Category : Self Development

Build It Up

Break It Down, Build It Up

Exactly 48 hours ago, there was a house in this spot across the road.

It took nearly 6 months to build. And for over 35 years, it sheltered many families.

  • Children were born in it, and grew up. Married. Had kids of their own.
  • People grew up in it, and grew old. Retired. Got sick and died.
  • One opened a business in it, and it thrived. Became profitable.

And then, everything changed.

A construction company’s billboard went up, with a slogan saying:

“Let’s Build a Future… Bigger & Better”

Wreckers and giant diggers arrived one night. Next morning, a loud clanging and drilling indicated they had begun work.

Two days later, all that’s left is a mound of rubble.

And a vacant lot.

Another set of apartments will be built in it. They, too, will house many families. It will take several months, even years, to build it, though.

Tearing something down is quick, even easy.

Building it up is not.

It takes time, effort and patience.

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I Spent This Morning Deploying Some Productivity Hacks

Productivity Hacks

Discover how simple productivity hacks can transform your life!

It was past midnight when I closed the window and turned off my computer.

For an hour, I had been watching an amazing presentation by Kevin Fahey. It was about his ‘Productivity Hacks‘.

I was amazed at how many tips, ideas and strategies he packed into such a brief talk. But even more amazed at the takeaways I got from it…

Because I am an expert at personal productivity!

For years and years, I have thrived on being exceptionally productive.

  • I manage my time well.
  • Set goals effectively, and achieve them.
  • Use ‘to do lists’ extensively.
  • Have painstakingly built efficient habits.
  • And above all else, learned how to focus intensely upon the job at hand.

In fact, I’ve written books on each of these topics.

And am actually in the middle of planning a launch of SIX different ebooks – along with a 6-module coaching program – on, guess what…?

Personal Productivity!

So if a coach who teaches folks to be more productive actually learned something new and fresh from another guy’s short presentation, he can’t be much of a teacher, right?

Wrong!

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Last night, I was SHOCKED!

It was late. Everyone else was asleep.

I was working on a long overdue review of my business earnings.

With increasing horror, I punched data into an Excel spreadsheet. Finally, when I clicked a button to add up totals…

I was STUNNED!

Income had dropped by a heart-wrenching 30% for the 1st half of 2019.

It felt like being punched in the gut.

But that wasn’t all.

The worse news is what’s happening in the 2nd half of 2019.

My net earnings for the last quarter were down…

By A Crushing NINETY-THREE Percent!

That’s right.

Revenue has dropped by nine-tenths over this period.

For a long time, I sat in silence in the dark room.

Thinking.

WORRYING!

And then, I made a plan.

Actually, it was just one decision.

I would start acting on it first thing in the morning.

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Am I Your Friend, I Ask…

“What a contrast between us! You live a warm and glowing life, surrounded by loved ones whom you care for and who care for you; you are anchored in contentment. I drift about without rudder or compass, a wreck on the sea of life; I have… no friends for the wholesome development of my affects, or enemies for my malice.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel, in a letter to his sister-in-law

I was recovering from an attack of viral hepatitis. Home bound. Room bound. Going slowly crazy.

All day – and most of the night – I played TV video games until my thumb got swollen from punching the ‘Fire’ button! One evening, the phone rang. It was a friend calling with some exciting news.

“Did you know that X and Y got married? Why didn’t you tell me?”

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Connectedness

Take for Granted

I paused in the street for a few seconds on my return from another college drop-off.

The lady who sweeps and cleans the streets was working in front of our drive. Just as she does every day, for the last 3 years.

She glanced up. Noticed my car. Hurried up a little.

I waited until she was finished. Opened the gate. Drove in and parked.

We didn’t acknowledge each other. Not even a smile or nod.

A nebulous socio-economic divide insulates ‘classes’ of people almost completely from each other, more so in my country than others. Apart from transactional interactions, ne’er the ‘twain shall meet.

Yet natural disaster has an equalizing effect.

It rips asunder this false shell to expose – and connect – the human heart that beats under us all.

Unites us in an all-encompassing embrace.

When a terrible storm flooded our city for a fortnight some years ago, this same lady and I had a lengthy conversation about the damage in the area where she lived.

She shared horror stories of shanty towns washed away in the deluge. Of families who lost everything. And of being rescued by lifeboats.

For a few precious moments, we connected – as fellow sufferers of an act of Nature, as co-passengers on the journey of life, as human beings.

And I wonder… why is this connection so rare?

I ask myself:

Should it need a disaster to make us recognize our mortality and connectedness?


P.S.: On December 8th, 2015, I had posted this after chatting with her:

“The lady who sweeps the roads had her colony submerged in Vadapalani. Relief workers provide food that is meager in quantity. Only yesterday, she got a tasty plate of biryani. All her clothes are wet and unwearable. No place to cook, even if she had rice and pulses. And the mosquito menace is intolerable. Just a conversation, lasting 5 minutes, threw up these priorities – clothing, food, mosquito repellant, cleaning up houses. Go out and TALK to people. See what they need. Then do what you can to help. #ChennaiSpirit”

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