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Keep Pumping - A Hard little secret in the Journey of your dreams

June 6, 2014

Here is a hard little secret about achieving your dreams that most people won’t tell you…

The journey of your Dreams is NOT an ongoing, straight-line upward progression.

What I’ve found in my own life, and in the lives of my highly successful friends and coaching clients, is that success or upward progress often comes to us in big acheivements, followed by plateaus.

If you’ve ever worked at a sport, lost weight, or learned to play an instrument, you know that progress is never linear. Inevitably you will encounter plateaus, even setbacks, in your development.

In your effort to improve an area of your life or work there are times when it may seem like you are not making any progress or forward momentum. And then, there are also times when you take a big achievement and jump up to the next level!

The most critical times are the ones when you face a setback. Your ultimate success lies in the way you respond to the challenge or setback? People who understand success or progress know how to use setbacks to their advantage.

This holds true in so many areas of life…From growing your business, to practicing a skill or talent, to improving your health and even in strengthening your relationships.

Even though you feel like you are “doing everything right”, you don’t see immediate and measurable progress or results.

This causes most people to quit and say, “This stuff doesn’t work!”

They justify their giving up by telling themselves, “I did everything that I could but I didn’t get the promised result!”

What they don’t understand is, what they were doing WAS working, and had they just kept going just a bit longer the results would have begun pouring in.

It’s a bit like using one of those old-fashion, manual water pumps.

You have to pump, and pump, and pump and pump and nothing comes out. So most people think, “the well is dry. There is no water down there.” So they stop pumping.

But what they don’t see, is that the entire time they were pumping, water was slowly rising up the pipe, getting closer and closer to pouring out of the spigot.

The problem is, as soon as they stop pumping, the water level drops all the way back down the pipe to the bottom!

So if they want the water, they will have to start pumping all over again from the beginning.

The trick to making those old hand-pumps work is to KEEP PUMPING!

Because as soon as the water starts flowing, it becomes so much easier to keep it flowing.

You no longer have to keep pumping hard…

You can ease off and give it a gentle pump here and there and the water keeps pouring out. But if you pause long enough for the water to stop flowing and fall back down the pipe, you have to start all over!

This is why building and maintaining MOMENTUM is so critical in the journey of your dreams.

People are so used to instant gratification these days, they simply give up and quit when they don’t see immediate results.

That is why the most prominent trait among the world-class and highly successful individuals is PERSISTENCE.

 

Hard Realizations in the path of success

May 26, 2014

Have you noticed that most of us often look at successful people in hopes of somehow knowing their magic formula?

Many have done this and fallen into the trap of thinking that there is one magic solution for success and that it can be replicated by anyone with enough sheer will and desire. Clearly this is not true.

Yes, success does leave clues but clues are not the entire story.

And of course, it also makes sense to learn lessons from people who have achieved the goals we want. They did something right and some of their ingredients may indeed work in your success recipe too.

However, you need to walk your own success path. You will have people around to guide you and help you but the journey is yours and you have to complete it.

Realizing this and taking full responsibility for yourself makes a huge difference.

Know yourself, your desires, your abilities, and your unique gifts that would increase your chances of actually being successful substantially.

Here are some key realizations that I believe you should consider along your path to success.

  • There is no magic formula

Sometimes we tend to look for a magic formula to be cracked that would give us the much desired success. Thinking that life post the success would be easy, abundant and problem free is an illusion. Successful people have put a lot of effort into achieving their success. Most of the time success hasn’t fallen into their lap. To achieve success in any area of life we need to put in the effort to move towards our goal.

  •  Life is never problem free

Life is never solved. I have realized that every phase of life brings new sets of challenges that we might not have previously thought about! As you scale higher levels in life, you will notice that there is no problem free place to get to! Doing what you love every day and accepting the challenges that come along the way is the way of life. Problems and challenges should spur you to put in more effort to move to your desires. 

  • It’s about the journey not the destination

While the end result may be a great new product or service, it’s the process of developing that idea that often builds your character and provides the most learning opportunities. Remember something significant you have achieved or something important where you failed. Now look at the lessons you learned along the way. Would you really have learnt them if you could have fast forwarded to the result? However difficult things may be it has made us who we are today.

  • There are no shortcuts

As life has become fast and we have more gadgets and technology to make life easier, we are getting used to quick fixes. If we don’t achieve something quickly we think it’s not worth achieving or that it is taking too long. Life is not a race. We don’t have a mandate of speed at which we have to travel through life. Enjoy what you are doing. Enjoy the process of evolving. Understand that masterpieces will take their required time.

  • Nothing replaces hard work

As I said before, there is no ‘quick fix’. Masterpieces do take time. We need to learn to develop the skills of being persistent and keeping the bigger picture in mind. I think this is why some people say that personal development books don’t work. What they are forgetting is that the missing link is hard work. Reading any book or going to any seminar alone will not change our life. Knowledge, taking action, having inspiration, hard work and persistence is what will make the difference.

  •  You can’t be taught ‘passion’

It is for us alone to find our passion. No one can teach us their passion. May be others can help us find our passion and can also share their experiences in a way that can help us find our own. But our passion is fundamentally different from others. It is a unique blend of our own inner whisperings, life experiences and individual skills and talents. It is our job to try new experiences in order to hunt our passion(s) down.

  •  Trust your inner voice

We might have the help of good mentors. We also can learn from others who are successful in our area of interest. But, remember that we all have a unique path and it is our job to work out how to march on that path. Sometimes the reason we look to others for answers is because we don’t trust our inner voice. We don’t trust ourselves to do our own thing, to take a risk and to shine. Learn to trust your inner voice. Start today, listen to what your intuition is saying and start doing what feels right for you.

Start seeing through the illusions around the path of success. Get clear on where you are and what you need to do to go where you want to be.

Things become much easier once we take responsibility for our own success. Create your own path of success.

Making Happy Career Choices

May 13, 2014

‘What you have is all God’s gift to you. What you do with what you have is your gift to him’.

Sachin Tendulkar started playing cricket at the age of 6. Michael Schumacher started Go-karting at the age of 4. Lata Mangeshkar started singing at the age of 6. Very few people start early in their life where they belong.

Where do you belong?

If you have not figured it out yet, its time to take a pause...

To know Yourself. To discover your gifts. To know your values. To find out something that you love to do. To find out something that will make you feel happy and comfortable. To find a job that will make you feel this is the place I need to be. To understand what is good for you to perform and what is not.

Successful careers are not planned. They develop when you are prepared for opportunities by knowing your strengths, your method of work, and your values.

Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person, hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre, into an outstanding performer.

Success is a result of opportunity meeting prepared mind.

So, coming to the most important question in today’s youth, How to choose and make a successful career?

Traditional approach: Choice based on educational grades, parent’s choices, friend’s choices, senior family person recommendations, general trend (ie Engineering / MBA /CA etc), or more money in a particular career. These choices may turn out to be perfect, ok or wrong.

Today’s scenario: A world with career options available in galore. Internet at hands simplifying the ease of knowing about those options. Add to this smaller families & easy finance options; The entire aspect of making career choices has changed.

But still most people follow the old principle of choices and think getting through a good Engineering/ MBA college etc. is the passport to a great career.

Now let me ask you, have you met someone who is from a top school/ college confessing secretly- ‘I worked so hard to be here; but now I realize- this is just not what I wanted’? For majority of you the answer would be Yes.

What happens? Youngsters work hard to get into engineering/ MBA colleges. Then they fight out through competition to join high profile jobs. Then they realize this not the place they want to be in. Either their expectations do not meet or they are hit by boredom. Wrong choice of career?

Also, today you see lot of people working; but mostly trapped. Software Engineers from good colleges not enjoying doing coding, MBAs not enjoying managing and technical persons wishing to get into management after years of experience are common stories you hear nowadays. Again wrong choice of career?

So the question arises, is there a smarter way of making career choices?

To be honest, I have tried to simplify and be as logical as possible whenever I have been faced with this question from graduates.

It has always been a difficult question to answer. But anyways, here is what I feel.

While choosing careers you need to look at two aspects; your Gift and the right Job to showcase your Gift.

Your ‘Gift’ is something which you are very good at. It is your deepest feeling to do that particular thing ahead of many others. Your ‘Gift’ is something which connects all the dots of your growing up years and experiences. It is something which is stationed deep in you. Your ‘Gift’ is what you wish to express to the world and your ‘Job’ is ‘how you express’.

Most people base their career decisions on just the other part ie ‘Job’. If your ‘Job’ is not aligned with your ‘Gift’ it will lead to career anxieties. Knowing your gifts and working on a relevant job will create an excellent career with outstanding results.

To find the appropriate JOB for your GIFT is an ongoing process of understanding yourself. As you will expose yourself more to the world, you will begin to understand your hidden GIFT and then gradually will also be able to identify the best JOB for the same. As you start finding what is right for you, you will start making correct choices. If you are confused to figure out the right job for you try using the elimination formula. To identify what is the right for you is to start eliminating jobs that are not for you. Soon you will filter out the jobs that would suit you.

Know where you belong. It might take some time for few of you. It’s okay. You might have to shift a few jobs before you find the right one for you. But once you do that, make most of it.

Find areas where you can excel and give your best.

Ask yourself, what is it that challenges you, you secretly dream about?

What is that excites you, makes you feel to get up early and sometimes makes you sit up in the middle of the night with an exciting idea?

Identifying your ideal career takes time and it certainly takes a few mistakes. Keep on making intelligent, informed & heart centric decisions and sooner or later; you will be there.

Most people give up after the first few failures. Be persistent in spite of failing, you are bound to be successful. A lot of entrepreneurial start-ups close down because they fail to carry on.

Nothing substitutes pure happiness. When you love the work you do, the results that you will generate will have high value for yourself and others. Money will eventually follow. It would not elude you for long; even if it does initially.

It’s critical to take some real, solid career decisions which flow from your heart. Do not delay getting off the bus which doesn’t take you to your destination. The earlier you do, the better are your chances to make mistakes and bounce back to the right path.

A lot of people in your life- your family, your friends, and your relatives might find you crazy. But once they start seeing you being successful, the same people will begin to seek your advice on ‘how to do, what you did’.

Let money not be the biggest factor while taking career decisions. Let the real thing be- satisfaction & fulfillment. Let the driving reasons be quality of work which makes you better in terms of your skills & contributions – every passing day.

Finally to sum it up, only you are responsible for what you make out of your life/ career. Whatever you are today is a result of decisions that you took previously. The decisions were yours. If you are not happy with the present situation- change it. You need to take some more bold decisions. No one is stopping you from making different and newer choices.

Think- Is it you who is trapping yourself?

Ultimately, you may choose to grow or you may choose to just survive. Choice is yours.
Here is one of my favorite quotes from Steve Jobs,

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Innovate Life

May 8, 2014

Human beings have been inventing and reinventing machines, products and processes for years together in search of a better life. The quest for excellence has been unending.

Let it be designing the cheapest/ fastest / most efficient automobiles or designing fastest computers or designing more user friendly softwares, we have always longed and loved to have more.

Innovation is a concept that is used in various fields to make products/ processes better.

It can be broadly defined as analyzing existing products/ processes, identifying opportunities to improve, eliminating flaws and redesigning it to create a new process.

How about applying this concept to Life? Innovating Life?

Hypothetical Question. But worth a thought.

What is it that you would like to change in your life? What is it that you would have done if you had an option to redesign your life?

Imagine all the things that you can do better, given a chance?

We all have had our own share of experiences that life has offered. It has been unique for each one of us. We all have had our learnings from the ‘University of Life’.

It’s rightly said, Experience is the best teacher.

Now with your experience and imagination, try applying the concept of Innovation to your life.

I tried and here are a few of my learnings:

Value Time more than money. It cannot be earned back.

Family is not replaceable, job is.  If something goes wrong at job, we have a second option. For family, we don’t.

Specialize in what you love to do and find a way to make a living doing that. It can’t get better than this. If it does not work out, don’t stop doing what you love to do. Ensure you squeeze out time for what you love, it will keep you alive.

Make sure your loved ones know that you love and care for them, no matter how busy you are. No assumptions. It works wonders.

Read books instead of watching TV. Even an hour a day, makes 365 hours a year. Imagine the knowledge you would have.

Spend your Income on things whose value increase with time, rather than immediate pleasure. It doesn’t last long.

Focus first on needs and then on wants. Use common sense for your budgeting.

Take risks but calculate the risks before taking them.

Plan your life but have time for unplanned activities too. 

Live/ Cherish every moment. Nothing lasts forever.

Reach for your inner self before reaching for God. You will find the solution.

At times, It’s better to defeat your ego than to defeat your loved ones.

Failures are blessings in disguise.

Understanding someone does not mean you have to agree on everything.

Be healthy. Save money. Spend on Gym rather than insurance.

One thing at a time. Forget everything else.

Sleep Less. Wake up to life.

Don’t do things just because everyone else is doing them. Choose what you want to do consciously.

Body is the temple of your soul. Take care.

Keep exploring life. Reenergize your mind.

And Love Yourself.  We often forget to do that.

Innovate and Refresh your life.

It’s never late. Live better…

Mediocre or Amazing? What describes your Life?

May 2, 2014

If your answer is not Amazing life, then you should be a little worried.

Actually, you should be very worried. You should drop everything, find a mirror, look yourself in your eyes and immediately question,

What is my reason to live?

Ask yourself, do I have the real life skills to live an amazing life?

I’m not talking about the skills to top your graduate class.

I’m talking about skills for stepping out in the real world, making your way, taking on the world and actually getting some amazing stuff done; the skills to get it done.

Skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or in a textbook. Skills you can only learn by doing; by learning how to swim after jumping in the water.

Skills that you learn when you put yourself in the line of fire or expose yourself to the possibility of failure.

The skills you can only develop when you are willing to risk it all in order to do that one amazing thing.

So, if you are not living an amazing life, be honest and ask yourself …

1. Do you fear failures?

Are you so comfortable with your mediocrity that you choose not to try?

Do you only talk about learning something new as opposed to actually learning it?

Do you think everything is too complicated and it is better to just wait to get it done someday?

Do you prefer sitting around failing to try instead of trying to fail, challenging yourself, learning new things and getting them done?

Understand that if you fail, you learn, and then adjust your course in the right direction. If you have to create diamonds you have to put them on the razor edge. Learn to face the challenges to learn to win.

2. Are you worried about what others think about you?

Are you afraid to be your true self fearing how the world will see you? Are you worried of being judged by others?

Are you spending your money on new outfits, new cars, and overpriced meals to impress others rather than investing in things that you should?

Do you care more about what will others feel as opposed to what you should do?

Leave aside all your worries and show your true self to the world. Stay immune to negative opinions about you. Remember they are only true if you feel they are. You always have a choice to not accept them.

3. Do you feel learning stops after graduation?

Did you learn what everyone else did? Did you study what others studied and read what others read?

Did you learn because of your wish or others wish?

Do you think learning is only something people do in schools?

There is more to learning in a classroom about the world and that is learning by living.

Being smart is not about what you learn; it’s about how you live.

The test in real life is not about grades but it is about survival.

4. Do you only read the things you are required to read or nothing at all?

Would you prefer to sit and watch a scripted reality show instead of exploring something new in an attempt to understand the world around you better?

Do you refuse to acknowledge that it’s easier to learn from the experiences of those that lived before us?

Do you accept that books or articles are the nectar of life learning that the author has to share?

Read. It would save lots of efforts, time and money that would be needed to acquire that knowledge.

5. Do you lack curiosity?

Do you accept whatever is told or shown to you?

Do you accept or forward information without questioning its truth?

Do you feel the necessity to ask this simple question- “Is it really true?”, and accept the possibility that maybe it is not.

Do you have an I- know-it-all attitude? Do you refuse to accept that you don’t know when you don’t know?

Do you thirst for knowledge, regardless of the topic?

Be curious, you will understand the world better.

6. Do you hesitate to question?

Do you question and stand up for what you know is right in the face of someone telling you otherwise?

Do you question yourself?

Do you question others?

Questions direct our focus, and therefore how we think and how we feel. So if we want to change the quality of our lives, we should change our habitual questions.
The masters of questions are kids. Observe how many millions of questions do they constantly bombard us with as they're growing up? Why do you think that is? Is it just to drive us crazy? We need to realize that they're constantly making evaluations as to what things mean and what they should do.

So, understand that the way we think is initiated by our questions—either questions we ask of ourselves or others.

7. Do you really know the real you?

Do you accept that you don’t know for the things you don’t know?

Do you feel that you can do better in life?

Do you live by the values that you stand for?

Are you aware of yourself and the reality around you?

It means knowing yourself. Knowing who we in truth are. It’s about the awareness of one’s self, one’s conditioning and one’s  universe.

Knowledge of self plays a key role in taking right decisions. Knowledge of the situation, Knowledge of your role, Knowledge of others involved and knowledge of the external factors is crucial in decision making.  

Once you truly understand the real you and the potential that you possess, you would know that the only thing holding you back from living a life that is truly amazing, is you.

Belief and Reality

April 19, 2014

Sky diving is difficult. Is it a belief or a reality?

Doing business is difficult. Is it a belief or a reality?

Making money is difficult. Is it a belief or a reality?

What do you believe? How do you believe?

How are beliefs formed for you?

Are you sure that whatever you believe is truth?

Do your beliefs change?

When you were young you were told, on Christmas Eve, Santa will come and bless you with his gifts. Eventually, as you grew old you realized, it’s a belief and not a reality.

In good old days, people believed that earth was flat, till it was discovered that it is round in shape. It was realized that the age old belief was not a reality.

Ask yourself, what are my beliefs? Are they true?

For example, I can never be slim or I cannot do public speaking or I cannot get up early in the morning.

Or dreams are just dreams, they can never be reality or being successful is difficult or Maintaining relationships are difficult or being healthy is asking for too much.

Now most of you must be thinking, all these things are easier to say than to do.

Well, is this thought a belief or reality?

If it’s a belief, then how do a few people manage to excel in these areas with ease whereas others feel it impossible?

How do patients with little hope as per doctors, manage to get well and recover from life threatening diseases?

How do athletes achieve results which are seemingly impossible for humans?

It’s their belief that sets them apart from the rest; the strong Belief that they have in themselves, their ideas, their dreams and their abilities.

Ask yourself: Does reality shapes your belief or does belief shapes your reality?

Does what you believe matters in how you experience your reality?

YES it does.

And since it does, your answer to these questions has the power to change the way you live your life. With that one answer, you can choose to either give up or take control of your life.

Good news is beliefs can be changed.

You are not at the mercy of your past experiences, unless you believe that you are.

You are free to break away from any past conditioning or limiting beliefs by simply changing your thoughts. When you change your beliefs, you change everything.

Your future is not a random phenomenon; its design lies in your own thoughts.

Your reality can always be changed and can be created from your thoughts and beliefs.

The possibilities of your future are infinite and they depend on what you think, believe and do today.

The present is the seed by which the future will be created. The future is dynamic and the power to shape it lies within you.

You hold within you your own destiny. Change your thoughts and you will change your future.

Change the beliefs that are limiting and holding you back, and create powerful new beliefs that serve and uplift you, beliefs that will take you wherever you wish to go.

YOUniverse

April 7, 2014

When you were born you were creative and fearless.

As a child, everything was possible for you.

You put the towel over your back and then you became a Superman. You climbed up the tree, not knowing that you might fall.

Whatever came to your mind, you did, not thinking whether it was possible or not. You simply did it.

You just had an idea and you made it happen, because you believed.

You were creative and open to all possibilities and had a strong belief to make it happen.

And then you got older. And things became different. You changed.

You started moving from being creative and having self belief to being fearful, doubtful, and judgmental.

When people shouted at you, you feared doing what you wanted and saying what you felt. You thought it was better to stop speaking your mind.

When you failed at something, you thought you could never make it.

You did not perform as well as you wanted and you judged yourself as a failure.

You thought risks should not be taken. It won’t be easy.

You had a brilliant business idea that could generate lot of wealth and lot of jobs, but you did not take the step because you were not sure. You had doubt and fear.

You didn’t take action and your idea remained an idea and did not become a reality.  

People said your dreams were impossible and you believed them. And now you don’t dream anymore.

Someone said something is wrong with you and you started to believe that something is wrong with you.

Someone stopped speaking to you and you felt people do not like you.

You started feeling alone and felt, you have to do it all on your own. You thought asking for help is weak.

You looked at other people and thought they were better than you. You stopped liking you and being you.

You felt life is unfair and you questioned God.

Now, it’s time to start being who you are.

You are unique. You are gifted. There is no one any better or worse than you. You are not alone.

Whatever you experienced in your life happened for a reason. Learn from the experiences and grow.

Ask for help. The universe is there for you.

Know who you are. Know your purpose of being.

Imagine when you were a child, if that idea had come by, could you have taken action? When back then, you strongly believed anything was possible, could you have stifled yourself by fear and doubt?

Believe in yourself, it is never too late; you just need to have an idea to make it happen. You still can, if you believe.

It all starts from a belief. Believe.