The Year That Was…The Year That Will Be

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.” – TS Eliot

There’s something about the end of the year that makes a lot of people sit up and take stock of what has happened in their lives. I include myself in this. This is the time to dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. At least, this helps me do my part. To me it is an affirmation that I am interested in fully living life in the year to come. new-year-quotes-07

Life to me has always been a simple journey, filled with adventure and excitement, to be enjoyed with people who want to be art of your life…not just with people you want in your life. The last week I have been pondering about what to write as my last blog for 2014. The year ending and a new year beginning is all about you or me, its about expectations, aspirations and our relationships we nurture, build and carry with us. Hence, the acronym YEAR made perfect sense…therefore, the year that was and the year that will be!

YOU

Every year begins with you and ends with you. It’s all about you! People get you presents for some occasion or the other, but, your best present you get never changes: Your own existence! It is also your best present to others!

What the new year brings you will depend on what you bring to the new year. I bring new hopes, new dreams and desires, my ability to aspire and therefore, inspire. I will build more this coming year based on the foundation laid last year and the years before that. That is the bedrock of my life.

Every single year we become different people…all of us, one way or the other. I don’t think we are the same person all our lives. In 2015, I will learn to love the new person I have become a little more…maybe a lot more. For if I don’t love myself, how & why do I expect others to love me? Will you promise to love yourself a little more this year?

I hope that in 2015 I’m not afraid to make my share of mistakes. When I’m making mistakes, I’m doing new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing myself, changing myself, changing my world. Will you do things you’ve never done before? Because, then you and I are Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do It.

EXPECTATIONS & ENTHUSIASM

My biggest lesson in life – You can’t base your life on other people’s expectations.  I try not to listen to the shoulds or coulds, and try to get new-year-quotes-2014-beautiful-cards-to-send-your-wishes-brad-paisleybeyond expectations, peer pressure, or trying to please – and just listen. I believe all the answers are ultimately within us. It definitely would not make sense to lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.

When Steve Jobs realised that he had limited time on this earth, he said something very profound, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Expectations for me are all about what is truly important for me in life, that makes me happy and enable me to keep my loved ones happy.

It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. My lesson is enthusiasm come from my Labrador, Whiskey. His unfettered enthusiasm to do everyday activities is so infectious…it teaches me how to live life daily with that passion. Enthusiasm spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.

I read somewhere that it is better to arouse enthusiasm in people than in teaching the facts. The facts may change, but that enthusiasm for exploring the world will remain with them the rest of their lives. Go where you want to go, where your dreams and desire take you…but, go with enthusiasm and passion. My experience has been when dreams are combined with passion, they become a reality for us.

ATTITUDE

Attitude is that one little thing which makes a big difference. The older I get, the more I realise the importance of attitude. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a person… a group… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.

Attitude to me, is the magnet that attracts people to you. When you are joyful, when you say yes to life and have fun and project positivity all around you, you become a sun in the centre of every constellation, and people want to be near you.  Lets-ring-in-the-New-year

A positive, sunny attitude is what gets me through the grey or dark clouds of life. My disposition determines how I lead my life, not my circumstances. I may or may not have control over my circumstances, however, I have control over my disposition. I choose an attitude that enables, empowers & enhances everything in my life.

So, what does the new year bring? 2015 brings me at least 365 new opportunities.

 

RELATIONSHIPS

Unless a man starts afresh about things in the new year, he will certainly do nothing effective. This is also true for our relationships. In the past year, we all would have forged new relationships, strengthened some old relationships, messed up some old ones…  The time has come to heal those by starting anew. Lots of things can be fixed. Things can be fixed. Relationships can be fixed too, provided the respect and trust is there. Love alone, may not suffice.

Relationships are mysterious. We doubt the positive qualities in others, seldom the negative. You will say to your partner: do you really love me? Are you sure you love me? You will ask this a dozen times and drive the person nuts. But you never ask: are you really mad at me? Are you sure you’re angry? When someone is angry, you don’t doubt it for a moment. Yet the reverse should be true. We should doubt the negative in life, and have faith in the positive.

And, that, my friends will be my commitment for 2015. Trust the positive, the laws of the Universe, have faith in the general goodness of mankind and believe that one day, we will have peace that we, as human beings really deserve.

 

2015 MANTRA

Work on containing the toxicity around by adopting an enthusiastic and positive approach to life, people and circumstances. Of course, it is going to be tough. I can assure you it will be worth the while. You will be ready to embark on your journey in 2016 in a lighter, more carefree manner.

2015 is for  the new you. You can pass through another year, coasting on cruise control. Or you can step out of your comfort zone, trying things you have never done before, & make 2015 as the year that you elevate from where you are & soar high.

Make it happen! Because I am going to!

WISHING ALL YOU WONDERFUL PEOPLE A GREAT NEW YEAR DESIGNED AND CUSTOMISED TO FULFIL YOUR DREAMS AND DESIRES!

 

 

 

 

 

Home Is A Person & Am Finally Home!

After my last post I have received comments and calls from people with whom the words resonated. I also had a lot of people query me about one point in my blog – “I don’t find my relationship with my partner/spouse as it was before, there is no common ground, how do I get over the boredom in my relationship, we don’t know what to say to each other, etc etc”   I'm home 1

It is unfortunate, but, true. Most couples face this at some point in life and they really don’t know what to do with each other. The children flying the nest brings home this fact in a more hard hitting manner. This is where couples have to make the extra effort if they want to sustain their relationship and nourish it with a different kind of love. Love is not just about finding the right person, it’s about working with them to create the right relationship – working with them in different stages of life to nurture that relationship. For it is the truth, as we move from one stage of life to another, our relationship also changes. Therefore, the way we manage that change is fundamental to how our bond strengthens with our partner.

Always make time for each other.

In every relationship, it is imperative that we make time for each other. It doesn’t matter whether you & your partner are in the same city or not. Always make time to communicate with each other. Neglect based on lack of attention damages relationships far more often than anything else. There’s nothing more vital to the bond you share with someone than simply being there for them.  Too often we underestimate the power of a thoughtful question and a listening ear that’s fully present and focused.  Although it’s a simple act, it may very well be the most powerful act of caring on that particular day for your other half.  IMG_185610755141423

When we pay attention to each other we breathe new life into each other.  With frequent attention and affection our relationships flourish, and we as individuals grow stronger.  This is the side effect of a good relationship – we help heal each other’s wounds and support each other’s strengths.

Bottom line:  I put in effort & stay in close touch with what’s going on in my partner’s life – communicate openly on a regular basis.  Not because it’s convenient, but because he is worth every bit of it. 🙂

 

Ending the day together.

Over a period of time, we all develop our schedules and time tables. Most couples create individual routines and forget to include their IMG_73268588016637significant half in that. What I find endearing about my man is that he waits for me to finish my last chores for the day and then we spend time together. It could be watching the news or a movie or a sport on television, play a game of scrabble or quiz, read something together. Then retire to bed at the same time. There’s something cozy about sliding under the covers together, talking about what happened during the day or what’s on the list for tomorrow.

Bottom line: this is a routine that helps us bond over music too…both of us love to listen to music before falling asleep. 🙂

 

What’s common to you both?

It’s important to keep your own hobbies when you’re part of a couple, of course, because you want to stay true to yourself and not change your personality. It’s also very important you and your partner can cultivate common interests without changing who either of you are, and it will make your relationship stronger as a result. I love reading and writing, which are typically solitary hobbies, but my partner doesn’t hesitate to grab a book and sit next to me on the couch.

Fortunately for us, we do share a lot of common interests – travel, music, genre of books we read, board games, crosswords, quizzes, golf. He isn’t very fond of getting into the pool, but, does so only because I enjoy it. I learnt all about football including certain terminology and nuances of the game, which he claimed women find extremely difficult to grasp.I only had to show him that women can learn whatever they set their mind to, especially if a loving partner is involved.

Bottom line: I made the effort to learn about some of the sports he enjoys because it gave me chance to reciprocate what he did for me & continues to do for me. 🙂

 

Actions speak louder than words.

When you love someone you have to act accordingly.  They will be able to tell how you feel about them simply by the way you treat them over the long-term.  IMG_71679248329286

You can say sorry a thousand times, or say “I love you” as much as you want, but if you’re not going to prove that the things you say are true, they aren’t. Sometimes just words will not be enough. I have always used a combination of things to show my man that I really mean every emotion I feel for him. I have surprised him for his birthday, brought him unexpected gifts, whisked him off on a date just like that, sneaked up from behind to hug him while he was working hard on something. It’s important to learn what matters to your partner and work on it. This is more so with regard to certain existing relationships in your partner’s life.

Bottom line: walking hand in hand, occasionally exchanging a hug during the day (whenever work permits), doing a “weather” check once a day, sending a loving message  to each other…we do all these things…now it comes naturally to both of us. Yes, it definitely adds zing to our more than two decade relationship.

 

Socialize together.

Chances are most of your friends are in the same age group as you, give or take a couple of years. Over a period of time, while the kids are growing up, moms & dads tend to have a separate social life and find it difficult to in later years to  accommodate each other’s friends. One ofI'm home 2the common binding factors I have found with my soul mate, is that we have treated our respective friends as common friends. My friends are his friends and vice versa. As a result, our social evenings have invariably been with a lovely mix of people that we both know.

To this I have to thank our upbringing also. Both of us have not seen our respective parents go partying without their significant half.

Bottom line: when I treat his friends like mine & vice versa, we just increase the set of fantastic people in our lives. 🙂

 

Open up…especially in trying times.

We all go through highs and lows as individuals. Let your partner in when you are in your dark corner. I tend to share even the smallest of things with my partner. I don’t expect him to solve my problems or fight my battles for me…however, he faces them with me, supports me when I go through my crabby moods because of those challenges. Most times, we all just want somebody who understands, accepts and becomes a sounding board. relationships1-250x250

Allow your partner to stand by you. No false heroism that ‘I can do it on my own’. When you stand there with all your insecurities and vulnerabilities, you also give the space to your partner to share his/her own challenges. Always remember, sharing is mutual, never a one way street.

Bottom line: I share because it shows my man what I am feeling and I also get to hear the words “I love you” more often that way… 😉

 

More than just looks.

It’s true when grown ups say looks fade away, it’s the character that matters. When you fall in love, sure, looks make a difference. But, that’s not enough to sustain the relationship. I recollect reading somewhere, infatuating yourself with someone simply for what they look like on the outside is like choosing your favourite food based on colour instead of taste.  It makes no sense.  It’s innate, invisible, unquantifiable characteristics that create lasting attraction.  There must be common ground in your interests and outlooks on life.

In the journey of life, when you go through the rough & tumble, it’s not looks that show the strength of your partner, it’s what’s inside. Just as we all have our preferences for spicy food, chocolates, mint or cinnamon flavours, we also get attracted to certain characteristics of people. Sometimes it’s even the scars your soul shares with them that reels you in and creates the very platform that hold you together in the long run.

Bottom line: “no one gets me the way you do” these eight words became the bedrock of our relationship. The day my partner said this to me, I knew we had reached a level of understanding in our relationship that will sustain anything.

 

Little somethings of everyday life.

It’s the everyday stuff that makes life interesting or boring. All of it depends on how you and your partner view it. For us, our everyday stuff is exciting, expectant and exhilarating because we chose to make it so… yet, it’s also everyday stuff. Nothing new. We don’t beat around the bush when it comes to expressing – if you appreciate someone today, tell them.  If you adore someone today, show them.  Hearts are often confused and broken by thoughtful words left unspoken and loving deeds left undone.  There might not be a tomorrow.  Today is the day to express your love and admiration. I'm home 3

A great relationship with your partner is based on team work and communication – both are two way processes. I have figured out, the most important trip I have taken in life is to meet my partner half way through. Otherwise, I would not have been his partner. It really is a full circle.  The strength of a relationship depends on the strength of its two members, and the strength of each member in the long run depends on the quality of the relationship. Finally, we as two individuals, determine the quality of relationship we want to have.

Both of us have always believed that a relationship can never be 50:50 all the time. Most of the time one of us will be stronger than the other. However, yes, there will be times when both of us have to be strong together. As long as the two of us understand that, we continue to be happy and smiling.

Saying “I love you”, “good morning”, “good night”, “how was your day” all have a long term impact on the relationship. Like the old adage goes, you can never have too much of the good thing in life. These are all good things of life, which when shared with your partner, strengthens the relationship at a subterranean level.

Say the following line to your soul mate and mean every word of it…like I’m saying it now to my partner(he hasn’t heard this one before) – Walk with me… no questions are that tough, when you walk with me in the journey of getting the answers.

Bottom line: it’s easy to fight about stupid things. When I look at his photograph, think of all the great times we have had and continue to have…when I look at how our children adore him and dote on him…I know that there is no other person on earth I want to wake up with every morning!

 

 

 

 

 

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 Why & How Of Life…

“At the center of your being

Self discovery

Self discovery

you have the answer;

you know who you are

and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu

My question when I read this quote was, “Do I? Do I really know who I am?” Then I realised that it is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question ‘who am I’ except the voice inside herself.

Life's path

Life’s path

This journey of self discovery is one of the most interesting and profound journey one can ever take. I took my first step…and I continue on that journey every day of my life.

It’s a wild ride. But, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel: our perspectives about our selves and this life shift tremendously and open the doors for some miraculous opportunities, love, and peace.
I’ve learned some of these lessons the hard way, but once I learned them, life became a lot clearer and the road to wherever I’m going is becoming more and more effortless and enjoyable. There are still times that arise which aren’t so picturesque, however, right now, I’m just better equipped to ride that rocky wave and can remind myself to settle into what I know.

Finding bliss

Finding bliss

The key here being aware of “what I know”. This awareness comes in layers, doses and never at once.  It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives. I can assure all of you out there, that initially, the pain was because I was so conditioned to discovering my weaknesses, warts and wasted life. The more I focused on those aspects, the more suffering I inflicted on myself…without even realizing it.
Till such a time, when I was told by my dear friend,  Suzy, who helped me create an emotional platform for myself, wherein the first step was to start loving me for myself. What a relief it was to finally peel the first layer and I took the first step of accepting myself, warts and all, and love myself as I am. In that process, I kind of died inside in order to rise from my own ashes and believe in myself and love myself to become a new person.
Identify My Calling

Identify My Calling

Suzy, my “Wise Woman” told me, “Prepare yourself to take a journey. One that will help you remember who you are beneath all the clutter of everyday life.””The clutter of every day life?” though I had heard the term before, it  somehow made sense to me , once I took a moment and thought about how my life had being going recently. Then the gloom set in! The gloom because as I examined my life, it seemed more like a merry go round without any stops, where I could get off and just catch my breath. There were so many things I had filled into my life…and that day I was forced to think of the purpose of doing so many things at one time. Was I happy?”That is what you get when you think gloomy thoughts,” Suzy’s voice penetrated the gloom like the flare of a torch gleaming through a fog.  Passion

“When you think gloomy thoughts, you are calling for gloomy weather that will further dampen your thoughts and change the environment around you. Make it a habit, and it will eventually change who you are.”

“How can my thoughts change who I am?” I asked. That sounded impossible.

Love life“It is simple really. Your thoughts determine what you believe is possible for you and train your expectations so that you see what you are trained or expecting to see. Think about red cars and that is all you notice on the drive to work. Focus on how much you hate your job, or how boring school is … and that is what your brain will present to you .. the evidence to back up your beliefs. And if you do that long enough, you change your world view and limit what is possible for you to achieve.”

“Okay,” I said, not quite sure that I could argue with that, but not sure I totally believed it either.

“The point is not to swallow what I say. Question it, test it out in your own life, bounce it off of your life experience and see if what I say rings true for your life.” That did surprise me as I realised that while we grow up, we are conditioned to accepting & absorbing a lot of  ideas and superficial reasoning mixed in. When we are young, we are taught to listen and not talk back. And so we develop the habit of thinking that everyone knows more than we do — which is true when we are very young and lack life experience.  No regrets

Ideally, after this, I was to have progressed from child to adult, from caterpillar to butterfly…go through my own chrysalis. Did that happen? I thought I did…:). Here are some of the things that I should have done while my metamorphosis was taking place:

1. Instead of just listening & following, I should have led and questioned.

2. I had to think for myself and make my own decisions.

3. I had to break my shell and the limitations set by others on my life.

4. I had to start discovering myself and what I was to do with my life.  Define your life

Often this is a vision quest — and what you discover about who you are resets the expectations of those around you regarding what life tasks and life path you are meant to follow. Clearly, not all of the above happened effectively in my life. Yes, I could make decisions, which allowed me to break my shell every once in a while. However, I could not battle the collective limitations that were set on me by others around me. It was frustrating to say, the least.

Dreams come trueSo, after understanding all this, I had to think about the following for myself:

Did I really want to discover who I was?

Was it too late for me?

Would knowing who I was to become, change me?       Dreams

Did I want that change?

Was I willing to risk what I had for something better?

Would these answers leave me worse off?

Would I be able to live the life of my dreams?

My vision quest led me to ten basic building blocks that support my life today. I am happy to share that with everyone around me. These I have shown as pictographic representations across my writing.

Finally, the bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are. The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.

As for me…life begins anew everyday !!!


La mia vita … le mie condizioni! My life…my terms!

I was reading an interview by Sophia Loren and her response to a question by the interviewer made me smile…big time 🙂

Interviewer: “Ms Loren, how would you say life has treated you?”

Sophia Loren: “Life doesn’t treat me…I treat life by living it on my terms.”

This brought to mind a question…is there any other way to live?

When I was a child & growing up, I was made to feel that I could conquer the world and nothing was impossible. This created in me an insatiable desire to achieve and achieve. It led to me becoming competitive. You may ask…what’s wrong with that.

Everything! Everything because I was competing with the external world. However, this was something I did not understand for a very very long time in my life. With every new achievement in my life there was a sense of exultation which I mistook for happiness. Or maybe it was happiness at that moment.living life quotes (4)

Funny things happen as you grow older. There was a kind of restlessness in me that I could not get over with. And it persisted. I had two choices then – either I continue to live with that restlessness or acknowledge it and do something about it. The question was what do I do?

It was time for some soul searching in my life…the only answer that came back to me again and again was a quote by an unknown person…”What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Failure still made a difference…it was so ingrained in me that I could not fail. Some more soul searching led me to read Napolean Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich” in which he says “What if you fail?” That got me thinking…would I faint or worse would I die if failed? It was more to do with what would others think? Failure isn’t expected of me in any role that I play in my life. How many of us go through our lives with this foundation???

Books have always been my best friends…and I started finding my answers. It was then that I realised that the competitive spirit I had all my life had to be directed in a totally opposite direction. I had to compete with myself…if I had to grow as a human being. And since then my life changed…and how!!!

Once I discovered I could design my life in ways that I had only dreamt of earlier…it was an addiction. And it got it me hooked! Since then I have lived my life based on my dreams, wild, free and with integrity. I have been true to what my heart says…not what logic says. This has bought an insatiable desire to edify everyone who came into my life. Because everyone taught me something that I could use to lead a joyous life. live ur dreams

This in turn helped me become more and more fearless…in my mind. That was the most liberating feeling! It got me in touch with my own self…forgiving myself, loving myself and therefore healing myself. So, in the spirit of that love and freedom I am sharing 18 quotes that I live my life by…challenging everyone out there to live life on their own terms. Go ahead…do it folks…you will never look back with regret.

My Life…My Terms Building Blocks

1. Be grateful for what you have…all magic stems from gratitude.

2. “If you’re not willing to go all the way, don’t start the journey at all!” — Charlemagne

3. You are more important than you realize.

4. Be the type of person you want to meet.

5. Be so good that they can’t ignore you!

6. Wear your invisible crown every single day. Only then will you be treated like a king or a queen. 

7. “Don’t do anything you don’t believe in.” — Russell Simmons

8. Don’t change so someone will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you!

9. Understand what you tolerate. You will also realize why you tolerate.

10. Always always pay attention to your relationship with yourself.

11. Sometimes life is all about dolce far niente – it is all about the sweetness of doing nothing.

12. “Make no small plans for they cannot stir your soul.” Machiavelli

13. “Feet? Why do I need them when I have wings to fly.” Frida Kahlo

14. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds…explore, dream, discover” Mark Twain

15. Be drawn by what you really love. You will never go astray.12-morning-quotes-to-start-your-day7

16. Never be afraid to make mistakes or change courses mid stream. It is better to put your heart and soul into something you are passionate about rather than work on mediocrity.

17. It’s important to dream, plan and act. More fundamental is to believe.

18. Never ever give up on yourself, your dreams or your life.

Time to get out of bed every morning feeling excited about life…to be charmed by what the universe has to offer and pick and choose what you want for your dream life. Celebrate your life!!!

Islands In The Stream…Forever In Love

“Baby when I met you there was peace unknown…” crooned Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton. The song brought home a discussion some of us were having with regard to sustaining, long lasting relationships and how they have endured the test of time. There are many kinds of relationships and as many kinds of love nudging those relationships in the right direction. Our discussion that day was more on the nurturing of romance and what’s important in relationships.

The-secrets-to-a-long-lasting-relationship-quote  As the picture says, the secret to a long lasting relationship is all of the above…true. But, why would two people want to do it? Simply because of a crazy little thing called love! One of my favourite quotes (and I have a lot of them depending on what I feel at that moment) is “Grow old with me…the best is yet to be”. I want to grow old with the man I fell in love with years ago. For that to happen, we have to sustain our relationship on a continuous basis. All relationships need that sustenance…only then will they flourish, grow & mature like wine.

One of the questions that came up in that long discussion among friends that evening was, what can we do to sustain. Here is my two bit and I can say happily that my man & I both agree on these. In fact, putting some of this into action just came naturally I would say..and I know he will have a smile on his face as he reads this 🙂

In any romantic relationship passionate love is very important, but long-term couples also engage in deliberate acts of love that nurture their partner and their overall couple relationship. Love as a continuous engagement of the heart, body & soul, that includes how you love your partner and how your partner wants to be loved. For some people it may mean saying, ‘I love you.’ For other people it may involve changing the oil in the car. Love also means being empathic, meeting each other’s needs and supporting your partner when they need you. Healthy adult love exists when both partners are emotionally interdependent; meaning that both partners love one another, care for one another, desire physical closeness with one another, but respect each other enough to have their own identities as well. Tall order you would say…not really! Let me share something here, about my relationship. Both of us have our individual careers and have given each other the space to enjoy our professions. I have always been told to soar in whatever I do and he does give loads of encouragement to be the best. Now that inspires me to no extent…it pushes me to stretch and be better! Would I love him less or more for that? The answer is obvious 🙂

Loving relationships take effort…consistently and continuously. Its like growing a beautiful garden filled with greens, foliage, flowers, lovely soft springy grass and enjoying the fruits eventually on a regular basis. We also have to be careful about the weeds & pests that crop up occasionally. I don’t worry about them any more, because I know it’s a natural process. What’s going to make a difference is how we, as a couple, deal with it. Here’s what has worked for us!

Putting our relationship first: We make each other a priority. We communicate with each other. In this age of technology, we use it to the maximum and check on each other during the day. We make it a point to have date nights where it’s only us! If date nights can turn into date weekends then it’s even better. Undivided attention is what we give each other when we communicate.

Manage arguments: It’s absolutely ok to have arguments…it’s natural. We are only human, we are bound to have differences. It’s how we deal with those differences that will decide how strongly we sustain our relationship. We have our differences…but we strive to understand those & we make allowances for each other. I’m ok watching sports on Saturday or Sunday nights with him and he reciprocates by watching chick flicks with me when I’m in the mood!

Have a strong foundation: Our interests, opinions and experiences can change as we grow. But if you share the same core belief systems, foundationyou will have a platform from which to build a strong relationship. For us, as a couple, our belief system is the same. It has remained the same the last 25 years. This forms the foundation of the love and affection we have for each other.

Have fun in the relationship: Whether it is listening to Andre Rieu, going for a drive, shopping, scuba diving, dancing or even enjoying a glass of wine or single malt, we have fun. I can honestly say that I have the maximum fun when we are together. The truth is we genuinely enjoy each other’s company…we can talk about pretty much anything under the sun and laugh. We can laugh with each other and at each other…a healthy mix I would say. Statistics say that couples who laugh together stay together.

Dream together. Knowing what you both want out of life and working together to make those dreams a reality will strengthen the bond in your relationship, I have a vision board that includes a lot of our dreams. What makes this sharing exciting is it gives us glimpses of each other’s deeper ambitions. Visualising those dreams together and weaving our life’s story around them strengthen our feelings for each other. These dreams change over a period of time…earlier we dreamt about what we wanted out of life, today, we talk & visualize about our kids. Yes, their dreams are also an integral part of our dreams now.

Daily nice acts: It’s true the daily mundane things take over in every couple’s life. The only way to overcome this is when we perform daily nice acts for each other. One of the things that we have ensured is when we are in different cities, early morning and late night texts are always exchanged. Saying “I love you” to each other is equally important. Very often as we grow older in the relationship, we tend to not express this love, verbally and non verbally. A hug, a kiss, holding hands, cuddling all are critical to pull out the weeds and pests in the garden of love.

Sharing feelings and not thoughts: Most times couples don’t even get the meaning of this. Focus on what feelings you go through when both are having an argument, when your partner does something to please you or surprise you. Express your feelings then…it establishes a connect that can help build a stronger relationship. Let me share a secret with all you women out there…men do have a tough time getting this point across. We just need to help them a bit :). They may shy away initially,but, in my experience I have found that they do share eventually. Patience is the key here!

Embrace your partner’s individuality: The idiosyncrasies we once fell in love with can frustrate us today. Always remember…that is what attracted you to your man/woman in the first place. It’s important for our partner to be themselves. Here the three A’s become the pillars here – allow those idiosyncrasies, accept that your partner has them and adjust yourself accordingly. An early morning ritual of slippers, newspaper, a cup of finely brewed Orange Pekoe & reading glasses is what has become an endearing habit in my life. My reward for accepting this is I get to snuggle on the sofa and solve crosswords with my man.

Ask questions when you’re unsure or are making assumptions: All too often, we make up our own stories or interpretations about what our partners’ behaviour means. For example: “She doesn’t want to cuddle; she must not really love me anymore.” We can never err on the side of asking too many questions, and then listen to the answers from your whole self — heart, gut, mind and body. Equally important is to hear what’s not being said — the facts and feeling that you sense might be unspoken.

inspirational-quotes-3 (1)Creating a WE instead of two I’s: When practising all the above, we have been able to create space for “We” instead of two individual “I’s”. Two individuals can retain their personalities yet remain soul connected. In co-dependent relationships, each person sacrifices part of him or her self, compromising the relationship as a whole. When you are separate and connected, each individual “I” contributes to the creation of a “we” that is stronger than the sum of its parts.

Finally, there’s no fairy tale formula for true love. It begins and blossoms with partners committing and recommitting to each other, both in vow and in action. As Mark Sharp said, “Long lasting true love is when two people make a commitment to each other and choose to act in ways that sustain their feelings for each other and their connection to each other over time.”

 

 

Soulfully Simple…

Very often its our belief in ourselves, in people around us and the Universe that enables us to on. And I have found that stories have their own way uplifting us, giving us food for thought and bringing a smile to our face. 🙂

By now most of my readers would have understood that I love stories…and I learn from them, get inspired from them. I also love poetry/poems. And like we have unsung heroes, I have read some amazing poetry by “unsung poets”. Here I share with you some of them which have touched me.

Now is the Time

Now is the time to shine;
To make the dream become alive;
To show the world what we can do,
And prove what they thought,
But never knew
Now is the time
In our hearts and in our minds
To all we’ve ever dreamed to do.
And when the time has come,
And when our Journeys’ through
We’ll leave a legacy behind.
Now is the time to earn our place
Among the great ones of the past,
For life is too short, and time much too fast.
Now is the time
To prove to ourselves,
That it was well worth out while
To get up when we fell.
Now is the time to shine,
To make the Dream become alive.

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out:
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems so far:
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

The Will To Win

If you want a thing bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and
your sleep for it

If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other things tawdry
and cheap for it

If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,

If gladly you’ll sweat for it,
Fret for it, Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,

If you’ll simply go after that thing that you want.
With all your capacity,
Strength and sagacity,
Faith, hope and confidence, stern pertinacity,

If neither cold poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body or brain
Can turn you away from the thing that you want,

If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You’ll get it!

 

Understanding My Calling….

The past couple of weeks I have met a lot of youngsters…in the 17 to 22 year age bracket. It was as part of youth entrepreneurship workshop that I met them. Some were clear about what they wanted to do in life, a sort of road map, but came to the workshop to see if the network of people could help them further.

While talking to this enthusiastic lot, a thought that struck me over & over again was, I hope the dreams & clarity these youngsters have continues in their lives and they don’t let go. On the other hand, there were a lot many of them, who were seeking…seeking answers because they did not know what to do.

That leads me to write today about how do I understand my calling in life. How do I look for that elusive something…these are somethings that have personally helped me.

1. Deal with the present

A lot of us keep thinking only about the future…”what should I do when I am doing my graduation, post graduation or what kind of a job should I get or which company do I work for or what sort of business do I start?” While it is good to have a big picture first, think about what you will do today, to get to the big picture. Remember, people become fat one bite at a time, and we become adults one hour at a time, so what we do today matters.

2. Look, browse & shop around

Unless you try on the outfit, you’ll never know if it fits. Do the same with vocations, avocations, hobbies and skills. You’ll need to sample every flavor to know your true favorite taste. However, you need to be smart about this also…keep in mind your pocket and budget.

3. Go for odd opportunities

Look around people who have achieved what they want to achieve…whether it is a recognized person or an unsung hero…they have all done something different. Why be one among the herd when you can lead the pack… 🙂

4. Burn your plans

Life doesn’t go according to the blue print we create. Nobody’s life has ever…so why should yours? So don’t worry if you get off track. The track was imaginary anyway. It’s perfectly alright to get on to another track.

5. Do not follow someone else’s dreams

Everyone will have expectations of us. What is my expectation of myself…is a question I need to answer constantly. You can’t please everyone, but if you do what YOU think you should, at least you’ll be able to sleep at night.

6. Blend your talent

All of us have a variety of talents, only if we allow ourselves to discover them. Mostly, we end up working on only one skill…and become a super specialist. Nothing wrong there…the only thing I can say is a person who has developed a variety of skills is far more interesting than the other! 🙂

7. Seek out people you actually like

It’s fun to work with people you like. Creating something different with a bunch of like minded people can be amazingly productive and satisfying…not to mention the fun part! I work my business with friends & family and we have a great time not only earning…also the relationships!

8. It’s ok to change your mind

Most of us decide on a career when we are in the age group of 18 to 20. We learn a lot things as time goes by…about the world & about ourselves. So, if you discover something different and want to work on it…please do so. It can bring more satisfaction & happiness. I changed tracks after 18 years of human resource related work. Today I have something more important in my life…time to spend with my family & friends because of this change. And am definitely not complaining about the money 🙂 🙂

9. Read, read, read…

Roam a library or a book shop frequently. Books have always been my best friends. You never know which book, author, or topic will speak to you from the shelves. You might just find what you didn’t even know you were looking for.

10. Spend time before you spend money

Invest in reading and talking and finding out before you put down a ton of money on a degree or a certification or a relocation. You might find that you don’t have to write a check to compose your future.

11. Your purpose & your job may be different

If you are working to support your family, they are your real bosses. If you are working to further a goal or idea, don’t let your paycheck (however plump it is) become an obstacle to it. Prioritize what you want in life, but, do not lose focus of the end objective.

12. Be genuinely uncool

Stick with what you love, even if others sneer at it. This is also referred to as integrity. We all tend to do things because our peers consider it cool…is that really what I want? What I want maybe be considered uncool, but if I am genuinely uncool, people will respect over a period of time.

The dozen pointers are things I have done myself in my life…so it’s easy to write about these. However, a couple of other lessons I have learnt in life…very few people are the very best in the world at anything. What helps me is when I do my best and push myself a wee bit more. Unhealthy competition with others leads to anxiety, collaboration leads to assets.

Today, everything I do in life is based on one question…”What I’m doing now, will it contribute to my epitaph or only my resume?”

And It’s A Goal…

The moment I talk about goals, I get two kinds of responses: “why do I need goals…let me just take life as it comes along” and the second, “sure, goals are important…but you know what…”. 

Both have the same end result. No goals. However I am not writing about why we need to have goals…most people do have goals. It is achieving them that is a challenge.

Emotionally connected.

When I have set goals and failed to achieve them…very often I have realized that the emotional connect to my goal was missing. So, the first lesson I learnt was that goal setting is not a feel good factor. We don’t set goals and forget about them. We set goals because they really matter to us. We do want to achieve them. If your reason for setting your goal is not sincere, your motivation and enthusiasm can wane drastically as you progress on your goal path. Setting personal goals is just that – personal, and if you do not have deep-rooted reason for your goal, your chances of succeeding are reduced dramatically.

Dream big with goal posts.

The old saying – shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll still be in the stars. We all had big dreams when we were kids. What happened to most of us as we grew up? Precisely that…we grew up! Universally we are conditioned that as we grow up in life, our life has to be practical, logical, realistic etc etc. And the dream of being an astronaut, flying a hot air balloon, becoming a businessman, umpiring a tennis match, everything flies out of the window. My submission to all such people…man is the only living being on earth who can dream! So dream big…have smaller goal posts to achieve those dreams. The smaller goals posts will tell you whether you are on track or not.

If Edison hadn’t dreamed, I would not have been writing this blog 🙂 

Write & Review.

Writing down your goals creates the roadmap to your success. Although just the act of writing them down can set the process in motion, it is also extremely important to review your goals frequently. Remember, the more focused you are on your goals the more likely you are to accomplish them.

Sometimes we realize we have to revise a goal as circumstances and other goals change, much like I did with being an entrepreneur. If you need to change a goal do not consider it a failure, consider it a victory as you had the insight to realize something was different.

Reward Yourself.

It is a good idea to give yourself small regular rewards for taking incremental steps towards achieving your goals. This is in addition to rewarding yourself in a bigger way when you reach your ultimate goal. For example, I treat myself to a spa once in a while for taking action on my high priority goal every day of the week.

Be sure the reward is something that really motivates you to take action. Plan in advance what the reward will be, that way you will motivate yourself. 

Willpower

I’ve saved the best for the last.  Willpower. Once you realize you only have so much will power everything becomes clearer. So stop beating yourself up about not being able to change.  The thing is that we only have so much will power in our mind and body to make changes. Will power runs out like a muscle that becomes tired.  It’s extremely  important to ask yourself the following questions.

During the 24 hours I have each day, what do I truly, truly, truly wish to focus on? If you find yourself eating too much junk, watching too much television or shopping needlessly you have run out of will power.

What can I do to get more will power ?  Usually your goal , keeping that goal in mind and  making sure you live according to your core personal values should be enough….right? Yes…that and make a pledge to either yourself or someone else.  You pledge money, something valuable or your self respect.

Stay tuned to yourself and your goals…:)