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

Archive for the ‘Interesting Stuff’ Category

Don’t hold back, develop your creative confidence

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


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.

Review of the Shiva Trilogy & Scion of Ikshvaku

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.

Let the Party Begin!

Everybody wants the best for their child, and if it’s a birthday party you are organizing it has to be awesome. But once the excitement settles down and you actually get down to the task of planning. You will be surprised to note how organizing a simple child’s birthday party can actually be a daunting task. Locating venues and comparing a few, picking the menu, choosing a party theme, ensuring your menu is in line with the theme, booking the cake, sending out the invites, shopping for stuff like party hats and return gifts, planning the game, and the list goes on….. Don’t forget, this is a team effort. Your child, husband and in-laws will give you some fantastic ideas… but you have to do all the running around and implementation. Makes you want to pull your hair out, right?

Birthday planning made easy

But wait, organizing a child’s birthday party does not have to be this stressful. You can actually do some, if not most, of the things online. Oh yes, thanks to the internet and all those intelligent businessmen who envisaged the hardships a mother could face when organizing her child’s birthday bash. They actually put together a cool portal that could help you plan!

Venue Plan is one of these. It is an interactive real-time directory on event venues and birthdays. The site currently has information on Bangalore, but they are growing rapidly into other cities.

Venue Plan lets you locate hotels in your vicinity and in keeping with your budget. It helps connect moms planning their child’s birthday with hotels, check out the facilities being offered, pick the food, plan the theme, locate magicians, tattoo artists, photographers, handcrafted return gift providers, folks who can bake personalized cakes and more…. All over the phone! Yes, hard to believe, but true.

Now, let all the fantastic ideas from your child, husband and in-laws flow in, does anyone need to know you have a fairy godmother in Venue Plan:)

Should you desire to contact Venue Plan


Phone: (91) 9886022277


Transitioning from CRM to CXM

–          Is Your Organization Ready for the Big Move!

The pervasive use of mobility devices for communication; increased customer reach, and their changing behaviour patterns have recently called for a redefinition of the concept of ‘Customer Relationship Management’ as we know it.


A Day Well Spent at Sunday Soul Sante

Sunday Soul Sante? What the hell is that, I thought when I first heard the name. That’s when my colleague who also knows Kannada explained that Sante is the Kannada word for markets that are held in villages. These markets too are usually held on a Sunday. The Sunday Soul Sante however is no village market. It is held in the heart of Bangalore, palace grounds to be precise, is a quarterly event and attracts hoards of people.

What makes Sunday Soul Sante different is that it attracts hundreds of young entrepreneurs. These people are students, housewives, lawyers, teachers, software engineers, newlyweds, mom-in-law etc etc from nine to five, and then go out and pursue their passion, and live their creativity. This may take the form of painting, craftwork, jewelry making, colorful accessories, cooking, stationary, greeting cards, wine making, you name it and it’s probably there.

The event begins by 12.30 p.m and from the word ‘open’, the large layout of 250+ stalls are teaming with visitors. Today was a particularly hot day, with the barometer probably hovering around the mid thirties, but between huge gulps of water, we flitted from stall to stall. With me were my two friends, Sreeja Nair and Kaneez Rai, both of who well hell bent to snap up all the ‘good stuff’ (to quote Sreeja here) before it was ‘all gone’. Of course they left the Sante a few thousands lighter, but they were radiant about the fantastic clothes, jewelry, stationary and other knick-knacks they had purchased.

Notwithstanding the red dust rising with every footstep, Sunday Soul Sante is a feast for the eyes. Bright summery colours are in; the discerning consumer is tired of the super markets and malls, where thousands of people are buying the same stuff as you. Today, folks are looking for the unique, the offbeat, products that can be customized. So at Sunday Soul Sante you meet folks that hand paint a pair of converse shoes, give you beautiful fabric wraps for your bean bag, sell you homemade Coorg pickles, sell you cup cakes and top them with icing containing generous doses of Rum, Tequila, Champaign, Vodka, and so on.

Entrepreneurship is in, gone are the days when folks got bogged down in the drudgery of routine. Today,  young people, those in college and those just out come up with truly great ideas, recognize the commercial value of it and leverage the advantage of the internet to market their stuff, how about gifting your friend a personalized photo frame, or your mom a personalized handbag. Beautiful handcrafted lamps, bottles heat pressed into shapes like ashtrays and traditional handicrafts are hot.

Eco-friendly is in. walk around and you see loads of paper, fabric, thread, wood, glass, leather used in a hundred creative ways.

It was tiring no doubt, my feet still hurt with hours of walking in the baking sun, but the exuberance, positivity, smiles and warmth is infectious. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday!

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