War Does Not Determine…

War does not determine who is right…only who is left.

Vijay Path

Vijay Path & Tololing Range in the background

1999. Kargil. 527 brave-hearts dead. 1367 injured. Rest of us are left…far behind.

Two years ago I wrote a piece – A War…Hundreds of Martyrs…A Lifetime Of Memories – when I made my trip to Kargil after 15 long years, to pay homage to our martyrs, among whom were friends I lost. Today, marks the 17th anniversary of the Kargil War.

17 years and the souls of our dead soldiers turn to us to ask. What did they fight for? What did they die for?

  1. They died protecting the land that would have been with Pakistan today.
  2. They died protecting the people who would have suffered in the hands of those Pakistanis soldiers & eventually Pakistani administration.
  3. They fought to retain the freedom of the land which is ours…the freedom & the land.
  4. They fought so people in Kargil, Dras, Leh and the surrounding areas could live peacefully. Not just our generation, but the future generations also.

Are we an ungrateful nation? Yes and no.

No, because there are some who have not forgotten the sacrifices made by the Indian Army. There are some who continue to fight to protect the same land & freedom. Not necessarily from the borders or in Jammu & Kashmir. Some of us fight battles in towns & cities to educate the rest of the population about being grateful. About being thankful that they are Indian & free.

Yes, we are ungrateful, because there is a section in our society that does not think national interest or national security. The ungratefulness comes to the fore when terrorists are eulogised and their killing is called unconstitutional or human rights activists are holding placards asking for humane treatment of those terrorists. My question to such people is have you lost someone close to you, someone who died simply because he wanted to protect you? Quite a few of us have. So, listen to us. For we will tell you what it means. What it means to hear that he will not come back again to meet you, to laugh & share a drink with you, to plan important events in life, to get married, to have children, to eat what his mother cooks, to support his father as he gets on in years…in short to experience life.

Yes we are ungrateful when we allow misguided citizens of this country to take the security forces for granted. Aren’t the security forces human? What gives anybody the right to harm them? And, when they are harmed, why should they not protect themselves? Would you and I not protect ourselves if somebody pelted stones at us? Would we not defend ourselves? Let us allow our defence & security forces to protect the country, instead of protecting themselves from an ungrateful nation. Remember, there is no flag large enough to cover the shame of a thankless country.

As parts of the country gear up to honour our martyrs & their families, it is time for the rest to pause & think about the dead soldier and how it is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organise the peace. Peace has to be organised, otherwise war will not end; and if war doesn’t end, we end as a country. That is not acceptable to a large majority of us.

Sometimes, you have to pick up a gun to put the gun down. I will not mourn our soldiers who die protecting us. I am thankful and grateful we are still a nation that produces such heroes!

We Serve With Pride

 

No matter how much frustration there is,
Fear, trepidation, anxiety or unease.
Despite all the hardships  & adversity aside,
As long as I wear the uniform I endure all with pride.
For service and loyalty are what matter to me,
Honour, courage, respect and integrity
Are the armour I wear to counter all foe
They give me strength when into enemy land I go.
I depend on my comrades, and defend them I must,
They in turn they depend on me keeping the trust.
Together we shall overcome the toughest of test,
Our resolve will never waiver as we all give our best.

Jai Hind Ki Sena! Salute!

 

 

Living…with a dash of sass

There’s something about the year end that puts most of us in an introspective mood. This year end is no different. There have been ups & downs, mostly ups, which include my girls doing well in their respective lives, a brilliant holiday we all enjoyed together, setting up a second home in another city and the launch of a couple of new businesses. The downside is realising that we are fast losing one generation of people to the inexorable process of ageing. While on one hand, I understand this is part of life’s cycle, it nevertheless saddens me that this process deprives us of one of the most extraordinary generations that India has seen. The veterans of World War I are no more and the people born during World War II are in their late 70’s or early 80’s.

I have spent time with that generation. I have sat through their stories of growing up in an India that you and I can only visualise and never experience. This is not to undermine any other generation’s experience. I am writing to share what I have learnt from these septuagenarians and octogenarians. This particular blog is dedicated to all those who belong to the 15th Course of the National Defence Academy for you all have influenced me to lead a rich life!

Find Ways To Do

One of the easiest and simplest thing is to find reasons why we can’t do things. They are called excuses. My biggest lesson from these stalwarts is to find one simple reason to do things. That one overwhelming “why” that will ensure the barriers come crumbling down. Living in different cities, leading hectic lives make it difficult to meet close family & friends. However, the older generation has taught me that it’s important to cherish those relationships. I still see them make an effort to be a part of everyone’s lives around them. new-year-quotes-07

Share Your Life

My parents have shared their lives with my brother and me. It just made communication so much more easier for all of us. I never had a problem expressing to my parents what was going on in my mind and why. I also realise that this was only possible because they were genuinely interested in our lives and shared activities with my brother and me. A lot of things I do now in my life are because of activities initiated by my Dad and his friends, while I was growing up.

Choose Happiness

Almost everyone I have met in that wonderful age group focus on quality of life and they choose happiness as the one determining factor. Most of them have gone through some kind of illness/surgery/treatment in the recent years. They see a sense of fragility that belongs to these experiences as directly contributing to their ability to savour life. “Tomorrow is unknown, future uncertain at our age. Lighten up and live life completely today.” Wise words from wise people. Rythm

Accept Life & Connect With Yourself

The terrace at my parents’ place offers a lovely view of the green canopy of trees in a quiet residential area. A wall of windows at my second parents’ home overlooks a lovely verdant patch of lawn bordered by flowering shrubs and lemon tree. Having spent ample time in both places, I see that later life has brought all four of them a sense of wholeness, acceptance, and the ability to enjoy small pleasures. They love the place they live, people visit them and are always welcomed, they entertain the way they want to and not because they are expected to…a complete sense of liberation & contentment.

Build A Life With Someone You Respect & Love

It sounds simple. Yet, very few can say this. Most of the couples I know, in their grand old 70’s and 80’s are the ones who have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. What I have observed and learnt can be succinctly shared in the following words…you have to like each other. Be friends, try to get past the initial heaving and panting, and make sure there’s a real friendship underneath that. I don’t think identical interests are important, but shared values are. That is the bedrock of the relationship. And critical. Build on that a set of dreams that both cherish & work towards.

And as my soul mate and I complete three decades of knowing, understanding, accepting & loving each other, I can happily say, we both love certain kinds of things. We both love movies, good movies, and part of our courtship involved staying up all night and talking out what an Ingmar Bergman film really meant. We both love to read, and we love to talk about what we read. A similar sense of humour — that is a very important part of our life together. The ability to make each other smile and laugh has seen us through some difficult times. story3

Here’s wishing all of you all a magnificent 2016 and praying that Santa Claus fulfils your dreams (incidentally, I still believe in magic and miracles for my life has been so). I sign off with C Joybell C’s quote, “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

 

 

 

Life – A Series Of Stories

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Phillip Pullman story4

I love listening to stories & story telling.There is a lot that we take away listening to stories. Some stories impact us immediately and some crop up at different intervals in our lives and leave their footprints. I have believed that everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes us what we are. We build ourselves out of that story. Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here!

I would like to share some stories that have impacted & inspired me and I carry them with me now. I know as a story teller I must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through their mesh of prejudice, some paint it with their own delight. A story2story must have some points of contact with the reader to make him feel at home in it. So, I am hoping that these resonate with you all in some way.

Food For The Soul

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer, a building contractor, of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

His employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but it was easy to see that his heart was no longer in his work. He had lost his enthusiasm and had resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and his boss came to inspect the new house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. “This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built for ourselves. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

 

How Great Love Is

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, and all of the others including Love. story1

One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left. Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place for you here.”

Love decided to ask Vanity, who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness let me go with you.” “Oh…Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!” Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her!

Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder. Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder her name.

When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder, asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?”

“It was Time”, Knowledge answered.

“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

 

The Fence

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad or worse than a physical one.”

 

Big Rocks Of Life

A while back I was reading about an expert on subject of time management. One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.  story3

When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?”

By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied. And he reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in and it went into all the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” “No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good!” Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always fit some more things into it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point. The truth this illustration teaches us is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.” The title of this letter is the “Big Rocks” of Life.

What are the big rocks in your life? A project that YOU want to accomplish? Time with your loved ones? Your faith, your education, your finances? A cause? Teaching or mentoring others? Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all.

So, tonight or in the morning when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the “big rocks” in my life or business? Then, put those in your jar.

The last one is a personal favourite, as a lot of people ask me how I pack multiple activities in my life. My response to them I have found my big rocks…time to find yours now 🙂

 

Of Loneliness & Being Alone…

Coming back home after I dropped my daughters at the airport gave me a lot of time to introspect about what well meaning family and friends were telling me. Everyone was concerned about how I am going to spend my time, how much I will miss the girls, what would I do to keep myself occupied, an empty nest, silence at home, etc etc. kids

I was surprised to find that most people around me think that I would have nothing to do or would be thoroughly bored. It actually got me thinking why parents end up feeling that way. It also got me to delve into memories and observations. Don’t get me wrong here. I, for one minute, do not say that I will not miss my daughters. Of course! I will!!! But, hey, guess what…I have brought the up for this day. The day where they step out as young ladies, take charge of their lives, work towards fulfilling their dreams and lead a life on their own terms. I would rather celebrate such a day than mope around.

So, here is my two bit for everyone whose fledglings are about to fly off the proverbial nest.

Have faith in your child. Many a times, parents go on harping about how their children don’t do this or that. You have brought up your own children. They have seen you do all the things that they are doing now. Remember, when you complain about the value system your kids are following, you are basically complaining about the value system you have taught them. Trust your upbringing and trust the way you are bringing up your next generation. After all, you didn’t turn out so bad yourself!

Communicate regularly, but, effectively. I have agonized over how much communication is enough communication with kids. At what stage of life do I share certain things. I’m sure a lot of you parents out there think about this. And then we tend to go overboard both ways…either we are constantly communicating (kids call it breathing down their necks) or we clamp up (kids call it uninteresting, boring parents). It is a difficult path to walk. What has worked for me is to share a combination of thoughts and feelings. I have consciously avoided sermonising. The biggest mistake a Mom or Dad can make is to go into “when I was your age” mode. Children so detest it. If you want your child to be an exact replica of you, my take is to clone yourself. Parents have to accept that their children have a personality of their own. Allow that personality to bloom. We can only nurture with love and affection.  kids making_mistakes

Mentally let go. While your teenager will move away physically, a lot of Moms find it difficult to cut the proverbial umbilical cord. Please do not do this to your child. They will never be able to take decisions in their lives. I strongly believe that the best gift you can give your kids, is the ability to take decisions. Let them not become worry warts and procrastinators and not take decisions in life. Empower them in such a manner that while they are away, you know they can take care of themselves.

Avoid over involvement. Allow your children to experiment or make mistakes for themselves. So common is this “helicopter parenting”, in which Mums and Dads hover close by, whether their children need them or not, that Universities find it difficult during counselling sessions. Sure you are concerned, but don’t make the University/college/counsellor or even your off spring feel cornered. Most educational institutions have a fairly good communication process with the parents or guardians. If we follow them, we come to know how our child is progressing. Micro managing their lives will not allow them to grow up as individuals. One new recruit at a software company was overheard on the phone to his mother saying: “I’ve got to go to London tomorrow and they haven’t even told me how to get there.” You really don’t want that child to be yours. quote-it-s-a-hard-call-but-i-ve-no-desire-to-live-my-children-s-lives-i-think-my-job-as-a-father-is-to-ernie-hudson-88733

Your life is your life. I presume most families have both parents working. You do have your work, your friends, your hobbies. I know a lot of parents give up their hobbies, socialising while the kids are growing up. This is the time to get back into the groove. I started branching out and doing different things almost a year ago. Being an entrepreneur helps, as I am able to manage my time effectively. It gives me time to indulge in some activities that I could not do earlier. Also, it does not make me feel guilty that I am doing something ignoring my kids. Most of us do not indulge for ourselves because it makes us feel guilty 🙂

Create your own support system. Make new friends, develop new hobbies, work for a social cause, spend time with extended family. Revel and share your children’s achievements with all these people. They will also love it and you come away feeling positive. Do not make only your spouse your support system. I agree in some cases the Dads have it a little easy…a boys’ night out they share with their friends gets the “missing my kids” feeling out. With Moms who have not gone out with friends because they did not want to leave the kids alone, will find it difficult to do a girls’ night out. My recommendation, do go out…after all it is your life. Your spouse and kids will not grudge you that 🙂

Ideal time to spend with your partner. We have started rediscovering each other the last few months. Yes, the conversation is also mostly about the children. However, with the children going away, our time is our time, again without the guilt. Both of us are looking forward to more adventures, companionship, travel and doing new things together. All I can say is let your love bloom again.

A lot of parents discover that there is nothing really for them together once the children leave home. Sad, but, true. Acknowledge it. See how you can work on the relationship. You as a couple know best. If a split is inevitable ( I see more and more of this happening), manage it sensitively. Even though the children are young adults, you both are still the parents. Ensure that your children know they have emotional & physical space in your new life. That is very important for them as they are away from home.  quote-sometimes-we-re-so-concerned-about-giving-our-children-what-we-never-had-growing-up-we-neglect-to-james-c-dobson-51822

Pay attention to your younger ones. Very often, when the older sibling goes away, the younger ones are lost. They feel the absence more than any one of us. Perhaps because they haven’t anticipated the effect of an absent brother or sister as well as parents might have done. And if you’re moping around, it may make them feel second best. My younger daughter felt that and she expressed herself. It helped me correct my own behaviour and the time I spent with her increased. We discovered fun stuff that we could do together without my older one being around.

One thing I am sure of is when we are confident of allowing our off springs to build a life they are going to be proud of, we automatically feel proud of who they are. Like I always say, I believe our legacy will be defined by the accomplishments and fearless nature by which our children take on life’s challenges. As parents our responsibility (not duty) is to enable and empower them…and then allow them to lead their lives.

 

 

 

 

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 !!!


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!!!

 

Life…a result of intentional habits!

I am back to writing…after a long hiatus. I don’t even know why I stopped in between…life happened I guess!!! Though that is no excuse for anything 🙂

What inspired me to get back was a series of articles I read off late about travelling and my own travels to different cities the last couple of months. 

As a teenager, I was always fascinated by young people from different countries who would travel without parents for months together. I always wondered how is it that they could just leave everything they were doing and travel…there was also an element of envy, that, initially I did not travel that way! Yes you guessed right…I love to travel!

Eventually I understood that while my structured education process (read school and college) gave me a lot of information and therefore knowledge, travelling just widened my horizon and my  understanding of a lot of things 🙂 :). Travel just became an educational process by itself.

I have had people who ask me…why do you travel so much? What gives me the “kick”? It got me thinking about why I love travel so much…I was at Abu Dhabi airport waiting for my flight to be announced and this young lady sitting next to me started a conversation. She asked, in due course, “Do you think I should go to graduate school or move to Vietnam?”

I told her “Vietnam”…not that she was really asking me…if you know what I mean. She was thinking out loud. Her response was, “Yeah…but…”. Three alphabets that can kill everything in life…BUT.

BUT is lethal. It makes it sound like we have the best of intentions, when really we are just too scared to do what we should. Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did it. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job still did those things after they traveled.

I am thankful that I got opportunities to travel widely in my teenage years…some opportunities I created for myself. Very often I heard some grown up say to me, “It’s great that you’re doing this … while you’re still young.” To me it sounded like vicarious longing and mid-life regret. Often I have responded saying, “It’s not about this being great while I’m still young! It’s great for the rest of my life!” And it’s true – what I learnt or still learn during my travel is something that has stayed with me…it is an intrinsic part of my life, of who I am. 

I realized as we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. However it also takes away from some of our dreams, experiences that could have shaped who we become. 

Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important. The best way to do that is to make investments in your life so that you can have an effect on who you are in your later years.

Travel allowed me this luxury…the luxury of learning, experiencing and of discovering the beauty of life — to remember that I am not complete.

How can I put in words what it means to walk the streets of old Delhi on a cold December morning smelling some great Indian food, cycling on narrow country roads of Southern France and soaking in the beauty of the mellow countryside, walking across the moors in Scotland smelling the earth, the majestic beauty of the Himalayan range as seen from Nepal…words cannot describe these experiences. The only way you will relate to them is by experiencing them yourself. 

While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Valley of Flowers. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.

Traveling will change you like little else does. It forces you to think about issues that are bigger than you…I realized that the world is both, very large and very small!!! I have a new found respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day. 

Its an amazing way to learn about the world as a magnificent place of art. The people that fill this world contribute so much to it…shaping it…building a kaleidoscopic culture. Soak that culture while you are still young. It can change your life forever. It did mine!

Invest your time wisely…for your future depends on where and what you invest your time in. A lesson that comes back to me repeatedly… life is a result of intentional habits. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. The habits you form in this season will stick with you for the rest of your life. So choose those habits wisely :):) 

And for those who feel youth has gone by…fret not. You can still travel…I know a lot of senior people who still enjoy their travails and do not hesitate to live life kingsize. I am learning from them also…so go out there and explore the world with all it’s infinite opportunities!!! ImageImageImageImage

 

 

The Journey Of Life…9 Stupendous Tips!

Oh My God! It’s good to be back! The last few months that I did not write life went by and how…. I managed to do a lot of reading which opened up my horizon!

Mark Twain has been a favorite author since childhood. However, some of his statements make sense now in life. Something that struck me was the 9 tips that I am going to share by way of 9 quotes that helped me get over a lot of obstacles. And I do know it will help those of you who implement the spirit of what I am going to share…

1. Approve of yourself. 

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” 

If you don’t approve of yourself, of your behaviour and actions then you’ll probably walk around most of the day with a sort of uncomfortable feeling. If you, on the other hand, approve of yourself then you tend to become relaxed and gain inner freedom to do more of what you really want. 

What you may be bumping into there are success barriers. You are putting up barriers in your own mind of what you may or may not deserve. Or barriers that tell you what you are capable of.  

So you need give yourself approval and allow yourself to be who you want to be. Not look for the approval from others. But from yourself. To dissolve that inner barrier or let go of that self-sabotaging tendency. This is no easy task and it can take time. 

2. Your limitations may just be in your mind. 

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” 

So many limitations are mostly in our minds. We may for instance think that people will disapprove because we are too tall, too old or balding. But these things mostly matter when you think they matter. Because you become self-conscious and worried about what people may think.

And people pick up on that and may react in negative ways. Or you may interpret anything they do as a negative reaction because you are so fearful of a bad reaction and so focused inward on yourself. 

If you, on the other hand, don’t mind then people tend to not mind that much either. And if you don’t mind then you won’t let that part of yourself become a self-imposed roadblock in your life. 

It is, never too late to do what you want to do. 

3. Lighten up and have some fun. 

“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” 

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.” 

Humor and laughter are amazing tools. They can turn any serious situation into something to laugh about. They can lighten the mood just about anywhere. 

And a lighter mood is often a better space to work in because now your body and mind isn’t filled to the brim with negative emotions. When you are more light-hearted and relaxed then the solution to a situation is often easier to both come up with and implement. 

4. Let go of anger. 

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” 

Anger is most of the time pretty pointless. It can cause situations to get out of hand. And from a selfish perspective it often more hurtful for the one being angry then the person s/he’s angry at.So even if you feel angry at someone for days recognize that you are mostly just hurting yourself. The other person may not even be aware that you are angry at him or her. So either talking to the person and resolving the conflict or letting go of anger as quickly as possible are pretty good tips to make your life more pleasurable. 

5. Release yourself from entitlement.

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing.It was here first.” 

When you are young your mom and dad may give a lot of things. As you grow older you may feel a sort of entitlement. You may feel like the world should just give you what you want or that it owes you something. 

This belief can cause a lot of anger and frustration in your life. Because the world may not give you what expect it to. On the other hand, this can be liberating too. You realize that it is up to you to shape your own life and for you to work towards what you want. You are not a kid anymore, waiting for your parents or the world to give you something. 

You are in the driver’s seat now. And you can go pretty much wherever you want. 

6. If you’re taking a different path, prepare for reactions.
“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

I think this has quite a bit of relevance to self-improvement. If you start to change or do something different than you usually do then people may react in different ways. Some may be happy for you. Some may be indifferent. Some may be puzzled or react in negative and discouraging ways.

Much of these reactions are probably not so much about you but about the person who said it and his/her life. How they feel about themselves is coming through in the words they use and judgements they make.

And that’s OK. I think it’s pretty likely that they won’t react as negatively as you may imagine. Or they will probably at least go back to focusing on their own challenges pretty soon.

So what other people may say and think and letting that hold you back is probably just fantasy and barrier you build in your mind.

7. Keep your focus steadily on what you want. 

“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” 

What you focus your mind on greatly determines how things play out. You can focus on your problems and dwell in suffering and a victim mentality. Or you can focus on the positive in situation, what you can learn from that situation or just focus your mind on something entirely else. 

It may be “normal” to dwell on problems and swim around in a sea of negativity. But that is a choice. And a thought habit. You may reflexively start to dwell on problems instead of refocusing your mind on something more useful. But you can also start to build a habit of learning to gain more and more control of where you put your focus. 

8. Don’t focus so much on making yourself feel good.

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” 

This may be a bit of a counter-intuitive tip. One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to make someone else feel good or to help them in some way. 

This is a great way to look at things to create an upward spiral of positivity and exchange of value between people. You help someone and both of you feel good. The person you helped feels inclined to give you a hand later on since people tend to want to reciprocate. And so the both of you are feeling good and helping each other. 

Those positive feelings are contagious to other people and so you may end up making them feel good too. And the help you received from your friend may inspire you to go and help another friend. And so the upward spiral grows and continues. 

9. Do what you want to do. 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 

Awesome quote. And I really don’t have much to add to that one. Well, maybe to write it down and keep it as a daily reminder – on your fridge or bathroom door – of what you can actually do with your life.

I will end with one of Twain’s best – “Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”