I am not inspiring

I have been often told that I am “inspiring”. As a communicator, leader, coach – I am able to paint pictures and tell stories with an infectious passion which leaves people “spellbound – sometimes with goosebumps” (quotes from a participant in a workshop).

However, the truth is – I am not inspiring.
I am inspired.
Being inspired is my favorite emotional state. The whirlpool of positive emotions I feel inside me when I follow a chain of positive thoughts is heady and powerful for me too. When I meet others and talk to them – I am not inspiring them – just myself. And they naturally seem to bathe in the experience of my emotions.
When I look at facts, situations and people – I do not look at “what is” but what is possible – what can be. When I meet people – I do not see the limitations they place on themselves. I see them for who they can be. And I share it with the passion that I feel within me. I inspire people because they inspire me.
A scary thought is – the same would be true for toxic emotions too, isn’t it? If one has a whirlpool of pessimism spinning wildly inside – what impact would it have on those around us?
Isn’t communication merely transference of emotions?

Quotes by Richard Bandler

Brains aren’t designed to get result; they go in directions. If you know how the brain works you can set your own directions. If you don’t, then someone else will.

Do you want to know a good way to fall in love? Just associate with all your pleasant experiences with someone, and disassociate from all the unpleasant ones.

The reason people have problems is that they have too much time to think.

The best thing about the past is that it’s over. The best thing about the future is that it’s yet to come. The best thing about the present is that it’s here now.

The greatest personal limitation is to be found not in the things you want to do and can’t, but in the things you’ve never considered doing

Physics changes, but reality stays the same

When the student is ready…

I chanced upon a photo-album in my hard-drive. It had pictures of Gandhi, Richard Bach, Tim Berners Lee and others. At first, I just couldn’t for the life of me remember, why I had created this album and downloaded these pictures. Then it dawned on me. I was creating an an album with pictures of people who had really made a difference to my life. Who had mattered. People who had me look at life in a whole new different way. Usually, coming across them meant an intense and immensely satisfying period of personal growth and learning. I was never the same again after crossing paths with them.

Thought it would be fun to capture this list. So here it goes – in no particular order:
Kalpana desai: 1998 – She was the trainer for a Silva program I attended. She was kind, compassionate, loving and really cared for the audience. She was the first trainer I ever knew.
Sue Knight: 2002 – I attended a two day workshop by Sue called ‘Introduction to NLP’. After relentlessly pursuing NLP on my own for three years – finally getting to learn it from someone as insightful as her was a revelation. She also helped me make some powerful distinctions about myself.
Premchand: I am yet to find a better writer than Premchand. He makes me want to write. His stories and novels literally taught me the beauty of the written word.
Neale Donald Walsche: His book “Conversations with God” helped me create a model of the universe and its meaning – which held good for a very long time. It helped me build some of my core beliefs about the world.

Anthony Robbins: He introduced me to NLP
Sabah Carrim: She introduced me to pure philosophy and conversations with her about philosophy blew my mind. Everything I knew suddenly became a subset of something bigger, more wonderful. The fundamental questions I was asking about life and work changed. The brightest mind I ever came across in person.
Anne Townsend: Taught me how to facilitate. Her kindness and affection with a greenhorn trainer like me allowed me to build confidence in myself. She said one of the most powerful things I have ever heard “We are not different from each other, we’re different like each other”
Mark Wedgwood: Taught me how to facilitate. Anne and Mark were my first models of serious facilitation and I blindly copied (er… modeled 🙂 ) what they did in the first two years after I went solo. I also value his friendship and some amazing conversations we’ve had.
Dale Carnegie: In 9th standard, I read his book “how to win friends and influence people” – the first non-fiction book I ever read. Got me started on non-fiction.

Azam Pasha: Discussions with him about life, love, creativity and philosophy added new dimensions to my thought
Swamini Vimalananda: Attended a Chinmaya Yuva Kendra camp in her guidance when I was about 12 years old. Met her again when I was 24. Her grace, depth and self-effacing humor probably got me interested in personal growth to begin with.
Ayn Rand: Fountainhead seared itself on my mind for years. I came across her in school – while I tend to disagree with some basic tenets of her philosophy, she helped me find my own voice.
Richard Bach: Introduced me to the magical world we live in and a philosophy of life which resonated true. Illusions remains one of my favorite books.
Purushottam Rai: My grandfather – every moment with him makes you want to be a better human being. Can I be like him when I am old, please 🙂
Gandhi: I read his autobiography in a train journey from Ranchi to Chennai. Life changed forever. Some of my fundamental ideas about our world, war, peace and society are derived from Gandhi.
Tim Berners Lee: Thank you for having the courage to give away the www to the world for free. it changed my life in so many ways that I cannot even begin to describe. I couldn’t sleep the night I came to know about the world wide web, in 1997 🙂

And the winner is…. Choice!!

Just before I started penning these words, I stared at the white blank space in front of me. The possibilities are staggering. With my thoughts, my mind and fingers, I have the choice to make any use of it that I like. I can write a poem about the beauty of rains, a story about a little girl and her dog, a hate letter against a country or community, a new manifesto for a better world, conversations with myself, haikus, an article about how to use nail-clippers better, a list of my deepest held goals and desires, a list of things i need to buy in the next one week, names of people who have hurt me, a love letter, a gratitude note to those who have touched me, a work mail, a love song, a swot for my company, a recipe for making littis, a manual on how to get an autorickshaw in bangalore, a litany of accusations against someone I despise, a list of reasons I shouldn’t write anything or nothing at all.


The white space invites me to express any part of myself that I choose to bring forth today… right now. The possibilities, the potential, the freedom, the limitlessness, the infiniteness of it is very difficult to miss.

Life is a lot like this, isn’t it?

At any given moment, the next moment and the moment after that stretch before us like a blank sheet of paper. We have absolute freedom, total control, complete power over what we choose to bring forth in those moments. We can choose to write a beautiful story of our life, our destiny. We can choose to write lovingly or write with angst, we can choose to write with our soul or write with our mind. We can choose to admire or envy, we can choose to learn or weep, we can choose to grow or shrink, we can choose to bring forth that which is the best in us – our best version of ourselves or we can carry on – a humdrum existence or even a part of ourselves that is angry – full of hate and venom. We can also tear up the blank sheet of paper. But, we are free. We can be, do, think – anything we want. The only limitations we might apply are those that we have created ourselves.

Thank you Firaq Saab!

Almost ten years back, I read a verse by Firaq Gorakhpuri that touched me deeply –

Ae mere ahbab kya kare numayan kar gaye…
B.A kiya M.A kiya, naukar hue, pension mili aur mar gaye…

(Oh my friend, You have indeed achieved a remarkable feat…
You did your schooling, you went to College, you worked in a job, you got your pension and you died…)

The moment I read this verse (Called a ‘Sher’ in Urdu), something resonated deeply inside me. The fact that I remember the verse almost by letter ten years after I read it first holds testimony to that.

This verse was a moment of insight for me and the ‘wow, I get it’ feeling that I had changed my life for the better.

It taught me to look beyond the path that was laid out for me by my family and the society in which I was born.

It taught me – that life is about more than what seems to be the most obvious and the easiest path to follow.

It drove me to look deeper, inside myself for purpose and fulfillment.

Thank you, Firaq Gorakhpuri.

Choosing Habits – The 30 Day Trial

I discovered this fantastic site http://www.stevepavlina.com/index.htm

Steve Pavlina is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, games-programmer. He is inspiring!

A lot of his posts are fantastic – addressing the most basic facets of self development, which are sometimes skirted by other authors for a more esoteric and less practical (not to mention preachy) approach.

His post on doing a trial for 30 days of a new habit that you might want to adopt motivated me to adopt it.

So, I will be trying these on for the next 30 days (from 3rd April to 3rd May) – On 3rd May I will decide whether I want to keep these.

Waking up at Seven : I wake up late. That is because I sleep really late. I somehow am most creative when the world goes to sleep and I can feel the eerie quietness beyond my window. However, I would like to be an early riser. I can do it really, I already do it in case there is some work that has to be done early in the morning. So, I will be waking up at seven everyday for the next 30 days – weekends included. I will be using this strategy, again suggested by Steve.

Vegetarianism: I have wanted to do this for a long time, but just didn’t get around to doing it, because I always thought of turning a vegetarian for life – and that seemed too big a commitment to make. However, I could easily turn a vegetarian for 30 days. Lets see if I feel like extending the commitment on 3rd May.

25 Minute Workout – I do take care of my body, going swimming is my favorite – but it has to be painstakingly decided in advance and followed through. So, a 25 minute workout everyday is in order – and should be easy if I am especially waking up early.

Blog Everyday – I created this Blog a looong time ago. However, I have posted only a handful number of times. I would like to post more. Hence – one post everyday for the next 30 days. That is probably a greater number of posts than already existing. Sounds cool.

Well, that is about it! I am excited about this new experiment and would share the results in the forthcoming posts!

May the best happen!

One NEW Thing !!!!

I would like to throw an open challenge to the readers here….

Today, after reading this piece – Do something, one thing that you have never ever done in your life!! EVER!!

Okay, here is the deal. Make this one thing. one new thing that you do today positive, good and really cool. It need not be a path breaking, spine tingling, nervous-system-exploding thing (like quitting your job, which by the way, i recently did – but oops, that is another post in the making!!)… it can be something really small, really simple but it has to be something you have never ever done!!

Maybe you could give 100 bucks to a beggar
Maybe you could call a long-time enemy and shock him by saying hi
Maybe you could simply run up the stairs of your office
Maybe you could go for a run on the beach
Maybe you could write a letter (not a mail) to your folks back home (and shock the living daylights out of them)
Maybe you could find five good things in your boss

So, guys… here is the challenge… do something you have never done it before….do it today and tell me what happenned!!!!

All the best!!!!!

PS: It would be nicer if knew how to tag someone with this…But I don’t…. so, I won’t. Unless someone out there tells me!

Here, Right Now…What am I up to?

Taking on from the last post – that was a very good question.

What are you up to?

There are layers to this seemingly simple question. The deeper we go, the more clarity we have.

Taken in first person, this translates into an immensely useful question that we can ask ourselves when debating choices, making decisions or reacting/ responding. Asking myself this questions often makes it clear what the higher, the better, the healthier choice is.

What am I up to?

Your four year old daughter spills a glass of milk on the floor.
You look at her and shout in anger.
What are you up to?

You are walking by on the road.
An old beggar raises a shriveled hand for loose change.
You smirk as you give him some coins.
What are you up to?

You just heard from friend A that friend B has been fired.
You immediately call up friend B.
Is it only concern or curiosity as well?
What are you up to?

We behave, we react the way we do because of thousands of reasons, many of which are not always clear even to us. We could be enacting our life dramas or fulfilling a pressing psychological need. We might want attention, love, a listener, a punching-bag etc..

Asking myself “What am I up to?” often shows me that the reason why I am doing something is not the real reason at all.

The most significant lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

Asking myself “What am I up to right now?” has helped me be more genuine, more in touch with myself and has helped me in making the higher choice.

What are you up to?

Abhishek’s List

One of the most revealing experiences I had was in Bombay during my summer project with Bates Advertising. There was no work in the beginning and I was spending a lot of quality time in my Xavier’s hostel room. As usual, I was reading up and doing some writing too. It is then that it struck me to make a list of all the things I have been successful at in my life. I went as far back in memory as possible and wrote down all – ALL – the things I had succeeded at. Right from my childhood till then. It was a very intense experience and I almost relived all my previous successes in the process of writing them down. It also helps to have the list ready and look at it in case you want some feel-good moments
in life.

It was a wonderful thing to do. We need to take note of good things we do and not merely feel guilty of bad about things we do not do. We should also celebrate successes in as much as we note down our failures. While it is important to note down what we have not down, noting down our accomplishments makes us feel very satisfied and confident about ourselves. Self-image, self worth and self-respect are very important ingredients for motivating us to achieve further successes in life.

There is one more aspect to this. Noticing your own accomplishments will put you on the right path to surpass your own achievements and make you to draw your strategies on your successes and not on your failures.

Today you do a simple exercise: List down all the things you have done successfully and note down your feelings as you read your list. Remember, it doesn’t have to be success as per somebody else’s definition (like topping school or something!) it just has to be something you consider a personal success. It helps to have such a list handy.

Snap out the negativity

Here is something beautiful I read on getting rid of negative thoughts. Of course, the first step is becoming aware of them. You have to be on the guard, be conscious. There is no change without consciousness, without awareness. Now, for the technique.
Just tie a rubberband on your wrist. Whenever you catch yourself thinking thoughts that belittle your potential, thoughts that disempower you or thoughts that are negative, just snap the rubberband. You will hurt yourself, but the pattern will be broken and pain will be associated to the negative thought. Over a period of time, this will lead to change. So, go over and buy that pack of rubberbands today. Lets snap and break a few of them – and become more positive in the process.