Good habits are, often over a period of time, the difference between a roaring success and a crashing failure. Good habits make things possible by setting you in the right direction step by step instead of a whimsical leap of faith. But, there are often habits that once practised and reviewed, DO help you take that leap of faith! One such habit helped me quit my day job, eventually freeing up my time for working on the kind of projects that I had always wanted to work on and do things that I had always wanted to do without worrying about leaves. In this post, I help you discover what that habit is and how much it can liberate you to follow your long put-off dreams.
The first time I gave a speech to an audience was when I was in school. It was an English eloquence competition. Although I had written good essays for a long time, I had never participated in a speech competition. My motivation to enroll was that there were only 4 participants including me. So statistically I had a 75% chance of getting a prize for just showing up.
There is a very popular book by Bill Hogan named, ‘How Do You Eat an Elephant? One Bite at a Time!‘. While the idea of eating an elephant sounds very weird, the metaphor is spot on. The very idea of eating an elephant can overwhelm all our senses at once. However, instead of thinking about how we will ever finish a giant pachyderm in our lifetime, we will inch closer to success, just by thinking about how to eat the next bite. This applies to all our lofty challenges that we set for ourselves. Climbing the Everest, running an ultra-marathon, generating 7 figures of revenue in your business, speaking in front of an audience of 1000, you name it. The common thing about all these goals is that the moment we think about starting on it right now, it is way too overwhelming even just to think about it. So, how do we eat an elephant? Continue reading How to eat an elephant!!
The D-Day: Preparation and Training
It was the most important day for the batch 292 Basic.
It was the day for which we had all been rigorously training for the last 21 days, waking up at 4 AM to run uphill in the mall road of Darjeeling oblivious to the beauty of Kanchenjunga around , climbing and rappelling rocks, rigorous ice craft training, trekking up the hills of Sikkim with backpack weighing over 25 Kgs and camping at temperature sub zeroes.
Imagine this scene from your childhood. You have just built yourself two LEGO battle tankers. You are sprawled on the floor, firing imaginary shells into the air across the two tankers. You make noise as you fire … bang… crack! Your hero tanker has taken a few hits and is weak. Your enemy tanker is just two shells away from destruction. The suspense is building and you are totally in the zone, lining up your hero tanker’s barrel at the enemy tanker for two final shots.
But your mother calls you and says that lunch is ready. She is insistent that you eat it NOW! You say, ‘Just two minutes, mommy’. But she is adamant. She has a kitchen to clean up and dishes to do before she can start her next meal prep. You have to go RIGHT NOW or she will get angry. She reasons with you that you can have lunch and resume ‘LEGO tankers’. Sure you can do that. But you have been shaken off your zone — the total isolation of focus that gets you physically, mentally and emotionally involved in what you do.
In the modern nuclear family, your mom no longer tears you away from your zone. But, you are constantly ripped away from it by meetings, phone notifications, calls and people visiting your desk. In this post, let us talk about how workplaces should be designed around the two types of professional people: those who need to interact with others to get things done, i.e. the managers, and those who need isolation to work at their best, i.e. the makers.
My Goals – Hits and Misses:
I love to set goals. I totally believe in the process of goal setting, although I don’t always achieve them. I looked back and saw a pattern on things I get done and things I don’t. The kind of Goals I set seemed to make a lot of difference in the ultimate outcome. My most important learning was about the process vs outcome.
American Vs. Japanese Goal Setting:
This can otherwise also be considered as the American Vs Japanese approach to goal setting. Americans have a very goal oriented approach and are focused on achieving the targets. The outcomes are binary, you either Win or Lose.
However, Japanese are a process oriented culture where they are keen on continuous improvement or Kaizen, the improvements are marginal and always have a scope for improvement.
We dream of achieving goals and basking in their glory. The world-class product that sells like hot cakes, the Olympic athlete body, the dream holiday and so on. But the day-to-day routine such as writing the product spec, writing 10 pages a day for a book draft, the 100 reps of an exercise, the non-sugar diet with only vegetables are quite boring.
It requires a lot of discipline to keep ourselves on track. Occasionally our minds give in to temptations. To free our conscience, our minds make up stories to fit the lapses within our goal rules. The book Switch by Dan and Chip Heath describes the stories for such contradictory behaviour as ‘wiggle spaces’. Continue reading How to plug the ‘wiggle spaces’ in your daily rules