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Here is a really inspiring video (which you might have watched already) where Will Smith powerfully talks about a lot of things. The stand out quote for me from this is this - (starts @ 5 mins and 50 sec)

"Being realistic is the commonly travelled road to mediocrity" 

In an ordinary life, belief follows evidence. In an extra-ordinary life, evidence follows belief.

We all have the power to choose the life we want but due to the way we have been brought up, most of us seek evidence to choose the latter. But it won’t work that way.

It is always tough to make that call to your friend when you are in need of a help esp. if you had not managed to find time to "be in-touch" with him/her in your "non-needy" days. When we eventually call for this unavoidable favour it is typical of us not to jump on to asking the favour first. At least I tend to speak a lot about everything else first and then its the right time, I make the request. This for me looked like a rational approach as we dont want to be seen as too self centered.

However there is a flaw in this. When you eventually ask for the favour, whenever it may be – after 10 minutes or 30 minutes of the conversation, the friend might think that everything discussed till now was just to get this favour out of him/her and not out of genuine interest for the person (and some might express their displeasure to this by saying 'ahhh, thats why you called me?'). Well, this is a exactly opposite of what you wanted and there is no coming back from this situation.

However I learned a better approach from my wife today. She needed a favour from her friend and first thing she did when she called was to ask for this favour (well, after confirming that he is free to talk and in a state of mind to ask for the favour). This way, she got this primary reason for the call out of the way. Now, she started asking about those things which both of them usually discuss. Just by reversing the order, all her conversation remained genuine and relevant. With this new approach, she not only managed to get the favour across but also got "in-touch" with the friend as well.

We are in the era of "timeless times" where there is a struggle to keep in touch with all those who we want to. However the fact remains that time and again we need favours from one of those who lost touch with for a brief period (if it has been very long* then it does not make sense to ask for favour). But ideally that should not stop us from making that call and with this new approach, I feel it is lot easier for me. Hopefully for you too.

 

My first and only horse ride went alright. However first few minutes on the horse was the worst part where I had no control over when and where the horse is heading.. here is a clip.

 

What is life all about? What is our purpose on this world? It is a great question and gets us thinking. Einstein tried to answer this but failed when Light was found to act both as a wave and particle. That became the hard problem of Science and still is to most scientists.

 
Enter Tom Cambell, A Physicist by background who had the unusual opportunity to go out of body (OBE) and experience the consciousness. Once he got a hang of it, he did it and gathered enough data and evidence to prove an existence of larger consciousness. He went on to explain what Einstein could not and very convincingly. Below is his book, My Big TOE (Theory of Everything) available for free. It is a huge read.
 
For those who dont have that much time, below is a video series where he talks about the theory of everything and the practical application of the same. This series requires you to invest around 15 hours of your time but surely this should be an eye opener and a life changer.
 
 

Some of us aim to be the best in the world at what we do (while others just hope). Being the best in the world is a great goal to have as it will act as a motivation to get up everyday and do what we do best. However, most often it tend to focus on comparing ourselves to others around us and winning against them and as we get better at it we aim higher. The key measure of this process is winning and that can only be the valid measure which everyone can understand. 

blue-cloth-clip-hanging

For most of us, being the best in the world is a long way away. The best way to reach there is to learn as much as possible as soon as possible. So clearly, it should only be learning, which one should focus at, at least at the beginning. However from day one, we start focusing on winning and not learning because it is easy for us to assume that we are learning (at our best pace?) as long as we are winning.

Well, irrespective of with whom you are competing, this is a wrong assumption to make. Competition involves two people and your winning on a given day could be due to a number of reason – be it your great show on the day, opponents being weaker or they just have an off day. So in the latter two cases it could be that you win the competition dispite being very average. Also, your chances of playing an average game increases with the focus on winning as you take fewer risks, play safer and also pay a bigger price in the process – learn so much less.

If you agree to the above, then the next natural question is "what do we do"? – Well, Aim to be the best of yourself. How different is it in practice? – Well, this approach can only be explained better with a game as an example, and I have tennis as mine. 

Aiming to be the best of yourself changes the focus back to learning. You explore your strengths and weaknesses and see what needs to be done to maximise your potential. However there is a challenge – How do we do this when competing with others? Well, The key is to focus only on the next moment in the game and completely ignore about winning. To maximise learning, you have to ignore winning the match, ignore winning the set, ignore winning the game. Focus completely on the next serve you are going to do, next shot you are going to hit and more importantly focus on what you learnt from it and build on it for your next shot. 

Keeping your focus just on the next shot has several advantages. One, it makes it simple for the mind and hence maximise learnings from each point. Not focusing on the stage of the game, set or match will help you take the right risk for the point, not less or more. This approach is easier said than done as you might loose more matches, score lines might read more badly than the game and how much you learned in the process cannot be reflected in the score lines. However, if you keep your focus on learning, modify your approach as and when needed, take the right risks, you will learn sooner and you will start winning more consistently and handsomely. With time, you will be the best in the world.

Though it could be that being the best in the world is a long way away, what next after that? Well, being the best in the world is a destination but being the best of yourself is a journey, a journey which might go beyond the destination we all are after.

So stop thinking of winning, focus on learning, Ignore the destination and start your journey now, the right way.

We all are humans and we make mistakes. Recently I was lazy enough to miss one of my domains renewed on time which had 1000 visitors a month and it was taken by someone else even before I thought of acting. I had not looked at the impact the website was making but as soon as I lost it, i discovered the impact it was making and I started to regret my laziness and not acting fast enough. I did not share this with many but I can guess what will be their response. When we do regret, people in our support stucture comes up with various suggestions, most of which have the same theme – "don't regret". 

BUT then it is humanly impossible* not to regret and it is something we have to deal with. One well known way we all know to deal with a mistake is to focus on learning from the mistake and set in stone such that we don't repeat it (well, at least not in near future). However to put an honest effort to "learning from mistakes" we need to get over regret first.

So given that we have to deal with regret, sooner than later, the key point I want to raise is (well an obvious one) this – longer it takes you to come out of regret more it will cost you – emotionally, financially and physically. Being aware of it helps us act faster and come out of regret sooner.

So next time you regret, ask yourself – what is my regret cost? Or simply put, how much is this regret costing me?

* – If you think it is possible to not to regret good for you. However for most it is not. Here is an expert view (ted video) on the same.

As I was interacting with my brother who is a full time freelance photographer I read him say 'I am clear on what I need to do'. While I only see confusion all around me, this is a refreshing thought. I always regarded the power of clarity very highly but I did further contemplation on it. I concluded that Clarity brings something which makes it invaluable in this age of information overload where there are a millon things waiting to distract you.

Clarity gives you freedom – freedom from clutter, noise and non-sense. 

I have known to be a person with real bad memory however there are certain things which have made a mark in my memory such that they are hard to forget. One such is the interview of Rahul Bose I watched in 2007.

Rahul Bose for starter is an inspiring person, does things very unusually to keep you interested. However I never followed him too much before or after this interview of his. However everything he says in this interview was so original and inspiring that I could never forget it.

The final nail on the coffin was when he says something I never heard, read or seen from anyone, anywhere. One a question on how happy he is, he says "My time is up, I am happy to go today" and that hit me like a thunderbolt. How many of us can ever say such a thing? We always are running behind getting more of something or the other. Though we probably cant, this is something to aim for – A life where you are fully fulfilled, every single day so that you don't have any regrets if and when you die unexpectedly.

For those who are interested, here is the link to that interview with Rahul Bose – both video and text. Let me know what you think?

For those who are lazy enough to click on the link, here is the extract from it.

Anuradha SenGupta: Are you happy?

Rahul Bose: Unbelievably. Unbelievably. My father is so very ill, and, you know, he’s, he’s going, and someone said, you know, “how would that do to you”; I said, “you know, it does nothing.” I really loved this man and he loved me back, and he goes. If, you asked someone a question, “If you died today, just before you popped it, would you, what would your last thought be? Would there be any regret, would there be any kind of, ‘I wish, just give me a few hours more!’” My time is up; I would be very happy to go, today. I’ve overjoyed to go.

Most of us can't wait to share our good news and generally it is welcomed. However, I believe there is limitation on who we share this information with.

We cannot share a good news with someone who is still unsuccessfully trying for the same and also from longer period than yours. Most likely that they will feel contrary to what they say!