The year is winding to a close.
Looking back as I often do in mid-November, 2018 is no exception to the general rule.
Great Things Happen Every Year.
To me. To you. To everybody.
Sometimes, it’s the same thing for many. But there are usually a few unique, special things that happened only to you.
Here are 9 great things I experienced in 2018…
1. Listened to ‘This Is Water’
I stumbled across David Foster Wallace‘s commencement address in a compilation of the best motivational speeches of all time. I loved it so much that I tracked down a transcript, printed it out, and kept it to refer back often. Insisted that my daughter watch it. And shared it with my friends.
It was much later that I came to hear about his tragic suicide, and his masterpiece “Infinite Jest” – which I have just tentatively begun reading.
2. Read ‘Ponniyin Selvan’
Right from when I was a little boy, I’ve seen the multi-volume edition grace the bookshelf in my paternal grandpa’s house – and my maternal grandma’s cupboard. But I was never tempted to read it.
Earlier this year, I came across an English translation by Pavithra Srinivasan for the Kindle and picked it up. Once I chalked out my reading strategies and got started, I was hooked… and couldn’t stop until I finished all 7 volumes. For days after it, I remained suspended in a state of limbo, caught in a magical twilight between history and the present, in the way only great writing can trap you into.
3. Blogged for Akash Gautam
My dear friend is India’s #1 motivational speaker. He routinely addresses large crowds in colleges and companies. His client list is a Who’s Who of corporate India, boasting names like InfoSys and Google, Adani and Reliance, Cipla and Airtel.
Akash Gautam invited me to contribute a guest post to his blog. I had the idea of using his platform to spotlight a deadly danger our youth faces… ‘killer’ stress. The result was an article – “How Stress Is Killing You – Slowly!” – that got widely read and shared over 450 times on Facebook alone!
4. Saw ‘The David’ in Florence
After preparing for a month by brushing up on Renaissance art and reading Irving Stone’s “The Agony & The Ecstasy” about the life of Michelangelo Buonarroti, it was the highlight of our visit to Florence to stand at the feet of his giant marble sculpture – and gape!
While the Master’s Bacchus (in the Bargello museum) and unfinished Prisoners (in the Accademia) were awe-inspiring in themselves, it was The David that makes you want to bow in obeisance to Michelangelo’s genius.
5. Visited Bechtesgarden
Just outside Munich and on the outskirts of Salzburg, up a steep mountain, on top of a high cliff that can only be accessed by an elevator (that’s a marvel of German engineering) is The Eagle’s Nest – a hideaway in the Alps that Hitler built for his lover Eva Braun.
It’s a place replete with history – so much intrigue during World War 2 was hatched from there. And the panoramic views from its windows are breathtaking. It’s a ‘top of the world’ feeling.
6. Wrote ‘Heart, Guts & Steel’
It took 6 weeks to flesh out a first draft. And 6 more weeks to prune it down to a fair size. But finally, the long-planned account of my training as a surgeon, and of lessons learned in life, was done. It’s rich and vibrant, with anecdotes, experiences and lessons for every surgeon in training, or high school student who dreams of being one.
But after writing ‘Heart, Guts & Steel – The Making of an Indian Surgeon’, I suddenly despaired of being up to the effort of selling it – and decided to make it available for free! At least for now. So go on and check it out: here.
7. Conceived the Heart Book Club
Over two decades, I’ve tried out several fancy, unorthodox, and even frankly crazy ideas to raise funds to sponsor heart surgeries for underprivileged kids. The latest is the Heart Book Club.
It’s inexpensive. It’s high value. It’s going to help fund at least ten operations for heart kids in 2019. If you’d like to know more about it – and pitch in to help make this dream come true – go here now.
8. Promoted Singer Sam
Another long-time hope had been to help my childhood friend, and well-known playback singer in Indian films, Sam P.Keerthan build his brand online and grow his presence to reach many more people with his haunting, heart-warming melodies.
This year, after going to one of his concerts at Chennai’s premier auditorium, the Music Academy, I swung into action. The results speak for themselves. See his website. And Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We’re nowhere near done. Hopefully, his fledgling new indie music venture will take off like a rocket! It deserves to.
9. Collaborated with Britt Malka
Britt and I started out learning and teaching online marketing around the same time. Way back in 1996. Interestingly, we both taught email marketing and publishing email newsletters. But in all this time, we hadn’t formally partnered on anything.
That changed this year… in an unusual way. Britt read parts of my book, ‘Heart, Guts & Steel’. And had an interesting idea. She ran it by me. I agreed it was worth trying out. After a few inevitable delays, it’s all done. And we’ll be launching this new project shortly. Want to hear more about it? Be sure to sign up for my email list – here.
So those are 9 great things I experienced in 2019.
A tenth was more recent – and it was seeing my revised book “How To Be Rich” downloaded over 1,400 TIMES in just one day – catapulting it to the top of Amazon’s best-seller lists in all 3 categories it was listed!
Now it’s your turn.
What was special about your year?