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LIFEism talks about, well, life... but with a twist. We are here to unravel the simple yet profound truths of life through articles that teach as they touch to make you a smarter & wiser person. Read one and you'll end up wanting more! Join our Facebook group.

The ‘5 People’ In The Room

August 14, 2012

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Hello & Welcome.

Humans have evolved from Monkeys.

I hope you know that.

Since the Darwinian Theory of Evolution, scientists have conducted hordes of experiments and conducted innumerable trials to understand behavioral traits of monkeys.
Scientists are trying to garner ‘insights’ into possible trickle down effects in humans.

One such simple monkey trial is illustrated below.

The Human Story

the Story of Stories…

NOW, now, now.

The scientists ended up with a group of ‘5 monkeys’ with altered behaviors.

Each one started off with the attributes & traits that come most naturally to them (i.e. getting the banana).
However, interactions and altercations with the altered (adapted) behaviors of the group made each one change / tweak their demeanors (behaviors) to supposedly – ‘conform’.

And this one trial has had a major trickle down effect on humans.

How?

It’s about the ‘5 People In The Room‘ concept.

If your life’s akin a room, you will realize that you end up spending a sizeable portion of your time (at any given point in time) with certain people and at certain places.

More often than not, these people are your family, relatives, friends and co-workers.

And believe it or not – it is this chunk of time spent with these specific people and at particular places that defines a large part of your personality and who you are as a person. Your adapted behavioral traits might not have any reasoning or logic to it but you act that way because that’s what you’ve always seen and experienced.

From the above example and the explanation that followed, it would be fair to infer that:

‘YOU ARE THE AVERAGE OF THE 5 PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH.

Why just 5 people?
Just because the scientists conducted the trial with 5 monkeys?

Nope.

Just like you can hold only a certain amount of candies in your clenched fist, an average human brain can build connections in the neuron pathways to accommodate 5, at most 6 people traits – at any given point in time. Heck, even try eating, listening, speaking and seeing – all at the same time. Focusing on all 4 senses is also not possible. Behaviors work similarly.
Each person you interact and spend time with, certain dominant traits & behaviors of that person tend to leave an imprint in your subconscious. Over time, these imprints tend to get hardened and spill over into your conscious self.

In fact, some (maybe most) of our strong beliefs & convictions are hard-boiled because of these 5 people around us.

In effect, you do end up succumbing to some level of unintentional ‘conformance’.
Basically, you do end up behaving, acting and living life in a similar fashion as the 5 people in your room.

Just like the monkeys did.

You know, we’ve evolved from them.
Haven’t we?
😉

P.S. Who are the people you spend the most time with?
Are you similar to them in some way in thought, word, deed & action?

Think Think Think…

(The Monkey Experiment above actually had a different conclusion to it – one of lack of logical conformance – more like herd mentality. However, the outcome also implies the fact that ‘YOU EVENTUALLY BECOME THE AVERAGE OF THE 5 PEOPLE YOU SPEND THE MOST TIME WITH.‘)

P.P.S. My dear friend Vishal Uderani emailed me one point after reading this post. I am posting it below because it sure applies too! 🙂
“the example itself is a perfect description of herd mentality. But what of the one off instance where someone walks into your life and leaves an impact that makes you question things around you ? I believe such interactions however smaller in number can have a far larger impact on an individuals behaviour analysis.”

Vishal’s point is true in itself and calls for a separate post. One off instances are very powerful and just like in the example, they do alter your behavior and leave a long lasting impact on you. This post however is a general reminder of you becoming what you spend more (most) of your time with.

How to Stick to & nail your resolutions

July 13, 2011

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog, be sure to read the preceding part of this article by clicking here.

You know Mr. FarmVille, don’t you?

The FarmVilles

Mr. FarmVille is this hardworking young man who’s into farming. (Duhh… we didn’t call him Mr.FarmVille for no reason!)

Mr. FarmVille married the girl of his dreams and stayed high up in the Swiss Alps.
The clean and crisp air & the tranquility of the pristine surroundings is a dream come true for many a city slicker. (How easy to be mesmerized…)
Well, so Mr. & Mrs. FarmVille reared cattle, had a neat little farm and lived peacefully.

After a few years, Mr. & Mrs. FarmVille delivered a cute little baby boy. The couple called him – Tarzan.
At the same time, a resident cow also delivered a healthy calf.
I don’t know what the cows called it though. 😛

Let’s call this calf ‘Moo‘.

As a young child, Tarzan (the boy) had a good time playing with Moo (the calf). They were the same age after all!

Both Tarzan & Moo had a good time playing outdoors all day long. Every night, the calf ran around the farm
and refused to get back to the barn (the FarmVilles were Vegans for your information).
Seeing this, young Tarzan himself resolved to lift up the small calf & put it back in the barn with the mother cow each night.

Just like David Beckham tattooed Victoria’s name on his arm to remind him where his loyalties lay, Tarzan tattooed Moo’s name
on his arm so that he would remember to carry Moo back to the barn each night.

Phew!

Tarzan and Moo continued to play as days turned to months and months turned to years. But every night, Tarzan looked at his tattoo and remembered that he had to lift & carry Moo back to the barn. After 15 long years, when Tarzan was a strong, young man and Moo was a huge, heavy cow, Tarzan, out of sheer habit by now, would still carry the huge (massive) and heavy cow back to the barn.
You do realize that Tarzan was a quarter of Moo’s size and almost one-tenth Moo’s weight.

Doing the same thing each night for years at end made Tarzan gradually accustomed to the task and also to Moo’s weight, size and shape.
Each night, he would build up enough energy (and courage) to lift heavy Moo. ‘Getting Moo back the barn’ was something
he resolved to do each night (thank you tattoo). It then became second nature to Tarzan.
Lifting a massive cow might sound impossible but why else would this young man be called ‘Tarzan’?

Let’s come to CityVille.

No, this ain’t another family.

Small Moo

It’s just us.
You, me and everyone else.
We luckily don’t have problematic cows running around us. And even if we did, we wouldn’t be expected to lift them.

But we have other problems. And these problems run around incessantly in our heads until we lift them and put them to rest.

One of these problems that of our ‘incomplete goals’ and ‘unfulfilled resolutions’ which keep doing the moo-moo dance in our heads
until we deal with them. In our last post, we spoke about the ‘BUCKET LIST way to make your resolutions’. In it, we basically put down some easy & powerful ways of ‘making’ your resolutions.
Nailing these resolutions is what Tarzan teaches us.

Tarzan did the following to tame Moo:

1. He realized that Moo was being problematic & not getting back to the barn. (Problem)

2. He decided that the only way Moo would get back to the barn at night was if he himself carried it to the barn. (Realization & Resolution)

3. To make it a habit & ingrain it in his subconscious, he tattooed it on his arm. (Write)

4. He started lifting & carrying Moo the calf back to the barn each night. (Action)

5. Gradual changes in the cows weight, shape and size were thus overcome with time. He was growing stronger too. (Repetition)

6. Doing it regularly made it a habit for him. Moo got back to the barn each night. (Result)

7. Having accomplished his goal each night, Tarzan grew stronger and started swinging on trees! 😉 (Greater Accomplishments)

To achieve our goals and nail our resolutions, we must first make a firm resolve, just like Tarzan did.
Our elaborate goals and resolutions need some physical form and that’s why, the first, best and most effective
way to achieving your goals and solving your problems is to WRITE THEM DOWN.

Writing down your goals (or problems) gives them that physical form.
Only when you can see the problem, can you think of ways to tackle it.
(NOTE: Please do not tattoo your problems on your body. LIFEism will not be responsible for this problem).

Once you take continuous action in the direction of your goals, repeating the tasks that are needed to see it through, you
will develop the firepower to achieve even bigger goals & tackle even bigger problems.


As you may have noticed, nailing your resolutions, achieving your goals or overcoming any problem might not be as trivial as
lifting a cow, but all these can be systematically tackled by:
1. Identifying the ‘to-do’ task (or the problem);

(these could be your goals, ambitions or some nagging problems you just want to get rid of)

2. Resolving to see it through;
(a good way is to confide in a family member and ask them to push you forward every moment. Motivation at each day from a loved one can go a long way)

3. Give your goal a physical form;
(write down your goals, problems. Use post-it notes, mobile reminders, blogs or maintain a book. A book with a calendar is the best since
it gives you a timeline of your progress too. This ensures you are reminded about them everyday)

4. Acting on it;
(chart out the path and just do it)

5. Repeating actions constantly;
(do what’s needed on a continuous basis. Don’t apply the brakes yet)

6. Getting it ‘done’
(tick it off your ‘to-do’ list)

7. Moving on to other goals.
(move to another ‘to-do’)
As we grow, our problems, goals and ambitions also get bigger.

Big Moo

However, the size of the problem is not what matters. What matters is the size of YOU.

Grow bigger and stronger than your problems.

Then you too will be able to lift any ‘Moo’ that comes your way! 😉

By the way, that’s what Moo looks like now.

Curious to see Tarzan?

Just look in the mirror…

P.S. If you haven’t read the previous post, we strongly recommend you read it by clicking here.
It outlines the ways of ‘making’ your resolutions.

The ‘Bucket-List’ way to make your resolutions (so you never break any)

January 3, 2011

Happy New Year everyone!
2010 is done and dusted with. We are already a few days into 2011 (time’s going at bullet  speed).
Hope that everyone’s off the usual hangover and party highs.
If yes, then let’s get back to reality!

Well, let’s face it, resolutions are hard to stick to. We all know it. We’ve all experienced the difficulty. We’ve all broken them with ease (it’s soo abso-freakin-lutely easy!!!).

As we enter yet another decade of our lives, we all have hopes, dreams and aspirations. We all have goals (we love them, don’t we?) and we all have, or at least try to have, a ‘to-do’ list for the year.

Hmph...

Hmm...

Sadly, and I speak for myself as well, many items in the ‘to-do’ list remain ‘to-do’ even after the year has gone by and we are left staring at a list long enough to be wrapped around an egyptian mummy. I’m certain we all have some sort of a ‘resolution hangover’. It’s happened far too often for me & I’m certain many of you reading this might be testimony to this fact too.

So what’s going wrong? And how to make concrete resolutions and most importantly, how to stick to them?

That’s where I came across the idea of the ‘bucket-list’ *(see the end of this article for why it’s called so).

For those who are new to this term, a ‘bucket-list’ is simply a list of things that you’d definitely wanna do before you pop off. It’s like a ‘100 things you wanna do before you die’ or a ‘things I wanna achieve during my lifetime’.
Now you might think it’s odd to bring out this concept when all you want to do is prepare a to-do list and tick it off completely with ease before the year ends.
True. But when old concepts like ‘promises to complete your resolutions this year’ and the ‘old habits die hard’ adage do not work, we need to look at changing our approach.

So let’s now simply look at your 2011 ‘to-do’ list as a subset (part) of your life’s bucket-list.
Let’s look at it as some things you want to do in this phase of your life. Some things that will make your future life better, if you act now.
Now does that ring some bell? Does that make it more compelling? Or scary?
When you view your ‘Year 2011 to-do’ list as a part of your ‘Overall Grand LIFE ‘to-do’ list, you automatically have a scary deadline- of the time/moment you will not exist anymore. This is an inevitable deadline (you don’t know when exactly, but you know it’s there & it’s Deadly) but can be sure that if you don’t do it before this, you’re never gonna be able to do it… because you’re gone forever! (And so are your dreams, goals, resolutions)

The problem with us humans is that we are attracted to problems. Period.
We are wide-awake and react when we face problems. Problems are great to get your mind thinking. Problems are great to get your ass movin. It’s true.
Without the thought or existence of problems, we are more likely to sit and sun-bathe in our comfort zone. And you all know how ‘uncomfortable’ your ‘comfort zone’ can get after a prolonged period!

So now we have a big (huge, probably the biggest) problem– that our time on Earth is limited. Let’s assume that the Mayans got it right with their predictions; that 2012 is actually the world’s end.

Make it now!

Bucket-List

So we have:

1. a ‘to-do’ bucket-list (full of new and unaccomlished past resolutions),

2. a big problem (of us popping off), and

3. a hypothetical deadline- 2012 (after which we’re all history).

This problem, now, is big enough to make me or you jump out of that comfortable chair and get cracking! Within this limited time, we have sooo much to do! Life’s short man!
At least I do get the hibbie-jibbies when I look at my life & time that way.

So now that you’re jolted back to your ‘limited mortal existence’, did you feel the urge to just go and do it?
Did you feel that it’s high time you got rock solid and went after your goals?
Did you feel the lump in your throat when the thought of your ‘limited time’ sprang up?
Did you feel a surge of energy within you that’s right now making you want to change your ‘to-do’ list title to ‘successfully accomplished’ or ‘done and dusted with’ list?

If you felt any (or all) of the above, you’re not alone. Because I’m with you in the same boat. The boat that’s headed to just doin’ it and nailing our resolutions- without any further delay & without any exceptions or excuses!
This thought is empowering. It sure is.

We have a problem. We’ve identified it. We’ve realized how it’s affecting us.
Let’s get to the solution – how to make and stick to our resolutions.

The best way to articulate and get going with your bucket-list (I’m purposely calling it ‘bucket-list’ and not ‘to-do’ list that so that it rings an instant alarm in your head) is to:
A. Have THREE BROAD CATEGORIES for your life &
B. Be SMART while framing your resolutions and goals.

A. For convenience, it is better to have 3 broad areas of your life for which we mostly make resolutions & set goals:

3 Categories

3 Areas

1. PERSONAL RESOLUTIONS:
Your health/fitness
Your social life
Your love life
You family relationships
Your personal development (knowledge/skills)

2. PROFESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS:
Your Career
Your Finances
Your Professional growth

3. MENTAL/SPIRITUAL RESOLUTIONS
Your Character/Emotions
Your Beliefs/Values
Your Intellectual space
Your overall life’s vision

B. While elaborating your ‘bucket-list’, be sure to be SMART.
Be,
(S)PECIFIC:
‘I want to lose weight’ is a vague resolution while ‘I want to lose 7 lbs by 25th December, 2011’ is a highly Specific goal. Be as specific as you can about each and every resolution.

(M)EASURABLE:
Your resolutions/goals should have a benchmark. You should be able to measure your successes/forward movements so you know you’re going in the right direction.
For eg. Measure your weight every week to track your progress.
Remember, small successes lead to grander triumphs!

SMART Think

Think

(A)TTAINABLE:
A resolution should be accomplish-able. It should stretch you slightly beyond your limits so that you attain it and also grow personally at the same time.

(R)EALISTIC:
‘I want to land on the moon’ is a an un-realistic want!
Are you in NASA? Heck, are you even an astronaut? If not, please forget having these pipe dreams! When making a resolution, be highly realistic. Forget the moon, try landing on Antarctica first!

(T)IME-BOUND:
Go by the clock; by the date. This is paramount for you & your success.

Before doing any of the above, do one thing that just must be done (if you’re not yet doing it).
And that is to THINK.
Think about your life.
Where are you now?
Where did you start?
Where are you headed?
What is it that you really, truly, deeply, madly want out of life?
What do you need to get them?
Tough questions that will give you answers to truly transform your life!

Think about the 3 BROAD CATEGORIES of your life and think about the areas which need your immediate attention. Then, think about each of these areas and what you want to truly accomplish in each. Then be SMART. And then, blast off!!! Act!!! Just do it!!!

In Brief,
– Start with the end in mind
– Shock yourself by realizing each moment that your ‘time is limited’
– Create resolutions based on your life’s bucket-list
– Be SMART
– Think Hard
– Act
These were just lateral ways to make your resolutions (and make yourself strong enough to never break them).
Sticking to them is another issue- coming up in the next post!

I sincerely hope this write-up got you thinking.
I hope it shocked you enough to get up and get cracking at your ‘bucket-list’.
I hope it’s got you charged up and empowered to go ahead & seize your resolutions.
I hope it’s got you out of the 2010 resolution hangover.

I hope…

(Let’s use the comment board at the bottom of the page to discuss and try to resolve any other resolution/goal related problems. 2012 is not too far you see!)
😉

*’bucket-list’: We all know what a bucket is – and so this phrase appears rather odd. Why should a ‘bucket-list’ be associated with things to d before you die?
The link between buckets and death was made by at least 1785, when the phrase was defined in Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:
“To kick the bucket, to die.”
One theory as to why, albeit with little evidence to support it, is that the phrase originates from the notion that people hanged themselves by standing on a bucket with a rope around their neck and then kicking the bucket away.

We also wrote a new year resolution article in 2009 (it’s still inspiring all those who read it). Read it here.

If you’ve just stumbled upon this blog, do join our Facebook Group here & spread the post.

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How to achieve your goals- football style!

June 19, 2010

Vuvuzela trumpets here, vuvuzela trumpets there, vuvuzela trumpets everywhere!!!
Jabulani (the official world cup soccer ball) seems to be bending too much through the air!
The best teams suffering humiliating losses to the underdogs!(Did we hear someone blame the Jabulani?)

The Ultimate Goal

That’s the FIFA 2010 World Cup for you till now!

LIFEism is back – we were just practicing ‘being’ and observing life. 🙂

So you have dreams, aspirations & ideas.
You have desires, drives and determination.
You have strategies, plans and you have goals!

But so does the game of football!

So you have a team of 11 players, all working in unison, trying to steer that round thing into a net guarded by a jumping jack belonging to the other 11. Guiding the ball past the opponents, through the earsplitting noise of the spectators (and Vuvuzelas) and passing it to a supporting player is no easy task.

Carefully planned formations can’t do a thing when they don’t work in harmony. However, even the best formation of opponents can be broken by a free kick blinder that goes right into the goal. (Rooney anyone?)

Sometimes, a substitute player turns out to be the dark horse. Sometimes, a stroke of bad luck could send you off the field. (Still fancy being red-carded?) Sometimes, a stroke of good luck could yield a penalty shot- resulting in a goal. Sometimes even the referee misses to notice the ‘hand of god’* at work!

A ‘win’ is very emotional. It encapsulates all that the team wanted & all it did to get there.

And that- my friends- is exactly what you’re playing.

You are trying to guide yourself to a ‘win’.
You are trying to pursue & achieve that one, elusive ‘goal’.

YOU
You are the Brazils, the Argentina’s, the England’s or the Spain’s (or Switzerland, if we see your loyalties moving!). You all want to reach the Jabulani ball (your goal) to the nets (to completion/ fulfillment).

A broad Plan

PLANS
You have a perfect blend of traits, characteristics, habits, ideas, strategies, forces & action-plans. These and many more form your core team of defenders, mid-fielders and strikers. The formation you make with these key players is what decides how fast or how smoothly you can get to your goal.

OBSTACLES
However, do realize that there are an equal and opposite number of these in your environment (the other 11) – call them the sense of fear,  the circumstances, the detractors, the negative thinkers, the jealous cats, the party-spoilers that are a hindrance to you reaching your goal. You’ll find many such on your path to achieving your goal. The idea is to channel your energies on guiding the ball past them with all your skill and might. Learn everything you can, sharpen your skills, jump each hurdle and then go for the kill.


FOCUS

The resounding PE-PE of the Vuvuzela trumpets and the screeching spectators are the many distractions on your path to your goal. They can easily take you off track, you can easily lose focus. There is anyways a lot of noise in today’s hot, flat and crowded world. Everyone is vying for your attention. Look only where you must. Remember- ‘focus’ is key.

LAWS
You also have the referee to play spoilt sport- who represents the fundamental laws of nature, science, business & life that govern every move you make towards your goal.

Limits

Break them and get ready for the red-card (setbacks, disappointments, downfalls, failures). These laws also call out a ‘foul’ when you go off your limits. They remind you that you must work towards your goal but stay within acceptable norms. They correct you when you go wrong.

Sometimes you may also have to substitute your styles of functioning to suit your action plans. A substitute player (in the form of different skill-sets, different approaches) may prove to be the missing link to your goal. However, every foul / card must strengthen your resolve to put in more fire-power and go towards the net.

CHANCE
But sometimes, and I say SOMETIMES, even the inexplicable ‘luck’ comes into the picture. Life may offer you a penalty shot right to your goal- a strong contact, a lottery, a helping hand, basically anything that gets you very close to your goal. You can actually see the ‘hand-of-god’* at work.

GOAL

GOAL!!!
When you channel all your energies in one direction, you also easily cross the last obstacle- the goalkeeper. This guy could represent all your deepest, most pressing fears & inhibitions. This is where you ‘conquer’ them all.
I don’t need to elaborate the feelings experienced on reaching your goal.

The euphoria that takes over is what makes the process of achieving goals ohh-so-amazing! (Take some inspiration from the players and their unique style of goal celebration).

CELEBRATION
What happens when a team wins a match?

They work harder to win even bigger matches and beat even better teams.

Remember you are a team. You are a culmination of many traits, habits, characteristics. You, like every other being, have unlimited needs/ wants/ desires. You thus have many more goals to hit!

So go ‘waka-waka’, play more, coz the more you play, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you win!

If you ever find it difficult to achieve your goals and don’t have this article for inspiration, just watch a football match.

Chances are that your goals are easier than theirs! 🙂

Watch this amazing video which shows how different players (forces within your control & beyond) interact to score a goal!

*’hand-of-god’: One of the most famous (and controversial) goals of all time by the Argentinian ‘Maradona’ where he scored with his hand. It went un-noticed. It’s what we call the ‘stroke of luck’ in your journey towards your goals! Click here to view the ‘hand-of-god’ goal.

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How to enhance your LUCK! (the mysterious secret of success)

February 27, 2010

By now, I’m certain that the concepts of Geology from the last post must have sunk in. You know that Geology and Success are so closely related, don’t you?
For those of you who’ve just stumbled upon this blog and have missed the last post, click here to read what success is all about before you read any further.

So there are Internet Gurus and there are Success Secrets; there are life coaches and there are smart marketers, all of who promise an elusive, ‘secret’ formula that will propel you to tizzying heights in your life, career, marriage, blah and blah. And yes, they charge a bomb!

But since you’ve read the first part (Success is all about ___ & ___) and have come to realize what you truly need to do to succeed, here’s the next, mysterious secret- for free.

This secret is called luck.
L – U – C – K, a simple four letter word that’s always intrigued mortals. Yet, few people understand it. Most just attribute it to chance or a coin flip.

Simply put,
‘Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity

& it is also

‘being at the right place at the right time‘.

You might think that from the 4 underlined words, only preparation seems under your control; opportunity, right place and right time are, well, a matter of luck.

But if Richard Wiseman, author of the ‘Luck Factor’ is to be believed, you hold the strings of the right opportunity, right place and right time too!

Luck was and still is a mystery for most of us, right? So lets make ‘Luck’ a lil easier for you. Lets take the mystery out of it and look at 3 simple yet extremely powerful ways to enhance your LUCK!

1. NETWORK & EXPERIMENT
– One of the best and easiest ways to enhance your chance opportunities is to know a large number of people from diverse backgrounds. The more contacts you make, the more doors you create for luck to knock. Look at the migratory birds for example. They drop food grains and seeds whenever and wherever they fly. Each seed has the potential to grow into a tree!
– Be open to new experiences and events. When you go to a restaurant, don’t just stick to the tried and tested. Try out the new stuff instead. Experiment some more.

2. BE INTUITIVE & EXPECT GOOD LUCK
– Many times we go against our will (either to please others or to avert the feeling of fear). But most often we realize that our intuitions and gut feelings were indeed right!
– When people start of any task without confidence and without persevering hard enough, they are actually planning to fail. Why not start of positively even if chances of success are slim?

3. LEARN TO MORPH
This thing here means to ‘transform’ and to ‘change’ with ease. Dwell not on ‘what is not’ but on ‘what can be’. Take steps to morph areas of your life by incorporating principles 1 & 2. Remember, Change is the only constant. Do not be too rigid.


Feeling Lucky already?
I always do when I look at life with these 3 principles in mind.

In a nutshell,
– Drop your seeds everywhere
Remember, mankind’s greatest inventions happened only when some wacko decided to experiment
Listen to your gut… chances are you’ll get lucky
Expect success
Change, Morph


Remember, they will do more good to you than you can even imagine.

So do not blame luck ever again. Because if you do, you’re just blaming yourself!

Go,
Get Lucky folks!

(Got any lucky stories that might add on to this post? Do share them in the comment box.)

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Success is all about ____ & ____

December 8, 2009

Shawshank Redemption is a 1994                  
Hollywood movie. It was released alongside The Forrest Gump (a mega hit) and went practically unnoticed for some time until it was released on Home Video.

In the movie, the lead protagonist Andy Dufresne is imprisoned for life for a crime he has not committed. While in prison, Andy is befriended by Ellis Boyd Redding “Red” who is one of the oldest and most ‘influential’ inmates.

Andy spends his time in prison reading and carving out neat rock figures using a small rock hammer he acquires. He seemed to have a liking for Geology. He spends a lot of his time alone. No one knows what’s going on in his head. There is a mystery that surrounds him.

After 19 long years, Andy Dufresne escapes from Shawshank prison.
Over the years, he secretly digs a tunnel out of his cell with the rock hammer. He achieves success… he is free…

It’s not that the other inmates were enjoying their stay in there. Hell no.
It’s obvious every other prisoner wanted to be free.

But only Andy got free.

So what set Andy apart from the other inmates?

The answer is ingeniously wrapped in the word ‘Geology’ that has a blink-and-a-miss mention in the movie.

Geology is the study of the effect of pressure on
materials in the earth’s surface over a period of time. Carbon atoms, acted upon by pressure, temperature changes and time, turn into precious diamonds.

Andy was focused.
He applied pressure with his rock hammer.
He did this for 19 long years.
He didn’t get diamonds. He got freedom.
He was successful. Don’t you think?

Look at the lives of all the successful people around you.
Look at your role models. Look at anyone you want to emulate (for good).
Look at success as a whole.

Success may have many definitions, but it has two things in common.

SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT TIME AND PRESSURE.

I repeat:
SUCCESS IS ALL ABOUT TIME AND PRESSURE.

The Taj Mahal took years & years and a whole lot of effort to become the marvel that it is.

Richard Branson (Virgin Group Chairman) started off at age 16 and over the years, built an empire spanning all possible industries.

Michael Phelps always goes for Gold. This swimmer spends half a day in the pool and is today the world’s best swimmer.

No words can embody the work done by Mother Teresa for humanity. For over 45 years, her painstaking efforts have given a new life to countless individuals.

Ask Arnold Schwarzenegger about bodybuilding and his Mr. Olympia titles. I’m certain he will talk about time and pressure.

Michael Jackson, Bill Gates, Donald Trump,  Einstein, etc are all success stories. Even Hitler was a success (success has many definitions, remember?).

All the above successes were focused on what they wanted. That is a prerequisite for success.

Success

Success

But it’s surely not enough.

Success is about persevering and doing whatever it takes.
Success is about facing the challenges as they come.
Success is about being ready with a rock hammer and striking continuously.
Success is about applying pressure… incessantly.
Success is about putting in a lot of time and yet being ready to put in more.

People who find it difficult to achieve success are either not putting in enough time or not persevering enough or both. Analyze for yourself.

So whenever you think about getting successful or want to emulate a success story, remember that you need to put in a great deal of time and apply a whole lot of pressure.

Remember Andy.
It took him 19 years & a rock hammer to get free.

He knew Geology.
He was successful.

P.S.
There are loads of web wizards, self proclaimed gurus and master coaches who will ask you to shell out thousands of dollars for what they call a ‘SECRET TO SUCCESS’ formula. Well, you already know part of it 😉
To know the other part, wait for the next post.

Remember, there are no secrets. There’s only focus and hard work.

I can’t help but put up the trailer of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. This movie alone has a thousand and one lessons on life. We will explore them in detail some time in the near future.
In the mean time, help us spread these articles to people who may benefit from them. Join our Facebook group or follow us on Twitter.

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whY sO seriouS?

August 24, 2009

Seen The Dark Knight? (Yes/No/Maybe/Can’t Say)

The late Heath Ledger played the Joker as a psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy. His role is hailed as one of the best performances ever by any artist in the history of Hollywood.

Christopher Nolan (the maker of The Dark Knight) used an interesting campaign to market the movie. It was called the ‘why so serious?’ campaign.

y so srs?In the movie, you see the Joker as this mad-max who’s got ‘nothing planned’ and just goes about creating havoc in a bid to kill Batman and get loads of moolah for it. He basically wants to have a gooood time at the expense of others. On the other hand, Batman and Gotham city police are out there to clear the mess. They have a plan and are pretty serious about it.

DICTIONARY MEANING OF SERIOUS:
1. Requiring effort or concentration; complex and not easy to answer or solve;
2. Completely lacking in playfulness;
3. Concerned with work or important matters rather than play or trivialities.

The above definitions of ‘sErIoUs’ put me in a tizzy. Because even though the Joker was the one questioning everyone’s seriousness, he too, was pretty serious! Don’t you think?

The point here is simple.
Even though the Joker thought he was just going about kabooming-kazooing for fun, he had a purpose. He had something in mind. He had what we call a ‘plan’  (to kill Batman) contrary to what is made to believe.

Was he serious?
Oh I can bet a million bucks that he was abso-freakin-lutely serious!
And how can I say it with so much conviction?
Because he just had a different approach to being serious. And no matter how absurd it may sound, he was having fun being serious. Most will think that it completely opposes the definitions above, but it doesn’t.

– How can you (with pin-point accuracy) envision, plan and implant bombs unless you don’t put in effort and concentration?
– How can you hogwash an entire city without being focused on a single target?
– How can you kill two birds with one stone without a proper aim?
– How can you accomplish all of the above and yet- have fun?

Simple.
You got to be serious man! Period.

In a nutshell, this Joker dude was having some ‘serious fun’.

Seriously?
The take-away here is that no matter what you want in life (materialistic, spiritual, mental, or Batman) you got to be serious! You can have fun while being serious (Joker) or you can be seriously serious (Batman). The choice is yours, if you really want something.
If you’re not serious enough, you’re either not inclined or you’re  just having a bloody good time.

So the next time you have someone creep up to you and pop the ‘Why are you so serious about this’ query, tell them the Joker told you to be so… 😉

(On the flipside, I see a lot of people who are just generally ‘SERIOUS’ in life— the bored janes, the no-fun types, who are always anxious about anything and everything that life serves them. In that case, don’t be so darn serious mates, life’s short and there are enough occasions for us to get serious. At other times, enjoy, because you get life just once! That’s why we have previously said, PLEASE DON’T STOP THE MUSIC! Read this ‘not-so-serious’ article here)

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