Tag Archive for: personal growth

I was recently asked to write a chapter for my good friend John Bardos’ ebook Change Your Life.

“Is there something specific that really helped put your life on a better path? Can you talk about a transformation that occurred because of one particular strategy? Is there something you do every day that is critical to your productivity?”

Rather than the typical personal development tips you hear, beyond practicing meditation and establishing a morning routine, my answer is the same one I give to people who ask how they can find more happiness in their lives. It’s incredibly simple advice, but requires great discipline to implement:

Choose Wisely

The secret to life is deceptively simple: choose carefully what you focus your attention on.

Namely, focus on the things you genuinely and deeply want more of. Look for what makes you happy.

Don’t obsess over the things that frustrate you. Don’t let anger, or resentment, become the center of attention.

Because as the saying goes, what you focus on grows. When I started to focus on cultivating an attitude of gratitude, my whole life transformed. And I find that when I consciously acknowledge the experiences, the people, and events I’m grateful and thankful for, somehow I tend to find more and more similar things that inspire gratitude.

Whereas, when I focus on my problems — when I go into emergency mode fighting fires and looking for every little detail of what is wrong with my work and family life — then I’ll find plenty of problems.

Seek, and you shall find. So seek the right things, and discipline your mind to search for opportunities rather than limitations.

I highly recommend any ambitious young person in the world today develop a regular gratitude practice as part of your daily rituals – write your answers in some kind of journal, or keep an ongoing note on your computer — but start the day with 3 things you’re thankful for, and end your day with 3 amazing things that happened for you. (If you have a hard time getting started, I recommend trying The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day)

You’ll be surprised how quickly this daily practice can change your outlook, and even your circumstances.

Count your blessings, not your problems.

If you want to read 99 other great chapters from experts sharing their top strategies for reaching your highest potential, download your free copy of the book here.

Ever since I lost two of my best friends at age 20, Chris and Kareem, I’ve spent the last 14 years looking — around the god forsaken globe mind you, in every dark corner I could find — for hope.

This man helped set off a chain of events that helped me find my misplaced faith again, and take important responsibility for certain things in my life.

The process was not easy. It cost me everything I had. But I am rebuilding myself stronger than ever and with a much clearer understanding of why I’m here than ever before.

Jordan B. Peterson is a controversial professor at the center of the sociopolitical culture war erupting in the West right now who has been vilified in outrageous ways by his critics.

But I believe Peterson — of all the wildly different people I’ve encountered across four continents — I believe this man may be the most important living intellectual of our time, akin to a modern-day Joseph Campbell.

You may disagree with his views, but what the professor of psychology at the University of Toronto is doing just may tip the scales in humanity’s favor and help warring tribes and hostile brothers come to understand each other.

Right when we most need a miracle.

0:30 Introduction/Rise to Fame & Gender Pronouns
3:28 “Radical in a Conservative way”
5:54 Jung/Archetypes/Collective Unconscious
10:30 Integrating of the Logos
15:45 Bringing yourself into Alignment
19:06 Nature of Responsibility & Rights / Message for Men
22:00 Masculinity in the West
25:50 Post-Modernism
29:40 Integrating your Shadow, “You are the Locus of Evil”, Mind and Body alignment
34:50 Relation to the Raising of Children
37:50 Piaget’s developmental model and continual integration vs Freud
39:00 Speaking the Truth
41:02 On Atheism, Rationalism, Morality, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins etc.
44:10 Intellectualism, embodiment
45:20 Motivation for true understanding

Following along with his Maps of Meaning and Personality & Its Transformations courses at the University of Toronto was a transformational process that helped me understand a lot of the deeper wisdom in the value system I was raised within. Not only that, but working through the Self Authoring program he and his academic colleagues created is also helping me create a much more accurate mental map to navigate the trials and challenges of life.

Along with the work of many others, including Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung, Peterson’s work has helped me through the most challenging times of my life, and helped me learn to navigate incredible failure, suffering, pain, and face immense terror with a newfound zen-like faith in the process.

Life is suffering.

Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated.

Truth is the handmaiden of love.

Dialogue is the pathway to truth.

Humility is recognition of personal insufficiency and the willingness to learn.

To learn is to die voluntarily and to be born again, in great ways and small.

So, speech must be untrammeled, so that dialogue can take place; so that we can all humbly learn, so that truth can serve love, so that suffering can be ameliorated, so that we can all stumble forward, so to speak, towards the kingdom of God.”

–Jordan Peterson

 

 

We recently returned from celebrating my birthday on the beach with a wonderful group of friends.

springtime

March 20th (my birthday) is the vernal equinox, and the first day of spring (or the first day of autumn in the southern hemisphere).

On the equinoxes, the sun passes directly over the equator. The northern and southern hemispheres of the planet are equally illuminated on about March 20th and September 22nd, and as a result, the length of day and night is nearly equal — all around the globe.

The March equinox marks the time when the sun crosses from south to north over the celestial equator – the imaginary plane that divides the sky above the Earth’s equator. The light overtakes the darkness, the sun’s warm rays finally dispel the winter and we welcome in the Springtime.

spring-rebirth

I never knew this growing up, but March 20th is a highly symbolic day in many ancient traditions, marking the end of one astrological year and the beginning of another.

This is the Solar New Year, and there are ancient monoliths and sacred sites around the world that were built thousands of years ago to align with our sun on March 20/21.

The light from our sun is what governs the natural cycle of life and death on this planet, so it is for good reason that humans have celebrated the coming of the spring for as long as we can remember — as the seasons were especially important for more agrarian civilizations, and even for hunter-gatherer tribes.

The Earth grows greener, more animals come out of the woodwork, as the sun grows brighter and the daylight hours grow longer.

So it is a natural time for us to focus on themes of growth and rebirth as the season changes. You can argue with it if you like, but just observe around you as many people become more active with longer daylight hours, shake off the winter blues, or begin to make significant changes in their lives, their careers, and relationships.

It is a time for “spring cleaning”, vacations, and the call of adventure. Time to dust off and let go of old things.

We are a species with amnesia, who have forgotten our past, but we are inextricably connected to the sun — the original energy source of all life on planet Earth, and everything across our solar system.

Is it any wonder why we celebrate Easter, and the resurrection of the Son, as the spring starts to heat up?

The spring equinox represents the rebirth of the natural world, with its archetypal symbols including things like flowers, eggs, and rabbits. (Those wascally wabbits!)

So why am I droning on and on about such esoteric stuff? Well in the words of the late great Joseph Campbell:

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”

If there is a natural time of year to try to rejuvenate the soul, to “reset” and reconnect — both with the Self and with the natural world — it’s the advent of spring.

As I’ve spent the last few months diving deep into mythology, philosophy, and cross-cultural spiritual studies — the mystical world I first began to explore 15 years ago with my college degree — I’ve set an annual challenge for myself: to utilize my birthday as an opportunity to untether from electronics and social media, to reconnect with my body and with nature — in the sand, in the ocean, in the jungle — and to surround myself with good friends and loved ones for a special shared experience where we focus on our own individual “Hero’s Journey”.

As an unofficial launch celebration for my new business, I even sponsored Krabi’s first free springtime beach party.

spring-equinox

“That’s what a birthday is for,” Joseph Campbell would say, as he spent his birthday (March 26th, coincidentally enough rounding out our week together) every year for more than two decades surrounded by friends at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, along California’s breathtaking coastline.

Campbell would often tell the story of how Carl Jung had realized the importance of “what it means to live with a myth, and what it means to live without one.” When Jung realized he didn’t know what personal myth he was living, he wrote:

I took it upon myself to get to know *my* myth, and I regarded this as the task of tasks.”

So what myth are you living by? What is YOUR journey? What call to adventure have you rejected? Who do you truly aspire to be?

If you’re ready to take a fantastic journey through the Unknown, to reconnect with your Higher Self and your guiding purpose, to explore psychology and philosophy and face your own inner demons, to discover what treasures and superpowers lie buried deep within, then I hope you will join me and over 400 of the most legendary heroes I know.

Today only, you can join our HERO Society premium membership for a one-time low payment, and help us to uncover timeless truths and develop a transformative new framework for personal growth.

And mark your calendars for March 2018, to join us in my absolute favorite paradise on Earth for the next Hero Spring Break!

Happy New Year!

I’m still catching up from lost time with my pink eye, but I’m hustling all NYE and all weekend to make this Hero Project happen.

How was your year? Have you guys done an annual review, or set goals for the year ahead yet?

I have a very special gift for you from my good friend Tim Walther, founder of Grand Dynamics in Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

Holiday Gift: Download the 2017 Personal Mastery Guide

2017 personal mastery

Act quick and get Tim’s 2017 Personal Mastery Guide, which offers a framework for your reflection on 2016 and a new year’s resolution guide for visioning and planning for 2017. Click below to download your personal copy, FREE for Hero Project supporters (normal price is $9.95).

Click here to download (Hero Project Members Only)

Rajesh Setty is the popular author of the book Beyond Code: Learn To Distinguish Yourself In 9 Simple Steps and another of my absolute favorite bloggers, at Life Beyond Code. He is the president of Foresight Plus, a Silicon Valley management consulting firm that aims to give entrepreneurs a competitive advantage, as well as founder of the new online companies Suggestica and iPolipo. He has lived quite the motivated and successful life, not only as founder, president, and chairman of many companies, but also as an author, teacher, and public speaker.

With such an accomplished list of entrepreneurial pursuits, I thought Rajesh would make the perfect contender for my second business interview. He has had many successes and failures, and has a lot of solid knowledge to share from that experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to meet with him in person on my recent trip to Silicon Valley, and he was kind enough to let me interview him by email.

Rajesh, you are a founder, president, chairman, author, and blogger. Please tell us about the many business projects you are currently involved with.

Cody, first of all thank you for inviting me for this interview. Now, to answer your question, currently I am involved in five different companies. I will go with the latest one first:

  • iPolipo – I am one of the founders and serve as the executive chairman. We think that people want to spend more time “meeting” people rather than “scheduling those meetings” with them. We have a solution that will help in doing just that.
  • Suggestica – I am one of the founders and serve as the president. We think that there is a non-information overload on the web. By bringing trusted content, we not only hope to save time and money, we truly want to bring joy into people’s lives.
  • Compassites – This is a company in India and I serve on their board. Compassites is totally focused on helping entrepreneurs with their product development needs. Their claim to fame is that they can take an idea from concept to launch in record time.
  • Foresight Plus – This is a management consulting firm where I partner with some select businesses and individuals to bring them an unfair and sustainable competitive advantage. I am no longer accepting new clients with this business for the near future.
  • CIGNEX – I was one of the founders and served as the CEO for the first five years. While I am no longer operationally involved in the company, I help in some business development activities when appropriate.

I am involved in a few more projects but those are all in stealth mode. I am an entrepreneur at heart but I am also an author and a teacher. On the business side, I act as a catalyst to speed up multiple projects simultaneously. On the personal side, I love to help already high-performing people reach greater heights.

What sort of background do you come from? And what was your experience like living and working in different countries around the globe and finally coming to reside here in California?

I was born and brought up in Southern India. I come from a middle-class family. My father was a civil engineer working for the state government. That meant that we would move from one place to another place every few years. It seemed like a pain at that time but it taught us to adapt to new situations.

That family background helped me to adjust easily when I lived and worked in five different countries–India, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and France. I am generally a happy person so I enjoyed living and working in all those countries. These experiences have helped me tremendously in the following ways:

  • Increased my respect for diversity: Every country was different and we had to get used to the diversity. Now, it is more fun than a problem.
  • Enhanced my ability to adapt: Each country was also different in terms of how we live and work and basically how to get things done.
  • Expanded my network globally: Relationships in different countries help tremendously with globalization in full force.

Where did you get your formal education and what did you study?

I completed my Bachelor of Engineering at Mysore University in India, in Electronics and Communication. Of course, I didn’t use much of what I studied in my engineering at my work.

Do you have a word of advice for college students and other young people who would like to become successful leaders or entrepreneurs?

I think every college student should try to pursue a life of leadership. If you are a college student, you can learn that by taking some initiative to do what I call “filling in the blanks.” Wherever you are, you can always find something that everyone thinks someone else will take care of–blanks–and rather than thinking that someone else will take care of it, you can take the initiative to take care of it. If you make this a habit, you would have laid a good foundation to become a leader.

Are there any specific skill sets that don’t get taught in school that are invaluable in the business world? What do you recommend to get over those hurdles?

This question is very interesting to me. There are many skills that are not taught in schools, but if you don’t learn them you are at a serious competitive disadvantage. It will take me a while to list all of them, but here are a few for starters:

  1. Building long-term relationships: Long-term relationships can be a huge competitive advantage just because of the sheer fact that it takes a long-time to build them. Everyone knows that, but the schools don’t teach it. You have to learn it on your own initiative.
  2. Improving your likability: When I tell people that likable people have an easier time getting ahead, people usually agree. When I tell people that unlikeable people have a hard time getting things done, people agree to that too. However, when I ask them if they have done anything in the last one year to improve their likability factor, they look at me as if I am from a different world. Likability is a key skill and you have to learn it on your own.
  3. Learning how to learn: Schools teach you stuff but rarely teach you the concept of “learning how to learn.” It is your responsibility to learn the best way to learn new things. Many of your current skills won’t help you to succeed in the future. So while you are delivering your current projects with your current skill sets, you have to also learn new skills. Unlike the times when you were a student, you have less time to learn a lot more. This means you have to learn how to learn.
  4. Leveraging your time: Every one of us has only 24 hours, but successful people get more out of those 24 hours. How can you too get more out of your time? For starters, start designing your activities to yield multiple rewards. For example: you come across a very interesting service on the web, you can see who among your friends will be interested in it and why. Remember that even if only two people are interested, the reasons for their interest may be different. Your job is to send both of them a note explaining the relevance of that service to them. This is an example that you are caring for what they care about.
  5. Building your personal brand: Every person has a personal brand, whether they like it or not. It is “who they are to the world.” So, you have a personal brand too. The real question therefore is: “Is your personal brand effective?” Like likability, personal brands provide a powerful shortcut to many things. It takes a while to build a powerful personal brand and it takes a lot of effort to maintain and grow it, but the rewards are long-term and sweet.

What values would you say have provided you with the greatest motivation to be continually successful? What do you care about most?

If I could pick one value, it would be the ability to touch the lives of people in a positive way. I like to have a magic touch–meaning when someone is already magical (high-performing), I would like to touch them!

As an entrepreneur and executive businessman, what experiences have left the most lasting impression or have been the most memorable in your work experience?

It is hard to single out any one experience during the last decade, Cody. However, every time I see a smile on one or more of our clients’ faces, I feel blessed that we were able to solve a problem for them or open up a significant opportunity with our products or services.

So, you’ve just unveiled your newest venture iPolipo just days ago. Please tell us all about it.

We launched iPolipo in the “controlled beta” mode on Monday, December 11. We hit 90% of our beta customer count by Friday of the same week. This was an overwhelmingly positive response for something that was built over the last one year.

iPolipo solves the everyday scheduling problem for business executives. It is common for two people to exchange multiple emails or voicemails to schedule one meeting. It is also frustrating to hold a particular slot on your calendar open waiting for a confirmation from the other party. iPolipo solves this problem by allowing people to share their free slots on the calendar effectively on the web.

 

And what motivated you to start writing? Tell us about some of your written work.

I started reading early. By the time I was nine, I must have read close to 700 books–mostly novels and other fiction. When I was nine, I had an idea–you can say a crazy idea–to write my own novel. At that age, you don’t have a lot of logic in your head. So I didn’t think much, but wrote a 200-page novel. My parents thought I was mentally ill, as it was odd for a 9-year old kid to write 200 pages of anything. But my craziness continued. I thought, “writing is the hard work; publishing should be easy.” I immediately took action and started searching for a publisher. Long story short, after more than a hundred rejections and four long years, I found a publisher to get my book published. After that there was no looking back, and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing since then.

I have so far got seven books published. Four novels, one collection of poems, one book on mathematics and my latest book Beyond Code (with a foreword by Tom Peters) is a management book that’s focus is to help people distinguish themselves to raise above the commodity crowd. I talk about 9 things that people can do to distinguish themselves. It is available in many major bookstores and almost all online bookstores like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and 800-CEO-READ.

What kind of readers do you write your blog Life Beyond Code for?

My blog is targeted at knowledge workers, entrepreneurs and ambitious students who want to get something more out of their lives. It started off as an extension to the book, but has taken a life of its own. I write on topics that range from how to get more out of your life, the art of leverage, distinguishing yourself, leadership, entrepreneurship and some occasional mini sagas (a mini saga is a story in exactly 50 words).

How do you think web 2.0 technology is changing the way we do business? Is this a positive trend?

Web 2.0, Software as a Service, Open Source or any other thing in and within itself cannot make a significant change. What we do with them is what is causing the change. I just received a business plan to look at where the entrepreneur had explained the business model something like this: “We have a web 2.0 application delivered as a Software as a Service model in the healthcare vertical.” I was sad because the idea should not be to create a buzzword-laden business plan. The underlying magic is the power of the business model and the power of execution. Both idea and the team are important and then comes the “how” part where web 2.0, open source and SaaS models come into play. Sometimes people tend to put the cart before the horse because of all the hype surrounding these buzzwords.

Describe your vision of the future of business. How do you think things might change on an international level, and how might businesses anticipate those changes?

All I know is that the rate of change that is happening at a global level is mind-boggling. I think nobody can cope with this change all on their own. Everyone needs help and whoever realizes this early and builds powerful configurations that can withstand the change can survive and thrive. There aren’t any sure-fire ways or practices that can help any organization to guarantee success. What I tell people is to constantly build the capacity to:

  • handle change
  • relentlessly innovate
  • read the markets
  • anticipate mid to long-term needs and start planning to create offerings before someone else does
  • execute better than the competition

Who do you think are 3 or 4 of the most authoritative experts in leadership, innovation, and business productivity currently, other than yourself?

Here are my current picks, in no particular order:

Leadership

Innovation

Productivity

What one life tip would you like to leave us with, Rajesh?

Focus on ROII. ROII stands for Return On Investment for an Interaction. Everyone is busy and running around to take care of many of their concerns.
People say time is money, but most people really don’t mean it or at least they don’t behave as if time was money. In fact, they do something that is shocking–they treat money as if they can never get it back, and they squander time as if they can easily refill it at a gas station or something like that. In reality, we all know that time lost is gone forever and money invested in the right things will yield multiple returns. Imagine for a second that you did subscribe to the “time is money” philosophy. This would mean that when someone interacts with you, they are investing their time and that means they are investing money in you. Like any business person, they are interested in getting the right return on their investment (in this case, this happens to be time) and it is your duty to provide that return for them.

If you don’t care about providing a decent ROII, you become a liability for that person. Worse, if someone else who is in the same role provides a better ROII for the same job, you have a serious competitive disadvantage.

I wish to thank Rajesh so much for giving me a few hours of his time and sharing his valuable thoughts and experiences! As is fitting, he is the king of ensuring he delivers the highest return-on-investment to everyone he interacts with!

Rajesh Setty currently lives in Silicon Valley with his wife Kavitha and their son Sumukh. You can learn more about him on his website Life Beyond Code, or from his book Beyond Code.