Wednesday, June 29, 2011

'We feel productive when we are peace. And we feel peaceful when we accept that there is a limit to what we can do in a day.'| TGRR

Have a productive day, everyone!

The Headphones Tangle Problem: (Solved!)

Most of us have headphones these days. While not great for the ear, they are pretty handy on the commute and at our work desks to listen to music, books etc.

An annoyance I had been plagued with for 4 years in university was the constant problem of headphones getting tangled. And being bad with 'soft touches', I used to try and wrench them apart leading to headphones getting damaged all to easily.

All that was solved when I spotted this little gem at Daiso (2$ shops in Singapore). I'm sure you'll have these available where you live. Worth a try!

Earphone cord manager


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'It is in self limitation that a master first shows himself.'

Happy mid-week all!

3 MUST Do's when making a Home/Phone Video

13 hours of video content is being uploaded onto YouTube this every minute.

I am guessing a sizeable portion of this number is what I term 'home/phone video' i.e. clips made my non-professionals using a simple phone or video camera and edited using basic video editing software.

Now, a lot of these are also being used increasingly in corporate presentations and most first timers end up making the same mistakes I made 2 years ago..
Having gone through the learning curve on this thanks to a year and a half of making videos thanks to ExpressionHappens, I thought I'd share 3 points to remember -

1. Stand: Always always try to mount the phone/camera on a stand. Our hands end up shaking so much that the videos often tend to look appalling!

2. Ambient Noise: If you have people talking, always shoot in a quiet room. In places like restaurants etc, the camera picks up an inordinate amount of ambient noise. Often, this is not in proportion to reality.. and typically is the single greatest annoyance when one gets down to the editing.
(The only way this is fixed in a public space is if your video camera has a proper mic attached - think TV reporters)

3. Lighting: A slightly tricky customer if not understood. I have a simple principle when it comes to lighting - if you are in a bright area and the subject is looking dark on the camera, just swap sides. The change always tends to give you a sense of what can work.

Happy video-ing all!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Choosing a Disciplined Approach vs Discipline

'What you need is not discipline, but a disciplined approach' said David Allen aloud as I was listening to 'Ready for Anything'.

As is the case when I hear a nice excerpt these days, I generally pause the book and make a note on my phone. I really liked the sound of this little line i.e. choosing a disciplined approach vs discipline but I didn't fully understand it.

It was only when I decided to take up the whole 'Wake up at 5am idea' that I recalled it. And here's how this 1 line changed my approach.

Before
- Focus would be on waking up at 5am
- I would end up sleeping at normal time and waking up at 5am the first day
- Result: Sleep deprived and less energetic day = lower momentum
- I would have persisted for a couple of days but after a point, I would begin to oversleep and chuck the whole idea out of my mind.
- Of course, this would be accompanied by the usual combination of kicking myself, finding an excuse etc etc.

After
- Focus shifted to - Get 8 hours of sleep AND wake up at 5am. (The math makes it simple now = Sleep at 9pm (WOAH))
- So, I began slow - Sleep by 10pm and wake up by 530.
- Result - Slept eventually by 1030-11 and woke up 530.
- Managed 3 out of 5 days in my 1st week.
- Next, I slowly began sleeping at 10pm. And again, kept up 3 out of 5 days for 2 additional weeks.
- And, finally, yesterday, for the first time, I managed to sleep by 930. Woke up at 530am today feeling fully rested and great. First time ever!
- And, as a result of the focus, any day I don't get 8 hours of sleep, I prioritize the 7-8 hours of rest versus waking up early. Therefore, I hardly feel the pressure.

This is similar to playing a game. Now, we are not focusing on the game, but instead - focusing purely on the preparation. Here, the game is waking up early but the preparation is really what happens the previous day - Finishing up work on time, eating on time, sleeping on time etc.

Can this get better? Absolutely. But, as you can see - the big difference was the focus on the approach versus crazy discipline. And, all of a sudden, I have something more sustainable and most importantly, something more fun.


It is the same with tackling any life problem. Yesterday's book learning was about the David Allen Framework - the framework looks daunting on first glance. But, I remember that when I started, all I focused on was getting the 1st step right and then taking it a step a time.

Ages ago, it was once suggested to me that I was probably going too easy on myself with the whole 'a learning a day' idea as it implied that it was okay to make mistakes the first time - even if they were simple and unavoidable. That is true. It may not be ideal. (What is?)

But, I also believe it is FAR more sustainable in the long run to take baby steps and to apply constant, consistent and predictable pressure on ourselves. And that way, you also have the opportunity to have fun along the way AND build a blog AND learn a heck of a lot from that experience as well.

That's killing many birds with one stone. Happy 'disciplined approach' this week, everyone!

'If I miss one day of practice, I know it. If I miss two, my manager knows it. And if I miss 3 and my audience knows it.'

Brilliant. Happy Monday everyone! :)

On the David Allen Framework

This week's learning draws inspiration from Ready for Anything by David Allen.

Last week, we dealt with 5 things that get in the way of us being productive. This week, we will continue on the productivity journey.

In the picture below, we have David's 5 step process beautifully illustrated. David's 5 process involves:

1. Collect: Put in all your thoughts in the 'Bin' or collection tray.
2. Process: If actionable, decide on whether it is a '2 min' action or 'project'. If not, 'trash it', 'someday it' or 'reference it'
3. Organize: If it is a 'Project', then decide outcomes and break down the actions.
4. Review: Decide if you plan to 'do', 'delegate' or 'defer it'.
5. Do: Get it done!


On first glance, this can look VERY daunting. My suggestion -
1. Read through the whole illustration 3 times and understand it.
2. Plan on implementing 1 step every week!

This system works incredibly well and applies not only to tasks but also to email. More on that next week!

Here's to ninja-like productivity this week!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Home-mates

We all share space. And whether it is family, partners, friends or acquaintances, sharing space is always a challenge.


Here are 7 tips that might help you make that house feel like 'home'.

1. Keeping a world-beating attitude: Let's face it - things are often shitty. Running a house is never easy. There are always bills to pay, maintenance that is pending, cleaning and laundry to be done. And sometimes, you even land up in a house that is significantly worse than your previous one.

Now, we can never wear a smile on our face every single moment. But, having a positive attitude is a great step to maintaining a great environment. There is absolutely no replacement to being a positive, happy person.

2. Saying 'Please, sorry and thank you': Pleasantries are named thus for a reason. They help keep things pleasant. And we need lots of pleasant.

3. Doing dirty work, and doing it in teams: There is always a lot of dirty work to be done in a house. Whether it is taking the dirt out of the vacuum cleaner, or cleaning the bathroom, being the first one to volunteer always helps.

And if possible, doing it in teams always creates a great bond!

4. Keep your own work space: We all have different styles of working. Some like keeping cluttered work spaces while some like it spotless and clean. It is VITAL to keep your own workspace - an area that only you touch, clean and manage.

This greatly helps keep sanity. If you have your own room, then that's perfect. But, if not..

5. Lower your expectations: Not everyone has the same filters as you. You are going to be disappointed by people's cleanliness, their inability to do many things that come naturally to you, and vice versa. Also, it is amazing how people have their own unique approaches to cleanliness. Some, for example, can tolerate messy cupboards but cannot tolerate an unkempt workspace.. and vice versa.

Let it go. It's easier to 'be a light, not a judge'. If you are a stickler for cleanliness, try this. Try leaving your room or space dirty for once. Hard, isn't it?

That's how hard it is for an untidy person to be clean. While being unhygienic is never an excuse, it works best if you develop blind spots for areas of the house that you don't use.

6. Keep candor but never embarrass someone: Candor is often overlooked. And this is what results in fractured relationships between roommates from time to time. When sharing space, it is obvious that it helps overlooking many small annoyances, it doesn't help skating over big issues.

Talk about it. Express it. But never embarrass someone - that generally leaves a scar.

7. When you are brooding, stay out of everyone's way: We are all going to have periods when we experience the 'blues'. I call this 'brooding' time. This is great for us as we always feel better after a period of brooding but not so much for those we come in contact with.
If you are brooding, there's many ways you can keep people informed - warn them/stay out of their way/put a sign on your desk that says 'Brooding Time'.

And this works the other way around. If you sense that your home-mate is brooding, let them be. They will snap out of it in few hours. Just act as if nothing happened. This happens every once in a while with all of us and it is very normal!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How do you treat your body?

Our body is one amazingly engineered system. If we ever want inspiration for designing systems, there can be few better examples. Consider the wonderful warning systems we have in place -

1. When we're feeling tired, it's a signal to sleep
2. When we're feeling gas-sy, it's a signal to head to the bathroom
3. When our muscles pain, it's time to lie down
4. When our stomach begins growling, it's time to eat

And many more such little signals..

The big question is - do we pay attention to them?

We all know we need food every 4 hours (roughly), 8 hours of sleep every night (90% of us), aerobic exercise every other day atleast - but how many of us do it?
And my guess is that the better we treat our incredible machine, the better we do.. in whatever do.

I have hardly ever come across an unfit/unsuccessful successful person. (no matter what the field).

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Big Action Challenge Report Card: A Paradigm Shifter

I had blogged about 'The Big Action Challenge' 3 or so weeks ago. This was thanks to a newsletter from Robin Sharma suggesting 17 steps to double my productivity.

Here below is a detailed report card on how I did -


(Click to enlarge)

Now, the toughest part of this was the 'Wake up at 5am'. In truth, 5am became 530am but this in itself was a paradigm shifter. I have been an 'owl' all through my life - ever since my 8th grade in school, my only life saver during exams was the night prior to the exam. During university, I learnt that the last minute doesn't quite work so well. And now, I am learning that waking up in the morning is quite something else!

As I've mentioned in the card, I've managed it 3 out of 5 days every week i.e. 60% conversion rate which is not bad. Could it be better? Absolutely. The positives to take away are that I'm gradually getting into the habit of sleeping at 10pm or before. And I plan to improve this in time.

The benefits have been the positive -
- My mind is full of great ideas in the morning and running about and exercising gives me more time with them!
- Nothing like starting the day with exercise. Traveling to work feels great!
- A little bit of Caffeine is good for the brain. And now I generally start my day with a morning coffee. Never drank coffee previously..
- I get to work on my blog etc before getting to work..
- The days are MUCH more productive.

For evidence, here is a look at the week's scores from my R15 system -

Week 65: M, T and T are 5am days
Week 66: M, W, F are 5am days
Week 67: Vacation!
Week 68: M, T are 5am days. And I can bet today's score will be higher than the 17.5 I made yesterday.

(This is aside from the fact I raised my daily target from 16 points-18points - which already felt like quite a stretch!)

This exercise has been a real paradigm shifter and I am looking forward to keeping it for life. Let's see how it goes!

Stay inspired. And have a great Friday!
--
Update here: I was right. Today WAS super productive. The score would be '24' - a clear winner!

'Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.'

:D

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sport shoes enroute to-and-from work

Thanks to a tennis class near work and my new early morning routine , I ended up wearing sport shoes to work, changing into my formal shoes and then changing back before going home. This way, I didn't have to carry an extra pair of shoes every once in a while. (All great inventions arise out of lethargy and laziness after all)

The big realization here is that this has turned out to be very positive. Here's why -

1. My route to work involves a fair amount of walking, some climbing stairs etc and my hard leather formal shoes are not meant for extensive walking on roads

2. After a while, formal shoes tend to tire the legs while sports shoes do the opposite.

3. I feel like I'm going to play! And I can feel my soles bouncing off the ground thanks to the nature of the shoes..
I thought this was pretty cool. It is not without downsides however. I had a couple of friends wonder if it is okay to wear tennis shoes to work. But I've decided to keep this little quirk as it has added quite some positivity. And, of course, I wouldn't feel normal if I didn't share it here..

'Be steady and well ordered in your life so you can be fierce and original in your work' 'Be steady and well ordered in your life so you can be fierce

Have a nice day!

‎'Too firm a grip can cause you to choke a shot'

Profound!

Monday, June 20, 2011

2000: Remembering the Why and Saying Thank You

Well well. As it is often said, 'who would've thunk?' :)

This blog has now been up for 1136 days since May 12, 2008 or 3 years, 1 month and 10 days. For the geeks, that translates to 1.76 posts a day - an average no doubt helped greatly by 475 odd 'Good Morning Quotes'.

And what a journey it has been. I vaguely remember my post celebrating 1000 and I think I would like to celebrate this moment in similar vein.

In typical style, 3 things then -

1. Remembering my 1st post

Here it is -


A learning a day..

The name says it all - Its just what the blog is intended to be. To help me re live some of those meaningful learnings. Hopefully, I will be able to keep up writing one a day.

(PS: I tend to have weirdly long days sometimes resulting in the next day being understandable short(36 hrs and then sleep through the next for example). So, the definition of day can be a bit..well.. shaky..

(PPS: That's just me making excuses! Hoping to make it happen..)
--
Haha. Well, for one - my writing style has evolved.

2. Why does this blog exist?
I think the 1st post explains the purpose very clearly. The idea was/is simple - every day of this wonderful life is a journey worth remembering because we learn something every single day. Of course, the learnings may not really be all that apparent but they exist all the same. We just have to look carefully.

Why did I then not just choose to keep a journal?
For one, it feels a lot better celebrating a moment like this with you. I also a believe in the 'Butterfly effect'. One action of ours often has a ripple effect and this blog only reinforces that.

Who knows? Someday, a learning from this blog might lift a dejected soul, save a life, inspire someone who is searching for meaning, help someone on their way to a goal, give someone a reason to smile when they have none.

Besides, I also feel there is great power in sharing your stories. Aside from the fact that others can learn from your successes and failures, it also helps you. These learnings are reinforced a lot stronger.

Sharing my learnings with you also reminds me to 'practice what I preach'. There would be no point in sharing these learnings and not living them.

3. Giving Thanks
It is time for the 'A Learning a Day' Oscars again. I had a short list on my 1,000 post. I am not going to bother with the list this time. Those were the days of 10-15 readers a day - often just family and friends and a rare visitor who stumbled onto the page.

Now, it is the norm to have around a 100 visitors a day aside from those who read it via email, Google Reader and the like. Still very small but the beauty of it has been the organic growth and I can feel the momentum building as the quality of the posts get better. (I am working on it!)

So, thank you to all who read this blog from time to time. It is very nice knowing that you find something of value that brings you back here. Thanks to all those who like the blog on Facebook, follow the blog via Google's follow widget, subscribe via email or via RSS on your various readers.

A special thank you to those who take time to comment and like the posts. It makes a HUGE difference. Thank you for taking the time to touch my life! It is only since I started blogging that I have been active on other blogs. It sometimes takes a bit of blogging experience to know how much a simple response to a post can mean..

Of course, a note to all those friends, family, mentors, colleagues who inspire me every day. Thank you. None of this would be possible with you..

And finally, to all who read this - stay inspired, happy and let's keep learning and growing every day.

Quoting from a birthday card I received last year

'We're never older, Only better'

All the best!
Yours Sincerely,




Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bad Mistake

I am 2 posts away from 2,000 blog posts (!!) and I am begin to wonder if it has stayed true to its purpose.

One of the biggest reasons for it's existence is to not fear mistakes but ensure creative, constructive and corrective responses to those. This morning, I made a bad mistake - for the 1st time in 3 years, my Monday Learning email was repeated!

Essentially, the content was repeated. One part of me felt completely annoyed at myself at the moment I realized. But, after some thought, I've realized there are a bunch of positives -

1. I realize how many people really read the emails ;)

2. A little bit of reinforcement is helpful at times - so I hope the story strikes a positive chord

3. It is an opportunity to better strengthen my system. Seems like my repository system is not working as well as it should. 99.9% is not good enough.

4. I should listen to myself. There was a niggling feeling last night as I prepared the email that I might have sent it. But then, I chose to ignore it..

5. And finally, I had this blog to thank. Now, as I was soul searching about whether it had stayed true to it's purpose, I realize it has. I screwed up. I hope not to overly disappoint those who receive the email!
All that said, that's that. And now it is time for response. And respond I will.

Here's to failing forward and building better systems!

3 Simple GTD Ideas and a Tip for Better Meetings

A close someone just replied to my productivity book learning asking for a few tips on how to act on the David Allen suggestions with an additional question - How do I better manage taking notes during meetings?

Principle 1: Never leave ideas in your head.
Situation: Situations where we get ideas are in the shower, in the car, while walking around and doing meaningless tasks / tasks that don’t require thoughts.

Solution: Use something that you carry around all the time. Some people carry notebooks.. i prefer just writing them on my phone. Every phone these days has a ‘Notes’ feature – you can keep putting these ideas in and email them to yourself so you know you will never forget. This generally eliminates a LOT of stress. These ideas could be anything – a simpler way to solve bank payment for example – just putting it down helps greatly.
What’s also important is you keep an idea collection ‘bin’ somewhere. When you email all these ideas, try and put them all in one place (instead of processing them all at once) so you can collect them and your brain knows it is there safe. When you have time to plan, you can plan accordingly.
I use Microsoft OneNote as my bin and would recommend it above all else (yes, even Evernote)

Principle 2: Always decide 1 action step
Solution: Simple – just pen down the ideas with the action step. Eg: Clean room versus room has to be cleaned

Principle 3: Group admin tasks
Solution: Once you have a working bin (I use a file on the computer – a close friend uses a notebook), you can plan stuff on a Sunday morning. Then, you can start combining all admin tasks for a single day - instead of doing them one at a time.

Problem: How can I take comprehensive meeting notes?
Best Practice: I learnt this from my senior consultant on project over the past 2 months. Every time we had a meeting, he had his email window open where he took down all meeting notes. As soon as the meeting was over, he emailed it to everybody to check if he had the correct points. This accomplished 2 things – proved he was listening and also reminded everyone of actions they promised. Besides, if there was a misunderstanding, it was corrected early.

If the meeting was face to face, he diligently took notes and first thing as soon as he got out, sent everyone a follow up email with action steps.

--
These are simple ideas which make huge differences over the long run. All the best. And do suggest ideas that make you more productive!

'We act as if comfort and luxury are the chief requirements of life when all we need to be happy is something to feel enthusiastic about.' |A Einstein

Here's to tons of enthusiasm this week!

On '1 thing that gets in our way of being Productive'

This week's learning draws inspiration from Ready for Anything by David Allen.

David Allen, the famous productivity Guru was once asked for a 1 minute answer on a radio talk show to the question - What is the 1 thing we do that gets in the way of being productive?

His response was telling. 'It is never 1 thing, but 5 things all wrapped together.'

1. People keep stuff in their head
2. They don't decide what they need to do, about stuff they know they need to do something about (i.e. deciding a simple next step)
3. They don't organize action reminders and support material in functional categories (example: grouping admin tasks together)
4. They don't maintain and review a complete and objective inventory of their commitments (i.e. no collection bin)
5. Then they waste energy and burn out allowing their busy-ness to be driven by what's latest and loudest, hoping it's the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is (i.e. urgency driven)'

One action step to get started is to create a place called a 'bin' to put in all your ideas in 1 place. I use the notes feature on my phone to take down ideas and then use Microsoft OneNote to maintain the collection.

I would highly recommend 'Ready for Anything' for an understanding on how our brain works and how we can use this knowledge to get productive, stay inspired, stress free and make a lasting difference!

Here's to staying productive and stress free this week! :)

Learner or Judger?


Click on the image to enlarge and view it. This is very deep stuff. This image best describes the very purpose and objective of this blog.

It was a reminder to me to keep the focus on the attitude of 'a learning a day'. Sometimes, I tend to forget..

Happy learning all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Emotional Recharge and an Annoyance

I thought of the post by HBR today on maintaining mental well being.

It basically underscores the importance of different kinds of activities that recharge our minds. Holidays are generally a lovely way to recharge our minds. More often than not, they help fully recharge those parts of our brain that require fun, emotional connection etc.

My 1 week of holiday was one such holiday - a holiday of emotional recharge. Lots of great conversations, fun, laughter, food.. Spent time re-connecting with many old friends, family.

My only little annoyance (at myself) at the end of the holiday is that I didn't tell most of these people enough how lucky I was to have them in my life. And how each of them were the best friends they could be, and for that, I believe they deserve all the respect in the world.

It never fails to amaze me how our greatest regrets always tend to be the things that go unsaid. Ever since I experienced the loss of 2 important family members, I had made it a personal crusade of sorts to try and express as much I could to all who I was connected to. And to tell people how much they meant to me.. and never take for granted that they knew or realized. More often than not, they didn't (to my surprise!).

But, I guess time has changed that. Some of those wounds have healed and some of the pain I felt then has lessened. And I think, with time, I find myself taking more from granted..
Let this be a note to myself - a reminder to not forget the one thing that causes more angst than anything else I know - the feeling of not having told someone how much they meant to you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Memory Lane

I have finally cracked why my blog roll only gets longer and longer. As exciting as many ideas may seem, I feel most in flow when I feel strongly about something. What would words be without emotion after all?

Today had to be about that walk down memory lane.


This evening could have been a weekend 8 years ago. I might have struggled to tell the difference. It was a mix of all those little things that made school life magical - endless jokes and attempts at pulling each others leg's (with the one friend winning all such verbal battles with his wit as usual), talking about so many of the great moments we shared, the many games of cricket we played, the many teachers we annoyed..

We were cracking up on all our old times - these were the friends who knew each other's first crushes before the (poor) girl was even aware of anything, these were the friends with whom we played cricket till we were tanned black. We made many compromises - I was a pathetic cricket player but still went along.. everyone did their bit.

Many years have passed. We have all gone separate ways but somehow, we end up picking up right where we left of - every single time. Those weekly meetings have become half yearly now.. but they haven't changed. Still fun, still amazing and still memorable.

Sometimes, it is nice to know that some things don't change. As we grow older, relationships tend to get a wee bit more complicated than they were when we were young. Schools and universities are great levelers after all. Unsaid equations like 'what we do', 'how much we earn' etc are never in the equation.

It is nice to have friends disconnected from our current lives - friends with whom we can relive those great memories that have shaped us (whether we realize it or not.. and whether we like it or not) and friends with whom we can go back to being the little boy/girl who just loved going down to the little snack shop in the corner, munching on some delicious junk food and chatting for hours..

What a wonderful little trip down memory lane it was! Our thoughts fast forwarded to our next such evening with the whole set (we were missing a couple from the gang).. and to another evening where we would go back to being in school.

The simple life. :)

And on that note, there were no photos and no facebook right after. Just like old times..

Thursday, June 16, 2011

'Remember when they asked George Washington for his ID? He just took out a quarter..'

Hahaha.. Happy Friday folks!

What would scare you more?

Imagine you have just pissed your customer off.

Which scenario would scare you more -

a) The customer screaming their guts off
b) The customer replying with ice cold tones expecting you to think on your feet and solve the problem

Now, maybe you should try what scares you when you are upset, and want things done?


--
Notes:

a) I was a proponent of getting wildly upset and screaming at people i.e. option a). Of late, I have been experimenting with the other approach and it seems to give better results. It seems to reinforce 'Your power is directly proportional to your ability to relax'

b) For readers based in the US, bad customer service is a rare phenomenon. But, Asian and European based readers can possibly relate. It is very likely you've had an annoying experience in your last few shopping sessions.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'The longer the horizon the smoother our views'

Also known as wisdom I guess.

Happy Thursday!

The age of Facebook

As some of the regular readers of this blog know, I spent a good part of 4 great months in the middle east on a project. The project was a simply fantastic experience - a post merger integration of 3 massive companies in Oman. The year long integration process has come to an end and one of our core teammates put up the new company's logo on Facebook and tagged me and a whole lot of others who were involved.
(Very very very nice of him to share the moment!)

Among the first bunch of commenters were the CEO of the newly formed organization and the co-founder of the firm I work for - i.e. my big boss.

That's when I thought it was a perfect moment to marvel at the age of Facebook, the age where everything is out in the open. I realized then that Facebook is the one place which brings together my friends from school and university, all classmates, colleagues at work, friends at the not-for-profit I am passionate about, bosses, mentors and lest I forget, family.

All of a sudden, I have my Mom being notified (on her feed) in real time that our post merger integration was successful..

Wow! How powerful is that.
Now, I do know many who have tried to resist this - by blocking colleagues off their facebook, by not signing up or being completely inactive. My view is simple - like it or not, this is the age of information and Facebook is a massive part of it. If you are not on Facebook, it is likely that your photos are up anyway - just that you aren't tagged on them. And choosing between the 2 options, I'd rather know what content of mine is up online anyway. And if it is privacy you are worried about, well, that's a lost cause. Don't bother wasting your emotions.

Instead of trying to resist the wave, my recommendation would be to embrace it. Unless you are a serial drug user who operates in secrecy, I think Facebook (/twitter/blogs) can be very powerful and positive. All of a sudden, your colleagues or classmates see a different side of you - they see the part time photographer, the passionate musician and the persistent philanthrophist. Isn't that amazing?

Gone are the days of the 'office face', 'friends face'. All our information is out there - whether we like it or not. If it isn't out there yet, it is going to be, soon. There is no way around it. Why not just be proactive and make the best of it?

And yes, I do hope you have more to show than photos from parties every couple of days.

(Oh, and on that note, you may want to stop putting up messages like 'work sucks', 'boss screamed at me today'. If you are really THAT frustrated and would like your friends to know, try the old school method.......... email.)

'Prime your principles instead of policing your policy.'

How often do we see this happen?

Have a nice day, all.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kung Fu Panda II - The lovable super hero

Firstly, due credit to all those animation specialists i.e. the unsung heroes who create these wonderful wonderful movies. And what I always find amazing is that there is always so much to learn from these movies - they hardly ever disappoint.

Kung Fu Panda II revolves around the lovable super hero. The superhero who always surprises himself, always makes you laugh by not taking himself too seriously!

My favorite moment of the movie is when he attacks the enemy in a bid to rescue his team. Once his team is free of their chains, they all look at him, express their joy and then ask 'So, dragon warrior, what's the plan?'

And his response is 'Seriously, I didn't expect to get this far in the first place.'

The movie takes us on a journey with this joyful character in his quest to save Kung Fu and also find 'inner peace'.

All in all - Great movie. Lots of learnings. Lots of laughs. Watch it. You won't regret it!

Habitual Impatience

We were paying the security guard at the entrance of our movie theatre complex.

And just as we were settling the change and collecting the receipt, we heard loud honks from the car behind us.

Infuriated at their unfair behavior, I got off the car to ask them what the fuss was about. Surprised and slightly shaken, the guy who honked began talking at full speed, all flustered - 'I didn't honk at you. I honked at the guard. It was not you. I have a movie at 1pm. It's already 115pm'


I didn't hear the rest as I just walked off.
(My first reaction when I am upset is always to gauge if this is a person worthy of a fight. And he had just proved otherwise. So, no point wasting emotions there anyway.)

Anyway, I was parked within a couple of minute and I noticed the 2 guys (Mr. flustered and his friend) ambling slowly to the theatre. What happened to all the hurry now?

And then it hit me. Their demonstration of impatience was just habitual. And if you drive (/have driven) in India, you probably know what I am talking about.

There are many things that worry me about this country of mine. And this is putting aside the usual evils of corruption, poverty etc. In my mind, the biggest one was always widespread disillusionment. (In one line, that would mean living in the false belief that you are the gold standard)

But habitual impatience, wow.. that is a whole different monster altogether.

Can you imagine a permanently impatient person? This person would have no interest in planting seeds as he wouldn't be able to taste the fruits, no interest in empathizing with others as he doesn't care about the next moment anyway, no interest in leaving any place a little better than he found it. It would mean a typically short term vision that is only focused on consumption..

Now multiply that one habitually impatient person with a billion. And we may just have some answers there.
--
Additionally, this whole situation helped me understand where parts of my nature comes from as well..

'People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Instead try to draw out what was put in. That's hard enough.'

The great manager's mantra..

Sunday, June 12, 2011

'When you are 18, you spend 40% of your time wondering about what others think about you. When you are 40..

you don't care about what others think. And when you are 60, you realize no one is thinking about you at all'

A long quote but a worthy one I think.

Happy Monday all!

Easy relationships

We have moved towards a life of convenience. Everything is at our finger tips - be it information, hotel, flight or movie bookings, the weather outside, unlimited music and videos.. you name it and you have it on a touch screen device near you.

As much as the rich-poor divide widens, many more have access to a standard living that wouldn't have been possible a 100 years ago. More women are entering the industry, taking top jobs etc. Many good things.

However, it's a different era now. Our Grandparents' era of stable families has gradually dissolved into the age of broken families. This has often led to many questions - is it going to get any better with time, or worse? Is marriage a broken system?

Good questions. But they tend to miss the point as they deal indirectly with the biggest paradox of our generation - While our connectivity has improved thanks to Facebook, twitter and the like, our relationships haven't.


Relationships require good old fashioned hard work, emotional investment and time. Oh, and one other thing, good old fashioned compromise. And boy, are we not used to that. This is the age where we have 'everything' after all.

Well, maybe not everything.



The 'I Can't' Strength Test

Our language makes all the difference in the world to our attitude. Jack Canfield illustrates this best in his workshops with a simple test.

He asks the participants to stretch their left arms out. Then, Jack pushes down on their left hand to test their usual strength.
Now, Jack asks them to think of something they can't do like 'I can't play the piano' and start saying it aloud. And when Jack pushes down on their arm, it is ALWAYS weaker.
For the final part, he asks them to reverse it by saying 'I can ….', and voila! their arms are strong again.

No wonder there was no stopping us when we were toddlers. We were invincible and constantly told ourselves so - we thought could crawl/climb over anything! But, little by little, as we were taught 'the ways of the world', our sense of invincibility wore out until we no longer believed we could.

Our brains are designed to solve any problem and overcome any obstacle as long as we feed it with great fuel - the right attitude. So, are we going to take ownership and remove 'I can't' from our dictionary?

Here's to 'I can', and strength this week!

--
Source: Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Post-Stumble Momentum Project

Lumosity has some fascinating games. Some of them involve 45 second bursts where you have to do some particular activity (decide if the current card matches the previous etc). And very often, you find yourself going through a great run - fast and accurate.

And suddenly, you make one mistake. And voila.. you just lost that accuracy. And the immediate focus is to get back that previous momentum and then you make another mistake. Is all hopeless?

The best piece of advice I received was a tip after one of these games that said 'After you make a mistake, slow down, refocus and then go for it again.'
Games are so beautifully representative of the biggest game that we play (check: are we having enough fun?) - the one call life.

I experienced a blip yesterday and one that is not really in my control. And just as in the game, I felt like I was going backwards. The blip was minute. But it doesn't take much to crash a huge jet plane right. All it takes is a little bird to fly into it. (law of conservation of momentum at play - for the science geeks)

The big test is really in our response. (Note: Response, not reaction)

So how do we respond to get our momentum, cheer and spirit up again? Thoughts on how you do it are very welcome. As for mine, I daresay you'll read about it on this space someday.. haha

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Uber Wallpaper

There are times when I surpass myself. No, really. There are times we all do. You know - there comes this moment when you feel you are SO smart and smile knowingly to yourself. I guess you can relate. If you can't or if you feel it's been too long, it's time to take some swings. (Do write in a note and I'll be happy to give you a few suggestions - the key is to try a few small ideas out and fail at them!)

Anyway, one of those moments this week was when I made my wallpaper. We spend a fair amount of time on our laptops/computers these days. And I was sick of looking at random wallpapers that were often sucking energy rather than giving me some.. So voila..


The inspiration behind this is simple -
1. The Values come from the PDT Test I took a few days ago. I needed a way to reinforce these.

2. Pictures of 'my people'. I have shaded most of the part above white so as to not completely embarrass the bunch. But, I guess you get a sense.. :) The reason for this is that it gives me something to smile about every time!

3. Dreams. This ties in with images of my big dreams and places on my bucket list. (A home in the mountains, nice car, a dog! etc). I have these images printed out as photos in my room in my place in London but as I've been away for a while, I've begun missing looking at them wistfully in the morning.

And as I'm writing this, I realize these reinforce the top 3 values - Integrity (i.e. reminding myself of my commitment and, hopefully, walking the talk), Family ('my people') and Desire (Keeping the hunger alive with 'Dreams' and things to look forward to).

All in all, I am very happy with this. There may come a time when I will want to take it off so I can look at a beautiful landscape maybe but then I'm sure I'll want it right back again as this never fails makes me smile.

Here's to a good wallpaper all!

PS: As you can see, I am a big fan of the minimalist desktop! I think it greatly helps our minds become orderly.

'The average man doesn't know what to do with his life but yet wants one that will last forever.' | Anatole France

Hahaha..

This one I found hilarious!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

21 Small Habits that will help simplify your life

  1. Breathe. When stressed, lost in a problem or the past or future in your mind breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out. This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again.
  2. Do one thing at a time. You’ll get better results and feel better and less stressed while doing those things.
  3. Write it all down. Use your mind for better things than remembering what to do. And the mind is often like a leaky bucket. So write down all your great ideas, insights, and thoughts before they go missing somewhere and add what you need to do to a to-do list.
  4. Do all your food shopping once a week. You’ll save time, energy and possibly money.
  5. Stop doing what you don’t like doing anymore. Life changes and so do you. If you you don’t like doing something anymore then stop doing that (even if it may take some time before you can do so by for example switching jobs).
  6. Stop trying to please everyone. There will always be people who you don’t get along with or that do not like you for some reason.
  7. Stop trying to do things perfectly. Go for good enough instead and when you are there you are done. Get things all the way to done this way and then move on to the next thing.
  8. Pack your bag before you go to bed. Then you don’t have get stressed out by that in morning and you are less likely to forget something.
  9. Throw out the things you haven’t used in 1 year. Go through what you have and ask yourself if you have used it in the past year. If not, give it away to charity or a friend or simply throw it out.
  10. Ask yourself simplifying questions every day. Questions like “What is the most important thing I can do right now?”.
  11. Keep everything in its place. If everything has its own place then it is whole lot easier to keep your home reasonably ordered and decluttered from day to day. This also helps you with your inner stillness as the outer environment affects how you feel on the inside.
  12. Cook more food than you’ll eat. I usually make two or three servings of what I am about to eat. This cuts down on time that you spend on cooking and you’ll have to do less washing up in general. Plus, it’s good to have portions of food to bring to work to save some money.
  13. Write shorter emails. I tend to write emails containing only a few sentences, usually between one and five. If you focus on keeping it short and focused then you’ll probably discover that this is a good solution in most cases.
  14. Ask instead of guessing. Reading minds is hard. So, instead ask questions and communicate. This will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, negativity and waste or time and energy.
  15. Use a minimalistic workspace. My work space is just a laptop on a small black desk made out of wood. I use a comfy chair and there is room for my glass of water beside the computer. That’s it. There are no distractions here. Just me, the computer and the water.
  16. Check everything just once a day. I check my email inboxes, blog statistics, my online earnings, Twitter and Facebook just once a day. I combine all that checking into one small daily ritual at the end of my work day so I don’t slip and go checking it more during the day and waste my energy and attention.
  17. Choose small daily acts of kindness. Instead of small acts of judgment and criticism towards the people around you.
  18. Don’t make mountains out of molehills. Before you you start thinking too much about something and building it up something big in your head, ask yourself “am I making a mountain out of a molehill here? And if you get lost victim thinking in some way then ask yourself “does anyone on the planet have it worse than me right now?”.
  19. Spend 15 minutes each Sunday to plan the next week. Write down your plans for the week, organize your prioritized to-do list and get ready for the week before you are in the middle of it all. This will help you to find more clarity, get more of the most important things done next week and minimize stress.
  20. Cancel subscriptions for things you rarely get around to watching or reading anyway.
  21. Spend more time with people that help you to keep things simple. And spend less time with people that drag you down into overcomplicating everything and creating unnecessary drama.
--
Every once in a while we come across a gem that makes us think about what we do and how we could do things better so we are happier. This was one of them for me.. I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks to the Positivity Blog

'God forgives those who invent what they need.'

Haha..Great reminder! :) Happy Thursday all!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inbox Zero is in the mind

If you are wondering what Inbox Zero is, check out this link to Lifehacker introducing Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann.

The link contains slides (my recommendation would be to check them out..) and a video (1 hour!) if you have the patience.

Merlin's concept revolves around the fact that we have limited attention span. Focus it on what's most important. Merlin recommends 5 folders in your inbox so you can deal with your email better. Check out slide 11.

The core idea is as simple as the name - Inbox Zero. Keep your inbox down to zero emails. Now, I have heard from many that this is 'impossible'. We are in the age of email after all. And I read about Inbox Zero when I was getting 50-60 emails a day myself back in university (I used to work with a dot com start-up and hence, received all emails - team emails, support emails etc). My inbox hence, ran to the 100s, if not 1000s. Anyway, all that changed when I decided to implement Inbox Zero. I spent a crazy weekend categorizing emails and acting on them and achieving Inbox Zero.

And I can confidently say that, to this day, I am grateful I did that because I have been on top of my email ever since. I maintain Inbox Zero, both at work and at home. My email habits differ from Merlin in that..

1. I have folders for all my email to file them, of course.
2. I just use a 'WIP' folder i.e. Work in Progress for any email that is 'on hold'
3. A Newsletters folder that I clear on weekends
4. Clear emails primarily in the morning (before work) and evenings (after work) but also clear the simple ones during breaks at work. And if I have way too many, then I have the commute which is a great time to clear email.

There was a time when I was addicted to my email, but I'm into a more disciplined approach these days. That's the thing about anything that revolves around 'GTD' i.e. Getting Things Done principles - they don't require disciple, but they do require a disciplined approach. And GTD in life is like a bath, you need to take one atleast once every day else you begin to stink.

I have personally found Inbox Zero brilliant for the fact that it helps me focus on one important email at a time. Every time I need something done, I transfer an email from 'WIP' to my empty inbox and just focus on what needs to be done to respond to that email. Of course, all email notifications are 'off'!

Of course, I am an out and out Outlook fan and I have heard the whole Gmail logic of 'don't bother clearing email. Just label and search them.' Yeah yeah. I don't buy it.

Email can be very stressful. There is no worse feeling than having that niggling feeling that there is an important email sitting in your inbox waiting to be cleared.. and Inbox Zero just helps you sleep better at night. It requires effort though - every single day. If you believe in doing a bit of cleaning every day to ensure your room/home is clean, then you will know and understand what it takes.

But, just like coming back to a clean home after a day of work, it is well worth the effort.

If you decide to give it a shot, all the best! Keep me posted.. and do let me know if I can help in any way.

PS: I've also heard from skeptics that it would be tough to keep it up as I get lots more email. I'm still waiting for the day... and that only emphasizes you are better off doing this today rather than tomorrow.

And if you need inspiration, in life, there are reasons and results. And reasons simply don't count. :)

'The world isn't designed to evolve. We are.'

It would be nice to see this magically appear on a wall near us when we begin complaining! :)

2 Factors that cause us to blow up

1. Insecurity (Most common)
2. Unfair Treatment

I had a niggling my existing assumption that it was 'Insecurity' didn't make complete sense.

Now, it feels right.

Except, I am more likely to point to 'unfair' when a lot of it could be 'insecurity'. As always, these border lines are fuzzy. But, atleast, this one's more accurate.

Helps me when I get annoyed with myself the next time I lose my cool unnecessarily!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

The X-Men effect

I have been a superhero fan for many years. The all time favorite was, has been, and will be Batman. But, my super hero diet was generally satiated with Centurions (Cartoon Network), Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League and very importantly, X-Men. And the movie versions of Spiderman did catch my eye as well!

All the Batman movies were really good but I still prefer the cartoon as it captured the real essence of the character in my humble opinion (yes, over the Christopher Nolan- Christian Bale except maybe, for Heath Ledger). In the case of X-Men, the movies have been in a different league altogether.

X-Men 1 was fantastic. X-Men 2 between good and very good, X-Men 3 was exceptional (and I doubt it will ever be matched), X-Men Origins-Wolverine was good and then came X-Men First Class which I think was again very very good, if not First Class. It brought with it the typical X-Men flavor of a big disaster that is averted by the good guys, lots of cool graphics, cooler super powers etc etc. I also thought the cast was well chosen, for the most part. The main protagonists (i.e. Charles Xavier and Magneto) were great. Magneto's performance was chilling..

All the animation fluff aside, the story was about two very powerful leaders who inspired followings with different styles. One was a more 'by-the-books' idealistic visionary who wouldn't stray on the journey to his objective and who took upon a very mentor/coach role and even ended up bringing the best out of his soon-to-be adversary.
The other was a charismatic maverick, a Machiavellian character, who took the role of a friend/big brother to all those he lead. We are used to these 2 characters in the latter movies but we only see 2 very powerful leaders with great mutual respect for each other. Here, we have the back story.

We see the two of them as friends and how the eventual split occurs thanks to their independent ideals and beliefs. The essence of the movie i.e. this backbone was very captivating.

And that's what I love about super hero movies. The difference between the 'bad side' and the 'good side' is generally thin. If anything, the 'good' side is often even weaker. But, it always distinguishes itself by making great choices.. (I understand 'great' is subjective but I guess, 'principled' would be more accurate. That is open to debate as always).
And I guess the biggest thing I have learnt from super hero movies is the line 'With great power comes great responsibility'. And I think all 'good' guys tend to exemplify that sense of responsibility.

Anyway, the weekend unfolded with me catching up on X-Men 1 and X-Men 3 again. And once again, being the sucker for super heroes and inspiration that I am, I ended up replaying the scene where Wolverine inspires what remains of the X-men team to go and fight by saying

'We lost Scott. We lost the Professor. If we don't fight, everything they stood for would die with them. And I'm not about to let that happen. Are you?'
(The other big scene is when this team arrives for the fight!)

Such scenes always get me clapping. :) And it's a pity I'm not able to find a YouTube video of the scene for the ones who haven't seen it/cannot recollect it.

All in all, inspired this week - all thanks to the X-Men. A fantastic series - long may they continue. And until the next X-Men/Batman/Spiderman movie arrives, I hope Hollywood reconsiders the shelving of the Justice League movie..

To Superhero movies! Have a great week all!

--
Update: I have watched this movie 3 times. And it has only turned from a 'like' to an 'obsession'

Track your expenses - Envelopes

Ever since I read 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' a good 3 years ago, tracking my expenses has been something I have wanted to do. But, as it is with life's simple things, this simple looking goal proved elusive. I ended up having expense tracking systems which were 90% accurate - good but not good enough.

During the process, I experimented with the following -

1. Apps on my old Palm Treo (yes, very old)
2. Microsoft Excel
3. Google Docs
4. Conventional pen and paper

And none worked. It reached a point when I almost gave up on it. But, thanks to some honed persistence, I didn't give up and some casual searching for iPhone apps lead me to Envelopes.



The app's concept is incredibly simple. You have a bunch of Envelopes. You enter a budget and as you spend, you just put the amount in and voila.. you're done. This is in contrast to frills offered in other apps eg: writing compulsory notes, ability to produce fancy graphs etc.

While I feel the app could do an 'email' feature to send me all the numbers at the end of a month, I think it is near perfect thanks to it's simplicity.

So, for those of you who use iPhones, you are $0.99 away from tracking your expenses..

And for those of you with Androids/other smart phones, maybe you would be able to find a similar app.. or simply ask Elliot to develop an app for you. :)

And for those who prefer the Nokia way of life, I have a simple suggestion - when taking your expenses in, just focus on the numbers. Don't bother with the description (2 years later, you are not going to care about whether you spend $10 on eggs and milk vs bread for example). The important thing is to focus on the big picture i.e. the total expenses and trends and this app (for those who can get it) enables you to do just that.

--
PS: I use the app slightly differently. The concept behind the app is you use it like money in an envelope i.e. put in $100 and keep withdrawing. That way, if you have a budget of $2,000, the main screen will show how much you have left.

I choose not to put in any money. So, my main screen just shows me how much I have spent. I find that much more effective, personally.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maintain your Mental Well-Being - HBR

Original article by David Rock here
--
This week the US government revised the food pyramid — that diagram that's been with us for decades that is supposed to remind people how to eat well. The model needed a revision, and the new version, called Choose My Plate, is a big improvement.

However, there's a different epidemic happening out there that's getting less attention, perhaps because it is less obvious than the epidemic of obesity we're experiencing. It seems we may be entering an era of an epidemic of overwhelm. A time when too many people's mental well-being is being stretched through multi-tasking, fragmented attention and information overload.

The trouble is, we are short on simple, clear information about good mental habits. Few people know about what it takes to have optimum mental health, and the implications of being out of balance. It is not taught in schools, or discussed in business. The issue just isn't on the table. Businesses schedule time as if the brain had unlimited resources, as if we could focus well all day long. Every week I talk to an organization who says that their biggest problem is simply the overwhelm their people are feeling. Without good information about the mind and brain, we may be stretching ourselves in ways that may have bigger implications than poor eating habits.

So, my friend and colleague Dr. Daniel J. Siegel and I got together and decided to create what we're calling the Healthy Mind Platter. This platter has seven essential mental activities necessary for optimum mental health in daily life. These seven daily activities make up the full set of 'mental nutrition' that your brain needs to function at it's best. By engaging regularly in each of these servings, you enable your brain to coordinate and balance its activities, which strengthens your brain's internal connections and your connections with other people.

The seven essential mental activities are:

Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain.

Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain.

Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, richly activating the brain's social circuitry.

Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways.

Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain.

Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge.

Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day.

We're not suggesting a specific recipe for a healthy mind, as each individual is different, and our needs change over time too. And we're not suggesting that business suddenly changes everything and reorganized all of work. The point is to become aware of the full spectrum of essential mental activities, and just like with essential nutrients, make sure that at least every few days we are nudging the right ingredients into our mental diet.

Just like you wouldn't eat only pizza every day for days on end, we shouldn't just live on focus time and little sleep. Mental wellness is all about giving your brain lots of opportunities to develop in different ways. In organizations, from a practical perspective, this means allowing people to work from home more, to be more flexible, to give people more autonomy.

In short, it is important to eat well, and we applaud the new healthy eating plate. However as a society we are sorely lacking in good information about what it takes to have a healthy mind. We hope that the healthy mind platter creates an appetite for increasing awareness of what we put into our minds too.

--
Great article. Nice to have a framework to think about this. Helps me understand why there are times when I feel like doing absolutely nothing and zoning out completely.

Switch off Wifi and 3G when not necessary

Advantages:

1. Less distracted = Better relationships
2. No 'need' felt to keep checking email = More relaxed
3. Less eye strain = Better health
4. No unnecessary notifications = Less interruptions and higher productivity
5. Triple the battery life = More convenience

--
Note to self. The last 3 days have worked much better thanks to this. Now, to sustain this!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

'I never understood the full power of 'willpower' until my grandfather threatened to cut people out of his.' :D

Haha

The whole privacy debate

There is a lot of talk about privacy these days. It seems like there is a lot of fear going around thanks to the whole Sony fiasco. And of course, it has become some sort of a weird fad to talk about 'lack of privacy'.

Anything that we do on the internet is hack-able. We would be stupid to think otherwise.

Of course, that's not to say you shouldn't use strong passwords. It is akin to keeping your door open in a safe neighborhood versus closed. Keeping your door open can tempt many a thief while keeping your door closed will basically only ensure planned thefts.

Keep your passwords strong and safe. Try not give your email address and password at random websites and of course, take good care before giving any credit card information. That should be it.

No worry. No stress required. If they are out to get you. They will.. When the behemoth Sony didn't stand a chance, what makes us think we will fare better?

And of course, it is not a comforting thought. But, neither is global warming.. we just have to accept it and move on.

PS: Of course the smartphone companies know where you are! With all those location services on your phone, did you expect any different? Does it matter?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

'Overwhelmed? Take the helm. No one gets car sick when they're driving the car.'

This is so true! Must keep this in mind next time I'm overwhelmed..

Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes, of Manchester United, retired day before yesterday.

He was the player I looked up to the most in the football world and was among the biggest reasons I chose to be a fan of Manchester United. Even during the days of Ronaldo, the sight of Scholes' name on the team sheet thrilled me the most.

The events after the Barcelona game were fitting. A reporter described it best -

'Stood, clad in Iniesta’s sweat-drenched shirt, Scholes had to disappoint Messi, Xavi, Busquets and Pedro by informing each that he had already surrendered his jersey. For all their modern mastery of the football, Barcelona’s pass-poppers recognised that they were in the presence of the greatest little maestro of his generation.'

When I wrote expressing my admiration for him earlier this year, I wrote..

'If we are lucky, Scholes will decide to play on for another season before he hangs up his boots. If Ryan Giggs retires at the same time, the media will be all over Giggs showering one accolade after another and Scholes will be written about as another one of those greats who probably never got the credit or praise he deserved. People will speak of his eye catching passes, his spectacular goals and they will move on. News stays fresh only for a few hours after all.. But, football will be poorer for it. Football would have lost an artist, a role model for many a youngster, a humble family man, one of its few remaining 'one club men' - all rolled in one.

This blogger is reminded of an article written ages ago by a leading journalist on Sachin Tendulkar accusing the Indian media of taking him for granted.

'It is unlikely that the tourist guide loitering on the perimeters of the Taj monument would have appreciated its timeless beauty — and even if he did, it is less likely that he might have pondered its historic value to a civilization.'

It is much the same with Paul Aaron Scholes. We know not what we will miss..'
Turns out we weren't so lucky..

Watching Paul Scholes play was always on my bucket list. I am glad I did it before he retired.. at Fulham on May 9th 2011. He didn't disappoint. He hardly ever does.

I looked upto him most because of his character - While Paul Scholes, the footballer, always amazed and enthralled, Paul Scholes, the family man, never disappointed. He had high standards and his performance levels weren't able to match those standards any more. I am glad he decided to retire as nothing would have been worse than him going out on a low. He did provide many memorable moments in his characteristically short interviews. 'I suppose I'm okay' and 'I will miss football, not the life of a footballer'.

Well, I will miss watching him - the finest midfielder of his generation and the ultimate footballing role model. And I will never forget his brilliant goal against Barcelona - my finest moment as a Manchester United fan..



Thank you Paul Scholes. I hope to meet you someday!