How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You

Master the Art of Saying Thank You

Do you say “thank you” like you mean it or do you just say it casually and almost apologetically?

And when you thank someone, just how appreciative are you really being?

Today, 11th January 2017 is International Thank You Day!

So firstly, thank you for being in my life and for reading my blog posts :-).

There is an art of saying thank you and mastering this one skill will instantly make your day to day interactions with people deeper and richer.

The key is very simple – you really have to mean it when you say thank you!

People get it when you genuinely mean something and also when you are just going through the motions.

Put yourself on the receiving end of being thanked – I bet you remember well the few times when someone has truly shown their appreciation.

I shall always remember the day when I invited a new friend for dinner and she asked if she could bring something – I simply suggested she brought a huge appetite.

She turned up laden with gifts – a thank you card, flowers, a bottle of wine and something for dessert! It was so thoughtful and unexpected; to this day I still share her story like I am doing right now.

The most beautiful thing about truly thanking someone and expressing your gratitude is that it creates a deeper and instant bond between people.

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Happy Thanksgiving Day – Time to Celebrate our Challenges!


Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!

Well, a lot has happened in the world over the last few weeks. Just what is the world coming to!?

If you look around, the world faces umpteen challenges today and it’s really time for us to rise to the challenge and make it happen for a better world for all us. At the same time we have to make the most of our own lives and make the most of what we all have.

Even at a personal level we all face so many challenges. Right now I have dear friends who are going through a painful divorce whilst a very close coaching friend is going through her last days after a serious illness and is now in palliative care in New York,

Of course it is not how or when you die, but ultimately what matters is how you lived your life – and the legacy you created.

Life is so precious and it breaks my heart every time I hear of the killings and atrocities that happen every day in the name of religion, politics etc.

Right now the world is a very different place compared to last Thanksgiving Day with the Brexit outcome and the USA election.

A while back, a blog reader emailed me directly to challenge my way of looking at the world through “rose-tinted glasses”.

Well, as I replied to him, I am happy to see the world the way I see it. Of course it’s not about being blind to reality, but choosing to see how things can be different and in a way which uplifts and benefits everyone.

So yes, I for one am happy to be upbeat about our humanity and our potential to solve the huge problems we face today.  There are so many inspirational people who are striving to change to things for the better – and their number is growing.


I am always inspired and filled with hope when I learn of all the good things happening in the world. For example, Nirvana School in Pondicherry, South India, is going from strength to strength with over 500 children now receiving a good education and being well cared for.

These children may not have much in material terms, they have so much more to offer us and teach us.

And yet we in the West who have a lot to be thankful for so often take life and all our goodness for granted.

We all have deep within us this calling and a capacity to help others, to make a difference in some way and to make ourselves count.

So my invitation to you on this Thanksgiving Day is to remember to be grateful for all that you have – and to strive for something bigger than you.

Check out my tips on how to live with an attitude of gratitude

No matter what, celebrate your challenges too!

Also, a while ago, I wrote 5 special articles for this week of Thanksgiving. So to help you celebrate and appreciate all that you have to be thankful for, check out all 5 articles about this special time.

Thanksgiving Lesson 1 – How To Embrace What You Already Have

Thanksgiving Lesson 2 – How To Let Yourself Give and Receive

Thanksgiving Lesson 3 – How To Add a Little Sizzle to Your Relationships

Thanksgiving Lesson 4 – How to Harvest the Wisdom from my Blogger Friends

Thanksgiving Lesson 5 – How to Serve Others at the Global Table

Thanks everyone!

PS As I said, please remember that no matter what challenges you may be facing in your life we all have so much to be grateful for. 🙂

Life is short. Cherish this moment. Treasure this memory. Celebrate this life…



The Power of Giving – and Why I Always Carry a Banana


How friendly are you to strangers? Do you reach out to new people you meet or do you hold back?

Over the years I have learnt to take each person at face value and try not to judge them in any way. Friends often comment on how easily I connect with people and how effortlessly I seem to make friends wherever I go. Maybe it’s a gift, maybe it’s just my way of being – but whatever it is, the results are often magical.

Talking to strangers I meet has led to some great friendships as well as many life lessons.

I have had 2 such experiences with homeless people in London which left me moved to tears on both occasions and reminded me once again of the power of giving and receiving.

In London where I live, there are more and more homeless people, many of whom have to resort to begging, whilst others sell the “Big Issue” magazine which helps the homeless create an income and ultimately aims to get them off the street.

I met one such Big Issue seller outside my local train station – he proudly told me that his full name was Christopher Patrick McCormack. We struck up a friendship and we had a repartee going – every time I saw him I called him by his full name – and he would call me by my full name.

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Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic 2016 (Year 15!)


It’s time for my annual picnic in Regents Park!

Called “Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic“, it is held every year – and this is YEAR 15!!!

This year it is to be held on Sunday, 31st July 2016.

(Post-picnic update – This year’s picnic was phenomenal with around 500+ people attending during the course of the day! You can see all the photos here on Facebook – Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic #15“).

14 years ago, I had a vision of bringing people together in community in a spirit of fun and contribution – and so I invited all the people in my life to a picnic. And I asked them to invite all their friends too.

So my “Friends & Friend’s Friends Picnic” was born!

With all that’s going on in the world right now, I believe that it’s imperative that we come together as a people as much as possible – and what better way to meet and create new friendships than in a gorgeous setting and with a fun, friendly vibe?

“Far more unites us than divides us” – Jo Cox


History of the Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic

I first had the idea of the Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic in summer 2002 when I wanted to bring together people from my family, my friends and the communities that I was part of.

Rather than inviting everyone out on different days, I asked them all to join me for a picnic in Regents Park – and to also invite their friends and ask them to invite their friends.

I had a few friends comment on how easily I was able to connect and make new friends – it was like magic to them!

So I wanted to introduce all my London friends to each other – and bring strangers together in a spirit of community and friendship in London where people seem to live in isolation and everyone is so busy.

That first year, around 60 people came, despite it being a cold and rainy Sunday in June – and the Friends and Friends Friends Picnic was born.

I chose Regents Park because I live nearby but mainly because to me it is the nicest park in London and offers so many activities for my picnic attendees.

The following year over 100 people came with some relatives coming from as far away as Coventry, Birmingham, and Brighton.
That second year I started the tradition of African drumming and dancing and that theme has continued ever since with some years over 20 drummers in full flow!

The picnic grew every year – and in the last few years we have had over 400 people attending – and it’s getting bigger every year!


The picnic has now become a fixed highlight in many people’s social calendars and I now usually hold it end of July or early August. Experience has taught me that that is the most popular time for people and also when we are most likely to get reasonable weather.

One year it rained so heavily that we all had to shelter under the trees for almost an hour. Despite the wetness, over 50 hardy party animals stayed till dusk.

I now usually get 200 to 300 people attending every year – and in August 2015 we had our biggest picnic ever with over 400 people attending in the course of the day.

We now have even more fun activities such as laughter yoga sessions, Bollywood dancing, hula hooping, friendly football matches and the perennial favourite – African drumming.

A lot of new friendships have started as a result of the picnic – 3 years ago a good friend of mine landed a key job in television directly as a result of someone she met at the picnic who then recommended her to a job.

Best of all, a few months ago we had our first ever picnic baby! A couple of who first met at the picnic in July 2013 started dating soon after and recently became proud parents of baby Lyra.

2016 Picnic Details

Here is the Facebook event page for this year’s picnic:-

It’s actually a very simple concept.

The idea is to get a lot of friends and their friends together. I invite all my friends and they invite all their friends and they invite their friends and so on……and before we know, there will be 100’s of friends, new and old, having a lot of fun.

Everyone is invited to bring their own food and drinks plus some extra to share. We will also be playing Frisbee, frisbee etc for fun, so bring those trainers and sports gear. And of course children are most welcome. If you haven’t got any, borrow some for the day 🙂

I’ll bring my giant Hula Hoops so it should be entertaining watching some people have a go!

We’ll also have some Laughter Yoga, Bollywood dancing and African Drumming.

There are lots of things you can do in Regents Park. There is boating on the lake, heronry and waterfowl collections to visit, and of course the world famous Rose garden.

drumming at picnic 2004 in Regents Park

We will also be having some African drumming and singing. Bring along any musical instrument that you would like to play.

This year we’ll have some Laughter Yoga, Bollywood Dancing and some kick-boxing lessons.

Check out the picnic photos from 2015!

Please note that this picnic will be happening no matter what the weather is like on the day!

A hot and sunny day is forecast for Sunday so it should be a great day out for all of us.

The details are as follows:-

Date: Sunday 31st July 2016

Time: 1pm till 9pm

Location: Regents Park at the London Mosque end. Use the Mosque as your landmark, as its minaret is visible from almost anywhere else in the park.

picnic is at the spot marked X on bottom left corner


Enter the Park via Hanover Gate, turn left and you are there. You will see a children’s play area. The chosen picnic spot is the whole of this semi-circular area of grass and there is room for at least a 1000 people.

Parking – You must pay for parking within Regents Park even on Sundays till 6.30pm. Alternatively, you CAN park free on single yellow lines on Prince Albert Road, and around St Johns Wood High St.

Nearest Tube stations: – St Johns Wood and Baker Street

For further clarification, please call me on 07803 950 250. Keep this number with you on the day, in case you are lost. Remember that Regents Park is HUGE.

Please invite all your friends and ask them to invite their friends. And so on – this could be the start of something big.

You can also register on Facebook to confirm you are coming.

As I said, this is the 15th year running that I have organised this Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic – but if you are not able to come to London for this picnic, then no matter where you are in the world, how about organising your own?

Check out my simple guide on how to hold your own picnic anywhere in the world 🙂

For further information and clarification, just contact me 🙂

Special Announcement

I am also pleased to announce that a very special person is joining us on Sunday, and I have a request for help from all of you.

When I held my very first “Friends and Friend’s Friends Picnic” 14 years ago to bring together all the people in my different communities, the idea was to celebrate life, connect people and also to contribute to these friends in some way.

So my annual picnic is totally aligned to the 3C’s which underpin my life – Contribution, Connection and Celebration.

On Sunday we will have a chance to contribute in a BIG way to Julie Cattermole, who is coming all the way from Leicester to London with her young children, to celebrate life – and also to spread news of her life-saving fund-raising:-

Please help my friend Harry Jata spread news of Julie’s fund-raising appeal to SAVE her life.

All donations and further fund-raising ideas are most welcome.

Let us make it a very special day for Julie next Sunday:-).

The Future

I am so pleased and proud too that my initial idea of bringing my family and close friends together for a day out in the park has become such a huge success and a key event in many people’s summer itinerary.

I now want to build on this even more and make it bigger and better with regular events through out the year in London and other cities around the world.

I really do believe that the challenges the world faced today can only be overcome if we can come together more in unity and with a sense of FUN, community and togetherness.

Let us make it happen so that more and more people come together in such events so that ultimately we get to see that we are all really the same – and our differences simply makes the world a more interesting and colourful place.

Help me bring more people together!

Thank you:-)

a fun day for young and old!

Life-Changing Love Wisdom for Every Day from Around the World


This is my 600th blog post!

To mark my 600th blog post, I could not have chosen a more appropriate topic for me – love.

And on Valentine’s Day too!

I looked around at many Facebook pages to get the best image quotes to share with you on this momentous day – and I found a real treasure trove for you all!

Firstly, what does the word love mean to you?

Does it evoke a vision of red roses, serenading in the park, moonlit walks and champagne?

In our world of glossy magazines and glitzy media, where we are constantly bombarded with images of the ideal, love struck and “perfect” couple, is it any wonder that the real meaning of love has been so diluted.

Love for some is about being starry eyed and going gaga over someone. The actual being in love becomes more important than ever truly loving someone.

Some people are even  in love with the idea of being in love! 

I have shared these words before on my blog and I make no excuse for sharing again these famous words from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (by Louis de Bernieres):-

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.

And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day.

That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those who truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from the branches they find that they are one tree and not two.”

The question is what will it take for you to be able to love like this?

And what will it take for the world to wake up to the true meaning of love?

Remember that you can have at least 23 top ways to be love today and every day, not just on Valentine’s Day.

So Just What is Love?

Love is the most amazing thing in our lives. It is what makes us human, what makes life worth living. Nothing else truly matters. The size of our homes, bank balances, the beauty of our spouse, the speed of our car – all these things pale into insignificance when we face the splendour of what it is that makes us tick.

Love does not make the world go around – it simply makes the ride worthwhile! [Read more…]

8 Powerful Strategies That Will Make You That High Achiever that Everyone Loves to Hate

High Achiever Strutting Her Stuff

Have you ever hated someone who was just so good at everything they did?

They couldn’t do anything wrong whilst there was poor you, struggling with the most mundane of things.

You know what I mean – that smart ass kid at school who annoyingly always got straight As. That hot girl who everyone wanted to date, was super at all sports, knew all the latest dance moves and came top of the class.

And worst of all while you slaved away every day immersed deeply in your books during your college days, these smart students never seemed to study. Instead they were out partying every night – they were the smart in-crowd.

It was as if they were born high-achievers.

Yes, we have all been there. And didn’t you just hate these guys and gals?

Of course it doesn’t end there – at work there is always that one smarmy work colleague who just knows it all – and you hate to admit it but he really knows far more than you do. Like him or not, you grudgingly accept that he is simply brilliant. And sadly you are not anywhere near their level.

Yet deep down you know that you are as good as them. In fact you just know you are better than them. You even feel smug knowing that you are actually smarter than them – it’s just that no one has discovered this about you.

Worst is this pain of knowing that you could be so much more in life – it hurts you to the core of your being to know that life is passing you by whilst you are being mediocre. And others are getting the glory.

Life seems so unfair – you are from the same gene pool. What have they got that you don’t?

Well, what if I told you that there was a way to become just like them? To become even better than them?

If you wanted to, you too could become such a high-achiever. Indeed you could ruffle so many feathers with your brilliance and your success that others would love to hate you too.

The good news for you is that it really does not take much to raise your game and become a high achiever yourself.

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Peace in Our Time – Special Evening of Peace with Eva Schloss


“Peace in the World begins with you and me – every single peaceful action you take makes the world a better place” Arvind Devalia 

Today there is more conflict and strife in the world than ever before. At the same time, we are all more stressed out. It almost feels hopeless as we all strive to improve our lives.

So where do you even begin to bring more peace into the world? And what needs to change?

This is a question I have struggled with almost all my life – it seemed so daunting and overwhelming I had no idea where  to even start.

Then I realised a few years ago that change begins with me – and I can only do what I can – and  I can make a huge difference to others by my inspirational words and powerful actions.

To this end I have written a number of articles, such as 9/11 remembered – 11 articles to sow peace and healing.

Yet I still feel I could be doing much more, especially in light of the current world situation and the refugee challenge in Europe right now.

So I am excited and yet humbled to announce my first ever Peace Evening.

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101 Ways to Make It Happen and Rock your World


How is your life going? 

What’s missing in your life? And what are you doing about it?

If you are like most people, you are having another day of challenges, deadlines and being overwhelmed. Or worse still, you are having another day of boredom. And despair.

Just what happened to all your childhood dreams? How did they get vanquished and forgotten over time?

Pause for a moment and look around the world you live in today.  Turn on the daily news and all you get is more doom and gloom around you.

The world seems to face so many challenges that you might despair and feel completely hapless as to just what one individual like you can do. Especially when you have so much going on in your own life.

Just where do you begin to create the sort of life you want, and to live in the type of world you want?

Where does one begin from this point?

The answer is actually quite simple – you begin exactly where you are at right now.

Your future and all the things you desire, dream of, wish for and want to create don’t exist anywhere other than here, right now.

That future is created here and now – not just for yourself but for those around you.

It’s simply all about you deciding to change – and choosing to make it happen for yourself and the world.

You see in life, you are either reacting or creating. Always.

Next time you are in a crowd in any setting – social, family or work, notice how people are either complaining about something or ranting.

On much rarer occasions,  the conversation is about moving forward, resolving challenges and heaven behold, even about creating something majestic and lasting!

So are you going to be reacting and ranting – or stepping up and creating?

Your life transforms the moment you choose to transform. The moment you decide that enough is enough and you are going to make it happen for yourself.

That time is here now.The time to rock your world.

It is time for you to step up and be the sort of person you have always wanted to be – and be the leader you know you were born to be. And then one day you too can rest in eternity, just like one of the greatest human beings who ever lived.

I have worked hard enough, so I can now rest in eternity” – Nelson Mandela

You too can aspire to be a “Nelson Mandela” too!

Yes, quite a challenge, but why not?

Mr Mandela has left quite a legacy – and you can begin to walk in his footsteps by adopting some of his lessons in leadership.

So where do you even begin to follow in Mr Mandela’s footsteps? You start by first making your own life the best you can – a life based on high moral and ethical values.

At the same time, you do your best for the world around you and you create our legacy.

To help you get started, I have created a treasure collection of my all-time, best life-changing articles I have ever written. This is an extra-ordinary anthology to help you get more out of all areas of your life and to make it happen.

I looked through all the almost 600 blog posts I have written over 8 years and I have picked out what I consider the best 101 articles.

It was quite a challenge to pick these out and organise them into one post but this has been a labour of love for me – and I sincerely hope you get a lot from the 101 articles below. These are life-changing articles you can return to again and again.

I have put them under some relevant categories but there’s clearly a lot of crossover.

I suggest you read a few articles at a time and bookmark the ones that resonate with you – and please do share them. It would be a crime not to share these life-changing “secrets” :-).

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How 30 Minutes of Intense Chest Pain Changed My Life For Ever – and Will Change Yours Too
Have you ever had a deep life-changing experience?

An experience which left your previous life in tatters and forced you to face up to life like never before?

There you are – one day simply meandering through life, care-free and thinking that life was going to go on forever.

Then what happens…

Suddenly you are jolted by a thunderbolt – and life is never the same again.

Something happens personally that hits you deeply in the groin of your soul – and you have no choice but to take stock of your life. And then perhaps you can choose to actually start living the life that you really want.

You see we all go through life as if it is going to last forever. In our head and in fairy tales, we get to live happily ever after.

Except that it’s never ever forever. And most of the time, it’s hardly even happy.

And the insane thing is that though logically we know that this life is not going to last forever, we live our lives as if it is going to last forever.

The reality though is that one day we die. And then a few loved ones and many strangers come along to pay their final respects.

They all look as serious and solemn as they can, address your coffin and tell you what a fine fellow you once were.

And soon after all the lofty eulogies which never saw any daylight whilst you were alive, they bury you and throw some mud over you. Or in my case, being of Hindu origin, they’ll burn me. Then scatter the ashes in some polluted river.

The worst and the most harrowing bit is this – like it or not, every day brings you and me closer to just such an ignominious end.

So what comes between now and that solemn but frivolous ending? And when are you going to wake up and get that your clock is ticking?

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick Tock.

We all have two lives. The second one begins when you realise you only have one” – Tom Hiddleston

Are you ready to wake up and truly live your life? Or are you going to be just like the masses who are living with this illusion of immortality?

So what do you do? Become despondent and depressed that this is all there is and what a failure you have been?

Become fatalistic as it’s all going to go belly up one day anyway?

Or do you finally get clear about your life and focus on the legacy you are going to leave behind? And at the same time, you have a blast and have some rip-roaring, rollicking fun along the way!?

How about living a meaningful life?

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Love is all that Matters – and NOT Just On Valentine’s Day!

So how is Valentine’s Day going for you?

Did you spend some quality time with your loved one – or was it just another day for you?

It always amuses me to see people spending a small fortune on just one day every year to show their love for someone!

What happens during the remaining 364 days of the year!?

It’s crazy and dumb to only celebrate your love on Valentine’s Day!

Why not make it a fun Valentine’s Day every day?

Does “romantic love” evoke a vision of red roses, serenading in the park, moonlit walks and champagne?

In our world of glossy magazines and glitzy media, where we are constantly bombarded with images of the ideal, love struck and “perfect” couple, is it any wonder that the real meaning of love has been so diluted!?

Love for some is about being starry eyed and going gaga over someone. The actual being in love becomes more important than ever truly loving someone.

But love is MUCH more than that.

What would the world be like if we truly loved others the way we love our close ones?

I imagine the world would then be transformed and there would be fewer or no wars and we would live in peace and harmony.

In the words of John Lennon, just imagine a brotherhood of man and imagine all the people sharing all the world. It’s easy if you try.

As we look around the world today, such unity would seem to only exist in our imagination and in songs.

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