spiritual seeker

Guru Nanak – he walked the talk

Every year, two or so weeks after Diwali, Guru Nanaks birthday comes around.

This time round, I got thinking, what Guru Nanak’s life would have been, 500 years ago?

This is how I think of him, in how he must have appeared to others, in his outer life. When in Kartarpur, he was a humble farmer.

But when he ventured out – he was a phenomenal walker.

He walked the length breadth boundaries and beyond of this country. He went walking to Burma. He went walking to Sri Lanka. He even went to Mecca.

Travel anywhere in India and you can come across a Gurudwara that says, ‘Guru Nanak was here’! He walked for 30 years of his life.

Why did he walk?

He must have been very keen to get his message across, I guess. Just like when you have something precious and you feel that others can also have it, then you want to badly badly share it.

And, what was his message? It was love.

If he was to do it again today, he would again have to walk. Why?

While technologists are hard at work, they are yet to figure out how to spread love over the internet or over the media for that matter.

Talking of Media – Someone said, the other day, if you wan to stop all concerns of intolerance, simply ban the news channels for 6 weeks. Yes, I do watch my news on Door Darshan 🙂 but I am digressing.

Before I stop digressing, let me digress some more. Sri M, a modern day saint who defies definition into our easy boxes, is also walking the length of this country today.

He has a message too.

Depending on how you listen, his message is both social and intensely personal. In either case, it is only about love.

It only reinforces to me why Guru Nanak was a phenomenal walker.

The lengths that these folks go to – to share the good stuff that they have experienced. Only love can make it possible.

Thank you Baba Nanak. Thank you Sri M.

comics Motivation

Turn off your imagination button please

This was inspired from a TED talk by Dan Gilbert – the happiness expert. He talks about what makes us unhappy and comes up with some startling conclusions.

Did you know that  for almost any disastrous event in our life – going to jail, business going bankrupt,  loss of a loved one etc. – the unhappiness goes away in less than 3 months.

We may still be in jail, still broke and still without love. But empirical data shows, happiness reverts back to original levels.

Unless! Unless we keep our loss alive in our imagination by revisiting it. Perhaps again and again.

But first the comic ..

Who needs to learn from this?
All of us who have many many choices. All of us, who have well developed, fully evolved, pre-frontal cortex s.
We can inadvertently make ourselves unhappy, if we don’t consciously turn off our ‘imagination’ button, when it is not required.

Motivation videos

Team building is best done by the manager of the team

Real team building is all about strengthening the team’s heart

infographics Motivation Share Expertise

Amy Cuddy TED talk – Your body language shapes who you are

This is from a TED Talk by Amy Cuddy (@amyjccuddy, HBS). Her talk, ‘Your body language shapes who you are’ is one of the most listened TED talks. The talk is here.

comics Motivation

The fire that a startup needs ..

The fire that a startup needs, may not be felt equally by everyone in the new team.

If people have joined for the money or the stature. If suddenly the scale is so big that the big picture is hazy. Even if the affection has gone missing.

Then it can begin to seem hollow. Especially, once success is on the way.

The only reliable way to stay focused is to think beyond yourself, from day 1.

  • I am serving this customer
  • I am solving this problem

Take your pick and place your tick – on either or both. But if you don’t, then the fire won’t !

comics world around me

Stimulation of the Economy

Motivation world around me

Best place to do startups, is Bangalore these days

Bangalore is the right place to do a startup, these days.

No no. It is not because this place is under the VC radar. Or because to find people with right skillset, you just need to chat up with a few strangers at the Big Bazaar.

It is because of the traffic. Bangalore traffic builds you to be a successful entrepreneur, so that you just can not fail.

As you are driving in the morning have you seen an opening no wider than just a few inches on either side of your car and have you just stayed safe? Of course not. You would never reach office at that rate. What do you do? Of course you edge in. 

You do what you have to do and let the Gods do what they have to do.

Bangalore traffic teaches you to trust in the higher powers and take risks. This is one of the best pre-requisites for being an entrepreneur. Isn’t it?

But this is not all.

Have you noticed that no one honks in the traffic anymore. In fact, you can tell immediately that the newbie is from a smaller town, if you are unfortunate enough to find him honking behind you, while you wait for the light to turn green.

Guess why? Because Bangalore traffic also teaches you to focus on the essentials. You have learnt that honking does not help. When there is no where to go, no place to go. When you are truly jammed in, what use is a horn? Yes we are talking about each and every traffic light but then Bangalore traffic is here to teach you, not to amuse you.

Your friend from college calls you. Hey buddy, How are you? It has been ten years.  Lets meet today evening? You do a quick calculation. No this one is not going to be useful to me in my startup. And she is 5 kilometers away.  That means one hour going. One hour coming. Chuck it. And so you make your excuse. There you are! Bangalore traffic has once again taught you to prioritize and focus only on the essentials. A key skill for a budding entrepreneur, I would say.

Ok Stop! What is the most important thing to an entrepeneur? Why customers ofcourse. And what makes customers happy? When they find delight in small things. Can you give someone delight in small things, without having it experienced it yourself? Ofcourse not. Now cut to an empty stretch on a Bangalore road. Yes Yes such a thing does exist. What does it give you? Delight! So bangalore traffic teaches you to find delight in small things. This enables you to create delight for your customers, even in small things.

In case this sounds convoluted, don’t worry too much about it. Purchase decisions are not much different either.

So you have been waiting in line for the light to turn green for the 5th time. Have you given up hope? No! Bangalore traffic also teaches you the virtues of patience, without having to go through a lifetime of hardship. At age 30, you can be seasoned enough to wait things out better than most 50 year olds anywhere else in the world – because the traffic here has painstakingly taught you patience!

I know you are probably wanting to get on to your knees and thank the traffic for all that it has to give to you, but there is a small problem. The doors from both sides are jammed in, with the bikes standing just next to you.

Better luck next time!

Build Expertise videos

10 fruits from the Action Learning tree

Here are 10 reasons, why Action Learning is a good idea for teams –

  • getting things done at the same time as learning happens
  • building those pesky hard to develop skills such as leadership (what is leadership skill anyways? :))
  • solving wicked problems

Link to the video:

Share Expertise videos

Type of Questions to ask

Type of Questions to ask depends on what we want to accomplish. When one is in the thick of an interaction, it becomes hard to figure out what to ask next.

Here is some inspiration from camera movements, that will help you fix the direction of your questions and to thus seek better 🙂

Link to the video:

Share Expertise videos

The art of asking questions

Children can teach us a lot about the art of asking questions – (1 1/2 minute video)

Link to the Video: