THERE IS UNCERTAINTY

What happens outside of us we have no control over that , life changes in a moment just like that.

There was no warning, it had never happened, the world shut down , everything stopped.

A sudden death in the family , major illness , financial loss , job loss , anything can happen any moment.

We seek our lives to be comfortable, pain free , certain and in control.

But life is not in our control, outside circumstances are not in our control.

Resistance to what is does not help . What is has already occurred, now fight as much , cry as much , resist as much the situation has already occurred.

There is no choice to change what is happening outside. None.

There is choice to change what is happening inside , that is the only choice we have.

Life has dealt a difficult card , there is turbulence within , you cannot run away.

Can you find meaning in your pain , it has showed up in your life for a reason.

Can you convert your pain into a purpose ? Can you learn from it .

The scientist did what was never done before in one year we have a vaccine to fight the pandemic.

The world has a deeper opportunity to course correct on the damage we have cause our planet and the balance of life on our world.

Individuals have an opportunity to learn from what happened and pick up the lessons that will make them stronger to face challenges in the future.

Businesses have a lesson to rethink purpose and the way of life and work.

Everything happens for a reason are you ready to learn ?

ALL CREATION HAPPENS OUT OF ABUNDANCE MINDSET

Look at any creator and you will see an abundance mindset . Creation never happens out of scarcity mindset.

Yet what we learn from our childhood is largely driven by fear and scarcity. Only a few kids in a class rank top in a defined curriculum so we are taught to compete . What is missed is that each child is different, each has a unique gift . We try to box the definition of success , only a few can succeed and most are doomed to live an average life is what we are told and what we also see.

Competition : if the resources are limited or only a few can reach the top then competition is a natural behaviour that is driven into children . We are constantly reminded that only the fittest survive and that it is a dog eat dog world out there. This implies that most have to either fail or live an average life and only a few can succeed. Every magazine puts the pictures of the top 50 most successful people in the field , what happens to the rest ?

Money : As we grow it is then instilled that the one who has the most money is the most successful so we get driven by greed and desire to accumulate more . Our bank balance starts defining who we are . The race moves from scoring high marks in school to who earns the most or has the most.

Yet ask anyone who has a big bank balance and they will tell you beyond a point having more money does not add to life. A bigger house beyond a point does not add to happiness.

Risk : The schooling system teaches us to avoid taking risks as failure is looked down upon . Safety of the crowd is what is hammered in every child.

“Don’t take risk , don’t be different” is a lesson we learn. At each step the majority learns to operate from scarcity, that there is not enough. Our definition of success. Itself pushes us into a scarcity mindset.

While you look at any creator the key quality is abundance mindset. What if you were to turn the game and ask different set of questions.

Q1. If there was no problem with money what would you love to do ?

Q2. What is your unique gift ? what makes you most alive ?

Q3. What is the value you can add to the world?

Q4. Who can benefit from the value you can add ?

Q5. How would you live if there was no limitation to what you could create ?

A creator mindset operates from abundance, is willing to take risks , The future of work is more individuals living their passion. The pandemic has made this even more possible as work from anywhere is now mainstream.

The keyword is ‘Value Exchange’ . There is enough in our world for everyone, we need to drop our definitions of success. Abundance mindset is what we need, knowing that we will be taken care as long as we add Value in our world.

WE ARE AT WAR

“we are at war” , I heard a young doctor share her story.

She is a frontline doctor at battle in a COVID ward.

Nothing prepared her for this.

She has been suddenly thrust into a nightmare.

She feels deep guilt of not being able to save a life only because there is no oxygen

Or she has to turn someone away who is dying because there is no bed.

“We are doctors, we take an oath to save lives” she says , crying.

She feels responsible for the deaths around her.

Her hands tremble when she has to take spot decisions on medicines , she does not know if it’s the right call.

She is angry that in such a situation there are people who are black marketing on medicines and oxygen.

She is afraid when she goes home for her two small daughters , afraid that she may carry back COVID.

Yet she cannot sit home , lives have to be saved.

It hurts her that family members shout at them when they are unable to do anything to help.

She is angry that those who know nothing about what is happening in the frontline are the ones taking decisions.

“How can they ?” she says.

She does not want her daughters to follow her profession.

Doctors are overwhelmed fighting this battle for us .

Can you call up a doctor you know who is fighting this war for us and express gratitude?

IMMUNITY + SPIRITUALITY

This I think will be the most important keywords for life going ahead .

Because 2020 taught is life is uncertain. Not that we did not know this earlier but now the message had hit us as ‘Urgent’.

When the pandemic swept the world we were face to face with our vulnerability. The world could be locked down by a tiny virus.

In India I am seeing terrifying moments unfold , we did pretty ok with the first wave , we felt as Indians we were special. Until the second deadly wave of COVID 19 hit us.

Hospitals are overwhelmed, medical infrastructure cracked , people are dying because of lack of oxygen and even money cannot get you the hospital bed you need.

Vaccines will come but it now seems certain that so will the waves , each different from the other.

So while vaccines do their work we as individuals to survive , to live , we will need to turn to twin things that are in our hands , take care of mind and body.

Spirituality and faith are strong antidotes to uncertainty, not religion but spirituality. As we see waves of lockdowns and opening up , living Iman uncertain future more and more will turn to spirituality.

While doing all the prudent things like taking vaccines and following COVID appropriate behaviour there will be greater focus on preventive health and building immunity.

Exercise, Diet , Yoga , Meditation will be the keywords to build self immunity. This is an area beyond the regular medical approach to treat symptoms.

Marketing will see the two most important words Immunity and Spirituality and businesses around these flourish in the times ahead.

1% , 1 Person

Statistics have a way of deceiving you , they are only numbers.

Behind the numbers is a hidden story. Every day for past many days we see upwards of 3500 people dying in India.

The real numbers maybe higher, no one knows.

We get numb to the numbers , it’s just statistics.

The numbers flash daily on our television screens . The question being asked “have we peaked?”.

It’s a debate with two sides , it’s news.

Unless that number includes one of us , one of our own , near and dear one.

Behind that number is one family that is shattered forever.

One loving father who the children will never see again .

One mother who meant everything to her children and they could not even give her a decent funeral.

One grandmother who died gasping for air in the ICU , alone , afraid , amongst the machines that beeped all around .

Not even a hand to hold , to comfort, in the final journey.

One spouse who has lost their life partner while yet holding hands in the car , helpless , not being able to get that one breath of air.

One son , one daughter who was the world for their parents.

Behind that number is a friend who we spent time with every day sharing our fears of an uncertain future.

Behind the numbers are dreams of many families that are shattered.

The world will move on, we will finally get beyond this .

Maybe less than 1% would have lost their lives in this storm .

The statistics on television screens would be forgotten.

The news would have moved , it always does.

But for that family that lost the only earning member it would be a life of struggle and grief.

For that less than 1% of the population life would have changed for ever even if it was just 1 person lost.

For those who lost even 1 person the next morning will not be the same .

There would be a gap , a hole in the heart that will not get filled , ever.

Yes everything passes and this too shall pass.

Those that are gone would become a part of the statistics.

But beyond the numbers would be many stories, stories of real people .

For us our life will move on from one lockdown to maybe the next.

From one wave to maybe the next.

From one news story to the next.

But some stories would not move they would end.

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS HAVE POLARISED/ UNITED OUR WORLD

While in the midst of a worsening pandemic in India I am seeing the worst side and the best side of social media.

In our school alumni group I found there is very strong polarisation for and against political points of views.

This is true globally we saw the same recently in the US . We see different flavours of the same across the world.

The problem gets bad when positions are so strongly held that each is not able to see the other side of the story that the situation reaches a breaking point in long relationships.

And it gets worse with manufactured truth to fit ones world view . The fallout is violence as we saw at the Capitol Hill , it could sow distrust in communities and groups with opposing view points.

Every hour the trends on Twitter change based on the two view points , further adding to bitterness and division.

The hate created is so deep that it has forced platforms to ban certain handles from using their platforms for good.

Is social media responsible for dividing our world?

I remember a time in our early childhood when there was no social media there was lesser polarisation , friendships were not so bitter.

Then again I have not seen any better example of how social media is being used in the worst time during the current pandemic where ordinary people are seeking help and are getting helped by strangers .

Twitter , WhatsApp, Facebook have become a way to reach out and ask for help real time , people who need oxygen or a bed in a hospital or medicines turn to social media.

And they get helped by complete strangers !

Few celebrities have leveraged their social presence to amplify the message of those in need.

Many are using social media to raise funds for oxygen cylinders and concentrator. So many lives have been saved because of social media.

Social media is a double edged sword on the one hand it can divide us as a society on the other hand it can unite the world for good.

Unfortunately politics plays a role , fake news can be easily spread to divide for motives. Those on the edge can be converted with constant visual content.

Interestingly platform algorithms show you more of what you want to see . That is how AI and ML gets smarter. The ultimate objective is to hook you to the platform , to get you spend more time on the platform.

How can we stop hate being spread through social media platforms ? Is there a way out ?

Has social media become a Frankenstein monster that is now difficult to control?

There are no easy answers , there are powerful vested interests.

I would yet say there is enough good about social media which is why it needs to exist . It brings people together, it connects people and hearts .

It is the one thing that has kept us sane in prolonged periods of lockdown.

It is for us the users of social media to keep the balance on the side of good , on the side of humanity and guard against hate and spread love and compassion.

DON’T TAKE THIS DAY FOR GRANTED

Last year this time on this day of new year 2020 I was at a party with my wife. There was some news about lockdown in a far off place in China . No one in their wildest dreams could have predicted what was to follow.

The world came to a halt , literally , everything stopped as the pandemic spread.

Lives were being lost , the was economic gloom , so many business suffered , people lost their jobs , there was panic across the world.

I had been postponing plans to travel the world and now there was no chance of travel.

During this period I lost my school friend and my mentor. So much changed .

The one big lesson of 2020 is don’t take life for granted. Life can change in a moment . It changed for many families who lost their loved ones in the pandemic and for the countless many who lost their jobs and incomes , who yet struggle every day.

Life changed for the family of my friend who died not out of COVID but due to sudden cardiac arrest. Till the night he passed away he was in touch and in good health then the next day he was gone.

Don’t postpone your dreams , don’t die with your song in your heart , you have but only one life , don’t take it for granted.

Living , loving and leaving a legacy behind is what life is about .

Life is not about playing safe , not living , postponing life to the future. It would be stupid , you cannot be sure of tomorrow.

The heavy baggage of what will happen in the future has stopped many from living now and playing safe . Yet the only certainty of the future is that it is uncertain.

2021 is another adventure that begins today , I do not know how this year will unfold but as I type these words I know this moment I am sharing my gift and that is all that matters .

Sanjay Mudnaney

REFLECTING ON 2020

2020 has been a year like none before, a year when the world stopped. There are a few things I learnt that I cannot forget.

1. THE UNIMAGINABLE CAN AND WILL HAPPEN : No one could have ever predicted that the world will grind to a halt.

One cannot control external events in life one can control how one responds to those events.

2. HUMANS CAN ADAPT SOON : The world quickly adapted to the new normal and moved digital. Non essential consumption stopped overnight.

Be flexible, this is going to happen often in the future, entire industries and jobs would get disrupted. One cannot hold on to Ego of the past and not change.

3. WE CAN SURVIVE WITH A LOT LESS : That I could do without buying anything other than essentials for months was a revelation , it was clear that I needed a lot less to survive.

Often we land up buying things we do not need and then stock them to use at some later date . Clutter is stuck energy.

4. CUTTING OUT DAILY COMMUTE SAVED TIME : Locked down travel stopped completely, this resulted in excess time on hand , while some struggled some made best use of the time to self develop.

Cut all non essential travel , it also helps our planet.

5. THERE WAS NO OPTION OTHER THAN GOING DIGITAL : Even those that were reluctant were now forced to go digital. This is a trend that will continue.

Reinvent, Reinvent , Reinvent .

6. REMOTE WORKING WORKS : That I could service clients from across the world has been a plus . All organisations other than those that need physical presence have adapted to remote work.

Interesting thing I notice is that where innovation is needed and deep collaboration is called for teams have started coming together again while the bigger organisations that have process driven work continue remote work.

If you can move to smaller towns with great views , quality of life matters .

8. MORE ME TIME : The time saved on travel did give me lot more time to be with self and reflect , read books , meditate.

Build an inner practice for calm in turbulent times .

Here are a few more tips on things I will follow .

1. Build a contingency fund for emergencies , one cannot predict events that may occur but one can build a reserve that protects against shocks.

So I plan to build a contingency fund besides two years survival fund aside. Before I spend income I will save for contingency, this is the essential.

2. Cut down the non discretionary spends and focus on what is truly important . I have been fascinated by minimalist lifestyle and now I even know it is possible.

3. Invest on experiences, travel places , explore the world post the vaccination. It was something I had postponed , won’t do that again. And travel can be low budget .

4. Make my bucket list of things to do and tick off each one . Life is uncertain don’t wish to die with incomplete dreams.

5. Don’t take life for granted , live every day fully . This is the most important lesson of the pandemic. Live , Love, Leave a Legacy behind.

6. Build inner resilience it is a must , faith , surrender, prayer , meditation are practices I will continue.

7. Keep reinventing and learning new things daily and always be ready for the new world. This is a habit I will never stop.

Finally don’t take life toooo seriously!

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject