Five inspirational stories that might help you start your day with a positive mind

Life becomes so dull at times that we often need external inspiration and motivation to push it forward. I believe that positive energy is something that can be transferred from one person to another but we should know exactly how to tap it. Whenever we feel low and desperate, all we need is someone who can give extra thrust to our life through their experiences and stories. The real beauty of life lies deep within the layers of problems that engulf us and to get to the core to conquer this precious jewel, we often need some external forces to push us from behind. At the end of the day, a positive mind is what matters the most. The following five inspirational stories may help you change the way you look at life.

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International Youth Day 2016

Group photo of Youth Center Division Officials at Gedu Bhutan on the way back to Thimphu. Image courtesy: Ms. Rinzin Wangmo

“We did not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we just borrowed it for the future”. This was the key message conveyed to the youth of Bhutan during the International Youth Day celebration at Samdrup Jongkhar on 12th August 2016. Personally, it was a great privilege for me to be part of the team from the Youth Center Division, Department of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Education to leave for Samdrup Jongkhar to coordinate the event. Against the warning of incessant Monsoon rain and the threats of terrorist attacks in the Indian State of Assam, we hit the road on 7th August 2016 from Thimphu to celebrate this year’s International Youth Day with the youth of Samdrup Jongkhar on 12th August 2016. The International Youth Day has been observed in Bhutan since 2010 to recognize the potentials of young people and to celebrate their key achievements in various fields. But for five consecutive years, we celebrated the day only in Thimphu and hence, those youth living in other Dzongkhags could not get the opportunity to be part of it. So this year, for the first time in six years, we decided to take the event out of Thimphu. In line with the UN theme for the day “Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty by Achieving Sustainable Development through Sustainable Production and Consumption”, we decided to collaborate with Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative (SJI (, a civil society organization that focuses on GNH-based developmental activities especially in rural communities to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. So this was the main reason why we chose to travel all the way to Samdrup Jongkhar to celebrate the event this year.

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Remembering the friends of persons with disabilities on the special Friendship Week

Photo of a young man walking with his visually impaired friend on a forest path using the sighted guide techniques. Image courtesy: Google

With every single help you offer us
Comes a blessing that brings a smile on our face;
Thank you for being part of our lives
And helping us understand how beautiful is the world around us.

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The secrets of success in business

Starting and managing a business is not as easy as what we generally think. It requires adequate knowledge and experience on business management to be a successful business person, no matter how small your business may be. If you look at other countries, you would find people taking up numerous business management studies and training before starting a business of their own. Just selling away what the customers come for, or just having enough financial resources alone does not make you a business tycoon. It also requires a lot of commitment, hard-work and patience to be able to take your business to greater heights. But in Bhutan, I have observed that most of the people get into business without any such preparation. Hence, they lack the knowledge and experience to run a business in a systematic manner. People do not know the core ethics that should guide the business such as customer service, social and communication skills and so on. As a result, they end up driving away their customers instead of serving them with all their heart and paving the way for future visits. Speaking from the experience of an ordinary customer, I believe that if you adopt the right strategies, there will be certainly no shortage of customers, regardless of the location of your business. The following few tips might help you succeed in business.

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A humble man with big dreams

Photo of Mr. Tashi Namgay, the Founder and Executive Director of Bhutan Kidney Foundation. Image source: his Facebook profile.

Having gone through several ordeals in life, Tashi Namgay has finally earned a smile on his face that can melt the hearts of many. He is a man who has found the extraordinary courage within himself to walk the path not so commonly walked by his contemporaries. Today, he is admired by many people for his noble initiatives and contributions to the society, firstly as a social worker and secondly as the Executive Director of Bhutan Kidney Foundation, the non-profit organization he founded in 2012. To me, he is a great source of inspiration especially for young people. He bears testimony to the fact that nothing is impossible if we are truly determined to achieve what we aspire to achieve. This is a story of how determination, hard work and love for humanity can carry a person far into the realm of happiness and contentment.

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Three great lessons we can learn from successful people

Success is definitely not a magic word. It does not happen overnight. Yet we see so many stars and champions in the world who have transformed themselves into extraordinary beings. They were not born genius. So what are their secret mantras for success? People say that successful people do not do different things’ they do the same thing differently. Well, I think that’s true. If we look at most of the world champions, we would find that they don’t do different things but they adopt different strategies to do the same thing. Science says that when we are born, we all are blest with equal number of brain cells but as we grow, some people overtake us in rational thinking and creativity because how fast or healthily our brain grows depends on how much we use it effectively. Hence, it is apparent that success mostly depends on how effectively we mobilize our internal resources to meet our targets in life. I believe that we in fact have everything within us which, if utilized properly, can certainly carry us afar. But the sad thing is that in the midst of worldly affairs, we often miss the opportunities to look at ourselves and recognize our own strengths. Looking at the lives of a number of so-called successful people in the world, I have come to believe that the ultimate success could be determined by the following three main factors that can even be termed as ‘Secrets of Success’:

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Lost in the woods: A brief but tense ordeal

Photo of twilight. Image courtesy: twanight.org

It was a cool winter evening in Samtse. The busy day was coming to a rest and the world was sinking into the west. The birds were chirping from the bushes and treetops as they prepared to settle down in their nests. From the distance, I could hear people calling out for their goats and cattle as they gathered them for the night. I was on my winter vacation and I was living with my uncle and aunt since my late father was living with them at the time. As the world was closing its door on us, I was still at the village spring to fetch water. The spring was not so far from my uncle’s house but the path ran through some bushy areas across a narrow gorge. I think it took me over 20 minutes to make a round trip and I had to do that several times a day since we didn’t have regular water supply at home.

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Manju, the baby-sitter

Until the recent past when there were no enough schools in the remote parts of the country, most of the girls used to be sent out to urban centers by their families as baby-sitters. Drowned in poverty, the parents did not have any option but to send out their girls with the hope that they might earn some money for the family. As a result, many girls as young as 6 or 7 years old landed up in different families in the towns and cities as baby-sitters. The girls were usually paid a very nominal monthly wage in addition to free logistics such as food, clothing and accommodation. But the girls never got to see how much they were earning monthly since it was said to be directly given to their parents/guardians. Some of them worked for years even without any pay other than free food, clothing and accommodation. I think they were basically treated just like slaves. Some host families might have treated their baby-sitters well, but many of the former baby-sitters I have met so far do not have good experiences to share.

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What is it like to be a sleepwalker

One cool evening in Khaling in 1990, I woke up to the long shrill of a whistle. When I came to my sense, I found myself in the middle of nowhere. I could hear people talking and rushing somewhere. I was seated on what was supposed to be a doorstep but couldn’t figure out exactly where I was. The repeated whistling sound indicated that it was time for something but I had no idea what. I stood up from where I was sitting and tried to explore around. I had no idea where I came from and where I was. I was totally disoriented. I noticed that one of my slippers was missing and no matter how much I groped around, I couldn’t find the missing slipper. Finally the school captain called my name and asked me if I was not going for dinner. Only then I realized I was just in front of the school kitchen and that the whistling was a summon call for dinner. The captain was a low-vision student and I let him look for my missing slipper, but he too couldn’t find it. So I had my dinner without my slippers on and as I was having my meal, I didn’t stop thinking about what could have happened to me that evening. After dinner, I went to the hostel and tried to piece together all the events of the day I could remember in order to solve the mystery of how I got in front of the kitchen from nowhere. Suddenly I realized that I could remember everything that had happened until the evening study hour that day. I vaguely remembered resting my head on the study table feeling tired and bored. Then my memory had stopped thereafter. I got a feeling that I could have dozed off during the evening study hour and that I might have sleepwalked out of the academic building when the bell rang. I immediately rushed to the classroom and found my missing slipper stuck under my table. It soon became apparent that I had walked out of the classroom into the kitchen premises in my sleep. When I look back to that incident today, I still wonder how I could have walked so safely in such a trance. There were a number of obstacles such as rudimentary bridges, pits and bushes of nettle plants on the way which I could have easily bumped into, but the fact that I could stick to my path despite being blind and that too in a state of subconscious mind is really a kind of miracle. That was my first ever sleepwalking experience and I wish it to be the last as well.

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How would someone without sight communicate with someone with hearing disability?

As a blind, I think nothing is more difficult than having to communicate with a deaf person. Whenever we the disabled people from different parts of the country come together on special events such as the celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities and other disability-related programs, we the visually impaired persons and the hearing impaired persons reach a real deadlock not being able to communicate and interact with each other. On one hand, the hearing impaired persons can’t hear what we say and on the other hand, we can’t see the sign language they use. What makes the matter worse is that we the visually impaired persons do not have the concept of sign language and hence, we can’t even gesture what we are saying to them. To someone who can see and hear, the situation may look so funnyand unique but this is a reality.

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The modern-day madness we must all get rid of

On 27th June 2016, a 16-year-old student was reportedly stabbed to death below Changangkha Lhakhang in Thimphu while trying to stop a gang fight. Three days later on 30th June 2016, another 19-year-old student of a private school in Thimphu was pursued and stabbed twice at his back by five masked boys below Druk School. While the victim is currently recovering at JDW National Referral Hospital, such incidents are a gruesome reminder that Thimphu, or for that matter, any urban center in Bhutan is not at all safe for us to roam abount casually. These two latest incidents are, however, not the first cases reported this year. On 15th January, a 23-year-old taxi driver was brought to Phuntsholing hospital after being stabbed several times by some thugs. He soon succumbed to his wounds. Then on 10th February, a 15-year-old Bhutanese student studying at North Point in Darjeeling, India stabbed one of his Indian friends to death during an adventure camp. So what lessons can we learn from such tragedies?

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The dumbest criminals I have ever heard of

We the Bhutanese people generally believe in our Karmic actions. We have been taught right from early childhood that what goes around usually comes around. That’s why we have been taught never to harm or hurt anybody, because the consequence of our action is believed to fall back on ourselves someday. I think this could be the main reason why the criminals are usually caught easily. We have a popular saying “Le gi ra mi tub” meaning “nobody can escape his/her fate”. Probably because of this principle, Bhutan has seen some of the dumbest criminals over the years as demonstrated in the stories below.

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The funniest questions I have ever been asked

Although I have been blind for over 26 years now, I have got enough opportunities to interact and socialize with different people in the world. I have realized over the years that the real beauty of the world does not have to be perceived only through eyes. Along the journey of my life, I have come across different people who have helped me see the world in many ways. But over the years, I have also met some innocent individuals who have asked me some of the funniest questions without knowing that I am blind. I have had funny encounters with children as well as adults and I often giggle to myself when I reflect on those experiences. Following are some of the funniest questions I have ever been asked by both innocent children and adults.

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Reaching out to youth through a smart phone

Photo of me in front of Tashi Namgay Resort in Paro, the venue for the workshop

Today I was in Paro with other four colleagues from my office to attend the advocacy program on the use of mPowerYOUth, a mobile application designed to help youth access various services provided by various agencies working for young people in Bhutan. This application has been developed by the Department of Youth and Sports, MoE in collaboration with the G2C Office as part of the government’s efforts to streamline and enhance the public service delivery. With this application in place, it is expected that youth will be able to avail various services just through their mobile phones and hence, their needs and concerns can be taken care of easily.

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All Strangers: a typical reflection on urban life

A couple of days ago, I read on Kuensel about how a Bhutanese official working at the Royal Bhutan Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand as Accountant was accidentally electrocuted while attempting to cross over the fence inside the residential area near the Embassy, but until yesterday, I never knew that he was my neighbor living just across the street here in Thimphu. I was shocked when my wife told me this after hearing the news from other neighbors who had gone to attend his cremation yesterday. Although I am not personally familiar with them, my wife knows his wife very well and she told me that she had met her with her daughter just last Sunday in the vegetable market. My wife says his wife is a very frank and friendly person and that she talks to her wherever she meets her. The deceased had left for Bangkok, Thailand in January this year and that his family was planning to join him soon. It seems they had even bought air tickets during this summer vacation to go to see him in Bangkok, but it’s very sad that their dream could not materialize. Life is just like a dream: you won’t know when you would wake up to reality.

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