What aviation teaches us and why all of us must learn!

Think about your next flight, you are going to possibly think about what you are going to shop at the airport store, or binge eat at what place and in case it’s going to be a long flight, you will probably devise a strategy to kill your time on-board; however leaving this low IQ obsession with aviation and flying if we have a closer look on what goes behind the scenes on every single flight- trust me, the next time you speak to anyone associated with this industry- no matter where they work- on the ground or in the sky- your respect is bound to increase manifold- and you will know how much you simply owe to these fabulous men and women- who guard your precious life (irrespective whether it is valuable or not) with all they have both in the skies above and on the earth below- literally minute to minute!

Since I have been personally passionate about aviation, I can actually end up writing a long book on this, but let me make easier for all those of you, who are fence sitters and do not differentiate between a ship, bus, train and an airplane, beyond a point that they are different forms of transport! Sharing with you my key learnings as a student of aviation; in case I miss out something, do feel free to add and let everyone (including me ) know about that aspect as well!

Discipline is the key:Like many other vocations that one chooses; aviation is a place where discipline is etched not as a virtue but as part of one’s personality and it is a given! You don’t necessarily have to be only part of the flight crew for this; if you have observed ATC transcripts, on ground staff, air- side service personnel, airport operations team- you choose your pick and this one trait will be absolutely evident.The aspect of discipline is critical in aviation, this is among the fundamental of all other values needed and a lapse on this could literally kill you or others!- yes there have been instances around these!- you can click on the link and refer to some material readily available!

Trust and Teamwork: There is no parallel example in any job that you choose (apart from space exploration and military action) wherein you will be able to witness such a colossal team work of men and women across functions, across timelines and across borders! It takes easily around 75 to 125 people to manage one trip (directly/ indirectly) depending on whether it’s a short haul flight or a long haul one! Each of these team members are specialists, with a great eye for detail and an unflinching trust on each other- they know lives depend on what they say, write and sign off! They trust each other like they trust God- there is no other way- laws of physics and human trust carry these marvelous pieces of engineering and fragile humans along! Of course yes, there have been those odd and sad aberrations in crew resource management / factors pertaining to trust- either trusting fellow crew member or the instruments which have resulted in horrific tragedies!

Politeness and Service orientation: Another hallmark of the people associated in aviation- politeness and service orientation- the extra care that staff undertakes- at times right from your booking- to the pick up for the airport- to the assistance with infant food- last minute changes to seating (based on your requests- sometimes genuine- many times a needless show off!), if you are a frequent flyer; knowing the right food reaches you, if you are one of those people burning away corporate money for travel in business class or first class- then providing you with the benefits without succumbing to your idiocracy and foolishness where you keep hitting the call button with no real reason– well all this takes a lot of effort, practice and an intrinsic ability to stay calm and yet provide service. I had the privilege once to have a chat with a cabin crew (the flight was delayed) and people were howling and screaming at one of the departure gates of the domestic terminal of the Mumbai International airport (the way passengers were howling away and screaming for food and water at 1 am that morning- I began to actually wonder, am i really flying with these idiots!– thankfully I was not- they were headed to another city) After the commotion got over, i walked to the staff member, congratulated him and his team for imagination their dignity in face of this mob like behaviour, then I asked him, “how do you guys manage this”- day in day out?, his reply was crisp and to the point- “We are trained to deal with this”this is what is so wonderful about aviation- training that really kicks in like your skin and helps to overcome seemingly chaotic situations in no time!

Patience and a cool head (cool cool working head!): Yes this is the essence of everyone on the job in aviation- whether it is the ATC juggling with a number of flights criss-crossing the area control or a patch of clear air turbulence or flying through a patch of dense clouds offering moderate turbulence, landing in gushing rain or with cross winds- all is part of a day’s work for these fantastic people- and yes all this; they owe to their continuing training, hard-work and one simple fact that they all know- there is no back up to them! You may have the smartest of automation and technology at your disposal- but when it comes to making choices between life and certain death- it is the earned stripes on shoulder of the flight captain,that come to the rescue and the Lead Cabin crew’s presence of mind and her effective direction to her team mates which controls a crowd of around 200 people in every emergency to ensure that you are safe!

It is such a pity that an average flyer thinks of the airport staff and flight crew as a taken-for -granted- service , just to serve food, pick the trays or have you flown in and out- rarely do they ever come to know what all has gone behind the scenes just to ensure that you stay alive! rarely people know, they are trained first aides, fire fighters, CPR providers, in that rarest of rare case- help deliver a baby on board, have anti-allergens handy (if you let them know before).

It is these fascinating men and women-who turn a reinforced metal tube into flowing poetry over the clouds- the next best thing that one can enjoy apart from being in space! I could have gone on and one explaining what other fascinating facets this sector brings forth, but would like to leave that to your thinking and reflection, the next time you take your seat on an aircraft, show some respect and gratitude and when you deplane- say a Thank you! from the bottom of your heart! Trust me they have earned every bit of it- be polite and be nice- each one comes from a context and has a battle within even as we work- these wonderful people not only do a job- but excel at it, each time and every time- for in their job- they seldom get a chance to correct a mistake!

The next time you fly, listen, pay attention and co-operate and make them feel a little good, that all their effort to keep you safe has been rewarded by your well mannered behavior and cultured conduct!

Ciao for now, have to board my flight! will be back soon with another piece…but yes- stay humble and stay wise- remember the times when your life was literally in someone else’s hand- 35,000 feet above the earth!

Happy flying and Happy reading- stay safe and fly safe! May Godspeed be with you!

Break the pattern to achieve greatness!

How often you have heard conversations in the world of communication, when the client says, “give me something fresh, new, clutter breaking”, well at times you may start wondering what does a humble packet of cookies got to do with any of these superlative terms or what does a product or service have to offer,other than what it promises to deliver- as a matter of fact each one of us knows this – no matter how much glorified a service or a product is- it will still do what it is just supposed to- none of the paraphernalia associated with the hot models, influencers or the jazzy music comes along with the service or product to you, does it? Then why the bother- well the answer is hidden within each one of us- and it is of great significance- an aspect that goes on to make us to who we are at the very core of the things- creative and social!

Turn over the pages of history with me, well right now you are standing in front of the iconic pyramids– so what do you feel right away, mostly that feeling will be “wow”, “unbelievable”, “amazing”, “beautiful”, “unlike anything else”- well you got the point with the last one- unlike anything else! On a closer look, every archaeologist and historian who has worked and recorded the findings of the great pyramids will tell you, “each stone and each pyramid is unique and one of a kind”, each one has a story to tell and a mystery to share! This is what greatness would have been, in the time frame then and undoubtedly placed the rulers almost parallel to their Gods if not as equals- simply because this superlative and incomparable feat was achieved!

Travel with me to our recent times, the joy of creating, you name it- The Statue of Liberty, The Eiffel Tower just gets us excited even as we visit the museums and see the old drawings and photos which display the case of human resilience and ability to craft and create something done unlike ever before! These are all examples of greatness without a doubt, similar expressions can be also found in the fields of art- gifted musicians, writers, novelists, painters, sculptor’s, you pick an choice and you will find them staring happily back at you- examples of greatness!

Patterns are quick to see and do not excite- the first Boeing 747 would have drawn so much of praise and bewilderment, however as many more got to build the Queen of the Skies became just the new normal of opulence and luxury in the skies! It eventually ended up in becoming one of those standard,templated patterns! A lot of things that happen around us end up qualifying for this category. Another example; well do you remember the most recent time when you began to wonder why your job sucks! ( because this too is part of pattern- if not you, someone can do what you do!; hence if what you do is not uniquely matched to who you are, and as long as it does not allow you to create and do what only you can do- your ability to reach the zenith of professional greatness will get compromised and reduce you to just another glorified template)!

The world of communication- be it films, advertising or visual craft- always thrives and strives for that one element of lasting greatness and this does the trick to etch in our minds- that awesome movies, song, play, ad or the next architectural marvel to stare at!

One closer look and evaluation of all great masterpieces- you will find one common thread, all greatness,praise, awards-all of that came to those who took the risk and decided to break the pattern and portray a wonderful story through the medium of their choice which always ensured that – whatever they were communicating, “was never done before in the way it was being done”! This, my friend is the simple secret to achieving greatness!

It does not matter, what you do, as long as you have the desire and intent to break the pattern and communicate in a way which has never been done before- your ticket to greatness is certain– the extent and depth of the level of greatness achieved again depends on multiple factors like the medium of your story, the story and the method of narration around it! So if you build the next mile high skyscraper, your legacy will stay for the time the building stays, if you write the next best novel, you will be remembered for the time- society has reverence for the written word, if you create a movie- it will stay until society relates and enjoys it and if you script the next great ad- my friend that will stay etched as long as the product and category exist and this too can be a long time considering the story is wrapped in under 60 seconds (most of the times!)

Before I conclude, a point to make, greatness was never achieved by choosing to do what has already been done, it has always come to those who have dared to venture further and beyond and achieve what was deemed to be non-existent or achievable- this is fundamental to achieving greatness- the medium of your story is what you choose and learning the patterns to ensure you break them is your first step!

Wherever in the world you are reading this, have a great day ahead and keep aspiring and moving towards your calibrated greatness – one day at a time….will catch up soon with another facet of our lives! Stay wise and stay alive!

Keep your opinions to yourself!

One major challenge of simply trying to survive in this information age- is this screwed up part- Everyone thinking and believing that they know it all; have done it all and harboring little or absolute non-existent acceptance towards considering even a feeble possibility of the fact that, “there is and there will be something that is yet to be unraveled and understood”!

To this challenge, add the complexity of growing up in a society where you have pesky neighbors- extended families, dumb witted friends (remember the old adage- Your known by the company you keep!) and office colleagues who are working from their own positions of diminishing intelligence and insecurities- and yes, each one of these characters have an opinion- an opinion about everything and everyone else- but themselves!

Highly opinionated societies are the hallmark of societal dissonance and degradation- the more opinionated a society is, the more screwed up it eventually turns out to be, the closer and familiar synonyms with these kind of messed up places- hypocritical, autocratic, myopic and deep rooted “yes sir” culture!

As an NLP and CBT Practitioner,studying human behaviour- one key learning always has been to ensure all the time and always that we are not carrying this nonsensical burden of being opinionated, judgmental and prejudiced!

You would have come across these typical characters, who have an opinion on things and aspects like- when you should get married, to whom, when to have kids, what dog you should get, when and where you should travel, what new food you should try and why, when you should change your job, what the President of US should do, which politician is better, which political movement is right, how the world must change, why your boss is always screwed up, why you are the only shiny little angel in the whole universe and wear a comic character “save the world” tag on your dumb mind with a blinded vision! At this point your funny brain is tricking you into believing, if this is not what we should be speaking about to others, what the f**k do we speak, well, this is where the trick is, you can and must speak about all this, albeit in a mindful way sans the opinion, judgmental and prejudice laced rhetoric! and trust me that’s a big task and an ongoing learning curve for each one of us (me included).

So, how do you go about it, well here’s what works for me, if it works for you great, else seek your own heaven and until then keep your mouth shut!

One mindful and powerful way to avoid getting into the trap of sharing unwarranted opinions and shutting off being- judgmental and prejudiced, is to be an active and patient listener! This sounds simple but is very very difficult to achieve; listening to the other person without allowing your brain to race away- into creating scenarios and running ahead to conclude before you completely hear what is being said- let me tell you, this is tough and comes with practice- a lot of it- how much- well I have been practicing this for last two decades and still am a student! (you can opine-right away that I am dumb- but well that is exactly what we need to stop!)

Active and focused listening is the first step and the next one is – which is again an important one- remember it is ok and perfectly ok to say, “I don’t know- I need to check the facts and come back if you ask my opinion on or about xyz”. Do these two things and trust me you will start immediately feeling better and realise you have so much time left for yourself to learn and unlearn new things about everything and everyone around you!

Conversations always should be uplifting and enlightening, no I am not suggesting you top be some “guru” or “god sent teacher” of sorts, conversations need to be intellectually stimulating and help yourself and everyone involved, arrive at a moment and say unto themselves, “Ah ha” this is something new or fascinating, well something new to seek, understand…” this my friend is the right space to be in when striking those innocent looking, time killing conversations with people around you!

Normally people tend to mistaken these conversations for serious debates and intellectual verbal dissertation, well some of them would be, but all of them are never that way! The fact is, to be able to speak with intelligence (without being opinionated)needs more effort, energy, wisdom and technique which needs to be nurtured with every conversation!

The dangers of blabbering are more serious, they may start from initiating quarrels/ misunderstandings within workers and in worst case scenario can lead societies to mayhem believing their rulers are doing something gravely wrong and unjust (which may or may not be the case) just based on some loose opinionated blabbering- by someone whom you hold in high regard/ value (without any verifiable metrics) for reasons and opinions best known to you!- because you have been the initiator of the problem as well ( by carrying a brain which feeds on opinions rather then wisdom)!

Before I sign off, for my coffee, simple final words- listen, speak about what you know- what has been evaluated on scientific metrics- logic and when you have nothing to say- keep your mouth shut!

Hope you liked this one, keep writing in and let me know what you would like to read about next…. at Simplifylives, we are on a journey to create value – one day at a time- one challenge at a time…until next time.. ciao!

The business of politics-how it screws up your life!(and how to avoid it!)

Yes, too much for a Monday morning blog, I guess, could have been written over the weekend, but what better way to start a working week, by helping you look into the mirror! (me included!)

Well, as you go around doing all the chores of your life diligently; like, “always saying yes to your boss and spouse”, feeding your pet, ensuring your kids don’t kill or get killed, knowing you can travel safely and come back home alive after working (whatever work you do and wherever you do!)” ; have you ever taken a moment to realise that no matter what your age is no matter what you do and irrespective how rich or poor you are things seem to be going around in an insane vicious circle always! Basically being rich or poor is vert relative- even in the materialistic context- let alone the philosophical one; one of the most unfortunate way of getting that pathetic miserable feeling is not by being poor, but being super rich and being totally f***ed -like in India from where I am writing (ok before you call me a traitor or some shit like that, let me tell you, I love my country and and would like to see it get better- like anyone of you is the same for your Motherland and Fatherland- depending on which part of terra ferma you are reading this piece!) because you will not be able to simply drive your super luxury car above the 20 Mph mark or roll down the window- because the the air is so laced with pollutants- and yes no matter how rich you may be personally – you simply can’t do a f**k about it!

Have you wondered, when you started working- you were all this gung- ho about slogging and deciding you will work at the most till you are 40 or in your mid 40’s and then retire to a peaceful place (as defined by you!) and watch the world go crazy and keep laughing at the fools around, well the only twist in the story is that majority of us continue to get stuck in this rut- and that eternally evasive, “Retire in 40’s” never comes and we are always at the other side and part of the crazy world- which seems to just live- to pay bills and die – and many of us- whether we like it or not end up paying bills till the very last minute before we have the God sent heart-attack to liberate us from the misery of life irrespective whether you died rich or poor! So in all this – where does politics fit it- well- remember your dream about seeing the crazy world go by – getting screwed up and laughing at it- well that’s what politics is all about and that’s where the best party in the world is being hosted- 24×7 across all the world capitals and all the time!

Just think for a minute- do you really really think- that problems of the world- are unsolvable- with so many intelligent (at times outright idiot’s) people occupying chairs (for which they would use all the good and dirty tricks to arrive at in the first place!). So what is really happening?

Well, my friend, I could have gone ahead and written in more details, but this really calls for a long form of writing- possibly a book; but with no one to really corroborate it would end up landing in the fiction section (which I am a little averse- unless it is something like a Sherlock Holmes or a harry Potter!) So to cut the long story short…here we go…

Politics world over is intertwined directly with businesses. Businesses again happen in an interesting way- you have those poor businessmen who are the face of any nation’s economy who sail up and down with every wave of political uncertainty- these are the poster boys of grins during the height time in the markets and the ones’ who go bankrupt or show their teeth when shit hits the roof and they have to either file for insolvency or begin to ration their next binge eating session and lifestyle of in-despicable indulgence! Well these are the one’s who make the news all the time and constitute to about 80% of the noise but just around 25-30% of the business value globally! yes…remember our friend- Pareto– he was indeed right with his famous Pareto Principle – even on this (although he may not envisaged this)!

It is the invisible force of this minuscule 25-30% of business people and politicians- who decide what you and I do and what nation’s do and when , why and how- yes sounds like a sinister Hollywood sci-fi, but well trust me – it actually is good this way! When you have a small group of decisive people making decisions- they may go wrong sometime- but they will not go wrong all the time. The important aspect here, is to ensure that these gifted idiots- when they do go wrong- don’t end up screwing up beyond a point of no return- which they have unfortunately done in a few areas already- yes- read Climate change and Plastic abuse (well these are the same people and the same world which celebrated plastic and innovation in plastic lead- polymer industry- even giving Nobel prizes- not more then 50 years ago! and now we stand completely f***ed up- because the group then- made of choice for their today- rather than their future and our today!

I know, by now you are thinking what the f**k are you doing , if things are really this way- well I took think the same way- then it gives a solace to know we can effect change no mater how small or large- and the trick to this is by participating- go out and make your voice count (peacefully and legally- legally as defined in the society that you live in!)

Politicians and this elite club of business tycoons have all the strings unto themselves. Unless there is a considerable majority which can participate in the political arena with better ideas and better vision for the today and the tomorrow, change- any real change coming will be all but a wishful dream- all of us cannot simply build that enormous business ecosystem to effect the change we need to and we must- hence the only other way around is have some sensible gifted idiots sneak into the elite club of the political club to slow down what must, and then suggest and accelerate what must be to ensure that the world becomes a little bit more world-like and everyone gets a chance to live- and not exist- pay bills and die- irrespective of the level of opulence!

As mankind, we seldom learn from history and this one major factor, keeps screwing us up into the hell hole where none of us want to be in the first place! The only way out is to be proactive- assert positive action and make a change no matter what that may be- just take a step and decide that the coming weekend you will be alive and experience the world as you should- no binge eating, no shopping and no bitching- just you, your sane family and friends (the word sane is important here) and the good earth around you! Try this and let me know how it went!

As someone said, we are not born to slog, pay checks and die- either with surplus or deficit in the bank- we are soul-filled entities and unless the soul is nourished with nature as its should be- our existence is all but purely wasted!

So, get back to your miserable slogging now, and take time off to reflect and now that you are wiser, don’t be hard on yourself and people around- know each one is fighting a war that does not exist and trying to win over and reach a place that is nothing but a staged hallucination!

Stay safe, stay happy(as in content) and stay wise- until next time….ciao!

So what do you do!

A seemingly innocent question, that all of us have been asked and we have asked so many times, to people we know, want to know or even perfect strangers- who would have been either polite to let us know what we do or would have asked us to simply f**k off!

The irony of our times is that even as we know it ( if you don’t you must know now!) that we have 86,400 seconds each day to spend and create lasting value (something that we should be cherishing as humans),we often end up wasting majority of these seconds doing stupid, outrageous and absolutely worthless deeds!

This is what a typical day at the office now a days looks like- office sponsored bitching sessions which are agenda driven, self-started and individually driven bitching sessions to meet and arrive at individual objectives, then department wise bitching sessions to screw that performing or no-performing department with tact and tenacity, sharing opinions on social media posts, images, videos and giving a point of view on every f***ing thing (irrespective whether or not you have requisite qualifications/ experience), have those smoke breaks and lunch breaks with precision and in all this mayhem if you get the time and attention- do some work!

Well there is also a method to this madness, according to me, organisations can be broadly classified into two types- “Future Fit” and “Available Now”. It does not matter which industry or what service you provide, whether you bake cakes or build a rocket engine- doesn’t really matter!

Future Fit organisations are far and few- stand out for all the right and wrong reasons, they succeed and fail and and rise again and keep going- experimenting, staying lean, mean and normally will stifle laid norms and compel to bring about changes in mass public behavior to ensure their success and will ensure that the change effort remains constant- because if that stalls- they will begin to write their tombstone! These organisations are feverishly paced as they need to be on the Tango on an ongoing basis to ensure they do not end up being redundant and this one major attribute that cuts out all the non-productive crap that organisations normally enjoy and end up paying employee for bitching about their low lives rather then working to move the firm ahead!

Available Now- organisations often have a God father- an investor who is high on ancestral fortune, governments which are good at managing the balance sheets and good at begging and borrowing at international levels! The type of people you can feel within the confines of these units are the majority of those people who are always busy and always in a meeting!

Whiling away precious seconds, minutes and hours just to keep blabbering in an one act show of never ending one upmanship and “I know more than you” and all that non-productive rhetoric, discussions on the font size of a power point slide which may also call for opinion polls and have votes- planning for the team outing (which is three months away) in advance for an overnight affair at a location less than 100 miles away! These “Available Now” places are actually great places to learn human behavior, insecurities and know exactly what not to do so that you don’t end up wasted with your life like these morons are- and all the time they have this hippy like grin which is not even warranted! At least hippies learn and soak in the experiences that the world has to offer to the unstoppable vagabonds!

A larger part of these “Available Now” organisations also stems from the fact that, they have been intentionally built to have mediocre jobs which actually can be done by anyone (yes I mean anyone). Take this simple test- Just reflect on what you are doing- and ask your self one simple question- “Does this need me to be doing this”? and if the answer is “yes” well treat yourself, you just got lucky because you are among the top 1% of the global workforce who like to slog with purpose and are driven by their slavery and slogging and if you have answered in the “no” don’t loose heart you are part of a bigger community of loosers how are born to get the pay check- pay the bills and die, after that the next one on the line takes your seat en route to the graveyard!

It really does not matter or depend on what vocation you have chosen to earn that extra can of beer or three square meals a day. What is important here,is how congruent is your conduct and approach to your choices in what you choose to do- given the context that you may be a soulful person- religious or not- matters not- the idea here is being able to appreciate your involvement from a level wherein it resonates as part of your extended self in what you choose to do and what you express within and outward!

Irrespective of which type of organisation you are part of, or want to create one- as long as you have simple checks and balances with regards to spending the designated and fixed seconds that each one of us gets encased every day (if we wake up- that is), things will seem soulful and meaningful not only to you, but everyone and everything that you create around yourself- the value of your invested seconds will amplify and beget more value and purpose driven seconds to create even more wonderful and meaningful things!

So, as I leave to grab my cup of coffee, leave you with these thought, stay invested wisely in your daily account of 86,40 seconds and make each of them count and help you create and add value to yourself, people around you and everything that you aspire to do! keep up the speed!

Until next time….ciao for now….and do let me know what you want to read next about! Add meaning- one second unto the next…keep going!

Your worthless business card!- Throw it!

How often, have you come across people who are dying to empty their sneaky plastic cases holding around 200 business cards with every opportunity that they get! Well even in today’s digital era which provides social handles and place holders to help people know what you do (at least communicate what you claim you do!), if you visit the next big exhibition/conclave/ networking/ or a general social booze network you will know what I am speaking about here! You will eventually come back home with the pamphlets, catalogs and business cards which will end up in your cute dustbin- for the simple reason- the people you know- you, already have their details and so do they- the others who are floating around like butterflies and moths- well, neither they care a damn for you nor do you!

Business cards have been one of the by-products of the MBA led times! Sales, Financial firms, marketing juggernauts, you name it all of them would always end up flashing the jazzy piece of plastic coated paper with their name lost somewhere among the name of the firm, it’s logo and another half a dozen of obligatory mentions and logos of partners/ vendors/ approves all stacked on it (if one side was used up- the other was always there at hand!)- so much melodrama for what? Just to ensure the next order of PCs, purchase of stock, that real estate piece – that’s about it?

If you have been into sales/ marketing or know of anyone- do a simple experiment- invite them for a lazy afternoon chat and ask them to share their big hits- and then see the story flow- more often then not this business card will have a role to play- now once the melodrama is over- do ask- how many customers/ clients / acquaintances called up when your dog died or you were under the weather- well the chances are- if there has no human connect- no one would have even noticed if you are yet counted as a live member of the society to taken away by undertakers! so what the f**k was achieved flashing your card, sweating it all- got your incentive, salary check well- yes- sure you did- got that incentive based vacation, promotion- great- but my friend- what about you?- what is that you achieved – yes “U”

Do this simple test- Reflect upon your greatest achievement and ask yourself – could this have been done by anyone else- with similar training, qualifications etc. if you answered Yes to this question, congratulations- you have just screwed up your life in a big way- because what you consider your achievement is a “template achievement” which can be reached by any other Tom or Harry! You just wasted your life doing and achieving which just did not need you to be there! More often then not, it is situations like these that are the source of the compelling belief to leave that tiny winy business card- just in case you had a stupid enough name that would stick out of all the other similar stereo types around doing the same thing that you do!

So what’s the point- well- let me not drag it further, the point is simple effectiveness and engagement is driven not by the card- but by the person. By saying the person- i mean here- competencies, abilities, experience, soft skills and the whole range of attributes that get crisply bundled into to form a personality that is engaging enough yet- intelligent, proactive, warm and humble with an openness and eagerness to learn! Once you have mastered this aspect of becoming a personality unto yourself and being able to communicate and sell your persona- you would also like to do away with the unnecessary weight dangling in your wallet and eliminate the burden to carry a case with the cards all times!

Of course yes, certain occasions do need them- but you need to calibrate and measure them well- there’s a good reason we do not roam on the streets wearing our wedding gown or birthday suit just because we like it!

The purpose has to be strong enough to validate the necessity of the card in today’s world- and as the old adage says- Your name arrives before you at every meeting- this depends purely on the human connect that you have been able to create, sustain and develop on an ongoing basis without the crutches of your business card!

Finally, make it a mission to be a brand unto yourself and let your aura arrive before you reach for that engagement- rest will be taken care of as long as you have sown the right seeds in your fertile past for a rewarding future! Throw that piece of paper now!

Live mindful and stay sensible! Until next time- ciao and take care- heading to rip a few a cards

Declutter your life!

Hi there, if you are done with the morning session of updating your fragile and self serving status on all the online handles and done with posting those meaningless updates, welcome to my new write up- albeit a short one!

Everyone on the planet seems to be suddenly bothered about everything around- right from the neighbor’s cat to global warming- everyone has a solution to fixing the situation- easily and fast- well then what’s screwing up and stopping the world from being a better place?

People tend to forget a fundamental principle- every act done to serve outwardly holding back hidden and sinister self-serving agendas will always f**ck up in a big way and hit hard like a wooden boomerang should!

Everyone seems to get lost around themselves- either they are drowning in the electronic shit of online networks and uploading loads and loads of photos and videos (often senseless and outright stupid bordering on the sidelines of being disgusting and often repulsive!). If this is not what tends to screw up people, then it is the brick and mortar form of senseless buying of things to the extent that modern homes- which by themselves are glorified pigeon holes by any measure- unless you are lucky enough to inherit some awesome mansion from your dead great uncle- or have really been at the apex within the summit to be the 10% of the 1% who are hanging to dear life in the social pyramid!

It’s high time to revisit our child-hood friend- “common-sense”- when you are well aware that each one of us are nothing more than ticking biological time bombs with an expiry date already pre-fed the day we were born; knowing well none of the shit and crap that we buy, get as gifts or loot from others will be teleported to the other dimension with us (at least as yet!)- why don’t we stop this senseless buying- hoarding and collection of things, memories and so on and so forth?- Well part of the problem lies in the way our brains have been wired- being social by nature humans earlier found security and comfort by staying connected, that’s how social structure, language, communication and art forms, hobbies and vocations etc evolved with time – evolutionary mechanisms were always aimed to ensure the success of the species.

With the advent of modern times- the abuse of technological advancement has lead to create more problems and challenges then the solutions that it has offered! How many cases of obesity, cancer, rheumatism, alzheimer, blood pressure, stress, anxiety- do you think you will find in the recent history – just go back to the period between 1700-1800 AD, if you travel for histrocial references in time period before that chances are you will come across death by fighting, routine illnesses and old age as the major factors providing tickets to the next world!

Many of our illnesses ( both physical and increasingly mental) are a direct result of technological abuse and going into overdrive with senseless consumerism and a race and competition with ourselves. No once speaks to you differently if you carry a brand A or a brand B- and if they do so- then you seriously need help and need to apply for immigration to a better country where humans still live!

Like on the material side, even on the emotional plane people hold on to unnecessary melodrama and keep flirting with ghosts from the past in forms ranging from the innocent social media post to letters, to artifacts to fabric- you name it and you will know what I am speaking about here! No matter what religion you follow- whether you are a believer of some faith or an atheist- living in the NOW with a purpose is the crux of all fulfillment and sense that will alone give you that warm smile on your face and keep that make up laden plastic smile away for good! I am not suggesting here a hippy type lifestyle- rather a mature, purpose centric and value driven existence wherein there is a minute to minute awareness about oneself and everyone around that matters!

Senseless hoarding and collection of things and memories which you know very well, cannot be teleported to the next dimension (as yet at least!)De-cluttering is the first step towards leading a purpose driven and value centric life; however it is a very different and apparent in-your -face reality that people are happy to look away from all this, as they continue to add chaos to their lives and also tend to pull in others along with them to cause further turmoil centric existence for oneself and those around who matter!

It helps to remember always that each one of us is a traveler and the essence of good and purposeful travel is having a light luggage and a soul which is free from unnecessary entrapment so that it can soak in the experiences that the journey has to offer!

Make a commitment to yourself and do a favor to your beaten down soul– Start to de-clutter your life today!

Travel light, travel safe and stay connected….signing off for now; I have a flight to catch!

Welcome to your level of incompetence!

Yes, i can feel the grin on your face, right away, after the last blog that seemed a bit heavy and serious; what else could have been on my mind, but to make the misery of your life a little less, by ensuring all of us (me included) to look into the mirror and welcome ourselves and those around us to our respective level of incompetence!

Well, at the very face of it, this seems to be a cute problem , but trust me this is a baby faced killer! and this has harmed organisations not only at local levels but also has resulted into global meltdowns– well case in point- does anyone remember the downfall of the wall street- sub prime crisis- take some time off to dig into those not so helpful discouraging episodes, the fact remains- there were all smart men and women who were screwing up things at the grandest scale while the world was still looking at their coveted degrees in Law and those ever elusive MBAs- you know from where!

People often forget that we are a bio-chemical machine and can fail and fall like any mechanical machine- if you nourish it well- results are amazing- path breaking and scintillating, abuse it and throw garbage into mind and body and well, yes that’s what exactly will come back to oneself and also gift everyone around- the same age old principle of “garbage in and garbage out”!

People have always asked me, why I have been so passionate about aviation ( to such an extent that I choose my window based on the equipment and start doing the pre-flight checks on the android app, to give the crew company from the comfort of my seat)! Well the answer is very simple, it is possibly the only commercially viable profession where you simply can’t screw up and if you still managed to- you will certainly be global headlines- right after the breaking story from The White House- in case you don’t make it with your material body (which is quite likely) your soul will be drenched in outpouring grief from world over- even by people who have nothing to do with you, the passengers or the aircraft manufacturer- this singular overwhelming nuisance has played on the back of the mind of aerospace companies and I believe has managed to keep checks and balances with the odd screw ups every few years!

This overwhelming public shaming and nuisance ensures that commercial aviation works with precision, accuracy and with absolute zero tolerance to manageable and predictable challenges and issues with equipment and people alike! Go a little deep into this fantastic industry and you will uncover the ceaseless, selfless attention to detail, pro-activeness and ownership that each and every person associated with every single take off and landing each time (irrespective whether they are at ground control, the ATC or in the air) its a beautiful ballet that’s rehearsed, improved on an ongoing basis- day in and day out- with only one purpose- Not to screw up!

This unfailing, thrust has made aviation an industry to envy and continues to provide case studies in human mental conditioning and studying aspects of human brain- from simple aspects like body fatigue to complicated behavioral studies- all to ensure- all is well and nothing ends up in the well!

So if, competence is so priced, why is there so much dearth of it all around- well, the fact remains as long as no one gets killed, no one will really bother!

A garment manufacturer will not bother with that odd thread swinging in the air, nor will the call center angel that you spoke last evening will care a damn about what you said, as long as your conversation fits into some customized narration box for her to update and get moving with you sick, overdue card account!

Another fascinating reason why incompetence thrives is- people get promoted to their level of incompetence! and then magic- they have no where to go -within the organisation or outside- because they just manage to make themselves unhireable!– for reasons varying from sheer technical incompetence, to updation of knowledge to sheer laziness and the evil joy of screwing up others even as they mess up the organisation- one department at a time- one level at a time- till all of them become indistinguishable and then there is this great clean up act carried out by some poor investor how finally wakes up to smell the coffee and have the pests weeded out! But by then most of the damage has been done and more often then not at this juncture organisations get into the chameleon mode (new name, new logo, new business vertical, mergers and acquisitions and if nothing works well shut shop)!

So what next, are we all doomed to suffer at the hands of few incompetent souls, well actually the way societies and way of living gets constructed, we still do have a choice- to limit our exposure to external incompetence and dumbness- but for that we need to up our level of competence to be able to distinguish between the innocent point of ignorance and devilish incompetence hiding in plain sight under our nose!

An easy way around this menace, is to be self reflecting- sans carrying the baggage of being judgmental, prejudiced,patronizing and living with a head full of planet saving ideas and believing that you are the modern age Noah with answers to all the miseries! The moment you do this- life will in a wink- become a little more sensible and you should start to see beyond the fog of camouflaged incompetencies around you and genuinely start begetting real leaders who create, add and sustain value for themselves and everyone around- for that is the real hallmark of competence!

I will sign off at this point, time to take a break and try smelling competence among the conflicting odors of incompetence and stupidity around the coffee shop from where I am punching this article!

Until next time, happy reading and raise yourself to your next level of competence and do yourself and the world around you a big f**king favor! God Bless!

Lost smiles,conversations and diminishing common-sense!

As the world races ahead, proclaiming technological excellence, with an automation driven solution for everything (except common sense!), one would have expected this to be a great time to be alive! Dig deeper and you would realize how messed up and screwed up all of us are in a grand way!

When was the last time, on a casual stroll you smiled at a stranger and greeted that person, and in process you too were greeted (no staring, stalking or senseless grinning counts in this space- just to be absolutely clear and sure about the choice of words being used).

Our present times reflect a considerable amount of lost faith and trust in fellow human beings- this is again directly proportional to the extent of automation and exposure to senseless capitalism, consumerism and urgining people to participate in the stupid rat-race which has no finish line!

Choose any country on the planet and take an urban mega city of your choice and obeserve the demonstrated behaviour of people towards strangers, forget about smiling, people would be lucky if they were to make an eye contact – most of them would be buried into their smart screens with an omnipresent dumb look on their face all the time! You would see behaviors ranging from mildly unwelcoming to absolutely rude and rarely but sometimes getting on the border of confrontation!

Now, move your location around a 100 mile perimeter to a town or a countryside village or cluster and just see the difference! Well it will be a striking contrast- people have time, courtesy and want to be absolutely sure that they have made your day and you are not lost! (rarely do they know how lost individuals are within themselves!). The fact also remains that great cities are often built and and are a result of the unrelenting toil of people who would have migrated from such small places and have eventually made it their new abode! So the next thought- why do people then change- is this change real or is it something else?

Well the answer has many contours, psychologists would tell you- people acquire behaviors over their intrinsic value systems. The intrinsic value systems are the core of the persona of any person. These intrinsic value systems more often then not set the tone to the patterns displayed by individuals- whether to help or not, whether to strike a conversation or not, to smile or not, to ignore or team up..so on and so forth!

I know this article is kind of being a little slow paced unlike my other salvos, but this one needed a pause in between (the tonality bit) so that sinking-in of thought seeds happens to begin progressive reflection!

Well automation is doing good and screwing up as well-with equal measure and precision. It all depends on which end of the spectrum you are and at what time and for how long!

I had this instance when, once a colleague opened up a weather app on the smartphone and said it will rain as the app predicted. I looked up towards the sky and there was not a shred of grey anywhere, forget the clouds being there or not- well this is how bad our common-sense has got messed up!

We live our life in a way, where a majority believes -all that an apps tell us, what goes viral must be real, what a social site is screaming out is good and true, what the newspaper carried on the front page was the final gospel form the angels; I am not saying these technological advancements are all useless and must be junked or done away with- the point here is that societies have lost the fine sense of judgement and balance when it comes to limit the use of technology in the right way for the right purpose.

I am yet to understand those stupid posts on social handles where couples are telling the world how much they love each other, or if some idiot has got promoted to a President of some cardboard manufacturing or cargo hauling logistics firm or an IT firm or whatever – I mean, really who cares and what the fucking difference does all this crap make to any other random person’s life on the planet- even to the lives of the people you know- you love someone great- let that person know and leave it at that, you got a job or a promotion, let those who matter know and leave it at that (unless you have been elected to lead a country or some shit like that!)

Well psychologists, call this behaviour as an extended form of attention seeking disorder arriving from inability to strike sensible and meaningful conversations- which lead to meaningful relations in real time with real people!

Well people, I will cut this article here, could have gone on and on citing one dumb example after the other, but the whole point is to provide a direction to a sensible and purposeful thinking.

Start by setting “me” times; -a time with yourself to begin with, followed by “authentic” time- to strike conversations with friends and families and make a genuine effort to possibly make that commute a little warm and vibrant for yourself and fellow humans around you (of course yes, in these times of challenges, you must respect privacy of strangers) and be able to connect to new friends and make life a worthwhile experience using appropriate and balanced judgement.

End of the day, when your tombstone is written, no one is going to mention the number of friends you had on a social networking site or how many likes you got for a social post or how many of your videos went viral, what will matter is- How much value you carried with you to your grave and in doing so how many lives you touched and made a positive difference so that it made their journey’s fun and purpose driven!

Logic is good, but common-sense is the holy mother of all hence so hard to seek and even difficult to retain!

At Simplifylives– we touch lives of people and make a directed effort to make that change which will be purpose driven and value driven for times ahead! Until next time……ciao and take care- stay sharp and start smiling!