Life, Transformation

Fear #Day 15

5

I was on a long call this afternoon today. As I was driving, I was in midst of intense discussion with two overseas colleagues. I was on my phone,

Fortunately, there was no one else in car with me. However, I was not alone. I could feel that there were at least 3 parts of me at this time. My 1/3 was the driver, who was watching out for cars, ensuring that car was following the traffic laws. The driver was very vigilant, but the second 1/3, the supervisor, was critical of his actions. “Hey you missed giving the side indicator while changing the lane.” The supervisor clearly was not happy with proceedings. And then there was the worker, negotiating on phone while the driver and supervisor were having a go at each other.

Normally the drive to Al Ghurair center in Deira would take about 40 minutes, today I didn’t have a clue.

Maybe the time taken was far more, since I was still on a call. While all this action was going on, I parked the car, in a parking slot that I could find, and I don’t remember; I had a had time on my way back. The simple truth was that the supervisor approved it and therefore the driver parked it, while the worker was still at it. None of these guys had a clue.

While the conversation was still on, I had to get out of the car and get to a hotel for a meeting. So I, take the escalator, get out of the parking lot and go on the road. The hotel was on the other side of the road and therefore it involved going over a zebra crossing. But, my worker  was still in his act, trying to find a better argument. While in this zombie state, I could see that the traffic was considerably more in number, and as I look towards my right, something in me tells me it is not right. I look again and in the nick of time retract, and feel the presence of the passing truck, Ford Raptor. Thank dear God for the sound it makes. I immediately get off the call, I will call you back, I say.

If it weren’t for that sound, I wouldn’t have realized that the truck was within the collision distance and threatening the lives of many, not considering my own. It was a time to reflect.

How many times, have I known the the dangers of using a mobile while driving, and still to this day, my first reaction is not a denial. It hasn’t happened to me yet, so therefore for just one last time. I’m sure nothing would happen. What I forget is that all it takes is one incidence to wipe out all your previous statistics, Naseem Nicholas Taleb, and his celebrated book, Black Swan, explains this beautifully. Citing of one black swan in Australia, disapproved the truth held for so long that the swans are only white.

My mind knows everything, has infinite intelligence and represents flawless craft. Still, it hasn’t prevented me from talking on mobile on road. Driving while using mobile on the road is equivalent to drunk driving. Texting is worst, a study shows that a driver is 23 times more likely to encounter accident than other, because the driver spends a large proportion of his attention on mobile screen than on the road. Somehow, observations and instructions from supervisor does make sense, however hasn’t translated into a behavior. Not yet.

Fear is a very powerful emotion and has one of the most profound impact, provided we use it correctly. To the wrath of my contrarians, who would like to be fearless and would like to extract every ounce of fear you possess, I would disagree. I would like to be left with some amount of fear, because fear is one of the greatest motivator. Fear is the best  catalyst you can find, like a nitrous boost for A Fast & Furious Movie car and with the ability to propel you in the outer-space. If you use fear properly, it can change behavior.

Running was not a natural one-day-out-of-bed event. One of the evening, I realized that I’m becoming a burden with a oversized belly. My father was similar, and had a heart problem, which runs in our family. And what if I succumb to it, what would happen to my family? Gripped with this fear, I realized that there was no better way to get as far away as possible from the situation than running. The fear of losing health and haggardness drives me up every morning, to wake up during hours of the day, when there couldn’t be anything more comfortable than the bed. And then it translated to eating healthy, so that I could run better and lose weight and further on, my gym routine etc. But the truth is it all started from fear, fear of not being around for my family.

We do start our year with big motivation and great resolve, and what I would add to it is a layer of fear. Those few things which you definitely want to do, use fear as the task master with a whip (a.k.a, PK Simmons of Whiplash). I have heard a 1000 Rs. bet, which has been successful in changing behaviors. So the method goes like like this, with someone whom you trust the most, say your mentor, you give him Rs.1000 (the more the better) and commit that if you develop a specific habit, you will ask back for the money, and if you don’t, he/she gets to keep the money. The chances are likely that you would end up changing your behavior because of fear of losing the money (fear of poverty).

The only word of caution here is that, if you fear always, the chances are likely that you may become oblivious to it or it may consume you. You can’t be always on the dark side and you would have to ultimately start enjoying the new found love. You have to start appreciating the new attention that you would get once you lose weight. If you let fear overpower you, it won’t be sustainable, it would be stressful, destructive and self deprecating. You will become a maniac. Use fear well.

For me, today was an eye opener. And if I’m not able to change my resolve of not using the phone, while I’m on the road (driving or walking), I’m going to be using the AED 1,000 wager.

Any takers for that?

Image & layout courtesy: Canva.com

 

Habits, Life, Transformation

100% #Day 13

100%

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%.

Image & Layout Courtesy: Canva.com

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.