Monday, August 30, 2010

Gold Medals are not really made of gold. They are made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.– Jesse Owens

Loved this! Happy Tuesday everybody!

Credit for this great quote goes to Vikram. Check out his cool blog here :)

There is a time for everything...

I find it amazing as to how things fall into place (or don't for that matter) when their time comes. This is of course bordering on being philosophical about these 'things' but I am very positive that everything does work out in the end as long as we pay our dues.

To me, this means 3 things -

1) Accepting our circumstances. Denial is regressive.

2) Dealing with our circumstances proactively by finding joy at every possible instance.

3) And being willing to work REALLY hard. I've never fully bought into the concept of cutting down on work by 'working smart'. Maybe it's because I believe we can innovate only after our basics are in place or maybe it's just because I'm just not smart enough to innovate quickly enough. Either way, that's a big part of my happiness mantra. Find ways to inject excitement into what you do and work super hard at it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war

Happy monday all! :)

Starting the day with 30 mins of reading..

has been very positive. This, however, has only happened once every two days over the past 3 weeks. And every time I think about its impact in terms of brightening the day, I wonder why I don't just do it every day!

The best about reading a book, especially the motivational kind is that it completely takes away the 'blues' while also giving multiple ideas to execute and try during the day.

New ideas keep up our enthusiasm and give us fresh energy..

As a friend put it, the goal is -

'To be child-like, while not being childish'

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When I scream at someone..

it generally means that I've had a bad day..

I think that's a nice reminder myself. I had a guy screaming at me the other day for no apparent reason and one half of me was tempted to go out and snap back. ..

Anyway, I resisted the temptation and moved on. 'He must have had a bad day' - I thought. And didn't lose twice... :)

(Here's more on losing twice from 'Both sides of the table'

It reminds me of when somebody cuts you off in their car on a highway. Sure, he (and let’s face it – it’s always a “he”) is a jerk. But you can’t change it. Aside from being dangerous to chase him and wag your finger at him, you’ve suddenly gotten your heart rate up 20 points. You lose twice.

There are many times in life where taking the wrong path causes you to lose twice. Know the difference between fighting (and enjoying it) or giving in, letting go of the angst and choosing to be zen. So in business when it’s time to fight – fight. When it’s time to concede or compromise – do so graciously. Don’t lose twice.

Read more on 'when to fight and when to give in on': Both sides of the Table

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The paradox is that by the time you get to be senior, the decisions that matter the most are the ones that would be best made made by..

people who are junior..

Haha.. Interesting! :)

Today IS friday! :) Have a great one!

Blogs and 'What Perfect Is'

I have just updated my 'Blogs I read' list with some of the best blogs I could find related to topics I found interesting (i.e. positivity, growth, self-improvement etc).

And I can see that they're already having a super positive impact on my life!

Take, for example, the post below from 'Marc and Angel's Hack Life'

Do perfect men have big muscles? Do perfect women have big breasts? Do perfect couples have lots of children? Do perfect husbands earn upwards of $100K a year? Do perfect wives cook delicious meals?

Do perfect people have lots of friends? Do perfect people have loads of life experience? Do perfect people ever fail?

Yeah! You bet they do! All of this and soooooo much more…

Perfect men are scrawny. Perfect men struggle with obesity. Perfect men can barely do one pull-up. Perfect men have bad backs that prevent them from lifting heavy objects. Perfect men were only born with one arm.

Perfect women have tiny breasts. Perfect women have fake breasts. Perfect women have breast reductions. Perfect women haven’t finished growing their breasts yet. Perfect women have lost both breasts to cancer.

Perfect couples have one child. Perfect couples have ten children. Perfect couples adopt because, medically, they can’t have their own children. Perfect couples adopt even when they can have their own. Perfect couples never have children because they don’t want them.

Perfect husbands are stay-at-home dads. Perfect husbands own multi-million dollar businesses. Perfect husbands are migrant farmers. Perfect husbands switch careers in their mid-50’s. Perfect husbands have no idea what they want to do for a living.

Perfect wives don’t cook because they’re too tired when they get home from work. Perfect wives only know how to cook Italian food. Perfect wives hate cooking even though they’re good at it. Perfect wives are chefs at fancy restaurants. Perfect wives make Ramen Noodles.

Perfect people are introverts with two close friends. Perfect people are extroverts with five hundred Facebook friends they communicate with regularly. Perfect people hangout with their marching band friends. Perfect people have famous friends. Perfect people have a best friend with four legs.

Perfect people have traveled and lived all over the world. Perfect people have yet to explore beyond their hometown in rural Montana. Perfect people still live at home with their parents. Perfect people are happy where they are. Perfect people haven’t figured out how to get to where they want to go.

Perfect people fail a hundred times and lose hope. Perfect people succeed on their very first attempt. Perfect people don’t like to admit when they fail. Perfect people see failure as an opportunity for growth. Perfect people never fail because they never stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones.

Perfect people have scars on their faces and perfect complexions. Perfect people have long brown hair at 60 and short grey hair at 35. Perfect people wear wigs. Perfect people have sex with men, women, both or none at all. Perfect people can barely see over the grocery store counter and sometimes bump their heads at the top of doorways. Perfect people have waistlines that are infinite in size and geometry. Perfect people have skin tones as light as vanilla ice-cream and as rich dark chocolate.

Perfect people come from every corner of this beautiful planet and can be seen everywhere – even in the mirror.

Yeah! That’s right!

Perfect is the way we are born. Perfect is the way we are now. Perfect is exclusively unique.

We are what perfect is.

In Hindi, we'd say 'Wah! Kya baat hai' .. or Wow! Well said! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus when the limo breaks down.


Good day!

One bad apple ruins the bunch..

As a kid, I understood this better when it was paraphrased as one drop of poison in a litre of milk means the milk itself loses its purity. That's the power of that one drop..

How can we make sure we keep negativity out of our lives? One bit can ruin an experience..

As with many great pieces of wisdom, simple in theory - VERY hard to do in practice1

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work

Looking forward to many this week!

Happy Monday! :)

Weekends are..

what we make them to be..

I know that sounds bloody obvious but I've realized the are as special as we make them to be. It takes effort to make them special of course.

The whole idea of having 2 days after a (generally) tough 5 days is already amazing! And I fully appreciate their value now! Aside from that, I've realized how easy it is to not have a life, to not do anything because work typically takes so much out of us that it's very easy to just come back home every weekday and do nothing and repeat the same process for weekends.

But, it does help when weekends = something different and special. This weekend, for example, just a trip to Sentosa to spend some in front of the blue water on golden sands was just worth it! It took away the monotony of seeing the same scenery (i.e. big concrete buildings) and made for a brighter outlook to the week ahead..

It's over to night-cycling at Pulau Ubin next week!

Systems kick in slowly..

This is with reference to 2 things actually - 1) The cleanliness at my new (shared) home and 2) Weekend book learnings

In the case of 1), I've seen that systems kick in gradually. It is very tempting to clean all things at once (initially, I was aghast at the mess that resulted in a house where 4 (on weekdays) and 8 (on weekends) live.. haha.

But gradually, over the weeks, one newer thing gets added to the cleaning list and over the past week, the house has become a home (in the cleanliness sense as well).

In the case of 2), I started sending out an email every weekend to close family and friends with book learnings from a book that I'd read. This was a random, badly written email that was meant to be an incentive for me to read and share learnings. Over time, it has changed to a nice and polished email with a story from one of the books I read over the course of the week.

When I look at the email in its current state, I'm amazed at how far it's come.

If I had to summarize this post in a couple of lines.

It's important to have a sense of where we are going (example: Best book learning mail in the world, uber clean house etc)

And 'Some things just take time, 9 women can't make a baby in a month!'

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Giving only helps..

when others are ready to receive.

It may be tempting to want to give our own point of view, our own auto biographical experiences etc..

but it only helps when others are ready to receive.. (and typically, when they are, we know..)

Patience definitely helps..

In a few days, the need to give may also wither away. Time changes everything after all..

Friday, August 20, 2010

You win some and lose some, it's part of the game..

It's not the result but the way you play it that differentiates you in the long run from someone who got lucky.

Al Pacino tells us in a 4 minute video that gives me the goosebumps every time I see it..

I think my Sparkz team will remember this for a long time.. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I can't sell anything to anyone - I'm a salesperson, not a con artist - Zig Ziglar

Ha ha ha ha..

Loved this.. happy friday!! :)

All sunshine makes a desert..

I read this on Vikram's blog and I found it very insightful.

I'm reading a book titled '4 hour work week' where (self) acclaimed author Tim Ferris talks about living the ideal life - working 4 hours and spending the rest of the time skiing, snorkelling, holidaying - you get the picture.

Rather than be enthralled by it, I find myself repulsed by it. For one, his point of view is entirely based on the premise that we exist to enjoy every moment and only seek to do enough to earn enough to fund our enjoyment. I feel we can do better than that..

Anyway, my point is that - even if work is tough, impossible at times - the tougher the work-week, the better the weekend. Joy wouldn't be good if it wasn't for pain after all (as a close friend from school would rap)..

And I see why all sunshine makes a desert.. I guess life's best lived when there's balance.

On the 4 hour work-week book, I'm still reading it as it does have a lot of great tips on how to get more productive and save time, but yes, I am definitely against the central idea!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Measure your success not by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished given your ability the message on Singapore MRT displays. I'm beginning to see quotes everywhere.. haha

Puts things into perspective I think. :)

Have a nice day! :)

Would you like it done to you..

Of late, I've been trying to put many of my intended reactions to a lot of things said about me in perspective by asking - 'Would you like it done to you?'

I was tempted to give feedback to a friend one morning and when I asked myself, I realized it was not the place and time.

I wasn't at my best when listening to a friend and when I asked myself this, I realized I should have changed the environment or done something different to make it better.

Funnily enough, the biggest place where I find myself applying this is in emails - I realize that whenever I receive emails that address me as 'Rohan' instead of a 'Hi' or 'Dear' preceding it, I feel ordered.. And I realized that while it is a tempting way to start writing emails - why do so when I would be uncomfortable being addressed that way?

The theory is the same as the 'Golden Rule' that says 'Treat others as you would like to be treated' - that is true, but while I've known the theory, I'm only slowly beginning to execute on it.. and I guess it is very important to celebrate small wins. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What we fear the most is usually what we most need to do..

Very true.

Happy wednesday! :)

Who is your crisis counsellor..

This is a question I asked myself.

I realize there are while there might be many friends and loved ones, there are only a few I would turn to if I had a big emergency.

For example, let's picture I desperately needed a million bucks for a few days for some weird disaster - who would I ask? (assuming everyone I knew had a million..)

I found I had a list of a few close loved ones whom I would not be ashamed to ask and who I felt wouldn't say no.

What was amazing to me was that I was in close touch with everyone except the top person (and hence, the most reliable). I knew I could count on this person but never really made the effort to stay in close touch.

That was a big learning. This was the person I needed to stay closest in touch! And I thought it was a powerful exercise - to think of my crisis counsellor..

Avoiding momentum - Seth Godin

Some days, even the best dentist doesn't feel like being a dentist.
And a lifeguard might not feel like being a lifeguard.

Fortunately, they have appointments, commitments and jobs. They have to show up. They have to start doing the work. And most of the time, this jump start is sufficient to get them over the hump, and then they go back to being in the zone and doing their best work.

Momentum is incredibly useful to someone who has to overcome fear, dig in deep and ship. Momentum gives you a reason to overcome your fear and do your art, because there are outside forces and obligations that keep you moving. Without them, you'd probably stumble and fall.

And yet...

And yet many of us fear too much momentum. We look at a project launch or a job or another new commitment as something that might get out of control. It's one thing to be a folk singer playing to a hundred people a night in a coffeehouse, but what if the momentum builds and you become a star? A rock star? With an entourage and appearances and higher than high expectations for your next work. That's a lot of momentum, no?

Deep down, this potential for an overwhelming response alerts the lizard brain and we hold back. We're afraid of being part of something that feels like it might be too big for us.

Hint: it probably isn't.


Brilliant.. absolutely brilliant!

Monday, August 16, 2010

It is harder to be kind than clever - Jeff Bezos..

Love this..

Have a nice day!

Attention to detail, attention to detail..

MIA (or missing in action) as of today..

Excellence is not an art, but a habit

Right now, the habit sure doesn't exist - atleast it is falling short of my own expectations, forget that of others..

Here's to doing better..

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An expert is someone who has made all the possible mistakes in a very narrow field - Niels Bohr

Here's to making many mistakes then!! :)

Leadership by laughing a lot..

Over the past few years thanks to experiences in university, at Nineo and RealAcad, I've seen many a different leadership style thanks to various inspiring people I have encountered.

Of the many leadership styles I've seen, the common ones have been -

1) Lead from the front: This typifies the inspirational leader who inspires all with a great vision and is on the forefront of everything.

2) Lead from behind: This is the other big leadership where we have leaders in the background who push the team with great interpersonal relationships and gentle pushing and prodding..

3) Gofer delegation: Leaders who 'delegate' by micromanaging - 'Go for this.. go for that' etc i.e. those who love the control.

4) Keep the power: These are leaders who generally are good with people but withhold all information i.e. keep their cards close to their chest.

It's been a nice experience with every kind of leader because you learn from their strengths. A new type of leadership I have been exposed to of late has been 'Leadership by laughing a lot'.

I've spent 1 month of work and every day at the office has been an opportunity to laugh loud and laugh at myself thanks to a great boss! I never really thought of this as a leadership style in the first couple of weeks - I just thought of my boss as one of the nicest people I have met. But, of late, I've been feeling the power - It's Sunday night and I'm already looking forward to the work week thanks to the office being such a fun and happy place. And I've realized that the biggest reason is the fact that my boss never hesitates to laugh at herself..

Two quotes that I really believe in come to my mind -

'The biggest mistake adults make is that they forget what it is to be young'


'Our first true moment of growth is when we laugh loud and hard at ourselves'


Here's to laughing and growing!

'You've told me this before..'

How many times have we heard people we love re-tell THAT story again and again with lots of passion and excitement..

Sometimes done out of passion, other times out of excitement and yet some others just out of context and a will to share..

And how many times have we laughed or pulled their legs about it and said 'Yeah, you've told me this before'

After making a mental note about this, today, for the first time, I resisted the urge to say so and just smiled and listened. It was hard but it was a small victory and a small effort that went a long way in not raining on a loved one's parade..

I'm not sure how much of a difference it made to my listeners but it gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling on the inside..

Here's to doing this more often..

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our most precious resource is not our time, it's our energy. Manage it well.

I completely agree with this one.

It takes a lot of preparation and thinking to make sure we're at our best - peak physical fitness, right amounts of rest and food..

Have a good day everyone! :)

On loving work..

What I've found of late is that work is just like a person, except often times its a lot better -

1) You love her(i.e. Work), she loves you back. ;)
2) You do lots for her, she does as much to you..

It has the potential to make for an amazing relationship! So, how can we make sure we do our bit. Here are 3 things I've found:

1) Think of life after work: If that includes activities beyond watching TV and sleeping, I think there'll be enough to keep your mind active and eager for action.

2) Prepare!: By planning tomorrow's task list today and staying in top physical shape to be 'alive' all through the week!

3) Love her!: The verb 'love' that's akin to 'play', 'exercise'. And one way to do so is by giving her a new name. I call her 'fun'.

Work is good, life is better..

Not because it is necessarily the case, but because I have the power to make it so.. What more can I ask for? :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Teaching is demonstrating that something is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.

Today is the day of learning then! :)

Happy Tuesday!

Competition - Seth Godin

The number one reason people give me for giving up on something great is, "someone else is already doing that."
Or, parsed another way, "my idea is not brand new." Or even, "Oh no, now we'll have competition."

Two big pieces of news for you:

1. Competition validates you. It creates a category. It permits the sale to be this or that, not yes or no. And this or that is a much easier sale to make. It also makes decisions about pricing easier, because you have someone to compare against and lean on.

2. There are six billion people in the world. Even if your market is hand-made spoke shaves for left-handed woodworkers, there are more people in your market than you can ever hope to track down.

There are lots of good reasons to abandon a project. Having a little competition is not one of them. Even if it's Google you're up against.
Loved it! :)

'We try to convince people to believe in what we believe as we think doing so makes certain that what we believe is the truth'

Hope you've had a great monday!! :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

2 day break, National day again and the comunity shield..

I decided to take a 2 day enforced break from all online activities (well, almost) and it was a good decision.

Also, was nice to give my friends on my facebook list a break from my relentless flow of feeds.

And to all Singaporeans, wish you a very happy national day!

I have fond memories from an outing to view the National Day Parade last year..

And most importantly, United beat Chelsea 3-1 to take the community shield.

Very nice and bright start to the season, and boy, did we look hungry and sharp! Here's to many good times this Barclays Premier League season!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Daily numbers..

Much to my boss' amusement, I LOVE daily numbers. I really like being able to measure everything and have gotten into the habit of asking for ratings for everything for a while now (Thanks RealAcad)!

I find it useful to see what works and what doesn't and the results are always VERY insightful. For example, I've got rated much better on days I've made small bits of work that has had a good impact on a person's productivity versus days when I've produced (atleast in my own perspective) pretty good work.

Numbers never lie.. (well almost never..)

And in many ways, I have a daily scoreboard system every day, simpler than when I described it here

All in all, measuring is helping things get done as per plan and helping me change and adapt to new situations as well. So, here's getting into the long weekend celebrating the power of measurement systems!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

Good morning. Have a great day! :)

Print out calendar and the To-Do list for the day..

This is a practice that's been adding quite some value over the past couple of weeks for very simple and practical reasons.

Printing out the calendar helps ear mark appointments and also in a way track what I've been doing during the day.

The to-do list is invaluable. Helps me with my points system for the day as I put work tasks, personal tasks etc on it and plough through it during the day! Makes it more interactive and fun.

Additionally, the act of coming in the morning and setting up the to-do list and printing it gives a whole feeling of 'I'm all set and ready to go'. Typically, I work on it the previous night and the morning just includes the fine edits.

If you do not have Einstein-esque smarts, being super organized is definitely a boon.. ;)

Monday, August 2, 2010

It is better to strike a straight blow with a crooked stick than spend your whole life trying to straighten the darn thing out!

This is probably the one most defining aspect of Bill Gates' success with Microsoft.. :)

Happy Tuesday!

The wake up music list..

is a customized list of fast action packed songs that I use every day now in the 'doldrum'-like period after lunch.

The morning period is generally pretty productive thanks to the 'start-of-the-day' enthusiasm and the evening is the most productive thanks to the 'end-of-the-day' enthusiasm.

The most un-productive component is the afternoon, especially the period after lunch. All forces of nature seem to egg us to catch some shut eye. Anyway, the wake up list has been a nice solution that has given me an energy boost from time to time!

I'm guessing that as time progresses, I will get used to keeping up the intensity during the work day but for those who have similar troubles, this is something to try.

The key part here is to call it 'Wake up' because it's more a psychological trigger after a while - whether or not the music has the effect..


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The best career advice: 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it'

Here's to a good week..

Have a nice day! :)

Happy Friendship day..

Celebrating those wonderful people who put up with all our nonsense..

I loved a funny quote I'd heard a while back -

'God gave us family..
Thank God we can choose our friends'

It's just a JOKE, mom..!


Happy friendship day!

Joys of an absolutely lazy weekend..

After about 5 weekends which spelt frenetic activity (moving into new house, settling in new house, 2 weekends traveling and another that was a farewell weekend for a close friend), I'd decided that this weekend was going to be one of inactivity.. and it was!

It has been bloody brilliant.. Lots of sleep, a bit of reading and lots of lazing around. There was a bit of activity yesterday afternoon but aside from that, it's just been a weekend filled with lots of nothingness.

Just blasting 'Friday' and it is true -

Today's Friday (well, maybe not)

Today is friday, it is my day to do what I want
Mama can tell me that I'm goin nowhere, I'm just a prisoner of my fate
Would you come along, bring me in
Would you come along, bring me in
Bring me in

Today if friday, it is my day to disappear
To kings and queens and make-believe and the demons in my head
Would you come along, bring me in
Would you come along, bring me in
Bring me in

If you were around in my sleep
If you could be found in my sleep
Give me a sign
Give me a sign

Today is friday, it is my day to live a simple life
Put on my make-up, dress up in color
Maybe you might see me down here
Could you come along, bring me in
Would you come along, bring me in
Bring me in

If you were around in my sleep
If you could be found in my sleep
Give me a sign
Give me a sign

Maybe we'll walk into the rain
To ease what's on my mind-
You both hand in hand
And you're living your life over again

Today is friday it is my day to do what I want
Mama can tell me I'm goin nowhere
I'm just a prisoner of my fate
Would you come along, bring me in
Could you come along, bring me in
Bring me in

If you were around in my sleep
If you could be found in my sleep
Give me a sign
Give me a sign

Today is friday, it is my day to live a simple life
Put on my make-up, dress up in color
Maybe you might see me down here
Can you come along, bring me in
Will you come along, bring me in
Bring me in


All charged for an activity filled next few weeks!