MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

We are living in a world where cyber warfare is no longer a futuristic fiction.

Cybercrime has grown into a global criminal syndicate where billions of dollars are made. It is also interconnected with other crime operations and evolving with technology. Cyber criminals are ahead of the curve and law enforcement authorities are forever playing catch-up

.Cyber the new nuclear

Governments, organizations, celebrities and citizens are no longer exempted from a possible cyber crime act. Cybercriminals have penetrated many high profile organizations, government sites and individual’s personal accounts and devices. They are listening, watching and waiting for the right opportunity. You may not know that they have set up a listening post and in fact, they may not even harm your systems, but you may be “harboring” malware that may permit criminals to attack a high profile target. Perhaps you may be the unsuspecting “transporter” caring the lethal payload.

FBI Director recently said that there are two kinds of big companies. There are those who’ve been hacked, and those who don’t know they’ve been hacked.

FBI Director

If your organization belongs to the later or if your CIO (or you) believe that no cybercriminal or malware can get into your computer systems, your CEO, Board of Directors and investors should be worried about it. There are ample examples of how a cyberattack can cripple operations of a business and put everyone in a spin, triggering the propensity to make poor judgement and weak decisions by the management, often this can lead to much larger reputational and financial damage to an organization.

Lost records

Imagine your systems get lock downed by ransomware. Your confidential customer information compromised, sold to an underworld syndicate who might use the data for a variety of activities, ok including selling to telemarketing companies and through intermediaries to your competitors. Imagine the legal implications from customer lawsuits, reputational impact and customer churn.9 US Cyber attacks

The old school approach is to build defense in depth. Basically build more walls. “Firewalls” for those familiar with the jargon. Today organizations invest 70% to 80% of their security budget building walls and CIOs are quite content that no one can penetrate in. More like maximum security prisons. Do you know that latest threat in prisons are from air? Yes, drones!! Prison authorities are now scrambled to detect and prevent drones entering prisons.

Detection by far, is the most important aspect in combatting cybercrime. Experts suggest that if you invest 15% to 20% in detection you may be able to save nearly the same percentage in protection. You will know what protection systems work and what doesn’t. Often tighter protection comes with less flexibility on user productivity and may stun technological progress and innovation. Hence having some good detection methods can help implement advance, effective and robust defense systems. Today advance analytics of telemetry data, predictive analytics and machine learning is available to build sophisticated and intelligent cyber defense systems.

Once an attack is detected or when it is apparent you are compromised, it’s often too late. Not very many organizations invest enough to put in place a good response strategy. Most CIOs may be quick to point out that they have a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery plan. But has this been tested on a potential cyberattack scenario? Is it relevant to today’s context? How sure are we that backup systems are not compromised? Do you have a comprehensive business response plan? The permutations and combinations of scenarios will depend on the degree of openness of systems to the outside world. The absence of a response strategy or a poorly formulated response plan is more detrimental than the attack itself. In the panic stricken madness and chaos, organization’s may get shot in the foot. In fact, it may be one of the objectives of the attack.

A well thought-through response plan goes far beyond the emergency fire drill and computer backups. Again, companies tend to pay less attention here, they do not think through the steps and plans are poorly communicated to the staff. There may be ambiguity in the roles and responsibilities of the response teams and decision makers. “Let’s figure it out when it happens” might be the underlining attitude. Just think for a minute, how many of us pay attention to the airline on board safety messages, watch the video or the flight attendant and internalize what they say?

Timely detection and predictive analytics can help organizations to determine which response strategy must be invoked, what protection system must be strengthened and how the organization can get back to normalcy.

Remember cybercriminals are ahead of the curve in technology, they are streets ahead of the combatting guys, they are an organized criminal syndicate and it’s a multibillion if not multimillion operation. No organization can fight this alone. You need all the help that is needed from experts, specialized vendors and technology partners where security and protection from cyber attacks is part of their everyday business process.

MS Cyber Security

Above picture Source: https://www.microsoft.com/security/cybersecurity/#!Overview

Darth Vader is no longer an individual but a mean army of cyber attackers. A unified team of Jedi’s are needed.
So May the Force be with you.

 

Body Talks

people at meetings

It was a freezing Tuesday morning in Hanoi Vietnam and the temperature was showing 12 degrees Celsius. I showed up 10mts early for the customer appointment and was anxiously waiting for my colleague to join me. The customer was a state owned enterprise and we were meeting the deputy CEO. The account manager ditched the meeting last minute and it was me and my female colleague representing our company. I was hoping to give her last minute briefing before the meeting. Just 30second before 9AM, my colleague showed up. We were introduced to the nine people who were seated across the large table. The deputy CEO, senior heads from investments, operations, CIO, Head of legal and compliance, a lady interpreter and few more people. We were just two. It was a highly charged up meeting with weeks of tension building and many exchanges of letters. Opening statement was by the deputy CEO and it was in Vietnamese. I had no clue of what he said. But I got an idea from his body language and the voice variation. It didn’t sound friendly. My colleague was my impromptu interpreter. Throughout the meeting, I had a lot of time to think, compose my body language and wait patiently for my colleague to translate. I remembered some important basics of public speaking and communication. I made my sentences with clear unambiguous language and simple English to communicate my point. My colleague’s translations were very lengthy. I intended to keep to the point and respond with brief messages but the translated version of my message was getting longer at each interaction. I was getting nervous and anxious not knowing what my colleague was saying. After forty-five minutes, the tension had died out, the deputy CEO’s tone was much friendlier and there was a smile in his face for the first time. I was able to latch on to this and steer my conversation towards the outcome we wanted. Meeting ended after One hour and thirty minutes with an atmosphere very different to when we started. Few weeks later, we signed up with the customer – one of the biggest deals for the company in Vietnam.

Reflecting on this, I wondered, what did I learn? Did my toastmaster experience and public speaking training help me? Should I be learning Vietnamese? Will I be able to communicate effectively in a language that is foreign to me? Did my colleague translate everything I said? What did she miss out and what did she include? Why did she keep elaborating my responses? Did she really convey my message?

I also learned that in Vietnam, especially among officials at state owned organizations and for that matter in north, capital city Hanoi, rank and position when negotiating between parties are very important. Culturally women are still not perceived as ‘equal’ in such negotiations. To have a much junior female in rank engaged in a hard face to face negotiation with a senior official is extremely rare. In fact, it can turn out to be a disaster due to cultural sensitivity. Nevertheless, I thought the meeting went very well.

PeopleFew days after we had signed the deal, I was having coffee with my colleague and was reflecting on the meeting with the customer. To my utter surprise I found that most of my points were lost in translation. I was disappointed and surprised at the same time. But how did they understand all what I said? Well they probably understood it and the lady interpreter was a ploy. It was a way to avoid saying the wrong thing in a foreign language and also to buy time to think and compose their message. It was a clever tactic I thought. My colleague had tried to sanitize my harsh message and make it friendlier, softer, smoother and communicate in a very culturally accepted form. Hence the long message. But in fact, the intensity of my message was never lost!! They just pretend not to understand it.

Though I did not understand all what they said in Vietnamese, they did understand all what I said. I remembered that at the meeting my mind was busy trying to structure my thoughts and points and to be “effective” in my communication. I consciously choose my words, phrases, punch lines, pauses and use of body language to the best of my ability. But the most important learning for me was paying attention to the visible cues. The non-verbal signals of the audience. How they sit, how they look at you. The facial expressions, the tone of voice, what they do with their hands during the meeting. All of these give us an important feedback. They speak louder than words.

This experience has taught me many lessons. I have decided to take what I have learned and apply to the situation. I have realized how powerful body language can be and how it is equally important to pay attention to visual feedback. It is all abcouple faceout paying attention to your audience. I believe my toastmaster foundation has helped me to become a better communicator. But experience like this, especially in a culture that is unfamiliar to me, paying attention to body language is extremely important. The body talks…. The question is “are you listening?”

The Heist

 

The biggest cyber heist in the history may motivate Hollywood directors and movie makers to produce another sequel to a cyber-attack thriller movie. While the authorities are figuring it out, Hackers have figured it out and “Gone with the Wind”. It is going to be a challenge for the authorities to crack-open the case and find the perpetrators. Hopefully they will catch-up without splashing ketch-up on the issue.

This February the hackers were able to gain access to the Bangladesh Bank’s computer systems, transferring $81 million from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to casinos in the Philippines from Feb. 4 to 5.

It comes as no surprise that both in Bangladesh and Philippines, the threat of Cyber Crime looms at large.

According to a press release from the Philippine National Police Anti-Cyber crime Group (PNP ACG), a total of 1,211 cyber crime complaints were filed with them from 2013-2015. The top five complaints received were online scams (366), online libel (240), online threats (129), identity theft (127), and photo and video voyeurism (89). – Source : http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/534597/scitech/technology/top-5-cybercrimes-complaints-in-the-philippines-according-to-pnp#sthash.sY6b9BMe.dpuf

Initial investigations by FBI has revealed that this was performed by an organized criminal syndicate operating from six countries. What is more astonishing is that this was not just a one off heist. There were 35 requests that unknown hackers made for payments from the bank’s New York Fed account in early February.

Cybercrime is real and it is on the rise. It was last December when Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region plunged into darkness as a result of a cyber-attack. The hackers even launched a denial of service (DOS) attack to the phone system to keep the customer hotlines busy and prevented legitimate customers from reaching the power company.

You can get more on this via http://www.wired.com/2016/01/everything-we-know-about-ukraines-power-plant-hack/

Does Crime Pay?

Crime - payIt surely appears to be. Especially Cyber-crime. The perpetrators are much smarter and intelligent than the investigators. The proliferation of networks, electronic transfers and the intricate crime network is too much to navigate making it extra hard to trace, zoom and apprehend criminals. Most cyber-crimes go unnoticed. In some cases, governments and big corporations try to keep a lid on it and avoid a PR disaster, embarrassment and rolling of heads. The criminals know this and use it to their advantage. We are not talking few millions of dollars here. We are talking of billions of dollars that are lost around the world and in some cases, authorities are still struggling to add-up the numbers.

Here is just a tip of the ice-burg – the situation of one nation. “The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report reports that the U.K. public lost close to £134, or $203, for every individual victimized by cybercrime. This amounts to an approximated total of £1.6 billion, or $2.42 billion, throughout the nation. Furthermore, U.K. consumers lost nine hours, or over one working day, handling the aftereffects of the cybercrime. This means two in five, or 44 percent of all U.K. consumers, were victims of online crime.” ( Source: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/109896/20151124/one-in-five-brits-was-victim-of-a-cybercrime-in-the-last-12-months.htm)

Now imagine the loss in other countries. Add them up. It will be staggering. The total heist can solve world hunger problem for a couple of years. Free healthcare can be provided to millions of people for decades. Imagine the R&D that can be done, the industries that can be floated, the employment that can be created. It is simply mind boggling. For the criminals, hec! It pays. At least so far!!!

Here is the link of FBI investigations to cybercrime https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/story-index/cyber-crimes

145 million eBay user accounts were hacked recently. Hundreds of users all over the world complain that their Facebook accounts were hacked. What lessons are we learning from these?

 

 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

 

The_Good_The_Bad_and_The_Ugly.jpg

The cowboys of the cyber world have their work cut-out. Governments in the developed world are leading the fight by drafting new legislature, giving teeth to the existing laws and investing on crime-busting machinery. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the US works with other federal agencies to conduct high-impact criminal investigations to disrupt and defeat cyber criminals, prioritize the recruitment and training of technical experts, develop standardized methods, and broadly share cyber response best practices and tools. Most IT companies have joined this fight. Norton, Semantic and Microsoft, PricewhaterhouseCoopers, Carnegie Mellon University are just to name a few. But the dark forces are much stronger and sophisticated.

Security experts say that hackers most often use very simple techniques to breakthrough. Social engineering has been one of the most widely used methods of getting vital information and a record number of users fall victim – literally handing over the information on a platter.

Besides this, malware has been a key contributor in assisting the cybercriminals to syphon information out from computers, phones and other computing devices that we use every day. Downloading a cool trial software, the latest hot fix for one of the software products running in your business, the songs of your favorite band or the latest Oscar winning movie that you downloaded can be delivering you more than what you expect.

Imagine, very soon we may hear hacking of drones, traffic systems including air-traffic, on-board computers of the latest vehicles and even IoT devices used in modern homes to manage security and energy systems. In a world where our information, businesses and economies are interconnected and integrated, it is not far from reality to face a complete system wipe-off by a hacker.

How do we bust this?

BustingMillions of dollars are spent every year building cyber defense systems, firewalls and intruder detection systems. Yet the hacking incidents are not slowing down, scores are getting larger and the attackers are getting smarter. Sometimes we forget the basics, we tend to overlook simple things and quite easily keep backdoors open. Leaving room for exploitation by the hackers with a knack for figuring these out. Our cyber habits need to be checked. Are we too open, careless and overly confident with basic security? Do we care about genuine software, music and movies? Are we immune from attacks? Are we happy that we have the most expensive firewall? Remember we are living in a world where people still hide the door key under the rug or the flower pot. How different are we with our passwords? Unlike the house door, we will never figure out if someone has accessed our computers, data or information. Perhaps one option may be to look at a trusted cloud service provider and ensure that they guarantee and take responsibility for any disaster. Just like banking our money. We don’t build our own bank. We select a bank that we can trust and make sure that the bank takes responsibility for our deposits. We can also demand that our service providers, banks and businesses take cyber security seriously. Why not make cyber-security audits a mandatory aspect? It’s time to change the rules. What worked in the past may not work in the future. It’s time to think differently.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Pee’ in corporate success

Politics - ChessPassion, Power, Performance, People orientation, Process driven approach are some of the ‘P’s that come into mind when we look at the traits of successful corporate executives and leaders. However, another important P that is not deliberated is the power of Politics. I decide to ponder on this subject and gathered my own experience, observation and some reading to structure few thoughts.

Organizations and Politics

The term organizational politics may immediately bring up manipulators and backstabbers to your mind. There is too much negative connotations around this subject. But organizational politics is all about navigating people within your organization. Sometimes you may wonder why you are overlooked when it comes to promotion. May be others have the skills and abilities that are badly needed by your organization. Perhaps your assessment about them may be wrong. If you dislike organization politics, shy away from it and don’t want to deal with it, then you may find it difficult to fit in. More importantly, you may not be considered as the best fit for the next promotion. In a dog eat dog corporate culture, if you don’t have a grip in politics that surrounds you, you will be eaten alive. You may then become another undesirable ‘P’ – the puppet.

 

You can’t do without it

We often consider organization politics as something bad. The reality is that; politics is an integral part of any organization. You can’t find an organization that has no politics on this planet. You can not be naïve to organization politics. Getting to know the political landscape helps you avoid political landmines and booby traps. These traps may not be meant for you but you can be decimated by them. Your ability to navigate an organization is absolutely critical. If you can manage organizational politics, then you can use it as a career boosting advantage.

 

It’s all about the power!

Politics - Influence othersOrganizational politics closely associates with the power you have within the organization. Power – the ability to influence others. This is the key in organizational politics. Power is like a double edge sword. It can break you or make you. (you may read my previous posting on Absolute Power). While power is like salt to iron. It has the ability to corrupt you, erode you and slowly devour you. Power also gives the ability to influence people, change the way people think and behave and get an army to march for you. Mahatma Gandhi was able to do just this and rally the nation to march for freedom. Nelson Mandela used this to change the attitude in people and end the apartheid.

 

How important is politics?

Managing politics will be an important aspect if you are a team player or have to manage people or work with them, then it is a skill that you mustpolitics - magnify develop. If you are not good in politics, then your task is much harder as your efforts in selling the idea, managing the relationships and getting the work done becomes a herculean task. If you are working your way to a promotion that involves people management, then your manager will be keen to understand how effective you are in managing politics. If you manage the politics, you can manage the people effectively. And you will have the power to influence them.

 

Some ideas for managing politics

A network is much more valuable than leg work – Develop good relationships with your co-workers. Build your own network of influencers, allies and sponsors. Avoiding gossip and keeping your relationships clean, professional. Be sincere. It can win you good allies. Always avoid getting too personal with company issues. It is human nature to like someone and to be liked by others. Engage in stuff that build comradery.

Don’t clutter the chatter – Be a good communicator. It is not enough to be able to write good reports, memos and e-mails. You should also be able to use verbal and non-verbal communications effectively to put your message across as well as gather essential feedback. More importantly listen and observe. Don’t talk but speak. Don’t hear but listen. This will help understand motives and concerns of people.

Socialize and not scrutinize – don’t be a nerd and over-analyze people. Socialize when you can and find the opportunity to do so. Going out for Politics - Office Lunchlunch or coffee with your co-workers can help you build personal rapport and make your co-workers comfortable with you. The more comfortable they are, the more open they will become. In a multicultural multiethnic workgroup, this aspect is very important to understand culture and avoid potential pitfalls in communication. Make a good judgement of posting updates and selfies of these occasions on the ‘great book of faces’

Is your mouth faster than your brain? – Think before you speak – often we end up saying the wrong thing at the right time and burn bridges. Try to think how others will perceive your message. Is it clear and convey the correct intentions? Choosing the words that show the right intent is a skill that needs to be mastered. If you blabber too much, chewing extra gum may be a good idea.

Practice persuasion to avoid perspiration – Power of persuasion is an important tool in the art of organizational politics. If you don’t have the ability to persuade others, then you are less likely to have power and more likely to be overruled by someone else. Develop this skill if you don’t have it. If you can sell your idea, show what benefit it will bring, drive a consensus among your team and get them to believe it will work – then the hardest part is done.

Cradle the Credibility – Building and sustaining credibility is the key to earn Credibilityrespect from others. You cannot demand respect, you got to earn it. You can’t buy respect, you got to develop it. You have to be consistent and do what you say and say what you do. Show respect to others and people will reciprocate. Be above board, maintain transparency where it is needed. You must not only do justice but also appear to have done it. Most importantly, master your skills. Become a leader in your domain. Own your space. That will help you in getting the respect you deserve. Credibility is like a crystal ball. If you drop it, you will shatter it. Credibility is the currency to buy the confidence of others.

Pick your battles – understanding your opponents’ weakness and your own weakness gives a different perspective when you enter negotiations. Politics - Stupid peopleCorporate negotiations are in my opinion your battle grounds. Every dog has his day. Check if it is your day for the battle. Develop the wisdom to know when to walk away from a negotiation and who you want to battle with. Line up your allies, chart your battle strategy.

Remember every battle need not be win-lose.

The element of surprise – if you can be read like a book or transparent like a glass box, people can figure you out. Put up a façade to hide your emotions. Your emotions can reveal your thoughts. You will be predictable and that may not always be at your advantage. Have an element of surprise. Change your approach from one situation to another. Be an illusionist, but don’t delusion others

Look in the mirror – Make your own reflections. Assess if people like you or dislike you. Why they do so? Do they trust you? Have you done anything to break the trust? Are you confident in yourself? Do you trust yourself? How are you shaping up? What skills you must develop? What habits should you drop?

Now, get closer to the mirror……

Mirror - reflections

What do you see?

 Are you the same person?

 

 

— o O o —

 

 

The Absolute Corruption

Absolute PowerIn my vision of blogging, political subject was never thought as a subject of intellectual value. However, experiencing the ups and downs of the Sri Lankan political arena and seeing some parallels between politics and corporate world, I decided to put some thoughts to pen. Perhaps it may make some sense and provoke some like minders to share their perspective of the subject matter.
historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” ( Source : http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/absolute-power-corrupts-absolutely.html)

History has proved repeatedly that power has corrupted good men. ( Women are of no exception) and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no need to bring in elaborate examples and citations. Each of you will remember or know enough examples from your little corners of the world.

Science of Corruption
It is worth trying to understand why power corrupts and why good people fall victim to this no matter what. It is all to do with two factors in my opinion. Firstly, the psychological factors that surrounds the power and what you can do with it. The second is a people factor and it is one that is complex to navigate and understand but sometimes so obvious.

The chemicals and the psyche – Let’s take the first things first. With so much power at one’s disposal, the individual tend to achieve a higher degree of confidence, self-esteem and self-belief that they can do difficult tasks and perform better at their job. Due to position and power, works get done anyway and that boost the confidence levels, self-confidence and self-belief. When this cycle happens several times over, it can tremendously boost the ego of a person. Make them believe they can take tougher challenges, do things that others dare not attempt and become bolder in their actions. You see this in gamblers very often, with each win, they increase the stakes and take a higher risk. Higher the risk, greater the reward and so will be the psychological “boost”. You see this in Sports persons and thrill seekers. Also known as adrenaline junkies and you see this in some of the world famous business leaders who take into unconventional business or turns business models on their head and become successful celebrities. But why do they do it?
We are made to believe that these people chase an adrenaline rush and they are seeking this to get a satisfaction. Well that is not the whole truth. It is all to do with a hormone called Endorphin. Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates, designed to relieve stress and enhance pleasure. When you engage in certain activities, the chemicals in the brain release this hormone and it makes you feel happy. In each of us the neuron systems are slightly different and our brain connections are quite different. As a result, the level of endorphin release varies from one activity to another in each individual. For example, for some people a simple task such as laughing can release a significant level of endorphin that makes that person very happy. So much so, they keep looking for opportunities to laugh. The same applies to a skydiver or a base jumper who is constantly looking at getting that feeling of happiness, the endorphin induced moment of ecstasy. For some it is love making, having passionate sex, for some it could be eating chocolates, it could be having a hearty gossip, exercising, cycling or running a five kilometer distance in 30 minutes or less. It could also be running a business, a country or playing “God” with the power in their hands. Some of us get addicted to this and look for bigger and better opportunities to be happy.
When you are running a business, public office or when you are the leader of a government, the constant cycle of endorphin driven actions combined with the absolute power – keeps boosting your ego. You sometimes look larger than life to others. Quite naturally, due to power, others tend to rally around you. You soon get into the illusion that you are a “Great Person” you are a ‘fantastic individual’ and you feel like a celebrity. That will certainly boost the ego, self-esteem, self-confidence in several magnitudes that at one point, you may start to think that you are the “Greatest gift to the man kind” and that my friends is where you reach the point of no-return.

 

People around you - crowd The people we can’t do without – When you are wielding that power and orbiting around the earth with your ego boosted rockets, there will be many people who will rally around you. Often you like their company and you always look for them as they make you feel comfortable and fuel your ego boosters further. You never would want to question their motives, their true intentions or test their real loyalty. For you, they are your best buddies, your most confident team, your trusted advisors and sometimes you call them “your family”. Most of them are around you because of one thing. That is your power. With connections to you, they have access to your power. They will use this power to move things for you, get work done for you and in the process, a little help for themselves, their friends and family. “Well, what’s wrong with that?” you will think as they are all good people. Just like you. Doing good for the others.

But the reality can be far from this. People can and will abuse power. They will need more and more of your power to get things done and oil the wheels of the system that cultivates a climate of corruption and abuse. You will continue to depend on these people because for you, they are your most “trusted”. They will feed you the information you want to hear. They will soon set up filters and shield you from what is really going on, making you feel that you are doing the right actions and making the correct decisions. When you make the wrong decisions and ask their opinion, they may not choose to fault with you. They will tend to agree with you, making you feel that you are indeed doing the right thing. You will make mistakes; they will tell you your actions are correct. You will make the wrong decisions, they will tell you that you have made a wise choice. You will commit crime, they will help justify why it should be done and make you a hero. Friends, this is where you reach the point of no-return.

Failures

However noble and pure your intentions are, however honest and truthful you are, absolute power can corrupt you and it is not your fault. You are a victim of the circumstances. I called this as the “SYSTEM
The SYSTEM is all around us. In our corporate world, in our professional associations, within our family units, within our rural communities, within our world leaders. We have witness leaders rise and fall. We have witness business boom and go bust. We have seen families rise and fall. This happens day in, day out.
If you ask me how do we beat this? My answer is that I don’t know. Perhaps it is a topic for a discussion and debate. I have some suggestions, but it is a subject matter for a future blog. Thanks for reading with patience.

Trust is a Must

TRUST is a very important and fundamental requirement for building many things such as relationship, credibility, image, reputation, loyalty, leadership and statesmanship. Compromising Trust results in breakdown and deterioration of all of the above. When you look deep into issues of broken relationships, Loss of credibility, bad image or reputation, failures in leadership and statesmanship, it all boils down to Trust.

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Very often, most people take this lightly and go on with their routine behavior that compromise Trust. Once they break Trust and manage to get away, they get bolder and better and find innovative ways of justifying to themselves and others why it was OK to break the Trust. Some are even clever to convince the affected that once they break Trust and make-it over, there is a new level of Trust. Yes it is. But it is at much lower level than before. Sad part is that the offender never accepts or realizes, leading to the same behavior, but at improved levels of confidence.

How do you know you can Trust a person?
“Remember that Devil was once an Angel”

There is no magic formula for this or a litmus test. It is how you learn to read a person. There are some important factors that can help make a judgment of a person being Trustworthy.
One is their character; which goes to the roots of the person such as childhood, upbringing, behavior and believes they have. The second is the Integrity. A trustworthy person will generally have a rock solid, firm and unwavering integrity. It is on this bedrock that the person stands up on principles. Such people never compromise their principles or values. Never betrays someone or never goes back on a promise unless there is a very good reason to do so. And even if they do, they will take the trouble to explore other avenues before making such a decision. A trustworthy person will always treat people with respect and take responsibility for their actions. They do not go around blaming others.

“Warren Buffet said . . . that trust is like the air we breathe. When it’s present, nobody really notices. But when it’s absent, everybody notices.”

Trust is something that you got to earn. To earn, you got to work hard. You got to show people that you are trustworthy not by words but by actions. You need do the right thing and not just do it but also appear to have done it. You need to start by being honest. First to yourself and then to others. You need to maintain and strengthen your integrity. Your actions must project your honesty, sincerity and mutual respect to others. You have to demonstrate your integrity where it matters. It is by this you will gain trustworthiness and respect of others.
TRUST is a MUST.
Trust is a Must in every relationship. Trust is a Must in every leader. Trust is a Must in every statesman
Trust is a Must to gain respect, loyalty and recognition by others.
Trust is a Must if you are guiding a flock
Trust is a Must for everything.

The Ride of Your Life

Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring. ( Desmond Tutu)
Friends, nothing can be compared to the simple pleasure of riding a bicycle.
Often called as the poor man’s transport, Bicycle was invented in Germany back in 1817.

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Since then, Bicycles have evolved and advanced with technology.
Since of 1900, there has not been much change in the basic design and the mechanical principles of the bicycles. Technology has improved brakes, gears and the pedals It is a machine that is powered by nothing but the human heart.

As a child most of you may have wanted a bicycle.3107_71562936151_3397017_n
I did, and owning a bicycle was my biggest dream. I got my first bicycle when I was 3 years. Well it was a tricycle and I broke my left elbow twice before giving that up. At the age of 12 I caught up with this passion again and loved my Chopper bike, went over handlebars many a times and had my bike stolen more than once.

 

As you grow up, your passion for cycles may get replaced by other more expensive hobbies and toys. I too had had this same situation. Until I got an opportunity to cycle again in Bhutan about ten months back

Call it mid-life crisis if you may. But cycling has become my new found passion.

You may wonder Why?
I found that Cycling can bring about many benefits
• It is a great stress buster for me. I find it almost therapeutic
• After every ride – I feel refreshed, my mind is clear and I have relieved stress
• It also gives me the time to think about ideas while riding
• Arguably, cycling is one of the world’s toughest sports

You not only need physical stamina but also the mental fitness to do distance riding
But for me, the real motivator is that
a) It gives me a challenge and the physiological satisfaction of overcoming them
b) It gives me the opportunity to be fit. Both physically and mentally

Do you know?
• Cycling burns 600 calories an hour
• Cycling can help reduce heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and stress.
• Produces Zero pollution
• Today in Nederland’s, Bicycles outnumber the cars in the city
• There is a growing trend of people taking up cycling – as a recreational activity, to keep fit and as a cardio exercise

Are there any risks?
Of course, any sport and any activity has its own inherent risks.
The biggest risks that I see in Sri Lanka is the vehicle fumes that can cause respiratory problems and the risk of being run over.

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Safety is the most important aspect that you need to consider when taking into this sport

Your Attire:
A helmet is a must. Make sure you have riding grade helmet – it is your life saver
Body fitting clothing is essential to reduce drag and prevent clothing getting tangled with the equipment
Shoes are an essential part of the gear and you may even consider gloves for better grip
Remember – you must have a light and tail light if you are riding very early in the morning or at night. Other motorist should see you and it is your responsibility to be visible.
Your posture, the seat level is another important consideration as it can lead to long-term damage to your spine and knee

Choosing your Cycle is also an important part
There are standard road cycles which is great for commuting – if you like to commute by cycling
Racing Cycles or Roadies are for fast riding, they come with thin tires and curved handles that require rider to be crouched when riding
Mountain bikes come with thick tires and both front and center shocks to provide a comfortable ride
A Cross bike looks like a mountain bike but has thinner tires and may have only front shocks
The lighter the cycle the better it is. The better it is, the more expensive it gets.
If you spend far too much on a cycle – call it therapy and make the most of it.

Do you want to de-stress?
Do you want to keep fit and reduce the chances of heart disease and high blood pressure?
Do you want to burn that excess fat?
Do you like adventure?
Then come ride. Get a bike if you can or rent one if possible

Join a riding community as this is more a group sport and a group is definitely a good motivator. Plus there is safety in numbers. Make sure you enjoy the nature and relax while riding. The rewards are many and differs based on individial

Get a bicycle. You will certainly not regret it
Ride with me, and you will have the ride of your life

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