Every Obstacle has an Opportunity Hidden beneath it

The only people I have ever known to have no problems are in the cemetery, says Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. If this reality hasn’t hit you in the face, let me make it clear – If you are alive, you will have problems and obstacles in your life. It is as much a truth as the air we breathe, and the earth we walk on. Yet we live all our lives avoiding problems or solving them. What an irony?

When Lance Armstrong says that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to him, and that if he would have to choose between his Tour de France wins and cancer, he would choose cancer, he is saying a lot. He won the Tour de France seven times after recovering from cancer to give a light of hope to the millions of cancer patients out there, and his tryst with cancer has given him the purpose of his life, the LiveStrong Foundation.

Even in the Mahabharata, Krishna saw fighting as an opportunity which Arjuna saw as a problem. The way we see the problem is the real problem, and if every time we face a problem we ask ourselves – “What is the opportunity here?”, we can open closed doors of new opportunities which can enliven us and the people around us.

If we can learn to do this everytime, our life is taken care of

If we can learn to do this everytime, our life is taken care of

Let’s take an example. In the current tough economy, let’s say one is out of a job. It might look as a problem, but we can ask “What is the opportunity here?”. What are the answers we can get? Being without a job could actually be an opportunity to start a business, or to go back to study or take some time off to travel. When we are in a job, we are often too stuck in our comfort zone that we don’t even look at what all we are capable of. But when we are shocked by some so-called problem, we often are forced to do what we never thought we could, and that always leaves behind a better version of us.

If I look back at my life, the best things have come out from the times which I have considered my worst. Whether it was the dissatisfaction at work which led me to create Sukip and SaleRaja, or later the failure of SaleRaja which led me to writing which has now led me to another entrepreneurial venture (CricketRadius), the times which I have considered my worst at one time have given me the best results.

In times when we think the whole world is against us, what we need is the maturity to seek the hidden opportunity. We also need the patience which will allow us to wait and bide time till we can see the opportunity hidden in that obstacle. We might not be able to see the opportunity at that time, but if we can show faith in life, we will only come out stronger and better prepared for the future. I will end with this quote by John Ruskin –
“The highest reward for man’s toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.”

10 Things Not to Do in the New Year

I can without doubt say that 2011 was my best year ever, and I am grateful for a lot of things which happened this past year. As we all move ahead into the new year 2012, I want to list out ten things which we all should not do in the years and decades ahead. As human beings there are so many habits ingrained in our behavior which we don’t even realize. Some of these habits help us in moving forward, while others stop us from realizing our true potential. It takes a lot of conscious effort to break free of these habits or patterns. Hence this list of ten points below are those habits which I am going to stop doing –

1. Stop Running From Our Problems

It is very easy to shut our eyes during a problem, blame someone else or the situation and look in the other direction. In the new year, we should face these problems head on and stop running from them. We should aim to learn, adapt and solve the problems over a period of time. But we shall not close our eyes and assume the problem is no longer there. In the process, we will realize that we have become a better human being.

2. Stop Try Becoming What we are Not

Do you think you are stuck in the wrong job? Or are you trying very hard to please your parents or your spouse? Or are you working day and night to match up to your peers? Stop that. NOW. Each one of us is unique, and the sooner we realize that it is better. It makes no sense in trying to become a person that someone else wants us to be. Instead, let us realize our own uniqueness and do what we love and in the way we want to do it. Break these chains, and only then will we experience freedom.

Do you have Not To-Do list in 2012?

Do you have Not To-Do list in 2012?

3. Stop Holding on to the Past

An event which happened one second ago is as much in the past as another which happened ten years ago. Whatever has happened is over and we never have any control over that? Good or bad, success or failure – past is past. Period. There is no point feeling guilty or repenting over past mistakes. Similarly, there is no point boasting over our past successes. What matters is what we are doing now… So let us stop living in the past in 2012, and take the steps to make the most of every moment.

4. Stop Being Scared

Pluck those ‘ifs‘ and ‘buts‘ out of your life (and your vocabulary) and act brave, for a change. Most of our fears are over estimated while at the same time we all have a tendency to under estimate our own capabilities. So stop being scared as nothing bad is going to happen to you if you go ahead with your dreams. The only thing that will happen is that you will feel alive, maybe a little discomfort as you expand your comfort zone, but you will experience what it is to really live.

5. Stop Wasting the Best Years of our Life

I am 28 now, and I know these are the best years of my life. This is the best time to do anything as the body is still young while the mind is mature and more wise from the past mistakes and lessons. So I am not going to waste these years working in a job which I don’t like. Don’t postpone your travel plans around the world (or any other dreams of yours) to a later time. Let me tell you, later never comes. Fix a date, and go do it. We can never get back any time we let go. So buckle up and do what you want before your body gives out.

6. Stop Waiting for Big Things

Are you waiting for that promotion, or for getting that big idea that will change your life? We all live our lives planning and dreaming about big success, but the real joy is in the small things while we move towards our goals. We must always aim big, but should never sacrifice happiness for achievement. The journey is the real reward and not as much the destination. So take a moment to realize the world around you, the people in your life, and make sure to give the best of yourself to everyone around you.

7. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself

Enough of feeling sorry or crappy about ourselves. Complaining and feeling we are not capable is a very easy way to escape our responsibilities. It only gives us a reason to not work and not being accountable for our own life. Instead realize that everything that happened has made you the person that you are, and so will everything in the future. Don’t have any regrets because life didn’t turn out for as we wanted, or a certain person didn’t act out as we expected. Only when we let go of the life that we have planned for ourselves we can be ready for the life waiting for us.

8. Stop Trying to Control Everything

We human beings take great joy in controlling things and situations. But life in its most inherent form has always been unpredictable. We have controlled a lot of things in the modern society for our ease and comfort, but trying to control everything is a futile exercise. We can never control (after an extent) how life will act out, and life’s beauty is in its unpredictability. Stop trying to second guess the future, because you will not be happy when life shocks you, which it will. In 2012, let us be ready with open arms for the surprises in life, both the positive and negative ones.

9. Stop Blaming Others

What has happened in our life, what we did or did not do, happened because of us and not because of any him, her or the situation. Let us take responsibility for our choices and decisions. We must always be ready for the consequences of our decisions and stop putting the blame on life or on someone else. Your life starts with YOU and it will end with YOU.

10. Stop Being Unthankful

Each day is a gift and nobody knows how many more we have. In the pursuit of our big dreams, we should never forget the joy of being alive. Be thankful of each day, of each breath we take, and of the various other small things in life which often go unnoticed. Say thanks to the people who have made a mark in our life and who we know will stand with us no matter what.

So make this new year count. It doesn’t matter if the previous years counted or not. It doesn’t matter whether we are young or old. The only thing that matters is the present moment, and your resolve to make it count. So go out, and do what you like. Make mistakes and learn from them. Enjoy the richness and beauty of the world, even if it means getting hurt sometimes. We all have only one life, and let’s not save anything for the next one. Happy New Year!!

Put the glass down

Found this story somewhere and I am putting it down followed by my views on it –

Put the glass down

Put the glass down

Once a professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it. He held it up for all to see and asked the students, ‘now, my question is: What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?’

‘Nothing’ the students said.

“OK what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?” the professor asked.

“Your arm would begin to ache” said one of the students.

“You’re right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?”

“Your arm could go numb; you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis; have to go to hospital for sure!” Ventured another student, all the students laughed.

“Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?” Asked the professor.

“No” was the reply of all the students.

“Then what caused the arm to ache; the muscle to stress?” After a pause the professor asked “Before my arm ache, what should I do?”

The students were puzzled.

“Put the glass down!” said one of the students.

“Exactly!” said the professor, “Life’s problems are exactly like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head; they seem OK. Think of them for a long time; they begin to ache. Hold it even longer; they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything.”

The above story conveys a wonderful message in a very simple way. All our problems, in themselves, are not any trouble. They become so when we are not able to let them go, and hold on to them. We all know that worrying about a problem (person or situation) will not do any good to the output which we are expecting. But still, many times, we can’t stop thinking and worrying about that problem. This not only makes the problem look bigger than it is, it also effects other people and situations around us.

Putting the glass down is a very important task which we need to do regularly in our daily lives. Whether it is a problem at the workplace or at home, it is very important to regularly let it go so as we are really able to enjoy life and all what it has to offer. Holding on is what only makes the problem bigger and bigger all the time. By letting go, we will not get unnecessary tension and instead feel relaxed and ready to take on other areas of your life which need your attention.

So, remember to put those glasses down today which you have been holding on for long, and keep doing it regularly.

India after 200 years

We, as a nation, stand today in a moment of reckoning. We are at a fortunate junction where our actions will decide the course our nation and 1.2 billion people will take in the coming decades and centuries. If India’s history were to be written 200 years later, what we do in the next few years will certainly play a very important role. We have broken from the shackles of the license raj and taken the flight of globalization and economic growth. We are expected to be third largest economy soon. But at the same time, we are plagued by many social evils like poverty, illiteracy, corruption, etc. Whether and how we act in this moment of reckoning will decide whether we rise like a phoenix in the 21st century or again loose the opportunity to reclaim the title of “Sone ki Chidiya“.

We have a feel good mentality about our future now. Incomes are rising, jobs are plenty, multinationals have set up shops in different cities and amenities are galore if you want to go out for eating, recreation or just fun. We are one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and our companies like Reliance, TCS, Infosys are going multinational. Our engineers are behind many technological innovations in developed countries, and we are being seen as a knowledge powerhouse. American President Barack Obama has publicly asked American kids to study hard or they risk loosing their jobs to Indians (and Chinese). We have made our mark in the filed of telecom, space technology, medicine, defense, and have also started to make an international impact in arts and sports.

However, having said that, we are grappling with many problems which are deep rooted in our system because of our colonial roots and the closed economy system from 1950-1990. Our economic growth has still left a large part of the population untouched. We have got problems of poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, corruption, rising prices, social inequality and terrorism. We are one of the poorest countries in the world, where more people have access to mobile phones than a toilet. The middle and higher classes use drinking water for flushing toilets too, and the lowest segments of society don’t even have access to clean drinking water. The condition of women is still poor. More than 50% are illiterate, and there are still social ills like dowry, child marriage, female infanticide prevalent in society. Our public services are breaking under the strain of bureaucracy and inefficiency.

Can we keep the optimism alive?

Can we keep the optimism alive?

With majority of our population being young, and the kind of confidence they see for their future, I believe we have everything to change the situation around. The youth have to see this as a moment of reckoning, where the actions we take today will decide the future course our nation takes. We can feel the optimism an average Indian has in the way he goes about his daily routine, with aspirations in his mind and hope in his vision. The Indian today wants to grab a piece of this growth, a piece of future, and provide a better future for himself and his family, and indirectly, for the nation too.

So when our history is written 200 years down the lane, what our generation did with this opportunity will decide the course India takes. We have missed opportunities in the past, and we might miss this one too if we let our skepticism and cynicism about the current state of affairs overcome the very basic human ability, to strive despite of problems and shortcomings. History might say India had a golden opportunity to shine and lead a new world but instead it dig its own grave and continued to grapple with its problems. Or history might witness the rise of India, again, after the period of colonization and slow growth for 60 years, into a prosperous society and economy which will lead the world order in matters of importance. We have already shown leadership to the world in the area of trade reforms and environment concerns, and there is no doubt why we can’t give this world the direction it is looking so badly for.