What is the most meaningful and useful advice you ever received in your entire life?  Who delivered it to you?  Well mine came from a person whom I consider to be a very good friend, colleague, manager at one time, and most importantly a mentor.  His name is Kirk Westphal and I used to work with him.  When he gave me this piece of advice, I thought to myself what a load of crap!  I really did.

So this is how it went.  He is this amazing charismatic person and has a unique way of thinking through issues and providing meaningful solution.  Mainly wanting to be more like him, I asked him, what I can do to make myself better.  He said you have a way of complicating everything in life, just think of simplifying everything.  I kept nodding and looking all polite and receptive but in my head these thoughts were rushing through.. he gotta be kidding.. complex is good.. complex shows effort… this is the most useless advice I ever got… what does he mean by simplifying anyway… etc. etc..

I promptly ignored that advice… until i grew older and wiser.  Now I know after all this years how complicated it is to simplify everything and how beautiful it is when things are simplified.  Simplification is the perfect solution for every aspect of my life.  This is the best advice i ever received in my entire life and it is also the most simplest advice 🙂  I will not belabor much on this and let this concept dawn up on you just as it did on me.   So go ahead and either baulk at this advice like I did or think for a bit and try to SIMPLIFY.

Annual Operating Plan

October is typically the month of annual planning at our firm, which I am sure is the case for most corporations.  As we were going through the SWOT analysis and where we are and where we go from here.. discussions, i had a thought to myself that I need an AOP for myself.  Every year, I just plunge into the year without a whole lot of plan for what the year should look like for me and how i would define success for myself and which aspect of my profession and me as a person requires more attention in this year compared to the others.  Well, I figured I would do that thinking aloud and plan my AOP here on my website.  No pressure.. right?  This below is my plan for the year 2019 and since I have another month or so to end this year, I may come back and edit this post until the end of the year.

  1. Under-Promise/Over-Deliver – I lost the count of the number of times I told myself about this but I just don’t hold myself accountable.  That changes now.  For many reasons, both personal and professional, I get into more trouble coz I over-promise more than what I can deliver feasibly.  Then I am just scrambling to meet all the promises I made that I should not have made to begin with.
  2. Simplify-Simplify-Simplify – This is a vague goal but one worth mentioning.  What I mean by simplifying is to not complicate issues/matters/concepts.  Always look for the simplest reason or solution when one can be found.  If there are things that are complicating the project matters or issues, ruthlessly take those distractions and complications away.
  3. Create “Flow” Moments – I have been doing this lately and it has been super helpful.  After struggling for a bit, I get into these flow moments everyday and my productivity peaks during those flow moments.  I just gotta trust in my ability to get into those flow moments and get things done.  I also need to allow myself to get into the flow moments and not get distracted by other meaningless things.  There is some inertia right now to get into the flow moments and I think that comes from my lack of confidence in achieving those flow moments.  Once I win over that, I think I can convert every day into a highly productive and efficient one.
  4. Define a “Highlight” activity for the day and build your day around it – I have also tried this and it works really well for me.  So the concept is that you define one activity for every day as the highlight activity and as long as you have done that, it does not matter what else you have achieved, you get to tell yourself you had a successful day.  What it does subconsciously is that it makes everyday mean something and it also gives me an opportunity to look forward to that highlight activity and subsequently the day of the highlight activity.
  5. Plan your day the night before – Again a very helpful activity.  Just a quick rundown on the list of things that need to be accomplished for a given day will help us create efficiency in our planning process and also helps us be prepared for the day.  Everyone hates those last minute blowups that come from poor planning.
  6. Respect the Deadlines – I fail miserably at this.  I have so much on my plate and always feel like sand is slipping through my fingers.  I am barely meeting deadlines and It always happen in a mad rush.  I have to be better prepared for the deadlines.
  7. Creative Thinking – The regular paper pushing work happens on its own as there isn’t much thinking involved.  However, so much of my work is about creative thinking and unique solutions to age-old problems.  There is a lot of research to be done and lots to be thought through innovatively.  Sleep recharges my body the best way to do some creative thinking but I do not get enough sleep.  Getting away from mundane work helps me with creative thinking but I am too entangled in work to get away.  I need to make pockets of time available for creative thinking.
  8. Always Be Prepared – There is never a down moment, never an off-day.  So always gotta be prepared, gotta be responsive, gotta stay on top of things.  If I let things slack, it will catch up to me later.  No excuses!

History of Water

As we all know, the water we drink today is potentially the same water that the dinosaurs drank during their time.  Ever wondered how humans settled in different parts of the world and how the water usage began?  This article describes very useful history of water in Texas.  I will try to find similar articles for other regions as well.  Read on.

Amish… The Eternal Trilogy

No other book has impressed me as much in the recent past as “The Shiva Trilogy“.  And this coming from a reluctant fiction reader.  Yes, it depicts a historically set story about the most coolest mythological Hindu Godhead, Shiva.  While super cool, that is not what got me excited about the book.  What had me in awe was Amish’s ingenuity of telling the story using the backdrop of rivers and water bodies, his creativity of interjecting water in moving the story forward, and his comprehensive knowledge on water history of India.  Oh and there is this cool map of all rivers makes Ganges go weak in her knees.  An immediate google search revealed that he was not a water professional but actually far from being one.

So… I can’t get anymore direct than this.  I would love to chat with Amish and ask him a whole bunch of questions, specifically about water.  What made him make water the prime character in the book?  Some day we may find out, perhaps.  I cannot recommend this book enough.  Read it now.

Credit:  Image Source – Amish Tripathi