Live in the present

live-in-the-present

Once upon a time, there was an old clock manufacturer who made winding clocks. He used to fabricate the inner machinery of a clock and place it in an artistically crafted and beautiful cabinet. One day after after completing the work, he said to the clock, “Look I have completed all of the work and you are ready to function. When I wind the spring, you will have to tick two times in a second (winding clocks usually tick twice a second) non-stop at least for 50 years.” The manufacturer wound the clock spring, started the pendulum, and the clock started functioning.

After a few minutes, the new clock started to think, “I have to work for 50 years non-stop ticking twice a second. That means 120 ticks in a minute, 7200 ticks in an hour and 1,72,800 ticks in a day. For 365 days in a year, there will have to be 6,30,72,000 ticks and for 50 years, my God, it will be 351 crore ticks!!” A kind of nervousness crept into various parts of the new clock. It could not move its parts. Overwhelmed by the thoughts of the tasks ahead, the clock stopped functioning. The manufacturer checked all the parts. Since there was no fault in the machinery, he started the clock once again. After the clock worked for fine for few more minutes, the thought of having to tick 325 crore times returned to its mind and the clock stopped functioning once again.

A grandfather clock in the same room was observing what was going on and it wanted to know what the problem was. After listening to young clock it said, “Look, I am 68 years old and have been functioning smoothly till now. Lakhs of clocks are working all over the world without any interruption. Why can’t you do the same? Don’t worry about the future. Just perform today’s duties and forget about tomorrow.” These wise words were an eye-opener to the new clock, which resumed its assigned duty of ticking twice a second without worrying about the future.

 

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Wisdom Wednesdays – Pablo Picasso

Robin Sharma recites the story of Pablo Picasso:

One day a woman spotted Pablo Picasso in the market and pulled out a piece of paper. “Mr. Picasso”, she said excitedly, “I am a big fan. Please could you do a little drawing for me.?” Picasso happily complied and quickly etched out a piece of art for her on the paper provided. He then smiled as he handed it back to her. “That will be a million dollar.” “But Mr. Picasso, “the woman replied flustered, “It only took you thirty seconds to do the little masterpiece.” “My good woman,” Picasso laughed, “It took me thirty year to do that masterpiece in thirty seconds.” — Read more here

“Know what you can excel at — your ‘genius points’. Discover your talent and then work like crazy to polish them. One of the most important of all personal leadership skill is self-awareness. Know what you are really good at. Reflect on those abilities that others admire in you. Think about those capabilities that just come easy to you — and flow effortlessly from you. You might be a fantastic communicator ot have a way with people. You might posses an extraordinary ability to execute and get things done. Perhaps your special talent involves innovation and creativity and seeing what everyone else sees but thinking a different thought. Find your genius points and then develop them. Focus plus daily improvement plus time. Start today and in three to five years people will be writing about you. Calling you a genius. Celebrating your magnificence.” -Robin Sharma

The crux of this story is:

Focus + Daily Improvement + Time = Genius

Understand this formula deeply and your life will never be the same.

love what you do, the money will follow

There is an old saying, which is usually true: if you do what you love, the money will come. But let’s be realists too, there is no point chasing a career that no one will pay you for.

I hate this advice, not just because the word “passion”, but also because it’s a terrible life plan.

Reason No. 1: Not everyone has a passion.
Reason No. 2: It’s a total lie that you’re bound to make money if you love what you do, particularly if that thing is in the arts – which, let’s face it, it usually is.

We also find people quoting the opposite like Steve Jobs who said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

So, which one should we follow: doing what we love or loving what we do?

The answer is relatively easy if we dig a little deeper. First let’s not confuse with hobby/interest with passion for work which makes money. I love browsing internet and chatting in social networking sites but that doesn’t pay me. Finding a financially viable career passion is very rare. We may love something very much as a hobby but making a career, gaining respect for it, turning it into a business opportunity is extremely difficult.

We find doing what we love a myth only if we confuse hobby/interest with passion gained through hard work.

Here’s a plan how we can chase this mystery. Think of all the things you are passionate about or were passionate about during childhood/high school and then answer this question:

“Can I make money out of it?” If the answer is no, it’s simply a hobby you can do it in your spare time.

“Today, however, job seekers are now in the driver’s seat to search for and find a job they love. They are more in control to ramp up their job search to find more opportunities that better align with their degree, personal goals and interests, or family needs.” — Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed Hiring Lab

When you found a job you love or find interesting and financially viable work hard, improve you skills required for that business. Use small achievements to keep motivated. As warren Buffet said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Don’t worry if you can’t find it in a single attempt, after all it is the passion of your life.

Lifelong Learning

We need to teach how doubt is not to be feared but welcomed. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” — Richard Feynman, Nobel-prize winning physicist

Abraham Lincoln said, “I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” This opens the premise that learning is a daily adventure and doesn’t stop just because school does. Highly effective people are always focused on continuous learning and competing against themselves to grow and learn day by day.

As professional careers or working lives become extended, workplaces become more age and culturally diverse. On top of this many hard skills will need updating.

Today, with the demands made on us from every angle and attention spans decreasing,  even those who understand well the need for lifelong learning, can find it challenging to stay the course.

Peter-Drunker-quote-continuous-learning

In this video Bill Clinton answers the question “What is the most important thing you have learned?” at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2014:

I think the most important thing that I have learned is that there’s more to learn. That we should — that we should all be hungry for a lifetime.

Click here to watch the full video.

Very often, especially those who have had lengthy and rigorous training, take their foot off the gas once they have qualified, or reached a certain level of seniority.

You don’t want to go there – especially mid-career.  Make learning a priority.

Read more at:

Warnings: If you get good at learning and find that you know more than most people around you, be careful that you don’t turn into a know-it-all.

At the Right Place

A mother and a baby camel were lying around, and suddenly the baby camel asked, “mother, may I ask you some questions?”

Mother said, “Sure! Why son, is there something bothering you?”

Baby said, “Why do camels have humps?”

Mother said “Well son, we are desert animals, we need the humps to store water and we are known to survive without water”.

Baby said, “Okay, then why are our legs long and our feet rounded?”

Mother said, “Son, obviously they are meant for walking in the desert. You know with these legs I can move around the desert better than anyone does!”

Baby said, “Okay, then why are our eyelashes long? Sometimes it bothers my sight”.

Mother with pride said, “My son, those long thick eyelashes are your protective cover. They help to protect your eyes from the desert sand and wind”.

Baby after thinking said, “I see, so the hump is to store water when we are in the desert, the legs are for walking through the desert and these eye lashes protect my eyes from the desert then what in god’s name are we doing here in the Zoo!?”

Skills, knowledge and abilities are only useful if you are at the right place.

 

A Manifesto for Introverts

In her well-renowned and highly influential book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain provides following list of statements as a manifesto for introverts:

  1. There’s a word for ‘people who are in their heads too much’: thinkers.
  2. Solitude is a catalyst for innovation.
  3. The next generation of quiet kids can and must be raised to know their own strengths.
  4. Sometimes it helps to be a pretend extrovert. There will always be time to be quiet later.
  5. But in the long run, staying true to your temperament is key to finding work you love and work that matters.
  6. One genuine new relationship is worth a fistful of business cards.
  7. It’s OK to cross the street to avoid making small talk.
  8. ‘Quiet leadership’ is not an oxymoron.
  9. Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.
  10. ‘In a gentle way, you can shake the world.’ -Mahatma Gandhi”

Source: The Quiet Revolution Manifesto

Excellent advice. As a fan of solitude and its ability to fuel the imagination and act as a catalyst for creativity, this manifesto deserves generous use and dissemination. I also strongly recommend her book.

Bonus: Listen following TedTalk from Susan Cain on The power of introverts:

Solitude matters, and for some people it is the air that they breathe. — Susan Cain

The Art of Seeing Possibilities

Benjamin Zander’s book “The Art of Possibility” starts with this story:

A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying,
SITUATION HOPELESS. STOP. NO ONE WEARS SHOES.
The other writes back triumphantly,
GLORIOUS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY. STOP. THEY HAVE NO SHOES.
To the marketing expert who sees no shoes, all the evidence points to hopelessness. To his colleague, the same condition points to abundance and possibility. Each scout comes to te scene with his own perspective; each returns telling a different tale.
How often does fear win over our hopes and dreams? We constantly keep thinking about our frustrations but not about the potential that we still have in us. Don’t let your failures so far interfere with what is still possible for you to do.
The book will help you learn how to focus on what’s possible given a difficult situation, rather than just concentrating on the current problem. This is something that is very valuable when trying to work with others, and it will help you improve your process.
It also emphasizes the importance and value of failure. The Zanders explain how it’s often best to react to mistakes by saying “How fascinating!” and treating them as opportunities for improvement.
The Art of Possibility is deceptively easy to read. Filled with stories and examples from the worlds of both music and therapy that illustrate twelve helpful practices, you can quickly get through the text. However, these are simple to understand but difficult to master, so you may want to move through the book more slowly.