I don’t know

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Believe me, I know this.

Nothing is going to matter. It doesn’t matter how it ends, it ends, that’s it. Everything ends. Every song, every movie, every story, every day, meal, conversation, love, even end has an end.

But who cares. Why should anyone care? Nobody can end this ending of everything. But if we keep forgetting this life is livable. Life ends, we end but we must forget this. To live, forget. There are so many ways to forget. Books, movies, songs, walks, sunsets, food, sex, god. But it is not easy to forget. Because whatever road we take to the forgetfulness, ends. Every now and then, the tank empties out, the battery dies, the moisture dries up, the hangover; whoosh!

I keep forgetting that one day I will be no more. That one day, my son or daughter would be reading this, thinking in more or less the same way. My father must have thought about it too. Life is like a play, one single play. The story always remain the same, it ends with the ending and begins with the beginning. Every actor has a different interpretation. For some it’s tragic, for some not tragic. But it’s always ironic because the audience doesn’t care. They are playing a part also. They are also handed down a script which they follow and don’t follow. They think they are freethinker and not following a script but their thinking to be a freethinker is also part of the script.

Oh! Why should I care? But believe me I know this. Nobody has made up to the end. The moment one actor dies out, another takes it part. The moment one passenger gets up, another sits down. All our footsteps have been already marked by someone and will be followed by someone else. Do you know, every single day 160,000 people die? Real people, fathers, sisters, sons, lovers, bosses, losers, painters, doctors, homeless, presidents, girls, children, readers. People with friends, regrets, plans, debts, promises, love, hunger, secret lovers, emptiness. People who didn’t care about dying, died. And people like me who think they cared also died.

So why should I care? I don’t know or maybe I know.

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Stop Live Die

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And then I died one day.

Throughout my life, I have lived in the constant. Fear of losing everything. Fear of failure. Fear of not having a job. Fear of not making it large. Fear of being left alone. Fear of being forgotten. Fear of not able to make love or being a father. Fear of not being perfect. Fear of not trying and trying and failing. Fear of thinking too much and being insane. Fear of not thinking enough and being dumb. Fear, fear and fear.

But then I will die one day. I have to die one day. Why do I feel depressed? Why do I feel depressed because of being depressed? Why do I feel depressed because of being depressed since I have nothing REAL to be depressed over? I am empty and blank and empty and blank.

The elephant body of my ambitions are killing my ant-lungs. I am killing myself, every day, constantly, for not living to the fullest, for not living in the simplest, plainest terms. I write to share and then don’t share and then feel bad for not sharing and then I write more about sharing and then I don’t share.

I ask myself, “who am I?” but don’t have the will to find the answer. Even when I have the will, I don’t know the means to find it?

I feel sad because I am sad for no reason and I become sadder for having no reason to be sad. I am dying because I have nothing to die for. I am lazy but not lazy enough to ignore that I am lazy. I scold myself but not with enough bitterness to make myself stop being lazy. I am telling you all this, with hopelessness, because I know you can’t help me. Even if you can I won’t let you. And even when you try I know you are just doing a formality. Because I am just being formal with myself. I take myself too seriously, but so seriously as to do something about it.

Go away but be somewhere around.

I don’t want to talk to you, but I want you to listen.

Go away but be somewhere around.

I want you to leave me alone, but be in the earshot.

Go away but be somewhere around.

I want you to leave the room but be in the next house.

Go away but be somewhere around.

I am my deadliest enemy, closest friend.

I am obsessed with myself and I can’t stop thinking about you, everyone of you.

I hate myself and I hate myself more for hating myself.

I hate you because I love you but hate myself.

Why weren’t the fate be merciful on me and kill me, but I don’t want to die.

I can’t kill myself because I am coward.

And I don’t want the fate to kill me because I don’t want to die and be forgotten.

I know I will die someday and be forgotten.

I am forgotten even when I am alive.

But let me linger a while, with this illusion that I am being remembered.

Okay, let’s stop this nonsense.16abramovic-yablonsky2-tmagArticle

This doesn’t make sense, nothing makes sense, even sense doesn’t make sense. But why do we care? Nobody has promised that life will make sense.

It never has and it never will.

Yet we try and die for the sense.

Life doesn’t have to make sense, don’t try.

Stop. Live. Die. Live. Die. Stop.

Nobody is LAZY! Important Lesson of Time Management

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If you think you are lazy, your friend is lazy, or your teacher or your spouse, your parents, your city, government or nation or even the entire human race, think again. You may be wrong. Nobody is lazy. Everybody is doing something or the other, every single second of every single hour of every single day. Walking, reading, watching TV, eating, bathing, chatting. Even when somebody is sitting still, his mind is working, thinking. It is another case that some people might be thinking about the future of the nation, some about the marital status of Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. But everybody who is sitting still is thinking. And if somebody is sitting still with closed eyes, he is sleeping, recharging his battery. So everybody everywhere is doing something and nobody is lazy.

So why do people talk about time management, get off the couch and do something. It is the dichotomy between routine work and extra-ordinary work that needs to be understood. To sail through the day’s demands we need three things, mental space, energy and time. But if all of our mental space, energy and time is being sucked up by the routine, the daily chores, we will do whatever we keep doing daily. And if we do what we always do, we will get what we always got. To change, to improve and to become extra-ordinary we need to spare some mental space, time and energy to do something, anything different from the routine. We have to squeeze the routine, we have to cut short something from the routine so that we can focus our mental space, energy and time towards tasks which will improve us, enhance our skills, and increase our knowledge. It’s all about prioritizing.

Nobody is lazy. Everybody uses all the time and energy provided to him by his environment to its full capacity. The only thing is to check where this time and energy is being spent. Nobody is lazy but some of us identify what is routine and what is not and focus themselves accordingly. Nobody is lazy yet only some are successful. Why? When everybody is not lazy, why everybody is not successful and satisfied with himself?

There are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. The trick is to identify and select the thoughts, conversations and actions which produce the maximum results, which will propel us towards success. Following are some tips of identifying and prioritizing the most productive thoughts, conversations and actions:

  1. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
  2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
  3. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
  4. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
  5. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial.
  6. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media. Assign a separate time for these if necessary.
  7. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done so do what needs to be done.

 

Sources: Some of the Tips are taken from www.entreprenuer.com

The Power of Knowledge: Bees, Jobs and Jews

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The men had left. The smoke was still lingering there. Destruction’s cruel laughter was still echoing. The wind carried the smell of the dead to far off places. The battle was epic. The strife was hard. But every time, every season, the result was the same. Countless dead bees were laying there. The smoke and heat stung the bees as their own stings. Poor, miserable bees. What do they get in return of their sweet labour, the gratitude they get from the Mother Nature for toiling from flower to flower, meadow to meadow and making honey? Who can think of facing such devastating consequences of bringing sweetness and light into this world? A Dove, who was observing this, season after season, asked a Bee, “When you know that the man will steal your honey every time, why do you make it, and let yourself killed, why?” Then the Bee replied:

Once upon a time, there was a man. At the age of 21, he founded a company with his friends in his garage. For 09 years he toiled hard, he gave his blood, sweat and tears to the company. He made the company so successful that people went crazy for it. People would stand in lines for 12 hours, 24 hours to buy the company’s products. Every product the company made was a sure success, it was sold like hot cakes. Woosh, and the product was sold, woosh, and the idea clicked. Riding on the horses of success, this man went to hire a CEO of Pepsi-Cola. When the CEO showed cold feet he threw his vision to him as, “”Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?” This was his vision, to change the world. Little did he know that the same CEO would chuck him out from the same company he made with his own hands?

The year was 1985 and Jobs was without a job or was he? His next apple of the eye was NeXT. He continued making computers, gadgets and software. In 1986, Jobs bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar).

The first film produced by the partnership, Toy Story (1995), with Jobs credited as executive producer, brought fame and critical acclaim to the studio when it was released. Over the next 15 years, under Pixar’s creative chief John Lasseter, the company produced box-office hits A Bug’s Life (1998); Toy Story 2 (1999); Monsters, Inc. (2001); Finding Nemo (2003); The Incredibles (2004); Cars (2006); Ratatouille (2007); WALL-E (2008); Up (2009); and Toy Story 3 (2010). Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up and Toy Story 3 each received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

So he was making movies, selling workstations and having fun. How Apple was doing in these 10 years? Apple’s worldwide market share fell from 12 percent to 3 percent, and Apple struggled to stay relevant in any respect. All the products it rolled out were not inspiring, not clicking with the consumers. So it bent on a knee and proposed Steve Jobs. Apple literally begged Steve Jobs to become the captain of the ship in its troubled times. The year was 1997 and within 03 years Apple was on the right track. For technical marvels like iPod, iPhone, MacBook etc. people flocked to Apple Stores. And he responded to his exile years as “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

But his was an exile of only a decade or so, the bee continued. There is an exiled community, religion. They were blamed of crucifying Jesus Christ. For more than 2000 years they lived in exile. Their children were killed, their women were raped. According to James Carroll, “Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million.” So where are the rest of the Jews? Later in medieval Western Europe, further persecutions of Jews in the name of Christianity occurred, notably during the Crusades—when Jews all over Germany were massacred—and a series of expulsions from England, Germany, France, and, in the largest expulsion of all, Spain and Portugal after the Reconquista (the Catholic Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula), where both unbaptized Sephardic Jews and the ruling Muslim Moors were expelled. In the recent times, in Nazi Germany, more than one third of the total Jews (15 million) 06 million were slaughtered in the Holocaust.

After being banished from every place the Jews could call their home, they, on 14 May 1948, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” But their struggle does not end there, should we say, the Fury intensified its wrath manifold. The very next day, 15 May 1948, neighboring Arab armies invaded Palestine. Israel’s lands were half desert and half snow-capped mountains. Nothing could be grown there. Israel is the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world’s population. The mighty Arab League boycotted Israel and any organization that would do business with it. Even till 1966, Pepsi and Coca Cola were not available in Israel.

From these conditions, today, Israel is a developed country and an OECD member. Now Israel has the highest standard of living in the Middle East and the third highest in Asia, and among the highest life expectancies in the world. Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world. Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin -109 per 10,000 people – as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed. In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the world. Outside the United States and Canada, Israel has the largest number of  NASDAQ listed companies. Israel’s $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined. In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews at risk in Ethiopia to safety in Israel. Israel has the world’s second highest per capita of new books. Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees. Israel developed an innovative way to increase crop yields by up to 50 percent while using 40 percent less water. Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U.S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in Germany. With over 25% of its work force employed in technical professions. Israel places first in this category as well. The cell phone was developed in Israel by Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel. Most of the Windows NT operating system was developed by Microsoft-Israel. The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel. The technology for AOL Instant Messenger was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis. While being astonished over all this, remember that the land on which the country was found was complete desert, and before Jews settled there no Arab country was interested in that piece of land. Even when it is crowded and bullied by such hostile neighbors, it prospered.

Similarly, the way Jobs prospered even when he was thrown out of his own Company. The Bee said, “ dear Dove, the men can take our honey, they can burn our shelter, they can choke us with smoke, they can kill us, but they can never snatch, steal or bereft us of the knowledge of making honey. They can never take that from us. Till the day, we have that knowledge, we are not defeated. Every time we will make a new hive and we will make honey. And the experience we have while making the honey is the reason of our existence. It is not the honey that we live for but for the pleasure we get while making that. Jobs didn’t live for the company but for the joy he got while working on projects. The Jews succeeded because of that even after being robbed of everything countless times. Because, my dear Dove, that’s the power of knowledge. Once you have it you have it. Nobody can steal or rob it.”

Book Review: The Talent Code, Greatness is not born, it’s grown

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Practice makes a man perfect, and a woman too.

Today somebody was wishing aloud that may Steve Jobs’ spirit enter into him so that he can be an orator, presenter and motivator like him. I laughed and gave him the video ‘Present like Steve Jobs: a Bnet.com video feature’. In the video the techniques and approaches of Steve Jobs’ presentation skills were decoded. And, not surprisingly, one of the major approaches of Steve Jobs to give a mesmerizing presentation is ‘Rehearse, Rehearse and Rehearse’. The presenter in the video, categorically stresses on the fact that, Steve Jobs rehearsed his presentation several times. Voila. I told my friend, “You need not disturb the resting soul of Steve Jobs to be a charismatic orator like him, just practice.”

This is the central theme, the cardinal idea of Daniel Coyle’s book ‘The Talent Code’. Daniel advocates that talent or genius is more about practicing than about genes. He seems to negate the term ‘inborn talent’. It seems difficult to pertain that the author has first developed this theory and then went to the ‘talent hotbeds’ to get evidence to confirm his theory or it is vice-versa. However he sets out to prove that ‘greatness is not born, it’s grown.’ That anybody can gain mastery over any skill by continuous and rigorous practice. To prove his theory right, Daniel cites examples from as varied fields as sports, music, book writing and many more.

 

In the book, Daniel talks about the process of ‘deep practice’. He gives the example of Brunio, an eleven years old kid, who is trying to master a soccer movement. Failing to do the movement right several times, Brunio slows down his speed and break the movement in several small parts of maneuvering, ‘this, that and that’. He does it real slow. And finally he is able to finish it perfectly. The same happens with Jennie. She is trying to learn the ending notes of the chorus of a pop song called “Running out of Time.” Daniel describes the process as, “She tries it, screws up, stops, and thinks, then sings it again at a much slower speed. Each time she misses a note, she stops and returns to the beginning, or to the spot where she missed. Jennie sings and stops, sings and stops. Then all of a sudden, she gets it.” The big idea here is not to give up. Daniel says that these people are trying to go out of their comfort zones, testing their skills again and again. And they fail sometimes, they screw up but “somehow screwing up is making them better.”

 

How this screwing up can make somebody better? Daniel answers to this question by referring to an experiment done by Robert Bjork. Bjork highlights the ever known phenomenon that by struggling to do something and by doing something by ourselves than merely observing makes us skillful in the activity. He gives the example of life jacket instructions given by the airhostesses in the airplanes. If someone observes the instructions several times he would not wear it as properly and quickly as someone who has worn the life jacket only once before. Bjork concludes that, “One real encounter, even for a few seconds, is far more useful than several hundred observations.”

 

Through these examples Daniel wants us to understand that mind is not a store house of talent, inborn talent. Mind is dynamic and by practice we can make it skillful and talented. And in this process of mastering, Daniel argues, that mistakes and errors, which we often try to avoid, play a crucial role. Daniel justifies the importance of making errors in mastering a skill by using the example of the Link Aviation Trainer, a jet-plane simulator. Before this simulator, the trainee pilots were trained on real airplanes and so they cannot make errors unless the plane will crash. This error proof learning technique does not allow the pilots to make mistakes and learn from them. The Link Aviation Trainer simulator provided the opportunity to learn from the mistakes.

 

The Brazilian version of soccer, Futsal, also works on this principle of deep practice. Instead of a large and lush green playground, Futsal is played on a basketball court’s size concrete ground with 6 players on each time. This way, Daniel says that the players have 600% more contact time with the ball than on a regular playground. The Futsal players learn to maneuver the ball in a much smaller space and once they switch to the regular, large playground, maneuvering and controlling the ball becomes real easy for them.

 

Daniel’s motive of using all these heterogeneous examples is to prove that by deep practice one can learn/master any skill. The book reinstates the importance of practicing hard. The book could become a motivation for anybody who wants to learn anything new but thinks that he lacks the inborn talent. Stylistically also, the book is a treat to read. The conversational style of writing where it seems that the author is sitting next to you and sharing/narrating his experience in an animated voice makes the reading pleasant.

Happy Reading.

Immature Government: Vote Wisely

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As our nation has already celebrated its 65th Independence Day, there were talks that we, as a nation, have become mature and even aged. This statement could be debatable, but this has been a solid fact that we have been (not governed because we are a democracy) but being led by an immature government. And if you doubt the veracity of this statement, be patient and read on.

If you need a mobile, you talk to your friends, you search on internet, you even talk to the salespersons about the special features, battery back-up, warranty etc. After many deliberations you buy one particular mobile. But if you go the shopkeeper the very next day and want to return the mobile without any explainable reason, you are acting immaturely. Right? This behavior is immature and puerile because you are refuting the days of intensive research, advices of your friends and the sales pitches of the salesperson. You are negating your OWN decision. And hence immature.

UPA is also doing exactly the same. How do you think Government launches a scheme? How many meetings would have been held? How many senior ‘intelligent’ IAS officers, cabinet and state ministers would apply their minds in the deliberations? How many papers would be printed, how many coffees would be sipped, how many lunches would be taken before taking a decision which affects the whole nation?

When UPA took the decision of reducing the number of subsidized LPG cylinders from 12 to 6 in September, 2012 how much ‘Public Money’ would have been spent in the decision making process? Have the government taken decision in such haste that just after 03 months, in January, 2013 they increased the number from 06 to 09? What happened to that logic of reducing the ‘Revenue Loss’? Then came the most-ambitious scheme of UPA, “AADHAR”. Launched with much hullabaloo, the ‘AADHAR’ number was announced as the panacea to cure all subsidy schemes. Nandan Neilkeni, former Infosys CEO, was roped in to pilot the project. To make the public follow the ‘Tighlaki Dictate’ the government made the ‘AADHAR’ number compulsory even to get your hard-earned salary and pension. Even elderly, disabled people queued in front of post-offices to get their ‘AADHAR’ number. And for revolting private sector employees who don’t go to the government for the salary or pension, cunningly the government linked the ‘AADHAR’ number with LPG subsidy.

Then tonged the death bell, the results of Delhi, Rajasthan, MP state elections. The Grand Old Party, Congress sensed the public anger. Lo and behold, the number of subsidized LPG cylinders is 12 once again and no ‘AADHAR’ number is required. From September, 2012 to January, 2014, UPA has retracted all its decisions. Rahul Gandhi even tore a resolution passed by the Empowered Group of Ministers, headed by the revered, PM. This shows that no vision, no thinking has been behind the decisions taken by the government. Also these decisions was taken to appease the petroleum companies first and then to win the public favour. Nowhere did the government convinced that these decisions are for the nation, for building a strong nation. Otherwise it is not wise to take decision affecting the whole nation and then taking that back before you say Jack Robinson. It would not be surprise if the government backs out from making Telangana.

It is high time we, the people of India, select a government which takes mature decisions with a vision of making India a developed nation. It is high time we, the people of India, select a government which not only take mature decision but also includes us, the citizens, in the decision making process. It is high time we, the people of India, select a government which not only take mature decision, convince us and but also doesn’t take back the decisions to please some faction of the society. We need, every one of us needs, our beloved country needs, the future of the country needs, our coming generation needs a mature, visionary and daring government. If we fail to select one such government, we are no one blame but us. We would be like that mythical gardener who asked monkeys to take care of his beautiful garden. And what did the monkey do, they uprooted every plant to see its root’s length so that they can water it accordingly. Within hours the beautiful garden was ruined. We would be like that mythical king who himself slept and gave his sword to a monkey to protect him. And to protect the king from a fly, the money tried to hit the fly with the sword and cut off the king’s nose. The decision is entirely ours.

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