Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Nov 2, 2009

Long Live Dissatisafaction – the mother of invention !

We learn from Wikipedia  that “ There was dissatisfaction with the dictionaries of the period, so in June 1746 a group of London booksellers contracted  Dr Samuel Johnson to write a dictionary for the sum of 1,500 guineas, equivalent to about £220,000 as of 2009. 

Published on 15 April 1755 and written by Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, sometimes published as Johnson's Dictionary, is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. Johnson took nearly nine years to complete the work, although he had claimed he could finish it in three. Remarkably, he did so single-handedly, with only clerical assistance to copy out the illustrative quotations that he had marked in books. Johnson produced several revised editions during his life.”

Even Johnson's dictionary was not the first English dictionary, nor even among the first dozen. Over the previous 150 years more than twenty dictionaries had been published in England, the oldest of these being a Latin-English "wordbook" by Sir Thomas Elyot published in 1538.

The key word is ‘dissatisfaction”…. and it has continued to survive and inspire people to keep bringing out newer and newer dictionaries.

I must mention here two very novel dictionaries , which  were created  to simplify the life of readers:
FIRST  is a series of several specialized dictionaries by SMH Collin / PH Collin ( published in India by Universal Book Stall under arrangement with Peter Collin Publishing Ltd, UK ). They are for different subjects – Accounting, Banking and Finance, Law, Medicine, Computing, Business, Govt. and Politics and Ecology & Environment, to name some titles.  They contain main entries in the range of about 5,000 words. All the words and expressions are defined in simple terms, and examples are given of how each word is used in context. Short notes point out differences in spelling and construction between British and American English, and encyclopaedic comments are given throughout the text to expand on the definitions. Quotations are given from British and US magazines and newspapers to show how the terms are used in "real life", and the supplement section gives notes on various financial documents.

But there is something special, unbelievable yet true, as each dictionary claims : “The main words are explained in simple English, using a limited vocabulary of about 500 words over and above those words which appear in the dictionary as main words !!
Thus, any one with a limited vocabulary can also understand difficult words which occur frequently while studying technical subjects like medicine, law, computing, etc. ( The 1994 Indian reprint was priced just at Rs.50-60 only ) !!  May God bless those who conceived  & produced them!!



SECOND  is an equally amazing dictionary , titled "JARGON: An Informal Dictionary of Computer Terms"   by  Robin Williams  

 Here is what Ms Williams ( who is a designer, single mother of three kids, contributing columnist for lots of design magazines, speaker, trainer and all-round wonderful person)  has to say about her creation  -in her own  words, "I wrote this book because I was frustrated with every computer dictionary and glossary I had collected. The explanations were usually so brief and they assumed I knew a host of other things. 

Jargon's purpose is to provide the beginning-to-average computer user with the full meaning of every important term in a way that's clear, complete, and non-stuffy. When I started work on Jargon, I scoped out a book of 160 pages; but eventually it grew to four times that size (700 to be precise) . As a teacher, I knew I wanted to provide longer, richer definitions than those cryptic little phrases you'd normally expect. Fortunately, the publishers  let me get carried away and create a computer dictionary that even my mother could enjoy."

Thumb through Jargon and you see definitions that are remarkably easy to find and to read (what a concept!). Rather than tiny lines of type packed in like sardines, the layout is clear and airy with plenty of white space. To enlighten readers and enliven Jargon even more, the book includes cartoons by John Grimes, whose humor has appeared with great popularity.  Robin Williams's sister Shannon contributed a cross-word puzzle to see whether you've been paying attention. And Robin's daughter Scarlett, age 7, created a delightful font - cleverly named Scarlett- for chapter headings .

It is a  book with hundreds of computer terms explained in such a way that the reader actually understands the word after reading the definition. Covers both the Macintosh and PC world, as well as peripheral terminology. Explains not only the technical definition of the word, but also the how and why of the word.

SIMPLE things are always beautiful ! Those who create them are no longer  the ordinary mortals. Our world is worth living because some one , some where is dissatisfied with the status quo and is labouring hard  for  creating a new gift for us

If this was the good news, the bad news is that as per my information, JARGON is out of print now! 

I hope I  am wrong , so that we can but it one more time !!

Life In a Wheel or a Wheel of Life - it is my choice !!

Finding Balance In Your Life using the ‘Life Wheel’


Ms. Ona Lage wrote in a recent article Finding Balance in Your Life using the ‘Life Wheel’ (see )

When we focus all our energy on a particular project or allow the ‘busy-ness’ of life to overtake us, we neglect important areas of our life and become ‘off balance’. 
While it is important to stay focused and driven in order to complete tasks, too often we allow a project to consume us.  This often leads to frustration and intense stress.  

What we need to do, at this point, is to step back, take a look at our life and put things back into balance.
A very useful tool for doing this is the ‘Life Wheel’. Used by professional life coaches for assessing and identifying areas in our life that are ‘off balance’, this tool can show us where to make the necessary corrections.  “
There are several options of the wheel and one below is an adaptation from many, because of its simplicity.  What we require is a wheel and in a short while we can complete the self-analysis

As we move forward, a lot of us are looking at our lives and do reprioritizing.

To help you in this process, here are some exercises to help you identify where you might be out of balance and get you started on creating the life you want.

  1. We start with a piece of paper. For each of the areas listed above, describe your vision of what success in that area would look and feel like. Write this out as richly as possible.
  2. Our  paper work could result in following columns UNDER EACH AREA / SLICE of the WHEEL
    • Name  (of each Area / slice of the Life Wheel )
    • Priority / weightage (How much is this particular area important to us. Rank from 1 to 10 where 1 is least important and 10 is most important. Remember: the weightage we give to one area today may change when we sit down to re-write again, say after one or two years. It is fine).  
  3. Next, it is time to consider your ideal level in each area of your life. Some areas often need more attention and focus than others do. Inevitably, you will need to make choices and compromises, as your time and energy are not in unlimited supply!
  4. The next step is to assess the amount of attention you are currently devoting to each area ( Identify & remember to be grateful for what already  exists)
  5. Next is to find out where are the gaps? These are the areas of your life that need attention, and remember- gaps can go both ways (too much or too little).
  6. Now that you have identified the areas that need attention, it is time to plan the actions needed to work on regaining balance.
  7. Start with the neglected areas ~ What do you need to be doing to regain balance? Write it down as an action plan. Stay committed to these actions by practicing daily!
  8. Time frame for  achieving it .( Write realistic time frame )
  9. 3 Things we can do towards achieving this goal (Identify 3 things which we can and must do)l
  10. One Action Step to take this week (Identify one thing we can do this week. ANY action towards one of our goals counts as it  starts building momentum )
The challenge now is to transform this knowledge and desire for a more balanced life into a positive program of action.
"Guilt means we are focused on the past. 
Fear means we are focused on the future. 
When we are calm or centered, we know we are living in the present." 
Louise Morganti Kaelin