This blog post is dedicated to a rare set of people who respect advice given and go on to accomplish things in life. These three people I hand picked are to inspire the rest of us to actively look for ideas and suggestions and more importantly execute them.
My first pick is Chetan Mahajan, a corporate honcho who held senior positions including CEO of HCL Learning and has since quit the rat race. He has moved to a quaint little village in the Himalayas to pursue his passion for writing. A common friend had connected the two of us. I wanted to get Chetan on my ‘First Book Podcast‘ where I interview authors. He wrote his book, ‘The Bad Boys of Bokaro‘ in while in Jail and that made for a compelling story. After recording the interview, we continued to talk when he told me that one of us future book ideas could be on his own experience quitting the corporate life for a quiet life. He even had a nice title, ‘The Rat who Refused to Race’. That’s when I mentioned in the passing that starting a community blog with a group of people like him who pursue other passions could be a good marketing strategy. He immediately went ahead with the idea and started the UnCity blog. Well, the book never saw the light of the day but the blog took a life on its own. Two weeks ago, the UnCity blog won the IndiBlogger ‘Best Indian Blogger Award’ in the humor section.
Amar Ramesh was a tech professional in his earlier avatar. After spending a decade in the US, he made the life-altering decision to move back to India to pursue his passion for photography full time. In the few years he has been here, he has built StudioA, one of the most creative photography and videography firms. He recently won the Fearless Award, a prestigious award considered to be the Oscars of the Wedding Photography World.
Early last year, I decided to get out of my blogging hiatus by taking up ‘The 1000 Days Content Challenge’. It’s a way to force myself to blog regularly. Amar Ramesh jumped in and decided to join the challenge too. Fast forward and while I have faltered here and there, Amar has been super consistent and continues to produce high-quality content every day.
Stalin Rajkumar is an IT veteran with a deep interest in writing. One of his bucketlist goals is to author a book. He attended the Unconference on Book Authoring I conducted and took inspiration from the 100 Day Book Authoring Challenge to realize his dream. He is now the proud author of ‘Broad Daylight’.
The three persons I mentioned above are all highly self-driven professionals. The thing that clearly differentiates them from the rest is the ability to capture ideas, build on suggestions and finally take the ideas to fruition.
On January 4th, 2018, the girl in the photo above passed away. She was afflicted with Erwing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects young people. Before she passed away, she penned her thoughts on life in the last few months. Her family shared this on Facebook after her demise.
There is some invaluable life advice in the letter. The one that reverberated the most with me is to not take the small setbacks seriously and to be grateful for what we have. Living happily is more important than to live a life full of material possessions.
She may be young but her thoughts are profound. Here is the letter Holly wrote.
I’ve noticed that some of the most honest life advice comes from people who are at the end of life. At that stage, people are genuine and they have the unique ability to look at the larger picture. This is what motivated me to collate these valuable lessons into a book called, ‘UnKick the Bucket : How Near-Death Experiences Teaches Us the True Priorities in Life’.
The people you see in this photo are special. They are wonderful programmers and coders with a treasure trove of technical knowledge. However, much like most tech folks, they lack the confidence to share their knowledge in writing. That’s when Suresh Sambandam, the CEO of OrangeScape and KISSflow, came with an idea. We discussed a writing workshop and I helped conduct one at Vaksana Farms over a weekend. This was a month ago and today we had our first review meeting. I was super impressed that all of them have consistently written their blog posts and on their way to successfully finishing their 100 day writing challenge. We even shortlisted names of Chief Guests who will headline the celebration event on March 26, the 100th day of the challenge.
Here are my key learning.
1) The Team Spirit is the Magic Potion. It’s no longer an individual goal but a group effort. We are all social animals and we perform better in groups.
2) Consistency is Key: Every afternoon the team gets together for a writing session. This is self-organized. No pressure from me or the CEO. Regular freestyle writing let’s the thought juices flow and makes writing easy.
3) Deadline Matters: March 26th is the 100th day of the challenge. Everybody has clear view of the end goal. This gives clarity and forces to put the writing as a priority task as no one person wants to be seen as a laggard during the launch function.
4) Just Ship it: Much like the agile method that the developers are very familiar, the trick is to quickly publish it and NOT put it in draft. For a person getting started with writing, publishing anything, even a half baked blog post, is better than putting it in the dungeons of drafts which may never see the light of day.
5) Have Fun: No wonder OrangeScape won the top slot in the best places to work category. There is such positive spirit, joviality and supportive camaraderie amongst the team.
Seeing the team succeed is what gives me high and motivates me to conduct the workshops at my farm.
I recently discovered this site http://www.FutureMe.org which lets you send emails to yourself in the future. We can’t talk to our past self but we can speak to our future self. An interesting way to visualize the person you want to be and describe the achievements you want the future self to accomplish. An interesting novelty worth a try. I sent three letters to myself and am conscious I need to accomplish certain important tasks before emails reach me in the future.
Can I write 365 blog posts in 2018? That’s the challenge that I’m setting myself. I like challenges like these because they give you reasons to continue doing the tasks even when the enthusiasm sometimes wanes.
The idea is to blog every day but this challenge gives a certain amount of flexibility. If I miss a day, I can catch up by writing two blogs the next day. The goal is to arrive at a total of 365 blogs by December 31, 2018.