Life

Goal #Day 21

EVERY BALL COUNTS

The England Croatia match would be probably one of the worst semi finals. I was in a sports bar watching a match, where the English fans were outnumbered, not in their voice or spirit. I wish their players played like one.

Good part about being from a country which never makes it to world cup football is that I can support any team I like and at the same time I can change my favorite. England clearly started off as favorites, with the star players amongst whom, Harry Kane would be considered one of England’s all time soccer stars. I have found England to be a one man army. I can recall only single players from memory – Gary Lineker, Paul Gascoigne, Alan Shearer, and Wayne Rooney, with no recollection of any other member. However, this time, was different. England had few other players, other than Harry Kane, such as Marcus Rashford, Dele Alli, and could be considered one of the better England teams. I though they had a chance.

Sadly, England gave the game away, they didn’t go after the ball. They lacked finishers spirit & celebrated victory too early.

I started watching the game, when England had already scored the first goal, brilliant free kick by Kieran Trippier in the 5th minute. Thankfully, I was happy I didn’t see the goal, else I could have changed my mind about England. The English team did pass the ball and had about 4 great chances. Right fully, they could have been 3-0 in the first half. However, it felt like, England had already won the game in their minds. None of the players went after the ball and trying to score another. They didn’t have pace, they didn’t have the spirit. The game went on in insipid fashion; I was only hoping that the game doesn’t go into extra time, which would have been extra waste of time. Credit to the England team, they dominated the first half of the game.

On the other hand, Croatia was much spirited. It took them some time to get their act together, but you could see that they didn’t give up. This was their second semis and they wanted to make it a special one. Croatia team had many misses, but kept on creating more opportunities. Croatia in the 68th minute with Ivan Perisic scored the equalizer. Though their attack was not as fast as French, but they kept the momentum. The English team didn’t see it coming and still played the same way. Harry Kane missed an important pass, he couldn’t see the ball come. Lazy body language.

In the extra time, the better team triumphed. Croatia won 2-1 and deserved every bit of the game. They went after every opportunity, after every ball.

Maybe France will win the world cup, but today was Croatia’a day and the victory of their never dying spirit.

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Life, Transformation

Humility #Day 20

100% (8)

I had been following with the gentleman’s office for almost 10 days, and I got his direct number eventually. Menon was known to be a tough professionally and very straight in talk. I had never met him, and this was my first interaction. Menon’s background indicated that he had been at helm of affairs for a considerable period and therefore a decision maker. He was an important contact and I was convinced that my product and service could deliver him incremental results. My enthusiasm showed in my fast delivery of introduction. He told me to call him back. And so he did the third time.

These interaction were during the Ramadan days, when work hours are short. In Dubai, people are relatively easy at work during these days. There is no pressure, because a large number of the day is spent in prayers. I was determined to call Menon again and so I did. And this time to my surprise, I did get his attention. I again introduced what I did. While speaking this time I got a sense that I very little time to make an impression. And what I did that day goes as a lesson for the rest of my life, not to be repeated. Absolutely.

Menon (sounding hasty): So what do you want?

Me: I need to meet you to explain about our service. I have studied your business and I believe we can deliver you results.

Menon (sounding still hasty): What is your summary?

Me: I can send you the opportunity gaps that we have found, which may help us increase your business.

Menon (completely losing it): You don’t have to tell me what I need to do.

Me: Mr. Menon, I haven’t even started to give you recommendations. Moreover, you can use it only when you have debated internally. It is your business.

Menon: No I don’t need your recommendation or your business. I hope this is the last interaction that we are having.

Me (completely losing it): It is your loss. I hope you do well in your business.

I remember my last emotions; it was anger, contempt and hatred for Menon. How can he deny me without listening to me? He is so fixated. And the thoughts went on and on. Clearly, Menon’s rigidity had made me upset and I was very livid. And it was also true that I had lost the business and an opportunity which may have resulted in large contract. It was not just opportunity loss, it was a deeper regret.

It was a habit that costed me tremendous opportunity and I decided never to do that again. I reacted and that was incorrect. When Menon told me that He didn’t want me tell him what he needed to do, I started hating him for his loftiness. I was saw him as abusing his position of power that he held in this relationship. I felt like a victim, which is where I was defeated.

When you are consumed by emotions, it is not the best time to make a decision. Reaction is even worse. There are more chances that you would regret it later. No matter how bad the situation is, the humility counts.

In the interaction with Menon, and in the heat of the moment, I ignored the good and let the untamed part of me take control. I wished I were more calm and requested if there was another time that I could call back. Maybe he would have thanked me later when he would have witnessed an increased business.

I also lost my focus on the outcome, which was to do business. And this was the larger worry. When we lose focus of the merit of discussion and get governed by the emotions, no one wins. The emotions shouldn’t decide the outcome, you should. Maybe I should have paused and kept the speaker off my ears.

Or maybe I should have just listened. There are many possible alternatives, but the reality stood unchanged.

After few day I shared this incident with my friend. He laughed. I laughed too, I felt lighter. Lesson learnt and time to move on.

Maybe I should write a book with the usual bestseller title: The Subtle Art of Not Taking Things Too Seriously.  

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Life, Transformation

Reality #Day 19

100% (6)

I fancy cooking, at least I used to. I still cook, occasionally with my daughter and wife. It is exactly in that order, first with Dhriti and then with Priya, in reference to the control that I have. In the case of latter, it is none.

One perfect afternoon, Dhriti and I decided to prepare Pizza, right from the start. We picked up our favorite Italian cuisine author, Giorgio Locatelli’s book, Made at Home. Perfect and apt as the book title suggests. Giorgio has the tradition of making Pizzas for his entire staff on Saturdays, a simple Margherita pizza and calls it The Saturday Pizza. It was Saturday and therefore it had to be Pizza. Few ingredients were missing, which we shopped from nearby grocery store. Yeast was the most important, which was our first purchase. Giorgio’s recipe mandated that we get the dough prepared right. The dough was to be kept at least of 8 hours in refrigerator. The following day it was to be kept out for at least 2 hours. The dough looked good, when it came out of refrigerator, we had our first step right.

Margherita pizza is one of the easiest preparations and the only one that Dhriti has most of the times. It was a new acquired taste for my 8 year old. Therefore, deciding which pizza to make was not a problem. Rolling the pizza or making the sauce was also not the problem. The problem as that we were using the oven for the first time. We, father and daughter, were making the pizza for the first time. And we were very confident, so much that we could taste our pizza before it went in. Our pizza was decorated with garnishing no less than a Christmas tree. It was our first time and we spared no effort. The smell of the first pizza of it’s kind had filled the room, leaving us wondering when would it come out. We set the time for 14 minutes at 220 degrees temperature and by 13th minute the father and daughter were on the table waiting for their magnum opus to arrive.

It looked ok from the top, a bit black, could have had lesser garnishing, but the bread was definitely thin. My first bite confirmed the suspicion. The pizza did lacked taste and was hard to chew. It’s a good pizza, I told Dhriti and also myself. I expected the words to work magic, like making dead alive. Internally, I was consoling myself, Don’t worry, Dhriti will find it good.

No Dada, it doesn’t doesn’t taste like Pizza we had.

This was real, 100% truth, undeniable reality. I wanted it to be different. I wanted Dhriti to have liked the pizza, because we had followed all the process and proportions. It was meant to be a perfect pizza. The reality was what it was, but I didn’t accept it. I wanted reality to be different, what I wanted it to be. This is not fair, a learning again. 

Our inability or unwillingness to see things the way they are, maybe is the single most important cause for dissonance. Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses. The root for this bias lies in our emotions. We can’t take less perfect version of ourselves, because it would make us wrong. We would rather be right than wrong, emotionally being wrong is a heavy tax to pay. And lets face it, it is the most difficult thing to say that I was wrong.

How do we get rid of our myside bias? By developing a value system of acceptance, without judgement, with emotional equanimity. By daily practice of seeing things as they really are. And by not putting our egos in everything. This will take tremendous amount of time, practice and denying social acceptance of our acts.

After our first namesake pizza, we made pizza again, under the supervision of masterchef, Priya, who knew the art of making the secret sauce, the perfect tomato, the melted mozzarella, hint of basil, served hot. Italian King Umberto 1 and his queen Margherita would be proud that we were able to restore the sanctity of queen’s name in our second attempt. By the way the Margherita Pizza truly represents the Italian flag, as described by Giorgio.

The pizza was really good, genuinely.

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