People are the best investment

Throughout my life, I have seen my parents struggle for money due to some business decisions gone wrong or for health reasons. Due to this, we never had money to spend on anything which was ‘not necessary‘. Most of what my parents earned were spent in our (the two brothers) education and other long term investments, and rarely on movies, entertainment or traveling. Maybe due to this lack of financial resources, all of us made up for that by focussing on little things like spending quality time together, always helping anyone who is in need and getting connected with people on a personal level. I have seen and observed my father chatting and getting along very well with one and all. I very vividly remember my father taking me to his office sometimes and everybody, from the security guard to the peon to the street vendors outside to the receptionist inside, greeting him warmly. It felt like my father was friends with everyone in the building. This article is about people, and how they are the best investment opportunity for us.

Acknowledging and Greeting

Normally, as we go through our life we tend to focus only on what is important and ignore everything else. Think about how many people we passed through today from the time we left our home till we reached office. And to how many of these people did we stopped and said “Good Morning”. It is such a simple thing to do, and a good morning wish leaves both parties smiling, still we ignore it most of the times. Very often we forget that how good it feels when somebody appreciates us and believes in our abilities. So isn’t it natural that we should thrive to do the same to others?

It Always Come Back

We invest our time and money in our jobs, stocks, mutual funds and real estate. We buy cars, phones and other gadgets and take pride in owning them. But I have always believed that the best investment we can make in are people. You might or might not get your returns from the stock market or the real estate market, but investing in people always come back. If somebody needs our time and attention, nothing can be a bigger investment for us to help that person with honesty and compassion. There is no better sight in this world than seeing somebody smile and knowing that we are the reason behind it, that we could be of some help. And even if we talk in terms of returns, investment on people always tend to come back in life, and in proportions we can’t imagine. I am a witness to how many different unknown people have come forward to help my parents in times of need, without even their asking for it.


Myself and friends at Noida in 2008

Myself and friends at Noida in 2008

It is a Challenge, but a Very Rewarding One

Now it is easy to say that we must invest in people, but it can get really challenging and daunting in real life. Many times we will come across people who are very easy to ignore, or who trigger our temper and we might want to shout and yell at them. But on the other hand, empowering someone and taking time to listen to them can sometimes surprise even them. Many a time people will realize this and thank you for the extra effort you are putting, and that is always a very rewarding experience.

Have Fun, make Them Laugh

If we try to remember the times when we have been angry, upset, frustrated or just unhappy, we will realize that we have been taking things too seriously. All the life’s so called problems occur mostly when we are lost in a moment and lose the bigger perspective. If we look at things in perspective, an annoying boss in office might not be as important in the picture of your ‘whole life‘ as important as we might have made him/her. So it’s always good to loosen up, and treat people as human beings first, rather than good or bad resources. Have some fun, crack some jokes and laugh. For many, this period of fun might be the best part of their day, and you can be glad you were a part of it.

Be Genuine, Truthful and Trustworthy

All what I have written above is not some trick and people are smart enough to find out whether you genuinely mean your affection or if you are bluffing. So what I am advocating is to really become the person who cares about others, whom others can trust and who doesn’t break promises. It takes effort to ingrain these features in our character, but if we can do that, we will reap the rewards. As I said before, compared to our bank balance, stock portfolio or real estate, if our investment in people start giving results, it can dwarf all other investments we might have.

Ripple of Hope

When nothing around you is going your way,
When nobody is hearing what you have to say..
Times like these are the real test of your will,
For amid storms is the challenge to stand still..

When your life will take a sudden turn,
When you will reach a point of no return
Just keep moving ahead despite of every hurdle,
For there is always light at the end of the tunnel..

When all you get is blow after blow,
When every hope and promise seems hollow
You have to decide how high you want to rise,
For you know in every crisis there is a prize..

When nobody around you knows what to do,
When everybody is searching for a clue
That is the time for you to stand strong,
For every night ends no matter how long..

When everything looks like falling apart,
It is very important not to loose heart
For every step you take against the slope,
You are giving rise to a ripple of hope..

Let us all spread a ripple of hope

Let us all spread a ripple of hope

Seeking Comfort in Discomfort

A popular quote goes like this, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

Change and growth are very natural in life. And with every change, every growth there will be times when we will feel uncomfortable as an individual. Infact, growth is always uncomfortable. Lately I have realized that to evolve and grow, be it physical, emotional or spiritual growth, there will always be a certain level of discomfort. Or alternately, if you feel too comfortable in life, probably you are not growing.

Different situations might trigger discomfort for different people. For some, speaking at a public gathering might be uncomfortable and for some, trying a new sport might be uneasy. But all of these situations are those when we are forced to go outside of our comfort zone. The challenge when feeling uncomfortable is to embrace the situation and triumphing over our fear. Only then we will come out of a stagnant, dull life and move beyond fear. And “Darr ke Aage Jeet Hai.. ” (After fear, its victory)

Apart from situations, there could be people, interacting with whom makes us uneasy. This could also be a way of growing as our greatest teachers are those who will make us uneasy while pushing us to try new things and achieve greater heights. These individuals are like a calling for a better us, to develop an area within us which is not fully developed. So the next time you feel uncomfortable in the company of someone, ask yourself the question, are you willing to take it as a challenge to step up to the task? Are you willing to grow up to the level that this person and situation demands?

Most often, we are triggered by certain situations and individuals, and before we even realize, we might have acted in a certain way or said something unconsciously. It takes a lot of practice and patience to not to judge someone immediately on a trigger and say ‘I just don’t get her‘ or ‘He is wrong‘. We need to be patient as we find out how to grow to the next level so that our automatic alarm is not set off based on a person or a situation. As you move your focus from ‘whats wrong with others‘ to ‘what is needed of myself‘, you give yourself control and power rather than handing it out to people and situations. And believe me, it is easier to find blame in others but very challenging to look inside for introspection and areas of growth.

These last few months have been pretty uncomfortable for me, and thats good because there are many things or situations which used to make me uncomfortable six months ago but now I feel at home being in those situations, which means I have grown. I am by far the most uncomfortable these days than I have been in my entire life, but still there is a peace of mind like never before. It is because I know everything will be ok in time, and this period will leave me a better human being.

The important thing to remember is that, “Are we brave enough to continuously find uncomfortable challenges / situations in life to keep growing?

Never sacrifice happiness for achievement

Life is a journey which starts and end with birth and death, respectively. It is the same for everybody, irrespective of which country you are born in, or what color you are. Then why is it that some people are happy and others not? Lets explore it a bit more. Happiness normally comes from achievements. A fulfilled goal, a task accomplished, a job done well are all achievements and we get happiness out of it. More so if the task or goal was difficult or hard to complete.

If we introspect our lives, we will see that life is a journey and setting goals and milestones makes it meaningful. However, most of our time is spent preparing or working towards that goal or milestone rather than being happy when it is over. Because once a task is over, the happiness is only temporary as we have new goals and tasks to go after.

What I am proposing is that we should never sacrifice happiness for achievement. Let me explain this rather ambiguous statement. Happiness and achievement are two different things. No doubt we need goals to challenge us, to inspire us and take action, but we need not be happy only on the successful completion of the goal. Happiness is more of a choice rather than an outcome of something. When we are doing small daily tasks towards a bigger goal or a milestone, we can be happy and enjoy our best in each of these tasks, no matter how small they may be. These tasks will lead us to our goal, and if we find happiness in them, we are ultimately bound to do good in our goal too.

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.  ~Margaret Lee Runbeck

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. ~Margaret Lee Runbeck

Now, when you work towards a goal, you might have to do things that are tedious and boring, you might have to meet people you don’t like, or you might have to work very hard to achieve your goal. Think of this toil as the penance for the goal and seek happiness in it. Remember gold needs to go through a furnace before it starts to glow and shine. A diamond is nothing but carbon. It has to withstand enormous pressure for many many years before it becomes a diamond. Similarly, for any commendable achievement, everybody has to make some sacrifices, do some tasks which we don’t like, or sometimes we have to just hope and wait for the results of our efforts. All this is ‘part of the game‘. It is not something which was not supposed to happen. So there is no reason to be unhappy. It will only make us stronger, better and eventually lead us towards the milestone. In simple words, Achieve Happily!!

Another important point to take note is that overcoming fear is the real achievement. The final outcome is only a tangible proof of your success. The real cause for celebration is the daily small tasks we do, irrespective of numerous fears we might have. So every small task, every small step of ours is a reason to be happy. Every moment along the way is the real source of happiness, and it is a wonder how many of us miss it.

So start living NOW. Enjoy what you are doing. This is the only moment you will ever have. This is the moment to celebrate. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is knowing that it is there and still dreaming to be bigger than your fear. I will end with a simple but very powerful quote –
“Have the courage to live. Anyone can die.”

Crossing the Road

When one crosses a road,
It’s a triumph over a challenge!
In few steps hope is echoed,
Inspiring others to take a plunge!!

Roads get crossed everyday,
By people like me and you!
Many will follow the way,
But lead shall only a few!!

Have you rested too much,
Then why not begin to play?
It’s time to leave the crutch,
And see what is far far away!!

Riding on the shoulders of hope,
And dancing under the blue sky!
Jump holding on to destiny’s rope,
And even gravity we shall defy!!

Lets leap into a dream land,
Where nothing is impossible!
It is time for all of us to stand,
To fight for and win our battle!!

On the way hardships might arise,
If you think you can’t take the load!
Just close your eyes and visualize,
The sight of a man crossing a road!!

Take hope from smallest of acts

Take hope from the smallest of acts