Why Understanding the working of our brain matters

Reading and understanding iconic books like Start with Why, Find your why by Simon Sinek, Emotional Intelligence by Travis Bradberry, Talk like TED by Carmine Gallo would go a long way in helping understand the very complex human brain.

Leading, managing, networking in professional as well as personal lives

Neo cortex is the part of brain that helps us in rational thinking while limbic brain is responsible for emotions. Understanding the orientation of the human brain is a key to developing and honing emotional intelligence related skills, which is the backbone to survive and make it big in this knowledge worker age. This when done can help us act smartly in ways to get desired impact in family life as well as professional life and change our day to day life to help us achieve the desired effect.

When an instinct comes then it is an interplay between neo-cortex and emotions, emotional intelligence does the balancing act, when to use emotion and when to be rational. Responding to a stimulus where the outcome is an action, how we choose our action to produce the desired outcome can be chosen based on understanding of the working of the brain.

Being high in IQ would help us with tasks to do with neo-cortex but it is emotional intelligence that would let us put in the shoes of a receiver to tune our message and attitude in a way that would reach and impact the emotional behavior resulting out of limbic of a receiver. In a modern day for problem solving IQ matters , rational thinking and neo-cortex dominates but to gel with people in order to make them achieve desired effect emotional intelligence becomes important to guide us which part of the brain of a target to reach out to whether neo-cortex or limbic.

For accepting change, message has to reach limbic brain and influence the same. Rigidity to change is guided by limbic since even though neo cortex invokes rational thinking and asks for a corrective action, limbic comes in the way of acting constructive behavior in the way of being fearless and taking risks.

Amygdala in the limbic brain is responsible for generation of emotions and stimulating it is necessary for influencing the behavior to ensure team members of a leader give their blood, sweat and tear for the achievement of objectives. Proper balance between emotions and rational thinking is critical to act right work in teams, gel well and achieve desired results in this age.

Memorable and novel ideas/messages have the power to traverse to the limbic part of the brain and generate emotionally triggered responses way beyond the realms of rational thinking. Hence the toughest thing and a major focus in today’s world for persuasion is story-telling to trigger emotional responses by reaching the limbic brain.

 

Controlling stress in our lives via flow of selfless biological chemicals

Very recently I had the honor of reading “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek, the author of the hugely popular “Start with Why”. This book is an amazing read for the simple fact that by means of biology the author has explained how to beat stress in our fast paced lives by sticking to ethics. Stress as well as happiness stimulating hormones we all would be aware of but the mental mapping of these is something we rarely think of. Had we done the same our actions would have been more often than not directed towards enhancing the flow of happiness stimulating selfless chemicals to beat stress and duress in our stress filled lives.

Stress which is part and parcel of our modern fast paced lives results in a chemical named “Cortisol” flowing through our veins. As against this when we are happy for ourselves say for e.g. when we have had a very tiring but fulfilling day in office may be for e.g. by being able to deliver something critical by stretching late in office a selfish happiness stimulating chemical named “Endosprin” flows through our veins. When people try to beat stress by working out extra time in gyms, the same chemical flows through our veins and keeps us happy for the time being.

Any kind of work done by us that gives us an appreciation to satisfy our self-ego but which does not give us any sense of belonging results in “Dopamine” flowing through our veins. With the proliferation of social media penetration that “one buzz” in our phones to indicate one more like for our posts on FB or Twitter results in the flow of this selfish happiness stimulating chemical that acts as a quick fix to keep our subconscious mind happy.

When we feel happy and feel a sense of belonging especially when a co-worker thanks us or when we feel happy by doing something for the family/near or dear ones/society and that too ethically it does us the most good by allowing the flow of selfless and happiness stimulating chemicals named “Serotonin” and “Oxytocin” through or veins.

The challenge in life , to beat stress , is not to chase short term quick fix driven “Dopamine happiness” but look to do or achieve something ethically that would give us a sense of belonging and a good night’s sleep by allowing sufficient flow of “Oxytocin” through our veins.

Thus the mathematical equation involving biological chemicals to help us lead a balanced and truly happy life with a sense of belonging is:

(Serotonin + Oxytocin) >>>> Cortisol

With this simple equation in mind let us all pledge to act in ways to fight stress by doing things in our day to day lives that give us a sense of belonging that have far reaching impacts beyond mere self-satisfaction. The other advantage of this would be that since this formula to beat stress is scientifically proven we can form a mental map and preempt our behavior patterns to act in ways that help us achieve selfless truly fulfilling satisfaction rather than meeting our selfish short term goals.

Unleash the flow of selfless chemicals through your veins!!!!!

 

Getting started with data science with python

Data science deals with studying huge amount of data to find patterns in order to draw meaningful insights mostly to aid in business decision making.

Historically DIKW has been a well-known model wherein we start with data, draw meaningful information to gain knowledge with a vision of achieving wisdom.

At a high level data science would involve 5 simple steps:

  • Extract the raw data from all possible sources in structured , unstructured formats
  • Process the data and convert in a standardized form
  • Explore the data to come to a conclusion
  • Use suitable data models to fit the war data onto to draw out meaningful inferences
  • Enable proper data visualization for reporting purposes to enable better insights and inferences

Python which is widely used for data science, is free source and can’t be learnt conveniently by means of myriad tutorials, videos and references available over the web.

Ananconda is the go to package to install to get started with Python for getting a feel of the power of the language.

The following is a very convenient link to install Anaconda and get started with Python for simple programming leading to getting a feel of data science.

https://docs.anaconda.com/anaconda/install/

Anaconda installation once goes through would help in installation of the following very important packages to enable programming and especially data science with Python

  • Pandas —– For converting raw data in any form to standardized form to further explore the data.
  • NumPy and SciPy —– For enabling data exploration using numerical and scientific function related features
  • Scikit Learn —- for enabling machine learning and coming up with a data model that fits the data converted from raw form to standardized form.
  • Matplotlib —- To enable data visualization in form of charts to enable insights on data for taking business decisions

In addition to this Anaconda installation comes with the installation of the web enabled Jupyter notebook which hosts Python sources as well as the IDE i.e. Spyder.

To start coding with Python

Right click on Jupyter Notebook icon shortcut (Should be in desktop) and override %USERPROFILE% with the destination folder to store the .ipynb sources.

Subsequently follow the below steps.

  • Launch the Anaconda prompt
  • Launch Jupyter console and notebook wherein the URL comes up launching Jupyter.
  • Create a new notebook to start coding Python
  • Jupyter notebook tool bar has self-explanatory shortcuts that help in running of the relevant Python codes specific to a particular cell.
  • To rename a source click on the source name and rename to a meaningful name.
    • The sources get saved with a .ipynb extension.

Happy leaning!!!!!!

Simple steps to get started with R

R as a programming language has taken the world by storm especially because of its capabilities in terms of data science and data visualization.

By virtue of being open source, R can be learnt without incurring any additional cost given the fact that there are myriad resources on R freely available over the internet.

Getting started is as simple as following the steps mentioned below:

  • Download the CRAN of R from R’s website
  • Install RStudio the IDE for R
  • Myriad videos on R are available on youtube. Along with this easy to understand sample R codes are freely available over the internet. We can go through these and get started with R.

The following link from pluralsight mentions 5 simple steps to kick start your journey with R.

https://www.pluralsight.com/blog/data-professional/how-to-get-started-programming-in-r

I have found the sample codes on tutorialpoint very helpful to get an understanding on R.

Please refer to the following link to get started with R.

https://www.tutorialspoint.com/r/

About RStudio

RStudio provides a very user friendly interface to get started with R.

It is very easy to install and gets installed very fact on Windows, Mac, Linux machines.

RStudio has 4 tabs.

  • The tab on the top left is where we can enter R scripts in .R extension files and run them , debug them through very easy to use tool bar icons.
  • The top right tab is the workspace tab wherein we can see how work variables get changed when R codes are run. This is especially helpful when debugging R codes to have a look at important variables and their values during run time.
  • The bottom left tab is for R console wherein we can run R commands and is the R command line interface.
  • The bottom right tab is where we can get to see results of different plot functions and is especially useful for data visualization related functions.

 

Happy learning!!!!!

Riding the digital wave by taming the mind is the need of the hour for IT professionals

In this age of digital disruption ,  especially in a knowledge worker age reskilling oneself in digital technologies is the way to go for an IT professional.

Rather than cribbing about having to unlearn old things to learn new technologies ,  tuning of the mind is needed to make oneself believe that “Yes I can.” Trending technologies like Big data HADOOP , Data science including R and Python are technologies that can be learnt by having access to internet with myriad number of blogs , forums and repositories available to enable learning.

Aside from this , getting enrolled for online courses by expert vendors  would silence the nerves and instill a belief that these are just like any other technologies to learn and adapt to. Adaptability has a lot to do with the mental strength of an individual and for professionals is the need of the hour.

Everything is there in the mind , unlearning what has been learned and learning new technologies in line with digital transformation is definitely the way forward.

Over customization has sounded the death knell for the beautiful game named cricket

Cricket of the modern day is a far cry from the past days where in there used to be equal competition between the batsmen and bowlers. For cricket lovers of the 80’s or 90’s or even early 2000’s, modern day cricket would be difficult to digest with the absence of any world beating legendary bowler.

All these eras had amazing batsmen and equally potent and capable bowlers to give them a run for their money. This is why cricket was so enchanting because a victory for the batsmen or bowlers would not come cheap.

If you take the clock a little back to 2007, advent of T20’s (a new and intelligent form of commercializing the game by customizing it to get quick money) has led to the death of great bowlers. Modern day cricket has a lot of entertaining batsmen, finishers which is evident in an era where in cricket has become a game for batters.

Thanks to T20’s, and because of its shortened duration, spectators nowadays shell out money to see the big shots and grounds men needless to say oblige for the interest of cheap entertainment. As a result of this customization of the game, not only has test cricket lost its sheen nor do we any longer remain glued to our seats to watch battles like Tendulkar v/s McGrath, Tendulkar v/s Akram, Tendulkar v/s Warne, Brian Lara v/s McGrath, Michael Atherton v/s Donald.

None of contemporary games like tennis, soccer to name a few have customized or played around with the format for cheap popularity and hence have stood the test of time. This is why we still have legends like Federer, Nadal to compete with greats of yesteryears like McEnroe, Sampras to name a few. Soccer still produces Messi’s, Ronaldo’s who can take on any legend of the yesteryears like Maradona or a Pele.

It is high time for cricket authorities to take stalk of things and make the game worthy enough to start producing good quality bowlers to regain the lost prestige by bringing in more competition between bat and ball. If this happens and India wins , then only we should be in a position to even think of comparing modern day greats like Kohli’s with Tendulkar’s and Dhoni’s with Gilchrist’s.

Let’s all hope against hope to get back the Akrams’ , Tendulkars’ , Laras’ , Mcgraths’ in the modern day game as well.

Debt mutual funds way to go for risk averse investors

As a risk averse investor , deciding to invest in mutual funds always remains a big challenge.

But with rate of FDs falling by the day , ever reducing interest rates offered by banks on money stuck up in savings accounts , starting to invest in mutual funds in bits and pieces is the way to go to receive higher interests on hard earned money.

For individuals who are skeptical about investing in the equity market , there are instruments namely debt mutual funds that invest in relatively secure debt instruments. These instruments even though are not fully secure are worth starting off with for a risk averse investor to get a feel of investing in mutual funds.

Long term debt funds , short term debt funds , ultra short mutual funds , liquid funds are relatively secure followed by gilt funds and these mainly investment in debt instruments  as opposed to equity funds.

There are number of financial sites who provide mobile apps as well , that can help create a portfolio of mutual funds a risk averse investor plans to invest in and helps the investor study the trend before zeroing in on the final portfolio. The same can be done for high performing equity funds as well. CRISIL ratings for mutual funds in all categories are also available as a ready reckoner before deciding to invest.

Demat accounts as well as bank specific securities accounts can be opened to start trading in MF’s either using SIP(Systematic Investment Plan like EMI) or paying money in lump sum. Investors can invest online using the websites of respective MF AMC by fulfilling requirements of e-kyc. These can help in purchase of direct mutual funds which are advantageous in terms of not having to pay commission or brokerage.

Happy investing..

Fearless investing..

With love for fish loving Bengalis in Bangalore

For fish loving Bengalis in Bangalore , who believe in hand picking fish they love to have ,  HAL Fish market Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Rd, Reddypalya, Jyothi Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560017 is the place to go.

Fresh Bengali fishes arrive Friday night and hence arriving early morning(preferably within 9 am) on Saturday , becomes important to get fresh and high quality fishes. Hilsa , Chitol , Parshe , Tengra , Rohu , Katla , Bhetki with prices similar to that in Kolkata are available here. In addition to the variety of fishes , HAL market is a great location to buy all kinds of vegetables , at attractive rates , especially the ones that go well with fishes.

This place is quite adjacent to Indiranagar metro station hence for people commuting from the South part of Bangalore availing metro service to reach HAL Fish market is a good option to avoid traffic.

Common Bengali fishes like Rohu , Katla , Ar Tengra , prawns and Pabda are available on local roadside shops as well as non veg sections of supermarkets chain stores in malls.As an alternative to Mourala , which is difficult to get in HAL Fish market , Anchovies provides a very good option and is more widely available.

Another fish worthy of mention for bengalis , to have a try is the Norwegian Salmon priced at ~1600 INR per kilo and is available in chain supermarket outlets in malls.

For fish loving Bengalis , working in various professions , Bangalore offers a lot of options in terms of hand picking fish and giving a feel of the best breed of fishes Bengalis are so used to having in Kolkata. So fish loving Bengalis feel at home in Bangalore.