We have stepped, danced, drank or waltzed our way into 2015 finally (my bet is more on the drinking and dancing on how majority of the people welcomed the New Year). This is the time to promise yourselves and make new year resolutions- the most popular ones being ‘I will exercise, I will lose weight, I will quit smoking’. Believe me, once the holiday mood is over, it is back to reality, routine, work, school etc and out go the resolutions like a paper plane. Resolutions make it all seem very burdensome and dragging.
I prefer silent wishes and prayers similar to the ones we make during our birthday, after all New Year is every person’s birthday. So, here are some of the wishes/to-do’s or prayers for 2015 which I think can be everyone else’s as well-:
1.Learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby- Did you always want learn a musical instrument or learn an art or sport? Well, this is your time to pursue it irrespective of what other people might tell you; ‘Oh, you are too old or you possibly cannot learn it, you have two left feet so how can you dance?’ You will not know how bad you are at the skill until you give it a shot. I want to learn the guitar and I will give it my best. Oh lastly, do not listen to people who say you can’t do it, they did not try so they discourage others.
2.Picking up from the last line, surround yourself with people who make you laugh, feel good and happy. There will always be folks who tell you cannot do something or are so cynical in life that the negativity just rubs off on you. No one has the right to make you feel inferior or bad without your permission.
3.Travel to a new place- Take a trip whether a road trip or a simple hike. The best part about travel is that the journey itself unfolds so many aspects of the world that you never knew existed. The journey is as important as the destination.
4.Stay active- As cliched or old as it may sound health is wealth honey. The good ‘ol wish is more relevant in today’s time with our arch enemies like stress, pollution, fast food, sedentary lifestyle plaguing us. You need to make healthier choices in your diet and pick up a physical activity like walking, dance or simply run. You do not want to die young do you?
5.Set yourself a target or milestone for the year which after completion you can say ‘Yayy!!! That was my biggest achievement in 2015!’ You need to have at least one ridiculously crazy far fetched goal which will get you out of your comfort zone and help you discover yourself in the whole process. This will keep the fire alive in your otherwise mundane routine life.
Lastly, say a little prayer every now and then to be thankful for who you are and the strength to take on life’s challenges. You got to squeeze in as much as you can in this short life. With that I wish all of you a very Happy New year and an exciting one. Cheers!
A few days ago, I had met a couple along with their five month old baby girl. This young lady had really long and thin fingers which I admired and told the couple ‘Wow, she has long and slender fingers.’ To which the father replied ‘Ya, my daughter will grow up to be a top notch surgeon.’ I simply stood their smiling and scratching my head thinking ‘my comment was not intended to point at which profession the kid will take when she grows up.’ It got me thinking are we still going to choose what our kid becomes when they grow up?
Are we still very particular about our kids growing up to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer? Our previous generations have always glorified these professions for the fame and fortune that it brings. I would not deny that during their time these professions were the only source of financial security for the families, but not anymore. There are so many opportunities in today’s world in all avenues even if they take the non-traditional route that they will still earn all the fame, fortune and most importantly an inner satisfaction. The kid needs to explore and discover what he/she loves doing? It can range from storytelling to dance.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to identify that passion, nurture it and guide your kid to pursue it. You can always let these talents remain as ‘hobbies’ and goad the kid to studying science and math. Perhaps, they will do well in that area also but do they really love solving math problems or preparing a balance sheet? Observe and listen to your kid when he/she whines about certain subjects and brightens up when going for a particular class. Of course, as a parent you should always explain your point of view but do not force your unfulfilled dreams or aspirations on them. It is after all their life.
It is ok if your child does not like math and you love the subject. Let them choose their passion, they will automatically work for it and make it a huge success. Let them come to the decision on their own and more importantly trust their decisions, as a parent your fundamental duty is to teach them how to make choices in life. If you teach that, my dear parents you have mastered the most difficult art of parenting and you should be super proud of it. Anyway, we need a variety of people with different passions in life and ideas. It will truly make it a Life’s Macchiato 😉
I was looking forward to meeting a school friend this week after almost 6 months and I did (despite my crazy work schedule). At the end of a fine evening, it was time to say good bye and the last hug was a mixed bag of emotions- Happiness to have met her after so long, relieved to have exchanged life’s stories, excitement for the future, a wee bit of sadness that God knows when would we meet again given our priorities in life and the most important emotion of hope that we would meet soon and stay in touch.
Yes, we had not spoken to each other for close to six months, but we picked up from where we left and chattered away like we did during school lunch breaks- whether gossip, jobs, family or crazy adventures. The most important part of friendship for me is that the person does not judge you for what is ‘moral’ or ‘right’ as we are not constantly asking for advice, solutions or remedies in life. A true friend is one who can be silently and patiently listening to you during moments of despair, confusion and simply touching your wounds with a warm and tender hand saying ‘it will be ok..you will be just fine or how about lunch?’. Sometime even silence make real conversations, the unsaid says everything.
I firmly believe each one of us can have one or two friends in our inner circles who know you in and out, with whom you have grown side by side and of course who you can call up at 4 am! That one friend can make you smile and laugh even when life is sucking or give you hope that there is a world of possibilities ahead of us. Just ask a few simple questions as a litmus test of who are your real friends- Are they willing to fight for you? Do you see something more in that person than yesterday? Does that person enjoy the silence between the two of you and yet understands your true feelings? If the answer to the above is yes, then my friend you have a winner!
Friendship is the hardest thing to explain and it can at best be felt. If you have not learnt the meaning of friendship then one has not learnt the most powerful lesson in life. One of my best friends is also my faithful pooch who seems to understand every emotion I am going through, if only she could talk but like in one of stories Dil Dosti and Dog in my maiden book Life’s Macchiato Bhole the dog was his mistress’s savior. Friendship was very cutely conveyed by Winnie the Pooh-: “We’ll be friends forever, won’t we Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered. As they say BFF!
This weekend, majority of my time (when I was awake of course) was spent dreaming, day and night. I dreamt I was invited to a TED conference to give a talk on Dreams. Well obviously since I am no doctor, I cannot talk about the science of dreams. But what I could talk about was the power of your dreams. One may laugh at it, saying it is not reality but unless you dream it, it is always impossible.
Whether you remember it or not, an average human being dreams for about an hour or two every night. Numerous studies and research have proven the importance of dreaming in a wellbeing of a person. I go a bit further, that apart from keeping the stress at bay and recharging you, dreaming is the first step to success. Steve Jobs dreamt of every person holding a computer in their hands, John F. Kennedy dreamt that there would be a day when man would set foot on the moon…All these examples show that one might have passion the energy but to give directions to that passion you need a dream, a vision. That dream should be so bold, big and compelling that it should revolutionize human lives.
When you dream you do not have any limitations or constraints, you let your mind loose and let it show its true potential. That is why it is so important to carve out some time in your daily schedule, preferably in an inspiring environment to let your mind wander. The uninterrupted solitude is a powerhouse for new ideas, dreams and things you never thought would be possible.
Finally it is when that dream becomes so compelling that it does not let you sleep or eat; that is when greatness is achieved. Great dreamers are people who are capable of making a difference in this world independently. Regret is a terrible feeling to live with, and an unfulfilled dream is powerful enough to bring regret in your life. One has nothing to lose if you chase that dream, you may achieve the vision or not but at the end of it you can stand with your head held high and say ‘Hey. At least I gave it my best shot and I have no regrets!’ So go on follow your dream..why do you want to follow status quo?
I am completely obsessed with the Masterchef Australia Series, not because I am an expert cook but because the show is a melting pot of a myriad of human emotions- whether it is passion, humility, sadness or love. But the one key lesson that stands out in every episode is the fighting spirit that each of the amateur cooks bring out. Let’s face it, each of the cooks have a bad day and are on the brink of elimination. But what this competition tests is not the complexity of the dishes one creates but how does one emerge stronger from a setback.
Your mental strength and ability to wade through these setbacks automatically shows in the dishes prepared because the best cooking comes when the mind and heart are at its strongest. The moment you let these setbacks beat you up, it is a sure shot recipe for disaster. It sounds unbelievable but I have seen it. Contestants who are down in the dumps on one day go back home to regain their composure and strength and Voila! The next day they cook like they have never cooked before.
These pressure situations are not restricted to Masterchef but are seen in our daily lives. It may look as though it is staged on Television or easier said than done, but it is possible because it is all in your mind. Below are some of the ways which I believe could help you think straight in the face of a setback-:
- Regain composure- One needs to sit back and calm down either by meditating or simple breathing. With the adrenalin rush it is difficult to gather your thoughts or creativity. The Masterchef mentors Gary, Matt and George constantly remind the contestants to calm down in pressure tests because fluttering aimlessly like a butterfly would not get you anywhere.
- Do not forget the bigger picture- Choosing to see the bigger picture helps you remember your vision or that WHY. You need to connect with what is your true love and passion so that you can bounce back in the game. Each of these contestants have their own Why’s- whether their love to feed people amazing food, cooking for their kids or simply do it for the love of food.
- Step back and retrace your steps- Now that you have your big picture, one should ask questions like ‘What worked, what did not work or what could I have done differently?’ The answers to these questions would equip you to make the required course corrections. The contestants need to give a serious thought on why a particular dish did not work because to stay in the competition they have to improve and do things differently.
- It is ok to make mistakes- After all we are human and it is impossible that any human being who walked on this planet has not made mistakes- whether it is Steve Jobs or Mahatma Gandhi. The key is to acknowledge those mistakes, understand them and emerge stronger. Each of these cooks has made mistakes but as the show progresses one can see how they grow and emerge stronger- They do not kick themselves but they get up and kick the stove!
In last week’s episodes the famed 3 Michellin star celebrity Chef Marco Pierre White gave his own example that he did not get to be where he is via a simple cakewalk. He had made multiple blunders in his career, but the important message he gave was ‘If you are down in the dumps, remember not to let anyone else pick you up but yourself. You can take as much time as you want, but you got to get up, brush it off and move ahead.’ If your mind and heart is on it, then nothing can stop you!
We always look up to our elders, senior leaders etc for advise and hope that they would give us some magical pearls of wisdom so that we can reach our peaks. However, I have also noticed that in many companies including my workplace, that our senior leaders make sure that they spend some quality time with the millennial kiddos, college graduates, management trainees etc talking to them about everything ranging from the happening night spots in the city to the coolest mobile/social media trends. This is not to look ‘cool’ but actually to learn.
This initiative is called Reverse mentoring wherein older executives pair up with younger executives to get mentored on topics like social media trends, technology etc. This initiative was started by Jack Welsh but has recently caught on. Let’s face it, as one ages you are not in tune with the future the same way a twenty something is. They bring fresh ideas, courage and a fresh perspective to everything.
Here are some ways in which this could work-:
- Choose your mentor carefully- Look around and search for someone who has great potential and talent but does not have that ‘leader’ title
- Two curious minds are better than one- Select a person who is passionate about exploring and insanely curious about what’s next or what can be. The same things apply for you as well- Be the curious George!
- Make this a priority- Devote yourself to this and be sincere about it. Make time for this like your mandatory white space and do it for yourself
- Build upon these exchanges- Use these perspectives or ideas in building your business capabilities and ensuring future readiness
Reverse mentoring has many benefits like-:
- Recognizing and promoting talent across the organization- This can help provide the right platforms for the rising stars to gain visibility
- Brings people from different generations closer and work as a team and not an ‘us vs them’ type of competition.
- Reduces the knowledge gap for both parties. The senior executives learn about emerging technologies, trends etc while the younger executive learns about leadership and other industry experiences from the senior.
The best part is that you do not need a fancy program for this, all you need is the willingness to listen and learn. It can be done within your existing learning programs in the company. Once the matching of employees from different generations and backgrounds is done, all they need to commit is to meet regularly in order to learn and challenge each other. As Mr. Steve Jobs said ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’
A few weeks back I attended a workshop to improve one’s influencing skills and one of the key ingredients that was told by the coach was ‘Passion’. Up and until that time I was sincerely taking mental notes but when he mentioned this, I paused and gave that ‘Passion?? How is passion linked here?’ look. Then he mentioned that passion does not mean the love scenes in movies only, it means that one has a burning desire and dedication to a person, activity or concept. That feeling should ooze out of every body part of yours to ensure that you are authentic and make people listen to you. Well, yeah..that made sense.
A bit of digging into what passion means I found that this word has originated from the Latin word patere meaning suffering. Over time, this term has evolved into a positive term like love, desire etc. To dwell further on this, a lot of people have found their passion in life once they felt challenged or had a void in their lives. They did some deep and tough soul searching as to hoe to fill these voids, which ultimately led them to discovering their love. I know an accountant couple who used to work in a plush corporate environment and quit their jobs after five years to concentrate on teaching college students. Why they did so? Well, because they never found that satisfaction in their jobs with respect to the lack of recognition or office politics. That mental stress forced them to search for eternal happiness to which they can dedicate their lives to.
Now, none of them or other high profile brilliant people realized this in one single day. The key is not to follow books or personality tests but to slow down and ask some very pertinent questions to oneself, like-:
- What have been your challenges or joys that you are facing in your life?
- Are there any themes or patterns in these challenges or joys? This can signal a pattern to change or continue
- Are there any insights that you could use from these experiences without being too judgmental?
- What could you do to heal or change that discomfort?
All your life’s experiences are clues to lead you to that key- what is your real love or desire in life? Take a moment to soak in these cues and be thankful that they happened, because they make us stronger and gives us room to think straight. After all, as we get far in the number of years, we want to find that true purpose in life- loving what we do or loving the people around us. If you want to find the real purpose in your life, all you need is to find and follow your passion. That is your true calling!