When I started this blog a few months back, I had not imagined that this would become more of a necessity than a hobby for me. At the outset, I believed that blogging helps in structuring your thoughts better. With initial posts, I found that it is not as straight forward as I thought and demands a good amount of time, discipline, and a prolific mind to continuously look for ideas.
Now that I have published more than 50 posts, it is time to celebrate the milestone. In the next 10 blogs published on Fridays or Saturdays, I am going to share the Grow Daily credo with you. This would be a 10 part series (after this one) to take deep dive into the 10 mantras that I believe are essential to Grow Daily. These are the foundation to this blog and shall continue to be as long as this blog runs, which I believe shall be till as long as I can run it.
I am not claiming to be a successful person and that I have the license to become prescriptive. I am a survivor and a believer in making attempts to achieve everyday success, in whatever I do. The magnitude of impact does matter but it is these small things that add up to big ones. I am not a failure too and have reached a reasonable level in my professional and personal life. I believe the challenges that I have faced (and continue to face) in this course are shaping me towards a reasonable and reputable position in my circle of influence.
Most importantly, I am happy and that’s why I believe that I am successful.
I plan to continue running this blog and share my learning from technology, management, and everyday improvement to be effective in every realm of life. These are my own thoughts and I believe that these will give me a good number of opportunities to share my experiences as I progress from here.
With this context, let me share the 10 mantras to Grow Daily.
Mantra No. 1 – Importance of setting goals
The one most important thing in life is to set goals. It is very easy to go with the flow. For the majority of my adult life, I used to take pride in declaring often that ‘TAKE LIFE AS IT COMES’. How wrong was I? It is only after I faced a string of failures in both personal and professional front, and I observed changes in my personality that I started to explore how to be better in my everyday life. In other words, how to grow daily. One of the key learning was to build a habit of creating daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, 5-yearly and 10-yearly goals. Some of these goals should push you out of your comfort zone.
Mantra No. 2 – Being Patient
In my life so far, I have experienced that everything is done if we are patient enough. One should not attribute patience to laziness or delay. Patience is to go through the hoops and achieve your end goal without accepting defeat in the course, just because things are not going the way we planned.
Mantra No. 3 – Get Hands-On and Upgrade
‘It’s hard to beat someone who never gives up!’ – goes the old saying. This is exactly one needs to adapt to thrive and be happy in their lives. This certainly does mean that one needs to constantly invest into themselves. My work does not require me to get my hands dirty on the daily basis. Where in, it is easy to get out of the regular drudge and just ‘manage’ stuff. It is the decision to go hands-on, do things and then upgrade yourself to new skills that make the difference. It’s important to create something of your own and then telling the world about it, rather than buying and selling something that anyone else has made. Enjoy the joy of making!
Mantra No. 4 – Try. Fail. Learn. Repeat.
When you get hands-on then there will be failures. Embrace them. I recently was watching an old interview of Michael Phelps, the legendary Olympic swimmer. For 5 years non-stop Michael went for swimming. No breaks. The difference in his performance, when compared to his competitors, is for everyone to see. This is the power of trying every day. Failures will be there. We just need to learn from them and move on. I got really inspired by this. With the mission to add one more skill in my toolkit, I started to learn swimming in May this year and in 4 months I am proud that I have learned freestyle, backstroke and breast stroke. Just by trying, failing, learning and repeating. We should find opportunities where we can try, then fail, then learn and then repeat. It is these failures that form the bedrock of success.
Mantra No. 5 – Productive Habits. Kill Craving.
Saturdays and Sundays used to mean thanking God that week is over. My usual routine used to be lying down on the couch in front of our TV. Watch a movie, after a movie, eat snack after snack and spend time just talking to people. Little did I realize that during week day as well, my body became too lazy and craving for spending time in non-productive things became a habit. If I got a work assignment, I would first take a coffee break and then think what should I do next. In the process, I dragged things till the last moment and did a sloppy job. Every where. The decision to make every waking moment count not only killed my craving for finding excuses and just spend time doing nothing but it also made me more focused in the moment and on the job at hand. I started getting more involved. My focus came back and I feel more compelled to do more. So look at your daily schedule and identify where you the unproductive cravings are dominating over the productive ones.
Mantra No. 6 – Reboot and Organise.
All work and no play can make Jack a dull boy. Our education system in India emphasizes the importance of working hard but is absolutely silent on equal importance of partying harder. When I made the decision to start my journey of personal transformation, initial wins were easy. Sitting in front of the computer, I was able to make a lot of progress with an assignment in hand. This went for weeks. Then I started wearing out. If you look at the frequency of initial blog posts, you would realize the lack of discipline and dip in quality of content very easily. I realized that one needs to reboot periodically, organize their thoughts, get the mojo back and then restart again from where I left. This strategy helped me to have a healthier mind too. Every once in a while I take a full day off and just do things that are good to do but not essential. This helps to relax me a lot. Besides, travel breaks help me to rejuvenate further. So take periodic breaks. And if you add them at end of some milestone, you ensure that there is both progress and reward.
Mantra No. 7 – Problem Solving Creatively.
It is important to challenge yourself with problems. The good ones are those where you can solve tough problems. Problems that require handling multiple variables – technical, economic, political, relational etc. The more complex a problem, the more content you would be when it gets solved. As a vow, I take up some complex problem and spend at least 30 minutes on it every day. This could be a mathematics problem or a case from my B-School days. These days it is about GST (Goods and Services Tax) introduced by Government of India. Finance was never my forte so understanding it takes time. But what makes one achieve greatness is to not only solve a complex problem but to solve it in more than one way. That’s when creativity kicks in. Most successful people are ones who have solved problems creatively – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Abdul Kalam, Elon Musk to name a few. So, look out for the new problem every day and solve it.
Mantra No. 8 – Research Deeply.
As I already emphasized in one of my previous blogs, there is no substitute for good research on anything you work on. The shortening attention spans have led to reduced amount of concentration of people. As a result, the depth of understanding has also shrunk. People who spend a good amount of time in researching are the ones who move ahead, with little effort. This was one of the toughest changes that I had to bring. I had become a victim of shrinking attention span. It is for looking at blogs like Zen Habits and some very powerful reading that I realized that I need to work more on my research methodologies. It has helped me significantly. This is the secret gravy for success. Everybody wants it but very few know how to make it well.
Mantra No. 9 – Network Aggressively
Whether working as an employer or as an employee, if you continue to sit on your seat then you will go only as far as the seat goes. In the connected world, it is important that we identify people from whom we can gain knowledge and insights professionally or personally. This is an area where I believe many people, especially in technology and engineering related fields, fumble significantly. The love for machines makes them human agnostic. This is very inhuman. It is easy for us to spend a whole day without speaking to anyone except for our immediate circle. To strive and thrive, we must network with as many people as possible. We must also find the right mentors and good peers to help us learn new things every day. So make an attempt to meet or speak to 4-5 new people every week and you would be surprised to see the impact. Honestly, I have not been very successful in this so far but I am working really hard to fix it.
Mantra No. 10 – Wholesome Generous Life.
A healthy body makes a healthy mind and vice versa is an age old saying. For the past 6 months, I have made a daily routine to go out for some physical activity in the outdoor and spend close to 45-60 minutes in the natural surroundings. I have tried the gym before but have miserably failed in pursuing it effectively. The 45-60 minutes in natural surrounds can be used for running, walking or swimming (my recent acquired skill). This is the most therapeutic part of my day. It invigorates me to be more effective and be more attentive throughout the day. Besides, we should not shy away from sharing and being generous. Helping others in any form gives an eternal happiness that cannot be achieved by any other means. Lastly, one builds a tendency to listen more as they appreciate the quiet than noise. I find that these transformations have made me more disciplined and hence more effective.
As said earlier, the next 10 weeks are going to be deep dive into each of these mantras with well research examples and science behind them. It’s challenging but then whats the fun in doing mundane!
Adopt these mantras and I am sure you would find yourself a changed person. All the best! #GrowDaily!