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, ,

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, , ,

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,

Consistency – 2

Too many of us spend our time waiting for the big-bang moment, the massive splash. If only I got my big break, If only I won the lottery, If only someone gave me a million dollars! In the meantime we continue our obsession with video games, and junk food and mind numbing television.

Once in a while, we get inspired. We hit the gym, rise early, write a journal, go for treks, pick up a sport. However slowly things go back to normal – we have work to do, friends to meet and life is busy.

Its not really your fault. The world around us celebrates the big moments. Nowhere is it more obvious than in sport. We see day long coverage of the 100m world record run, the air-Jordan slam dunk, the winning shot, and only an occasional mention of the years of hard work, resolve and consistency that went into creating that moment.

I think most of us would agree that 5 years of consistent hard work would lead to success in almost any field. You might not win the Pulitzer but if you spend 5 years writing and rewriting and improving a draft, chances are you will get published. If you spend 5 years working out consistently, you can be assured of great physical and mental health. Maybe you won’t beat tiger woods, but play golf seriously for 5 years and chances are you will beat all of your friends and associates, even play a tournament or two.

Isn’t it better to devote 5 years in the pursuit of excellence rather than spend all our lives languishing in mediocrity? I think all of us want to pursue the higher grounde, we just need something to push us, something to get us going.

However the beginning is the easy part, the tougher hurdles to cross are to keep going and being regular, and I would offer two simple solutions –

1. Resolve to take up 3 things you would like to get better at and you love doing for 6 months. Do not stop or give up for 6 months and then choose 1 of the 3 and pursue it for another 6 months. Reassess after the year; feel free to go back to one of the things you dropped if that made you feel better.

2. Be regular. There is no point in pursuing a goal if you can’t be regular. Everyday is normally impossible, so target 4 times a week. No exceptions. Make some sacrifices, pull out of that Saturday night bash or make sure you have reached your weekly target before the weekend.

Aristotle once said, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit”, and i am sure its a habit that can be developed.

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