A Master class from Life!
There are three important guides for all of us — parents, teachers, and life itself, the last one being most persistent, consistent, emphatic, and something that stays with us forever.
Wise are those who pick up the subtle hints and loud suggestions, tips, and tutorials, advice, and admonition that life offers every single day. The best part is, these class capsules are often immediate, reactive to our actions, and come strapped with the most potent feedback.
Life, through our trials and tribulations, highs and lows, successes and failures, the good times and the tough ones, imparts a never-ending string of valuable lessons that only the fool-hardy can afford to ignore and not partake of.
Introspection about the current plank we are on, where we were; what we have lost and gained, and what lies in store is always a good strategy to have.
Our dynamism for something new — a goal, a road we wish to take, a decision we must make, a project we plan to undertake — must be peppered with pensiveness about experiences from the past, with a dwelling on reasons for why we failed to keep up with our plans and what all we allowed to get dropped along the way.
The biggest of all human traits have to be hope as we pick up our fallen faces at the thought of failure, failed attempts, or fewer accomplishments in the time gone by.
We are resilient enough to paste a radiant smile on the visage reflective of the gung-ho spirit within as we ready our mind and mettle to face the time to come with resolve and promise, energy, and enthusiasm.
Here follow the life lessons, in no particular order, flowing out just as the reflections reappear on the horizon of my mind and the thoughts take form.
These are my 32 cents, worth whatever they may be in the lanes of life, aspiring to be important milestones on its meandering roads.
Lesson 1 — Make a habit of shooting up a prayer or a wish into the sky!
The universe listens to your most earnest, sincere, positive desires. Underlining the importance of hard work and merit-based rewards; I often beseech the Universe, “If this year has been a good foundation-laying year then let the next year be of deliverance.”
Lesson 2 — Be opportunity focused!
The most important guest that you should usher in is Opportunity. Opportunity, nay, opportunities knock on the mind’s door — loud and clear. You must be ready in your Sunday best to greet them and be hospitable towards them.
You must always be fitted out in branded clothes to welcome this VIP guest and the brand must always be of hard work, caliber, and perspicacity.
Lesson 3 — Believe in your own worth!
You must believe in yourself, your ideas, and your skills. If you do not believe in yourself then how will others; after all, you know yourself the best.
What’s more, in times of doubt, complexes, and depression it is this belief that helps steer your ship towards the shore.
Lesson 4 — Believe in the power that exists beyond!
On the days when your belief in yourself takes a beating, there will be a providential sign through a friend’s comment or a reader’s remark or family’s know-all declarations that will help you put back the belief in its place and carry on with zeal and zest.
Divinity exists. How you see it is a matter of personal choice.
Lesson 5 — The Universe conspires for and not against you!
The Universe, through its forces and elements, reflects your spirit. Sunny, solemnly downcast, stormy, sizzling, barren, breezy, peaceful, passionate, pouring, parched — the Universe and You are mirror images with the former feeding on your innermost fears and feelings, emotions and thoughts.
Therefore, be mindful of what you send out because it all comes back.
Lesson 6 — Reap the Social Media for the common good!
The online social media circle of friends, connections, tweeple and the like are a far more charitable and philanthropic lot. They will not think twice before sharing information that could save a life, collect funds or help to eradicate hunger in the third world.
Work with Social Media!
Lesson 7 — Cultivate intelligent, insightful, invigorating networks!
The very same group of people is also an excellent networker and active information-sharing community that thrives on adding to the knowledge bank, posting interesting and educative features, passing on useful links in general.
It is because of them that there is so much to know, learn from and re-share in the dynamic world of web where nothing is beyond one’s reach anymore. To be a part of this community is an enriching experience.
Lesson 8 — Seize the day!
When the idea lights up like a bulb or when ideas flow, you must capture them on a pad or iPad, note it in your diary or save it on your desktop and get to it as soon as you can. If the a-ha moment of the idea is lost then it either flows away or stares you back as a boring piece of balderdash that is not worth your time anymore.
The point is to seize that moment and make it into a meaningful exercise. You will never ever regret this. Ask me. I have for proof a large pile of beautifully written pieces — prose or poetry depending on the idea and mood; and a larger pile of half-written words and sentences that I do not know what to do with anymore, only because I let the creative wave pass over me at that time.
Lesson 9 — Foster the double Fs!
When things go wrong with you, as they will many times, it is family and then friends that rally around you. Nurture your inner and outer circle well, invest in it, and see what a big difference they make to you and your life.
Lesson 10 — Become a Dog Person (or cat, rat, guinea pig, Llama, whatever talks to you)!
The best antidote to seasonal flu, moody blues, fevers, shivers, disease, moments of mental freeze, depression, feelings of oppression, and anything else that you can think of are dogs. Period! Really so! Much more than rest and medication!
Not much can stand up to the cheerful demeanor, wagging excitement — always, the unconditional licks of love and adorable hugs of attachment, the desire to be by your side at all times no matter what; it indeed is a formidable bond and friendship that can help you withstand any concern or calamity.
Lesson 11 — Invest time in your pet children to reap holistic benefits!
The pet children do have a fantastic vocabulary and understand all the languages you use rather well. As an aside, their vocab. seems to be growing with every passing year just as your need to spell out more and more words instead of speaking them out in their presence.
But in all seriousness, take good care of your pet children and see them pay you back in so many enriching ways, especially when you are down and out.
Lesson 12 — Use your unique gifts to make a difference!
You have the power of making a difference to people’s lives, sometimes by your pre-meditated actions of kindness and sometimes by the unplanned, sudden acts that bring a smile to a stricken-with-grief face, that lift the heaviness off a sorrow-laden heart, that relax a reverberating-with-worries mind.
Stay open and receptive to any and every chance to help those more in need.
Lesson 13 — Lose weight! Get fighting fit!
It is possible to lose weight at any age — before 20 after 40, pre-menopause, or post. Yes, it is. You just need to keep up with the effort. Just as anything else in life — when the stakes are high and the task tough, the efforts must be as intense — the same with weight.
Eating right and healthily is not for a season or two or for the period of time in which you wish to lose weight. It is a life-long process and should be part of your perpetual life-style.
Lesson 14 — Don’t let sands of time to slip away! It will never come back!
More than anything else, more than wealth, fame, happiness, and prosperity, which is really limited and reducing constantly is TIME. After every passing year, at every decade of your life, the truth is going to hit you even harder.
The time to do something about it is NOW.
Lesson 15 — Pay BACK!
Just as you dive into the ocean of life and dig out bounties from the depths of the Universe, so should you be putting back into it — to whatever extent and with as much ability as you can!
Make no mistake about it — it IS a two-way process.
Lesson 16 — Be inclusive in your approach with others!
I first saw my parents live that kind of life; then years later I heard Oprah Winfrey say it on her show. And I DO believe that you do not need the money and certainly not large trunks of it to do charity. It should come to you as easily as you need to breathe and eat.
Philanthropy has to be a part of who you are.
Lesson 17 — Read! A lot!
In whatever profession you may be, you must read — extensively and widely. There is no better education than that.
Lesson 18 — Perfection is a practiced art!
Whatever your craft — you must practice it every day. If you are a writer or wish to be one — you must write daily.
I am enamored by Stephen King’s passion — who wrote even on Xmas Day, Independence Day, and his Birthday.
Lesson 19 — Don’t lead a dull life! Cultivate interests!
You must have a hobby — developing and maintaining a garden, taking photographs, traveling, singing, painting art, buying art, cooking, drinking wine, whatever does it for you — you must have one or two or more.
Lesson 20 — Be dogged with your good ideas!
People may call it pushiness, I call it perseverance. If you keep at your good ideas for long and strong, there will be a chunk of people who will see those things the way you do.
The article that you think has mass appeal, the book idea that you believe is saleable, the job that you feel you are really best suited for, the strategy you have thoroughly thought out and are certain that it will reap the benefits — hold on to them, reinforce them amongst the significant publics and Voila! You will find support from the same quarters.
Almost in the same breath, I hasten to add, be ready to dump a bad idea at the drop of a hat, without any thought or emotion that may ride with it.
Lesson 21 — Respect age! Of yourself and of others!
Age and the experience you gain with it are the best, lifelong teachers you could ask for.
Be thankful for all of your life’s experiences — good or bad, trying or stimulating — they all leave important lessons behind.
Lesson 22 — Practice gratitude like religion!
Be grateful for what you have.
There are hundreds of others who are not as privileged be it with money, cushy life, family, unconditional love, sound mind, healthy body, and a lot of other parameters that you may not even account for until you find them amiss.
Lesson 23 — Have faith!
Have a daily dialogue with The One Above — in whatever shape and form you see Him or Her. Yes, you heard me right — it is a dialogue. You just need to be tuned enough to receive His or Her signals.
Even an atheist or a non-believer has his or her special Rock that they must talk to.
Lesson 24 — Know that you are special and exclusive!
There may be thousands of people writing on food, or travel, or PR or whatever — then should you be adding your two cents too?
Yes, without any doubt; because yours would be a unique take on the subject, shaped by your unique set of experiences.
I have often told myself, I may be no Mark Twain, but then Mark Twain is not me either.
A garden has many flowers, each as pretty as the other. Actually drawing comparisons is odious, totally avoidable, and completely unnecessary.
Lesson 25 — Inch towards your goals every single day!
It IS possible to spend the whole day doing nothing of value, whiling away your time in inane, absolutely useless activities; but the huge sense of guilt thereafter is killing, brutally cruel and crushing. So, it is much better to accomplish your goal or at least a part of it every day.
Do you recall “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind?” Do your bit. Each day!
Lesson 26 — Eat your mountain, bit by bit!
Remember what all the Management Gurus have been telling us for long?
They ARE telling us right.
You must learn to divide a huge task into smaller, manageable portions and get cracking on those parts. In time you would be reaching the end of the big job itself.
Lesson 27 — Eat the unpalatable parts first!
In the same vein as above, I have realized that I must tackle the most difficult job of the day first and then scale down to the simpler, easier, more fun tasks.
This is Time Management and Productivity’s most effective trick.
It helps me be more efficient and effective and gets me to accomplish more in the day.
Lesson 28 — Learn from everybody!
Just about anybody can become your teacher for a moment, for the day or for a long period of time. Over the years, I have picked up valuable lessons from my caretaker, the Gardener, my young soul child, my old mother-in-law, the peacocks that come to eat their daily stock of grain in my garden, the rude neighbor and of course my two pet children.
Especially the last two, as their intelligence, kindness of heart, clever ploys and playful antics do not cease to amaze me, ever.
Lesson 29 — Have a soul mate!
With us celebrating almost two decades of marriage, I realize that it is important to have an extremely understanding, kind, and thoughtful soulmate who respects you for who you are and what you bring to the union.
In today’s world of chaos, confusion, comparisons, and conflict this is one of the most significant and sanity-maintaining aspects of my life.
Lesson 30 — Develop a sense of humour!
With age and experience, I must keep learning to laugh a lot — at myself, at situations and generally in life.
But mostly at myself!
Lesson 31 — Health is, indeed, wealth!
Health is the most important asset that I can have. It can help me move mountains or compel me to stay withdrawn in the confines of my bed depending on which side of health I am standing on.
Along with the physicality of it all, it is as important to have a beautiful, brilliant, and sound mind.
Lesson 32 — Cultivate and harvest mentors!
Finally, I have learned the importance of developing role models — not just the towering figures of our times but also common people in our circle going about their commonplace lives with all that grit, gratitude, dignity and diligence.
It helps me not get bogged down and pick myself up fast if I crumble down at times.
And to make yourself feel hugely good, try and be a mentor to others.
Bonus Lesson — Do not get offended!
When someone is rude with you or is being abusive, take the high road!
The basic truth is, if you do not accept insult or are not receptive to a dork’s rudeness, then it does not reach you or effect you. The negative energy being thrown at you, instead, spirals back to hit the perpetrator like a boomerang.
Practice this Zen way of stonewalling a bad vibe and see how it fails to rock your boat!
But what is significant is that each of these lessons will remain embedded in rhetoric if we do not learn from them. It is imperative for us to tie them in neatly, in the tapestry of our thoughts and the fabric of our fortified actions.
Go on; create your own miracles!!!