Categories
Personal Growth

Being Happy is Being Successful

There’s enough scientific evidence that being happy brings success. This is contrary to our deep rooted beliefs and actions.

We have been hardwired to believe that being successful precedes being happy. Well-being in our life can only come after we are successful. The way societies and education systems are structured post industrial revolution across the globe, we work and study hard to achieve success. More often than not, this style of living is coupled with stress, anxiety and other negative emotions. These emotions are opposite of how happiness can be defined. 

Definition of Happiness

Happiness is the experience of frequent positive emotions, such as joy, interest, and pride, and infrequent (though not absent) negative emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, and anger. 

The above definition is given by Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues in their study on The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?

I feel the definition could have been a little broader to include a sense of belongingness and having a purpose in life. However, for our purpose this is good enough.

Another crucial point to note is that the amount of time spent being happy is far more important than the intensity of the feeling of happiness. 

What brings happiness?

There have been multiple philosophies on what factors contribute to our happiness. At times these are even contradictory to each other. For your academic understanding you might like to delve deeper in some of the important ones like Epicurean Happiness and Stoic Happiness Triangle

A Harvard study on adult development found that the quality of our social relationships is the most important factor influencing our long term happiness. 

There are many other factors which influence an individual’s happiness. However, I particularly like the 50-10-40 formula of happiness given by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky. According to this 50% of our happiness can be attributed to our genes, 10% to our circumstances and 40% to our attitude, optimism or our internal state of mind.  The numbers might not be accurate but it gives us a very important clue that we can control a considerable part of our happiness. Being happy can also be the result of very simple things in your life like learning trivial stuff regularly.

How does happiness result in success?

When you’re high-spirited you’re better prepared to handle work pressure and the resultant stress. This positively impacts your productivity and creativity.  

Secondly, when you’re perceived as a good-humored and radiant individual, you become socially more attractive. Thus you develop stronger bonds with other people in the organization because of the agreeableness. 

A cheerful individual, low on neuroticism will be emotionally more stable and thus more resilient in tough times and difficult situations.  

All the above factors result in personal success in the long term for any individual. 

Pursuit of happiness can be counter-productive. 

When our mind gets the signal that we are pursuing happiness, the first conclusion it makes is, we are not currently happy and we are trying to be happy. This exercise of trying to be happy will rarely be effective. 

A more effective way is to make ‘being happy’ as our default setting. By default I mean, the feeling you are in when you’re not encountering any other emotion like sadness or anger or guilt or sexually aroused. You’re just comfortable in your own skin. In short, if your default is being grumpy or tense or depressed, you should intentionally come back to being happy.  

As human beings, we are complex and we are capable of having a myriad cocktail of emotions at different times and at same time also. We should not try to suppress any feelings, whether good or bad. Being aware and acknowledging how you feel now, makes you better off in the long run.

Categories
Personal Growth

How Learning Trivial Stuff Can Help in Overall Learning

Our brain likes novelty and variety. The more we get exposed to new experiences, it will reward you by working more efficiently on the complicated stuff which you need to do in your work life. We will explore how we can use this principle for double advantage in our life – learning trivial stuff and thus being more prepared to learn more complicated stuff.

Most of our modern world addictions like social media or video games are designed around this behavior. In our hyper-distracted and hyper-connected world, the new experiences or the novel stimuli can come from various sources like playing video games, social media feeds, dating applications, watching movies and so on. In his bestseller book titled Hooked, author Nir Eyal reveals how successful companies create products people can’t resist by exploiting our love for novelty and variety. It’s a must read if you wish to build irresistible products.  

Novelty can also come from meeting new people, travelling, age old adventures like trekking, hiking, camping, diving and so on. Most importantly the urge of novelty can be satisfied by regularly learning new things.     

Get Novelty by Learning New Things

Learning simple new things keeps our mind stimulated and energized. Its impact on the brain is similar to what light exercise has on our body. In both cases we become better prepared for more challenging tasks ahead. 

There is a “novelty center” (scientific name being substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area or SN/VTA) of the brain, which responds to novel stimuli. This area is closely linked to areas of the brain called the hippocampus and the amygdala, both of which play large roles in learning and memory. You can read in detail about Novelty and the Brain here. 

Knowledge Illusion

Knowledge Illusion prevents us from genuinely being open to new learning. The collective knowledge of humans has increased beyond all limits. As a human race, we know so much more than our ancestors about everything from the expanse of our universe to the immense power of the smallest atom. 

However at an individual level we seem to be going backwards. Our ancestors, right from the hunter gatherers to the more recent ones, knew so much more about basic survival skills which helped them sail through their life. Progress in technology has made our life easier and we don’t have to learn doing many chores which were essential a few centuries back. 

Personally we understand too little about the technology being used all around us. We wrongly believe the collective knowledge as our own knowledge and we never make an effort to learn trivial stuff like cooking or stitching. If you wish to delve deeper into this concept you can read the book titled – The Knowledge Illusion: The myth of individual thought and the power of collective wisdom by Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach. 

I’m not saying that these activities are crucial in our kind of hyper-served times. What I’m saying is, the advantage of frequently learning new and simple stuff goes beyond the obvious.  

What to Learn? 

For the purpose of using learning to satisfy the urge of novelty, we should keep it restricted to intellectually less demanding stuff. If we start learning complicated stuff, which is equivalent to heavy weight lifting for our brain, it can prove counterproductive. Our will power and our capacity to concentrate are limited and these also deplete very fast. Thus keeping our learning light and fun, will serve the desired purpose of enrich ing our mind with what it needs – novelty and giving us back what we need – more brain power for complicated stuff we need to tackle in our professional life.   

We can start developing basic skills in the most ubiquitous technology around us like electric equipment, computers, automobiles and so on. This will give us more power in case of emergencies. 

There are some slightly advanced skills like cooking or knitting or driving or swimming, which can be tackled in small chunks everyday. Cook one item a week, take driving lessons every alternate day and so on. Take it easy. Don’t start more than one learning at a time. Once you’re comfortable with one, take up another. Go low on the earlier one and high on the new one. However, if you feel like mastering any stuff which you picked up, it moves out of our consideration for this purpose. It becomes part of your more intellectually or physically demanding learning regime. 

Other Advantages of Learning Trivial Stuff

In the process of learning new simple stuff, Who knows you might be developing new and interesting hobbies like doodling, cooking, pottery, gardening and many more. 

Trivial, intellectually less demanding stuff gives you a much needed break from monotony of daily life

You’re better equipped to handle emergencies at home or outside like fixing a fan to fixing a car. Learning first-aid techniques, home-remedies, CPR, handling of fire equipment and similar other easy to garner skills can help you fight emergencies and save yourself and people around you.  

You’re better prepared to live life on your own if you know basic survival skills like cooking, driving, story-telling and so on.  

The most obvious place to start with is being more focused, being more interested in things around. Be inquisitive. Be a learner.

Categories
Personal Growth

Writing Daily Journal – A Powerful Habit

Consciousness in our action (and our inaction) infuses vitality and meaning into our life. 

Everyday writing daily journal provides an opportunity to ponder upon the day gone or the day to come. It also shows a mirror to the subdued consciousness with which certain days are spent.  

In our context we will restrict writing to the daily habit of journaling your thoughts. I prefer my writings to be in a physical diary but you can have a digital equivalent of it. It might sound common sense, but going date wise will create a better experience. Going back in the past will be easier and more relevant that way.

Why Writing Daily Journal is Important?

There are various benefits of writing. Without any claim of being exhaustive, I will try to list a few for you to think about. 

It makes you conscious

The days come and the days go. Since we hardly spend any time reflecting upon the life we are living, it goes on unconsciously. Writing can become an exercise to awaken your mind, awaken your thought process, awaken your consciousness. At least for the time you write you become calm and mindful. I would say almost meditative, which brings internal stillness, which is must for any meaningful contribution to the world.

It improves your memory

If you’ve to record something, you will have to recall it. When you become regular with writing daily journal, the day gone by will flash in front of you. Don’t worry if that doesn’t happen on the day you start writing because eventually it is bound to happen. Moreover, when you have written something, it will be sketched in your memory for future.

It makes you a visual thinker  

A little effort towards improving how you write can introduce you to the concepts of visual thinking like mind maps, storyboards, doodling, story-telling and more! It makes your writing more descriptive and vibrant. 

It makes you self-aware

There is an extremely popular adage, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Writing daily journal gives you that measuring tool in your life. This makes you contemplate on how effective or how productive you were in the day gone by. It’s the first step towards improving yourself.    

It helps in habit forming

If you’re committed to self-growth you will have to dabble with lots of growth strategies, daily routines and rituals like exercising, reading, networking, getting your daily dose of motivation and so on. By writing daily journal about what habits you’re trying to inculcate in your life or by simply mentioning what repetitive tasks you did today, you’re committing to its continuity and recording its progress too. Thus the chances of the habit getting permanent improves substantially. If you wish to learn the art and science of habit forming, I highly recommend Atomic Habits by James Clear

It chronicles your growth  

It also journals the progress of your intellectual faculties. Over a period of time you will be able to analyse where you were going wrong or what was the piece of understanding which was missing at a particular point of time in the past. Journaling daily gives you a factual written chronological account of your growth as an individual. 

What to Write?

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

Louis L’Amour 

Regularly penning down thoughts creates a priceless repository of content which depicts your relationships, your state of mind on a particular day, your struggles, your excitements, your commitments and your failures. 

So just sit everyday, preferably at a set time and write. With time you will know what you wish to write. For beginners let me suggest a few ideas from which you can pick one or more for any specific day –

  • List short-term and long-term goals
  • Thoughts which are bugging you
  • The realizations you had
  • Delve deeper into the powerful thought you had
  • Reflect on your accomplishments
  • Things you’re curious about
  • List your passion projects
  • Important actions to be taken
  • Make a gratitude list & count your blessings
  • Draw mind-maps or doodles
  • What new did you learn
  • What you want to pursue tomorrow
  • The self-commitments 
  • Your bucket list

This list can go on. Most important thing is to start and to continue. Things will fall in place eventually. 

What can go wrong? 

When you try to follow a rigid daily writing routine, there are chances of slip ups. This has a detrimental effect on our motivation. Our brain gets the signal that our plan to write everyday is not succeeding and thus it’s a bad plan. Our brain has this tendency of reducing motivation towards all flawed plans.   

The chances of habit formation goes up significantly when our brain is convinced about the goal you’re trying to pursue and the plan you have to execute it. Thus in place of a long term rigid schedule, you may go with short term (like a week) flexible scheduling for your writing. Timing of the day doesn’t matter, how much you write doesn’t matter. What matters the most is you write something everyday. 

Where to start?

Get hold of a physical diary where you can start writing daily journal. Writing with pen on a paper has scientific benefits for your memory.

Ideally you should write on today’s date page. The writing will be restricted to 1 leaf because of space constraint, which is in a way good, because you know where to stop. However, if you feel the urge of writing more, you can insert a loose leaf or probably take the topic out from your diary to a blog or another notebook for capturing random thoughts.

Categories
हिन्दी कविताएँ

चलती है गाड़ी और जब नींद आती है

चलती है गाड़ी और जब नींद आती है,
सोचता हूँ मंजिल पे पहुंच के सो जाऊँगा

चलते चलते और ज्यूँ फासला कम होता है,
नींद तो खोती है और लगता मैं भी कहीं खो जाऊँग

हम मुकाम पे पहुंचे पर सुकून ना आया
जब हमने अपनी मंजिल को वहां ना पाया

सुनते आये थे, रास्तों का मज़ा लेना राही
पर हमें तो रास्तो पे चलना ही ना आया

हम अपने ही ख्यालों के तल्ले दबते चले जा रहे हैं
हमारे ख्याल ही हमें निगलते चले जा रहे हैं।

कभी खुशनुमा, कभी गमगीन राह पे रही मिलते है।
ख्वाबों के बोज के तले कितने दम निकलते है।

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हिन्दी कविताएँ

अंधियारे से उजाले की ओर

अंदर है अँधियारा, दिया दिखा दे कोई,
सहमा है संसार ढांढस बन्धा दे कोई।

सायद फिर अँधियारा भी मुझको न खाएगा
जब कुछ भी अलग होने का भेद मिट जाएगा।

क्या भला अंधियारे से और साधन है सरे भेद मिटने को
और सब तो क्या, निज को भी राह से हटाने को।

जब भाव-तिमिर घोर भीतर छाएगा
तब ही तो सायद अंधकार मिट पायेगा।

वहां प्रकाश अतप्त, निरन्तर, निर्विकार होगा
जहाँ सहज भाव से निज का विस्तार होगा।

Categories
हिन्दी कविताएँ

तेरी राह पे

बुद्धि का बेरंग होना, ना सफ़ेद ना काला
हृदय का निष्काम होना, हो जाना मतवाला।

शुद्धि का क्रम होता है, निज से निज का अलगाना
मैं का निराकार होना, और तुज में खो जाना।

प्रेम में नहीं कोई दूजा, किससे मोह मिलाना
जब और ना कोई सुजा, हुआ तुजसे मिलपाना।

ना हाला, ना बाला, ना निवाला, बस हो तेरा हवाला
पहुंचु उस मुकाम पे जहाँ सब कुछ हो निराला।

भक्ति का सकाम होना, बुद्धि का मिट जाना
तेरी राह पे चल पड़ना और बस खो जाना।

Categories
हिन्दी कविताएँ

हाल ई दिल

हम चलते ही रहे और कहीं पहुंचे भी नहीं,
तो हमने चलने को ही अपना मुक़द्दर समझ लिया।

शिकायत किसी और से कभी की भी नहीं,
हाल-ई-दिल खुद का खुद से बयां कर लिया।

हमारी बदनवाज़ी ने उन्हें रूला दिया होगा
इस इल्म से हम सहम जातें है।

अपनी बदसुलूकी को पर्दा देने के जतोजहद में
हम उन्हें तारतार कर आतें है।

ना हिंदी आती है ना उर्दू आती है,
जबा के है हम फ़क़ीर हमें बस हालेदिल बयां करने की हूक आती है.

ना रोना आता है ना हंसना आता है,
सबा के है हम मुरीद, ख्वाब नहीं मुकमल हमारे क्यूंकि बहुत कम हमें नींद आती है.

उठके चल दिए थे, बेदिली में हम भी महफ़िल से
जो पास-ए-अदब से थे, अब हाथ धो बैठे हैं शर्म-ओ-हया से

उन्होंने कहलवाया, अपना किरदार तो अदा करो
जब मरोगे तो मरोगे ही, जबतक जिन्दा हो तर्ज़-ए-जफ़ा न करो

Categories
Thoughts

Internal Stillness is must for any meaningful contribution to this world

Human mind is like a sea, mostly rough at the shore but calm at the core!

The real human feat is to reach the core and achieve this stillness. It’s not the roughness, but it’s the stillness which gives the ocean as well as humans their strength.

Humans have this tendency to get attracted to novelty. In today’s world we are inundated with avalanche of information which robs us of our attention. Lack of attention creates roughness in our internal world. It creates anxiety, which often leads to depression. Moreover, the burning urge to react to this constant flow of novelty keeps us busy in with low or no value generating activities. The biggest tragedy is these activities give us a false sense of being informed and active. Neither being informed is helping you in some great way, nor being reactionary to this information saving you any time to do some great work which can add long term value to society or even your own life.

We need to achieve the internal stillness to become equanimous in all situations. In fact, being compassionate but non-reactive is the art which needs to be inculcated and rehearsed over time.  

Here we need to draw clear distinction between being compassionate and being empathetic. Empathy generally disturbs our internal peace. When we step into the shoes of someone else in pain, we start suffering his or her pain. Which often makes us feeble and reduces our capacity to genuinely be of help. Compassion on the other hand is understanding the issue at hand from all perspectives and trying to be of help wherever feasible.

Categories
Leadership

6 STEPS FOR SUCCESS IN A NEW LEADERSHIP POSITION

Let us discuss few very practical & powerful ways in which you can gain your ground faster & strong in a new leadership position. Remember these tips are for the first few weeks or months in your new work place, not for ever. This is just for starters. You can mend your ways as you get sure footed. So let’s quickly get down the rabbit hole –   

Appear Being Capable & Amicable Quickly

Your actions are narrowly observed. If you’re seen to be a gifted individual who is above all a people person, you are able to gain more men on your side, plus bind them tighter than earlier. When present is good Human beings quickly forget the past. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display your vulnerabilities in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.         

Never appear too perfect

Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display your vulnerabilities in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable.     

Keep your hands clean

If there is something unpleasant or unpopular that needs to be done, it is far too risky for you to do the work yourself. For example, you might be compelled to fire someone, change someone’s job role, cancel someone’s leave or reject a proposal made by them. Don’t do it yourself. You need to have someone who can do the dirty and dangerous work for you.

Know whom you are dealing with, don’t offend the wrong person

There are many different kinds of people in the world, and you can never assume that everyone will react to your strategies in the same way. Neither you can worry about every one’s individual reactions. However, you should be careful to not ruffle the wrong feathers. Be particularly cautious of the people who are very sensitive in their own pride and ego, they often take jokes and subtle comments personally perceiving it to be an attack on their character. With them always say less than necessary.

Avoid your unconventional ways

You’re free to think the way you wish.But do what others want. Don’t be in a hurry to implement your unique, unorthodox ideas. If you are in a rush people think that you are an attention hungry person and you look down upon them and their ways. Don’t criticize even if you feel that their methods are old and ineffective. Share your innovative ideas only with people (either above or below you in the hierarchy) who can appreciate your exceptional thought process.

Don’t bring reforms too fast

Always be a proponent of the need for Change but never bring too much change at one go. People become uncomfortable with too much novelty. If you ask people to suddenly break out of their old habits like bringing in discipline in office timings or more leave rejections or anything which is not their culture yet, it can lead to friction and hatred for you. When change is slow and seems like a moderate improvement from the past, people accept it more easily and at times unconsciously.

Categories
Growth Hacking

David & Goliath at play in the world of Marketing

The might of brand ambassadors is becoming a question mark. Individual nano brand influencers are wielding a bigger power to influence consumer behaviour and buying decision.   

World class products rely more on these individual influencers & user communities around their product to create a sense of attachment with the product and thus creating “brand evangelists”. 

Think about brands like OnePlus, Jeep, PlayStation, Redbull and the age-old Harley Davidson, Apple, etc. Some of these have elevated to a cult like following. 

Splendid Product marrying Brand Evangelism – As a marketer my starting point is always the first P – Product. With a splendid product if we can add the power of brand evangelism then we can reduce or remove our dependence on lazy traditional mass media like broadcast, print and/or any other form of ATL media.

This need not always happen organically. We need to move the wheel. Reach out to individuals who are vocal and have got decent following either online or offline. Make them your users, anyhow. Make them fall in love with your product by giving them the requested novelty as well as the desired familiarity. Rinse and repeat. 

Like all good things it will take some time. Once it starts gaining momentum, you will be surprised with the outcome. Just be cautious, don’t stop the process after few initial successes because nothing happens by itself except chaos. You need to continuously nudge.

WIIFT – What’s in it for them –To create brand evangelists out of micro influencers, you need to know them well to think about their wins. If your business model allows, make them stake holders in your product offerings. Tweaking the product to embrace them is also a risk worth taking.

One of the most pervasive approaches is to make them affiliates of your products and thus, attach a monetary incentive to their bragging of your product.

Prime these individuals with your product’s unique-bragworthy-proposition (UBP), so that it’s at the top of their minds when they wish to talk about you in their social circles.

Where to get them? – If your product has a strong UBP the early adopters will appreciate it. Customer feedback emails, reviews & ratings on your website and playstore listings and social mentions. You can get them anywhere. Talk to them. Let them know how much you appreciate having them onboard.

You need to get more than a “good work” pat on the back from them.

Softly ask for a small favor like recording a video testimonial using their mobile cam. Or, to tweet a “good work” post tagging your brand handle. Or, post a testimonial on industry level discovery platforms like Airbnb, Zomato and so on. You can pick one platform at a time and blast it. Then move to the next one. However, never completely ignore things which you’ve started and which are still juicy.

Happiness is contagious. It can spread from your employees to your customers – Happy employees can bring in happy customers who would love to brag about their experiences with your people. Who wins in the process? – Everyone.

Employees feel good when they can create those “happy moments” which customers can take back with them. Employees need to be trained by establishing an emotion which they will experience on generating those wow moments for customers.

Customers will be happy which is the bottom line of this whole thought process. If we fail here, we fail everywhere.

Conclusion- The combined strength of many nano social influencers can exceed any advertisement campaign when a brand wish to gain loyal committed customer base. However, starting point of any sustainable marketing ideology is a great product. Followed by customers who’re nudged to talk about the product in their social circle. To further accentuate the process social media influencers in your domain can be converted in to your customers through sustained dialogues and incentives. Don’t forget that if your employees are happy, attached and trained, they can generate lot of happy customers and thus powerful nano brand evangelists. This culture if ingrained properly can lead to exponential top of the funnel growth.