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A journey of thousand miles begins with the first step and if you continue your journey into next 21 days; it becomes a habit. Its not that I did not realize the law of neuro-science that 21 days makes a habit. But there is a realization that it’s easy to fall prisoner to emerging trends in Digital world and lose sight of productive habits. Let me share few of them.

1. Whatsapp: I would get up early morning and not touch my cell phone till it was time to leave. But no sooner my WhatsApp account was activated I became a serial WhatsApp browser. No sooner I got up, I would check on the quotes, messages and jokes shared on the WhatsApp and begin responding to them. I would look for a good DP for the day. Sooner it had eaten up into my time for exercise, newspaper reading and meditation. SOLUTION: Discipline – Prioritize your time for important activities aligned with your goals. It’s easier said than done but I took the bitter pill and slotted whatsapp on the lower rung .

2. INTERNET BROWSING: Computers have become a source of nuisance. No sooner I would get up, I promptly log onto Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn and twitter and jump among the various platform hoping that someone has sent me a message or shared, liked my post. SOLUTION: Discipline – Only discipline can bring you out of this habit. Discipline yourself to spend not more than three chunks of 30 minutes slots on such platforms spread over the day. 30 minutes in the morning – 30 minutes in the afternoon and 30 minutes in the evening.

3. LATE NIGHT OUT: I believe in early to bed and early to rise. But on an experimental basis I tried to reverse the cycle for couple of months. That is I arranged late hours meetings (Business and social) over drinks. Suddenly my internal clock took a toll. And I my performance in many areas fell – my response time fell, thinking process slowed down, stress rose up, gained weight and jobs were left unattended. SOLUTION: Discipline – Slowly returned to “ early to bed and early to rise routine.” Started getting up at least 3 hours before my work time and catch up on my productive activities including exercise. Our DNA is structured to work best when you sleep early and get up early.

Anything and everything can fall into place provided you discipline yourself. And remember journey of thousand miles begins with the first step. Is you first step in the right direction is the question you must ask yourself.

Everybody has PROBLEMS


Imagine you call up your customer for the outstanding payment and the response is “We cannot make the payment please take back the equipment.”   Later in the evening you receive a call that your best  friend has been admitted to the hospital.

Next morning you  go for a health checkup and the Doctor says that you have a high  cholesterol. Later in the day your appraisal has been completed and your senior neither recommends a raise nor a promotion. Aah!

How do you react?  Most of the people in your situation will fold up and withdraw in self-pity and cursing.   On the flip side there are a handful few  who bounce back with vigour and high octane fuel.  Where do they get the inspiration to bounce back?

Well I have a close friend who always bounces back irrespective how hard he hits the ground.  I am amazed by his capacity to let go of the past and move forward hence I called on him to request recipe for his secret sauce.   He kept quiet for sometime and said Vinod lets go watch Cricket live telecast.

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He switched on the TV and we were  engrossed in the game of cricket.  Just when the game was getting interesting,  he switched off the TV.  I shouted  …….. what!  He said about an hour back you asked me my Secret sauce to bounce back.  I suppose you got the answer.  He further said that whenever I have a bad day; I just shift my focus to things I enjoy doing.  And then he said “Did you notice 20,000 people in the stadium watching the game of cricket?  How excited they were ?  They are die hard cricket fans who enjoy watching live cricket at any cost.  And for them Cricket is the source for an inspiration and forget their troubles for the time.”   He said the secret sauce is “focus your thoughts on the things you enjoy and sooner your troubles will be gone.”

My next question to you is “what do you enjoy doing?”    I will share my list of few that I have compiled and  enjoy doing.

  1. READING NON-FICTION BEST SELLERS:-  My favourite “The Magic of Thinking big,” “Who moved my cheese;” “Think and Grow Rich;” “The Monk who sold his Ferrari;”  “Yes the 50 secrets of Persuasion;” “Outliers;” “Tipping point” “The Brain Advantage” and so on.
  2. LISTENING TO AUDIO :-  Listening in the car or on my MP3, Inspirational speeches by Jim  Rohn, Sandeep Maheshwari, Brian Tracy and TED.
  3. NATURE IS A SUPERB CURE :– Going for an early morning walk.  There is power in the early hour’s cool wind and the silence in the air.
  4. TALKING TO POSITIVE PEOPLE WHO UPLIFT AND INSPIRE YOU :– A friend, colleague or a family member. Or attend a seminar or an event with an uplifting theme.
  5. ATTEND TOASTMASTERS MEETING or visit a museum or an art exhibition.
  6. Reading my GRATITUDE book.
  7. And finally SKIPPING, STAIR CLIMBING or a short jog.

What is your Secret Sauce?

What is in your plate

Last Sunday I accepted an invitation for a full day seminar.  During the lunch time a 7 course buffet was served.  Audience crowded around the buffet table; people filled up their plate to the top and few snacked on the healthy food. 

Buffet table and the diners around reflect our life.  We are bombarded with so much information and distractions that we begin believing in filling our plate to the brim.  And consequently we develop clutter in our life; clutter of INFORMATION (including TV time; Facebook time, Internet browsing time), clutter in THINKING, clutter in WORK, clutter in HEALTH and clutter in our FAMILY RELATIONS.  And finally we are dull into mediocrity.   The question is what activities will trigger your right brain thinking and motivate us to get out of the clutter mode.  I am sharing few organic activities and there is no better time than your weekend time to begin the experiment.  If you find change in yourself repeat it often.

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Next weekend is round the corner hence I have laid down the buffet of activities; activity 1 & 2 are MANDATORY whereas among 3 – 20 activities,  you can chose four  activities and slot them in your next 48 hours weekend schedule.

  1. Practicing thinking your goals in PICTURES and visualize yourself achieving your goal. Time 15 minutes a day
  2. Begin conversation with yourself, questions yourself and demand answers.  What is my goal in life; what activity gives me the greatest pleasure; what is the best use of my time now; what gives me the greatest high?  The objective of this exercise is to find your sweet spot and repeat it often.  Time 30 minutes a day
  3. Get up half an hour early and go for a 30 minute brisk walk around the park.
  4. Join Yoga or a Meditation group.  Time 20 Minutes a day
  5. Lunch out with your family.
  6. Write a post card to your parents and tell them how much do they mean to you.
  7. Find four people to help, even holding a door for someone is help, giving a direction to hyper market or even helping your kid solve a math problem is a help.
  8. Attend an educational event on Meet up and introduce yourself to the group.
  9. Spend an hour deep reading a book on future Trends.
  10. Invest an hour on memory training.
  11. Invest two hours on  your Hobby.
  12. Get in touch over phone with two of your friends that you have not called for over a month.
  13. Identify two people that you would like to express gratitude, call them up and tell them how they have impacted your life.
  14. Rearrange your reading table or your sitting room
  15. Go out for an hour walk in the evening and admire the beauty of your city in lights.
  16. Purchase inspirational picture, frame it and hang it in your study room.
  17. Identify a cause and spend time with less fortunate people.  Use your creativity to identify their pressing skill or educational need and train them.
  18. Learn to create a video blog ( Youtube)
  19. Get out of the house: Visit an Art Gallery; visit a museum, go fly a kite.  Prepare yourself to be out in the morning hours.
  20. Go on digital diet & disconnect for the next 12 hours – no phone, no TV; no computer.


Good luck and happy upcoming weekend.

Be Happy and Be Successful.

For many centuries people believed that Sun revolved around the Earth.  But in 1543 Nicolas Copernicus shattered the belief when he published papers that it’s the Earth that moves round the Sun.  For many years people have believed and still believe that HAPPINESS follows SUCCESS; but research proves otherwise and says that SUCCESS is the shadow of HAPPINESS.  If you are HAPPY, SUCCESS will find you.

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If you are happy dopamine and serotonin are released in your brain that not only makes you feel good and positive but also triggers your learning center.  This helps you learn new things faster and store it longer.  Research says that happy emotional state lets you capture more information;  visual, auditory or otherwise and store it for longer period.

Another research tracked success and happiness of nuns through their gratitude notes written before 1917 in their twenties.  And found that sisters who were happy in their early years lived 10 years longer. Research also proves that happy people are less likely to take sick leave, they are more productive and creative.  Happiness does not take much, in a controlled environment even a small candy given to kids made them perform better in maths test.  (Candy was not consumed). Work made fun gets done; Fortune 500 companies understand the Happiness advantage adds to the company BOTTOM-LINE.   And hence they employ activities to keep their employee happy and engaged.

The good thing is you don’t require large financial or time investment to be happy.  Rather simple change can make you HAPPY.  And these simple changes can be practiced anywhere any time.

1.            Smile it improves your face value.

2.            Practice laughing and laughter Yoga early morning for 3 – 5 minutes

3.            Fake and practice being happy

4.            Find and be among happy people.  Research says it will rub on you and will change your outlook in just 2- 3 minutes

5.            Watch comedy movies

6.            Watch & join standup comedy workshop

7.            Read jokes and practice telling them at least one joke a day

8.            Look for humour in others & why people laugh

9.            Stick smiley happy pictures around where you can see them often

10.         Pray

11.         Meditate

12.         Write your daily gratitude book

13.         Read uplifting book

14.         Learn a new hobby

15.         Exercise

16           Help Others


 Be Happy and Be Successful.




Couple of years back I would regularly join my friend Atul for early morning walk.  We would walk for around 30 minutes and return.  I always wondered what would it be like taking the full circle of Sharjah corniche a 7 km+   walk?     Last year I took that step to walk the complete Sharjah corniche circle.  Sooner I began wondering what would it be like taking TWO full circles of Sharjah Corniche ?  Every night I would go to bed with a resolve to take two complete rounds. But the early hours turned my resolve into perhaps tomorrow.   And you guessed it right; tomorrow never comes.

Wrong; this morning Tomorrow did come and I began on the quest to complete two full rounds of the Sharjah corniche.  And would like to share my experience during the walk.

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  1. Sense of Achievement: It’s a tremendous relief when you achieve an assumed arduous task. And this relief is high octane fuel for your next goal. Lesson: I should have carried a bottle of water.
  2. What Next: Now you begin wondering what next. And I was wondering when Sharjah to Al Ain?
  3. Ripple EffectChange in one area of your life impacts others areas in your life and when you are stretching the impact is positive in others of your life.  My friend commented you look great and  sound uplifting today.
  4. Sharpen Obervation: Sense of achievement sharpens your sense of observation.  And somehow your observation is positive and optimistic.  And this morning I spotted numerous pairs of birds.
  5. Belief in Yourself: You become positive and resolve your belief in yourself.  I will win the Mashreq Millionairejust kidding.
  6. Burn the Bridges: When you begin an arduous journey begin with the toughest step.  In this case even if you want to turn back, you are restricted by the toughest route back.  I started the walk crossing the Sharjah bridges first that I presumed to be the toughest.
  7. Just do it: My last message is just do it; because there is never a better moment than NOW. I was waiting for the right conditions and am glad I stopped looking for the right conditions and began my journey.

Fellow readers if you have been procrastinating an arduous goal;  understand there is no better time than NOW.

Invest in life time relationships

Few days earlier I shared my two lessons wherein lesson # 1 said  “always think in terms of CUSTOMER’S LIFE TIME VALUE” and your customer will never jump the fence.”     Instantly an idea popped in my mind; if we think of business in terms of life time value; do we ever think of our relationship in such manner?  If not we are weakening our relationships. Remember the words of wisdom “the chain is as strong as the weakest link.”

Having said that the strange anomaly is that we have schools, universities and curriculum to teach us business subjects such as Sales, Marketing, Finance, and Human Resource and so on.  But there are no Schools, Universities or Curriculum that teaches us relationships; relationship with your parents and siblings, relationship with your spouse and friends.

Hence let’s take a leaf from our business transactions and treat our relationships in the same dignified manner as we treat our business. And to begin with “Don’t wait for the right person to come into your life.  Rather, be the right person to come to someone’s life”.  Every day Invest an hour in your relationships”   

What is your HOROSCOPE this morning

If you were me, you would begin your day browsing your HOROSCOPE in Khaleej times first thing in the morning and then let the HOROSCOPE pitch flavor your day.    Well this was my plight till some time ago  (days, weeks, months or years  … take your guess) till I understood the veracity of wisdom GIGO = Garbage in Garbage out.

If the HOROSCOPE said I would meet someone special; I searched for someone special.  If HOROSCOPE said I would hit the jackpot, I would go online and work on quizzes and raffles.  And if HOROSCOPE said this will be a miserable day, I would close myself and expect the worse.

It’s important what you feed your brain for the breakfast and it’s more important what you do with that feed?  On the flip side it’s not easy to get rid of a habit but it’s much simpler to replace your habit with another habit.  Hence I decided to replace my habit of reading HOROSCOPE with reading an inspirational quote for the day and also pin the quote to my computer screen.  The impact is I am constantly reminded of the quote and by the lunch time have memorized the quote.

My morning HOROSCOPE err quote remarks “When everything seem to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it ….” by Henry Ford

Lessons from early morning walk

Sharjah : The morning was cool and breezy.  This reminded me of the cooler climate of New Delhi during the early November period.  The breeze motivated me to take a full round of Sharjah cornice which takes around an hour and a half, a good time to serenade your mind.

I parked my car next to the Engine market, locked up my wallet in the glove compartment and with my iphone and keychain in my pocket began the walk.  Somehow, the cooler breeze prompted me to observe my surroundings more closely.  The first thing I noticed were the UAE flags on the cornice dwarfed by the biggest UAE flag in the distance.  (See the photo).  As I climbed the stairs to the bridge a few more visions crossed my sight.

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  1. As I reached the bridge I noticed sea gulls floating on the water and it was mesmerizing.  I took a snap shot with my iphone.  Having said that, no sooner a vehicle would cross the bridge and bridge would shake as if trying to balance out.  I have crossed the bridge on numerous occasions but this was the first time I felt the shake in the bridge; maybe I was being overtly observant this morning.
  2. I crossed the bridges and now I could see rows of flags lining the railings next to the park but somehow they were tied up to the railing with iron rods protruding out towards the pedestrian strip. The protruding iron rods are a pedestrian nightmare; someone crossing could get seriously hurt.
  3. As I moved further I noticed that there were a greater number of joggers and walkers this morning; may be the cooler breeze had motivated them too.
  4. Slowly I covered half the stretch of cornice closer to  Fardan center when I noticed a group of people in red T-shirts distributing leaflets.  And surprisingly thereafter I could see every walker and jogger with those pamphlets in their hands, seriously reading the stuff.  Closer scrutiny made me realize that this was a marketing effort made by FITNESS FIRST towards the launch of FITNESS FIRST center in Fardan Center.
  5. Now I was closer to the AL Majaz front where I noticed a big crowd of kids seriously absorbed in group exercise and this was being beautifully choreographed by the FITNESS FIRST instructor. Mind you it was early in the morning around 7:45

The morning wrapped up five profound LESSONS.

Lesson #1: Create ME TIME and if possible make it outside your four walls.  This gives you the opportunity to think and observe.

Lesson #2:  Create a keen sense of observation and it will help you to spot opportunity that may otherwise just pass by.

Lesson # 3:  People flock when the going is good but a few brave souls brave when the going is tough.  And this was evident from the bigger population of joggers and walkers on the cornice.  This hold true for businesses as well.  Don’t let naysayers stop you from your goals, persevere and you shall achieve.

Lesson # 4: Find and leverage the sweet spot. Fitness first found early morning walker and joggers at Sharjah  corniche their sweet spot and targeted their marketing campaign

Lesson # 5: Life is beautiful, get out and savor the free things in life.

Have a nice day

When words flow with Music

January 26th this year I attended the flag hosting ceremony at the Indian consulate.  The ceremony was accompanied by NATIONAL ANTHEM sung by a group of children.  The chanting of National anthem brought people together. 

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Last year November 26th ; the band was playing the metal music and an audience of 20,000 was getting hysterical.  Fans brought down the house.

Year 2011 when I visited New Delhi; I would often visit Temple near by.  I was told that there is Arti ( devotional songs ritual at around 6:00 in the morning.)   The next day I was at the Temple, sharp at 6:00 in the morning.  Around 200 devotees had gathered and singing devotional songs.  The ambiance was soothing and assuring; it had the perfume of faith and strength.   The next 7 days I would regularly visit the temple at 6:00 in the morning and join the devotees to experience the balm of faith and strength.

My objective for the post is not to share few incidences but to emphasize there is power in the words, especially when they are flavored with the music. I am reminded of Rudyard Kipling, he said “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by the mankind.” I would paraphrase it;  words are extremely powerful drug when they flow with the music.  They have the power to move the masses more potent than any force you can imagine.




Friday was a busy day.  And it’s during times like these you wonder how can you extract few moments for yourself?  I believe it’s not so much to ask for few exclusive hours.

I am being philosophical because this is how I felt this Friday.

I had planned to deliver a project speech but canceled it early this week since I was tentatively planning to fly out.  The fly out program was cancelled and I promptly filled up the day with panel discussions at BITS followed by Judging at Area 21 contest followed by business meeting.   Invariably the time flew by and it is 10:00pm now.

I personally felt cheated, deprived of my private time.  And sitting back realized that there is no one to blame but myself for the robbery.  The solutions lies within me and it’s simple; before you begin slotting your day calendar with activities MAKE EXCLUSIVE TIME SLOT FOR YOURSELF.  Your private time for yourself is as important as your 8 hours of sleep; deprive yourself of 8 hours of sleep, deprives you of your sanity.