Designing The Single Most Best Year of Your Life Yet

2016 went by in the blink of an eye and it will just be a memory in our minds. If you think about it, life’s like that. Seems like a long journey but the bus of life is quite fast. Miss those precious moments and beautiful vistas outside of the windows, you’ll be sorry since those moments never come back. Given the fragility of life, it’s extremely important to sit down and design the journey. In this article, we’ll look at a process of designing the year ahead so the 12 fresh months in front of us to become all that we dream of.

1. Party on top of the bus

To kick start 2017 in high-gear, take some time to celebrate the wins, achievements, positive moments, memorable encounters, special people, and happy times of the last year. Start listing the moments of joy, both big and small, that brought sparkle in your eyes. Tune into those moments and feel the feelings of joy, peace and goodness. Amplify the emotional vibes that you felt during those moments. By doing this, you should be charged with positivity, confidence and optimism.

2. Learn from the ride

Contemplate on 2016 and note down all the lessons you can learn personally, professionally, socially, and spiritually. This is the step that most contributes to you as an individual since the lessons from the syllabus of school of life is unique to you. And each one has the potential to re-script every aspect of it should you choose to learn. Here is a place for you to record all the mistakes, false assumptions and less-than-excellent choices you’ve made in the last year along with the price you’ve had to pay for it. You need be doubly cautious and not repeat the same mistakes in the new year. Here you can also design some counter-habits, creative rituals and new initiatives so you can be sure of not repeating them or better prepared to make higher choices in similar circumstances.

A mistake is only a mistake if it’s done twice. Robin Sharma

3. Where do you want to go?

For this step, please take all the necessary time you want and don’t rush. Here you are fixing your destination. The targets you set here will drive the entire year toward. So be audacious, ambitious and a little crazy when you’re setting your Big 5 — the five big things you must achieve before the 31st December of 2017 for you feel that you’ve lived the best year of your life yet. Don’t sabotage yourself by setting ego goals in order to fit into the society or be liked by others. Be authentic and choose your destination that resonates with your truest self. In other words, choose to become an iconic poet instead of a fat banker.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. Cheshire cat, Alice in Wonderland

4. Create the map

With your Big goals and destinations fixed in the key areas of your life, now take them down into street level micro-goals so you can execute them on a daily basis. Sometimes we don’t set giant goals because they look large to achieve. But if we split them down into tiny and achievable targets of action, they’ll transform to be within our reach. In this step, set the quarterly goal or monthly goals that will eventually take to your big goals or grand destination.

A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-Tzu

5. Set the GPS

Now you’ve recorded the celebrations and lessons you learnt from the last year, set the big and macro goals for the year, and graduated them into monthly micro-goals and plans of actions. You would surely feel very optimistic and energized by now. Chances are more that you can’t to wait to make this vision happen. Now use that energy to visualize in great detail and in vivid colors of your goals already reached and you becoming the person you dreamed of becoming. The key word is here is already, there should zero obstacle for you to visualize your success. If not, reassess your goals and motivations. Once you can visualize your success effortlessly, you’ve already traveled half-way toward your glorious destination. The rest of the journey is just auto-pilot!

Imagine with all your mind. Believe with all your heart. Achieve with all your might. Jill Conyers

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017. Nail it with the most exquisite of goals 🙂

Mercurial Sulibele Empowers the Youth

arise-awake-stop-not-till-the-goal-is-reached

In a time of vicious influences, constant bombardment of negativity and celebration of toxicity, the ideology of India’s greatest spiritual ambassador and “patriotic saint” Swami Vivekananda is like finding a sweet water lake in the midst of scorching desert. A life-saving-hand to the drowning man. An elixir to the dying person.

To pass on the greatest of the great spiritual ideas and in memory of his master, Vivekananda founded The Ramakrishna Mission at Belur, Kolkata in 1897. And started a revolution of electric patriotism throughout the country. For decades, men and women have been dedicating their lives to empower the society through extensive work in health care, disaster relief, rural management, tribal welfare, elementary and higher education and culture.

Harnessing The Youth Power

swami-vivekananda-muscle-of-ironSwami Vivekananda had unflinching faith in the youth of the country, for they are the ones who have the potential and power to re-write the future of the country. All of his teachings concentrated in reaching and tapping the great force of young people. In so doing, he fanned the sparks of possibilities into flames of irresistible achievement.

To sculpt India’s glory and greatness into every atom of the country Vivakananda asked 100 patriotic and dedicated youngster, which I believe we can all be should we choose to be. He constantly talked about the importance of strength, rigor and manhood. What other great definition of strength can we possibly get than to cultivate,

1. Muscles of Iron

2. Nerves of Steel

3. Mind of Thunderbolt

Volcano of Confidence

all-power-is-within-you

Swami Vivekananda emphasized greatly on the value of confidence and individuality. No point in going to temple or being religious he said, unless one has unfailing confidence in himself. The great implication of his words is that God dwells within one’s own consciousness, which is ever present to give him all that he wants or desires. In the light of self-awareness and mindfulness, successful and prosperous living is effortless and graceful.

Blazing Virility

Swami Vivekananda was a Touchstone of Brahmacharya. An Oracle of continence or “clean living”. He intelluctualized the awesome power of vairagya and detachment by realizing the boundless freedom and limitless serenity that comes from transcending weakness and vices.

A little thought and time-travel to the childhood days would suffice to the realization of the practical wisdom of continence.  The ascetic standards by which Vivekananda lived is something we should all be proud of being born in India and breathing its aura.

Worship of Service

What distinguishes Swami Vivekananda from every other Saint who have ever walked on the sacred land of India is his unique perspective of God.  Having visceralized all of the major spiritual philosophies, Vivekananda realized the unequivocal truth that each individual is a divine spark of infinite existence. The one-ness of all existence became apparent to him. And hence he gave the admonition: To serve the poor, diseased and helpless is to serve God. He gave the command to youth to channelize its energy both mental and physical toward serving the people and nation at large. What a great man!

The Whip of Sulibele

My generation hero and cult of Karnataka from Ramakrishna math is Chakravarthi Sulibele. For years he has been into youth empowerment, social cleansing and restoring national pride.

Sulibele’s speech, especially when addressing the youth is characterized by red-hot-iron patriotism, bone-numbing words, and blood-boiling anecdotes. Blending his excellent oratory skill with let’s-get-onto-the-streets-for-country message of Swami Vivekananda, Sulibele thunders on the youth of the country who seem to be sleeping in their lives.

Watching him storming on the podium to arouse the slumbering lion in youth and the sleeping giant in teenagers is nothing short of spell binding.

Mastery Session Deconstruction: Mentors and Lessons

mentor

Author and leadership consultant Robin Sharma has been putting out some seriously awesome and content-rich material out into the Internet. The Mastery Sessions are his weekly class on personal mastery and leadership excellence. He encourages the students and listeners to deconstruct and reflect on what they have learned from his coaching videos and podcasts in the journal. Most importantly, he challenges his followers (like me) to act on his ideas. As he puts it elegantly, “ideation without execution is nothing more than delusion”. The deconstruction posts like this one captures the important and invaluable lessons I’ve learned from Robin’s videos, which aids reflection and contemplation on his great ideas.

The mastery session of today’s deconstruction is 5 Leadership Lessons My Mentors Have Taught Me. This particular mastery session is packed with extremely profound and act-now-or-you-will-be-sorry ideas which have the potential to re-write our personal as well as professional lives.

Importance of Mentors

Robin starts the session with a quick and gentle suggestion to get mentors in our lives as swiftly as possible. The reason behind that is The Law of Association, the concept of which dates back to pre-civilization era. Our brains have in their coding to model, imitate and follow the people which we spend most of our times with. The Mirror Neurons of the brain fire not only when they independently perform an action, but also when they observe an action performed by another person. Because of this fundamental nature of our brains, it’s extremely important to choose excellent people in our day-to-day lives.

I started off my BE life as an average student. Just by sitting next to one of the brilliant guys of the class named Jagannath everyday, I mastered almost all the subjects. I became an eloquent speaker just by choosing a guy who had great communication skill as my roommate in hostel! It’s quite an effortless and enjoyable process. The brain automagically picks up and models the behavior of the people around us.

As we move along with our lives, it’s such an essential and smart move to get our associations to world-class. Mentors need not be a consultant or service. A mentor is someone who is at the next level professionally, personally, financially or even spiritually. A mentor is someone who is living your dreams and aspirations. Someone whose very thought gets you out of bed and inspires you to work hard throughout the day. He or she can be your mother or immediate friend, or someone living in remote corner of the world. The mentor can be an historic figure such as Picasso or Michelangelo. Take all the necessary time to pick your heroes/heroines. Let your model be someone whom you resonate with and has already realized most, if not all of your aspirations.

Getting the Mentorship

I can think of two ways of getting yourself rubbed off by the ideas of your mentors:

  1. Direct mentorship: Strive all your might to get direct mentorship if that person is really what you aspire to be. There’s something about personal touch which stands apart from other modes of influence.
  2. Indirect mentorship: If you can’t afford to get a mentor or your icon is an historic figure, there are equally effective ways to get their mentorship!
    • Books: In my opinion, books are the greatest mentors you’ll ever get. Even under direct mentorship, the mentor along with sharing his wisdom and experience urges you to read a ton of books that have shaped his thinking.
    • Blogs: This is current generation medium of knowledge dissemination. Blogs are great in that they are specific and experiential. If you’re a programmer, you know how much fun and interesting it is to read the brilliant blogs such as joel on software or coding horror.
    • Podcasts: Podcasts of most of the famous books and industry leaders are available for free. Podcasts are handy way of carrying the knowledge-giver with you, especially while commuting or standing in a queue in a grocery shop etc.
    • Videos: The mentors’ videos provide the same intimacy and personal touch if they were talking to you in person.

Work hard and put effort to find and model the best of the best in your field. The results you get will more than compensate your efforts. Not only do they make you successful, their company is transformative. And they fill your life with hope and inspiration.

The Five Leadership Lessons

1. Run Your Own Race

This one is my personal favourite. Run your own race simply means coming up with our vision and staying true to it. It’s about measuring our success by how close we to our vision. This attitude is recognizable in every successful person. As Robin says, there’s no competition if we stay in our own lane.

2. Be Willing To Be Eccentric

To run our own race or to be a visionary, it’s imperative to take the road less travelled. The act of taking a detour from the norms means disruption to the people around us. This inevitably causes friction and criticism. Nonetheless, it’s the very thing that causes progress to society. So role up your sleeves, stand boldly in the face of ridicule and keep chasing your dreams.

3. Stand for World-class

Another key idea for phenomenal success. The standard by which we operate speaks volumes about us. Robin suggests us to raise the standard of lifestyle, performance, food, friends, conversations and everything we touch. Truly a great idea that can elevate every aspect of our lives.

4. Be Deep vs. Be Light

Robin illustrates this idea by sharing his experience in a restaurant in which the lemon wedges given to his tea on his request were de-seeded. Go deep, he reinforces several times as the world seem to be embracing superficiality and being light.

5. Be Kind 

This idea is a touching one. Simple, yet profound. The fundamental lesson taught to him from one of his mentors near the end of his life. Being kind in not a weakness, but a strength. It’s so easy to be angry on someone. But it takes character power to be kind even when you have all the rights to be unkind.

Heaven Couldn’t Have Gotten a Better Angel

oseola-mccarty-humanitarian

Oseola McCarty was a local washerwoman in Hattiesburg, Mississippi who became The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) most famous benefactor.

McCarty drew global attention after it was announced in July 1995 that she had established a trust through which at her death, a portion of her life’s savings would be left to the university to provide scholarships for deserving students in need of financial assistance. The amount was estimated at $150,000, a surprising amount given her menial occupation.

Personal

McCarty was born in Wayne County, Mississippi and moved to Hattiesburg as a child.

In her sixth grade, her aunt (who had no children of her own) was hospitalized and later needed homecare, so McCarty quit school, never to return. She later became a washerwoman, like her grandmother, a trade that she continued until arthritis forced her to quit in 1994.

McCarty’s grandmother died in 1944, followed by her mother in 1964 and her aunt in 1967. McCarty never married or had children.

McCarty died from liver cancer in 1999.

Frugality

Even before dropping out of school, McCarty was taught to save money by her mother. She opened her first savings account at First Mississippi National Bank, and over the years, she opened several other accounts at various area banks, including Trustmark National Bank, which she appointed trustee of her trust and executor of her estate.

McCarty never owned a car; she walked everywhere she went, pushing a shopping cart nearly a mile to get groceries. She rode with friends to attend services at the Friendship Baptist Church. She did not subscribe to any newspaper and considered the expense an extravagance. Similarly, although she owned a black-and white-television, she received only broadcast transmissions. In 1947, her uncle gave her the house in which she lived until her death. She also received some money from her aunt and mother when they died, which she also placed into savings, as well.

Gift

Over time, Trustmark Bank personnel noticed McCarty’s accumulated savings and began to assist her in future estate planning as well as be unofficial guardians for her. (Bank employees and other friends convinced McCarty to purchase two small window air conditioners for her house and cable television service.)

With the assistance of a local attorney, for whom she had done laundry, and the bank’s trust officer, using slips of paper and dimes, to represent 10% shares, McCarty set out the future distribution of her estate. She set aside one dime (10%) for her church, one dime (10%) each for three relatives, and the remaining dimes (60%) for Southern Miss. She stipulated that the funds should be used for students, preferably those of African-American descent, who could not otherwise attend due to financial hardship. When news of McCarty’s plan was made public, local leaders immediately funded an endowment in her honor.

She signed an irrevocable trust, allowing the bank to manage her funds from which she received a regular check.

Honoraria

In 1998, she was awarded an honorary degree from USM, the first such degree awarded by the university. She received scores of awards and other honors recognizing her unselfish spirit, and President Bill Clinton presented her with a Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second highest civilian award, during a special White House Ceremony. She also won the United Nations’ Avicenna Medal for educational commitment. In June 1996, Harvard University awarded McCarty an honorary doctorate alongside Maya Lin, Walter Annenberg, and Judith Jameson.

In 1997, McCarty received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.

Ms McCarty was also recognized with an Essence Award and Patti LaBelle sang tribute to her during the ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York.