2015 to 2016

I promised myself last year to write an annual reflection post at the end of the year and on my birthday, so here it is- my year in review.

My religion is spirituality. I was never religious, always thought of myself as spiritual. This year, I’ve been fortunate to read Swami Vivekananda’s books, and boy have they transformed how I think! I’ve gained clarity on my WHYs and have come to discover practices that have sworn me to sanity (or insanity, as it may seem to many). I meditate daily, without fail, and believe in cosmic intelligence and the Infinite One. I have been able to develop strong reasons to not support or believe in a particular religion, for I’ve studied material that talks about evolving the human body as it is, and reaching a higher state of being. I’m not against anyone or any religion, I’m just stating my personal views: that all religions lead to the same truth, and one God. Ignorance is not healthy, holding a particular worldview without knowing why is lack of self-awareness, and religion is meant to help you get past the layers and lift the veil to ultimate self-realisation.

God, family, business- in that order. I watched this movie in which a footballer always talks about three things that he holds sacred: God, family, football- and that made me think about my three core reasons. For me too it is God and Family, and then there’s business, for one and one reason only, to impact lives. Bhagavad Gita made me realise that because of the position/family/circumstances you’re born into, you have certain duties that you need to fulfil to elevate your being to the next level. As someone born into financial security, I feel my duty is to create value and prosperity for others- and my background is most suited for business because that’s what I’ve been raised around and all I’ve ever wanted to do.  While many people view business is selfish, I am greatly opposed to that for the core essence of a business should lie in helping others, and that is where I get my passion for social enterprises. I often meditate on ‘love and abundance’ for the words fill me with a sense of purpose.

Finding love. This is the decade when all my friends will be married, most of them already started with it this year. To all my friends looking for love, I only have one advice: Your life needs to already possess and be abundant with the love that you are seeking. It won’t be new love when you find it, but a reflection of the love in your heart that you will share with a partner. Stop feeling like you always need a significant other to validate your presence, you need to learn to enjoy being single too, and that way you’ll be able to attract and build a healthy relationship. Needy and lonely are states we impose on ourselves, because of how we perceive our external surroundings. Value and cherish your life as it is, believe in grand possibilities but love every single bit of the present, and that’s when you will attract a partner that deserves you: when you are at your highest state of self-esteem and self-love.

Nothing in life is an accident, but everything is a miracle. I can’t exactly explain how deeply meditation has changed me but I can confirm this: I often dream, wake up to, or realise certain truths that I feel come directly from my heart. You have to learn how to acknowledge opposites- there’s good and evil, pessimism and optimism, evolution and involution, and that’s just how the cycle works. There can never be one without the other, where there is life, there is bound to be death. There are only two ways to live life: you believe that nothing is sacred OR everything is. Everything that happened this year has turned me into a believer of the law of cause and effect. Good attracts good, just focus on good, and you will learn how to escape evil and return to good, every time. There will always be negativity around, but you have to find a place within you, the place that’ll keep you safe, where you can re-introduce yourself to the good. I don’t mean to come across as a preachy-hippy, but I can tell you this: I’ve seen how my thoughts affect the quality of my day.

Work incessantly, work to live life to the hilt. While a lot of this post is turning out to be about trusting the timing of your life, and believing in the higher power- it doesn’t mean that I’m asking you to take a backseat until its all done. Yes there are things beyond your control, but you have to find your own meaning through your efforts, and you must put in the work without caring about the consequences. Discipline is freedom, when you find the work that fulfils you or even as you are trying to find it , you can design a life of discipline to achieve freedom. I aspire to live a life of discipline, in fact I felt my top form as I was training for Ironman, cause it filled me with a sense of satisfaction and contentment because I was working hard on something. I was able to compartmentalise my time and efforts with everything, and my whole life gained a new idea of balance. The first try didn’t work out- I got a ligament tear, but that didn’t make my journey any less beautiful, for I wasn’t training to reach the finish line (in my head, I already had crossed it multiple times) but for the virtue of discipline.

As this year ends, I promise to spend more time with my two loves: travel and music. Next year, I want to explore more places, meet new people and produce some music. I don’t have any idea how to, I don’t even know if I’m good but it’s something that I’ve always secretly wanted to do- just to live life one notch up. While I haven’t planned the details how the HOWs for those two yet, definitely on the menu are: publishing my first book, completing the Ironman, finding a way to harvest kinetic energy and giving a TED talk.

Happy New Year! Welcome 2016, we’re gon have a blast!

 

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Twenty fourteen to fifteen.

A powerful realization came over me as I lay in bed reflecting on 2014. I felt a surge of excitement and empowerment just by the realization of the thought, as it felt so real and true.

I’m most excited about the life I haven’t witnessed yet, the people that I haven’t met, the places that I haven’t been and the memories that I haven’t made. While my present gives me immense pleasure and I’m truly grateful for my circumstances that make it conducive for me to do everything that I want to do, I’m always looking for my next new excitement. My past isn’t a testament to anything, because I’m evolving each day, and unlocking new energies within me. My past is merely a bunch of anecdotes to reflect upon and cherish. Yes, everything that happened before transformed me in some way, but I choose to make a conscious effort to not live there anymore. I believe in getting better every day, I believe in progressing in some way every single day. I do make an effort to keep in touch with people I care about, I do like to visit the same places once in a while but I’d much rather keep discovering the new. There’s so much life to live, I feel like I want to see it all before I hit the grave. I want to unleash as many adventures as I can while I’m here, so that when I’m gone, I’m able to feel like I gave life its best shot. Too often, I feel that we get entrapped by our own reality by complacence or hopelessness, forgetting that there’s gotta be a next step or a move forward. I refuse to be a victim of my circumstances or enjoy them too much, because for me, I’m already thinking of where I’m headed next. Furthermore, I made empathy and equanimity my strengths this year. I spent time with some of the smartest and the wealthiest people in business alongside sharing some great moments with underprivileged kids and adults from the streets. I worked really hard to pursue as wide a range of experiences as possible and have been able to come back to my reality, as a more advanced version of myself. To be able to experience life through others, and be a source of love and kindness for them, is a very beautiful gift. Sorrow and elation to me have become states that I can snap myself out of, for I’ve embraced how transient life is.  I’m working on getting better at life every day, and this is how I stay sane and driven. I’m out in the arena, facing all facets of life and living like a free and wild thing, hope to infect a few lives with some fearlessness.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” Roosevelt

One last thing that I really want to share which I hope changes your perspective a little because it truly 180-ed mine: What’s for me, will always be for me– so while it is great to chase after people and things, its best to know that all the right stuff meant for you, will come to you in its own time. Also, at any given time in your life, you are absolute. You have all the love you need, all the resources you need, and everything that you need at that particular instant. Strive but don’t forget to be grateful for the journey that fuels the ambition, and please, please, please spread love around recklessly.

Wish you a splendid 2015, hope you make it big!

Lessons I learnt from Coco Chanel

 

Gabrielle Chanel was raised by nuns in an orphanage after her mother died, and father abandoned her. At 18, she decided, that it was time to leave and explore the world. She started working as a seamstress, where she had an encounter with a charming army man, you swept her off her feet and asked her to come away with him to his countryhouse. The thing with him though was, that he needed women for pleasure, and as soon as Chanel realised that he would never marry her, she just knew she had to leave him. During her time at his countryhouse, however, she met his best friend Boy Capel; who found her irresistible, and wanted her in every way. However, Chanel by now, betrayed by two men who should’ve loved her, was more focused on her business (at that time- making hats) and did not want to dependent on anyone. As time passed, her business grew, she secured more and more customers, Capel and Chanel fell in love. Their love story was so touching, he gave her the world, and couldn’t be without her but then the war happened and he had to serve his nation. He came back though, but, his father insisted that he marry a sophisticated woman, who also was his god-daughter. Capel, under much pressure, had to leave Chanel, but it wasn’t long before he realised that he had made the greatest mistake of his life. He called her, told her, that he was coming back for her; but died in a car accident on the way. Chanel was broken, he was the love of her life, but she channelled all that energy into work. 

This story to me, speaks volumes, about a woman who was dealt the worst possible hands in life, but she endured it all. With much elegance, and grace, she realised early that she must not be dependant on others, and focused on classics rather than the fashion at that time.

“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.”

It is so empowering to realise that YOU control your life, and the things that happen in it. The moment you stop feeling like you’re the victim of everything, and take charge, and be at the choosing end rather than receiving, you start owning your life.

“Men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness.”

Women who lack ambition and drive, are easy to deal with, because they can be told what to do, what to wear, and how to follow. You can tell them anything, they’ll bear, endure and survive. But I respect women, who have that spark, who want to swim upstream, and strive to be achievers. Such women, men find it challenging to deal with, because they are used to the society telling them how things should be. Only a strong, confident man, can handle a bold woman. I’m so over men who treat women as their inferiors, and think that the kitchen is where they belong; because it is women who the men use as pillows to hide at night. Chanel said it herself, “As long as you know men are like children, you know everything!”

“Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.”

I believe it is not luxury that defines your style, but your style defines the luxury that you own. Most people now, buy things, because it makes them feel associated with a brand, and thus, the people who use it too. For me, it doesn’t matter where you buy things from, but what you buy that defines you. If you have style, you won’t treat brands, as brands, because they won’t matter. The brands need to enhance YOU/ your personal brand, rather than blind people from afar.

“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.”

Stop treating your life as insignificant. Stop trying to be things to people, be a person that people would want to be associated with.

“Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger.”

Don’t let the voice that is stronger just because of the numbers, drown that voice inside you. You can be anything you want, a creator, a designer, a celebrity, anything- just choose to be it, and never look back- but be prepared, you won’t feel like you ‘fit in’ anymore (and that’s a good thing!).

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.”

Be different, be unique, be your own brand. 

4 MYTHS about WORK!

Most lifestyle entrepreneurs first found inspiration after reading the book “The Four-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris, so did I. You can find the details and reviews on the Amazon page here

However, the title of the book does not resonate with what he actually wants to convey. The title was selected primarily because of the most hits it got on Google Adwords test. In this post, I want to discuss the myths about work..misery, happiness and life in general.

“The Three Most Harmful Addictions Are Heroin, Carbohydrates, And A Monthly Salary.”- Nassim Nicholas Taleb

^ One of my most favourite quotes ever!

Myth 1: Work is only a 9-5 corporate job.

No, let’s redefine work as Tim defines it, and now I define as = anything that you either want to do less of or do solely for the financial benefit.

Work is anything that will bring you the financial support you need to live your life. Anything that helps you achieve that support, is work. However, people lose track and start confusing financial support with a ‘dreamy’ bank balance. Sure, you have all the liberty in the world to aim at building or acquiring the highest level of wealth there is, but don’t choose to do that if your work is not fulfilling. Most things done purely for money, don’t provide fulfilment;  Most fulfilling things you’re truly dedicated to, provide money. Why chase fulfilment? Just because, on your very last day you would want to see that your life was fulfilling and meaningful rather than spent doing things you did chasing money. Chances are, if you love your work, it won’t feel like work at all.

Myth 2: You need to spend your life building a resume.

No, you need to spend your life doing work that actually matters and something that you care about. If you delay to do those things, you are missing your opportunity to lead the life you are here to live, because you are simply choosing to stick to the ‘rules’ or being ‘too normal’. You choose to settle so as to have an excuse to avoid putting yourself out there, taking a risk because you are scared of achieving your personal and unique dreams. Ask yourself, what are you trying to add things/experiences to your resume for? If the answer isn’t to bring you closer to YOUR own ambition/goals, then you are missing the shot at life.

Warren Buffett said it himself: Doing things to build your resume and get experience is kind of like saving up sex for old age. Life’s too short to build a resume. 

“You are not your resume, you are your work. “ – Seth Godin – and chances are many people’s resume are going to look identical; how do you make yours different? By being YOU and by doing YOU.

Myth 3: You have no freedom, time, life.

You are the decision-maker, get behind the wheel and start making decisions for yourself. You are already free, start acting like it! There is nothing more belittling than feeling like your life is governed by the things around you. You can choose to spend your time better, you can choose to be happy and more importantly you can choose to live. Sure, there are constraints that come with different jobs, but if it’s not letting you be your best self, chances are it probably isn’t the best job for you. Look for opportunities and ways to do things you actually think make you grow, don’t settle.

Myth 4: You need to ‘postpone’ happiness. Work now, live later?

“Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” – Tim Ferris

If you’re putting yourself through misery now, aiming to enjoy after you retire, or later, then you’re deferring your own right to happiness. Work should be exciting, challenging and something that makes you grow not dream-murdering, unsatisfying and depressing. Most people on their death-bed wish to have done things they would’ve done all along but just didn’t see it then or make enough time for it. Don’t wait for life to happen to you, take steps and create the life you want to live. I’d rather have mini retirements now, visit friends in different continents, learn, have life-changing experiences, all while making money NOW, rather than waiting inside my cubicle for the next 20 years, to get promoted.

I’m young now, I’ll only live once- and if I get it right in these next few years, this one time is going to be enough. My decision to become a lifestyle entrepreneur comes from this deep-rooted desire to live an incredible life. I want people to think of me as someone who did not take the conventional route, made mistakes, experimented with life, chased excitement and shared it with the world. I want to fall in love with the work I do, to an extent that it won’t feel like work. Even if I commit myself to it for 80+ hours in a week, it will be because nothing could bring me as much joy as doing it. I cannot digest the pre-conceived notion that you must put yourself through torture for years to gain credible ‘work experience’, and I certainly won’t waste life trying to build a resume. I feel resume is something you build for others, life is something you do for yourself. If you’re living enough, things on the resume will add up on their own.

I have this feeling that if I pursue the work that is fulfilling to me, makes an impact while giving me flexibility in life, I won’t need to prove anything.

“Finding new ways to deal with the world is superior to overtraining old patterns.”- Peter Belvin

5 Questions you need to ask yourself.

A friend of mine replied to my previous post saying : “Although I dont agree that experiencing life and having a boring corporate 9-5 job have to be mutually exclusive. There are boring b***** like me who’d love that 9-5 corporate job and working 80+ hours each week!”

True. I know people like that, but those are not the people I want to get through to. It’s your personal preference if you like that intense working atmosphere, I am all for the concept of high productivity, hard-work and effort. However, I feel that there’s no possible way that you can be productive for the whole 7-8 hours at the office, you will take out time to procrastinate, just to reward yourself for the long working hours. Lifestyle entrepreneurship, for me, is working fewer hours but delivering the best results and doing what truly needs to be done- so that I can utilise the time to do other things- could be Salsa, swimming, cooking, spending more time with loved ones or whatever your hobbies might include. I go to the office, I log in to LinkedIn, read, try skimming through the news, get cups of coffee and tea, walk around and do a lot other stuff than just work. Everyone functions differently, but since this is my personal journey, I’m just trying to present my views and do not expect everyone to want the same things out of life. For the ones, who do want to enhance productivity and find a balance between work and life, without being subject to the 9-5 jobs, I’m going to try hard to appeal to you.

Ask yourself these questions: (I’ve included my answers, you gotta find your own!)

  • How can I bring about a sense of purpose in life?

Most of us spend our time following what is ‘normal’ as per our culture and society. Ideally they would want me to spend a few years working, get a Masters degree, get married and have kids. However, if we are all unique, how can we subject our lives to the same norms? As an individual, I want to contribute towards making lives better and be a learner for the rest of my life. I want to keep learning through reading, travelling, meeting new people and gaining knowledge while trying to give back to the society in different ways. For now, I sponsor a child’s education, later I might sponsor lots more but I know for sure that I get immense pleasure  in giving. While I do believe that goals can change over years, I think, everyone should have a grand philosophy for life. It could be acquiring wealth, status, love, fame, anything! Choose to live according to your philosophy, otherwise, we’re just astray rats in an endless, very long and probably unsatisfying race.

  • How can I achieve peak health and fitness even if I am on a busy schedule?

No matter how busy life gets, how over-worked you are or how many excuses you may think you have- there could be absolutely no reason to avoid looking after yourself. Remember how in an air plane you’re supposed to put the Oxygen mask on yourself first and then others? If you look at life as a journey, you’re in the very same situation- remember, without being equipped with health, there’s no way you can be useful or helpful to others. It’s essential that you take your health seriously, because boy, regardless of all the money you make or how famous you get, when you do get that heart-attack or stroke, the game is over. Make time to look after yourself, get some exercise and rest it out when you need to. For me, exercise clears my head, encourages me to challenge my limits and make me focus better. Squeeze it in your schedule and you won’t have to try as hard squeezing into your pants.

  • How can I achieve long-lasting happiness and success?

My happiness lies with the people I value, my work-life balance, and atmosphere of growth. In this book called The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin mentions wrote: ‘the days are long but the years are short,’ no matter how long a day might seem, you’ll get through years relatively quicker. You might be in your 20s now and try please everyone, but soon life will pass you by and you’ll end up at 30, still unhappy. The trick is to know what is crucial to YOUR happiness, and work your way around it. Since my happiness is directly influenced by the people I love, I force myself to follow the technique of negative visualisation.  This technique is a 2-3 minutes mind game where I try to imagine the worst case scenario between me and the other person- what if he/she died, or I never saw them again, or if I died? It helps me treasure the people around me more. I leave them hand-written notes, write them letters and tell them how I feel truly- and that has helped me develop closer friends and more meaningful relationships. Sure it makes me more vulnerable, but according to experiments, vulnerability is what brings us true gratification, and I find no harm in being open with the people closest to me. My work- life balance comes with this search of defining and analysing time and again what I truly want to achieve and setting different milestones. I make personal timelines and TODAY lists to enhance real time contribution and prove to myself that I actually am improving. Having said that, progress brings an atmosphere of growth with it. Keep challenging yourself, track your progress and aim higher- I think it’s the excitement of doing these things that is essential to my happiness and success.

Since this post is getting too long, I will pause here, and let you reflect on the three questions above. In the next post, I will answer the two questions below.

  • How can I change my current lifestyle and live the life I have always dreamt about?
  • How can I make money doing what I am passionate about?

Please feel free to share your opinions and your answers, I really would like to know about what motivates you and how you measure success and happiness.