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.

 

 

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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.

Layout courtesy: Canva.com 

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

 

 

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.