What a beautiful and inspiring quote by George Bernard Shaw 

  

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. 

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.

I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.

-George Bernard Shaw 

What a beautiful thought and a clear philosophy to live your life by. I chanced upon this in a Robin Sharma video and was mesmerized by the words and it’s call to action. 

Life is about burning brightly each day. Robin Sharma in his video asks in a similar vein, what would you do if it was the last year of your life? 
How can we make each day epic and burn so brightly and own each minute as a magical gift. To be completely in the moment and be a beacon of energy and positivity doing what we love with unending passion and fun. 

Great thoughts…

  

20 Quotes every designer will love!!

 

Here’s a collection of wisdom converted into visuals. These are curated mainly from Pinterest and I don’t know the source for most. Each of them inspire and sympathise.Many of the visual quotes/ phrases connect and summarise the thoughts of a creative individual. Have fun browsing and add your list to them.

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A beautiful story about karma

what goes around, comes around

 

I love stories that expound the philosophy of Karma, stories that embody the spirit of “what goes around comes around”. Even better when it happens instantly or within our lifetime.

The landlord for our older Mumbai office was a wonderful human being and had an aura of goodness surrounding him. On one of my conversations to him he recounted a beautiful story about his life which impacted me deeply.

He lived in a flat in Mumbai and like many apartments the complex had a society of which he was the association president. In this society there was a young man who was a party addict. He would come back at 3 am often after clubbing, drunk, boisterous and wake many of the people in the apartments with the din. After much nuisance, the association met and decided that after a warning, they should ask him to leave. It was unanimous.

My landlord was worried for this young lad even though he didn’t know him and would stay up every night watching from his window till he would come home. Upon spotting the party animal arriving, he would tip toe down whisper to him to keep silence and escort him to his flat and ensure the night passed without incident. This happened for nights on end tirelessly till one day, the young man felt guilty that this old man would be waiting up for him.

After weeks, gradually he started coming home earlier and then finally sobered up just because of the guilt of having a stranger stay awake to ensure he would be okay. He came home and thanked the landlord for everything and said he had changed his life just with his perseverance and care. He said he was going abroad to pursue his higher education and had decided to get serious about his life and do something with it. They hugged and my landlord thought he would never hear of him again.

5 years later, the landlords son who was a computer engineer left for Canada for a dream job in a software company. Leaving the proud family, he set off to a new beginning. Reaching Canada, the company who hired him realised there was some error in the hire and felt he was of the wrong profile. They politely told him the job offer was revoked and he could go back and they would reimburse the ticket. The son was shattered and didnt know what to do. He felt ashamed to inform the family and let everyone back home know of the situation. He decided to go and spend as much time praying and sitting at the mosque. For days, this was his routine.

One day, an old man who would frequent the mosque approached him and sat beside him. He asked him what was wrong, because he could tell from his face that there was something not in order. He said he often wondered what a young man like him was spending all his days here looking distraught. The landlord’s son recounted his tale and his misfortune and the old man listened intently. At the end of the sharing, he mentioned that he knew a friend’s son who has a software company and he could try and arrange a meeting quickly or at least get some advice and direction for the boy.

A few days later, the landlord’s son walked into a large plush software company office. The receptionist led him into the CEOs room for a quick meeting. As he sat down, the CEO started the interview without missing a beat. As he asked him questions, he asked about his hometown. Since they were both from mumbai, for polite conversation he asked where he stayed, and then which colony and where and each time exclaimed “I am also from there”. Till they realised they lived in the same flat. When asked what the name of his father was and just as the young man answered, the CEO jumped up from his seat, swung around the table and hugged him tight. He told him that his father was the reason behind who he is today. The confused son looked stunned as he was hired immediately without batting an eyelid. The CEO was the party going youth from the colony who his father had stayed awake for.

The young man was hired instantly and over the years proved his mettle and worthiness. Today, he is the vice president of the company and an extremely successful individual. All this because long ago, his father stayed awake for a stranger to make sure he didn’t get into trouble! That for me was a simple live example of the personification of Karma.

I loved that story and it got me thinking that the biggest asset we can give our kids beyond wealth and riches is a legacy of goodwill by touching hundreds of lives.

my Bucket List of 50 and how to make one

bucket-list

This is my bucket list.

Though its a bucket list, I would really love to tick everything on this list in the next 5 years! I probably would add 50 more as the years go by on this wish list. 

A bucket list helps us to trigger and bring to life so many simple pleasures we may forget as we get caught up in day to day life. The list makes us look inwards and find what really will bring a smile to ourselves and sets in motion a chain of events that make them come alive.

Sometimes some of the wildest dreams come true when they are put out into the world. I had shared my list earlier and 2 items magically came alive because friends read them. One friend read kilimanjaro on the list and planned a trip and called me to join and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I had penned that I wanted to fly a plane and never imagined that would come true during a holiday where another friend organised a jaw dropping ride through clouds with me at the controls.

Go ahead and write a bucket list now and share it with the world. It’s going to come alive!

1.Write and illustrate a children’s book

2.Climb Kilimanjaro

3.Do a series of large format paintings

4.Have an exhibition of my paintings

5.Write and direct a movie

6.Do a road trip through Italy with my wife and kids

7.Take a romantic vacation in Venice

8.Skydive

9.Take a month off and travel alone with a camera, a sketchbook and a backpack and publish a book on the experiences

10.Go to a U2 concert

11.Meet Bono

12.Meet Richard Branson and pick his brains on entrepreneurship

13.Run a full marathon

14.Learn to cook like a chef

15.Own a holiday home in Spain

16.Learn arabic and mandarin

17.Do a stand up comedy act

18.Learn pottery and glazing and have my own kiln at home

19.Own a Porsche Panamera

20.Snorkel in the great barrier reef 

21.Publish a book on “The world’s worst puns”

22.Have a six pack

23.Visit Disneyland with my kids

24.Fly a plane

25.Host a radio show

26.Write a motivational book

27.Speak to an audience of 1000 or more

28.Sponsor and educate 100 children through high school

29.Learn bonsai

30.Watch a football match final live with Barcelona playing

31.Watch a cricket world cup live with India playing

32.Meet Lionel Messi

33.Meet MS Dhoni

34.Watch an Opera

35.See Cirque de Soliel perform live

36.Do theatre and act in a play and design the stage and production

37.Launch my own line of furniture

38.Do the Serengeti safari

39.Travel to Cyprus

40.Do Vipassana meditation

41.Own a cafe

42.Visit Vegas

43.Learn to ski in the alps

44. Go white water rafting

45.Bungee jump

46.Lose 20 kilos

47.Meet Jack Canfield and attend his seminar

48.Attend a Tony Robbins seminar and meet him

49.Vist the Kyoto zen gardens

50.Do a boys bike trip in Ladakh with my best friends

Some links to help you make a bucketlist

ideas of other peoples lists listed by popularity

and 500 more ideas

the how of bucket lists

1000s of bucket list ideas here

step by step on how to make a bucket list

4 books that every entrepreneur must read

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I love reading and devour books in search for knowledge, ideas and paradigm shifts in my thinking. As an entrepreneur, books become a hunting ground for feeding on new ideas and thoughts to push me out of my comfort zone.
From the 100s of books I have read and dissected, 4 stand out for their effectiveness and impact they have had.

Here’s a short review and summary of these books and the reason why you should get a copy, read it and gift it to every entrepreneur you know.


1. Think and grow rich- Napolean Hill

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This is the Bible for every entrepreneur and the great grandfather of all motivational books. The original was written in 1937 but the laws of success outlined are timeless. Think and grow rich is a culmination from a lifetime of research by Napolean Hill who dedicated his life unravelling the science of wealth. Andrew Carnegie, billionaire and philanthropist, inspired and initiated the idea and also opened doors for Napolean Hill to connect and study successful businessmen across America. This book is really the father to hundreds of modern day books on success that use the core idea from the findings of Napolean Hill as the core ingredient.
Think and grow rich explains every aspect and element that constitute success. From his conversations and observations of eminent billionaires of the time like Henry Ford and Thomas Alva Edison, he outlines and breaks down the science of wealth. The book touches upon every aspect that constitutes a mindset for wealth drawing constantly on examples and anecdotes.

Each of the chapters explains a principle and Hill peels away in detail every layer of success. The book delves into the softer aspects of the mind like your sixth sense, intuition, imagination and persistence. Hill throws light and inspires mindset shift, spurs you to understand the importance of a mastermind.
If one was to have a single motivational book in your library with the mindset for success and wealth this is it!

2. Unlimited Power- Anthony Robbins

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Anthony Robbins Unlimited Power is a workbook for life and a blueprint for excellence. He breaks down every aspect of excellence from mindset, language, relationships, food, health, vision and any other aspect that can spur one to excellence. He simplifies the laws of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming developed by Richard Bandler and John Ginder) into simple concepts and ideas with innumerable assignments and to dos. You can hear his voice through the book egging you on and pushing your limits.
Read the book with a notepad by your side and religiously do every assignment, reflect on the learnings, discuss it and share with friends and family and imbibe the same. This book can change your life in business, self awareness, relationships, health and mastery in excellence. I also advise buying the audio book and listening in the car or at the gym to deeper embody the philosophy of the book. At 421 pages it isnt intended to be a light read, but its difficult to put down.

The concepts explored and shared by Anthony Robbins is the new science of personal achievement. This is arguably his best book (his other book is ‘Awaken the giant within’) and its a culmination of his various experiments and studies. Interesting concepts to build rapport with people, methods of modeling excellence of successful people, conquering phobias and fears and exploding self limiting beliefs that hold you back.
This is a book I gift to friends, individuals who are starting out in business and people whose life I would love to touch and inspire for accelerated achievement

3.Rework -Jason fried and David Hansson

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Rework is a thought provoking book that turns many myths of business upside down. Its a manifesto for doing business with your heart and becomes even more relevant in the post recession model of entrepreneurship. This is an extremely enjoyable book written from the heart by the founders of 37signals. Its one of those rare business books that you will probably smile and grin while reading. Its a book that rolls a hand grenade gently into the board room and explodes the typical. Within its pages are nuggets of wisdom not written by academicians nor research specialists but sharing of learnings from entrepreneurs who have grown a start up into one of the fastest growing firms in the world and still run in with passion, humility and fun.
The concepts shared makes you stop and think and radical ideas are disseminated at every page. Chapters share ideas that challenge and implore you to stop planning, avoid getting caught in the quest for growth for the sake of growth, questions the need for workaholics, asks you to avoid investors and outside money, teaches you to stay lean always, tells you not to try and make the product perfect and settle for good enough and many more such compelling arguments.
Rework is one of those rare gems that you chance upon like a good friend who shakes you up from your daily grind and leaves you thinking. Seth Godin couldn’t have said it better with his quote on the cover of the paperback “Ignore this book at your own peril!”. I concur.

4.Outliers- Malcolm Gladwell

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Gladwell’s latest book is yet another stroke of genius from an author whose books blend research, date, history and facts to highlight his arguments with passion. The author of titles like “Blink” and “Tipping point” analyses success and argues that it is not the brightest who succeed nor is it the sum of the decisions and efforts we make. He says it is rather a gift. Outliers he says are those who have been given opportunities and have had the presence of mind to seize them when they came knocking.

He narrates many success stories and weaves it with circumstances that led to their success. Gladwell introduces a concept of 10,000 hours and links that as the tipping point for success. He outlines the tale of Bill gates as a young programmer and how he evolved because he had access to a computer club that no other high schools had. How Gates had 10000 hours of programer experience by the time he was 20 which was almost impossible at the time. In the initial chapter, Gladwell explains success based on birth days and gives hockey as an example sharing how most of the payers were born in the first 3 months of the year. Like his earlier works, this book is a great read and Gladwell’s innovative method of looking at theories makes you ponder.

The book is a delight and will make you think about success and its parameters in a completely different light.

The wisdom of getting rich and 5 untold secrets

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I find it fascinating meeting successful people and understanding what makes them who they are, absorbing their secrets to success, seeking inspiration and lessons. Over my  interactions with hundreds of entrepreneurs, I see extremely intelligent and innovative people struggle financially, dropouts become billionaires and billionaires become unhappy and unfulfilled. Then there’s a rare species that gets it all perfectly balanced.

A few questions I have often asked myself are:

“How do some individuals become so rich? What do they do different? “

How come certain people suddenly rocket across the business stratosphere? What suddenly shifts?”

“Why do some people who come across as inspirations turn out to be a facade of optimism as you peel away the layers? ”

“Why do so many achievers speak of regretting that they didn’t stop and smell the coffee along the journey?”

It’s interesting that how much money you make, how much you retain with you, how smart you are, how rich you are and how happy you stay is not always linked nor proportional to each other.

Having read so many books, research documents and discussed with mentors and role models, I have begun to comprehend some interesting home truths. They are so simple and staring us in the face. As I tried experimenting and began to feel the impact of the wisdom and found paradigm shifts in business and life.

The 5 important secrets are:

1.Resetting the financial thermostat

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Each of us have a relation with success and money. This evolves as a mix of genetics, experiences, things we have heard, preconditioning and internal decisions we made along the way. We often hear phrases like “you can’t make money without losing your ethics”, “dirty money” “money only brings unhappiness” and many more phrases and notions that condition our minds against it.

Deep rooted inhibitions with finance often create a love hate relation with money. Our grandparents and parents have views that stay rooted after generations. This festers like an old wound and leaves a scar.

I ran my business for years without thinking of money and as a creative person feeling that money is not a good thing. I discovered that my expenses would get covered because that was my desire but the cup would never overflow.

The simple rule is that money comes to those who love and desire it without contempt. When money is not a dirty word and welcomed with a red carpet, she visits and stays. When you long to be with money without cringing and when it’s not desired just for the material benefits of money, she appears.

This is the one simple first secret of every book on success and money. The intense desire for it. It’s as simple as that. If you intensely desire money and welcome it with open arms, money comes.

The starting point of all achievement is desire.

-Napoleon Hill

2.knowing what you want and having a map

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Imagine you are on a road trip and you want to drive to a nearby town and decide to get there without a map. You then decide you won’t ask for directions or follow the signs and don’t even know what the town is called. You set off and make a journey and you do reach somewhere, but with no reference point how far away you are and where you are. You are never going to reach and needless to say you would never know how far you are from where you want to be.

It’s the same with visions and goals. You need to know where you are going. One of the simplest secrets successful people share is that they knew what they wanted and where they were going. Writing down your plans like you already achieved them triggers actions without you realizing. Making a vision board and seeing it every day increases the chances of fulfilling them even further.

When you know where you are going, every crisis and issue become deviations, you just need a side lane to get back to the main highway of your goals.

The same rule eluded me. My vision was to do great work, work with good people, have a chic office and a cool car. All the wishes were granted very soon and then growth stagnated because I hadn’t reset my map not broadened my vision.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
–Steve Jobs

3 . The magic of saving

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The simplest rule of money is to increase your income, reduce your expenses and make sure theres a lot in between both. Then you got to keep it that away and widen this gap year on year. Ideally the expense shouldn’t grow more than inflation and the income should grow exponentially.

Having the discipline to force yourself to save needs a mindset change. How often I have caught myself saying that I had less expenses when I had less money. The secret is to spend much lesser than we make.

The joy of seeing money as investments and not just a means to spend more needs a mindset change which creates paradigm shifts. Having your rental income cover your regular expenses and your investment interest pay your luxury EMIs is a big high.

The day it dawned on me that cash is the king in business and the oxygen that keeps it going, I sensed a remarkable turnaround in strategy and direction. There are so many nooks and corners and hidden recesses where unnecessary expenses stay hidden without realizing as I moved along. I call it the spring cleaning of unwanted expenses and this needs to be done every 3 months.

Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.
–Will Rogers

4.Learning to give

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One of the most important secrets of wealth sharing as I read, spoke and understood is the ability to give. To share our wealth knowing that it comes back to you even more. As we move to an abundance mentality away from scarcity, the mind programs itself to know that as we give, more will take its place.

Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gates, Buffet are all well known philanthropists. In a letter to his son, Rocketfeller wrote, “…in the beginning of getting money, away back in my childhood, I began giving it away, and continued increasing the gifts as the income increased…”

For it is in giving that we receive.
-St. Francis of Assisi

5 . Enjoying the ride

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When I converse with people who inspire me, I often ask them if there are any regrets along the way. The pattern of the answers is always the same “I wish I had watched my kids grow up” “I wish I had taken more holidays” “I wish I had more time for myself” “I didn’t spend enough time with my wife” “There’s a million things I didn’t do because I was busy making money”.

Everything you make becomes worth it when every day is lived like its your last day. What is money if you can’t enjoy it with the ones you love, if you don’t have time for yourself and for finding yourself too on the journey. I believe you get richer with experiences. As you get rich, your life needs to get richer too.

Early enough we need to decide that the pursuit of wealth doesn’t have to be devoid of soul, that the journey will be a celebration and not a struggle.

I needed a major mindset shift from my 90 hour weeks I proudly practiced in the initial years of business. Waking up and deciding that I want to enjoy the ride and never regret a moment helped to change the way I enjoyed the journey. The trick was to focus on things I am best at and termed “play” and finding other people or outsourcing tasks which was “work”.

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.

–George Lorimer

 

 

Try out these simple ideas and see the effect!

The 7 forces of business mastery

I read this insightful and inspiring article in the Entrepreneur magazine. It featured an interview with one of my favorite authors and thought leaders, Anthony Robbins. These simple pointers are home truths and there are so many nuggets at very nook and corner. I took away truckloads of ideas and I wanted to share the complete interview.

This is a must read:

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Robbins: They’re the seven parts of any business that have to be consistently managed to consistently grow and succeed. Most people know that 50 percent of all startups are gone within the first year and that 96 percent of all business fail after 10 years.

Why do so many business fail?
Because even a small business requires consistent improvement in many areas simultaneously in order to compete and win. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs have some core skill sets — perhaps they’re extraordinary at writing code or creating extraordinary products — but their marketing skills are low. Or, their marketing skills might be off the charts but their inability to make effective financial analysis in the end destroys all they’ve built. They make poor decisions, and decisions shape our business destiny.

So, for a quick review, it’s best to start with the end in mind.

The seventh force and ultimate outcome for any business is to create raving fan customers and culture. Satisfied customers leave you when somebody gives them a better deal. Raving fan customers are loyal, they know who you really are and they stick around even when you screw up because you’ve consistently added value to them in a way that nobody else can.

After that, the first force that will shape a business is knowing where you really are and creating an effective business map. The biggest challenge for business leaders is that they’re not honest about where the business really is. They often see it better than it is, which keeps them going but it causes them to have blind spots that inevitably undermine or even destroy the business.

Knowing what business you’re really in, or what business you need to be in long term is critical. Knowing why you’re in the business and ultimately what outcomes you want the business to serve is critical for a business owner. Then, you have to know who you are and who you need in order to have long-term success.

You also need to know where you are. Every business has a lifecycle, just like a human being. Is your business in the toddler stage? Is your business in its prime? Is it aging? What to do in your business is completely controlled by where you are. Then you can decide where you want to go.

The second force of business is strategic innovation — finding a way to meet your client’s needs better than anybody else. Some companies innovate so often that they put themselves out of business because they are not being strategic about it.

The third force of business is world-class, strategic marketing. That just means having a process that gets a mass number of people to want to do business with you. Or, more importantly, the ideal client you want, to seek you out. It’s something I call “value-added marketing.”

The fourth force is sales mastery systems. It’s great that your marketing strategy is attracting clients, but that doesn’t mean anything unless you produce continued growth and sales.

The fifth force that business leaders must understand is the power of both financial and legal analysis. If you aren’t able to understand and analyze the financial condition of your business on an ongoing basis, you’re like a pilot of a plane who doesn’t know how to read the gauges in front of him. It’s easy to fly when there are clear skies (i.e., a good economy), but when you find yourself surrounded by storms and fog, if you can’t read the gauges, you’re going to crash. It’s only a matter of time.

Finally the sixth force is where you can create explosive growth in your company. Most people think in order to have explosive growth they have to make giant changes. In reality, if you understand the force of optimization and maximization of your people and processes, you can grow your business consistently while others are taking wild risks that don’t always pay off.

Entrepreneur: How can a business owner grow his or her profits by 50 percent in the next 12 months?
Robbins: The key to making documented, explosive profit gains is optimization and maximization. The goal is to make small, incremental changes that all together make your entire business significantly more efficient and profitable. If you’re not doing this already, you’re working hard every single day and you’re still not at the level you deserve. The secret is, little things aren’t little — they’re everything. Those little details — every lead you generate, every margin you increase, every promotion you run, every transaction you make, every sales person you hire — if you don’t measure it, you’re not managing it. So you’re not managing the driving force of what comes into your business to get those profit levels you deserve.

We’re treasure hunters. We know there’s treasure in our business, no question, and we’re going to find it no matter what it takes. If we try something and it doesn’t work, we’re going to try something else, and if that doesn’t work, we’ll make another change, and if that doesn’t work, we’ll shift something else until we get the result we’re after.

Entrepreneur: You say that looking through “a new filter” can help entrepreneurs uncover solutions to business problems. What do you mean by that?
Robbins: There are basic keys that offer entrepreneurs solutions, keys like finding a way to get more clients, and finding ways to increase your average transaction value. But beyond those basic keys, you need fresh perspective, or what I would call a new filter.

Take pricing for example. I did my first seminars for free. I advertised, I marketed, I did everything. I showed up in this room, I expected 500 people. Seven people showed up. Guess what I did for them? I dumped everything I had on these seven people. Can you imagine us in a room for a day? It was like Shallow Hal stuck in the elevator. But then I changed my filter. I changed my pricing, and I changed the size and venue for my seminars. Instead of intimate sessions in my living room, we were doing events at Madison Square Garden and people could learn from everyone else sitting there, which added even more value and reshaped the entire experience of the service. In many ways, it’s the same core product, but a different filter can make massive difference.

Entrepreneur: How can an entrepreneur become a better person in order to become a better business owner?
Robbins: People may come to my events to change their business, but I’m also here to help them change their lives. We all want to take both our business and our lives to the next level, and your business is a beautiful vehicle for doing that — it gives immediate feedback whether you’re in the right state, whether you’re telling the right story, whether you’ve got the right strategies. And it can provide a vehicle for your economic freedom and an expression of what you value most.

It’s important to remember that most people spend more time in their business than they do with their children, or with their spouse. For most business owners, the business is just an extension of their identity. So when we can help people make a shift or a dramatic change in their own psychology, that spills over to impact their business and every other area of their life.

If you’re able to meet your top needs in a positive way, then your life will improve. Similarly, if your business is able to first identify, and then meet, your clients’ top needs in a unique way, then you will develop a raving fan culture. Whether you’re becoming a better person or a better business owner, it’s really all connected.

Master of my fate, Captain of my soul

Invictus is a beautifully crafted poem by William Ernest Henley.

The film on Nelson Mandela uses the title and the poem is narrated by Morgan Freeman (who plays Mandela in the film). The poem and its thought are so inspiring in context of Nelson Mandela and his experience in prison.

It takes great willpower and resilience to be in jail for 27 years and to come out with your spirit intact, if not buoyed by the experience. Mandela was first on Robben Island, and later in Pollsmoor Prison and Victor Verster Prison and left with his soul intact.

The way it is depicted in the film Invictus is so beautiful. It makes you sense the reality of the prison and what he has achieved against this backdrop.

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley