Tag Archives: life

Moving ahead in life

Our life in this lonely planet may be short (~70 years) in comparison to the life of the universe (13.6 billion years). Yet we need to move ahead in this earthly stint of ours. Here are some general tips to move ahead in life.

Become aware of who you are: If you want to move ahead in life the first step that you need to take is to know yourself. You need to understand who you are, where you are in life and where you want to go. Without complete awareness of oneself it is futile to pursue any action for progress.

Introspect and identify your strengths and weaknesses.  We can only understand ourselves, if we inquire into our very own nature. We need to fully understand where we are currently in life versus where we would like to reach in life. This help us know the areas we need to focus on and the areas we need to improve upon.

Talent:  To move ahead we need an adequate amount of talent.  Talent in people occurs in varying degrees. But it is up to each individual to improve on his talent. Even mediocre people can improve their skill and talent in any field they choose, as long as there is ‘deliberate, focused’ practice. While some people are born with talent there are many who acquire the necessary talent through years of perseverance, enthusiasm and dedication. So lack of talent can never be an excuse for not getting to where you want in life. Finally it is attitude, persistence and practice that makes one an expert with all the necessary talent.

Hard work: Perseverance and persistence are the pillars of success in life. One cannot state the importance of this enough. Behind the fame and success of reputed people are years and years of hard work, unswerving dedication and tenacity to not let go. Even successful musicians, sportsmen, scientist have to keep constantly honing their skills to move ahead in their field. Remember the world is full of talented people and there is a constant necessity to push ahead in life besides improving on your skill.

Street Smarts: This skill in a person is often ignored as against other qualities like persistence, talent and hard work.  But in the long run street smarts or ‘savvy’ is clearly what distinguishes winners from the also-rans.  Savvy is knowing which option amongst the many are the one that count. Smarts is being able to strategize and make appropriate plans for success.  Street Smarts in reality, is making the most of the talent and skill that one already has against the competition.  It is knowing the difference on when to strike and when to stay put.

Street smarts requires dollops of common sense. There are many situations where a smarter player is victorious over a more talented player simply because of his cleverness in applying what he knows.  Life is a game where you skill counts as much as your ability to outwit odds stacked against you.

Hence to move ahead in life we need all the work – Self-awareness, talent, hard-work and finally street-smarts.


Studying from the Book of Life

Human life, insignificant? When we consider the average human life span, of 75 years, in the eternity of time, of 13.4 billion years, since the Universe was born; or if we look at this speck which we call Earth, in the immensity and vastness of space we will be inclined to look at our lives as merely insignificant. To some extent this is true.

But then we are here and we have a life to live and we better make our lives as significant as we can.  Here are some thoughts on how to lead a far more significant life. To lead a far more fruitful and fulfilling life we need to study from what I would like to call ‘The Book of Life’

The Book of Life:
The Book of life has 3 main sections. They are included below

1) Studying from one’s own life: This is the first section in this book. Poor or rich, wise or stupid all of us carry a wealth of experiences and personal knowledge. We really need to dive deep into our own lives. There are many gems of truth and knowledge we will find in the deep waters of our past lives.  The past is many ways is our compass to our future. We need to analyze our motives for our past actions. We must delve into our biases, our judgmental ideas ingrained deep in our minds. Can we justify these prejudices of ours?

We can learn more from looking into ourselves than by reading any book or listening to any sermon.

2) Studying from our social circle: There is a lot we can learn from immediate and larger social circle.  What makes them tick? What drives them? How do they handle problems?

What would you have done if you were in the situation that they are in? Would you have handled the situation differently? There are so many lessons that life offers us. We need to be observant and reflect.  If you have a role model in life try to see how they handle adversity. What are the qualities in their life that you admire? What makes them different from you? How can you emulate some of their virtues? This is the next section in this Book of Life.

3) Studying from the enlightened ones: This is the last but an important section. There is a lot we can learn from the wise sayings of Krishna, Buddha and Christ. These enlightened souls had an extraordinary insight into human nature. We need to reflect on the pithy sayings of these souls.  Here is a sample

Christ (Bible): Love they enemy
Judge not, lest ye be judged

Krishna (Gita): Do your duty without regard to the fruits thereof
A true yogi is one who is not affected by joy or sorrow

Buddha: Anger is like hot charcoal. It burns the hand that hold it.

There is an enormous amount of meaning and depth in each of these sayings. We can use them in different situations in our lives.

We need to really drink deeply from this Book of Life. There are many things that this book can teach us and help us lead a more fulfilling life.

2 essential paradoxical truths of life

Here are 2 truths that appear paradoxical but are extremely important in different situations in life.

Stop… to progress in life: This statement may appear more absurd than paradoxical. But if you think on this for a while you will realize the truth behind this paradoxical statement. In our daily lives we are in one headlong rush to nowhere. From the time we get up, to the time we go to bed, we are constantly flitting from one task to another.

We browse the newspaper, rush to office, jump from one assignment to another, return home, flip TV channels, do some browsing and then hit the bed. We repeat this ritual every day. We simply react to external events. We could even say that we are driven by external events in our life. It is important that we come to complete halt in our lives. We must hit the pause button every once in a while.

In fact, it would really help if we allocated at least 30-40 minutes every day where we reflected on our lives. We need to see where we are in life and where we want to go to. We need to look inward into our lives identify things that we are doing right and those that we need to change. We could do this by either sitting cross-legged in a meditative pose, or take a leisurely walk. Others may find some mild exercise, meditative. Whatever method you choose it is really essential that you put a halt to the furious pace of your life and spend time introspecting and charting the future course of your action. Hence ‘to make serious progress in life we must come to complete stop and look inward’

Act by doing nothing: This is another seemingly nonsensical statement. Sometimes in life the best course of action is ‘complete inaction’. In fact the Gita claims “a true yogi is one who see action in inaction and inaction in action’. What this implies is that sometimes the best course of action is inaction. At other times action is futile and is equivalent to no action or inaction.

There are times when simply reacting to a circumstance will tend to exacerbate a situation. It may be more prudent to sit still and be patient. We could let ‘time’ play out her card, observe the outcome and then take appropriate action. An example would be not to retaliate to every move made by a foe. Rather it would make more sense to observe what the enemy is trying to do and then deal the fatal blow. So the time we spend appearing to do nothing is the time we spend in observing what the motive of the foe is.

Even In our professional lives there will be times when nothing seems to go right, you may have some misunderstanding with your boss, you may not have delivered up to the expectations or things may not be exactly hunky dory with your colleagues. Rather than taking hasty action it may be sensible to bide your time while you try to set your house in order. You must not take precipitate action but rather sit still. I am reminded of a Kenny Roger’s song, the Gambler, which goes

You must know when to hold to hold ‘em,
Know when to fold ‘em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run’

So it is imperative that we know when to act and when not to act. This is critical in life

These 2 paradoxical rules are key to manoeuvring through the alleys of life.

3 important rules to live life by

Here are 3 vital guidelines with which we need to live our lives.  Rather than going after success or the means to live happily ever after, this article gives 3 simple rules with which we need to live our lives. These 3 rules will help to keep our lives in proper perspective

 All good things take time: In life, all good things take time. When you make a plan or set a goal, remember to look at it long term. So for example if you would like to learn a musical instrument, become a writer, or even lose weight you will have to plan for the long term. It is important that you expect results in about 2, 3 years or maybe later. Too often we want to see immediate results in the next couple of months. We want to become rock stars, superstars or lose 5 kgs in 2months. When we don’t see quick results we generally lose interest and drop the activity altogether. So whenever we embark on any new venture set goals for the long term.

Problems are here to stay: Nobody in this world is immune from problems. Everybody from the prince to the pauper, from the saint to the sinner has to contend with his or her own set of problems. There will be always be ups and downs in everybody’s life. We need to be prepared for issues and problems in life. Buddha has said “Suffering is inevitable in life”. Hence, we can and we should never expect that we will ever live a carefree life.

What differentiates one person from another is how he or she handles their own set of problems. Suffering in life makes one stronger. So don’t wish away your problems, rather face them head-on and overcome them.

Don’t let success or failure determine your life:  Never let success or failure determine how you conduct your life. Remember success or failure are only temporary stops in your journey in life. The destination is far, into the future.  There are some who are completely broken when they face failure in their effort. They abandon the pursuit of their goal. As already mentioned failures or setbacks are temporary.  We have to learn from our failures and setbacks and move on in life.  Similarly, we should not let a couple of successes lull us into contentment. We must look ahead and aim for bigger and better goals in life. Life is long term and we must and should move on.


Make these 3 rules below your guidelines in life

  • Life is long term
  • Problems are part and parcel of life
  • Life should go on regardless of success or failure along the way

These guidelines will prepare you to face the worst and also help to accept with magnanimity  your achievements in life.

7 laws to live your life by

We humans, are the product of 13.4 years of evolution. We have been gifted with consciousness of the world and of our own selves. Beginning today we are living the rest of our lives. Here are 7 laws of life which will make our lives more enjoyable and productive.

We don’t get second chances: This is an obvious truth which we know but don’t ponder upon. This life of ours is short and we don’t get second chances. It is imperative that we utilize our time in the best possible way. We should not fritter away our time in useless pursuits, petty bickering and idleness. We need to make certain that we make every day count starting right now. So be mindful of the fact that “You only live once!”

Drop excess baggage: This is an extension of the earlier truth. Our lives our short and there is no second chance. To live our lives well we need to drop excess baggage from our minds. We need to drop our animosities, petty jealousies and hatred we may have. We need to forgive, forget and move on. There is a need to move lightly through life and not expend energy in wasteful activities as mentioned above. We could utilize our energies and efforts in more fruitful activities.

Wake up to the world: Is your life too mechanical? Do you feel that you are on auto-pilot in life? Are you bored with this fast paced life? Who is to blame for this situation? Clearly there is nobody else to blame but you. This world of ours provides so many opportunities for doing creative and new things. If you think your life is boring and lifeless then you really need to wake up and open your eyes to the beauty of the world. Take a vacation, go places, make short trips to exotic places. Do some bird watching. Spend some time in the beach. Do something, in fact do anything. There is so much to see and experience in this world of ours.

Make fitness your watchword: To live life fully we need to be both physically and mentally fit. Make sure that you pay adequate attention to your physical health. You could either hit the gym daily or do something as simple as a brisk walk at least 4 times a week. Eat healthy food. Focus on being physically fit.

Besides physical fitness one also needs to concentrate on mental fitness. Think good clean thoughts. Avoid hatred, anger and envy. Read good books. Exercise your brain by learning some thing new. It could be a musical instrument, painting or writing a blog. Exercising your brain is important to avoid later issues in life.

Settle for common sense: When in doubt settle for common sense. Many times we take hasty , emotional decisions and then regret later. Other times we are caught in an analysis paralysis oscillating between extremes. In all situations temper your decision with a dollop of common sense.

Love the job you do: This may seem contradictory to the common refrain of ‘doing the job you love’. Since many of us will not have the luxury of choosing to pursue our passions we will need to learn to love our day jobs. Be creative about your day job. It will not be as boring as it appears if you take interest in the bigger picture of your daily job.

You are the not center of the universe: Often we go about our lives as though the universe was centered on ourselves. In reality there is whole universe outside of us. Instead of thinking about your life, your problems and your ambitions, try to look at the world through the eyes of others. See what difference you can make to the lives of the less privileged. Do some social work. You are not the center of the universe!

The above are laws are not something new. They have always been around and we know it, yet seem to be oblivious of them. Ponder on them and make a difference to your life.

You are what you dream. You are what you envision. Think big!

Go about creating the future you want 1 day at a time!

Design your life!

1If there is one activity that we all should necessarily do, it is ‘to spend time designing our life’. Now why is this important? There are many. For one, we just get one chance in this world. Our life is either short or long, depending on how you look at it.  We want to spend this life in the best possible way we can. So we need to put some effort in ‘designing this life of ours’.

How do we go about designing our life? Here are some considerations that we should keep in mind.

Designing the route

The first one is “Where do you want to go in life?” If we know what our goal and destination in life is, then we need to look at the steps that we need to take to get to our goal. For e.g. if we want to become a Director, senior VP we need to look at what the steps we need to take for achieving this. Still others may want to become musicians, artists, sports persons. Whatever your ambition may be, we need to sit and think through all the steps that we would have to take to get us to our goal. We would then have to diligently follow this process and monitor our progress along the way. This will be your basic design to get you “from where you are, to where you want to be”. As we navigate to our goal we will have to adjust our design to be take us to our goal

Designing a fall back scheme

A common saying is that “All good plans go awry”. So despite our best design for achieving our ambition, we may face roadblocks, failures or disasters. So a good design for our life will have to take all alternatives into consideration. So if you planned in climbing the corporate ladder but found your efforts thwarted midway it does not make sense if you just collapse into a crumpled heap on the floor. A good design of life would have to plan for failures and disasters. So your design for your life should have a Plan B, Plan C etc.

Designing happiness buffers

2As we move through, if there is one thing we want is be moderately happy. Note, I am saying that we should always be happy or simply elated all the time. If we go by Buddhist philosophy that “suffering is inevitable’ then it make sense that we design “small happiness buffers”. By happiness buffers I mean that we should include into small acts or activities that give us some amount of joy. This could be anything from starting a hobby, performing random acts of kindness, learning a musical instrument etc. The feel good factor that one gets in small achievements will soften any blows we may face in life.

Since we have just this one chance in this world, it makes eminent sense that we give some serious thought in ‘designing our life’

The Mirage of Success

What is success?  As we grow older the word “success” undergoes a major transformation. From our early view that success is getting a first class in your board exam, to cracking a competitive exam and much later to securing a dream job our notion of success undergoes a metamorphosis.

We are often told that “Success is not a destination but a journey”. This is true to an extent. However success cannot be defined in narrow terms of a specific context or a time continuum.

Success in life is dependent on not just our place in life but also on that of our near and dear ones and people at large. As we grow older success can not be based on only our achievements it will also depend on the achievements of people we love.  But then the natural question arises, is success really dependent on achievements. So do we think that a Michael Jackson or a Elvis Presley was successful?

Clearly this is not the case. Success is not dependent on achieving laurels, fame, respect or power. In my opinion it also does not imply sustained fame, respect or power.  To me success in life is how well a person is able to tackle the challenges in life. Success is also dependent on how well you can inculcate a sense of confidence, a sense of courage and discipline in your children or family member. Success also implies how we go about improving the lot of people’s lives in whatever small or insignificant ways. Success then means how we conduct our lives and how we inspire others to live well.

As we reach closer to the grave if we look back at our lives what will we think of? Will we recount the fame or the money we earned? Will we be able to look at satisfaction at the way our children carry themselves. Will be look back at all those times we were able to lend a helping hand to those in need?

Success as we know or visualize is nothing more than a mirage. The occasional triumphs, the victories or recognitions we get will pass.

What will endure are the principles that we hand down to children, the values that we inspire in others. That in my opinion is “true success!”