Celebrate Life by Celebrating technology. Don’t just Cerebrate Life and technology!

Things are incredibly simpler yet why are our lives more complex than ever before? Because, instead of using it, we are getting used by technology!
Today’s my daughter’s 21stbirthday! Vaani and I made a film (by ourselves; with no outside help!), with a selection of pictures from her Life, on Windows Movie Maker, to commemorate this special day. We hosted it on a private channel on YouTube. And sent the link to key family members across the world on a WhatsApp thread.
Can you imagine this being possible just 20 years ago? This is a new era. A simpler era. Where Google, and not Britannica Encyclopedia, is the fountainhead of all knowledge. Where, whether it is about cooking a meal with quinoa or it is about decoding an acid reflux situation or it is a query relating to the original Neerja Bhanot, you can source, all that you want, any time you want, in a nano-second. It is also an era where you can buy a movie ticket, a plane ticket, book a hotel room or order a book or pizza, from your mobile device. And you can also transfer money from one phone to another! You can stay connected with me__or someone who you may have never met in ages or ever__using Facebook and Twitter__without intruding on their time or privacy!
Illustration Courtesy: Internet
Copyright with original creator
The world’s so much smaller, so much closer, things are so amazingly simpler, yet, the billion buck question is, why are we still struggling? Why is it that we still ‘don’t have time’ for our families, our passions and our dreams? Why is it that we are not living fuller, more complete, fulfilling lives, if things have only gotten simpler? The problem is not with the information technology revolution. It has done its job__made Life simpler. It is we humans who have not learnt to adapt and usetechnology.
Schumpeter, a weekly column in The Economist  once described this state that our race finds itself in, and argued its causes, fabulously well: “…for most people the servant has become the master. Not long ago only doctors were on call all the time. Now everybody is. Bosses think nothing of invading their employees’ free time. Work invades the home far more than domestic chores invade the office. Otherwise-sane people check their smartphones obsessively, even during pre-dinner drinks, and send e-mails first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This is partly because smartphones are addictive…Employees find it ever harder to distinguish between “on-time” and “off-time”—and indeed between real work and make-work. Executives are lumbered with two overlapping workdays: a formal one full of meetings and an informal one spent trying to keep up with the torrent of e-mails and messages. None of this is good for businesspeople’s marriages or mental health.” Schumpeter recommended digital dieting. A kind of rationing of tech-led work time for freeing up more Life time.
I would like us to go the extra mile. My two-penny worth: Celebrate Life by Celebrating technology. Don’t just Cerebrate Life and technology!

Here’s how I do it. 1. Wear you Life and your attitude to Life on your sleeve. Let people know__even it is bosses, clients or children__who you are and how you live and work. 2. Never allow technology to slave-drive you. You can choose, and therefore please do, to be the Master. 2. Define your quiet or silence or ‘mouna’ periods. About an hour every day. No voice calls. Just remain silent. Focus on whatever you are doing. Whether it is walking, watching a movie or even preparing a report. Just because you are accessible, need not mean you are available. 3. Check your mails, your text messages, your Facebook or Twitter account but don’tbe trigger-(keyboard)-happy. Choose whether and when to respond. Mull over the information streaming in. If it is bad news__a client feedback, an exasperated boss’ rant, a project disaster, a child’s agony__deal with it with patience. Treat the information as an opportunity to spiritually train yourself not to react. If it is good news, don’t exult either. Again spiritually evolve with the opportunity. 4. Flag as favorites some inspirational web pages (such as this one, J!) and visit them each time your mind wavers and grazes on negative emotions __ worry, anxiety, stress. 5. Do all non-core stuff__like paying your bills, transferring money, booking tickets and hotels__online, at times of the week or day when your energy is low. That way you save time for more value creation when your energy is the highest! 6. Take backups of all important data weekly __ phone contacts, mails, computer hard-disk data __ that’s a sure, and the only, way to beat technology letting you down. 7. Remember: An intelligent Master is one who can use the slave, technology, to live a better Life! 

So, if you find yourself stressed out on any morning by 10 AM, when you are technically supposed to be starting your work day, know that you are to blame for the complexity that defines your Life. And the only way to make your Life simple, is to simply take charge __ of your Life and the technology you have! You will live happily, healthily, soon, after you become the Master again…..! 
Advertisements

Focus on your efforts and leave the outcomes to Life

Asking why something is happening to you is of no use. The best way to deal with a situation that you dislike is to face it and deal with it.
Life has a mind of its own. It delivers situations to you whether you like it or not. Your preferences are not what Life seeks to know before something happens to you. Who wants a cancer? Or who wants to be out of job? Or who would want a break-up – especially years after a heady romance and an equally memorable marriage? Who would want to lose a parent, child, spouse or sibling? Yet, whether you like it or not, several of these contexts, and more, have applied to you the past or currently apply to you or may apply in the future. Such is Life. Asking why must you be in the situation you are in is futile. Life doesn’t answer anyone’s questions – definitely not in a linear fashion. You can, at best, make sense of your Life by looking back, and reflecting on why some events happened in the way they did. As Steve Jobs has famously said: “You can only connect the dots backwards”. And when you do connect them, you will realize that everything happens for a reason, and all change always is for yourgood!
I read the story of Achal Bakeri and his highly-successful Symphony brand of air-coolers in a recent issue of The Economist.  Bakeri returned to India in 1988, after acquiring an MBA from the US and encouraged his Sanand (Gujarat)-based family business to look beyond real estate. He launched elegant-looking, efficient, air-coolers for domestic and commercial use. Soon Symphony was the market leader in its space and a public listing followed in 1994. But Bakeri made a mistake – he capitulated under pressure from investors to make washing machines and water heaters under the Symphony brand name. The move, though logical on paper and in theory, backfired. Symphony’s new products failed badly in the market and pushed the company to the brink of bankruptcy. After several years of struggle, Bakeri decided to focus on doing only what he – and his company – knew best. Which was to make only air-coolers. But he backed up that decision with a significant change in strategy – he took the Symphony brand global. In 2011, he bought a Mexico-based firm which gave Symphony additional leverage in manufacturing, technology and distribution. That move – and Bakeri’s resolve to focus on his core – paid off. Today Symphony’s stock is rated as among the best performing stocks in India in the past decade. The Economist story concludes with this perspective: “Had Symphony not had such a close brush with failure, it would have stuck to the Indian market and never explored the global potential for air-coolers. “It was the best thing that happened to us,” Bakeri says.”

I am sure Bakeri had his own ‘why-me’ moments of self-doubt, self-pity and anger as he revisited his decisions. I am sure he wondered at some time whether he would be able to haul his company – and his career as an entrepreneur – out of the mess it was in. I am sure he too did not get sleep on many nights thinking of how dark and fearful the future looked. And, yet, I am sure, along the way, one thing led to another and things did work out fine for Symphony and for Bakeri. This is how Life will work for each of us too. None of our stories is going to have a sad ending. Even if you were to die today, leaving unfinished business and incomplete dreams, someone will pick up from where you left off and give your story the end it truly deserves. So, stop questioning the Life that is happening to you. If you love what’s happening to you, enjoy every moment. If you dislike what’s happening to you, learn to endure it. Don’t resist Life – that’s when you suffer. Don’t ask why and don’t ask why me? Learn to face Life and deal with it doing whatever you can daily, in the best way you can! Just focus on your efforts. And leave the results and outcomes to Life. Remember: in the end, no matter what you are going through now, it will all work out fine! 

Be an intelligent master – use technology, don’t get used (read cooked) by it!

Things are incredibly simpler yet why are our lives more complex than ever before?
As I write this my son has reached out to me all the way from Denver, Colorado, in the US. Another young man has pinged me from New Orleans in the US. Yet another has sent me a facebook message from Singapore. And an old school mate, someone who I have not met in 40 years, has written me a note from Canada. All this has happened in just a span of 30 minutes. Can you imagine this being possible just 20 years ago? This is a new era. A simpler era. Where Google, and not Britannica Encyclopedia, is the fountainhead of all knowledge. Where, whether it is about cooking a meal with quinoa or it is about decoding an irritable skin rash or it is a query relating to when was the original “Ocean’s Eleven” movie released, you can source, all that you want, any time you want, in a nano-second – from your smartphone! It is also an era where you can buy a movie ticket, a plane ticket, book a hotel room or order a book or pizza, from your mobile device. And you can also transfer money from one phone to another! You can stay connected with me__or someone who you may have never met in ages or ever__using facebook and twitter__without intruding on their time or privacy!
The world’s so much smaller, so much closer, things are so amazingly simpler, yet, the billion buck question is, why are we, the people, still struggling? Why is it that we still ‘don’t have time’ for our families, our passions and our dreams? Why is it that we are not living fuller, more complete, fulfilling lives, if things have only gotten simpler? The problem is not with science and the technology revolution. It has done its job__made Life simpler. It is we humans who have not learnt to adapt and use technology. I remember reading a piece in The Economist a couple of years ago which describes this state that our race finds itself in and argues its causes fabulously well: “…for most people the servant has become the master. Not long ago only doctors were on call all the time. Now everybody is. Bosses think nothing of invading their employees’ free time. Work invades the home far more than domestic chores invade the office. Otherwise sane people check their smartphones obsessively, even during pre-dinner drinks, and send e-mails first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This is partly because smartphones are addictive…Employees find it ever harder to distinguish between “on-time” and “off-time”—and indeed between real work and make-work. Executives are lumbered with two overlapping workdays: a formal one full of meetings and an informal one spent trying to keep up with the torrent of e-mails and messages. None of this is good for businesspeople’s marriages or mental health.” That piece in The Economist, I remember, advocated digital dieting. A kind of rationing of tech-led work time for freeing up more Life time.
I would recommend we go the extra mile. My two-penny worth: Celebrate Life by celebrating technology. Don’t just cerebrate Life and technology! Here’s how I do it. 1. Wear your Life and your attitude to Life on your sleeve. Let people know__even if it is bosses, clients or children__who you are and how you live and work. 2. Never allow technology to slave-drive you. You can choose, and therefore please do, to be the master. 2. Define your quiet or silence or ‘mouna’ periods. About an hour every day. No voice calls. Just remain silent. Focus on whatever you are doing. Whether it is walking, watching a movie or even preparing a report. Just because you are accessible, need not mean you are available. 3. Check your mails, your text messages, your facebook or twitter account but don’t be trigger-happy. Choose whether and when to respond. Mull over the information streaming in. If it is bad news__a client feedback, an exasperated boss’ rant, a project disaster, a child’s agony__deal with it with patience. Treat the information as an opportunity to spiritually train yourself not to react. If it is good news, don’t exult either. Again spiritually evolve with the opportunity. 4. Flag as favorites some inspirational web pages (such as this one: J!) and visit them each time your mind wavers and grazes on negative emotions __ worry, anxiety, stress. 5. Do all non-core stuff__like paying your bills, transferring money, booking tickets and hotels__online, at times of the week or day when your energy is low. That way you save time for more value creation when your energy is the highest! 6. Take backups of all important data weekly __ phone contacts, mails, computer hard disk data __ that’s a sure and the only way to beat technology letting you down. 7. Remember: An intelligent master is one who can use technology to live a better Life – and not get used (read cooked) by it! So, if you find yourself stressed out by Monday morning 10 AM, know that you are to blame for the complexity that defines your Life. And the only way to make your Life simple, is to simply take charge __ of your Life and the technology you have! You will live happily, healthy, soon, after you become the master again…..!