Shooting games with mind

Our mind is a thinking machine and it comes up with thoughts all the time and most times it is just random. Random thoughts just keep going in circles and keep us from focusing and achieving our objectives or worse still, keep us from living in real world! Ancient Hindu scriptures liken mind to a monkey that jumps from branch to branch for no real reason.

If this goes out of hand, then it becomes our master rather than we using it as a tool to live life better. Now wait, you may believe your thoughts are you… Isn’t it? Spoiler alert! Your thoughts aren’t you. Every single human brain would get similar thoughts in similar situation. of course no two people ever are is exactly same situation with same background and this could have impact on thoughts but hypothetically if two brains are exposed to same situations from many years then they would have same thoughts. So brain is like a computer, and like all computers will return same output for a given program, brain too would give same thoughts.

So if you aren’t collection of your thoughts then who are you? Well this is a big topic and it’s for another blog. Great king of Mysore, Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar had funded a study in late 18th century and a book was published to study this aspect. What it says is that chooser of the thoughts is you.

So if you are not your thoughts and you are the one choosing the thoughts then how to tame your mind? I personally like shooting down thoughts that don’t seem to matter. It’s a hobby I am developing and it helps in de-cluttering my mind. Just the moment you realise you have a thought that doesn’t help you solve a problem you need to solve in next 30 days… Simply shoot it down in your mind. This may sound like Marie Kondo; and has same impact but not on your house but on your brain…. Even better right!

Even if you achieve a little in de-cluttering your mind and kill a few random thoughts, it will have super positive impact on your life! So what is that? It will help you be more charismatic! How? The formula for charisma is

Charisma= Presence*Power*warmth

By killing random thoughts, you can improve your presence. When people are talking to you, you can really be there to listen. And the boost in charisma can help you greatly achieve your objectives!

So start shooting your random thoughts! Be present and be charismatic and successful! 🙂

Cut ‘WHY?’ from your life

Human mind always asks the question why. It is a way for mind to understand the world. Mind has some schema and every new information is is made consistent to the existing schema and until that time human mind keeps asking why. Asking why comes at a price; every new phenomenon has to comply with existing schema and if it doesn’t, then the mind just doesn’t accept. Thus not allowing human to learn more. Cutting out ‘why’ from our vocabulary and replacing it with ‘what’ is key to engaging with life in much better way. It allows life to be appreciated for its complexity and doesnt force it to be simplified into existing schema of mind. What always asks for a specification thus allowing knowledge acquisition while why simply asks for explanation. The explanation may not be true. Infact a true explanation that is not in line with existing schema will not be accepted and a false that is in line with schema is accepted.

Japanese kamikaze pilots flew into US ships. What they did allows US sailers to take right steps. But if we start thinking about why they did so, then we are paralysed and unable to take action. There could be so many reasons.

Let’s try to see how futile ‘why’ is with this example: why laxman played awesome only against Australia; especially in Australia?

While the question might seem genuine, what it does is it allows mind to run wild. We wear our blue sky thinking hat and let our imagination take us anywhere without a target to achieve. It essentially will return with a bunch of reasons that our existing schema will be happy to settle with. But will that help? No! It only paralyses you during those moments.

We have been asking ‘why’ from our childhood and it’s going to be super duper difficult to cut it out of ur vocabulary. Nothing in fact is more difficult to tell your mind that you are going to stop thinking why you were passed on for the promotion or why that stock you bought never raises in price… It’s natural that ‘why’ questions will keep propping up in mind. But key is to recognise when they do and take a cautious decision to not try answering your mind. Not try asking why to your colleagues or friends.

Digital Strategy Execution with Infosys Wingspan

Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, famously quoted “Your organization’s biggest strategic challenge isn’t strategic thinking — it’s strategic acting”. Peter went on to say that execution is a people problem and that it’s ten times harder to get people to execute on a strategy than it is to devise a smart strategy… Read the whole article

Getting Driving Licence In Britain

I have been driving in India since I was 18 and must have done at least 100,000 kms over 20 years. But when it came to applying and getting a British Licence I was skeptical about my chances. I found the government website quite useful in understanding the procedure. I spoke to several folks to understand challenges in each stage and i mitigated them when it came to my application. I wanted to share them with you hoping you would benefit from them:

Provisional Licence: Indians can driving in UK for 12 months with their Indian Licence however they need to apply and undergo the regular process to get a British Licence. essentially, we don’t have the privilege of submitting out Indian Licence to get British just as many other countries including Zimbabwe do. They key challenge here is that your BRP needs to be sent to DVLA for background check. it would take about 2 weeks for DVLA to return it so if you are expecting any travel abroad… beware! Also when you are submitting the documents, you can sent it as a registered post so that you would get an acknowledgement. Don’t use the envelope that DVLA would sent you in response to your application.

Theory Test: Once you get your provisional licence, you can apply for theory test. Don’t hurry onto it. It takes some reading to be able to pass comfortably. I will recommend an App ‘Theory 4 in 1’ app. this is about ÂŁ5 but invest in the mobile app.

Theory Test: For the multiple choice questions, just keep taking the questions and the ones you get wrong – mark them for revision later. Once you finish taking all questions then you would be left with questions that you got wrong the first time. You could easily revise it one more time since you marked it the first time.

Hazard Perception Test: This is tricky and its good to watch a few YouTube tutorials before you start taking the tests.

Practical Test: Once you clear the theory test, you could go for practical test.

You will need an instructor and I will highly recommend AA since they have good cars and well experienced instructors. You will minimum need 10 hours of instruction so go for it in one go and you could save money.

Selecting right test center is key. Central london has very low pass rates while some of the others outside have better pass rates. you could check the pass rates near your home before applying. for instance the centre I selected was Isleworth which has 42.4% of tests resulted in a pass between 2017 and 2018. While that’s below the UK average of 46.3%, it’s not bad considering it’s busy urban location.

Once you get your instructor and center; you have clear plan for getting trained. while you learn from the instructor, here are a few videos that i found very good

Navigating a roundabout
Driving with road sign
Nearside to nearside turning
Video on correct signalling
Show me , tell me question
Top mistakes in driving test

Some of the areas I was going wrong were:

  1. We are expected to see Mirror first and then signal. However I was putting signal and then seeing mirror
  2. In India, we typically use breaks quite harshly. perhaps this is to ensure no one takes the space between us and the car ahead of us… whatever be the reason, this is not appreciated here
  3. As learner in UK, we tend to slowdown and give way even in places where we have priority. This is not good and can fail us. so if you have right of way, you must take it
  4. When entering main road, I used to jump in if I saw a large gap but you don’t do that. Especially if you see a cyclist – just stop!
  5. If you are taking reverse, and you see pedestrians or other cars – just stop and observe. even if they are safely far, don’t take chance during test.

All the best for your Licence!

Ways of democracy

I was at Sofia, a very beautiful and ancient city in Balkans and capital of Bulgaria. I was very keen on exploring the city and what better way than taking a walking tour! During the tour the guide spoke about the rich culture and history of Bulgaria and importance Sofia has as a city since ancient times. He showed us the churches, remains of buildings from Roman times, important building from such as parliament and president’s office. Midway through I came across a beautiful statue made from bronze and copper. It was of St. Sofia, the saint after who the city took its name. Interestingly, the statue stands exactly where statue of Lenin stood during the iron curtain days.

The story of St. Sofia is quite tragic. St. Sofia and her 3 daughters were devout Christians and during those days christianity was not allowed in the Kingdom of Rome. When the king learnt about it, he ordered execution of the three daughters. In pain of such a loss, Sofia too died in a few days.

Sofia actually never lived in the city nor in Bulgaria but given that the city had taken its name from her, authorities there decided to put her statue in the spot left blank by removal of Lenin’s. A famous Bulgarian sculpture, Georgi Chapkanov, was commissioned to make the statue and he came up with this in year 2000:

General public and historians were furious after seeing this! Why? Many reasons but here are the top 3:

  1. The statue seemed too erotic for a saint

  2. St. Sofia was a devout Christian and didn’t believe in Roman beliefs. Her daughters were executed by the Romans and this is all the more reason to believe she would have abhorred Roman system and beliefs. But her statue holds an owl and a dagger, something that Roman philosophy has meaning for however Christianity has none!

  3. The statue wears a crown, which symbolises royalty but not a saint. Bulgarian people have seen ill effects of having the so called noble men and royals. At this time, they wanted to settle for democracy and a crown was not in good taste

I believe the authorities failed to democratically. The statue was meant to make people proud but they ended up creating something that the locals prefer not to speak about. And this happened because authorities took undemocratic way to achieve their objective. They should have built a prototype and taken public opinion.Given the emotional investments, public would have quickly given their reaction and the artist could have reimagined the statue.Nevertheless the status looks great I feel.

To be fair to the sculpture, I think we should leave artists to their imagination and their ideas should not be hostage to history. But this statue had a purpose. It afterall was coming at the place where Lenin’s stood for decades! The same statue at any other place wouldn’t have attracted such emotions but this place and time was special.

Like the Eiffel tower was initially rejected by Parisians and later embraced, I hope the people of Sofia too eventually embrace the statue.