Gratitude Is Good For You

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Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation. It’s  a mindful acknowledgment of all that we have been given. When we focus on the abundance in our lives, we discover a greater capacity for generosity, cheerfulness, and contentment.

Expressing gratitude is a rewarding habit that affirms the grace of the giver. Gratitude opens our hearts, encourages us to savor each gift that comes our way, and magically frees us from jealously guarding our possessions. It lets us celebrate today rather than waiting for the next level of accomplishment or wealth. It’s a reminder that one can always find reason to be glad.

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Success Tip: Cut Your Spending Without Cutting Into Your Life

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I was on a sabbatical from 2013-2017. Although, it was a fun sabbatical, I learnt some valuable lessons for a simple and joyful life. I was on a money-diet in this period—no regular income. I survived on my savings a little income I made from some freelance projects.

The sabbatical was to explore my inner-self, and learn a lot about forgiveness, compassion, kindness and gratitude; basically, the recipe for a truly happy life.

I agree that everyone has their own perspective of a simple life but I somehow feel that cutting spending gives you wings. I was able to do a lot of good work for myself and society in these four years, mainly because I had less baggage. My baggage was less and hence, I could run more.

Am I single? No. I am married since 2010.

Me and my wife have a fantastic understanding. Many of my friends inquire about the secret of our simple life. And I think the answer is that we keep life simple. I don’t have a formula as such but I have some ideas that can help.

So, I made a list of some spending-reducing suggestions that I felt either didn’t have any impact at all on quality of life—things you can do once and benefit from for a while—or, if they’re repeatable, are inherently fun.

  1. Get rid of stuff you don’t use: Take a trip through your home and look around for things that you simply don’t use or rarely use and sell them off, just get rid of the clutter.
  2. Do some basic energy efficiency around your living place: Install a programmable thermostat to replace your current one to have the heating and cooling shut off when you’re not at home, saving the cost of running it.
  3. Unless you’re a heavy cell phone user, switch to a pay-as-you-go phone: A pay-as-you-go cell phone can be substantially cheaper than a cell phone plan. Look into some pay-as-you-go plans and see if any fit your usage needs and add up to significant savings over what you already use.
  4. Buy in bulk the staples you use all the time: The best way to do this is to buy items in bulk if you’re going to use all of them in reasonable time or before it becomes unusable like toilet paper, dishwashing detergent and laundry soap.
  5. Unplug electronic devices you’re not using: Many plugged in electronic devices use up energy but if you have such devices that you rarely use like a coffee pot and entertainment devices, unplugging them can save a significant amount of money on your energy bill.
  6. Switch to a bank that respects you: See what banks are available in your local area that offer full service online, doesn’t charge you ridiculous fees and has customer service that makes online banking easy and accessible.
  7. Sign up for the customer rewards programs at the places you already shop: Most customer rewards programs just result in free stuff like in many groceries stores they’ll automatically find coupons for you reducing the cost of your bill with no effort at all for you.
  8. Figure out your most cost-effective grocery store and shop there: Figure out which grocery store available to you with best prices on the staples you normally buy all the time like milk, vegetables and fruit where you will be open to shop regularly.
  9. Look around for discounts: Everyone is offering some or the other discount for shopping or eating. Keep checking online for offers.
  10. Check your cupboards and fridge before you hit the grocery store: Spend time glancing in the fridge to see what you have and then make a quick list of the things that are missing, this will save your money without influencing your buying choices.
  11. Cook home food for guests: This really works and guests really feel awesome. It will also save a lot of money specially with those taxes around.
  12. Use water bottle when out: carry reusable water bottles whenever you’re out and avoid those expensive and unhealthy bottles water; unless unavoidable.
  13. If you’re married, talk to your partner about what life you want to lead: Sure, this seems like a good relationship tactic. After all, it’s always useful to make sure you’re on the same page. However, doing this regularly has another significant impact. It helps both partners to set goals together that they’re both committed to. During such a conversation, people tend to find the things they have in common, the desires that they share. When those desires become clear, quite often the conversation and thoughts move towards how to actually make them happen.
  14. Keep a notebook on hand: You’ll see all sorts of opportunities and hear many different ideas, keep a notebook with you and when these ideas present themselves write them down.

I don’t say that these will work 100% with everyone but it had worked for me in the time of my sabbatical and the best part is, we’re still continuing it. With this formula we have reduced our spending by 50%. We’re now able to save more and spend on stuff that really matters for us and for stuff that brings us true and everlasting happiness.

And finally, just chart out your priorities and believe in the of universe. Don’t fall into the trap of good, best, need or want because these words mean different things for different people. Use your brain and consciousness to decide your life.

A Mother’s Last Three Wishes Before Dying!

I lost my parents in 2015. Mother was terminally ill at the time of death; in fact she was in coma for a month before leaving for her final journey. Although, she died—biologically—on 24.03.2015, I saw her dying every moment; right in front of my eyes every day.

In hospital, there was nothing to do except wait—for the final news—or think about the journey I had with her. And sometime, about her journey from the cradle to death bed.

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She was born at a very violent time; the partition of India. Although, she was lucky to have not witness the tempest but she had some genetic memory of the whole incident; from her parents.

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After the partition, she was raised in Old Delhi. She completed her graduation in home since with much difficulty and after marriage she shifted to Mumbai to stay with my father. They both had extremely difficult times for many years.

We were from an average economical background and she had to sacrifice many of her dreams in the battle of raising us. And me, I was never an obedient child as such.

After 2005, my life was in top-gear and I was on the ninth cloud. I never forgot my old days of struggle, poverty and scarcity. So, as I became financially independent and pseudo-wealthy, I decided to make my wealth work for my mother because she had given all she had.

She never asked anything but one day I came to know about few of her wishes. And these wishes were so strong that she hoped them to happen once before she died. This became one of my pertinent and urgent goals of life.

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Her first wish was to own a car someday. All her life she had traveled in local bus and train. The first thing I did after acquiring wealth was to gift her a small car. I also kept a driver so my parents can travel comfortably. The car was there with them till their end.

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Her second wish was to wear a diamond ring someday. She had gifted a diamond ring to my sister on her wedding but she didn’t make one for her. I planned a surprise for her on her 60th birthday. I bought her a small diamond ring and asked my father to put it on her finger. Her joys knew no bounds that night. The ring has come back to me after hr death.

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Her third and last wish was to meet the most popular Bollywood actor of all time. She was an ardent fan of Big B and wanted to meet him once before dying. This was the most difficult task because I don’t have much contact in the film industry. For many years I tried to find a contact but all in vain. I had almost lost hope but somehow a dear friend—Malcom—managed audience passes of the popular TV show—KBC—for my parents. She was able to see him right in front of her eyes and also shook hand with the superstar.

These three wishes are—also—the biggest achievements of my life. After every wish, she would feel so joyful. I remember all the moments of pride, joy, madness, anxiety and all of that. After so many years when I look back, it seems that these wishes were so petty but it meant a whole world to mother.

I don’t think I have achieved anything much bigger than actualizing mother’s last wishes. I don’t know how I fared as a son but I was—somehow—able to fulfill her wishes with support of money, friend, job, the universe and the creator of the universe; if any.

The three—the car, the ring and the superstar—came together to make her three wishes come true.

But this isn’t all, there is one more important lesson to be observed. My money bought joy for my mother and I have realized that if you use your wealth wisely—in service of others—it can surely bring you true and everlasting happiness. To know more, watch this amazing video:

You Won’t Believe What These Three Adults Did To This Little Boy, It’s Shocking!

Gaurav Sharma is a college going boy. I have known him since he was in school. He’s from a economically challenged family background and some of our like-minded friends support his educational needs time-to-time.

The above statement is a stereotype that you must have heard time to time; a thousand times. Every other article talk about underprivileged students, a hero giver and all of that. But this one is with a little twist.

What’s the twist? Who are the characters of this blog post?

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First character is little Gaurav Sharma who is not an underprivileged student. He’s a brilliant and talented student doing his BMM from a college in Mumbai. And yes, he’s from one of those slums in Mumbai that doesn’t decide his fate or is his profile.

He’s a hard-working and committed student who supports a lot of community service with SOMEONE. SOMEWHERE.

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Second character is this mad man Hemang Chheda who is a ad-man. He’s equally challenged when it comes to sanity.

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Third character is this soulful women Ameetha Singh who is a multi-talented human and a philanthropist by heart.

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Fourth character is a technology geek Sushant Kapoor who is a simpleton with a big heart.

Let’s weave this story and narrate it.

When Gaurav started his media college, I had some ideas to support his educational needs. I knew that we would more than money. This is the time when these three angles—Hemang, Ameetha and Sushant —came into picture. They heard the case and without a second thought, offered warm support.

It’s hard to believe what they did but it’s really shocking that such weird creatures still exists. 

Hemang offered his expensive Canon camera kit, Ameetha offered monetary support to pay fee, internet and Sushant offered his laptop.

This may or may not be shocking or surprising to some of you but it is for me. I always wonder from where these few good souls suddenly crop-up in time of distress? I wonder what makes them so selfless and compassionate?

The tools they have offered are simple but they have opened a gate to an entire universe for little Gaurav. He has his weapons in place to fight his war or life. In other words, he has his tools to create his own life. His camera kit comes handy to learn lessons and shoot content. The laptop comes handy to lots of e-learning and editing content. The money comes handy to pay fee and use internet.

In this time of hatred, blame-game, terrorism and madness these few good souls keep the name of humanity alive and I am sure there are many like them in this world who are holding the hands of the needy.

 

Not Gandhi, Not Tata, Not Tendulkar, Not Gates—My Role Model Is This Common Man

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­­­­­­­­We all, usually, have a role model—a person looked to by others as an example to be imitated. And, usually, that person is some popular figure in past or present history; someone prosperous or termed as successful. My role model is someone different and my definition of success is also different.

I have many role models. Not that they’re not from the usual list but most of them are friends or acquaintances around me; from daily life. One of them is Vinay Jain who was my school mate in 1995.

He was a naughty young boy in school and a naughty young man as of now. He’s always been a child inside; full of energy and fun. But he was not my role model in school days. He became one now as I got to know him better. He lives a balanced life that is an almost perfect combination of wealth, family, health, emotions, moments, experiences, time, adventures, hard-work, food, fun, friends, dreams, desires, spirituality, compassion, kindness, and all of that.

Very few have these all now-a-days and he’s one of the blessed ones.

He’s been there done that type of character that always excites me with his experience and thoughts. He has a good job in an esteemed multinational, a loving wife, a bright child, a comfortable home, a speedy car, a lovely vision, a loving-kind heart, an optimal brain and mad friends; like me.

I really like to follow virtues of these people around me because they’re the ones whom I connect a lot. Their life resonated with mine and I find solace while peeping into their struggles, challenges, victories, as I understand of all it. I have seen them growing, crying and laughing in from to f my eyes since years. Hence, I always feel connected to these people who I call daily heroes.

There are so many of them, who inspire me, as I write this blog post. My wife, my parents, my neighbors, the auto-rickshaw driver, my friends, the vegetable seller, the cleaner, the ones who forgave me for my bad behavior, my teachers, my students, my readers, my ex-lovers, the security guard of our housing society, the local police and not to forget the people who get-up early morning and travel long distances daily in the crowded local trains of Mumbai.

I don’t really connect with people who have a chapter of their name in history books or have their biography in Wikipedia but rather I connect to regular people like Vinay—and many more like him—who are my role model.

 

Change Your Settings, Change Your Life

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My internet was not working since few days and I was working with my service provider to solve the issue. Both of us were confused about the solution. And hence, we were struggling. Finally, I could speak to one of their expert who told to check in one setting in the control panel. To my surprise, that setting was wrong and I had to change it. My internet began to work as soon as I changed that setting.

This story can be used a as a metaphor for life. Many a times, we get stuck in a problem and look out for solution. Somehow, we meet a friend/guru/relative/co-worker who provides a simple trick and that trick or setting becomes a solution to our problem. That little setting can our perspective, our thinking process or our lifestyle, but it helps.

These little settings are essential in our life. A little change can change the flow of our life. 

The ‘First Step’ Is The First Step Towards A Successful And Prosperous Life

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Taking the first step is the most difficult part; for most of the people. But, as it’s said that a thousand-mile journey starts with one step, the first step can take you far. I want to share some personal experiences to emphasis on the first step.

  • My father was a victim of the Partition of India in 1947. After the partition, there family came to Delhi—from Lahore—with nothing on them. They stayed in a refugee camp for almost a year. There was no way to re-start a life but there was hope. He decided to come to Mumbai and start a new life. He brought his entire family to this new city and slow-slowly built a small empire of dreams.
  • My father-in-law resided in a small hamlet that isn’t on the map of India till date. but he had dreams to make it big in the city of dreams—Mumbai. He came to the city, worked in the day and studies in the night. He gave an examination to join Indian Navy and got selected. He retired few years back as a celebrated officer.
  • My dear school friend got a marriage proposal after college. This proposal came from a prosperous family in a small country; far from India. The proposal was exciting but the thought of starting a new life in a small country was dreadful. But she took up the proposal and is now well settled and leading a much better life than most of us here.

In all of the examples, the people took a certain risk, what we can call the first step to make their life better. What’s in future was not known but there was a direction, faith and perseverance. They had faith in themselves and maybe in their God.

I suggest to all those who are still waiting and thinking for the right time, take the first step. This is the time—right now.