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.

May the Force Be With You

Reading a very powerful writeup by Albert Camus. Here it goes:

“In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that…

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”

~Albert Camus

Above write-up brings in tremendous hope and reestablishes the faith we all should have in ourselves if we are on our path to living our personal legend.

While reflecting on those lines, some thought-pictures are created in my mind. Here they go:

In the midst of desert, I found there was, within me, a beautiful lake.  In the midst of night, I found there was, within me, an unbeatable morning.

I realize through it all, that …

No matter how difficult the challenges are, within me, there is a force that wants me to push back. The force wants me to live my personal legend there is no matter what.

May the Force be with me … and with you.

light within darkness

To Hell With The Critics, Long Live Criticism

Do you remember the people who criticise you?

Or you care about just the criticism and take corrective measures if you think you can improve?

It’s a “Who Vs. What” question.

criticism

Now think about this: if you remember the people who criticise you, your natural inclination will be to win over their hearts and do the things to please them.

When you do something to “please” someone, your act gets biased. Your such act will make you stressful. Is such an act worth practicing? You know the answer.

But if you listen to just the criticism to understand the critic’s point of view, and if you are convinced, take corrective measures for improvement, the scenario changes.

When it comes to dealing with criticism, ‘What’ matters more than ‘Who.’

Don’t think of critics. Fix the act that caused criticism (or ignore it if you don’t care).

Think of people you love … your friends; your family; your kids; your spouse (if you still love her, or him) …

That’s much better use of the most scarce resource you have – your remaining time in this world.

Some people live their lives thinking that they have unlimited time in this world. That’s not true. Your time is limited. Here’re the 7 most common deathbed regrets. Not worth having for sure.

Do something that gives you happiness. Learn from the criticism but to hell with the critics. You better do it!

Let Go

Are you holding on a relationship that’s not worth your time and energy?

Yes?

We all know that our life is lived only once still we keep holding on relationships that do not shower us with love, empowerment and encouragement.

We “hope” that things will work out one day.

  • That friend who has gone kaput will again be my closest friend … one day.
  • That pretty girl will say yes to my marriage proposal … one day.
  • That bad customer will turn into good … one day.
  • My mother-in-law (or boss) will stop shouting at me … one day.

One day!

We keep waiting but the “one day” NEVER comes.

Or even if it comes, it comes at a time we’ve stopped waiting for it.

What’s the point?

So, today let go of every relationship – real or imaginary – that constantly hurts you – do not keep people in your life who do not motivate you, encourage you, enhance you and make you feel good for who you are.

Your present being is inclusive of them. Exclude them today from your life.

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

~ Lao Tzu

Let go.

Do not look back. Do not hold onto your past. Do not keep thinking about what you could have done differently.

It’s OK to move on. You owe it to yourself to move on. You owe it to yourself to be happy with the relationships you have …

The Minimalistc (Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan)

Let go.

Lori Deschane of Tiny Buddha has written a wonderful post called How to Let Go of a Past Relationship. Read it today. It provides useful insights on letting go.

Let go.

You will never regret your decision and the world will get a happier you … and you’ll enjoy it too!

Hotchpotch of Wants

Do you cook hotchpotch daily?

Huh? What kind of question is this?

No one cooks hotchpotch daily.

If you cook and eat hotchpotch daily then you’ll stop enjoying its taste sooner than later.

Enter “to want” list – we keep adding more and more things to it and make a hotchpotch of it daily.

Here’s what we want, more and more: More money. More happiness. More love. More peace. More leisure.

And often here’s what we get: More debt. More despair. More neglect. More frustration. More burning.

Because we focus on getting more, we get more. But of wrong kind.

Greed costs.

What if we don’t focus on getting more at all?

What if we focus on not getting “more” of anything or “less” of anything?

What if we start living the life that’s not based on any such wants list but on how it unfolds and how we spontaneously respond to it.

Then we won’t have to eat the same hotchpotch everyday. Then we won’t have to witness the fight between our different and often opposite kinds of wants. Then we won’t have to worry about achieving something.

Then we will just breathe. And live.

“Breathe in that vital connection to the life source and sensual beauty everywhere. Feel loved and strong.” ~ Jay Woodman

Then we will experience the vital connection to life energy.

That life will be much different from what we are living… More agile. More spontaneous. More meaningful …

Probably better too … experience it on your own.

How to Excel at a Skill?

What do you need to excel at a skill?

Wondering what it could be?

Too many people believe that to excel at a skill, they need to make revolutionary changes in the way they think, feel and behave.

That’s not true.

To excel at a skill, you need to make a small change but on consistent basis.

To make a small change on a consistent basis, you need intentional focus and undivided attention to the task at hand.

BTW, Intentional Focus and Undivided Attention are the focus-keywords I’ve given to my team this year.

You need small yet consistent steps towards the apex of the skill-excellence.

Small is easy to start. Small is easy to measure. Small is easy to retrospect. Small is easy to correct.

Small is simple. Simple gets done, fast!

If you get better at your Photoshop skills 1% each day for next six weeks, you will see a 40% improvement in your Photoshop skills.

40% is a huge improvement, isn’t it?

It’s true for any other area of you life: Health; Cooking; Coding; Public Speaking … or any other area. You can excel at almost any skill you can think of.

Getting better by just 1% does not require you to make revolutionary changes in the way they think, feel and behave.

That’s less scary too.

So now you’re not scared, who’s stopping you from getting better at any skill you want in just about six weeks?

Any skill?