Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together – Vincent Van Gogh

Petty

High-heel designer shoes,

Long limbed, fair legs, petite.

 

Dour faced, frowning,

Harried, brisk mediocracy.

 

Long names, big designations,

Years of experience, exploding belly, wrapped in gallantry.

 

Smiling, jovial,

Loudly informative, shifty.

 

Hawk eyed, beaked nose,

Ruthlessly predictable with a shuffle.

 

Elegant, stylish,

All manners on a frowning brow.

 

A pageant strutting by,

Can you see the colour of the heart.

 

There have probably been many time when you sat at a group discussion or in a meeting and even though you may have had a point to contribute to the discussion at hand, but you chose to keep mum instead. At other times, you may have hesitated, albeit a bit too long, and then someone else at the table made the point. Sometimes you may have held back wondering if the thought you wished to express or the observation you wished to make may seem silly to others.  Well these are occasions when you lacked creative confidence, and because you checked yourself, we will never know if that idea was good or not. You have probably passed on a chance to be recognized as someone thoughtful because you stayed in the shadow out of fear of rejection.

Here is how you can deal with that fear that wells up inside you and by the way is all too common for most of us. Bring to mind a few examples of how, seemingly simple folks, irrespective of age, ‘poor connections’, lack of education and other resources went on to achieve great things for themselves. They also went on to offer this world hero’s, besides inspiration and hope to millions. Today we look upon these rather simple people with great admiration, silently thanking them for having the courage to come public and share with us their gift.

Susab Boyle on Britans got Talent

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Catching the bull by the horns with creative confidence

We are all fearful of something or the other, and the only way to get over it is repetition, repetition, repetition, says Dr Ivan Joseph, then Athletic Director and head coach of the Varsity Soccer team at Ryerson University. Repeat it so many times, practice again and again until the fear is gone, and is replaced with a skill instead. We see how repetition and practice helps sports people, be they swimmers, or sprinters, or cyclists… they practice long hours, building their emotional and physical strength, perfecting every breath, every movement, and every thought.

Of course a few repetitions and practice is not going to lead us to excellence, so be prepared for a healthy dose of failure along the way. From each failure, don’t forget to learn and convert it into a stepping stone to progress. Stories abound of folks who refused to accept failure and persisted on, from Abraham Lincoln, to recent stellar personalities like Colonel Sanders, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Jack Ma, J.K. Rowlings, and the list can go on. Behind the humungous success of these achievers is their tremendous grit and determination, a deep belief in themselves, persistence and the desire to succeed.

So being the person you wish to be, doing the things you wish to do, achieving the goals you have set for yourself is very possible. You need to want it hard enough, you need to stay positive. In your daily life, you will encounter many people waiting to tell you it’s not possible, it’s not your thing and pulling you back from taking that first step. You don’t need to add to their clamor with additional negative self-thought. Instead, be positive. Dr Ivan Joseph wrote a letter to himself, and read it over and over again to stay positive when at his lowest ebb. You could do that too, or instead put up a poster on your mirror, in your car, or even as the wall paper on your computer – as a reminder and positive reinforcement that you are made of tougher and better material. Remember, what does not kill you, makes you stronger.

So don’t let that manager sabotage a good idea or dampen your confidence. Don’t let that colleague talk you out of speaking up. Don’t let fear of the unknown, stop you from sharing your idea or thought.

Moving forward with creative confidence

  • While reading up on creative confidence, I came across an interesting tweetpic which read, if you want the right answer, reframe the question. If you want to extract a positive response to your input, understand your audience, learn their pain point or area of anxiety and ensure you address their pain point. Bingo, who does not want a solution for a thorn in their side!
  • Remember, different audiences have different pain points and concerns- your manager may be on the look out to simplify his/her work, a client will want to reduce costs.
  • When you step up to share an idea, and really want it to be accepted, ensure your know the problem well, you have prepared by reading up and double checking on the facts. You are clear about the problem and the solution.
  • Ensure your language is positive, display empathy, show that you are coming from a position of empathy, your audience is always listening, when they realize your understand them and wish to offer a solution.
  • When the spotlight is on you, stay confident, in words and body language. Your conviction, belief and confidence displays itself in your verbal and nonverbal cues, so always ensure you are brimming with confidence, because that’s what you pass on along with a great idea.
  • If you fail, forgive yourself and start again. There is always another day, you can always practice for another time, keep trying to fix those glitches that caused you to falter and stay with the positive self-talk.

By now you would have realized that creative confidence is not a one off event, it is a perspective and a philosophy on how we choose to live our life, it requires development and nurturing before it begins to yield benefits for you. Don’t shy about from developing your creative confidence, set about building it and become the person you wish to be.

If you are a marketer, I hardly need to give you the escalator pitch on the importance of content. You are probably already elbow deep developing all types of content – good old text, videos, images, infographs, 3D videos, VR videos – and for all types of channels. And while you may have mastered the art of generating content, something that may turn into a stumbling block is metrics. When one needs to peg down the numbers, it can sometimes get hard and dicey correlating your content to qualified leads, revenue pipeline and then actual business. Agreed content can be amorphous and swift to transform and in there lies the excitement of experimentation, learning and unlearning.

But to really begin dealing with this ever growing mass called content and making it work for you as a marketer, it is important to understand the types of content. And when I say ‘type’, I mean it with reference to the reaction you wish it to generate from the viewer, reader or consumer.

Types of content

Types of Content

Prescribing content is also descriptive, elaborate, detail and long. Some examples of prescriptive content is whitepapers, articles, demo videos, explanatory, educative videos, that explain in-depth about your offering, the benefits of adopting your offerings, sometimes doing comparisons between your offerings and other solutions in the market, talking about your differentiators. An unbiased piece of content may even help the reader adopt a parameter that enables them to compare and choose among a host of offerings in the market, and all the while, your content clearly makes a case for return on investment.

Connecting content is that which links industry trends to your offerings. It may also link what other organizations are already doing to your offerings. People who read your content, especially those who like to follow the leader will probably jump on the bandwagon and be compelled to act. From this content they get a glimpse into how others responded to this problem. Some examples of connecting content is blogs, case studies and webinars.

Motivating content is ideal when your recipients already know the benefit of your offering, but can’t seem to decide, they hesitate to put their dollar where their mouth is. You need to push them up the sales cycle, your motivating content makes a strong case for ROI, it addresses their objections and concerns and coaxes them to fill out that form and contact you. Great examples of such content is mailers, posters, standees, radio ads, newspaper ads, billboards and online banner ads. Readers are motivated to contact you because they can see real benefit now.

Disruptive content works super well for organizations in a do or die situation, or those who wish to take greater risks for huge rewards. Here the content relooks at the industry scenario and gives a surprising, innovative solution to capitalize on that scenario. Disruptive content works well for those who wish to be early entrants, who may have some unique strength they can capitalize on. Here your content strategy clearly shows how their product can go viral, how they can grab large chunks of mindshare at likely small investments, how they can harness crowdsourcing.

Connect the content to leads

As a marketing team, you would be developing all the types of content mentioned above- prescriptive, connecting, motivating and disruptive. Each type of content has the potential to move your potential consumers up the sales cycle and help convert them into real leads. As a marketer it is important to be aware of this process, smartly develop ones content in a planned manner, and release it to your audience with a structured plan.

Size of your organization determines the effectiveness of your content to convert to leads

I have seen content being used as an integral part of marketing in smaller organizers. They do not have large budgets and need cost-effective content to replace large advertising spend and large event participation. In large organizations, marketing is fragmented, unorganized and in such a situation, one cannot measure ROI. For them, content becomes just a method of thought-leadership and branding. There are too many loose ends here as the chain of command is long – creating a point of view, converting it into a mailer campaign, analyzing open rates and then cold calling can take months, and at the end of which the purpose has dimmed, the people have moved on to other projects and the PoV simply lies abandoned on the website.

So before you decide whether content can really deliver on leads or not, you need to ask yourself, what kind of an organization are you. The larger the organization, the lesser the effectiveness of content to measurably convert to leads. Knowing the size of your organization will help you focus on the right type of content and harness it for the right reason.

Movies on sports stars are always motivating to watch. The beautiful synergy of mind and body goes on to do great things, of course, the truly great stories may be few and far between, but when one watches a movie like Pele, which graphically brings out the nuances of the exceptional sporting spirit that man possesses, it undoubtedly fills one with hope, wonder and a euphoric positivity. It fills me for sure.

PelePosterSo that’s why I was drawn to watch the movie Pele, and I did so with rapt attention. Absorbing the angst of his poverty, his deprivation of nurturing sporting opportunities, his grief at losing a friend, his anger at being ridiculed, pain at watching his fathers’ unfulfilled dreams and his tremendous ability to turn this cauldron of emotion into a smoldering flame within his belly.

His parents no doubt played a hugely supporting role in making him the persona he became – larger than life, yet self-effacing in demeanor. In their simple, humble way they encouraged and shaped him. From teaching him how to play sophisticated, subtle ball with a mango, to watching his every match on television, his father was a huge force of guidance and strength for his skill.

But the larger story that follows him from Dico to Pele is Ginga. His ability to capitalize on his once frowned upon cultural inheritance. His willingness to acknowledge that he had a talent that had been built upon by generations before him, and his eagerness to tap into it, his ability to carry others with him on his way up to success – no doubt, only a man of exceptional  brilliance like Pele could have measured up to the task.

A special mention must be made of the incredible foot work – in all its skill, beauty and splendor. Something one does not see easily today. Football today has truly turned into a science, a game of rules and hardly retains that primordial spirit and instinct, where the mind and body coordinate to showcase the grace of the sport.

In the movie, Pele displays some exemplary courage to stay true to himself, his inherited culture of Ginga, even in the face of stiff opposition. He was quick to realize what worked for him and willing to go with it. So often today, we get buffeted by ruthless change in the garb of ‘development’ or ‘modernity’ and abandon our roots, aspiring for a mirage of the superior, the new, the stylish, the fad. Each of us have our inherited core value, what I learned from Pele is that if I have the courage to hold fast to it, I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and keep my head high, knowing that I  am doing right, that I do best, that I am true.

So I’m just done reading the Shiva Trilogy, Immortals of Meluha, Secret of the Nagas and Oath of the Vayuputras, and also Scion of Ikshvaku – which is the first book of the Ram Chandra Series, by Amish Tripathi. Yes, yes, I can imagine you sniggering. The books were out ages ago, what took you so long, you’re thinking. Well the reviews I valued weren’t positive, and I consciously kept off. But then, I have not read anything on Indian mythology and soon hope to graduate to more serious stuff. What better way to prepare the ground than the books by Amish Tripathi.

Well you are right, bad choice, but then, experience is the word one gives for their mistakes, and so I’d say, it was quite an experience! I can’t remember the last time I gritted my teeth while reading a book.

The first two books, Immortals of Meluha and the Secret of the Nagas are terrible. Amish really learns to write and develops the patience to stay with the story only in the third book, Oath of the Vayuputras. But it seems this book didn’t do too well, and not as many copies were sold as the first two books. I’m not sure what that tells us, whether we have a crappy audience, or whether its advise to Amish, ‘don’t change.’

The first two books had tremendous potential as stories, and could have been really built upon. Amish should have got himself better editors who could have guided him in the right direction. He failed to bring out rich history, coax out nuances and paint sceneries, glossing over areas that needed clarification and where readers would have enjoyed description. This ‘glossing over’ speaks poorly for the authors research team.

There were parts of the books that developed into philosophy, and a perspective on life in the Indian way. Here, Amish really came out for the ‘newbie’ he was. An older, more mature author, with a larger span of reading, and pensive contemplation, would have brought in a solidity that only time and insight can introduce – say like Amitav Ghosh or Anita Desai.

But reading these books by AT definitely uncovers the huge potential that Indian mythology offers, to delve into creatively and explore perspectives and create narratives from various angles. Why writers, especially more talented, mature and experienced ones have held back thus far is something I wonder, or perhaps they wish to refrain from quoting controversy.

So the books have errors as well, AT fails to create a visually rich and historically accurate vision of 2500 BC and then blunders majorly by calling it all ‘India’ – unforgivable. The Scion of Ikshvaku describes a helicopter, the Oath of the Vayuputras describes ice blocks that preserved Sita’s body without explaining from where they came. It would have made better sense if he had written about embalming which was a highly developed practice even then, across the world.

However, what I did like and what most staunch Hindus find unpalatable was the humanization of Shiva. This is a common practice in Hinduism and makes legendary figures and even gods so accessible, possible to identify with and emulate. Shiva is sometimes portrayed as a reluctant leader, struggling to get into the large shoes of previous Vishnu’s but taking on the burden with great poise, fortitude and uncharacteristic egalitarianism. Leadership bears heavy on all our shoulders at some point of time in our life or the other. Here is something we could learn from. I also liked how he explains the Naga’s. While many hands humans, bird like humans and ape like humans are sometimes hard to digest, that they could be deformities is very plausible.

So I must say that errors and all, the four books really grew on me, and while I promise myself, I will not be reading any more of ATs future books, I feel more confident moving on to sturdier, more accurate Indian literature.

The promise

It has almost been a year and I have posted nothing on my blog. What a shame. One can write for a living but forget to write for fun. Undoubtedly, the last year has seen me write on week days and write on weekends. After all, time is money, and my blog is just a hobby.

I’ve had thoughts, and ideas, and promised myself to pen them down, but somehow, they just slipped by, in the rush of work, as I go on like a hamster on a wheel, and I continue to promise myself. Perhaps this lack of ‘me time’, ‘blog time’ has been the reason why I feel terribly stifled, almost chocked. Like my lungs are full of carbon dioxide, I so want to expel. So need to expel. Let it out, let it go, breath, let the fresh, the clean, the new, and the life giving energy come in. Let go of the past, that which is over, history. Stop looking over your shoulders and surrender to the unknown, open your mind to the winds of change, face the sun, let it fill me, rejuvenate me, germinate me. Yes, this time I shall keep my word. I will be writing on a thought or two. It shall be posted here.

Goa Beaches

Goa Beaches

Goa is a tiny sliver of land on the west of India and is rather famed for its beaches. So when you visit the state, what else would you rather do than hit the beach, frolic in the Arabian sea and lounge on the soft sand. When you’ve done dozing in the shade of a palm tree, grab a beer, tuck into some Goan food at the quaint palm thatched shacks or just go for long strolls to vibe with the sultry sea breeze.

Goa is administratively divided into North and South and the 101 kilometers of coast line is dotted with a number of lovely beaches.

Beaches in North Goa

Goa Beach_2From way up North, you start with the fairly isolated Arambol, Mandrem, the Olive Ridley turtle nesting site of Morjim, Vagator and then on to Anjuna famed for its flea market. The fort of Chapora turns into a rocky outcrop that reaches out to Baga, Calangute draws the marauding throngs, Candolim and Sinquerim where you bump into Fort Aguada, which is a rather pretty place. Round a little bend, Coco beach at Nerul and then you jump over the river Mandovi and its Miramar on the suburbs of the capital city – Panjim. Dona Paula is not much of a beach really, further down is Bambolim and Sridao, which are  wonderfully private little beaches and then you plunge into the river Zuari that actually divides the North of the State from the South.

Beaches in South Goa

Goa_Beach_3In the South you begin with the lovely and quiet Bogmalo, Velsao, the infamous Vasco, Majorda, Betalbatim, crowded Colva where all the hordes descend for a flavor of the south of Goa. Then on to the five star locales of the South, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim and Mobor, the picturesque Betul and Canaguinim. At the extreme south of the state, you encounter the secluded yet gorgeous beaches of Agonda, the coco huts of Palolem and then Talpona.

This is indeed a tall list of beaches to visit in a single trip and a great reason for you to visit Goa again.

To move around, hire a bike, they are rather inexpensive or if you’ll a larger group a self-driven car would be great. This should help you travel cost-effectively. Hiring a car with a driver is exorbitant in Goa, and public transport is pathetic.

Goa_Beach_5

Things to do on the beaches of Goa

  • Wear light, loose casual clothes that dry quickly. Avoid expensive clothes as the sea water would seriously damage them
  • For footwear, a pair of rubber or plastic slippers or thin sandals would ensure they are not ruined even if they get wet
  • When you’ve on the beach take time to relax, it’s an extremely beautiful place to be at, especially during sunrise and sunset
  • Keep your camera at the ready and take lots of memorable pictures
  • The sea is relatively calm in Goa, except during the monsoons, so you could have a great time and venture in a bit if you are a good swimmer
  • The shacks are lovely places to hang out at, most offer good music, but they can be expensive and the food is not always the best
  • The lady hawkers trawling the beach sell lovely accessories at really low rates. Just the place if you are looking for a bargain
  • Carry lots of suntan lotion to ensure you don’t get sunburnt, a wide brimmed hat will be most useful too
  • Don’t just abandon your belonging and get into the water, your stuff could get stolen

Goa_Beach_6

Things not to do on the beaches of Goa

  • Don’t litter the beach with beer cans, glass bottles and plastic. If you don’t find a bin, you will have to wait and dispose of the waste at your hotel
  • Do not stare at people, irrespective of how they are dressed or their skin colour. It’s just not cultured or polite – most of us Indians just don’t get this, do we?
  • Avoid getting drunk and getting into the sea. Just stay hydrated, that’s going to be difficult enough in hot, humid Goa
  • If the lifeguard waves you away from the water, take the advice. They are unlikely to be able to save you in case you find yourself drowning
  • Avoid getting into the sea after dark, it’s just not safe

If you are looking for a unique stay in Goa, that is homely, cost- effective and safe, book into a homestay. Like our Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/goaallyear and contact us at lilliandcosta@gmail.com

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