In a TED Talk, Tim Tamashiro delights us with the Japanese secret to Happiness. It was such a pleasure listening to Tim. He says it takes work to find your Ikigai. First, let us understand what is Ikigai. Before that how to pronounce it? It is pronounced as Eeky-guy. You lift your cheeks like you are smiling and say Eeki-guy, he says.
C’mon, say “Ikigai”. That’s Good.
Tim was a Jazz musician who finally found that his Ikigai is “to delight people” and he does that perfectly well. If you don’t believe me, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk-PcJS2QaU
Ikigai, he says, is like a treasure map. It can help you find your way to finding wonderful things about yourself that you can share with the world and the world will say “Thank you” for it, he said.
He says, Work is different from Job. A Job is something that you do as a regular form of employment where you get money to pay for your house, food and things like that. On the other hand, Work is something that you do to achieve a result, something like a product or a purpose, he says.
Ikigai comes from Okinawa, where the world’s most 100 year olds live.
Iki = Life
gai = Purpose
Ikigai = Life’s Purpose
Do what you love Do what you are good at Do what the world needs Do what you can be rewarded for
I was not married then. I had just started my business in Bangalore. One night, I went to a Darshini [that’s what an eatery without tables & chairs is called] about 2 kms away from my home for my dinner. After dinner, a strange thing happened.
I suddenly felt giddiness & fell down. I quickly managed to get up without any help & started walking few steps.
Then, I squatted near a car that was parked there. One couple came near the car. They too had come to the same eatery & had just finished dinner. They were probably heading back home.
I didn’t own a bike or a car. I used to hire an auto. Also, I wouldn’t mind walking 2 kms one way.
This couple came to me & asked if I needed any help. I said “no”. But they still said they will drop me home. I didn’t want to take the help. Since they insisted, I told them where I stay & they said their home was also nearby & don’t mind dropping me home. They advised me to consult a doctor & dropped me in front of my home.
Now when I look back at that event, I thank them profusely for their act of Kindness. Such a Grace & Kindness are really very rare.
I wish to carry that grace & kindness forever with me in my life.
Bold ideas, empowering people, democratising the opportunities for everyone, having no biases, making everyone achieve are some of the things that inspire me. Working against odds gives me the adrenaline rush and pumps blood into my nerves. What seems impossible suddenly becomes possible. When someone says “you can’t do it”, I am inspired. That’s when I actually start my work. 🙂
Inspiration is everywhere. We just have to look around. And keep our eyes and ears open.
Inspiration is what drives us. That’s what make us reach our goals.
Now, what do we do to set the rhythm, get inspired and start achieving our goals one by one. The following will help us stay on track and keep our focus. But we can and should improvise on this.
Keeping good company. Our friends, network, professional contacts make us what we are and what we will be.
Constant thinking of goals.
Checking progress everyday.
Writing down our goals.
Breaking them into achievable tasks.
Completing the tasks one by one.
Visualising the results.
Keeping ourselves extremely busy and tight scheduled.
First & foremost, the underdog does not have any status to be safeguarded. It has no false sense of titles or ego. It operates without any such pressures. It knows that it is fighting a top dog & hence it does its homework, ups the game, puts up a tough fight & the best foot [a metaphor but literally in football :)] forward. It has minimal resources but uses them efficiently.
On the contrary, Top Dog thinks it is superior, unbeatable, strong, talented & nothing can stop it. It makes mistakes but fails to learn from them.
Fighting against odds is common. What is uncommon is not giving up till one succeeds. The fighting spirit inspires. It catches up with everyone like wildfire. It boosts confidence levels and spearheads one to higher efficiency levels of operating. We start thinking that we can reach our goals in spite of all these odds and work towards that.
I am inspired by Romelu Lukaku of Belgium who ran with the ball like a wild river till he passed the ball to Kevin De Bruyne who helped score their second goal.
Whatever it is, we need to enjoy the game 100% to be successful in it.
Fighting spirit sends blood to our nerves & we get unimaginable strength to win.
You don’t need to know everything to the last detail when you start off.
You don’t need to have big dreams. If you dream of a small office with 10 cabs, it is just fine.
Don’t make a pitch. It doesn’t matter. What matters is this: Your product or service. If it is useful, efficient, cheap, saves time then it will sell. Pitches don’t sell.
Customers are always looking for a better product or service at a cheaper price. They are not willing to pay more. Look at the total volume of sales and the net profit you will make instead of the % you make in every single transaction.
With so many scandals – toxic work place culture to squeezing drivers pay to delaying drivers payments, if Uber can be valued at US $ 69 Billion, think of the value one can create if those scandals are avoided. But, at the end of the day, scandals don’t matter. Service does.
We should take only the good things [focus on the +ves], leave the rest and move on.
We should adapt fast to the changing landscape.
We should be in news always, preferably for the right reasons unlike Uber.
You don’t need to invent anything new. If you solve one problem, it is just fine.
You don’t need to think 10 years ahead or be futuristic. But when the opportunity presents itself, you should be able to kick ass, grab it and scale up in no time.
Execution is of paramount importance. Idea is a given.
Your prospects are not in a great hurry. At least not most of them. They seem to be quite happy with the Status Quo. But don’t you know that enthusiasm is contagious. And if you pack energy and sense of urgency into your action, they are bound to match your speed and energy. So, let us understand how to achieve more in less time by developing a sense of urgency.
“You can’t move mountains by whispering at them” – Pink
Set your sights really very high. Don’t worry about how you will achieve them.
Break that vision into smaller achievable goals.
Break that further into smaller activities or tasks.
Have energy. If not, get your dumbbells and go for 3 sets of shorter reps 8 – 10 each. Or hit the floor and go for 3 sets of 5 push ups each and start pumping up iron. Get those muscles.
Add passion and sense of urgency. Act as if you have fifteen meetings in a day. While you have to submit five proposals. And go for two negotiations. That is your normal day.
There are three types of people in this world – one, those who take things as it comes and are happy with it; two, those who take things as it comes and are frustrated with it and then there are Sales people, the rarest of rare breed, those who make things happen. With or without the “Sales” title.
While you have created the sense of urgency, do not over react or walk all over others or ill treat them.
Instead treat everyone with respect, courtesy and kindness.
Remove the obstacles. Do not spend time on investigating who had put the road blocks. Just keep moving.
Don’t accept mediocrity in anything.
Pack Energy and Enthusiasm into everything you do.
Wear a smile on your face. Even while you speak on the phone. It sounds nice and the receiver on the other end knows that you are speaking with a smile on your face.
Focus on results.
Have the courage to walk the untrodden path.
Imbibe the qualities of a leader.
Break all the rules. And Set your own rules.
Create something every day.
Don’t worry about the tough times. They are there to bring out the best in you.
You were not born to be complacent and hence always be doing many activities and setting up new activities. Keep yourself busy and engaged.
From Wikipedia: “The Walk is a 2015 American 3D biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Christopher Browne and Zemeckis. It is based on the story of 24-year-old French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974.”
What were the steps taken by Philippe Petit to achieve the final outcome of walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 1974 ? How did he achieve what he wanted to ? What must have gone through his mind during the event ? How can someone achieve such a rare feat ? And what can we learn from his walk on the high-wire ?
Let us now examine one after the other.
Steps taken by Philippe Petit:
He dreamed at an early age and thought it was possible to walk on the tight rope at such an altitude.
He came to know from a magazine about the construction of World Trade Center while sitting in a dentist’s clinic and found that it will be the tallest building in the world.
He conceived his idea.
Traveled to New York several times.
He and one of his collaborators, a photographer rented a helicopter and photographed the under construction towers.
Had few other collaborators and friends who helped him. One of them provided financial assistance as well.
Entered the building as a Journalist and in the pretext of interviewing the workers observed the towers from close quarters.
Got caught by a Policeman once but that didn’t dampen his dreams.
He and his team settled on the bow and arrow attached to a rope to pass the cable and they perfected this technique by practicing it several times.
He and his crew got an opportunity to travel in the elevator to 104th floor on the day of the event. With their heavy equipment. Call it miracle if you wish.
Finally executed his plans.
How did he achieve what he wanted to ?
The central theme of the whole thing – that is, the events leading to the big event – was a firm belief that he can achieve what he wanted to.
He was committed to it.
He was ready to sacrifice anything and everything to achieve it.
Was there fear in his mind ? Must have had fear but gradually did overcome that fear and succeeded.
He gave everything that he had to achieve it.
He had a good team who also sacrificed, risked and provided solid support to him.
He was focused. He breathed, ate, slept, walked [?] high-wire walk.
He was positive and had overcome all obstacles.
What must have gone through his mind during the event ?
He must have forgotten that the world exists.
He must have forgotten that he is walking at such a high altitude [1350 feet from the ground].
All he saw was the wire.
He focused his mind towards balancing the walk on the high-wire.
He must have walked as if he was performing at a low altitude – like his past performances.
How can someone achieve such a rare feat ?
Single minded focus.
A team that fully supports.
When others think it is death, he thinks it is his life. Coming out of the fear zone.
Skills. Training. Practice.
And what can we learn from his walk on the high-wire ?
If you think you can, you eventually will.
Dreaming is very important. Everything was originally a dream.
Commitment, sacrifice, putting effort, training, practice, single minded focus are important.
Not to get cowed down by obstacles.
Not to get discouraged by friends, family but to continue with your plan against their warnings.
Skill development – is a given.
Positive thinking makes things happen. The whole world conspires with you.
Great team. And Team work.
Identifying what gives you happiness and relentlessly pursuing it, come what may.