Nailing the presentation

You are asked to speak at the next company meeting. You’re told to talk for 20 minutes about your team’s work, plans and strategies for the year. And then be ready for Q&A. The CEO will be there, as will all your peers and your boss. It’s a week before the meeting, and you’ve been too busy this quarter to even think about preparing.

It turns out this head-in-the-sand response to a primo chance to share your personal, professional and business stories with a key audience is actually (and regrettably) quite common.

In fact, the 3 biggest enemies of a successful internal speaking opportunity are:

  1. Spending more time futzing with slides than distilling your core message,
  2. Spending more time aligning with colleagues than thinking about what you want to say, and
  3. Procrastination.

If you happen to find yourself in this situation a week before D-day, remember:

Don’t panic!

Just close your laptop. Clear your calendar for the rest of the day. Get out a white board, or a pen and paper.

Follow these 6 basic tips that will get you 80% of the way to a clear, memorable and engaging presentation.

And for next time… if you want to nail your presentation, just combine the tips below with a modest rehearsal regimen, because the last 20% is all about planning, preparation and practice.

  1. Organize your ideas with your audience in mind. You were asked to speak because you’re the company’s subject matter expert, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear a dissertation or a mathematical proof. Write down your main theme and 3-5 supporting ideas. Each idea should have a specific example, brief anecdote or proof point. Keep it straightforward and jargon and acronym-free. Think about what you want the audience to do, think or feel after the meeting – that’s your call to action.
  2. Go high-level or go home. No one cares about your granular metrics and accomplishments unless they understand the bigger impact. Tie challenges and progress back to your strategy and mission. Give perspective that crosses functional lines. Think about how your ideas form a narrative. Is there a beginning, middle and end? Is there an anecdote you can share to open and close the talk?
  3. Swap the “I” for “We.” Company meetings are at least as much about culture and teamwork as they are about information sharing. Don’t forget to give credit where credit is due. Shout outs to colleagues who did a great job or helped everyone achieve a goal are essential. Use more “we” language than “I” language. No one at a big company will find it very inspiring to hear how a colleague did something all by themselves.
  4. Don’t memorize lines. Remember your main points and your transitions. These should trigger the material you want to share without making you sound overly scripted. Also memorization takes a lot of energy, which will make it harder for you to connect with your audience.
  5. Look at your audience – not your slides. Never turn your back on the audience. You’re not a professor teaching a lesson. Maintain eye contact with at least a few select people in the audience. For each thought you share, look at someone new.
  6. Whatever you do, don’t make showtime your rehearsal. Even if you only have a few hours left, make sure you do a few run-throughs. That means saying the words, out loud, standing up. Practice in front of a mirror, or in front of your laptop, tablet or phone camera. If you have a long car commute, you can also give your talk while you’re driving back and forth to work. Record it, and listen. The more times you practice your talk in the week before delivery, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel.

Lastly, if you’re a beginner at this, give yourself a break. While you won’t become a viral TED sensation on your first try, you can set the tone at your company as the person who pulled away from the eye charts and told a coherent and memorable story about the big impactful thing your team accomplished. Now, go. And don’t forget to nail it!

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Decision making – based on Human Thinking

Change is a concept relative to Time. We are constantly reminded by our surroundings that change is the only constant. Just like our feelings. Knowledge gathered over long periods is stored in our memory and influences how we feel. And that, Need is the sole generator of plans for a changing future. To adapt to any change we need a thorough understanding of the human nature.

All humans and organizations have to deal with change as it helps us in evolving for a strategically advanced version of today – Tomorrow. There are various tools and techniques to evaluate strengths and weakness and more are being built as we speak. Technology in today’s world has made it so simple to produce more than what we could achieve. The vast information is now available at our palm, and was never heard or imagined by our predecessors. This is a cultural change and a deep distinction in our generations. For this very reason, organizations need to change their dimension of thinking to keep up with the pace of the world. Human nature plays a vital role and hence we as project managers cannot use age old theories to manage projects any more. Success is no more a game of hits and losses.

For any decision to be taken, the three legs of the new thinking tripod have to be consulted. Decision making depends on all three factors and to what quantity they are used.

  1. Emotion – Feelings, thoughts, moods, styles, etc
  2. Desire to need – A feeling of non – sustenance if missing out
  3. Knowledge – Information of & about

Peggy Thoits described emotions as involving physiological components, cultural or emotional labels (e.g., anger, surprise etc.), expressive body actions, and the appraisal of situations and contexts. Emotion is often associated and considered reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality,disposition and motivation.

Desire or Need is a very complex relation. The most widely known academic model of needs was proposed by psychologist Abraham Maslow. In his theory, he proposed that people have a hierarchy of psychological needs, which range from security to self-actualization. This is however dependent on various other factors, as one person’s needs can be perceived differently by others.

Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering or learning. It is this knowledge that acts as logic between the need and the emotion and gives an outcome regardless of the two.

A person analysing the situation for acting upon or making a decision, must always have a need for it, fuelled by the knowledge and understanding, which has to be justified by the emotion, solely to find success or negate loss.

At the junction of these variables can a decision be taken, and we do it often in our daily lives, even without realizing it. Professionally this happens so often that it drives the change successfully. Just knowing how the decision was arrived upon is not relevant, but applying the knowledge leads to career success. As project managers we should be aware of this and attempt to achieve the positive decision making ability.

A positive approach to decision making as a project manager would increase the team morale and create a high respect for the project. A synergy is created by encouraging positive actions which only grow larger than the smaller inputs.

As a leader and a team player we must understand to utilize all resources to their fullest to complete the given task at hand. The days of just providing direction are a passé. Equal amount of motivation, encouragement and team spirit are required to achieve the set goals. Our assignments are time bound and so are our leaderships.

In today’s highly competitive world, change continues to challenge us in form of variety of projects. For project managers, positive decision making depends greatly on three legs of new thinking tripod. Accepting and analysing positive decision making will enable us to hit the bull’s eye and only then will the team be seen as One.

You know you’re in Bangalore when..

vidhana-panorama

You know you’re in Bangalore when….

  1. 1 out of every 4 people speaks C++ or Java more fluently than English
  2. It rains during any season, then brightens up immediately only to rain again
  3. Auto Rickshaws are more of Public Nuisance than Public Transport
  4. Breakfast on a Sunday is either at MTR or CTR or Veena Stores or Brahmins
  5. Vidhana Soudha (The legislative assembly) is a tourist attraction
  6. Partying means – enter club at 9.00pm and back home by 11.45pm
  7. Nandi hills is where the after parties are on Saturday nights
  8. The city’s official genre of music is ROCK
  9. You find more one-ways than roads
  10. You pay a TOLL to reach the airport
  11. KR Puram, KR Nagar, KR road and KR Circle are all in opposite corners of the city
  12. A street named “Church”street has highest density of bars and pubs
  13. The bus system is the only public transport actually making profits

The past and the hurt – move on shall we?

In life, we’ve all been hurt at some point. You can’t be someone alive today who hasn’t experienced some kind of emotional pain.

It hurts and I get that.

But what do you do with that hurt is probably more important than the hurt itself. Would you prefer to get back to being active and normal? Or do you prefer to whine endlessly about the past and something that cannot be changed?

In short, how do you let go of past and move on? In my opinion…

Blaming others for our hurt is what most of us start off with. Someone did something wrong, or they wronged us in some way that mattered to us. We want them to apologize. We want them to acknowledge what they did was wrong.

But blaming someone else for our hurt can backfire, as Holly Brown notes:

The problem with blaming others is that it can often leave you powerless. For example, you confront the person (your boss, your spouse, your parent, your child), and they say, “No, I didn’t,” or worse, “So what if I did?”, then you’re left all angry and hurt and no resolution has been reached.

All feelings are legitimate. It’s important to feel them fully, and then move on. Harboring grievances indefinitely is a bad habit, because (as the title goes) it hurts you more than it hurts them.

People who hold on to the past often relive the pain over and over in their minds. Sometimes a person can even get “stuck” in this, past, in this pain, in this hurt, in this blame.

The only way you can accept new experiences, joy and happiness into your life is to make space for it. If your heart is filled full-up with pain and hurt, how can you be open to anything new?

1. Make the decision to let it go.

Things don’t disappear on their own. You need to make the commitment to “let it go.” If you don’t make this mindful choice up-front, you could end up self-sabotaging any effort to move on from the past.

Making the decision to let it go also means accepting you have a choice to let it go. To stop reliving the past, to stop going over the details of the story in your head every time you think of the other person (after you finish step 2 below).

 

2. Express your pain — and your responsibility.

Express the pain you feel, through just getting it out of your system (like venting to a friend, or writing in a journal, or writing a letter you never send to the other person) or whether it’s directly to the other person. Get it all out of your system at once. Doing so will also help you understand what — specifically — your hurt is about. A little introspection always helps.

We don’t live in a world of black and whites, even when sometimes it feels like we do or so we wish.

3. Stop being the victim and blaming others.

Victimizing yourself feels good — it’s like being on the winning team of you against the world. But you know what? The world largely doesn’t care, so you need to get over yourself. Yes, you’re special. Yes, your feelings matter. But don’t confuse with “your feelings matter” to “your feelings should override all else, and nothing else matters.” Your feelings are just one part of this larger picture called life, which is all interwoven. And complex.

In every moment, you have that choice — to continue to feel bad about another person’s actions, or to start feeling good about your own. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness, and not put such power into the hands of any other person. Why would you let a personhave such power, right here, right now?

 

4. Focus on the present — the here and now — and joy.

Now it’s time to let go. Let go of the past, and stop reliving it. Stop telling yourself that story where you – the protagonist – is forever the victim of this other person’s horrible actions. You can’t undo the past, all you can do is to make today the best day of your life.

When you focus on the here and now, you have less time to think about the past. When the past memories creep into your consciousness (as they are bound to do from time to time), acknowledge them for a moment. And then bring yourself gently back into the present moment. Remember, if we crowd our brains — and lives — with hurt feelings, there’s little room for anything positive. It’s your choice after all.

5. Forgive them and more importantly – yourself.

We may not have to forget another person’s bad behaviors, but essentially everybody deserves our forgiveness. Most times we get stuck in our pain and our stubbornness, that we can’t even imagine forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t saying, “I agree with what you did.” Instead, it’s saying, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway.”

Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s simply saying, “I’m a good person. You’re a good person. You did something that hurt me. But I want to move forward in my life and welcome joy back into it. I can’t do that fully until I let this go.”

Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. It’s also a way of empathizing with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view.

And forgiving yourself may be an important part of this step as well, as sometimes we may end up blaming ourselves for the situation and there’s no reason you need to keep beating yourself up over it. If you can’t forgive yourself, how will you be able to live in future peace and happiness?

* * *

I know this stuff is hard, that it’s incredibly hard to let go of one’s past. If we’ve held onto it for a long time, it feels like an old friend. You might even feel it’s sacrilegious to let it go. Acceptable.

But nobody’s life should be defined by their past. It’s not healthy, it adds to our stress, it hurts our ability to focus, study, work, LIVE; and it impacts every other relationship we have. Every day you choose to hold on to the past is another day everybody around you has to live with that decision. And feel its consequences.

So do everybody — and chiefly yourself — a big favor: Let go of the past. Do something different today and welcome new experiences back in life.

 

Depression wont last long!

Disclaimer: This article was written entirely based on my thoughts, a person who has never been through depression, nor am i an expert or a professional help.

I do not want to offend anyone or come-out arrogant with my thoughts.

These are just few of the many tips on how you can lead a physically and mentally health life.

Hope you enjoy reading it!

 

Depression and suicide go hand in hand at times. In depression, suicide is like an irresistible itch. The impulse can be so strong, that you simply follow your body’s command without thinking too much of it. You don’t think about your family or the reasons not to do it.

David Foster Wallace gives us a better analogy:

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness‘ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e., the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames.

A depressed person is capable of fake laughing for two hours through a dinner only to go home and Google “easiest ways to get cancer”; most depressed people deserve Academy Awards for outstanding acting; and it can be practically impossible to pick up on the desperation and sadness in a person who wants so badly to die, because chances are he/she is the one cracking jokes in a crowd.

The worst part about depression is the sheer loneliness, the inability to express the anguish that rages within, and that the smiley-face culture we live in worsens that loneliness because depressed people are so scared to tell the truth.

The hardest thing some people will ever do in this lifetime is to stay alive, that just because staying alive comes easily to some, it doesn’t mean arriving at a natural death is any less of a triumph for those who have to work so very hard to keep breathing.

Depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing needs to come from lots of kinds of sources and that every person’s recovery is different.

Sometimes depression is triggered by something and sometimes it’s not, sometimes one small thing is needed to pull a person out of darkness, and sometimes everything is unable to, sometimes the only thing you can do is to wait for symptoms to subside.

The best thing you can do for a person who suffers from depression is to believe him/her. We need to offer those who struggle with depression the same compassion we offer to friends with arthritis, lupus, breast cancer or any other socially acceptable illness that they would question those discriminations and judgments reserved for disorders that fall under the umbrella of “mental illness.”

Having said all of this, the road to recovery isn’t difficult. In sharing the familiar yet unique story of one’s illness with someone who knows or whom you trust. In finding purpose and meaning for your life. And through it finding self-worth. In gently turning one’s pain to love and service of self and others.

  • Know the signs and symptoms: Most common of all are –
    • Persistent sadness
    • Changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
    • Lack of interest and difficulty concentrating
    • Feeling guilty, hopeless, and empty
  • Assess your:
    • What motivates me?
    • What interests me?
    • What would I do more if I could?
    • What do I want?
    • What do I care about, or what did I care about before my illness?
    • Where do I want my life to go?
    • What brings me joy?
    • What are my dreams and hopes

Self-assessment or mirror test would make you know more about yourself

  • Eat right. Omega – 3
    • Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for the construction of brain cells. Some of the best sources are fish (such as salmon), wild game, grass-fed beef, nuts, seeds, and leafy vegetables. It’s no co-incidence then, that Stone Age people consumed five to ten times more omega-3 fat than we do. It’s also no co-incidence that the lowest rates of depression are found in countries with the highest levels of omega-3 in their diets
  • Think right. Period
    • Thoughts influence the brain. A proven risk factor for depression is rumination – dwelling on negative thoughts over and over. Rumination causes physical changes in the brain. Being with people or doing an activity are powerful ways to break up a negative thought cycle.
  • Spending time with people who matter.
    • Depression is exhausting though, and sometimes being with people will be the last thing a depressed person feels like.If that’s the case, think about what you used to enjoy and force yourself to do it. Think of it like medicine or brushing your teeth – it’s just something you have to do. It will be worth it.
  • Sweat. Get your body sore.
    • I will run out of words to emphasize on how important exercise is to human body, mind and soul. Exercise changes the brain and is one of the most under-utilized anti-depressants. Our brains were never meant for sedentary lifestyles. Whenever we are active, key neurochemicals (including serotonin, the neurochemical targeted by antidepressants) set to work throughout the brain, elevating mood, motivation and energy levels. Try for at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week, but of course, if you can do more, go for it. Anything that gets your heart beating is perfect – a hurried walk, running, dancing, bike-riding, swimming – anything.
  • Sleep and sleep well
    • Despite knowing how important sleep is, so many of us remain chronically sleep-deprived. Sleep is like a superpower. It really is that good and that important to mood and mental health. Make sure it’s dark, and DO NOT use your phone atleast 30 mins prior to hitting the sack.
  • Chase the sun.
    • Sunlight sets off a flood of activity in our brain. The power of sunlight isn’t only protective. It also has a remarkable capacity to heal the symptoms of depression.Research has found that light therapy is an effective, stand-alone treatment for depression, having an effect similar to most antidepressant medications. Try for 15-30 minutes of safe sunlight each morning, club it with your morning runs or exercises.
  • Stay away from addiction.
    • Addiction can be of substances (drugs of all types), alcohol, tobacco, gambling, porn, uncontrollable usage of computers/internet and even cell phones. Run as far away from them as you can. They only drag you further down into the abyss of depression.
  • Seek help if you feel so
    • A health professional, your family doctor, a family member, a close friend, anyone whom you trust. But a professional help would better treat depression

If we tweak the way we live, we will see a profound difference – on our quality of life, our mood, our physical and mental health, our relationships and our lives.

“Life is a priceless gift and its journey begins with a single step; HOPE.”

Managing the lazy-and-not-so-happy people!

We all have people in our lives who make us feel just downright happy when we are around them.

They are easy to be around, they share our interests, they are kind and thoughtful, and we respect them. Let’s call them “happy peeps”.

Most of the people we choose to be in our life, our family or friends for example, should be active and happy, don’t you think? I mean, hey, why chose friends who aren’t friendly? because well with family you dont have a choice 😛

(Just as a side here, I’d like to remind you to take really good care of the “happy peeps”. Be a happy person right back at them. These folks are to be nurtured and treasured.)

As much as we want happy people in our lives, it often happens that not-so-happy people appear in our circle to gum up the works.

In fact, some of those not-so-happy people can be right in our own families.

Lots of times they work with us, or they are the partner’s of our friends, or we are put with them in some situation or circumstance that is unavoidable. And sometimes, darn it, we do choose them and hang on to them for some ungodly reason that makes no sense, at least on the surface.

There are various levels of difficulties with these people, but they all have the capacity to stir up and bring out our worst traits. Let me rephrase that.

We allow our peace of mind and equanimity to be challenged when interacting with them.

Because that’s the truth of it, isn’t it? These people can push our buttons, but only if our buttons are turned on. Only then can they WIN.

Granted, it is no easy task not to get sucked up and twisted around by unpleasant, negative types. It happens to me all the time.

Sometimes the difficult behavior comes in the form of a comment or a unnecessary conversation, so subtle that you don’t realize you’ve been sliced to the quick, until you feel the sting. I am always, always taken by surprise by this under-the-radar approach, and it makes me so upset that I can’t respond to passive meanness without looking small myself. I’d rather they be overtly rude and loathsome. Make it simple for everyone and finish it.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to get along with easy people. But it is so very hard to be the person you want to be when the weight of a negative personality is dragging you down.

This is a task, and I mean a real task, of proactive decision making on your part. You have to start with the decision that you will be the person you want to be in spite of the behavior you encounter and the feelings it stirs up.

I’m not suggesting that you just belly-up and take it. But I am suggesting that there are ways to prevent these people from pulling you into their sphere of unhappiness, lazy and boorish behavior.

These are hard things to do. They take self-reflection and a willingness to deal straightforwardly with very uncomfortable situations. If you are reading this then you probably aren’t someone who just sweeps problems under the rug.

If you want to manage these people and reclaim some peace of mind, I present these ideas for your consideration:

1. Know yourself. And know it WELL.

Define in writing the person you want to be. What are the elements of your character, integrity and values that you want to reflect to the world in your words and actions? Now, define how you’d like that person to respond when faced with the not-so-happy-and-lazy peeps.

Have a mental character readily available that you can step into like a suit (call it the “Iron Man” suit) when your reactive feelings start to take over.

2. Letting go of these peeps

Remember the part about choosing your friends? Well, you can also choose to let them go. If someone is truly draining you or hurting you and is not attempting to correct their behavior, then by all means, let them go. This does not have to be a dramatic production (just a drum roll in the back could also do the trick :P).

Depending on the circumstance or person, you can let them fade out of your life or you can kindly tell them that you need a break for your own well-being. They probably won’t take it well, but are you surprised? That’s one of the reasons you are letting them go. This is an unpleasant task, but it won’t take long.

3. Have “The Talk”

There are some people in your life you are not ready to let go. You want to give them a chance, but realize that people generally aren’t mind readers. You have to tell them you have a problem; also how it can be fixed.

Remind yourself of who you want to be and how you’d like to be treated if you were the that person. Speak from the heart about your feelings without attack or blame. Give the person the opportunity to correct the behavior. It may take time, and you must decide how much time you are willing to give. This might be different person to person and also situational.

4. If a Boss, have a strategy. Wars need one.

One of the worst situations in the world is having a boss who is irrational. You are already in the inferior position with the boss/employee dynamic. Couple that with a boss who is degrading or lazy or unethical, and you have the makings for one of the most unpleasant relationships of your life. How you navigate this is quite tricky; read you-might-end-up-screwed.

If your boss is unethical, consider getting out as soon as possible, even if you have to deliver pizzas for a while, perks happen to be free pizzas 😛

A job is never worth compromising your integrity. If your boss is mean or lazy, and you feel you have to stay in the job, then arm yourself with a calm and steely reserve.

Don’t respond to baiting or sarcasm — in fact, silence speaks volumes. Walk away if necessary. If comments or behaviors are untrue or degrading, calmly correct untruths or state that you cannot accept being spoken to rudely. It’s never a bad idea to document these behaviors for your own protection. Working for someone you don’t respect is a drag. Eventually you should leave.

5. Maintain one arm distance

A family member or relative is quite hard to remove from your life completely. Letting this person go might mean letting go of other people in your family whom you love and want to see. But you can limit the time you spend with certain people.

Stay in a hotel rather than in a family home trapped when visiting. Spend time with other family members or engage in any other activity when you are around them.

Proactively decide how many times a year you are willing to see this person and for how long.

Communicate your decision to others in your family whom your decision might impact. As hard as this may be, limiting exposure to these peeps empowers and strengthens you during the times you are around them.

6. Visualize a Barrier

Think about an invisible, unbreakable wall between you and them. Visualize their negative words and actions bouncing off this wall like arrows on a stone fortress. They simply fall to the ground.

Now visualize that same wall absorbing all of your negative reactions. When you feel anger or hurt in response to this person, imagine the wall absorbing those feelings and making the barrier even stronger. Behind the wall, be calm and peaceful.

7. Empathy – Exercise it!

This is hard to do for someone who is genuinely a real pain in the posterior chain (oh it rhymes!). But accept that this person is doing the best they know how to do in the moment. People are where they are on the ladder of introspection and personal growth. You can’t pull them up the rungs even if you wanted to. They must want to climb it themselves. Even god only helps those who help themselves.

People are complicated and have layers of hurts and disappointments that hold them back. Sometimes bad behavior is usually just a symptom of a deeper wound. Have empathy for that.

8. Focus on peace

Practice activities that help you stay centered and calm. Meditate regularly, practice yoga, exercise, walk in nature, listen to peaceful music, breathe deeply, eat healthy, etc.

Practicing peace is the best proactive thing you can do to help you stay centered when you encounter such people. Its vital to build your reserves of calm, so you won’t be as quick to react.

9. Create a pool of  your “Happy Peeps”

Seek out and nurture relationships with people who fill your cup and enliven you. The more people you have like this in your life, the more emotional and mental support you have as a barrier between you and Mr. or Ms. Mean.

If your life is generally happy and fulfilled, then a few bad apples shouldn’t spoil the whole bunch. Don’t let them.

10. Seek Help if Needed

I have a few friends whose partners are the bad apples. Oh my, this is such a difficult dynamic.

We all need our partners to be kind and supportive and loving. But when they aren’t, it’s nearly impossible to let them go completely. The pain can be deep and scarring.

Sometimes only a professional can help you navigate these murky waters. Seek this help willingly so that the pain from this dysfunctional relationship doesn’t infect your “happy peeps” or your own soul.

Dealing with such people is never easy, but it is an unpleasant task well worth the investment of time and emotional energy.

When you set boundaries or even let go of people who do not support and nourish you, you reclaim a part of yourself.

You discover energy and well-being that allows you to evolve into the best person you can be – for those around you and for yourself .

About PERSPECTIVES!

I came back from my office late last night, and as I was heading home, I was looking at the drivers sitting in their cars as the traffic backed up, as it usual does at that time of night.
And I noticed that each driver was seeing a totally unique and different view from what the driver in front of and behind them was seeing. Yes, they were all seeing the same general picture of “Bangalore at 6.30pm.”, but NOT from the same perspective.
What’s more, I saw one woman looking out the clean and clear window of her Mercedes E Class , and right behind her was a man driving a garbage truck whose windows were filthy. So, not only were both seeing the present moment from a different perspective, but the “filter” they were seeing thru (the car window) varied in HOW the experience appeared to them!
What a wonderful reminder, I thought, of how each of us has our own unique perspective on the present moment. “Right” and “wrong” are labels often used when someone doesn’t agree with us. However, when we are truly able to see that all there are are different PERSPECTIVES, suddenly “right” and “wrong” go out the window (sorry, couldn’t resist!), i.e., no longer make sense. Is the sanitation truck drivers view more “right” than the Mercedes driver’s view, or just different?
And with the dropping away of the dense energetic need to judge others experience as being “right” or “wrong”, comes a much lighter feeling of relaxation, peace, and openness.

Because I am Happy!! :-)

It’s true. I am happier than most people(almost everyone) I meet. Most people seem a bit dazed by life. Going through the motions. Worse they are caught up in some pattern or cycle that they can’t get out of. Even worse they are stuck in the groove of complaining and whining. I realized a few years ago that I have done some things and continue to craft happiness in my everyday life and figured I should share that with you. Because, heck, you want to be happy too, right?

I Don’t Look Back
Stuff happens. Good stuff and bad stuff. To everyone. You aren’t special (a phrase everyone hates hearing). It’s true though. We all have had bad jobs, terrible partners, no good rotten days, liars, cheats, health hurdles, etc. You don’t escape these things in life. They are just part of the art of living. The thing that I do differently, that makes me happier than you, is that I just accept the things that have happened, try to make changes and amends when applicable and then I move on.
No grudges, no plots of revenge, or scheming to make it better. No pity parties or violins. Life can suck. I admit that. It is also awesome and beautiful in ways that astound me every single day when I am fully focused on the present. Get there and you will be happier too.

Get Goals Man
Here’s the thing. If you don’t map out where you want to go how on earth are you going to get there? Make even a small goal and reach it. You will be happier because you do.

Make Plans
The studies show that you are happiest in the planning. It is true for people planning a party, vacation or any other aspect of their lives. The more plans that you make the more you have to get excited about. My mind lives in planning mode. I plan things I may never do, but I plot them out and see if it is possible. I get excited about the details and the possibilities. It makes me immensely happy to know that good things are going to happen because I’ve been working on them for weeks, months or even a year.

Hang Out With Your Peeps
First you have to find them. You can look at things that you might be interested in, online, in groups you already belong to, but find them and make commitments to hang out with them. One of the number one sources for depression is isolation and we live in a weirdly interconnected social world where people don’t actually have to interact with real people in real life. When you do, though, you have deep memorable experiences that enrich your life more than a status update ever will.

Dive Deep Into Your Own Interests
It’s easy to be distracted by work, drama, Facebook statuses, cat videos, binge TV, or the latest scandal, but if you start to spend quality time doing things that you like to do you’ll find a sense of satisfaction that those things can’t bring. You get to get better at something. You develop a sense of joy from your outcomes. It doesn’t matter if the thing you like isn’t cool. Who cares. Do your own thing often enough and you will find other people who are into it — the peeps you need from above. If not solidarity is anyways addictive. Once you know how good silence can be, people just seem to be crowding.

Don’t Be Conventional
It doesn’t mean that you have to have your lip pierced, live in a yurt, or celebrate the moon cycles (it’s cool if that’s your thing, though). What it means is that you don’t have to follow the lead of what everyone else is doing. You are unique by definition. There is only one you. Don’t follow the crowd all of the time. Be a little daring or different. Sure, it might be easier to just go along with what everyone else is doing, but does that make you happy 100% of the time? I don’t think so.

Go Your Own Way
Most of the people I grew up with still live in the same city. Granted, Bangalore, is awesome, but there is a big wide world out there and they didn’t go explore. There is a real pull to go to the same school everyone else is going to, stay in the same social scene, and not pull away, but if you have a burning desire to do something go explore it. Leave the nest or at least explore further than where you grew up. You will be surprised that people are irritated that you are not staying, but it doesn’t matter because they were doing their thing and you will able to go do your thing.

Let Go of Shoulds
I gave up staying in a “good job” and conventional marriage to live a happier life. I love my family and friends who wanted me to do what they thought I should, but if I had done it their way I would never have been happy. It wasn’t that any of those things were bad, but I knew that they weren’t right for me. Every single day there are things you think you should do. Obligations that have no real meaning and might actually be causing you pain. What would happen if you stopped doing them? Would the sun fall from the sky? Probably not. Sure. It might piss someone off because you are defying their need for you to be a certain way, but you are stronger than that. You can follow your own path to happiness.

Isn’t Time You Tried Happiness?
I want everyone I know to find their true path to happiness. I want them to get out of the grind of life and into the bliss. Everyday isn’t perfect, but knowing that I’ve made my own choices and that I get to choose happiness every single day makes my world a pretty happy place.

Happiness as I say it, lives within all of us. We don’t need to go finding it. 🙂

Why marriage isn’t for me.

I’m at that age when pretty much every time I get on social media, someone else I know has gotten engaged or married. The “I said yes” caption is a daily occurrence. I’m always happy and excited for the friend/cousin who gets to start a new chapter in his/her life. OK, almost always. This trend started in my early 20s, when the couples getting engaged then still got the “aren’t you a little young for that?” look. As I climb towards my 30s, I notice more than ever that I’m starting to get those questioning looks, but now people are wondering what the holdup is.

Ticktock goes the marriage clock — especially considering that I been in a good job and “settled” for few years now. I definitely understand that the topic will naturally come up now and then.

Here’s the thing: I think marriage is great. For most people. For me and few others out there, though, it may not be the right way to go, and that’s really OK — despite a more widely held notion (held most of all by my mom, aunts, uncles, grandparents,etc) that my life, in fact, is not complete until I tie that knot.

While there are many pros to getting married for some people, the alternative is true for those who decide not to get married. And don’t get me wrong — who knows what will happen down the line? But in the meantime, here are some reasons why choosing not to get married, ever or until later in life, can be a good thing.

1. You Get to Know Yourself and Find Your Personal Happiness

One isn’t the loneliest number! Being unmarried offers you a unique freedom to spend time with yourself and make mistakes and learn from them — without having to worry about how those mistakes may affect your spouse. Putting yourself first may sound selfish, but it really just means that you are eager to grow as an individual, and that’s definitely a good thing. Within a marriage, it’s easy to become dependent on one another for your happiness, but ultimately you have to be the one who decides this for yourself.

2. Your Finances Are Your Own

Some of the biggest stressors on marriage are the financial aspects of it. Combining assets, joint bank accounts, disagreements on where and what to spend money on — all these things are extra weight on any relationship but especially on a married couple.

3. There Are Other Ways to Define Commitment

Who says that marriage is the best way to show someone you love them? Commitment to a person and real love for them can be shown in a million ways — marriage is just one of them. Plus not marrying someone doesn’t mean being alone forever — it just means doing things a little differently!

4. You Can Travel and Be Social

Unmarried couples and single people tend to travel more and engage more socially with new people. That’s not to say married couples don’t — but it’s sometimes easier for unmarried people to have that freedom without as many conflicts when trying to do so.

5. Getting Married Can Complicate Other Relationships

Getting married changes everything. It can mean moving away or spending more time with other married couples, and sometimes it just means that relationships shift and change. While some may strengthen, others are at risk of weakening.

6. You Can Invest in Your Career and Future

Instead of spending money on a wedding, honeymoon, new house, etc., you can be putting those dollars and efforts into building your career and growing in a field you love. Taking marriage off the table can make room for things that otherwise may have taken the backseat to wedding and marriage plans.

7. Marriage Is Sometimes Done For Others, and That Should Never Be the Case!

If you aren’t getting married for yourself, then you SHOULDN’T be getting married. It’s easy to feel pressured by people around you, but if you don’t want to get married, you simply don’t have to.

8. Divorce Is a Possibility

With any relationship comes the possibility of a breakup, but with marriage comes the possibility of an even more complicated and painful ending — divorce. Not just for the couple , but for families too.

9. Since Love Is Different For Everyone, the Same Traditions Don’t Always Apply

Love is personal. It’s specific to a person or relationship, it’s constantly changing, and it’s always unique. If love is so changeable and diverse, then in some cases, confining it to an institution like marriage isn’t what’s best to help it thrive