Sunday, August 22, 2010

Funny incidents from the life of Albert Einstein

Some interesting and revealing incidents from the life of Albert Einstein, who was recently honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.


One day during a speaking tour, Albert Einstein's driver, who often sat at the back of the hall during his lectures, remarked that he could probably give the lecture himself, having heard it so many times. Sure enough, at the next stop on the tour, Einstein and the driver switched places, with Einstein sitting at the back in his driver's uniform.


Having delivered a flawless lecture, the driver was asked a difficult question by a member of the audience. "Well, the answer to that question is quite simple," he casually replied. "I bet my driver, sitting up at the back there, could answer it!"


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Albert Einstein's wife often suggested that he dress more professionally when he headed off to work. "Why should I?" he would invariably argue. "Everyone knows me there." When the time came for Einstein to attend his first major conference, she begged him to dress up a bit. "Why should I?" said Einstein. "No one knows me there!"


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Albert Einstein was often asked to explain the general theory of relativity. "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour," he once declared. "Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity!"


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When Albert Einstein was working in Princeton university, one day he was going back home he forgot his home address. The driver of the cab did not recognise him. Einstein asked the driver if he knows Einstein's home. The driver said "Who does not know Einstein's address? Everyone in Princeton knows.Do you want to meet him?. Einstein replied "I am Einstein. I forgot my home address, can you take me there? "The driver reached him to his home and did not even collect his fare from him.


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Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn't find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn't there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn't find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn't find it.


The conductor said, 'Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I'm sure you bought a ticket. Don't worry about it.'


Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.


The conductor rushed back and said, 'Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don't worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don't need a ticket. I'm sure you bought one.'


Einstein looked at him and said, 'Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don't know is where I'm going.'



Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Power of Positive Talk

A man was lost while driving through the countryside. As he tried to reach for the map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Though he wasn't injured, his car was stuck deep in the mud. So the man walked to a nearby farm to ask for help.

"Warwick can get you out of that ditch," said the farmer, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the decrepit old mule and looked at the farmer who just stood there repeating, "Yep, old Warwick can do the job." The man figured he had nothing to lose. The two men and the mule made their way back to the ditch. The farmer hitched the mule to the car. With a snap of the reins, he shouted, "Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!"

And the mule pulled that car right out of the ditch. The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule, and asked, "Why did you call out all of those names before you called Warwick?"

The farmer grinned and said, "Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he's part of a team, he doesn't mind pulling."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lessons in Leadership...

Mr. Ratan Tata and the flat tyre

One of Mr. Ratan N Tata's first assignments was the stewardship of the  ailing electronics company in the Tata portfolio - Nelco.

Story goes that a team of senior managers from Nelco was driving to Nasik  along with RNT. Halfway into the journey, the car had a flat tyre, and as the driver pulled up, the occupants - including Mr. Tata - got off for a comfort break, leaving the driver to replace the tyre.

Some of the managers welcomed the forced break, as it allowed them a  much-needed chance to light up a cigarette. Some used the opportunity to  stretch, and smile, and share a joke. And then, one of them suddenly  noticed that Mr. Tata was not to be seen, and wondered aloud where Ratan  Tata might have vanished.

Was he behind some bush? Had he wandered off inside the roadside dhaba for a quick cup of tea?  Or was he mingling with some passer-bys, listening to their stories? None of these, in fact while his colleagues were taking a break, Ratan Tata was busy helping the driver change tyres. Sleeves rolled up, tie  swatted away over the shoulder, the hands expertly working the jack and the spanner, bouncing the spare tyre to check if the tyre pressure was ok. Droplets of sweat on the brow, and a smile on the face.

In that moment, the managers accompanying Ratan Tata got a master class in leadership they haven't forgotten.

And that's a moment that the driver of that car probably hasn't forgotten  either.

Questions to ask:
When was the last time I rolled up my sleeves to do a task much below my  hierarchy?
Do I wait for the big opportunity to showcase my leadership?
Is that big opportunity ever going to come?
Am I trying to manage upwards so much that I?ve lost the feel of the field?

Ideas for action:
Humility is the essence of success. Be humble and even teach your children to be so.
To reach the top and remain there, always start from the bottom, else your days at the top will not last long..
Practice leadership in small things instead of waiting for the big crisis or a major product launch.
Seek to find opportunities to lead in everyday moments.
Build your leadership skills one baby step at a time.
Good day!!

"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing."

Destiny is sometimes a jewel, and sometimes cruel. When it's a jewel, wear it with all humility. And when it's cruel, bear it with all ability.

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