Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
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Deepak Justin: Training minds with indomitable spirit

This young man who always clad in designer headscarf is not an ordinary showman, though one would tend to infer that from one glance. Look at him more closely; you will find in the twinkling of his eyes the power to radically transform you. Listen to him keenly; you will get elated to a stage where you start loving your life and people around you. Move with him in close proximity, you find the simplicity, humility and compassion overflowing from the persona that would reverberate on you instantly. He is Deepak Justin, the trainer, the speaker, the thinker, the short film maker and an amazing human being.

His friends and fans affectionately call him DJ. His trainees compete to take selfies with him. What is the magic behind this charismatic personality? If I need to express it in a few words, I would say ‘A man who can lift the spirit of others with his own indomitable inner convictions’. No wonder he has trained more than 1,00,000 people in the last 15 years. More than 50 multinational companies have chartered him for training their executives and managers not only in soft skills but also in ideas and philosophies that can make them socially conscious individuals.

It is not the titles that indicate his outstanding academic achievements in Management or Public Relations that are widely noted. He is popularly known as "The Silver Tongued Orator”, "The International Poet of Merit", "The Toastmasters International District 92 Champion for 2016 and 2018". He has the potential to get conferred on him many more such titles in the near future.

Vedavathi DYR was born dwarf, grew up to be 3 ft 9 inches and she move around in her crutches since she has a damaged spinal cord and problematic back. Without availing reservation, she became an officer in a nationalized bank. She volunteered with St Vincent De Paul, an organization which works for the poor, to uplift the people who are socially and economically weaker. She had one more dream: To become an effective speaker. She was fortunate to meet Deepak Justin. He along with his friend Vinay Kamath, made her a versatile speaker in no time. There are many such examples where the silver tongued orator created golds out of raw metals. People who thought that they can never speak for an audience got transformed themselves to be effective communicators on and outside the stage. DJ says: “Dreams are a reality, because so many of my dreams have come true”. From where he gets the power? DJ often delves into his life and meditates on the inside for a significant insight.

Whether public speaking is a domain reserved only for those who are products of English medium convent schools? Can our less privileged students in government schools trained to be good speakers? Two NGOs, ‘Dream a Dream’ and ‘Ashwin Foundation’ coordinated with Deepak Justin a few years back to train the bright and hardworking students who were from the lower economic background in a government school. He narrated about the experience in following words: ‘There is a butterfly waiting in every cocoon. It was a gratifying experience to see the metamorphosis in them’.

DJ can deliver a motivational talk for hours based on just one scene from a movie. In a leadership training program he imparted a series of life lessons from a scene in ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. He says, ‘I fall in love with the audience whenever I speak’. He likes to read biographies of successful people. He found that they became successful because they faced challenges and hardships. They faced discouragements – from friends and relatives, who thought that their ideas were insane. But they endured and listened only to their ‘inner soul’ and ‘inner voice’.

He shared once with his friends this incredible experience of meeting and interacting with an amazing lady from France named Madame Marie Jeanne Schmidt. She had lost her sense of vision since 40 years. ‘She wakes up every morning, goes to online prayer center to pray for the needy, the sick, the destitute and the deprived all over the world. She told me: “Even if a World War III broke out, I would know how to brace it”. When I told her, “ Marie, you have a wonderful smile”, she smiled and said, “I would never know, because it is more than 40 years since I have seen my own face” ‘. This is very relevant to a world where people go on a beautifying spree spending huge sums of money to make their appearances artificially attractive!

Anyone who sees Deepak would be very inquisitive to know why he is always clad in a stylish and colourful headscarf. Celebrities like to have their own unique signature attire. My first question to him when we had a long conversation was on this. He said: ‘I suffer from a disorder called Trigeminal Neuralgia. Triggers cause the trigeminal nerve to get excited and bring shooting pain to the face. The pain is so unbearable at times that it is called the "Suicide Disease" and people give up. Unfortunately there is no cure for the same. I have tried it all for the past 4 years.  I wear the headscarf to avert some of the triggers like the air conditioner, wind blowing into my hair etc.’ What a sweet smile he has on his face when he shared this! He started an online support group for those suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia and related disorders that cause excruciating pain.

What is the healing take of DJ on the pain some of us experience due to ailments?

‘The pain teaches valuable lessons. Pain can make you either stronger or stranger depending on how you respond to it. Pain can make you a Riddler or a Raider in the Ark of Life. Pain can give you a sleepless night or an awakening of dawn depending on what you learn from it’.

I asked a few more questions on who he is, what he does and what he feels. Let us hear his responses:

How do you convert the adversities you faced in your life to your strengths?
I believe in the credo that "In the midst of every adversity lies an equivalent or a greater opportunity"
Challenge is only an opportunity that we did not ask for. So I accept challenges and work on them consciously. I model the best in the craft. I read a lot. As a skill based trainer myself, I consciously put an effort to see what areas of my life need to change to overcome the adversity. If skills are required then I acquire the skills; if knowledge is required then I acquire the same. If a change of attitude is required then I work towards the same.

What were the key inspirations for you in life? What way they made a difference in your life?
As Tennyson says in Ulysses, "I am a part of all that I met".
I draw inspiration from people, from movies, from books, from real life heroes and above all the infinite force from the heavens above, whose grace alone is sufficient at most times

After crossing the levels at Club, Area, Division and District, you are all set to compete with other Toastmasters in the world championship of public speaking. What are the attributes of a good public speaker?
A good speaker in public is a good thinker in private. There are two ways to nurture that. Attract good thoughts by reading or listening to good thinkers. Secondly develop a discipline of articulating those thoughts into capsules that make it easily palatable for the audience.

What are the common mistakes you see in bad speech deliveries?
i) No preparation/rehearsals
ii) Lack of substance (or worse content that everyone knows). Ignorance of communication basics leaves alone the application of the same.

What are the unique habits you follow that can be inspirational for others?
I remain inspired always. I stay positive. I attract positive thoughts. I try and see good in people and try to spread smiles wherever I go.

You are a successful corporate trainer. What makes you very popular among the corporates? How do you enjoy the engagement with them?
I truly care for my participants. I reach out to them both at their personal and professional level. Participants find me affable.
I inspire them to go for their impossible dreams. I make my programs as interesting and as entertaining too in a world that is straitjacketing itself into boring routines

What soft skills you consider important for the present day employees and managers?
Lower level employees need functional and technical skills besides basic interpersonal skills.Middle to senior level employees need more people skills, communication and networking skills.Senior most executives need visionary skills.

Do you have any regrets?
All the chances that I did not take are my regrets

Any advice to youngsters?
Only advice is to be young forever. And to be young, continue to have the same enthusiasm, energy, curiosity, exploring mind, tender heart, lofty dreams and risk taking ability forever.

Deepak, wife Maya and baby Arian

What is your favourite game, food, prayer habits, film or book.....
Prayer - I commence every task with a prayer. I believe that more things are possible through prayer than what the world dreams of.
Film - I am huge movie buff. I watch at least 3 movies per week. So the list of favorite films is too exhaustive. Someday would like to make a full length feature film too
Book - My second best companion. My favorite book is The Holy Bible. It is the best work of literature, poetry, motivation, prophecy, history and above all reinforcement of goodness and kindness.

Persons like DJ can motivate us to excel amidst all adversities. But he asks us whether we really need someone to motivate us? ‘If we don’t keep ourselves inspired, encouraged, uplifted, joyful, connected and cognizant, who will?’ 

Yes, we need to listen to the inner voice and inner soul more often!

                  © Sibichen K Mathew                Views are personal. Comments welcome

Want to read about more such great persons? Read following articles

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  1. Nice to know more about DJ. Best of luck to him for World Championship of public speaking 2016

  2. Enjoyed reading this article. Able to know more about DJ. Benefitted with public speaking tips

  3. You are narrated about DJ very detailed manner and my son had asked me why DJ is using scarf, myself doesn't had the answer anyway you have cleared his doubt too.

  4. good to know what I already know Sibi ;-) Best wishes


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