Failure – and what it really signifies

Failure is not having the courage to try, nothing more and nothing less. The only thing standing between most people and their dreams is the fear of failure. Yet failure is essential to success in any endeavor. It offers us lessons and guides us along the path of genuine success.

I quote these lines from Robin Sharma on failure. While I completely agree with the viewpoint expressed, there’s a little something more I’d like to add.

For me, personally, failure is of paramount importance and must occur before any venture/idea/ proposition succeeds. If a venture hasn’t failed in some point, there is certainly something wrong. I say that because my team and I are currently facing a lot of issues on a social venture we run. Issues range from dilemmas regarding writing the purpose of the organization down to closing day-to-day deals without internal and external friction. There is a challenge sitting at every step. But we have realized that there is no other way to jump off a cliff – and that one will have to just shut the eyes and jump.

Sticking to one’s morale and intrinsic values helps tide along the way, more than one can imagine. I never really could say all of this before – but having a first hand experience now builds my case to what I write here.

 

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Are you the reason why someone smiles today?

Never have I ever before felt the divide that exists between the rich and the poor, and for the first time I realize how privileged I am. There is a permanent home I live in, no fear of police walking inside uncalled for, throwing apart personal belongings, snatching away the home you’ve lived in for years, calling for a Lathi Charge, Tear Gas, Firing, all these done to demolish the house you’ve been living in into pieces, without any prior notice. All this happened in Kathputli colony on 30th October, 2017.

A case had been spiraling Kathputli colony since 2009 – high rise apartments were set to be built in place of the slum. The artists have been living in this colony since the past 70 years, the Government had initially set up the colony, and the place became a hub of rich Indian cultural heritage in no time. Artists that you rarely find in the country nowadays, flourish in abundance in Kathputli colony. There are over 3000 sword swallowers, puppeteers, magicians, acrobats, Bhawai-dancers residing in the colony. They are torch bearers of the inheritance of our nation, yet the kind of treatment they have been awarded with – shocks me and makes me an even stronger believer in what my dad used to say. He always said that money, influence and power are ruling the world – and the world is dancing to the tunes of it, without notice of what it leaves behind in this mad race. Thats so shockingly true.

As a person, I have always been in favour of development. In all economic theories I’ve studied in my school and college, I used to blindy favour economic prosperity and development. But in a real-time case like Shadipur, I am already witnessing the downside of what I used to believe in. The urban resettlement happening in Shadipur is painful because the artists have not been provided adequate support – they have been left without money, proper documents and a roof to live in. The alternative housing being provided to them in a nearby area are beyond their means. Where do they go now? They’ve been thrown off their houses at 6:30 pm in the night, where should they keep their belongings, where should they house their family, what should they say to their children about where they are going to live tomorrow onwards?

No one knows the answer.

I always avoid writing any personal comment on social media, but this incident has moved me because my team and I have been working with these artists since 4-5 years. It is unnerving to listen to artists who used to always smile and greet you, break down on phone. I have never seen them so vulnerable, ever before.

I can’t see any media covering the event – a friend passed on this video to me after searching for news online for a whole of 20 minutes. Had a cricket match been won/lost, a celebrity given birth to a son/daughter, another film nominated for Oscar from India – the media would have gone gaga. I fail to understand why we are quiet on this. I will be glad if someone explains me this.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=qfti9l6QfHQ

Purpose+Passion= Fulfilment

Purpose is the most powerful motivator in the world. The secret of passion is truly purpose.

I’ve been indulging in introspection for quite some time now – all to find my personal goals, dig deeper into the vision I envision for an organisation I run and find my calling in life. Its such a complex task to navigate your true purpose. Life has been moving from one goal-post to the other, without really allowing for a break (a time off). But I’ve known people who seem to have found their purpose. And its just awe-inspiring to see them nail it in life. The reason probably is that they’re certain of what they want to achieve in life and have been constantly making efforts to achieve the same. Having said that, finding mere purpose does not solve the “purpose” of life. One needs to be passionate about it and run after the purpose day and night, in order to turn the dreams into achievable and tangible goals. Speaking of myself, I feel that I’m still navigating my purpose. There are a few things I’m really passionate about in life. I don’t feel like leaving any of these – always feel a sense of satisfaction after having achieved them. These are few things I never want to let go of in life. These things/tasks reinvigorate the creativity hidden inside me. I endeavour to unearth this hidden creativity, because I’m aware of the power it holds within and the amazing impact it could make in many lives, including my own.

My learnings in & from 2017

I turned twenty-one on the 24th of December, 2017. As the years are coming and running off, I observe that my perception of things has been widening tremendously. I was curious about what I should resolve to do this coming new year, taking it as a learning from my previous year. But I was startled at the length and depth of all that I learnt in 2017.

In 2017, I achieved & lost the following things:

  • I secured my first job on my own that too, through LinkedIn
  • Added a (revenue) milestone to Kayakalp an organization my team and I have been running
  • Raised INR 1,11,000/- through a crowdfunding campaign to help rehabilitate the group of artists we were closely working with
  • Got a hefty year-end bonus within the first six months of my first job
  • Made some worthwhile relations with a flawlessly excellent set of people who I found in my office and some new clients and mentors I got to know through my dealings with Kayakalp
  • Put on 2 Kgs of weight
  • Lost valuable time in surfing through my Instagram feed
  • Went to Kheerganga, Kasauli, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Udaipur – all for different reasons (chilling +family dealings + office work)

The best and most exhilarating experience was to find a job on my own. The reason I felt that the routine companies recruiting at my college didn’t match my interests, was that I was looking for a firm with values that matched my own. As soon as I found Global Health Strategies and appeared for the four interview rounds with leadership from their India office, I sensed immediately that the organization’s values are aligned to my own values. The hundreds of hours of writing emails to HRs, scrutinizing companies and stalking LinkedIn profiles of who’s-who, bore the right and sweetest fruit. I am very happy at workplace, because I chose to be where I am – and probably because the horoscope and DNA match of me with the company fit in perfectly.

In the beginning of 2017, I was disappointed for a lot of reasons. My resume wasn’t getting shortlisted in some of the dream companies that visited our campus, despite probably fulfilling all the criteria needed to get through that company. But I refused to let the disappointment take over my strengths of going out there and finding an amazing job, in a sector I loved, all by myself. I am very humbled and express my deepest gratitude to people who have helped me sail through this process. Today, when I look back at those days filled with utter confusion of where I’m going to land up in a few months, I realize that those were indeed very tough times.

2017 has been a roller coaster ride for Kayakalp – the venture my team and I have been running. We got access to some stupendous mentors who’re so aligned with our vision and goals, and helping us each day to scale and grow. 2017 also saw some new clients at Kayakalp who taught me a lot more about life, other than business as usual. I look up to each one of them for percolating in me the sense that I needed the most. They made me realise that an organisation’s visions are fully intertwined with the founder’s mission. Running and executing things is one thing – but building a scalable model with revenue scales is a different ball game altogether. I am at the nascent stage and am beginning to learn the stepping stones to build these things. Again, I express my sincerest thanks to the mentors including Megha Modi and Mr. Tarun Jain  – who have changed the way I now think about everything, including life.

In 2017, for the first-time ever I conceptualized and ran a crowdfunding campaign for a cause that’s the closest to my heart. I strongly stand against injustice and am averse to the idea of the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. This campaign changed me in ways more than one. It made me realize that one cannot function on donations for a lifetime. Everything needs to be backed with a solid revenue generating plan – even if it’s for a social cause. Other things apart, the happiness witnessed by the beneficiaries of this campaign made my heart melt. I was very happy. They were all also very happy. And that’s about it – just what I wanted! So yes, the experience overall was worth it.

I tried to work really smart and hard in the first six months of my first job. The skills I begun to pick up here, were something I had always wanted to learn more about and refine. I saw myself coming one step closer to my goal. My boss, senior directors, colleagues have truly been a pleasure to work with. I do not like to compare my life with that of my friends’ – but in our encounters and get-togethers I did realize that it isn’t easy to find a corporate culture that doesn’t end up making you a 9-to-9 slave. I have been very privileged to be on the receiving end of a host of colleagues who inspire me, above everything else they do.

I also put on two kilos of weight, owing to a dismantled exercise schedule resulting from office-sitting hours. I hope to be back in shape this coming year.

I also lost a lot of important time that I could have so constructively devoted to a lot better things than surf my Instagram. I have deleted this app from my phone – and promised to go on it, only when I need to wish birthday to some of my closest friends through an Insta post (you see, I must return their favor).

Of everything else, I learnt and loved doing in 2017 – I traveled to some of the most exotic places with the closest bunch of people I know.

In 2017 end, through the offerings of my secret santa in office, I purchased Robin Sharma’s Daily Inspiration. I opened the book in 2018 and read the first inspiration. It said the following:

When I was growing up, my father translating a Sanskrit saying, shared something with me that I will never forget. He said “Son, when you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced. Live ypur life in such a way that when you die the world cries while you rejoice.”

We live in an age when we have forgotten what life is all about. We can easily put a person on the moon, yet we have trouble walking across the street to meet a new neighbor. We have technology to help us stay connected, yet in many ways we have never been less connected in the history of humankind. We know more than ever, yet we know less, about it truly means to be great- as a human being.

I really live by Robin Sharma’s words. Or at least, as a starting point, I have resolved to pay more weight to substance rather than style, and integrity instead of image. In 2018, I will be working towards this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Resolutions & my game

It’s that time of the year again!

This year, things have paced fast enough for me to be able to put everything in perspective – as is well visible on the gap in posting new blog entries on my blog. But now I feel is the right time to reflect on what I learnt in 2017. I am a huge fan of getting clicked, and hence my phone’s photo gallery shall aid me in putting together key learnings and takeaways from this one crazy year. Shall compile all of the learnings and put them in place in the next blog.

The year hasn’t ended and hence, there are some things I want to definitely do before 2017 ends:

1. Take myself out for dinner – I have done this more than 50 times this year – owing to solo travels and weekend trips to the nearest mall all by myself. However, this one last dinner seems important – the experience will be liberating, I’m quite sure.

2. Eat healthy food on New Year’s eve – This is mandatory to do for me. Have always believed that the way I spend the last day of my year, is going to affect the way I shall spend the coming year. Healthy food is thus an important component.

3. Meet/talk to three new people before New Year Eve ends – As I love to chat, this seems to be the perfect one for me!

4. Complete reading at least one of the 10 books I have purchased this month- My Secret Santa in office bought me coupons to buy the best of books – books that I really adore and am waiting to consume!

5. Spend some quality time with people who really matter – I haven’t been able to allocate due time to my closest of friends and my own family, and so it’d be a good idea if I spend quality time with them. Because in the end, family is all that we have!

6. Remember to be happy and do what I love

P.S: Sharing some happy moments of 2017 from my photo gallery here: 

Thanks for watching & reading! Wish you a very happy new year in advance :”)

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Abled or disabled?

Time has been running. Taking leaps and bounds and failing to stop for me to take a quick breath.

There is so much that I want to pen down, as I haven’t been able to write since quite a time. But I have often witnessed that when in an adrenaline rush, people fail to deliver the right quality and hence, I shall not commit the same mistake. I will take a deep breath, close my eyes, blaze over memories in the couple of months gone by and jot this blog down.

My dad used to say, sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. I remember dreading the term “decision”. The entire process of weighing pros and cons, predicting outcomes, doing a cost-benefit analysis, is just so taxing. I used to try and evade the term and its reality, unaware of the fact that there will come one day when I will have to either cross the fence or remain on the other side.

The hourglass was running down and I needed to decide how to spend the next two years of my life – whether to continue something I’d been closely associated with, or let it go by. On nights and days alike, I was surrounded by these extremely existential questions – Am I headed in the right direction? Do I have the right team to go ahead with? Do I have the wrong products? Do I lack the skill set required?

To be honest, I still have doubts like these lingering in my head. But there has been one change. I started to neglect what I thought the outer world would perceive of me, I started to literally chase what I like, began delving deeper into processes I wanted to explore and areas I felt were closer to me.

This was all about a small venture, nothing big.

While working on the same venture I met a person, very driven, committed and drawn towards a concept that was surprisingly quite alien to me. His team had been striving to pull off a transformational campaign that aimed to revive the way a lay person thought about any human who was specially abled. At first I thought why should I even think about a cause which is no where related to me. In my extended family and my close relatives there is no person who is specially abled. I’ll be true to myself and declare that I have not even had any incidents wherein I had to be friends with or work with a man or woman who was specially abled.

When I first met this man, he told me that usually parents of these kids are the ones who care about the cause very deeply and have even laid foundation stones of India’s most famous NGOs working to empower the disabled. It was strange, but I somehow felt connected to the cause, when I read a story, after I came back home from the meeting.

I read an article written by the mother of an autistic kid. All throughout the blog, she mentioned that there was hardly any awareness or understanding of autism back then. When I tried to collate this with the current scenario – it stands so true even now. My friends and I did not know what the disability meant, before we joined hands in the campaign. Its actually a shame – the extremely privileged environment that all of us have been brought up in, failed to teach us the basic rules of inclusion and diversity. I remember rote learning that Geography lesson in Class 9 which proclaimed “Unity in Diversity”. Unfortunately, “unity in diversity” was only rote learned and not imbibed by any of us, so-called top rankers of schools and states.

In the story, the mother disclosed that many people around her told her that she was beating her head on the wall –  when she made efforts to bring her child to the mainstream. She was pushing the boundaries of the school, the society, her family and friends in order to make them accept her beloved child, the way he was born. On her path, each day, she was struck by skepticism, doubt, resistance, opposition from all quarters – home, friends, school, society and the list goes on. She managed to conquer them all. Today her son stands so proud holding a top degree in science from an extremely reputed institution. The degree brings with it years of hardwork, relentless efforts, pain and hardship of both the son and the mother. It is indeed rightly said, the best things do take time to come.

But in this journey, where do we all stand?

Society played no other role apart from discouraging the mother-child.

Connecting it with all my experiences and literally, joining dots backwards, I only see everything falling into the same place. I am wondering how difficult it would have been for that mother to take a decision and comparing it with myself cribbing over small decisions. It is all about courage and more than courage, belief in something. Belief in things you know will take their time to shape up, but will bloom the most when they fully mature. It’s about the courage of taking simple decisions of choosing teams, working on dreams and doing what you feel is right. If all of us start thinking about “Oh what the other people will think?” I fear there would be anything but duplicate and pirated samples of hollow work in this world.

Even if a so-called “able person” is unable to think independently, and moreover inclusively, I will literally begin to doubt their “ability”.

Each person is unique. Abled or disabled. Privileged or not so privileged. No one really needs to be empowered, they need to be made to meet their true confident self and the work is done. Through the campaign, we are intending to bring rapid awareness about the term ” inclusivity” in all its dimensions. I would request each person reading this, to not “rote-learn” this term like your Class 9 Geography textbook. But rather imbibe it in your day to day interactions with all kinds of people around you. Fat, anorexic, stunted, blind, autistic, retarded, dumb or deaf – no matter what, every person is intrinsically the same and deserves equal respect in society. Whether its about taking big decisions like that of raising a differently abled kid or something as trivial as choosing what to wear when out in public, each person should be capable of making and standing by their own decisions, unquestioned.

Waiting for tables to turn and times to change.