Tag Archives: purpose

How To Never Give Up

What is your purpose

Why did you start it?

As I decided to write this, I saw a post on a popular discussion forum.

It was from someone who had invested quite a bit of time and effort into building his online business, was nearing the point where it could start being profitable, but was running short of energy and inspiration to keep going.

I’m never giving up. But I need some motivation. Please help!

…was his plaintive cry.

I responded briefly. But that reply got me thinking about how to address a similar problem that every entrepreneur faces at one time or another in their own online business.

That sickening feeling of burn out.

Go Back To Your Roots

I’ve fielded this question several times over the 15 years that I have worked on my online projects:

How do you fit so many things into your schedule? Isn’t it hard? Don’t you feel like giving up sometimes?

And to be honest, it isn’t always easy juggling parallel careers, each of which could be busy full-time jobs. There are often periods when I’m tempted to scale down, to take it slow, to reduce responsibilities – until I ask myself that magical question.

“What Made You Do This?”

Thinking about the answer to your deeper ‘WHY’ is always illuminating – and inspirational. Fame or money, curiosity or circumstance, whim or worry… something pushed you into building an online business.

What was it?

For some entrepreneurs, starting a business was a career decision.

They saw an opportunity in the marketplace, seized upon a chance to profit from it, and ended up building a business that grew rapidly and made them rich. But in many instances, if that was their sole motivation, the sense of satisfaction and thrill they gained from the venture is transient and unfulfilling, at least after the initial rush is over.

That’s why some of them become serial entrepreneurs, creating one start-up after another, well beyond the point where they need to do it from a purely financial standpoint. The thrill and excitement of building something keeps them going.

For others, the stimulus to build a business is rooted in a deeper passion or desire. It may be selfish – or selfless. It may be relevant to many others – or only to themselves. Whatever their motivation, it is often powerful enough to get them to overcome inertia and take action.

Purpose Overshadows Risk

Launching a business, even an Internet based one, carries a certain degree of risk.

There is financial risk, for sure, and there is risk of failure, of time invested into the project, and of not picking the right choices. To overcome all these risks and plunge ahead takes some courage and fortitude, and that’s often provided by one’s passion or sense of purpose.

A person appalled at the state of cleanliness of his neighborhood may launch a garbage hauling business to fix the problem.

Another who sees the daily struggle of her handicapped parent may invest into building a company that manufactures wheelchairs or other aids for elderly folks.

And online, too, the business one builds can be related to a real world problem or opportunity that can be leveraged on the Web.

Or not.

My own information marketing business, for instance, grew in part as an extension of my love for writing.

But the driving force behind it was the desire to generate enough profit from it to pursue my true passion to carry out life saving heart surgery for children from under-privileged families who couldn’t afford the cost.

So while every business is not directly connected with the purpose behind it, it’s often true that successful small online businesses are run by people with a passionate purpose.

How Does Passion Help?

Does being passionate really matter for business success?

Some would argue that it doesn’t – and maybe they’re right. I don’t believe, however, that working on a business you’re not passionate about is as deeply fulfilling – and even as likely to succeed – as one where you are.

The reason is simple.

Any venture, no matter how small, will bring with it some attendant hurdles and obstacles that you must overcome. As your business grows, these challenges multiply, grow bigger, and take more effort to work through. During these times of challenge and struggle, the one thing that will keep you constantly motivated and focused is the purpose behind the venture.

  • Why did you begin?
  • Why did you stick with it?
  • Why do you want to keep on?
  • Why does it matter if you fail?
  • Why are you afraid?

… and above all else…

Why MUST you succeed?

You’ve probably read about the Spanish conqueror Hernan Cortez scuttling the ships in his fleet during an attack on the Aztec empire, leaving his army no alternative but to defeat the enemy.

It’s a similar attitude, one that leaves you with no ‘out’ or ‘escape’ but to succeed, that will ensure that you stay on course despite rough weather.

Your equivalent of “scuttling the ships” must be your driving purpose.

An accountant who works with non-profits once taught me a valuable lesson. He said:

When I total up figures in rows and columns for my clients, I don’t see numbers. I see the faces of the children I’m working to help!

Learn to keep your purpose clearly in mind all the time.

See beyond the day to day challenges to the results of your hard work, sacrifice and struggle. Dream and visualize the changed reality that you will be creating through your business.

No matter if it is mundane or world-changing, your personal purpose matters greatly in keeping you motivated and engaged. That’s why its so helpful to keep asking yourself:

What made you do this?

If I asked you that question, what would your answer be?

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If you want to build new habits that stick, this book will transform your life… in 5 easy steps!

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Knife At A Gunfight Book Cover



4 Ways Your Burning Purpose Is Unique And Special

Your Burning Purpose

Every morning, we wake up and get ready to do some things. Often those things revolve around our job, our business or our hobbies.

Day after day, week after week, year after year, we do them.

But… Why?

What drives you to do what you do?

Sometimes it is necessity. Sometimes it is passion. Even curiosity, compulsion or coercion.

But when you take a closer look, it becomes obvious that all this is driven by something more abstract, that is unique and special to the human state. And that is…

Your Purpose.

What Is Purpose?


Meaningful Numbers

Meaningful Numbers

The sheer size of India’s population is staggering. And that leads to some interesting spin offs.

25 people isn’t a “crowd”. Only 250 people is. Or maybe ten times as many.

Educating 100 children doesn’t seem special. 1,000 is. Or better still, 10,000.

Go big, or go home.

It’s taken (too) literally.

Something gets lost along the way.

A sense of fulfillment, even pride, in what’s achieved pales in light of what remains to be done – and expected.

A solopreneur doesn’t think of bootstrapping his way to the first 15 or 20 customers – but sets up on a bigger scale right from the beginning.

An author believes finding 50 readers, or even 500, is ‘failure’ – and dreams of selling 50,000 copies of her debut novel. (Yet all you need is 1000 true fans!)

Everyone’s got their eye on the “Numbers” ball… and it’s BIG!

But see another perspective.

A sick man who’s cured of his illness isn’t as concerned about how many more have benefited from his doctor’s skill – only that he did. And it doesn’t lower the value he received from the medico.

A college graduate who secured a high-paying job that will transform his family’s circumstances forever doesn’t care if he’s one of 40,000 others. Or 4,000. Or even 400. His achievement will change his world.

Big numbers are nice. They make for impressive statistics and pretty graphs.

Small numbers – like ONE – also matter.

Often, even more.

Because they tell stories of individuals who have won or lost, lived or died, succeeded or failed.


Reintegrate Into Life


Life may not be all we wanted it to be.

That’s a realization every middle-aged person wakes up to one fine day… and lives with for many years.

Where did all our dreams go?

The question haunts and taunts you. Keeps you awake late into the night, or awakens you in the early morning hours. Pops up inconveniently at odd times throughout your work day, sapping energy and kindling nostalgia for the “good old” past.

The cure to this ‘problem’ is reintegration.


What Makes You Tick?


“Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.”  – Hugh “GapingVoid” MacLeod

A recent chance remark by an associate got me thinking… about what makes me tick.

You see, I have this track record of “chasing and changing” targets.

  • I specialized in an uncommon field of medicine, becoming one of barely 50 dedicated practitioners in India
  • Then, in a completely unrelated field, I became one of the top 50 specialists in the world
  • I took up an ambitious non-profit effort that seemed “impossible”, and got it to work well enough to fund 125 heart surgeries for kids
  • I built a rather profitable business – and could have grown even bigger, if I had continued to develop it

But after doing these things… I’ve given up on them!

To pursue something else.

Many people think that’s CRAZY! (Maybe they’re right)

But I’ve written a novel. Consulted with a start-up company. Charged $500 to write an article. And raised huge amounts for charity by conducting special events.

To my way of thinking, the “conventional success” of reaching the very top in a very restricted area of expertise sounds… very dull.

I truly admire (and even envy) those of my peers who can perform delicate, complex operations day in and day out. To me, doing that the first time is an exciting thrill. Developing a system to replicate it is a worthy challenge. But running that unit on a day-to-day basis would be a bore!

That’s just me. Because I find a challenge far more exciting than the result!

It’s why I dabble in other things. A new specialty. A novel line of interests. An unproven idea.

The challenge of pushing hard against my own limits, seeing how far I can go, learning and growing to make that effort… those are what keep me eager, hungry, raring to wake up every morning and get going.

A little more money in the bank, a little more fame and reknown, a little more “success” in a field I’ve already tried and mastered (or failed)… these don’t excite me quite as much.

So, I figure, that’s the reason I flit and fleet from one challenge to the next.

That’s what makes me tick.


If you too like to flit from one challenge to the next, you’ll enjoy reading my book.

Our next article is a poignant post about growing up – and it may even make you a wee bit nostalgic. To get notified when we post it… join our email list.


Frustrated By Success

What is your purpose

As a child, I read Richie Rich comics.

Richie was fabulously wealthy, with his personal butler, Cadbury, his robotic maid, Irona, and an endless collection of gadgets, toys and exotic presents.

The tag line of Richie Rich always fascinated me, though, because it sounded so contradictory…

“The Poor Little Rich Boy”
We are all familiar with the idea of being frustrated by failure.

It is an easy concept to identify with – because we’ve all failed at something, know how frustrating it can be, and know things would have been different if only we had succeeded.

But how can success be frustrating?!
Strange as it may sound, it is far more common than it seems.

I’ve come across many people who are widely considered “successful”, yet they manifest behavior and attitudes suggesting discontent, lack of fulfillment, and frustration.

No, it’s NOT that they want bigger success, higher profit, larger achievements.

On the contrary, they have suddenly realized that what they’ve been striving for so uni-dimensionally… just doesn’t seem quite enough!

That’s a harsh reality to wake up to one morning.

Steven Covey explains it vividly with the example of a man who climbs a tall tree in a jungle, reaches the top, looks around – and only then realizes he’s in the WRONG jungle!

How to guard against this?

By having a deeper purpose to what you’re doing.

A noble, worthy, sublime reason why for all that you get involved in. An over-arching mission that glues all components of your work and life together.

No, don’t make it an obsession – or it’ll be just as deadly a trap.

Instead, make it your motivation, your inspiration, your energy source that you can tap into for an emotional refill from time to time.

It helps if that mission is directed outwards, at other people or the world around us, making it a better place in some way. Such selfless purpose can be selfishly rewarding – by making you feel good about yourself, by giving you higher self-esteem, by enjoying a deep soul-filling satisfaction.

But even when your purpose is more personal, limited to your close inner circle, or even just to yourself, it can still be just as effective and powerful in giving your work meaning.

You will succeed FOR a reason.

And when you succeed, it will NOT feel frustrating.


How Deep Does Celebrity Go?

A recent incident made me wonder about celebrities. In general.

Are they really as superficial and shallow as it sometimes seems? Or is there a deeper dimension to their position and status that lets them make a real impact on their audiences and fans?

Aamir Khan makes films with a profound social message like ‘Taare Zamin Par‘ that turned the spotlight on dyslexia (and in a broader way, on children with special needs).

Angelina Jolie, who starred in Hollywood blockbusters, is arguably better known for her efforts to help refugees and orphans in the most war-ravaged and strife-ridden parts of the world, raising awareness about their plight and struggle on a global stage she strides like a colossus, thanks to her success as a film star.

World chess champion Viswanathan Anand, whom I’m happy and proud to know as a friend, has not only inspired a generation of Indian youth to dream of ruling the world of sport, and led millions to eagerly embrace a game that was born in India. He is also a vocal and visible spokesperson for children with cerebral palsy and AIDS, leveraging his worldwide recognition to make a difference in the lives of under-privileged little ones.

“Angry young/old man” Amitabh Bachchan, probably Bollywood’s only real SUPER-star, writes one of the most fascinating blogs I’ve ever read by ANY celebrity. What makes him more special to me than his stupendous acting career with so many glittering successes is his donation to our sister foundation that helped fund 10 heart operations for under-privileged children. Meeting him in person was nice; seeing him give generously for this purpose was nicer still.

Seth Godin, best-selling author and business thinker, is my friend and mentor. He is constantly pushing the envelope with his book launches. Sure, he sells a ton of books. But so do many other writers. Seth does something more special than simply write and sell books. He powers many charitable ventures through them. Like when he launched LINCHPIN – and raised over $100,000 for The Acumen Fund through the process… in 48 hours!

And there are ‘mini-celebrities’ who are making waves in their own (if slightly smaller) way. Among their 1000 true fans.

Whenever I read a book by a new author, I try and reach out to them via social media.

Recently, I’ve been in touch with Adam Jackson (author of “The Flip Side”), Madhuri Banerjee (author of “Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas”), John Locke (author of “How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months” and “Saving Rachel”) among others.

All of them responded. Conversations happened. A seed is sown for a potential relationship to take root, grow and bloom.

Who knows what it may lead on to? It all depends on how deep these celebrities are.


You wrote ten books. I’ve read them all. What’s next?

You acted in 5 movies. I’ve seen them all. What’s next?

You won the game for your team. I cheered. What’s next?

You got an award or prize. I clapped hands. What’s next?

You were elected. I voted for you. What’s next?

If all you do is what made you a “celebrity”, then there’s little else.

It’s what’s left AFTER this point that matters more.

What you DO.

Who you ARE.

Because otherwise, celebrity is so shallow and transient!


Why I Gave Up Conventional Medical Practice To Build a Non-Profit

footprint in sand

I was in a restaurant, holding a steaming mug of hot java. With me were two friends. One I’ve known for 30 years. The other I’d just met 30 minutes back.

The social dance was on. We explored vital questions. Who are you and who do you know? What do you do, and why?

The conversation drifted to my writing, and my work with heart kids. I (briefly) explained how I create and sell infoproducts, using a part of the profits to sponsor life-saving heart surgery for children with congenital heart disease.

My new friend asked:

“Why do you do it? I mean, leave alone ‘feeling good’. Why else? What do you get from it?”

I picked up my coffee, and sat for a while in silence. I drank slowly, thoughtfully… and wondered how to answer the question. Then I replied the way I always do:

“Because I can.”

My modest needs are met from passive income sources that I worked hard to put in place. This frees me now to focus on things I want to do. And in the line of my professional work, I come across families without any alternatives to save their little kids with potentially fatal heart birth defects. I try to help them.

“Because I want to. And enjoy it.”

From the look on his face, I could see he wasn’t entirely convinced. And paradoxically, his doubt and uncertainty conveyed itself to me. On the drive back home, I kept returning to the question.

For a week later, I kept thinking about it.

Why do I do it?

There’s possibly a selfish drive behind my apparent altruism, a sublimated craving for recognition and acclaim. Or perhaps another motive is at play. But at most, it’s only an additional driver.

By itself, it may keep me going awhile.

But not for so long.

I’ve done this for 10 years. I’ll be doing it for another twenty. Or longer.

And not against these overwhelming odds.

I’ve overcome some major challenges. For each, there are dozens of smaller crises, just as frustrating and depressing.

Eventually, I kept coming back to the wise and inspirational words of my friend, mentor and role model, Frank McKinney, founder of ‘The Caring House’ project, who is fond of reminding us that:

“Of those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

I’ve always believed that much has been given to me. Proximity to suffering humanity in my role as a doctor, and good fortune to retain perspective on the frailty and uncertainty of our earthly existence have both combined to make me insanely grateful for thousands of little things that many take for granted, or even bemoan.

And then, I read an amazing blog by Derek Sivers. Founder of “CD Baby”. Author. Speaker. Musician. Philanthropist. Incredible human being.

He sold his company for $22 millionwhich he donated to charity!

In a remarkably short blog post, he explained why… and gave me the insight I’d been searching for all week long. (Many others probably felt that way, judging by the 1250+ comments on it!)

“It’s not that I’m altruistic. I’m sacrificing nothing. I’ve just learned what makes me happy. And doing it this way made me the happiest.”


I too am sacrificing nothing. In fact, I’m pursuing my twin dreams – of practicing a technically challenging specialty (pediatric heart surgery) while helping desperately needy families beat a killer health condition (congenital heart disease).

It makes me happy. Wildly, insanely happy. It makes my heart sing. It lends deep purpose and meaning to all that I do. It gets me out of bed, eager and excited about my day.

THAT’S why I do it.

Because I WANT to.

The best part of Derek’s post comes in his last line:

“But most of all, I get the constant priceless reminder that I have enough.”

Wow! How powerful is that?!

And true.

Unless you personally feel you have “enough”, it’s never easy to give to someone else.

Anxiety and stress kick in. Defences build up. Logic masks emotion.

And we put our noses back to the grindstone, trying to get “enough” for ourselves.

My work is a constant reminder TO MYSELF that I’m blessed with enough.

Yes, THAT’S why I do it.

Because I can.

Because I want to.

Because I have enough.

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