This is my best work to date!

A freelance company recently reached out to me and asked about my best work to date.

All artists have their best works.
Steve Jobs.
Seth Godin.
Leonardo da Vinci.
Robin Sharma.
Adam Grant.

However, the best thing about their best work is that they show up despite making a super hit.

I think the best piece about my work is “showing up”. Let’s say I have written a bestselling book and it breaks all records in all bestselling lists. Everything is great! But what if I stop writing altogether after that? Will my best work hold any relevance?

That is why, the best work any artist could do is to show up to produce their art every single day, irrespective of what mood, weather, or mindset they are in. If we just show up and show up and show up again, we build a brand of consistency which creates trust among the community as well as clients (current and prospective). That is the best work. 

The best part of this best work is: We ALL can do it, yet most give up in the first year itself.

You can read the full interview here.

To those who have failed in CA exams…

19th January 2015.
The day I became a Chartered Accountant.
I still vividly remember the day.

We had just returned to Kota (my hometown) after an overnight train trip from Mumbai, after attending a family function there for three days. So the winter was a harsh reality from the pleasant zero winter of Mumbai to being back to Kota. Because of this train journey, I had taken a shower quite late, around 10-11 am.

The moment I came out, I saw a miss call from a fellow article at the firm I did my articleship from.

Oops, my heart started pounding.

As I called him back, he picked up the call and asked: “Kya hua?”

“Result aa gaya?” was my surprised response, to which he said yes.

My mom had gone to take shower and I was virtually alone at home. So I opened up the laptop, connected it to the slow BSNL router we had and checked the result.

452 out of 800, result: PASS. (*Top 100 scorers in India then)

Wow!

The day I will never forget!

Throughout the day I did not feel cold at all despite returning from Mumbai back to shivering winters of Kota. It was in the evening that I finally realised I should be feeling cold 🙂

My mom came out of shower and started crying a lot. A lot. She basically missed my Nanaji for whom I was a source of pride and who had passed away eleven months back. The day was something me and my parents had been waiting for, for years!

But this is the success story. That I cleared CA Final (both groups together) in the first attempt that too with very good marks.

Here is the back story: I failed in IPCC twice. As on date, given the number of failures we get to face, this doesn’t seem huge.
Back then it was. Especially for a class topper like me since childhood, who ended up with this major jolt for the first time in my life.

You know what, my Mom cried then as well, for how could such a thing happen to me? (Yes now I know that I was responsible, but I just couldn’t convince her to see that part. Maybe I didn’t want to see that either!)

But I did clear the IPCC exam eventually. One group at a time.

That is the word you need to remember my fellow CA students: eventually.

The world isn’t going to be smooth even if you clear all three stages in the first attempt with AIR 1. It’s true that social media is not going to have your pictures when you fail.
It’s true that your neighbours will probably stare at you when you’ll leave home for coaching classes.
It’s perhaps true that a friend who was not expected to clear is a CA today and you aren’t!

All this is real pain.
And it hurts, especially if you worked hard.

But there is one more thing that is real: Your grit. Your persistence. Your belief in your capability that no matter what, you will end up with the prefix CA before your name eventually.

Feel sad as hard as you want to. Clean your nose with your sweater that your friend likes who is a CA now. Look at yourself in the mirror and just be, it’s okay!

But when you are done, don’t waste a minute pondering about what was and what could be. Just focus on what you are going to do next.

Winning in life is less about numbers and more about your attitude.

For example, I’m not a cunning person and because of that I sometimes get walked over (sometimes by my hashtag friends), and that feels very bad. But then I tell myself that my systems and ethics are powerful, so I needn’t be scared. NEVER ever has been a place in my life that because of not being cunning, rather being a simple human being, I hadn’t won eventually. Things always turn out to be in the favour of the person who works hard with the rights systems and the right mindsets.

And if you are worried about number of attempts, yes I did get a bonus of 1L INR extra back in 2015-16 because of being a first attempt passout. But today, 5-6 years down the line, almost everyone is earning in the same income range. Time is a great leveller and a wonderful thing to forget.

So keep up your spirits high my fellow CA students, it is only a matter of time that you will become a member of the reputed ICAI. Till then, focus on building systems and attitudes that eventually and undoubtedly lead to success, instead of letting things happen.

PS: In case you are wondering if I used some systems while preparing for CA Final exams after failing in IPCC twice, of course I did! I won’t blabber them here because the purpose of this blog is not to show you how, the purpose is to show you what. If you need help with systems and processes while preparing for CA exams, drop me a note at ngehija454@gmail.com and I’d be happy to help you out.

PPS: It will happen, eventually!

One truth of life no one will tell you

You want to know the most important truth of life?

Don’t tell anyone about your progress. Just keep working hard and adding feathers to your cap.

But don’t pronounce it out loud. Even the ones who love you the most secretly start questioning you.

You may believe this. Or taste this yourself.

Wish you a secretly successful life 🙂

The reality of social media

You must have seen people partying on the beach on Instagram.
Or making teddy bears of snow.
And making you feel like it is your life only that is at loss.

Here’s a silent truth:
Someone I know personally posted a vacay pic of theirs, with a thoughtful caption and how happy they were truly being in this flow state of life. However, I know they are going through a really, really tough time. A super tough time.

It is great that they took a break, no doubts about that.

But here is what I want you to consider:

  1. Social media = away from reality. Almost always. Rather always.
  2. People show that they are enjoying because they have FOMO – they have also seen others showing their “happy” pics and would do anything to show that they are also happy.
  3. Our real nature is happiness. When we are away from it, we would do anything to get closer or appear closer to happiness. If we get close to real happiness, awesome! If we get close to faking happiness, our hole of sadness gets deeper.

Choose the form of happiness you want to live in. And the coolest of the coolest people, who are your (real) role models, they hardly share their vacay pics online with a “success-filled” caption. Because they know that real happiness is the remaining 350 days as well, when we are not on a holiday.

Read the above line again.
For yourself.

Starting from zero

All the influencers you follow, none of them were born with the followers they have.

Also, none of them is Shah Rukh Khan’s kid.

So, when you feel that they got “lucky”
When you believe that you just can’t “get there”
When you think others had privileges “you don’t have”
When self doubts starts encircling you
When success seems possible only by magic,

Remember that…

Everyone started at zero. Everyone.

If the ones who made it had something special, they had this:

  • Breathtaking consistency
  • Belief in themselves when the world was busy rebuking them
  • Trust that if it is possible for others, it is possible for them as well
  • Learning from failure
  • Learning from others’ success

And many more pieces of the puzzle that get arranged once you actually step into the pool.

Start from 0. You did so in school. See where you are now. Start again, for a different curriculum of life you want to be living for.

The best hack to be peaceful

In the last week of 2020, I removed the email app from my phone.

Little had I expected, my screen time went down drastically.

So, going to continue that in 2021 as well. Even if there is an extreme news of me making it to the best seller list, I’ll be able to enjoy it when I am peacefully sitting in a place to read that email. Quick notifications aren’t a great place to celebrate.

Maybe will try that will WhatsApp soon:)

Easiest way to beat distraction

Do you often see yourself huddling with waste thoughts?

You decided to stay focused, and five minutes later you are scrolling endlessly?

Happens with you?

We would have read hundreds of texts and literature on how to change that, and of all those, one has been the most effective: To always keep listening to motivational audios or read such books. I personally have started doing it morning and evening, and the results have been way better.

Now stretching it to four hours a day while working on mundane activities.

Not because it will give me motivation to act, rather because we are accustomed to act in a manner consistent with what we hear and whom we spend time with. Since what we hear and whom we spend time with isn’t something wonderful in today’s world, why not start with doing it on purpose?

Any habit that we form on purpose is what we reap benefits of without waiting for. Always.

Entitlement

Today I came across a wonderful story on LinkedIn, wanted to share the lesson from it here.

A guy had gone to a tea stall, where he saw a father struggling to get his daughter admitted into a top college.

The man had worked really hard, and the daughter had gotten into a top engineering college. More so, he was willing to work harder to support her through college.

So this guy who posted on LinkedIn offered his help, and after few minutes of helping him out, also offered this Uncle to keep his phone number. Now he will help Uncle and his daughter.

Which brings me to hunger.
When we are hungry in life, we help others in satisfying their hunger.
When we are happy in life, we help others get happier.
When we have risen from nothing, we love to help others rise up.

However, only the people without entitlement can do it.
Only the people who love hard work can help others in theirs. The ones who feel they can work less and get done with, don’t know what lies ahead of them.
Only the people who believe they “have it all” actually have it all. As the 1984 Apple commercial states: “They push the human race forward.”

So, are we pushing the human race forward? Or are we pushing ourselves backward by letting entitlement get in?

Are you still “fat”?

As a kid, a neighbourhood uncle used to call me “moti”, which is a Hindi translation for “fat girl”.

Not that I was fat, rather because as I introspect now, that was merely a reflection of his un-developed brain’s immunopsychological response to bringing people down.

People do it all the time:

You don’t appear happy, while in reality, they aren’t.
I can’t love you, because being devoid of love was how I was raised, and changing myself is a mammoth task.
I won’t update my LinkedIn profile and network with people, because struggling to find a job is how I finally get a job, and that struggle keeps me safe.

The blankets we throw at others are virtually the ones we are covering ourselves with.

Which brings me to this neighbourhood Uncle.
So when he used to address me “Moti” as a kid, I used to retaliate. Get angry. Cry. Scream. Literally beg not to call me moti.

Today morning, while returning from my meditation class, that Uncle saw me again. And he called me “moti” thrice. And I moved on, without responding.

Sometimes, what we were years back, we don’t drift from there even a bit.
I’m glad I wasn’t that today morning.
I feel for him that he hasn’t grown a bit in years.

So, my question to you is: “Are you still fat,” where “fat” means the thickness of the brain that makes it almost impossible for new knowledge to percolate?

Or have you lost that weight and become lean, where you allow the new muscles to form and happily let go of the stagnant ones?

Minimalism and gareebi

“Do you have a passport?”
“I’m so sorry I bought it on Kindle, I don’t have the free download link.”
“Premium economy is a wonderful upgrade from Economy class.”
“You like this jacket? This is from Zara.”
“The beachside hotels in Goa are really lavish!”

Some of the lines I get to hear – because I live a minimalist lifestyle.

Instead of feeling bad about it, I am often amused at how people judge someone for not going out or repeating the same pair of shoes. Which in fact, also, allows me to aware of not to judge people based on how less they have. It may just be a choice.

(PS: On a lighter note, when people of Delhi go to Mumbai, they have to take off this judgement.)

To answer the above quetions:

Yes
I only buy legit books, because being an author myself, I know that a lot of people’s bread and butter is dependent on books.
Yes, thanks for this. I have travelled in Premium Economy. Next time, please boast about Business Class:)
Yes baby, I read “ZARA” written over there. I was being genuinely kind.
Of course, enjoy your Goa. I will enjoy it my way without documenting it:)

Firstly, judging isn’t right, because we never know what they are going through.

Secondly, even if they don’t have what you have, we don’t get big or small by the things we own. This comes from an experience of owning some shiny things. In fact, when we boast about things, they own us.

Thirdly, minimalism is the real richness. Ever tried?