Aspirations to a higher grounde

My struggles to climb to a higher grounde. Weekly updated.

Rediscover who you are

Who are you? What do you want? What is your destination?

Simple questions, but very difficult answers. Most of us will struggle to come up with any kind of meaningful reply, and I am not looking for the creative 4 lines we each come with on our facebook profiles.

But think about it, if we do not know ourselves, how do we expect others to understand us. How do we expect to find our place in the world if we do not know where to go. Have you ever gotten on an airplane without knowing its destination? Chances are the voice of your heart, like mine, has been dwindled by the noise and rules of society, but I can promise it still lurks deep within you hoping for a chance to come out and be heard again.

So the next time you have some free time, and are relaxed, ask yourself these questions. Ask yourself what would be your perfect life? If nothing mattered, if you had no worries, if your finances weren’t in the bruised state they are today, if everything in the world was perfect. Where do you see yourself in such a world, what do you see yourself doing.

Slowly the doubts and haziness will clear itself to reveal a deep hidden secret, perhaps from your childhood, perhaps from an inspiring figure, perhaps from a chance meeting. The most beautiful thing about this secret is that it is different for all of us. All of us do not really want to become popstars nor do we all want to become scientists and explore the breadths of space but the some of us do and there should be nothing stopping you to follow that dream.

We are all so lucky! Our counties are not under attack by some foreign force, nor are we dying of hunger or disease. Yet we sit in our cubicles and go through life depressed as if we are living a cursed life. The fact is we might be living in the most golden age of humanity where new ideas are rewarded, pioneers are worshipped and old superstitions are being thrown in the garbage can.

So stop being scared of failure and chase your dream life. The perfect life and it will be a journey worth every minute of your life, and remember

This is your moment and the only thing stopping you is YOU.

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Filed under: big ideas, higher, ,

What happened to Poetry?

You remember how back in school, we all had a little poetry book. It did not weigh much but God knows it was heavy. With philosophy, imagery and narration it dumbfounded and confused us.

We had to read and analyze and then write reports on how the poem about the train journey was not really about the scenery but about the poet’s life and experiences. How the captain and the boat were really metaphors for the president and his country. It was mind boggling stuff but kind of fun.

It developed our imagination. It was deep and yet frivolous. It was interesting yet forgotten.

There is no poetry now. Only salaries and bills. High speed internet and cool graphic design. Shopping malls and the next blockbuster, but maybe we have all read and deciphered our last poem.

Our lives are the worse for it.

Filed under: higher,

2 Thoughts for the Tuesday

Focus

The champion’s league football game on the weekend, your favorite show on TV, the war in Iraq, all have one thing in common. They have absolutely no impact on your life. So zoom out from popular culture and focus on yourself. Let everything else slide. Eat healthy, read widely and keep in touch with your ‘real’ friends. Take time out to think. Slowly, everything will get back in sync.

Responsibility

Who you are today is because what you have done and have been doing for the last 5, 10 maybe 20 years. That is it. No one else is responsible. So stop blaming your parents, the government or the culture. Take responsibility. With responsibility choose freedom. Freedom to choose your reality in 5, 10, 20 years. The responsibility and power rests with you

Filed under: higher, ,

fake-fake, Real-Real

I recently saw this talk by Joseph Pine and it got me thinking. Joseph says that the modern consumer is concerned by three things, and three things alone – Price, Price and Price. Every product war in the end turns into a price war, and unless you can deliver something more valuable than cheap, you might as well pack your bags and go home.

 Is the answer Authenticity?

To beat cheap, you must not sell just a product but a personalized, genuine experience. The consumer only comes back, craving the emotion the experience generates, because in the end we are all slaves to our emotions.

To deliver an authentic experience however, the one selling the experience must be authentic too. Be it Starbucks, which really loves a freshly brewed coffee or Apple, which really cares about making beautiful products. Or do they?

Can we apply the same argument to people? Is being genuine now a necessity? Is our authenticity a real measure of our success.

I believe it is. When today’s technology makes being fake so easy, being real counts more than ever. 

There are 2 questions we need to ask ourselves – 

Are we true to ourselves?

Are we being to true to our own heart, our aspirations? Is our self-talk not deformed by the forces of society or peer-pressure. As one of my friends always says – “Don’t fake yourself” because inherently if we fake ourselves, we will portray a confused personality to the outside world. Only once we have cleared the mess in our minds and have a clear sense of our own identity, can we make the right decisions at crucial times which determine the story of our lives.

Are we true to others?

Some people are true to themselves, and yet they are afraid to portray that to the outside world. They want to play the field, and align with the most popular opinions. They will lead us to believe that it is beneficial to stay with the tide even if their hearts go against the flow. The problem comes when sooner or later their minds get muddled, and they cannot tell the difference anymore. Their inner voice is lost in the noise of the outside world.  

Real - Fake

We can be fake or real on a lot of different levels, but in the long run only those in the top-right corner will be truly successful. The REAL – REAL people. They will meet the people with the same worldview as theirs, work the jobs they want to work and reach their destinations that they want to reach.

I, having fallen into the trap of being Real-Fake once, am convinced that the road to the higher grounde depends solely on the alignment between our hearts and our personas.  

Updated on February 24, 2009

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Filed under: big ideas, higher, , , ,

Aim

If I were to ask you, what is the one thing you want in your life, what is going to be your answer?

Is it happiness ? freedom ?  wealth ? relationships ?

Well, I am sorry those answers are just not good enough. The fact is that there are many paths to happiness and there are many paths to wealth, but if you can not define exactly how you want your life to be, there is no way you are going to get there.

So if you want freedom from your cubicle, then do you want to own your own bar, or your own boutique? If you want wealth are your going to be happy working as an investment banker and having 70 hour work weeks?

If you have decided to start your own business, what field do you want to target? Is it going to be technology, or retail, or financial services?

If you want to be an artist, what kind of artist? Do you want to paint on canvas or design t-shirts? Do you want to go into modern art or street art?

I know there are a lot of questions. But we have to answer these questions in order to come up with what is it that we want. You have the ability to design your life, but if you do not know what is the finished article is going to look like, then how are you ever going to start.

In order to achieve what you want, you are going to have to make some decisions, ruffle some feathers. You will have to say ‘NO’ to the things that you do not want in order to say ‘YES’ to the things you do want. 

So take your time and come up with a plan for your life. The work you want to be doing to earn a living. The city you want to live in. The location of the home you want to stay in. The kind of friends you want to have. Be specific. There is so point in coming up with a plan if it is hazy. 

If you choose to do this, you will be surprised at the clarity of your own vision, things which seemed impossible earlier will seem possible. From then on, be consistent in chasing your vision and nothing will be able to stop you from making your dreams a reality.

Filed under: big ideas, higher, , ,

What is flow?

What is flow? Where does it come from?

It is tough to define flow. It is abstract in the true sense of the word. Even the world’s best minds have struggled to describe what they feel when they achieve that ephemeral feeling. However we all have felt it, or rather sensed it, at least a few times in our lives, when the surroundings blur, true concentration is achieved and nothing else matters but the present.

Some of you might have felt it during an important exam, when instinctively the right answers seem to flow out without thinking. Others might have felt it while playing a competitive sport in their childhood when for that one moment nothing but winning mattered. And of course artists, musicians and sculptors would easily recognize this heavenly feeling.

The most wonderful aspect of flow is that it is different for everyone. If you ever needed convincing that we are all special and unique, just watch a painter paint, an athlete run and a mathematician solve an impossible problem. You can see it in their eyes that they are truly immersed in their art, in their work. Nothing around them matters to them. At the same time make an athlete paint, an artist solve a problem and a mathematician paint and they will never achieve flow, no matter how hard they try.

We are all born with different gifts, and are special in our different ways, but we are all special.

You might have discovered what you truly loved to do as a child, or you might have found a particular class in school absolutely absorbing or in college an activity might have become the most important aspect of your life. We all find what we truly love in different ways, but we know we have found something special when we find ourselves thinking 

This is what I was sent here to do

There is nothing better than to earn your living doing what you truly love. Imagine going to you workplace and getting so absorbed in what you do that time stops for you, nothing matters but you and your work. Seems an impossible dream and yet hundreds of painters, designers, sportsmen, event managers, writers, pilots, teachers and even share brokers are doing just that every day. They are living their dreams because they chose to pursue what they loved to do and did not let anything else get in their way. 

Of course not always can we make a living out of it. The “real world” does not care much about flow. It only cares about pieces of paper called ‘resumes’ and other pieces of paper called ‘degrees’. So even if you cannot make money doing what you love, do not give it up. Keep in touch with you love to do, to get away from it all and totally immerse yourself in flow.

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Time is Money. Really?

We have all heard the saying. Its accepted as a universal truth. I always had a problem with it though. Something seemed completely out of place. So here it goes ..

The TOP 10 reasons why Time is nothing like money – 

10.  You cannot just walk into an ATM and check how much you got left.

9.  No matter what job you do, you can never earn more of it.

8.  The world doesn’t treat you differently depending on how much you have.

7.  Time cannot be traded in any market.

6.  You spend the same amount of every day and night.

5.  You cannot use it to bully other people.

4.  The government cannot bail you out with more time. 

3.  No one can steal it from you.

2.  It is not controlled by powerful people.

1.  It only flows one way, out of our hands.

So Lets treat time with the respect it deserves, and put it to great use.

*You can add to the list or argue with it in the comments*

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Filed under: big ideas, higher, status quo, , ,

Education .. and now

Get back in class, play time is over.

We heard these words everyday from our teachers and parents, and grown ups in general. There was always a premium on play and fun. We always had to sacrifice doing what we loved to do, in order to do what we were supposed to do.

“Books and Studies = Success “, we were told.

So we heaved our heavy bags from home to school, and school to home. We did classwork in the mornings and homework in the evenings. Through Class Tests, and Mock Tests we prepared for Annual Tests. We got up early for last minute revisions, and all our answers had to achieve precision.

“Study now or you will regret later”, we were told.

The kids who played 4 hours a day were slandered, and the kids who studied 12 hours a day were worshipped.

Anything that did not involve books was bad. Activities like games, drawing, painting, sculpture, flying a kite were just that, spare time activities. Only to be done in spare time from studies. Our creativity was killed, and individuality was murdered. We studied subjects like history and geography without learning anything from the past or enjoying the beauty of nature. In trying to finish courses and give out assignments, our teachers became monsters, ready to grab and devour anyone not able to keep up, or with no interest.

Our education system, based in the industrial revolution, taught us to conform, to obey, to be like everyone else and listen to what the grown ups said.We thought good grades would lead us to great jobs, money and happiness.

It is only now we are finding out that it doesn’t pay to conform and to obey. The most ordinary workers, who listen to everything the boss says are the ones who are fired first, and made expendable.

It is only now that we realize that the only things that matter are the ones we love to do. Our preferences, likes and dislikes are more important than the calculus equations.

It is only now realize out that memorizing our text books does not lead to success or happiness, in fact time spent playing, painting and writing is far more memorable than time spent on a spreadsheet or a contract.

Our education system enables us to find a job, earn a living. However if it could teach us to find what we truly love, and earn a living doing it, that is when we would move closer realizing our dreams and fulfilling our potential.

Filed under: higher, lessons from life, status quo, we need change, , , , ,

Pain, Suffering, Satisfaction & Acceptance

Recently heard this quote from a friend,

“Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional”

Its a great saying. Pain is an integral part of life, we can not hide from it. Buddha once said that, everyone has 83 problems, no matter if you are rich, poor, healthy or sick, its always 83 problems. We can fix one but there will always be another to take its place.

Life itself by its very nature is painful. There cannot be life without pain, nor is it be without joy. It is up to each one of us to decide whether we choose to concentrate on the ‘painful’ and suffer, or focus on the ‘joyful’ and enjoy our little time on this planet. Its the classical optimistic:pessimistic, half-full:half empty debate.

The catch is, if you choose not to suffer, if you choose to block out the pain, what would drive you to reach for your goals, achieve your potential, discover your place in the universe. Would you not continue to live life as it comes at you rather than create your future. The people who made their own road, achieved something, were inherently not satisfied by the status-quo. They suffered, and their suffering brought change which improved not only their lives but also lives of generations to come.

Is this the difference between satisfaction and acceptance? Even though most of us have not yet achieved all our dreams, we can be satisfied with where we are today knowing its a step towards our eventual goal. Even when the going gets tough, we can be positive that the current struggles will lead us to our destination. However beneath the satisfaction there must be a tiny bit of suffering, a lining of resolve to keep improving, to make every day count in this pursuit of the higher grounde. If we accept the present and do not ache for change, then we can forget about creating a new direction for our lives.

In the tale about the Pandora’s box, the hope ferry flies out of the box and brings hope to all mankind, but she only comes after all the evils, ills, and diseases have escaped. Its a simple lesson, Hope comes only after suffering and so does Change.

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