Sr. Dr Lilly

Realms of value contains short thought provoking stories from Sr. (Dr) Lilly SJL who is presently Vice Prinicipal of Fatima College, Madurai. She has chaired many international missions and her works belong 'Geneder discrimination in Indian Societies' and 'Education and Empowerment of women'.

Compliment People in Public

Physician George Adams found encouragement to be so vital to a person’s existence that he called it “Oxygen of the Soul”
The most fundamental and straight forward way of winning with people is to give them a compliment- a sincere and meaningful word of appreciation. If you want to make others feel like a million bucks, you’ve got to master this elementary skill. It is essential that we learn to compliment people in public which will instantly have a positive impact. When you compliment a person’s attitude, you reinforce it and make it more consistent. Like the repetition of weightlifting regimen, routine compliments build up people’s qualities and strengthen their personalities. As former Secretary of defense and World Bank President Robert McNamara said,” Brains are like hearts, they go where they are appreciated”. Remember people’s names and take time to show them your care. If you want to add value to people, you have to value them first. Believe in the best in others, and you will bring out their best. 
As commander of a 10 billion warship and a crew of 310, Mike Abrashoff used grassroots leadership to increase retention rates from 28 percent to 100 percent, reduce operating expenditures, and improve readiness. How did he do it?  Among other things, he placed supreme importance on public compliments.
“The commanding officer of a ship is authorized to hand out 15 medals a year”, he wrote. “I wanted to err on the side of excess, so I passed out 115”. While awarding the medal, Abrashoff also delivered a short speech describing how much we cherished the recipient’s friendship, camaraderie, and hard work.  
Whenever you have the opportunity to publicly praise another person, don’t let it slip by. You can create these opportunities, as Captain Abrashoff did, but you can also find countless opportunities if you look for them.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 17-10-2017

The Value of Team Work

A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men”.

The truth is that team work is at the heart of great achievement. If you want to reach your potential or strive for the seemingly
impossible, you need to become a team player. It may be a cliché’, but it is nonetheless true: Individuals play the game but teams win championships. If you lead a team, then you must convince your teammates to sacrifice for the good of the group. The first quality of a relational leader is the ability to understand how people think and feel. As you work with others, recognise that all people, whether leaders or followers, have something in common. Recognizing these truths a leader must still be able to treat people as individuals. The ability to look at each person, understand and connect with him is a major factor in relational success.

The leader need to figure out which button to push with each individual person on his team. One person will respond well to being challenged; another will want to be nurtured, another will need frequent follow-up. One of the best way to inspire others and make them feel good is to show them who they could be. Years ago, a manager of the New York Yankees wanted rookie players to know what a privilege it was to play for the team. He used to tell, “Boys, it’s an honour just to put on the  New York pinstripes. So when you put them on, play like world champions. Play like Yankees. Play proud.” When you give someone a reputation to uphold, you give him something good to shoot for. It’s putting something that was beyond his reach but within his grasp.  Why is that important? Because people will go farther than they thought they could when someone they respect tells them they can.

A well known organist was performing a concert on the huge, antique organ in the local church. The bellows were hand-pumped by a boy who was behind a screen, unseen by the audience. The audience was thrilled by the organist ability at the keyboard of the old instrument. After taking his ovation, the musician walked triumphantly in to a side passageway. As he passed the boy he heard him say,” We played well as a team, didn’t we sir?”

The organist haughtily replied,” And what do you mean, ‘we’? After the intermission, the organist returned to his seat at the
impressive five-keyboard and began to play. But nothing happened; not a sound was heard. Then the organist heard a youthful voice whisper from behind the screen, ‘Say, mister, now do you know what ‘we’ means?”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 11-09-2017


One ounce of patient suffering is worth far more than a pound of action.
The greatest mystery of life is that satisfaction is felt not by those who take and make demands but by those who give and make sacrifices. In them alone the energy of life does not fail, and this is precisely what is meant by creativity. There are three ways that prepare us for life’s trials. One is the Spartan way that says, “I have strength within me to do it, I am the captain of my soul. With courage and will that is mine, I will be the master when the struggle comes.”Another way is in the spirit of Socrates, who affirmed that we have minds, reason and judgment to evaluate   and help us to cope with the enigmas and struggles of life.
The Christian way is the third approach. It doesn’t exclude the first two, but it adds, “You don’t begin with yourself, your will, or your reason. You begin with God, who is the beginning and the end. When your strength grows weak and your reason fails you, faith in the Creator gives you the power to  overcome all things” .We have in life many troubles, and troubles are of many kinds.  Following are the Seven Mischievous Misses who are responsible for most of our troubles. Miss Information, Miss Quotation, Miss Representation, Miss Interpretation, Miss Construction Miss Conception, and Miss Understanding.
A legend says that a man found his cross too heavy and beyond his strength. He prayed to  the   Lord to  relieve him of it. The Lord, after much prayers, agreed, led the man to  a large room where there were many crosses, and invited him to  choose one less heavy. He went several times round the room but could not find a cross that could please him: One was too heavy, another too light, a third too small. Finally he picked up one somewhat satisfactory.
“Do you like it?” asked the Lord.
“Yes, it seems more fitting than all the crosses I tried”.
Then the Lord said, “Well, that was the cross you yourself laid down when you entered the room.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 14-07-2017

The Power Of Recognition

A too common mistake, especially among leaders, is failure to share recognition and show appreciation to others. J C Staehle did an analysis of workers in America and found that the number one cause of dissatisfaction among employees was their superior’s failure to give them credit. It’s difficult for people to follow someone who doesn’t appreciate them for who they are and what they do. As former secretary of defense and World Bank President Robert McNamara said, “Brains are like hearts—they go where they are appreciated.”
Recognition is greatly appreciated by everyone, not just people in business and industry. Even a little bit of recognition can go an incredibly long way in a person’s life. Everyone is hungry for appreciation and recognition, only the degree varies. Remember people’s names and take time to show them you care and give others recognition at every opportunity.
Travelling during his term as vice President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson requested a room at Baltimore’s principal hotel. The vice president was travelling alone incognito, without secretary or attendants; it had been a long trip and it showed in his clothes and appearance.  The proprietor, not recognising his distinguished guest, refused him room. After Mr. Jefferson left, the proprietor learned that he had just turned away from his establishment the vice president of United States! The horrified proprietor immediately sent his subordinates out to find Mr. Jefferson and offer him whatever accommodation he wished. Mr. Jefferson had meanwhile taken a room in a small inn not   far from the principal hotel. He sent the subordinate back to their proprietor with this message: “Tell your master I value his good intentions highly, but   if he has no room for a dirty farmer, he shall have none for this vice president!”
Those of us who have had the privilege of hearing the Lord’s words of wisdom at the Final judgement as reported in the Gospels should shudder at the prospect of we being told, “As long as you did it not the least of my brethren, you did it not to me!”
How often in our lives we have a tendency to look at people whom we consider ‘unimportant’ and can –be-ignored-types’, and do not have a desire to come to their aid. If we behave thus, neither will the only One who matters find any substance in our lives!

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 03-07-2017

Law of Priorities

Prioritizing requires to continually think ahead, to know what’s important, to know what’s next, to see how everything relates to the over all vision. When we are busy, we naturally believe that we are achieving. But busyness does not equal to productivity. Activity is not necessarily accomplishment. What is Required?  What must I do that nobody can or should do for me? What gives the Greatest Return? Work in your areas of greatest strength. Is there something you’re doing that can be done quite well by someone else? If so, delegate it. What brings the Greatest Reward? Life is too short not to do something you love. What energizes you and keeps you passionate?
What creates the effectiveness necessary for converting talent into results? It comes from the choices you make. Orator, attorney, and political leader William Jeannings Bryan said, “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” People who have passion but lacks priorities are like individuals who find themselves in a lonely cabin deep in the woods on a cold snowy night and then light a bunch of small candles and place them all around the room. On the other hand, people who possess priorities but no passion are like those who stack wood in the fire place of that same cold cabin but never light the fire. But people who have passion with priorities are like those who stack the wood, light fire, and enjoy the light and heat that it produces.
At a certain check post, an Octroi officer observed daily, a cyclist passing the check-post carrying grass for cattle. There was no tax levied on grass and the Octroi officer allowed the bundle of grass to pass. This continued every day for years. Only after retirement did the Octroi officer find a cycle shop near his place of work. To his surprise, he came to know that the cyclist, who used to carry grass, was the owner. Further enquiries revealed that the cyclist all along smuggled one cycle a day across the check-post under the pretext of carrying grass for his cattle. Today, people look for short cuts- to happiness, fame, wealth, and even to God. 
The Octroi officer to his dismay found that during his tenure, he had only checked the bundle of grass, missing out on the essentials. Priorities are wrongly placed and essentials in life are forgotten or are replaced by trifles.
We chase the shadows and  miss the substance.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 13-05-2014


We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. (Thornton Wilder)
Learn the art of being aware, our success depends upon our power to perceive, to observe, and to know. Keen observation is a chief factor in the success of all great businessmen, executives, artists and military leaders. Men and women go about the world unaware of the beauty, the goodness, and the glories in it. A greater poverty than that caused by lack of money is the poverty of unawareness.
Helen Keller said, hear the music of voices, the song of a bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object you want to touch as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you through the several means of contact which nature provides. But of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful. As you open your awareness, life will improve of itself, you won’t even have to try. 
Seven men went through a field, one after another. One was a  farmer, he saw only the grass; the next was an astronomer, he saw the horizon and the stars; the physician noticed  the standing water and suspected malaria; he was followed by a soldier, who glanced over the ground, found it easy to  hold, and saw in a moment how the troops could be disposed; then came the geologist, who noticed the boulders and the sandy soil; after him came the real-estate broker, who pondered how the  line of the house lots should run, where would be the drive-way, and the  stables. The poet admired the shadows cast by some trees, and still more the music of some thrushes and meadow lark.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 06-05-2014


“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long  so  regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
Look at every situation as an opportunity and not a disgrace. Who knows what is going to unfold to us?  Often we condemn the opportunities and close the door, and closing it forever and kill it at the start itself. Be little patient and try to extract the best out of every opportunity that you get rather than killing it at the start. Try to learn something from everything that happens in life. Each event brings us a learning associated with it. If we are able to see it in the right perspective, we have gained something. Confront every situation with a question to yourself: what am I going to benefit/gain out of this? How does this particular event help me to enhance my personality and my life? So let us try to find something good and meaningful even in the worst of adversities which will make the life worth living and rejoicing. Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them.
Appu was travelling through the countryside in a hot afternoon, he had to walk a long distance to reach the next village. After walking for some time he got tired and felt very thirsty. There was neither a house nor a well nearby to quench his thirst. However, he thought of taking rest for a while which would temporarily give some kind of relief. Appu went and sat under huge tree. As he was tired and body was weak he started feeling drowsy and began to doze. After a while some kind of shrill noise woke him up from the nap. It was a crow chasing a squirrel and the latter was jumping from one branch to the another to save his life. Appu really cursed the creatures for disturbing the nap. As the squirrel was jumping it happened to land on a branch which was already heavy with ripened mangoes and a ripened   mango fell right in front of Appu. Tired and weary Appu grabbed the mango fruit and refreshed himself. Then he said to himself, “rather than blaming the situation I should learn to benefit from every situation and event without judging”.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 29-04-2014


Duty does not have to be dull. Love can make it beautiful and fill it with fire – Thomas Merton
To be honest, to be kind; to earn a little and to spend a little less; to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence; to  renounce when that shall be necessary and not be embittered;  to keep a few friends, but those without capitulation; above all, on the same grim conditions to  keep friends with himself; here is a task for all that man has of fortitude and delicacy.
John Lubbock says, if there is doubt between two duties, take the nearest. Some worthy people neglect their family for the sake of the heathen, but duty like charity, should begin at home.
When Jawaharlal Nehru died, at his bedside in his own writing, were found the lines from Robert Frost: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep.
When Marcus Aurelius, appointed the prefect of the praetorium, he gave him a sword, saying, “You will use this sword to defend my life as long as I am faithful to my duty. But if I should fail in my duty, you will use it to punish me. And know my duty is to make the Romans happy.
There is no duty we underrate so much as the duty of being happy.

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 15-04-2014


“When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people.” Chinese Proverb
Planning needs vision and foresight. Only a visionary can do perfect planning which requires experience and expertise. God has designed everything in such a way that the whole   universe lives in unity and harmony. But we find imperfection in His designs because we want to customize it for our convenience. Imagine how meticulously God has planned the creation and left it for regeneration by itself.
We can only plan for non-living things and not living things. That is the difference between our planning and God’s planning. Because living things have life and life is the essence of God.  A mango tree produces mangoes of different shapes. If we were to do it we would have got the same type of products from the same machines. Planning is of vital importance when it comes to achievement of a goal. Even if one has an excellent goal, timely planning and implementation is necessary to achieve   the goal.
Appu was taking a visit in his field in the hot afternoon. After walking for sometime he got tired and thought of resting a while. He sat under a gooseberry tree looking at the pumpkin wines over the field. He said to himself: “How foolish God is! Here He outs a great heavy pumpkin on the tiny wine without strength to do anything but lie on the ground. And He puts a tiny gooseberry on huge gooseberry tree whose branches could hold the weight of a man. If I were God, I could do better than that.” Just then   a breeze came and a gooseberry fell exactly on Appu’s head. Appu rubbed his head, and suddenly became sad and wise. “Suppose,” he mulled to himself “there had been a pumpkin up there, instead of gooseberry? Never again I will try to plan the world for God.”

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 08-04-2014


All true zeal for God is zeal also for love, mercy and goodness- R.E. Thompson
To bear up under loss; to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; to be victor over anger; to smile when tears are close; to resist disease and evil men and base instincts; to hate hate, and to love love; to go on when it would seem good to die; to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be — that is what any man can do, and be great. G.K. Chesterton says the contentment is real, even an active, virtue–not only affirmative but creative. It is the power of getting out of any situation all there is in it. The effective person is seen as being able to commit himself to projects, investing time and energy and being willing to take up appropriate economic, psychological and physical risks. He is seen as being able to think in different and original, that is, creative ways. Finally, able to control impulses and produce appropriate responses to frustration, hostility and ambiguity.
Fire is the chosen symbol of heaven for moral passion. God is love, God is fire. The two are one. Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They believe with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God. The purpose of life is not to be happy-but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all. What is a plan? A plan is a method of action, procedure, or arrangement. It is a programme to be done. It is a design to carry into effect an idea, a thought, a project, or a development. Therefore, a plan is a concrete means to help you fulfil your desires.
Thomas Carlyle once received a letter from a young man which read like this, “Mr. Carlyle, I wish to be a teacher. Will you tell me the secret of successful teaching?”
Carlyle immediately wrote back “Be what you would have your pupils be. All other teaching is unblessed mockery.”
Someone ought to do it, but why should I? Someone ought to do it, so why not I? Between these two sentences lie whole centuries of moral evolution – Annie Besant.
Zeal is very blind, or badly regulated, when it encroaches upon the rights of others- Quesnel

By Sr. Dr Lilly on 01-04-2014