Wednesday, 27 August 2014

About destiny

A few youth have asked questions about destiny.

We keep hearing a lot about destiny, future, astrology, horoscope and stuff. While many write these things off, others back them saying they have a scientific base. It’s a science based on planetary positions, they add.

Without getting into this debate, I would like you to think on the following lines and decide for yourselves.

What are the things people usually want to know about in their bid to peep into future? For instance,

(a)    Will I live long?
(b)   How financially sound will I be?
(c)    Will I be happy overall?
(d)   Will I have kids?

Let’s analyse them.

(a) One may live for 40 years or 60 years or 80 years, one has to die. Again, what is more important to you, length of life or quality of life? What is better, to live like a lion for 30 years or as a lamb for 300 years? Again who do you think is better, one who dies to save others or one who kills others to save self? To me, how one lives should count and not how long one lives.

(b) One will be as much financially sound as one’s ability or outlook is. One may be able to earn hugely but one’s outlook may not make one do it. All said and done, everyone will get what one deserves at a given point in time. Earning more implies making oneself more deserving. It may be contested that some undeserving people are seen with their coffers overflowing. They may deserve differently, who knows? People usually tend to count as to how much one deserves based on one’s academic background or hard work, which is not always the case.

(c) Happiness is a state of mind. You may have all the things in the world but still you may crib and be not content and you may not have a penny left on you but still you may be content.

(d) Does it deserve a comment? :-)

Destiny is what we make out of life.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Wish and you can be happy

A few young professionals want to know if one could be really happy and content in today’s world where one has ‘fast lifestyle and cut-throat competition’ as well as ‘a huge amount of stress’ to deal with.

The fundamentals of life don’t change with time. As years go by, our lifestyles may witness transformations but qualities of life stay constant. Before we dwell on the question, I would like to share a link where you can read about my observations as a life trainer. The series — aimed at professionals in particular and people in general — is titled Art of Leaving. It may prove useful.

Back to the question. In our lives, we need to clearly distinguish between the things we can control and those we have no direct control over.

We can’t really do much about the things we cannot directly control. For instance, a reckless driver runs over pedestrians on a busy road or some mentally unsound person opens fire indiscriminately. Such incidents are indeed shocking and disturbing but we cannot read what’s going on in one’s mind, can we? That is beyond our control. However, we can ensure that we don’t drive our vehicles recklessly or we don’t cause any harm to others by our actions. That is totally in our control.

Another important aspect is, regarding things over which we apparently have no control, we can do our bit to make sure that we don’t add to their uncontrollability.  For example, we may not stop people from flouting traffic norms but we can follow all the road rules diligently ourselves. Similarly, we cannot control carbon footprints globally but we can make sure that we leave behind minimum carbon footprints ourselves.

There is hardly any point brooding over things we cannot control. At the same time, we can and should do justice to those that lie within our reach. ‘Fast lifestyle and cutthroat competition’ are the things we have to deal with, come what may. Let’s do it in a wise and systematic way.

Our efforts to control things, which, by their very nature cannot be controlled, result in stress. The more such efforts the more stress. We need to find ways to put things in perspective. Art of Leaving that I referred to above discusses various aspects pertaining to our approach in details.

It is up to us to make the most of what we have. Happiness and contentment depend on the way we look at life. These are states of mind.

Consider this. We are expecting a profit of, say, Rs 10,000 in a deal and we actually have a profit of, say, Rs 6,000. In such a scenario, it is our choice to be happy and content over registering profit and not incurring any loss or be unhappy and not content over not getting the expected amount.

The question is, do we want to be happy and content? If the answer is yes — and it is for almost all of us, we need to put a congenial course of action in place. If we wish, we can be happy. Mark the words. I am not saying if we wish, we WILL be happy; I am saying, if we wish, we CAN be happy.

We are able to be happy. All that matters is exploiting that ability to its fullest. Prudent approach, plausible action plan and perfect execution of the plan hold the key. Let’s do it and achieve our goal.

—  Chandrashekhar

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Respect age, revere experience

This girl has got a good job offer but wants to try her hand at entrepreneurship. Her father, an official, opposes the idea. ‘He says there’s no risk involved in the job. I don’t want to directly confront him, as I respect him. How do I convince him?’ she asks.

Your father is saying so out of his concern and love for you. He has been moving in his life in a certain direction and naturally, his opinions are based on the experience he has had all these years. From his point of view, he is right.
Talking about parents in particular and elderly people in general, we need to take into account two major dimensions: age and experience.
For their age, we must respect them always and all ways. We should offer them a seat if we are sitting and they have no place to sit; help them — whenever we can — carry out their tasks if we notice that they are finding it difficult; talk to them nicely and never insult them and so on. The age dimension ends here. As you may have noticed, these are all basic manners, etiquettes and courtesy.
The dimension of experience is vital. As we grow, nature is interested in us only up to a point. Then on, it’s up to an individual to grow. That is the reason why we may come across people — even in our own circles — who’ve grown physically and not evolved mentally or intellectually.
Experience hones mental and intellectual aspects. We can only ‘think’ about the things we ‘know’ and we can know for sure when we ‘experience’. There is no substitute to the knowledge we gain through experience. It paves the way for growth.
Experiential knowledge is based on various factors such as times we are born and grow up in, situations we go through, challenges we take up, people we interact and transact with et al. Time we are born and grow up in, isn’t in our hands but the rest of the things are.
Also, though the time when we are born and grow up in is not in our hands, it is in our hands to grow up with time. We will always grow if we keep pace with time and if we fail to do so, we will stagnate.
Your father will think through his experiences of life. You can’t expect him to digest your bold and adventurous moves. His growing up years may have been influenced by concepts like ‘job security’, ‘savings for future’ (The saving index has dropped over the years worldwide, and how!), ‘post-retirement plans’ and so on. He may never have tried to test new winds; not because he didn’t have the strength in his wings but his thinking might not have been as adventurous and as bold as that of your generation.
You’ve asked, ‘I don’t want to directly confront him, as I respect him. How do I convince him?’ 
Confrontation sounds too harsh a word here. Look at it in a positive way. You don’t have to confront him but assert yourself. The question is, how strong your resolve is and how prepared you are to take things forward in the right direction. You alone can know it and no one else.  Listen to your heart and do what it says. Following your heart doesn’t mean showing disrespect to others unless it directly harms their well-being.
It may be very difficult to convince him, if not impossible.  There will be a great deal of resistance from him to your ideas. Be ready for it. If you are honest and sincere, your honesty and sincerity will go across and he will emerge as one of your strongest supporters.

— Chandrashekhar

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Destination, duration; your decision

It’s your space

Almost all of us, no matter how able and confident, have experienced those moments of uncertainty. At times, it’s not easy to share certain thoughts, ideas and queries with our family or even close friends. During my interactions with youth, they often come up with their issues; probably finding it easier to open up in front of someone, who doesn’t have prejudices and preconceived notions about them. Let’s take the platform online. If you are wiling to ask questions pertaining to life and lifestyle, I am more than willing to address them to the best of my ability. Our interaction may not resolve your issues but it will surely start the process to settle them.

Also, if you are feeling angry and frustrated about the state of affairs you are in, here’s a way to vent your anger and frustration. You can dash off a mail full of curses and expletives to me. Sounds strange but it works. Do it, if you wish, and see how lighter you feel. Let me be your punching bag and rest assured your negativity will be taken very positively. Well, you won’t find many who solicit hate mails, will you?

Mail your questions mentioning ‘Query’ in the subject-line and purge your annoyance mentioning ‘Outburst’ in the subject line to:

And yes, don’t be afraid of identifying yourself. Mention your name and DoB in your mail. I want you to be brave and courageous.
- Chandrashekhar

Destination, duration; your decision

Life is simple. We complicate things and go hoarse over it being complex. The moment you deal decisively with the so-called complexity, it starts becoming simple again.
Yes, can understand your situation. Here go a few points for you to ponder over. Hope, they help you arrive at some solution. The final decision, of course, is for you to take since no one else can decide what is good for you and what is not.
Each one of us has one’s unique blueprint to adhere to. Like in case of our faces, hardly any two blueprints could be identical. In your bid to do justice to your blueprint, you must be exactly aware of what you want to achieve and be objective enough to assess your strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, you need to be savvy, creative and courageous. It is an individual decision. No comparison will help.

A successful industrialist used to go everyday to his unit situated a few kilometres away from the city. On his way to work and back, he would invariably see a healthy young cattle grazer loitering in the woods or resting under a tree. ‘‘Why is he wasting his time?’’ the industrialist used to think. One day, he couldn’t help but halt and talk to the youth. ‘‘You are absolutely free while your cattle graze. Why don’t you do something?’’ The cattle grazer said, ‘‘What can I do? I am such a poor chap.’’ ‘‘You can cut the wood, sell it and earn money,’’ the wise old man suggested. Looking at the youth’s quizzical face, he continued, ‘‘Soon you will have enough to set up a small timber unit. You can then expand your business and earn still more.’’ The youth said, ‘‘What will I ultimately gain out of the whole effort?’’ The industrialist said, ‘‘My young friend, you can lead a happy and peaceful life. You will be in a position to do whatever you want to do.’’ The cattle grazer smiled. ‘‘I am doing just that. I want to loiter around and rest.’’

It’s important to exactly know what you want. You feel your family-centric approach is putting hurdles in your own progress. While saying so, you need to clearly define your ‘progress’. What does it mean to you? Once you know it, you can decide on your course of action and reset your approach accordingly.
Let’s consider an allegory. You want to go to a certain place and you have three travel options — a supersonic, a jet and a train. You can reach your destination by the supersonic, say, in 10 minutes, by the jet in 100 minutes and by the train in 1000 minutes. It all depends on how early you want to reach the place. You will have to suitably select the mode of transport. It is absolutely your choice.
There are two important aspects of this allegory.
First, the travel cost will be different for each of them.  The supersonic travel may cost you a bomb while you will shell out a hefty amount to travel in a jet and pay a pittance, may be, to travel in a train.
Second, your co-travellers will be different in a supersonic, a jet and a train. They will eat differently, dress differently and behave differently. It will be like living in different worlds altogether. To feel at easy in any of them, you need to possess that sense of belonging.
Now imagine, creating assets worth Rs one crore is your destination. Again, what matters is how early you want to reach there. You will have to suitably select the travel option. It is totally your choice. Of course, the price you will have to pay to reach your destination and type of the world you live in will depend entirely on your travel option.
You may decide to build assets worth Rs one crore over 30 years. You can then afford to work for a stipulated number of hours every day, switch your cellphone off at 9 pm only to switch it on at 9 am the next day, spend time with your family and friends, pursue your hobbies and interests as and when you feel like; in short, you can take it easy. You will have less tensions and stress and can enjoy reasonably good health. The price you will be paying is living in a modest house, driving a simple car and leading a thrifty life.
If you decide to reach the goal, say, in 10 years, you will have to work for longer hours. You can’t afford to ignore your smartphone. You will not be able to spend adequate time with your family and friends or pursue your hobbies and interests, as and when you want. That’s the price you will be paying. However, you can afford to own a bigger and better house, drive some smart SUV and lead a lavish life overall. Your price will also include work-related tensions and stress-induced health issues.
Again, it may be your decision to achieve the target in a year. You will have to eat work, drink work and breathe work in that case. Everything else will have to take a backseat. If you are married to work, you have to work at your marriage, they say. You’ll have to be ready to face such a situation. That’s its price. You will have a palatial house but you may seldom get to live there, you will own a fleet of high-end cars but your driver will have most of the driving pleasure. All in all, you will lead an enviable life but ironically, at some point, you may envy a ‘train traveller’ relishing pani-puri at a roadside stall or simply relaxing under a tree in a quiet garden.
An important thing I want to point out here. We have been talking only about progress as a professional. Our progress as a person is completely different and doesn’t depend on the mode of travel and the like. A person having professional highs may hit personal lows and a person with professional lows may have personal highs.

In a nutshell, you must clearly define your ‘progress’. The decision about your destination and journey duration is solely yours. Weigh all your priorities and options and take your call. Best of luck…
— Chandrashekhar