Lessons from Cycling

I have been cycling for 2 months now and I must say it is one of the best habits that I have gotten myself into in many years. I have had my bike for more than 8 years, but I doubt that before now I had even ridden it for more than 8 hours. I started riding that old mountain bike first on a nearby multi-use paved trail, then on the road for short distances, then I pushed myself a little further and soon I realized I needed a road bike, so I went and bought myself a road bike. When came bike month, I had an extra bit of motivation to keep riding. I did the “Bike the Creek Event” in Brampton, organized my own event and overall cycling has had a manifold positive impact on my life.

There are some lessons that I have learned from Cycling.

If it is important to you, you will make it happen

If it is important to you, you will make it happen, if not, you will find excuses. I learned this lesson when I started to invite friends to bike with me. Of course, some had genuine reasons to not come. Some were too busy to come, some had not biked in many years, some didn’t own a bike and either didn’t want to spend the money to buy one or wanted to wait for the season to be over so that they could get it cheap at a clearance event and the list goes on. These are all valid reasons, yet I find these same people are not too busy to spend countless hours watching reruns of their favourite and not so favourite TV shows, cannot wait to make an expensive purchase of things which they probably don’t even need,..so on… and you get my point. I’m not judging them; my point is, if it is important to you you will make it happen.

priorityOn the other end of the spectrum, I have a friend, who didn’t have a bike, had not ridden one in more than a decade, has a bad knee, and yet somehow managed to come ride with me on a 40KM+ stretch with multiple hills with me. He asked me if I had a spare bike which I did, he went and bought himself a helmet, put a knee sleeve to protect his knee and showed up way earlier than his usual saturday morning wakeup time. Why? In his own words: being active is important to him.

So the next time you find yourself wanting to do something, but it is not something that you are actually doing, maybe it is just not that high in your priority list, and instead of beating yourself for not doing it, just figure out where your priorities lie and question whether they are justified?

If you do what you love, you’ll start loving what you do

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Source: http://www.yalovalifeisgood.com/

Let’s face it; not everything that we do, we actually like doing let alone love doing it. Most people don’t LOVE their job, most might like it, but there are very few who actually love what they do. That is the reason people need vacations and they call it a ‘retreat’. Just google the words “meaning of retreat” and see what you get.

There might be things that you love doing, but you may not have been doing them because you have other ‘important’ things do do. If you just shifted your priorities a little and allocated some time and effort to do the things that you love, that joy and feeling of accomplishment will translate into a stress buster and sip into other areas of your life, whether it be your work, your health, your relationships, your spiritual life and more. When you make time to do what you love, you’ll end up loving what you do – I speak from personal experience! 🙂

If you push just a little more, you will go a lot further

If you push just a little more, you will go a lot further than your imagined. There have been times when my legs felt the burn, my back hurt, shoulders almost gave up, but in that moment I pushed a little more and then a little more and when I checked on my GPS, almost always I was greeted with an amazing and pleasant surprise. Sometimes I end up covering more distance than I had imagined and I usually get to something interesting.

Life is like that too. Most people give up and figuratively speaking get off their bikes or turn around and go back home to a place that’s comfortable at the sight of the slightest incline. Sometimes all it takes is a little push, a bit of hard work and we can accomplish things that you previously thought were impossible. You can apply this principle to sports and fitness, education, business and finance or any other endeavour that you can imagine.

Go the extra mile – it’s worth it!

To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done

I have seen and discovered more things about Brampton and the surrounding area in the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 4 years. I try to take different routes every time I go for a ride and every single time I’m greeted with new discoveries.

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Graffiti art under a bridge on the Humber River Recreational Trail

For the Bike The Creek event, I took my bike with me on the Brampton Transit bus which I had never done before. I used the presto card for the first time and I was amazed at how much better the bus ride has become over the past 7 or 8 years.

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Ride and Bike, using the Presto card on the Brampton Transit for the first time en route to “Bike The Creek” Event.

To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done – If you think about it, isn’t this true for life in general. Why is it that you have never had the kind of house, car, income, relationship, body, spirituality that you truly desire? If you keep doing what you have always been doing, you will get what you have always gotten. A great definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over gain and expecting a different result.

If you don’t want to fall, you gotta keep moving

Just recently I taught a friend in their 20s how to ride a bicycle. Most people learn how to ride a bicycle early on in their life, but it’s never too late to learn anything new. I noticed that this person was afraid to fall and so was trying to move slowly. I told them the key is to keep moving, if you stop or slow down you will fall, you have to keep pedalling if you want to stay up.

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Picture taken on Humber Station Road en route to Albion Hills. (Photoshoped motion blur)

Then it hit me! Isn’t that a great lesson in life? You have to keep moving, whatever happens in life, good or bad, you have to keep moving forward. If something bad happens to you whether it is a heart break, divorce, someone dumps you, someone betrays your trust, you are faced with financial difficulty, you are having health issues, you got fired from work, you end up in an embarrassing situations, or whatever the case maybe, you have to move on with your life sooner or later. If you stop and keep thinking about the bad things that happened, you’ll fall deeper into depression, negativity, anger and it’ll be harder to get back up again.

Likewise if something good happens in life, a promotion, graduation, you achieve your health goal, get married, fall in love whatever the case may be, you still have to keep moving to the next step. If you stop and spend all your time wanting to stay in that same moment, life will pass by and you won’t even realize and you will fall. Celebrating your victories is an important part of life, but wanting to stay in that moment forever is merely wishful thinking.

What is the opposite of movement? Stagnation. Stagnation is death. Think about it. How do you know if someone is dead. You identify it by them not moving, their pupils won’t move or react to light variations, their heart won’t move – no heart beat, their brains seizes to function, blood doesn’t flow through the body.

Life is movement.

The Story of My Life

You are in line at the bank and when finally your turn comes to get served, you find that the bank teller does not greet you with a smile, does not answer your question properly and you generally find their attitude very rude. You decide that that person is just a rude person and then carry on with your day.

While on the way home you pass a person, your eyes lock and they smile, you smile back. Momentarily you feel joy, maybe you think of that person as being nice, or you feel better about yourself thinking, “I must be looking good today” and then you simply let the thought fade away as quickly and quietly as it arrived and continue on your journey home.

You are  living in the story of your life experiencing events unfolding one moment at a time. Your path crosses with the paths of others. They make your life’s experience richer, give you love, joy, annoy you and sometimes even hurt you. You are experiencing intimately and with full attentiveness the story of your life. You live a complex, multidimensional life with emotions, situations, relationships with the people close to you and the relationship with your self. Every situation that you are in is unique, and sometimes people don’t understand you and sometimes they do. No matter what happens how it happens, only you will fully experience and understand the complexity of your life and everyone that you have ever met, heard, saw, or experienced their existence in any form or manner is merely an extra in the story of your life,… and so am I.

maxresdefaultWe all experience life in this way. In our experience we are at the centre of our Universe and everyone else is a distance star, a tiny specific woven into the fabric of our life. Other people that come into our life momentarily or for a longer duration from our telescopic perception live single dimensional and predictable lives, they have general personality traits – this person is a nice person, this one is mean or rude, this one is  a complete @$$ hole etc.. These extras in the story of your life serve a person, mostly a single purpose, and sometimes more than that, but they occupy a very tiny portion of your life.

But in fact these extras don’t live such simple lives. They live a rich complex life filled with emotions, ambitions, disappointments, love, hate, regrets, situations that make them grow, or constraint them. They do good things, they do bad things, sometimes they do things they can’t explain, and sometimes they do things that they can and do explain.

Every person that crosses your path may be an extra in your life, but know that you are also merely an extra in theirs.

Be Crazy, Be Stupid, Dare a Little, Live a Little More Than You Would By Being Sane

It has been a little over 6 months since I last updated my blog. I had a long list of things I wanted to write about, excited about the thoughts and ideas swirling in my head and then the unexpected happened. I got into a car accident … well no one really plans an accident, so yes I’m just stating the obvious unexpectedness, but it happened. I lost my car and with it my motivation to write. I was out of work for more than 2 months. I loved that car – there are many remarkable and fun memories and some living in the realm of unmentionables.

spring-fitnessBut that’s not really the point of this post. I had also stopped almost all forms of physical activity after my accident. Today was the first day I went out for a jog since then. I recently bought a Misfit Flash, a fitness tracker(more on that and other stuff in the next few posts). There is a jogging/cycling trail near my home. As I was climbing one of the hilly portions of the trail I saw 3 boys in their mid teens. I also saw a shopping cart roll down the hill and crash into the railings of a small bridge.

As I came closer I could see the looks on their faces, trying to gauge my response to what had just conspired anticipating perhaps some remark about the negative consequence of such actions. In my mind all I could think was “thankfully these kids are outside and not having a heated conversion on high scores on their XBox Game Card or something (to the gamers: yes, I know that one didn’t make complete sense – that’s exactly my point).

As I passed them, I yelled out,

” You should get in it and roll down the hill!”

From jackass-the-movie
From jackass-the-movie

The look on their faces was nothing less than priceless. There was a moment of confusion as they looked at me, then at each other, bewildered and amazed by the inception of an idea that a stranger had just sparked in their minds. Perhaps it was a moment of disbelief as they came to terms with the fact that an adult had just told them to do something that may get them into trouble and something that was potentially dangerous. The youngest and least tainted by the experiences of rules realized that this stranger, this adult was actually serious about the idea and the possible fun factor of this potentially hazardous idea spoke out electrified.

“YAH Guys! Let’s do it”

I didn’t get a chance to see what I had hoped to happen actually happen before I jogged past them. After I had jogged about 50 meters, I looked over my shoulder only to see the boys walking up the hill, the two older ones with their bicycles and the younger one with a skateboard in his hand.

I was disappointed!

At that moment, those kids decided not to be crazy, not to be stupid and not to dare, not to create a memory that they some day might have talked about or simply thought about.

They will never have that memory because they chose not to create it.

How many times have you let your saner head prevail? How many times have you taken the ‘right turn’ because a ‘map’ in your head told you that any other way might just be wrong? How many times have you dared not to act foolishly in fear of embarrassing yourself in the eyes of your peers, or strangers that don’t even matter? I could ask many of these question and you would answer them in any number of ways possible.

At every turn in your life either a spark of adventure will live or a small part of your life will leave.

Be Crazy, Be Stupid, Dare a Little, Live a Little More Than You Would By Being Sane.

I leave you with the inspirational music to my dare seeking eyes and wisdom to my inquisitive soul.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

– Helen Keller

What Should you write about?

Recently I was asked for some advice. This person said that they were always interested in writing, but never could really figure out what to write about. After following some of my blog posts, they asked me for some insight into how to decide what to write about, how to plan their writing, how often write, how to determine who the target audience is? etc…

First and foremost, I was flattered that someone asked me for advice on writing. I also felt some pressure to give appropriate answers to their questions. However, when it finally dawned upon, I realized that the real answer was very simple.

The question as to what you should write about is like the question “How Should I live my life?” The answer really isn’t that complicated. You just do. You just live. That is as simple as it gets and as complicated an answer as it gets, there is nothing more to it. Likewise, if you want to write, you should just write, there is nothing more to it.

You may ask, but don’t I need to know what to write about? Don’t I need to plan? Don’t I need to learn the different styles of writing? Don’t I need to be interesting? Don’t I need to know who I am writing for? Who is my target audience? What is my purpose for writing whatever it is that I am writing?

No… Don’t think about all that – Just write. In due time, you will discover the things that you are passionate about, in due time you will realize what your style of writing is, who your target audience is, who you want to write for, what message you want to send across the screen, or the glossy pages of a magazine, or whatever medium you choose.

The best way to learn anything is to start doing it.

How do you learn to ride a bike? How to you learn to swim. How do you learn to play a guitar? How do you learn to drive a car? Never mind that, how do you think you learnt to walk? Too often we ponder upon the result of our actions for too long and never actually see any result because we never really try to do that thing.

The biggest price that you pay for an action is the price of not taking it.

Zindagi – Enigma: The Greatest Show on Earth

On Saturday, September 7th ,2013, I performed a mix of Hindi and English prose at Shri Kshatriya Mitra Mandal, Toronto's (SKMM Toronto) annual function at Rose Theatre in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.

Zindagi Enigma is philosophical examination of the life of an individual from the birth of his child going backwards in time, meeting his soul mate, starting work and experiencing uncertainties of his career, going to college while searching for him identity, conflicts with religious beliefs handed down to him, falling in love for the first time, growing up as child, and then finally his first breathe at birth and then it all begins – The Greatest Show on Earth.

Due to time constraints, the act was cut short. If I get a chance, I shall post record the full version some day, but for this, enjoy! 🙂

For those who have asked me whether this is story is based on my life, the answer is no. This story and the characters in it are fictitious and any resemblance to any person, living or dead is purely coincidental.

 

My Prayer

I pray for wisdom of a 100 year old, imagination of a 6 year old, curiosity of a 2 year old, energy of a 20 year old and audacity of a 17 year old!

I pray for steadfastness of a loyal married man, the power of unconditional love of a new mother, the equanimity of an enlightened monk, the passion of a first time lover and the universal connectedness of a prodigy.

I pray for the deep understanding of the just, the burning desire of a new soul searcher, the unwavering firmness of an incorruptible king, and the indestructible courage of a warrior of the highest order.

I pray for the peace that exists in the deepest trenches of oceans and in the furthest regions of the cosmos.

Perfect Moment

Perfect moments don’t come. The moment you act, know that that is the perfect moment in time for at that precise time you have taken yet another step to weave the beautiful tapestry of this thing you call Life.

Perfect moments don’t come, you bring it in by deciding to move forward and cut off all other possibilities, because ultimately no matter what, anything that happens in your Life is your decision.

Perfect moments don’t come, you keep hammering at it like it was a boulder again and again until you achieve a breakthrough.

Perfect moments don’t come, you keep chipping away slowly and relentlessly to create a masterpiece sculpture of this thing you call Life.

Perfect moments don’t come, not the way you imagine it would. Whatever that has happened is in itself a display of perfection for any event any other way would not make you you!

Hurdles

This morning I woke up with an epiphany. For quite some time I had been thinking about what makes the difference between doing what you love to do and doing something that you have to do. For some reason some things happen with such ease and with other things there always seem to be obstacles. The question as to why this happens had been bugging me for years, until today. It's my belief that any goal you have in life, whether it be as little as reaching on time for a date or for a meeting(I know this one usually makes it to the top of my list) or something big like making a million dollars in a year(note that no goal in truth is too big or too small, it's really dependent on how you perceive it and your decision makes it so, but that is a topic of discussion for another day), there are always hurdles of some form.

It's my belief that it's Life's way of testing whether what you are striving for is something that you really want. Today when I reflected at certain things that I achieved in my life, I realized that those things that I  really wanted were quite easy to get not because there were no hurdles. There always were hurdles but what made the difference was the intensity at which the desire to achieve that goal was burning inside of me. When you either really want something or you really enjoy doing something or are passionate about something, obstacles somehow simply weaken in intensity when coming face to face with this burning desire to achieve your goal.

 

Imagine running on a track and the finish line is your end goal. There are hurdles that you need to jump over. If you are not really compelled to achieving your goal then the hurdles can seem like mountains, but if you really want to achieve your goal these same hurdles seem like puny little puddles that you can simply jump over or even if they are like mountains you become this Super Mario with star power that simply blasts through those mountains(geeky gamer reference..haha.. come who doesn't love Super Mario?).

When we really want something, we jump over walls, go under, go around or just blast our way through them. So the next time you notice hurdles and they seem to tire you, ask yourself the question. Is the thing you're after something that you really want?

The 80/20 Rule

Today, I revisited the 80/20 rule. The first time I came across the concept of 80/20 was around 2 to 3 years ago. I was exiting a library when I noticed amongst a pile of other books, a blue book with 80/20 written on its cover with big white fonts. For some very odd reason it really caught my attention. I had not heard about the concept before. I could not take the book because it was still in the process of getting checked in, so I took a picture of it on my phone. Some days later I went and got the book. I skimmed through and it I was amazed at the simplicity of this rule. I don't know why it's there but it's there and I like simple things that work, even if it is an approximation.

At the time when I was first introduced to this principle I did notice things in my own business and in my life in general and I thought, "Oh this is pretty cool". I even remember talking about it with a few friends and business associates. After some time I forgot about it.

Today I downloaded The Philosopher's Notes Volume 1, which by the way is amazing I think. It is basically Cliff Notes or Coles Notes for the top 100 personal growth books. This in itself is 80/20 at it's best. I skimmed through a few books and all the big ideas are condensed into 6 pages, which is amazing! The first book or note I read was on The 80/20 principle.

The principle states, quite simply, that 20% of efforts lead to 80% of results. This is everywhere. Let me give you a few examples. According to the 80/20 principle, 80% of your income in business comes from 20% of your clients, 80% of your time gets spent on 20% of your tasks or the 20% of the people that you know. 20% of your products or services yields 80% of the profit. At the same time 80% of your cost also come from 20% of the total number of expenses, 80% of your time spent on debugging is spent on 20% of bugs, 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of the criminals, 20% of roads get 80% of the traffic and I could basically go on and on about this.

So what does this all imply? Assuming the 80/20 principle holds, to make more profit, be more effective and efficient and to be generally more happy in life, you should focus your energy on the top 20% of everything that yields 80% of the good stuff. Focus on the top 20% of your products, 20% of your clients, do the top 20% of the things that make you happy, spend more time with the top 20% of the people that give you more joy and happiness. Also you may want to fire the 20% of your clients that give you the 80% of the headaches, reduce or stop production on the 20% of the products and services that results in 80% of the waste, and etc…

Of course I'm not suggesting a mechanical trimming of the 20% of things and people that give you 80% of the trouble and solely focusing on the 20% that gives you the good stuff. I wish life was really that simple. You do need to study and make decisions on a case by case basis, but this 80/20 is a fast way to have a short cut analysis of business and life in general.

Take out your notebook(I mean the one with a screen and keyboard) and jot down 80/20s in your personal, business or work life.

I’m Never Retiring!

Today after dinner and watching a movie, I sat there on my sofa thinking what I should do. I was thinking what I should be doing. There are a couple of things I needed to get done, but didn't quite want to do it. I had this very uncomfortable feeling and I could not make out what it was until it suddenly hit me. I was BORED!

For the first time in a very long time, I was actually feeling bored, and I hated the feeling. Not being in a state where I was not doing something for a very long time had made me completely forget about what it was to be not doing something. Today I have decided that I will never be retiring. I never want to retire. Why should anyone want to retire?

I'll tell you why. Because there is so much in life that one can do. If anything, I think there isn't enough time to do everything that one really is capable of doing. Recently, everyday I see new possibilities of living life. There is simply so much to do. I think people grow into adults and they learn to limit their imagination. Kids are amazing; they are always doing something – playing with their toys, running around, well crying too, and eating, and maybe just sitting there, but even while sitting most of the time their playing imaginary and creative games.

I for one always want to be a kid and imagine the possibilities that life can bring. There is simply so much to do and words like boring, bored or boredom should just simply be removed from the dictionary.