It is so strange that we find it hard to ask for advice. We often feel uncomfortable to give or receive advice.
In some circles or in different cultures people tend to giving and receiving advice more openly than others. Most of us have a need for improvement, and a need for advice. But not all of us can easily accept the fact that we need to be reminded about what gives us joy and what we can improve.
I find it satisfying when a good friend counsels me. And the deeper the relationship the more the advice or suggestions matters.
Hmm… this might sound wired, but this was an experience I had today.
Sitting in a circle with two of my very close friends. Out of some random whim I suggested why not we take turn predicting what each of us think will happen to us in six months time. Now six months might be nothing for a lot of people for change. But if you are me, a lot can change in six months. So we did just that.
It was fun, the opposite of reminisce, if there is such a thing. We did it in a group not alone, even weirder. But then something interesting happened. One of the friend suggested how about we take a turn sharing one advice to one another. This included sharing an advice for yourself as well. I’ve done things like, let’s share three things we are grateful for today; but not advice.
We ended up sharing one, two or even three advice about each other and ourselves. It was very refreshing and touching. It was amazing to see that my friends cared enough to mentioned things that requires deep observations.
A spirit of compassion
Advice needs to be shared in the right spirit. That’s something that makes it authentic and helpful. Something for you to think about. It also allows the giver to share a concern for you that you would have never known otherwise. As a receiver you get to see perspective from others. And sometimes you hear the echo of something that you already know, thus you get reassurance. Whether you can follow the advice or not you get to know things that you would never have known.
In technology world we do a thing called User Experience Design. A process that essentially breaks down problems and ask and research users to find ways to improve products. Now, why not try that for hacking our life and improve who we are
So if you are feeling brave why not try asking someone you trust (a close friends, spouse, parents or a sibling) the question, “If you could give me 2 advice what would they be”. See what you find and how it feels. And if you feel like sharing I would love to know how your experience was.
Giving and receiving helpful advice requires a combination of courage, humility, honesty and compassion. That’s a lot of good stuff not all of us have. But like in the gym the more we try them the better we get at it. I’m looking forward to my next game of advice 🙂
In my last post I shared that if there was one word I could share before I die with people I care about that would be read. As I was thinking about these the first people that came to mind are people who I deeply care about and feel responsible for (heads up Stanly & Isha). People who are young and has a long time to go in life. As I promised, let’s share what I mean by “read”.
What do I mean by reading
When I say read, I mean consume books in any form. So read or listen either way you are consuming books.
My recent obsession with reading?
I never was a big reader. For a long time I also read non-fictions mostly. But that trend has changed. I still read more non-fictions than fictions, but I started enjoying fictions just as much.
Here’s how it all started. I stared using an app called blink list. It provides summery of all the non fictions in the planet (more or less). Usually under 15min you can get the whole summery of a book. But blink list lost it’s appeal very quickly as I started to crave more content on single subject matter.
Next I started using Audible. It provides 1 audio books a month for a subscription fee. But this allowed me to enjoy and consume full length books much faster.
I still use Audible but I realised that there are lots of audio books that are freely available on YouTube and other sources. So I make use of a combination of different sources and listen.
There are however some books that I want to listen, read and re-read again. So those are the candidate for a hard copy reading.
I have been listening to TED talks, YouTube videos, podcasts and reading blogs (infrequently) as a method for my unstructured learning. However none of these are as effective as reading for life transformation. I find listening to a whole length book or reading the whole book is much more satisfying and impactful.
When you listen to a book, depending on who is reading it feels like a grandpa, a brother, a sister or a good friend is whispering in your ear the learning of their lifetime. As you listen through a 7-8 hours book, it slowly transforms you to a different person over the course of the whole book. You get fueled with hard earned life lessons, knowledge of someone who is usually successful or an expert in their field. I am a firm believer that we are products of who we surround ourselves with and our experiences. We are however limited to what we can experience. A book transports us from our current environment to a different environment. This is a magical experience. These days you get a lot of books read by the author themselves, it makes you feel like you are talking to them.
Ultimately when we read it changes us, liberates us from our existing beliefs. Reading introduces us to who we can be, what we can do and how we can get to our dream or vision. Reading is transformative and that brings me to my next point.
What should we read and how to find them?
I recently read a book called As a Man Thinketh By James Allen. A short read (less than an hour to listen). I absolutely loved it. One of the concept the author introduces is our mind is like a garden and whatever we put in it is whatever grows there. That is why there is a saying that says:
You are the product of your closest 5 people you surround yourself with.
Just like how you don’t want junk in your body or weed in your garden, you don’t want to put trash in your mind. That’s why it is so important to be able to choose what you want and what you need when you read. Our choices are endless so how exactly do we choose what we read?
Well, I like to read and learn things that will have an immediate impact in my life. Here’s how I have been choosing my next reading:
I think about the area of my life that needs to be improved. Then I do a google search with, “Top books on ______” (fill in the blank with that area of your interest. For example:
Top books on marketing,
Top books on money & finance,
Best books on self discipline, over coming fear, blogging, starting a business etc. You get the idea.
I refine my search on the topic with the help of Google’s suggestion at the bottom of the page and usually glance/read through 5-10 search results to see what the top book are on that subject.
As you do this you start to see a common set of books on most of the recommended list. You observe the ones that are resonating with you. After reading through a few list I know exactly the ones I want to try.
This method is particularly good for choosing non-fictions and I haven’t been disappointed so far. If you make the search relevant to the issue you are dealing with right now you will not be disappointed.
Once I found the book I want to read, I would often search the title as audio book.
Finding books organically
Another thing I do to find books is ask people I know questions about books. Such as:
What are the top 2 books that most impacted your life?
What are the 2 of your most favourite books?
And I ask why? It is especially great to know the books of people you most respect or love. It tells a lot about them. I have a list of books from asking friends and family members. And if they are relevant I read them too. Some of the non fictions in my list came this way.
I also search for things like:
The top novels to read before you die
Must read classics etc.
Sounds a bit corny I know but who cares, I get good books this way. It’s a good idea to respond to your intuitions as well. There are some titles that are not so popular but really relevant to your needs. This is another good reason to ask people who you are close to you for recommendations. Because they know you well and know what you might need or enjoy.
A few books I recently read and recommend to anyone
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
– Read it if you want to get richer and think clearly about wealth.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
Deep Work Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (Absolutely love it)
A few from my soon to read list
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
This is a never ending list.
This is my fourth day in blogging and this is another uncut & unedited post hope you enjoy.
Oh, one more thing, what are 2 books that most impacted your life? Feel free to share your answer in comments here or in one of my social profile.
Before I start I must share something I’m excited about. Today I also launched this site, and it is another work in progress. But I’m happy about getting it out there. I wanted something like this for a while and now. I finally made it. Now back to personal branding.
The phrase “personal branding” might sound like a cliche. But it encompasses many areas such as social media marketing (SMM), influence marketing, blogging and more.
Since moving to Sydney I have been wanting to make a web presence that is updated and more relevant to what I am doing lately. Finally it is coming together.
Here’s what the current landing page looks. It’s not done completely but it is heading to the right direction.
The blog page looks like this now (see below). That is mostly the out of the shelf solution. It doesn’t matter whether you are making a website or baking a cake, you always need to do a ton of work to achieve a result that that you want. And it is very satisfying to see something that you have created that only existing in the depth of your mind just a few days ago. So I’ll be working on the blog page to improve it over the following weeks. I’m grateful that it is coming together. I’m thankful to Pat who among others have been very helpful along the process of some of my latest work.
So… personal branding again
Does it matter? I think it doesn’t matter more than your personal satisfaction. If you love sharing what you are working on with the world then do just that. If it helps with your marketing perhaps choose to do that as a separate project. But at the end of the day how you feel about your work is more important than how you present yourself.
I have to admit though there are some advantages when you have a website/blog. Like when you go for a job interview and the interviewers says “I never met you but I feel like I know you.” or when you interview someone for a job and they say, “I really want to work on XYZ project that you are working on”. A personal brand allows you to define who you are on the web, rather than leaving that job to Google or Facebook.
After a long time of being away from blogging I think I’m almost starting back again. This is a semi test post 😉 so feel free to read on…
My old blog/website Bups.co has been down for a while. And I didn’t have enough time to bring it live again. But that had some well loved content so I’ll try to get that back up again sometime. But for now I’m testing with this post to make sure my new Blog site works.
I was first inspired for blogging by Leo Babota by his Zen Habbits blog. So in my old website I used to blog occasionally. I used to craft my writing for a while, do the SEO and share it and all the other bells and whistles that goes with it. But that used to take so long. As a consequence I would only publish once a month or in long intervals.
This time I’m motivated to blog by Seth Godin. He blogs everyday. Sometimes small, sometimes long posts. He is more casual and he doesn’t try to do a master piece each time. And that’s what I’m hoping here too.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Leo’s work and read his blog more than anyone else’s. Even more than Seth’s. But I think there is more satisfaction on casual conversations in your blog, and that’s what I’m hoping to this time.
In this blog I want to be casual and more frequent. So if you are following/reading please expect typos and occasional slang. I won’t always have time to edit my post 20 times before publishing. My goal is to share and connect. In the process I hope to jot down some of my fleeting thoughts that helps or inspires me. With a hope that it can help others too or remind me to be optimistic in the future. However if you find something terribly wrong feel free to send me an update request or feedback. And where possible I’ll make adjustment. Not to mention this also mean when you talk to me in person I will sound very much like my writing.
So let’s get started again world. The real raw Bappy blogging again in it’s truest form. This time it is going to be uncut and unedited. Yeah baby…
PS: I didn’t edit this post much. Since that’s the plan why not start that way.