Today is a special day – a new year which will define the year 2015. I request my close friend Vinod Kumar, who is SQL Server Expert and thought leader to write a blog post on this first day of the year. I asked Vinod – “What one should change in this year to progress in life?“. If you know Vinod, he is a very positive person and inspiring personality. He immediately responded that – “One does not need a new year to change”. I asked him to elaborate on this subject and our conversation turned out to be an amazing blog post.
This is one of the most thought provoking article, I have personally read in my life. I encourage that you keep some time aside for this new year and read it. Vinod and I would like to receive your feedback in the comments area.
Most of our problems are because we act without thinking or we keep thinking without acting.
Jan 1st has so much of significance to this blog. Two years back I wrote the post around Interviews and the mindset one should have. Many of you took time in writing back to me and taking time in writing your comments on this blog itself. So when this Jan was about to turn up, I requested Pinal if he would be interested in me writing something for him on this special day. Let me express my sincere thanks to Pinal for getting this blog on this very special day.
This blog is not about any technical content, it is about “us”. I thought of penning down some of the thoughts I have about personal development. Whenever a new year comes round the corner, most of us talk about resolutions / promises which I am sure is just like a fashion statement for the season (some of you will question me here, as I said it is most of us not all). I have enough and more experience of these promises that people make and the most common one is around Exercising or gym. This blog post in any way will not motivate you to goto Gym yet, if it makes you think – then I think it is a good sign.
It only takes one person to make you happy and change your life: YOU!
I personally urge you not to think of these as New Year resolutions, but something that you want to change in your life slowly (one-at-a-time). Half the battles are won when we do things consciously for a while when it automatically becomes subconscious and we do it involuntarily. A classic example for this is, we goto office every single day in a particular route. And atleast once in our lifetime, on a Sunday when you are trying to take your family for a drive, you start driving on the same route thinking you are going to the desired destination. Sometimes we miss the exit and realize our mistake. This is how mind works, it is a beautiful mind.
Fears shouldn’t stop us
Recently I had been to a recreational location with my friend and family. He wanted to do the bungee jump which was one of the favorite attraction of that place. After getting dressed up, the instructor called him to climb the ramp. I could literally see him cry in fear (metaphorically). Seeing this, I walked up to him and said – “Buddy, it is absolutely ok if you don’t want to do it.” He looked up to me with a smile (erasing his fears) – “Vinod, I know that, but I want to experience this. Fear doesn’t stop me from doing what I want to.”
Doing what you like is freedom, liking what you do is happiness.
Trust me, that incident got me thinking for a long time. It taught me a life lesson to face our fears. Don’t try to run away from your fears. Sometimes, you will regret running away from them in the future.
Don’t fear failures: All of us dread failing. We all want to be successful, all the time. Life is filled with struggles that make us a better person. The struggle you go through today will make you a better person tomorrow, not a bitter person. Sometimes the wrong decisions can get us to the right places or influence a door to open which we never saw. The biggest failure in my opinion is doing nothing because you fear of making mistakes. Don’t look at society and what others will talk. You are in competition with just one person in this world – Yourself. The biggest competitor you will ever find is the negative voice in your head.
Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live – Dorothy Thompson
Don’t fear standing out: I personally consider each one of us to be unique in some way. We all are special in our own rights. There is nothing wrong in doing things differently when you strongly believe in your dreams. Have the conviction to hold onto it till it is finished. Many a times, we ask – “Why should I be the one to do it? Why should I be the first to experiment? Why didn’t others try? etc” Rather than asking these questions, ask “Why can’t I do when others failed?”. Don’t try to fit yourself into a box, think as if there are no boxes to fit inside. Start standing out! You were born with a unique brilliance within. So go out and shine in a way that you only can do.
Fear of lost control: I am very sorry to say this. This is a phobia for many. Life cannot be run like a perfect project plan. You cannot control everything how much prepared you be. Life is a perfect balance between what you can control and what you cannot. You might ask, why do I get this impulsive feeling? Simple, we have an emotional unhealthy attachment to something that we don’t control. A classic example for this is: Don’t get married to your day jobs. It is a job and be loyal to your employer – Period. Once you get emotionally attached, during times of turbulence we start asking the wrong questions.
True success is overcoming the fear of being unsuccessful – Paul Sweeney
As I wrap up this section, fear to change is the most dangerous thing to have. Don’t try to resist as it will be futile. We always try to resist when we need to change the most.
Don’t be a Naysayer, ignore
I would say, there are fundamental traits that successful people choose to ignore. No one likes to complain over spilt milk. If you are complaining, then what are you doing to change it? Not taking efforts to change what is making you uncomfortable is the worst you can do for yourself.
Your pasts: You cannot change the way your past has gone, so swallow it and move ahead. Do your best as the rest will follow. Your past can be used for guiding, it is not a place for residence. Life teaches us beautiful lessons. We are wise because we were foolish someday, we are strong because we were made weak someday, we are happy because we have been made sad someday in the past. All these are experiences to share. The wildest and toughest of life lessons are learnt in the tragic situations that you felt you will never get into in your life. Remember when things are falling around you (in your opinion), they are actually falling in place to mold you into a stronger person.
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes – Mahatma Gandhi
Pain of growing: There is nothing in life that can be got without putting an extra effort. Without going through the pain of attaining it. These pain can either hurt us or it changes us, but if we learn something from this experience then both mean the same. If you feel you are not in the right place or you have lost your way. Wait a second, even a sailor gets these feeling. All you need to do is find your lighthouse to guide and take your first step in moving in that direction. Remember, the strength within doesn’t come from doing what we are proficient in doing but in doing what we cannot. So stop complaining, work hard in silence and let the results of hard work make all the noise.
Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.
You own doubts: Don’t fall into this trap. Every successful person never doubted their own abilities. I get a lot of inspiration from sports for this. Who told Nadia Comaneci that she could do something that no one has ever. A score of perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event was unheard till 1976. There are enough and more examples in IT to say the least. I am sure you can give me more examples to this. So believe there is not one right road to success, make your own roads. Believe your intuition and make course correction as required, nothing is written on stone. This is like ants work. Try to put an obstacle and they will find ways to reach the destination some way. Most importantly, enjoy the journey as you plan to reach your destination.
To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others – Albert Camus
Now that we are in a flow. The next section is about what we shouldn’t be saying.
Never say …
It is always said the toughest thing to bring back is an uttered word. Once out, there is no way we can take it back. So be judicious while talking. No wonder God has given us two ears to listen and one mouth to talk. So listen twice as much as you talk. Here are behaviors I wish people never talk about.
Do I have a choice, I don’t: Everything we do in life is a juggle of choices and decisions we take. When you are presented with make a choice and if you don’t make one, well that in itself is a choice. Believe in yourself. As you look yourself in the mirror this very day, tell yourself that you are here because of the choices you have made in the past. Unless you accept this, you will never be able to make choices differently in the future. The only person who can define your destiny is none other than – You! So from here on decide to own up your choices – that will bring the true power in you.
I missed the opportunity: I keep saying that nothing is permanent, even your troubles. So laugh your hearts at this moment and enjoy each and every moment in front of you. You might not be where you want to be in life today, but today is the best day to take that positive step forward to where you want to go. Who is stopping you? You cannot go to your own past to make a new start, but you can start today and reach your goals today. This is your beautiful life, shape it, and mold it before someone else carves their dreams into it. Each day when you get up, tell yourself – I may not be anywhere close to my goals / dreams yet, but I am surely closer than what I was yesterday based on the choices I have made.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty – Winston S. Churchill
Probably I am wrong because they told me: I have seen people ask a number of people before taking a decision. In this process they get confused because of different advices one gets. So don’t let others convince your heart of what is right for you. Listen to your heart because it already knows it. Don’t let others influence in diluting your inner voice. Define your purpose and make a connection to the purpose as you work your way. If your actions are supported by a “why” with meaning, then you will find the “how” to get there. So don’t question your own self. What is right for you may sound/look to be wrong for others and vice versa. So the world isn’t perfect, it presents itself based on how we see it.
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone else he can blame it on – Robert Bloch
Don’t live life of others
Somewhere down within, we are pushes into Society’s materialistic measurement of worth which is worthless. I have seen people argue that he is well settled because he has a Ferrari, a big bungalow, servants to take care etc. A lot of times we are trapped into what makes us really happy and what society tell us is the right thing for us. No matter which part of the world you go, there will always be people who have a piece of mind to tell what is good for you – the inevitable truth. Try to be with people who measure your worth based on who you are and not by what you have.
People who mind don’t care, people who care don’t mind: It is always better to be yourself in the long run. It is better to be loved for who we are than loved for who we are not. The best relationships in the long run are the ones that make you a better person without the need to changing yourself. You have no one to impress. The only person you want to better every day as you wake up must be the person you were yesterday. Prove yourself to yourself. It is better to be hated for who you are than to be loved for someone you are not. Sooner or later, people will surely fall in love with the real you.
Why try and be fake when being real takes less effort?
Don’t be in a hurry, relax: Life is not to be lived like an F1 race. You have nothing to prove to anyone. Everyone wants to be that first person to reach the top and shout out their achievements. But the reality is, all our happiness happens in the process of reaching the top. When my daughter was born a lot of them asked me about where I will be putting her to school etc. After a number of people asking me this, I said – Hold on, I am in no hurry in putting my daughter to school yet. Let me enjoy the lovely time as she grows one day at a time. Life is filled with beautiful moments which we will miss if we are in a hurry to do only the next thing. Enjoy your journey because these times will never come back once gone. Sometimes it is worth telling yourself that you don’t have to be the same way as everyone else out there.
I can’t please everyone: Most of the IT year end appraisals are about telling you what is wrong and they hesitate in complimenting you for what you did right. I hate the ideas of feedback, I wish companies took the task of giving feedforward. Tell me how I can get better moving forward. You cannot change your past, but you can shape your future though. As it is almost impossible to please everyone anyways, don’t get consumed by the situation and build walls of hatred inside your heart for anyone. If you find someone to be negative, disrespectful for no reasons – simply walk away because if you fuel the hate inside you, it is going to hurt you in the end.
Love yourself for what you are, instead of hating yourself for what you are not.
Don’t Regret about …
It is second to human nature to regret about lost opportunities. We dream and when we fall short of our goals, we keep repenting about it. We regret for a lot things that doesn’t need this much attention. Here are few to name:
What we don’t have: This society pushes us into the materialistic quantification that we start evaluating our worth based on things that we don’t have. In a perfect world, there will never be enough time, enough money nor the resources to get whatever one dreams off. If you take a moment and think, you will realize it is not what you don’t have that counts, but what you do with what you have is more important. The happiest are those who usually don’t have the best of everything, but they make the most of everything that they have or that comes their way.
Fixation to end results: A lot of times we try hard and yet fail. These failures are not the end of everything. Not achieving doesn’t make us less perfect either. Though achieving or completing is important, enjoy the process of achieving the goal. It is filled with life lessons that you don’t want to ignore in the process of seeing your destination. Create a sense of purpose to your goals via specific, clear, consistent and meaningful intentions – once this is in place, you will start enjoying your life whether you achieve your goals or not. Build your happiness as part of the journey and the destination will double your joy.
Just because things aren’t good now, doesn’t mean they will be that way forever.
Don’t hurt your happiness
It hardly takes any time in seeing the goodness around you and be happy rather than looking at the bad side and regret about it. If you don’t like something, put an effort to change it but don’t ponder over it and kill yourself. If you cannot change something, change your thinking about it. If you know you have been wrong all along – well relax, sometimes you have to be wrong before you can be right. So no harm in learning the life lessons practically.
Keep it simple: Most of the times we make life complicated than what is warranted. We start attaching happiness in achieving something and we start finding ways to be happy thereafter. Clear your mind and get back to the basics. Simplicity is not about being complacent but about organizing things one at a time. Sometimes the “Less is more than enough”. There is a big difference in what one needs to what one wants. Our wants are always higher and bigger than the needs. Needs are essential while the wants are not.
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak – Hans Hofmann
You need your downtimes: This is a demanding world and we are expected to keep running all the time. Everyone needs a little time away from what they do – so does your family, friends and others. So take some time off just for yourself and rejuvenate yourself, you deserve this time where there are no problems to solve and no solution to be explored. You are sure to get better results when you have a perfect balance of work and relaxation.
Don’t procrastinate: This comes to the earlier point of failure. If you have fear for failure, you are bound to push things further. I always say, “Do the ugliest first”. This is a childish attitude we need to flush out of our system. Be confident in what you do. Make sure you carry the learning as you move and learn to fail forward. Have some patience in persisting to what you believe and don’t worry about the uncertainties in front of you. You will crack them sooner than you every thought.
I had a mother who taught me there is no such thing as failure. It is just a temporary postponement of success – Buddy Ebsen
As a final thought for this long post, mind is like a parachute – it works well when it is open. It is always ok to disagree to others thoughts and views. So I am quite open on listening to your views too. Speak up your mind and let me know which of these make sense and which don’t. In this New Year, the best gift you can give someone is – You, yes your time and kindness. If you have read the post this far, then a big Thank You to you for giving me your time and this great gift.
- Focus on whatever you do and give your 100%.
- Be Open minded.
- Nothing being wrong – accept, learn and move forward.
- Give your undivided attention in every task you do.
- Learn to praise openly while you penalize in private.
- Don’t talk behind the back of someone, if you don’t like something, express yourself directly to them in a nice manner.
People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)