Challenging the Status Quo

Ever wondered why the best quotes are summed up in a sentence or less?

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way”  -Charles Bukowski

It’s because wisdom is hard to express and rare to find.

A lot of people confuse knowledge with wisdom. A person who talks a lot may not necessarily be an expert. A person who is famous is not always right. A person who spends a lot of time in meetings is usually not productive.

Mahatma Gandhi had a poster behind him to warn such people. It said, “Be quick, be brief, be gone”

Wisdom happens when you have the courage to listen to your inner voice. It happens when you refuse to bow down to the noise of the outer world. It happens when you start challenging the status quo.

You can choose to read all the books in the world and become knowledgeable. You can stand in your ivory tower and mock at the ones who dare to tread a different path. But beware, the same people are the ones who make paradigm shifts happen.

Begin challenging the status quo now. Start small, fail a lot and become wise quickly. The earlier you start defining your own path, the lesser energy you’ll have to waste later.

Because once you are successful in changing the status quo, the ones with knowledge will flock to you for your wisdom.


Rules of Self-Esteem

Can you think of the time when your best efforts were not appreciated by those around you? Or the time when people told you that you were wrong and stupid even though you weren’t?

More importantly, don’t you feel that if even one person had come during those moments of dejection and told you to bravely carry on, it would have prevented hours of doubt and self-pity?

As human beings, we all seek to be recognized for our efforts and sometimes need validation from others. Though it is natural to do so, you have to be careful not to let external circumstances rob you of your self-confidence and self-respect.

I have seen a lot of people begin to doubt themselves when they don’t get the kind of rewards or recognition from the world outside. They start taking others too seriously and slowly their self-esteem begins to take a hit. They begin to lower their standards and compromise on their originality just to seek approval from the people around them. 

Great men such as Emerson and Napoleon Hill have articulated their own versions of how to overcome adversity and have a high self-esteem. (You can find them here)

Life Mastery: 5 Long-lost Secrets from the Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Napoleon Hill Success Principles: Two Sealed Envelopes

The way I deal with such situations is to have some rules which I follow during such adverse times. These rules enable me to stop letting other people control my feelings and thoughts and empower me to get back into the driver’s seat. I had not articulated these in a systematic manner before but I felt I should share it with you.

Here are my rules of Self-Esteem captured in this infographic (Click to enlarge)


Rules of Self-EsteemOver To You

You can have your own rules of self-esteem which get you back on track and encourage you to believe in yourself. So what are the things you draw inspiration from when you’re down and out?

Do share them with me!


Napoleon Hill Success Principles: Two Sealed Envelopes

At the time of your birth, you were given two sealed envelopes. One labelled ‘The Path to Success‘ and the other labelled ‘The Path to Failure‘.

Which one would you choose?ce

If you’re thinking, ‘Duh, isn’t it obvious?’, think again.

Who is Napoleon Hill?


Napoleon Hill was one of the foremost thinkers of our time who wrote about the principles of success. In his initial years, he studied the habits and behaviours of over 500 successful men and women to publish his extremely powerful book called ‘The Law of Success‘.

He further refined his philosophy of success by studying the habits of Andrew Carnegie, one of the most powerful men at that time. Napoleon Hill’s advice was so powerful that he was the advisor to many millionaires and also two presidents of the United States of America, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt!

The Sealed Envelopes

Sealed Envelope
Photo by Justin Henry

In his speeches and books, he often refers to the wisdom of Andrew Carnegie who believed that when we are born, we have the option of choosing between two sealed envelopes. People who choose the first envelope are the ones who to commit to direct the power of their minds to achieve fulfillment and success. They are the ones who go on to become successful in their chosen fields.People who choose the second envelope ignore their inner strengths of the mind and decide to incur the penalties of doing so.

So what do these two sealed envelopes contain within them? What’s the advantage of using your mind’s full potential? Here’s a short video of Napoleon Hill success principles where he talks about the envelopes’ content. He begins with his awesome quote “What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve!”

(If you want to skip to the part about the envelopes start at 2:50)

 Napoleon Hill says that by choosing the first envelope, you must commit to use the power of your mind and direct it to achieve your goals. The envelope reveals the advantages of doing so. Sound Health, Peace of Mind, Doing work that you love ,Freedom from Fear and Worry,Positive Mental Attitude and Material Wealth.

You must be thinking ‘Of course U want to have all of that!’ But how many of the above do you actually possess?

Unfortunately in our age most of us have forgotten to use the power of our minds fully. The result is an imbalanced life which is the same as choosing the second envelope. By doing so, we end up having to pay the price for neglecting this God-given mind. These are ill-health, stress and anxiety, indecision and doubt, frustration, poverty , jealousy , greed and superstition.

Well, it’s never too late to begin. The control of mind is not a feat which is possible for the few. It can be done by everyone once you have your fundamentals right. Give this a try and see how it will help you attain clarity. Write down

What is Your One Major Desire in Life.

This should be the picture of what defines success for you. Make it as clear in your mind as possible and write it down. Remember, the only things limiting your goals are the one which you have set for yourself and let others set for you. Whenever confusion or doubt plagues you, refer to this and you will recover your inner balance and clarity.

What you Wish to Return to the World

Next, write down the list of things you can share with the world and add value to it. It can be as simple a thing as giving sound advice or helping someone in the areas of your expertise. Ask yourself how much of this are you doing in your current lifestyle? This will always help you to kill your self-obsessed patterns of thinking which make you forget the bigger purpose of your life.

Why You are Grateful for What You Have

It doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not. Learn to be thankful for all that you have in life. There are millions of people on this planet who do not have even the basic privileges which we take for granted. This habit of gratitude will enable you to reduce irrational fears and keep you positively oriented towards life.

Ingredients for Success

The Law of Success

In the midst of all the self-help books out there, this might seem like advice of the past, But the sheer simplicity of it and its proven effectiveness is something you’ll realize after having given it a try.

As a kid, I read and re-read Napoleon Hill’s book ‘The Law of Success’ and the lessons I learnt from it made me so much more successful than my peers. I’ll just outline them for you and recommend you give the book a try.

The 14 ingredients for success from the book are:

1) Having a Definite Purpose 2) Self-Confidence 3) Initiative and Leadership 4) Imagination. 5) Courage to take Action. 6) Enthusiasm 7) Self-Control 8) The Habit of Doing More than asked for 9)  Pleasing Personality 10) Accurate Thought 11) Concentration 12) Tolerance 13) Ability to handle failure 14) Spirit of  Co-operation.

So what do you think of Napoleon Hill’s wisdom? How will you commit to making use of your full potential? I look forward to hearing your views and hope this post helped add some value to your life.


Are You Ready to be Hired in 2015?

Are you happy with your current role? Or are you searching for a new job?

No matter what your current state, you must have often wondered if you are equipped with the right qualities to get you hired. As the year begins with a bang, the scenario for potential job-seekers is rapidly changing. And your ability to remain relevant to these changing times will determine whether you are ready to be hired or not.

So what are these traits which will make you ready?

Re-inventing Yourself

PC: Hartwig HKD

Think of your personal goals for a second. What is that one habit or behaviour you hate about yourself? From how many months, no wait, years have you been wanting to change it?

Yeah it’s hard. All of us know that we need to change and only then some good things will happen to us. Yet, we don’t. We always seem to want to change but never get around to it.

Why? Because it’s the comfort of the habit which we have accustomed ourselves into.

The professional world is no different. If you have kept following your old ways and patterns, you will end up getting similar jobs and projects.

As industries move from being tightly coupled clusters to closely networked tribes, organizations are increasingly looking for people who can re-invent themselves. Organizations don’t need fossils who are comfortable with their old style habits of working and approach to life.  In order to remain relevant, the need to adapt to the world around is an absolute must.

In order to jump to the next level, you need to change that one thing you know is holding you back. Speed will be a key driver in the years to come and your ability to constantly innovate and mould yourself into who you wish to become will determine your chances of breaking into better jobs.

And how do you do that? By taking the first step. By keeping your new objectives where you can see them. By joining or talking to a like-minded group of people who will create the environment for you to take action.

PsychologyToday wrote a brilliant post about the questions you need to ask in order to drive the change you seek

Does your goal match your values? – The ‘why’ to enable you to seek change

Does it conflict with other priorities in your life? – To prevent contradictory and self-conflicting goals

Can you gain satisfaction from each step? - To measure the inner compass which seeks fulfillment

Is achieving it within your control? - To frame realistic outcomes defined through specific actions which are within your control

I have found these questions to be quite pertinent and helpful when making a decision to change or move forward in a new direction. Both personally and professionally.

I hope they help you in making those changes and re-inventing yourself!

Social Media Presence

Social Media Presence
PC: Khalid Albaih

I have talked about the importance of social media presence as a necessity for leaders who wish to lead the future generation in my ebook. The days where you applied for jobs and waited to be recruited are long gone.

Nowadays, the people who get the jobs they want are the ones who have the courage to go and network with the people who can help them.

In the next few years, your ability to define your brand and clearly state what you can do to add value will make or break your chances.

Many people consider using social media as self-advertising and fake. There might be a few people who might even be doing this. But the majority of people who excel at showcasing their work and strengths on social media have a definite leverage on those who don’t. Make full use of the advantage social media gives to you for building your brand.

Embrace Diversity

PC: Richard Foster

Your ability to get hired will also depend on how well you are able to work with teams which are different from you. Most organizations today stress the need for a global outlook from its employees to tackle this increasing diversity. Forbes says that organizations will move towards increasing their cultural intelligence and this can only happen when they embrace diversity.

As Rohini Anand, Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo put it, “Diversity is much more than just a multicultural issue.  Diversity is about embracing many different types of people, who stand for different things and represent different cultures, generations, ideas, and thinking”  

IBM VP Ron Glover concurs. “Innovation is about looking at complex problems and bringing new views to the table.  Diversity has allowed IBM to be innovative and successful for 100 years and to work across lines of differences in 172 countries, amongst 427,000 employees.”

Are you ready to shed your model of the world and to embrace the emerging diversity?

Entrepreneurial Mindset

Reinventing Yourself
PC: Ryan Hide (Flickr)

It might seem as if everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. You also might have dreamt of starting your own venture and being wildly successful. In fact, there is nothing wrong in desiring to strike out on your own and becoming your own boss.

But it is not a path meant for everyone. Most of the times, for an entrepreneur to become successful, the right combination of internal drive and external circumstances play an important role. And not everyone wants that kind of risk in their lives!

In the coming days, organizations will prefer people who have the spirit of entrepreneurship within them. This is an important quality which has been cultivated through deliberate action by many successful executives. By thinking like entrepreneurs within organizations they become intrapreneurs.

These intrapreneurs are often the superstars you hear about. They are the leader who grow quickly through the ranks and also inspire people around them to push boundaries. And organizations will want more of them!

So what is needed to develop this entrepreneurial mindset?

Take Ownership – Become accountable for whatever projects you take up. Act with the firmness of a person who has invested a personal stake in the project. You will become much more focused and effective.

Have a Vision – Setup a personal vision which tells you where you wish to be in 20 years. Remember this requires commitment and perseverance. Take up projects which enable you to move closer to your vision. This thinking will help you streamline your activities and increase your productivity.

Use Networking to Build Your Business – You already know this. In fact, the knowledge that networking helps is known to all of us. What is missing is the drive to take action in this regard.

Keith Ferrazzi in his book ‘Never Eat Alone’ says “A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need. There’s an implicit understanding that investing time and energy in building personal relationships with the right people will pay dividends. The majority of “one percenters” are in that top stratum because they understand this dynamic—because, in fact, they themselves used the power of their network of contacts and friends to arrive at their present station.” 

Look for New Markets for an Existing Product – Businesses often become stuck in their old way of thinking. That is why they need people who can think outside traditional boundaries like sector, speciality and industry. Opportunities always open up to those who look for them. Learn to look out for markets which are untapped and ignored by the competition.

Once you start practicing these behaviours, you will quickly gain the momentum and agility of an entrepreneur and start making inroads into much beneficial projects.

Expert View

Even top HR heads across sectors agree that these traits will determine your readiness to be hired. Abhijit Bhaduri,Chief Learning Officer of Wipro says “2015 will be the year of agile innovation, learning and careers. Speed will be the single largest determinant of success, and businesses will have to deal with increasing levels of complexity in the race to grab market share. Such business environments demand people who have deep expertise and who can continue to learn by listening to early signals.”

So what are you waiting for? Get cracking and start working on your skills today!


Profound Life Advice from Comic Strips

If someone gave you a newspaper and asked you to pick just one thing to read from it, what would you pick?

My answer: Comic Strips.

Why you ask?

1. Because they are awesome

2. Get awesomer by the day as you fall in love with the characters

3. Give you a no bullshit version of the world around you.

It’s true. Whether people realize it or not, comic strips represent that tiny-little voice inside all of us which knows what’s the right thing to do.

One more thing. Turns out they give life advice too!

Over the years, I’ve started counting on comic strips to give me that instant motivation, wisdom and courage to act. Heck, sometimes they have given me the much needed push to go and face my worst fears. And if read at the right time, they are more powerful than a hundred self-help books put together.

So here’s a bunch of profound life advice from comic strips which have made me infinitely wiser!


If there is one thing which is common to all of us in times of crisis, its our ability to freak out and make things a thousand times worse than they are. What is needed in such situations is to put the situation in the right context so our irrational fears fall into their rightful little places.

This one from Calvin and Hobbes always reminds me of the need for perspective in life. Everytime I feel that I’m down in the dumps, or that a bad event seems like the end of the world, Calvin wakes me up by saying ‘Look around you and get real. Things could’ve been a lot worse.’

So next time you are freaking out, losing all control of yourself and blinding your decision making ability by telling yourself that you’re screwed, check this out!

Calvin on Balloon


All of us start out dreaming of becoming great. Maybe not world-famous great, but someone who grows up to be a person who enjoys his/her life, someone who is happy, content and inspired at the same time!

But often, as we grow up, we forget the dreams which were so dear to us. The so called ‘real world’ with its rules and regulations ends up forcing us to choose paths which were probably never meant for us. The end result? Regret!

Cyanide and Happiness

Cyanide and Happiness is a comic which reminds us of what’s important in life. Hold on to your dreams and strive to choose paths which enable you to do what you always wanted. If you feel absolutely certain flipping burgers gives you the maximum happiness, go for it. Better a happy cheeseburger man than a regret-filled astronaut!

Stop Thinking, Start Doing

Garfield, our favourite lazy cat might not like to do much other than sleep and eat. But hey, he gets his Zen wisdom bang on! For those of you with the disease of second guessing every decision and over-thinking, just do it already!

Garfield Zen Cat

When in Deep Trouble, Take a Chill Pill

Hagar the Horrible. The mighty Viking warrior. Slayer of enemies, washer of his wife’s clothes. No matter how worse the situation gets, he knows how to listen to his inner voice which tells him ‘Drop your troubles to the side for a bit and chill out! The solution will come on its own!’

Hagar the Horrible

Make your own Rules

The Charlie Hebdo incident teaches us one thing. If your beliefs are guided by someone else’s definition of what’s divine, what’s sacred and what’s meaningful, you will end up a pathetic loser. The human race has seen more than enough people being misguided by blind faith and apparent authority. It’s time we learnt from history.


Non Sequitur - Religion


Here’s the thing guys. In the long run, it will not matter whether you made those millions or not. It will not matter if you managed to become world-famous or just remained an unknown entity. What WILL matter, is whether you were able to live by your beliefs. The beliefs which YOU framed for yourself after questioning everything you came across. The values which you defined and lived through deep understanding. What will matter is whether you had the guts to define your own rules.

 Purpose of Life

During bad times, it’s easy to lose trust in the things around us and begin to question everything. It’s easy to justify impulsive actions by telling yourself you are just living in the moment and enjoying yourself.

Calvin and Hobbes -Life

True wisdom lies in knowing that you need to keep your head in the right place. Especially when everything else around you is falling apart. And the only way to do this is to watch what’s in front of you and deal with it one step at a time. Ironically that’s also how you stop letting momentary success get in your head!

Laughing at Yourself

This is the great thing about comic strips. They teach you to laugh at yourself! So what if my blog is not read by millions of readers, I will still air my opinions on it and tweet it like it’s the most profound thing ever said!

Being Five Blogger

Hope these awesome comics help you become wise too!