Come Alive. Stay Alive. Be Purposeful!

If you do something that makes you come alive, every single day, your purpose will soon find you. And when it does, Life becomes meaningful!

Preethi Sukumaran and Srinivas Krishnaswamy
Pic Source: Internet
I learned a lot listening to a wonderful young lady, Preethi Sukumaran, co-founder of the “sustainable goodies” venture, Kyra (www.krya.in), yesterday. Preethi and her husband, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, founded Krya in May 2010 with the idea of creating the best plant-based products for helping urban folks, like you and me, make an easy transition to a more sustainable Life. So, the entire  Krya “sustainable goodies” range today, which includes a popular detergent and dish-wash, is made on five principles – it is recyclable or re-useable, it has a minimum ecological footprint, it is made only from natural ingredients, it is entirely vegan and it is easy to adopt and embrace. What drove Preethi and Srini, who had spent the first 15 years of their careers with MNCs, leading popular global brands, to embark on this “creative partnership” called Krya is, as Preethi shared, this: “We wanted to leave the planet a better place.” So, apart from being cruelty-free (very unlike many leading brands in the detergents and personal care space) and staunchly vegan, the Krya team thinks about each product from the sourcing to the manufacture to the disposal stage – incorporating sustainability into every part of its lifecycle. Preethi is, as she confesses, fanatical about this focus. She envisions that Kyra will soon be an institution that champions sustainability and leads by example – living on even after both of them, the founders, are gone!

Running an enterprise with that kind of monomaniacal focus – “where you are clear and principled about what you will never do” – is not easy. For one, scalability is an issue. Second, consumer preferences, which are currently steeped in self-gratification and are not necessarily sustainability-driven, are unlikely to change significantly even in the next 50 years – at least not in the lifetime of pioneers like Preethi and Srini. Third, should sluggish market trends impact profitability in any manner, then sustaining the business venture itself becomes a challenge. But people who come “alive” in every moment that they are living, are ready to face whatever comes in their way! That’s because their purpose has found them. Jim Collins, the management guru, and author of Good to Great and Built to Last, theorized (through research spread over 25 years) that organizations (led by people) with a core purpose – which is the reason why they are in business apart from making money – were far more likely to survive in the long run, despite market upheavals. These are the ones that will go on to become institutions, Collins has postulated.

Similarly, individuals too, who are driven by a sense of purpose – a deeper reason for being – do end up leaving behind a lasting legacy. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are classic examples of people who led a Life of meaning, because their purpose had found them. And that’s the other point. Your purpose will always find you if you are open to and are aware of the idea that there’s a larger reason why you have been created. That your Life has a meaning – which goes beyond meeting your selfish desires and your obsession to provide for yourself and your family alone. When you start asking how you can be useful – than be merely successful – then you are, in every sense, purpose-ready. Of course, when you choose to do something that makes you come alive every day, then your purpose will surely find you.


Preethi’s and Srini’s journey, and the Krya story, reminds me of the value that being purposeful creates. It drives you to make each day count even when you are faced with a zillion challenges. It makes you come alive and stay alive! As Howard Thurman, (1899~1981), the African-American author and philosopher has said: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

So, when are you coming alive?

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To the MAESTRO called YOU…

Sachin Tendulkar has finally announced his retirement from the game that made him God! While there are people who are still awestruck by his legend, there are others, his admirers-turned-critics, who opine that he should have quit the game at his peak – which was a few years ago. Sachin himself explains his rationale for continuing to play well past his prime in his statement, issued by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), yesterday. He says: It’s hard for me to imagine a Life without playing cricket because it’s all I have ever done since I was 11 years old.
I would like to share what I have learned, so far, from Sachin’s Life. Each of us has three questions to answer and three circles to fill in Life:
  •      What can you be best at in the world? – What’s your innate talent?
  •      What are you deeply passionate about? – What keeps you excited about living?
  •    What drives your economic engine? – What earns you money?

When you answer these questions and fill the circles with your answers, the one vocation – or answer – that leads to the convergence of these three circles is your inner core of joy, your bliss. When you follow your bliss, you too will become a world-leader and world-beater, and consequentially wealthy too, in your chosen field. Of course, the time it takes to reach that pinnacle of greatness varies from individual to individual – it is often a direct correlation between effort, the time the individual is passing through, and the larger, unfathomable, cosmic design. But one thing is for sure: if you have identified that one vocation, which led to the convergence of these three circles in your Life, your bliss that is, you will always be happy doing what you have chosen to do – even though your financial success make take time coming. They key is to keep following your bliss, as Joseph Campbell (1904~1987), the American thinker and writer, famously said, knowing that doors will soon open where only walls existed. The difference between people who have identified their bliss and those who go on to become Gods, legends in their chosen fields, lies in the following. When you follow your heart, your  bliss, no matter what, you will arrive where you truly must and deserve to be! Important, focus only on your bliss, while following it, and not on becoming great! Greatness follows when you truly follow your bliss! (Just to clarify: the concept of these three circles was first presented by Management Guru Jim Collins in the context of helping organizations derive their Core Purpose. But I have found it extremely relevant in the case of individuals too – after all, people make organizations tick!)
Osho, the Master, has explained following your bliss beautifully. He says when you do what you love doing, when the doer becomes the deed, for instance, when the dancer becomes the dance or when the player becomes the game, magic happens. That’s when the Universal, cosmic, energy is flowing through you. The actor and the action are in unison then. That’s what the world calls genius, greatness. That’s how ordinary people become maestros. Did you not see that magic in Sachin – then, and don’t you not see it even now, when he is on a song? Sunil Gavaskar, the legend himself, said this of Sachin Tendulkar when talking to India Today, a couple of years ago: “The secret of Sachin’s longevity in the game lies in his joy. His mind, body, soul – all three are in a state of perpetual joy when he’s playing!”
To reach your own state of perpetual joy, you need to only shift your attention from your economic engine circle to the other two circles – concerning your talent and passion – in your Life. Then you too will be soaked in bliss and will be able to uncork the magic within you! Here’s then, cheers, to the MAESTRO called YOU!