Live and Express

Live and Express


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The undistracted time!

Recently I was having concentration problems. Unable to focus, unable to get anything done, too much to crunch…I was questioning myself ‘What’s going on! Where’s the guy who focuses on one thing at a time and does a great job?’

I guess everybody these days are going through this because of (1) options, (2) exposure, (3) information and (4) social media. In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about how to handle information overload from social media by using streams facility offered by social media management tools.

This is really a very ‘disruptive’ society (no pun intended) that we live in, with loads to learn, and keep ourselves updated. One thing I figured is that there are multiple players in the same product space trying to compete to get your attention and get you to buy their product, and in that process, confuse you totally that you become numb and won’t take any action.

This trend has psychological effects too. I wrote about the effect of endless browsing in the social media platforms before. These kind of browsing makes you just depressed. Now researchers are asking not to just browse, and more specifically NOT to multitask, and focus on a single task at a time! I am just reminded about the number of browser tags that have open in my browser!

The issue has become so serious that there have been books written of late on how to stay focused! One of such books, whose Amazon summary I really liked is ‘Deep work’ by Cal Newport. I think this book nails the issue, and probably provides the apt solutions for handling the issue.  I just came across the book, when I was looking for books for success!

Well, that’s it for now. I hope the information is helpful to you. Let’s look forward for productive times and lots of success!

 

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On social media and channelizing the minds

Why social media for me :

It was one of those strenuous days in 2017. I had too much to do in 3 or 4 activities spread across the day.  I like focus, and that’s the way I have been for the past many years. I like channelizing my mind, body and my energies in a task. But then, there are some boring moments when you would like to just get off for a minute or two, wander your body and your mind, and then get back to the task.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al) have been a cure (or a curse on how you see it).  That one of two minutes of wandering of the mind away from the task using social media extended to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and before you know, it had consumed a full 43 minutes!

“Well, that’s not good”, I told myself. I decided to take a mental inventory of HOW the time is spent on social media. I sat down and wrote a diary of all the posts I read, I liked and shared, and just “browsing”.  Though it was just my break time that I spend on social media, I wanted to justify myself on how the time is spent, because it’s my precious breath and life after all, moment after moment, before I die!

My findings!

The notes I saw alarmed me. 89% of the time was just browsing post after post in Facebook and Twitter, without any focus, learning or practicing a skill.  A typical “browse” Facebook session contained a book advertisement from a book club, an advertisement on how to “opt-in” more customers to your blog site, a post in a school group asking whether this school is better or that, a post in a music group with a picture of a guy with a violin, a group post about the latest trend in western cinema, a post in a railway group about that fantastic engine….You get the drift.

A rattling mind and the consequences

If your mind travels this fast with no focus on a specific subject or related thinking, you know where you will get to – nowhere.  It not only puts your brain in an ever-shifting mode, it will strain your brain to no-end resulting in nervousness, a sense of loss, depression, anger and a deprived feeling!  Many studies have also shown the same.

Social media tools for streamlining

Social media tools that help you segregate topics as streams based on hashtags or keywords are helpful. It helps browse through the social media posts and organize your thoughts on one direction, learning a thing or two about a topic and participating in a discussion.  But many of us do not use those tools on a native basis, but login to the social media sites directly.   In this year, I have reminded myself to use these tools instead of logging into social media sites directly, and save myself of the mental stress!  If I ever wanted to take a 2-minute break, that should not be and won’t be on the social media sites, but a short walk, a visit to the restroom, a cup of water and then back to work again.

Not just the break time!

We all know the three things that are required to excel – Learn, Practice, Network.  A typical successful person’s time management has these components.  For all of these, accessing the Internet has become a necessity.  For learning and networking, social media has become important.  We just need be careful that our learning and networking time is used productively, not just during the break time, but during our work time also, and be conscious that our precious time is not wasted in endless, mindless browsing.

So…

I thought I would just share my thoughts on this, which I had been postponing for a while now. I wrote a Facebook post (there you go!) on this sometime back, but not sure how many people it reached, so here I am, writing a blog.  Hopefully it’s useful for you!
Thanks for listening!


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The value of family and life – #India #Population

I write about India Population. And it’s a very unpopular topic.

Sometimes you need the steel heart to read the personal attacks that emanate from people who think that their rights are being violated when asked to consider not to give birth to children.

Here are some of the feedback received from very well known members of the community:

‘You look like you have lived your life well. How can you ask us to not to have babies? I am an unmarried woman in my twenties, and I want to have my family’.

‘Have you ever given birth and raised children?’

The first comment is because they fear the system/government will prohibit having babies.

The second comment is tricky.  If I answer ‘Yes, I have had children’, then they will blast me ‘You advice something for the world, and you do things differently. Hypocrite!’  If I answer ‘No, I have not had children’, then they will blast me ‘See? How will you know the value of having a family? You should never advice!’

Let’s look at it objectively.

The moment your child gets out into the streets of India, they become one in the 2.72 billion people. And the family safety net that you provide is lost.  In the streets, today, people don’t even see each others faces and smile at strangers. They are all driven by their own missions of getting to office and coming back. So, the ‘value’ that you are talking about in your ‘own’ child just vanishes in the society.

More so with these huge numbers of people. As the numbers increase, tolerance to fellow human beings will naturally reduce. All the push-pulls that happen in the public transport, and the politics that happen at the work places will increase as there are more number of people, because, everyone has to take care of their survival.

If you are not objective, and take care of managing the no. of people that this nation can hold (by the way, we are 17.5% of world’s population in 2% of world’s land!), then nature will be cruel.  By nature, I don’t mean just the land, water, air, etc, but also all the life forms including human.

Our nation has been a very tolerant one in general. ‘Please adjust’ has been our mantra. But that will break with a population growth of 1.6% every year, as per the latest reports. People will start being cruel to each other. Like buying illegal software through an IRCTC official and booking 36 tickets at once illegally!

Just take a look around, and see if we really more children. How are we going to educate and give jobs to all these population? What about drinking water, food, space to live? For God’s sake, how about experiencing the pleasantness of life with some space instead of always being jam-packed?

If one really values life and family, they will understand it’s being cruel to everyone to add more. And probably adopt children who have no one to care for.

Someone said ‘There will come a time when the government will start asking to produce babies’. That would be a golden day to live when we are all joyful, and want to make copies of ourselves.

But right now, we are over-crowded and miserable. Let’s stop!


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The collective Karma! #India #Asia #Population

I was walking hurriedly near Jyothi Nivas bus stop in Bangalore, It was almost time for my appointment, and I did my usual fast stroll, which is faster than the average walking speed for a stroll! I was walking on the road, as several vehicles were parked against the footpath, and I was not able to navigate myself to walk in the footpath alone. And then, this gentleman comes along from the footpath, takes 5 steps, walks in front of me, and starts staring at something behind me. I could not stop myself at that speed, so I took his two hands, moved him out of my way, and kept walking. He started yelling at me, but I didn’t care. I kept walking.

Has this ever happened to you? People suddenly coming in your way without giving due thought and consideration that you might bump into them? To be precise ‘StumbleUpon’ into them?

This indeed set of a series of thoughts in me. I usually scan the area around which I walk or drive, and I make sure that I give space to people who are coming into my zone. I either stop, or move away, or do something such that there’s no crash. But sadly, I have observed that many in India do not do that. They stare somewhere, have their own thoughts going in their minds, and walk or drive right royally into me.

So, is this my karma ? I broke my head almost 10 years thinking about this since I moved to Bangalore. Someone close to me always makes fun of me that I attract such people to me unconsciously! But, today, I would and have definitely concluded that it is not MY karma, but the collective karma of India.

Before you start showering obscenities towards me for taking India’s name, let me explain myself!

I think it’s the collective karma of India, in terms of population.

Already absent-minded and the free-flow Indian who does not have the concept of queue or discipline in their blood – if the numbers of those multiply, the StumbleUpon crashes also multiply!

I sometimes wonder that if I had been in New Mexico state of the United States, where in some areas one can’t see human beings for miles together, or probably even in Arizona state of the United States, I would be able to do my fast straight stroll without a problem! And yes, I could have my own thought process going on and jay-walk along till that 24-wheeler truck comes and hits me or scares me off the road with that loud honk!

Yes, it’s the no. of heads, people. Nothing else. India has 17% of world’s population in 2% of world’s land, and what else can you expect from that Koramangala uncle ?

And being quiet, abstaining (ahem, ahem…) or may be adopting would be a good collective karma for India moving forward!

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The #Sunday wandering on #Population awareness! – #IndiBlogger & #AnahataLife

When I was planning this March 23th Sunday a month back, I didn’t expect that I would get two opportunities to talk about population and create awareness among two different sets of interesting audience!

Population, being a topic that has been ignored by many completely – due to so many reasons – deemed unable to do anything about it, or just the stigma to even think about it due to various social, cultural, religious and emotional reasons, it is a matter of personal choice – in India especially. Nevertheless, the need of the hour demands that people be aware of the gloomy picture of what India is facing in terms of resources and living well, and thus it’s worthwhile to share the data in forums where people listen and think about it.

On March 23th afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend a very youthful blogger meet organized by Indiblogger, sponsored by Kotak Mahindra Bank for launching one of the products, and I was so happy that I was part of it, since I got to meet a mostly young crowd of college-goers and young working people.  It was around 100 people in a club setup at The Biere Club, Bangalore, where there was so much opportunity to mingle and talk about areas of blogging interests.

When I introduced myself as a blogger who write about population control, there was a collective gasp in the room, and then the smiles of recognition that this is a topic that is different, and valuable too in a broader perspective. Many were very curious to hear about what I share. Two or three approached me to ask what I write in my blogs, and I said I just share data and rest is upto the individuals to decide what to do about it – to stay single, to get married and not have babies, to get married and adopt instead of generating children, or to have children but volunteer to spread the message and link with organisations which will help create awareness. I said the choices are individual but every one of us should get involved in some way or the other if we really care about India, and waht to do something about how we live well in this country – for which population is a burden.

Some of them were quite surprised to hear that in some central Indian states, people have babies so that their kids can go to work and earn money to support the family. A little extension of the traditional 2 children family in an urban area where the parents expect the children to study well, go to a professional job and support them financially – just that in case of rural, they generate 5 or 6 children so that they all go to wages kind of job and support the family. Either way, the concept is the same!

Then I moved on in the evening to address a totally different kind of audience at the M.G.Road Boulevard, where AnahataLife had organized a series of performances and talks where people from various walks of life come and gather and share their thoughts. This was a closed set of audience from various backgrounds. Here I presented a purely data based view of India population problem. Pure data tend to be boring – but then this was my first attempt to talk pure data. I wanted to get a feel of how people connect to data-based awareness creation. Of course, we all know population is a problem and need be addressed, but, how serious the issue is, and what solutions can we look at to address the issue – was something I wanted to share.  It was received well – atleast put some seeds on people’s minds to think about it.

So, that was indeed a fun-filled and sharing sunday with lots of good food, bloggers, audiences and think-tanks. I can’t ask for anything better! I wish I had these kind of opportunities every week-end so that I can mingle with people and share information and data and brainstorm about solutions to address the issue. And I am sure, over time and connections, it will happen!

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A sand called me

In the sands of time, I am just a speck, an insigficant one at that, compared to the grand schemes of the windmills of God. Oh, now I sound like Sydney Sheldon, but, that’s how it is, in spite of the master plans that my mind try to weave.

This sand has been observing its mind these days, and it noticed that the thoughts (the so-called intellectual leanings) is all just a projection, like a cinema of the impressions of the past, and the fear about the future. It’s fear because no more appropriate word for the games the mind play – for survival. It’s a well played mind, no complaints, its doing it’s work in a very fine fashion.

This sand, though, has its role to play. Sometimes its stagnant, sometimes its constipated, sometimes its bursting with energy, and sometimes its wayward, but, it exists. Just by the existence, its role is defined, not by its action. If this sand is just happy of what it is, that would be ideal. If this sand connects with the other sands and forms a beautiful conglomerate, that would be great. But, that cannot be forced as the way to look at this sand, because it becomes the perception of who looks at it. And that’s not the fair way to judge this sand. It just is.

This sand is expected to run along with others, but this sand is peacefully idle without any consciousness of time. Because this sand does not look at watches, does not draw a salary to be driven by a boss, does not have big goals to be achieved on time. The never-ending, sweet, stream of being – is – this sand. The waves come and go, the people with lemonade and a book come and go, the speedboats pass by – but this sand is still.

This sand could even become a temple, for, if this sand is blissful, if it could radiate its bliss nearby, people can come and sit in its shade – like they do under a tree. The sand need not become a tree, but it could still be like a tree. Like an eternity – no end of bliss, even if the body of this sand dissipates away.


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Spanish !

I got introduced to Spanish in a very funny way. I was on a job break at that time, and I used to play some online games which were popular at that point of time. Through one of the games, I got a few regular acquaintances who were also playing the same game. Then, we became friends and started interacting over social networks. And some of those friends were from the Latin America.

The most frequently used expression by them at that point of time was ‘Donde eres’, and I was not at all tired in repeatedly answering them ‘Vivo India!’, and then to get the exclamation from them in reply ‘Ah !’.

After a few years, I got interested in exploring about Spanish language, and found that it is the second most spoken language in the entire world, next to the first Chinese Mandarin. I was surprised that English is not the first one or two. Or may be it is catching up, but then, as far as Spanish is concerned, it’s spoken in all countries of South America except Brazil (which speaks Portuguese), Mexico, United States of America, the Caribbean nations, Spain and some portions of North Africa.

There’s so much of trade happening between the Spanish speaking world and China. Latin population is getting much influential in United States of America.

Well, folks, isn’t that a good enough motivation to learn a language?

I could have chosen to learn Chinese Mandarin to start with, and even now I can, but Spanish felt sweet and lively to me than Chinese. May be some day, I will learn Chinese Mandarin too! But that’s later.

Hasta La Vista !