Small steps cause a significant impact

Small steps cause a significant impact

A jet plane with 257 passengers onboard departed from New Zealand airport to experience Antarctica and back. A ground handling staff from the air traffic control department altered the flight coordinates by 2 degrees, putting the aircraft 28 miles east from where they were supposed to be. Sadly that alteration put them directly on the top of Mount Erebus, an active volcano.

Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping aeroplanes off-course 90% of flight time, most flights arrive at the correct destination at the intended time. The snow on the volcano blended with the clouds above, deceiving the pilots into thinking they were flying above flat ground. When the instruments sounded a warning of the quickly rising ground, it was too late. The plane crashed into the volcano, and everyone onboard died.

The reason for the accident was the pilot’s dependency on air traffic control for constantly course correcting their movement. Course correction includes notification and pathway correction to help the pilot stay on course and reach the destination.

This flight analogy is so much contextually relevant to our lives. Even seemingly inconsequential aspects of our lives can create ripples and waves of consequence — for better or worse.

I have some homework for you — Citing this lesson, how do you notify and course correct if you are flying the aircraft called your life:

  • How are you piloting your life and checking whether you are on the right course?
  • What feedback are you receiving to correct your course?
  • Do you have a guidance system? How often do you check your guidance system?
  • Where is your destination?
  • When are you going to get there?
  • Are you on-course or off-course?
  • How would you know if you are on the right course?
  • How do you minimize the turbulence and other conditions distracting your path?

Go where you are rare

Success is at the right place at the right time. Once upon a time, I refused a lucrative offer to join a leading IT company in Mumbai, citing “I won’t shift to Mumbai.” I was well settled in Vadodara when I got an offer to join Sony Music in Mumbai. I asked a close friend for advice, and he said, “Ishwar, you should go there as you will get a better opportunity to grow yourself.”

If I’d have refused the opportunity, Sony Music wouldn’t have happened. The opportunity to write 100s of articles won’t have happened. Joining the league of youngest CEO of Digital at Zee won’t have happened. Travelling around the globe won’t have happened. Speaking, mentoring and guiding 100s of entrepreneurs won’t have happened. And meeting 1000s beautiful people won’t have happened.

“Go where you are rare.” is a great sentence—being rare positions you as extraordinarily unique. It brings power to you. Things work differently. That ‘rare’ position allows you to discover, justify, explain, convince, and win over hundreds of people aiming to grab the spot you are enjoying. You’re in the spotlight.

If you have spotted that ‘rare’ position, the only word of precaution is don’t sit on it having full reliance on your talent alone to draw extraordinary results. Push your limits, empathy and desire to serve the cause. Keep honouring the purpose of you in that ‘rare’ person, and do more things to serve the people around you.

Impatience in your heart brings you alive
dreams in your eyes make you alive
Live like the free waves of wind
Learn to flow like the waves floating over the sea
Receive every moment in life with open arms
Every moment is a new beginning
surprise in your eyes keeps you alive
impatience in your heart keeps you alive

A true friendship

God Krishna Says,
“I am a friend of one and all. It is up to you whether you consider me as your father, mother, master, associate or friend.

For me, friendship comes first. I enjoyed my childhood with the cowherds of Vrindavan. I played with them like an ordinary boy. I went on to steal the butter from the house of the herdsmen.

I killed the Kaliya snake who was poisoning the Yamuna water and making the water undrinkable for cows and cowherds.

You would have read about my friendship with Sudama. He was my best friend. When Sudama arrived at my home, I could not control myself even for a moment. I ran barefoot to hug him. I treated him better than myself showering my complete compassion and equanimity.

During the war of Mahabharata, I was drawn to a peculiar situation. Kauravas’s blamed me for playing one-sided. I proposed they visit my place and whomsoever I see first when I will join whom I see first when I wake up in the morning.

You know that Duryodhan came first and sat on my head, assuming I would first look at him. Arjuna knew I would see one seated on my feet first. Arjuna was my ardent devotee. For him, I was the ultimate master ruler of his life.

You know that Draupadi used to call me “Sakha”, and I used to call her “Sakhi”. I always came to her rescue as she treated me as her ultimate friend, and I always protected her whenever she remembered me for help.

I live in the heart of everyone in the form of consciousness. Some people forget me, and some constantly keep me in their thoughts and hearts. I have guaranteed the rescue to all those who remember me for help. Even though you think of your individuality, you are never separate from me. You can only conquer me through love, and your love alone binds me to you. I am gladly conquered by those who have indomitable faith in me.”

Best friends forever
Whether its thick or thin
Hold the hand and walk together
Keeps the secret, holds the baton
Holds friendship above the prayer
Makes every life moment merrier
No conditions no infatuation
Just made to love without discrimination
Counsels you when you are wrong
Comforts you when you are down
Supports you when you’re about to fall

Dedicated to all my friends, who’s made me more wiser, better and merrier…

Live like a hero Die as a hero does

My two friends and I had dinner together. One of my friends asked: “So what do you think would happen on your death day?”

It was tough to answer.

Another friend replied: “Ishwar cannot give you the answer. If you permit, can I?”
“The day you die, your bank account will be jammed with millions in your bank. The day Ishwar will die, certainly traffic will be jammed in the area.”

I know I am not so kind and generous that my death day would turn out like that. But, I could sense the motive of my friend behind why he said it.

If you look back at your early childhood and remind yourself to ask the question: “What do I want to be when I grow up?”
You’d have answered many things under the pretext that you’d not show that you are not here for a small bet.
Bring yourself back to the present, and you would say: “I wish, I Never grow up. Period.”
If you think that way, it’s because your life is not one chapter. To complete your life book, you will have to write many chapters. You would feel like being a blank piece of paper and always have a beginner’s mind.
Imagine yourself as a blank piece of paper. You can do many things – you can draw, write poetry, sketch a picture, make a paper boat, fly a paper plane, etc. etc.
And while you are on your flow to write your living story; from time to time:
– Assess your life to find out where you are.
– Decide what area to take action on and start gathering options.
– Keep prototyping your future self 5 – 10 years from now. Remember that there’s no failure, just continuous progress towards your destination.
– Choose to think and live in ways that focus on living your life as a hero does.
– Maintain a mindset of joyous life in which you learn, grow and have fun.
Live like a hero. Die as a hero does.

Being Meaningful

Your biggest goal is to live every moment of life feeling accomplished. You may call it differently – wealth, freedom, success, etc. You aim to earn money, time, relationship, spirituality and ability to pursue your geniuses. Your life is an adventure to do something every day which can get you closer to one of these things your heart desire.

I remember during the induction program of my first job the employer asked,”What do you think why you are hired for?” Everyone replied claiming their education, intelligence, excellence in specific skills, etc. The employer replied, “You are not hired for any of these, but our company has specific problems and we believe you are well-equipped with the skills, abilities, and interest to solve problems better than many others whom we interviewed for the job.”

This one statement makes it clear to me that to be relevant in any workplace, you need to understand market reality, you need to develop skills that reflect your abilities to deliver substantial value, and knowing the exact system through which you can apply your learning in the real world environment to achieve your life goals.

Know Yourself

Are you happy with whatever you have got in your life? Do you feel accomplished? Are you creating the income, impact, and success you deserve? If not, it is because you have not aligned your interests, skills, and abilities to strive to realize your potential and achieve greatness. You need to analyze and self-reflect to know your true potential and be aware mentally, physically and emotionally to achieve your greatness.

Use the attached template to know your dreams and what you need in order to leverage your geniuses. Instead of settling for a life of mediocrity, take your first step today to craft a life of limitless abundance.

Maybe this isn’t for me

When did you last watch a toddler’s first attempt to walk? I did it a few days ago. What I observed was that when the child was learning how to walk and fell several times, he never thought to himself, “Maybe this isn’t for me.” He kept trying and the beautiful thing was that the people around were encouraging and appreciating the child for his efforts and didn’t point their finger at him for the fall.

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

I find social validation the greatest enemy. You look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval and setting up yourself for disaster. You’re born a whole and complete man. It cannot come from someone else. You have to know who you are. You have to keep constantly trying like Edison without being worried about the fall much.

The only thing you have is that nobody else has control of your life, your job, your day, your heart, or your spirit. You are the only one in control of all of that. You have to love your journey without being too much worried about the destination.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. Today is the only guarantee you get.

Shrambindu (Sweat in English)

Rabindranath Tagore met with a man in search of true love.

The man asked: “Whether true love exists?”

Rabindranath Tagore asked him to follow him. He took the man to farmland where a lady labourer was working. Living in scarce poverty used her stola to hang her newly born baby on the pipal tree. Her face and body were wet with sweat.

Rabindranath said: “This is true love. A mother has used her stola to hang her child so that the baby can rest comfortably under pipal shadow, and she continues working hard to feed the baby. What you see on her face is not an ordinary sweat but nector drops — I call it Shrambindu.”

Erase your grudges

Do you feel anger, bitterness, resentment and other negative feelings because someone or something happened in your life?
You are not alone — It’s just that people often don’t like to admit it, but holding grudges is common for people to respond to their feelings when they’ve been wronged.

During my workshops with students, I ask them to write their grudges on paper. Once they finish writing all their grudges, I ask them to put them in the fire and see it burning. The spark lit on their face is unmissable.

Try it yourself whenever you feel angry, bitter, sad, mad, worried, or exhausted. It works!!!

Knowledge comes from learning wisdom is a lifelong attempt to experience it

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2.29, “Some see the soul as amazing, and some describe the soul as amazing; similarly, some hear of the soul as amazing and some even after having heard still does not know of it.”
Poet Kabir explains the phenomena as “Reading the book millions have died but one who experienced the two and half letters of love has become the master.”
Studying is a sure-shot way to acquire knowledge. It helps us travel from unawareness to awareness.
But reading alone does not give the experience.
For a real marriage to happen, one must have a bride and go through the experience of wedding rituals. You cannot say I am married by just holding a photo of the bride, performing wedding rituals and garlanding the picture of a bride.

You need to go through four step process for converting knowledge to wisdom:

The first step is learning about the subject through listening and reading.
The second step is reflecting on the subject you have learned through concerted efforts and going deeper into the meaning and origin of the studied subject.
The third step is experimenting with the reflection in a lab-like setup to help garner confidence and authority in the studied subject.
And fourth is implementing and experiencing the subject in a real-world environment accepting and stabilizing the self in the subject.

Why real happiness is not possible without attaining the liberation

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2.15, the God Krishna says, “That person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both situation is certainly eligible for liberation.”

A diseased person happily consumes the bitter medicine with the hope that it will help him get cured. A person opts for a painful surgery to get removed the specific organ/object from his body to live better. Likewise, the distressful situation should be considered as the pathway to happiness. This understanding alone can bring so much of comfort and happiness in everyone’s life.

Our whole life has become a kind of struggle to possess material objects that can please our senses and provide illusory comforts. Every moment we are into the war like situation to accumulate material objects that can bring pleasure.

That big car, house, comfort, lavish lifestyle, etc. More we get habitual of these more distressed we become. And once we are trapped into the net, it’s never ending situation. Recently, I was told by a son of billionaire that he wants to buy a studio apartment and wish to live a simple and ordinary life.

The true happiness comes with the realization that nothing is permanent. The happiness of being millionaire is only until you live in the society of poor people. You move to a society of billionaires and then your’s being a millionaire will be a painful experience. Your state of happiness changes based on the lens from which you look at life.

The liberation is felt only when you put in use your material possession for the right purpose. When your capacities and capabilities are used for helping the needy ones. You choose to live life within the necessities rather than being surrounded with self-pleasing objects and comforts. You are bound to suffer the biggest distress – the complete waste of life in trying to gain the pleasure while swimming against the flow of the river.

How to surrender to God like a true devotee

A true devotee surrenders his actions as a duty to his God and considers himself only a follower of God’s instructions.

When Hanuman Ji begins his journey to Lanka in search of Sita, he proclaims with chastity, “Now I have no rest until I complete the job of my Prabhu Ram”.

On his way to cross the sea to reach Lanka, Hanuman faced Surasa, the mother of all snakes.
She obstructs Hanuman’s path from all sides. She says, “Today I will eat you as my food.”

Hanuman requests her, “I am on my way to search of mother Sita, the Lord Ram’s wife. Upon my return I will surrender myself to you. Please don’t obstruct my path as I am on duty of my lord Ram.”

Surasa doesn’t listen to Hanuman’s request. Hanuman entered into her mouth — he doubled his size, Surasa quadrupled, and they both continued it. Hanuman cleverly reduced his size to a small form and got out of her tail. Hanuman defeats her through his intelligent acts. She blesses Hanuman saying – “You be the force to complete the job of God Ram.”

After entry to Lanka, Hanuman visits Ashok Vatika. Hanuman drops the finger ring Lord Ram given to Hanuman, stating she’ll recognise the finger ring.
Sita, doubting him, asks for his introduction. Hanuman replies -“I am the messenger of God Ram and I swear by his name.” Sita gets convinced.

Hanuman was presented in the court of Ravan. Ravan ordered his ministers to burn Hanuman’s tail – he realises this is happening because of his Lord Ram’s wish.

On his return from Lanka, Ram asked him about activities in Lanka. Hanuman said, “God, the devils burnt fire in your tail, and it caused entire Lanka got devastated in the fire.” Lord Ram was smiling, observing the childlike devotion of Hanuman.

The true meaning of surrendering your duty is to consider every action as a work of God. It’s like feeling like a child of God and devoting yourself to work free from fear and worries. Believe that God is ever present to support you as his favoured child and always leave in peace and tranquillity under his governance.

The Mayonnaise Jar and our Life

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students
again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was
full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.” The professor then produced two cans of coke from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space
between the sand. The students laughed. “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things-your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite passions-things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.” The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. “Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Isn’t it true! Very often, most of us are worried about small pebbles and sand in our lives at the cost of the big golf ball of our life, our parents, family, and friends. To meet the deadline of our professional life, we ignore our family.

A self-realized soul is not bewildered by the changes in the physical body

Bhagavad Gita Chapter2.13 God Krishna explains, “Embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.”

What we see ourselves is the composition of the body and the spirit. Our body constantly keeps changing – the death of childhood causes adulthood, the death of adulthood causes elderhood, and so on so forth. It’s said there are 8.4 million species on our planet, and every spirit travels through all these yonis, including the time spent in heaven and hell. Spirit beneath us remains the same, only the physical appearance changes.

The one who understands this self-destructing nature of our physical body never suffers the bewilderment.

Birth and death are not our righteousness – it’s of our physical body. Our soul is immortal and keeps changing its physical form as we change the old and outdated clothes. If we keep our attachment to the clothes we wear, we will never be able to replace them.

How to spot the opportunity

Before you build a solid business, you need to build it on a solid opportunity (a.k.a idea) while going through your best experiences, biggest frustration, and everyday challenges people are facing. Take clues from the work you are doing right now or something that you think needs to be done differently.

Once you get the idea, survey the people you think will benefit the most and ask, “Where is the opportunity?”

Identify it, then go back to the drawing board and construct a solution to the frustration found in a group of customers.

Acts the way the customer needs it to act, not the Entrepreneur.

“How will my business look to the customer?”

“How will my business stand out from all the rest?”

Within the customer is a continuing parade of changing wants, begging to be satisfied. Find out what those wants are and what they will be in the future.

How to Start Leading

Lead Yourself by taking up the responsibility of your own work and your own deed delivering what you commit you will.

Lead Your Team by communicating clearly, aligning members with your goals, and understanding their desires and goals well.
Lead your family by having respect, clear communication, avoiding criticism, stopping being judgemental, listening to your family members, expressing love and appreciation, and frequently bringing together family members to celebrate joys, milestones, and celebrations.
Lead your community by setting goals for it, taking responsibility and getting it done, and involving stakeholders.
Lead your country by having a balanced view of righteousness, wealth and actions.
Lead Your Industry by spreading your message outside your wall in a way that it inspires people. For this to happen, you need to stop micromanaging, start learning and build profound connections with people who matter to you and your industry.

The Art of Asking Smart Questions

You would have observed during the meetings, interviews, conferences and seminars that when someone asks the right question and it gets acknowledged with compliments like;
“You have asked a very intelligent question.”
“This is certainly a relevant question.”

You would have felt a sense of accomplishment on the face of a person who asked the question. Such a compliment changes the involvement of the person in the entire conversation.

Do you want to know how to ask an intelligent question?

Let me explain.

The best way to appear intelligent in any meeting starts with preparing beforehand.

Prepare a Venn Diagram of things you know and don’t know as displayed in the picture below. After that, have your attention fixed on the topic. Your preparation with help you both ways — you can ask an intelligent question or support the answer if you find the explanation appropriate. Such endeavour will help you gain the audience’s attention, recognition and appreciation.

Share if you have a better way to appear intelligent through any other way.

Every day is the season for the doing

The dream you’ve had since you were born is still there, you know. It may seem impossible, ridiculous, or unrealistic. Yet, it’s still there—waiting to go beyond your fear of failing, your “what-if” excuses, and your concern about what others may think. Your dream is ready to get out of your head and heart to be a reality.

So, pick up the pen. Pick up the paper, pick up the microphone, pick up the guitar, pick up your tools, and pick up your toolkits. Pick up yourself, and go for it.

Your audience has waited too long to see you perform live for them. Now is the time to show what you can do. Now is the time to give that rockstar performance. Now is the time to reclaim your original artist. Don’t die keeping your music within.

A Busy life is a good life

Being busy means you’re blessed, because your life’s not boring. You’re stressed, but you feel fulfilled. You feel tired, yet you’re happy of being what, who or where you are now.

God is so good that despite of exhaustive activities at work, at home or personal life, you still have that positive outlook about everything in life. He gave you that strength of not giving up so easily. You just keep on fighting and making your life to become a meaningful one without any regrets at all.

Control your ungoverned tamper – a Zen Story

A Zen student went to Bankei and said:”Master,I have an ungovernable temper.How can I cure it?”
“You have something very strange,Show me where it is?” asked Bankei.
“Just now I can’t show it to you” said the student.
“If not now, when?” asked Bankei
“It arises unexpectedly,” replied the student.
Then,” concluded Bankei, “it must not be ur own true nature. If it were, you’d show it to me any time. When you’re born, you did not have it,and your parents did not give it to you. Think that over.”

United with God you become immortal

Dewdrops stuck on the grass leave evaporate as soon as it comes in contact with the sunshine in the morning. But, when the same dewdrop falls into the sea, it merges with the seawater, retains its existence, and adds a drop of water to the ocean reservoir.

Our relationship with God is somewhat similar to the dewdrop relationship with the sea.
There is a significant similarity between the dewdrop’s relationship with the sea and ours with God. To forget God is to miss the whole purpose of your existence. The great sages are not the fool that they have chosen to give up the material world to live in the supreme existence of God. One who’s ever experienced a tiny moment of godliness will give away all the material pleasures of the world. And then the matter of material disturbances are just the matter – the profit or loss, life or death, appreciation or blemish – they may just make you feel helpless momentarily. Still, you always live protected under God’s security. You attain a happy state of mind, a state that is untouched by the events of daily life. That joy will be so permanent that even the fear of death won’t shake you. How could Jesus say, in the face of crucifixion, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”