Life, Transformation

Endurance #Day 4

A Rolling Stone...Gathers Momentum (3)

Being a long distance runner I love endurance, which is defined as follows

The capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear.

The prime objective of training (esp. marathon) is to build endurance and typically starts 16 weeks (roughly 3 months) prior to the actual run. If strictly followed, the ordeal takes the subject to the limit of his physical self. First few weeks, the first time runner may find himself walking like a zombie in his work day, with all parts of his body aching. It is critical that one doesn’t give up during these testing times, because this would not just limit the physical built up, but more importantly, the mental toughness. During this 16 week ordeal, the runner craves for just one ambition, crossing the finish line. The high that you get by achieving this feat is unparalleled. Once you cross the finish line, chances are likely that you would say, “It was tough, but I made it. And I would do it again!”.

The second time you do it, it is much easier. The problem is that now you would aim for a much bigger challenge.

I’ve read Ms Duckworth’s book “Grit” definitely more than one time and have intensions of reading it several times again. It is one of the most well researched books and simplifies the definition of success and breaks the common norms.

She says,

Focus on talent distracts us  from something that is at least as important, and that is EFFORT. Effort counts twice. The most dazzling human achievement are in fact the aggregate of countless individual elements, each of which is ordinary.

Superlative performance is really a confluence of dozens of small skills, or activities, each one learned or stumbled upon, which have been carefully drilled into a habit.

Success lies in enduring the ordinary and the mundane, repeated over and over again, till it assumes the shape of flawlessness. Whether one would like to use the statistics of 10,000 hours or not, the celebration of human spirit lies in the celebration of these ordinary acts, which done again and again, becomes a part of us as a habit. And what you would see from outside is a pure symphony, an act of brilliance.

And to understand this is not rocket science. Simply put,

SUCCESS = MORE WORK

Therefore, a sales man making more calls is more likely to make a sale.

Therefore, a manager putting more hours at work is more likely to achieve the goal.

Therefore, an athlete putting is more hours of practice is more likely to win the race.

Consistency of effort over the long run is better predictor of success.

“The separation of talent and skill.”, Will Smith, the celebrated actor points out, “Is one of the most common misunderstood concept for people, who are trying to excel, who have dreams and who want to do things. Talent you naturally have. Skill is developed by hours and hours and hours of beating your craft.”

Most of us are enthusiastic (read passionate), but only few of us have the endurance to take it really far and do things better than they have been done before. Therefore, to do anything well, you will have to stretch yourself, and do it over and over again, so that it becomes you, your habit and second nature.

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Day 4 has come along fine, though still the night audit to be done. The goodness is hinging on complete the chores for holiday shopping and making everyone happy in the house. There are 2 weeks to go for Priya and Dhriti to fly to HongKong to meet our latest family member, Raina and then to Gurgaon to unite with the rest of the family. I would be joining them later in July

I hope not to miss them too much by working more, which is much needed for the new initiative. The holiday period will be the test for the 66 day ordeal.

Photos & Layout Courtesy: Canva.com

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Leadership, Life

Running #Day 3

A Rolling Stone...Gathers Momentum (1)

Honestly, one of the few things that I have done consistently, is running.

Running was purely out of constraint, but there were other reasons as well. I discovered one fine evening, sitting on a bean bag, that I’m building a new kind of asset, which will become bigger and bigger. And, I decided immediately to take action. My weight had touched the highest ever, around 78 kgs. Fortunately for me, since I have been in sports all my life, I was quite certain that it wasn’t impossible to get back into shape.

I started squash, got fancy new rackets, shorts and shoes. I felt I had a new calling in my life and I was ready to conquer the world. But my calling was short lived. My dear friend Kartik, beat me every other game (he used to be a national level tennis player) and would make time, whenever he could.

Though I was defeated I was not down under. I took it as an exercise, to reduce my belly bulge. It was also then I realised, how much tuned to stamina my body was. In addition to getting frustrated with the crushing defeat, I was also not loosing weight. All my 1.30 hours in the evening to play, which I could have spent with my daughter, was going to waste. I needed to do something more.

I took to mild jogging, so that I could improve my stamina and that was the day of revolution. Everything changed for me. There was more running in my life, than squash. I realized, I didn’t need a partner to run, unlike squash. I could do it in morning all by myself and before Priya and Dhriti woke up, I would be back home. No more compromise with precious family time.

In year, 2012 I ran my first 10 km and since then I have ran few marathons and one ultra. Though, I could beat Kartik only a few time since I started running, I don’t regret a bit. It was for squash that I discovered running, met lovely friends and my morning was never the same.

A Rolling Stone...Gathers Momentum (2)

Running has more to do with mind than body. It is true test of the fact that if your mind agrees the body will follow. According to a research, a normal human has the ability to run up to 8 kms without any practice. There are few simple techniques which when practiced over a period of time, makes the running easy.

If one has the intension, one will make it happen.

I run 3 days in week with the weekend run being the longest one. The two other days are used for strength training and flexibility. This routine forms the basic component of my morning ritual. There is no better high than getting these endorphins flowing through the entire body and make you rock solid to take on the day.

More importantly, because of running I wake up at 5 a.m in morning or at times even earlier. I find this hour, which is just before the sunrise, the strongest to conjure up your dreams, reconnect with your ambition and reaffirm your values. During this hour, your dreams will transition to reality. And I’m not surprised that a number of religion also propose this hour for prayers.

My today’s run was a special with my group, The Dubai Creek Striders, we call it the “Peacock Run”. The beautiful peacocks that you see on your way around the Zabeel (Palace) 10km route, is the reason for the name. In this unique run, we run in group of 4, with people of different pace (time taken to complete a km), and all 4 have to finish the distance together, else the team is disqualified. Our slowest runner in the group had the best 10k timing as 77 minutes (1.17 hrs) but we finished in 70 minutes (1.10 hr). We came 22nd (out of about 45 groups), but we were delighted. At least one of us had a personal best (PB) for 10k. Hats off to Nice, who kept tugging along, didn’t stop a single time, though you could see the stress on her face. She finished strong.

Truly, if your mind agrees, body follows. Keeping the mind under check is the biggest obstacle.

Those interested in running, do read Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to run”. Caution, you may see yourself hitting the road when you a start reading and you may curse your self for doing so.

No sane person would run in morning, there are so many better things to do!

Day 3 is coming along fine, with a list of 9 for the good list. Since today is the weekend, nothing is bad. I’m going to try to add personal bookkeeping to the activity list after a successful 7 days of the 66 day challenge.

Digital Marketing, Leadership, Life

Momentum #Day 2

A Rolling Stone...Gathers Momentum

Few words caught my attention today. And since we are talking about our habits and 66 days, my theory is that I’m naturally getting attracted to these words as is my subconscious.

The first word is,

Focus

and the second word is,

Intensity

I picked it up from Dave Ramsey’s book “Entrepreneur”, a classic book and I highly recommend that everyone get a copy of it. I have been reading and hearing Mr. Dave a lot these day and he’s a great voice to echo at least early morning. His debt free philosophy is remarkable, which I’m following these days. But more revolutionary is how he lives this philosophy every day of his life, encouraging a number of people to experience this freedom. And it is a powerful state to be in. I’m planning to gift “Total Money Makeover” to both my brother and brother-in-law. Though, if you call Dave in America, you might get it for free (if you’re are a business owner) however, I would rather pay Dave royalty for the book as a tribute to the wonderful work that he is doing. The tenets of book “Entrepreneur” is universally applicable and doesn’t limit to a business owner. It exudes his passion on every page, and if you have heard Dave Ramsey on podcast (or his youtube channel), you will love it even more.

I always knew “focus”. Since I’m an introvert, I can focus more than the average on any subject. I could understand later that my focus comes from my nature of unravelling the mystery. Like a hunter waiting for the prey, I would wait till I find it easy and drag the kill. I also find it very spiritual to be focused and concentrate. However, the part I have been missing all this while was intensity. With both these what you would discover, as I have, is momentum.

But I missed out the most crucial point.

Continuity

The single most important factor in any day life, be it your family, finance, habit or work is continuity. This is the single most underrated, un discovered word in the universe. Continuity is why the tortoise prevailed over the hare, not because the tortoise was hard working. Continuity is magical. One small thing, done continuously over a period of time, persistently, delivers miracles. Small amount of money, invested continuously over a period of time becomes millions. You may equate this to 66 days of habit formation or 10,000 hours to achieve mastery, but if you are not consistent, you don’t reach anywhere.

So, we want to be very careful what we want to do on an everyday basis, thoughts or actions. We are a creature of our habits.

One small action, repeated over a period of time becomes a habit.

It is my firm belief that consistency is the single most important measurement of success. If one breaks continuity, one breaks momentum and moves further away from goals.

Dear God, I pray that I’m consistent with my actions and goals.

My night audit on day 1 went well and as I was relishing the feat with a amazing chocolates gifted by a dear friend and from Vivel Patisserie (http://vivel.com/), I was caught red handed by Priya. This particular experience went to my “I could have avoided section”. I was happy that I had a list of 12 in my “Good” list, significantly higher than a list of 7 in my “Bad” list and a list of 4 in my “I could have avoided list”. It was also good to rue over some of these points as I was dozing off to sleep. Maybe some of these have started to work already, within the realm of me that I have not connected to yet. Too surreal to think about it as of now.

Good feeling to have hit the bed with more gratitudes than regrets.

Leadership, Life, Transformation

Habits #Day 1

habits

Today is my Mom’s birthday; she still watches me from high above. I’m blessed. It is not surprising that I’m inspired to start something new, to make this day special. And test something that I read a lot today.

It is said that any habit takes 66 days to be a part of you. I have read a number of these articles including the elaborate article by James Clear, which is one of the top searches (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit) & research by Phillipa Lally (http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0908/09080401).

But is it really true? Therefore I’m going to try one to carry on for next 66 days and really see if this research does make sense. No more preaching, it is action time. And therefore, I come to the most fundamental question, which one to try?

There have been a number of the habits that I have been trying to develop over last few months and have successfully failed. The list is a long one…

  1. Writing journals

  2. Evening meditation

  3. Night audit

  4. Giving up carbohydrates

  5. Weekly session of gym for strength training

  6. Giving up biscuits

  7. Giving up coffee

  8. Eating candy

  9. Saying No

  10. Finishing people’s sentences

  11. Fidgeting

  12. Exaggerating

  13. Drinking from carton

  14. etc. etc.

The list is also a complicated one, which means if one has to test then, it should be an activity that can be done on an everyday basis. This therefore excludes 4, 5 & 13. At the same time, it should be a habit that would benefit me on the long run. Items 1, 2, 3 & 9 fall in that category.

Tough decision to make today.

An old Swedish proverb says, “The pillow is the best advisor.” It is only later that I got the true meaning – if you sleep over a problem, you will get the best advise in the morning. Though I’m inclined to hit the bed today and go as the Swedes say, I have made my decision.

I would be maintaining a night audit records for next 66 days, which will have my positives and negatives for the day. Because I have been in travel industry for a long time and love Hotels (& technology), my natural inclination is for the night audit. For those who don’t know, Night audit is performed is a key hotel operation where the auditor takes the stock of status of the hotel with respect to the guest, how many checked in, how many checked out, how many rooms occupied and how many vacant. It is one of the better ways to check the status quo so that one is prepared for the next days.

My night audit would consist of the good, bad and points that could have been avoided, before sleep. I would follow my night audit for the next 66 days, assuming that on 67th day it would become a part of me. This is assuming that I fall in the bell curve, which may also not be true. I would be using a Evernote to manage these audits in 3 simple headers…

a. I did good

b. I did bad

c. I could have avoided

Because Evernote is available across devices for me, I won’t be looking for a reason. I would have liked to add my spends and earning (monetarily), but have decided to have this a nice to have. First the three simple points, and depending on progress the spends and earning.

The second habit that I will practice for next 66 days is to say “No”. I read somewhere that “No” is a complete sentence; it is big and profound one. “No.” doesn’t need any reason; just like it is for my 8 years old daughter. For Dhriti, “No.” is followed by a full stop. It is uncanny how powerful it is and how these young ones teach you.

So all the best to me, this would be a good journey. And as the cliche goes “Worth the experience!”