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What is boredom? How to overcome it?

Hi! Welcome to Episode number 08.

In this episode, we’ll be talking about what boredom is and how you can overcome it.

The usual answers to get away with boredom are: ‘Indulge in activities you like’, ‘Do all sorts of things that bring you pleasure’, ‘Make friends and have fun’ – which is fine and will be a part of our forthcoming answer too; but, we’re going to go slightly deeper because all these answers revolve around the surface of the problem – they don’t go to the root of the problem.

To understand the root, let’s take a philosophical scenario:

Imagine there are two roads – one is the road to boredom and the other is the road to responsibility.

Let’s look at the first road – the road to boredom.

This road is narrow with a lot of potholes and speed-breakers. It is no fun to drive on with no scenery around. But, this road has pit-stops which are a lot of fun. So, you can stop at one of them anytime and just enjoy life.

When driving on such a road, the journey is not very exciting because you cannot drive smoothly due to the condition of the road. Moreover, the scenery is very dull. So, you tend to get bored and your mind naturally starts focusing on the next pit-stop.

Therefore, all you do on this dull, unpleasant road is stop at a pit-stop, enjoy life for a while, have fun and move ahead to stop at the next pit-stop – and the cycle continues. Therefore, all you are doing is relying on these regular pit-stops to keep yourself functioning.

Now, let’s look at the second road – the road to responsibility.

Unlike the road to boredom, this road is a wide highway with pit-stops and beautiful sceneries around.

When driving on such a road, you are always having fun since it’s such a smooth ride. You enjoy life at the pit-stop too and are happy to move ahead since you know you’re going to enjoy the smooth highway journey ahead which is filled with beautiful sceneries.

So, this is a win-win situation since you not only enjoy the pit-stops but also the highway.

Thus, your pleasure of driving on the highway is intensified. This is because you’re aware that whether you stop or are on the go – you are definitely going to have fun!

How do we take the road to responsibility and apply this analogy to life?

Many people live their lives driving on the road to boredom. They choose a life where they’re ready to sacrifice the journey for the pit-stops. In other words, they choose a life where their focus is on the pit-stops.

Such people work at jobs they dislike; jobs that bring them boredom – just for the sake of looking towards and enjoying life at the pit-stops. For example, they work from Monday through Friday looking towards the ‘Saturday-Sunday’ pit-stop which brings them happiness, joy and pleasure.

However, people who observe this vicious cycle chose to do something different. They decide to drive on the road to responsibility. Such people build courage to answer the following three questions:

Question 01 – What am I good at?

Question 02 – How can I do what I’m good at such that I enjoy it forever?

Question 03 – How can I add value to someone else’s life by doing something that I enjoy?

When the answers to the above three questions work together, you start driving on the road to responsibility. The drive on the road to responsibility ensures you are fulfilled with the journey since it allows you to enjoy all way through.

Besides, the pit-stops here are cherry on the cake – you stop at them, enjoy a while and move ahead happily. These pit-stops are 100 times more enjoyable than the ones of the road to boredom because once your halt at a pit-stop is done with, you move on with your journey that you so enjoy doing. The happiness you experience is never-ending. There is no fear of your pleasure ending because you know that if one pleasure ends, the next one begins. The drive in itself is so fulfilling that you don’t even sometimes need a pit-stop. A pit-stop on your drive is a bonus. Unlike the road to boredom, your focus while driving on the road to responsibility is on the highway, and not the pit-stops.

Such a road is called the road to responsibility because it requires courage to be responsible to drive on this road. Responsibility is realizing the fact that you are here to live a life you’re meant to. To live that life is a responsibility we have because that’s how we will make our lives better and at the same time, improve the world around us in some way.

So start a self-enquiry that is based on questions like – How can I do what I’m good in such a way that I can earn a living from it? How can I add value to someone else’s life by doing something that I enjoy?

The moment you start asking yourself these questions, you leave the road to boredom and come onto the road to responsibility owing to your readiness to self-analyse to answer the questions. Then, this becomes a never-ending trial-and-error activity where you’ll keep steering your wheel while still driving on the road to responsibility, thus attaining fulfilment. You then just need to make your drive better by continuously steering yourself into the right direction. You’ll always drive on this road since you’re living your passion with a purpose.

So, if you’re feeling bored – you’re actually shirking responsibility.

To get out of boredom, find out what you need to be responsible towards. ’Living a happy life’ could be the first responsibility you can take up. This may sound selfish but this really is the first step. Till the time you are not happy with your own life, the desire to help others does not arise naturally. When you’re happy, you’ll naturally find a way to make others happy. This, however, is the second step.

The first step on the road to responsibility is to find out and act on what you’re good at and what it is you enjoy doing – even if you don’t get it right at first. Remember that nobody, who drives on the road to responsibility, initially gets it right.

And your ride can be completely different to someone else’s ride. Don’t compare. What makes you happy can be considered unconventional and weird by the whole world. But don’t get discouraged by that. Seek advice but ultimately listen to your own gut and instinct.

The road to responsibility is never-ending, but once you’re on it – the drive is smooth, the pit-stops are pleasant and the drive leaves you happy thereby reducing the intensity of boredom.

Where’s your ride heading?

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The Biggest Marketing Lesson I learned and How it Can be Applied to Life

Hi! Welcome to episode number seven. In this episode I will be talking about one of the biggest lessons that I have learnt in marketing while I was selling my products and services. That lesson has got something to do with the term called ‘decision stress’ and how this particular term can also be applied to our life to make it better so that we can live a much more efficient and fulfilling life.

First, I am going to talk about how the term relates to marketing and selling. What does decision stress mean? When I say decision stress, I am talking solely about the customer. You should keep in mind that when you are trying to market or sell a product or service, you stand a much higher chance of converting i.e. selling your product or service when you decrease the decision stress on your customer. This is what I have seen in my experience. So then what does the term decision stress actually mean?

You must have noticed that whenever you buy something and you are just about to pay for that product or service, you experience some level of stress. This of course depends on the price of the product or service. The higher the amount of money involved the more stress you face. But it’s true even for smaller decision. Sometimes even when you recharge your phone you face some stress. Since money is going out of your account, you are bound to face some stress. This is the type of stress we are talking about.

I learnt three things about reducing decision stress. The most important step is that you should clearly be able to communicate to your customer how your product or service is going to improve their life. This should be the main criteria of your sales pitch. A lot of people talk about features of their product or services, which are not very important to the customer. What you really have to communicate is the benefit of the product or service as well as how it will improve and change their life for the better. How can you solve the pain that they are facing and whatever issue they may be facing? Moreover, how can your product or service get rid of their problem?

Take for example that you wish to sell a camera. It would be desirable if you show two images from different cameras. One image should be from the first camera which is the superior camera that you are trying to sell and the other image should be from a normal camera that people generally tend to use. You should place both the images from the two different cameras side by side. This will give people the opportunity to realize how a particular image will improve the moment they buy this camera.

The blunder that most marketers make is they would talk only about the features. For instance they would talk about ‘This camera comes with 25 megapixels. This is the sensor size. The body has these functions’ etc. All such explanations are fine since you do have to talk about the features. However, not every customer might be familiar with such terminology which usually consists of technical terms as well.  Instead, it’s better if you clearly let them know how the product is going to affect their day to day life.

The second point is you should be crystal clear while you tell them how they will receive this product or service once they make the payment. There should be no doubt regarding this. You should never let such a situation occur where your customers have made the payment and after that you are giving them instructions. The customers should know beforehand since that is what they want. They are paying for the product or service and they want something in return. Hence, you should completely spell out how they will receive the product and how this whole transaction will take place. There should be no doubt in the consumer’s mind. When there is no doubt, the decision stress will decrease.

The third point that you should keep in mind is that you should put something out there which lets the customers connect with you. They should feel that they have you at their fingertips when they need you. Just putting something simple like ‘Call me on my cell number in case you are facing any issues’ increased my conversions. Why? Because it generates trust and it decreases the stress for the consumer.  They will know that they have someone to talk to immediately if anything goes wrong in this whole process of buying this product. I am a solopreneur so I give my own number. You can have a dedicated team for this as well.

The three things mentioned really have to be present in your sales pitch. Be absolutely clear in everything you do. Whether it is your landing page, your flyer or any kind of a promotional material that you have, you should be really clear. Take mobile apps as an example. Some apps do much better than others. That is because the entire flow is so convenient for the consumer. The customers know that if they press these buttons, the job will be easily done. Always make sure that you make everything clear and communicate clearly to your customer. There should never be a doubt when they are reading about your product or when you are selling your product or service to your customer. That would definitely decrease their decision stress. The more you decrease the decision stress, the better it will be for you.

How can this aspect of decision stress be applied to life?

Before I answer this, I want to tell you about a very interesting research study that I was reading about. The study was done as follows. They divided a group of people into two groups. Let’s call them Group A and Group B. For a few days they made these two groups stay under two different conditioned environments. They presented Group A with a lot of decisions to make. They would give these people choice after choice. Let’s say they presented them with a doughnut and a pastry. Then they would ask them which one do you want to have? Similarly, they would give them the choice between two t-shirts. They would get to pick. They kept presenting them with choices and the group members had to pick one choice after going through the different options.

Group B did not get any choices. They were just given the t-shirt, food item etc. without being asked to choose from a range of choices. On the one hand Group A got to make a choice about everything and on the other hand Group B did not have any choice.

After the study got over, they put both the groups together and told them to put their hands inside a box of cold water. The temperature of the water was very cold since the water was really chilled. Then they made the observations as follows. People from Group A could not put their hand in for too long whereas people from Group B could keep their hand in the cold water for much longer.

The conclusion was that because Group A was required to make a lot of decisions their energy was going down because of these choices. Their decision stress was actually directly impacting their energy levels and their willpower levels too. Group B did not expend their energy in any decision and so they had conserved all this energy without wasting any of it. Thus, Group B had more will power because now they could put all their energy in putting their hand in the cold water.

What does this mean for us? This means that we can use the aspect of decision stress to improve our life. Try to live your life in such a way that you are taking minimal decisions. Make sure you know exactly what you have to do especially when it comes to ordinary things where making a decision is just not worth it.

For example, when it comes to deciding what you want to wear you can reduce the decision stress just by having a very limited variety of clothes in your wardrobe. I am not saying that you should dress simply. What I am saying is that you can limit your wardrobe to only those kinds of clothes which you like wearing. This spares you from having too many options to pick from. In my case, I like wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of jeans or shorts most of the time.

Try to find those ordinary tasks where you can reduce taking decisions. From the time you wake up till the time you sleep, try not to make any decisions as much as you can especially when ordinary tasks are concerned. I am talking about tasks where the decision stress is not worth it. Remember that these types of tasks depend on you as an individual and so you will have to find out for yourself. The example I gave is just from my own life is because I don’t value clothes that much. I am happy wearing something very simple. There might be some other aspect in your life where you can use this aspect of decision stress to reduce unnecessary burden on yourself.

You should reduce the number of decisions you take regarding things that are not contributing to your life. You can reduce the decision stress by simply eliminating choices. My advice would be for you to watch a video titled ‘Paradox of Choice’ on YouTube. This is a Ted Talk by an elderly gentleman and it talks about exactly what we are talking about here except it goes deeper. The best thing is that you can apply this to a lot of things; your food, your clothes and even the kind of people you hang out with.

Try to reduce stress from every aspect of your life so that you can be sure of what your day looks like. I am not asking you to become completely mechanical but figure out those things where decision stress is not worth it.

The moment you do that you will start to save and conserve energy which is just going for waste. Then you can put that energy into much productive tasks which are of value; tasks where decision stress is worth it.

These are the more important tasks in your life, the kind of tasks that actually matter.

And when your attention and energy goes to them, your life naturally improves.

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What is Lifestyle Entrepreneurship? How is it Different From the Usual Entrepreneurship?

 

Hi! In this episode we’ll be talking about what is lifestyle entrepreneurship and how is it different from the usual entrepreneurship. Lifestyle entrepreneurship is something that is relatively new especially in India. In the US, it is very popular nowadays. So I am going to be talking about what it is and what are the differences. I am going to be telling you about 10 to 11 differences between lifestyle entrepreneurship and the usual way that we know what entrepreneurship is.

 

The definition of lifestyle entrepreneurship is that a lifestyle entrepreneur starts a business not with the sole purpose of making a profit. A lifestyle entrepreneur, as the name suggests, does so because he or she wants to lead a particular type of lifestyle or a particular type of life. It is their hope that doing business will enable them to lead a certain type of lifestyle even if they are not making too much money doing it. We are going to be looking at a few differences.

 

One example which shows that it is relatively new and unheard in India is because I was at a networking event. I actually hate that word networking. I was just at an event where there are a lot of people and you just talk to them and exchange your ideas and views. I was at one of these events and I hardly go to these but I did once.

 

I was just talking to a guy and I just wanted to see what their reaction will be when they ask me what do you do and I say that I am a lifestyle entrepreneur. So I did that and the guy whom I was talking to, the first thing he asked me is, ‘Oh that’s great. So where is your store?’ What he thought was that lifestyle entrepreneur means that I have a business which is in the segment of lifestyle like clothing and all so he naturally asked me what kind of a store do you have and where is your store. I was like ‘Oh great. This is not very popular in India.’

 

I am going to be telling you about some differences. I have already told you what it kind of means generally but once you listen to these differences between lifestyle entrepreneurship and usual entrepreneurship it will start to become more clear to you. With the advent of Internet, especially social media, lifestyle entrepreneurship is becoming very popular. I see a lot of friends of mine take this approach. What are the differences?

 

The first difference is that when it comes to money versus freedom. The usual entrepreneur normally is very concerned about making a profit and they do most of the things with keeping the bottom line in mind. Bottom line is very important just like in any other business. But for a lifestyle entrepreneur, even though, of course they have to make a profit to sustain the business, it is not that important. What is more important is the value of freedom.

 

So a lifestyle entrepreneur does everything for the value of freedom. That is, they don’t want to be under someone. They don’t want to be under some kind of a boss or they don’t want to be following some kind of rules and they want a free lifestyle. They want to wake up at whatever time they want. They want to go to sleep at whatever time they want and stuff like that. They want to have their lifestyle exactly like they want to lead. So they develop a business which can facilitate that lifestyle.

 

The second difference is when it comes to setup. A normal entrepreneur usually will have a team around him and a lifestyle entrepreneur usually will go solo. A normal entrepreneur is very good at delegating stuff which they are not good at doing themselves. A lifestyle entrepreneur prefers to do everything on their own. So they just don’t trust people to do a job very well.

 

Secondly, they don’t want the headache of having employees or anyone on contract. So they can get a few odd jobs here and there on contract but normally they would like to keep doing things by themselves. In fact, there is a new word which is coming up which is very popular these days called as solopreneur. These are lifestyle entrepreneurs. Solopreneur basically means that you are just a solo entrepreneur; you are a one man army or one man show in the business.

 

We are going on to the third difference now. Because a lifestyle entrepreneur tries to do everything himself, the problem is that usually lifestyle entrepreneurs will start very small. They will start with whatever is working. They will just go on, it doesn’t matter how small it is. But a normal entrepreneur would probably be getting some kind of a funding before they start because their idea is really big. May be they are coming up with a product or service which requires lot of investment. Lifestyle entrepreneurs on the other hand prefer their businesses to be bootstrapped. That is, they just fund their own businesses and they are pretty happy with that. So they start small.

 

The next point is when it comes to planning. Usual entrepreneur will have everything planned to tee. Ok, I am not saying all of them. I am just talking here on averages. So, planning is very important because if you have a team, if you have a whole setup, if you are liable to the people who have funded you, of course you need to have a business plan. A lifestyle entrepreneur just acts out of whim. They do whatever the hell they want! And they are just hoping that it will work and so they are pretty spontaneous when it comes to running a business.

 

This actually leads to the next difference which is flexibility. When it comes to flexibility a usual entrepreneur is usually not very flexible. They cannot afford to because they have people whom they are responsible towards. So they cannot just divert their plans whenever they wish. They need to really stick to whatever they have decided. But a lifestyle entrepreneur, because they are doing their things themselves, they can keep changing their direction wherever they want. It happens a lot.

 

For example, in my case I am doing this podcast thing and I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. I am just doing it because I like it. I just like talking and I just like sharing my experiences. Soon I am going to be having interviews on this podcast. I am just doing this because I like it. Whether it will work, how I will make money from it, I have absolutely no clue! Though I am doing a little bit of a podcasting course and all but nothing is sure here. That’s how we work. You just take a decision, you try it. If it doesn’t work you throw it out and then you try something new. We can do that because we do not have too many responsibilities.

 

Another difference is that a usual entrepreneur will normally be working from an office. So they will have this whole startup scenario around them. You must have seen them in little offices where people are working. On the other hand, a lifestyle entrepreneur will just work from anywhere; a coffee shop, home or any kind of place which gives them the environment to work. For example, if they need Internet and laptop to work, a café with Wifi works just fine.

 

Next point is that a usual entrepreneur is normally not very selfish. By that I mean that they always don’t take decisions with themselves in mind. So they will be thinking about a lot of other things such as their customers, their team members and the people who funded them etc. But of course they have to. But a lifestyle entrepreneur takes every step very selfishly. So every step that a lifestyle entrepreneur takes is completely with a point of view that it should lead them towards what they desire, towards what they want their lifestyle to be.

 

The next point is that the usual entrepreneurs are creating a machine. So they are creating a whole system. They really want to own that system. They will not have any other way. But a lifestyle entrepreneur is very happy to be part of the machine. So let me give you an example. Let’s say that if you are a lifestyle entrepreneur and let’s say that you are into teaching yoga. You just run a small yoga class and you are teaching yoga. Now if you are a usual entrepreneur, you would want to build a yoga empire. But a lifestyle entrepreneur will be very happy to be a part of someone else’s empire as long as they are just doing whatever they are good at. They usually fit into other people’s system. They are not really attached to this whole idea of entrepreneurship. They are just doing it because they just want to do what they like to do. Whether they are a part of someone else’s system or not does not bother them and does not affect their ego. But usual entrepreneurs are very attached to entrepreneurship. So for them the thought of working for someone else is just completely not thinkable at all.

 

Another point which is actually in favor of usual entrepreneurs is that if you start everything in a nice way and if you have a team and setup, you are very professional in how you conduct things. You will have timings for your team members to work; just like a normal office. You are the boss now. But a lifestyle entrepreneur can be, at times, a bit lousy in their work. They can really slightly unprofessional.

 

That’s something I see in lifestyle entrepreneurs a lot and it is something I still struggle with. It is something that has to be rectified pretty soon if you want to be a lifestyle entrepreneur. Whatever you do, that’s fine that you want freedom, but it has to be really professional no matter how small it is.

 

Another point which is similar to this is because everything is professional and the usual entrepreneur has all the resources, their businesses are usually very scalable.

 

That means they can cater to a lot of customers. So if they witness a growth in demand they don’t necessarily have to see an increase in overheads. They can really handle a lot of customers together because they have the resources to do that. One of the biggest struggles of a lifestyle entrepreneur is how to make your business scalable. The problem is that if you as a lifestyle entrepreneur try to take more responsibility, you are actually sacrificing one of your main values which is freedom.

 

Because any time you go towards making your business scalable, that means you will have to share responsibility. You will have to delegate things to other people and that is where you start to lose your freedom. So this is always a forever battle or a dilemma that a lifestyle entrepreneur faces. Should I scale my business or should I just maintain my freedom? Because if you don’t scale, you don’t earn too much. Can I be happy with whatever I am earning and slowly take things forward?

 

The next difference is that a normal entrepreneur doesn’t only rely on online marketing. They can be using all sorts of marketing. They will be involved in B2B marketing also. A lifestyle entrepreneur on the other hand has so no other option but to use online marketing. Why? Because it is just cheap. It is cheaper than other means of advertising and marketing. Usually all the lifestyle entrepreneurs you see nowadays get the majority of their work done online.

 

These are some of the differences. As you can see if you go back to our original definition, a lifestyle entrepreneur takes into account himself first and it is all about them. And then they figure out a way to give value to the customer. Whereas a normal entrepreneur just functions like how normal business is supposed to work and they will have everything planned; even if it comes to the expense of their own freedom. They are ready to sacrifice that. They have a big profit in the future in mind. The lifestyle entrepreneur is not really thinking about the future too much.

 

I hope you got a fair idea of how it works. Now, which is better? The answer to that depends on you. What kind of a person are you? In my experience, what I have seen is that usually lifestyle entrepreneurship is taken upon by people who are slightly rebellious in nature. Now all entrepreneurs are rebels but lifestyle entrepreneurs are slightly bigger rebels.

 

They are artists, they are normally very creative people who just don’t get along too well with other people and they want complete autonomy over what they do. They just want complete control and because of that they just can sacrifice many other things that could make their business grow. So which is better completely depends on you.

 

Also, another thing that I would like to mention is that just because you choose one thing doesn’t mean that you have to stick by it.

 

For example, Pat Flynn who runs a website called as www.smartpassiveincome.com earns like a crazy amount of money even though he is a lifestyle entrepreneur. But of course he has a whole team working with him. So I am sure, though I don’t know him personally, that he is not completely free. He must be having a lot of responsibilities.

 

But the point is that if you are a lifestyle entrepreneur and when things are working for you, you can of course take that added responsibility and then jump into proper entrepreneurship. It is not like you just choose something and that’s it. You can always do that. In fact, I actually advice people to do that because when you start small you at least find something that is working.

 

A lot of times what I see with normal entrepreneurs is that they jump into something but it might not work out in the end. Because they are starting big so the risk is bigger. So with lifestyle entrepreneur, one advantage you can have is that you can start small so your risk is small. Once things start working, you kind of get motivated to take that additional responsibility and you might just feel happy doing it.

 

I hope you like this podcast. I will be doing other podcasts too and I will be having some interviews of lifestyle entrepreneurs that I know. We will also be going down in one of the podcasts which we will be covering very soon. We will be going into the deep and inner psychology of a lifestyle entrepreneur. What makes some people really go into this type of a business where they want to have this freedom? We will be looking deep into their minds and trying to figure this thing out. I hope you like this podcast, thanks for listening. I will see you in another episode. Bye for now.

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Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is an Incomplete Advice

In this article I’m going to be writing about why ‘Follow Your Passion‘ is an incomplete Advice.

You hear people say all the time that if you want to be successful and if you want to have a fulfilling career, you should follow your passion.

While that’s definitely true, it’s not a complete advice.

So what is the statement that completes it? 

Follow your passion and align it with your strengths.” 

That should be right advice that should be given because passion alone just doesn’t make things happen and the reason for that is because unless your passion is aligned with your natural strengths, things are not going to work out too smoothly.

So I’ll give my own example for this:

I’m interested in fields of entrepreneurship, personal growth, digital marketing, psychology and all these things, so these all can be thought of as my passion.

Now naturally someone will think “Okay you’re interested in marketing and entrepreneurship, that’s great! So you should have a company of your own, or you should have some kind of a digital marketing agency, or you should have something like a proper startup.

So that would be the natural thinking because I would be following my passion very directly in that case.

But you see the problem with that is that it’s not aligned with my strengths. My strengths do not involve working with teams or being very innovative when it comes to coming up with some product idea or marketing it, or something like that, that’s not my strength.  My strength always has been research -that I can research something and communicate that particular topic to others in a very simple way.

A second strength of mine is that I can speak well – I’m good at inter-personal communication and I’m very confident when it comes to speaking in front of other people.

So both these strengths naturally make me go towards teaching or training. So when I teach something I’m passionate about, for example I’m making these podcasts or I’m writing these blog posts, I feel much more fulfilled than I would feel if I was, let’s say, to start a marketing agency. I rather teach marketing than execute it.

So you can see even though my passion, the field or the area of interest remains the same, I can have two completely different careers.  If I were to just follow the advice of following my passion blindly, I would have a completely different career.  But because I’m aligning it with my strengths, I stand a much higher chance of being successful because when your passions and strengths are aligned that’s when you actually feel that you’re doing something which is true to your nature and you start to feel fulfilled.

Another example of this is from my other business, where I’m into teaching the subject of DSLR photography.  Now I’ve always loved photography and the moment someone sees that photography is my passion, the natural reaction I’ve seen in this field is – “Oh that’s it, you’ve found your calling, you should be a professional photographer.”  But I say this from first-hand experience that  whenever I did commercial shoots I just hated doing them. I just did not enjoy doing them at all.

Instead, when I switched over to teaching photography and realized that teaching is my strength and that I need to align it with my passion for photography, I started my photography workshops where the job of being a photography trainer fulfilled me much more and I was much happier.

For example, learning about all the settings on a DSLR camera is a complex thing when you start off, so I broke the process down into simple steps and made it something easy for people to understand so that they could learn photography in an easy way.  That was the value I enjoyed giving, not the value that normally people would associate with photography which is taking professional looking photographs.

Don’t get me wrong though – I’m not saying that you should not master your field. I did become a good photographer before teaching it. But the point I’m trying to make is from the long term point of view of things.

So first figure out your passion or your area of interest because that is definitely very important because that’s what’s going to keep you going once your initial surge of passion or the energy goes away.

So passion is definitely very important because it just gives you that boost and it’s going to make you sustain things.

In fact you might have to discover new passions every time or keep steering yourself towards something that feels better and more in tune with your nature.  That is a never-ending process.

So doing something you like is definitely important but then do not forget about aligning it with your strengths.

In order to be able to do, sometimes you may have to take an approach which against the norm and expect people to criticize you.

For instance, in my my field of training and teaching, I have heard the following saying countless times:

Those who cannot do, teach.

I do not believe that at all because in my experience I’ve seen that some people, who are the top experts in their fields, can be awful teachers. They just do not have that natural acumen to teach something.

So strengths can be very different and you will have to just ask yourself  – What are you naturally good at? What comes to you easily which other people just find very tough?  And I keep saying this over and over that a lot of times we take our strengths, our natural strengths, for granted because it comes so easily to us, we never feel that we made any effort to get this. So we feel that we do not deserve this because this came to us so easily. It’s been hardwired into us that every good thing has to be difficult and that’s why we sometimes we don’t become aware of what our true strengths are.

So that’s what I wanted to say – that do follow your passion but then align it with your innate strengths.

You’ll be much more happy, fulfilled, and you will have a much higher chance of success, there is no doubt about that.

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Why Watching Television/Movies is a Sign of Low Level of Consciousness

Hi, this is Episode Number Three from my new podcast.  This is Kush Sharma from Kush-Sharma.com and in this podcast we’ll be talking about why watching television, especially fiction television, that’s what we’ll be concentrating on, is a sign that your consciousness is operating at a lower level.  So of course when I’m making these podcasts, there’ll be a lot of podcasts where I will be judging, for example in this podcast in fact I just feel that judging and all is just a fancy term, I think everyone judges, it’s just a natural human tendency, so I’m just going to say what I believe in.  And of course throughout whatever I’ll be saying in this podcast does not mean that my own consciousness is at very very very high level, it’s just that as I’m going to be telling you in this podcast that watching television is a kind of an escape, that’s what we’ll be focusing on, and I have my own escapes or I may have my own escapes in some other forms so I’m not trying to through this podcast say that I’m on some moral high ground as compared to others.  We will not at all, we will just specifically talking about this particular aspect right now which is watching television, mainly fiction television.

So why do I feel that this is a sign of low consciousness?  And the reason for that is because you see when you operate at a high consciousness you start to understand yourself really well, much better than what you did before, and with that you start to understand life better.  So the problem with watching television is that…especially fiction television…is that it’s not real and once you start to understand yourself better and your consciousness level grows what happens is that just naturally you start to move away from anything that is not real.  So anything that is not bringing you closer to the truth you just start to move away from it, and fiction television is probably the worst thing you can do to feed yourself with something that does not exist.

So I’m going to be talking about non-fiction also in just a while, but the main culprit is fiction television.  By fiction television I mean all your serials, all of these series that are very popular these days, your movies.  So if you are finding that you need to watch this series or because this new series has come out and your favorite actors appear, or this new movie has come out and you just have to watch it because there’s so much hype around it, I totally feel, I mean I will say this without any hesitation that I feel that such a person is operating out of a low-consciousness level and they do not understand themselves and their nature very very well.
Another problem with watching television is that you are not the producer so you are not the creator there, you’re just a spectator whether it’s fiction or non-fiction by the way, so you’re just a creator…you’re just a watcher, and once you start to understand yourself that’s another thing that happens.

So the first thing that happens is you start to move away from anything that is not real.  Second you start to naturally move away from anything in which you are not involved…involved in the creation of.  Well ultimately humans like creating something, so if you operate from a high consciousness level you understand yourself better you start to move away from things in which you’re not involved in the construction or the creation or the development of.  So while the person who’s making that fiction series or the movie can definitely be operating at a high consciousness because even though they’re creating this, even though it’s fiction but they’re the ones who’re creating it, but if you’re a mere spectator in this whole process and you enjoy it…actually no one enjoys it, as I’ll be talking about it soon, it’s just the escape.

So if you’re addicted to this it just shows that you need to spend some time with yourself and try to understand yourself more because these two things will definitely happen, it happens to everyone, for example any person who meditates a lot this is bound to happen.  So any person who spend a lot of time trying to just understand their nature this is bound to happen that you will move away from anything that is not real and you will move away from anything in which you are not involved.  And what happens when you don’t understand life and this is the reason why you get addicted to fiction television.  The reason that when you don’t understand yourself and you don’t understand life as how you can understand it what starts to happen is that you start to avoid a lot of things that are not going according to your desire, you start to escape from all that.  So things are not going according to how you would want them to go so you need an escape now, and what better escape than to just switch on something that totally takes your mind away from the reality.

So staying on this point, sometimes it can actually be good because we all need a break, so sometimes it can be a great thing, it can be a kind of a meditative trip that you can have on television just by watching something that takes your mind away.  For example I love watching football because it just takes my mind away sometimes from things.  But to get addicted to it is another thing, then that’s where the problem is, that’s where that escape, if it’s on a short term, it’s fine but if there’s a need to do all this, and I see that in a lot of people that they need to watch this new season or they need to finish this whole season in one go, or they need to just go to the theatre and watch this movie which is coming out, if they don’t it’s just something going to…something will not be fulfilled in them.  Then I think it’s definitely a problem.  Even if you’re mildly addicted, it’s a big problem.  So if you’re planning to just use it for relaxation purpose it’s fine, but even if you’re mildly addicted and if you like watching all that this definitely is a sign of low consciousness.

For that matter this even applies to reading fiction.  this happened to me almost in a parallel way that I just started moving away from all kinds of fiction television and at the same time I started moving away from all types of fiction books …I cannot even read a fiction book anymore, it’ll have to be something extraordinary for me to really read a book or to even watch a movie nowadays.  And it happens to a lot of people, I’m just giving my own example, I’ve known a lot of people who have taken this consciousness too who want to know about themselves and who want to grow and who want to understand their nature, it’s a byproduct of this that when you start to understand yourself you will just move away from anything that is not real.

Right, so that was the rant and…you should really evaluate yourself and the time that you’re spending on watching fiction television especially.  You can really really devote that to much more productive activities, even to non-productive activities like just getting to know yourself because what I see, especially in people of my age is that there is absolutely no desire to find something about yourself, what do you like to do, what is it that you want to…what is the path that you want to take, what is your passion, stuff like that is just being pushed aside as some kind of a…as some kind of hogwash you know, as some kind of a spiritual BS kind of talk.  But I don’t think that’s true at all, I think you can only find happiness once you start to really look within, and anything that takes you away from this, especially on a long term, if you’re really addicted to it, like television, should really be avoided.  And once you see and taste the creative side when you are actually making something and other people are involved in watching it you’ll see the high that you get is completely on another level as what you got when you were watching, it cannot even be compared.

So the whole point of this podcast is that try to be the creator, don’t be the spectator in things, that is the main reason why the people who just watch operate out of low consciousness because people of high consciousness are directly related and bothered about creativity, they want to be the creators because it just produces a kind of happiness which is not possible in passively involved in something, you have to be actively involved too.

So yeah, that was the rant and I hope I like this, so just wait for my next podcast if you’re interested in these things.  I know might get a lot of people who might just completely stop listening to me thinking that I’m judging and all, but that’s not the case I’m just exactly giving it off like how I feel. I’ll see you the next time, thanks for listening to me.  Bye for now.

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Why Entrepreneurship is Over-Hyped

In today’s podcast I will be talking about a slightly sensitive topic that probably might not ring true with many people. It might even cause a little bit of a controversy with what I am saying but I strongly believe in what I am saying. So I am going to say it anyway!

I am going to talk about why entrepreneurship normally gets slightly more hype than what it deserves in many cases. I am not saying what I am going to say is absolutely true for all the cases. But for many cases that I have seen, it is true.

When I started my website, my blog and now after I have started this podcast, I have always told myself that whenever I write or talk it is always going to be something that I felt is the truth. It may or may not be but I am not always going to be this ‘goodie-goodie’ talker like many other bloggers. I am going to put it exactly like how I see the real world is.

Why do I feel entrepreneurship is slightly overhyped?

It is because I meet a lot of entrepreneurs on a regular basis. A lot of times I find that these are just rich kids who have gone into entrepreneurship probably because they did not want to do a job or because they did not have anything else to do. Hence, they started off something. The keyword here is ‘rich’. Why is that the keyword when it comes to entrepreneurship? Well, it is because if you have your capital sorted out, such as the money and all other things that you require to start a business, then a major stress factor from this whole entrepreneurship idea is taken care for you. This is the case with the rich kids. You don’t really have to struggle with the most important aspect which is to start something. If you are relaxed about that, the other things become slightly easier for you.

I hear the following statements all the time because I am an entrepreneur myself; ‘Oh man you have got so much guts. You are doing this different thing. You got so much courage.’ I don’t think that is always true. It has to be an individual thing. When you comment or praise someone like that you first have to check their background. If they are really well-off and they have nothing to lose in case something goes wrong, then I don’t think people deserve that kind of respect. I am not saying they are doing something bad and I am definitely not judging anyone. In fact it is great that people start their own companies. I am solely making this point from the idea of entrepreneurship getting so much hype every time. It just bothers me at times.

The problem is that when people hear all these nice stories of all the entrepreneurs, what happens is that they might start to feel a little down in whatever they are doing.  So if someone is doing a job, they might just get seduced by this whole idea of entrepreneurship whereas they may not have the resources to start something by themselves. Since everyone is getting so much praise they might think ‘Oh man, it is just an awesome world out there. I just wish I could leave my job and I could just start that business just like this other person is doing.’ What I am trying to say through this podcast is that it is not always true. So you really have to see this on an individual basis. See the background of the person who is doing things and don’t immediately compare yourself with them. The grass is always greener on the other side!

To be very frank with you I would never recommend entrepreneurship to someone who is doing a job and who really needs to do that job for survival. Do you and your family really need that money that the salary provides you with but you are getting seduced by the idea of entrepreneurship? Do you want to quit your job and do entrepreneurship instead? Then I would frankly never recommend you to do that. There is definitely no doubt about the fact that most entrepreneurs fail at least when they start. It might take a lot of attempts to get things right. For a rich person who is blessed with all the capital and who is born with a silver spoon in their mouth, they can afford to fail. But the person who needs money right now cannot afford to fail.

The probability of getting that entrepreneurship idea right from the start is going to be low. It might not be a very wise decision. It’s not all rainbow and sunshine in the entrepreneurship world. You have to really see the reality. The kind of people for whom I have started the blog for as well as the website where I encourage entrepreneurship is essentially for the people who don’t need money.  It is aimed at people who are bored with their jobs and who are doing it for the wrong reasons. Wrong reasons are never needs, wrong reasons are always ‘wants’.

You may want to impress somebody else such as your parents or your peers. Or maybe you just want that fat paycheck because you are so addicted to the materialistic things. For example, you want to get your hands on the next gadget or the next car. Unless and until you get your salary you don’t know where you are going to get that and how you are going to achieve that. All of those are wrong reasons. Those are not needs. Those are all wants. So whenever in my blog, my website and my podcast I say that you should get onto the entrepreneurship bandwagon, it is for people who are confused because of these wants.

That’s why they are bored in their jobs. A person who actually needs money is never bored of their job. That person is blessed to have a job and for such a person I would never recommend them to go into entrepreneurship till the time the need is there. Once they have saved some amount of money or they have resources and the right skills then of course I encourage people to jump into entrepreneurship. But just don’t get too swayed away with the idea of how nice entrepreneurship is because it will show how courageous you are. Don’t do it for any of those reasons.

You should go into entrepreneurship when you are comfortable; at least when you are economically comfortable. I do admire the emotional part because it does take courage to go into entrepreneurship. As far as emotional  fear is concerned, if that is the only fear holding you back then you should definitely do everything to transcend that. That is going to make you grow into a better person. Don’t just go there making yourself so stressful because if stress is at such a high level when you are starting out it just shows that you are not ready for it.

That is what my point is. If you really need the money then keep doing your job. Or you can start something side by side. Don’t just quit your job completely and then start something. There is nothing noble about entrepreneurship. It is not some kind of a virtue that you are going to develop because you are an entrepreneur. It just does not work that way. So let things be comfortable. Let the time be right and then do it. For the people who are bored in their jobs, I would definitely encourage you because you are not doing it out of any real obligation.

Actually that is the case with a lot of people. These are the kind of people to whom my blog and my website caters to. Of course, if you are rich and you have the resources just jump into it but if you are not then don’t do it. In my case, I am not rich by any means. I don’t come from a rich family but I don’t come from a poor family either. A lot of times I do mention that I have left a number of jobs because I was not happy. Yes, all that is true. But what was also true was that every time I left a job I wasn’t like ‘Oh I am leaving a job so I am going to be on the road’. It wasn’t that bad a scenario for me. Most of the times I had money saved up or I had my parents supporting me.  All these things were in my favor. This is why every time I left my job I was not crying after leaving a job or I wasn’t worrying about my survival.

But that might be the case for a lot of people. To those people, I don’t recommend that you take such drastic steps. A lot of people hear these rags to riches stories and get inspired by that. But I am very pragmatic and practical in all my approaches. I do believe that there is a certain level of stress involved in entrepreneurship. If you have nothing backing you up, it can be really stressful and it can actually end up working against you. So I am not this ‘completely leave your comfort zone’ kind of a guy. I always try to give this practical advice about letting things be comfortable.

When you feel it is the right time to take that jump, do take that jump. That time will come definitely if you are hooked onto this idea of entrepreneurship. That idea will definitely come to you. Don’t make things too stressful for you otherwise it can all backfire very easily. I hope you like this podcast and I know that I might get some criticism for this particular post but that’s my idea. I am just going to give you the truth at least of what I feel is the truth. Thank you for listening and bye for now.

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What is authentic entrepreneurship? Being happy with imperfection

In this podcast, I’ll be talking about what Authentic Entrepreneurship means using three points:

Authentic Entrepreneurship means to be imperfect when starting out.

I strongly believe that an entrepreneur, who is trying his/her hand at new things, needs to be imperfect. It is completely okay to not know how things work in the first go. It is important for you as an entrepreneur to just start with the implementation of the easy tasks of your idea – because starting with the easier tasks helps you get into momentum and so, it is extremely significant while building the foundation of your business.

However, if you choose to take on a hard task first or invest most of your effort to ensure that everything you do is no less than ‘perfect’, you’re more likely to get frustrated owing to the amount of energy (and time) required to complete your task. You might think of giving it up in the long run if your expectation does not match what you see.

Hence, I recommend you do the easier task first and let it be imperfect. An easy task helps you place the first step in your business idea (without just day-dreaming about it) and imperfection with your tasks while trying the first time adds to your business experience.

Authentic Entrepreneurship means to steer yourself in finding what you love.

Make your best efforts in figuring out what you love while building your business foundation about your idea. It’s fine to not know what you love in the first few attempts because a lot of times, it is not very easy to find. Don’t be disheartened and keep reminding yourself about figuring out your love, bit-by-bit.

As an entrepreneur starting off, whatever you’re doing in the initial phases (I recommend the ‘easy tasks’) is fine but always keep trying to answer the question: ‘Do I like what I’m doing?’ Continue with your efforts if the answer is ‘Yes’. However, if it is a ‘No’, remember that you’re not obligated to do something you do not love.

Authentic Entrepreneurship means to just do it!

Don’t stress yourself with too much of planning and perfection during your initial steps at building your business. Remember that whether you succeed or fail in your attempts – you learn and gain experience, which will definitely help you and your business in the long run. Therefore, setting out with your idea – no matter you succeed or fail – will always be a win-win situation for an authentic entrepreneur like you.