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…

  

5 ideas to make a life changing vision board 

  

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. 

Jonathan Swift

A vision board is a tool that has time and again helped me create a road map and clarify my own picture of where I want to be in the future and become a catalyst to achieve the dreams. I have scoured articles and books to know more about the effectiveness of a vision board. I have changed and tinkered with my goals and pictures over and over and what I want with my vision has organically evolved each time I created a new board. 

When I look back at all the road maps I set out for myself it’s amazing how different each one is and how easily I have floated towards achieving them soon after I made them. My initial vision boards were skewed towards material aspects and studded with manifestation of only wealth. Eventually there’s been a journey towards balance, health, family, happiness, work excellence, laurels and charity. Balance of work life and everyday happiness became the primary goal of achievement eventually. 

I have made and remade many vision maps and boards and found some that worked and many more that didn’t. Here’s 5 secrets on making a vision board that’s transformational. 

1. Know what you want

  

It is so important to know what you want for yourself. Close your eyes, project to the future and ask yourself what you really want. Then ask yourself what do I want this for? What will this give me? Why  is that goal is part of your dream? 

Make a list of your asks and categorize them once they pass your questions. Ensure every aspect of your vision resonates deep down within. 
This is an opportunity to truly introspect your ideal life 5 and 10 years later and have a crystal clear idea of what it looks like. 
2.Transport yourself to the future and live the moment 

  

What I learnt over the years and through discussions and reading is that the more clear you are of your vision the higher the possibility of achieving it. It’s important to be able to close your eyes and see yourself in an already achieved state. 

Be able to see the surrounding, smell the ambience, feel the textures, hear the sounds and play the movie in your head of yourself being there. For example if you are visualizing your dream home, every detail should be accessible in your mind. The walls, the furniture, the sounds, smell and the moments. See your emotions when you have achieved your vision, interact with the dream and it will increase the confidence in arriving at the destination. 

Even writing your dreams from an already achieved state  and with specifics helps accentuate the clarity of the vision. For example instead of saying “I want to publish a book by 2018” write down “By June 31st 2018, I have published my book titled ‘start up failures’ and 100,000 copies have been sold in the first year”. 

3.Create detailed visual boards across sections

 
Make vision boards for each category of your life and populate them with pictures of your dream. I have a few sections which I have evolved over time. 

Health, family time, travel, office and work, awards and accolades, hobbies, friends, dream home, dream office, dream clients and team, money, investments, friends and mentors, spirituality, toys and gadgets (car, brands, clothes, electronics etc). 

Creating vision boards across these categories have helped getting clarity under each section and makes sure the vision is complete. Involving the family and getting their buy in also helps cement these visions and enlist them as catalysts. 

It helps further to get yourself in as many pictures of the vision board. For example, if it’s a dream home or a car, go to the house and get a picture in front of the porch or seated inside your dream car doing a test drive. 
To make these vision boards, varied tools can be used. The easiest is to do the old scrap book method of cutting pictures and pasting on a board. Otherwise, Pinterest can be an amazing tool, PowerPoint or keynote your vision board. Once they are done, make them into a poster you can place somewhere that you can see every day is the best method to help actualising the dreams. Maybe on your bathroom mirror or as a poster in your office or bedroom. 

4.Make action steps for each board to achieve the same 

  

Often we make the mistake of making a vision board and expecting it to work magically for us. Detailing action steps to achieving some of these hairy audacious goals goes a long way in making them come true and giving it steps to reality. 

For example, if your vision is to write a book, your action steps would be:

a.finalise subjects in the next 3 months

b.start writing and keep aside an hour every weekend towards this from December 

c.Find an editor to work with

d. Attend the literary festival and find a mentor 
This should be applied across as many categories with tangible steps to achieve your 5 or 10 year vision board in bite size chunks. The trick is to dream without boundaries and make them big hairy audacious goals and then to break them down into practical steps to get there. 

5.Rewire your deep rooted relation  with success and prepare for receiving 

  

The biggest stumbling block to achieving success and our dreams are our deep rooted relation with the concept of success and money. We are all brought up with phrases we hear in our youth from family and friends. “Rich people are corrupt”, “you can’t be successful without hard work”, “money is evil” and many more thoughts and advice that slow us down without us realizing them. 
It’s important to work on being ready internally for the success that will come and prepare ourselves to embrace the future.  Our self fulfilling prophecy is engineered deep in the mind and every preparation will fail if we don’t believe or desire success within. 

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.

-Henry David Thoreau

Depicting clarity 

I am exploring  ways to depict meditation and self knowledge. I found a few metaphors that align with my interpretation of the process. 

I am using building forms to depict the outside world and symbolize the noise of everyday life. The energy lines around the monk attempt to describe the changes and the aura that permeates from self realization and The winged eye is awareness and enlightenment. I also explored adding movement or wind as a metaphor of the positive feeling of change. I wanted the monk to have a sense of calmness, stillness and equanimity too. 
What’s wonderful is that the process of drawing is transferring this sense of calm to me. 

  

    
   

Where everyday is a vacation

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Imagine a life where everyday is a vacation. Where every single day we wake up smiling with a hop in our step.

What are things we do on a holiday? Slow down, hear the birds, feel the wind on our face, let go of all stress, do the things we love, spend quality time with our loved ones. We only do the things we love, we indulge ourselves, we breathe easier, we listen to ourselves, we laze in bed, eat slowly, sip on our coffee and relish the flavor, we watch strangers and soak in cultures. We are inspired easily, we laugh more and grin through the day.

Why can’t we do this everyday in our lives. Why can’t this become our constant state of being? A heightened awareness, doing what we love, smiling and in our zone. When we realize what we love, pursue excellence in our passion and then become so good that the world wants your talent, we enter a zone.
This zone allows us to indulge everyday doing we are passionate about, getting better everyday and honing out talent further and further. A laser focus on our competence and love for our own craft allows us to revel in the joy of what we love every day.

Combined with a life balance where we have enough time for ourselves and the people we love. Quality and quantity time with our families, friends and well wishers, touching lives each day and inspiring others yet being inspired easily. When we devote time for ourselves meditating in our pursuit for self knowledge and equanimity. When we learn to be authentic, don’t judge and be affected by situations and reactions. Imagine what a vacation life would be.

Givers gain 

 What goes around comes around. Goodwill is the most precious asset to nurture. Networking is helping others achieve their goals without expecting anything in return. The more you become a catalyst to people’s dreams and aspirations, the more the power of reciprocity kicks in. The secret is not to expect it and never to make that the reason to help.  

Depicting meditation 

An illustration I made over coffee yesterday where I attempted to depict what meditation is for me. 

Meditation is to spend time in quiet thought where the mind is an empty vessel. The mind learns to form a ring that keeps external chatter completely away and slowly submerge into a space of complete inner silence. 
This is the space where we uncover the purest form of who we really are.  

 

Sketches in a Singapore coffee shop

While Travelling to Singapore, I did a few sketches at a Starbucks on orchard street. It was midnight and raining outside.

While I was sketching people around me, I suddenly realised that on each table sat groups of friends busy with their phones. They were hanging out but not conversing or acknowledging each other. Smiling into their devices wrapped in its glow they hardly looked up at each other. Then they paid the bill and left.

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Here’s another page that’s an ode to coffee!

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And here’s one more exploration from my monk series that’s an attempt to add more color to my illustrations and also attempt a much larger format. It explores the meaning of equanimity.

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I haven’t been documenting everyday moments much while exploring hand lettering or doodling funny animals or monks.

Note to self: carry sketch book around and explore interesting snippets of every day life on paper.

my Bucket List of 50 and how to make one

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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

Revisiting “if” by Rudyard Kipling

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“If” by Rudyard Kipling is one of those rare poems that you chance upon in your childhood and its wisdom lingers for life. It a simple rule book on the values and virtues to live life by.

Searched and found some cool graphics on Pinterest and I am inspired to make a poster today for the kids room so that they can see it everyday.

If
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
-Rudyard Kipling

Here are some interesting visuals from Pinterest.

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Serendipity: touching lives!

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I was at a networking event recently and I sat next to a marketing head from an interior company. The lady looked extremely familiar and I just couldn’t seem to place her. I usually pride myself on being having a great memory with people I meet and I just couldn’t discover her from any rolodex in my mind!

I finally gave up and I introduced myself to her. Her eyes widened and she exclaimed loudly “Wow, it’s you, it’s you!” I sat there surprised, amused and a little shocked and racked my head again for clues. She again said that I had changed her life and thanked me profusely. Suddenly, I remembered her.

She was a prospective client I had met months ago for a design project. After the briefing meeting, she had mentioned in passing that she had been trying so many ways to lose weight and hadn’t got anywhere. When i reached office I had mailed her a link to my blog where I had shared my learnings and struggle with weight loss and what I had discovered in that journey.

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She was ecstatic when she met me again and told me she had lost nearly 30 pounds of weight inspired by the blog. She thanked me over and over again and couldn’t stop telling everyone around the room about the transformation due to my blog.

I left feeling wonderful and inspired. The fact that my words could at least impact one person felt unbelievable. She also shared with me that what inspired her the most was the authentic and honest manner in which I shared my experience and that resonated with her the most.

This chance meeting was a great learning and inspiration to keep sharing experiences which could in some way impact someone somewhere without us
realizing.

I couldn’t recognize her because she had lost 30 pounds!!!

The magical rule of “Also And” and why it can change your way of thinking

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All my life I have been making choices. Always coming to forks where I have been taught to choose between options. Either this or that, you can’t do both, which way will it be, flip a coin, how will you choose, what will you do now and a million other conversations which lead to choosing. Mostly choice means you have to let go of another option, sacrifice a possibility or eliminate one or the other.

A hundred internal conversations have ended with a clear choice where I had to take one road at a fork and wonder where the other may have taken me had I gone down that path. I have heard similar conversations like mine amongst peers, friends and relatives “I need to spend time with kids but I have to work hard”, “I want to go to the gym, but I need to relax more”, “Since I am a creative person, I cant understand business”, “I want to grow my business, but the quality of work will dip”, “If I read my email on a holiday, its not really a holiday”, “I have to choose whether I do fun projects or large projects”, “Should I stay employed and ruin my life or take a risk and do business”. I have engaged in these conversations and have heard this from everyone. Conversations where we need to go one way or the other, decide one versus the other and follow one path.

 

Then something miraculous happened and I understood the Also And Rule. This is where you don’t choose, where you choose not to choose and become greedy and say I want both choices and they will coexist together. Its amazing how life changed after that. Suddenly I decided that I can work really hard, be a business man and choose also a great work life balance. I figured I could choose to be an enterprising business man and also be playful. I figured that I could choose to be healthy, have time for exercise and be a workaholic. I found out that I can look at creativity from a business aspect and yet be creative, that I could feel for the client and be his best friend and still do really creative work. It dawned on me that I could choose being boutique and creative and also attempt to become a multinational.

 

Suddenly, I could read, paint, draw, play, doodle, do gaming, day dream and also be a strategic entrepreneur. I could be an extrovert and an introvert, I could have a desire for wealth and yet be pure to my craft and my higher calling, I could embrace joy and pursue excellence together.  The possibilities were endless. I realised that choice and boundaries and stereotypes were self imposed by ourselves and as easily we could break down these walls.

 

As I shared this idea in discussions with friends and brainstormed on their choices and broke down the walls, the idea was infectious. It worked any where:  reactions streamed in one after the other “I can be trustful and when needed I can be wary”, “who said if I am an artist that I can’t be understanding finance”  “Thank you, I don’t need to choose between large scale projects and say no to smaller projects any more” and so on and so forth. It kept breaking and shattering shackles of rules we have built up over decades ever so easily!

 

If we choose not to choose and realise that many boundaries and stereotypes are set by ourselves. Instead if we say “I am also this, and I also am that” then a new world open up, a world of opportunities we have hitherto closed down. Engage in the Also And concept, choose not to choose and let opportunities and seeming contrasts coexist in harmony with each other!

 

I am loving what the Also And philosophy has showered into my world!

 

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