What is a Minimalist Lifestyle?

 We live in a world where we have only 24 hours in a day and loads of jobs to complete, dreams to pursue and people to meet. To add to this situation we have information and things coming towards us at the speed of light. Now of course a highly skilled samurai executive would be able to use his metaphorical nanchuks  , slash all unwanted fluff , get work done and impress his boss or stake holders.

The problem though is that we aren't all trained Samurais, and in this world of consumerism we seem to want every new thing in the market. If there is a new phone, tablet or sports shoe, we seem to develop this pang for obtaining it which will not subside until we have it in our grasp. What happens then is something that happened a long time ago to all my GI Joe action figures.They are more often than not kept in some corner of the home waiting in vain for some attention.

My Industrial Business Professor in business school always used to talk about a Japanese concept called 'Mooda'. The Japanese learnt many years back that excess of anything is waste, and that they MUST eliminate all Mooda from their processes at all costs. Because of this realization they were able to eliminate unwanted wastage of resources and save a lot of time and money. This meant that they could now use the freed up time on more concrete tasks and projects which lead to the creation of world class products by companies like Toyota, Honda and Sony.

This theory is not only applicable to Manufacturing but also in life as well. We really need to eliminate Mooda from our lives!

And that brings us to the topic of Minimalism. Trust me, when i first read the term, what came to my mind was an ancient hermit clothed in the bare minimum, meditating under an ancient rock and eating very meagerly. But quite the contrary, minimalism is the act of going through the junk that we have collected over the years, finding what we need, disposing of , donating and selling what we don't need so that we can concentrate on a few things and achieve more.

Think about it..do you use everything that you own on a daily basis..or a weekly basis or even a monthly basis?..I am sure there are a lot of things that you haven't used in over a year or two years. What this does is that it subconsciously clutters up your mind and doesn't really let you focus on the things that matter.

We all live in a world that talks about multi-tasking. Multi- tasking smart phones, computers, tablets etc etc. But the human being is not designed to multi-task, and when he attempts to do so, what suffers is the quality of output. Have you ever tried talking to someone while your writing a mail to your Boss? Have you ever tried having a serious conversation with your girl friend while watching the last few minutes of the Football finals?

So in short, the fewer the objects in your room the easier it is for your mind to focus, and this situation will shoot your productivity and creative thinking process through the roof.

So before focusing on my goals and plans, i have decided to adopt a Minimalistic Lifestyle. I came across this site which talks about a 21 day plan towards a Minimalistic Lifestyle and guides you on a daily basis about what exactly to do in order to achieve Minimalism. The picture above shows me carrying out one of the exercises on the site, in which you have to empty your entire wardrobe and pack all your stuff into boxes like you would do if you were relocating. The idea is to take out , on a daily basis, only those items that you would need. By the end of the exercise you will come to know what you really use and what you don't so that you can decide what to donate, dump or sell.

(By the way, the date on the picture is wrong for some reason)

Do share your comments and experiences on the topic!

For further information go visit www.theminimalists.com (These guys are totally amazing and inspiring)

10 Ways to get motivated to Exercise:

Ok so i signed up for a yearly membership at my neighboorhood Gold's Gym. I am going to surround myself with healthy people, get tips from self starters, change my body and change my mind...

But hey,getting  a membership is just half the battle. It is like getting my foot at the door. I now have to let myself into the metaphorical Room of Good Health!

Have you ever set out to work out early in the morning? You are all excited, you brush your teeth, feel fresh, wear your running shoes, read the newpaper, drink tea, have breakfast and then sit and relax...Then you plan to wake up even earlier tomorrow to work out. Well it sure has happened to me before, so for my benefit and for the benefit of others i have prepared a list of 10 ways by which we can all ensure that we follow through with our exercise plans.

1) Dont read the Newspaper first thing in the morning: Yes, you heard that right. Journalism is a wonderfully industry and has its own ways of keeping you rooted to the content that it has crafted for you. Considering the amount of time you have in the morning, and your plans to work out, the newspaper will not only distract you but at times also lead to a lot of wastage of time.

2) Drink a lot of water: When you wake up, your body yearns for water to hydrate itself again. The act of drinking atleast 3 glasses of water will not only hydrate your body will give you a new lease of energy that you never expected.

3) Fool your mind: No, im not asking you to lie LOL. Your body is really smart, it is constantly planning and strategising ways by which you can avoid pain and gain pleasure. So if you think in your mind that you need to workout for 1 hour , it will automatically send a signal to your brain and in turn your brain will GOOGLE search for ways to avoid that workout or exercise. So instead tell your mind that you will work only for 10-15 minutes! I personally haven't met a lot of people who have said they will work for 10-15 minutes and do not continue longer. Exercising is really addictive!

4) Hold yourself accountable: Share your plans with friends and family. Remember they want you to succeed and achieve your dreams. They will go out of their way to motivate you or atleast remind you that your not following through!

5) Stretch and Warm Up: Your body is like a large sedan. You cant just start the car and drive it across the country. To use the car effectively for years together, before each session, you need to start the engine and warm up the car so that it can perform all thoughout your journey. In the same way, basic stretches and warm up sessions will work wonders and will actually easen your workout. This is one factor that has helped me a lot and makes a world of a difference.

6) Associate massive pain with not exercising: Like i said before, our mind moves towards pleasure and tries to avoid pain, and usually pain is a stronger motivator. So certain visualing techniques in which we associate our not working with massive pain will work wonders. For example. I visualise the extra amount of work that i would have to put in if i miss out this workout. I also imagine fat accumulating all over my body and making me lethargic, lazy and ineffective.

7) Reward yourself: Small reward can go long ways as far as following up with your work out schedule is concerned. For example, you can say that you will buy your favorite book or eat at your favorite restaurant if you follow through with your schedule diligently for 2 weeks.

8) Visualise yourself after your workout session: A lot of people usually associate work out with only physical benefits,ie. looking good, losing fat, getting muscular etc. However there are so many immeditate psychological and hormonal effects that our body experiences immediately after our exercise, the effects for which last throughout the day. Imagine how fresh you will feel. Imagine how good your meetings would go. Imagine how well you will be able to deal with pressure situations and challenges!

9) Incantations: What we say is who we are and ultimately who we become. Now some may feel that this doesn't work or that only people who are a part of some massive motivational cult folow it, but its been practiced by successful people all over the world and it works! So we just dont read them out, you need to really use your body, mind and get completely excited about what your saying, so to speak!


"I am strong, i am fit...i am fast ..im a hit!"

"Every minute and every second..im getting faster and faster!"

"I am lean I am mean...i am a fighting machine!"

10) Raise you standards:

One reason why we tend to give up our plan is that somewhere down in our heart we believe that this is not who we are. If we deeply believe that being healthy is what we are about and is our very innate habit then everything will fall into place.

But what if i still can't do it? :(

The answer then is simple..if you can find a solution yourself...take help!...Surround yourself with people who have already achieve your goals. Be with people who have a very high standard. You will find that you automatically start behaving like them. You will develop habits like those of your peers.

Hope this helps! Let me know if your able to see any results!

This video, i promise, will get your spirits up and make you want to give your very best!

Its been almost 14 days now since i last wrote down my goals and let me tell you that although i haven't completed all the goals that i set forward to achieve, i do have 1 particular achievement that i want to share with you. I am very glad to inform you that i have successfully completed my Project 1 Speech at Toastmasters and it surely does feel great!

I was planning to give this speech since the last month but because had just joined the club it was recommended to me that i take on smaller roles before my Project 1 Speech.

I must say that i did some amount of preparation and this whole process until the delivery of the final speech lead to a lot of learning and great experiences. I am planning to post the actual speech that i delivered that day along with resource links that will help you write and deliver your first speech.

Although there were many factors that led to people liking my speech, one of the most integral parts that really created a WOW, so to speak, was my speech Opening. In my opinion, a great opening sets the tone of the whole speech and can determine whether the speech will be remembered in the days to come or not.

Creating an Effective Opening for your Speech:

1) Hold and keep the attention of the audience:

Like i said before, the opening is the biggest opportunity to WOW your audience, to grab their attention and to communicate that you mean business! Here are some ways in which you can create that amazing Opening.
  • Tell a Story: From thousands of years, story telling has been the most effective way, of persuading people to fight wars, change sides and religions, to understand difficult theories and even to create an effective work atmosphere. Stories have their own ways of grabbing attention and holding till the very end. An effective story teller can induce sensations of frustration, angst, loss or even triumph with the help of actions, effective words, facial expression and most importantly silence. Coming to the context of our speech, a well structured story can really infuse the audience with a new life and make them wants to know whats next.
          (Make sure though that the story relates in someway to your speech and to what your going to say next!)

  • Tell a Joke: There is nothing more relaxing and fun than to start your speech with a small joke. This will not only capture your audiences attention but will also lighten the mood especially if the previous speech was a very sad or boring one.The best speakers usually make use of self deprecating humor because this serves many purposes. Firstly, it shows that the author is confident about himself/herself and secondly it eliminates any chance of people getting offended because the joke is on the speaker and not anyone or anything else.   
          (Now it goes without saying that the joke must be related to what you are speaking about!  Otherwise it might just distract the audience and lower your value as a speaker)

  • In addition, if you are become good at adding humor to your speeches and if your able to build rapport with your audience in such a manner, you can take part in various Humor Speech Contests that are help at Toastmasters. Who knows you can laugh all the way to the International Humor Speech contest!
  • Share a great saying or a phrase: This technique is also really popular and gets really good results mainly because it is so easy to relate to. A well researched saying that is related to the topic of the speech can give something for the audience to think about, help them relate to their personal lives and hold them spell bound!
  •  The rule of Three or the Triad: 
          This is an excellent way to effectively communicate what you want to say and if needed stress and emphasize your points. If practiced well, this will add charm and a lot of value to your speech.

I used a modified version of this technique for my opening by saying, "Thunder, Lightning, waters gushing down road, people scurrying with their umbrellas and the pleasant smell of earth wafting through". The purpose of my opening was to take the audience away from the seats and drop them right in the midst of a heavy downpour of rain in the city of Mumbai, in a way that they can actually get the touch, feel and smell of a rainy day.

Examples of the Triads:

  1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  2. Blood, Sweat and Tears
  3. Touch, smell and feel
  4. Gun, Smoke and Rock and Roll
(Now an expert technique to really impress your audience is to add humor to your Triads. Now i wont go much in detail about how to do it but here is an example."When i landed my job in a new city, my friends doubled, my work tripled ..my income...didn't change.."

Key Points to Remember:

Remember to establish Rapport with the audience, appear Enthusiastic and add curiosity, mystery and suspense to your speech to make it more interesting.

Remember that no matter how well your write your speech, how well you practice or how well you know your audience. THINGS CAN GO WRONG! The important thing is to get that very valuable feedback from Members and guest alike, Find out what went wrong and what went right and prepare even harder for your next speech!

Hope you get a standing ovation!!

Till next time....Have a great life and life every moment to the fullest!