How to get your way by thinking out of the box

Big sports events are passionate, frenetic, dramatic and super fun. Sports also reveal the character of the participants. We come to know who is persistent and fit, who has nerves of steel and can rise to the occasion. At the same time, we see who can be magnanimous and who are lousy losers. We can learn a thing or two from big players in big events. Olympics, Tour de France, Super Bowl and the Football World Cup. So many things to observe & learn. However little did I know that the qualifying rounds for big events, where some of the smallest teams compete to try to make it to the big stage can teach some rather surprising and jaw-dropping lessons.

In this post, we will see how the national football team from Barbados thought completely out of the box and managed to qualify for Caribbean Shell Cup of 1994. Continue reading How to get your way by thinking out of the box

How Priya mastered long distance bicycling

I love bicycling and have been doing it since learning it during my summer vacation between fourth standard and fifth standard. After marriage, I have been encouraging Priya (my wife) to use her bicycle frequently as well. But what she achieved over the last two weekends has left me immensely proud of her. With me, Priya rode 235km in the rainy conditions of monsoon, one of them being a 160km (or 100 mile) long ride from Pune to Thane. All this, considering that this is Priya’s first year of serious long distance bicycling, whereas it is already my 6th.

What is Priya’s secret to such supreme fitness and determination? Ideally this should have been Priya’s post to write as her own story, but this time we decided to take a different angle, by making me the observer who studied Priya’s success. Continue reading How Priya mastered long distance bicycling

Can we really re-wire our brain?

As humans, we always change over the years. Our bodies, beliefs, tastes in food and clothes, the books we read, the TV shows we watch and many others. If you were to look back at yourself 10 years ago, then you’d realise that you are a very different person now than you were then.

However, some things hardly change. It may be the fact that you have either been a morning person or a night person right from your childhood. Or that you have never liked brinjals. Or maybe you never found studying history fun. Or probably you still bite your nails. These traits have been part of you for so damn long that you never thought that you could get rid of them. In fact they are part of your identity. You may have tried really hard to consciously change these traits at one point or the other. However, doing so feels like you are continuously rapping the knuckles of your automatic self and constantly keeping your brain on a high alert to avoid automatic behaviour. That is tiring and certainly not enjoyable.

However, what if it is possible to change these traits using certain methods to re-wire your brain, such that new behaviour becomes part of you? Anthony Robbins is the leader of a method called Neuro-Linguistic Programming and he believes that you can use this kind of ‘programming’ to re-wire your brain so that it behaves exactly as you want it to, without resorting to will power to rap your knuckles.

Continue reading Can we really re-wire our brain?

Stop the excuses and start with the ordinary

Friend 1: “Just look at these photos. I too wish to take these type of photos. If only I could save up the money to buy a DSLR, lens and filters.”
Friend 2: “Would you look at this snow-capped mountain in the Himalayas? How I wish I could trek on it. Our tropical town is no good. We’d never get the buy the equipment to go on those exotic treks.”
Friend 3: “Dude, you just wait and see. The day I am able to gather a team of experts around me, I will start my business earning millions. But it’s so hard to hire experts, man.”

We all come across these people who repeat the above kind of sentences every day and insist that their reasons for not starting out on something are very genuine. Lack of resources, lack of facilities, lack of experts and what not! But the one thing that they do not lack at all is EXCUSES. Instead of getting resourceful with what they have and just getting started, they are willing to wait for that utopian day when they have the best of resources, which they assume will automatically enable them to churn out masterpiece after masterpiece.

Let us discover why it is not a good idea to wait for the best resources to fall your way and how not to fall into the trap of ‘excusitis’. Let’s get started on our dreams today!

Continue reading Stop the excuses and start with the ordinary

One simple idea to get things right

In his book The Checklist Manifesto, Boston based surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande mentions that failures occur due to the following reasons. The top three of them are:

  1. Lack of knowledge
  2. Lack of proficiency despite the knowledge
  3. Completely unforeseen circumstances.

But more than 90% of his best-selling selling book highlights the failure of the fourth kind. You may have complete knowledge about a subject, you may have gained enough fluency to be an expert and the task ahead of you is completely predictable and smooth. Yet you goof up, because you forgot a step by either not paying attention to it or because some other step distracted you. These are the mistakes that are the easiest to eliminate and yet they keep creeping up in our day-to-day work. In this post, we discuss why they occur and how to eliminate them.

Continue reading One simple idea to get things right

The one habit that enabled me to quit my job and become my own boss

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.

Continue reading The one habit that enabled me to quit my job and become my own boss

How to eat an elephant!!

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!!

Are you a maker or a manager?

A lot of you can relate to this incident from 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 battle tankers, making shell noises… bang… crack!. Your hero tanker has taken a few hits and is weak and your enemy tanker is just two shells away from destruction. The suspense is building and you are totally in the zone, lining up your barrel at the enemy’s tanker for two final shots, when…. your mother calls you and says that lunch is ready and that you should eat it NOW! You say, ‘Just two minutes, mommy’. But she is adamant. You have to go RIGHT NOW or she will get angry. She reasons with you that you can always have lunch and go back to play, ‘LEGO tankers’.

But the point is that you have been shaken off your zone, that total isolation of focus that got you completely involved in whatever you were doing physically, mentally and emotionally. While it may not be your mom anymore, you are constantly ripped away from your zone by meetings, phone notifications and calls and visiting people. In this post, let us talk about what gets you in the zone in the first place and how you can keep yourself there. Continue reading Are you a maker or a manager?

How to plug the ‘wiggle spaces’ in your daily rules

We all dream of achieving goals and basking in the glory after having achieved them. That world class product that sells like hot cakes, that Olympic athlete body, that dream holiday and so on. However, just rewind to the days which are spent in trying to work towards the goal and we will see days that are spent toiling, doing things that are boring and routine on a day-to-day basis, such as writing the product spec, writing 10 pages a day for a book draft, going to the gym to do 100 reps, eating only non-sugar, proteins, veggies and fruits. It requires a lot of focus and discipline to keep ourselves on track. Occasionally our minds will give in to the temptation of distractions. Ideally we would want to arrest the temptation and not follow the distraction. However the mind works in funny and contradictory ways and will instead find a convenient justification for the distraction, such that it fits within our goal rules! The book Switch by Dan and Chip Heath describes the potential for such contradictory behaviour as a ‘wiggle space’. Continue reading How to plug the ‘wiggle spaces’ in your daily rules

What I am overjoyed about after a year of marriage

On the 15th of April, my wife Priya and I celebrated our first marriage anniversary. We had a wonderful time at two beach resorts on the Konkan coast, Harihareshwar and Velneshwar. We got away from the crowd, enjoyed quality time alone, but we also got to do something that we hold very dear – quarterly reviews of the things that we want to achieve together and a reflective look at a year of marriage. We realised that both of us had learnt a lot from each other and each other’s families. I realised that a lot of key points had made our marriage so successful in the one year that seemed to rush by, my best year in life by far. Continue reading What I am overjoyed about after a year of marriage