Aspirations to a higher grounde

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

Inspiration

I believe we all need inspiration at some point or the other. Even the most motivated, energetic, goal-oriented among us have our moments of self-doubt. The moments when we want to lie in bed all day, when life seems a big waste and the future holds nothing but despair. The moments when we ask ourselves, why should I work hard, why should I try, why can’t I be a happy ignorant little looser.

It is for these moments, (and others), that TED TALKS comes in extremely handy. For those of you not yet hooked, TED is an invite only conference hosted annually by Chris Anderson and his organization and is attended by the best and the brightest. The gathering truly represents the finest qualities and achievements of the human race. People who followed their dreams and built something great, and changed the world around them in the process.

I can list a host of famous names who have spoken at TED, however the beauty of the conference is actually all the people we have never heard of, hearing them speak, and being inspired by their vision.

Too often I come across people who’s main argument not to follow their dreams is – “ For every success, there are 1000s of failures, for every Richard Branson there are throngs of people who lie in poverty and who’s name you will never hear.” I used to believe this argument too, but after TED, I am convinced there are thousands of people whos name You and I may have never heard, but they are still living a great life, being successful and loving what they do.

The first one I watched – 

One of the best – 

Yes and ofcourse, no ‘Cubicle dwelling, I kept my job for 45 years’ manager ever got to speak at TED.

Filed under: people i admire, videos inspire, , ,

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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Filed under: big ideas, higher, , ,

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, , ,

Be whoever You want to be

Just saw a movie, and this was beautifully said – 

” it’s never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Filed under: lessons from life, ,

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, , , , ,

Eye Opener

Jessica Hagy

The sad fact is that most of us act Angry and Selfish in order to be happy and prosperous but end up being scared and bitter !

The next time you are about to loose your temper, remember this graph and take a deep breadth.

Thanks to Jessica Hagy and Seth Godin

Filed under: big ideas

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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Filed under: big ideas, higher, ,

Ideas – the beginning

Ideas seem to have a life of their own. They grow over time, leaving the mind and body of the creator and take on a surreal presence with influence over people’s lives and their futures. Google started off as an idea to search the growing internet in a more organized way, and today it is one of the most innovative and admired companies in the world and also a verb. Ikea started off as an idea to bring designer furniture to the masses, and today it employs over a hundred thousand people with retail presence all over the world.

Before reaching world changing proportions however, ideas need to be nourished and developed. Typically an idea starts off brightly, we get what seems like a strike of lightening in our minds and suddenly there is a paradigm shift in our thinking,

“This is the way it should be done” OR 

“This is just what people need”.

A typical characteristic of an idea is that it has only two ways to go, either it will grow and become bigger and turn what we imagined into reality OR die as quickly as it struck our minds and disappear forever. There is NO middle path. An idea does not have the ability to stay suspended in a motionless state, it is in continuous motion, either evolving or dying.

Thus it becomes absolutely critical to nourish an idea, by writing it down and thinking about the implications and the possibilities, by making an action plan, by considering the work that will need to be done to turn the idea into reality.

Sooner or later you come to the point where you will need to discuss the idea with someone, when the idea needs thoughts and action from more than one person and this is where some critical decisions are made. Too many people make the mistake of keeping their idea a secret for too long in the fear that someone else might steal it, however the chances of that happening are far less than it dying due to lack of action. It is a risk that must be taken.

The important thing is to talk to someone with the same mindset and the same world-view. Most people are ready to shoot down anything new you might present to them because they are scared of change, do not have the ability or the courage to disturb the set ways of the world and thus will take the first opportunity to discourage any one else who tries to innovate. Stay away from the skeptics in the beginning and do not be disheartened by them, because they will be the first ones to turn around and applaud your idea once it finds success.

Once you have your team, all pulling in the same direction, the idea will start to grow beyond your own mind and into an entity of its own. Give it a name and a plan of action and then the fun really begins.

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Filed under: big ideas, , , ,

Talking Trash

Talk is cheap, in fact its completely free. You ever watched a game of you favorite sport with your friends and heard everyone give advice and coaching to the players on TV.

“He should have played that shot with a little more angle”

I know, I do it too. Its fun and entertaining, and hey we are the paying public. Its also extremely hollow. The fact is the guy on TV takes home a million dollars in match fee alone, while doing something he loves to do. He is really not looking for our advice.

We are so ready to deliver our opinion and judgment on anything and anyone that crosses our way without thinking twice. I guess we pick it up from the media and late night TV, lets all bash the celebrities. But most of the celebrities don’t read the articles written about them and definitely don’t watch talk shows ridiculing them. The joke is really on us wasting our time and numbing our minds.

So lets not ridicule people who have made it just because they are living the lives we dream of living, and lets not attribute their success to luck, or chance or fate. Success comes to people who work hard and have a definite purpose, so lets respect success and work slowly and steadily to get there, without talking too much trash.

Filed under: we need change,

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