Forget 2012 Resolutions, Live Your Life Now and Always

The Eiffel Tower a few hours ago

 

I was just walking by the Eiffel Tower a few hours ago. It was very beautifully lit up, with crews preparing for the lighting event tomorrow at midnight on New Years Eve. Apparently Paris doesn’t do fireworks anymore due to a recent legislation banning them, so there will just be a special lighting show on the tower as midnight approaches. I was standing on the sidewalk in front of the tower, next to many tourists from all over the world capturing pictures and memories of themselves in this moment, and I couldn’t help but reflect on this past year.

2011 was a year of rapid growth and understanding for me. I’m in awe looking back at where I was just a year ago, even in my posting about 2010 in reflection here on my blog last December. Since then I’ve done so many things including growing a business, traveling over 7 weeks this year including a 5 day hike to Machu Picchu (crossing off an item from my bucket list), and finding more clarity in everything I do.

Earlier this year I became an extrovert in an introvert’s body — networking and attending more events than I ever thought I would have the courage to (mostly out of necessity of being alone in a new city). I gave an Ignite talk to over 300 people about Chai, the largest public speaking event I had ever done after my 20 person Communications course in college. I pushed my comfort zone farther than I ever have in the past and started truly experiencing life.

While staring at the tower still in front of me, as rain drops pour overhead, a few epiphanies cross my mind as they seem to be doing these last few weeks.

We are experiencing an amazing time in human history. Where we are able to transcend limitations of geographical boundaries and connect with each other instantaneously over the internet. It changes everything we do, everything we know, and how we grow as human beings. We can share knowledge with anyone, anywhere, and be heard. Like Seth Godin wrote earlier this year, we are basically in control of our own production facilities with our laptops, the way the industrial revolution kicked off in the early 1900s with factories. We each control our own factory. We can build, publish and extend our knowledge and wisdom out into the world at lightening fast speed.

The implications of this are phenomenal. I feel as if we’re in a period similar to that of the Enlightenment period — rapid intellectual growth which lead to many new ideas that shaped the way we understand ourselves, the world, and the future. Was it obvious to those philosophers, thinkers, painters, and artists that they were in such a transformative period while it was happening? It must have been hard to imagine the impact at the time. Just before the emergence of the philosophers, the printing press was invented which allowed knowledge to be spread farther and wider than ever before. Stephen Johnson wrote in “Where do Good Ideas Come From” that a boom in Coffee shops gave rise to another phenomenon — the gathering of minds in a central spot to mix ideas together and evolve them to a point where they could be tangibly created in the physical world. Crowd-sourcing initiatives like Kiva and Kickstarter are showing the power of the internet now to bring together many individuals together for a common idea and produce something tangible in the world. We get inspired now by people who we’ve never met, but who we feel like we know completely. We tweet with people who we would never normally communicate with and create connections that were never possible even half a decade ago. Have you ever thought how magical it is to create a voice chat with another person over your phone? You are in essence creating a digital bridge across space and communicating on a face to face level with another human being (i.e being able to pick up on additional facial language cues) which creates a much more personal connection.

So what does this all mean?

It means our futures are chosen by us. We decide it. And now more than ever we can act on it and see results faster than ever before. If there was ever a passion in your life you felt you wanted to pursue more than anything else in the world, now is the time to act. Your message can touch millions of people at the click of a button if it resonates and the opportunity to make a life worth living for yourself is suddenly not a dream anymore. In return, you would not only gain freedom to enjoy life as you wish, but you would be contributing your own valuable gifts to the world and that’s the most beautiful thing — the epiphany that I had. It always seemed like a selfish thing — quit your job and enjoy a fun lifestyle outside of the corporate world while everyone else suffers… but that’s not the case at all. Each and every one of us has our own special talent, wisdom, or art to give to the world, but it’s being held back by societal bindings. Whether that be a job, a mortgage, loans — we all have societal baggage we carry around in our minds that cloud our ability to focus on what’s most important to us. Instead, you should reach inside towards that which touches your heart and soul and makes you feel alive; the core of your being that wants to make an impact in some way for your family, your community, your city, or the world. These will be the things that give your life meaning, purpose, and in pursuing them, lead you to happiness.

So rather than making 2012 resolutions, I say we acknowledge this great period of time we’re living in and make the most of our lives now and share our passions with others. Life is meant to be lived, not followed. Live your life now and always, never needing to make a resolution. Happy New Years everyone!



Sing Your Song

Note: I’m currently in Paris on my way to India for my business partner, Kunjan’s, wedding. I’ll be traveling until after his wedding, working almost every night, and returning to the US during the first week of February. Wondering how this is possible or how I could keep up with work? Check out my next post about how Kunjan and I are able to do what we love and keep productive no matter where we are in this world! Hint: It starts with having a passion you live for every day. 

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An interesting visual of my travels this year from geotagged pictures I’ve taken on my iPhone. The arrow is the rough spot where I wrote this post from.

 

Dec 14th, 2011

30,000 ft in the air above the Atlantic

10:42pm EST

Flying over the Atlantic. It seems so calm the vast ocean below. The slow wave of the current seems motionless from above. It seems extraordinary, as massive an expanse that an ocean is, that we as humans have crafted a way to traverse this body of water with ease. Building large metal birds to carry us that now create migration patterns if you look at popular flight paths over different seasons:

Flight routes across the world any given day. Photo Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/97373666@N00/3264396897/

 

A lot of small ideas, discoveries, and inventions over time coalesced to reach the reality we are at today where we can jump on a plane and be anywhere in the world within a day or two.

It begins with a single seed; someone looking up at the birds flying overhead and imagining the impossible: “how can I fly?”.

Our ideas, our visions, our creations allow the most unbelievable possibilities in this world. If you imagine, just 100 years ago, the commercial flight I’m taking to Paris was unheard of.

Now we live in a world where collaboration can happen between talented individuals from all over the world, all coming together for one idea, one vision, one belief. The internet is allowing for the mom and pop clothing store around the corner to reach a global audience by connecting with those interested not just in the local neighborhood, but across the world. Customers are now only limited by their access to a computer with the internet rather than geographic location — and the definition of computer with the internet is slowly becoming all our mobile devices we carry in our pockets and purses.

What software engineers have seen since the very first computers programs were being written was that this gap of geography meant endless possibilities in the digital space. A developer working in the Europe can produce something just as valuable as someone in San Francisco because the raw materials(code) and tools(text editors) are digital. As computer programmers, we’re literally shaping the foundations of this digital world. We plant our seeds, our applications and humans across the world interact with them, growing with them, and changing the initial application based on their needs. For instance, looking at the history of the web browser (wikipedia), we can see how it has evolved from the early 90s to where it is now as a great example of how a simple idea and creation can flourish and grow based on the needs(inputs) of those who interact with it.

Anything is truly possible in the digital space.

I can put out a seed, a thought into this little blog of mine and it can potentially reach people all across the world at the click of a button. Think about the value you could be sharing. Think about what invention or creation you could be making. Each one of us is like a vessel. We hold thoughts, ideas, experiences in it and throughout our life we pour them into other people’s vessels when we interact. Sometimes we keep our vessels tightly guarded because we don’t want others peeking in and our vessel leaves this world without watering others.

What the digital world has shown us is what has always been true in the physical world — we make this world we live in. We do. All of us. Together. As individuals we deliberately can choose how we contribute, how we interact with each-other, and how we go about our daily lives. As human beings we have free will under any circumstance as long as we have the courage to use it.

We are here for reasons. Live it. Believe it. Do it. And then share your inner wisdom the way only YOU can.

It can be in the smallest or largest of ways. As small as a simple affirmation of truth or acceptance you decide to show your co-workers, or as large as a vision you want others to adopt to change the world, it all starts from one little dent you try and make. That little dent can grow from others who want to also make little dents with you until it becomes a larger, more visible dent.

Henry David Thoreau famously said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”.

As we approach this festive christmas weekend and closing days of 2011, sing your song to the world. Sing it loud and proud and don’t let it die within you.