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. 

  

    
   

Everyone meditates differently 

Meditation is best defined as a state where the mind is silent, completely still and without distraction.  The mind is clear, relaxed, and focused inward. We aspire to achieve a state where the mind is silent and no longer distracts. 

Every individual will have their own process to get to this state of being. It’s not necessary to attain the state of inner clarity only through traditional methods.  Some may find it being lost in a pure state of bliss within their craft, or work, or music, at a concert or the opera, sitting by a brook, trekking or as a whirling Sufi dervish. It’s about switching off into a zone where every external distraction switches off one by one till you are left in a state of pure balance. 

For me this state is when I sketch. I find myself at peace and being able to blank every bit of information that wants to catch my mind. I find myself enveloped in a place of complete inner focus and stillness. 
This sketch is both my moment of being completely still and also depicting how each individual has their own mediation process. 
 

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.

The definition of business simplified in one line!

Danny Myers has set up some of the best restaurant chains in the world including shake shack. In his book “setting the table”, he defines business so beautifully. Within these words is an ocean of ideas. In essence, this is all an entrepreneur should ever care about.

He says:

“Business, like life, is about how you make people feel. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard.”

Wow!! Superb, simple and all encompassing.

Read the book. It’s an eye opener even for people outside th F&B industry.

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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

10 tricks for frequent travellers

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Even a simple day trip for business brings out the best in me. Travel is my introspection time, reading time, sketching time and learning time. I tend to shut out the world and immerse myself in me. A bubble envelops itself around me and I tune into my innermost thoughts. This is my kaizen space where I connect with my personal SWOT, where I do my internal housekeeping, reflect and fine tune my journey. This is the time where I check my map and calibrate the compass.

I tend to follow a pattern of simple habits so my mind is uncluttered on the journey. This is what I do.

1.Pack the day before
I ensure my bags are set early and everything is in place well before I have to leave. I also have a clear mental picture of what I will be wearing on the day.

2.Travel light
I make sure I have value engineered what leaves with me on the trip. Over past experience, I know what is needed and what isn’t. Most importantly, when I travel alone I never check in my baggage. I plan around my cabin baggage and never carry more.

3.The right luggage
I prefer soft luggage that doesn’t add excess weight. Always with wheels so I am not carrying it myself. I prefer day bags with many compartments and pockets so each place can have its designated items.

4.Repetition
Packing and placing every item I travel with in the same place in my bag helps to access everything easily. There’s a compartment for my passport and ticket, for the book I will read, chargers, money, lap top, etc etc.

5.Prepare for security check
This I find an underrated skill which can really help ease your mind and save time. I make sure all my metallic objects (watch, wallet, belts, phone etc) stay in my bag till after the check. I try and use a slip in shoe even for formal wear so I can weave in an out faster. All liquid items are always under 100ml.

6.Simple food and hydration
I try and completely avoid airline food on short flights and snack on fruit and drink a lot of water. Travel food used to leave me feeling bloated and sluggish.

7.The right music
When I am traveling I listen to lounge music on a high quality headphone with noise cancellation features. It helps me shut the world out and works as a wonderful catalyst for energizing my thoughts.

8.Mind mapping
When thoughts explode and ideas are bombarding me, I use the Mind Node app to capture my ideas. I find this the simplest and most effective way to keep my planning at the same speed of my thinking. I have 100s of mind maps on all kinds of subjects which then keeps my brain clutter free.

9. Books, the perfect companion
When I am traveling I carry books which are non fiction. My companion is a self help or business book centering around an area or issue which I am grappling. I also love scouring airports for new books. I buy faster than I can read and I know it’s an investment that can’t go bad.

10.immigration
Simple things like memorizing and remembering your passport number, issue and expiry date can save time at the airport or on a flight. At immigration counters my eyes search for sections which have 2 personnel managing one line. These lines move much faster and usually there’s always one such counter closer to the end. I also place my ticket within the concerned visa page so it’s easier for the officer to find it.

Besides these, some other ideas are to ensure my pockets are empty in the flight so I am comfortable. I carry gum always for overnight trips, do power maps if the flight is in the wee hours and I have meetings on arrival. I also pack based on how I unpack.

And now I can probably add blogging in my free time to that list!!

4 mentors who changed my life

 

“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”

Bob Proctor

When I look back today, the biggest catalysts in my life have been the mentors I had the opportunity to be influenced and inspired by along the way. At every important milestone, I have been blessed with individuals who have left their mark and navigated the journey for me.

I strongly feel each of us need to seek out people who become catalysts in our lives and bring out the best in us.

Who are mentors?

A classic mentor is an individual who will be straight with you, wish the best for you and also be able to see within us that which we can’t see ourselves and uncork that inner magnificence.

Mentors usually carry upon their shoulders wisdom, experience, integrity, warmth, a unique gift of listening, vision and a generous nature of giving and enabling. Seek out people who have inspired you and are a benchmark of the values you desire.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin

This is an ode to my mentors and the life lessons they gifted me.

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“You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.”
Galileo Galilei

My grandfather, A A Rahim

My late grandfather will always be a towering personality in my memories.

I have grow up seeing him in the epicenter of people and adulation and being a role model for excellence and ambition. From a small town in kerala, he went on to work with three generations of the Gandhi family. He became a cabinet minister with the foreign ministry portfolio and then a governor. His philanthropic work included being involved in building hospitals, educational institutions and mosques in the town and he is still remembered as one of the greatest political leaders years after he is no more.

I always remember our joint family house with the front door always open buzzing with a constant stream of well wishers and positive energy. He was a man known as an astute leader, an individual with the highest integrity and values, a politician with immense diplomatic skills and someone even his enemies respected. He was larger than life and still is.

He lived his life with the highest of ideals and scaled heights nobody ever dreamt about. Yet he did this on his terms and conditions and with no regrets or compromises.

As a child, I would cherish the alone time with him in the middle of his busy schedule. I would hop in whenever in I could on drives or sit in his room and seek advise and counsel or just watch how he conducted himself.

His words of encouragement and life lessons built the earliest seeds of leadership in my mind. He would expound on having an aim in life, about thinking big, the importance of fitness, knowing what true friendship is and about growing with your principles and values intact.

He walked the talk in enacting the principles of giving and sharing wealth with the needy. Even today, years after he’s no more, I always bump into someone who will share a story about how his actions touched their lives.

A story involving him that left the biggest mark in my life is regarding a race. When I was 15, I had a math tutor, who would come home in the holidays for tuition. In one conversation, the tutor learnt that I was a runner and he shared that he was also a coach for a local school. He invited me to race against his best runners and I confidently took up the challenge and reached the neighborhood school to prove my mettle.

The race was against 3 of his finest runners and we lined up at the 100 meter track with crowds from the school cheering. I put in my finest performance and raced ahead of the pack with ease. When I turned back to the group, I witnessed the scary sight of a screaming tutor running at the boys in anger with a cane and beating his fastest athlete repeatedly. After a shocking caning marathon and a barrage of verbal abuse, he turned and challenged me to yet another race with the boys.

It was the worst experience of my life and in that moment I decided to lose and save the boys another hiding. I finished last and made sure it didn’t look like I lost purposely. The tutor raced over and patted the boys proudly and I said the fastest goodbye ever.

When I reached home, I scurried into my grandfathers room wanting to recount every part of the incident. I ended with the story of what a hero I was and how I lost purposely. I thought he would be glowing with pride at my emotional intelligence at such a young age. To my shock and surprise, he asked me if I realised what I did wrong in this situation. I scratched my head and couldn’t think of anything.

He waited, paused and softly said, “I am so proud of you but do you also realise that you have just reaffirmed to the strange tutor that the way of the stick works and now, he will never stop doing that ever again!”

That was a big life lesson in reading situations, seeing the grey shades, about deeper thinking and behavioral patterns and about never being superficial and naive again.

My grandfathers influence will always stay within me just as his goodwill and aura still shines bright generations on wherever I go and meet people who once knew him.

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“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward

My principal, Mary Roy

Mary Roy forged within me an ironclad set of values and virtues. She was a catalyst that ignited a fireball of energy and purpose into my life when I was just 16. I am still fueled and charged by this momentum from my high school years. Mrs.Roy taught me the unflinching support of truth and instilled in me an unwavering form of integrity. She handed me courage to stand for what I believed was right and taught me to hold my ground no matter what.

Mrs Roy empowered students with responsibility and treated us and spoke to us like young adults. She taught me the importance of a well rounded education and that its never only about marks and studies.

Every experience was a life lesson and the 2 years under her tutelage and mentorship, allowed me to grab responsibility and carry on my shoulders that which I never thought possible.

At such a young age, she was definitive and clear and clearly stated to me that I was a leader who would one day make the country proud. She told me that great things waited for me as life would unfold. She stood and announced it to the world and that became the self fulfilling prophecy I wanted to live my whole life by. She had set a benchmark for me to live my following years by.

My inner confidence was spurred by her belief in me and I set off from school armed with her vision for me. I left with a strong conscience and an overflowing sense of self confidence ready to take on any challenge in the world.

 

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
Robert Frost

My first Boss, Sunil Handa

When I was just 22, I started working with Mr.Sunil Handa. I had just finished design school and I had graduated with a gnawing need to understand management and business principles.

I had heard about the corporate legend that Mr.Handa was and he was reputed to be a very tough taskmaster. At the time, I thought this would be the perfect training ground to evolve from just a designer into a businessperson.

Sunilbhai (as everyone calls him with respect and love) was all that and more. He was tough, set high benchmarks and expectations for me and taught me every nuance of business. I met him for my interview and shared that I wanted to use the experience over 4 years to learn hands on every aspect of business. I explained what I seemed what an apprenticeship and not a job.

The experience was any young man’s dream. He showered responsibility on me and paced me like no one had ever before. He made me believe I could do colossal tasks with quarter the time and enjoy my work as a challenge.

He would push me to the limits where I blossomed. Nudge me across the cliff and taught me flight. Combined with responsibility, there was always an unsaid belief in my delivering to his expectations and I never failed. I would seek out work outside my comfort zone and he would throw them my way. Negotiating, finance, running machinery, traveling across the country on short notice, creating dealer network, buying tools and hands on selling – I did it all and I loved every moment.

Over the years, we formed a bond stronger than a parent and he always told me that he believed that great things would happen to me and he was just being a catalyst. He sent me to one of the best business schools in the world and ensured I translated everything I learnt to reality by launching a division for the company and growing it alone as a profit center.

By the time I was prepared to take wings myself, he left in me values and had instilled a navigation system for life. Without realizing, I carried away the ability to be focused, think long term, benchmark internationally, grow talent from the roots, value the joy of work and be meticulous and resolute in any endeavor.

In my mind, no challenge would be too large anymore. Sunilbhai is still my father figure and the one who reminds me of long term goals and nudges me to the next milestone and gets me thinking bigger each time we meet.

 

“Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.”
Aristotle

My coach, Rajesh Nagjee

Rajesh knocked on the front door of my life in a chance meeting at a training and the journey has never been the same since. When he met me, our organisation was like a hostel room, a group of friends doing our stuff not caring about the world. We lived in the office, workaholics, disorganised and caught up with our selfish motives and artistic expression. From there, waking us up and instilling a code of professionalism and finding for us a calling that more than just self expression. He taught us to look inside and pointed out our distinct strength-to use our creative abilities and marry business acumen to enable our clients businesses to grow.

Through repeated sessions both individual and with the company, we grew from strength to strength. Even as the organisation broke geographical boundaries and rapidly expanded while deeply serving our clients, I found an amazing work life balance and what is more important a clear command of my calling. Over our interactions, I found a chief definitive aim and a laser focus on my life purpose. I found a perfect zone which married my passion, my talent and automatically created a market need for my clients.

He nudged me to discover by myself that I was passionate beyond a cure to assist entrepreneurs to succeed. I realised that my strength was being a catalyst for the growth of home grown brands, to assist start ups and SMEs to rapidly grow. For this, I devoted myself and the organisation to the science of using innovation and help businesses differentiate themselves. To help clients emotionally connect with their customers and potential customers and to be able to deliver this on a consistent basis around the world. With the company and my team, he helped to evolve pillars that became my core and galvanise us into action. All this while ensuring, we spent the least time on work and strike a perfect balance. We learnt to have fun, be playful and make our clients our best friends.

An ongoing coaching and mentoring relation taught me the science of listening, of growth, of systems, cash flows, relationships, people skills and a million other lessons which permeated into parenting, life goals, vision board, self actualisation, goal setting, time management and endless other insights across all parameters.

On our company’s 10 year anniversary Rajesh awarded me a title publicly which I today operate from and have made it my self fulfilling prophecy. He bestowed upon me the title “Zen monk in a suit” and that has today become me.

 

Besides my mentors, there are individuals who influence you in so many ways. My parents, my wife, my brother and sister and my children who teach me a new way of seeing the world each day, my friends and my core team at office, the books I read, my mastermind and idols whose lives I model.

I feel the universe conspires to ensure my success by sending people into my life at intervals and important milestones!

 

The coolest tool for thinking clearly- mind mapping

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One of the most powerful tools that has helped me think really fast and declutter my mind has been mind mapping.

I create simple and detailed mind maps for almost every aspect of my life. I have mind maps for goals, company vision, team planning, client briefs, holiday plans, health goals, web site maps, workflow planning and a 100 other things. Using mind maps have allowed me to accomplish in a fraction of the usual time that work would taken me ages, because it immediately structures my thoughts. It allows me to organise information and moreover my notes can almost keep up with my speed of thinking and unrelated chains of thought.

What are mind maps and what is mindmapping.

A term that was coined and then detailed by Tony Buzan in the 60s, mind mapping is a process of organizing your thoughts visually and organically as opposed to the linear manner of listing tasks and thoughts. Mind maps break down ideas and thoughts into graphical representation that allows for total clarity.
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I have had the good fortune thanks to Right Selection to attend his workshops and learn with him. Our team and also my daughter attended and it was an eye opener. He also subscribes that we use a lot of color and visuals that stimulate the mind. He has written 100s of books on the subject and many deal with the subject of thinking for kids.

Mind mapping is also a brilliant tool for children to use for learning and this ensures they never ever forget a lesson or learning. My daughter even uses it even to plan her holiday activities and she lists out tasks and goals to achieve.

There are quite a few apps that are available and softwares which are also downloadable from tony buzans site, however I personally found “mind node” the best and easiest among the ones I tried. The other apps are “simple node”, “imindmap” and “Ithoughts” which is a paid app for (approximately 9$ on iTunes).

I found some examples of mind maps from the web which show how they can be used for planning, brainstorming, note taking, education, strategy, research and basic thinking.

Try it, it will change your life!

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30 quotes for CEOs and budding entrepreneurs

A collection of inspiring quotes and ideas for CEOs and people wanting to take the plunge into the world of business.

Each thought has so much depth and can trigger ideas and directions. The common thread of inspiration is about passion in work, risk taking, being the best at what you do, embracing failure, hard work and staying focused .

Read on and be inspired!

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