Maintaining the Balance Between Preparation and Performance

What prevents us from starting?

Our everyday life can be broken down in two sets of activities. These two sets are preparing and executing. Just for the sake of an example, let us assume that I am a painter. In this case, the first part, preparing, consists of all the hard work, practice, experiments that I do. Then comes the second part, where I come out of preparation mode and I start doing the real stuff; i.e. I participate in painting competitions, exhibitions, I start exploring and approaching suitable audience, critics and clients to whom I can show my work and ask for feedback, work and improvements.

We had a look at a painter just for the sake of an example, the same rule applies everywhere. If you are a mobile application developer, the first part is about learning languages and platforms, working on them and improving yourself. The second part is, actually making an application and sharing it with the world. As you share your work, people will start giving their feedback; some might like what you do and might offer you an assignment or a work role.

When should one move from the preparing mode to the execution mode? What gives you authority/confidence/approval to switch from one to the other?

I am trained to perform Indian Classical Music. Typically, in old days, you were not allowed to perform in public while you were a student; unless you reached a certain level of maturity in you art. I totally agree with this but, sadly, many Gurus did not allow their pupils to perform even after they learnt for more than ten to fifteen years.

The fear was, the possibility that the praises will spoil the pupil and will be detrimental to his further studies. Once Guru gave the permission, the pupil was free to perform wherever he wanted.

In this particular case, an approval was required, from the teacher.

For a coder or for a freelancer, who is there to approve? No one, except you, and that’s the point.

Times have changed and we no longer need to ask for a permission from any authority. We just need to start. The improvement will keep on happening.

performing and preparing

This kind of approach calls for more maturity and dedication. It calls for a great deal of courage, to listen to criticism, accept it and improve further. If you are doing something for financial gains, people are the ones who will determine your failure or your success. It is better to start reaching more people and understand what they have to say about you and your work.

For instance, I have couple of friends who are gifted writers and write short stories.

“Why don’t you publish your work somewhere?” I often ask them.

“No, it should be perfect before it goes out.” This is the most common reply that I get.

I personally feel that you should be fast at shipping your work out. The focus should be a ‘shippable’ product than a ‘perfect’ product. Perfect does not exist, perfect is not defined and this quest for perfection before shipping the product keeps us away from perfection. Shipping early allows you to create an audience, a tribe to which you will be catering in the future; it also allows you to understand better the tribe.


Preparing is well required and very crucial to your success as well. Preparing, on the other hand is fatal if it prevents you from actually executing your work. As I have observed around, many times, preparation is used to postpone the actual execution.

Another example. Facebook, for instance, was launched only for Harvard students initially. This execution taught them many valuable things about the further improvements which enabled the product to attain the state which it is today.

Mark Zuckerberg could have easily said – we need to prepare more, we need more sophisticated algorithms and much bigger servers.

He chose the other way. He launched the product he already had, allowed people to comment on it, give their feedback on it and got a direction to improve from all the data.

The point that I want to highlight is, preparing is important, but it becomes counter to your growth when you use it as an excuse to not doing the real stuff.

Start shipping, start improving!




The Art of Communication

What is Communication?

Communication is a necessity. Many times, communication is just a habit- which you cannot give up. Sometimes, communication can be used to mislead others, glorify yourself, to unnecessarily panic others.

To master the art of communication, one must understand why he wants to communicate. What is the true and honest intention behind communicating?

You get it? Most of us commit a mistake at this very first step. I know many bloggers around where they pretend their blog is to help users, but it actually aims at glorification of the blogger himself. If there is a conflict between what you stand for and what you pretend to stand for, communication can never happen.

First step towards communication

If you ever visit Seth Godin’s Blog, you will experience what mastery over communication means. The reason Seth has achieved this mastery is, he is well aware of why he is communicating. The first step towards art of communication is to identify your purpose and honestly stick to it. His blog is simple yet full of wisdom. I think he is a great communicator because he conveys his point very well.

As I understand, love is the first step towards communication. You cannot communicate something if you do not love the message or the recipient. What made Osho a great communicator? The list is quite long, but the most important point is his love with the message and also the recipients- his disciples. 

Breaking the Barriers

A communicator is successful if he can take his readers or listeners out of closed boxes which they already have ready in their minds. We do not listen what the communicator says. We always listen what we want to listen. Hence, if you are able to take your readers out of their boxes, communication is easier, quicker and precise. In case of a master like Osho, the moment you look into his eyes, your mind drops and communication happens. Those who do not have this magic, they find out their own ways. I have attended many corporate workshops where trainers wear funny, strange or pompous clothes just to amuse their readers and to take them out of their compartments.

This method is as shallow as the trainers themselves- it can not penetrate deep. Many times, the message disappears in the noise of this show.

We can certainly see a tend around where communicators try to be flashy, catchy to attract their recipients. Somewhere, the art of communication is becoming more and more fishy, a field of manipulation and pretension.  Communication is more about honesty and less about pretension.

The long way

This might sound strange, impractical and too ideal to the communicators around. The correct way might be a slow and less glamorous way; but it serves the purpose- of bringing a change.


Watchmen, car and the salutes : The Fragile Respect

I always wondered what earns you respect. When you respect a person, what is actually respected? Is it the person? Or his car? His tablet? His cellphone? His clothes?

I noticed how fragile respect is a few days ago.

As one can observe around, the number of security guards has gone up spirally in last few years. The number is expected to go up further in coming years at least in countries like India. We find them everywhere- at the gates of housing societies, in malls, at hotel entrances and also at all the public places.


I have noticed one thing about security guard in this whole country- they salute you if you drive a car. When I did not have a car and I used to commute on my bike, I used to observe how these guards salute the persons having a car. Persons with car are always welcomed with a salute by security guards everywhere. As I used to go on a bike, I was never fortunate enough to get a salute.

Then came the days when I got a car. The first day I took it out, I was showered with the salutes everywhere- on the gate of my own society, at the entrance of my company, at the entrance of shopping mall where I went to shop in the evening. So it works, I thought.

This became the routine- salute while going out of the society gate, then while entering the company and same on the way back. After a few days, due to some reason, one day I again rode a bike. To my surprise, I didn’t get a single salute. For so many days, these watchmen were greeting me with the widest smile and a tight salute, I thought they, by now know me. This was a great realization for me. This showed me how fragile respect is. This meant, none of these guards had even looked at my face. They just saw the car and saluted- the respect was for the money and the car and not for the person.

This made me think further. Do we respect a person or his possessions? Do we respect a person or his wealth or knowledge? Unknowingly, we keep on judging people based on how they are dressed, what vehicle they drive and which brands they wear. We even judge persons based on their degrees and appearance and then decide whether to respect him or not.

If you respect a person for his possessions and not for what the person is, you are insulting the person. You are respecting dead things over the living beings.

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Salman Rushdie- Redefining respect

Universally, almost all the human beings want respect. Respect is the ultimate thing which everyone is running after. We can see people around us running after different things- right from physical power to political powers. People around us always try to acquire at least one of the items from this list- money, power, knowledge etc., the list being unending. If we give it a thought, all of them are actually running behind only one thing- respect. People try to earn money because money brings respect. After my long interactions with many of my friends, I ultimately conclude that even highly knowledgeable persons earn the knowledge only because it brings respect. As usual, we have a few exceptions to this general statement.

Last week, while going through a magazine which I found lying on the desk of an NGO office, I found a very nice and revealing definition of respect. This definition is given by one of the most controversial authors we have with us, Salman Rushdie. I have not read any one his books, but this magazine had published a speech delivered by him to the association of newspaper editors in USA. In this article, Mr. Salman Rushdie touched many topics, from role of press to how a society should be. In the course of his speech, Mr. Salman Rushdie put forward this enlightening definition of respect-

Respect is a mixture of goodhearted consideration and serious attention

I find this definition to be an ideal definition. As we all know, respect has become a very sacred and dangerous word. Many times, respect is used as a weapon. In the scope of conventional definition of respect, respecting someone means equating him with almighty and assuming him to be someone infallible.

Apart from all the above mentioned points, what hurts me is the big distance which respect creates. Generally, when we respect someone, we treat him as if he is someone special. This in a way leads to a conclusion that he has someone higher, better and different than us and hence, we cannot be and should not try to be like him. I know many people around who respect Osho. But, sadly, when they respect him, they start treating him as someone super natural. And yes, this gives them concession from trying to be like Osho. In this way, we respect all the great individuals around. This corrupted definition of respect is percolated in all the fields- from spirituality to science, from music to engineering.

Considering all this background, I find Salman Rushdie’s definition very fresh and inspiring. It necessarily keeps away all the wrong considerations which have been attached with the word ‘respect’ for hundreds of years. Respecting some one is nothing but to give a serious try to understand that person. This try should be open, unbiased and it should not arrive out of some compulsion. This definition has become dear to me because of its one more aspect- it nowhere says that you have to agree with the opinions of person you respect. Only a goodhearted consideration and serious attention is needed.

Have we ever given goodhearted consideration and serious attention to persons and thoughts and actions of the persons we respect? We know the answer…….

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Do you want to sustain?

When someone from completely different field enters some other field, he looks at the things in a totally different perspective. I am in somewhat similar position. I never took efforts to read typical corporate literature. Somehow, I am trying to make myself comfortable with all these terms. The result is, I end up interpreting the established proverbs and statements in a completely different way.

Today, I came across one line, which is very attractive and at the same time very important for those who are in corporate world. The line is something like this-

If you do yesterday’s things today, you won’t be able to survive tomorrow.

This line is so true, if you look at it from the view of normal life. By normal life I mean all the things which normal human beings like us do. It holds true on all the walks of life, equally applicable to students, managers, entrepreneurs, businessmen etc. In today’s world, as we know it very well, one has to move ahead of time, innovating new things. To be honest, it is difficult to survive today if you do today’s things today. One always has to keep on doing new things, new experiments, new products, new services and new thoughts.

As it can be clearly seen, many companies are investing their huge cash reserves to invent and realize tomorrow’s products. There is no final destination as we are moving ahead very rapidly. As I said earlier, this is true for ‘normal humans’. Are their any dimensions of our life where this line is not applicable?

Yes, there are many. One of the most striking example is that of music. Of course, musicians are creative and they keep on doing new things. But, the fact which one should keep in his mind is, they never run behind creating new things. They are effortlessly creative. That creativity does not have any purpose. I am not at all comparing which one is good and which one is bad; they are just different ways of different fields. In classical music, we have many great artists and musicians who just focused on understanding their master’s knowledge. In that complete surrender, many creative compositions came out.

One more walk of life, where I think this line would not be applicable is meditation. In meditation, the meditation is old, ancient; the experiences are new and unique. It wont make any sense doing new new meditations each day, for being creative. You have to do the same, yesterday’s meditation every day. In case of human consciousness, we run to new things not out of creativity but to escape the old things. In meditation, there is no escape. You cannot run away, you have to face same things, the same ‘you’ everyday.

I guess, here the ‘MadhyamMarga’ mentioned by Lord Buddha or the concept of ‘Zorba the Buddha’ coined by Osho comes into picture. Is it possible to survive in both material and spiritual world together? One step ahead, does the word ‘survival’ has meaning in spirituality?

At this stage, I am asking myself, ‘Do you want to sustain?’


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Disturbances are needed

All human beings will agree on one point without any exception. The point is, there should be no disturbances in the life.Many people are often in support of disturbances stating that they help you to excel in life. But, they also accept that after these initial days of struggle and education are over, there should be no disturbances. People those who have successfully overcome all the struggles in their lives often appreciate the role of disturbances in life of a person but will soon become sad if they themselves encounter any disturbance in their life.

The fact is, disturbances are the integral part of human lives. Apart from this, they play many important roles to improve quality of many aspects of life. Disturbances may be mental also. An idea which goes against your conditioned mind is alos a disturbance. A mental disturbance is also needed as it hammers out the dust of conditioning on our minds.

Whenever we believe in some predefined idea, it means that we are going away from our own consciousness. A mental disturbance shatters such ideas and brings you back to your consciousness. Osho used to say that he liked to disturb people. The reason is very simple. When people have ready made religions with them, ready made moralities with them, each human is reduced to a fool following rule books. To make these fools humans, disturbances are needed.


Nothing good, nothing bad

A few days ago, got a chance to read a wonderful book written by the master Osho. The book had in it one very wonderful statement- “In life, there are no good decisions and bad decisions. There are only wise decisions and fool decisions.”

I was shocked by this out of earth understanding. Yes, in life, in reality, there is nothing good and at the same time there is nothing bad. All the decisions that we take are either wise or they are foolish.

At first sight, this seems to be quite senseless. But when contemplated upon, we can easily see that the good and bad do not exist. In this flow of life, your decisions are either wise or they are fool. Other than this, they carry no quality.

The good and bad are designed out by man. The definitions of good and bad differ along with the time, they are very fragile and momentary definitions. What ever we do, is either wise or it is foolish!

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Accept whatever comes

Life is never in a fixed way or patterns. everything is uncertain, everything is momentous. To accept life in its totality is the true acceptance. This acceptance gives you key to remain blissful in whatever situation comes.

We are not good acceptors. We go on demanding. To accept things which come in the way requires tremendous courage. It seems contradictory. Generally we think that to try to change the situation, rebel against it requires the courage. We always assign virtue to bravery and offensive tendencies. The real qualities which need bravery are always considered to be symptoms of weakness.

To accept life in its light and darkness, valleys and peaks requires tremendous patience and courage. One more point to onote is, any quality which is developed through acceptance has grace with it. If I am not feeling like writing for some days, there are two ways which I can try. One is that I can try writing forcibly and the another one is, that I accept this non creativity in its totality. if this non creativity is accepted, it in due time gives birth to creativity which is not of this world. This creativity coming out of the acceptance of the non creativity will have different grace and authenticity.

So, just accept. Accept whatever comes in your way. If you accept totally, this very acceptance will bring the creativity out.


Do we solve the questions?

I remember one beautiful statement from Osho. Osho says, the question which can be answered is not the real the real question. A true question can never be answered. If we get answer for a question, the only conclusion is that the question was bogus. It was either a superficial question or a superficial answer was given.

In a permit room, a man used to come daily. He used to drink for hours. The one specialty if this man was, he used to put two french fries in his two noses while drinking. The waiter always wondered why the hell this strange man used to so daily. One day, the man again sat to drank and asked the waiter to bring french fries. Waiter said that fries are not available.

The man asked for two ladyfingers. Waiter brought them. Man put those two ladyfingers in his nose. The waiter could not resist his curiosity. He asked the gentleman.

“Why these two ladyfingers in your nose, sir?”

Waiter thought he would get some concrete answer. Instead, the gentleman answered,

“Because you do not have fries.”

All the answers that we give are as bogus as the above given answer.

A true answer never exists.True questions can never be answered. True questions can only be dropped.

Kahlil Gibran osho philosophy

Osho Insight:Things just happen……

I remember a very wonderful and also truthful statement from famous mystic, Osho. Osho says,

“A rose flower cannot say that it blooms the roses; if it could say so, it would also have been able to bloom lilies. ”

This single statement, in a single blow flushes out all the ego that we have. It just wipes out the feeling- ‘I do…….’ We do things but are we really doing it? Or they are just happening? On the same line, I remember one statement by Kahlil Gibran in which he says that we do not give birth to children; they are born through us.

When I observe life or witness life closely, I realize the reality of all above statements. Things go on happening. We do not cause them to happen. Human ego says that it is responsible for everything. Human ego says that it is the doer of all the thing. But, things are just happening. Things are not bad or good. Things are not sane or insane. Humans add them these labels. In nature, nothing is good or bad. In nature, there is no virtue and there is no vice.

On the same line, I remember one more mystic, Tilopa. Tilopa says,

“In life, when there is nothing bad and when there is nothing good, there is nothing to be desired and nothing to be avoided.”

We humans play the game of desiring and  avoiding things. We do so because, for us something is good and something is bad. Human life will be simplified a lot if we remember a simple thing- Things just happen. We do nothing. Whatever happens is neither good nor bad. Do not avoid anything and do not desire for anything.

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