Are You a “Scaredy Cat?” Pt. 1

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– ­By Thirumur David Kiran

 

A few months back, I reached a pretty alarming conclusion: I don’t like risks.

Scratch that…I hate risks!

In fact, I’ll say it again. I HATE RISKS!

I once maintained that “hate” was a very strong word and should only be used for things such as “crimes against humanity” or “cats” (yes, I am a dog person). Yet I came to see that for me, risks fall under this category as well. Do we not do everything in our power to avoid the things that we hate? If this is the criterion, then it is safe to say that I really do hate risks, for I do everything possible to avoid them.

I’ve not been a risk-taker in the slightest! I fear to take risks because of the logical danger that it holds:

  • I am scared of boats for fear of falling into the water and drowning.
  • I am scared of heights for fear that I might fall.
  • I am scared of trying new things for fear of failure.
  • I am scared of reaching out for fear of rejection.
  • In short, I am scared of taking risks for the fact that there is risk involved.

I guess that makes me a scaredy cat!—And I don’t even like cats! (Apologies to the cat lovers out there)

And I am not alone in this.

As soon as this realization set in, I determined to test it. I asked some hypothetical risk scenario-based questions to a group of students at one of my talks the next day. From the answers that I received from the 200 students in that room I realized that I was not alone in my fear of risks.

But that’s not all. Studies have shown that while the average adolescent may be psychologically predisposed to doing risky things, our desire for stability and safety and knowledge of responsibility kick in once we lose our pimples and our initial facial stubble. The average adult human is perfectly happy to go through life without ever having to take a risk.

In short, we are all scaredy cats as well!

But stop for a minute and think about a world without risks. It would be a world without adventure, a world without success, a world without progress, a world without growth, a world without fun, a world without—dare I say it—purpose.

The paradox of life is that, as much as we don’t like risks, taking risks is what brings about progress and growth in our lives. It is also risk that brings us adventure and joy. In fact, scientists have proven that risk-taking in small doses is almost universally beneficial for your brain and mental health.

Risk-taking causes real changes in the brain, which might account for why risk-takers quickly seem to become adrenaline addicts. Major risks release adrenaline, which can lead to a quick rush, and dopamine, which causes intense feelings of pleasure.

Novel experiences can help to ward off depression and reinvigorate a stale relationship. Risk-taking is often a necessary prerequisite for starting a new business or launching a new career, and the excitement associated with uncertainty can be a powerful antidote to boredom and even depression. Because dopamine produces a natural high, risk-taking behaviors can help you get a positive mood and a new perspective without the risks associated with drug use. [1]

Could that by why, at times when you are in a comfortable position in your life, that you feel a bit stagnant and perhaps a bit bored? I know this is the case for me.

Come to think of it, the few times in my life that I have encountered and faced risk, I will admit that it was not of my own choosing. Rather, I was thrown headlong into it—sometimes even literally!

  • I can remember the time that my father stayed back from a performing trip to another city with our show troupe and I was forced to emcee the performance before a huge crowd for the first time in my life.
  • I can remember the time that my performing arts mentor broke his leg a few days before a big birthday party for a prestigious client that we were organizing and I had to fill in as the host in his absence.
  • I can remember when I was a management understudy and my company was organizing a large nation-wide conference. My overseer—and the main manager of the event—pulled out abruptly due to personal reasons and I had to suddenly step up and manage the event without any prior experience.
  • I can remember the time that I was assigned to take a group of teenagers white-water rafting down the Kennebec River and I stood on the bank, white as a sheet and frozen with fear.
  • I can even remember that I had to be cornered for my first kiss…

And the list goes on and on! Yet, looking at these events now from the wonderful vantage point of hindsight, I see that through every enforced risk came incredible reward!

  • From my first kiss stemmed my first real relationship that taught me much about life and love.
  • From being tossed on stage—unprepared and frightened—stemmed a career in public speaking that I relish today.
  • From my first forced event as a host stemmed a foray in event management that led to the founding of two companies and also helped to kick off an event culture in that city that many people have benefitted from and are continuing to do so.
  • From my first stuttering experience at managing a nation-wide conference stemmed another dozen conferences in India and other parts of the world, enabling me to impact hundreds of lives.
  • From sitting paralyzed with fear in an air-filled raft in a foaming and churning river stemmed one of the most memorable and incredible experiences of my life!

And the list can go on and on… All this from risks that I was pushed into!

Now this makes me wonder, how many things have I missed from risks that I have avoided? How many opportunities have I passed up because they looked risky?

A toddler makes faces at the delicious food in front of them because it has green leafy “thingies” on it. They may stick their tongue out and squirm in their seats and profess that it is “the worst food in the world” and that they “know they don’t like it because they’ve never tried it.” But just as the child never knows what he is missing till he overcomes his fear of vegetables, we will never know the joy and success that we are missing until we overcome our fear of taking risks.

Next week, I am going to go a bit deeper into this subject and expose some negative mindsets that we take towards risk. And then I am going to give you solutions that can help you overcome them. I am trying a few of them myself, and I am seeing positive results already.

See you all next week!

 

[1] http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1869106,00.html

The Two Falcons

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The Two Falcons

 

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. They were peregrine falcons, the most beautiful birds he had ever seen. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained.

Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “Maybe I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

beautiful-falcon-flying-wallpaper-1502In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?”

With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, ” It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly — to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But instead of doing that, we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

So let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight.

 

If you are feeling like the falcon and would like help in “cutting the branch”, we are here to help you! You can sign up for our “Dream Coaching” here:

http://www.thirumurdavidkiran.com/dream-coaching/

Alternatively, you can choose to attend one of our “Be the Hero” Events and learn how to take control of your life and make it a successful one.

http://www.thirumurdavidkiran.com/be-the-hero-of-your-own-story/

 

 

Nepal Tour 2017 = Make a Difference Announcement

As you may know, I am going to be spending two weeks in April doing seminars and workshops in Kathmandu, Nepal. This will be my second speaking tour there, after November 2016.

Today, I wanted to announce one of my programs that I’ll be conducting there in Kathmandu. Titled “Make a Difference,” this two-day exclusive workshop will change your life and set you on the path towards becoming a leader and an achiever who stands out from the crowd, achieves their dreams, and leaves a legacy for others to follow.

This seminar includes brand new content that has never been used before, as well as some surprises that have been created exclusively for this learner group.

I’m excited for it and I know it’s going to be a wonderful time!

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Life is a Voyage…

This is of my favorite quotes of all time. In fact. I’ve made it a mantra of mine and I advise the people who attend my “Be the Hero” events to do the same. In life, we have no control over where we were born, the way we look, our family, the place we grew up, etc. But we have absolute control over our choices and ability to use these things to have a successful life. Just because you were “born this way” (apologies to Lady Gaga) doesn’t mean that you are forever fated to remain in those same circumstances. In a meeting with the legend Brain Tracy last week, I learned that 87% of all billionaires in the world today came from poor or low middle class families. Life isn’t always about the cards you’ve been dealt. It’s how you play with them that counts. A person doesn’t have to be a victim of their circumstances. You can use your unique situation to your advantage. Don’t know how? Write me today and I’ll help you do it! Happy Sunday!

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“Reflecting on 2016” part 3: My Top Lessons Learned

(Note: For the next few days, I’ll be reflecting on 2016 and planning for 2017. You are welcome to join my thoughts and meditations. Have fun getting to know the “real me.”)

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Today I continue my reflecting on the year gone by. Today I want to talk about my lessons. Yesterday, I spoke about my disappointments. It was those disappointments that taught me the crucial lessons that I am going to share with you below. Often, we feel that it’s a bad thing to have disappointments now and then. But they are perfect springboards for lessons that can define our lives and help us on the road to success. So here are my lessons. Once again, these are in no particular order.

– I learned that sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned. Sometimes, despite our best intentions and our meticulous planning, there are things outside of our control that come in the way of our plans. That’s just the way that life is. Although it’s frustrating, it helps to accept that some things are not going to pan out the way you thought. That doesn’t mean that you give up on them or “let them go” because they were “not meant to be.” Rather, it just means finding another way to go at them again. But I don’t have to feel bad because plans changed and things fell through. These obstacles are a part of life. Time to figure out how to overcome them.

– I’ve also learned that I need to be more realistic with my time and my planning. I tend to give myself less time in a particular endeavour than is necessary. Some things just take time to work out and I have to be prepared for that. A quote that I read last year that has become kind of like a mantra for me is this: “We overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in 10 years.” Maybe I didn’t get through that project this year. That doesn’t mean that I won’t see the results down the line. Don’t give up on something just because it takes time to see the result.

– I’ve also learned that I need to savor life along the way. I’ve learnt that life goes by too fast. I met my one-year-old niece last year in January and she was crawling and cooing about. I met her again in October and she was running around and talking up a storm. Amazing how much she’d changed in a short period of time! It’s more noticeable with babies, but each of us go through similar changes each year. Think about it. Your family has changed in January 2016. The environment has changed. Society has changed. The world has changed. Your friends have changed. YOU have changed. Your job may have changed. The things you did for fun this year are probably not going to be repeated again. Question is, did you stop to savor those changes along the way? That was my question to myself this New Year’s Eve. Did I enjoy each moment of the vacation with my family, or was I busy checking my phone because of important work waiting for me at home? Did I stop to hang out with my brother when he wanted to watch a movie and chill or was I busy trying to complete a rough draft of a training module. Did I stop to listen to the parrots chattering in the mango tree outside my house or did I close the window because it disturbed my conference call? Our family vacation was the first one together after nine years. Who knows when we’ll meet next? My brother has now moved to Spain to pursue a career in sports. Who knows when we’ll get the chance to hang out again? The mango tree outside our house was struck by lightening and collapsed during a storm. Now there are no more chattering parrots. It’s about time I learn not to be too busy making a life that I have no time to live.

– I’ve also learned the power of gratitude and of being grateful for everything that life sends my way. I may not have a perfect life, but I am blessed! That is good enough for me.

– I’ve also learned that everything I’ve “learned” this year I have spoken about or written about before or coached someone into. That in itself is a lesson for me. Sometimes, we need to stop and see whether we are “practising what we preach” and “living our sermons.” Knowing something, agreeing with something, and even teaching something isn’t a substitute for LIVING something. As a man that I’ve admired all my life once told me “Before you can pour out, you have to pour in.” I’ve got to take my own medicine once in a while and learn to live the things that I promote. Then my words become more than book knowledge, because I am living it through my own experiences.

– I’ve also learned that it is never too late to start again. And that is my goal for 2017…which I am going to talk about tomorrow! See you there!

 

The Courage of a Soldier

Success is not for the faint of heart. Success is not for the pretenders. Success is not for the dabblers. Success is for those who give it their all. Success is for those who genuinely throw themselves headlong at their intended goal. Success is for those who are courageous enough to buck the tide and stand firm in the face of all obstacles. Blessed, therefore, are they who seize upon their dream and do not let go until they see it become reality. It will truly be a hard fight, but the courage of a soldier is what wins the war! Have a wonderful Friday!

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To Be an Olympian

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To Be an Olympian

By Thirumur David Kiran

 

Over the past few weeks, the Olympics has claimed the interest of the world as 11,000 athletes from 207 countries have dazzled one and all with their strength, skill, speed, endurance, mental toughness, and overall athleticism. World records have been broken, previously unattainable heights have been achieved, memories have been made, and moments have been experienced that have captured the imagination of the viewing audience and elevated their makers into instant stardom—some of them into immediate legend!

According to the statistic team of the BBC website, an estimated 3.5 billion people were engaged with the Olympics worldwide—through viewing on television or through commenting on mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I will happily admit that I was included in that figure.

I am a massive sports fan. True, I don’t play sports all that well at the moment, but I have an avid interest in viewing sports and learning about new sports. In another life I would probably be a sports anchor or journalist. But in my present life, sports are my way of relaxing and are a big hobby for me.

As such, the Olympic Games are a very happy time for the sport’s fan in me and I generally try to adapt my schedule to be able to keep up with the major events. This year, that meant waking up two hours earlier than usual in order to watch the final events of the day. That has resulted in about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, as my days are usually quite full.  This schedule has truly deepened my relationship with the dark beauty we call coffee, and I will confess before all that my love for it has grown in manifold ways over the past few weeks.

Aside from enjoying the close races, the nail-biting finishes, the grandstand flourishes of ability, and the incredible feats of strength, I have come to have a healthy admiration for the amount of athleticism that these sportsmen and sportswomen. And it isn’t just about their rippling muscles and their incredibly toned physique. It’s their ability to run for an hour and then dig in and sprint the last lap. It’s their ability to swim at top speed day after day (sometimes two or three times a day) and still come out on top. It’s their ability to jump, flip, somersault, and twist in ways that the athletes of yesteryear could only dream of. It’s their ability to fight through pain and exhaustion to produce results. It’s their ability to have the mental grit that pushes them across the line ahead of the rest of the field.

Once in four years, these athletes have their moment in the sun. Once in four years, these athletes command the attention of the nations as they push all boundaries in search of gold. Once in four years, these athletes have a chance to become legend.

Once in four years, the world stops and admires these athletes. Once in four years, the world applauds these men and women as heroes for their feats.

However, that is not the whole story.

What people fail to realize is that it takes years and years of trying, failing, pain, agony, exhaustion, sore muscles, blood, sweat, and tears in order to produce a performance that takes them to a medal finish. What is seen on display is but a fraction.

A 100 meter dash takes under 10 seconds to complete, but years to perfect.

A vault is over in a single motion, but takes ages to master and improve.

A swim dash can finish in under a minute, but takes uncountable hours to train for.

Indeed, an Olympic performance is but a fraction—the tip of the iceberg. It is a culmination of effort, a synopsis of a lifetime of training. And while we must applaud achievement, we must not forget the hard work it took to get them there.

Michael-Phelps3Michael Phelps (31), winner of 28 medals and holder of numerous records across five Olympics, trained for eight hours a day for five straight years during his teenage years without a single day off! His workouts were considered to be inhumane and his coach was dubbed “the mad scientist” but he continued them through his career, pushing his body beyond what most people would consider as the breaking point.

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Simone Biles (19), winner of 5 medals (four gold) at Rio and highly touted as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, grew up in a foster home and began training at age 7 as a way to escape. She trained for hours and hours for years. Even her coach told her not to train too hard, to which Simone responded, “I want to do this!”

 

mo-farah-double-double-athletics-rio-2016-olympics_3769224Mo Farah (33), winner of the 5,000m and 10,000m gold two Olympics in a row, grew up in the war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia before moving to London.           He originally had no interest in running (he wanted to play football) until his coach bribed him into it. After slacking off in the beginning, he made the decision that he wanted to be the best and then began training like no other distance runner. He went to Kenya to train with the great marathon runners, and then continued to train there over the years, even leaving his wife to go home alone after their honeymoon because he needed to get back to training. He eventually moved to the USA to continue training. He implemented crazy training techniques such as sprinting at high altitudes in order to increase lung capacity, underwater treadmills to build stamina, weight training to reduce bobbing arms, etc.

The Great Britain women’s hockey team won gold for the first time in their history at Rio.74400395-england-hockey-sport-large_trans++PjDZOdMgceQ0ik-fUDgEdn5kBUHVUPIOFeoJr9sPfNk The players in a later interview talked about the intensive training that they had undergone over the past few years. Not content with the usual training regime, the coach doubled their training exercises for the week. In addition, the coach wanted to improve their ability to think well when exhausted, so every Thursday he would have them work out till they were practically collapsing from exhaustion and then he’d make them do tests and quizzes to improve mental sharpness. It paid off, as after a gruelling final went past extra time and into penalties, they scored all of their penalties, while their opponents missed three.

These few stories are just a tiny percentage of the stories that are out there. I could have looked at any athlete from any country and found a similar story there. Indeed, just a bit of study will throw up many more examples of hard work, of training, of pushing, of fighting, of going beyond exhaustion and going beyond pain to produce their best.

Every four years, the world takes notice of crowning moments and achievements—moments and achievements that were a lifetime in the making. The incredible dash, the world record finish, the mind-blowing feat—these all are the culmination of years of hard effort.

Muhammad Ali put it best: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

Your success too will be the result of your hard work and effort. All those nights with less sleep, all those hours spent at your desk, all those letters that you send out, all those people that you meet, all those times when you are tired, all those times that you get rejected, all those moments you feel like a failure, all those moments that you want to quit—those are what make you a champion.

One day, the world will sit back and applaud your success. And you alone will know the hundreds of hours of suffering that brought that success about. Your success will be the culmination of your effort, the synopsis of a life of dedication.

May that motivation push you through the difficulties of today. Suffer now, and live the rest of your life as a Champion!