Posted in My World View, Random thots.., Time Machine

Idea #1: Start your day like a Rock Star!

What do you do the moment you get up from bed in the morning, and start your smartphone/laptop?

Read emails.. Check Facebook and Twitter updates.. Shoot off prompt replies to the queries of your Boss.. Make a mad dash to get ready for your office?

Well, that’s what I had been doing all this while. And I expect many of you would be doing too..

But then, do you realize that by doing all this, you lose your chance to:

  • Harness your most creative moments of the day to work on that dream personal project
  • Tap in that great idea that flit through your head just before you fell asleep last night
  • Tell yourself how this day would be a step ahead for your Goals

When you start your day with someone else’s agenda, you give away control of your life to others. You let them lead the day for you. You become a reactive automaton.

So that’s the theme of Idea#1 – Begin each day on your own terms, like a Rock star!

Yeah, it is hard – not allowing yourself to get swept with the tide… taking initiative at the beginning of every single day. But it is also very important (and critical), because if you want to build something truly awesome and dramatic, it is not going to be built in a day. You need to spend some time visualizing that great thing that will be the purpose of your life.

Yes, I agree that work related e-mail is important. But then, wouldn’t it be great if every morning you could take 15 minutes to brush it aside and figure out how this day will fit in the grand scheme of things! The point is – that urgent e-mail can wait till you get to work. But the awesome project you have been working on will never be urgent for anyone else – except you.

And is this 15 minute “Me” time critical?.  Absolutely! Because, life (and this world) is moving ahead very fast, and because proactive, not reactive work is the key to great things..

And also because –  “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” !

Posted in My World View, Random thots..

The 10 Week Idea Challenge!

How do you feel when you stumble upon something remarkable that makes you sit back and think?

Do you feel fortunate, thankful.. Inspired? Does it suddenly ignite that “Aha!” moment inside your head when you think – “Geez, That’s what I was subconsciously looking for!”..

Do you wish you had known that earlier, so that it could have grown to help you do what you’ve always wanted?

For a while now, I have been observing these memes.. how they develop like tiny droplets and gradually create ripples that grow into giant waves. Yes, I have been procrastinating too (which is why you haven’t heard from me since a while now), and wallowing in happy unhurried explorations on the Internet…

Sigh!.. Drastic situations call for drastic measures. So to push out of my own contended bubble, I have come up with this personal 10 week challenge which will jazz up and swing me into action.  The rules go like this: Every week from now, I will post about a life changing Idea which has influenced the way I think (and could probably change yours!) 

Why 10 weeks? Well 10 is a nice and even and round number, sort of official looking like the 10 commandments. And I’m hoping that in this infinite universe of awesome ideas floating around, I can dig out 10 unique ones which will make our lives richer..

So, what exactly are these life-changing ideas? My own definition goes like this.

A life changing Idea is:

  • Something that transforms the way you think about life
  • Challenges your regular go-to approach
  • Helps you gain insights you would otherwise have missed.

Frankly, I haven’t thought about all of them yet, but am hoping this quest will make me discover many on the way. And yes, John Steinbeck had better be right when he said – “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen”!!

So without any delay, let’s begin with Idea #1:  Start your day like a Rock star!

Posted in My World View, Random thots.., Time Machine

About Life, Universe and Everything!!

When I was 10 years old, I had so many questions about the Universe, Life and all things..

At that age, you are conditioned by virtuous notions of good and the bad which colour your imagination. For me too, there was this conception of good, which would offer you a place in Heaven; and bad which will push you to Hell. And the confusing cases who would stand in a long queue on Judgement Day. That idea was so vivid in my mind, I even wrote a 100 line poem on Life and the Afterlife in a momentary bout of epiphany!

Then, there was this growing up phase, when I was trying hard to make sense of my life. Finding a decent career, getting a respectable position in society, earning money became a priority. I forgot the importance of Life, Universe and everything..

After a long time now, the questions are coming back to me. When I am in a place where I no longer have a lengthy list of to-do things for my career; I need some intellectual fuel to burn my thoughts.

And the time seems perfectly right. Standing on the far edge of your twenties is a good age, not too early and not too late. You can look forward and backwards with the same clarity. You can think both in terms of years and decades, and you perfectly realize the value of your time. At this point in my life, I am beginning to think again about the puzzles that haunted me twenty years ago.

What about all the doctrines which have been fed to us? We have been asked to adopt ideologies without questioning them. So, if the status quo is to be believed, the quality of not questioning and blind belief is the most admirable quality in a man.

Then why does man question everything? Why have the greatest inventions and discoveries  arrived out of this questioning nature of our minds? Why do we encourage thinking and innovation? Having a certain form of thinking in one part of your life, and a different kind of thinking in the other is quite paradoxical.

I think we are getting back to the debate between creationists and evolutionists, the conservatives, non- conformists and the stuck-in-betweens!

Maybe this topic can be explored a bit more.. Life, universe and the Afterlife.. Heaven and Hell, and my place in this so-called society….

Interestingly, there are no answers. Only more Questions!!..

Posted in My World View, Random thots.., Time Machine

Resolutions 2012!

I was flipping through my Rambling journal (yes, I have one where I scribble about the humdrum of my plebian life!), and stumbled upon this post. It was written in these New Year holidays, and had somehow got lost in the abundanceof babble.

So, I guessed I might as well post it. Everybody posts New Year resolutions in January. But the good thing about posting it in Feb is that you have one less month to follow them! 😛

OK. Here are a bunch of things that I have to do his year, and the list goes like this:

Focus, focus, focus: I have always been like this. So many ideas buzzing in my head, like tiny arrows flying around – until they crash into each other and I am left with a heap of scrap!. And what is the reason?

I need to FOCUS!

I have realized the importance of this from my husband (he is a perfectionist in whatever he does). So, while he is at some task, it’s like he has been teleported to a parallel universe. So, no matter how much you coax, cajole, push or prod him –it’s like you have simply ceased to exist!. And after his work is finished, he will casually reappear and ask – “Were you saying something?”. That would infuriate me so much – I wanted to box his ears! (Don’t be so shocked, every wife wants to do that! 😛 )

The point is; that made me wonder – “Why can’t I work like that?”..  For one, I have so many other things ringing in my head. And all my energy is dissipated in trying to scare these thousand unnecessary problems away. And the pitiful truth is – they don’t even get sorted!. In the sense, even if you focus on these imps, there is no guarantee that you have solved these small recurring problems once and for all.

Hence, it is best to prioritize, realize what has value and what does not.. And then focus on the things that have value and move on. Follow the Pareto principle in your life. 80% of the shit in your life is because of 20% of things. So cut the crap, remove the chaff..Focus!.

Complete what you have started: I start on a lot of things, but end up finishing very few of them. And Dude, that is a very big problem! You have GOT TO finish off the things you’ve started..

For one, nothing has value until it is complete.

Two, you begin to lose faith in new ideas if you haven’t done very well with your old ones. That makes you begin to underestimate your potential (which is really BAD!).

Three, the feel good factor generated from finished projects is like an exhilarating drug. It gives you precious confidence and will spur a lot of new ideas too!.

I am not saying that you should run after all the things that you have started. What I am saying is that all your tasks should have a rational completion; even marking an incomplete task as an abandoned project is a logical end. Otherwise the work desk in your head is perpetually cluttered with unfinished projects and you feel dissatisfied all the time – for no real reason!

Set deadlines for yourself: Remember the time when you used to function perfectly like clockwork if there were certain deadlines for you to keep up to; maybe because you had an exam to write of a quiz to give? And notice how your productivity peaked during the last few moments of exam preparation?

Well, now that we don’t have many exams to give in life, yet it is useful to try and harness that last minute power rush by pushing yourself to work in time boxed compartments. That way, you would be doing all the things you want to do, and also ensure that other things are not neglected. I feel this is particularly useful for creative work because there is no empirical method to measure whether you have been successful in what you are doing. Also, you can carry on and on with a certain piece of work to give it the shot of perfection – but never be satisfied with it!  So, setting deadlines will help.

Don’t procrastinate: Well, this one is the biggest bug of all. Procrastinating.. Thinking.. Thinking.. And in the end doing nothing!. What is the cause of this scourge?

The number one cause would be laziness, which can then be turned into excuses like waiting for the perfect time or idea to stroll by. But mostly, it is me stuck in a mindset that I whatever I have with me right now is just not good enough. So I go round and round in a merciless loop. Low confidence leads to procrastination leading to lower productivity which lowers my confidence even more. God, I have problems!!!!

Well, what is the solution? I am reminded of a motivational SMS sent by a great friend – “You can’t cross the sea by merely staring into the water“!

So go ahead and write that prize fetching paper on “Why the Euro zone economic crisis is caused by the melting of Polar ice caps?” or crank up that Artificial Intelligence based e-commerce startup you had always been thinking about.

Stop brooding and start working; because Telepathic and telekinetic devices haven’t been invented as yet!:P

Positive thinking: Okay, let me make it clear here. When I say positive thinking, I do not mean daydreaming. I know the idea of dreaming to success is quite enticing, but unfortunately, wishful dreams rarely turn into reality. They keep floating like some intangible beautiful cumulonimbus clouds, making you gaze at them with a sense of wonder ( until you get a tight slap in the face from an irritatingly righteous fellow called Common sense, and a rude kick in the butt from that merciless guy called Reality X-( )..

Now coming to the point on why positive thinking is critical.

Because, you will always be equal or lesser of all the things that you thought and believed you were capable of. It is very rare that someone who thinks she is capable of very less actually went ahead and achieved a lot more. That is simply not possible. Whatever you achieve will always be a subset of what you think you can. So think huge, humungous, gargantuan, brobdingnagian.. Because your future ( and life ) depends on it!

So here is my list of self improvement resolutions for this year. Hope my rambling soliloquies have been useful to you.

Au Revoir for now, and cya soon!

Posted in My World View, Random thots..

OK, What was that again?

I had just got up this morning, and was brushing my teeth while browsing the Internet (Ok, that’s how geeky can you get!), when I stumbled on this pic. And I laughed and laughed for a whole minute!

Organizations throw in carrots all the time, but some of them can be mind numbing out-of the-world hilarious!.

Curious? Check it out yourself 😉

“What sort of onsite opportunity would you want, short term or long term?”. Hmmm… This is like the ultimate carrot dangled in front of new hires (irrespective of the level you join) on the first day in the project. Well, better you don’t begin dreaming of Swiss holidays and Australian beaches right away! You will eventually get there, but right now, this is just a conversation starter to get you in a good mood.

“You have been identified for a high impact and high visibility role directly coming from the CEO’s office”. Don’t be too flattered, the work could be anything (From replying to CEO’s fan mail to changing light bulbs there! ). And, your contribution to the CEO office will be compelling and momentous (not to mention, imaginary!)

“Your additional responsibility would be to drive the strategic decisions at the account level steering committee meetings.” Sounds impressive? Well, this is the motivational speech to get someone to write the Minutes of Meeting. 🙂

“Congratulations! You are the “Chosen One” to build our organization’s expertise in a new domain called “Arboreal Travel”. It is a highly challenging role (so challenging that we couldn’t come up with a JD yet ), and you are expected to work with Industry pioneers!”… Flummoxed? OK, it means the Eurozone crisis has stifled our revenues, but the CFO wants to boost the top line. Nobody has any clue to how, so you have been roped in to see if we can now make money from Monkeys in the Cambodian jungles!

“You are supposed to think out of the box and come up with complex business scenarios to benchmark our product against competitors.” Does it sound intimidating to you? Relax dude, all they want you to do is Manual Testing!

“The product for this pilot project is world class, highly sophisticated and complex with a proprietary technology, and we have hired the best-in-the-country talent to drive this engagement.” That means, nobody has a damn clue about the stuff to be done here, and we have frantically managed to wangle in whoever was willing to work in this swirling vortex of entropy!

“You will be responsible for the difficult and onerous task to set up the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Collateral Debt Obligations for Martian Investors. Your work would involve researching an Alien marketplace and developing Syndicated Lending solutions for them.” Oh sweetie.. wake up, and welcome to the one man army in a glorified version of the Bench!

“Congratulations. You have now been promoted! Your new work will involve interaction with C-suite executives to enable them to perform groundbreaking revolutions in the IT industry.” Get real, the most you need to do is manage your Boss’s calendar. And remember the birthdays of the CIO’s wife and kids so that he does not get bashed up when he finally turns up at his home at 2 a.m (after a hectic day chalking out the Cloud Computing and Virtualization strategy of your company! ) Don’t fret. You have done your bit to fuel the Cloud revolution.. 😛

OK. I have exceeded my quota of sarcasm for the day, so ending here.

P.S: I have this sinking feeling that I’m probably possessed by Cyrus Broacha( was tempted to name this post “The JD that wasn’t”) . Can anyone help??

Posted in My World View, Random thots..

What is the Objective?

It was the middle of a heated discussion during a meeting in office. There were many points flying around, many ideas in the air. Lots of debate in a discussion that had totally spun of-track. Until it suddenly dawned on the convener of the meeting – what is the objective? Why are we doing this?.. what is the whole point of this exercise?. What do we want?

I have noticed this. We work really hard, do all the right things and the outcome doesn’t turn out the way it was planned. Sometimes, the results are just opposite to expectations. And then, we brood over the overbearing question – Where did we go wrong? What is the root cause of the problem?

My guess is – Many times we have no idea about what we want. We focus on the “DO” step before the “THINK” step of any job. Client tells you, jump 5 feet.. We jump 5 feet, with no clue to why!.Sometimes only the senior management know it, while the rest of the team is working away hard like headless chicken out to attain Mission Impossible 5!.

Who is to blame?

Well, isn’t that exactly a leader’s job? ..

To understand simple common sense things like – What is our objective.. What is the goal.. What do we want to achieve from this exercise?. By answering these simple questions and communicating it to the team, we can fix the biggest problems that hound us. Missed deadlines, poor quality, under delivering on promises..
All due to a very simple problem.. We have no idea what our goal is!!

Posted in My World View, Random thots..

Thinking about Thinking!!!

It’s been a sort of lazy unhurried day, with me doing this and that. Browsing the Internet.. Sketching idle doodles in my imagination.. Many thoughts and memories flashing in my mind!.

And then, in all weirdness pops up this question. Where do all these ideas come from?.

Is there a director sitting inside my brain, crafting a massive orchestra.. Churning out performances as “Thoughts” when I am awake and showing me “Dreams” at night? Do I host some sort of embedded freakish weirdo in my head – doling out “Ideas” according to his whims and idiosyncrasies? Or do these “Ideas” have a mind of their own, sauntering out at their own leisurely pace?.

Sometimes I feel I am a slave to them. I cannot produce them on demand. They only appear out of some fortuitous accident. I can only train my mind to welcome them. Focus on un-focusing my brain, and let the music play…..

What’s the trick? Where do all these ideas come from? Some possible answers:

Maybe it’s the time of the day:
For me, it’s usually the mornings. Sometimes on my commute to work, I can hear many voices talking to me. When sit back and listen to those voices, they give me so many suggestions. Sometimes there are arguments and angry discussions, too many people talking together. The brain is furiously trying to solve unanswered questions, making bits and pieces of a forgotten puzzle fit in together. It’s like you are blank, not thinking of anything in particular.. Some interconnections fire up to give you an entirely new idea. And you have to scramble frantically write it down before it disappears!.

Perhaps it’s in your environment:
We are a complex processed form of the environment around us. Like us, maybe our ideas are also an assimilation of all the people we have met, seen or read about.
Is it some chemical locha, some combination of genes, some sort of cellular mutation ? Or just the madcap in my head fooling around with a magical wand?! Tough question.

Maybe it’s your state of mind:
Ideas come to you only when your mind is free, with no constant drone of to-do lists hammering at the back of your head. For me, it’s very difficult to think out-of-the-box when I have loads of other stuff to do. And when there is a lot of clutter around.

Sometimes it’s in the randomness:
Ideas are like soap bubbles. One moment they are there -all gleamy and shiny, and the next instant “POP”, they disappear!.. And they come back when you least expect them to – while driving your car, taking a bath, or even in the loo! Often they suddenly appear like some phantoms of your past life. Or float in uninvited and uncalled for – like ghosts in the night!!
Maybe there is some method in the madness.Who knows ?

A sense of urgency:
Remember how many “Creative” assignments you have pushed through the door in last minute desperation to make submissions?…A sense of urgency can actually kick start your thinking process. Thinking about extreme things like your own death, or what impact you would have after you are gone can make you extraordinarily creative. If you have a nudging need, don’t abandon it. Think about it. Sit on it. If it doesn’t work out, sleep on it. You might get the solution in dreams! ( Don’t laugh, once I completed an entire chapter for the exam in my dreams, only to wake up and realize that I was asleep all the time!!)

Sometimes it’s Ignorance:
Remember how imaginative we were as kids? Always curious to understand things..Unbiased by preconceived notions, always experimenting without the fear of failure!
But then, we’ve changed. As we grow older, we learn to put things in a pattern. We get addicted to predictability. Anything out of the blue scares us. Education encourages us to organize everything around us into certain boxes, and destroys us. Blame it all on the system my friend – “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control.”!

So, what do YOU think about thinking?? Give it a thought! 😀