My Bucket List for a Happier 2014

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2013 was a great year for me as far as new year resolutions are concerned. Contrary to my past records, I did achieve some of my goals. I lost 7 kg weight, started making some money online (although not a significant amount), started tracking my expenses regularly, spent a lot of great time with my son etc. My significant failure was not learning Arabic as per the plan. I’ve a 20 point plan for 2014 which I hope can make me way more happier. The list is given below. I wish all of you a great new year.

  1. Spend Less Time Online – It killing my creativity, making me unproductive and not making me happy
  2. Watch No Television – Did not find any program enjoyable during the year except for some comedy shows which I can watch ad-free in you tube
  3. Watch No Indian Movies – 80% of the movies I watched were horrible. Why do something if the failure rate is 80%
  4. Buy No New Gadgets – I have all gadgets I need.. if not more
  5. Buy Less Things in General – I had an analysis of my life so far and found that ‘things’  particularly do no make me happy
  6. Throw Away All Unwanted Stuff – I hate clutter
  7. Read More (Both Fiction & Non Fiction) – Detective/Crime fiction and a variety of non-fiction
  8. Write More (Blog) – My plan is to post at least an article every week
  9. Care Less About ‘Being Perfect’ – Most of my plans fail because I want to do it perfectly
  10. Make a Stable Income Stream Online – I earn a small amount online. Want to increase the amount and make it more stable too
  11. Call People rather than email or chat or text – This way I’ll contact fewer people but will have better connections
  12. Meet People in Person – Same reason as above
  13. Exercise Regularly – Because.. you know why
  14. Eat Good Stuff – Again.. you know why
  15. Eat Only When Hungry – If I’m eating when not hungry, probably I’m eating food meant for somebody else.. Ok.. I just want to be healthier
  16. Help People – Happiest moments in my life are those when I was able to bring a genuine smile on somebody else’s face
  17. Learn Arabic – I’ve started liking Arabic culture more than before.. I think learning language would be great idea
  18. Spend More Time with Arjun – He is going back to India this year while I’m staying back for the time being. Yet, I’ll be with him whenever possible
  19. Sharpen Technical Skill Required at Work – I should do justice to my pay cheque
  20. Join Aam Aadmi Party – This won’t happen since I’m not in India… Just a wish

Do you have a 2014 bucket list?

7 Reasons Why I’m About to Explode my Comfort Zone!

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I’m going to do something too weird, crazy &  uncomfortable. Division H Toastmasters (Abu Dhabi) is conducting a Talent Show/Competition and I’ve signed my participation form for the Fashion Show!!!!!

Why is it a Crazy Decision

  1. My passion for fashion is ZERO. I never read/watch/hear anything related to fashion. I admit that I used to watch lingerie and swimsuit shows in Fashion TV as a teenager but you know it has nothing do with fashion as such.
  2. My criteria to buy cloths are Comfort, Convenience and Cost. I don’t even know what is trendy or fashionable.
  3. Now a days I’m too fat for most good looking cloths, although it doesn’t matter since I look cool even in bad dress :-).
  4. This is how I select dress from cupboard:  Put my right hand in the cupboard and take whatever I touch first. In fact, I’m thinking of buying 3-4 exactly similar pairs of cloths so that I don’t need to select at all. If you have ever watched Monk you’ll exactly know what I mean.

Why I hate breaking Comfort Zone

As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous article about comfort zone, I believe I need to stretch my comfort zone only if two conditions are met.

  1. There is an inner desire to do something but..&
  2. I’m staying away because I’m unfamiliar with it.

Being part of a fashion show do not meet the 1st criteria.

7 Reason I Decided to Do it Anyway

For the reasons given below, I have decided to give it a try anyway:

  1. I may start enjoying it. There are thing you won’t like until you experience it.
  2. It could train me to deal with unfamiliar situations easily in future.
  3. I don’t want to regret. I still regret about things I didn’t do in the past. Even if you feel you may not enjoy an activity, it’s a good idea to do it and confirm.
  4. It could awaken new talents sleeping inside me :-).
  5.  It could increase my awareness about my own strengths and weaknesses
  6.  No publicity is bad publicity. Even if I become a joker on stage, more people will know that I exist :-).
  7. It is hard to convince Pratima (my wonderful friend who inspired me to take part) and Rency (my friend & organizer of the event who rejected my withdrawal) otherwise :-).

Have you ever come out of comfort zone? Was it a good experience?

5 Quick Steps to Brand Yourself As An Expert in Any Field

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Branding as an expert is about creating a public perception that you are an expert. This perception can set you apart from the competition since people trust experts and they love to do business with them.  However, personal branding is not about shameless advertising. It’s about excelling and making the best out of your true passion or ambition. So being a real expert is as important as creating the perception. I’ve written before about the reasons why you should care about personal branding.

You can brand yourself as an expert in 5 steps. The time you will need to implement these steps will vary depending on what you are now and how dedicated you are. While it could take just days for some, it could also take months/ years for others. The steps are given below:

Step 1. CONCEIVE an Idea

“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.”

The first step is to form an idea about the niche area in which you want to be an expert. It’s always a great idea to choose a field which you are truly passionate about. Most successful people are the ones who are emotionally and personally involved in their work. Unless you are passionate, you won’t have the energy to overcome the obstacles and thrive as an expert. If you are confused about what field to choose, try reading ‘5 Steps to Discover Your Passion‘.

What is most important in this step is that your brand should be focused. Branding yourself as a ‘Business Communication Expert’ is better and easier than branding as a ‘Soft Skills Expert’.

Step 2. CREATE a Plan

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

In this step you create a detailed description of your brand. Visualize your life as a super expert and include whatever you see in the description. You need to describe every single aspect that defines your brand. For example:

  •  What’s his skill set?
  •  What’s his level of expertise?
  •  How he interacts with people?
  •  What he eats/drinks/wears/drives?

For inspiration, you can observe how your successful role models are doing it.

Step 3. COMMUNICATE like an Expert

“For the person who perceives, perception itself is the reality”

As mentioned before, branding is about creating a perception. Whether you communicate verbally in person, through email or through social media, communicate like an expert. It doesn’t matter whether you are really an expert or not. Just fake till you make it. Create a professional online identity so that you stand out from the rest. Some tips to communicate like an expert are given below:

  • Communicate confidently. Never doubt your knowledge /skill.
  • Speak like human. Use technical jargon only when needed.
  • Give your own opinions on topics.
  • Accept when others are right and learn from them.
  • Tell stories to make your points.
  •  Help people and soon they’ll see you as an expert.

Step 4. CONNECT with the Future Plan

“Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal”

This is the most difficult step. This is where you bridge the gap between the actual ‘You’ and the ‘Brand You’. Learn the skills and reach the level of expertise that your brand requires. As per 10,000 hours principle, you can achieve mastery in anything with 10,000 hours of practice.  I’m not sure whether this is right but continuous practice in a chosen niche will definitely perfect your skills over time.

The gaps in other brand attributes are relatively easy to fill provided you have enough money and time with you.

Step 5. CONTROL your Brand

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

The brand attributes you have defined may not hold well in long term. To control your brand, keep an eye on the latest developments in your field and adjust your brand attributes accordingly. You will need to learn new skills, adapt to new technology and communicate differently as the world changes.

The steps mentioned above are not very difficult to implement. However, since 95% of the people do not care about personal branding, you will have a huge advantage if you do it.

Share your own ideas if you have any.