How To Tell A Great StoryGreat StoryTelling Network Newsletter
Volume 15, Issue 2 – 15 February 2019
Dear [FIRSTNAME],Last year, I joined a programme called Mindfulness Masterclass Programme. It was a 9-month programme and we ‘graduated’ on 5 January 2019. The master trainer is someone who is quite simply known as SwamiGuru. His speech encapsulated a lot of what we learnt and he’s given me permission to share it with you.

Rohi shares a story about creating email lists.

I hope you enjoy reading the stories.

Happy storytelling.
Aneeta Sundararaj

GUEST BLOG – We Walked by SwamiGuru

With the blessings, love and grace of the Divine Mother, I wish you good evening and bid you welcome to our inaugural graduation ceremony of the Mindfulness Masterclass Programme (‘MMP’ for short).

A warm welcome also to our Chief Guest, Vaidya Dr. C D Siby, YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Azlanii Dr. M. Mahadevan, YBhg Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, Dr. Amir Farid Isahak, my students, 7C family and distinguished guests.

MMP started out with another name – ‘Walk With Swami’ (on which this story’s title is based). It was a 9-month course with an added 90-day practical session. We began in May 2018 with 22 students. Today, all 22 of them graduate from this course.

The aim of MMP was to teach my students to acquire the ability to rise above their circumstances and attain greatness in life. This is because we live in a word that is full of adversity and it is a challenge to understand what is in front of us and manage it while being positive. Through the teachings, I hoped that they would take control of their lives.

In the past nine months, 22 of them changed from within. MMP changed their thinking, how enthusiastic they were for life, helped them discover their hidden talents, put their life’s purpose on course and ensured that they became the human beings they are meant to be.

The teachings of MMP are based on the Dharma Sastram or Law of the Universe. These laws are already embedded in the Vedas and I like to call it Vedic Science. There are 12 laws of the universe that control the success of a human being. They are:

  • The Law of Divine Oneness
  • The Law of Vibration
  • The Law of Action
  • The Law of Correspondence
  • The Law of Cause and Effect
  • The Law of Compensation
  • The Law of Attraction
  • The Law of Perpetual Transmutation of Energy
  • The Law of Relativity
  • The Law of Polarity
  • The Law of Rhythm
  • The Law of Gender

There are also 21 Sub-Laws that are governed by the Higher Self. In a more common setting, they are referred to as human characteristics. They are:

  • Aspiration
  • Charity
  • Compassion
  • Courage
  • Dedication
  • Faith
  • Forgiveness
  • Generosity
  • Grace
  • Honesty
  • Hope
  • Joy
  • Kindness
  • Leadership
  • Non-Interference (Detachment)
  • Patience
  • Praise
  • Responsibility
  • Self-Love
  • Thankfulness
  • Unconditional Love

A complete understanding and practice of these dharmas, will render you ‘invincible’. It takes you to a place that we have called ‘space’ where you will wish for nothing, but to bask in the glory of Divine Love. You do not require any power because you will know that all power is already in you. In fact, it would be very difficult for your fellow friends and loved ones to even understand you. It will get lonely from the human perspective, but you will be filled with pure Divine Love and care. That’s the only thing that will keep you alive.

The graduates today were evaluated on their humanity, gratitude, being in the present moment, application of knowledge, spirituality and beyond spiritual inclinations. However, only the first four determined their final grades.

When I evaluated them, to my amazement, all of them have clearly understood the teachings and the values. They are all at different level of applying their teaching into their daily lives. Practicing and changing life, while living is not an easy task. Despite that, they all have made me proud by committing themselves to the learning and not giving up.

The students were also asked to answer a set of 33 specific questions. When I as ked the question, “What is Fear?” Here are some of the answers my wonderful students gave (some were beyond my expectations):

  • Fear is an unpleasant emotion felt on a situation or an event, that is created in the mind before it can be even [crystalised] in real life.
  • Imaginary and something that only exists in my head.
  • False interpretation of the future.
  • Fear is the product of, lack of understanding, lack of faith and lack of self believe.
  • Fear is not knowing that you are blessed and protected.
  • Nothing but a consequence of action without confidence.
  • Uncertainty fuelled by imagination.

When I asked the question, “What is love?” their responses were as follows:

  • Love is the purest form of emotion man can have, it heals, it gets bigger if you share it with many people.
  • Positive feelings without a reason.
  • Love is that wonderful emotion and feeling state, where we feel connected with all others in a pure way.
  • Love is a sensation that is present in our being. It is the euphoric sense of joy and excitement that is the energy of giving and compassion and unconditional. Love has no boundaries in serving.
  • The knowledge that the Divine is with you always.

I think I have created many potential poets.

Their answers to these questions are why I said that my students have understood the teachings. The challenge now is that they have to practice it intensively to go beyond where humans have gone before. Without practice, it is not going to change who they are. This is just the learning. They must understand the importance of spirituality and use it as a foundation to lead a great successful life. It makes the understanding of the teaching far more powerful. After all, nothing is impossible with Divine intervention.

Before I end my speech, I would like to congratulate the top scorers of the class led by valedictorian – Veejay Muniappan – Aneeta Sundararaj, Dr. Sharmila Surinarayanan, Malini Perianan and Rakesh Bahadhur. Veejay, was successful in her effort as she started to learn without any expectation. She was seeking, so she kept her mind empty, absorbed everything and put it into practice immediately after each class. Once again, I congratulate all of you and believe that you will be an inspiration to others you come across in your journey of success.

My heartiest gratitude to our distinguished invited guests for making the time to grace our event, with a special thank you to Datuk Ramli and Geethika Shree for springing a surprise on us by offering to perform for us today. Thank you. And last but not least, kudos to the organising team for a job well done.

My Blessings to all. Thank you. Om Sakthi.
Inaugural Graduation Ceremony of the Mindfulness MasterClass Programme 2018
Technocampus, 3rd Floor, Viva Mall, 85 Jalan Loke Yew, 55200 Kuala Lumpur
5 January 2019


STILLNESS AND FLOW: Why Every Writer Should Build an Email List and How by Dr. Rohi Shetty

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
~Stephen Covey

If you are an online writer, blogger, solopreneur or publisher, starting and building your email list should be your top priority. Even if you are a newbie. Because the money is in the list.

The biggest regret of most online entrepreneurs is that they didn’t start building an email list earlier.

Lend your ears to Pat Flynn, founder of “One of the biggest mistakes I made when starting my blog was NOT starting my email list at the same time. Since then, I’ve learned my lesson and have always started new businesses with an email list in mind. In many cases, I’ve built a list FIRST, even before launching a website!”

Not convinced? Here are five excellent reasons why you should focus on setting up and growing your email list right away.

  1. Preferred mode of communication

We rely on email as our most important form of communication both in our personal and business lives.

  • 91% of adults in the U.S. like to receive emails.
  • 72% of U.S. adults prefer to use email as a communication channel (over not only snail mail but also newspapers, magazines, text messages, TV ads, social media, and in-person communication).
  • 69% of the respondents made purchases influenced by emails.
  • About 33% of Americans check their email throughout the day.
  • Another 39% check it up to three times a day.

What is true for Americans is true for the rest of us. You and I, we would be lost without email, right?

  1. Time-tested communication pathway

Digital Equipment Corp, an equipment company, sent the first email in 1978 promoting its machinery to 400 people, 12 years before the public was introduced to the internet. It resulted in $13 million in sales.

The total number of email accounts is more than 5.2 billion and growing exponentially. Even accounting for a large number of inactive email accounts, this is a mind-boggling number.

  1. Independent and reliable tool

Unlike social media like Facebook and Twitter who can change their terms or algorithm whenever they please, email is a communication tool where you have total control. You own and control your email content and data. Also, we can segment our audience based on their response and customize our communication with them. For example, we can resend an email to subscribers who haven’t opened it the first time.

  1. Accurate performance tracking tool

Email is a highly measurable marketing tool. You can use easy-to-use dashboards to monitor exactly how well your emails are doing.

Open rate measures how many subscribers open your email.

Click-through rate measures how many subscribers clicked on a link in your email.

Email conversions measure the number of subscribers that clicked on a link in your email and visited your site or made a purchase. It shows the return on investment (ROI) of your email marketing.

Unsubscribe rate measures how many people opt out of your email list. Your unsubscribe rate should be fairly low. It is usually 2% or less.

  1. Most effective marketing mechanism

Email marketing is their primary communication channel of 89% of marketers. It generates the highest return of investment (ROI) among all communication channels – $38 in ROI for every $1 spent, which seems unbelievable. In fact, email ROI can be as high as 70:1. Email is about 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in customer acquisition.

For writers, email is the best way to build our audience and to engage with them because we can use email for not only one-to-many but also one-to-one communication.

If you are a new writer, you should start building your email list right away because it’s the best way to get instant feedback on your writing by tracking your email analytics as mentioned above.

Three steps to build your email list from scratch

Getting started is paramount so here are three free resources to give you a flying start:

  1. Pat Flynn’s 72-Hour Email List Building Challenge (free course)

Join the Pat’s challenge and go from zero to 100 email subscribers in three days. Pat will send you step-by-step instructions to help you build your list, even if you don’t have a blog or business yet.

  1. Divinely Connected BIZ JV giveaway (free)

One of the most effective ways to grow your email list is by taking part in Joint Venture (JV) giveaways. Check out this ongoing JV giveaway to help you:

  • grow your email list quickly and easily;
  • get in front of your target audience, so they can learn all about how fantastic you are;
  • gain visibility, so people know you, like you and trust you (remember that’s the reason people hire you!);
  • be seen as the expert in your field, so you get new opportunities and offers; and
  • make fabulous new connections!

Best of all, it’s free. Be sure to sign up for this giveaway right away so that you have plenty of time to set up your gift and email system before the 4th March deadline.

  1. Free Tutorial

Check out this Hubspot article containing 29 simple ways to grow your email list.

Three crucial steps to set up your email list

If you get stuck, take help from a friend or fellow writer. Don’t give up at the first hurdle.

  1. Choose an email service provider

MailChimp is the most popular email service because of its Forever Free plan. This means that if you have less than 2,000 subscribers and send less than 12,000 emails in a month, you don’t have to pay anything. Start with MailChimp or any other email provider. You can always switch to another provider later if you wish. Don’t get stuck in analysis-paralysis hell.

  1. Create a lead magnet

A lead magnet is a free report, checklist, e-book, audio or video that you gift to your prospective subscribers in exchange for permission to add them to your email list. Again, create a freebie that is easy to create, easy to consume, and reasonably valuable to your target audience.

  1. Set up email opt-in boxes on your website

Use your email service to set up one or more opt-in forms on your website. Make it easy for visitors to your site to enter their email addresses.

Action steps:

  1. Make the decision to start growing your email list and block some time to work on it this week.
  2. Join this free JV Giveaway (time-sensitive, so sign up right away)
  3. Check out Pat Flynn’s free 72-Hour Email List Building Challenge
  4. Read 29 Simple Ways To Grow Your Email List

Join the conversation:

Do you have an email list?
Do you have a lead magnet?
Post a link to your lead magnet in the comments below (on the How to Tell a Great Story website).

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