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!

 

 

 

 

 

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!!!

Being A Parent…Being A Friend

A question that I’m asked frequently by a lot of people – what kind of a relationship do you share with your children? I often find it funny that parents ask me this question. What am I supposed to answer…I share a great relationship with my daughters.

I was pondering this question as I was recovering from a bout of viral the last couple of days. It struck me that the people who have asked me this question aren’t very sure about their own relationship with their children. I am no one to sermonize others on bringing up kids…I have had my fair share of doubts of being an effective parent versus a good parent. However, I have to thank my daughters, Urvashi & Urmila for endorsing time and again that I managed to be both on different occasions… 🙂  Parenting1

The thought process continued and it reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend who also has teenage children. My friend summarised our chat very effectively and I’m sharing some of those pointers here. Even if it helps one parent out there, I’m happy!

Communicate Easily & Freely: I have noticed kids respond to communication in any form. This is a process that must happen from birth. Communication means sharing. Very often parents expect their kids to come and talk to them, but, rarely share what is on their mind. Of course the child must be at an age & in a position to understand what the parents are sharing. This communication changes as the kids grow from childhood to adolescence…what’s important is to keep the process going on.

Allow Questions: I have been working with the youth on different projects. While addressing a batch of college students recently on their participation in the nation building process, I had the opportunity to interact with students and faculty. As usual, I noticed the faculty pushing the students to ask questions as soon as the talk was over. And, as usual, the students hesitated to ask questions in public. I don’t blame the students here. As a society, we do not encourage our young ones to ask questions. Children must have the liberty to ask…if we as parents are incapable of answering their questions, it is not the fault of the child. It is our problem…we need to find the relevant answer to satisfy the question.

Parents, go back to your own childhood…how many were encouraged to ask questions? What a child can’t receive, he can seldom give later in adult life. Parenting2

Encourage Decision Making: Both my daughters were encouraged to take decisions from their primary school days relevant to their age. The pros and cons were explained and they were told the consequences of not taking a decision. Even in adult life, most people are scared of taking decisions because they want their decisions to be right. My question to such people – if you don’t take a decision, how will you know whether it is right or wrong? Allow your kids the luxury of making their own decisions. They will automatically take responsibility and ownership for it. And even if it turns out to be a mistake, so what? Haven’t we made our share of mistakes in life?

Allow Them Their Mistakes: I have noticed parents constantly cautioning their children about situations, people, relationships in life. I understand that as parents we do not want our children to go through rough times, get cheated, ragged, bullied. Tell me, how much will you protect them? One day, they will have to face the world on their own! Then what? Children brought up in that environment have a warped sense of life and end up thinking that the world owes them everything. While as parents we know, that is a far cry from the truth.

Share Your Story: a lot of kids grow up thinking their parents are super heroes in the initial years. And then the teenage years descend on your off springs and their view starts changing. Erma Bombeck (one of my favourite authors) says, “Have you any idea how many children it takes to turn off one light in the kitchen Three. It takes one to say What light and two more to say I didn’t turn it on.” That’s what teenage years do. One thing that stood me in good stead was sharing my teenage years with my daughters when they had “curious” questions. It helped them to know that their mother had gone through similar experiences in life. I was declared “normal” by my kids… 🙂

The worst thing I could have done was to have a “holier than thou” approach in front of them…Jane Nelsen very nicely puts it, “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?” Parenting3

Finally, it’s not just children who grow. Parents grow with them. I have grown with my lovely daughters. As much as I wait to see what they do with their lives, they are also watching me to see what I do with mine. While I tell them to reach for the stars,  the moon & the sun…I am reaching for my own stars, moon and the sun!!!