innovation, Life, Transformation

Disagreeableness #Day 14

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Five personality traits make up an individuals personality, which is used by Five Factor Model (FFM) and the Global Factors of Personality. These are…

  • OPENNESS
  • CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
  • EXTROVERSION
  • NEUROTICISM
  • AGREEABLENESS

The last one is of particular interest and the antonym of the word is the subject of today post, Disagreeableness. I came across this today in Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast: Revisionist. Malcolm Gladwell’s 12 Rules for Life. Of the 8-9 episodes, I was attracted to this one because of it’s catchy headline. In blog space, such headlines would be the most apt.

The description further reads…

Crucial life lessons from the end of hockey games, Idris Elba, and some Wall Street guys with a lot of time on their hands.

It is one of the most entertaining podcasts that you would hear, if you like to discover few uncommon truths. The flow of the podcast would absorb you completely and is elegantly produced.

Mr. Gladwell has only one rule in his life, and this is being disagreeable.

Ironically, I couldn’t agree more. Being agreeable is a social norm, promotes a great bond between the members. This makes the team. The more agreeable you are, the more you will make decision which is universally liked and beneficial for everyone. You would not like to upset anyone or be in a position to be disliked. An agreeable personality type is more likely to seek approval from peers and therefore there is harmony in the universe.

On the other hand, disagreeableness is not a common desired personality traits. The definition of the word reads, the quality of being disagreeable and unpleasant. No wants to be disagreeable, as it amounts to not being social and in human resources context not a team player. In a number of instances, I have taken a decision in my life towards a certain action, not because it was be right to so do, but because it was more socially acceptable to do so. And this act of agreeableness limits us to exploit our our true potential.

According to Mr. Gladwell, “Being disagreeable is not matter of temperament, but a function of choice.” This is a continuation of his thoughts, through which he has been breaking help notions through his books- David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. He finds that agreeable people hinder innovation because they are more likely to take action that would make them comply, likes and therefore conform. They’re too afraid to disrupt the social norms because they value an atmosphere of camaraderie and acceptance. An agreeable will never challenges the status quo. Unfortunately, all the rules, laws etc ensure that we conform and follow. Therefore mould is hard to break.

Whereas, the disagreeable would set new standards, trying to find what is best according to them, rather than looking for conformity. Mr. Gladwell further build his point by narrating research paper and movie storyline, where the behavior was contrary to rational and the right thing to do.

We should be disagreeable and cherish being one because in certain time of our life when we need it the most, we should be in a position to exercise it.

I’m reminded of the closing lines in the movie “Sanju”, based on the life of Indian actor, Sanjay Dutt, and his father Sunil Dutt advise to him “Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, Logon Ka Kaam hain Kehena.”

You got to do, what you got to do. Which is by the way, the most difficult thing to do.

Picture & layout courtesy: Canva.com

 

 

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Habits, Life, Transformation

100% #Day 13

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I’m often amazed at how many times the same thing happens to me, again and again before I realize it. I’m supposed to be getting more intelligent every minute, with every experience adding to my life. However, despite that I end up making the same mistake again and again. And on the contrary, if I succeed, the same action is hardest to repeat. Success is a difficult habit to imbibe.

I have come to a conclusion that it is important to breathe, pause and reflect, not only in morning, without distraction, but also at regular intervals in time during the day. During this brief 2-3 minutes period, I would be only be only aware of myself, where I am, and what am I doing. Sounds surreal, and I can assure you if you do the same, it will help you being present where you are with 100% efficiency. When you do so, you are no longer the slave of the passing moment, but master of your destiny. You may not reduce your mistakes, however, you will be present 100% with yourself and would take a conscious decision. And therefore more responsible for your action.

This post has been the essence of the new habit that I’m trying to inculcate, the habit of night audit. This is a 5 minutes exercise where I’m writing the answers to following questions…

  1. What were the good results of my day and why do I think they were good?
  2. Which outcomes I would categorize as bad and why?
  3. What actions I could have avoided and why?
  4. What could I have done more during the day which would have made my day 100%?

The activity takes 15 minutes at night to complete. At this point in time I’m writing only specific points and not elaborating the why as text. The Evernote application is a great cross device application, which I can access both on my laptop as well as my phone. At times when I’m in hurry, I would use my phone to write the points. If I don’t have any points for any of the above headers, I don’t write them.

Since I go through these points, just before sleeping, I also try to think about the why while I’m sleeping. Especially the point 3 and 4, which is the learning part of the exercise. I’m also hoping that this way few deeper experience connect with the sub-conscious and help me raise red flags, when I would be close to encountering such experience again. Only time will tell, how successful this exercise has been. I’m quite sure, when you start looking, you end up finding amazing things.

These 15 minutes like morning, should be completely by yourself, where you start tracing back the day minutes by minute. You can also take help of your calendar to recheck, if you’ve had a hectic day. Answers to the questions will be the treasured experience of the day, and more often it would be a gratitude list for the first question. In all my 13 days of this habit, my “Good” experiences have outnumbered the bad and could have avoided. It is a feeling of contentment when you end the day in such a way.

What I would like to start is the extension of this habit through the day, which I was talking about earlier. I would like to take a 3 minute break after every 2 hour, when I’m in office. In these 3 minutes, my intension would be to repeat similar questions. The only difference would be that the response of these questions would be tied to the objective of that hour. Such as if I’m working on an important proposal, during that hour, I would like to remind my self whether I’m making a satisfactory progress or no and what would I need to make it a success.

It takes only a few minutes to pause and to reflect what went well and what didn’t. A brief pause is what you need to be 100%.

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Life, Transformation

Simplicity #Day 12

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Simplicity as an idea is a basic tenet of faith, and its practice can add dimensions to our lives. More prominently, simplicity is embraced by Chinese and Japanese culture as Zen philosophy, which finds its expression in Zen art, design & architecture. This simplicity not only has aesthetic value, but also celebrates the individuality of the object in its entirety. Minimalism is the contemporary version of the concept and worth imbibing in our daily lives.

Simplicity can lead to a number of benefits, however we have uncanny ability to put layers in multitude till we lose the meaning. I have hugely benefited from the concept and hope that the readers are also find value.

Here are my 5 points…

1. Zero Wastage

I maintain a rule in my house that if I have anything, it should have been used once in a month. Be it your running shoes, cufflinks, or a pen, if the object doesn’t meet the criteria, it should be out of the house/work place. According to Vastushastra, our Indian architecture energy and flow methodology, any object that hasn’t been used in the house, breeds negative energy. The point has been a matter of discord with Priya, my wife, however I still stick to my rules. I keep few things that I can use, starting with my clothes to apps in my phone.

2. Zero Multitasking

Multitasking is a misnomer. May be it is a gender thing, however I’m not good at multitasking. I fail terribly and post my realization, I have ensured that I do one thing at a time with 100 per cent of my focus. This doesn’t come easily. The other day, when I went to a restaurant, I saw a family where each member was on a device. A family of 4, came out to have a nice time, but with their device. Before the food comes on the table, they were taking pictures to put it on social etc. Sharing before enjoying the aroma and presence of the family. Social and devices are not bad, but getting consumed by them is. This is the most difficult rule to implement with our daughter Dhriti, who needs an iPad on the table. We are to be blamed, because we used it when she was little, to distract her.  Now, Priya and I have made a rule on the table, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, it would be free of device. As a family we don’t look at any device during that 30 minute. This reminds of my days in my grandfather’s house, where the most exciting moment meeting my cousins over the big table; I would accommodate 10 persons and the whole place used to be full of noise. We would wait for the food to be served one by one, and be consumed by enjoying it over jokes, laughs and chatter.

3. Organization

It is said that one of the best ways to know about the person it to look at how organized are his drawers or cabinets. Organization brings about harmony and good flow of energy. It helps me to fix place for a certain object, so that I can find it easily. It also means I’m able to identify objects which I don’t use. One of the best ways that I have found to keep this to reorganize one of your storage device every week. It could start from your electronic files in your laptop to cleaning your cupboard. When you do so, you would feel the need to order and tranquility, every possible time.

4. Budgeting

One of the simplest ways to stop spending on unnecessary items is through budgeting. I’m a big fan of Mr. Dave Ramsey’s methodology, where you would list your expenses in terms of order of priority (starting with food, which is basic). You would also set priority for goals such as retirement or buying a house and then you need to track the expenses everyday. I realized that I would spend my time and money on items which are not necessary. It helped me save, be generous, and also spend when I wanted to. The clear definition of goals and spends will simplify your life to very large extent.

5. Mindfullness

You must give yourself at least an hour, without the device, where you are completely soaked in the moment. If you make this a practice, you will find yourself present every minute of the day, which is the most powerful state of existence. My morning hours of meditation and exercise (running without a gadget) helps me achieve this. Not that I have become 100% good at it, but I’m improving. I’m consciously trying to be present every minute of my day.  

As again, I would ask you to pick one and try it for the next 66 days, till you become reasonably comfortable at it. Literally, less is more.

 

 

Leadership, Life, Transformation

Predawn #Day 11

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It is uncanny why most of the religions have prayers early morning. Technically, this is neither morning nor night, and is a short 30-35 minute zone between the dawn and the end of night. Predawn may be the closest word for it. This time period possess great power if harnessed regularly, as many of the mystics have discovered it. You will feel strong uninterrupted flow of intelligence, brightness and clarity in this time. It is said that anything and everything that you conceptualize during these hours, you are bound to see the fruition.

I can vouch for the difference in my life since the adoption of this ritual in my daily routine. The day I have missed getting up in the morning, it is equivalent of missing the morning tea. You won’t be 100% during that day.

I started this habit inspired by Mr. Robin Sharma, who calls this as the prestigious 5AM Club. Mr. Sharma prescribes 20/20/20 rule for these hours, which for me is difficult to follow. It is primarily because my exercise benchmark is more than 20 minutes, if one has to see any benefits. Therefore I had to make changes to the Mr. Sharma’s and make it suitable for my life. You can learn more about Mr. Sharma’s rules through his website, robinsharma.com.

My morning rituals are as follows…

I wake up at least 30 minutes before the time. I have made this time to be 5.00 am on weekdays. In order to wake up early, I ensure that I eat early, latest by 7.30 pm and hit the bed by 10.00 pm. I also require 30 minutes of reading time with my daughter, my personal night audit and self reading. I keep my alarm at a walkable distance, so that I get off the bed to switch it off. If you walk back to the bed, it is dangerous; you may not be able to get up again. Also, I have realized that body is a wonderful machine and if you remind yourself to wake up at a certain time in morning, you would open your eyes exactly at the time you had told yourself about. The first day of the weekend (Fridays in Dubai), I wake up at 3.45 am, because it the days when a long run is scheduled. The distance for the long run is usually in excess of 20 kms. Because of this rigor, I keep my Saturdays easy and wake up at whatever time I can. I try not to wake up later than 7.00 am.

The first 15 minutes is devoted to meditation when I wake up. I follow Soka Gakkai International (SGI) methodology, which includes open eye meditation, chanting and prayers. The prayers are reaffirmations of my goals. These 15 minutes are the most intense time of the day and my most precious. It is daily reflection time, I have guidance to resolve issues, new ideas and way forward. Many a time if I have not been able to decide, I would literally sleep over it and depending upon morning guidance I would act. I have been happy with most of the decision made during this time.

Next phase is followed by exercise, which is either a run (3 days in a week) or a trip to the gym (2 days). On the days, if I don’t go to the gym, I would take a walk around the beautiful Dubai Boulevard. My exercise is not less than 45 minutes during the weekday and over 2 hours during the weekend. I have observed that if I mix exercises, it reduces fatigue associated with the regime and makes exercises more enjoyable. You also end up using different parts of the body, when you do multiple exercise in comparison to following a single regime such as running. Saturdays are my rest days, where I don’t do any exercise, but I do my meditation when I get up.

With these two morning doses for my mental/spiritual and physical self, I’m prepared to take on anything that may come that day. If I do get time after that, which is possible on Fridays and Saturdays, I would devote to writing my journals and reading spiritually uplifting books. The only rule is that during these hours you should avoid any distractions, whether it is through phone or calls or laptop. Just be by yourself during these hours.

It is important to reaffirm oneself and track our progress on a daily basis and I have found these morning time the best time to such activity. I have also found my will power to be the strongest, more accepting of instructions (to self) and full of energy during this time. During these hours I have found everything, possible and every obstacle, manageable. You would also find that anything that you decide during this hour to be the most beneficial in the long run, in addition to it being rational and practical. I would strongly recommend that if you developing a new habit, this morning time is the best time to reaffirm yourself and provided you continue this for at least 66 days.

No wonder that the early rising habit and a morning ritual is a common trait amongst all successful people, millionaires, sports personalities and leaders. It is not easy and would require persistence and discipline. However, once you taste its benefits, I’m confident that you would find every thing else trivial.

Do dare and challenge yourself for next 66 days, you would see a very different sunrise every morning. It will be worth the effort, and don’t sleep over it.

 

Digital Marketing, Life, Transformation

Money #Day 10

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“Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale.” Zig Ziglar

Money ranks high up in the priority list of basic necessities. It’s vacuum can spell catastrophe. This post is not about its excessive preoccupation, but about not disregarding the importance of money; contrary to the thought of infinite write ups available, which propose that the intent is supreme. If there is no commercial viability, the idea dies its own death, and so does the intent.

Money is important, and the earlier we learn it, the better it would for us to respect it and put it to good use.

Rule no.1 that would be universally true is that managing money, is a function of behavior and not statistics, budget or maths. This would be the most fundamental change that you would have to make. Behavior mandates that you strictly have few guideline rules for yourself, such as the one that I follow, inspired by Mr. Dave Ramsey: no debt. This is the rule that you would live or die for. Therefore, if it means junking your credit card, do be it. If it means carrying more cash in hand, I would do so. There should be one guiding principle for this behavior which is sacrosanct.

I have seen that you fundamentally need a shake-up if you want to change to a new habit or change behavior; easily would be the most difficult job in the world. I would not wake up on one side of the bed one day and find myself to be a changed person. There are rigors to be followed to instill this discipline. The benchmark is 66 days, which is the essence of my 66 days rigor. Changes at fundamental level change the lifestyle, which one should be ready for. This is on an average, however may take more or less depending on individuals.

Rule no.2 is that you should be able to know where your money is going. Mr. Dave Ramsey proposes budgeting as a great way to achieve this. He has been fanatical about budget, so much so that he takes this as a counseling tactics to get husband and wife on the same plane. And that is true, improper financial planning is reason no.1 for the couple to separate. And if they are aligned, it will restore understanding and financial success. Again, this is a function of behavior, where the husband and wife need to be transparent to each other, get committed and follow the budget. Budgeting also gives the picture, where the money is going and therefore your ability to control it. I would recommend that you also keep and expense tracking app and note the tiniest of spends that you are incurring. I feel that not just us, such deep discipline should be inculcated in our children as well. A good financial well being amounts to success and confidence.

Rule no.3 are goals, therefore one should have a set of goals. The most important goal is to save. Starting with at least 20% of your income and depending on your expenses. But by and large the thumb rule for saving should be 20%. This should be going first from your income to any instrument of your choice. And then one should put in the expenses, starting with the most essential ones to the least. Such as you would want to mandate are Food, House (rent) and maintenance essentials such as electricity, water etc. Mr. Ramsey proposes baby steps, which I would highly recommend, no matter in which part of the world you are in. His process are unique and if you follow them, you can expect results. The other part of the goals are life ambitions and essentials such as buying a house, kids education.

Rule no.4 is not to be emotional in making a financial decision. Impulsive decisions are recipe for disaster. You are much better off delaying gratification, thinking more about it, discussion with your spouse before making the decision. This is hard exercise, especially when it concerns the loved one, your kids or an immediate family. One needs to very rational in money matters.

Lastly, Rule no.5 is continuity. Like any other habit, if one leaves any of the plan midway, you will not get the benefits. Continuity in the long run multiplies and compounds and gives you superior results. This is the real key to financial success to be regular with your belief and practices. It would definitely require rigor.

Money requires a hard taskmaster to manage it.

I hope that you start your financial/money management behavior when you finish reading. And when you would look back, you may reflect this as the most important step that you would have taken towards securing success.

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PS: If you are interested in a budgeting sheet, please do leave your comment or subscribe to the mail.

 

 

Life, Transformation

Labyrinth #Day 9

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Have you ever had a feeling of being consumed, completely? With no track of time, and hours pass like seconds? It means that you haven’t played Labyrinth yet.

Labyrinth may be in a position to beat Game of Thrones, if you ever thought GOT to be the ultimate gift to mankind. The unassuming innocuous board game has the capacity to consume you and have you split your hair, till to reach the end at least one time. The objective of the game is very simple to start from no.1 and reach 36, surpassing all the holes in between. There are two levers, one on the right had side and the other facing you. You can twist and incline the surface and make the ball move. You can’t touch the ball on the board and if you go into the hole, you start again.

There are holes which have had maximum number of people getting frustrated, these are no.3, no.6, no.16, No.23 & no.33. You would want to bet on people who are able to get by these easily.

The game requires umpteen amounts of concentration, no lesser than playing a video game. It requires immense hand-eye co-ordination. This would be exact intension that Dhriti would have got this game as a gift on her 7th birthday.

Labyrinth was not an instant favorite. When the young ones ran out of Monopoly, Guess Who, Labyrinth was used as a new novel challenge, which of course I had to demonstrate. The first attempt was not more than 6. Predictably, the kids got bored in 30 minutes, and that was when I introduced the game to the adults, who were couple of drinks down. Sadly none of them could better my score.

The following night, after challenging Dhriti, I decided to have a go at it. It was late in the night at 10.00 pm. There were many success on the way by 11.00, more determination by 12.00 and at 1.00 am I decided to take the break. By this time I had been able to cross no.27 but got into the 31st hole. I went to the balcony which has a wonderful view of the Burj Khalifa, with no thoughts on the game.

I thought I was taking it too hard.

It was getting too late and in the interest of a peaceful morning, I gave myself another 30 minutes to complete the challenge. I tried to reflect upon what had not gone right.

All this while I have been focusing on not getting into the hole and never focused on the black line.

This could be my only chance and I went back to the board, letting my subconscious take over. I was not trying to move the ball, or make my hands stable. Nothing at all. I was only looking at the big broad black line, and my subconscious was doing the rest. I crossed No.31 and finally reached no.36. I tested my hypothesis by going back from no.36 to start. Though it took me couple of times, but the hypothesis was correct.

When the mind agrees, body follows.

When you focus, every inch of you is dedicated to the goal.

Isn’t it uncanny that if you your life has happened the way you wanted it to. You may not realize that very second, but when you look back, you will find that it went exactly the way you have thought about it. But all this while you have been focusing on the hole and not the black line.

To which Mr. Steve Jobs in his famous address said “Dots connect.”

When you don’t focus on the holes, life happens. Maybe, there are other ways of conquering Labyrinth, but this is the most novel one.

Life greets you in the most unexpected circumstances.

What are yours and how did you welcome it?

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Life, Transformation

Flow #Day 8

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Have you experienced Flow?

It is effortless, joyful, and never tiring. It is frozen in time and you would like to go back to it again and again. It is a sweet music; when you are in Flow there is stillness; no past or present. It is only pure existence. You control time; you are in your zone.

This moment is of infinite possibility. There are no barriers; there is only flawless rhythm. In this moment you are not defeated, yet you don’t win, you are not on psychotropics but you are high. And there won’t be anything in the world that can get you that high. This is not the dark zone of addiction; it is zone of complete brightness. In Flow, you can achieve anything. This is your best self.

When you are in Flow, you are not asking about you. This moment you don’t feel deprived or hurry or feel anxious about someone getting ahead of you. You are the giver and you want to fill your space with abundance for everyone. Each and every soul in this universe.

When you are in Flow you control time and everything else around you. And you discover your true self, which is pure joy. You have got addicted to it, and you would feel like gong back to it again and again.

The Flow is the most powerful state of our existence.

I was listening to John O’Leary’s interview on Ziglar Podcast. Honestly, before this interview with Kevin, I didn’t know about John and therefore I listened to him as if I were reading a new book out of the shelf, with all my attention. John survived a 100% life threatening burn and now talks on how to live. Now that got my attention. With a pure focus on 100% devotion to the present, John was in complete flow. His purpose is to make you discover how to live to the fullest. Which you won’t if you are living accidentally. If you discover your significance and contentment, you would discover joy, which will put your life in full momentum. I could gather very little from one session and like a book, I would have to go back to it again. I would also encourage you to listen to it; the talk does give you a perspective.

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To be in the Flow is to be connect with yourself, your purpose and your goals. My purpose of getting John in our conversation was to bring the fact that the Flow that you have discovered is not accidental. It can be a very part of you, if you live the life full of joy, in the present and thereby creating value not just for yourself, but for everyone connected to you. All you need is to be mindful, now, and make it the best moment that you ever had. It is a child like playfulness, where the time is not a concern, where your net worth doesn’t matter. And the only purpose for them is to discover the joy.

From tomorrow on, my first few words when I wake up would be: May the Flow be with you.

It has been 8 successful days of my personal night audit and I realized it is similar to creating journals. From today, I would be adding new section to it:

What could I have done more today?

What a powerful way to end the day and reflect upon the following morning. I’m quite certain that our amazing subconscious works in most mysterious ways to make you get there.

It would be an exciting journey to discover how to ignite the power of this latent force to the fullest and to get in Flow. 

Do share your perspectives on how you get into your Flow and how do you share it with others.