What are my secrets to look younger than my age?

I am 30 but the truth is that I still look somewhere in my early or mid twenties. By saying this, I do not mean to say that 30 is old. I am young  in age, physically and in spirit. However, when I look at most of my friends who are 30 too, it seems that they have crossed their fortieth birthday. Growing older is a privilege that is not given to everybody. It’s the truth of life which no one can escape, but this does not mean that we cannot have control over our ageing process. We can and we must. We must love and take care of ourselves. The body is the vehicle to the soul, and if we neglect the vehicle or let it age as it must, then we will not be able to travel for too long. Having said this, we must take control of our lives, and control our ageing process.

So, what are my secrets to look younger than my age?

  1. I drink at least two litres of water per day
  2. I work out in the gymnasium at least four times a week
  3. I spend at least 15 minutes doing nothing every day
  4. I don’t consume meat
  5. I eat at least three different fruits and vegetables every day
  6. I laugh a lot
  7. I give myself regular breaks from work
  8. I don’t consume alcohol
  9. I don’t smoke
  10. I use natural face scrubs and masks on a regular basis
  11. I meditate and connect with the universe
  12. I surround myself with positive people
  13. I own five wonderful pets, and spend time playing with them
  14. I travel, explore and learn
  15. I swim
  16. I have a profound connection with the ocean
  17. I play soccer every weekend
  18. I forgive people, let go what is weighing me down, and free myself from unnecessary worries
  19. I don’t run after material possessions.
  20. I don’t set the bar of expectations too high

There is no magic formula to look and to feel younger. It’s about reviewing your routine and making some small changes to feel better in your skin. When you feel better in your skin, your body will respond too and the ageing process will not go beyond its ordinary speed. Listen to your body, change your habits and review your lifestyle.

I was young at 18, I am  young at 30 and I will be young at 50 too, if I am still around.

 

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Who said it’s going to be perfect?

Who said it’s going to be perfect?

No, it’s not going to be perfect. We can’t expect people to be perfect. We can’t expect circumstances to be perfect. By setting the bar of expectations too high, we are asking for a world where one single mistake or one single weakness disqualifies an individual from being competent or productive. It is crucial for us, in this modern era, to respect the fact that people and circumstances cannot be perfect, and consequently, we must lower the bar and create the climate for people to reflect on their shortcomings, to learn and to grow.

As Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Create the context for people to progress, instead of judging them.

Right versus wrong

What is wrong and what is right?  Have we ever pondered upon this fundamental question that draws the crystal-clear line between morality and immorality? Throughout my travels, I have met thousands of people and had the chance to converse about this subject with many of them. Many told me that what is right or wrong is very subjective, that it depends on the self-definition of what is right and what is wrong. I was told that others can impose the definition of right and wrong on someone. I disagreed then and I disagree now.

Though to some extent what is right and wrong is subjective but not entirely. We live in a society made of norms, that is a normative society. In this normative society, we have laws that dictate what is acceptable and what is not. We cannot go against the norms of a society, otherwise we will fail to live together and we will sow only division among ourselves. Hence, we are to bound to respect the norms of a society. We cannot go against them. Now, laws do not dictate the nitty gritty of our lives. They do not go at micro level, giving people the liberty to make their own decisions based on their subjective acceptance of what is right or wrong. In this case only, one can listen to his or her heart.

One example will help better understand what I mean by subjective and objective morality. Subjective morality is our own version of what is right and wrong. Objective morality is the version accepted commonly by the society. For example, killing someone is a crime, is illegal, is considered heinous and is unacceptable by the society. Hence, this is a norm in the society that we have to adhere to. Saying something bad to someone in view to hurt the person’s feelings is something that we must weight by our own judgment. If we do it, it can be bad for someone and to someone else, this act can be just acceptable and fine. This is an example of subjective morality; where the law does not go.

Hence, we must never say that we define entirely what is right and wrong. This does not make sense, at least to me.

What does it take to be certain of oneself?

It’s Saturday again. Another work-week has gone and millions of people around the world are still juggling with their ideas, struggling to define their life’s purpose, or fearing to make the right decisions. We all go through this. But what does it take to be certain of oneself? How do we know that we have finally arrived at the right business idea, identified our true purpose or made the right decisions in life?

I am writing from a small coffee shop at this moment, and just before you wonder why I am writing on this subject, it’s because these are the thoughts that are racing my mind at this point in time.

So, let’s get back to the subject. What does it take to be certain of oneself in life? I don’t think it’s trial and error, time or opinions of others. To me, certainty has some symptoms. Have you ever engaged in some duties where you feel abundance of happiness while fulfilling them? Have you ever donated your money in some orphanages, homes or schools where you felt great about yourself and you wish to do it again and again? Have you ever spent time with a homeless person and just before saying goodbye to him or her, you wish to come again and hug him or her? This is how the universe speaks to you. Are you listening enough? The universe is telling you that those acts that when you do them, you feel limitless happiness, great about yourself and wish to do it again and again, those are acts for which you have been sent to do. Those are acts that complete you, that add meaning and value to your life and that give you a reason to live. These acts are the symptoms that the universe is communicating to you. Listen more. There’s so much the universe wishes to tell you but we are not good at listening enough.

I think that when you engage in something, and you wish to understand whether that specific work, idea or project is what what is meant for you to undertake, you must ask ourselves three major questions to be certain that you must pursue them:

(i) Are you happy about the act you wish to undertake?

(ii) Are you happy while undertaking the act?

(iii) Are you happy to repeat the entire process?

Eventually, certainty is happiness.

Why are people greedy?

When I grab a cup of coffee in the evening, after a tiresome day at work, I ponder upon so many things. I try hard not to overthink and I believe to a large extent, I am successful at this, as I do give a clear direction to my thoughts and make sure that they are constructive, and not the other way round.

Today while driving back home, I was wondering about something: why people have turned so greedy and egocentric? It’s true. These days, no one has time for the rest of the world; everyone is self-centred. We want to possess luxurious things, live a life of comfort and some goes to the extent of even boasting about their lives. We do all this at the stake of others. We can put others at disadvantage just to protect ourselves, and for our own interest.

Let’s take for example a tree laden with fruits. An greedy person will think about eating the fruits or bringing the fruits for his family, while a selfless person will think about what will happen to the birds who have only this tree to feed on. I wish we could all think like this: much larger. We must not mix our benefits with the benefits of the society. We must put others first. We must think for others, even if those people have hurt us, betrayed us, insulted us or so. When we become so selfless by nature, we sow the seed of love in our hearts, and we eradicate the word “greed” in our lives.

It is possible and it starts with self-discipline.

Why are people bad?

This is a striking question, isn’t it? Has it ever happened to you that you are doing all that you can to be good, to spread positive energy around you, and to inspire others to be likewise but some persons are not just going by the flow and are adamant to bring you down? It happens to many of us, and it is something that will not stop because we cannot expect everyone to be on the same energy field as we are.

But why are people bad? They are bad because in their mind, they cannot see what they are doing wrong. They are blinded to the fact that they are bad. To go one level deeper, the definition of what is right and wrong is not for them is not what is objectively accepted by this society; it’s more of a subjective definition. They have their own norms of what is good and what is bad, and they act according to those norms disregarding what the common people see as good and bad. Even if you walk to them and tell them “Hey Mike, that’s wrong what you just did. You must not make fun of someone else”, you might have to face this answer, “Come on. He is new in the group. It was just to break the ice and get him going”

They always have a justification for what they do as bad. Most of the time, it is a waste of energy and time to make them feel what they do is bad, and as such they are bad.

But having said all this, what you must do to survive among bad people? You cannot remove them completely from your class, friend circle or company. You have to be strong in your response to them. When they try to bring negativity or try to bring you down, learn to stand strong and ignore them. You must not get involved in their drama. If you get involved, you are indirectly giving them the permission to hurt you. No one can hurt you unless you approve of this to happen. Let not their words or acts be obstacles for you. Ignorance is key. Don’t take at heart what they say. Let them feel that you are drawing the line between you and them. In this way, they might understand with time that there must be some reasons why they are losing friends.

Always remember, bad people are bad because they don’t know that they are bad. You have to be good regardless of the bad people around you, and you must learn to ignore them.

So, you want to be an entrepreneur?

With the changing world, the ambitions of people are changing too.

 

If we go back in time, in the 80s, and ask teens about their ambitions, you’d perhaps hear these lines: “I want to be a Doctor”, “I want to be a Police Officer”, or “I want to be an Astronaut”. But what’s happening nowadays? Ambitions have changed. We no longer wish to work for others. We have realised that we are spending around 45 hours per week to make the dream of someone else come true, while compromising with our dream. No matter how much we wish to quit what we are doing right now, and start doing something we truly wish to do, we choose to stay where we are. We might go on the internet to find hundreds of motivational quotes and videos, success stories and inspiring testimonials, but we do nothing else with them, apart from getting inspired for a few minutes, hours or days.

What’s going wrong? Why does it happen this way?

Because we are afraid. But, of what? To take risks, to walk into the uncertain and to leave behind our comfort zones. The society has told us that we are trees and we cannot move, and we have accept this as our truth. We want to do work for ourselves, to be our own boss, and not to follow the rules of the corporate world, but we are not getting the right support from our nears and dears. We have great ideas but we are not able to use them to our advantage because we have been told that ideas without finance is like an empty vessel. The problem, that we are currently not seeing as a problem, is a much bigger one. It’s a cultural problem. While we will not dig into it and go straight to what must be done, we must understand that no matter how much we read about entrepreneurship, if it’s not done from the heart, it’s not worth it.

This blog post is not intended to teach the readers the way to success as an entrepreneur but the courage that we require to embark on this journey.

To become an entrepreneur, we must first of all succeed as a firm human being. We have to be sure of what we wish to pursue. Quitting a stable job with a fixed monthly income is not an easy thing to do, and it does not happen overnight. It requires a lot of thinking and preparation. For this to happen, we must be firm. We must be willing to take this step. We must feel happy about it. It must be the calling of the heart.

There’s nothing like right or wrong idea, right or wrong time, right or wrong risk, and so forth. There’s only idea, time and risk. We must brainstorm and commit to a business idea, throw yourself into the uncertain, start somewhere and test it out. The worst thing that can happen is that we might fail. What else? Failure is precious. There’s nothing to lose at the end. While millions waste their lives dreaming, thousands make it happen. The choice to either be a dreamer or a doer, is ours.

Wisdom – where is it found?

Books? That’s the first thing that crosses our mind as we come across words like “wisdom” and “knowledge” but the reality, at least to me, is far from this. When I was still at school, I had this notion that books only are the doors to wisdom but after completing my studies from institutions made of walls and roofs, I understood that what books impart to us is knowledge, not wisdom.

So where is wisdom found?

  1. People

In my early twenties, when I began traveling the world, I met thousands of people. From the vibrant Masai people along the Great Rift Valley of Kenya to the “Pahari” (people living on mountains) people in Pahalgam, Kashmir, each one had a story to share with me and from these stories emanated morals of life. These morals formed the pillar of my character and made me the person I am today. Meeting people does not automatically guarantee the flow of wisdom. We need to connect with people at different levels, listen attentively to what they have to say, engage in deep conversation with them and see them as gurus. When someone imparts wisdom to you, he or she must be seen as a guru and a guru deserves full respect and gratitude. The problem nowadays is that people are keener to get people interested in them, than to get interested in people. In the process of feeling important, we miss what’s important really. We aren’t listening enough. We aren’t humble enough to accept wisdom from others. We are filled with ego. We do not want to appear as students; we want to be seen as gurus. We crave for glories and pride. If we do not shed off this mindset, we can never learn and if we don’t learn, we cannot never be wiser than we are today. As from today, see everyone as your guru and learn from them because everyone has a story and an advice for you.

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2. Mountains and hills

This might seem surprising or strange to you but to me, it’s my source of wisdom and inspiration. From the Uetliberg of Switzerland to the Philopappos in Greece, I have been trekking several hills and mountains. The summit is the destination and the steep of the mountain is the journey. We spend more time on the steep and lesser at the destination. The mountain is the guru. The climb teaches us to move forward in life if we want to attain the summit. Applying this in our life, if we wish to achieve our goals, we must progress step by step. Like the mountain, we must be patient, our principles must be firm and our decisions must be immovable. Mountain is a place to meditate and breathe, to put ourselves to test, to challenge ourselves and as we climb, we discover not what the mountain is but who we are. There’s a lot to learn from mountains and hills. We just need to climb, listen to what the mountain is saying, and apply the learnings in our lives.

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3. Animals

Maybe we are forgetting that we are the intruders in a world that belongs to animals; not them. Animals were here before us. They’ve known this planet before we’ve even tried to conduct scientific researches to understand what gravity is. They’ve felt the fresh breezes in the wide blue sky before we’ve even invented helicopters, planes and parachutes. They are intelligent creatures and if we consider them as our gurus, we will grow into wiser individuals. Let’s take for example, the penguins. I stood at the zoo in Zurich, with a cup of coffee, and watched this group of penguins with a conscious goal to learn something from them. They stay in group and if one of them is lagging behind while moving in a direction, they make sure not to desert him. So, I hope you will check on the animals in or around your house as from tomorrow itself. Observe them and find meaning in how they act, interact and react.

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It’s after all not so difficult to become wiser in life. Open your heart and mind to learn, be humble, see everyone and everything as a guru, listen and observe, and eventually, you will find wisdom.

Why you must slow down?

The speed at which this world is moving is beyond comparison. Everything is going so fast. Everyone is busy. No one has time. There’s a rush everywhere and for everything. But what makes the world move so fast? Because everyone is after something. Some people are chasing wealth, while others are running after pride. Some people are working tirelessly to build a house while others are saving each and every penny to invest in the education of their children. There’s one major driving force to which our small goals are tied, and that driving force is powerful enough to direct our lives.

But what do we achieve in the process of running after that major thing? For example, you might be working hard and saving money to buy a new plot of land. In this process, you often choose not to go for a cup of coffee with your school friends because for you, time is tantamount to money. You might prefer to work or do something ‘more constructive’ in this lapse of time instead of bonding with friends. What is happening at the expense of your dream? You are forgetting the value of the little things of life.

You have to slow down. Slowing down might delay your dream from coming true but it helps you remain more grounded and realistic. It helps you reflect and review your goals. It helps you accept reality as it is. It helps you become more gentle with yourself.

Slow down. There’s everyday for work. Take one day for you. Breathe and relax. You deserve this.

5 rules that you must break to be successful in life

Rules and regulations. Aren’t they embedded in every system? Let’s take for example your work life. When you joined the company where you are working currently, you were asked to sign your employment contract which contains several sections and subsections; imposing legal obligations on you and your employer. As you pursued your employment, you were asked to sign acknowledgment forms for several policies, attendance and evaluation forms, employee declaration form and so forth. As you are reading this article, you must have signed around fifteen forms so far in your current employment. But have you ever wondered what these forms are doing to you? They are bringing you gradually into a system. They are setting limits around you. They are telling you what is acceptable and what is not. They are create a system of norms for you to adhere to. While these are important for an employee to live by, you must not forget that you are a human being with ambitions and emotions. You have the power to challenge and recreate the system. If you adhere at 100% to all the rules, you can miss many opportunities. Strictly following all rules will bring dullness to your life, and will push you to become a victim of an existing system. Your dreams will be limited by the lines drawn by the system.

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In order not to compromise with your dreams and to achieve success in your life, there are 5 rules I believe one must break and here is the list:

  1. If you don’t like what you are doing, quit. You always have a choice. Always. Even by not choosing, you are choosing. For example, you are fed up of your current job and you wish to move on to pursue your own business. If you could not find the right business idea, and continue with your current job, you are choosing two things: to let go of your dream and to surrender to what you are fed up with. You are not a brick. Move. Resign. Quit. Take the risk and start somewhere.
  2. Don’t waste your time changing people. Change yourself and others will follow. Changing people is not a quick-fix. It takes a lot of time, which you must not lose. Time is valuable. The most successful people on earth spent day and night to work on their dreams. Focus on yourself. Make yourself a masterpiece. Invest in yourself. Change your habits. Review your goals. Be an example. Be inspirational. Be excellent. Be so good that your energy is enough to inspire the world. By changing yourself, others will change.
  3. Good work does not always get noticed. By telling people what you are doing, you do not become an attention-seeker, as the world might term it. You are actually placing the credit where it lies. You must tell people what you are good at, what you have achieved, are achieving and plan to achieve. The world will not know if you don’t tell them, and it’s important that you tell them because if you think farer than others, you will know that your friends today will be your stakeholders tomorrow.
  4. Change your dreams. With time, priorities and goals change. You cannot expect your dream to be the same in this ever changing world. Everything is changing. The dream you had ten years back isn’t necessarily the same today. Dreams change too. Review your goals and priorities frequently. Ask yourself these questions: (i) Is my dream relevant? Is it important to me? Will it be profitable? Will it be meaningful? Review, review and review.
  5. Give as much as you can. The elderly people will teach you the basics of saving money. Some people might even tell you that to be successful, one must expend his money wisely. Forget all this. Learn to give. It might be money, time, blessing, advice, gift and so forth. But, just give. Give with all your heart. By giving, you feel a sense of accomplishment that no other task in life can let you feel. Giving is sacred. Forget about what you will be left with and think about what will be added to the lives of others if you give.

My 5 rule are crystal-clear. I have broken them and I am experiencing success in my life. You can live that life too. Break the rules, but not the law and not those regulations that will contravene the constitution of the country.

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