The 365 Page Book Called 2017

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves….its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

It’s that time of the year again! The winter season signals the year-end and tells us that a new dawn is approaching. This “change of year” symbolism is important for two reasons: first, it allows us to take stock of the year that has gone by and second it provides us with the hope of being able to start afresh and not get weighed down by the past.new-year-quotes-07

I have never been where I am today. I have never been the age I am today, or had the experience I have today. The river of life flows and I find myself in places I have never been before. What an exhilarating moment of truth that is!

Everything is new. It is a starting point. At the same time there is a flow from the past that influences the process of ringing in the new. There are so many dreams and aspirations that one has in a lifetime. These change as we grow older and gather more experiences. Mine have changed too! I have realised that I want more for some of the people in my life, I dream more about what we will be as a society and a country. I see a lot of great people out there contributing in building a India of our dreams. You may not even hear of these contributors in your lifetime, for they focus on their actions. I want to highlight a few of them today for they have genuinely made a difference.

  1. Dreamers Doers started by Manjunath Hebbar is a platform for all those social entrepreneurs who want to showcase their work and collaborate with the like minded to impact social causes positively.
  2. Skip Armour brought to us by Chakradhari Rowe that helps a common man understand what is safety & security for an individual, a society and therefore, a country.
  3. Swayyam that teaches us eco conscious low impact living and how to connect back to the earth for our basic living. Malvikaa Solanki, the brain or rather the heart behind this can teach the young & old a thing or two about the “earthy” choices we make in life.
  4. Bal Utsav that brings life-changing education to children living in poverty. They revitalise government schools, support teachers, facilitate interventions in the space of water, sanitation and hygiene. The founders, Ramesh Balasundaram & Binu Ramesh Verma  are ever ready to facilitate learning for children and parents alike.
  5. Durga India, a project by I’m Every Woman started by Priya Varadarajan and yours truly is focused on creating awareness among the girls & women about their own safety in an increasingly unsafe world. Durga’s effort to create safer public spaces for women, including public transport, gets them to work with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation & install safety alarms in buses.
  6. The Results Cafe, a self improvement project started by Mandeep Kataria & Prashant Reddy that enables & empowers people to stick to their resolutions and not get waylaid. Powerful, for in the end, we all need that push at some time.

These may seem like drops in the vast ocean…but, remember the old adage. They are doing their bit to create a better, stronger and self sufficient India. An India that is crossing the threshold and moving into a space where the world has to sit up and notice. Which brings me to the point of all the nay sayers out there. You can criticise, negate and shoot down any contribution made by anyone, be it an individual, a community or even the government. The fact is there are people whose purpose is to make a positive difference…even if it is to one individual. Negativity does not deter them. They look at the larger good and spread that goodness around them.

The above mentioned dreamers have influenced my own life in such significant ways that I initially did not even realise it. Who I am on the 1st of Jan 2017, somewhere is a result of that influence. What binds us together is this vision we have for this country of ours, for our society, community and people. We all want the following:

  1. A Swachch Bharat that is eco friendly. A national conscious against littering, spitting,  throwing trash everywhere.
  2. A country where girls and women feel safe and are safe. Both are equally important – the feeling & the being.
  3. An India where basic amenities are available to all citizens, in a manner in which they can afford it. That means no freebies for political gain.
  4. A youth that understands the power of our Constitution, the power of voting and contributing to the electoral process.
  5. Adherence to law and order. No negotiating as far as this is concerned.

I am sure every upright citizen wants the same. So, when there is a collective dream, the only thing we have to do, is follow it.

new-year-quotes-2014-beautiful-cards-to-send-your-wishes-brad-paisleyI picture ourselves and India starting a book called 2017 stretched out to 365 pages before us, beckoning to a future somewhere in different chapters that calls us to drive a positive change. All that we will become lies out there, in those pages. The beauty of starting this book is we all can write a sentence, a paragraph or a chapter. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we write.

We spend December 31st & January 1st walking through our lives, chapter by chapter, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the chapters of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.

Praying that everyone writes beautiful lines in the Book of 2017! Happy New Year!

 

 

 

Be The One Who Builds The Temple…

To every triumph, some failure leads

For every accomplishment, agony heeds

The must of desire masters through design

Just a vision that every ambition needs

Truly powerful ambition, in an individual, carries others along with him. Ambition comes from a unique perspective on life. In some, it is limited in horizon. While some others can have a large-hearted, all-inclusive ambition. What is your type?
About a 1000 years ago, a sage was drawn to a construction site. He watched from the edge of a clearing in the forest as the workmen bent over their individual tasks.
Finally his curiosity drove him to one workman at the edge of the site, whom he asked “What are you doing, my good man?” The workman looked up briefly and went back to his work “I’m working” he said curtly.
Not satisfied with the answer, the sage approached a second workman to ask him the same question. “You can see I’m breaking stones” he replied.
The sage was made of stern stuff and he wasn’t leaving without an answer, so he walked over to a third workman with the question. “I’m building a temple” replied this workman smilingly.
The incident opened the sage’s eyes, because all three of them were breaking boulders into smaller stones, but in their minds they were not doing the same jobs.
The third workman was working for a cause much larger than himself and it showed in his approach to work.
You can just do a day’s work, or build a career, a team, an organization, or a nation
An individual’s overpowering ambition can be the glue that holds together and powers forward a team, an army or a country.
This has been proven time and again by various leaders from history. Alexander The Great, and Gandhi are just two names from the past.
Working as an entrepreneur, I have always found that my ambition fuels my vision. If I am not self motivated to achieve my milestones, smaller goals leading to my bigger dreams, how on earth will I achieve my vision? Isn’t that the stuff visions are supposed to be made of? I have also seen certain others who quit their jobs and start working on their own…but just fade away with the sunset soon. After some introspection & talking to some fellow entrepreneurs, I realized that if your internal motivation needs external strokes regularly, then it’s no longer internal motivation.
Of course, we are all human and do need some powerful external inspiration to move ahead at times. It could be either a situation or a person who can inspire us. What has worked for some of us is “collective ambition”. This has helped us achieve what we want in life…not everything…we are still work in progress :). What is “collective ambition”? It’s a special ingredient that allows us to have“…a story that depicts our purpose, vision and plans on how to achieve our dreams.”
Seven ingredients of collective ambition:
1. Purpose: our raison d’etre, our why.
2. Vision: what we want to achieve in a given time frame.
3. Targets and milestones: the metrics used to assess the extent to which the team has progressed toward its vision.
4. Strategic and operational priorities: The actions we will take and not take in pursuit of our vision.
5. Brand promise: The commitments we make to our new partners in terms of empowering them to achieve their dreams.
6. Core values: Our guiding principles that dictate what we stand for in good and bad times.
7. Leader behaviors: How we build our leaders & how they will act, day-by-day and in the long term, to implement vision and strategy as they strive to fulfill their brand promise and live up to their values.
These seven ingredients need to be interwoven to create the ambition machinery. This machinery also needs what we call as the “glue” & “grease”. Glue creates the collective sense in our team, and the ‘grease’ enables it to function efficiently! Unlike everywhere, we focus on a business that builds people and not use people to build the business…sounds esoteric? We can always have a discussion on that…
Till then…expand your ambition and your horizon.
Grow the small pictures that others see, so your big picture gets progressively even bigger. You can choose your perspective and your role in life.
Be the one who builds the temple.