SuccesvsjoyI was to meet my cousin at a hotel when he had come over for a brief visit to Hyderabad. He was in to some VC investing in a life sciences company at Bangalore. I was eager to meet him for I like the way he has gone about achieving a few aspects in his life.

I took an appointment with him 🙂 yeah and was waiting for him at the hotel lobby. Considering my maximizing nature, I went in to a book store which was available near the lobby and picked up a book titled “Success Vs Joy " By Geet Sethi and Sunil Agarwal.

In the hindsight, it was one of the best things that would have happened to me. I had never read a biography of a sports person, so in that sense , this book gave me quite a lot of insight in to what goes in to making of a great sportsperson

This book encapsulates the thinking that went between 2 persons, one geet sethi the World Billiards champion, and the other Sunil Agarwal , an IIT – IIM graduate who in the pursuit of success forgets the joy of the journey

Here are some of the pearls of wisdom from the book

  • It is the act of staying in the moment that gives immense, immeasurable joy
  • To experience joy, you have to be yourself
  • An accomplished player, an accomplished business man in virtually any aspect of sport  will have experienced an addiction of the sweet spot which happens when there is a culmination of perfect alignment, rhythm and timing
  • Don’t let the joy be converted in to numbers
  • Do not fall expectations of the society and give up your journey of looking out for sweet spots in life
  • Joy is internal ; Success is a creation of society
  • In my road toward excellence, I had millions of moments of joy en route , punctuated by just a few milestones of success
  • There’s a difference between knowing the path , and walking the path
  • Demons in the mind
    • These are negative thoughts that keep recurring, disruptive ideas that haunt you. The more you ruminate, chances are that they will overwhelm you and destroy your concentration when you need it the most. It is vital to be able to control the thoughts that race through your mind.
  • Simplify your Life style. A dissipated lifestyle creates the demons
  • Single Minded ness
    • Disciplined and total commitment to a single cause
    • Prakash Padukone , for six years in a row did not watch a single movie while he was undergoing a rigorous training regime. He would wake up at 5:30 , go for a 10 km run, return home for breakfast, exercise, then play two-and-a-half hours of badminton, come back at noon and sleep for two hours. He would then wake up at 2:30 in the afternoon, exercise till 3:00 , play badminton between 4:00 and 7:00 , have his dinner and og to bed by 8:30. He maintained this incredibly disciplined lifestyle for six years with out a break, seven days a week!
    • World sees individuals like Prakash Padukone as one who has made a lot of sacrifices. But, if one asks the atheletes, they would insist that there was no sacrifice, only joy
  • Use Stress to Calm
    • You need to welcome stress, embrace it and practice the art of converting the same to serenity
  • Self Discipline led to calmness which is generally evident in one’s face
    • Discipline means Reigning the mind
    • Discipline : Concentrating one’s efforts in a secluded environment and training yourself to focus on what you are enthused by
    • Discipline strengthens the character and calms down one’s mind
  • Quest for joy becomes the driving force to keep at one’s work, learning and growing
  • Pure action has 3 attributes – Concentration, Consistency, and Humility
  • Concentration : Intellect supervising the mind to remain in the present
    • Mind has frightening power when it stays in the present and almost self-destructing power when it wanders in to the future or past
  • Supervising the Mind
    • If one does not consciously keep supervising the mind to keep stray thoughts from infiltrating, then the thoughts come at random with out purpose or warning.” Power of Now”, author Eckhard Tolle suggests a powerful technique to be calm. He says by observing our ego and its thoughts , by a indifferent attitude towards them, one can quickly learn to be in the present
  • Consistency
    • Ability to stick to what you have to , come what may
    • Fairly simple to understand, but hard to apply becoz of innumerable distractions
    • It is important to regularly convince yourself that the only important thing for the moment is what you wish to do for yourself. Nothing else should matter
  • Humility
    • You are the only one responsible for achievement / Failure of the event
  • Success Follows Joy
    • Success is not linked to Happiness in anyway
    • Seek Joy, Success follows
  • Saying No to Success
    • Joy lies in learning and personal growth
    • Use every cell in your body and brain to hit that personal sweet spot of joy
  • Middle Class Background helps
    • Character is built by going through incessant discipline and perseverance
    • When you come from middle class background, you have less to lose as there is no major social stigma attached to failure
  • With winning comes confidence
  • Success is a social concept
    • Society has its own definitions of success. In that sense, success is a very social concept. The meaning of success , as generally understood by society today, is the accumulation of status, fame , money and power. If there were no society , there would be no yardstick to measure who is successful or not.
    • Success is result. Success is a job well done. Success is not about achieving fame, accumulating money etc. It should be personal and noting to do with what society thinks of you.
    • However whenever we are faced with the question, should you play for yourself or the audience, the former one definitely brings what society calls success at some point of life
  • Life is Unfair
    • Good times and Bad times are a part of life. A little  adversity is better for anyone
    • One has to remain stoic in the face of both good luck and bad luck
    • Accept the philosophy that things are and can often be – very unfair. But in no way should that deter you from your focus
  • Success Corrupts
    • It creates a self delusion
    • Being anonymous , in a sense to experience happiness and joy pursuing an activity
  • Practice to understand
    • Practice means building confidence
    • You need it in pressure situations
    • Practice means understanding the activity, the nuances of doing the activity and more importantly understanding yourself
  • Habits :
    • Do not let the character flaws creep in
  • Learn something new everyday
    • A great player is always constantly learning how the actions of the body coordinate with those in the mind. The results of the game matter far less than the process of learning
    • Learn to love yourself and learn solitude, for in those moments you understand yourself better
    • I am but an instrument of God’s game
  • Coping with the pressure
    • Thoughts of if may cloud your reasoning
    • The best way to relieving the kind of pressure is to tell yourself that at the end of the day you have to justify the actions only to yourself. You have to be honest to yourself, nothing else matters. You cannot fool the man in the mirror
  • The Zone
    • This is the sate of a person when a person is totally in synch with what he is doing. He reaches such an intense level of concentration that playing a game, doing the activity becomes effortless
  • Golden handcuffs
    • Just because one gets educated in the best of institutions and rises in the corporate ladder faster than anybody doesn’t mean that he/she is happy. The dissatisfaction is not caused by the last or the current job. It was programmed decades ago by the society that rewards conformance. We needed to pass school, sit for exams, take up full time jobs, get married, and raise chidren. Somewhere in between we lost touch with that we were really passionate about
  • It’s the spirit that matters
    • Ex of a Venkat Krishnan ( IIT – IIM Alum) who quit his job and started GIVE , an NGO. He is extremely happy doing what he is doing. People like venkat are the ones who are successful. They have done something well and have found their sweet spot in the activity they indulge in. They may not have money, fame or power. …but they don’t care. To them joy is far more valuable
  • How to achieve mastery over temptations ?
    • Answer lies in obsession. One must have a burning desire to pursue the path of truth and not deviate from the chosen path. One must possess a positive attitude that does not dissipate one’s intellectual and spiritual energy.
    • Concentration is built through lifestyle and not through any formula or mantra. A person who leads a simple uncluttered lifestyle and focuses only on the activity of his interest and family will in the long run develop far more concentration than , say , someone who parties every night and who is tempted by food, films, materialism and any other distraction that may catch his fancy
  • Anxiety is good for the system as it subconsciously strengthens the mind to focus on the job at hand. Accept anxiety as just a part of the whole process of doing an activity
  • Mind Body Alignment
    • Alignment means an individual’s mind, body and soul alignment and most importantly, finding the true joy that we all aspire for, the joy that keeps eluding us most of the time
  • Minimize the thoughts in your mind
    • Try not to clutter your brain with too many thoughts, especially the thoughts that are redundant or not useful
    • Dwell on what is important to you and shut the rest out
  • Remove expectations
  • Try always to remove and eliminate expectations. These expectations show up as insecurities
  • Follow your heart
  • People with staying power are the seekers are joy
  • Eliminate IF – “IF” word dissipates your energy
  • Focus on what you relish doing. Indulge in your passion. You cannot be involved in anything got long if you do not love it
  • Real challenge is sometimes figuring out what to learn in situations which are very ordinary
  • Solitude can be sometimes a state of bliss
  • Joy is internal – Success is a creation of Society

This books gives a powerful message , i.e the importance of mind-body-soul synch in a human being so as to give him eternal joy.There are so many takeaways from this book that I cannot possible list them down or try to consciously put it in words. In short – this is one of the those I definitely call as having a significance influence on my life.

I wish I had the email address of Geet sethi so that I could have personally written a mail thanking him for this wonderful book.

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