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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thinking can be equal to living longer

“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” - Nelson Mandela 
One of my friends shared the above quote of Nelson Mandela few days ago on Facebook.
The quote triggered the thought of thinking and thinking logical, we all know that Death is one of the most exhausted topics of conversation, because it is unavoidable. We move with great speed through life, sure of only one thing, that one day we will stop moving.
We talk about it but do we really give it a thought, it is evident why we must die – Dying to save space - because the Earth is a limited space to live in.
Or Dying to Evolve, we reproduce to create a bettered version of ourselves. Our children are therefore better equipped to survive the world than we are, just as the iPhone 3G turns heads no more these days, and we too are useless once the next generation is born so we die.
But what about Dying to Prevent Boredom, attractive as the idea of immortality sounds, living forever would take all the fun out of life. Here, I’ll reference a speech made by Achilles in the movie, Troy to Briseis, (the girl he keeps in his tent) he says that “the Gods envy us for our mortality – that every moment is so beautiful because it will never come again. In the prime of our lives, men are (usually) at the peak of their physical abilities and women are the most beautiful they will ever be. Intelligence, fortunately, follows linear growth so most of us continue to gain intelligence until the day we lose our minds completely, and even then who says losing your mind isn't the smartest thing to do? We die to give greater significance to all experiences in our lives.
Granted, we will die someday, but is there any way to stretch the time in between?”
I saw Inception recently and was very impressed with how Christopher Nolan manages timelines in the movie. It is indeed true, that time dilates in our dreams.
Both of these have a common factor which created the experience of time slowing down – an increased rate of thought formation.
SO we should think more to elongate our own experience of time, the mind in fact is the most wonderful gift God could given us. It allows for endless exploration of all possibilities in the privacy of our head; the only part of ourselves that is completely our own, inaccessible to anyone else. Just as I have, you must stretch your own ego and embrace the concept that this is your world that you are its God and your perception of it is all that exists. Then you will be able to grasp that stretching your own perception of time, stretches time for your whole world. I’m saying that the more thoughts you have, the slower time passes for you. It is the blank moments, when I don’t have a thought about life that just flies by – although I appreciate those too, on occasion.

Now, I've never been a fan of talkers – I find that the more people talk, the greater the noise that drowns out the signal (good ideas). A similar situation may exist for heavy-thinkers as well – the more thoughts you have, the more useless thoughts you may have that overshadow your useful ideas. If you are content with simply stretching your own perception of time, then by all means, think away! Think smartly, think nonsensically, and think however you like.

But, we do have limited time in this world, no matter what our perception of it is. Myself, I am not content with having any useless ideas; I consider ideas that do not directly or indirectly result in action to be a complete waste of time. So, I would never allow myself to think simply for the sake of thinking. Then again, I may be completely wrong here, but a little more thinking never hurt anyone. Except perhaps those who are afraid of having thoughts at all.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why I’m going to miss being twenty five



Seven days ago, I turned 27 and today I am missing something, something about my yearly twenties, as an adult, twenty five is the best age to be. Your social circle no longer includes whiny teenagers who think a heart-break is the end of the world, nor do you have to deal with married thirty something (although I am married at 26), who take every opportunity available to show off their trophy wives and expect you to join their ranks. You may already have a job, or you may still be looking for one. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a successful career, or even an inkling of where you’d want to be in ten years. You’ve had a few failed relationships, maybe even a couple of heart-breaks, but you still haven’t become jaded enough to entirely give up on the idea. You still meet plenty of new people and make new friends easily. You’re old enough to legally consume alcohol every weekend, but not old enough for people to think of you as an alcoholic. It is still okay to party with friends without needing a valid reason for it, and hangovers don’t last days.

Probably the best thing about being twenty-five, is that you’re still technically in your early twenties. Just a birthday later you suddenly enter your late twenties. The one year translates into added pressure to have a better paying job, expectations to be married or to at least have a steady partner. Impromptu week long getaways with friends will be frowned upon. People will expect you to be more serious about everything, behave more like a grownup and be more mature in general (read: boring and predictable.) Hanging out with your loved ones will become a chore, requiring you to schedule time for them in your newly hectic life. You’ll be expected to have your own place. Living with your friends will no longer be viable, as they’ll be busy dealing with their own problems that come with suddenly being on the wrong side of twenty.

All your travel plans die with your twenty-sixth birthday. Though you keep telling yourself that you’ll somehow make time for that backpacking trip across Europe that you’d promised yourself many years ago, whenever your office decides to grant you your leave, you’ll be left scrambling to plan a hasty visit to your home to be with your family for the holidays. The one vacation you do get will be your honeymoon, and let’s be honest here, that was not at all what you had in your mind when you so meticulously planned your great adventure.

And so I sit here wishing that time would slow down or entirely stop, that these next few months would somehow stretch into an eternity, wishing that I was still in my twenties.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My love for Cinema & few unheard Recommendations



Indian Cinema is celebrating 100 years of Bollywood, irrespective of genre, language, actors, country and director, I like to watch all kinds of movies, they are my perfect getaway from mundane reality and entry to the fantasy land. My love for cinema has given me sleepless nights, endless conversation points, fabulous ideas, memorable dialogues & lingering music; you now must get my obsession levels. I am grateful to my laptop and many of my friends for sharing their great collection and recommendations. My obsession owes each one of you and the great internet movie friend (who shall not be named here) a GREAT BIG FAT THANKS!

 
Here I am mentioning my three recently watched movies, in no way these represent my favorites, and they will act more like recommendations of sorts as they may not be that popular....
  1. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – One of the most underrated war movies. This movie is among the rare ones where the brutalities of war are portrayed in the most subtle and figurative manner. The story unfolds through the innocent eyes of an eight year old German boy who is oblivious of his father’s role, the adjacent Nazi concentration camp or the holocaust that awaits him. Brilliant acting, plot and the setting makes this a must watch movie. The ending is absolutely remarkable and comes packed with a punch. Caution: Can leave you with a lump in the throat.

  1. In the Mood for Love – Recommended by my dear friend, this can easily top my favourite romantic movie list. Highly impressed by the cinematography, story-line and subtle expressions. Post this movie, I became a great fan of the Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai and have watched many of his other movies like My Blueberry Nights and Chunking Express but In the Mood for Love remains my favorite. The movie is a lesson in love, infidelity and doing the wrong for the right reasons or vice-versa. Loved the ending – unexpected, sad and moving. Also, the soundtrack of the movie along with the visualization is absolutely brilliant.


  1. Children of Heaven – This simple story of two siblings and a pair of lost shoes leaves you with such a warm and happy feeling. One of the simplest tales told with a sweet message of love and faith is a must watch and does not require much critical analysis. Watch it just to remind yourself that life is all about the simple joys and how underrated they are!
Shawshank Redemption, The Prestige, Memento, Forrest Gump, Inception, The Departed, Amelie, Revolutionary Road, Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind, Rashomon, 12 Angry Men, An Education, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, 500 Days of Summer, August Rush are some of my other favourite movies which I would really like to recommend others to watch. Phew! The list is just endless and I am sure I have missed many of the good ones that I cannot recollect at the moment.

Friday, May 17, 2013

8 Productive things to do during the Workday

Forget about your job title or profession – everyone is looking for ways to be more productive at work.
Experiencing a highly productive workday can feel euphoric. But contrary to popular belief, simply checking tasks off your to-do list isn’t really an indication of productivity. Truly productive people aren’t focused on doing more things; this is actually the opposite of productivity. If you really want to be productive, you’ve got to make a point to do fewer things.

Here are 8 productivity tips form Project Management Expert, Author and Agile Visionary – Tony Wong.  

               
1. Create a smaller to-do list. Getting things accomplished during your workday shouldn’t be about doing as much as possible in the sanctioned eight hours. It may be hard to swallow, but there’s nothing productive about piling together a slew of tasks in the form of a checklist. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter.

2. Take breaks. You know that ache that fills your brain when you’ve been powering through tasks for several hours? This is due to your brain using up glucose. Too many people mistake this for a good feeling, rather than a signal to take a break. Go take a walk, grab something to eat, workout, or meditate – give your brain some resting time. Achieve more productivity during your workday by making a point to regularly clear your head. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.

3. Follow the 80/20 rule. Did you know that only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results? Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your workday: they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, on a project, systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.

4. Start your day by focusing on yourself. If you begin your morning by checking your email, it allows others to dictate what you accomplish. Set yourself in the right direction by ignoring your emails and taking the morning to focus on yourself, eat a good breakfast, meditate, or read the news.

5. Take on harder tasks earlier in the day. Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is most fresh. Save your busy work – if you have any – for when your afternoon slump rolls in.

6. Pick up the phone. The digital world has created poor communication habits. Email is a productivity killer and usually a distraction from tasks that actually matter. For example, people often copy multiple people on emails to get it off their plate – don't be a victim of this action. This distracts everyone else by creating noise against the tasks they’re trying to accomplish and is a sign of laziness. If you receive an email where many people are CC’d do everyone a favor by BCC’ng them on your reply. If your email chain goes beyond two replies, it’s time to pick up the phone. Increase your productivity by scheduling a call.

7. Create a system. If you know certain things are ruining your daily productivity, create a system for managing them. Do you check your emails throughout the day? Plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot for managing your email. Otherwise, you’ll get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day.

8. Don’t confuse productivity with laziness. While no one likes admitting it, sheer laziness is the No. 1 contributor to lost productivity. In fact, a number of time-saving methods – take meetings and emails for example – are actually just ways to get out of doing real work. Place your focus on doing the things that matter most as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Remember, less is more when it comes to being productive during the workday.

What’s your secret to productive workdays?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Wish I Could........

You remember being a kid and looking at grown ups and thinking how much “fun” it would be to be a grown up?

I do.When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up.

I envied how grown ups got to do everything they wanted but I couldn’t stay up past 10 pm.

I envied how grown ups got to go wherever they wanted without asking. But I still had to ask for permission to watch TV.

I envied how grown ups always had so much money to spend. But I wasn’t allowed to eat all the ice cream in the world.

I envied how grown ups were so important and were treated with such respect. But everything I said was “cute” or “funny” and no one ever paid heed.

And so I wanted it all. A grown-up was my celebrity.

I became older. A teenager. And I still continued to envy grown ups.

I still envied how grown ups got to do everything they wanted. But I wasn’t allowed to talk on the phone all I please without being disturbed.

I still envied how grown ups got to go wherever they wanted without asking for permission. But I had to make up a million excuses to go out with my friends.

I still envied how grown ups always had so much money to spend. But I had to save up for months before my boyfriend’s birthday.

I still envied how grown ups were so important and were treated with such respect. But where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do was regarded as “childish”.

I still wanted it all. And I convinced myself that it would all come in good time. A few more years and I’d have finally grown up.

Those years have gone by a little too quickly for my liking. I’m what you would define as a “grown up” now. And I get to do all those things I envied as a kid. Only, now it all seems very different.

Yes, I am allowed to do whatever I want. But I don’t have the time or the energy to do any of it.

Yes, I don’t need to ask for permission to go anywhere. But I wish there would be someone to make my decisions for me. Tell me what was right and wrong. Give me the right advice on anything and everything that I did.

Yes I have so much money to spend at my disposal. But only I know the efforts and pains it has taken me to collect each and every penny.

Yes, I seem very important and respected when it comes to making decisions. But I wish the burden of responsibilities was much lesser.

And now I wish I could go back and stop time. I wish I could go back and be looked after and pampered and fed and taken care of. I wish I could go back and be a kid. I wish my parents were around all the time to release me of all my responsibilities. I wish my saddest moments were those when I got into a fight with my siblings. I wish I had a fixed bed time during all those times that I have to stay up working through the night. I wish mom was around to put me to sleep when I was sick. I wish dad was around to pat me on my back when I did well. I wish I could eat all I wanted and still look cute. I wish I could crawl into mom and dad’s bed during winter nights. I wish tears rolling down my cheeks were only because of my scraped knee. I wish I could rewind. And then I wish I could pause.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The 3 weeks challenge - no phone in the company of others



Have this made you wonder “what do you miss out on because you are often not “present” as you focus on what your phone presents to you.

Most people seem completely addicted to their phones.

As soon as a plan touches down many simultaneous “ding dings” chime out demanding the attention of their owner.

Recently a friend of mine off air for two days with no email, phone, sms or internet, and when he was back, he had quite a back log of email and messages on his return mostly with response “Is something wrong with your phone” and that too when we announces this in advance that he is not able to response to any call or email or message for next two days.

People seem to have a high expectation that if they send a message, the response will be instantaneous. Even if we all noticed on a normal bus stop most of the people waiting were all inspecting their mobile phones – not even noticing the existence of the other human beings around them.

My question for the situations:-

Is all this immediate communication really giving us the opportunity to do good work?

How many emails or text messages are dashed off in haste only to be misunderstood or incomplete? Are we being truly present?

Okay I am taking a personal challenge for the next 3 weeks to not use a mobile device in the presence of others. And I wonder who I will get to meet and what conversations I will get to experience – and also the added upside of not sending off a one line response to someone without a considered response.

Let me slow things down – and not rush to everything, and I’m sure I will do better work as a result.

Who wants to play with me – the 3 weeks 'being present' day challenge? Let me know how you go.

Friday, February 8, 2013

On quest of How to Search.....



Everyone knows that search on the web is synonymous with Google. Or is it? I’d say it used to be … still is to some extent … but not entirely.

Anyone who spends a considerable amount of time browsing the internet and searching for content is bound to be – knowingly or unknowingly – using more than one medium to search. I will try here to share some that I use.

Well, see the problem with Google search is that it throws up a lot of irrelevant search results along with the relevant ones. So that means you have to dig through the search results, drill down, refine your search string and despite that at times come back all sweaty, grimy and empty handed. Well maybe an exaggeration, but it could still leave you wanting for more.
The second problem that I see with Google search is, that I am not getting any feedback, opinions, ideas related to the topic I am searching for. So there is no conversation happening. I cannot ask any questions, get any replies. It is like watching television… very one sided. It is because of this reason that I had said on twitter once that “Twitter is making me lazy. I prefer to ask a question here and get contextual answers rather than do a search on Google”. This other time I tweeted that “Twitter search has something Google doesn’t have – people”.

But I digress. The point here is not to put down Google search (They are doing their job pretty well I’m sure) but to discuss alternate means of searching for content on the web.

The trick is in knowing what you’re searching for and what could be the optimum places to look for them. I was recently looking for a prototyping tool which would give me the option of adding rich in-the-page interactivity. Searched high and low on Google but came up with nothing. That is when I turned to LinkedIn. Yeah LinkedIn. While it is a great community for business networking, the added advantage is that it has an active community of professionals discussing, offering feedback and opinion – all of which is a lot more useful because here is someone talking about their own experience rather than trying to sell you something. Well guess what! In a discussion of User Experience professionals group, I found a list of prototyping tools I had not come across on Google, found opinions of which ones are useful in which context and also tips of how people are using existing tools like PowerPoint and Visio very successfully for prototyping.

I did mention Twitter already very active communities; people on Twitter are always more than willing to help you out if you need something. Just try it sometime. Looking for something? Ask a question on twitter. Believe you me, you will not be disappointed. People offer suggestions, opinions and if they don’t know, they will RT (retweet) – your tweet so that someone in their network can offer you help. People on twitter called it Crowd Sourcing. I have indulged myself on various occasions, asking about tools I needed, and even opinions for narrowing down options while buying my car.

Even Twitter Search throws up very useful results. I now often tend to put a search string in http://search.twitter.com/ before I Google. Twitter search again brings to you tweets of people sharing their views and comments along with suggestions. You do want to know more about the link you are going to click, the tool you are searching for, that phrase you have to research, links people are recommending. It helps to filter out a lot of crap which you otherwise tend to encounter through regular search.

You may even consider platforms like Slide share and Scribd. Although with Slide share you are most likely to end up with a list of ‘ten things your organization should or shouldn’t in the social media space’, no matter what was your search string. If you have the patience to dig through that content, you may come across some real insights related to the topic you searched for.

Some of the other sites I have used successfully in the past are YouTube, Digg.com (this was a very useful resource while I was searching for icons once). The point is that these are all sites with user generated content. So if you search on them, you will definitely find more than you were looking for. Opinions and suggestions make your search more relevant and the conversations make it more interesting.

Having said that, Google still has what none of these sites have – Pacman.

Do share your experiences of searching on these sites and also any special tips or techniques that you use while searching, would be really good to know.