A Small secret: A habit that will ensure success

Today, i want to share with you a tool for increasing productivity by Peak Performance specialist, Craig Ballantyne.

Goal setting, i am sure, is not a new concept to most of you, however what is more important than just setting goals is the ability to reassess your pace
and direction and make necessary changes to your course so that you reach your destination.This is known as Sensory Acuity, in other words, the ability to notice small changes and take corrective actions in order to ensure goal achievement.

To be frank, although i used to set goals, and be precise about what exactly i want, there was something missing. For example, i used to set the goal in January and work towards achieving it. However, due to so many changes in circumstances, factors and situations, the goal that i set a few months back in January didn't really feel the same. This was probably due to so many changes that we see on a daily basis which over months have a compound effect resulting in a lowering of motivation levels. I was looking for a way to reassess my goals on a daily basis, which acts as a positive reinforcement and reaffirms my beliefs.

After reading an article on ETR , Early to Rise, a few weeks back, i got a productivity tool that has helped me gather myself and set forth towards my goal achievement again.

A Small Secret:

The secret that i am going to share with you is a technique that must be used daily and would need you to use a dairy.

1) 5 Achievements (yesterday): In our journey towards achievement and self discovery, it is important to have those small celebrations along the way. Listing down your celebrations, is one way of acknowledging your success and giving yourself a pat on the back.This reinforces your beliefs in your abilities and has a very calming effect, at least on me.

2) 3 Challenges (yesterday)- On your journey towards achievement, it is also important to acknowledge areas where you might have faltered and which need to be worked on. This way of self-assessment, makes you look inward and look for ways to overcome that challenge.
This is an important aspect of sensory acuity because it is at this stage where you get feedback that you can make note of and make changes, if necessary, to your achievement strategy. The idea is not to be bogged down by these challenges, but to look at them as opportunities to stretch your muscles (mind muscles and physical muscles) and learn something new..

3) 5 Things to achieve - OK, i admit it, there have been instances in the past, before i came across this technique, when i blindly listed all the things i had to do during the day. Yes, i made a To Do list, and by the end of the day, as expected, there were many things i hadn't completed. As a natural consequence of this, i had this deeply seated feeling of unfulfillment at the end of the day. Let me remind you , whether you are feeling good or bad today, it has a compound effect, no matter how small, on the activities that you pursue next whether it is the next hour or the next day.

So instead of a To Do list, choose 5 major activities, which upon completion would give you a sense of fulfillment. This way, you can focus on the things that matter rather than those that don't. In other words, you move from just doing things, to really being productive and achieving!

This tool has really helped me become more fulfilled and has given me a sense of confidence in my ability to overcome challenges and conquer my fears, and i hope it helps you too..

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (Initial Take-aways)

I am reading a book called ‘The Six pillars of Self Esteem’, a best-selling book by renowned psychologist and self-esteem specialist Dr.Nathanial Branden. I purchased this book about 4 months back and started reading it, however because of the high level of diction and deep concepts, I shelved it for future reading. A few days back, I reattempted reading this book, and I must say that after reaching the 50th page, I realize how profound and effective his concepts and ideas are.

Listed below are some take away that I have had until now:

·         Raise you level of Consciousness:  Just because we ignore an issue that is affecting our physical, social, mental, economical or spiritual life, it doesn't mean that the issue disappears. Although at first, it might be difficult, we must strive and work towards increasing our levels of consciousness. Only if we are conscious about a particular issue can we take measures to solve the problem.For eg. At times, we have relationships that need working upon, and although we receive certain signals, we choose to neglect them or be oblivious to them. As a result, the relationship worsens and we come across unforeseen situations.

·         There are broadly, two types of beliefs and values: The first one consists of those beliefs and values that we truly and fully believe in. Invariably, these are values that we have learnt through personal experience or encounters. The second one consists of those that we ‘acquire’ through various influences in our lives such as religion, society, peers and family. Upon thinking and introspecting, at times, we might realize that we do not really have the values that have been, over time, indoctrinated in us. When this happens, we have a break through.

·         High self Esteem is not something one is necessarily born with. It is something that is developed over the years. Moreover, levels of self-esteem within an individual vary depending on the time of the day, month or even year. As opposed to common beliefs, self-esteem is not something that is beyond our control.drastic improvements in life.

With the help of certain exercises and techniques, one can gradually raise his/her level of self-esteem and see

·         In order to improve one’s self esteem, it is very important to understand what self-esteem is exactly. Self-esteem can be broken down into two aspects, one is self-efficacy and the other is self-respect.

o   Self-efficacy is the feeling or the conviction in your ability to get a job or project done irrespective of whether you have the exact skills to complete the task. It is the confidence one feels in the ability that he/she knows where to look for and who to consult with in order to learn the skills necessary that ultimately will lead in the completion of the given task. For eg. A CEO who has just taken up the role in an IT company, with an experience from an FMCG company, might find it very challenging if not impossible to drive the work force and run the company without a high level of self-efficacy. Using this quality, many individuals have taken company from loss to over flowing profits.

o   Self-Respect is the feeling of ‘yes, I deserve this’ and ‘I am worthy of it’. Without self – respect, a person may be a high achiever but still have a notion somewhere in his mind that he doesn’t deserve his awards or recognition. A lack of self-respect can at times cause a self-fulfilling prophesy and lead a person into a downward spiral, if corrective action is not taken.

·         Pride, unfortunately, has been given a very negative connotation by many religion and social institutions.
Pride, in reality, is very integral to healthy self-esteem. Pride doesn’t mean unnecessary showing off of one’s self or assets for others to look at and envy.Pride means ‘ I am confident because I HAVE DONE X,Y,Z’ and on the other hand Self efficacy means ‘ I CAN DO X,Y,Z’. So pride comes after the action has been taken and success has resulted and self-efficacy comes before taking action. In other words, pride reinforces confidence in one’s ability to do something and builds long lasting self- esteem.

o   You can be proud of your achievements at school or your work place
o   You can be proud of your parents for teaching you values that have molded you as an individual.
o   You can be proud of your kids for behaving well at school and setting examples for others to follow.

So these were some of the concepts that I have learnt from this revolutionary book and I wonder why I hadn’t read it before. This has definitely helped me rethink certain incidences in life, and has made me walk on the path of self-discovery and growth. In case you are wondering whether this book is really worth it, I suggest you read at least till page 40 till you begin to digest the concepts and idea presented properly; Once that is completed, you will automatically become eager and hungry to learn about factors that have been stopping you from becoming the individual you were meant to be.

The Mystical Truth: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

They say that whatever you manifest or whenever you send signals to the universe, something or someone out there finds a way to reach out to you. You do not know how or in what form this happens, but when it happens..you just know.

As a person, i consider myself spiritual, in that i have a set of values which i believe in and stand for, and i also believe that there is some force out there that is invisible yet omnipresent and that guides the working of the universe.

For years, i was looking for a way or a path through which i could be spiritually fulfilled and seek inspiration and direction for my life. I was looking for something that would help quench my thirsty soul and help me reconnect with myself as an individual.

Buddhism was one pathway that i have always associated with. The values and beliefs, such as compassion and humility, that it preaches have always inspired me. However, certain factors such as the need for extended meditation, extreme austerity and probably the concept of enlightenment in future births were ideas which i didn't really connect with. In addition, the fact that Buddhism seemed like a very lonely path to tread kept me from practicing it.

And so it happened, my friend at Toastmasters introduced me to Soka Gakkai International (SGI), a lay buddhist movement that has around 12 million members around the world.

One reason why was i drawn to this association and practice is that it changed my view of Buddhism from something that was reserved only for the wise and learned having esoteric knowledge, to something that even a common man from any part of the world can practice and benefit from.

This practice is something that related to me because its not only deals with personal growth, but growth on a very macro scale, in other words, a 'Human Revolution'. I believe, especially living in a city like Mumbai, that people these days lead very fast paced lives, where there is no clear line between work life and home life, where the constant thought of achievement, peer pressure and recognition, leads to degradation of our lives both spiritually and health wise. The level of compassion and genuine camaraderie among strangers, i have noticed, has gone down. I don't really blame the general public. The times are changing and with the increase in population so is the competition; Ultimately its all about survival.

After reading essays and stories about the challenges faced by SGI members during the World War II and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, i was convinced that if they could come out winning after such a blow, then any society could evolve and progress using the same formula, so to speak.

Simplicity, was also something that appealed to me.  The fact that the truth of the world or the greatest secret to awakening the deepest level of our existence, lies in just one sentence is almost magical.

'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo' is the japanese name for the Lotus Sutra and literally means 'I devote myself to the Lotus Sutra'. However, there are deeper levels of meanings attached to each element of the phrase.

According, to SGI and Nicheren Buddhism, by chanting the words 'Nam Myoho Renge Kyo' daily we awaken our true potential and ignite the fire within us to become what we have always planned to become.

Of course, it is no magical phrase that automatically serves you your dreams in a platter; It helps you tap your inner potential, helps you channelize your thoughts and send positive vibrations across the universe to attract people and things towards yourself.

I was introduced to Nichiren Buddhism and SGI quite recently, and every since i have felt a dramatic change in my overall confidence and resistance levels. I have met a few SGI members who regularly are in touch with me and are helping me learn, practice  and get the most out of my experience.

I have a long way to go spiritually, but the thing i like about Buddhism and about SGI is that it encourages members to ask questions and never accept things that have been preached blindly. Buddha himself said once that-

  • Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay -- (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). 
  • Do not accept anything by mere tradition -- (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). 
  • Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors -- (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). 
  • Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. 
  • Do not accept anything by mere inference. 
  • Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. 
  • Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. 
  • Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable -- (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). 
  • Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).  

All i can say is that my journey towards self discovery and fulfillment has just a lot faster...

** Thanks a lot for reading this article. If you have any queries or questions, feel free to comment below, and i will reply at the earliest. Thanks in advance :) **

I recently realized that i need a bicycle. A vehicle that i would use travel to the gym and cycle for recreational purposes around the area the live at. I thought it would be a fairly easy decision to make; How much thought and planning would a buying a cycle take right?

So i go online, and find so many variants displayed that i get confused. After this i come across a few articles about different types of cycles offered and how to choose your cycle. I learn that there are majorly 5 types of bikes in the market .

1) Road /Racing bikes
2) Mountain bikes or MTBs
3) Hybrid bikes
4) BMX
5) Cruisers

Now, as mentioned earliers, i am not going to use my cycle for long distances. My work place is across the city and riding my cycle all the way till there would train me for a cross country cycle rally and would mean of lot of time spent on travelling, something that i do not intend for. I was leaning more towards a hybrid, because i haven't and do not really intend to do a lot of off- roading on hills or mountains. I have been told the the extra thick tires on the MTBs add to the weight and the road resistance which ultimately means more effort per unit distance. Then again, some people have told me that given the roads that we have in Mumbai, especially during raining seasons, one would need nothing less than a mountain bike to travel safely and comfortably. 

If this is not confusing enough, i have read about so many company's offering bikes,each with their pros and cons. There seems to be no end to selection because the buyer, that is me, keeps having his budget increased, the more time he spends on cycle research. I suddenly feel the need for disc brakes, alloy structures, trigger shifting gears, dual rimmed tires and durable tires. 

In retrospect, decision making for a cycle purchase used to be much easier about 10 years back. The options were very few and the main manufactures were the likes of Atlas, Avon and Hercules. However these days, with the presence of International brands like Btwin, Bianchi, Scott, Schwinn, Firefox and with so many factors to consider, buying a cycle has become even more challenge than buying a car.

I have read so many articles, which speak about cyclists who after much research and thought, select Bike A only to get replies from other cyclists and experts about why Bike B, Bike C and Bike D would have been a better option. In a way, this is quite sad, at least for the guy who has spent a huge sum on his bicycle.

On the other hand, i have become quite fond of the Firefox cruiser bike that i read about online. It the classic non geared, upright posture comfort bike with just one objective- to just relax, ride and enjoy the time spent on the bike. This is a new release by Firefox and after much research, i have finally found a store that has it on display, so i am going to visit that place this afternoon.

I guess at the end of the day, no matter how many brands there are or how many features and benefits they may offer, one must realize that it is just a bike. Something that helps us get from one place to another, on two wheels. Of course, selection of the right bike is important, but once that is done, we must focus on the good times we have on the bike and not on 'Bike B' that is a better buy according to the so called 'Bike experts'.

The Secret Millionaire Blueprint (Week end seminar) -- Learnings and Take-aways:

I got to know about this seminar and about Arfeen Khan through a facebook ad. I just happened to come across the word 'Secret, Millionaire and Blueprint' and was enticed to click on the ad.
I then went onto the site to see the words, "Free" seminar.
After that i came across a picture of Arfeen Khans along with Bollywood Superstar Hrithik Roshan. Now, in the city of Mumbai, which promises everyone a fast life, full of riches and popularity (at least that is what people entering the city think), ads such as the one i saw is usually ignored and not taken seriously. The reasons for this are as follows:

1) Free: People, over the years, have grown to doubt the word 'Free'. Whenever you purchase something at the super market and you get something along free with it, the free gift is usually added to drive sales or is clubbed along to move old stock.

Another, thought that comes to mind when i read 'Free seminar' is that maybe the value addition might not be that great. This is because with the number of brands in the market, each vying for the customers attention, we tend to associate cost with value. In other words, higher priced products usually have better quality and benefit associated with it.

Finally, another reason why a person might avoid such an ad is because of the likeliness of a massively expensive product being heavily promoted at the venue.

However, for some reason i chose to keep an open mind and understand the reasons behind such a marketing pattern. I wanted to find out more about Arfeen Khan and the value that he promised to offer.

2) Bollywood star: Bollywood is associated with glitz, glamour , dreams and aspirations and sometimes people associate this with artificiality. This happened with my friend who was reluctant to attend this seminar.

However, upon checking more details about Arfeen Khan on his website, including topics that would be covered during this seminar i got excited and motivated.

1.The Secret psychology of wealth
2.The Five Major Financial Habits of Millionaires.
3.The Root Cause to all Financial Difficulties and How to Overcome it.

4.The Millionaire's Strategy Of Creating and Maintaining Wealth

To be frank, i have been listening and reading a lot of material by Tony Robbins over the years, most of which i read has helped me in a big way. However, i still had certain issues and concepts to re-learn. This forum , i felt, would be the perfect platform to understand certain concepts which were holding me back.

 The fact that Arfeen had been endorsed by the likes of Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins spurred my conviction about attending this seminar.

To say that i have learnt and experienced a lot would be an understatement. This event has reignited my journey towards personal mastery and development.

Key Take- aways:

1) Your body has many organs, cells and part which are like your employees working at You IncYou need to work effectively in building good relations with your employees. The best way to do so is to 'Get your employees alive and charged up every morning'

Rejoice, sing, dance so that the rest of the day remains action packed..

2) If you can't , you MUST

Life is about taking up challenges and doing something that you haven't before. The reason for this is not about what you achieve but how you transform and evolve as an individual.

So the next time you feel you can't do something. You know what to do!

3) Have a daily morning routine.
Routine with good habits sets a platform for a disciplined and fulfilling life.

Start with a wholesome breakfast..then exercise for a while...write down things that you need to focus on during that day...set off on your action packed daily journey

4) Always have an open mind. 
Never judge anything or anyone without giving it/them a fair chance. Don't make assumptions in a hurry at face value.

5)Always play life at level 10.

In other words, no matter what you are doing or what role you are playing. Give it your best shot and create real value, So that everyone in your presence benefit from the experience called 'You'.

6) Change your references, change your life

Incidences or things that happen to you have no meaning by themselves. It is only the meanings that you attach to them that ultimately have an effect on you.

By changing the meaning you give to an incident or by looking at things a slightly different way, we can use tragic incidences or set backs as learning platforms that will propel us forward on our journey.

Never let a bad experience hold you back from your goals;Change the meaning that you give it.

7)Don't just focus on setting goals. Goal setting on of the last parts in the process towards achievement.

First focus on more basic and essential attributes like your identity, beliefs and values. Once those are clear, everything will fall into place. In such a situation, you can see your goals very clearly and achieving results will be comparatively easier.

8)There is no failure, only feedback

9)Create an environment, to create your future

Your environment determines your experiences, your attitudes towards life and your general well being, so choose your environment wisely and according to the goals that you want to achieve.

10) Never jump to conclusions and never try to make amends on the surface level. First find the root cause and solve it.

11) In your pursuit towards your goal, there might be many set backs. Be smart and learn from your mistakes and if possible learn from those of others. Whenever your make a mistake, quickly regroup, learn and get to action once again.

Keep repeating the process till you achieve success!

These were some of the things that i learnt during this 'Free' seminar. So the next time that you come across something free, think twice; It might actually be a blessing in disguise!

My P4 Speech at Toastmasters:

'My Cup of Tea'

It was a cold winter morning..the dew had just settled on the wild leaves…the soil
was still damp from the heavy rains a couple of days back. Robert Bruce, a trader,
adventurer and a part of the British East India company had   somehow managed
to befriend the Sing Po Tribal king.

King: So how do u like the Kingdom of Assam?..

Robert: This area is so beautiful with lush green trees and grassy meadows,
streams with crystal clear water. It is very different from Calcutta. The mist and
continuous rains, add to the chilly weather…

King; Have this drink, it might warm you up a bit..It’s a local favorite.

Robert: …WOW..What is this…it’s got an uncanny resemblance to Chinese tea and
yet it’s so much more vigorous and earthy. Do you grow tea here??

King: Let’s just say it’s an ancient tradition and well kept secret..

Well the rabbit was out of the hat, and Robert knew he had struck gold. At once
he sent word of this new discovery to the officials because this was surely make
him a superhero back home.

But nothing was done - perhaps because the East India Company had a monopoly
on the tea trade from China and, as they were doing very nicely, probably saw no
reason to spend time and money elsewhere.

But in 1833, everything changed. The company lost its monopoly and suddenly
woke up to the fact that India might prove a profitable alternative

This changed the Tea History forever…

Toastmaster of the day..fellow toastmasters and welcome guests..

Assam Tea …is grown near sea level. Harvesters pick the tea leaves twice; mainly
focusing on the second time because it is during that time when the tea is at its
finest point. These leaves have a distinct glossiness over its wide green leaves
which sets it apart from the others. It is a type of black tea, unique because of its
strong, rich, malty taste that is known to help wake people up in the morning. It is
processed by a combination of heating and fermentation. It is this process that
gives the tea its smooth aroma and its unique, malty flavor.

Well who over here loves to drink Masala Chai?

After a boring afternoon, staring at the computer screen…a welcome cup of tea is
like water to a travelling Bedouin. The supreme combination of scent, spice and
sweetness served in beautiful glass tumbler greet the palate and get to action at
once like a paramedics team on an injured patient.

The savory samosas, blessed bhajjis and the piping pakodas we have, remind
us that there is no bread without butter, no burger without French fries and no
pizza without cheese.

If you look closely, you will see a Picasso or a Van Goph in every chai wallah and
the spices act as paint.

With such skill and expertise, they stir the boiled milk, add the tea leaves , spices
and sugar and pour the smoking concoction into the glass, that we are left awe

Of course , The spices vary by region and preference, but they typically include a
combination of the following: cinnamon, cardamom, most flavorful when crushed
just before use, cloves best when whole, ginger, best when fresh.

And how can one forget about the way they are served..

As a Mumbaiite, I was always accustomed to the little glass tumblers but my trip
to Calcutta a few years made me fall in love with the little earthen cup in which
tea is sold.

Not only does it look and feel so exotic but due to the cup the tea gets a
wonderful earthy blend that a normal cup just cannot replicate.

These cups are thrown on to the ground and shattered when the cup is emptied,
and they shortly return to the earth from which they came. (Just like all things

But where ever I have my tea, there is no tea like tea at home.

Tea drinking to me is a ritual…and without my morning cup of tea, I feel like a
man denied of my basic human rights..

My first sip of tea, rejuvenates me and send a thousand foot solders to personally
greet every brain cell in my head.

I boil the water, add the tea leaves and let the wonderful flavors of the leaves
mingle, infuse their magic. After a few minutes that seem like a lifetime…I stir the
the tea and add just a little milk, and observe how beautifully the 2 ingredients
circle the cup like a ritual dance. Ultimately, the white milk becomes one with the
black tea resulting in a beautiful reddish brown hue.

To conclude let me recite these beautiful words about tea:

'Tea pot is on, the cups are waiting, Favorite chairs anticipating, No matter
what I have to do, My friend there's always time for you'

Why they call me the Tea Maker?

It was a cold morning. The bush and trees on that hill were shrouded in mist. His brother,Robert Bruce, had come across these peculiar bushes a while back but wasn't able to fully investigate its value and utility. However, Charles was happy that day because the report that he received from botanists back home stated that this unique type of tea was safe to drink and would create a revolution among Tea drinkers across the world. He named it 'Assam Tea'.

This tea was different from those that he had come across in the past. Growing at sea level, it had wide green leaves and a distinct glossy texture that added to its uniqueness. Its strong, rich taste combined with pleasant aroma made it the perfect beverage to wake up to. In addition, he noticed that the tea leaves plucked during the second harvest were of the best quality and form.

Although this royal and acclaimed tea was discovered many years back, my foray into tea drinking lifestyle was rather slow. In other words, i didn't just adopt tea the first time i drank it. Rather it was a slow process which has made an impression on me that will last for many years to come.

The devil is in the detail

One reason i love drinking tea so much is that making tea is such an Art form. You don't just boil water, add the tea leaves, add milk, add sugar and drink. Well, that's basically what you do. But like they say, its not only about what you do, but rather how you do it.

To make that nice cup of tea you need to keep certain things in mind:

Don't Steep your Tea in boiling hot water!

This leads to the leaves getting burnt and leaving a bad taste. After boiling, leave the kettle for 5 minutes before steeping;This ensures you reach the perfect temperature.

Don't pour the water first and then add the Tea leaves!

Instead first add the tea leaves and then pour the water. This ensures a better spread of flavor and essence.

The time for steeping depends on the type of Tea you are making:

Black tea 3-5 minutes
Green tea 2-3 minutes

If you keep these things in mind , your cup of hot tea will be more stimulating and full bodied.

The more i drink my tea, the more  delicate details and nuances i get to know about my tea.

I know this might sound a bit crazy, but over the years i have become more particular about my tea.

I know exactly how much sugar, water, tea spoons of tea leaves, milk and the type of tea required for the tea that will stimulate my mind and lead to that perfect day when the clouds part, the sun shines, the angels sing and my productivity is maximized.

What is in a Glass of tea you may ask?

Tea to me represents art. If you have you ever tried steeping a bag of rich tea in a glass tea pot, you will notice how the color gradually defuses throughout the teapot in a meditative beauty.

Photo credit: Laurel Fan

Tea represents a persons journey towards success. Like they say, you can never make a perfect cup of tea. In the same way, In man's journey towards perfection, he is never satisfied with his success and always strives harder to reach new levels of achievement and win new laurels.

Tea represents the variety of life. There is no single type of tea. There are many types such green, black, white and herbal among many others, although all teas have a stimulating and pleasant effect on the drinkers mind and body. Similarly, although every human being strives for fulfillment and success in one field or the other, there are multiple ways by which he can reach his/her destination.

So if you aren't already at your Tea table, brighten up, because there is an amazing journey waiting for you right around the corner..

Small but Continuous Improvement can create Empires

Close your eyes..........count till 5.....imagine your goal.....Open your eyes

Close your eyes again...count till 5...imagine you goal vividly...now with sound ...Open your eyes

Close you eyes another time...Imagine your goals vividly...put yourself in it...visualize that you have already achieved your goals and you are rejoicing...Open you eyes

[This little exercise is essential but not enough to attaining your goals]

One thing that makes a world of a difference is to take small but daily action towards your goals.

We all want to create something don't we? Business Empires, Schools, Social networks or maybe just peace of mind and fulfillment. But seeing such a big achievement in front of us can sometimes deter us and give us the jitters.

The Fact is: Empires aren't created in 1 day. 

But like a famous person said, my daily focus would be just to lay a single brick. I will focus on nothing else but laying that one small brick, but i will lay it in the best way that a brick can possibly be laid.

The secret is out: Lay a small brick on a daily basis and you will be surprised to behold a Palace in a few years or in some cases months.

I started my 100 day challenge on January 3rd 2013. I am almost 30 days into the challenge and until now moment has been exciting and exhilarating.

Let me start with the Reasons why i love the 100 Day Challenge:

1) Highly Actionable, Organised and focused Goal setting mechanism: 

This program gives you opportunity to really understand what your goals are. Moreover, it explains to you the importance of prioritizing you goals and finding out which are the ones that matter to you the most, so that you use all your resources to go after it. It dissects your goals in a way that you can actually understand why you want to achieve the goals you want to achieve. This prepares you both mentally and physically for the results that you are going to see over the next 100 days.

2) Accountability Partner:

The idea behind this program is that we can drastically increase the speed, effectiveness and efficiency of our goal achievements if we hold other people accountable. Lets admit it, its really easy to give up on a goal if you know no one is watching right? So one really amazing part of this challenge is the fact that you can sign up your Accountability partner too and email him/her your goals on a daily basis. This really makes it exciting for the both of you!

3) Forums:

This challenge gives you access to an amazing forum where people discuss everything about their challenges, achievements, breakthroughs and Aha moments. Reading this will bring you to speed whenever your rolling in a motivation slump and need someone to bring you back on track. This is something like a mastermind where people from literally over the world come together to take massive action and create the change that they want to see.

4) Daily Motivational video:

Furthermore, like what i said till now was not exciting enough, you get a daily motivational video in your email. Something similar to a morning charge up session, each of these videos have a particular learning in mind with actionable steps read out by Coach Gary Ryan Blair. This combination of energetic music, success quotes and inspiring words will really push you forward.

But we are all concerned with results aren't we?

So here's a low down of the results i have seen till now:

1) Sales increase of 206% at one of my previosly under performing Stores
2) Got in touch with top Application consultants and current professors at these schools
3) Networked with Alums and current students of my target B schools
4) Multiple Best Speaker awards at Toastmasters Meetings (Club Level)
5) Family ties strengthened. More outings, sharing and stimulating conversations.

This is just the start, and i have 70 days to go. In the coming days, i plan to take bigger steps and bolder actions towards my goals so that i can close the 100 days with a Bang :)

Have you heard of the Pareto Principle?

Well it says that the 20% is responsible for 80% of the change. You can apply this to any thing in life.

20% of the people have 80% of the wealth
20% the things you do determine 80% of the result
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5 Lessons learnt from my career in Sales:

I have met many people that do not like the word Sales. In fact many would actually flinch at the very thought of it. Most people associate sales with the Car Salesman or the shrewd conniver who can somehow convince a bald guy to buy a hair brush. In short, a lot of people have this negative connotation towards sales. But does it really have to be this way? Does sales really mean persuading someone to buy something they don't really want?

Well quite the contrary, times have changed. Although some might argue against the very necessity of appointing a sales force because of the power of Marketing and Social media, in today's date of age of so many identical products and features the Sales person makes the difference.

How you might ask?

1) Its not about just the product anymore:

Today's customer isn't just looking for a single product that will solve his one problem. The customer is looking for an experience. In other words, from the initial the interactions that bring him to the store, sale point, website till the point when he actually loves it and recommends it to his near and dear, he should he WOWed.

For example: Let talk about Apple. For so many customers, their love with the brand starts with the well designed and Minimalistic stores. They then get impressed by the smart and informative Apple Sales Consultants. Having enjoyed the demo they buy an iPhone. Slowly but surely, the customer falls in love with the browser Safari and the iCloud. After a certain point, due to some stroke of bad luck a small dark pixel appears on the phone and the customer takes it to the service centre. He is then floored by the amazing service when his phone is replaced without any questions asked. He then buys the iPad, the Macbook, Airport express and syncs his whole home to create an Apple eco system. Then the iPhone 5 releases....Why do you think so many people line up to purchase it? (Ok...frankly i am not a part of the Apple cult) But hey, i am just another customer who loves great products that sync together and bring a smile to millions.

2) Don't just sell, cure a pain: 

Although many companies were started on the humble foundation of providing excellent products that actually solve peoples problems, many companies have long forgotten the reason why they make the products in the first place. As a result, there are so many products that are poured into the market and salesmen appointed who are instructed to just sell and achieve targets.

But one thing these companies forget, is that sale is not the cause, its the outcome of identifying something. Identifying the pain that lies in the customers mind. Wow, you may say that this is a bit blunt...Pain?

Well yes..Man is motivated to take action by 2 reasons and 2 reasons alone. Either to achieve pleasure or to avoid pain, and the second motivator is stronger. An efficient sales consultant identifies the underlying pain that exists in the customers lifestyle and explains or suggests how his product will act as a cure. What happens as a result is that money is exchanged for value. This customer becomes a customer for life. Why do you ask? Because the product was just not pushed, but he was recommended the product based on his requirement.

3)  Talk less, Listen More: 

Ok, lets admit it..Man is a social animal right? So what do social animals do most of the time? Talk, talk , talk...Talk is related to pleasure and pleasure is what we always want. Have you even met a sales person who just keeps talking? On and on and on and on..What happens as a result? The customer politely nods and walks away. The sales guy then says that the customer was either not interested or the he felt it was too expensive, but in reality he ignored the most important Rule in Sales and Marketing.

'Let the Customer Talk'....

This not only applied to Sales but this very profound thought applies to life as well. We have been give one mouth and two ears for a particular reason and we must utilize these organs in that proportion as well. When we talk we don't really gain much, but when we listen not only does the other person feel respected, loved and cherished but you stand to gain a lot of perspective, knowledge and wisdom too.

So i strongly recommend using these 3 skills on an immediate basis, because life is about Taking Massive Action remember? :)

1) Don't just create a product, create an end to end experience.
2) Don't just Sell a product, ease the customers pain.
3) Talk less, Listen more.

Why do Resolutions fail?

Were already drawing towards the first 7 days of the New Year, and something very synonymous with the New Year is a New Year Resolution.  There is something so different about this time shift that awakens something within us to make that change, to make that call, to make that sale and to run that mile.

But sadly, statistics show that although most people are all excited on the first day of the New Year with their goals and action items, by the time its mid February, all the excitement and the zeal to achieve goes down. In fact by the time December arrives, most people are a situation far worse than when they set goals earlier that year.

So here are a few reasons why i feel these Resolutions fail:

1)  Don’t have anyone accountable:
No one wants to struggle towards a goal alone. We need support, and someone to push us through when we feel down. We need someone who can celebrate our success with us. An accountability buddy is someone (or more than one person) that supports you in making sure you meet your commitments. One of the underlying beliefs with coaching is that people who succeed gain support from others. In psychology, it's known as an external motivator. Someone, outside of you, that helps you stay motivated.

2)  Goals are not specific or realistic enough:

It can be difficult to reach goals, but for some people, it can be nearly impossible. It's not that they are incapable of reaching goals; it's the way they go about setting their goals and working to attain them. One problem is that their goals are unrealistic. For example, someone might want to get a cat, but if he's allergic to cats, that's not a realistic goal. Learning to play the Saxophone is a great goal, but expecting to reach that goal in a few days is an unrealistic goal.

3) We don’t associate massive pain with not achieving the goals:

Anthony Robbins talks a lot about the pleasure/pain principle. What is it? Simply put, it's the means by which we run our lives. Various activities that we engage in cause us either pleasure or pain. We continue to do those things that predominantly give us pleasure, and try to avoid those things that give us pain. For example, Losing weight. Those who have successfully lost weight in the past have done so only because they have changed their belief systems and started associating massive pain with eating fatty or unhealthy food and a lot of pleasure with a healthy diet and exercise routine.

That being said, no matter where u are right now or whatever the situation, there is always an opportunity for improvement.There is always a level above you that you need to reach. For every challenge or goal that you want to accomplish the first 100 days is abosolutely critical and will decide how the rest of your year goes. The choice is yours..Do u want to shoot for the stars or move at the same pace?

Trust me..we all have immense fuel in us..Our focus..Our plan and Our determination will decide whether the fuel is used to create a fire that will destroy us or used as rocket fuel to propel us into infinity and beyond...