Dreams,Faith &; a Beer Belly!



Dreams

I believe some things are just not meant to be. Impossible means ‘I am possible’ I like the tagline, but it is just always a tagline. I am a conformist, I have been a conformist all my life.

I care about what is possible and I have a problem when people get too ambitious. It’s okay to get ambitious but some things are possible, some are not. That is a well established fact..Who doesn’t think so ?

But I dream, I dream about a BMW in the next 3 years and a big 4 bedroom house with 5-star like interiors, a study, play area and even parking ,and here is the biggest one ‘all in Gurgaon’ in the next 5 years. Dreaming has taught me to dream more and dream big – correction, day-dream more and day-dream big, Day-dream on!

To daydream is to think and to think is to learn. Now learning is not compulsory, neither is survival. W.Edwards Deming said that.

Today, lets learn to- day dream !

Since I was a kid, I have known what to do, when. Mostly I was told, with examples and valid references and an explanation that was designed to convince me  that it’s either this way or no way at all!

Whether to take commerce or Science, whether to wear full pant or half. Whether to eat now or later ( It is a standard ‘now’ for me to this always!)But I fixed the way it works. Or so I thought, while all I fixed, were just limitations for myself. Beliefs about how things can and can’t be done.

I even tried to fix the society, the systems and cultures – I never asked  questions before because I knew, ‘kool’ people don’t ask too many questions, Amitabh Bacchan didn’t, neither did superman – they always just have the answers.

Then I came to work and realized I need to be accountable – how would I look like if I ask for help, which big guy at work ever did that? …and I never escalated, even the things that I should have.

Then I got married, and I hated shopping, I told everyone so while I spent 3 hours picking the right suit to wear today. But don’t tell anyone that, because we Men, don’t like shopping!

I did these things because either someone told me to or it looked socially acceptable or at least logically possible! It’s funny how this is not just an issue with people.

Even large organizations do this. A leading camera film maker with over a century of business experience, almost ran out of business because they stuck on to the cash cow of film photography products in spite of having developed the digital tech. Clingy!

Such thought has a definition – RTP ( Rational thinking perspective) , now we all know rational is right. Don’t we?

Rational thinking perspectives are good because they educate us about our possibilities.

A man with a body on which nothing moves. Stuck to a bed for all his life. The only RTP I could think of is ‘Mercy Killing. Stephen Hawking.

Another man contracted polio as a child, and he used a wheelchair for a while. He devised his own exercises to strengthen his legs. The only RTP I could think would be to learn typing and shorthand. He went on to become one of the most successful Olympic athletes of all time, winning 10 gold medals. In the years 1900, 1904 and 1908. With about 1 % of the means and methods of today, none of the modern medicine and no google for instant advice or Facebook for popularity. Ray Ewry. How many did we as a country win in the last Olympics?

There is a another side of this coin,  it is called Generative thinking perspective (GTP), which is governed by intuition, faith and conviction. You do what you feel right.

Hey I have an idea, how about I leave everything and start a new website where all people can connect online, maybe we can call it FACEBOOK. Oops, that’s taken, by a Harvard student who dropped out to pursue a website and left what could have been an amazing job in the silicon valley which would have paid millions, in dollar. That’s Zuckerberg and think of the Steve Jobs if you will.

Another man who did not make so much money but taught me most about GTP was my father. I learnt this later, and I will get to it in a bit.

I am sure some of us could have answered these questions about rationale or gut, but when I was 16, I never could. It was so tough to get all this sorted because I had never seen anyone ask these questions before, there was no guidance available. To be logical or to  day-dream was as tough as answering shakespere’s ‘to be or not to be’?

Dream = 1,600,000,000 (160 Crores) ,references on Google. If so many people talk about this must me something good.

Faith

What do we learn out of day-dreaming. One dream that lasts long enough and is desired bad enough gives birth to faith.

Faith leads to only two things, We learn to Regret or we learn to Perform.

When I was 13, I lost my father to a heart attack, his 13th – 4 major and 9 minor. The last one was minor. Even on his last day he was in a client meeting after 1 very successful job, 5 failed businesses and 1 somewhat livable construction venture. Bed rest was the only rational thing but he pushed because he had immovable faith that he can.

That’s GTP.

So, when I went home, saw his dead body and had absolutely no clue of what to do. Maybe stupid, but I was still thinking about what to do? I had an idea, I wanted to get a live wire and give him an electric shock. In our movies they do it to anyone who is unconscious. Maybe that will work!

So I went and told my mother this, who smiled and continued crying. I never got to do that. But even today, every time I think of my father, I regret not doing that. What if he stood up?

‘What if’ is a big question. Is there anyone, anyone at all in this gathering who has not asked themselves a question starting with ‘what if’ ?

To do is better than to regret. Haven’t we all had those days when we thought, ‘I should have said something to that girl, I should have bought that thing, I should have learnt that art and last but not the least, I should have paid attention.’

Thousands of people with ideas as brilliant as nano, brail, chocolate and algebra.(Cut algebra out, wasn’t a brilliant idea) go to work, come back home and push it to tomorrow and years later they ask themselves ‘what if’.

It is really easy to confirm to things, we believe them to be true, mostly blindly.

While you read this in the last 7 minutes and 30 seconds based on the number of words, 810 people confirmed to death with all their ideas which will never be heard again. Ideas but not dreams!

All I wish is that, before I die, I could leave this world with one idea that continues to live even after I die.Dreaming is non conformity, some us do it because we are allowed to.Some of us do it because we have to. And even death cannot make a dream confirm to it.

This article was titled dreams, faith and a beer belly. We spoke about dreams and faith. Here is the Beer belly, and I believe, I look better with it than without it, I am comfortable with it. Because 1 more tablespoon of belief is the only thing missing from our lives.

P.S. I wrote this article primarily for the speech at a  TED Event. Though it was changed eventually these thoughts have had my minds occupied. What would you consider yourself; A conformist or a non-conformist?

You can even view the my TED talk at this link : http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxGurgaon-Abhinandan-Chatterj

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On Satisfaction


Satisfaction: I define it as ‘Getting what you expect from life which makes you feel complete as an individual’. I find that it is like salvation, easy to find but hard to keep.

For Example, I wanted to write more as I was not satisfied with what I had shared with you yet. As a matter of fact, the list of things that I am not satisfied with is pretty lengthy.

What about you , what are you not satisfied with – Too small a home? Too much of work load? Too much traffic? Too bad politics going around? Too little space for yourself? Too many responsibilities? Everything is excessively expensive? Too many questions?

So, why am I talking to you about all of this?

I am just going to share what I feel about satisfaction, how I manage to keep myself content and happy and leave the rest up for you to figure out.

My Perspective: Achievement = Expectation; and just like most mathematical calculations that gets difficult due to an ever changing variable. This one too, has a twist.The variable is your ‘expectation’. It changes and grows and doubles itself faster than any stock on the NSE!

Simply put , you want a better house, a better car and better group of people to socialize with. As all of this does not come cheap, so you want more money – to get which you either need a better job , a better salary or an all new business expansion.

Imagine if life was a see-saw (like the one you played on as a kid) you will be on one side and your expectations on the other. What could happe

Scenario 1: You are heavier than your expectations – How long can a monkey chase a car when he knows there isn’t anything that he will get from there?

Whenever my expectations, goals, targets or whatever you may call it, has been low or too easy to get, I have without fail lost the urge to do a great job at it.

If our expectations are lighter than us, our talent, our skills and our capabilities, they will not create enough thrust, pain or pleasure for us to act. We will be complacent as life will be easy. Thus, low satisfaction.

Scenario 2: Your expectations are heavier than you – For how long can a donkey live if he pulls more weight than his worth?

There is a Japanese term ‘Karoshi’ which means death by overwork. Too many expectations often lead to Karoshi. You must understand that death here is a relative term which could wither refers to the end of life or the end of a cause, a person who suffers a breakdown or gives up.

If Our expectations are heavier than we are , we could either be pulled down by it or be crushed under it. Thus, low satisfaction. In rare cases, they are met too.

The question that stays is – is it worth the risk to expect more and more?

Scenario 3: You and your expectations are balanced – The healthiest option while eating is to eat as much as the hunger is. Eat less and you will have to fight hunger, eat more and you will have to fight obesity!

Think about it, practically, was it ever easy to balance the see-saw? What did it take to balance? The answer is ‘ Constant effort’. If we are able to balance our skill sets with our expectations we have the right party mix that leads to bliss and satisfaction.

Back to mathematics: Achievement = Talent (Skills and Capability) + Effort (Hard Work) that meets expectations and gets tangible results.

We can infer that if we constantly make an effort to manage our expectations and keep them logical, satisfaction will come our way.

The resolve

Step 1: Set expectations – Make a list of things that you expect to happen in the next three months

Step 2: Validate Expectations – Make a list of skill sets and resources that you need to meet Your expectations

Step 3: Create a plan of action with the three things in it –

1. Defined tasks to be done one at a time in order to meet your expectation.

2. Time lines: Start and End date for each task.

3. Check points: Review your progress on the action plan every week.

Moreover, you can have as many actions plans running together as you like. I would suggest starting with one or two at a time.

Sounds Simple? Trust me that it is not easy because commitment is a rare commodity these days. I hope you apply this tool become satisfied. I use it and it works!

If you were looking for something quicker, easier and the ‘one time fix’ kind to manage your expectations, let me assert that there is no tool like that! Expecting too much again, huh?

The only solution to get satisfaction is to make constant effort towards keeping your expectations in check

Since I am expecting a large Cheeze burst pizza in the next 5 minutes, I will sign off.