Posted in Life Gyan

The 99 Club

Once upon a time, there lived a King who, despite his luxurious lifestyle, was not happy at all. One day, the King came upon a servant who was singing happily while he worked. This fascinated the King; Why was he, the Supreme Ruler of the Land, unhappy and gloomy, while a lowly servant had so much joy?

The King asked the servant, ‘Why are you so happy?’
The man replied, ‘Your Majesty, I am nothing but a servant. My family and I don’t need too much – just a roof over our heads and warm food to fill our tummies and your blessings.’

The king sought the advice of his most trusted advisor. After hearing the story, the advisor said, ‘Your Majesty, the servant has not yet joined “The 99 Club”.’
‘The 99 Club? And what is that?’ the King inquired.
The advisor replied, ‘To truly know what The 99 Club is, just place 99 Gold coins in a bag and leave it at this servant’s doorstep.’

When the servant saw the bag, he let out a great shout of joy…so many gold coins. He began to count them. After several counts, he was at last convinced that there were only 99 coins. He wondered, ‘What could’ve happened to that last gold coin? Surely, no one would leave 99 coins!’

He looked everywhere, but that final coin was elusive. Finally he decided that he was going to work harder than ever to earn that 100th gold coin.
From that day, the servant was a changed man. He was overworked, grumpy, and blamed his family for not helping him make that 100th gold coin. And he had stopped singing while he worked.

Witnessing this drastic transformation, the King was puzzled. The advisor said, ‘Your Majesty, the servant has now officially joined The 99 Club.’
He continued, ‘The 99 Club is a name given to those people who have enough to be happy but are never content, because they’re always wanting that extra 1, saying to themselves: “Let me get that one final thing and then I will be happy for life.”

We can be happy with very little in our lives, but the minute we’re given something bigger and better, we want more…and even more! We lose our sleep, our happiness, as the price for our growing needs and desires.
That’s “The 99 Club“…Zero Membership fee to enter, but you pay for it with your entire life !!!

Posted in Leadership

If . . .

“If—” is a poem by British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written in 1895. He wrote a number of children stories. The all time favourite “Jungle Book” was also written by Rudyard Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you      
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,    
But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,    
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,    
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: 
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster    
And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken    
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,    
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings    
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings    
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew    
To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you    
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,      
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,    
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute    
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,      
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Posted in Life Gyan

Play To Your Strengths

You might have heard “Play to your strengths” pretty often – from self-help books to various motivational speeches to the pep talk given by senior leadership. In fact the phrase has been overused so much that we actually ignore the importance it carries. My humble attempt via this post is to help you understand what it really means and how to actually leverage it for your own success.

Most often we take our strengths for granted and lay a great emphasis on improving our weak areas. While it is not incorrect to try and improve the weak areas however by focusing only on the areas of improvement you are playing on back foot. This also lowers your confidence and puts you on a trajectory where you are feeding a lot of negatives to your mind. 

Instead what one should actually do is to focus on your strengths – understand them and leverage them to the best possible extent. By focusing on your strengths you are focusing on positivity and it directly boosts your self-confidence. When you operate from a strength mindset, it is more easier to take steps to overcome your weak areas too. 

So do spend some time and identify your strength areas – get help from friends or mentors or take some of the personality tests to identify them. Once you know them, dwell on them and learn to use them for your success.

Posted in Life Gyan

Practice These for 30 Days for Self-Transformation

  • Detoxify your speech. Reduce the use of negative  words. Be polite.
  • Read everyday. Doesn’t matter what. Choose whatever interests you.
  • Promise yourself that you will never talk rudely to your parents. They never deserve it.
  • Observe people around you. Imbibe their good virtues.
  • Spend some time with nature everyday.
  • No ego. No ego. No ego. Just learn, learn and learn.
  • Do not hesitate to clarify a doubt. “He who asks a question remains fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever”.
  • Whatever you do, do it with full involvement. That’s meditation.
  • Keep distance from people who give you negative vibes but never hold grudges.
  • Stop comparing yourself with others. If you won’t stop, you will never know your own potential.
  • The biggest failure in life is the failure to try. Always remember this.
  • “I cried as I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”. Never complain.
  • Plan your day. It will take a few minutes but will save your days.
  • Everyday, for a few minutes, sit in silence. I mean sit with yourself. Just yourself. Magic will flow.
  • In a healthy body resides a healthy mind. Do not litter it with junk.
  • Keep your body hydrated at all times. Practice drinking 8–10 glasses of water.
  • Make a habit to eat at least one serving of raw vegetable salad on a daily basis.
  • Take care of your health. He who has health has hope and he who has hope has everything.
  • Life is short. Life is simple. Do not complicate it. And don’t forget to smile…

Read these often for affirmation and for reminding yourself of your commitment towards self-transformation.

Posted in Life Gyan

212º – The Extra Degree

Here is an inspiring excerpt from the new eBook by Sam Parker – 212º The Extra Degree, which will give you a new perspective and motivate you to go that extra mile and make the difference in the various walks of your life. It is an inspiring book with a singular focus on the essential life fundamental of effort – the primary fundamental that feeds all others.

At 211 degrees, water is hot.
At 212 degrees, it boils.
And with boiling water, comes steam.And with steam, you can power a train.
One degree. Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine – a beautifully uncomplicated metaphor that ideally should feed our every endeavour – consistently pushing us to make the extra effort in every task and action we undertake.

Two-twelve serves as a forceful drill sergeant with its motivating and focused message while adhering to a scientific law – a natural law. It reminds us that seemingly small things can make tremendous differences. So simple is the analogy that you can stop reading right now, walk away with the opening thought firmly planted in your mind and benefit from it for the rest of your life. That’s the goal of 212 – to help you internally define and take ownership of the most fundamental principle behind achieving life results beyond your expectations – a simple idea with a singular focus – an actionable focus. Two-twelve.

It’s this dramatic – three numbers joined together to form one, crystallising a message that absolutely assures life-altering positive results for those who choose to apply it. Why do we enter into any activity with anything but a commitment to achieve our objective – not a desire to achieve our objective, but a commitment?

Emerson said, “All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second, a third, and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first.”

Vince Lombardi tightened it up with, “Inches make champions.”

212 distills it even further: Often in life we miss the opportunity to do more and create better results because we are not aware of the possibilities that could occur if we applied a small amount of effort beyond what we normally do. For instance, consider the impact of making an extra contact each day at work: a sales call, a customer follow up, a brief discussion with a colleague, an encouraging talk with a member of your team. With contact comes opportunity. At the end of a year you’ll have opened more than 200 additional doors of possibility.

On the personal side, imagine the exponentially positive results of investing an additional 15 minutes of quality time each day with your children or spouse – an equivalent of more than two weeks each year at work. Fortunately, because you’re reading this, you’re now aware of 212º the extra degree. No longer will you be able to do only what is required of you and only what is expected of you. Because with awareness comes responsibility – to yourself and to others.

You are now aware.
The excitement has begun.
Are you smiling yet?
212: a new target for everything you do. . .

Posted in Financial Gyan

Easy Steps to Create a Goal Based Investing Portfolio

After having learned about “Goals Based Investing” and its benefits, today we are going to learn the simple steps to create a goals based portfolio. There are no pre-requisites to this exercise. All you need is willingness to explore this investment philosophy and evaluate the benefits vs your current approach and then decide for yourself.
Obviously, you will have a few questions around this concept and we will address them as we proceed. If you still have queries, please feel free to post it in the comments, I will try to address them. The first possible question that may come to your mind may be “What about my existing investments? Do I have to start afresh?” You do not have to start afresh. Once you are clear about your financial goals, you should be able to align the existing investments to some of your goals. So let’s get started by first taking a look at the many benefits of this approach –

  • Goal based investing is an investment framework which helps you align your existing as well as new investments to your financial or life goals.
  • It helps you diversify your investments as it helps you understand the right type of investment for each goal.
  • It ensures that you are aligning your investments as per your priority
  • It helps you avoid impulsive financial decisions so that you do not have to regret later

Let’s get started.

Step 1 : List Your Financial Goals

Create a list of all your financial / life goals such as buying a house, kids education, dream vacation etc etc. Against each financial goal mention the approximate amount you think you will need and the time period in which you want to accomplish them.

In the first pass don’t be bothered of being too accurate with the years or the amount required, ballpark numbers will do to get started. However it is important to capture all the goals.

For instance you may need INR 20 lakhs as down payment for buying your own home in the next two years. Or you may need 1 Crore for your retirement after 30 years. Or you may need 5 lakhs for your vacation abroad or or 3 lakhs for the downpayment of your new car next year. 

Financial GoalAmount RequiredBy When
Down payment for New House 20 Lakhs May 2021
Retirement Corpus1 Crore Dec 2049
Singapore Family Vacation5 Lakhs Jun 2020
Down payment for New Car3 Lakhs Jan 2020

Step 2 : Prioritize Your Goals

Once you have created the list, take a close and thoughtful look at it. Decide which financial goals are the most important. And which ones are more important than the others. Start numbering them in the order of priority. It is natural to have conflicting goals and you may have to make some uncomfortable choices. 

For example goals like your kids education or saving for your own retirement are non-negotiable. While there may be others which are essential for financial security like having an emergency fund equivalent to at least 6-9 months of your current monthly income. And then there are those discretionary ones like buying a new car or vacation abroad which you can prioritise depending on your flow of income.

Step 3 : Decide on the Investible Surplus

Now you know WHAT your financial goals are. Let’s look at HOW to achieve them.
Based on your current income and expense, think about an amount that you are willing to put aside each month towards these goals. This is the amount you have surplus after meeting your daily/weekly/monthly expenses. Do include the amount you are currently investing in SIPs or RDs. Let’s write it down as we are going to be using this in our next steps. In the first pass write down a number that you are comfortable with. In subsequent reviews you can revise this number depending on the availability of funds.

Step 4 : Map the Investible Surplus to the Goals

Let’s assume you have committed to invest INR 50k every month.  This amount needs to be divided among the various goals depending on their priority and time horizon. So first you have to calculate the monthly investment required to achieve each goal.

Financial GoalAmount
By WhenMonthsMonthly Investment
Required for Goal
Down payment for New House 20 Lakhs May 20212483333
Retirement Corpus1 Crore Dec 204936827174
Singapore Family Vacation5 Lakhs Jun 20201435714
Down payment for New Car3 Lakhs Jan 2020837500

Once you do this exercise it is quite possible that the investible surplus you have decided may not be enough to fund all your goals adequately. This means you will have to review your goals once again. By review I mean, you may have to either revise the amount required or the timeline of the goal or increase the monthly investment. Based on your priorities you may have to go through a few iterations to arrive at an acceptable balance.

Step 5 : Understand Your Risk Appetite

At this stage you are equipped with the knowledge of which goals are you chasing and how much you are willing to invest towards each of them. Now we need to decide WHERE are we going to invest this amount. For this we first need to evaluate your risk appetite for the short, medium and long term.

Simply put, risk appetite means how much money are you willing to lose on an investment. It can vary for different individuals based on their current financial situation, age and confidence level. Also there is no good or bad or one size fits all approach. Each person’s situation is unique. Look at the table below and calibrate your own risk appetite.

Sometimes your risk appetite may vary according to the time period. You may be willing to take higher risk in the short term and invest in stocks/equity directly where you feel more confident of being able to absorb the downside (if any). However you may want to stick to safer investment options for your long term goals or vice versa. 

Step 6 : Decide the Investment Type for Each Goal

There are a plethora of Investment Options available now-a-days but to keep this discussion meaningful I will restrict the discussion to the few tried and tested ones viz. Mutual Funds, ELSS, Stocks, NPS, PPF, NSC etc. One you understand your risk appetite and depending on the amount you have for investment you could try investing into Bitcoin, F & O, Commodities, Real Estate, Art and what not.

To start with, take a look at your existing investments and map them to some of your goals. For example if you have recently started a PPF account, you could map it to partially fund a goal which has a time horizon of 15 or more years. Similarly, you could map the corpus of your PF and the amount invested in NPS to your retirement goal and so on.

Now look at the goals that need to be funded. Depending on the time horizon, risk appetite and amount required you could invest in MF, Equity, ELSS or a Debt/Liquid fund. After deciding on the type of investment, note down the monthly amount you are committing to invest towards that goal. If you are investing in Mutual Funds, then SIP is the best way to fund your goals on a month-on-month basis without having to go thru the hassle of manual intervention.

Obviously, managing your wealth is not a one time activity. To ensure that your money continues to earn and grow, you will have to periodically review your portfolio and tweak it if required to meet the changing needs, disposable income and other factors. You may have to do a couple of iterations of your Goal Based Portfolio to make sure that you have reviewed it thoroughly and are ready to implement it. Feel free to share your comments and/or questions and I will try to answer them.

Posted in Life Gyan

Implement Your Ideas, Don’t Just Sit on Them!

A lot of people have bright ideas…and even world changing ideas !
What do most people do with these ideas?

  • They discuss those ideas with friends and colleagues
  • Feel proud of themselves to have thought a really good one
  • Ponder about it some more and smile in satisfaction
  • Wish someone can implement this idea

Beyond that they do not do anything. They give plenty of excuses to themselves as to why they cannot implement even if it is a great idea. A couple of years later or may be even sooner, they see a business venture or start-up being run on the same or similar idea and once again they say to their friends – I thought of that 2 years ago!

“People do not lack good ideas
They lack confidence
To believe in their own ideas
And the courage
To take a stand…”

If you have a good idea, add a little bit of conviction and effort to it and genuinely try to implement it. If you cannot go all out try to do it at a small scale. But do something and make the world a better place.

Every drop adds up to fill the ocean.

Don’t just sit on your idea. Do something.

Watch the below video which shows how small actions can also impact in a big way.

Posted in Life Gyan

10 Daily Habits of Exceptionally Happy People

If you get decent value from making to-do lists, you’ll get huge returns
— in productivity, in improved relationships, and in your personal well-being — from adding these items to your not to-do list: Every day, make these commitments to yourself. I promise your day – and your life – will go a little better.

“I will not blame other people – for anything.”

Employees make mistakes. Vendors don’t deliver on time. Potential customers never sign. You blame them for your problems.But you are also to blame. Maybe you didn’t provide enough training, build in enough of a buffer, or asked for too much too soon. Take responsibility when things go wrong instead of blaming others – then you focus on doing things better or smarter next time. And when you get better or smarter, you also get happier.

“I will not check my phone while I’m talking to someone.”

You’ve looked away. You’ve done the, “Wait, let me answer this text…” thing. Maybe you didn’t even say, “Wait.” You just stopped talking, stopped paying attention, and did it. Want to be that person everyone loves because they make you feel, when they’re talking to you, like you’re the most important person in the world? Stop checking your phone. Other people will feel better about you – and you’ll feel better about yourself.

“I will not multitask during a meeting.”

The easiest way to be the smartest person in the room is to be the person who pays the most attention to the room. You’ll be amazed by what you can learn, both about the topic of the meeting and about the people in the meeting if you stop multitasking and start paying close attention. You’ll flush out and understand hidden agendas, you’ll spot opportunities to build bridges, and you’ll find ways to make yourself indispensable to the people who matter.

“I will not interrupt.”

Interrupting isn’t just rude. When you interrupt someone what you’re really saying is, “I’m not listening to you so I can understand what you’re saying; I’m listening to you so I can decide what I want to say.” Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. Focus on what they say. Ask questions to make sure you understand what they say. They’ll love you for it — and you’ll love how that makes you feel.

“I will not waste time on people who make no difference in my life.”

Trust me: The inhabitants of planet TMZ are doing fine without you. But your family, your friends, your employees – all the people that really matter to you – are not. Give them your time and attention. They’re the ones who deserve it.

“I will not be distracted by multiple notifications.”

You don’t need to know the instant you get an email or text or tweet or like. If something is important enough for you to do, it’s important enough for you to do without interruptions. Focus totally on what you’re doing. Then, on a schedule you set — instead of a schedule you let everyone else set — play prairie dog and pop your head up to see what’s happening. Focusing on what you are doing is a lot more important than focusing on other people might be doing.

“I will not whine.”

Your words have power, especially over you. Whining about your problems makes you feel worse, not better. If something is wrong, don’t waste time complaining. Put that effort into making the situation better. Unless you want to whine about it forever, eventually you’ll have to do that. So why waste time? Fix it now. Don’t talk about what’s wrong. Talk about how you’ll make things better, even if that conversation is only with yourself.

“I will not let the past control my future.”

Mistakes are valuable. Learn from them. Then let them go. Easier said than done? It all depends on your perspective. When something goes wrong, turn it into an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know – especially about yourself. When something goes wrong for someone else, turn it into an opportunity to be gracious, forgiving, and understanding. The past is just training. The past should definitely inform but in no way define you – unless you let it.

“I will not wait until I’m convinced I will succeed.”

You can never feel sure you will succeed at something new, but you can always feel sure you are committed to giving something your best. And you can always feel sure you will try again if you fail. Stop waiting. You have a lot less to lose than you think, and everything to gain.

“I will not talk behind another person’s back.”

If only because being the focus of gossip sucks. (And so do the people who gossip.) If you’ve talked to more than one person about something Joe is doing, wouldn’t everyone be better off if you stepped up and actually talked to Joe about it? And if it’s “not your place” to talk to Joe, it’s probably not your place to talk about Joe. Spend your time on productive conversations. You’ll get a lot more done – and you’ll gain a lot more respect.

“I will not say yes when I really mean no.”

Refusing a request from colleagues, customers, or even friends is really hard. But rarely does saying no, go as badly as you expect. Most people will understand, and if they don’t, should you care too much about what they think? When you say no, at least you’ll only feel bad for a few moments. When you say yes to something you really don’t want to do you might feel bad for a long time — or at least as long as it takes you to do what you didn’t want to do in the first place.

“I will not be afraid.”

We’re all afraid: of what might or might not happen, what we can’t change, what we won’t be able to do, or how other people might perceive us. So it’s easier to hesitate… and think a little longer, do more research, or explore more alternatives. Meanwhile days, weeks, months, and even years pass us by. And so do our dreams.

Whatever you’ve been planning or imagining or dreaming of, get started today. Put your fears aside. Do something. Do anything. Once tomorrow comes, today is lost forever. Today is the most precious asset you own — and is the one thing you should truly fear wasting.

Posted in Life Gyan

How to Find “What I Really Want?”

If you haven’t read the first part of this post “What Do We Want From Life?” I would recommend you go through it first before reading this post any further. 

Finding what you want from life is a very personal journey which will require a lot of honesty and a little bit of courage to accept yourself the way you really are and the  involvement of your heart and mind – all at the same time. Once you pose the question (What do I want from my life?) to yourself with the serious intent of finding the answer, your mind (both conscious and sub-conscious) will get engaged. 

Our mind is a big storehouse of all our desires, emotions, things that our parents, friends, family members, teachers etc may have told us over the years. All these hidden emotions below the surface keep playing with our mind when we want to take any decision. And you will notice that at time we experience a lot of chatter in the mind pulling us into different directions. That is because of lack of clarity of what we want.

At the outset, the mind will start giving you many options of what you want from life. These options may be based on what others may have told you or expect from you. So how to find out if the options that your mind is throwing at you are the real answers? There may be different ways to ascertain that but the one that works for most is writing down the answer and then writing down the “Why?” – the reasons why you want it? Just keep writing all the big and small reasons that come to your mind till you have emptied all your thoughts about this answer. 

Repeat this process with the other answers that come to your mind. 
This may not happen in one sitting. The time taken will vary from one person to another depending on your desire, the fire in your belly to really uncover the answer. But the key is to remain persistent and determined to take it to conclusion. And I assure you it will be worth the effort. And remember the journey is as important as the destination as that is where the transformation is actually happening.

Review the answers you have written and the reasons – some of them will start resonating with you while you will be able to discard the others. It is ok to filter out more than one answer to “what you want from life” as you may want to express yourself, your talents in multiple fields. For example, on one hand you may want to be successful in your career and on the other hand you may want to do something meaningful for the under-privileged. On one side you may strive to be the best parent and at the same time you may want to give wings to your own creative pursuits. I have come across many talented people who are achievers in more than one field in life. 

Eventually by this process of looking at the various desires and options and reviewing them by being true to your own self, you will arrive at the answers in a few iterations.