The ‘too short’ song

Every time I wish to connect with my ‘roots’ (i.e. Tamil music) where popular music is concerned, I always start with this song..

If you ask me what the meaning of the song is, I would tell you very plainly that I have no clue. I just find it beautiful. I haven’t cared to watch or interpret the video.
What is also amazing is that this song is only 1 minute and 47 songs long. That’s a good 1 min shorter than the average song. And every time I listen to it, I wonder why the song wasn’t longer. Wouldn’t it have been better?
When I did this routine of listening->enjoying->complaining about it being too short, I thought of all the songs that make me wonder why they didn’t make it shorter! And I realized that the makers of the song were extremely smart. They created a beautiful piece that left you wanting for more..
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we were the kind of people that always left people wishing they spent more time with us? Or if we provided services that left people wondering why we didn’t do more?

Alcohol, Full sleeve shirts and Gyms

We live in a western dominated world. Of course, many opine that is changing (fast) but my limited exposure to history says that it will be a good few decades before we shift our allegiance from forks and spoons to chopsticks.

Now, it is in our nature to question. Atleast, it is the nature of the kid within us that always exists – he/she just needs some awakening. And the kid within began to wonder about the 3 topics in the title and realized that they all exist in Asia (atleast) as legacy of western domination – in my humble opinion atleast. So, here we go..

1. Alcohol: Background first. Having studied in an Asian university, I was always told (implicitly) that alcohol was ‘cool’. ‘Getting drunk’/’Getting sloshed’ in a party was often the ‘in’ thing to do. Now, I am never one to deny myself an experience. So, I did just that. But, after one experience, I felt no need to do so again. And I must state here that I have nothing in principle against alcohol but I just don’t buy into the concept. Exercising my right to choose, I guess.

A couple of months in the UK have made me appreciate the popularity of the concept though. It does make sense in cold weather as alcohol (gin etc) does help keep our body warm. I was told ages ago that that was the reason the Indian army was given access to low cost alcohol as most of their assignments were in the frigid regions in the Himalayas.

But, in warm Singapore? A drunk population does tend to worry me. (Cue: Britain..) Of late, Singapore as well thanks to a paucity of recreation on weekends. But atleast, now I know the reason. So, the kid within is at peace on this (for now)..

2. Full sleeve shirts (and suits): Another concept that was lost on me. And another concept I appreciated post my months in the UK. Cold weather = more layers.

This might seem obvious to many but it wasn’t for me while I wore formals for years at a stretch in humid Singapore. In this case, I have nothing against full sleeve shirts and suits. If anything, I fully support the idea. I spent 3 out of 4 years in university in precisely these clothes and believe they are akin to military uniform – they make us feel good and trusted.

But, I do wonder what we would be wearing had we been living in an Asian dominated world..
3. Gyms: The only time a gym worked out for me was when a whole bunch of friends got together post high school to ‘work on our muscles’. And this was a riot – with all of us comparing our ‘huge’ muscles few days into our 2 month stint.
Otherwise, they never really worked. I much preferred football/tennis for the social factors. Moreover, I thought – if I really wanted to run about, stretch etc, why would I do it indoors? Much rather do it outside early in the morning. (‘Early in the morning’ was hypothetical of course till today..)
This morning, as I was busy with my exercise, I just thought how I would manage the same routine in sure-to-be-cold London and bam! Now, I understood the reason for gyms. Cold weather. Of course!
2 things came out of the exercise for me –
1. Change in scenery: A change in scenery can teach you a LOT. Often, much more than you realize when you experience the change. I’ve only spent a couple of months in cold weather (the 4 previous months in the middle east don’t count weather-wise.. haha) but they’re helping piece through a few puzzles in my head.
2. Persistence: Persistence counts when we’re wondering about stuff as well. Gradually, we get to understand why things work the way they do. I believe there is tremendous value in that – just understanding the nature of things.

Going to be a great week

Did you ask why?
(even if you didn’t, I’m going to ramble on anyway. Fringe benefits of being a blogger.. haha)
Here’s why. The preparation has been immaculate. A good weekend that meant having fun, spending time socially on Saturday followed by focus on some important priorities, planning the week early thanks to the big challenge, clearing away lots of minutia, sending some thinking through things that need to be done.
Other challenge items were switching off from work for 24 hours and making a ‘stop doing’ list. :)
Also, just getting little things ready for tomorrow morning so I won’t have to labor always make a big difference. (Akin to parking the car such that we can just drive straight out!). And I guess, most importantly, having finished early, I am all set for a nice movie to relax and get into bed early for my 5AM routine!
Big week coming up. But thanks to the prep, I’m optimistic it will be a good big week.
And so, I’m hoping you are spending some time this weekend to ensure the week starting tomorrow (yes, it IS monday tomorrow for the ones in denial :)) will be a great one!
All the best. Stay inspired. And have a great week!

On Structure and Creativity

Simplicity, as a concept, is ever so powerful. Just ask the players of Manchester United who got ripped apart yesterday by Barcelona’s consistent ‘simple’ passing game.

Inspired by that, for today’s learning, I am going to leave you with a very simple idea.

Let’s take a minute to study the picture below. It is one of a regular road. And we, of course, use the road to take us from place to place.
Now, there is of course that line right in the middle of the road that separates vehicles traveling in opposite directions.

What would travel (and life) be, without that line?

Can you picture the kind of chaos the absence of this simple line would cause?

There is a myth that structure kills creativity.

What is often forgotten that without structure, there would be no creativity. It would be like a painting without a canvas with no defined boundaries. Or an endless football match (with no creative last minute goals!).

Structure, in our lives, gives us the room to experiment and be creative. It is the simple routines (eat, sleep, play) in our lives that enable us to free up vital space in heads so we can be creative in what we do..

Always the simple things – Learning from Barcelona

I watched devastated as Barcelona football club ripped Manchester United apart in the Champions league final. And funnily enough, all they did was pass the ball. Simple. Fundamental. Used to devastating effect.
We have 5 simple principles for life –
1. Sleep 8 hours
2. Eat good food at regular intervals
3. Drink lots of water
4. Read, have interesting conversations – stimulate the brain
5. Exercise regularly
How many of us manage it?
Our happiness in life is determined by our attitude. And the best way to keep our attitude up is by doing these simple things..
If we ever plan to be the equivalent of Barcelona, we have GOT to nail the simple things.
Fair play to Barcelona – Best Team in the World.. with the Best Player in the World.

But United will be back.. it’s only a matter of time. :)

The Joy of a Blip

Blips are generally not very welcome. They break momentum, they come up unexpected and can generally be a pain as they, more often than not, tend to mess up plans. And of course, stumbling and falling is not necessarily a fun experience..
Not when you have a learning blog though. A blip is a wonderful current learning opportunity waiting to be shared, where I am concerned. Over the years, I have developed a 60-100 ideas long blog-roll (i.e. ideas waiting to be blogged about) but there’s nothing like a current blip to learn from.
Anyway, the blip was in my new attempt at a 5AM routine. I was at the end of my tether after a 16 hour 14+ hour workday yesterday (literally at the end of the tether – grumpy, irritable etc) and I had my Mom here on a short trip. Big decision – do I go to sleep? or stay awake and break the routine? There’s no way I could do both.
It went back to a question about values and I chose Family and Health over Integrity (I was breaking a commitment to myself, after all!). And ended up taking lots of rest. And as if it was a sign, I received the following forward from Mom today (Source: Philosopher’s Notes) –


It’s easy to commit to something—whether it’s losing weight, no longer yelling at the kids (or spouse or colleagues or all of the above), creating that business, writing the screenplay, whatever.

It’s an entirely different thing to actually honor that commitment—especially when you’re all up in your stuff and you don’t feel like it and that whiny little gremlin in your head has taken over the airwaves. (Hate when that happens.)

To actually rock it?

Step 1: Commitment.

Step 2: Re-commitment.

Step 3: Re-commitment.

Step 4: Re-commitment.

Step 5: You get the idea.

How ’bout you? Need to re-commit to something?’

Apt. Time to recommit and take a shot on Monday!

How to be a less annoying person

Let’s face it. We all are annoying – in our own sweet way. Those who are close to us, bear the brunt of our annoying little tendencies. (especially those who live with us)
I, for one, have many many annoying traits – one example: I would go CRAZY if I didn’t have a table to work out of (and I did drive my house mates crazy about this issue – just ask them, they are probably scarred)
Now, I was annoyed the other day by some behavior. So, I felt that this requires a bit of a change in perspective. As a result, along with updating my ‘Bucket List‘, I also made my annoyance list.
Step 1 to being a less annoying person: Make your annoyance list.
My 10 top annoyances are (whether people are concerned) –
1. When I am not given space to do my stuff (No, don’t stick too close for too long. I can bite! :))
2. When I am constantly being warned about obstacles/other cars when I drive!
3. When I feel patronized (especially, hierarchically)
4. When I am made to feel ‘uncool’ (let’s face it.. we all like to be cool, by our own definitions atleast)
5. When I am constantly reminded of the things I cannot do (this one is universal, I guess)
6. When someone around me HAS to prove that they, and only they, had the ultimate experience!
7. When I am left out of a conversation or group..
8. When someone stops my telling a story excitedly to point out something I do wrong (I do this a LOT!)
9. When someone influences others by doing it behind my back (this drives me crazy)
10. When someone doesn’t return my ‘hi’ or ‘hug’ with equal enthusiasm.
Step 2 to being a less annoying person: Stop doing the above!
If I have to be true to myself, I am guilty of 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10. And I think the first step would be to stop doing the things that annoy me before I expect others not to do them to me.
So, here goes..