Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

The Cost of an Indian Wedding

In Indian culture, as soon as the child is born, the planning for one’s wedding starts. The family start’s gathering gold/ possessions right from the day you are born. They do this killing a lot of their own ambitions and aspirations. Now, this is also one of the costs which a family pays in an Indian wedding. Throughout the childhood gathering of possessions continue. Somehow Indian people find a huge satisfaction in possessions and not in experiences. This continues till the education of the child is done and then starts the saga of getting one married. Hence, the cost of marriage can be equated as:

Cost of Marriage (CoM) = Cost of possession + Lost opportunity cost + Lost aspirations + Amount spent in marriage

Cost of possession

We buy anything for a purpose which gives us instant gratification. The touch and feel of that possession give us a very satisfactory feeling. After a while when this feeling wears off comes a state where we should keep up those possessions (gold, house etc.). The cost of possession is the cost of maintaining those things for their life. A gold ornament will need a bank locker, considering the risks involved, A house will need maintenance time and again etc.

Lost opportunity cost

Now when you buy anything, it is at the cost of something else. In typical Indian family where people buy a lot of things planning for future for their children they lose out on many other things in life, the cost of which is huge. Now, you could have invested that money made much more and made everyone happy. But patience is not a virtue of Indian people. A 4000 Rs a month in a mutual fund for 20 years can reap more than a crore which can make everyone’s life very easy and fulfilling.

Lost aspirations

I had to travel to new places but I didn’t have money for it as I took that gold ornament set for my future daughter in law. Now, this thing called marriage leads to a loss of a lot of loss of aspirations for the family. The future that is not even certain. We don’t know what will happen next moment but we easily do things for like 10 years down the line killing a lot of aspirations of our own which could be life changing.

Amount spent in marriage

This is the most stupid thing various Indian families do. They will take a loan and get their son/ daughter married. Why? Because I should keep up that status in society otherwise what will people say about me, because I have only one son and I want to do the best for him, because marriage is only done once in life and no one has an intent of the second one, because this is the only thing we live for are some of the lame reasons you will get. All of this for what? Living your life in debt for the people who will not even remember it next morning.

After reading this do you still want to get married in those big fat Indian wedding types functions, considering what all your parents have been through? Don’t you want to give them back something which will at least make up for those costs that they have paid knowingly or un-knowingly and make you happy about doing something good in life?

Please leave your thoughts in comments,

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

Importance of wasting time

wasting time

There is always so much do and achieve in one’s life. We always keep running around with the feeling of getting things done from the endless list of to do’s. There is this culture of making one feel all productive and even a second wasted is looked at terribly. But what we don’t realize is, in this type of life where all we care about is getting things done all the time, becomes dull and monotonous and hence you need a break to rejuvenate, hence need of me time, lazy time or rather say wasting time becomes fulfilling and utmost important.

What we, the today’s generation do is spend long hours on thinking how to spend time well. Irony!! Isn’t it. And here we miss some important moments with our family and friends.

The problem that we face today is that everyone is conditioned about chasing productivity so much that we think the break time can be better use in striking off the no. 9 from the to-do list. We don’t sleep, go for a walk, read etc. whenever we find time from our so-called productive schedule, we end up thinking and planning about what to do next and hence feeling guilty of not putting the current time to the best use.

Instead, what we actually do is sit like a zombie in front of our laptop and have a sense of working but not actually working. Hence we neither contribute to our work nor your happiness.

There’s an idea we must always be available, work all the time,” says Michael Guttridge, a psychologist who focuses on workplace behavior. “It’s hard to break out of that and go to the park.”

The downside of this is blank stare at the computer while working, opening facebook while pretending to work, etc. The think we tell ourselves, this is multitasking and I am not wasting any time but in reality, we are far from doing the basic work even, forget to multitask.

The idea of eating and drinking at the desk is not good at all as it doesn’t help in gathering our thoughts. Instead, we should go for a walk to coffee shop, cafeteria, etc. Here, we miss the physical and mental benefits of spending time with ourselves.

This is not to say we should not work hard or not complete the assignment. The truth is, work expands to fill the time it’s given and, for most of us, we could spend considerably fewer hours at the office and still get the same amount done.

Sometimes activities like going to the gym can be weighed down by the sense of responsibility as we must reach office before anyone. Surprisingly, we start watching movies and shows in fast forward to get the summary. This was meant for fun but we start doing it like work hence taking the fun and pleasure out of the activity. We then think that we had the fun time but with no actual benefits of wasting that time.

“Wasting time is about recharging your battery and de-cluttering,”. Taking time to be total, gloriously, proudly unproductive will ultimately make you better at your job. But it’s also fulfilling in and of itself.

At the end of the day, all of us need to have some off time doing things we like and want to do. We should think this time as time well spent as you gain a lot of focus and not as unproductive time. 

 

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

Gate 16 Bangalore Airport

airport stories

So, I am traveling today to HOME. Yes, and I am very excited about it. But thanks to Air India I got stuck at the airport. I then went to KFC for some quick bite so that I can survive. Took my meal and sat there for some time. This is when something interesting happened. I am hereby giving the exact visuals of what I see for 2 hours sitting in a corner.

Two beautiful air hostess walked in talking to each other. All eyes in the room turned and so did mine. I skipped my beat but pretended as if nothing happened. They went directly to the counter skipping the line and nobody said anything. If I would have skipped the like the 3rd world war was just around the corner but yeah, they were not me. They took their food and sat on a table next to me. Lucky enough! I was seeing them from the corner of my eyes. This gave me a learning that whatever feels like a necessity to you or you find pleasure in it, you will not protest to glitches. Yes, they were glitches in the system. Products should be such that even a mistake don’t make people angry.

A foreign couple sitting in a corner were so engrossed in each other. It reminded me of a thing that when you are with someone you should be with them 100%. With mobiles becoming computers their interference in the life has become so high that most of the time we forget to talk and we start preferring chatting sitting in front of each other. That has started giving more pleasure to people. A resolution today of spending time with loved ones without mobile/ devices every day.

Mom bringing snacks for her child. Sound normal. Right!! She was at least 80 years old.  I didn’t see mom in last 8 months. I have spent days without talking to her on the pretext of work and tiredness. She is the one who is always there for me when I want her. Why can’t I do the same? This is something I have asked myself for long. So, let’s make a statement today and stick by it. I will come home when mom asks and I will talk to her daily.

A dad and son came and sat in front of me now. Again, the son with his mobile not actually listening to what his dad is saying. Dad is just looking around and smiled at me. I smiled back. Now, this takes me to the time I spend with my dad. I have always said him that “AAP nahi Samjhoge”. But he is older and wiser than me and has gone through all this that I am going thru. Then why I don’t listen to dad. So, let’s say that I will now at least listen to what my dad has to say.

A young guy with a headphone fell as he was not watching in the front while walking rather he was looking at his phone screen. Multitasking has become a style statement. But there is a downside of it. You become a jack of all and master of none. So, you are not able to focus on one thing and take it to completion. Off late I started doing multitasking to a level I am not able to cope up. I will cut it to at least 50% as I can’t survive without it.

A person waiting on the wheelchair. The first thought that crosses my mind seeing him is THANK GOD, I don’t have to go through all this. Thanks for at least making me capable.

A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking. ~Earl Wilson

After a month, long of tiring work at office

Posted in Experience, fitness, learnings, Life, Philosophy, Weight Loss

No more fret over losing weight!! Try this

I think I need to lose; I have put on a lot of weight; See here I have a tummy what will others think; This is my new year resolution and I can go on and on and on…

This leads to phone calls to people who lost, reading of stories online, following blogs and a lot of frantic discussion on WhatsApp group.

Then starts a journey, long hours spent in gym, harassment of your taste buds and much more to come back in good shape. Let’s take a step back and think what about something which is completely natural, just take 20-30 min and has no side effects. Sounds Good?

Meditation; a simple yet powerful technique and answer to most of the things in one’s life.

meditation

Wondering how something related to the mind can have anything to do with shedding pounds and kilos? Let’s see how meditation helps you lose weight naturally:

  1. Effects of Body Metabolic Rate

The first thing when people in fitness center measure or say something about is the metabolic rate of the body. BMR helps us decide the amount of water, calorie intake which we need. When we meditate BMR stabilizes and hence it has a positive effect on your body. This means your intake gets affected and so does your weight. When I started, I didn’t believe that this could happen but slowly as I was regular I realized that I used to feel less hungry.

  1. Change the Workout schedule

We generally see people stop gymming and then gaining weight again. This is because physical exercise increases your food intake and it is not reduced even after you stop.

Meditation improves assimilation and wishes for food decreases. This has a long-term effect on the body weight. The fact that you are satisfied with less food will help you not to gain weight when you stop the physical work.

  1. Restore your Balance

Excessive weight gain and weight loss are sometimes outcomes of hormonal imbalances in the body. Meditation helps restore that harmony in the system so that if you are overweight, you lose pounds and if you are underweight, you gain the ability to put on. This is one thing which most of us ignore while we are suffering from either of these.

  1. Reduce the number of Go-to food

Craving is the biggest roadblock in losing weight. Just as we get past our favorite Vada Paw shop we then end up eating it/ With regular meditation, we can control it.

Meditation increases awareness so that you become more watchful of your food habits. Also, over a period of regular meditation practice, you will find that your cravings have dropped. So you won’t be reaching for that bag of chips or cookies all that often.

“Till 6 months back I used to eat a lot of sweets and feel very restless and tired if I don’t eat anything sweet in the day. This was overshadowing my effort in the Gym. My trainer asked me to do just 15 min of meditation which gave me willpower and help me control my cravings. This led to a visible effort on my body in terms of muscle growth.

  1. Helps in Commitment

Sweets, your favorite food, junk has the power to make you drop all your resolutions towards your body. This is a check on your commitment where meditation can help. Daily meditation practice helps strengthen your intention so that you become more committed and focus in whatever you do and follow best practices.

Meditation gives the strength to realize an intention. Either it is EGO or it is MEDITATION which gives you the power to remain committed to whatever you do.

  1. Beat the stress

Stress is something which makes people do unwanted things. Eating or rather hogging helps us reduce stress levels as it increases hormonal production which is responsible for stopping this. Yet when you meditate, you release deeply stored stress in the system naturally.

After the fight with my best friend food would always be my savior which will help me sleep and that causes a lot of problems for me. I then started meditation just keeping my eyes closed and focusing on one single point. Thanks to these practices, now I do not over eat and it had helped me control my emotions better.

  1. Find time to do more things

Meditation you only need 15-20 minutes a day. That, of course, can be easy to squeeze out any time of the day as per your convenience, isn’t it? After all, your body does deserve at least 20 minutes of your time. And when your work efficiency increases with meditation, you can finish all your work in less time and find more time to plan other things.

  1. Start accepting yourself

When you accept your physique, you become calm and settled within and stop worrying about things. With such a state of mind, it becomes easier to work towards losing weight and your effort is also more effective. Try this out once. So what if you are a bit on the healthy side? Relax, love your body and see the difference in your life.

Note: Each body type is different so the results of yoga and meditation practice may vary in each person. Your experience could be different from others. Do not compare and don’t lose hope and patience. Meditation is not a quick-fix; it needs to be practiced daily for results to show.

Side view of woman sitting in lotus position on lakeshore with focus on stack of stones

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

Learning how bad our need for posession is – When I didn’t buy anything new for 107 days

Some events leave a void in your life. The emptiness which cannot be filled by anything or anyone.

A year and a half ago something like this happened in my life: my grandfather passed away.

We just had marriage in or family and just in a moment he was just not there. That day a small part of me was gone. There were so many hard parts, one of the hardest was not being able to mourn in peace.

Nope, in our society you can’t just mourn a person’s loss—you need to work. Not just at your job, but on piles of paperwork, people to let know and arrangements to be made. I had to leave for joining my first job in 3 days. Going through my grandfather’s old things, I felt the loss of my grandfather with each item I sorted. This is when I realized that we were living the life of accumulation.

We are destroying the planet and there will be nothing left for the future generation, all of this so that we can enjoy or the lifetime and the possessions we hardly use. We invest time, effort and money to get all the material possession only to be disposed of with great difficulty. And all of this for enjoying a very short time in this world with the things we rarely use and easily forget.

I then decided that let’s do something different in memory of the person I loved. So, I embarked on a journey that lasted 107 days where I didn’t buy anything new, obviously excluding groceries, medicine, and basic toiletries.

Need not greed

I have never been disciplined in buying things. I just buy it impulsively without any thought. Never thought this will give me a lot of learning along the way:

  • There is too much stuff in this world already there. As I embarked on the journey not to buy anything new. I started browsing second-hand things on online classified, Facebook groups etc. I was shocked to see the volume of the stuff we have already created and all this stuff being thrown away and new created
  • Humans buy things on pure compulsion. The number of things listed for second-hand sale in stores and groups was uncountable. Right from lock to dresses to anything was available second hand. Clearly, the act of buying is often completely disassociated with real human need, or even want. It’s much more akin to a compulsion.
  • There is a great stigma for the pre-owned items. This is attributed to hygiene, not being civilized, weird, etc. People thing that these discarded goods are only good for people of lower income group among us but not “us”.
  • There is so much abundance in our lives and in this world the made me realized that I didn’t need 6 pairs of shoes or 25 pairs of clothes. But it also made me realize that there are enough and more people to give you things you need at a very low cost as they don’t need it anymore.
  • When everything is old everything is cheap and everything old comes at a steep discount. My bank account grew very fast in these days and made me realized that I have more than enough to survive. The quality is something which I think I never compromised.
  • One more thing is it feels good to pay to people instead of companies. People are in general honest and helpful. They were normal people just wanting to recoup a portion of their purchase price by selling perfectly usable items.
  • There are some things which you cannot just buy pre-owned. When I was forced to not buy them against my strongest impulses at times, Iw as surprised that nothing changed. Most of the things are generally “nice to haves” and real needs are generally very limited.
  • Living in minimalism was a transformative journey. When someone leaves, you are expected to get past it and move on. I just didn’t want him leaving me a normal phenomenon. Hence this experience which left me better than before and a lifetime remembrance.

Sharing this has only one agenda that at the very least, I hope you’ll just change the way you think when you buy another item and thing if you really need it or not.

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasim

Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enthusiasm and success go hand in hand, however, enthusiasm comes first. Enthusiasm inspires confidence, raises morale, builds loyalty and is priceless! Enthusiasm is contagious. You can feel enthusiasm by the way a person talks, walks or shakes hands. Enthusiasm is a habit that one can acquire and practice.

I am very fortunate to get a boss like the one I have at my workplace now. His enthusiasm is infectious. He is always up for any challenge and since last 1.8 years of my work I have improved a lot in the process. I owe all that to him.

Many decades ago, Charles Schwab, who was earning a salary of a million dollars a year, was asked if he was being paid such a high salary because of his exceptional ability to produce steel. Charles Schwab replied, “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among the men the greatest asset I have, and the way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.”

Many people have this question in their mind that what are leaders/ higher management in a company paid for. It is this very same reason if inspiring people to do more than they could.

“Live while you are alive. Don’t die before you are dead”

Enthusiasm and want are what change mediocrity to excellence. This gives us a chance to go extra mile out of our comfort zone and do success. This teaches us to focus and not compare ourselves with others. And keep us on toes till we finish what we started.

Always be excited about what you are doing and if you are not please change that fast. Always take challenges as an opportunity to learn new things and grow. Water turns into steam with a difference of only one degree in temperature and steam can move some of the biggest engines in the world.

That is what enthusiasm helps us to do in our lives.

This helped me in achieving the growth that I couldn’t have imagined in my personal and professional life. I created a company, ran it for successfully, Wrote a book, Created the largest verified database of providers, help run a company, publications, etc.

enthu1

Posted in Experience, learnings, Life, Philosophy

Do you have a habit of starting projects, but not finishing them?

time management, project management

“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.”

It might be the new business you want to start but you’re halfway working through the business plan. It might be the album which you want to launch but you’re still composing the songs. It might be the book which you want to finish writing but you’re still stuck in the late chapters.

If you have been taking action and working on your goals, that’s a big achievement and you should be proud of yourself! Getting started is your first step to realizing your goals. Most people get stuck in the thinking but not doing phase, and that’s not good because your goals won’t magically pop up one day from not taking action.

However, if you have a habit of starting many new things but not finishing them, then that’s something to look into. The whole process from starting something to completing it is a different study itself. If you have ever embarked on a project, you’d know that every goal/project comes with its own set of challenges which are not visible when you first start. For example, maybe your original idea doesn’t turn out how you would like it to be. You meet obstacles which you didn’t anticipate. You underestimated the amount of work that needs to be done. Other commitments or fire emerge that take your focus away.

Here are some Key Points which should be kept in mind, while dealing with this:

1. Be selective in what you embark on
When you start on a project (especially if it’s a big scale one), be sure that this is something you are passionate about and you want to see through. Personally, I don’t start something unless I’m absolutely sure that I’m interested in it. Though there are always some projects where you don’t have any choice. In the past, I embarked on things which I was half-interested in, for example playing cricket, some random project in the office. Eventually, I stopped them mid-way. This resulted in the waste of time and resources which could have been better utilized elsewhere. Because of that, I’m more conscious of how I utilize that time and energy. If you set a high threshold on what you want to do, the completion rate is also higher.

If you aren’t sure that this is something you really want to do, you can dip your feet into the pool first – try it out on a small scale and see if it’s what you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in starting a business, read up on it first. If you’re keen to be a writer, try a personal writing or open a blog and start writing or getting some freelance work. Another way is to sit on it for a few weeks. If you keep thinking about it every day for weeks, then you should probably give it a go-ahead.

2. Estimate the resources you need

In companies they do resource planning, where they estimate how much resources are needed for a project. After which, they plan the manpower and investment accordingly. For us, that means doing a quick plan on how much time and effort this idea will take so we can have a bird’s eye view.
It doesn’t have to be exhaustive. Just a quick outline will help. The point is to have something that guides you and helps you to take the decision.

3. Budget your time and energy accordingly
After you create your outline, you would have a realistic idea of how much time and effort is needed to complete it. Plan out your time and resources accordingly and integrate them into your schedule/to-do list. Block out time in your calendar for the project. Give yourself some buffer as well, in the case of contingencies.

A big reason for the loss of enthusiasm or energy is when people underestimate the amount of work needed to bring the goal to life and the dependencies which suck your enthusiasm. I remember, in my college time, I started on a different project which never saw the light of the day. I dived straight in without any plan. I just thought if I kept consistency, it would eventually be finished. I spent countless days and nights just doing without planning, but it never got anywhere after months. In the end, I was getting new ideas on new things to do, and it was time to move on to other projects.

Looking back, the biggest reasons why it was never completed was because (a) I underestimated the work required (b) I was being too hung up on unimportant details (c) dependencies which kill the momentum. That led to unnecessary redoing, which prevented me from moving forward. To this day there are multiple projects still sits incomplete in my laptop. I might get to it in the future, but not now as I’ve many things which I’m more interested in working on.

Good planning of resources helps you plan your energy and expectations. You know you must put in X hours and X work to get the final output, so you’ll manage yourself appropriately to achieve your desired outcome. That’ll lead to a higher project success rate.

4. Quit being a perfectionist
How many of us keep delaying work because we want to get it just right? I’m all for perfectionism and getting the best output, but if your desire for perfectionism is preventing you from getting things done, I think it’s good to challenge it. If you’re stalled at a stage of the project and you keep revising it, again and again, park it for a later stage and move on to a new part. Return to it later and see it with fresh eyes. You might notice that what you were hung up about really isn’t that big of a deal. Also, constantly referring to your outline is also helpful in getting perspective. Your objective is to finish the project, so keep your eyes on the prize.

If your perfectionism is preventing you from even getting started, try these two tips:
* First, break the task into many little steps, then focus on one part at the time. If you still put it off after breaking it down, then break it down even further into mini pieces. Soon, you’ll be left with such a simple task that you’ll be wondering what was keeping you from doing it from before!
* The second tip is to give yourself the permission to do a draft version. Meaning, there’s no need to get it done right the first time. Just creating a draft, even if it’s a crappy one, is better than if you didn’t do anything at all. Get yourself started and things will roll on from there.

to do list

5. Commit to it
Once you start, commit to it. Whatever you have planned, do them. Give yourself the option to exit a project if it’s not in line with your vision, but otherwise, hold yourself to your word.

Ask yourself what’s more important to you – Going out to party for the weekend or to work on that business you’ve been meaning to set-up? The former might bring you some temporal gratification, but the latter is what truly gives you satisfaction. The rewards you get from doing the latter are rewards which you’ll continue to reap long afterward.

Start more project that you can finish

(The view expressed are by a friend with some pollution from my side)