Cheers To The Joy Of Living…As We Were Meant To!

I am overwhelmed with the amount of positive reinforcement I have got for my blog “I’m Motivated…Therefore I’m”. I’m truly truly grateful for all the kind words that all of you have said, or rather written. It just inspires me to write more 🙂 secret to happiness

A lot of times I am asked this question – “how do you stay happy, cheerful and joyous all the time?” My counter question to such people – “is there any other way to be?”

However that question got me thinking about why is it that most people feel down in the dumps or sad or low or less energetic or unenthusiastic about life? To me, life is beautiful – an everyday adventure that gives me an adrenalin rush, makes me happy and helps me spread smiles 🙂

Part of my role as a coach and mentor to budding entrepreneurs allows me to ask them pertinent, yet, relevant questions. And I get all kinds of answers to those questions…seldom answers based on feelings…mostly thoughts. Life to me is a healthy combination of both. One question I get asked invariably in those sessions is, “what are some of the things you do that allowed you to change in life?” My response, “some things I have changed, some others I have transformed.”

Here is my 4×4 matrix that allows me to lead my life the way I want to lead it…full of happiness, cheer and joy!

4x4 Matrix

4×4 Matrix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite all good intentions, I did not make a huge transition till about a year and half ago. Months and years of self talk did not help – only practice did. Real change happens from the inside, not outside…that leads to transformation. My travel around the country and the world has helped me realise in a world where the only constant is me, it becomes spectacularly obvious where—internally—I struggle or thrive. And that is how I arrived at the above matrix.

1. What do I want?

How any of us really really have answers for this one? We are so caught up in the humdrum of life and everyday situations, that we forget what we want out of life. I have very often paused and asked myself this question and I have found my answering changing every now and then. Initially, this used to upset me as I thought I was fickle minded. Eventually, I had to tell myself, wanting different things at different stages in life is absolutely ok. How can I constantly want the same thing day in and day out? And obviously, once I get what I want, it is natural to want something else!

2. Belief.

The universal laws operate based on belief. Yet, we mere mortals think we know best all the time. How many times haven’t we started with faith and waited…only to stop believing because something didn’t happen when we wanted it to!!!  We must believe that what we want is possible; that it can happen and we can do it. I remember for a very long time I had stopped believing that I will find my soul mate back in my life. Till I continued to remain in that state, he did not come back into my life. The day I changed my thoughts, reinforced feelings of happiness as I visualised him back in my life…the situation changed. I met him again and life has never been the same. So, keep the belief on!!!

3. Intentions.

Our intentions determine that we don’t waver so easily from our path. Life is full of distractions – both internal and external. How we deal with these, will determine how steadily we move towards fulfilling our goals. I begin each morning with one clear intention: concentration, generosity, gratitude, peace, joy, energy, clarity, balance, or whatever it is that I want for that day. Throughout the day, I keep reminding myself of this intention. The more I remember my intention, the more effortless living it becomes.

4. Live life purposefully

This is very closely associated with the first point of what do I want? All of us have a purpose…a purpose beyond the obvious lives we lead. Discovering that purpose itself is a wonderful journey…you meet so many beautiful people as part of that journey. All our actions must become sacred rituals that yield intentional results. Which means, we must focus on that purpose. Our means of achieving that purpose can change as we grow older and mature. Mine did…and I know it will in future also. However, the basic value system of that purpose remains the same – to help as many people as I can in their endeavours, in whatever manner I can. Writing this blog is one such manner.   move

5. Be positive.

Huh??? “Everybody is saying this me…how can I implement this?” I will share how I do this all the time. Two years ago I discovered a wonderful book called The Magic, which taught me to be grateful for every small and big thing in my life. I put my heart and soul into the 28 day practice of being grateful for everything in my life. One of the toughest practices in those 28 days was the practice of gratitude even when I heard negativity all around me. For example, the sound of an ambulance automatically brings negative thoughts, which allows the mind to wander in that space. But, The Magic taught me to be grateful that it wasn’t me or my near & dear ones in the ambulance. Boy! Was that tough!!! Yet, I learnt to look at things positively and to be grateful for everything, everyone and every situation in my life. 🙂

6. Be selfish.

Do we pay compliments to others? Do we tell others that they are wonderful people and that we love them? My question to all of you out there – how many times have you said I love you to yourself???

Go ahead, be selfish…if you don’t love yourself enough, how on earth will you love others around you? I am selfish enough to chose to be happy everyday, healthy and wealthy everyday…nobody can give that to me. I have to gift it to myself. I do one thing everyday that is absolutely selfish…could be listening to my kind of music, taking a long soothing bath, a massage, curl up in my favourite chair & read something I enjoy….something that makes ME feel good! I call it self therapy 😉

7. Be Aware.

Life is all about living in the now…too much in the past, you are history, too much in the future, you are lost. Being aware of who you are and most important, why are you doing what you are doing is critical. I have learnt that the whys of life are more important than the hows of life. If your why is clear, the how will automatically happen. The universe creates a path for your why. Live…and live in the present most of the time. Use the past as life’s lessons and learn. Visualize the future you want. Act in the present – that’s my mantra to move ahead.

8. Be habituated.

For things to change, we have to do certain things everyday… regularly enough that it starts becoming a habit or a pattern. Choose something that you really want and do it Every Single Day. Today I’m habituated to a lot of good things – reading is one such habit. Writing also is another one. I make it a point to write something everyday…either my blog, a poem, a few thoughts & feelings. It is only habits that bring transformation. I’m researching for a book that I want to write. It took me a while to build in the discipline to research everyday for an hour and half and compile the information…otherwise I know the book will remain a pipe dream.

9. Breathe.

Funny right? Most of you must be wondering why is she talking about something that we do sub consciously. Exactly! We breathe because we are used to it…it just happens. But, now, take a deep breath and become conscious of your breath. Let go slowly…feel the exhilaration. Get out into the open, watch the sun rise in the morning and breath in the early morning fresh air. You will feel lighter and in heaven. Meditate and concentrate on your breathing…play around with your pace of breathing and then settle into a rhythm. You will find a different you!!!

10. Feel.

I know most people will say “oh no!!! not that again!!!” We are a world of people who are afraid to feel. Everyday we have more and more tools to feel less and less. The moment we experience intense feelings, we hide behind these tools – television, internet, food, alcohol, drugs, small meaningless talk. We are never taught to deal with uncomfortable emotions – loneliness, boredom, fear, hope. We all build our own coping mechanisms that may or may not be good. Seldom do we express what we feel….we just cope. I know my man is going to roll his eyes and say,”there she goes again”. My only earnest request to all of you – do not numb yourself to feelings. Feel and feel more…it’s all you in any case.

11. Eat.

We all have our own version of soul food. Food cures a lot of things emotionally for us. And no, I do not refer to binge eating here. I am talking about simple pleasures like biting into a juicy crunchy apple, sipping a chamomile flavoured tea & breathing in the delicate aroma, digging into a healthy crisp salad or a cheesy macaroni. When I eat, it’s not just my tongue. My nose, my eyes and most of all, my heart savours every delightful morsel. Feel what you eat!!!

12. Move.

Walk. Run. Jump. Dance. Climb. The key here is to keep movement on. Our body is filled with multiple energy channels. When we don’t move, we block those channels. As long we we keep up steady moves, energy is flowing through out our body. Nature did not create this body to be desk bound all through the day and couch bound in the evenings. Moving our bodies is physically detoxifying. So, go ahead and stretch and make some noise while you are at it! You will feel liberated.

13. Set boundaries.

We have to determine what we want to receive and what is unacceptable to us. And then communicate this to others. This will naturally set boundaries for all. Everyone will then know what is to be expected. We should not expect others to behave in accordance with our wants or desires. This also shows the other person that you are sure about what you want. They may not like it, but, believe me, they will respect you for expressing it in the long run.

14. Don’t take things personally.

A very tough call. It becomes a tough call because we do not understand that nothing in life is personal. It is only our reaction to a certain situation or person that triggers a reaction or response, as the case maybe. What someone says or does that strikes an emotional chord with us is always a reflection of our own insecurities, values, and perceptions.Knowing that nothing is personal, releases the burden of what other people think and how they behave. We have to look within and ask ourselves what our thoughts and our behaviour say about us.

15. Spend time alone.

There is a clutter in our minds, an incessant noise that drowns everything else that we ought to listen to. The only way you will listen to your inner voice is when you stop the external voice. The external voice can be stopped when you spend time alone. My alone time fuels and energizes me when I return to the social world. Years ago, I used to wonder what will I do if I’m left alone…I did not enjoy my company even for a short duration. Then I met a wonderful lady called Dr Prema Panduranga, who in her discourse asked all of us one question – if you cannot spend even a few minutes in your own company, how should others spend hours with you?

Take a long walk by yourself… no music. Go out to dinner and sit at a table alone. Enjoy your meal and drink. Sit by yourself in nature and just stare at what surrounds you. Notice what you feel in your body. Notice where your thoughts go. Realize that you are not only capable of manoeuvring the world with your own strength, you are cable of manoeuvring your thoughts and your feelings. Find complete freedom to be you when you are alone.

16. Let go.

The most difficult and yet, the most transformative act is letting go. Letting go is akin to cleaning your cupboard and throwing out the unwanted stuff. If I don’t clean my cupboard periodically, how will I make place for the things I buy? It’s the same with emotional letting go. If I don’t let go of my old experiences, how will I have new ones? Let go of everything that is not making us better individuals…and it includes this matrix too. If this doesn’t work for you, create your own matrix and share it with us!!!

Live joyously 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Motivated…Therefore, I Am!

Gautam Buddha once said, “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” Very true. I am giving this a little twist and adding, “My mind is motivated…therefore I am!”

What brought this on? A multitude of interactions with people from different walks of life and a few movies I have watched over a period of time. Let me start with the movies. I saw “Mardaani”…a movie which has a heroine as the honest, passionate cop who uncovers a human trafficking racket in India. This is just one among the few from Bollywood. Hollywood has it’s share of such movies. One hero or heroine who is charged with a sense of mission, achievement and passion to make a difference. They are willing to overcome whatever obstacles come their way, throw a few challenges to people around them and generally come out looking good after achieving their goal. Love life

On the other hand, in my interactions with people around me – friends, family, acquaintances, people I work with – I have discovered what Zig Ziglar says is 100% true.” People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing.  That’s why we recommend it daily.”

So, what struck me was why is it that a handful of people are inspired or motivated to do that much more in life, while, a majority go through life as a burden?

I draw my inspiration from some of the people around me…people who are “full of beans”, so to speak. One person I can name is a dear friend Chaya Srivatsa, whose zest for life is so infectious that it leaves me on a high. And then there are two old men (both in their 70’s) who keep me on my toes – Venky Patil & Niranjan Malik, both father figures for me – the former my biological and the latter, my godfather. Such enthusiasm for life they have and such happiness they spread.

My own excitement about living life knows no bounds. I chose the adrenalin rush that life brings, I opt for the positivity that comes with the sunrise every morning…therefore, life allows me to live the way I want to. People have asked me what works for me and I am sharing that with all my readers.

1. Life is a plan. Have you ever planned an event? When we plan, do we not take contingencies into account? People who plan for obstacles are more likely to stick with projects than those who don’t. There have been innumerable surveys conducted that have proved when you have a plan B, you are more likely to succeed in achieving your results, because, you don’t get stuck only with plan A. Michelle Tillis Lederman of New York City practiced this strategy when she was writing a book (11 Laws of Likability) last year. She installed blinds on her home-office door to minimize disruptions and hired an editor to give feedback on each chapter so she wouldn’t get stuck along the way. She also established rules, like checking e-mails only after she had written for two hours. “It was easier to follow this plan,” says Lederman, “than to wrestle with every distraction in the moment.”

2. Believe in ability. One person whose work I have admired is Prof Albert Bandura, professor of psychology at Stanford University. His work has shown that people who have perceived self-efficacy (that is, the belief that they can accomplish what they set out to do) perform better than those who don’t. That self-belief is what helped Ingrid Daniels of Newark, New Jersey, leave a stable corporate job to develop a T-shirt line after the birth of her first child. “It never occurred to me I could fail, even though I had no experience,” she says. Today Daniels runs two successful small businesses (the T-shirt company and a line of stationery), which allows her to stay at home with her three children. We have a great many examples like this all around us. Personally, this was a challenge I overcame myself, to be able to do what I want to do in life, rather than be stuck with what is “expected of me” because others perceive me in certain ways.  mandela

A quote that made a difference to my thinking goes as follows: People always say you have changed when they find you don’t fit into their framework.

3. SMART goals. I can’t emphasize enough about this. The best example I can give is when we all embark on weight loss programs. Over ambitious goals and hoping to fit in jeans that are two sizes smaller, is a sure shot way of remaining where we are. I am personally guilty of this. So, what I decided was to stick to realistic goals that were/are more achievable. Goals that are a stretch but not an overreach…stretch, so that I feel I have gone the extra mile and seen the results. Working on the goals or dreams everyday is the key to sustaining that bit motivation.

4. Declare your dreams. What good is it when your dreams die with you? For they surely will if you do not share them with anyone. As children we are encouraged to dream, parents feel happy when a child talks about his or her aspirations. What happens as the child grows? They are asked to be realistic. You may say that my previous point spoke about being realistic. Yes, that is for goals. If my dreams aren’t big enough, what will I look forward to?

More important, do not stop sharing and talking about your dreams. When you share, you are internally motivated to go out and do something more about fulfilling your dreams.

5. You are your priority. Put your needs first, even when it feels utterly selfish. You will derail your progress if you sacrifice yourself for others in order to please them. Very often we are inundated with comments like, “C’mon don’t be mean…just this once.”, “You’re doing it for me”, “I’ll be hurt if you don’t do this.”, “How can you do this?” etc, etc. Remember, these people may mean well…but, the dream is not theirs, it is yours. So, you have to become a priority with yourself. Also, when you are happy from inside, you will make others happy.  Inspirational-Quotes-483

6. Raise the challenge bar. One of the simplest ways of moving ahead and reaching goal posts is when we challenge ourselves that much more everyday. It’s hard to remain enthusiastic when everything stays the same. However, only I can change the status quo…right? Athletes and sports people do this constantly, as do creative people. They are constantly pushing the envelope where their talent and skills are concerned. It is that much more interesting when you do things a little differently.

7. Keep learning. One of the reasons I continue to love the man I love, is his curiosity to learn something new in every situation, from everyone he meets. In fact, he keeps my learning curve growing because of the knowledge he keeps sharing with me. It could be bits and bytes about travel, politics, work in the office, books, music, culture, friends, family…just about anything. The process of getting to the goal, rather than just eyeing the finish line., is so much more enjoyable. Very often we forget that.

8. Always focus on the personal aspect, deeper meaning. We are more likely to realize our goals and fulfil our dreams when there is personal significance attached to them. For example, I always set emotionally connected dates to reach certain milestones in life – birthdays, anniversaries are the best target days. The sense of achievement is fantastic! Similarly, doing something because it has an emotional connect is much more meaningful, than just doing something for the sake of it. So, go ahead and find the deeper meaning.

Vincent Van Gogh said, “I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” I could not agree more. My passion is what fuels me…do you have one is my question? Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears…..and finally, we become what we believe.

Remain inspired, remain motivated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The DNA Of A Happy Life…

Happiness – a frame of mind everyone wants and, yet, few do the things that it takes to make them happy. Why do most people end up doing the “easy things” rather than the “right things”, which can actually make them happy?

Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln. This is true! To me that happiness is valuing what you have, and enjoying the people, places, objects and events in your life for what they are.  It’s not about making massive breakthroughs every minute… sometimes it’s simply about being, appreciating, and making small tweaks.  And you can almost always enjoy the things you have and make the best of the events happening around you if you decide firmly that you will! my happiness

Never look for a perfect life…create your own life based on the spectrum of emotions we live. We just have to…

1. Be humane – embrace your humaneness. What people miss is being human and humane – to feel, to give, to take, to laugh, to dance, to get lost, to be found, to love & to lust… to be so unapologetically and beautifully human in every imaginable way.

2. Realize your greatness – you are not a failure because you’re not perfect, got rejected or laid off, struggle to make ends meet, or have a family with issues.  You are great because, despite your circumstances, you keep loving, you keep getting back up after every fall, and, above all, the little steps you keep taking, you take with grace.

3. Exercise your power – this life is mine and I have the power choose to what I want to do and do it well. I have the power to love what I want in life and love it genuinely. Therefore the power to be happy lies in me.

4. Accept yourself just the way you are – Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t.  Everybody has their own strengths & weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are, and aren’t, that you will truly find happiness and success.

5. No external validation – I don’t have control over what others think of me, but I do have control over how I internalise their opinions of me. What I work on constantly is to allow others to love me for who I am, and not for who they want me to be.

6. Choose your own thoughts – The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. And often times this means choosing your own thoughts over the opinions of others.

7. Stop resisting what is – Flow with reality, not against it.  And don’t be trying 24/7 to fix everything.  Some things don’t need fixing… they just need acceptance. What you resist persists. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.  happiness rainbow

8. Appreciate each day for what it’s worth – If what you did today didn’t turn out as you hoped, tomorrow is a new opportunity to do it differently, or to do nothing at all.  What’s important is to realize that you have a choice.  So no matter how tough the day was, always try to end it with a positive thought, knowing that a new beginning starts in the morning.

9. Be grateful – Gratitude is simply the awareness of what’s right. Count the blessings in your life, and start with the breath you’re taking right now.

10. Forgive – Sometimes we don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it, because we need it, and because we cannot let go and move forward without it.

11. Leave the past & negativity alone – it is rightly said that “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”. The past and the negativities of our life have no place in our present. They create toxicity and we definitely do not need it.

12. Keep your faith – Very often with adversity, we lose faith in ourselves and in our abilities. We lose faith in people around us and in the universal process. Seriously, it is important to take pride in how far we have come in life and have faith in how far we can actually go. Treat each day with renewed freshness and faith…life becomes a beautiful journey.

13. Celebrate the small wins in life – The bigger things in life take so much space in our thoughts that we forget to appreciate the smaller things in life. We also forget that life is a series of daily small things and not just a few big things. It’s the daily small things that need to be celebrated more regularly. Who can stop my life being a party then?

14. Enjoy learning & growing – Acknowledge your troubles but gather strength from them, and laugh at your mistakes but learn from them.  Getting second chances in life is about giving yourself the opportunity to grow beyond your past failures. It’s about learning as you go and positively adjusting your attitude and efforts toward future possibilities.

15. Everyday meaningful actions – What I do everyday matters…more importantly, WHY I do them matters most. While I work on things that I really love to work on, I also look at making my time more meaningful to me. It’s a measure of my happiness quotient. happiness

16. Express yourself – Life can become regretful if we fail to express our feelings and emotions at the right moment. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the words you never had the courage to speak.

Elizabeth Gilbert says in Eat, Pray, Love, “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” 

I am sure all you beautiful people out there have your own recipe for creating happiness in your lives. The floor is yours to share those recipes…who knows, you may be making some other soul happy today!!!

 

Success…Mantra Or Recipe

I am writing after a while…all this while my mind has been pondering about the word “success”. Yesterday I spent time with a self made millionaire, who was asked by someone “What is the mantra for your success?”. The same question has been asked by thousands & thousands of people world over to a Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Azim Premji, Mukesh Ambani, Akio Morita, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Shakira, George Clooney, Amitabh Bachchan and others.

When I talk about success so passionately, a lot of my friends have told me that success means different things to different people. Sure I agree…my understanding is irrespective of what success means to you and in whatever field you achieve it, the recipe to achieve that success will be the same. Wouldn’t it?

That brings me back to the question…do successful people really have a recipe or a mantra that brings the success? Yes!!!  Yes, they do have a mantra or recipe. For me achieving success is like cooking a superb dish. The end result may be a simple dish, but the ingredients need to be in the right proportion. So what are the ingredients I am talking about? Let’s get to the kitchen of life…

To your pan of Passion, using the ladle of Positive Attitude, add the following ingredients. Mind you the ingredients are very BASIC 🙂

Belief – In order for you to achieve anything in your life – you have to first believe. You need to believe in yourself that you can achieve it. You must have faith in your goals and your path to that success. Once your mind is convinced that you can do it, nothing is impossible. Belief is the ‘mind and heart’ & ‘think and feel’ part of the recipe.

Action – Nothing moves until you do something. You belief alone is not enough…you need to act on that belief. However, if my passion is high, then my belief will move me to act. When you act upon what you believe, there is focus. And there is energy. That energy propels you to greater heights.

Skills – My passion, belief and action will come to nothing if I do not upgrade my skills required for my work. Skills are those tools that will help me move closer inch by inch, foot by foot everyday towards my goal post. In a fiercely competitive world, if I don’t increase my knowledge and hone my skills, what am I attracting? Not success for sure!

IntegrityIntegrity of thought & deed. Integrity to yourself and others working with you. Without this there is no credibility I can build for myself. Integrity will also tell that there are no short cuts to success. I have to find my path and walk on on it. Sometimes it will be smooth, mostly it is uphill. It is during those uphill walks, that my integrity will enable & empower me.

Consistency – The little waterfall did not change the shape of the rock because of it’s force, but by its consistent contact with the rock. Look at any successful person around you. What has worked for them is the consistency of action in their field. It could be a carpenter carving a beautiful chair or a musician creating music or playing an instrument. Relentless pursuit is what brings us closer to success.

Once this BASIC recipe starts simmering in your pan of Passion, then you need to add the right seasoning of Determination, Discipline & Dedication. Mix it up in a way that suits your life’s purpose and then you automatically have a purposeful life!!!

Here’s wishing you all a delicious day ahead 🙂 🙂 🙂