motivation

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You know, as we come to the end of this phase of our life, we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times, and we find ourselves thinking about the future. We start to worry , thinking, “What am I gonna do? Where am I gonna be in ten years?” But I say to you, “Hey, look at me!” Please, don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when a shooting star streaks through the blackness, turning night into day… make a wish and think of me. Make your life spectacular.

Loneliness is a construct that binds the people. I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone. The loneliest and the saddest people in life try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.

These are not my words but of a man who lived and made his life spectacular.

Connecting the dots!

You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.

– Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, 2005

Living alone and enjoying it

I have been living alone for a long time and I enjoy it. I am not a solitary reaper and socially recluse but I enjoy the silence and solitude that I find in my apartment except on few occasions. I am not glorifying my way of life but I know for the fact that not many are capable to survive the choice. The reasons can be manifold – codependency, family issue, money or simply not able to function without some other human being. The last one is quite prominent in many human beings. At top of my head I can list at least ten names among my friends who don’t want to live alone for the simple reason that they don’t want to do the chores and assume the responsibilities that either their mothers or their spouses have been assuming in their lives. Anyway, it’s their choice and who are we to judge?

I read a brief article in an airline magazine once( I didn’t have anything to read as I had forgotten my kindle, iPad and earphones at home) about living the life alone and will try to recapitulate the same points here.

Take care of yourself – Simply because no one else is going to do so.

No fear of missing out – Don’t worry if you weren’t invited to some party or your friend didn’t come to see you. Everyone is busy these days and everyone has a life to live.

Make acquaintances and host get together in your apartment – Don’t worry about size of apartment, a simple potluck, movie session or just coffee get together can be held in a club hole as well.

Have more than one hobby – Keep trying different things and trust me you will have a story to tell eventually.

Treat yourself with respect – Just because you live alone doesn’t mean you have to live an ascetic life. If you like to binge watch int’l cinema while dressed in a french cuff shirt and  lying on your sofa then do it.

Take interest – Learn how to brew perfect coffee, try different drinks and keep an eye for what could be your favorite cocktail, learn about wines, go to museums. Pay attention to detail to a degree that you should be able to order coffee by saying both small cafe latte with whole milk and a small cafe latte with double shot of espresso, whole milk, decaf, caramel, extra foam without whipped cream to go please ( The example can be extrapolated to anything, it just shows how much attention to details you put. Also, few people might think you that you are just an obnoxious, pretentious a**)

Eat well – Again, living alone doesn’t mean you have to graze on a hot dog from the nearest bodega or live on french fries. Our body is the only thing that is truly ours, take care of it.

 

 

Iceland You beauty!

I made my first Icelandic friend one year ago on a flight from Copenhagen to New York. Thor is quite a powerful name for a person; during the flight he gave me as much geographic and political knowledge of Iceland as possible. Recently the country came in news for 2 reasons – Panama papers and Euro 2016. Latter is of much interest to me and the former one is quite obvious. It’s just that Gunnlaugsson got caught and many others weren’t.

Enter Euro 2016 and Iceland – a minnow team won the hearts with gameplay, enthusiasm and the celebrations. The country with 325,000 people didn’t have the ample terrain to play and practice football but in last 10 years they have come far and overcame the obstacles. The viking blood races on the ground and the crowd support supplements the energy. The two positive words that I have learned duglegur – industrious and gleðitár – tears of joy, they sum up the matches of Iceland versus any team. The thunder claps electrified and united them. One thing that I learned while watching a brief documentary on Icelandic football is that the coaches(yes they have multiple coaches) of the team interact with the crowd in a closed room or a bar and announces the team to them before they announce it to Euro officials, they let the supporters know who is playing and what they are trying to achieve with the set of chosen players. To me, this is an astounding and wonderful principle of inclusion. It is natural for the crowd to feel that they are part of the team in this case. 8% of the population flew to France to watch the games.

The emotions run high in these otherwise taciturn people and I have a feeling that Island(Iceland) players before entering the field would say loudly “Tonight we dine in Valhalla

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Iceland celebrates the deciding goal against Austria

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Iceland celebrates the deciding goal against Austria

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The thunder claps

 

Walking Entire Manhattan

Last week I came up with the idea of walking entire Manhattan, and it incubated for some time and I decided to try it on Saturday. I checked internet and I found that the idea wasn’t my brainchild but I had to do it anyway. I started quite late on Saturday morning from my Yorkville, upper east side apartment. I had to take 1 train that goes to 215th street that is the last stop in Manhattan. I started at 10:45 am and took M79 cross town bus to take the train all the way up. There were couple of snags in the service due to weekend services on the tracks. After stopping for a while on 137th street, I finally reached 215th street at 12:00 noon. I decided to take a sneak peek into cloisters as well on my way downtown.

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I took couple of notes while walking and here they are:

12:00 noon – reached 215th street, looks quite green area on broadway. Isham park on my right. The neighborhood is called Inwood and isn’t gentrified as people think it to be.

12:25 PM – Into the cloisters. Interesting artifacts, mostly from Germany. I think one of the oldest relics in USA can be found here. Check out the plants and the cafe. Green region, people were on reading and sleeping on nicely cut grass. One can see George Washington bridge on Hudson from here.

1:00 PM – Out of cloisters and on broadway again.

1:27 PM 174th street and passed the united palace. Read the wonderful sign “Come on in or smile as you pass”

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1:39 PM 164th street. I want to maintain 1 minute per block from now onwards. The signs are predominantly in Spanish. I think it is Spanish Harlem.

1:54 PM 148th street, it feels as if I am in New Delhi of 1990. People selling home based products on roads, group of men on roads chatting and laughing, small hand operated swings for children and they cost only $0.50.

2:14 PM 125th street, end of Harlem, Columbia Univ. begins. I stopped at a local place for a quick bite and some water.

3:03 PM 109th street, a gothic castle on my right. Massive and beautiful – Cathedral of St. John the divine

3:22 PM 81st street, I am thinking that I can anytime hop on the crosstown bus and go to east side and have an easier, less testing weekend but I moved on.

3:37 PM 73rd street – The area isn’t new to me, I have passed these streets many times. Same upper west side, columbus circle. Bustling with tourists. A mother and a father taking  a clever photograph at Columbus circle by holding the placards saying “Dear Casey, You mean the” then globe of columbus circle comes in picture and then “to us, Love Mom and Dad” 🙂

3:51 PM 61st street – Signs of leg pain; shall I stop. No, let’s see till where I can go. I have put on my earphones to distract myself.

4:29 PM 32nd street and I am off broadway, I avoid times square area like everyone does. The sun is shining right in my eyes and at times it became unbearable. I need AC. Manhattan needs trees.

4:55 PM Washington sq. park. I see a lot of Indians and many people in Indian attires. Someone tried to hand a book to me but I refused politely. It was Hare Krishna people doing their thing. I felt irritated to make my way through the milling crowd.

5:05 PM Entered SoHo. Ah! shadow of buildings. I have moved further away from Broadway.

5:22 PM – In Tribeca, upscale bars all around me. I can see One world trade center. I am near. Leg is quite stiff.

5:45 PM – I texted a friend that what is the probability that of all these people at battery park today there are more than one who have walked entire Manhattan? She called me.

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Lady Liberty in the view

Marathon

It’s already been three months since I ran the NY marathon but still feel the pain around glutus medius if I walk a lot. These three months have put on some mass on my body that I want to shed as soon as possible. It’s not conspicuous to other people but to me; So, waiting for the time when I can resume running.

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It is interesting to know that Marathon is a town in Greece that was 26.2 miles(ancient route) away from Athens. It’s the place where the battle of Marathon was fought in 490 BC in which the heavily outnumbered Athenian army defeated the Persians. The job of sending the news to Athens was given to Pheidippides who ran all the way from Marathon to Athens without stopping. He reached Athens, delivered the news, collapsed and died.

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How to do laundry?

Doing the laundry is so monotonous that it feels like my colorful life has turned into a monochrome movie of 1940s. I tend to postpone it as far as I can by exhausting all the clothes that I have. And sometimes I go to an extent that I have to sit in my office clothes at home as I run out of the supply of the clothes to wear. Eventually one fine day the balance in the world needs to be restored and I have to go down to the basement of the building to get caught up in the washing,waiting and drying cycle. Washing cycle is 37 min and drying is 42 min long. The ingredients for doing the laundry are :

  1. Lot of dirty clothes
  2. Detergent
  3. Quarters ($ 0.25)
  4. Most important – Will and the patience to do this hard work.

I have observed I make a big deal out of this task most of the time. I  would text almost anyone who is available to listen to my woes that I have to do this horrible task today and I am very occupied. So, don’t think I loiter around all the time and don’t have any goals in my life. Usually in the morning I would decide to do the load and after collecting all the required material at one place I would try to go out of the door but Netflix, YouTube and Hulu would put obstructions in my path by highlighting interesting videos and movies. They should be sued for they are the accomplices in wasting millions of important hours of general population. After random browsing for few hours I would get up and will have something to eat. Then usually I feel drowsy and take a nap to recharge myself as it is a universal fact that laundry requires will, patience and energy- see point 4 above. The nap can be of any duration from an hour to 3 hours. Upon getting up I would again engage myself in arbitrary stuff that shouldn’t require my immediate attention but oh well I haven’t read “The Power of Now” ! Then I would realize I haven’t taken bath and I should do so as not taking bath is work of satan( and wearing dirty clothes is work of saints – talk about my double standards). The bathing period will start and eventually it would be late evening that would make me push the task for next day.

The same thing has been happening with me over and over again for I don’t know how many years. The laundry day has always been like that and I would love to hear from you to make the amendments in my personal constitution of land of laundry.

Wallet Minimalism

I try to advocate the idea of minimalism in life. I tried with wallet minimalism before but after few months my wallet became the Loch ness monster and it is not only a pain to carry it in back pocket and sit on a chair but also a Bermuda triangle for all the frivolous things that I collect.

I am trying it once again. Right now I have 2 credit cards, one ATM/debit card, one health insurance card, driving license, a library card, an office ID card, one NYC subway card and a $10 bill. It looks quite sleek and I would definitely call it “size zero” 😀

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Earlier I had even expired credit cards, stamps, contact cards of people I never contact, random receipts from ATMs, groceries, restaurants etc, metro cards of almost all the cites I have been to. Well, I hope this time I do succeed in keeping it minimal.

 

The Monk Moment

The Monk Moment – Many great entrepreneurs have had a moment when they have lost everything. Monks create this situation intentionally through “Vairagya” when they give up all money and possessions. Many entrepreneurs end up in the same situation unintentionally.
Elon Musk lost $180M and was in debt in 2008. Seven years later, he’s worth $13 billion, but he’d be ready to risk it all again. Steve Jobs lost his entire Apple fortune by 1994, betting it on NeXT and Pixar. In 1995 everything turned around, he sold NeXT to Apple, Pixar to Disney and he passed away an icon. Walt Disney mortgaged away his entire fortune in the 1950s to build Disneyland, against everyone’s advice. He too went from giving up everything to becoming a legend. Each bet everything material they had on something invisible – their purpose and vision.

Monks call the state that comes after giving up everything “Moksha” which means liberation from the illusion. We’re not alive until we know what we’d die for.

I’m not saying great entrepreneurs are monks, but they do have ‘monk moments’ when they lose everything.

Many of the greatest entrepreneurs unintentionally find themselves in this state by betting everything on their dream. Maybe you’re in this place right now. It is a place of pure power. When you have nothing to lose, you have infinite potential.

That is provided you don’t focus on what you’ve lost, but on everything you have to gain. That’s when everything turns around. As Walt Disney said “I don’t make movies to make money. I make money to make movies”.
That’s the paradox of entrepreneurs having a ‘near-death’ experience where they lose it all. Steve Jobs wrote:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

What mission is so important to you, that you’d be ready to clear out the old and make way for your new?

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I read this inspiring article on linkedIn and below is the link to the original posting.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/monk-moment-roger-hamilton

Tolstoy

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! In the Wild !

Leo Tolstoy is one of my favorite Russian writer. I do not like to those people who plan each and every single thing in their lives. Sometimes few things need to be left on your impulsive instincts. Into the wild is a great movie and my favorite quote from the movie is

“If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.”