How you look at things is much more important than what things you are looking at. I’ll repeat the cliched, hackneyed story of two disciples who wanted to get their Master’s permission to smoke. The first one posed a direct question, “Can I smoke while meditating?”. The Master’s answer was a thundering no followed by an hour-long lecture on the evils of smoking. The second disciple asked, “Master, can I meditate while I am smoking?” The Master was moved by the disciple’s eagerness to indulge in a spiritual practice even while giving in to an evil addiction. This time the Master gave an ‘Yes’ for an answer. Even before I heard this story my best friend and my classmate demonstrated this subtle concept to me. The period was late 70s. We were doing our Bachelors in Commerce. My friend and I always fought for the first mark. He was decidedly better stuff than me. What I lacked in intelligence I made up by hard work. (This sentence can be called as my motto and would sit very nicely on my epitaph). So we used to alternately win the first position. We were seated in the alphabetical order of our names in the class. His name started with R so he sat before me, as mine started with ‘S’. One day as our Statistics Professor was distributing the marked exam papers I saw R placing his paper inside the desk without even seeing his marks. After I got my paper he turned to ask my marks. I told him. Then he closed his eyes for a minute in silence and pulled out his paper. That time he got the first mark. I pulled him up after the class. Why did he not see his marks before knowing mine? “It’s simple, Sridhar.You know both of us want to be first. Suppose I see my paper first. Then my prayer to God will be, ‘Let Sridhar’s marks be less than mine so that I can stand first in the class.’ That’s a negative prayer. "Now I got to know your marks first. Hence my prayer will be, ‘Let me score more than Sridhar.’ That will be a positive prayer, right?” “Smart thinking,” I said. But well, that was not so smart. Because the next time I refused to tell him my marks as I also wanted a positive prayer. His system failed but I learnt a powerful lesson which I practise even today. When I opted for my first life insurance policy way back in 1987 I told the Development Officer of LIC and my agent, “Let LIC make full profit out of this policy.” They were very happy. When will LIC make full profit out of an insurance policy? Only when nothing untoward happens to me and I survive the full endowment period of 20 years. I got a meagre return of 4% pa but a major risk was covered. I survived the full term to get the sum assured along with the full bonus (even then the return was just 4% pa). Every year in March when I give a cheque for mediclaim insurance I tell the officer of the company, “Let the entire sum go to add to your profits.” Which of course means that I and my family will make no claim on them during the year. Which means we’ll live a healthy life and not fall sick. In these two cases I was apparently blessing them but actually blessing myself. And that always works. If you link your well-being to somebody else’s, the Universe has a vested interest in your welfare. Let’s start the week with this thought. For starters let me wish you all that your insurers (life, mediclaim or personal accident) make full profit out of the premium paid by you. Have a great week ahead.