Where Did You Travel Last?

The most recent trip I took was to Egypt. The one before was to Arabia.

If you’re wondering how on Earth am I getting to travel so much despite the lockdown, well, then let me intrigue you a bit more.

I am getting to travel not despite the pandemic, but because of it. And I’m traveling not only in physical terms but also in terms of time.

Now that you think you get it, let me spill the beans for you. I’m traveling in these far away lands of hundreds of years ago, by reading about them in books.

I have realized that reading has to be thought through – intentional, just like everything else. I generally enjoy reading non-fiction more than fiction. But I read fiction too a bit and I have realized that reading fiction just before sleep time is magical.

A good story just before falling asleep gives me wings and makes my imagination stretch far and wide.  Even during the sleep. It makes me forget my worries and opens for me the doors of opportunities. It tells me that all the worries of today and the box in which they all exist (me) are both so small in the large scheme of things.

Read fiction before sleeping and non-fiction first thing in the morning.

I wake up the next day vivid and fresh with a renewed perspective to life. And, that’s the time for me to read something more tangible, and practical, so I pick non-fiction.

That’s something I had heard from someone, but it was only when I followed this as a practice did I realize the power of this schedule.

Now, I read for around fifteen minutes every night and similar time in the morning, and just love the magic that follows.

I’m reading – Folk Tales from Different Lands, my night buddy these days and The Daily Stoic, my morning pal.

Yesterday’s lesson from Egpyt, seeking justice was not easy few hundred years ago (just like today actually) and the poor peasant earned justice through a long and tiring road. What eventually helped was his practice, eloquence and determination to seek justice. You can read the full story here, if you want a refreshing read.

And my morning pal, The Stoic’s lesson was to avoid feeling the responsibility for everything that is happening around you. Keep doing your best but then don’t be burdened by the pressure of it. That’s because after a while, no one remembers it anyway. The chapter is called “On Being Remembered” and this quote by Marcus Aurelius summarizes it well: “Everything lasts for a day, the one who remembers and the remembered.” 

I have etched these two times in my nightly and morning rituals, and doing so is transforming me, taking me from a state of worries and threats of everyday life, to a serene and peaceful state of calm and possibilities.

That’s me, and what about you? Do you have a reading ritual and if so what does it look like? Would love to hear from you.

Until next time, this is Mohit signing off.

What To Do When You’re Thrown Under The Bus?

E

ver felt like you were at the receiving end of a conversation? You feel pressurized, short of breath, and at the end of your words. In other words, you felt like you were thrown under the proverbial bus. Somewhere deep down you know you were being wronged. However, as you were still aghast at the turn of events, that you weren’t able to gather yourself to respond.

I’ve sure you’ve been there one way or the other – when your business partner blames you, out of the blue, for the losses in the last ten years, when your boss shares in the appraisal that all you did was just meeting expectations, when your spouse thinks you haven never supported him/ her.

You know the feeling. Right?

Today, you’ll find out how to respond while you see yourself standing between the metaphorical mountain and the deep blue sea. On the one hand you don’t want to spoil the relationship with the person accusing you, but at the same time you want to save yourself from the disgrace.

See the source image

When I thought my training business was finally getting back on track after the long lockdown period nd my family’s COVID-19 survival journey, when I thought we had left misfortunes behind us, when I was finally looking forward to the light visible from the end of the tunnel, … something unexpected happened.

My very own business partner, who I trusted like a family member, left me shocked when he, out of the blue, claimed that he was liable to get a larger share of our business profits. It came completely out of  whack.

Of course, I can only share my side of the story and it felt like greed had taken over my otherwise rational business partner. Or may be he was led astray.

In any case, his unreasonable demand left me feeling cheated, insulted but more than anything else, shocked. Shocked, as I didn’t see it coming, not from him anyway.

But as they say – sh*t happens.

And it had happened. The BIG question somewhere deep down for me was – Can I save our relationship while at the same time asserting myself for what was right?

I’m not sure how I reacted or responded in that situation but looking back I think here’s what would work best:

  1. Don’t Be Defensive: The other person is probably doing that in order to negotiate a better deal for themselves. But, all that is just in words right now. It is likely not legit. If it was, they would come through legal channel or with the documentation to prove their point. Right now, its likely just a tactic to shake your confidence. Don’t give in to the bait. Stay confident. And staying confident doesn’t mean shouting back or arguing. Instead, it means the opposite – it means staying calm and composed. There is no better retribution than a calm and composed self amidst a storm.
  2. Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: In such a situation you may be tempted to say something to hurt the other party back. What better feeling than hitting below the belt in revenge. Well, don’t. That would lead to a vicious circle of accusations and counter accusations and eventually a communication breakdown. Unless you want that as the outcome (which may be ideal in certain cases), don’t give it back in the same coin. Moreover, they could be in a temporary state of mind to vent out their feelings. Your fuel to that fire could make a whimper become a forest fire of sorts – One that would take forever to put out or would cause a lot of collateral damage. Hence, choose your words wisely to keep the channels open.

    Two wrong may not make a right but they make a nice excuse     

  3. Don’t Get Carried Away: You will have a feeling that you’re being conspired against, that your trust has been broken, or even that the entire world is a bad bad place. Well well well, let that thought come if it is coming. And then, let it go. Don’t get carried away with it. Because world is not such a terrible place after all. You know it. Refer to the pre-agreed agreements, contracts or emails if these are available. (This may not work with your spouse unless you document every support you provide each other. You could take it in your stride and in less stressful time agree with your spouse on some rules of this very important partnership. )
  4. Don’t Kill Rapport: You don’t want to appear sheepish and neither do you want to be seen as raging. Then, how should you carry yourself? Its in both parties interest to continue to maintain rapport, and you could you Mirroring technique to do so without making it obvious. Basically, mirror the other person’s breathing patterns, their posture, facial expressions, tempo and tone.

Those are all the Don’ts but what should you do then?

Most of the answer lies in these don’ts itself – Stay Calm, Choose words wisely, Maintain Rapport, Have faith.

That was me. What about you? How do you respond when you find yourself in such a situation? Are there any other ways you think could serve us well in those times?


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] How Can You Transform Anxiety into Growth?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

What I’m reading –

“You Can’t Know It All – Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise”, by Wanda Wallace. It’s an interesting take on handling the transition when leaders with deep expertise in one area (Expert leader) move into a completely different area in which they have little or no expertise (Spanning leader). 

 You Can't Know It All: Leading in the Age of Deep Expertise by [Wanda T. Wallace]

What Web series I’m watching —

Ek Jhoothi Love Story on ZEE5. If you loved Zindagi Gulzar Hai, you’ll like this Pakistani series too. It’s about love in today’s times of social media. Very realistic and subtle and one that has kept me hooked till now for over three episodes.    

Quote I’m pondering —

“Be at your best behavior when your children are at their worst”

-An advise worth millions for parents 🙂

The article I loved reading –

Dan Sullivan published this article called the ‘Scary Times’ Success Manual. He proposed 10 mind shifts, that I think are just as relevant today as they were twelve years ago at the height of the financial crisis when this article was written. Here’s a summary and read the full article here. :
1. Forget about yourself, focus on others.
2. Forget about your commodity, focus on your relationships.
3. Forget about the sale, focus on creating value.
4. Forget about your losses, focus on your opportunities.
5. Forget about your difficulties, focus on your progress.
6. Forget about the “future”, focus on your today.
7. Forget about who you were, focus on who you can be.
8. Forget about events, focus on your responses.
9. Forget about what’s missing, focus on what’s available.
10. Forget about your complaints, focus on your gratitude.

Concept I loved –

One thing that’ll determine your success in life and ability to bounce back, is your “Who Luck“. Yes, Who Luck.

Jim Collins talks about Who Luck in his book Great by Choice. Jim defines it as your luck of finding and associating with right people in your circle. These people will lift you up when your luck turns bad, and when luck is good, they’ll share unselfishly. So, how’s your Who Luck?   


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[5 Bullet Tuesday] How To Create Your Own Calm?

Hi All,

Here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

The app I loved –

I finally found a free app that lets us have one common place for the entire family’s time table. It’s called COZI and has some really cool features to keep the family calendar updated. Available on Android, iOS and on the web. Sawhney family’s loving it.


Social Media post I found useful –

This is a brilliant video that covers the essentials of personal finance, among other fun DIY activities for the family. link

 

The quote I’m pondering –

“Work is worship; Worship is not work.” – Khushwant Singh

 

Website I loved –

Loved the sheer beauty of the message wall it lets you create. Padlet.com Here’s how I used it to collate birthday messages from everyone for my son Tanav’s 12th birthday – My padlet

 

What excited me the most –

My eldest niece, Mehak, has started her first broadcast – “Create your own Calm”. Check it our here, all you itching for calmness souls (in her own words). Mehak has surprised me with her beautifully adorned style of writing. Subscribe to her on Sublist channel, and I guarantee you’ll love it. Okay, and let me share one of the ways she suggests to create your calm – Mandala art. Like the picture featured on this post, done by artist Mehak.


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[5-Bullet Tuesday] Here’s Why You Don’t Write.

Hi All,

I’m back. Have been down sick. Almost all of September. Back with a resolve to be consistent. So, here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

What am I enjoying reading –

Just when I thought it was time for me to get down to my writing, Sohana, my seven year old daughter shouts, “Papa, 6’o clock is your story telling time. You’re ready, right?”

Oops, I had forgotten that completely. “Yes, I’m ready, but only if you’re busy with your gadgets, it’s fine, we can skip today.” I tried to escape.

“No papa, we’re interested in listening to the story”. Arghh.

Now, my mind diverted to, “which story am I going to tell the children?”, “ I don’t have one handy..” It’s almost 6pm.

I go to Amazon and buy an e-book instantly. This is the one which I’d been contemplating for a while – “Move mountains – One Story at a time, by Mukesh Kulothia and Deepak Sharma”.

It’s a book for all ages, and especially if you’re a parent looking for a book with short, interesting stories for your child, you must buy/ gift it to them.

I read one story and then another one and couple more. I love it. Every story has a caricatures too, which help recall the story long after the story is read. Then, I think I’m decided which story am I going to tell children today.

I head to the place from where I’m going to tell my story, or should I say show my story (I want to bring the whole of me into the story, with the props, the visuals and the body language).

Story starts and goes very well. Kids love it. It’s almost 6:15pm. I can now go back to my writing. Well, or so I think.

Online LitFest I loved attending –

Then, I sit down to writing.. again. But mind, I tell you is such a monkey that it will keep jumping from here to there.

I suddenly remember that there was a LitFest that I had so badly wanted to attend. At this time.

I can’t afford to miss it. No way. I quickly searched my email and opened the Zoom link.

An hour goes by. I loved every word I heard. It’s so fulfilling. I feel complete. First online LitFest organized by Phoenix Toastmasters Club.

There is so much going on online these days, depending on what you’re interested in. Just check out the options and make the most of this time. I decide that now I will resume my writing..

Writing tool I simply loved–

I look at the monitor and wonder – “..but where do I write?”. My mind goes back in time when I had had the pleasure of writing on an online service called 750words.com. I so loved the feel of it. 6:30pm by now as I’m still trying in vain to settle my mind to use may be Outlook and send an email, or how about my WordPress site, or even MS Word. But, its become harder and harder to convince my mind. It comes back with “There’s nothing like 750words, my friend.” I go ahead and open 750words.com. Of course, I no longer have the subscription. (It’s $5 a month and worth every cent). I have to get it and have to get it right now. 7:15 PM now..

Quote I’m pondering –

I have often wondered where the heck does my scheduled writing time go. And this time around, I actually wrote about exactly that. Now, I know, that my monkey mind will be distracted to every possible place. I probably need to be chained to my chair, which unlocks only after I write 750 words on the blank screen. So, in order to tame your monkey, here is the quote I am pondering:

whole brain child — Blog — Whole Hearted Kids OT

What I figured out –

This is what happens to me. Every time. This time I’ve decided to nail it down. Where on earth is my writing time going. And, after all this, I decided to leave what I had originally planned to write about and instead, write about why I couldn’t write. It’s 7:48 pm now, and this information is useful. Perhaps. I don’t know. But, I had to find out who was stealing my writing time away. And voila, I’ve written over 750 words already. It brings me on track for my mission to write at least 750 words every day.


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Here’s What You Do!

P

apa, if all our family members get COVID, then what would happen?”, asks my seven year old daughter, Sohana.

She’s such clear with her questions and so expressive that I miss a beat when a question like that comes.

However, Dinky and I have made one rule, and that is that we have to stay calm no matter what. Calm is infectious (..more than the virus!) and that’s all we need at the moment.

Otherwise, we’ll lose it all even without giving it a fight.

The delay in my response has already given the little mind enough ideas, and I can see the BIG tears rolling down her face turned smaller than usual because of the anxieties.

So, I tell her very matter of factly, “Nohana, we have to keep our immune system intact.”

Now, she’s listening. She wants to know more, the sudden stopping of her tears tell me.”

It’s strange I can tell that, even while she’s mostly covered in her face with the mask, which too appears too big for her small face.

“Doctor Mamu was telling me earlier today that even if a virus attacks our body, our body soon starts fighting with it. If our immune system is good, not only would it kill the germs, but it would also make our body stronger next time. That’s how nature works.”

“Nohana, what can you do to keep your immunity high?”, I asked.

“By thinking good thoughts, eating good food and staying hydrated”, she said confirming she knows it all.

She smiled. After all. She adjusts her mask, which is flimsy dealing with the cold, the tears, the cough.. too much for it to handle, apparently.

The date today was 27th Sept, and today was the first day, since 7th Sept, when I actually went out to the balcony with her. Of course, still fully geared with my mask, and a bottle of sanitiser which has suddenly become such a constant in my life.

That’s all we can do, guys. Sohana know it and so do we all. We may not be able to protect us from the virus, despite our best efforts. I thought I was cautious, my family was cautious ,,but it did happen. 

The good news still is that we still have a lot in our control – and it starts with what our intake is: mental intake as well as physical. That’s what would keep us strong to fight it, in case it comes. Here’s my daily checklist for your reference. This is, of course, in addition to the medicines which you may be prescribed:

  1. Vitamins:
    1. Vitamins C
    2. Multivitamin
    3. Zencovit (Zinc)
  2. Food:
    1. > 1.5 L Water
    2.  Fruits including banana, apple, anaar, 
    3. Nutritious Food
    4. Coconut Water
    5. Hot ginger water
  3. Reading and Listening list:
    1. John Maxwell’s “Make Today Count”
    2. Easy Translation of Bhagwat Geeta
    3. Humour they say creates positive hormones. I was reading a book called FML (Viewer discretion advised: 18+ 🙂 ) which I find quite funny actually.
    4. The survive and thrive podcast by John Meese. (Yeah, I want to thrive not just survive..) 

Now, is there any of the above that is not “still” in your control? With a little support from your family or caretaker you can manage it all easily. Do it for your kids too. 

[bctt tweet=”Focus on what you can control.” username=”mohitsawhney”]

Post this emotional furore, Sohaan and I did some more usual talk, the more 7 year old types. “Papa, how many days before I can hug you?” .. “OK.., and Mama?”..

It was such a comfort to have her speak out cheerfully like that. 

I can’t explain what it means to me now to have a “normal talk”, “a dinner together”, “standing beside each other”… after having lon..ged for it for so long.  

We had our one:to:one time may be after a month. I don’t know how much comforting was it for her, but I certainly felt blessed. 

Tanav, my 11 year old son, chose to stay inside. In his room. I later figured that he was talking to his mom while I was with Soha. He needed the one:to:one time too. He has his own emotions and so much more to deal with.

It seems like they’ve grown up much faster in the last 3 weeks than they have in years. They’re on their own, and even taking care of each other. They’ve, once again, surprised us with what they can do and achieve.  

Of course, children, like we all, have their emotions, all we need to do is to support each other so we open up to our emotions and find good ways to deal with them. 

[bctt tweet=”Bottled up emotions are harmful. Help your children find ways to deal with them instead.” username=”mohitsawhney”]

How would you answer Sohana or your child if they asked, “Papa, if all our family members get COVID, then what would happen?” 

 

 

So much to be grateful for..

Sohana wrote a beautiful blog today. Well, it’s such an insight , a sort of window to these little  minds, when they write what is deep down. Something we would have never known.

Anyway, Sohana wrote about what she was thinking – there’s some bad things which happen to us, “like Corona” and there are good things also. How to find your gift is Corona time?

Well, her writing is still polishing (just a matter of some more consistent writing 🙂 ) but  her point is well brought home –  There are many blessing that we simply ignore when times are tough.

Today, I’m blessed:

– That things could be worse had I not gotten the fever the day I got it. It was mom dad’s 50th Golden anniversary Puja which we cancelled because I fell ill right at the right time. Can’t thank God enough for that as we had invited some relatives over. Thank you, God.

– I’m blessed to have our relatives who are helping us in this hour if need, giving us food to lessen our burden. Taking care more of the kids and sending their favorite ones like the Chicken we had today and the Vada Sambhar the other day.
– We’re blessed To have a doctor Mamu, who is seven seas away and still looks the closest to us. He shows us that the best form of expression of love is care. He cares and teaches us what it means.
-We’re blessed to have our friends and office leadership who has been extremely supportive at this time when we need it the most. Your words and sometimes even silence is so comforting.

I can go on and on, but the point is that Sohana is right, the question to ask really is “What is your gift in Corona time?”

If you think hard enough, you will find not one but many many gifts in any hard time. Whatsoever. See, Sohana I listed four in Just five minutes 🙂

Until next time, this is Mohit signing off..

Hands down winner of the day.. “kids”

A pretty emotionally draining day today. Test for Deepti came positive too. As human beings, we hope against hope that things go better than we expect.
But we have to face it. They say, “you have to name it, to tame it

Now we have a name to it, we’re at it to tame it.
At home,  surprisingly so, if anyone has put up  the most courageous and calm stand, it is the kids. And, what can be more relaxing for us than that?
There’s so much to learn from the sweethearts – they are almost taking it like an adventure game. That is such a pleasant attitude towards a situation like we find ourselves in today.

It’s much better than sobbing, panicking or blaming the situation. None of that would help.

And all of us, adults in the house are most guilty of just that.
Someone has rightly said, “Adults are nothing more than deteriorated children” .

It’s good to be a child and look for adventure in crisis, and find your way forward while having of course still following the rules of the game. It makes the journey easy and less emotionally draining with some of that fun.

Even my sweetheart nieces, are expressing their love by staying connected and bringing us all smiles through our common website blog http://howiseverything.in.
It helps remaining in touch and keeping us is very positive mood. It’s important to keep our mind in a reward state of mind which all these kids are teaching me.

I love you all to the moon and back.

You are showing us the way.

Who’s a Mentor?

I

was recently diagnosed with the infamous COVID19 virus. Things were pretty rough. A rollercoaster ride (and I hate rollercoasters)

We were seeking all the support we could, doctors, relatives who are doctors, experts and so on.

I’m blessed to have the support system I have. Of course, their advice was very helpful and we were following it to a tee.

But, then what helped me the most was talking to some colleagues, who we’re going through a similar situation at home. They and their families were affected by the virus.

They were a few steps ahead of me in the cycle. Hence, they knew a thing or two more about how their experience was.

I’m talking to them I got solace, comfort and guidance. We could empathize with each other, understand each other’s pain, and suggest.

It was like they were holding each others hands saying, “Hang on, you’ll be through this.”

Sometimes, they were brutally honest too, which was scary. But I knew they have nothing but my best interest in mind. I always paid heed to what they had to say.

While the doctors and experts were doing their job, these people, who had traveled the path before me, we’re able to help me maintain a calm and confident demeanor.

After all, I’m such situations, one has to remain mentally strong. They made me see hope in myself when I couldn’t see it myself.

That’s what a mentor does.

Today, you have a choice – either figure out this entire path yourself – which could be long, dark tiring and full of pits and falls, or seek guidance from someone who has been there before.

No matter what situation you find yourself in, there is someone who has been through something similar. They would be happy to hold your hand not only to help you overcome that situation but also have you emerge stronger so that when next time, someone else needs your hand, you are ready.

[bctt tweet=”People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. -Theodore Roosevelt” username=”mohitsawhney”]

Best wishes. Until, next time, this is Mohit signing off.