🎉🍭🎊 I’d like to wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy & successful 2021, and a great start to the decade! 💪🏼❤️ Before diving into it, I wanted to reflect on 2020. And let’s start with brief appreciation for surviving it.
Thanks for adapting!
Firstly, I want to thank health care workers risked their lives to put community first. The year has ended for us, but they continue fighting the crisis. I also want to thank my family, friends and colleagues for the understanding, love and core without which surviving 2020 would’ve been harder. Let’s look back more closely.
Off to a crazy start
2020 was surely like no other! The bad rap it got isn’t undeserved for all the gloomy news it brought right at the start. I lost family members to COVID. We had friends who lost jobs. It exhausted healthcare workers, and all of us in a way.
Each one of us keeps waxing and waning in the cyclic pattern called life. How we deal with extremes – the high and low points of life as we call them – is crucial to how well we get on to the next wave. The high points risk of making us rude, while the lows can be depressing. I’m not against emotions or letting them flow; but trouble is when emotions take over logic and lowers consciousness down to the individualist level.
I must’ve developed logical reasoning pretty early on. But I do remember becoming emotionally aware as I connected with more and more people over teenhood. More recently, I began training my mind to be self-aware – basically keeping a constant check on emotions to alarm the brain of a possible shift in the emotional equilibrium. Experts call this cognitive monitoring or being in the state of integral consciousness.
With this, my goal is to be fully conscious to count lemons as they come, and make my best attempt to make lemonade. I’m continually adding recipes of wisdom to improve the conversion rate. But at least, whenever a situation excites, perplexes, or angers me, I remind myself that the time has come! To Continue reading Living in a metaconscious state→
Last year I began drafting a theme for the year 2011. I called it ‘Being my own superhero‘. Although I did work on those lines and achieve quite a bit, the post remained a draft all year. Here’s a snippet:
I really can’t make sense of what’s going on in life. Sometimes I feel I’m being overly optimistic about things – like the sole warrior fighting all odds. Are will & determination enough to survive tough times? Can & should one person bring about change in so many people? make them realize things? help them think right? I really don’t know. But I’m going to try. Because if I don’t, someday I might curse myself for having lost a chance to make things better for myself & those around. So I’m taking this chance to be a super-hero – my own super-hero. That’s the theme for 2011. And I will try to have one each new year to set a direction to life. Cheers!
This year I thought I’ll publish it in time. But before everything else, here’s wishing you & your family a very happy, prosperous & healthy new year. But here’s what is going to really make it a ‘new year’:
Its New Year. Welcome it with a new vision, ambition & persona. Stop worrying about things that don’t matter. Respect & love people selflessly. Don’t do things that make you feel sorry. Then its a Happy New Year! Cheers
Yeah, I know its been quite some time since I wrote. Difficult time that made me look 20 years older. Naah, don’t get at my hair. Never mind. Things are better now. But some things haven’t changed. Traffic sucks with an average car buyer spending 7.5 lakhs (39% up since ’06), while we’re speculating the ill-effects of the Nano. Markets are volatile, gold is more valuable than ever. While the house buyer is speculative in the pretense of builders, BMC & the government fighting each other, property rates are only going north. Terrorism is testing our patience & resilience, while Kasab celebrates his birthday in a country that’s at the behest of robbers & killers. What are we doing? Creating circles on Google Plus, letting potholes break our spine, and gathering papers to file IT returns (btw, filling thru Sahaj takes less than 15 minutes & rupees) So here we are justifying while our assets are being killed & burnt in the name of tax.
But what are assets? Things that can make us happy & sad. Things in which we invest time, money & energy for a better future. Things we won’t let go easily. Gold, stock, property for example. But don’t you think assets cover people, promises? And as someone rightly argued, your own body (as a plant)? People & promises that have the power to make you smile, and reinforce confidence to audaciously embrace challenges. And so is your body, Continue reading Do we kill our assets?→
Strange! Why would I share the reciepe for failure? This is not a failure blog. We’re all born to suceed, its our birth right (Indians love this phrase, don’t we). But as I’ve said before, sometimes its more important to know what you don’t want or shouldn’t be doing, than what you should. I’ve spent the last few days studying how people fail, or call for their doom. They follow what I call the ‘recipe of failure’. These are things that guarantee failure – in ways that may not always be sensed/realized, but things that create long term damage that cannot be compensated by a few benevolent acts. Here 7 things to avoid at all costs:
1. Playing the blame card, always
If you get into a habit of blaming someone or the other for everything that happens in your life, you’re doomed! Trust me, there’s no softer way to put this. You can’t pull-off your entire life scapegoating & harassing others just to feel marginally better for your own irresponsible acts. And neither does that mean you blame yourself for everything, learn to deal with situations. If you work hard, you can get-away with blaming for good & still feel good about your mistakes & failures.
2. Deferring/Avoiding introspection
Sometimes we defer introspection in the fear of reconciling a wrong doing with the conscience. It takes great will to look into your faults or accept criticism, but its the only way to make yourself better for you & others around. Learn to accept criticism.
3. Acting fearless
Yea, everyone wants to be dauntless & reckless. But somewhere you need to fear someone: yourself, God, someone. This is the only check on your actions, and you must stand up to them – right or wrong – in a genuine way that leaves scope for improvement (and not just to show-off your bollocks; and ladies, whatever your counterpart of that is)
4. Lack of Patience
Everything takes time, and when they say ‘everything happens for good’ there is a certain logic to it. If something bad happens, then something good is surely going to happen to keep the natural balance. When it happens, you will feel that its the good that happened out of the bad. Yea, life kinda fools you, but its not too bad either. What you should remember is not to give up any virtue and allow negativity to set in. Because when you, the “goodness” counter is reset, and have to start fresh.
5. Pathological Distrust & Negativity
Quite a few people begin by distrusting people, some never do. This is what Ivan & me had coined few years back. Pathological distrust: what bosses or a company Continue reading Recipe for Failure→
I’m a cleanliness freak – to the extent of cleaning up my Facebook wall. Over the last week, there’s been a lot of spam with wall messages that read: “Hahaha! Mine is hilarious. Check out yours”? Familiar? Yes, that silly app which tells you how you would look in the future. I never tried it, but tired of the requests, I urged friends to avoid it via a FB update. 13 people liked it, but I only hope its the latter of these 2 messages it conveys: how awful I look, and how useless that app is. (I take everybody’s privacy too seriously, hence some masking)
I was at the departure area at CSIA – stuffed with Hot Dogs to avoid starving on the low-cost flight. Since I can’t dose off just about anywhere, I knew that my mind would be restless & I had to keep it busy. It was a long journey followed by another leg of train travel. While looking for TTD, I spotted a book store. I don’t read books, in fact I haven’t finished anything other than the Godfather – so this was a bad bad idea! But this was my chance to walk into a book store, flaunt my (non-existent) eclectic taste of business & management books, and trade some hard-earned money for a few useless reward points. Yes, sparing those tied to retail stores, most other reward programs are useless. Moreover, StanChart charges 50 bucks to deliver what you bought out off the few hundred points you gathered after spending a fortune. I did buy Screw It, Let’s Do it & Hacking Work (feel free to borrow & make those unturned pages feel good). I hurried the transaction as my flight was boarding, and I also had to hit the loo. (No no, they don’t charge for pissing on-board, but still)
We’re digressing; so let’s skip loo details and come straight to the point. As I was walking out of the loo, I saw a family friend walk in. Roughly twice my age, I’ve known the man for years – and he’s probably known me since birth. His not being an extrovert and my being bad at small talk made it very difficult to strike a conversation. Besides, all our past interactions have been restricted to exchanging greetings. My flight was boarding and he too didn’t notice me. I moved on, boarded my flight and the rest of that is history, etched here.
I never thought about it again until a couple of days back: I was told the man is no more. He was burned to death in a serious accident – to the extent of being unidentifiable. However high the fetch time of my memory is, I couldn’t ignore the last time we had crossed each other – at the airport. That was my chance – my last chance – to talk to him & wish him well. I tried excusing myself with the ‘flight boarding’ reason & even tried remembering the (n-1)th time we had spoken, which was too far to fetch. I said sorry to myself and prayed for the man’s soul, and the family he leaves behind. That’s all that could be done now.
I’ve always believed that each day could well be the last. We should thus say good bye to loved ones, and smile when we leave our homes. I had skipped something off my own doctrine, and it could not be undone. It has started to make me edgy. So I enforced that policy (much like a network admin does): no matter who, I’m not sparing any chance to greet people or smile. I kept that when I saw a granny in the market today – I went all the way just to say Hello. I didn’t want to repeat that mistake again.
When you die, you don’t want anyone to say: he was good, but the last time he crossed me, he was too busy to notice me! Do whatever it takes to talk to people – you might never see them again. Call people again if they don’t return a call, take a train to meet someone or wait hours in the sun just to see them, or just say a hello when you see people. Kiss you spouse & children every morning, kiss them before sleeping. Take every chance to smile at people & do nice things to them, in your own little ways that affect them. Be your own super-hero. Sometimes life and people remind me of paper boats we sailed in the rains: for some time they’re in your control, but when they start drifting away – they’re gone for good. Do everything you can when you’re in control.
I hope I’m writing a new post just in time – before someone inquires my whereabouts. #exaggeration. No one cares where I am or what I’m doing; whether I’m writing or I’m not. But that’s not too bad either.
But honestly, who am I writing for? I don’t write to seek fan following or money, so numbers don’t bother me. Few read my thoughts, most of them come here to demystify jargon or sync their Thunderbird address book with LDAP or check ferry timings. But numbers are not completely discouraging: in less than 2 years (starting Jun ’09) we’ve got over 28000 hits, close to 50 unique visitors visit us each day. And that’s not too bad either.
7 months back, I went through the toughest times and life couldn’t have taught me more. I was paranoid for inspiration & motivation. I picked up Amit Gupte’s practice of wishing luck to friends and realized life is short, and my friend list is too long. It would take me over 3 yrs to wish each one of them, and more pain Continue reading But that’s not too bad either→
A word of caution: this post is not about an HR exit interview, its about life & relationships – or should I say, death & breakups. Some time back I started following James Altucher’s blog – his experiences with life, money & women are unmatched. Quite often his wife Claudia, a full-time yogi, writes on his blog. Last month she wrote about how she dealt with her mother’s suicide; the truth being that it never healed – she could never get it over. Perhaps, that’s always the case when someone leaves unexpectedly – without an alarm. The mind can’t stop questioning: what went wrong? could you have saved it? You know its not your fault, but probably you could have helped, done something differently. No matter what you do, the pain never really heals. Claudia confirms that there are options and means to deal with a suicidal feeling. But if you feel like learning anything from her experience, you don’t have to wait until you’re suicidal – apply it to other scenarios.
Go a step further, think twice before exiting someone’s life; at least part on amicable terms (as HR would suggest), and keep in touch. For once they can even helplessly accept death, but its much more tormenting for them to be ignored while you continue to exist. If you don’t like my advice, here‘s some from James, yes James Altucher – her husband (& a hedge fund manager), about diversifying your human capital portfolio: Never have your happiness dependent on a yes or no decision from one person. At the very least: diversify the people who are important enough to do that.
This week I read about Brazil wanting to amend its constitution to make happiness a right for its citizens. Having worked its way up to achieve a GDP of over $2 trillion, Brazil is now working towards having happiness on the nation’s to-do. However, it is currently struck with threatening issues such as health, education, poverty & an alarming crime rate. To ensure happiness of citizens means to work around these issues, deliver world class education & wipe out crime on their streets. In-house resources and independence in science & technology that is already existant, accompanied by a loyal travail from the government can pretty much add up to the happiness they seek.
Whenever a discussion around happiness comes up, Bhutan is what comes to my mind first. Ever since I’ve been there, I haven’t been able to neglect its focus on ‘Gross National Happiness‘ that they made part of the national propaganda in the ’70s. And the rest on GNH here is purely my opinion, based on what I heard & understood from locals. The government, backed by the monarchy, is extremely responsible when it comes to delivering quality education, health care services & dealing with crime. Almost everything they need is transported from India and we are in a way responsible for their defense. Despite of the transport costs involved in every commodity, the government subsidizes everything from fuel to cars. Perhaps, that’s the reason why everyone from commoners to monks have SUVs. Bhutan is extremely beautiful and rich in culture. Tourism is already a top 5 contributor to its $2 billion economy, but Continue reading The pursuit of happiness in developing nations→