Why add to your emotional baggage by judging others?

AVIS-on-Happiness

4 questions that lead you to a lifetime of happiness!

Only you can decide what makes you happy!

We bumped into a young friend at a coffee shop yesterday. She is a qualified architect but is taking a gap year in her academics.

She asked us: “Is it okay to not feel like doing anything in Life? I mean, is it seriously okay? I feel everyone around me is chasing their tail and here I am…completely clueless about my future and blundering along…I am still unsure if I want to study further or if I want to practice or be a writer or just travel the world. Everyone is forcing me to decide and go do ‘something’. But I don’t want to commit to doing something that my heart isn’t agreeing to.”

Vaani, in turn, asked her this question: “What makes you happy?”

And the young lady replied: “I am still figuring out what makes me happy. But I am sure none of the things my family or friends want me to do, like do a desk job to earn an income and gain experience, or a do a Masters Program so that the tag of a graduate can be acquired, will make me happy.”

The lady, in our opinion, has her priorities clearly in place.

Even as she is figuring out what will quench her soul, what will make her intrinsically happy, she’s sure about what she does not want to do. And there’s no confusion in her mind there. Now, that’s a wonderful state to be in.

You see, the whole world is running amuck – everyone is trying to become something, become someone else that they really are not. Worse, almost everyone else seems to have an opinion about what you must do and how you must live your Life. Sometimes, this cacophony can be deafening. If you capitulate and sign up for what the world wants you to do, at the cost of your own inner peace and joy, then don’t complain about your Life being listless and meaningless. Because that’s really what Life will be when you live it for someone else’s sake! But, if you want your Life to be exciting, if you want to wake up each morning loving the opportunity to go do what you love doing, then you have to pause and reflect.

Ask yourself important, fundamental, questions: 1. What makes me happy? 2. What makes me feel grateful for this gift called Life? 3. Doing what makes me lose myself completely so that I forget all my worries and even lose track of time? 4. What do I want to keep doing again and again and again – all my Life?

AVIS-Viswanathan-4-Questions

Well, you know what you answered for those four questions. Now, just go do it. Simple. And if figuring this out takes a year or two, or even more, well, so be it.

Life is a precious, one-time, limited-period offer. The most intelligent way to live it is to only do what makes you happy. And no one but you can make that choice – only you can decide what makes you happy. When you do live a Life, doing what you love, everything you need arrives in your Life – at its own time and pace. If there ever is a secret to living a Life of happiness and contentment – this, absolutely, is it!

There’s a reason why someone comes into your Life


Everyone comes into your Life with a reason. They may not always be the most welcome influences in your Life when they do arrive. But they are there to teach you something__provided you are open to learn your lessons from them!

Some years ago, a marquee client’s manager had an intense dislike for me personally. My Firm was a service provider for his company for over 8 years at that time. Over this time, his company’s founder and CEO and I had established a remarkable personal rapport and professional, working relationship. When he came on board, his boss, the CEO asked him to take all “direction and support” from me in managing ongoing corporate affairs, executing pending assignments and formulating new strategies for their company. Maybe it was the word “direction” that his boss used which ticked off the manager. Maybe it was hands-on my working style. Whatever it was, from day one, he made his dislike for me known explicitly. He began by barring me from meeting the CEO one-on-one. He set in place a ridiculous process of recording deviations for the flimsiest of reasons__ranging from delays in arriving for meetings called with no notice or inability to manage delivery by other partners, who were independent vendors or service providers to his company, just as we were. For the record, our job did not include managing their delivery, though their delivery did impact our work! For each deviation he so recorded, he enforced a financial penalty, which were not envisaged per our Service Legal Agreement with his company. Over a few months, it became clear that his actions were driven by an agenda to cause me personal grief. He was, at the same, extremely courteous with my other team members who were co-owning his company’s engagement alongside me. For whatever reason, perhaps misplaced righteousness, I refused to seek an engagement review with the CEO. Instead, I sat down to do a review of how we were working as a Firm__what value we were delivering and how happy we were doing what we were mandated to do by our clients. This manager’s actions, the ignominy and suffering that followed, forced me to rethink every single aspect of our Firm’s portfolio of services, our delivery model, our client-wise billings and profitability. To our surprise, though it should never have been surprising, we discovered that our entire service strategy was flawed. Every client relationship was unprofitable. We were bleeding__billing our clients far, far less than what it cost us to deliver them the unmatched service that we always did. When we looked at the numbers, in the backdrop of our already debt-laden balance sheet, we realized we were going nowhere from a business point of view. On the other hand, I was also personally not happy with delivering the services we were offering clients. This realization led to a complete retooling of our services, our delivery model and our client portfolio. It included, of course, exiting non-profitable client relationships, beginning with this marquee client. This led to a virtual reinvention of our Firm. A version 2.0 is you like! Over the years, we have built a simpler delivery model that creates exceptional value for our clients, gives us immense joy in delivering it, and which is financially profitable too. Our legacy problems remain, but we don’t make losses with our client relationships anymore.

When I look back, I realize that the antagonistic manager’s presence in my Life was key to my transformation as a businessman, a professional and as an individual. That he was indeed there with a reason. He has since moved to live in the United States. While visiting there a couple of years ago, I called him up and profusely thanked him for helping me along, perhaps unwittingly, my Life’s journey. He gracefully welcomed my gesture to reach out. Whenever I think of how far I have come in Life, I always say a silent prayer of gratitude to that manager. Without him, I realize, I wouldn’t be the way I am today __ happy and peaceful__despite the circumstances!

If you have someone in your Life right now, whose presence you question or whose influence you resist, sit back and look at this person differently. Ask yourself what you can learn from this person. You will then realize that she or he is there with a reason!