindu: Thank You!

As I did my research on Dr. Bindu, I came across an insightful article Bindu Hari’s Six lessons for parents. In my view, a Must Read for every parent!

How did you like this rendezvous? Leave a comment to let us know..

The Lessons of Life NO SCHOOL really TAUGHT ME

I have always been an ACADEMIC STAR – Right from Nursery School way up until my Management Degree. Over the years, I gained knowledge on a wide range of subjects, upgraded myself on a great number of skills, accomplished several things, and achieved several successes in many dimensions of life………

Today, as I step back and ask myself if I learnt the Most Important Lessons of LIFE from the educational institutes I went to… Honestly, the answer is NO..

So, what are those Lessons of Life that NO SCHOOL really TAUGHT ME?

1) How to be a LIFELONG LEARNER?
We all learn a lot from the schools we study in.. But do they teach us how to be a LIFELONG LEARNER? Probably NOT! I figured this on my own and I guess it’s the same for many of you. Continuous focus on learning is absolutely VITAL in the journey of life – You have to make it a personal PRIORITY and focus on LEARNING all along the way. Only then is life exciting, enriching and evolving…

2) How to COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY?
“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” By Tony Robbins
Effective Communication can sometimes be the ONE and ONLY thing that can help you in your transition from Good and Great in anything in life! And while there is no mantra for you to be the PERFECT COMMUNICATOR, the following definitely help:
i) Be clear on what you want to convey – Most times, the problem stems from here!
ii) Try and gauge you’re audience profile and  moderate your communication message and style accordingly
iii)  Aim for short and simple messages – They ALWAYS work!
Does any school really teach you this? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES

3) How to deal with CHANGE?
The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – François de la Rochefoucauld..
The reality is that life teaches you how to deal with change – usually based on experience (Many times the hard way, And sometimes we may NEVER accept the change!).
And do we learn how to deal with CHANGE at school? Probably NOT!
But had someone taught you ways to identify potential changes and deal with them, would it have made life a lot easier? A re-sounding YES!

4) How to build and nurture RELATIONSHIPS?
In the journey of life, if there’s one thing which will help you sail through the trying and difficult times; it is the quantity and quality of your relationships – both personal and professional. The BEST part is that it’s never too late to start – So you can build new relationships or revive old one’s today.  And then of course, you’ve to nurture them along the way so that they grow with you!
And did any school teach me this? Probably NOT! I figured this out on my own.
Would it help if someone taught us this? Definitely YES!

5) How to manage your PERSONAL FINANCES?
Personal Financial Management is the most important dimension which will determine the quality of your life today and into the future.. And formal education definitely enables you to earn.. So who taught you how to manage your money better? Who taught you how to invest and re-invest? Who taught you when to exit from an investment?
Did your schools teach you this? Probably NOT! And the wealthiest people I know figured this out on their own.
Would it have been a boon and blessing if some school had taught this to me? Definitely YES!

6) How to handle FAILURE?
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” By Winston Churchill
Over the years, I’ve realized the following about failure –
Failures are vital for life,
Failures are definite in life,
Failures are definitely stepping stones….to your chosen destination
And the reality is that no school really teaches us how to accept, deal with failures and learn from them!
Would it have been easier to deal with failures if some school had taught this to me? Definitely YES!

7) How to deal with LOSS? 
In the journey of life, we all deal with many kinds of losses – Loss of people (temporary and permanent), Financial loss, Loss of jobs, Loss of friends, Loss of peace of mind, loss of health, loss of … And we all find many different ways to deal with these losses.. Some losses we may NEVER be able to come to terms with.. And some we find our own ways to deal with…
But did any school teach me how to handle LOSS? – Probably NOT!
Would it have been useful if some school had taught this to me? Definitely YES!

8) How to THINK?
How you think about yourself, people and the world is eventually reflected in how your life eventually turns out. And hence, it important to create and fuel positive, powerful and purposeful thoughts!
Again, did any school teach me how to think? Probably NOT!
We all come across specific teachers, mentors and guides in our life who make us realize the importance of the RIGHT and POSITIVE THINKING! So, would it have helped if someone taught me how to think? Definitely YES! And the earlier, the BETTER!

9) When and How to say NO?
If there’s ONE thing which many of us find hard to say, it’s these 2 simple letters – NO. And try as much as we want, we simply can’t get ourselves to say NO! [Wonder why? – May be we exhausted our quotas of listening and saying NO during childhood ;) ].. And when you say YES to everything, life is steered through a course which you don’t necessarily like. Personally, I really felt truly LIBERATED when I started saying NO!
Did any school teach me this? NO!
Would it have helped if they did? YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

10) How to cultivate and enhance SELF-DISCIPLINE?
Anyone I know who achieved anything worthwhile in life will vouch that one of the key reasons was due to Self Discipline. And yet! Everywhere I look around, I see that Self-discipline is a dying virtue today.. Sad but true! Along the way, I figured out a way to be self-disciplined about the things that were important to ME!
Did any school teach me this? NO!
Would it have helped if they did? Of course YES!

11) When, How and How Much to JUDGE?
If there’s one activity which many of us indulge in on a regular basis – It is that of passing JUDGMENT! We judge everything – People, animals, nature, trees, flowers, food, weather, technology, automobiles, organizations, institutions, governments, policies, movies, books, products, services, blogs,…. and of course OURSELVES! 
Its almost as if passing judgment is a need in life, a part of life and way of life.. And what I’ve realized is that passing JUDGMENT is probably one of the most time consuming and energy draining activities you can indulge in – especially mentally and emotionally! And if you step back and ask yourself “What do you really get after passing JUDGMENT?” … NOTHING really!..
So the point is this – Does any school teach you if you are qualified to JUDGE? When, How and How Much you should JUDGE? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if someone taught you this? Of course YES!

12) How to LET GO?
The one inhibiting factor in your growth and progress in life is your inability to Let-Go: Especially of your past and of your fears. And many of us are never able to let go of these…
Does any school really teach you How to let go? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if they did? Of course YES!

13) How to EFFECTIVELY manage your TIME?
Over the years, I’ve come to believe that you’re most precious and valuable ASSET is only your TIME! And yet, we don’t respect and value it enough – Both our own time and time of others! When you begin to value your time, you begin to effectively manage it – And then the sky is the limit to what you can do in 24 hours of the day!
Does any school really teach you this? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if they did? Of course YES!

14) How to master the art of PRIORITIZATION?
Clarity on your Top 3 personal and professional priorities at any specific point in time will eventually determine how much you can get done and how well you can get them done.

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” ― Stephen R. Covey

One of the most effective ways to figure out your priorities is to write down the list of tasks and ask yourself if any of these will take you closer to your goals – personal or professional. If yes, then they should be HIGH on your PRIORITY list. And the reality is that it takes time to figure this out..
And the reality is that no school really taught me how to do this!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely, YES!

15) How to give and accept COMPLIMENTS?
I’ve observed that many of us feel inhibited and shy to give compliments to other’s – We’ll probably think about all nice things to say to others; and then let it pass. Just because it’s out of our comfort zone!  The thing about compliments and human beings is that I’ve never heard of anyone ever tell me that they’ve had enough of compliments! – It is never enough! After all, who does not like to listen to good things about themselves? We all love it..
And then, many of us don’t know how to accept compliments – Some shy away, some run and some hide :). For starters, a simple Thank You is good!
Does any school really teach you this? Probably, NOT!
Would it help if they did? Of course, YES!

16) How to give and receive FEEDBACK?
Giving and receiving feedback is both a skill and an art. One which many of us fall short of – In terms of the timing, setting, the words and the expressions!  And the point about feedback is that the way a feedback is articulated can make or break a relationship of a lifetime!
Does any school teach you how to do this? Probably, NOT!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES!

17) How to feel INSPIRED everyday of life?
A daily dose of inspiration at the start of the day does wonders to your thoughts, your feelings, your actions and your deeds! But rarely do we all feel inspired everyday of our lives! The point is once you recognize that a daily dose of inspiration can make a DIFFERENCE in your life, you’ll begin to ensure that you draw in from sources of inspiration as a part of your everyday life.
Did any school emphasize the importance of daily inspiration and how to get it in your personal context? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if they did! Absolutely YES!

18) How to be HAPPY?
What I’ve figured out is that Happiness is really a CHOICE; and I figured this out on my own – And this is probably true for many people in this world. Hence as of date, I’d like to believe that everyone is really the Chief Happiness Officer of their LIFE! Once, you start playing that role, HAPPINESS becomes a way of LIFE
And did any school teach me how to make this CHOICE? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if someone did? Absolutely YES!

19) The art of asking QUESTIONS
Asking Questions is both a skill and an art. I’ve seen too many people ask too many questions and they also get the answers. But what do they do with the answers! NOTHING! – Sad, but TRUE! I think its really important to ask yourself WHY you are asking a QUESTION – There has to be a reason, else why even bother ask! And then ask the RIGHT QUESTION to the RIGHT PEOPLE; and then do something about the RESPONSE!
And does any school teach you the art of asking QUESTIONS? Probably NOT!
Would it have helped if someone did? Absolutely YES!

20) How to solve a PROBLEM?
Problem Solving skills are probably the most important skills that anyone should build, develop and enhance in the journey of life. Simply because you never know when and what kind of problem can engulf you at which stage of life.
And a lot of schools definitely aim to lay the foundation for problem solving, but is it strong and good enough to take you through life? Probably NOT
Would more focus and rigor on PROBLEM SOLVING skills help? Absolutely YES!

21) How to deal with a CRISIS?
You never know when a crisis hits you – can be personal or professional. And crisis could mean anything related to your own health or the health of a loved one or a financial crisis or a loss of employment or …. And when a crisis hits you, your life turns upside down – Your mind and emotions probably spiral in dimensions which completely catches you off-guard! And the thing about dealing with a crisis is that the more you delay any positive and constructive action, the LARGER the CRISIS gets!
And does any school teach you how to deal with a crisis? Probably NOT
Would it have helped if someone did? Absolutely YES!

22) How to show that we CARE?
Many of us care deeply about a long of things. But find it extremely hard to express this.. And the beauty about CARING is that it is personal, emotional, very specific to a cause and subjective to an individual. And while there are many ways to show that you care.. What is most important is that you demonstrate how you really feel in front of those who matter, and in a way that they understand!
And does any school teach you how to care and show that you care? Probably NOT
Would it have helped if someone did? Absolutely YES!

23) The REAL meaning of RESPECT
Many of us don’t really undertand what respect truly is. Both Self-Respect and Respect for others. And those who understand find it hard to translate this to action. And the thing about respect is that it has to come from within (So you can’t force yourself to respect someone), You’ve got to earn it and You’ve got to give respect to get it back! And the best explanation I’ve come across on RESPECT is No blame, No judgment, No criticism and No control – Very short but immensely profound!
And does any school teach you the TRUE meaning of respect and how to demonstrate the same? Probably NOT
Would it have helped if they did? Absolutely YES!

24) What and How to SHARE?
Sharing is a basic human need. On a daily basis, we all share several things with others – From smiles, to words, to deeds, to gestures, to moments, to experiences, to finances, to knowledge, to wisdom, to a laugh or a meal……. But as we grow, we forget what to share with others and how to share… And many times end up paying a price for this…
And does any school teach you what you should share and how to share? Probably NOT
Would it have helped if they did? Absolutely YES!

25) How to set and manage expectations?
From all my life experiences I can say that the primary cause for most problems in life is due to expectations – Rather our inability to set / re-set expectations of us and others; and then our inability to manage changes to these expectations over a period of time

You expect someone to SAY something; they don’t – You are UPSET and that triggers a chain of negative thoughts and actions from your end
You expect someone to DO something; they don’t – You are UPSET and that triggers a chain of negative thoughts and actions from your end

And the thing about negativity is that Negativity breeds Negativity – certainly, rapidly and quickly! And before you realize, negativity has engulfed your life..  Not a pleasant situation to be in!
And if you can figure out a way to set realistic expectations for yourself and others; and a way to effectively communicate these expectations, your life will be a lot simple, stress-free and positive!
Does any school really teach you to set and manage expectations? Probably NOT
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES!

26) How to apologize?
A lot of problems in life can be solved if you learn to apologize – At the right time and to the right people (people who matter). All this requires is for you to say SORRY – Sometimes you don’t feel like saying it and sometimes you need not say it.. And no matter how you say it – Most times it’s probably worth it!  
And the thing about apologizing is that there is a time value to it –And so if you don’t apologize within a specific time, then chances are that the apology does not matter anymore – So people have moved on (or appear to have moved on) – and they either become indifferent to you or there’s too much emotional baggage they are holding on within which is not healthy for any individual or any relationship! The other thing about apologizing is that if you do too much of it – Again it loses its value both for yourself and those around you!
Does any school really teach you when, how and to whom you should apologize? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES!

26) How to ask from Help?
If you think deeply about life, you will realize that it is probably way too complex, that there several things which are beyond your comprehension and it is mind-boggling in more ways than one.  And yet whether you think or not, you will find a way to live … And as you live and sail through life, you begin to realize that while being independent is great, there are times in life when things are beyond your control because of the inherent interdependency or dependency on others. Hence, there are times when it is imperative to ask others to help you in more than one way and for more than one thing!
And the reality is that for many of us, it is very difficult to ask others for help. We just can’t get ourselves to say “Please can you do this for me?”. And for many of us, asking for help is our first nature– without even trying or thinking. Both these extremes are not really beneficial for personal growth!
And so knowing when to ask for help and to whom you should ask for help is both a skill and an art!
Does any school really teach you when, how and to whom you can ask for HELP? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES!

28) How to find your TRUE CALLING in LIFE?
Many of us sail through life without really finding our TRUE CALLING! And when you do, it’s sometimes just a little TOO LATE! Wouldn’t it be great if you figured this early in your life? Absolutely!
Does any school help you figure this out? Probably NO!
Would it help if they did? Absolutely YES! [Though of late, I’ve heard of several institutes across the globe enabling and facilitating this process of self-discovery! ]

29) How to live the PRESENT MOMENT to the FULLEST?
The reality is that the PRESENT MOMENT is all that you’ve got.. And yet many of us spend too much time holding on to the past, or looking into the future! The best lesson of life is to Seize the MOMENT and Live life NOW!
Again, does any school really teach you this? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did… Of course.. YES!!!

30) How to BREATHE?
The most important requirements of every cell in the human body are Oxygen, Food, Water and how to excrete waste. Along the journey of life, we’re taught what and how to eat right, the importance of replenishing yourself with water and fluids and of course, we naturally eliminate waste from the body in one of many ways!
But what provides your OXYGEN? Evidently, it is your BREATH. And whether or not you realize this – The reality is that if you figure out how to breathe RIGHT – You’re life will be transformed. Simply because, breathing RIGHT ensure that there is optimal flow of “Prana” / Life energy within your body and that leaves you feeling more energized, active and of course, in control of your thoughts and emotions!
Does any school really teach you how to BREATHE RIGHT? Probably NOT!
Would it help if they did… Absolutely YES!!!

What about you? What are the Lessons of Life NO SCHOOL really TAUGHT YOU? Leave a comment to let me know