Thoughts on owning less and giving more and how we can balance Karma – Give more, get more

Earlier this evening I was walking around my university campus and that’s when I saw a boy, probably my age, playing with his iPhone and one small kid who was just passing by a coca cola store, which opened recently. What got me thinking is when I saw this little kid staring at one group of people having a cold cola in that hot weather. He was so desperate to have one of those, I can’t tell you.

I was born in a middle-class family and we always had to choose between need and want, as per the income. But life is pretty fair now. Our family is doing fine. But as I grew up, I realized that life doesn’t play fair with everyone. There are people out there who can’t afford even a proper one time meal. And even though the certainty for a better tomorrow remains a secret for them; they work hard every day to secure a survival diet.

80% of humanity lives on a less than $10 a day, and that is a huge percentage. Daily, we are witnessing humans creating wonders, spending huge amounts on weapons, sending drones to other planets, and the list goes on. But how these actions which include heavy investments are benefiting the people at the root level? On a bigger picture, they aren’t. Most of us are always busy, trying to multiply our money during the course of our life. Why? Just to please our inner-self. People rarely think about giving back. This self-centered living has cost humanity more than we can think of. Living self-centered life always starts with a competition. A competition to have more wealth than others, a competition to be praised more than others, and a competition about being more powerful than others. In short, it starts when one is not content with what he/she has. When we start to crave for a better car, better house, or a better job.

Once we have learned to be content, we can selflessly give others. Giving others means to give your resources, knowledge or both to someone who is not capable of reaching out. It doesn’t mean to give a beggar a $10 note. It only makes them unwilling to work and ultimately they won’t leave their comfort zone. Offer help, but to those who are willing to put their time and energy for a better world, not to someone who just sits idle in front of a temple, mosque or a church, waiting for someone to drop a coin.

I love how Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-hour work week” has decided to give back. One of his blog articles illustrates the power of giving, whether big or small. He suggests that “you can finance a girl’s education for 10 years only for $2,500 and effectively guarantee a future without poverty to an entire family.” Or “Imagine if you convince just 5 of your friends to join you in building a children’s school in Nepal dedicated to your parents (or your lifelong friendship). The total cost? 5 people x $3,000 each= $15,000.” The power of giving back individually is great, but it gets even bigger when is multiplied.

We think that by giving our resources or knowledge to others we will have less. Absurd! Whatever you give, you get back. It may be in the form of happiness, a raise in salary, a lottery ticket, a call from an old friend willing to get together and have fun or may be money, you never know. Although, it isn’t important that it should always come back in some form of material possession. You might ask “Okay. I get it. But have you participated ever?” YES! In my university, there are many labors working for construction and they have their kids, roaming around. I often buy 2-3 extra soft-drinks or ice-creams and give the extras to the kids. It makes them happy and me too. I try to make someone’s day whenever possible. It’s never late to start something good. Always remember, “You don’t need a big bank balance to give. You just need a big heart.”

So what are you giving today?

How billion dollar ideas die and how you can save them.

Do you know that we come across around 70,000 ideas (big and small) in a single day? That includes interrogative pronouns like What, Why, Who, Where, When, etc. Why ideas come is a bit technical (as suggested everywhere on the internet and elsewhere), but here’s what I understood: When we are involved in a creative process which uses the creative side of the brain like exercising, driving, or say taking a shower, a drug called dopamine is released which acts as a catalyst for thinking process. But there are many other activities which aren’t creative, but we need to do them anyway. So in those cases ‘distraction’ is the key to get creative as “a distraction may provide the break we need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution.” says Harvard researcher Carson.

But as we have those ideas flashing in front of us every day, have you ever wondered what happens to them? Most of them never see the light of the day. Few are taken to the next logical steps but aren’t executed. The remaining ones are taken, executed, re-thought, and a few months/years later, they really change us and the world.

Why we are afraid to put ideas into actions have various reasons. Here are few:

  1. We think too much about the execution process.
  2. We are not willing to take risks.
  3. We don’t want to leave our comfort zone.
  4. We try to control the outcome.
  5. Most importantly, we are afraid to fail.

So what’s the solution to put ideas into action?

  1. Stop calculating the risks too much.
  2. Take the first step right away.
  3. Live and work in an environment where your family members and peers encourage you.
  4. Be ready to taste failure. (chances are always there)
  5. Learn from your mistakes and try again.

By taking those important steps towards execution one will increase his/her chances towards success. Who knows what it can turn up into? The possible rewards after executing an idea can be: owning a good business of our own interest, money to ensure a decent standard of living, fame, peace of mind or an amazing level of confidence. But an education about how to execute ideas is the best one can get.

For those who might be thinking that “Okay! But what if the money involved in an idea is huge, then what?” The answer is again somewhat similar; if you believe in your idea and feel positive about it, then it is worth spending your time, energy and money into it. You don’t need an Einstein’s equation to get a solution. Trust me, I am following the same motto since I launched this website. Now-a-days, I don’t think much about the success or failure of a project. Once I am excited about a project, I just wave it a go-go flag. The rest what I get are rewards/lessons only.

Also, the key of having a successful business or career is to do as many projects as you can, so that you learn from trial and error method. After all, you don’t need to spend 1000 hours on a single piece of paper to get the right Mona Lisa; you just need to spend 1000 hours on more than 10 paintings to get a better Mona Lisa.

I hope you will talk less and do more with your ideas. I will leave you with one of the best quotes about executing ideas I know, quoted by Swami Vivekananda:

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, and live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.”

Are you getting ideas again? Close this blog right and take a step towards it.

Why we need to spend less on quantity and more on quality – Buy less to buy the best

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Everyone is a buyer. We consume many things as a buyer on a daily basis. But, WHY DO WE BUY? This question led me to surf the internet for about an hour and this is what I got: “to purchase something” Now that “SOMETHING” is something which I wondered upon. What does it mean “to purchase SOMETHING?” Is it like buying anything from a size of a planet to the size of a Nano- particle? Well, I am not sure! But I am pretty much sure that this “SOMETHING” comprise of two buying elements i.e. need and desire. We buy things either from our need or desire. And, unfortunately, most of the time we buy out of our desire.

So, what’s the basic difference between need and desire? As Wikipedia (and many other online reference website) says: A need is something that is necessary for organisms to live a healthy life and Desire is a sense of longing for an object, a person or hoping for an outcome. So which is more important? To buy something or to buy what is needed.Since the evolution of human race, buying and selling were the important elements of livelihood. But, in the early ages they bought and sold things which were most crucial to their evolution for example wood for fire or to build houses, sheep for wool or animals for food. Now when the evolution phase has come to an end and developing phase has started, we have forgotten what is more important to us. We have forgotten what our need is. Now-a-days, almost everyone first buy to fulfill their desire and then to fulfill their need. Just because we wish for a bike, we buy it with our first salary rather than saving it for long run or in case of emergency. Buying is more like an addiction which starts and grows from the day 1 when we start buying the things we desire. If not controlled, it results in Continues-buying. As for example, in India, we follow this stupid tradition to buy new clothes every Durga puja or Diwali or at any other festival, regardless our needs. Another example is that we buy smartphones rejecting phones with simple call and text feature just because it is a style statement now-a-days. People argue on the multitasking abilities that smartphones has got, but according to a survey, most people use their smartphones to entertain themselves which is unfortunately not a need (always), it is a desire.

Since the evolution of human race, buying and selling were the important elements of livelihood. But, in the early ages they bought and sold things which were most crucial to their evolution for example wood for fire or to build houses, sheep for wool or animals for food. Now when the evolution phase has come to an end and developing phase has started, we have forgotten what is more important to us. We have forgotten what our need is. Now-a-days, almost everyone first buy to fulfill their desire and then to fulfill their need. Just because we wish for a bike, we buy it with our first salary rather than saving it for long run or in case of emergency. Buying is more like an addiction which starts and grows from the day 1 when we start buying the things we desire. If not controlled, it results in Continues-buying. As for example, in India, we follow this stupid tradition to buy new clothes every Durga puja or Diwali or at any other festival, regardless our needs. Another example is that we buy smartphones rejecting phones with simple call and text feature just because it is a style statement now-a-days. People argue on the multitasking abilities that smartphones has got, but according to a survey, most people use their smartphones to entertain themselves which is unfortunately not a need (always), it is a desire.

This Continues-buying leads us to:  a cluttered life where we have too much to de-clutter and we finally give up, a life with no peace of mind, a life where we have no choice left other than buying cheap and bad designed products/services which requires consistent maintenance, a life in which we spend all our money but doesn’t feel like an investment, a life where we don’t enjoy a single day of our life and we continue to work hard to balance this system.

So what’s the way out? It is simple, yet not common. We need to buy less. We need to buy things we ‘NEED’. We have to prioritize our needs and then buy the best in order to use it on a long term basis. Doing a monthly audit in this regard can help. We have to avoid unnecessary shopping trips. On top of all, we have to understand this elementary question of life i.e. why we all are here and what we actually “need” to walk happily throughout the journey of life. Once we ask ourselves this question, the rest is assured we will get our answers.

The results of buying less are always positive and amazing. We need and deserve that better life but either we don’t know or we don’t want to. If we buy less, our life will be more controlled and full of happiness. Buying less will buy us the best product, best services, best time, best moments and the best life. That is what BUY LESS TO BUY THE BEST means.

Buy less to buy the best!

Living life in a fast lane and ways to slow down

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Now-a-days I ask myself a simple question – “What are the things I want to do before I die?” – The list is long and it keeps on growing.

When I thought that I wanted to become a product designer, I started working very hard to achieve that goal. Now when I look back from where I started and compare it to the goal that I’ve set, I realize that I have climbed only a few branches of the tree and the crown is still very far. If you ask me – “what did I do to get where I am today (in the field of designing)?” I will answer that with – “only hard work and doing things that make me happy”. I started setting small goals and did everything to achieve them. But did I enjoy every moment of those days when I was designing? No! Because I was pushing myself hard and didn’t give other adventures a room to entertain. When I wasn’t designing, I was engaged in random acts, like checking my facebook notifications, surfing the internet, playing computer games all day long, which are also a way to relax (to some extent), but are useless most of the time.

Since the day I was born i.e. 20 years ago from today, I have lived 7,305 days….wait wait wait….you see, 7,305 days?! That’s huge. REALLY HUGE and there are only few days or moments that I remember and can tag as ‘remarkable’ (take for example 18th of September of 2012, Tuesday was the day when I launched my portfolio website). And due to these facts, there I was, again asking few questions to myself: What I was doing the rest of 7,255 days? (Approximately taking 50 days as productive ones), Why is that I didn’t enjoy every moment or each day? The answer was very simple. I was LIVING MY LIFE IN A FAST LANE.

Today, we live in a society where everyone desires more. Everyone wants a bigger house, a better car, more money, more respect, increment in salary, promotion and what not! To achieve those dreams, we started living a life in which we are always working to get to a better position. We neglect what we have and pursue better life (of course that’s important because what’s the point of living a life in which we don’t grow). But in this process of getting better, we ignore many other beautiful things happening around us. Everything moves so fast that we barely get a chance to witness those beautiful and magical moments. In short, we stop enjoying life and we hardly know it. And that is called living life in a fast lane.

So what’s the way out? The answer I figured out and also suggested by many is to: LIVE IN PRESENT or (in simple terms) to SLOW DOWN. By living in present, we enjoy almost everything. We don’t have to wonder about our past neither care about the future. We simply focus on our present. Focusing and living in present means knowing more about ourselves, caring about everyone, spending our time with our loved ones rather than checking facebook notifications, being polite to everyone, getting close to nature and admiring its beauty, to choose between things that are more important to you, in which you find the joy…..and the list goes on.

What living in present can reward us with is beyond our imagination. Just to point out a few, it will make us more contented, organized, calm, generous, optimistic, and modest, who lives to inspire, who encourages people, and who has less weakness and more strength.

So, I am going to try and slow things down a bit from now on so that I can enjoy this beautiful life. I know it’s very hard to be consistent on this path of choosing between actions which promises to deliver equal amount of joy as compared to the hard work and dedication involved. But I will try because in the end when I die, I want my eyes closed but heart open.

So here’s a question and a song by Eminem Ft. Royce called FAST LANE I would like to leave you with.

Q.WHAT YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU DIE? (Share your dreams in the comment section below)

And if you haven’t figured it out till now from the paragraphs that followed, let me tell you, it’s me and my twin brother’s birthday today. So CHEERS!

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Your visit is really appreciated. Slow down and enjoy life.

Why this blog?

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Since childhood, I hated books. I had this perspective that people who read books, write novels, articles or blogs are boring. They live a monotonous life and are introverts. I still remember myself tagging few people as “boring” because of this particular notion.

Still today, I hate to study and you know the reason, it’s because the topics are not of my interest (which is widely a generalized case). But as I grew up and developed interest in design, I decided to make a career in it. Later, while moving forward, I started developing questions like “how to be more focused towards your goal”, “what to do when off-tracked”, “how to lead a good life” and so on. I wanted answers. This led me to follow some self-help blogs and writers (offering the same) like Zen Habits, Paulo Coelho, Robin Sharma and others which at some extent answered my questions. I searched everywhere and got many answers but the most common of all was: TO WRITE. I was amazed by discovering that “writing” was on the top of the chart. So to give writing a try, I begun documenting my routine and works (which is a short of writing, I decided to stick to) from 24th of September, 2012 (5 days after I launched my portfolio website).

I started to plan in advance like what I wanted to do the next day, next week, next month or next year. By documenting every step, I discovered that my brain had started to re-wire and it acted accordingly. I tried to maintain the pace of documentation, but failed many times during the course.

By writing I dumped whatever’s in there, in my head and those write-ups reflected my thinking level, my personality, what I am now, what I wanted to be, what I needed in life, etc. Writing made my thinking visible. It has refined my ideas. It has enhanced my power of perception. As I believe that “what you think, you can write and what you write, you can think upon”.

I still document my plans and it was only through the process of writing and to cross-check my position which made me realize that through writing or expressing my thoughts, I can always know about myself, where I stand and what actions do I need to take to make any changes. Also by writing something knowingly or unknowingly you’re trying to analyze the content. So I think this whole writing process is a tool to analyze and improve your personality in many ways. These results forced me to admit and appreciate that journalist and writers who have continued to read and write their whole life are not only making a living out of it, but are also improving their personality day-by-day. They re-wire their brain functions by these processes.

Relevantly, this book: The Shallows – What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, written by Nicholas Carr, explains how the internet is deteriorating our brain functions in many ways, is a must read.

Thus, finally I decided to start a blog only to pen down and analyze my views on a particular subject so that I can act accordingly, in near future. Some of you who might be thinking me as adopting a profession in writing (as a professional blogger), I’d like to clarify two things:

  1. What this blog is not about
  2. What this blog is about

This blog is not about:

  1. making money
  2. trying to change anyone’s life (not my motto) because I think people change their own lives
  3. getting readers or views
  4. promoting something (although I am promoting “writing” here)
  5. starting a career in blogging
  6. showing my knowledge

This blog is about:

  1. developing a writing habit
  2. expressing my thoughts and opinions
  3. improving myself by analyzing my views

And, by the way, it’s my mom’s birthday today! So CHEERS!

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Your visit is really appreciated. Enjoy reading and writing to have an open mind.