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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Grow Anywhere!

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It’s amazing where you can find inspiration from if you are looking for it.

A few weeks ago, I was in Mumbai. My family used to live on Madh Island when I was a baby and so I took a ferry there on a Sunday evening track down my old living place. Although I couldn’t find it, I had the chance to watch the sun set on the beach. And since I’ve always loved beach sunsets, It was an opportunity not to be missed.

On this particular beach, there was no sand, only rocks. As I was walking towards the coastline, I noticed this small plant growing up between the cracks in the rocks. Here–in the most likely place where all conditions were against it–here was growth!

No matter what the condition are like around you, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do your best to grow into your potential. You are destined for great things!

Happiness Challenge

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Yesterday was the “International Day of Happiness” across the world.

From the time I was a kid, I’ve always believed that the best way to find happiness was to make someone else happy. And so I challenged myself to make someone else happy and see how that went. Here are a couple of the things that I did yesterday to spread happiness:

#1 = I paid for an old lady’s shopping as I was leaving the grocery store. I had some bonus in my shopping card and figured that she’d use it more. The look on her face when the cashier told her that her bill was already paid was priceless.

#2 = I sent a short email of appreciation to someone who I hand’t talked to in a while, but who I admired for what they were doing. They wrote me back after a couple of hours saying that they were having a rough day but my note made it a better one for them.

#3 = I spent an hour playing cards with my grandmother in the evening. She was thankful for the time and we both had fun together.

As you can see, I didn’t really do much, but what I did made three people’s days better. And in return, my day was made happier as well.

Random acts of kindness don’t need to take long, be expensive, or require a lot of prep. All it takes is a couple of minutes to make someone’s life happier. Trust me, your life will be happier in return!

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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Be Your Own Bill!

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“This is Bill

Bill does such-and such

Bill is smart

Be like Bill!”

 

If you’re anything other than a dinosaur, you’ve no doubt seen this meme doing the rounds. With no offense meant to any tech-savvy dinosaurs out there, you’d have to be a dinosaur to have missed it, because the social media world has been taken by storm by a guy named Bill.

Kim Kardashian was said to have broken the internet last year with daring photos of her voluptuous figure. Do not be deceived. She wasn’t the one to break the internet. The minor blip the social media world may have received by Kim’s curves is nothing compared to the massive shattering that was caused by this little stick figure.

Meet Bill; a small stick figure in desperate need of a cheeseburger. He bears a smiling countenance and wears a homespun wool hat that should feature on Jimmy Fallon’s next episode of “Worst Christmas Gifts.” On occasion, he is seen sat at a computer. Yet this slight figure contains endless wisdom, virtues, swag, and style, for he is the proponent of awesomeness and he bids you to “Be like Bill.”

And he has broken the internet.

Bill was created when Eugeniu Croitoru saw a similar meme on Facebook and created Bill. Because of the viral response it received on another page of his, he and Debabrata Nath created Bill a Facebook [1] page for him on the 7th of January. [2] I don’t think either of them could have imagined the storm that they were going to whip up. [3]

From his humble beginnings it escalated to the point where there are now over 764,000,000 images of Bill doing the rounds. Yep, there is that many. I’ve just Googled it. I’ve been well nigh accosted by images of smiling Bill in his cheesy hat every time I’ve logged into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Google+, etc. Someone even snapchatted me their artistic take on Bill

But it goes further. There are now whole websites and apps dedicated to creating your own “Bill Memes” (if you will), taking the number of images across the internet to virtually millions.

However, not all of Bill’s actions have been good. As one author put it:

“There’s a gulf between young Bill and contemporary Bill, of course; among other things, he has widened the scope of his derision. Where Bill once shut down feminists and “fatties,” he’s now devoted to passive-aggressively shaming anyone who fails to adhere to his particular rules of etiquette.”[4]

Shaming others for not doing as we do is particularly easy for members of the human species. And so Bill has gone from telling people that they shouldn’t take duck faced selfies, or Instagram lattes or late night snacks, or play Candy Crush to “arguments on why all Muslims should get special security screenings at airports, PC culture be damned, and rants against “man-hating” feminists.” [5]

While more and more people are making and sharing Bill memes, many others are taking offense to them and are taking a stand against it on social media.

So as Bill’s smiling face does the rounds on the social media, and the lines are drawn, I thought about what Bill means to me. Now, I could be tempted to shrug it off, because as anyone who is on the social media world enough knows, meme fads like this come and go so quickly. By the time you realize one is popular, a new one has surfaced somewhere else. But for some reason, Bill struck a chord with me.

As I’ve been thinking about Bill over the past week, and pondering over all the advice that I’ve been given about what Bill does and how I should be like him, I’ve come to this conclusion:

I need to be my own Bill!

I was reminded today of the acceptance speech made by Matthew McConaughey when he received the Oscar for “Best Actor” following his performance in the movie “The Dallas Buyer’s Club.” As he received his Oscar, he told the story about the time when he was a young man first getting into acting. His first director asked him who his hero was. Young Matthew said that he didn’t know right away and would need some time to think about it. A few days later, Matthew McConaughey returned to the director and told him, “My hero is me in 15 years.” He then went on to describe to the director what his future in 15 years looked like. One of those things was winning an Oscar for Best Actor. Matthew McConaughey summarized this story by saying that now he had reached that place in his life that he had dreamed of,  his new hero was the man that he knew he could be another 15 years from now.

I have challenged myself with that thought. Who do I want to be? What do I want out of life? What do I want to be known for? What do I want to succeed in? Once I figured that out, I challenged myself to be like that and live like that, regardless of what everyone else around me is thinking or doing. In short, I have to be my own Bill.

Be your own Bill!

There are so many people eager to play the role of “Bill” in your life. There are so many people who are willing to tell you what you should do, what you should wear, what you should eat, what you should become, what you should study, who you should like, who you should marry, what you should pursue, etc. If we were to truly listen to and apply every word of advice that was thrown our way, we’d be a wreck!

Be your own Bill!

You can’t be like all the “Bills” in your life. As good a person that Bill appears to be, Bill is living his own life. What Bill does is pretty good for Bill, but doesn’t mean that it’ll be good for me. While I may learn some interesting concepts from Bill and while I may receive some good advice, at the end of the day I am responsible for my own life and so I have to choose what’s right for me. I have to be my own Bill.

Be your own Bill!

It’s your life. You are the one who determines who you can or can’t be. You are the one who determines what you can or can’t do. You are the one who determines your life. Yes, there are societal norms and expectations; yes there are parental expectations; yes, there is peer pressure and expectations, but at the end of the day, it’s your life and you’re the one who is going to have to live it.

So live your life! Determine what you want to do. Determine what you want to accomplish. Determine what you want to become. Determine what you want to strive for. Determine what you want to pursue. And then go out and do it.

Live the way that you’ve been intended to live. You have unique talents, hopes, dreams, skills, and abilities. Don’t try to conform to meet expectations or try to put them in a box.

Your life will be a happy and fulfilled when you are living genuinely. And by genuinely I mean when you are living the life that you’ve determined to live for yourself. If you are living on the expectations of someone else, or living your life by the standards of someone else, that is when you feel unaccomplished and unfulfilled. Give your life some meaning. Make it YOUR life.

Don’t be like Bill. BE your own Bill!

 

[1] https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBLB/

[2] http://news.nationalpost.com/news/the-rise-of-be-like-bill-a-passive-aggressive-meme-instructing-an-audience-of-millions

[3] https://likes.asos.com/28319/we-caught-up-with-the-brains-behind-the-be-like-bill-memes/

[4] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/be-like-bill-smarmy-stick-figure-meme-takes-facebook-by-storm-a6825886.html

[5] http://news.nationalpost.com/news/the-rise-of-be-like-bill-a-passive-aggressive-meme-instructing-an-audience-of-millions