Greetings!

On behalf of Team C4E, wish you a great 2018. May 2018 be your best year yet!

At C4E, 2017 was a mixed bag — we won some and we lost some. We grew as individuals and as a team and we did learn a lot. And like most teams, we had our share of celebrations and disagreements. We won our first award. We got our first feature on a top-10 list. Our work took us to countries like Australia, China, Japan, Macau and Vietnam and to numerous cities in India. We planned and managed the biggest pavilion at the biggest exhibition of a certain industry and on just the content design for the event for a new client. And on everything in between. We made some new friends and had to let go of some baggage that wasn’t allowing us to take wings. We even got a few students to help us do more!

Its impossible to sum up an year in a few words but none of it would’ve been possible without you — our friends, families, clients, suppliers, vendors, shubh-chintaks and everyone else.

Thank you so much!

Really.

You may recall that in January of 2017, we sent out a list of 7 things that you could take up #in2017. We proposed that you make 2017 about (a) getting cognisant of our ever-shrinking time, (b) finding a muse and setting a big goal with it, (c)getting more mindful, (d) taking up reading, (e) doing less, (f) creating a #lifeGoal and (g) try to pay it forward. Truth be told, it came out from the list that I made for myself (of goals that I wanted to chase as an individual and as a professional for 2017). So, this year, when I made my list for things to do #in2018, I knew I had to send out the same to people like you (and others) who’ve had our backs.

Just that this year I have 9 things for you. 9 for 18.

9 for 18.

These are the things that you could take up #in2018 to help you do better in life, at work and otherwise. Don’t mean to be preachy but I sincerely believe that we’ve been dealt a great hand in the Ovarian lottery and its our moral responsibility to make the most of it. And how do we do that? By being the best version of ourselves. And I sincerely hope that these 9 things will help you become exactly that!

So, without further ado, here is the list.

1. Create. Not consume.

Tanmay wrote about this in 2015! Stumbled onto his blog while looking for a image to go with this post. He talks about less consumption. I am asking you to go a step further. Stop consumption. Everything you do must create. Value. Or meaning.

You know that phrase, Netflix and chill? The most important tenet of that is Netflix. And the basic assumption is that you will binge-watch. Binge. Watch. Or, consume.

Quick question. How many famous consumers do you know of? How many consumers are remembered after they are gone? Which consumer won the award for being, well, the best consumer? Which consumer’s help did you seek when you were stuck?

For people who have busy office lives, which employee sent out the fastest response to emails? Who has the fanciest spreadsheets? Who consumed most raspberry bran bars in office?

On the other hand, Who created the first aeroplane? Who is the founder of Google? Who was Steve Jobs? Who wrote Harry Potter? Who is the chief trouble-shooter at work?

Hope you get the point.

One easy way to do this is by allocating a few hours each week to make. And nothing else. No meetings, no interruptions. In Maker’s Schedule and Manager’s Schedule, PG asks us to identify chunks of time where you will not be disturbed. Only thing you’ll do in those hours is to make. This “things” could be your book, practising guitar, writing that newsletter to your team or anything of that sort. Where you create. Not consume. The key operative word would be, create. Make. Do.

And once you do, please do share it with me!

2. Brain Train.

I read somewhere that brain is like a muscle. If you don’t train it, it will atrophy. Second, when we work, our brains get attuned to doing one kind of tasks (after all most of us one kind of thing, unless we deliberately create hobbies). We develop “muscle memory.” We can do those things in our sleep! Imagine if I told you that you’ll go to the gym and all you’d do there is do dumbbells. After a year, you’d have really strong arms but maybe really weak knees. No?

So, what if this year we do deliberate work on our brains and exercise them grey cells? And reach parts of brains that we hadn’t touched in a while?

And how? With all the time that we dont have?

Install those brain train apps on your phone. I use Elevate and Peak. Both these are similar to each other and are amongst tons of apps that you can put on your phone to “train” your brain.

Source: Unknown. Found via Google Image Search. Original usage: here.

These apps make your play simple games designed to fire parts of the brain related to writing, reading, listening, logic, emotion, problem solving, creativity and more. By doing these daily, you will get better. At least I am getting better. I can see a clear trend!

P.S.: Apparently these are backed by science. But even if they weren’t, these games are challenging. And rather than entertaining myself by playing Candy Crush Saga, I am “edutaining” myself by playing these simple games. Do give them a shot.

If you do use these, please add me. Would love to see how we compare.

3. Challenge yourself.

Two threads.

A. Do something that you’ve never done. In his latest email, Jan talks about moving to a different country. Jia, in his TED talk speaks about things he learnt from 100 days of rejection. Jack (Ma) has his own list. Wow. All Js!

B. Take up a big challenge and do it. Write EVERY day. See the sun set EVERYDAY. Take up the 2019in2018 challenge. Something that makes you do challenging things. Here are some that you can look at. Reading (though I am not a big fan of reading anymore), doodling, walking, creating 12 projects this year and so on and so forth. Find a community to help you get along with it.

The point is, we often surround ourselves with walled gardens with walls so high that we cant see beyond. May be you need to get out of it? For example, I have told myself that this year I will run a half-marathon. That means I will have to stop indulging in my first love — eating. And I will have to get disciplined and will have to engage in regular practise — things that I’ve traditionally sucked at (and thus avoided).

What about you? What is that thing out of your comfort zone that you’ve wanted for yourself? How can you challenge yourself?

4. Maintain a daily Journal.

I know most of us are not the kinds to believe in journaling on a daily basis. Neither did I.

Till I started doing it in May of 2017. And its the single most important habit that I have now. It does the following three things for me.

  1. Makes me reflect on how the day went. If I have a shitty day, I can course correct on a daily basis. If I have a great day, all I need to do is go back and repeat.
  2. Allows me to go back and see how I have evolved / changed with time. I can scroll up to any month and see where I was, what I was upto and what promises did I make to who and what action do I need to take.
  3. Makes me write everyday. Even if I write less than 100 words on it and the words are not really coherent. Its a classic case of deliberate practise. Deliberate. Practise. Writing.

So may be, #in2018, how about keeping a daily journal where you log your thoughts? The easy way to do this on a Google Sheets. It’s accessible from all devices (even when you are offline). Or if you’re the kinds, get a notepad. And a pen. Or a pencil. Whatever. Idea is to log something everyday. And not break the streak.

P.S.: It takes less than 10 minutes to do so. Try it for a week. May be for a month. And then decide if you want to continue.

P.P.S.: If journaling is exciting, you may even keep a “decision journal.” Shane has some great suggestion on this blogpost.

P.P.P.S.: I will try to use sketchnotes while I journal my day. Check it out.

5. Enrol in the “University of Walking.”

I heard about this on one of Robin Sharma’s podcast. He says that while you walk (or are in traffic in your daily commute or doing mindless chores), rather than entertaining yourself with music, listen to podcasts (or audio books etc). Or may be work on a hobby. Like learn a foreign language (there are apps like Duolingo and there are of course audio books for languages).

This does two things.

A. Your day is now 25 hours long. You suddenly get an hour or more of learning every day (most of us on average spend that much time on daily commute). You discover time you thought you never had. The kind of time you’d probably kill for. At least I would.

B. Little pieces add up and by the end of the year, you would have learnt new things. Or you would’ve moved further on a few hobbies.

In fact clubbing activities is such a powerful idea. Here’s a thought. Where all can you club things to save on time? Remember Viru Sahastrabudhhe from 3 Idiots?

Here’s a tactical action point. Start with Naval Ravikant’s talk with Shane Parish about life, reading, people, investing, decision making etc. It is the best 2-hour kickstart that you can give your year. Or if you want to get hooked onto the medium of podcasting, listen to the first episode of Serial. I promise you’ll thank me. And in return, please promise me that you’d move onto edutainment after that.

P.S.: Last year, I recommended that you read. This year, I am telling you to stop reading. Yes. STOP reading. Rather take up podcasting. There are so many to choose from. Start with Naval’s.

6. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants.

A giant is someone who has proven that s/he is an authority in their line of work. Their actions inspire people in their industry. They set a high benchmark for themselves and consistently raise that benchmark. And they may or may not be from your line of work. But like I said, these are authorities on what they do. And at their level, more than specifics about what they do, they often talk about processes that you need to follow.

A small list of giants that I’ve stood on the shoulders of will include Bill Gates (computers, philanthropy, science), Warren Buffett (investing, long-term thinking, business, philanthropy), Prof. Sanjay Bakshi (investing, decision-making), Will Smith (personal motivation), Barack Obama (administration, leadership, personal reputation, global impact etc), Roshan Abbas (events!), Piyush Pandey (communication, advertising) and so many more. You can pick a field and often people at the top of it are the giants. Chase them! See world from their lens. Accelerate your learning.

How about subscribe to what they share? Consume media recommended by them? Brainstorm with more people that are their followers? After all if they have recommended something, they’ve filtered that from thousands of things that vie for their attention!

And, once you reach a point where you think you have something interesting to share, how about offering your shoulder to others?

7. Create Daily Tiny Habits.

See this TED talk. Leave alone work and all that but if the guy can learn a new language, pick up hobbies and excel at those in just one year, why cant we? May be start at this Ted-Ed Lesson.

In fact these tiny habits can help you go further along with challenges (see #3) that you need to take up #in2018.

Heres a real life case study. I’ve been posting one photo a day for 35 days now. And its been such a humbling experience to struggle to find one thing that’s worthy of posting! I am not sure what am I am achieving from this but I like that it makes me think and makes me pull out time from my schedule. Here’s one from the collection…

8. Teach

Related to 6 above. I realised the importance when I heard this TED talk by Tim Minchin (truth be told, I hadnt heard of him before I saw this talk). One of the things that he urges his audience to do, is to teach.

The greatest teacher of them all, Krishna

And because I have taught at a couple of places in the past, I know how hard, how humbling and how gratifying the experience is. And the best part? The act of teaching teaches you a lot!

So, please teach! Even if you believe you are not qualified to teach, try to stand in front of curious minds and see for yourself. You will learn about the subject you choose to teach, you will learn about yourself, you will learn how to talk, how to address an audience and you will learn that you need to do a lot before you can sleep!

9. Understand the shortness of time.

I cant stress about this enough. Lord Bamford (of JCB) said on urgency,

…a sense of URGENCY about getting things done. The people who make things move in this world share this same sense of urgency. No matter how intelligent or able you may be, if you don’t have this sense of urgency, now is the time to start developing it. The world is full of very competent people who honestly intend to do things tomorrow or as soon as they can get around to it. Their accomplishments, however, seldom match those of the less talented who are blessed with a sense of the importance of getting started now.

Time is short. Cant talk about it often. Stop doing things that waste time. Start doing things that “create” time. In fact, keeping up with the spirit of shortness of time, may be stop reading. And start creating. Now.

Oh, one more thing.

See this while you are at it. Like he says, your time IS limited. And its about time you got in some sense of urgency and kicked some ass.

Phew!

9 things for 2018. Hope you find these helpful. As always, thank you for your support during in 2017. May 2018 is your best year yet — both personally and professionally.

Thank you for reading this.
Saurabh Garg
Partner, C4 Events LLP

P.S.: Please do share your mantras, lists, resolutions etc for the year. Maybe there’s something lurking in there that we need to pick up?