The Haja Sheriff Blog

Achieve your potential #497 – Answer this- “What have you done today for someone?”

Posted by in Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness


I recently watched Sully on Amazon Video. And I watched it again. I am seeing this movie a year too late. I am to blame for it because I read film reviews and decided it was not something I want to pay and watch. And it was one of the movies I should have watched when it was playing in the theaters.

I was amazed at the story and went and bought the book Highest Duty by Sullenberger (also known as Sully). The experience humbled me. It gave me goosebumps. I remember when I got it earlier. It was when I watched Schindlers List. At the end of the movie, they show all the survivors and their descendents who visit Schindler’s grave and place a stone. The impact of having saved those people – and how many they grew into!

It is a powerful lesson for us. What we do to someone has a much more profound effect on humanity than we can fathom. It is not just the person who we help, but also their extended families. When we get a chance to help – in any way we can, we are impacting a person and their future generations. At the same time, I believe, we are doing our future generations a great deal of service because we are teaching them the power of giving! And it always pays back manifold.

So think about it. What have you done today for someone?

And Captain Sully, I hope I get a chance to meet you in the future! I would like to thank you for teaching me something very meaningful.


Achieve your potential #497

Posted by in Attitude, Motivation, Personal Effectiveness

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. —Amelia Earhart

Be action oriented.  Keep taking that next step- however far the destination is.  You are one step closer.  

And take one more.

And one more…

We have to teach ourselves to make this a habit. Be it through maintaining a diary, a to-do list, or any other means, just keep moving!  The rest will fall into place.


What can I start today that will benefit me for a lifetime?

Posted by in Time Management

This is an article by Abu Tyas Tungal in It is a fantastic article best read in more detail if you find this useful.


There’s two types of work according to Cal Newport in Deep Work. There’s deep and then there’s shallow work. Shallow work arises from the internet. Social networks have eaten up our attention span and deleted our ability to fix our mind on anything for long periods of time. Think of shallow work as the tasks that anyone can do, right away with almost no training. It’s simple work ladled with interruption. Using Twitter and replying to emails while you write.

I don’t know about you, but this is a serious issue for me. I am desperate to find a solution to address this issue. This article was a very relevant topic for me. The concept of doing “Deep Work” appeals to my sense of doing something well.

The key learnings that I take away and I recommend you read through in this excellent article are –

1. Forget Time Management – think Attention Management. We, who multi-task, are told to look at task management as the way to succeed. The muscle we need to be building is “Attention Management”. 

In Deep Work, Cal outlines four types of deep work. Namely monastic, bimodal, rhythmic, and journalistic. Each fits a different situation. It depends on your schedule. Deep work is part art and part science. Take what works for you and throw away the rest.

2. Deep work is hard. It is time-consuming. It is deliberate. 
3. Find your “Ikigai” – The Japanese concept of “the reason for being”. It is a lengthy process and will require deep introspection. But finding it early in life will give you the moral compass to target your actions.




Gratitude – 4 steps to say thank you

Posted by in Blogging, General Interest, Motivation, Personal Brand


My mother passed away in 2013. After 35 days in a leading hospital in Chennai. She had gone in for a complicated but not a life-threatening operation. In my opinion (unsubstantiated, and entirely emotional) one of the doctors was responsible for her condition post her operation. But that is not the point. She went into a coma on the 9th of December. She never came out of the coma.

But during those days, I observed how the doctors and nurses in the ICU took care of her. They were selfless, committed, and took care of her as if she were their own. But they made the last days for her, and for us, her family, a bit more manageable. Our doctor friend in Bangalore who kept advising us and giving us moral support.

But she still passed on. A couple of days after her last rites, we made a tough journey back to the hospital. My wife and I went and met every doctor who took care of her, the ICU staff, the nurses and even the receptionist we had got to know during her stay there. We thanked each and every one of them personally. If my mother were alive, she would have wanted it that way. That is the way she was. We felt it would be tough.

But it changed me that day. We saw doctors and nurses tearing up, and thanking us for coming back and acknowledging them. One of them told us that very few people come back to the hospital, let alone thank them. I don’t know what it felt like for them, but we felt lighter and happier.

There is a lot in life to be thankful for. If we ever took the time to think, we would realise miracles happen around us all the time. People who touch us in many ways. And there are those who work in our offices that we interact with, day in and day out. The peers who have helped us when we needed help. The Administrative staff that went out of the way to assist us with a meeting room for that very important meeting. There are always reasons to thank a person.

Being thankful for others. To show our gratitude to the people who supported us. Acknowledging their efforts in our lives.


When was the last time you took time off to thank someone for what they did for you?

Not just a thank you in a formal manner. But a heartfelt thanks, explaining how you felt about what they did. How it was helpful for you, and why you appreciate the time and energy they took to support you.

Here are four tips on saying thank you from your heart. And making a difference to the other person.

  1. Mean it – Whatever you do, mean what you say. Look at the people who helped you, into their eyes, shake their hands, smile and thank them. Wholeheartedly.
  2. Say it – Explain the background of what you were going through when the other person stepped up to help. Saying “the why” in detail and explaining how you felt, makes the entire experience that much more authentic.
  3. Do it – Say it in a way that matters. Personally. Or by email, if it is someone who is far away. Call them if you need to. Irrespective of the medium you pick, just do it.
  4. Often – Become the channel through which positive energy passes. Touch people’s lives in such a manner that they feel compelled to pass it forward to other people who have helped them as well.

Go ahead.

Make someone’s day.

Be part of a movement.

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