PUT YOUR EXCUSES ON HOLD

The cage is fictional, there is none , we create our imaginary cage .

The day I understood this I experienced freedom.

When you put your excuses on hold the other side is joy.

In school and then college I was always on the stage participating in elocutions and debates.

I loved the stage and the audience in front of me.

When I would be on stage I would be in a zone.

I loved to communicate ideas , enrol and inspire audiences.

I could get those around me find their expression and express more fully.

But then life happened. I put myself on hold.

There were more important things to do.

“I will do it some other day in the future” I said “when the kids are grown up , when I have enough money in the bank , when I am well settled.”

I kept postponing my dreams to the future.

Then I turned 50 and it occurred to me I have finite time.

One day I made a bucket list and I jumped head on.

I wanted to sing , I went ahead and recorded my first song in a studio. It’s there on YouTube.

My first song recorded in studio

I bought myself a professional home studio equipment , now I sing whenever I feel like.

I wanted to cycle . I was warned it is risky and this is not my age .

I went ahead and bought a cycle , I invested in the best I could.

I am now a cyclist, I cycle every day , weekends is for long distance.

When I cycle , it’s just me and the wind on my face , I can feel the freedom.

I wanted to see the stars I went ahead and bought a professional telescope.

That experience of watching the planets was surreal.

Felt the vastness and being one with existence , limitless.

I wanted to write a fiction story book . I did that and self published it . It’s on Amazon .

I got my first royalty check , felt good.

I wanted to teach non profits the art of fundraising with storytelling.

I travelled to five cities and over 500 non profits in India attended my workshops !

I always wanted to start my business.

I kept postponing afraid of the unknown.

I finally jumped in at 55 !

It is profitable and growing.

But more importantly I am doing what I always loved to do , helping individuals , businesses and causes express themselves fully . Live their potential.

I wanted to tell stories of good through films . I had no experience, no team and zero budgets.

One fine day I just decided I will do it . And that too during peak lockdown !

In a few months we have made over 10 short documentary films .

Launched the YouTube channel’Heroes of India’.

We now release two films a month.

I wanted to camp next to a waterfall overnight in heavy rains.

Camping next to a waterfall

I did that , the sound of the water splashing against the rocks and tapping of raindrops was out of the world experience.

From a typical corporate formal life , no fun wardrobe and look , I decided to just be myself.

A small step but one more step in the direction of freedom.

I love being myself

When I stopped my excuses , I truly found my joy.

Have to do it for pay check was an excuse.

Have responsibilities was an excuse.

What will others think was an excuse.

I cannot do it was an excuse.

I am not capable was an excuse.

I will do it sometime in the future was an excuse.

Excuses kept me safe in my comfort zones.

We have reasons , many excuses, why we postpone life.

We make up by trying to live on the weekends.

We trade our joy with a cage.

Sometimes the cage is golden. Yet is after all a cage.

When I look deeply there was no cage , it is all our own creation.

Now I have stopped all excuses , I have started living every day , every moment.

I have no regrets as every step of the journey has been a learning experience.

I refuse to die with my song in my heart.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

P.S – Passion project is a message, life is finite , don’t die with your song in your heart

SHOWING UP IS ALL YOU NEED !

I started cycling at the age of 50 . It was on my bucket list of things to do . It was not about getting fit or any of those reasons, it was just about reliving my childhood memories of cycling.

I remember the fun I had purchasing all the accessories and cycling gear. I started cycling a few kilometres on weekends.

I tied in another habit , going to Starbucks after cycling. Now that was the reward . So I would get dressed up every morning , start to cycle and feel the anticipation of being at Starbucks to have my favourite coffee.

Then I challenged myself with a tougher habit , to do long distance cycling starting with 25 km. The cycle I had was basic and would not help so I invested in a good cycle. And I started doing long distance cycling.

Now I was having fun , I loved the wind on my face , the feeling of freedom, the me time and to end the experience was a visit to Starbucks.

Today in the morning as winter has set in Mumbai ,it was chilly , tucked away under the blankets , I felt the desire to sleep a bit longer . But instead I just pulled myself up , put on the cycling dress and helmet and I got on my cycle.

The most important secret I understood of sustaining my cycling journey has not been MOTIVATION but SHOWING UP .

It is important to Show up , if I don’t show up I cannot begin. For me that is as simple as putting my cycling dress on . I have to wear my cycling clothes and the helmet and it pushes me to do the next thing , get on the cycle.

Once I am on my cycle, I have to cycle and then the next thing comes up , getting to Starbucks. That’s my reward .

Showing up and Reward are two things that keep me going and have helped me build my cycling habit .

And showing up is not about motivation , it’s about making a simple obvious process. I keep my cycling dress ready so I find it easily as I get up .

As I look at my another habit of learning guitar , I have just not progressed. I invested in a good guitar with the intention of learning to sing along with the guitar, but it’s not happened.

I realised I have put away my guitar in the closet and there is no reward that I have associated with the action .

Also my expectations are big , I want to start singing and play the guitar along and that looks difficult . Learning the chords and the strumming looks like a big effort.

For cycling I just begin with the simple idea of getting to Starbucks which is 5 kms away from my home , in the process many days I do 15 kms . So action step is simple.

The learning from my cycling habit which I have sustained is

1. For any new habit to form make it easy to take the first step . Putting on my cycling dress and helmet in the morning is the first step , I keep all cycling accessories within reach and visible.

2. Make a easy to take daily action . If you are trying to form the habit of reading books you can start with subscription to blinks which condenses books into short reads and then read one blink a day . For me it is just cycle 5 kms to get to Starbucks. ( and I also subscribe to blinks) .

3. Reward . For me Starbucks coffee is a reward ( I am trying to replace this )

4. Identity. I post pictures of my cycling journeys of social media and this has helped me build an identity as a cyclist. Don’t underestimate the power of identity for habit to become long term way of life.

I was not even aware of how I shifted my identity as a cyclist till I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. I highly recommend reading this book .

As James says in this book , It is not about just Inspiration it is also about a system you put in place to make it happen.

It is not just about having passion but taking small action steps every day to live your passion . It is not the Destination but the journey that matters .

Like it is for me writing this blog now .

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject