Sunday, December 27, 2009

So are you "Branded"?

"That's a nice watch," a gentleman remarked to me at a get together recently. The comment took me by surprise.
"Thank you," I replied, as I looked at my watch.
"Can I look at it?" he asked.
"What? Sure....," I said and held up my wrist for him to see.
He looked at it for a couple of seconds. "I was right," he exclaimed. "Its a Versace!"
I was astounded. "My watch is a Versace?! Really...?" my voice trailed off. I looked at my watch closely and saw the small letters under the '12' did say Versace!
"If you don't mind my asking- how much was it?" the gentleman asked.
"Not at all. It was 25 something," I replied.
"That's not too much. Twenty-five hundred dollars for a Versace watch is a steal," he said.
"Twenty-five hundred? meant twenty-five dollars. I got this watch from one of those carts at the local Dulles mall---"
"Yeah sure, doc," he chuckled. "twenty-five dollars...sure! They told me you are a funny guy," he said and walked off.
Later on at the same place, a couple of other people came over to see the watch. I guess the word spread. Nobody was ready to believe that I got the watch for $25 at the local mall, which is a fact.

We are all brand-conscious (myself included), some more than others. There is a general belief that having branded products defines a better social status. True? Maybe. A brand name does ensure quality, most of the time. We tag status and prestige onto the brand names ourselves. A watch is still a watch, no matter the brand. A designer watch is not going to stop the flow of time. But we (and again, I include myself!) do want to show off our purses, cars, shirts etc. These are things visible to our friends and peers. If BMW started making underwear tomorrow, how many of us would be willing to fork out an extra twenty bucks to have that designer brand? Not many. Because its tough to show off your underwear! However, if BMW started making shirts, they would probably sell faster. Because the logo on the shirt is easily visible.

We all have a passion for certain things that we love in life. Passion is a positive obsession, but obsession is a negative passion. I have nothing against branded products, but sometimes we do have a tendency to go over the top, which is an indirect indicator of self-obsession.

"If my significant other is my own self, I know I've gone beyond the normal limits of self-admiration and crossed over into the depths of self-obsession!" ~ Bill Maher


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ordinary people, extra-ordinary achievements...

This past weekend I was flipping channels on TV. There was nothing interesting on, so I started watching CNN-Heroes. These were stories of ordinary people who had dedicated their lives to help others selflessly, and in doing so achieved extra-ordinary things. Each story was inspiring. I was in awe of these people and what they had accomplished.

There was a veteran who took homeless veterans into his own home -- a Filipino young man who went back to the slums from which he survived with books & a message of education -- another twenty-year old young man, who lost his legs at 16 in a freak accident and now ran a foundation that helps children to get prosthetics for lost limbs -- and so many others. So what turns ordinary people into extra-ordinary achievers? I guess its circumstances, situations and having a "Can do" attitude.

These special individuals put others before themselves and wanted to help people, and did not want or expect anything in return. In each of their endeavors, they just kept plugging away. Spectacular achievements are often preceded by very unspectacular preparation. To have a "Can do" attitude, I think one has to be an optimist. You have to believe that things will go well. Both pessimists and optimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane, the pessimist the parachute!

Perseverance is the key to success in almost everything. With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, almost anything is attainable. Circumstances are often blamed for anything that does not go well. Those who are successful are the people who get up and look for circumstances they want; and if they can't find them, make them.

"There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream."