Category Archives: Inspirations

Getting out of my comfort zone

I’ve realised, half our lives we live in fear. Various forms of fear:

  • The fear of communicating: “What will happen if I tell him the truth?”, “What if she rejects me?”
  • The fear of doing things, esp when for the first time: “I can’t do that, I’ve never done it before”
  • The fear of taking risks: “I can’t quit my job and start a venture, its way too risky”
  • The fear of losing (things): “What if I lose everything that I have?”
  • Many more …

Have you ever thought what if you did the thing that you feared and then came out…

  • With the love of your life
  • A mentally stronger person
  • Accomplishing tasks that you thought were almost impossible
  • With the experience of a lifetime
  • Successful!

I think most of us know all these things that how it will – might feel but still we don’t take that extra step.

Let me share an experience I recently had.

I have a huge liking for organized trips. I should know which bus/train I am boarding, where to get down, where to go after I get down, where am I staying, etc etc. This time I chose to do it differently. All I knew was that I wanted to travel out of Delhi and to an unseen place. At first, a random trip, alone, far away, seemed too difficult. But then I chose to do it as it pushed me “out of my comfort zone”.

Googled around, found some portals/blogs and made a decision to head to Dalhousie. Google (and some blogs) mentioned that it takes about 2 hours from Pathankot to Dalhousie. <insert pic> They are/were all wrong. It took me 4 hours. You can discount 1 hour that I spent at 2 places waiting for buses, still, 3 hours. That’s a 50-75 % deviation! Anyways.

Pathankot to Dalhousie distance

Pathankot to Dalhousie distance

By the time I reached Dalhousie, I was already uncomfortable with the fact that it had taken me much longer (it 3 PM instead of 9 AM) to reach the destination. More discomfort with the hotel I choose. I imagined to stay in a place that would be warm, cozy, silent where I could work/meditate/write peacefully. Argh! It was none of those. The heater seemed ineffective, the doors had enough space between them that allowed breeze flowing through and in fact the room had wonderful cross ventilation, so all the more breezy, with temperature hovering around zero degrees! I had to make a choice out of:

  1. whether to stay and not work or
  2. move out and find a hotel which gave me the comfort to work

I chose none of the options. I chose to stay and do what I had planned. Initially it was a struggle but then I managed and then in a days time, I accepted the conditions and did whatever I had thought of. I now realise, after I accepted, I got comfortable! And eventually, accomplished my objectives and tasks with which I went!

I am not comfortable writing when I have company, I prefer solace. Being new year time, there were celebrations all around and I barely found peace during the nights in my hotel room. I wanted to write but just couldn’t. So I tried something different, plugged into light music which cut down some of the noise and then wrote. After successfully finishing my writeup, what I realised was that I was uncomfortable with the fact that there are people around or there is noise. In the end they were also playing music (which I myself did to cut them off)! I guess writing in solace is a comfort factor for me but not a necessary condition. It was just about pushing myself out of that zone. I often don’t write when I am at home because I don’t find solace but maybe from now on, I can. Isn’t that a win in itself? For me, it definitely is!

Using cold water: It was snowing in Dalhousie, temperature was below freezing point. Even touching the water seemed a daunting task, so wherever possible I would initially avoid 😉 But then I said to myself, why I am not touching it? Just because its cold? Okay, really cold and I my hands would go numb for sometime. But that’s it no? Nothing more. With that thought I started using it and then got comfortable, so much so that I bathed without heating the water eventually. When I came out of the bathroom, I felt so gooood, I JUST CANNOT EXPLAIN. Its then I remembered, till 2-3 years back, I had never used hot/warm water. And was comfortable. I wouldn’t skip bathing even during winters and that too with cold water, always. So then what changed? I believe its once I started using warm water, I got ‘comfortable’ with it. And then going back to cold water pushed me out of my comfort zone.

I had one of the most wonderful moments when I experienced snowfall for the first time

Snowfall in Dalhousie

Snowfall in Dalhousie

I loved the view next morning, little did I know what was going to come. It kept snowing/raining the entire day and as a result of which, all roads were blocked for the next 2 days. No buses were plying, only people who had their own vehicles, risked their lives to drive out from Dalhousie. I was stuck. I had a return ticket from Pathankot but there was no way I could reach there. Again, things going off plan, initially I got frustrated but then said yeah, lets accept and plan for the next 2 days 🙂 And spent the rest of my stay in peace and made them productive. Needless to say, once I accepted, I got comfortable.

In fact even 2 days after the snowfall I asked a taxi drive if he could drop me to the nearest bus stop. He asked for Rs.500 – for barely a 6 KM drive. I was like, really? He responded, “sirjee itna risk leke jaenge, 100-200 rupees k liye thodi karenge“. (Sir, I will not take so much risk for just 100-200 bucks!) Now I understood the side effects of snowfall 😛 I thought let it be, I chose to walk! Yes, I actually grabbed my baggage and started the 6 KM walk. It was too slippery and on the way I found quite a few vehicles stuck as well. I thought to myself, glad I didn’t take that cab! On the way I found boards that said, “Beware of Trespassers” and had the image of a bear. Honestly, that scared me a little and I became more cautious now but didn’t stop and kept walking. Luckily after 4 KMs, when the snow on the road was barely there anymore, I found a bus 🙂 I heaved a sigh of relief and hopped in!

Now when the trip is over, I feel I am much stronger mentally. I can write even when not in solace, I can get stuck at an unknown place and do something productive instead of cribbing, I obviously am more comfortable traveling alone now and the best part is I got back to Delhi’s cold and bathed with cold water 😀

This is what makes your day!

We were leaving office today, at around 8.30 PM and were waiting for one of the guys to join in. All of a sudden one of our colleague said,

Arre sala, sade aath ho gya! Pata hee nahi chala aaj ekdum time. Aisa lag rha hai abhi ek ghante pehle hi to aaya tha office! Abhi bhi ekdum fresh feel kar rha hu

If you are or have been a manager/leader/captain of your team or are an entrepreneur – this is something that will definitely give you a kick!

Do you feel this for your job?

Off and on I have come across various people in life who’ve told me (or someone known) that they don’t want to do the same things everyday at office. Okay, fair thing to say. We all want variety in our life, don’t we? But the question is how do you define variety?
Let me share a couple of real life stories.

Story 1: Life of a lift-man: My office is in a building which has 12 floors. This building has 2 lifts in working condition. Unlike modern day offices, these lifts are operated by lift-mans who press floor keys what people ask them to. They do this in and out the entire day. One day my colleague had a small conversation with one of them:

Colleague: “don’t you get bored doing the same thing for 12 hours a day every single day?”
Lift man: “I have been doing this for the past 20 years”
Colleague: how can you do the same thing for tt-twenty years?
Lift man: Why can’t I? Sachin Tendulkar has been playing cricket for more than 20 years, has he got bored?
Colleague: *astonished* *a minute’s silence*
Lift man: One single day if I am not there, there’s complete chaos in the building and the lift is in complete mess!

I was really happy to hear this conversation, primarily for 2 reasons.

  1. He took so much pride in his job that he compared himself to someone like Sachin Tendulkar!
  2. Even though you might think that its a simple job and anyone can do it, he doesn’t think so. In fact he displays his importance in a manner that one is bound to agree how important his job for the organisation (he works with) and that he is a valuable asset

Simple question, Do you feel this for your job?

Story 2: Life of a soldier: A few days back i was in Kashmir and trekked to a mountain top at an  height from where I could see the last Indian army post, a few metres ahead, Pakistan border started. I met an Indian Army soldier there. I got into a conversation with him.

Me: sir do you have to stand here the entire day? What about night and what is the temperature like?
Soldier: Yes. During night its pretty cold, 6-7 degree celsius and so we take some shelter but still do our duty.
Me: what about in winters?
Soldier: its about -35 degrees!
Me: so then you would be leaving this post that time?
Soldier: ? Why? Its our job (and duty) to stay here. And we do it!
Me: but isn’t it obvious that nobody would at that hour?
Soldier: that doesn’t matter and we don’t think that. We do what we do.

After a few minutes a few more trekkers came along and started asking the soldier whether they’ve seen militants? How do they respond? Where’s the border? Etc. After some more time, a few more people came and asked the same questions about militants etc. in a short while I noticed that the soldier was being pestered with the same set of questions and each time he was responding with full enthusiasm. I realized, apart from doing the same boring job all day, just staring at the fields and mountains, he has another boring job, answering the same questions every single day!

While most people (including myself) get frustrated answering the same questions again and again, this brave army man did it with the same enthusiasm each and every single day of his life. All this while wearing a 9.5KG heavy jacket and holding a 3.5KG gun all the time!

Forget the physical labour, can you even think of how much pride this gentleman has for his job? The amount of enthusiasm he carries to work EVERY SINGLE DAY in his life?

I repeat my question, Do you feel this for your job?

Conversation with a stream of water

My no work/ no gadget trip gave me quite a few experiences. Here’s one:

We were on our way back when we noticed a strong stream of rapid flowing water. As we all sat there I sat alone and kept staring at the water until I noticed i was talking to the water and water was reciprocating. Let me share a small snippet from our conversation.

Image: Conversation with Water

Conversation with Water: Image shot in Sonamarg, Jammu & Kashmir

Me: Dude, what makes you go so fast, it seems you are always in a hurry?
Water: Yes, i am in a hurry. I have to serve millions and millions of humans and there is not enough time. So i’d rather hurry.

Me: You are hitting so many rocks every now and then, doesn’t that deter your confidence? Or slow you down maybe?
Water: Nah! Didn’t you notice, for every rock there’s an alternate path originating somewhere next to it?
Me: <goes in deep thought>

Me: What keeps you going? I mean you could just be calm and enjoy nature, no?
Water: I could but that’s not why God created me. Like all you humans, even I am here with a purpose. Until I fulfil that purpose, i will keep on moving.

Me: That all is fine, what do YOU as an individual achieve in fulfilling that purpose?
Water: I get SATISFACTION. Satisfaction of quenching someone’s thirst, someone gets fresh energy by splashing me on their face, someone feels relaxed by drowning their feet in this stream, someone some mother will cook food for her children when i reach their place, hence satisfying their hunger. Similarly there are a lot of reasons which give me a sense of satisfaction. I feel happy when i see all this. All this give me satisfaction and that’s my achievement.

Me: So in the end its about your happiness, isn’t it?
Water: As long as my happiness is a consequence of people being happy, yes, you can say that!

Things we can learn from Rock On!

Some times even movies can teach us a lot. Probably everyone of us has seen the movie ROCK ON, here are some things which I thought we can learn from it.

1. Talent must be MARKETED, if properly shown to relevant people, it can reach new levels and set new benchmarks. (Joe, a great guitarist, does not want to tell people and give auditions)  If people don’t see your talent, how will they value it ?

Arjun RampalRock On

Market Yourself

2. What we’ve learnt must be shared with others and must not end if we end, it must go on. A true leader always always creates a 100 more leaders (Joe and KD started a business of nurturing new talent) .

Rock On Arjun Rampal_Promote new talent

Promote new talent

3. We all make mistakes but the point is do we learn from our mistakes and move on keeping in mind that we won’t make the same mistake again. (Joe realized that Aditya was not wrong, it was the situation and the circumstances that made him feel so,  which he understood and came back).

Rock On_Magik reunited for that second chance

Magik reunited for that second chance

4. Life does not offer a second chance to everyone, but if that chance is given do we grab it with both hands ? I guess most of us let that chance go ! (Magik grabbed that chance and performed once again on stage, and I don’t need to say that it did remarkably well).

5. Money is not the only criteria to be successful and happy in life. (Aditya is very successful and has everything in life what an ideal person would want to, but was Aditya happy living that life? All of us know the answer, there are other things in life that are important in life to keep us happy.

Rock On Farhan Akhtar_Criteria for success - Money?

Criteria for success – Money?

6. You must set your priorities right, there are a 100 different things to do for everyone at an given point of time, it’s WE who have to take that correct decision based on the importance. (Rob could have met that producer whom Anu Malik wanted to meet him, but he knew his priorities – Magik).

Rock On Magik compromise_Learn to Compromise

Learn to Compromise

7. We all have to make compromises in life at some stage, we should LEARN do that, sometimes a successful compromise can take us a long journey (Had Magik completed their first album according to the director’s needs, the album being a HIT, they would have dictated terms from the next album, unfortunately, they DIDN’T) .

Rock On Farhan and Arjun_Learn to forgive

Learn to forgive

8. Sometimes even our “bestest” friends do something bad to us, but they don’t do it intentionally, we should find out the reasons, and best part is FORGIVE them. No point in carrying a heavy heart all through your life. Needless to say, your friend should be worth the forgiveness.

Rock On Farhan, Arjun, Purab_Friends Forever

Friends Forever

9. Best friends are forever, no matter how good or bad the times we face, real friends will always be at your side.

10. When resources are less and we really need something. that’s the time when we have be INNOVATIVE (Magik really needed the money and Aditya was innovative enough to sing old songs with Rock Touch).

Rock On Dandiya_Learn to innovate

Learn to innovate

Last but the most important point, Live your Dreams ! Someone has correctly said

Dreams are not those which you see while asleep, but they DON’T let you sleep

In order to ROCK ON, you must have a Dream !

Rock On Dreams_Live your dreams

Live your dreams

Well, those are the things I learnt, it’s not an exhaustive list, probably you can something more. Drop in your learnings in the comments section. Highly appreciated.