The Maths of Life

When a man marries his girlfriend, he immediately creates a vacancy.

Okay, this is not my quote. It is from James Goldsmith. But it doesn’t matter whose quote is it because the point is – it highlights an unpleasantly interesting truth.

The truth is, you like something when there are no strings attached. When strings get attached, you start disliking the same thing!

We observe it all the time, but we don’t pay attention to this pattern much. Here is a story that affirms this observation.

In 1999, I met with a person called Milan (name changed for privacy).

He had a clerical/administrative job in a school. His work hours were 8:00 am to 1:00 pm and his salary were more than enough to take care of his needs.

But Milan hated his job. His passion was teaching maths to children.

Milan was excellent with academic maths and loved teaching. A lot of students used to come to him to learn maths.

Frustrated with his boring job, he quit his job. Soon he rented a space, ordered some furniture, and open his maths coaching classes.

He got the first batch within just a week of opening the classes.

Within just 3 months, he was running about 4 batches in a day. He was happy with his work and he rented more space, partnered with a couple of other teachers and hired a few more teachers.

They were four people running their coaching classes and gaining a good name amongst young children and their parents because of their quality maths coaching.

More and more students started joining his maths classes. And he was almost compelled to start more batches.

Now, apart from teaching maths, he also had to look after the administrative and operational aspects of running a coaching class business.

It turned out that he just loved teaching maths, not running a coaching class business.

His operational costs were increasing day by day – and the revenues he was generating through fees was not enough to take care of the costs.

His “hobby” shifted from teaching maths to share-market day trading. He started hating maths and started spending more time at a sharebroker’s office.

To make a long story short, after a few months, he shut his classes down because he could not sustain it and got an administrative job again with some organization.

His life went on but certainly, it was not something that Milan and his near ones would have wished for him.

The Math of Life Utpal Vaishnav

Lessons:

  1. Don’t turn your hobby into a business (especially if you are not up for understanding the business aspects of converting your hobby into a business).
  2. Your boring looking job gives you time and money to pursue your hobby, be aware of that and find peace with it.
  3. In business, there are a lot of things that you do which you may not personally like but you still need to do. That’s normal. If you don’t know how to lead yourself on the face of unpleasant yet important activities of your business, you will be out of business soon.
  4. The maths of life is not 1+1 = 2. Its answer could be different in different situations. What people do not get is that both the digits (1) are defined passively – by a lot of external factors. In other words, in business, 1 does not represent a constant, it is a variable!

Your relationship with the hobby will remain healthy if you don’t try to convert it into a job – or a business.

Fulfilling My Destiny – A Zen Story

In not so ancient times, there lived a master.

He came from a humble background and led his way to wisdom through hard work, perseverance, and ability to solve complex problems.

He was appreciated for not only his wisdom but also for his unique + unusual + interesting way of teaching.

Everyone Liked the Master

A lot of people not only liked him but also used seek his help for solving diverse problems related to business, relationships, and life.

His preferred way of teaching was fire and forget. He’d  teach a concept, provide vivid examples and relevant stories around the concept and that’s it.

He never seemed to worry much about the outcomes and used to teach all kind of students with equal focus.

A New Disciple Comes

One day, a new student enrolled in master’s self-development class.

The new student was young but curious, inexperienced but determined, not super talented but had super-clarity of thoughts.

The fees for the class was  100% participation of the student. If a student takes any session for granted, s/he would not make to the next class.

The young student was working hard, participating wholeheartedly, and expressing himself fully.

He got enough attention and guidance from the master.

This student started acquiring more skills and started being more aware of the fabric of self-development and what it means to be a lifelong learner.

While the class was about to end, the student said to the master:

“Oh master, I have been observing you since you accepted me in your class.

You don’t worry much whether your students will learn what they need to or not.

You just teach and let your students learn. If they don’t, you don’t say anything to them. If they do, then also you don’t say anything to them.

But when it comes to me, I think you make sure that I learn it.

You are helping me to fulfill my dreams. Thank you, master!”

Master Fulfills His Destiny

“I’m not here to fulfill your dreams; I’m here to fulfill my destiny.” replied the master.

“What’s your destiny?” asked the student.

“My destiny is what I make of it,” the master said calmly.

“But I think you help me to fulfill my dreams, you go beyond what a master would do normally,” the student affirmed his thought.

“Well,” said the master, “I’m just fulfilling my destiny. If it means anything else in your world then it is your version of what it is.”

What to Learn from the Story

#1. Your destiny is to serve. When  you serve, you rule. Rule the hearts. 💚

destiny
#2. Like the master, we all are here to fulfill our destiny. And our destiny is what we make of it. If it means anything else to anyone, it is not our lookout, it is their lookout. 🙂

#3. Fulfilling your destiny means nothing but celebrating your existence and doing what you feel is right in the moment of choice.

What if fulfilling your destiny becomes your life work?

PS: It’s okay if you’re not doing your life work but at least now you know that it is possible to do that sooner than later.

Love You, Zindagi! ❤️

Yesterday, I heard this wonderful song from an upcoming movie – Dear Zindagi.

It resonated quickly and I listened to it more than once in first 30 minutes of me knowing about such a song.

Then I listened to it once more.

And more.

Within just about a couple of hours, I listened to this song 5-6 times.

Then I plunged myself into the work. While I was doing the work, I enjoyed my being little more than usual. For no apparent reasons.

Then I reached home.

The TV was on.

I don’t know why but I asked to record the program being watched.

Then I streamed this Love You, Zindagi song from my phone’s YouTube to the TV.

While the dinner was being prepared, I watched it three times more.

Then we took the dinner.

While taking dinner, I watched it once more.

Then I went to my home office. And started doing some research about my upcoming book – on building a winning career (and life).

While researching, I listened to the song again.

And once more.

Then I went to bed.

For past few months, I’ve developed a habit of reviewing all good things that have happened during the day and being thankful to God. This simple gratitude exercise contributes in producing many good things including the good night’s sleep.

I was thinking about the activities and accomplishments of the day. Many good things happened:

  • Taught two people on content writing and project management respectively;
  • Led the marketing plan creation process for TingTong app;
  • Solved two problems of two different friends;
  • Finalized the design of two pages of Yories’ upcoming website;
  • Consulted a client on the next step of his app launch;
  • Did an hour of quality research on my upcoming book on social media …

While all of these was happening, I keep listening to this Love you, Zindagi song. Things like this do not happen to me usually. It was a bit different experience.

I was wondering why I enjoyed this song so much… soon, I realized that this song has a language. It’s the language of being unconventional. It’s the language of life. The language that all of us wants to use but only a few of us practice.

It is the language that radiates hope. 😇
It is the language that radiates joy. 🙂
It is the language that radiates possibilities.✍
It is the language that radiates sunshine. ☀️
It is the language that radiates love. ❤️

And the lyrics of the song – they are so apt. And lovely.

And something that served as the basis of the following poem that penned itself soon after the song was internalized without any conscious effort from my side:

I love you, life

I do what I like
I don’t do what I don’t

I welcome the smiles
I fire the pains

I love you, life
Oh life, hold my hands all the times
even though I try to walk away sometimes

I know I’m a bit volatile
And you are a bit strange
But we go along well
as we make a great pair

I welcome the smiles
I fire the pains

I Love you, life!

This experience reminded me of Geet from Jab We Met. Geet is one of the most sparkling characters Indian Cinema has ever produced.

Also, I found the picturization of the song wonderful. It’s crazy. It’s weird. It’s perfectly imperfect.

Oh, the scenes where SRK plays kabaddi with the ocean and Alia plays with the mud. Insanely imperfect!

Any so-called “sane” person would not do things like this but that’s the beauty of these scenes and intelligence of the director.

And the actors? Loved them both. The life on Alia’s face and the calm intensity of SRK’s act are just awesome!

Those tiny acts are full of life. Uncanny. Weird. Off. But I enjoyed them. If you want to live an intense life, I think, weirdness is an essential tool.

Dear Zindagi

Then I went to sleep. It was one of the most tranquil sleep I ever experienced in recent days.

And today has begun. With all good vibes. And I headed to work just after writing this piece in the morning.

And this is lunch time and I’ve heard this song 4 more times!

PS: Zindagi = Life. This is for people who can’t interpret Hindi words. 🙂 

Love Story of the Ice – a Photo Story

The ice.

img_8461

Frozen at the mountaintop.

Searching for her lost love.

Known as the Sun!

The ice knew that when they will mate, she will lose her whole identity.

When they will mate, she will no longer remain the ice. She will get a new form. A form recognized as Water.

A form that will be fluid, unlike its present form recognized as ice, which is little rigid, little frozen …

The ice knew all of these, yet her wait for the Sun gets more and more intense.

Will the Sun show up?

No one knows. Not even the ice.

Does even the Sun know about Ice’s love for him?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But does it matter to anyone except the ice?

Does it even matter to the Sun?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But regardless, at the very moment of capture, the Ice was giving a pose to my camera hoping that it will somehow communicate about her wait to the Sun.

But my camera did not even know how to communicate about the Ice’s wait to the Sun.

“I’m so Sorry,” I heard my camera whispering in the ears of the Ice. “I don’t know but I will tell the hands holding me to write about your wait in a language Sun might understand …”

But seems the Sun found it out intuitively and started sending some of its rays for the ice …

Is it, Sun?

Is There a Life after Death?

A lot of people are living in the past;
A lot of people are wondering why things are not working;
A lot of people are thinking about their lonely childhood;
A lot of people are blaming their society, their families or their spouses for the recent disasters they have been experiencing …

A lot of people are living in the future;
A lot of people are searching for the heaven;
A lot of people are worrying what their tomorrow will look like;
A lot of people are doing research to find out whether there’s a life after death …

life after death

The real problem is not whether there’s a life after death;
but whether you’re alive before you’re dead!

A lot of people are living dead;
If you are too then it’d be wise to feel sad.

But it would be wiser to feel sad for just a few moments.

Because things happen in this world because of actions.
Actions of yours or someone else’s.

For actions to happen, your belief systems play a significant part. Because before taking any action, we tend to validate whether that particular action is appropriate or not… but the appropriation of an action is subjective, nothing more and nothing less.

So, you have an opportunity that you can cause (create) the situations for your life.

It is not guaranteed that you will find success in this path but it is a guarantee that you won’t find regrets.

Know that life experiences do not just happen; they are made.
You can shower your life with golden ornaments and choose to become a jade!

Don’t Let Her Go

Each one of us has a special someone whom s/he wants to keep in  life no matter what.

But this post is not about that special someone. This is something that is critical to have if we want to keep that special someone in our life. Yes, that is $$$! 🙂

Watch this 2:45 secs short ad-film starring Amitabh Bachchan, Isha Kopikar and Kangna Ranaut amongst others.

This ad film is a great example of how two totally separate concepts can be connected to make an emotional impact.

This ad film has a simple message: Cleanliness is Godliness. The way they have delivered the message is awesome!

The Ad shows some specific use cases of how a common person does not care much about cleanliness at the same time s/he is worshiping Goddess Laxmi.

The punch? Immediately after the act of an uncleanliness, Goddess Laxmi goes away. The hashtag then reads #DontLetHerGo … pretty interesting way of communicating that if you don’t keep your surroundings clean, you will get poorer.

And no one wants their richness, no matter how little it is, wants to go away.

Lessons:

  1. You can connect two different dots to communicate an impactful message
  2. Provoking emotion is a great way to cause the change
  3. When the legend – Amitabh Bachchan – appeals in his touching way, “It is now time that we all come together to make India a dream country…a clean country so please support this cause!”, people like me cannot stop themselves from not only sharing the film but writing a thing or two about it!
  4. Great marketing is what invokes people’s emotions … if the message comes from a legend, people will listen to it with bias. Bias is one of the most powerful marketing tools!

Ok so we have learned a thing or two from this impactful ad now let’s make our homes, offices, and surroundings clean and #DontLetHerGo 🙂

The Tao of Understanding

The Tao of Understanding

When you understand kindness as kindness, mercilessness arises
When you understand love as love, hatred arises

Thus Happiness and Unhappiness produce each other
Right and Wrong bring about each other
Light and Dark reveal each other
Health and Illness reflect each other

The words have limitations
The written things have limitations
The said things have limitations
The understanding has limitations

Therefore the key
is not to “understand” such things

But to “experience” them …

Understanding goes away; experiences do not.

The Tao of Understanding is
not to try to understand the things,
but to experience them.

Concept Inspiration: Lao Tzu