The Blank Slate

Have you observed how complex your life has become?

While you chase your dreams and meet the goals you have set, your lives get so perplexing… slowly.

The puzzling nature of things goes on, one trivial step at a time.

I wake up in the morning, check some key business metrics, go for a walk, do some exercise, take bath, eat breakfast, rush to the office and then get involved in diverse activities that I have allowed to be a part of my life.

The clutter multiplies.

Who’s the creator of such a cluttered life?

Me.

Who allows so many challenges (read: opportunities, threats, scarcity mindset, fire in the belly to make it happen …) to visit me often?

Me.

It’s because I want to see myself at the apex of what I consider my mountain.

It’s because I still have what is called the scarcity mindset: If I don’t do XYZ thing, I might lose on something important.

It’s because I feel I’m incomplete; it’s because I want to accomplish something; it’s because I want to make a difference.

If our life were a project with a non-negotiable goal to experience it fully, isn’t the clutter that we allow happening a “Scope Crepe”?

We are born into this world to experience our life fully. Anything that prevents us to do that is a scope crepe.

Clutter.

“Should we not chase our dreams? Should we not chase the excellence? Should we not cultivate the achiever mindset?”

Don’t ask these questions.

Instead, ask a better one: are we experiencing this very moment without worrying about losing on something important in future?

No?

All these questions; all these to-dos or not-to-do things; all these wise or silly looking decisions; all these right or wrong things; the complicated mess …

Okay, I want to get rid of this complicated mess but how?

Start with a blank slate.

A blank slate is neither cluttered nor uncluttered. It’s just that – a blank slate. The Blank slate means nothingness. Nothingness has the capability of creating something.

Nothingness is a possibility. A possibility to create an uncluttered life for you if you choose to create it.

A blank slate has limited space. What would you write on it?

For me, I might put some quality time with people who matter to me; traveling to unknown lands; exploring different cultures; long walks along with good friends; creating a state of health that I’m proud of; indulging in the work that gives me joy and continuous learning.

Those are the things that I’d write on my blank slate; because they feel appropriate to me. What would you choose?

Once we’ve figured out what we want to write on our blank slate, we know what makes our life worth living … now we just need to consciously be aware of all what we are doing and ask: “Is this one of the items I would write on my blank slate?”

No?

You know what to do.

The Four Enablers of Excellence

We all want to be a successful and excellence, as it turns out, is the vehicle to achieve the success.

So what it takes to achieve the success? What are the four pillars? What are the four enablers of excellence? Here they go:

  1. Essence: “I chose because that’s how I live my purpose. I’m responsible.” 
  2. Ownership: “I’ll make it happen no matter what.”
  3. Gratitude: “I’m thankful for all what I’ve got. Now let me give something back without expecting anything in return.”
  4. Courage: “If I don’t try, I can’t fail. But then what’s the point? Fear? Sure I do have my share of it. But I choose to feel the fear but do it anyway.”

We were born excellent. Fearless. We had all above qualities although we did not have the distinction that let’s us know that our core is made of pure excellence.

Then they taught us to be obedient. They gave us rules to live by…a sense of right and wrong from the perspective of the society took our lives over. Stories of punishments we will get if we don’t follow the rules became a part of our lives.

What they did not teach us is: it’s okay to break the rules; it’s okay to create your own rules…and be responsible for what you’ve created!

The result? Mediocre we. Yes, you. And me!

They were none other than our beloved family members, school teachers, elderly people whom we respected in the society and alike.

They wanted to see us happy but their understanding of happiness was against bringing the “excellence” out from us.

Their definition of happiness was fulfilled if we get a secured job which is predictable enough to raise children, go to Europe tour once or (twice at a maximum) in lifetime and live an apparently “settled” life.

Now, nothing is wrong with that definition if we are okay with mediocrity. Excellence takes something else.

Choice has always been ours; choice will always be ours: We can choose to dance on the head of fear and get the sh*t done or let fear dance on top of us.

A choice well made is a choice which we won’t regret on our deathbed. What choice you want to make?

How to Deal With People Who Irritate You?

How to Deal With People Who Irritate YouThink of a person who irritated you recently.

Who is that person? Your colleague, spouse, children, friend, mother-in-law, neighbour or a political leader … who?

How was your state of irritation felt like?

Was it a state of being annoyed, impatient, devastated or being angry? What?

We feel irritated when our expectations are not fulfilled. Expectations such as someone will do something or will not do something.

So, how to deal with people who irritate you?

First, deal with your inner self and establish peace with your expectation.

Second, I encourage you to pause for a moment and give a mental hug to the person who you think had caused your irritation.

Here’s the reason: people who irritate you reveal your limiting beliefs, fears and false assumptions. They pinpoint you toward your weaknesses that are holding you back in your life.

Let me rephrase it – your ability to get irritated is actually a limitation. The power is within you, not with them. They said or did whatever they had to. You could not handle the situation and felt irritated.

Reflect on what Stephen Covey wrote,

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness.

Did you utilize the space between stimulus and response and chose to be irritated?

I guess not, am I wrong?

Here’s an idea that will change your life for good: Thank people who irritate you and think about the underlining expectation that was not met. Give them a mental hug.

Your real problem is not the people who irritate you, it is the expectation. Do something to solve that problem. Feeling irritated is a waste of time. It suggests that your control is with other people, not you.

You are so dependent. Choose to be independent first and then interdependent.

Stephen Covey has suggested in his masterpiece, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, that we pass through the stages of dependency, independency and inter-dependency. When we were child we were dependent, when we become young, we become independent, when we grow in life, we become interdependent.

When we are dependent we think that YOU did wrong things to me.

When we are independent we think that I did whatever I did. I know how to deal with the things.

When we are interdependent we think that WE will do something that neither you nor I alone would achieve.

So I ask you to take a step forward and be independent. First step in becoming independent is to face your fears. To face your fears, you need to assume unconditional ownership of your actions. If you don’t do that, your fears become powerful and hold you back.

Feeling irritated is a personal weakness. Good thing about that is that you have recognized it now so you will do something about it.


Image Credit: Michal Marcol/FreeDigitalPhotos

Learn to Let It Go

Nick, the teenager was undergoing a personal relationship challenge once again.

“I should visit my father and seek some guidance,” he thought to himself. He considered his father to be his friend, philosopher and guide.

So, he went to his father to take his guidance.

When he reached his father’s home, he found him taking care of newly born kittens.

“I think I can’t manage to have girlfriends. All of them try to escape from me.”

While talking, Nick held up a kitten, which immediately tried to escape.

The more Nick tried to hold it, the more the kitten writhed.

“Just don’t try holding it tight,” Father advised.

Nick followed his father’s advice. He opened his hands and the kitten stopped struggling. Soon, the kitten started playing in Nick’s hands.

How to live happier life? Let it go.

“Human beings are no different,” said his father. “If you try to hold onto them by any means, they try to run away. But if you let them go, they will remain forever by your side.

In 100 Words: Oh Thy Possibility!

Recently, a must-read author and my close friend Tanmay Vora has started sharing his thoughts in the form of 100 word posts. We had a detailed talk about that and we shared the excitement of experimenting a different and interesting form.

Here’s my first one in that form, with the constraint of 100 words applied. Not actually a story but a kind of self-talk that extends my possibility thinking.

Oh…Thy Possibility!

Having invented you
has made the whole journey
really meaningful…

My eyes smile when I savor you
and treasure the present moment.

The journey that has begun
may see light and dark
uncertainties and challenges
successes and failures…

It may see all that
it is capable of seeing.

Maybe the purpose
of the present moment
is to fade away
and transform into
the next present moment…

Inspiring us in-between
to take specific actions
that we must take
and presume total responsibility.

That’s what makes it so powerful…

But when we take actions
we become even more powerful.

Oh… thy possibility!

Waiter Vs. Grabber

Are you waiting for the right time to start working towards your major career goal?

Let me tell this up front – you’re not going to make it happen.

“Now, that’s rude. Tell me the reason or …” you might be thinking.

I have a simple answer to this: “You wait. You shouldn’t.”

You wait. You Shouldn't.

  • You think it is not the right time.
  • You think you do not have the right skills.
  • You think you haven’t done necessary research.
  • You think you have lack of resources.

These thoughts, no matter how valid they seem on surface, are not going to make your life better.

And you told me that you wanted to make your life better, didn’t you?

Still you think that you will do it one day … when the time is right.

You choose to be a waiter.

When you’re a student, you wait for a significant amount of time to complete your academics. You think you will start doing something when your degree is earned.

Once your degree is earned, you wait for the interview calls. You think you will do better when you get an interview call from the “right” MNC.

Often at work, you do more or less the same thing – you wait for your manager to provide you with an “authority” and a “vision” to buy-in and make something happen.

But a few people, only a few, grab it instead.

What is “it” ?

An opportunity!

They grab the best learning they can get, pushing their surroundings for more, finding something to get done, and inventing a new perspective.

Reflect on this powerful quote from Shiv Khera:

Winners don’t do different things. They do things differently.

The grabbers are the winners. 

They acquire more lessons than the minimum, they invent new ways of getting things done and they come out with wonders.

People who grab the opportunities at work – and life at large – are effective leaders, no matter what their titles are.

Did you know that in order to achieve your career goal, you will have to lead?

It is okay if you didn’t but now you know.

Today is the greatest time for the Leaders.  Choose to be a Grabber.  Winning will follow!