Voices for Actions Against Racism

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) 2022 is observed on Monday, 21 March.

The Theme for 2022: Voices for Actions Against Racism

Disclaimer. My views are my own and do not represent the views of my humanitarian employers past, present, or future. I value neutrality in a humanitarian setting. I also cherish the freedom of thoughts and speech of all citizens.

On 21 March 1960, South African police opened fire at a non-violent march by the Blacks in Sharpeville. About 69 people were killed in the atrocity that is called the Sharpeville Massacre. Those people had mobilised to march against the “Pass Law” that the Whites enforced on the Blacks. The massacre that was carried out by the police agitated the whole world, and all were afraid of where those racial struggles would lead the world as a whole. Virtually all populations of all communities were tired of the atrocities of racism; however, they did not know how to eradicate this plague.

Remembering the massacre of 1960, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March as an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 1966 and insisted upon the global community to intensify its efforts to eliminate racial discrimination wherever and in whatever form it exists. The UN resolution (A/RES/2142 (XXI)), adopted on 26 October 1966, declares that any kind of racial discrimination is condemnable; and the global community is determined to eliminate racial discrimination from its roots wherever it exists in the world.

Thus, 21 March is an acknowledged International Day to eliminate racial discrimination. On 21 March 2022, the IDER Day, the theme of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is: “Voice for action against racism.” This theme elaborates that the time had gone when people were judged by their complexion and financial status. All the members of humankind are equal and respectable. Don’t let anyone disrespect anyone else. The current theme of Anti Racism Day guides us to come together, encourage and strengthen people for raising their voices against racism. We should collectively work to raise awareness against discrimination of anyone due to his race or ethnicity.

Racism is a very personal issue and something many people of colour have experienced. On an international Day against racism, I wanted to use my voice to discuss racial discrimination and focus on how we could work together to eliminate racism in the workplace. Again, I am speaking about all workplaces and not focusing on my work area. I believe racism concerns each of us, whether we are racist or anti-racist. If people are anti-racist but do nothing to eliminate racism in their workplace, they perpetuate the status quo, not improving the situation. It is not just about promoting a few people of colour in senior leadership or hiring a person of colour as a diversity director; it could all only be window dressing. We need to work actively to eliminate and eradicate racism. It is not only about putting out strategies, actions plans or commitments in the public sphere but also walking the talk and working actively every day to eliminate racism. It requires work. We need to go beyond window dressing to please customers or donors to change the system, practices, policies, and processes within an organisation.

What is Racial Discrimination?

According to the UN, “the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction, or preference based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.” In a short manner, David Wellman (1977) succinctly summarises racism as a system of advantage based on race. It is in a society where a race is dominant over others.

Racism in the workplace.

Racism in the workplace can manifest in any way, and it can be systemic, individualised or internalised.

Systemic racial discrimination.

Also known as institutionalised racial discrimination is a culture of discrimination that permeates the workplace. Discrimination is a regular feature of interactions and processes or happens over a long period. For example, it could be when a group of people are less paid than others. Systemic racism indicates practices, processes, policies, systems and cultural customs that benefit a racial group to the detriment of others. It affects several aspects of life for many persons of colour. In my last article, I explained the small number of black people who were part of the fortune 500 CEOs. There are only four Black Fortune 500 CEOs. The selection criteria are created to work only in favour a particular group. It has been going on for centuries and needs to be dismantled to make a sustainable change and impact these organisations. Systemic racism sets a system that gives a group of people an unfair hierarchical system, lesser pay or unequal reward. Menial jobs, lower grades, and unequal hiring processes disqualify access to leadership roles.

Individualised racism

Individual racism is “an individual’s racist assumptions, beliefs, or behaviours and is a form of racial discrimination that stems from conscious and unconscious, personal prejudice’ (Henry & Tator, 2006, p. 329). Most per

Individual racism is what people often refer to as racism because it is individuals who make racist comments, discriminate on race or make decisions based on racially biased views. They are responsible for micro-aggressions petty, apparently inoffensive statements which hurt or humiliate a person of colour, emphasising difference or reinforcing a racial prejudice. Both individual and systemic racism have a significant impact. While systemic racism has a much larger, more meaningful impact, let us not forget that individuals create the practices, policies, cultures, systems, and processes, so confronting individual racism is also crucial.

Internalised Racism

In her study The Psychology of Racism, Robin Nicole Johnson emphasises that internalised racism involves “conscious and unconscious acceptance of a racial hierarchy in which whites are consistently ranked above people of colour.” These definitions encompass a wide range of instances, including, but not limited to, belief in negative stereotypes, adaptations to white cultural standards, and thinking that supports the status quo (i.e. denying that racism exists).

Sociologists Karen D. Pyke and Tran Dang wrote: “Due to the discomfort, confusion, and embarrassment the subject raises, an intellectual taboo surrounds the study of internalised racism. A major concern is that because internalised racism reveals dynamics by which oppression is reproduced, it will lead to blaming the victims and move attention away from the racist institutions and practices that privilege whites at the expense of people of colour. Internalised racism also causes discomfort because it suggests that the effects of racism are deeper and broader than many would like to admit. As a result, it remains one of the least explained features of racism.

Ultimately, People of colour who have internalised racism have reduced expectations or confidence because they are in settings that perpetuate racial prejudice. They may believe what the dominant group says about them and their racial group.

The solutions

Have data – It is crucial to study the organisation you work in and see where you stand. Suppose your workforce comprises 90% of people of colour and 10% of white people. But you only have 1% of people of colour in your senior management team and a small percentage in your middle management; you may want to examine if you are not leading an organisation that favour one group over the other. You may wish to review your recruitment processes and policies.

Analyse the data and see how you can put remedial actions in place to have a fair representation of all groups rather than underrepresentation of one or several groups of people in middle and senior management. If you recruit or promote persons of colour to mid or senior management roles, offer them the support required to succeed. Promoting an ethnic minority director and leaving him unsupported amid hostile teams or senior management colleagues is more than inconsiderate; it creates an unsafe work environment for these staff. Organisations have a duty of care to their staff and carefully monitor situations like these and offer unconditional support to the BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic – used to refer to members of non-white communities.) staff. If the purpose of an organisation is to succeed, they must provide support, coaching, training, mentorship, and development programs that will enhance the work of the new employees. Sustainable changes can only be achieved by not only a commitment put on the internet and signed by the Executive team but by a real commitment to supporting those hired for the job by providing them with real support in terms of staffing, resources and development opportunities. It is how sustainable changes are made. It is essential not to leave the ethnic minorities staff alone to be attacked by a group of hostile staff who want to perpetuate the status quo. Organisations’ leadership must do the hard work to obtain sustainable changes in team diversity and have more equality.

Create anti-racist objectives – These objectives must be SMART.

Specific could be advertising in places where people of colour read: advertisement in Jeune Afrique, Indian Times, historically black colleges, etc.

Measurable could be increasing colour recruitment agencies from Zero to one in our database and working with BAME (black, Asian, and minority ethnic agencies to find coloured staff)

Achievable: By the end of the year, we could have increased the number of BAME staff in leadership by 10%, 20% or 30%.

Realistic could be staying focused on getting things done fairly and equitably and working on diversity, inclusion, and equity. Set up systems that support the recruitment of people of colour to prevent your organisation from failing to make meaningful and sustainable changes.

Time-bound: Set a timeframe that is worked into the organisation’s fabric, the five-year strategy timeframe, the priorities targets, etc.


Make People accountable for tackling racial discrimination. DEI team has to lead on changes and develop meaningful activities proactively. There is no point coming back with twenty questions when presented with a new leadership program instead of coming up with answers and solutions to improve the programs. Effectiveness and Efficiency are essential to operational excellence. Organisations need people who come up with the correct answers, not more problems or questions when they are wrangling with this profound question: How to eliminate racial discrimination? They want answers, no easy answers, but deep, profound answers which will bring sustainable impacts and benefits to the organisation.

Similarly, HR has a significant role in leading changes and employee engagement. If you look at many board members of fortune 500 in the corporate world, they must have been CEOs previously to be chairman or board members. The set of skills is so narrow that many people of colour can’t have those skills. They are therefore barred from accessing these roles. It will also be better to include transferable skills gained in other work areas. For example, suppose co-optation is the way board members are hired. People will often bring in people who look like them. So, organisation may carry perpetuating the same systemic racism as a member will be co-opted from a narrow set of people, coming from the same limited background with the same set of skills, closing the door to diversity and inclusion. HR must therefore come up with solutions that have a long-lasting impact and bring in people from diverse backgrounds, including people of colour.

HR must make available training, coaching and an excellent network of mentors and buddies to help staff succeed and create an effective, supportive environment for BAME with a sensitive and qualified mentor.

Further, it is everyone’s responsibility to tackle racial discrimination. It is not the sole responsibility of the DEI team or HR. Still, each of us must be held accountable for how we tackle racial discrimination, behave, and prevent any racist behaviour within the organisation by reporting and thus protecting our coloured colleagues from racial discrimination and acting as anti-racists and becoming befriended. Promote cross-cultural connection and relationships within different members of the organisation.

Finally, accountability may mean removing people who discriminate from the organisation to send a strong message that the organisation will not tolerate such behaviour.

Other initiatives

Create a protection unit that will provide BAME staff when they face discrimination. People qualified to deal with discrimination. They are not part of the DEI or the investigation team handling discrimination cases, but they are available to protect and safeguard the staff’s wellbeing. They must advise the employer manager and be watchful and protect staff in case of retaliation, reprisal and keep a watchful eye beyond the episode to make sure that staff returns to a healthy and safe work environment.

Create an investigative team of experts solely handling racial discrimination, bias, and various forms of discrimination. They will know what they are talking about, as it is their area of expertise. They will also understand and be sensitive enough to realise that no one can tell a person of a minority that they are not being discriminated against. But they will handle these cases with the expertise and tact they require. They will know that not everyone needs to have the same views.

Help staff by creating occasions and events to build cross-cultural relationships where they can learn from each other’s culture, background, family, etc. People need to know people from different cultures, members of staff that they would not normally socialise with, actively. Social events training opportunities offers opportunities for people to mingle and get to know each other better.

Create a group of support from staff from the same background as well as they can meet and discuss and exchange best practices to help them navigate the water or troubled water of an organisation. I remember being the first leader of the Black Member Forum in my first managerial roles. It allowed me to meet like-minded people with whom I could discuss the under-representation of ethnic minorities staff in senior leadership roles and all the barriers we faced. In the nineties, this support group was instrumental for me in learning about leadership for two years, engaging senior directors, and leading the group with the support of leaders of our organisation’s public service and commercial union.

Speak out publicly and call out when there are micro-aggression or racism, do not remain silent. It is essential to call out micro-aggressions and racial discrimination publicly. One of the reasons that racism perdures is that many look the other way rather than addressing micro-aggression or racism when they witness it. If you must discuss racism, bias, micro-aggression, ponder how to engage your stakeholders appropriately. Is it better done immediately in public or in private at a later stage, when things have cooled down? If at a later stage, be prepared with examples and data to evidence your case. Do not look the other way or remain silent. We all adjust and adapt to the environment we work in. If we work in an environment where it is clearly stated that micro-aggression, other forms of belittling, racially offensive remarks and behaviours become socially unacceptable, they end. People adapt their behaviour to their environment.

Further, organisations must check that there is no “omerta”. They do not silence, frighten, retaliate against, discredit, smear, push out, fire or attempt to fire those who speak out against racial discrimination.

Everyone must be part of the solution.

Create, manage, and organise affinity and support groups to create synergies within the organisation and keep changing, improving and refusing to perpetuate the status quo. There are many more ideas that I could share, and I would need more time. Whether it is allyship, coalitions, or solidarity groups, they are required. Allyship” describes efforts by members of a privileged in-group to advance the interests of marginalise groups, both in society and within particular social contexts, such as universities or workplaces. An ally supports and advocates for minority groups. “Those who practice allyship reject discrimination and take action to eliminate the marginalisation of others. Often, allies come from dominant or majority groups, but that isn’t always the case. Many allies come from other oppressed groups and still use their sphere of influence to effect positive change for others. Regardless of background or motivation, all allies are united by the common belief that everyone deserves equal treatment.”

In conclusion, it is everyone’s responsibility to tackle racism and discrimination. We cannot say it is not our core programs or work. It is equally vital to eliminate racial discrimination as to do our work. Suppose an organisation is filled with racial prejudice. In that case, it is like a poison rotting at its core, and as we all know, people can die from poisoning, so removing the poison will set us on the path of healing and overcoming. I want to say that I strongly believe in building allyship, solidarity, etc., within organisations. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “No one is free until we are all free.” So, we must all work together to build a strong coalition and solidarity to eliminate racism and discrimination.


Robin Nicole Johnson the Psychology of Racism: How Internalized Racism, Academic Self-concept, and Campus Racial Climate Impact the Academic Experiences and Achievement of African American Undergraduates

 Robin Nicole Johnson The Psychology of Racism: How Internalized Racism, Academic Self-concept, and Campus Racial Climate Impact the Academic Experiences and Achievement of African American Undergraduates.

“Allyship: What It Means to Be an Ally”. Retrieved 2020-06-09.

Reflecting on Leadership and Success for Black Women on International Woman Day 2022

Disclaimer. My views are my own and do not represent the views of my humanitarian employers past, present, or future. I value neutrality in a humanitarian setting. I also cherish the freedom of thoughts and speech of all citizens.

Can We Have it All?

The world of work is incredibly competitive, and getting black leaders in the C-suite, senior leadership role in the corporate or humanitarian setting is a more significant challenge for black women. Race matters and many black women are mired in middle management.

Studying Fortune 500 companies, we can see that reaching the senior leadership role is an uphill struggle for both men and women. In 2021 there are only three black men and two black women. Since 1955, only 19 black people are getting to the top of Corporate American 500 companies. Looking at the broader picture and going beyond the 500 companies, it is essential to determine the key factors which enable black women to succeed in the corporate world. What are the qualities which help black women senior management in any given company and industry? And the number may be similar in Humanitarian, relief, International NGOs settings. But I just wanted to write about the world of work in general.

Research shows that beyond education, there are essential personal qualities that are common to high performers. While I could write about the personnel quality which clarity, energy, productivity, influence, a positive mindset, etc., which are essential qualities of a high achiever, or I could dwell on the component of leadership and management such as the vision, the charisma, the energy, the momentum, and the drive to succeed are all essential to become a top leader in one arena. There is one essential virtue, the quality, which has been developing through centuries of hardship and is instrumental in developing and ensuring black women’s success in leadership.


What is Resilience?

Resilience refers to how well you can deal with and bounce back from the difficulties of life. It is the capacity to endure hardship and flourish despite life’s setbacks. In its vast majority, the black community suffered for centuries of hardship from slavery to segregation. Women who are the backbone of the community have developed an incredible level of resilience. Some people equate resilience with mental toughness, but demonstrating resilience includes working through emotional pain and suffering. Most black women are survivors of racial discrimination and racism. They often deal with their share micro-aggression, bias, prejudice and still maintain sane mental health, composure and are able to bounce back.

It is learned skills gained in childhood and learned throughout life. It does not mean that every black woman has developed a high level of resilience, but it means that those who do, they are better equipped with the ability to face adversity and bounce back at a higher speed than others.

These Key skills are components of resilience.

Emotional Intelligence

They become adept at reading the organisations’ dramas and understanding people, translating their needs, effectively translating requirements, and overseeing all issues through completion. Even if women have high-level EQ, it does not mean that they are not hurt or harmed by unconscious bias by the dominant group. However, they have learned to cope and overcome the part hurt and harm done to them.

Authentic and Genuine Leadership

Say No To No Racism. Serious Black Muslim Woman In Hijab Showing Cross Hands Gesture, Demonstrating Denial Sign, Rejecting Something Unwanted, Posing Over Light Studio Background, Copy Space

For black women, it is essential to be authentic and genuine and walk the talks. It also means having the courage to call the bias and to genuinely believe in a world free of bias. As IWD2022 states: We genuinely imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Believing in equality mean that we celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias and we take action for equality.

Tackling discrimination and racism is not done in one day. There will be setbacks. But it requires idealism and a real commitment. As much as some people are committed to maintaining the status quo, we must devote our time to tackling racism, discrimination and inequality.

Adaptability to Change.

Black women become great leaders in the areas of change as they have learned to manage change skilfully. They have great agility and responsiveness to the challenges that life brings.

A Connection with the Community

Often, their non-black, mainstream world does not always understand the black community and is a black community member. Black women can connect them to the community, bringing a whole group of customers, friends, donors, well-wishers.

An excellent education, a strong work-ethic and key competencies in their industry can propel black women’s careers. Black women can benefit from developing and leveraging emotional intelligence, authenticity, and adaptability. These key competencies can boost the career of black women to the top.  

But in the end, it is about also making sure that people we connect with this global respect our communities, but will they respect this global community, if they do not respect black women. The way, they treat us could be the way, they treat our communities. So first, we are connectors, but we must be mindful that we help establish meaningful connections and healthy respectful relationships.

Black Women: Can we have it All?

While we discuss the corporate world paradigm and the quality needed to succeed in a leadership role, can women find joy and happiness in their private life, combining friendship, love, family, a healthy spiritual life, and leadership success?

This is a question asked for a long time, and black films have provided us with some excellent examples of balancing work and family:

  1. A famous show in the eighties portrayed a black family, with black woman who is the mother of several children, the matriarch of the show, and central member of the family. She was working as a lawyer; she valued the importance of maintaining a successful career and strong household simultaneously.
  2.  In the 2020, Black-ish shows an upper-middle-class African American family led by Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross). The show revolves around the family’s lives, success, and juggling several personal and socio-political issues. Rainbow Johnson is an anaesthesiologist and mother of Zoey, Junior, Diane, Jack and DeVonte Johnson. She is successful, funny, selfless, and kind.

Black entertainment has therefore advocated since the eighties to nowadays with Black-ish for successful black women balancing career-and personal life balance.

  • Finding the Perfect Balance?

 It does require excellent time management and prioritisation.

It is essential to have complete control over your schedule because women who want to have a career and a family can make it work. Time management is a top skill.

Commitment and Consistency

Learn to lean in and not lean back when you start a family. Perseverance and consistency are primordial and do not desert the top role when the babies are born. Instead, black women should find new ways of caring for and raising children. They need a supportive partnership.  It does require a robust support system and a cooperative husband.

The fight for equality can start at home, if the women must carry the burden of house chores, raising the children. They must discuss inequality if it starts at home and strive to find the right balance.

While relying on round, the clock nannies can be daunting, black women must take time to nurture the children and care for them and love their partners. It is not easy, it is challenging, but then no one says life is easy and having it all will be easy. It requires time, dedication, and above all, commitment.

It is only possible by taking control of one’s schedule. A total commitment is needed. Effective schedule management is the only way that successful black women can balance their career and a family, and they can successfully make it work.

To conclude, it is challenging for black women (as for all women) to find work and life balance. It is a challenge not only because of their career, but they also have to battle racism, discrimination in the often non-supportive environments, deal with micro-aggression, bias, prejudice, a junior, middle or senior employee. So IWD2022 is a time to remind all that there is still a lot to do to achieve equality. It is not because an organisation hires few senior black people or women in their workforce that they have won the battle against inequalities. But it is through demonstrated daily support to those employees as they face the daily struggle due to race discrimination and bias. If the organisation leaves them to fight the battle alone, they have failed. No one should be left on their own to fight racism and gender discrimination. Organisations should victims centred approach to tackle bias.

IWD2022 sees a number of MISSIONS to help forge a gender-equal world. There are listed below for all of us to remember what is essential:

  • A gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
  • A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
  • Break the bias
  • Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality, is key.
  • Build workplaces where women thrive
  • ​Elevate visibility of women creatives
  • Improve equality for women in tech
  • Forge women’s empowerment worldwide
  • Celebrate the women forging change
  • Celebrate the women forging change
  • Empower women’s choices in health
Young black woman with braids wearing casual winter sweater rejection expression crossing arms doing negative sign, angry face

Disclaimer. My views are my own and do not represent the views of my humanitarian employers past, present, or future. I value neutrality in a humanitarian setting. I also cherish the freedom of thoughts and speech of all citizens.

Managing and overcoming the effects of stress

Relax wherever you are.

Stress at work is one of the leading causes of sick leave. Overwork, sometimes burnout the syndrome, causing extreme fatigue and exhaustion due to the wear and tear of hard labour.

Definitions of Stress

There are several definitions of stress. Hans Selye defines it as “tensions … triggered by disruptive events.” He sees “potentially destructive forces” and speaks of “stress state” to describe “physical changes caused by a stressful situation.”

Stress is also a physiological impact (sweat, heart and breathing) and psychological effect (anxiety, sleep disturbances) reactions when a person is subjected to change in a situation.

Simply put, stress is that feeling you experience when you are faced with a situation you do not think you can cope with properly. It causes a sense of unease. It is like a reflex of the body that acts against external aggressions.

Flee, Fight,  Inhibition or Despair

Faced with what human beings perceive as a threat, the innate responses are flight, fight, or despair. Stress can help mobilize physical and mental forces. It brings readiness to combat. But it can also make people lose their means and hinder their actions. They decide to flee.  A prolonged stress situation depletes the body and leads to fatigue that promotes diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, depression, chronic anxiety, etc.

Holistic Stress Management

When you are stressed, there is a break in the normal balance. You will learn several methods to free yourself from stress and regain balance and good health. These methods are as seen below:

A holistic approach will consider the specific needs of various aspects of our being: body, mind, heart, intellect, and soul.

  1. First, there is a need for auto-diagnostic, a need to identify and understand stress sources.
  2. Be aware of the mechanisms of the mind to manage better emotions and thoughts. Stressful thoughts fuel negative emotions, which can lead to negative actions and consequences. Learn to stop toxic thoughts and replace them with positive and uplifting thoughts.
  3. Act on the intensity of stress to reduce its adverse effects. Make a pause, breath, and restore yourself to a state of calmness. Learn breathwork where you understand the necessity of inhaling and exhaling. Breath in peace, breath out all the tensions.
  4. Communicate effectively to share your messages under challenging situations. Mastering the art of communication can be a way to establish a meaningful relationship free from stress.
  5. Manage effectively conflict to eliminate stress. There are various ways of solving disputes and stop stress linked to conflict management. You can resolve the conflict by collaborating and reaching a win-win solution. But you can also try:
  6. D = Describe what has happened.
  7. E = Emotions: It is essential to explain how you feel and understand your emotions.
  8. S = Solutions: Look at all the solutions possible to solve the conflicts.
  9. C = Conclude: Resolve the conflicts and bring this to a successful conclusion.
  1. Exercise daily if you can otherwise, at least four times a week with intensity.
  2. Have a great diet and eat nutritious food to be in good health. Let food be thy medicine.
  3. Practice mindfulness and daily meditation to reach a state of peace.
  4. Sleep at least 8 hours a week.
  5. Learn the various practices of relaxation. I have found Yoga Nigra, one of the best forms of relations. You will below my record of a relaxation:

  1. Practice effective time management to save energy. To be in control of your schedule will help you prioritize your tasks. Have a vision board with life, yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. Buy a planner where you write your tasks and accomplishments.
  2. Personal and professional effectiveness improves your organization.
  3. Know your strengths and weaknesses to avoid the pitfalls of stress. Keep on learning and developing your skills after a robust analysis of your work, competences, and personalities.
  4. Create your stress management plan to end stress. Have a great strategy to deal with tiredness, exhaustion to avoid burnouts by including all the points above.

In conclusion, it is possible to have a life free of stress by using the above holistic stress management tools.  Choose a few that you can practice daily with consistency, and slowly you will reach a state of peace from all stress.

How to improve your self-esteem

Click to see Maslow’s pyramid of needs

How to improve your self-esteem

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is about how you feel about yourself and what you think about yourself. It is essential to have healthy Self-esteem.

Healthy self-esteem means that you have a realistic assessment of who you are.

Being proud of your achievement, and knowing who you are is essential. However, it is not arrogance or megalomania or a narcissistic feeling about one’s importance, etc.

Low self-esteem

Low self-esteem is rooted in a negative feeling about oneself, feeling that you are terrible, hopeless, a looser, etc. It is all about self-criticism, which is the destructive voice inside your head. Life will be that much simple if you love yourself. Too many people suffer from low self-esteem and are unhappy.

The criticism, whether negative criticisms or self-criticism, does not help.

1. Negative criticism – Do not get upset; say ‘thanks for sharing’; avoid a fight and move forward. Do not sink into depression or self-doubt. Hearing criticism can start with the parents, family, and society. Making a child feel unworthy from early childhood will lead them to become adult with love self-esteem. Negative stereotypes linked to race, gender or social stigmatization can create low self-esteem. Negative criticism can be destructive and have a long-lasting impact.

2. Self-criticism does not help the situation but rather reinforce the feeling of helplessness.

Sometime, a child may end believing in all these negativities and develop low self-esteem. It becomes self-criticism. It is primordial not to dwell on self-criticism; you have made a mistake, recognize it, put remedial actions in place and then move forward.

3. constructive criticism

Constructive criticism, whether from self or others, should be welcomed. Imagine someone who drinks and drives, and it is vital to let him or her know that he or she can cause death, accident, and drive only when sober. In this case, it is a lifesaving criticism to say it is wrong to drink and drive. It is alright to criticize one-self if it happens. It is vital to recognize one is failing and put in remedial actions.

 How to improve one’s self-esteem.

It is essential when you have not done anything wrong or harmful to build your self-esteem and develop a robust system to boost your self-esteem and confidence. Self-confidence is a great help in achieving success. It is primordial to believe in yourself and your talent.

How to build good self-esteem.?

  1. Self-praise – Be your best friend, and always have something positive about yourself in mind. Recognize your value. Recognize that you are not average but great, talented, competent, virtuous, energetic, and whatever beautiful qualities you embody. Be your greatest supporter and cheerleader.
  2. Positive inner Self-dialogue – People with low self-esteem will have a ‘little voice’ in the back of their head, constantly telling them they are not good enough, and they are going to fail. Often there is a harmful habit of self-criticism build for many years, and it is high time to change the inner dialogue. You can change your thoughts with consistency and think that you are brilliant, talented, fabulous, and soon you will become what you think. Therefore, the power of thinking cannot be underestimated but must be used to elevate oneself. Descartes said, Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore, I am. Our existence is defined by the quality of our thoughts and intentions.  When we repeat the same ideas in our minds, we take the same actions too. This creates a habit pattern that plays a dominant role in our life. A positive inner dialogue brings a quality of life that leads to high self-esteem and greater happiness.

When suffering from low self-esteem, positive self-talk can counter these negative thoughts with positive ones, reaffirming your worth, focusing on your excellent point, and remembering your accomplishments.

  • Self-love. Love is the most incredible power which exists in this world. Love thy neighbour as yourself shows clearly that the first commandment is about self-love as a precondition, even before loving our neighbour.
  • Self-knowledge. Delphi’s temple clarifies that one of the sources of happiness, contentment, and accomplishment is the knowledge of oneself. With the words “know thy self,” the oracle of Delphi shared a gem from her store of priceless wisdom. A good understanding of oneself is essential in all businesses—spiritual or secular. The knowledge of self involves having a good awareness and knowledge of the body, mind, and spirit. In the professional domain, it means accurately knowing your aptitudes, competencies, strengths, and weaknesses.  It is necessary to have a realistic vision of ourselves. Too big a gap between reality and perception creates disappointments.
  • Self-respect. The dictionary defines respect as a feeling of appreciative, often deferential regard, esteem. Self-respect means that you show regards to your thoughts, take into consideration your emotions and feeling.
  • Self-care. Many people live with low self-esteem. Too many other people are simply indifferent toward themselves. Take care of your appearance.  Dress well, speak well, play well your part in the social. Eat well: Nutrition can make a massive difference to the way you feel about yourself and improve your complete well-being. Take vitamins, increase your energy levels, but also Exercise. It is suitable for the body, mind, and soul. Exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Your self-esteem will improve by exercising, simply because you will improve your physique, making you more attractive and capable. Ensure you have a healthy relationship with work and money to enable you to save and live well.
  • Self-actualization. In Maslow’s pyramid, once the basic needs are satisfied, the physiological one must fulfil love and self-esteem before reaching self-actualization. To be self-actualized means realizing our highest potentials. It is the tangible achievements of our personal goals, gaining knowledge, and living a mindful and meaningful life. It is about inner and outer beauty and balance. The time of self-actualization is about personal growth and fulfilment. When we are self-actualized, we are accomplished and fulfilled. We have realized our highest potentials. Humans seem their happiest when they have fulfilled their needs and have achieved self-actualization.
  • Practice meditation and Mindfulness. Have a spiritual practice that helps you cope with daily life stress. Repeat daily that you are resilient and capable of dealing with anything life may throw at you. Meditate and realize your true self. Take time for self-introspection and contemplation on the nature of the self. It could ultimately lead to self-realisation and self-actualisation, the highest level of attainment.
  • Practice self-compassion, be kind to yourself. Kindness is underrated. Practice Metta Loving Kindness, Meditation and Gratitude, daily.
  • Embrace sustainable life changes. Spend time in nature to benefit from the Healing Power of Nature. Embrace country walks, time in the garden or the park.

In conclusion, it is essential to cultivate self-respect, self-care, self-love, self-knowledge, and a habit of frequent self-praise to develop healthy self-esteem. This will deliver us from low morale, depression, and feelings of unworthiness. Too many people are depressed because of constant self-criticism—that destructive little voice in their head that feeds them a copious amount of negativity all day. Self-love, self-respect, self-nurturing, and self-praise are great happiness boosters.

It is also essential to maintain a clean inner space, avoid unnecessary mental discussion, and cultivate inner peace. The more you work on yourself, the sooner you will achieve a healthy sense of self, leading to self-actualization and fulfilment.

The Laws of effective Time Management

The Laws of effective Time Management

Knowing the laws of time management will make you more effective and improve your life quality if you keep these laws in mind. Many of you know the Law of Pareto and the 80/20 rule. The Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes (the “vital few”). This 80/20 rule helps us focus on the essential. Knowing the Pareto Principle’s efficiency, I have shared below some of the fundamental laws of time that will help you manage your time better, set your priorities rightly, account for your accomplishments, and achieve work and life balance.

1. The Carlson Law -Reduce InterruptionsMinimise interruptions. Let people know on Outlook or the company organiser that you are busy and do not wish to be disturbed unless it is urgent. Request people for a meeting at a specific time so you can manage your time effectively and spare yourself from unwarranted interruptions.
2. The Douglas law – Bringing order into the office.Organise your desk in an orderly manner to avoid delays in searching for documents.
3. The Ecclesiastes Law – Vary work activities.Avoid routine! Vary your activities; do not always do the same work. It is important to do different things at different times. Plan your day following your biological rhythm or chronobiology. Schedule important work when your body is alert and you are most active, i.e., between 9:30 am, 11:30 am, and between 3 pm and 5 pm. Avoid planning an essential job on Friday at 3 pm if your office closes at 5 pm.
4. The Illich law – Take breaks. Pause and reflect!Do not hesitate to take breaks to recharge the batteries. Enjoy the pauses. Rest, restore, and nurture the body, mind, intellect, and heart!
5. The Laborit Law – Do the most challenging work first.Delay Gratification. Do not procrastinate! Tackle the hardest task first, as putting in the right amount of effort into a job is indispensable. Talent alone does not always suffice! Do not eat the cherry on the cake first. Try not to be like the kids who cannot stop playing, so they neglect their homework. Rather, be like the ones who do their homework first so that they can enjoy the remaining hours for play. Learn to respect your duties and start your work promptly.
6. Murphy’s Law -Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.It is all about setting aside a little time for the unexpected. Anything can happen, so when we plan our day, it is essential to provide alternatives and set aside a margin of our time to cope with the unexpected. Be ready for crises and challenges, and trust your ability to face it all!
7. Pareto’s Law –80% of the effects come from 20% of the causesThis Law is concerned with the focus on the essential. It is the 80-20 rule: 80% of the world’s wealth is owned by 20% of the population. 80% of business profits come from 20% of the customers. 80% of the profits come from 20% of the time spent on work. These are the value addition times that need to be carefully monitored. So, while we focus on the 80% that will bring results, we should also focus on the essential, the 20% that will deliver results.
8. Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. Parkinson’s Law is the outcome of the adage of Cyril Northcote Parkinson, and it is a reminder to set deadlines. Work fits the time allotted; therefore, it is better to set clear deadlines to do a job and complete it within the allocated time. It is good to break your tasks into small portions to finish at a fixed time. It is all about planning and organisation.
9. Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.This Law means that it often takes more time to accomplish things than we initially thought. The only way to estimate correctly how long a task will take is based on research and experience. Factories are good at estimating the production time of a commodity. Nowadays, due to frequent delays, businesses, in general, have started monitoring the time taken to complete tasks. For example, buildings’ construction is often delayed for months or years due to adverse weather conditions and other unforeseen situations. Hence every worker should ideally plan their day by allotting an estimated time to complete tasks, knowing that it may sometimes take a little longer or maybe finish before time. 

Compassionate Leadership

Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 111990.

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” Nelson Mandela.

I was enlightened this week to reflect on compassionate leadership and the importance of leading from a place of love and compassion.

What is Leadership?

There are various definitions of leadership. This includes influence, empowerment, deep connections, etc.

  • According to Peter Drucker, leadership is “someone who has followers.”
  • Bill Gates looks at leadership as “those who will empower others”.
  • John Maxwell posits that “leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less”.
  • “Leadership is better to lead from behind and put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory and when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership”. Nelson Mandela.
  • “Leadership is not just some empty formula but establishing deep connection at soul levels through service, integrity, passion, perseverance and equanimity.” ― Amit Ray, in Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management.

Vision, Momentum, and Charisma

A leader has the vision, the energy, and the drive to succeed a tremendous amount of charisma. Charismatic leaders can change the world.

The Vision

Nelson Mandela’s vision of ‘one man, one vote’ led to the destruction of the apartheid system, where black men in the rainbow nation could vote as citizens of South Africa and bring to the end one of society’s most destructive models. A leader must have a vision that can change the world and make it a better place for you, me, many others, and the entire planet. A real leader’s vision will depend on its areas of work, societal, political, and economical changes.


Leaders have the energy and the drive to lead their projects to a successful conclusion. It is essential to have the motivation to lead a project to the final victory. A leader is the one who acts, leads, and uses all available resources to get to the goal. Sometimes s/he works day and night to get to attain their goal.


It is the authority of a leader, based on his/her innate gift and personal qualities. A charismatic person has an exceptional personality and exerts an inevitable ascendance on others. He/she knows how to influence, convince, motivate, and lead their team to fulfil the mission they seek to accomplish. We find these in some political leaders who are, in empathy and can listen to others.

I remember the first time I experienced great charisma. I was barely 21 or 22 years old when I had the opportunity to meet President Jacques Chirac at the town after a day of gluing billboards for his re-election as the mayor of Paris. It was magical. He was a King, a solar king. He was like Louis XIV, the Sun King, one of the Greatest French statesmen. He was magnificent and charismatic. I was extremely impressed as a girl in her twenties. From then onward, I understood the significance of being a charismatic leader. I thought of him and Nelson Mandela when I was writing this article as they were great leaders filled with empathy. They also had the ability to listen and lead their people. The French civil code has a wonderful expression of a good Father of the Nation. I think a leader can incarnate such archetypical figures as the father, mother, brother, or friend.

There is a Difference between a Leader and a Manager.

The manager of proximity has other responsibilities. He manages, plans, organizes, and controls day-to-day work of his employees. The manager’s role is to give directives daily. He gives works. He controls these assignments by ensuring that they are respected and completed. He often acts as a coach and a mentor. Today’s concern is to create a positive work environment, in which every employee will feel valued and more productive. A manager supports employees in their work.

What is Compassionate Leadership and Management?

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines compassion as ‘ a strong feeling or sympathy and sadness for the suffering and a desire to help them’.

Early Compassionate Leaders

Christ and Buddha are two of the earliest compassionate leaders. Other leaders were Prince Siddhartha, Prophet Mohammed, and Moses.

Christ died to save others. Salvation in Christianity, or deliverance or redemption, is the saving of human beings by Christ’s death and resurrection. The idea of salvation and sacrifice reminds us that He defines His love for His followers and friends for whom He gives His life for those He loves.

Buddha stated that, ‘Life is suffering’. He taught for around 45 years and his teachings are based on his insight into suffering ‘dukkha’ and how to end suffering.

Prince Siddhartha was destined to become a King. He renounced his future life as a king to find a way to alleviate others’ suffering. He found eight ways in which one could extricate another out of suffering; called the Eight Noble Paths. The Eightfold Paths consists of eight practices. They are: the right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right samadhi (meditative absorption or union). Furthermore, self-observance, self-restraint, cultivating kindness and compassion will ultimately absorb into a divine, luminous, and peaceful state, free of suffering.

Furthermore, the Prophet Mohammed taught four lessons in Compassion. Compassion for animals, children, the poor and enemies. “Every Muslim has to give in charity” (Sahih Al-Bukhari). His compassion for the poor is such that; making charitable donations to the poor and needy is one of the five central pillars of a Muslim’s faith.

Last but not the least, is Moses. Being a humanitarian and working with refugees, he sacrificed his life as an Egyptian Prince to become a liberator and lead the Hebrew from Egypt to the promise Land.

Finally, I thought of Gender parity and gender sensitiveness and the name of Tara came to my mind.

Tara The Goddess of Compassion

Matt Caron a blogger wrote “Tara is thought to be a manifestation of the goddess Parvati, the personification of love and devotion. But to be more specific, the story of Tara’s origin comes from Avalokiteśvara, or the “lord that looks down”. This bodhisattva (a being that has the sole wish to remove suffering from humanity), began to weep one day at the intense suffering of sentient beings. Eventually, he cried so much that his tears began to form a lake…and out of this lake sprang forth a lotus containing Tara. Tara, having been birthed from compassion, began to labor behind the scenes day and night to relieve suffering from humanity, eventually incarnating in multiple forms…all women.”

Compassionate leaders nowadays, demonstrate:

  1. Connection: Compassionate leaders feel deeply connected with those they lead. They know their needs and do their utmost best to fulfil their dreams, hopes, and alleviate their sufferings, fear, and anxiety.
  2. Compassion: Compassionate leaders have real empathy for those they lead. At work, productivity does not exclude compassion. They seek to uplift stress and bring job satisfaction.
  3. Clarity: Compassionate leaders know their why, when, what, where and how. They have a clear vision and goals, for the future. Some are visionaries or seers as they can see what the future will be like and lead their people to the promise land.
  4. Courageous: Compassionate leaders speak their truth and lead from the front when there are dangers. They are fearless. They advocate for the rights of their followers.
  5. Collaborative: Compassionate leaders create a collaborative environment free from hostilities for their employees and colleagues. They honour the complexity of human relationship and with integrity they establish genuine and authentic collaborative relation.
  6. Ethical: Compassionate leaders have ethics and morality and walk the talk. They demonstrate the value and expect others to abide. Real leadership is synonymous to noble ideals. They stand by principles and values and are exemplary.
  7. Respectful: Compassionate leaders respect the principle of equality and recognize that all men are born equal. They defend gender equality and gender balance in the workplace and promote gender-sensitive policies.
  8. Wise: Compassionate leaders are continuous learners and great mentors, and they can listen and impart wisdom at all times.
  • Lead with Your heart: Leading with the heart does not stop with great leaders. Still, each of us who have responsibilities leading a group must emulate these lofty ideals and be empathic and compassionate leaders.

In practical terms, this means that if your staff is sick, give them space to recover. If they have a parent or child with underlying conditions do not transfer them from the hospital to a place where they cannot have the same level of care. If they are studying, allow them to attend classes, and to prepare for exams. Bring the bank and financial expert to advise them on savings, insurance, retirements and help them prepare for a better future. This list could be longer.  Always remember to be empathic, kind, compassionate, and always be good and do good to others.

Conclusively, human beings are in pursuit of happiness. Compassionate leaders are aware of the need for happiness of fellow humans and seek to bring social justice and happiness in their work environment.

“A compassionate leader always feels motivated to bring happiness and relieve the suffering of customers, investors, suppliers, employees, government and communities.” Amit Ray, Mindfulness Meditation for Corporate Leadership and Management.

I’m the Lion Heart – A courageous and determined Heart.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. (John 1:1|NKJV)

I have a Lionheart; I am Lionhearted, a courageous and determined heart.

When I thought of writing about overcoming fear with courage and determination, the idea of the Lionheart came to my mind. I realised that affirming what we are; helps us achieve our goals. Affirmations are powerful instruments that help us gain confidence. The Indians call them ‘Sankalpa’. If you repeat them daily at the start and the end of your meditation, you will realise that you will become what you affirm yourself to be.

While reflecting on affirmation, concentration and ‘Sankalpa’, I thought of a story of an inspiring yogi who visited a Sage and wanted to learn meditation. The Sage advised him to concentrate on what he loves the most. During meditation, concentration on one object will lead to meditation, an effortless flow of the mind towards an object.  As the young man found this exercise difficult, he decided to meditate on his buffalo. At the end of the day, the Sage came and asked him to come out of the meditation room.  The student replied.

“I am very grateful to you. I am in deep meditation now. I cannot come out now. I am very big. Horns have grown out of my head. I cannot get out of the small door. I like the buffalo very much. I have become a buffalo myself.” He was persuaded to come out the room and meditate on the light. We become what we focus on. This is a funny story, but it shows the power of concentration of one thought. Affirmations are such thoughts.

The Power of Concentration and Affirmation

‘… A man reaps what he sows’ (Galatians 6:7|NIV). It is essential to sow positive thoughts, words, emotions, and actions worldwide, thus reaping positive results. So, if your dream is to be happy, successful, and courageous, start by affirming what you wish to be every morning.

  • I am happy.
  • I am successful.
  • I am a courageous leader.

Repetition alone works wonders but doesn’t suffice. We must still do the work of self-transformation.

Clarity about Your Goals.

You have to be certain about what you want to be, who you wish to become, where you want to go and why you must work consistently to achieve your goals.

Change Your Thoughts: Overcome Fear and Stress.

Think about what is preventing you from becoming what you want. Knowledge of what triggers anxiety, stress, and fear is the beginning of the battle to overcome it. The key to freedom is to know our mind and free it from negative thoughts, and train it to be grounded, calm, and relaxed.

Understanding the Psyche and Changing One’s Thoughts.

It is imperative to know your ‘self-talk’. You feed the stress when you repeat certain thoughts mentally. These thoughts are specific to the psyche and are rooted in our environment. Negative ‘self-talks’ are a source of stress, fear and anxiety when they are harmful and destructive and vice versa. As we have seen, thoughts influence our emotions and our emotions influence our thoughts. The change of negative thoughts into positive thoughts affects our mood and emotions and stopped the anxiety, fear and stress.

You will experience a change in your life only when you alter your inner dialogue and ensure that it is always positive, affirming, and empowering.

Learning how to release anxiety, fear, anger, or irritability without creating havoc in your psyche, is key. It is essential to learn not to allow instinctive responses to cloud your thinking. Problems are better solved when you are not emotional. The thought process works better. More energy is available, which means mental energies are not frittered away in anxious ideas or irrational fears. It is about training the mind to deal with feelings and emotions, to calm down first before you act. It is also about transcending limiting thoughts. There are various relaxation, mindfulness techniques one can learn to achieve peace of mind. Beyond prayer, meditation, one can exercise, and develop positive habits and sustainable life changes.

If you can ensure the following, you will be less stressed, less fearful, and happier:

  • Know how to remain positive.
  • Know how to put thoughts in perspectives.
  • Be satisfied with your achievements.

Change Your Habits.

Negative habits are the source of suffering. These negative habits, such as smoking, addictions to drugs or alcohol, food binging, bulimia, using excessively your credit card, borrowing money, living on debts, procrastinating, unnecessary backbiting, stealing, overindulgence, etc. are all sources of pains to you and others. Being ruled continuously by these habits is an enormous source of stress, fear, anxiety and unhappiness. So, change your habits.

Develop Positive Habits.

One of the most positive habits one can develop is to build courageous habits in the time of fears and uncertainty. To live with courage, confidence and clarity about your life’s goals should not be a challenge. To achieve such a purpose, one must develop courage and overcome fear.

Courage Habits Model.

Make sustainable life changes which will impact meaningfully in the way you live. Rather than always struggle, consistently develop new courage habits which will bring sustainable changes to your life.

List five habits which you will develop and sustain over a long period of time and stick to them. Repeat them daily and they will bear fruits.

Align Yourself to Your Highest Purpose, Goal and Truth.

If you do not know your life goals, envision and create a vision board and spend time reflecting on what you were meant to do in life. Be clear about your life goals. Write these goals, yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and prioritize them.

For those who believe in God, whatever name they give to Him (God, Christ, Yahweh, Allah, Shiva, Krishna, the Great Mother or Divine Feminine, it all depends on your religion), surrender to the divine will, and fulfil the mission you were created to accomplish. It is always something lofty, ideal and source of goodness.

Fulfill the mission you were born to accomplish.

Be Courageous and Speak the Truth.

Be authentic, genuine, honest, and trustworthy.  Find your voice and speak the truth. Be courageous and don’t let anyone oppress you or oppress those you love.

It is essential to have the courage to speak your truth in the face of adversity. As Martin Luther king said ‘the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by bad people but the silence over that by good people. ‘

Work on Your Fear and Take Action.

Work with your fear and examine which fears are rational and grounded, in facts. If this is the case, then take action. Suppose you fear poverty and take remedial measures by building a financial safety net. If you fear illness, do your best to exercise, have a nutritious diet and keep optimum health.

Disregard all irrational fears. Instead, develop healthy emotions that create checks and balances and bring you back to peace and inner trust and security.

Use prayer, meditation, relaxation, and positive techniques to fill that inner space with joy, happiness, and absolute trust. The absolute trust in that great power eliminates fear.

Declare that you have attained a State of Courage, beyond all Fears.

I am not talking about the mechanical fears but going beyond the imaginary fears and trusting that whatever comes, you will have the strength to face the world with a strong and generous heart. May you become Lionheart, strong, powerful, and generous.

Together we are stronger. We must incarnate a powerful, loving, honest, kind, courageous and a lion’s heart.

Conclusively, Indira Gandhi reminds us that, ‘Without courage nothing can be accomplished’. Without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue. You have to muster courage – courage of different kinds. First, intellectual courage, to sort out different values and make up your mind about the one that is right for you to follow. Also, you have to exercise moral courage – ‘no matter what comes your way, no matter what the obstacle and the opposition is.’ Indira Gandhi

Therefore, arise, awake, and fight the battle of life. Face all challenges with courage and grace. Remember that you are a courageous man or woman.

Practice daily gratitude!

Practice daily gratitude!

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. Cicero

I believe like Cicero in the importance of virtues. In his written work, the great philosopher recognizes the familiar four cardinal virtues. In this instance Cicero’s order is–

  • Wisdom/prudence
  • Justice
  • Fortitude
  • Temperance

However, Cicero gave a special place to gratitude which he deemed the queen of all virtues. For more 2000 years, now, there have been countless teachers reminding us of the power of gratitude. In modern psychology, several studies and books demonstrate the connection between gratitude and increased well-being for the people involved.

Using Cicero methods of questioning (5W and 1 H) frequently used by Journalists, I will explore the idea of gratitude.

What is gratitude?

It is a feeling of appreciation when one receives a gift, a favour, an act of kindness toward the person who gave him the help, present, or favours.

Who can practice gratitude?

While everyone can feel grateful, not all of us do. Studies have shown that the more grateful one is, the more feel happy. Positive feelings, thoughts and emotions generate happiness, and as such gratitude, a positive feeling is the source of happiness. While negative feelings, thoughts and emotions bring a state of despair.

When? Practice gratitude daily

Practice gratitude daily in morning and evening. For years, I started and often ended the day with Denzel Washington short YouTube video where he spoke about gratitude and expressed thanks. Nowadays, I listen to the same words but put in music.

Express Gratitude to God, a higher power for all the goodness in your life,

Journaling also all the things that you feel grateful for in your life is a great way to express gratitude.

Make also sure to express thanks to all the people who have helped you along the way. A sincere thanks to your family, children, parents, colleagues, friends, well-wishers, business partners, and all those who are there for you, Give thanks to God and those who are helping you, sending a gift for your birthdays, anniversaries, or giving you money when you are broke, sharing good advices along the way.

Why? The benefits of gratitude

Studies equate the practice of gratitude with better psychological health and well-being. It gives renewed enthusiasm and optimism as your mind is filled with feelings of appreciativeness and gratitude daily. Modern Psychology has published many studies attesting of a connection between happiness level and gratitude. It will improve your relationship with others as people appreciate your attitude of gratitude.

The secret a world-famous book also states that there is a link between gratitude and abundance. The more you have of gratitude, the more abundance there is in your life.

The more you give gratitude, the more you get. People are more inclined to help a grateful heart.

How to express gratitude?

  • Say thank you to people who help you along the way.
  • Write an appreciation note thanking people for all the good things they do for you.
  • Help in return if you can.
  • Count your blessings.

Where do we find gratitude? In Modern Psychology and every world religion?

Modern Psychology

Sonja Lyubomirsky, an American professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, states that ‘the expression of gratitude is a kind of meta-strategy for achieving happiness’.

And Robert Emmons, one of the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude defines gratitude as -a felt a sense of wonder, appreciation and thankfulness for life and wrote in his essay ‘Why gratitude is good’ that ‘it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.’ And second Dr Emmons clarifies “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”

Psychologists, sociologists, and researchers have found that gratitude strengthens human relationship as there is also a recognition that others have helped us. Gratitude has a powerful impact on social connections. It creates bonds and memories as people remember those who helped and treated them well. They are eager to express gratitude and repay them.

Gratitude is recommended and practised in every major religion. Gratitude to God is at the core, centre of Christianity, Islam, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu traditions.

In Judaism

Psalm 9:1 1 I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. The psalm of David and many more speaks of giving thanks and praising God.

In Christianity

Christians are strongly encouraged to give thanks. We found a beautiful excerpt of The Imitation of Christ, which summarises well the idea of gratitude.

Be grateful then for every little thing, and you will be worthy to receive greater things. Regard the least gift as great, and the most common as a special gift. If you consider the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem little or mean to you. For that is not little which is given by the most-high God. And even when he inflicts punishment and stripes, it should be acceptable to us; for whatever he permits he always does it for our salvation.

              He, who desires to retain in himself the grace of God, let him be thankful for the grace given him, and resigned for that, which is withdrawn. Let him pray to receive it; lit him be cautious and humble so as not to lose it again. From the IMITATION OF CHRIST by Thomas A Kempis

Thanksgiving Day is also a potent reminder to practice thankfulness and gratitude, not only one special day a year, but all year long.

In Buddhism

The teachings of the Buddha on Gratitude are found in the Kataññu Suttas (AN 2:31–32):

“Monks, I will teach you the level of a person of no integrity and the level of a person of integrity. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak.”

“As you say, lord,” the monks responded to him.

The Blessed One said, “Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful & unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no integrity. A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by civil people. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity.”

In Islam

A traditional Islamic saying states that “The first who will be summoned to paradise are those who have praised God in every circumstance”.

In the Quran it is also stated in Sura 14:7 ‘Also call to mind when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks, I will certainly grant you more; but if you are ungrateful for My favours, my chastisement is terrible.

Even the daily prayers encourage believers to pray to God five times a day to thank him.


The sravanas and daily worships are filled with praises to God and ritual and worship, which expressed profound gratitude to God. The path of Bhakti is full of praise and gratitude to God.

In conclusion, “Wise men count their blessings; fools, their problems…” so let us be wise and count our blessings.  It is essential to find time to practice gratitude in our busy daily schedule, it is never too late, or even when we are remarkably busy, we can always find time say a simple Thank You. As stated by Meister Eckhart, ‘ If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.’

A day of service

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

—Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service in America.

I like the great symbol behind the idea of a day of service, where people are invited to volunteer and help others.  Since its inception, people have volunteered and delivered meals, built home, tutored, and mentored children and engaged in various projects. They have also reflected on the life of Dr King. The idea is to engage volunteers beyond the holidays and have them dedicate time to year-round volunteering.

Service is a noble and lofty idea

Service is a noble and lofty idea, and each of us can find time to help others. Volunteering in any not-for-profit is a great source of joy. Whether it is serving food to the poorest, mentoring young children, serving at the local church, or writing for an NGO advocating for women and children rights, there are many possibilities to help others.

Any one of us can serve; all we need is a willing heart filled with love for others.

Service as a way to greatness

Some of the most generous and most extraordinary people in this world are public servants; they work tirelessly for others’ welfare. Well-known philanthropists have devoted time and money to great causes. Others have created institutions where they serve wholeheartedly and give their life in the service of others.

Artists have sung for free for decades raising money for charities and changing the world

Together we are strong.

The U.S.A. for Africa changed our perception in 1985. The music industry and the world came together in an extraordinary outpouring of generosity in response to the tragic famine wreaking havoc in Africa. The greatest artists created a worldwide performance.  We Are the World, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie; with Quincy Jones, the artistic director made a sensation. Mega artists volunteered their time and put their wonderful music and voices to raise funds for Africa. This is a perfect example of selfless service and the results are as follow:

  • More than 7 million records sold
  • $100,000,000 raised to improve lives
  • Hundreds of humanitarian initiatives supported
  • Supporting programs in the U.S. and Africa

Citizens everywhere joined the call for services and volunteered for Not-for-Profits to serve the poorest, wherever they are in the world. Some for one day, some for years. Without volunteers, these charitable organisations could not function.

In 2012, I enjoyed volunteering at a local church in Newark—I had just lost my Mum, and I was grieving. In October 2012, the Hurricane caused severe damage in New Jersey, and the population sought help in a Newark Church with a beautiful team and a great Senior Pastor.  The church was a Heaven on Earth and serving along these beautiful people in a loving community made a real difference in my life. More than one thousand people volunteered throughout the years. Service healed my broken my heart. These months of volunteering mended my heart. 

Volunteers are a great source of assistance to the organisation. They give their time and energy. Some receive refugees in their communities, home and make sure the refugees feel loved and welcomed. Some feed the hungry or visit cancer patients—All such initiatives bring comfort to those who are served and to also those who volunteer. All the volunteers make a difference in this world because of their commitment to service.

 Service dissolves all the barriers of classes, castes, and religions. Through volunteering and service, we meet people we would never have met and discover that we all belong to the beautiful human family. We may be different men and women in body but we share the same esprit de corps. Service teaches us solidarity, kindness, empathy. It makes us better human beings.

Service is a way to happiness

Some of my greatest joys have come from volunteering, especially with people with learning disabilities at Mencap. I was always so happy, serving tea and joining in the Thursday evening Café and do a Karaoke jig at one of the London Mencap. Volunteering with women organisation has also been great and I have ironed my leadership skills sitting on the board of a women Not-for-Profit board. I love serving and volunteering. It is a source of great happiness.

What do you reckon? Here’s my concluding thoughts

Through service, we soften our hearts. By helping others, by making sure that others are provided, we reach a state of happiness beyond all understandings and are filled to the brim with it.

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

—Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.