From Thoughts to Actions

Journey of a thousand miles begins with the single step. I am starting this year with a determination to act on all the things which I have thought about so far. On the new year’s day this year, Jayaraj and I had almost an hour of discussion on how we are making new resolutions every year and forgetting on the previous year’s resolutions. The need of the hour is not new resolutions which is different from last year but resolving oneself to Commit and Act consistently on everything which we might have ever thought about doing in the past.

Having a definite approach how to act is a must and I see that there are 2 ways I can act, the first one is to have a step by step approach, like when I want to learn to play guitar where I have to have a step by step approach. The second one is the spontaneous action, if I have to wake up early there is no step by step approach but I have to just get up.

I will give you an examples on both the approaches which has actually changed the ways I transitioned from thoughts to action.

I have been reading blogs/articles for quite some time, however when I love a blog I try to write a comment and all of a sudden I will be at loss of words and I would just end up writing “great article”, “wonderful” or nothing mostly instead of all the other things which I wanted to write.  So I decided to take simple steps, to begin with I would compel myself to write at least 1 complete sentence which appreciates the writer, and add a sentence which will express what are my thoughts on the same subject and then add another sentence to agree on a particular line which impressed me the most. Now I find myself flowing with words when I want to comment on any blog or article which I liked because I know that I have to just follow the pattern and once I have mastered this pattern I can move to the more creative commenting.

Another instance of the transformation from thoughts to action happened at my office, this is an example for the second approach, if you have a thought just act on it.  Below is the exact email which I wrote to my teammates to ask for help for a charity.

On the way to Mangalore, after getting down at the Bangalore airport I stepped into the book shop “Relay” and spotted the book “Power of starting something Stupid” by Richie Norton, I held that book for a long time and I was thinking about should I have to buy this book or not, the main reason for that was I have brought lots of such books and I after start reading these books I have not completed them except for few of them, so the thought of this book ending up in the incomplete list was bothering me, however I mustered my courage and brought that book and I was determined to read this book before I reach Pune as I know that I will have lots of time in the evening to compete the book. Indeed I have almost completed this book and there are only 2 chapters left, which makes me feel good that after a long time I am finishing a book, more than that I learnt something which was very much necessary for me at this moment and that is to “Just Do It”.

After 2 or 3 months I had joined Syngenta, while have a conversation with Aditya, I mentioned that I wanted to do something for a long time, he replied ‘instead of thinking why don’t you “Just Do It”.’ This book which I am currently reading says just that “Just Do IT”, so I am going to “Just Do It” which I wanted to do after coming back from Vacation that is to ASK.

While working for Infosys, I stayed in a place called Acharapakkam which is 50KM from the office. The place I stayed  is a village, I was searching for charity home to provide some monthly help. My brother introduced me to a scholastic then, who is now a Priest who oversees a charity home where they foster AIDS infected and affected(Parents infected with AIDS) children. I celebrated my birthday, Christmas and also we provided some more financial help to those children while I was there. When I spoke to the priest recently he said that they needs some more help. The main reason I am writing to you now is to ask for help from all of you as they are in need of money to build a proper kitchen and to buy few more things which can help the children entertain during the holidays.

You must be wondering what is the relation between the book and me asking you the help. I was very hesitant to write this email  for the past month and this book helped me to overcome the hesitation and write this email.

After this email, I was able to generate 15 thousand Rupees which is the highest amount I have ever collected for any charity, I felt very happy when I gave the money to the Priest who runs the shelter.

In both the examples above, there was a time period between my thoughts and my actions, and the transition was facilitated by simple steps, I believe the key to Action is finding these simple steps  which can help us to create the world which we have imagined.

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To Creativity from Constraints

I was very immersed in doing something in my laptop and Jonathan my 3 year old son came in to the room and wanted a piece of chalk  to write on the green board . As a reflex response I said I will get you and then started working on my laptop, actually I  ignored him and continued with what I was doing. Again he came back and asked me for the chalk, I kept on ignoring for sometimes  All of a sudden I saw him tapping the duster against the board and writing something, I have attached the video of what he was doing, it is not that he was doing this for the first time but today I was able to  capture what he was doing remembering the context of what I was reading for past few weeks. Here is the video.

As I was ignoring him for a long time and he was just determined to write the alphabets, he figured out a way in which it can be done with the current resources, he tapped the duster against the board which created a dust over the board and he wrote the letter over the dust. He had figured out how to use the duster what he had in hand to accomplish his task. He went to be creative from being constrained. That is exactly what I am currently reading in the book $100 startup.

This book illustrates how all the micro-business where started by the individuals with limited resources. What I do when I am constrained makes a lot of difference, like Jonathan am I trying to think and use the resources at hand and be creative.  The book $100 startup gives us lots of such example of people who have created successful business and are living a wonderful life just by using the existing resources, they we not stopped by the constraints, on contrary  found creative way  . In the first chapter the author gives 3 steps with which I can decide if I can start my micro-business.

  1. Do I have a product that can be sold .
  2. Do I have customers who can buy the product
  3. Do I have a way to be paid by customer.

if I tick all the check boxes against the above 3 points then I am ready to start the business and in the further chapters he goes on explain the other aspects of starting a micro-business  I will leave the rest of the chapters for you to be explored. This book really gave me a perspective, i hope it does the same for you.

Leadership Quality

Last week I had my yearly performance review meeting with manager. The context of this blog is not on my performance but on the parameters which my manager used to evaluate me or anybody. I am so excited to share this is because I felt that this is not  just something which applies to only a professional setup but can be applied to our daily life. Here they are,

  1. Vision
  2. Realization
  3. Leadership
    1. Listening
    2. Empathetic
    3. Communication
    4. Collaboration
    5. Mutual Respect.

Vision and Realization were more of a technology discussion however I am trying to generalize that.

Vision, This is where I need to have a definite goal and a date, based on my experience and the books I have been reading and my personal preference, I will further divide that into 3 parts, first of them will be my ultimate vision and second part will be a vision for next 5 years. The third part of the Vision will be for the next year.

Realization, This is the part which is filled with Plan and Activity where I have to create a daily/weekly/monthly plan and a tracker to track & measure my progress. Based on my experience I have created a tool which I am using to track my daily activity and if I look at that at any point of time I will know my progress. I will talk about in more detail about this tool and the concept behind this tool some time later.

The Third part is the Leadership, which I am very excited about and the main reason for me to write this blog.

Listening – This is the most important aspect of the conversation, listening means really listening and not thinking about the reply I want to says in response. It gives me the opportunity to understand the person whom I am interacting with.

Empathetic – If I have listened the way I should, then it will allow me to connect with the person and understand his/her feelings.

Communication – Everything breaks without proper communication so there has to be no assumption that the others will know my needs or concerns or any other information which I have to pass it on. So I should communicate the information at the right time.

Collaboration – If we have to simplify collaboration, either I seek help from others or I help others and either of them has to be done with humility.

Mutual Respect – Without mutual respect I will not listen as I should and I will not be able to empathize and I will be reluctant to communicate and collaborate and I will not be a team player ultimately. So developing mutual respect is the fulcrum of the team work with which I can lift the heavy weight goals.

Dreamer with a Date

After a short stint at the procrastination pit stop I decided to pen this thought, My brother-in-law Jayaraj has a 10 year old son named Joe Ashwin, he is an amazing kid and he sure knows how to make somebody happy and he always has a way of getting things done or get what he wants, he will be behind you for it and finally you will be very much inclined to fulfill what he wants. Recently he got into a habit of creating models and drawings of whatever he imagines, be it a car, watch , house or anything and he always wants to know how long will it take to build something or how much does it cost.

It was one such day, we were discussion our dreams and thing which you want to have, I asked him about his dream for which he replied with very minute details of the structure  and features of the house, cars, hotels and everything. Then he asked me about my dream car, I told him that my dream car is BMW and I will buy this car one day, in response he asked me a question for which I did not have a definite answer,  “when will you buy the car?”. He was very curious that he just wanted a date from me for the day in which I will buy the car.

I know that I should have a dream and I also know that I should have a date to achieve that dream, but when Joe asked me this question it was very different, I could have conveniently neglected his question and given him some date and forgotten about it. But on contrary it just inspired me to be more specific about my dreams and goals and have a realistic date for them. That also teaches me another great lesson to always look for inspiration from children specially children from our family, you will never know from whom the inspiration will come from. This is just one of the many ways Joe inspires us every day, truly he is a great inspiration for me to be a dreamer with a date just like him.

Whom do I trust?

After the first post, when you see lots of your friends excited about it and expect you to write more . You are encouraged more and then you decide to write something immediately. But the problem with that it, if you have not used a part of your brain for a long time it is a bit difficult to meet the expectation. I am trying my best to flex my brain muscle and “think”.

Very recently I had a really bad cold, it sounds like one of the chapters in the book my son Jonathan reads. I decided to chase away the cold by my mind power. So I start the practice by talking to myself that I was healthy and I will always stay healthy, I do that several times a day by resorting to lonely place and close your eyes and go into deep meditation, is there anybody been there done that? Ok, stay with me now for little longer. So couple of days pass by still no signs of the cold leaving your body I decide to pray about it and chase the cold, so I start to pray and believe in God to heal my cold, with prayer another couple of days pass by still not a sign of the cold leaving my body.

Having found no result in the previous 2 ways of healing I decide to go to doctor for help, after a long wait in the queue and fighting with one of the patients that I came there first and giving the attender a lecture on how she should be very strict in not letting people cut the queue, finally I had my turn to visit the doctor and got the prescription for my cure. Set out to conquer the cold finally I was waiting for the pharmacist to give me medicines, there was another patient who was getting her prescribed medicine, the doctor has prescribed the medicines for week but they wanted to buy only for 3 days. It was my turn and the medicines were prescribed for 4 days however I brought only for 2 days because I was sure that my cold will be gone in next 2 days.

Little did I know that the worst of the cold was yet to come as the next 2 days were the worst days of the serious illness called “common cold”. Eventually the cold passes, however reflecting on what happened over the week struck me. I started by believing on “my” mind powers and then not giving enough time and self-belief I move my faith to God to heal me and then not giving God enough time to heal this time I move to doctor finally, but did I believe the doctor, no I decided that the prescription was given for too many days so I decide to reduce the days.

Are we believing in ourselves, or God or others who give us their valuable suggestions.

Cherish other success which leads to your success.

While I was in Sunnyvale California, I had a friend who had a 4 year old daughter. Once she was reading a text from a book. I was astonished and asked my friend how could she do that, he said that she had a great memory and merely reciting the words out of the memory. Now I see that my 3 year 4 month year old son Jonathan who is actually trying to read all the books in our house, not reciting but actually reading all the basic words and if I teach him how to pronounce a new word he is very quick to remember it. Not stopping there he started writing while he was two and right now he can read and write the English alphabets forward and backwards, he can also read and write all 22 letters of Hebrew aleph Beth and he can read and write Tamil vowels and consonants and he can even recognize the vowels of the Hindi language, there are few of the great things he can do. I am bragging about my son here to explain an very important quality of cherishing others success.
Until in the 6th year of my marriage we did not plan to have kids and then when we planned to have kids we were faced with big challenges, however that did not stop us from visiting our friends who had children and to have a great time with them. We always wanted to be with their kids and we always enjoy their company and love they showed us. We have been friends with many couples who had kids and we always had a great connection with their kids in such a way that their kids will cry if we leave their house and we are always amazed by the love they have showed us. Now what does that do with cherishing other success and your success.
Now when I see my son Jonathan show such a great love to us and do all these great things which we saw in the those kids with whom we had interacted in the past years, it shows how much they have influenced us and it has passed to our children. Just because we did not have children we never stopped visiting our friends who had children. So being in the environment you wish to be in gives you not only a chance to experience that same in your own life it also multiplies and manifests in your life. Which is exactly what I am experiencing right now. I believe the same applies to all kinds of success. To have any success in one’s career, physical health, talents, etc, we have to cherish others success, be genuinely excited about their success and be in their presence, and that will give us more probability to experience the same or much more than that in our lives. Having experienced a great success in one area of my life using this principle I examined the other aspects of my life where I find myself falling short of using this principle. May be because the task at hand was had made meblind folded, as the blind fold has been removed now I am setting myself on a journey to celebrate and enjoy the success of other around me in family, relatives, office, apartment, my locality, etc.