When all around you everyone else is doing start-ups you must focus on shutdowns. First, shut down this obsession with New Year resolutions. There is nothing new about the New Year. This year is older than the previous year, so are you! However, old is sometimes bold and forgetful! The old are privileged to have memory lapses and forget to act their age. The lethargy of the old mingles with the energy of the new-born: like a single strand of hair dancing on a completely bald head. The old may have dimming eyesight, but they have wisdom’s hindsight. I am sharing here with you seven insights that you can reflect on and implement in your life. With these, I wish you great joy, peace, and warmth in 2018.
Insight 1: Nudge Yourself Before You Budge. Not every manager is as active as Bruce Lee. Some are like Brocco Li. They would vegetate rather than elevate themselves by getting off their back. Unless an external force, such as money, works on them. However, Richard Thaler who was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2017 talks about nudge as altering people’s behaviour in a predictable way without changing their economic incentives. You can nudge yourself to take a satisfying decision by limiting the number of choices you have. This Christmas you may choose to nudge yourself to reduce your wardrobe by half so that you save precious time in choosing what you will wear.
Insight 2: Magnetize the Mechanical. We are busy like rats in the wheel. Begin the day with a musical bath. Music is the essence of life, which is why your heart expresses itself in beats. Eat light and breathe deep. Quicken your pulse rate by watching a thriller. Go slow on alcohol, if you can. It is not water but alcohol that is the universal solvent that is known to liquidate careers, marriages and even friendships. Smile more often: there is magnetism in a smile, even if you have crooked teeth. The facial muscles involved in a smile trigger the brain’s reward system. Nourish the heart. As the Japanese say, “keep a green tree in your heart, the birds will automatically come" By the way, also pay attention to your spine. Your spine is your extended brain. Paying attention to the spine will magnetize your personality. Straighten and stretch your spine as often as you can. Unless of course you have been rendered spineless by your spouse!
Insight 3: Work may be Logical but the Worker is Psychological. Some people believe that they can be a howling success just by howling! Some are obsessed with their opinions, while some are busy minding their onions. A worker may look dumb as a doorknob, but s/he can do unforgettable things such blow a blocked nose using company’s letterhead. Work is just like a tip without the iceberg. The worker is the submerged secret. Decoding human nature is the most important thing for a leader. It is only a human being, not a frog that can think smart but act dumb. Inside every beautiful face lurks a mischief-maker, in every submissive bow of the head hides a tyrant. Change is the law of human nature. Leaders must anticipate this change and stay ahead in the game. Or else, they will be as effective as a chimpanzee climbing a greased pole.
Insight 4: Turn Stale Transactions into Conscious Connections. Transactions are telegraphic: how’s life? what’s up? and those kinds of verbal gas! At best they are social lubricants. At their worst, they sound like insincerities. “How are you?” of yesterday turns to “who are you?” of today. The best way to turn a transaction into a connection is to pay attention to body language. It is an active and conscious process of putting the other’s interest before you. Engage in reciprocal disclosure: sharing more about each other. Energetic connections happen between two people when they feel trusted, seen, heard, and accepted as who they are. Try this 3x7 Rule: for about 3 minutes engage 7 people every day without your personal agenda whispering at the back of your head.
Insight 5: Do not walk alone; carry your own environment (mahol) with you. Do not underestimate your own strength. That is your boss’s job. You are a dignified human, not a Micky mouse. In Hindi, the word mahol represents the psycho-social environment that a leader carries with her. Your body is not a statue, it is a dance of energy. The body is a million pulsations that creates its own magnetic field-- influencing other bodies and the large environment. This year, work on the way you look at people: is it a hunter’s look or a hermit’s look? Look into the mirror. Make your eyes kinder and gentler when you are not in the hunting mode so that your gaze includes rather than isolates people. There is a certain glow that transmits through your eyes, speaks through your voice and fills your mahol with subtle vibrations that will draw people to you as you walk along.
Insight 6: Visualize what you wish to realize. This year-end your vision should not be confined to television. Some leaders are colour blind, some are gender blind, but most become blind to their own capacity for imagination as they grow older. The most valuable raw material for any creative process is not matter at all. The principal ingredients of creativity are imagination and attention. You can see imagination is one of the most underestimated skills in mankind. The most powerful institution that we call marriage is a triumph of imagination over intelligence. Some leaders get addicted to their chairs, some love smelling cash, some like their stooges. Vision is the refinement of attention from the gross to the subtle. Some look at a heap of dung and visualizes bioenergy. Some grow leaders rather than flatterers. When a leader refines her attention, she can learn to see the invisible in the visible.
Finally, Insight 7: Long for something greater than yourself. Your self is more than your body-mind bone and muscle fortress. In any case, the fortress-like body is moving closer to the crematorium each year. This is a simple rule of nature: When a bird is young, it eats worms; when the bird is dead, worms eat the bird! Life is eternal, Death is just a change of circumstances. Mother Nature has no interest in preserving your body or mind forever. Dream before you die. Our everyday life is a waking dream. Your body-mind, your prized assets, are actors in a dream sequence. You can take good care of your assets as long as possible. But your assets are not you. Assets depreciate. But the “I” who owns the assets can only appreciate if you allow it to. You become rich by not what you have but by what you are. That entity called you call “I” is a code word for who you really are. The “I” is your ever-expanding identity that can include a whole universe that is linked in a web of love. If you ask me: I would lie down and live in the hearts and minds of many people that I have touched rather than in the crematorium. Love something greater than your self. That’s the only way to resurrect that interminable life that is you. May 2018 be the year of your renewal and resurrection! Be well.