Let’s buy ALARM CLOCKS

TRY

 

I am suggesting a ‘BUY’ because most of us would have forgotten about the last one that rightfully sat on our study table and our bed side. I searched and found one in one of the neglected drawers and the batteries have run out.

But why do we need alarm clocks?

1.    We need them so that we do not sleep with our phones. Designers at big social media companies believe that their competitors are YouTube, Netflix, Hotstar, and sleep.

If we do not set alarms in our phones, we will not have any excuse to bring them inside our bedrooms and we will not need to begin our days saying Good Morning to notifications.

2.    We need alarm clocks to remind us that we are humans who have the ability to appreciate data as well as dreams. Our data devotion is causing a dream detachment. We love numbers. An average phone user checks an email within 6 seconds of getting it. More than 75% of adults keep their phones within an arm’s reach for all 24 hours. Our kids might not be able to do so because we are vigilant and keep them away for some time (if we succeed) from their phones but we are turning into slaves of our phones which keep us engaged.

3.    We need an alarm clock to tell us that it is a tool meant to wake us up. It will solve only one problem and that’s that. It will neither solve any other problem nor add to any of ours existing problems.

‘Screen’ addiction is impacting us personally, socially, physically and creatively. Haven’t we all started spending more time with these gadgets than our family and friends? We talk less, we argue less and we do not break our silence after a fight because we have our phones to go to.

Our social interactions are ‘forwarded’ messages, snapchat stories and ‘likes and comments’ collected online. When we meet, we click more pictures than anything else. We intend to meet to make the next FB post or a snapchat story.

Our phones in our hands allow us to stay glued to one of the screens throughout the day. We do not move our bodies enough as we sit engrossed in the sea of screens.

It is sapping our creativity because our minds are always engaged. They never feel boredom. Their minds are never empty to feel the pangs of creativity.

Within the next decade, we will come full circle. Fb has given us ‘FB demetricator’ already where we do not get metrics of our posts. We would need rehabilitation from digital addiction, we will have spas for a digital detox.

We will join companies which clearly state no email policy from 06.00pm to 08.00am.

While others would hop in their driverless cars to buy an alarm clock some years later, let us order it now before it’s too late.

If you do so and watch your sun rise, please do not click a picture. Just be there.

Life Lessons from Musical Maestros

Yesterday, I was the chosen one as I got an opportunity to see legends like Pt. Birju Maharaj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, and Amitabh Bachchan together. I experienced a beautiful jugalbandi between ghungroos of 79 year old Kathak wizard Pt. Birju Maharaj and tabla of forever young Ustad Zakir Hussain.

I learnt some lessons for a lifetime.

Humility is a choice, the most worthy one: When Ustad Zakir Hussain entered, Pt. Birju Maharaj had already come. Zakir sahib straightaway went and did Sashtang Pranam in his feet before taking his seat beside him. When both masters reached the stage, Ustad Zakir Hussain commented in an honest, childlike way, “I am not performing today, I am playing in Sewa of Maharaj ji”.

Humility is a choice that legends like Ustad Zakir Hussain make each time they interact with anyone.

Life Long Learning is a way of Life: When I introduced my daughter to Hussain Sahib, I said, “She is learning Classical music”.

He smiling looked at her, “Oh! Even I am learning music. What a coincidence.”

He gave her a high before blessing her.

If he is a student of music, what are we harping about our expertise?

Passion is the fuel for fulfilling life: Pandit Birju Maharaj was walking cautiously with a stick off stage. When he reached on stage, we expected him to do a symbolic 4-5 minutes performance.

He danced with deep poetic grace and electrifying footwork for around an hour. His passion surpassed his physical concerns and he mesmerized everyone with his awe inspiring performance.

Excellence is a zero option philosophy: Both the maestros were meeting each other after years. It simply meant that they had neither rehearsed nor performed together in near past.

Without any pre practice, their synchronized and effortless performance was pitch perfect. Each ‘thaap’ on the tabla and each ‘khanak’ of the ghungroo were in unison. They listened to each other intently and followed each other.

When Pandit ji explained a taal or gat, Ustab Zakir Hussain listened and then played to perfection. When Zakir Hussain got into his musical crescendo, Pandit ji tapped with grace. Their individual mastery over their craft led to a harmonious act together without any upmanship. There is no alternative to excellence in whatever we do.

Hold on to yourself: In the middle of a sea of talent, I learnt a big lesson from the host of the event, Shailesh Lodha. Though he is my husband, I am generally his worst critique.

However, his poetic words and anecdotal lines kept everyone hooked during the four hour long event. His eloquence and sense of timing won him blessings from everyone including the three stalwarts of art – Pt. Birju Maharaj, Ustab Zakir Hussain, and Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.

He held on to his belief in graceful humour, poetry and pathos among these doyens and contributed immensely to the success of the show. (I don’t want him to read this, though).

May these stalwarts stay around to bless our lives with their unending creativity and authenticity!

The AHA Model of Parenting and Leadership

aha-model

I come across many parents who vociferously admire the drive of their children while whispering about some lack of gratitude.

I come across the HR Heads with whom I have discussions about Level 5 Leadership and how to bring Group Cohesion between Generation X and millennials.

It is becoming imperative for us to gear up for an innovative nudge in the family as well as corporate space.

AHA Model, if applied consistently, can give us balanced individuals, children and future leaders.

AMBITION: Having a purpose, figuring out a path to reach that purpose and following it with perfection will never go out of fashion. Having a drive to excel at something should always be a lifeline. Jack Ma’s drive to learn English as a school boy turned the tide in his favor by inculcating a continuous ‘ambition’ in him.

Ambition is not competition. It is not envious. It is focused on oneself.

If parents can learn constantly to nudge children towards striving for excellence in daily chores like tiding up the room or folding clothes, it becomes an attitude. If leaders constantly nudge team members towards the same in intangible areas like receiving a guest, promoting a save energy campaign, excellence becomes a daily ambition.

HUMILITY: The linear approach of parents makes it difficult for them to give humility lessons to children. Inspiring them to achieve goals and nudging them to stay grounded are opposing forces which need to be balanced. It comes easy when achievement is not celebrated as special but accepted as way of life. It comes easy when children experience gratitude around them. A feeling of entitlement creeps in from the beginning if parents treat their children as special and become “Yes Parents” or “Designer Parents”.

Leaders need to set goals and achieve them with undivided focus and clarity. They need to keep their teams motivated to reach targets. The tight rope walk requires them to be stern and aggressive. Yet, it is important rather imperative to feel empathy and evoke trust. Humility keeps a leader rooted while ambition enables them to soar high.

ADAPTIVITY: After realizing the importance of being humble as well as ambitious, the most crucial part is to be adaptive. As parents and leaders, we need to assess, adapt and act – Assess the situation to decide to be humbly ambitious or aspirationally humble.

It is important for us to realize that life is not about happy or sad endings. It is not about being a saint or a sinner. It is not about being either ambitious or humble. It is about being adaptive to experience happiness as well as sadness, to value virtue as well as vice, to imbibe ambition with humility.

If we nurture our roots with humility and fuel our wings with ambition, we will become those adaptive individuals who can show their children and their teams to be humbly ambitious.

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Time and Timing – Respect “Time”​ and Acknowledge “Timing”​.

Time & Timing.jpg

 

Time is about present. It is about accuracy. It is in our control to use it meaningfully. Timing is about present, past and future. Timing is about harmony. It is not in our control completely.

If you are the lead vocalist of your band, you respect time by getting up on time, practicing every-day for a specific time. But your performance on a specific day will depend upon timing – how other members play their instruments in unison, how the sound system functions, how the audience respond to your performance. When the actions of so many people and situations are synchronized, it creates the magic we call ‘perfect timing.’

“Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter”.

Time brings discipline to our lives but timing brings elation. “It is always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone has forgotten”.

Timing at Individual Level: We try to perfect our timing with precision while dunking a biscuit in milk or tea, while baking a batch of cookies, while playing a video game or while clicking a selfie.

We know when it goes wrong. The biscuit disappears in the milk, the cookies turn ashen, our Mario bites the dust and eyeballs shift in a selfie. Repeated actions improve our timing as individuals in doing certain things.

Practice improves our timing as an individual.

Timing at Group Level: As mentioned earlier, magic is created in a musical performance, on a cricket ground or in a business meeting when every stroke falls in place and the receiver is in sync with your effort and its execution.

Team work reaches another level when the timing of ‘alaap’ of the vocalist coincides with the beat of the tabla, when the cricket ball is caught between the palms, when the win-win situation is tactfully negotiated in the boardroom.

If the timing goes awry, the collective disappointment binds the team together and makes them hungrier to perform better provided everyone feels the disappointment.

Passion of the team helps us to face what “timing” does to us.

Timing at a Macro Level: In Life, many efforts become super successful or phenomenal failures due to the right or wrong timing of an external, uncontrollable factor.

Airbnb has transformed the way we travel by creating a global network through which anyone anywhere can rent a spare room in their home to earn cash. It was not that simple though to convert this idea into a multi-million dollar company without the timing of so many other developments.

Brain Chesky, one of the co-founders, thought about it in 2007. Free connectivity between nations was taking roots at that time. Paypal appeared on the scene at the same time making online transactions possible. People needed to ascertain if they were meeting real people. Facebook, which exploded in 2007, helped them connect with each other.

With the help of all these innovations in terms of software, social networking platform, online payment portal, Airbnb became a trusted, technological innovation.

Xerox, the paper giant failed not because it became obsolete. It had brilliant ideas to go digital but when World Wide Web opened, AOL and Yahoo arrived. It could have still survived but Google happened.

Sometimes, we consider ourselves geniuses by being efficient and effective time managers but we fail to anticipate and acknowledge the ‘timing’.

Respect ‘time’ and play with it.

Acknowledge ‘timing’ and watch the show.

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

The power of NUDGE: A disruptive tool for Leaders & Parents

nudge

Each leader wants performance. Each parent desires excellence. Every leader repetitively clamors in front of his/her team to achieve and exceed targets. Each parent advises and instructs his/her children on anything and everything, every-day.

The methods used to encourage and motivate, to explain and elaborate, to scare and threaten are all loud, concrete and direct, in the workplace and at home.

These loud messages create an impact for a limited duration.

These concrete instructions cause repulsion & defiance.

These direct orders enforce compliance & hinder creativity.

If we replace this loud motivation, concrete communication and direct enforcement with the positive, periodic power of NUDGE, we can enrich ourselves as Leaders and Parents.

What is Nudge?

A nudge is a gentle push. It is a quiet touch to slowly stimulate the receiver. It is subtle encouragement.

Nudge is continuous like a soothing background score unlike a catchy three minute number.

A nudge is sophisticated and strategic, absolutely an anathema (?) to nagging.

Leaders/Parents need to have three qualities to apply the power of Nudge on their teams/children.

PATIENCE: Nudging doesn’t offer ‘quick fix’ or ‘makeshift’ solutions. It offers change at the grass root level for which patience is a prerequisite. Nudge modifies behavior gradually.

One of your subordinates is essentially late in the mornings. A simple sentence by the boss “I will have coffee with you at 9 everyday till we finish this new project” will nudge him to come on time. However, the boss would need a great deal of patience to have a morning coffee with the late comer.

When a parent wants the child to read a specific book, he/she should casually mention the book. Next day, he/she could mention one really interesting but short piece from the book (without conveying to the child that he/she should read the book).

Next day, underline a few lines and leave it on his table as if you were reading it.  E-Mail a summary of the book after a few days to a few friends and include your child too.

BALANCE: Nudging is facilitating and enabling people towards making good choices. To promote healthy eating habits, parents can excitedly fill the refrigerator with fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only this, they can say things like, “I will have strawberries for desert” and do it too.

It requires equanimity on the part of leaders when they make their technologies & software’s available openly for all.

GITHUB is one such coding platform available for everyone to post their programs and others can freely add techniques to improve them. Microsoft created a technology called .NET, a proprietary closed source platform for developing software for banks and insurance companies. In 2014, Microsoft made it open source on GITHUB and more people started working on it in next six months for free than those who had worked on it inside the company.

It requires courage to make things freely available but this nudge is globally beneficial.

DISCIPLINE: Any leader or parent, who aspires to ‘nudge’ team members/consumers/children needs to be disciplined.

An overweight parent cannot nudge a child by gifting him exercise gear.

A short tempered leader cannot improve team cohesion by organizing a ‘Humor hour’ every Friday.

Nudging is not about words, it is a “call to action” which is open, free & facilitating.

It can be used continuously and creatively at every level from home to community to business to governments.

Nudge at ‘Home” – My parents have always been early risers. I was forced to wake up early as a child and then, it was career and family that made a morning alarm mandatory.

After turning solopreneur, I started taking it a little too easy and slept to glory on weekends.

I visited my parents recently. My dad woke me up at eight. “We are having our second cup of tea. Here is your first”. He handed me my cup.

It was terribly cold but he had already watered his plants (200 in number) and he was getting ready to go to work. (He still practices as a Doctor at 73).

What a nudge it was.

I can’t even think of sleeping till late now.

Nudge at ‘Community Level’Prof. Anil Gupta’s Shodhyatras in rural areas of India, bring about amazing innovations to the fore.

His Honey Bee Network mobilizes social and ethical capital through conferences, competitions and continuous support to lakhs of creative minds.

His festival of Innovation, has succeed in nudging more than 5000 school children to solve problems creatively, leading to major innovations like a new modified walker to be used on stairs, an inclined drinking water pipe. What an amazing ‘social nudge’ it is.

Nudge at “Corporate Level’ – Many companies associate a charity initiative with the purchase of a specific product (Rs. 1 would go to XYZ Foundation on your purchase).

Electricity companies share area- specific energy efficiency data with their consumers. When they are told that people in their area consumed 15% less electricity as compared to residents of other suburbs, they are nudged to use energy efficiently, further reducing the energy consumption in coming months.

A “destiny health plan” has been promoted by insurance companies in some states of USA which helps them win ‘Vitality Bucks” on hitting the gym or working out in a health club. It nudges consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Nudge at “Government Level’ – UK Government formed a ‘Nudge Unit’ in 2010. US Government used it too. There are many schemes which could nudge people for opting wrong ways.

“NUDGE FOR GOOD” is what we need.

References

1.     “Grassroots Innovation: Minds on The Margin Are Not Marginal Minds” by Anil Kumar Gupta

2.     “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations” by Thomas L. Friedman

3.     “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

Quirkology of Life

I can never forget the glint in my eyes and spring in my step whenever I saw a ready-made garment store, twenty five years ago.

Balloon of my heart burst every time I was handed over clothes stitched by my mother or a tailor. I craved for the dresses displayed on enticing mannequins but they were expensive. You bought them for special occasions.

In last quarter century, we bought clothes, accessories to our heart’s content, accelerating up and down in malls and outlets, in India and abroad.

Now, we are looking at re-branding of our clothes in the form of bespoke clothes, made to measure, especially for us.

From absence of hotels and restaurants, we witnessed the mushrooming of fast food joints and exotic restaurants.

And now, markets are re-branding home cooked food as something exclusive. Hand crafted laddoos. Seriously?

We got swamped by the English wave. Hindi got marginalized. And now, it is coming back from international shores through online magazines.

Last two decades saw inland letters dying a slow death. Our children have neither written a postcard nor waited for one, ever. They facetime and firechat.

And now, start-ups bring back the romance of letters by re-branding the personal letter-writing as an outsourced commodity –pay and get letters drafted for your loved ones. After drowning into ‘likes’, ‘copy’, ‘share’, we want to retreat to familiar shores of writing but in the outsourced avatar.

Sensor gadgets and bots gifted by artificial intelligence are turning us into notification boards. We will receive notifications for everything – Put a diet sensor on your plate and it will notify the amount of calories with nutrition analysis. A robotic assistant (Hubble Hugo ) will notify you if you are angry and then play music to calm you. Aristotle, a voice controlled AI robot for children made by Mattel will help parents by becoming a nanny, monitor & teacher.

Re-branding of pure & proven stuff by using exclusivity as a bait is not new. It is like life coming full circle.

But, are we not outsourcing everything. Technologists are busy adding five senses to machines, turning them into intelligent pieces who can communicate with us and each other.

These machines will inform us, notify us and help us make decisions.

Do we need so much help? Do we need such notifications? Do we need this load of information?

Don’t we need to pause and reflect whether we are actually growing, progressing and enriching our lives?

The app that can check my fitness level, the gadget that can talk to my scalp, the software that can magically connect my phone to free wi fi – are they merely exciting or enriching?

To me, it seems that we are outsourcing our humanness.

We have forgotten wonderment and little pleasures as our fingertips keep pressing ‘search’.

Meshed networks are connecting us to every phone, even in planes. We are becoming oblivious of our family network.

Artificial Intelligence might make us artificial and machines intelligent.

Let us pause before smashing into this appy wall.

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

 I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

 Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!

 

“TWO BLACK SWANS”

Two Balck Swans.jpg“A BLACK SWAN” is an unthinkable event that massively affects our life, our career, our company, our country.

There are positive and negative swans, says Nassim Taleb in his book “Black Swan”.

But there are certain Black Swans which seem positive and turn out to be completely negative in the long run and vice versa. Black Swans often destroy our best laid plans.

Last week witnessed two black swans in a row. Demonetisation of Indian Currency and Election of new President in USA will massively impact our lives, our careers, our nations & our world.

Difference between Hillary & Trump is the difference between risk & uncertainty.

Risk means that probabilities are known. With Hillary, we knew her political weaknesses and hence, we could fathom the risk involved.

Uncertainty means that the probabilities are unknown. With Trump, we have entered a world which might turn out to be something not imagined ever.

Indian lifestyle before and after November 9, 2016 will be similarly distinct.

Could the Government have experimented by reducing tax rates for a year before cracking the demonetisation whip? When a democratic leader thunders “I will not leave any dishonest person”, it evokes fear because it comes from a person who has been a part of this dishonest system. Every political leader who has won an Indian Election has been a part of a complete corrupt process.

Corruption is personal as well as institutional. The chest thumping, moist eyed Indian will love the melodramatic speeches thinking that they are contributing to Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. An autocratic approach disguised as ‘Sudden Patriotism’ should be analysed. A vocal nation like India should surely reflect before voicing out exaggerated positive or negative responses.

The timing of the Indian Black Swan corresponds to the ‘Peak End Rule’, conceptualised by Daniel Kahneman. We tend to judge an event by how it was at its peak and at the end. We only remember our feelings at the peak and at the end of a particular event, like a film or a five year period.

We are witnessing the peak of Mr. Modi’s term and we will see an amazing end in 2019 after the dip of 2017 – 18.

The move has numerous advantages but a better execution and several supporting moves were surely needed. A nation is not our toy train which we can run on our fancies.

There are protests in United States and lot of support for the move in India. Let us hope that both Black Swans turn out to be positive as we move forward.

 

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I am an Author, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Parenting expert based in Mumbai. Having written Bestsellers like Don’t Raise Your Children, Raise Yourself (Amazon Bestseller), Why Women Are What They Are, Come On! Get Set Go

I am running Life Lemonade which offers unique Training Programs on Life Transformation, High Performance Leadership, Women Issues and Parenting.

Connect with me on Linkedin, Twitter @drswatilodha Facebook

Also read my best articles here!