A Leap Year Means More Work (Well, in 2020)

Year 2020 is a leap year. You’ll have 2 extra working days but the same number of weekends & holidays. 😉 Yeah, that’s not fun! A leap year means more work (well, atleast in 2020).

Here’s how:

  • Mondays = 52
  • Tuesdays = 52
  • Wednesdays = 53
  • Thursdays = 53
  • Fridays = 52
  • Saturdays = 52
  • Sundays = 52

Total Days: 366

Secondly, if you are paid bi-weekly, check if you are going to have 27 paychecks or 26? If 27 paychecks, will you make more money on your W2 than your negotiated salary or will you see a drop in your paychecks in 2020?

The payroll and income scenario doesn’t impact you if you are a contractor and you get paid hourly.

Also, just because 2020 is a leap year, this doesn’t mean, everyone’s payroll will have 26 vs. 27 paychecks dilemma. But, some of you will do.

This happens every 11 years! Talk about Fun Facts!

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The Battle For Your Future, Freedom, and Life

Someone I know (through someone) got fired today. Over a *BS* reason for misspelling a name. We all know that’s just a veneer for the true underlying reason: workplace politics.
“Workplace politics” is just a fancy phrase for “battle of egos.” No one wins in the battle of egos.
This person was technically strong, friendly, a long-term full-time employee. Loyal to the company and its culture.
 
Imagine how much it must suck to be fired on Valentines Day. 
This means “anyone and everyone” is replaceable in the modern corporate structure. 
Recently, the CEO of the world’s largest and most valuable startup was fired by the board.
 
We have to always keep this truth in mind. At any given day, anyone can be fired or replaced (due to whatever reason).
 
That’s why to “be free”, eventually you need to be an entrepreneur. A business owner.
 
To be a successful business owner you have to start something, somewhere, someday (as I did with Precog Tech, Fitness & Food, The Naked Soul, The Art of Travel).
 
When you start something new, 9 out of 10 times, you will fail. Failure is part of the success story. It’s a baked-in step in the journey. 
 
If you have already started your entrepreneurial journey, congratulations! 
This Valentines Day, this new year, I hope, you will give yourself the respect for the risks you have taken and endured. 
 
Respect for thinking ahead of the curve. Respect for taking the first steps. Respect for taking the risk.
 
It takes a lot of gut to eat risk for a living. For suffering the risks.
 
Risks and failures cost energy, money, and time. Cost of money causes debt.
 
I hope, this year you will have new eyes to look at things from a 30,000 ft view. The big picture of why do you have the debts and stress that you have.
 
Why these debts and the insane amount of workload is “necessary” if you want true freedom in your life.
 
Hard work, sacrifices, and risk-taking is necessary to birth anything of value. And the reason why you have to succeed in your venture. Quitting is not an option anymore. 
 
If you haven’t yet started the start-up-of-you, then perhaps this is the year, the month, the moment that you begin to seriously think about it. Every good thing begins with a “why”?
 
Think about it. Ask yourself are you truly free? Are you in control of your life? Are you truly happy? Do you see yourself leaving the world in peace (if today is your last day here)?
Your startup doesn’t have to be Uber be it certainly can be. Your startup doesn’t have to be a billion-dollar idea but it certainly can be. The point is, it doesn’t matter.
 
What matters is your start taking control and ownership of your life, your time, your happiness, and your health. 
 
Happy Valentines Day!
 
 

Travel Is The Best Thing You Can Bring To The Table

Recently, I was having an interesting conversation with one of my team member at The Art of Travel. I think it is worth sharing here as well.

One of the “best skill” that you can bring to any team or project is your “travel experiences.” The more you travel, the better you can serve any project and in any team setting. Why is that?

Because travel will show you the many aspects of human existence and a deeper glimpse into the human persona. You can see the hidden human desires and wants. What is it that we all really want? As a species, do we truly value family, peace, and happiness? Maybe not.

Knowing how little it costs to travel and how much more you get as a reward, it amazes me how we put off our travels and vacations until after our retirement. How beautiful and beneficial it is to travel outside of our comfort zone. Then, why don;t we travel as much?Traveling (near or far) makes you a bigger person, a more experienced and independent person, a more confident person, a more alive and accepting person.

The truth is, we want to but we don’t. Why? Because of the fear of losing what little hands we have been played in our life. We don’t want to take a risk because as a species, we are motivated by fear and not faith. Let this thought sink in for a moment.

Traveling (near or far) makes you a bigger person, a more experienced and independent person, a more confident person, a more alive and accepting person. Traveling gives you the faith.

So, what’s the most important skill that you can put on your resume? It is how often do you travel and how many places you have been to. Travel is the cure to our inner fear. And, by travel, I don’t mean a fancy Switzerland or Hawaii vacation. A roadtrip over the weekend can be equally powerful.

So, for you own sake and your work’s sake, please take as many days off to travel as many you can afford. The more we all travel, the more humble and accepting we all will become of other cultures and people.

In fact, The Art of Travel mission is to enable and inspire millions of people to travel. When achieved, I would count that as a huge success of my life! Travel is the best education and it is freely available to anyone who seeks it.

May the Circle Complete: How To Deal with Negative Experiences


my only wish

I am feeling sad today. Actually terrible. I just learned that someone I trusted and admired actually turned out to be not so nice after all. A cunning businesswoman who pretends to be something different.

I feel hurt by her actions but I am also thankful to her. She is in a place of higher power and could have done more harm to me (if she wished). Maybe she is not a bad person. Anyways, she doesn’t owe me, anything. Nothing. She has been nice to me in the past and has also helped me. Perhaps, this was it. Perhaps, this is as much and as far as we go. For now.

It’s true that I am feeling hurt, betrayed and angry. But do I have the position to feel so? Am I justified? Maybe not. What about her help and kindness in the past.

So instead of sending her a nasty email that I typed, I sent her this in an email. It turned everything 180 degrees around. No, my loss was not reversed or compensated. But the feelings between us changed. The air around us became breathable and lighter. I don’t hate her, why should I? She is on her own path and her mistakes are her seeds of her own destiny. I wish her well for her future.

What about me? My heart? I feel better. I wish she benefits from me from the things that I am doing with my life. I do not have to like her to wish her well. I can simply wish her well. In all sincerity.

What should I do with my losses? Actually, nothing. That’s right. Nothing. First of all, what loss? I am posting this quote on Instagram, I am mentally sane, physically capable and hopeful for my future. Why should I worry or feel that I am at loss? I have people who love me, I have a great happy family and a good circle of funny and capable friends. What more do I need in life anyway!

I am happy that I saw the light. I am lucky. I am proud of myself for not sending that nasty email. Instead, I chose to send something positive, light-hearted and loving.

Thank Universe! This is an awesome day and I love my life.

On Meditation: Why Meditate? Mindfulness Through Meditation

on meditation, what it does and what it means to me

“Mediation works. My meditation practice helps me to live more deeply.”

Meditation is a great way to improve many areas of your life and open channels to your subconscious brain so you can more quickly and easily imprint new habits and beliefs.

If you understand technology, you can view mediation as “disk-defragmentation”. Every time when you meditate, you are optimizing your brain and restoring and re-purposing mind. You are cleaning up space, you are cooling down your system and you are optimizing your hardware’s speed and performance.

“Logic works with the conscious mind, but often not with the subconscious.”

If you are not a technical person, think of meditation as a river. The water flows continuously carrying everything with it but not holding on. A river is always fresh. There is no stagnation in a river. If your heart and mind is like a true river there is no room for “fermentation of disease.”

Mindfulness Through Meditation

A leaf or a broken stick may fall in the water and it may flow with the river for a distance but often times they get washed away to the sides. A river is pure, silent and yet you can hear its purpose of direction. It knows where it is going. There is no stopping it and yet the river is ever peaceful and calm going with the path of least resistance and minding its own business.

Besides the physical and emotional benefits of meditation (such as lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, etc.), regularly quieting your mind is also a way of slowing down brain activity, which opens up the door to more easily influencing your subconscious mind.

“Meditation is the most powerful (and totally harmless) gateway drug to creativity.”

When you slow down your brain activity, what you’re really doing is quieting your conscious mind. Meditation is a great way to begin your subconscious mind reprogramming routine. Meditation is helpful if you want to build a new habit (or break an old one). Learn how to meditate powerfully explained in 9 simple steps (in under 15 minutes).

By clearing your conscious mind of all distraction and mundane thoughts through the meditation process you can intentionally focus on your positive affirmations and visualizations. Meditation is a great way to maximize the benefit of affirmations, prayers, and visualization.

“Meditation is a deep commune with the Divine. Meditation in itself is a Prayer.”

In meditation, you are opening your whole being to the Universe. Your ego starts to fade away losing its powerful grip on you. There is no more filtering, twisting, coloring of daily events. Through meditation, you can free yourself from thousand mundane worries that is nothing but the construct of your own imagination.

According to Srimad Bhagavad Gita, our mind is a like a strong horse, and our spirit is in command. But our spirit needs the cooperation of our ego. To lead a life of mindfulness we have to take control of this powerful horse (so we can have our mind serve us rather than drive us anywhere it wants.) With a clear mind, one can achieve many great things with our time here on this earth.

This is what meditation is to me.

100 Reasons Why I Love You | A Letter To My Sweetheart On Her 30th Birthday

I love you!

My Love, My Heart, Soul of My Soul,

As we grow old together on this earthly journey, I wanted to take this moment and write to you on your 30th birthday to tell you how much I love you and how much you mean to me. Without you, I am nothing. Your presence in my life is something that I can’t easily describe in words.

You mean everything to me. I love you the most. I love with all I am and with all I have. All of me, loves you and belongs to you.

The fact this letter is so long because there are millions of great things I can talk about you, this however shows I am the luckiest man in the world. I love you with all of my heart.

There are millions of wonderful reasons that I find absolutely lovely about you but I love you for no reasons.

I am blessed to have you in my life and glad to share your soul. I have never wondered about why I love you because it was in your presence where I found love.

For me, love and you, the two are same and one. I love you because you are love to me. I love you because you are the source of all love that is in my heart. Your presence is love to me. The feeling of togetherness we share whenever we meet, talk, make love or just being there for one another is something which I want to tell you today.

It is easy for me to describe hundreds of such feelings because there are millions of ways I feel good about life when I am with you. I will love you, forever.

Here is a short and uncomplete list of moments and things that I find absolutely precious about you. They melt my heart and make my go crazy about you.

 

Baby, I love you because you care for us and want the best for us. You give your all in our relationship and as a result we both grow together.

 

Baby, you are directly or indirectly the source of all of my creative inspirations. You make my heart, soul, and hands move with new ideas.

 

Baby, I love you because you listen to me and understand me like no other. This gift of understanding is the greatest gift of all.

 

Baby, I love you because you push me to think deeply about who I am, what I want and believe in myself.

 

Baby, I love you because you accept the fact that things will happen in their own time.

 

Baby, I love you because you balance my ultra-active personality. You are a relaxed person and yet you get so much done. Without you I will be lost.

 

Baby, I love you because you were faithful when there was no faith to be found.

 

Baby, I love you because you give me peace in the midst of struggles, hope in the midst of unknowns, and strength in the time of battles.

 

Baby, I love you because you never made me feel guilty for taking care of myself. In-fact you encourage me to bring out the best in me.

 

Baby, I love you because you taught me to realize everyone alive has the power to inspire meaningful change.

 

Baby, I love the way you hold me. I love when you say, “Baby, comfort me.” I will give away everything for just hearing that one line from you, one more time.

 

Baby, I love you because you are okay with knowing things would often get worse before they can get better.

 

Baby, I love you because you will stand behind something, no matter how hard the circumstance. You are bold, strong and courageous even amidst fear.

 

Baby, I love you because you always look on the bright side of moments which take us by surprise.

 

Baby, I love you because you make laughter an instant vacation. I love your jokes & I love when you laugh uncontrollably at times on my silly remarks.

 

Baby, you have a very good heart. You are kind and compassionate. With you, I am living my dream life. Life is one great Zen moment.

 

Baby, I love you because you are a happy person and you always try to make me happy.

 

Baby, I love your soft hands and your beautiful fingers.

 

Baby, I love you for your love of life.

 

Baby, I love you, I love you, I love you (infinite times) for all the food you cook for us and you never fail to amaze me by cooking something new every time.

 

Baby, I love you and I am forever thankful for the meal planning and preparation you do. Without you, I could not have lived a healthier lifestyle.

 

Baby, you calm me down. You comfort my heart and ease my soul.

 

Baby, I love you for seeing no matter what life gives us but you never miss to spread your beautiful smile.

 

Baby, I love the fact that I’ve met you during the craziest time of my life and you changed it all in a moment. You healed my broken heart.

 

Baby, you are a fabulous kisser. I love you and I am never fully over when kissing you. I love your pouty lips. Your lips are the best and most beautiful in this world.

 

Baby, you are insanely romantic.

 

Baby, you are a great poetess. I love your poetry and I love when you write little, sweet love poems to me. My life is a happy life because of your love.

 

Baby you are gorgeous, exotic, and beautiful. You have body like a top fitness model, you have a physique like a goddess, and you have a face prettier than miss worlds.

 

Baby, I love that you are athletic, adventurous & live life with great zest. I love that you beat me in running and you have such a great cardio endurance.

 

Baby, I love you because you love traveling as much as I do. Together, we are traveling the world. I love our lifestyle. I love you for this great gift of travel.

 

Baby, I love you because you take things and matter very gracefully even in the toughest scenarios.                         

 

Baby, I love how you always seek peace and harmony when we get into silly arguments.

 

Baby, you are my first true love and also my best friend.

 

Baby, you support me in and motivate me in many ways. I can’t even think where I would be without you.

 

Baby, I love how you make me feel special. Life is just beautiful.

 

Baby, I love you and you are someone I can always trust.

 

Baby, I will never forget how you take care of me when I get sick. You stay with me in health or sickness. You love me the same. I don’t know if you are a human or an angel.

 

Baby, I love how you give me surprise gifts and take me to shows, vacations and book great dining experiences. Because of you I have had so many amazing moments and memories.

 

Baby, I love you because you are goofy and funny. You love fooling with me. And you let me fool with you. You don’t mind my silly tricks & stupid teases.

 

Baby, I love you because you never miss to kiss me good-morning and good-night.

 

Baby, I love you because you do most of the house chores (and cooking) so that I can focus and work on my passion projects (writing, video editing, podcasting, etc).

 

Baby, because your love drives me crazy (in a good way) and makes me go wild. Sometimes I just want to cuddle with you all day in a little naughty way.

 

Baby, I love you because you know how to please me. (naughty things included)

 

Baby, I love you because you stop me from eating unhealthy foods loaded with sugar or bad fat.

 

Baby, because you have an amazing, sensual, sexy voice. I love hearing you talk.

 

Baby, I love your awesome hair. I just can’t stop myself from touching, playing and seeing & smelling it.

 

Baby, I love your craziness. Baby, you are crazy. I love you because you are such a crazy person in this boring world.

 

Baby, I love your eyes. You have the most beautiful eyes in this whole world.

 

Baby, I love your high cheek bones. You have such a beautiful face and you truly look like a global citizen with a face which transcends geography, race and any nature-created boundaries.

 

Baby, I love you and deeply admire your character because you love and respect your family and parents. You care for your sisters and family so much. I love that.

 

Baby, because I would die to marry you. I believe you would make the best Mom anyone could ever ask for or hope to have.

 

Baby, I love the way you walk.

 

Baby, I love you because you have such a soft voice. You talk so gently and meekly. I wish I had your voice and tone.

 

Baby, I love you for the fact that there is nobody else in the world like you and nobody will ever come close.

 

Baby, I love you because you taught me so many things and for all the amazing new experiences that I’ve shared for the first time with you and only you.

 

Baby, I love you and cherish you for your faithfulness and loyalty. You are the best and one of a kind.

 

Baby, I love you because you don’t mind holding my hand or showing me affection even in public.

 

Baby, I love you for sometimes giving up things you’ve wanted just for my feelings.

 

Baby, I love you for the way you kiss me and touch me everywhere.

 

Baby, I love you and can never truly thank you for the fact that you were willing to take a chance on me. You could have had anyone in this world but you choose me. I don’t know what to say. I feel incredibly lucky to have you.

 

Baby, I love to see how you still have good friends from when you were little. You are a great friend to have.

 

Baby, I love how cute you were when you were little. I absolutely love your house nickname: Malu, and (cute) Elephant.

 

Baby, I love you for all the heart-touching things you’ve written for me.

 

Baby, I love you for the way you’ve opened up your heart and life to me.

 

Baby, I love you because I learn new & amazing things about you everyday. You are such an interesting, deep thinker and soul.

 

Baby, I love the way you look at me that makes me melt inside.

 

Baby, I love you because you always say awesome things about me to other people.

 

Baby, I love you, because you bring so much new excitement into my life every day.

 

Baby, I love you because you never take life for granted. You work hard. You inspire me to become the best version of me. You inspire me to live life to the fullest.

 

Baby, we are both dreamers. (plus we both love to sleep lol)

 

Baby, I love you because you are without a doubt my true soul mate. We even have the same birthday and almost the same birth time. Something more than just a random coincidence, right?

 

Baby, I love you because you know how to not take life too seriously and live in the moment and yet not lose track of your life’s purpose or vision.

 

Baby, I love you for the fact that you are the first and only person I’ve ever loved and the first person who ever truly loved me back. I love you.

 

Baby, I love you because you forgave my past and accepted me fully, truly just as I was.

 

Baby, I love you for your incredible big heart.

 

Baby, I love you for how you used to scare me when you were stay-at-home (while job hunting) and I absolutely hated it but loved it at the same time.

 

Baby, I love you because we both seem to read each other’s mind. I also love how you sometimes finish my sentences as if you were thinking the same thought.

 

Baby, I love how we always still say or do the exact same thing at the same time. (We seem to have a soul connection from a prior life)

 

Baby, I love your extreme patience with me even when I push it to the limit.

 

Baby, because I am a big fan of your wit & wisdom.

 

Baby, I find you incredibly sexy and hot. No more comments on that. You know what I mean.

 

Baby, I love how you are always there for me through good times and bad no matter what.

 

Baby, I love you for the fact we were destined to be together.

 

Baby, I love your determination and conviction and how once you set your mind on something that nobody can change it. I admire your will-power, be it for food or fitness or anything.

 

Baby, I love how much you know about me now and now that you’ve seen it all (good, bad and ugly), you still love me anyway.

 

Baby, you accept me. My light and my shadow. Even though we have some differences, you never try to change me. I am me when I am with you.

 

Baby, I love every little single detail about you that makes you who you are and the fact that you are the best girlfriend in this whole world.

 

Baby, I love you because you found me and saved me. You actually did. I still don’t know how exactly it happened that we were right where we were meant to be at that exact time in our lives. I will be grateful for it forever. It was our destiny.

 

Baby, I love how your fantasies blend with mine. And your goals & desires blend with mine. Oh, life is just so much fun with you.

 

Baby, I love you because when we fight, it is never traumatic because we both know it will never be the end. I love how we never take any argument more than 24 hours.

 

Baby, I love you because you allow me to teach you things that I know you have little interest in. You are so cute.

 

Baby, I love the way you dance and move your body. You are a great dancer and I fall for you every time I see you dance or groove.

 

Baby, I love listening to you tell me stories about your childhood and I imagine how you were back then. I can visualize it all. I love you since your childhood days because now I have seen you from back then. You are the most attractive girl to me from the beginning.

 

Baby, I love how your kiss does crazy things to my insides. And when you touch me, I forget the rest of the world exists.

 

Baby, I love us and how we work as a team, the perfect balance. The yin and yang.

 

Baby, I love you for the deep (mystical) hallucinations I experienced when we first fell in love. It was an otherworldly extraordinary experience. I have never had such an experience before and I don’t think I will ever have that again. Me falling in love with you is was a mystical journey. I used to hear your voice everywhere. For me, you are the most powerful drug in this whole world.

 

Baby, I love you because now I feel like I’ve known you the whole of my life.

 

Baby, I love how quickly I turn you on and how easily you pleasure me.

 

Baby, I love when you tell me without any doubt that I am the only one in the world for you. I love you for that. Those words are so comforting to my heart.

 

And, baby I love you for the fact that how you forgive me so quickly for everything else that I say and do that hurts you. And you never mention it again. I love you the most.

 

Once again, Happy 30th Birthday!     ###

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How would you celebrate someone’s 30th birthday? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests. (The first 3 commenters are always my favorite.)

Secrets to a Long and Happy Life: Live Day by Day





Today, I am going to tell you a secret. The secret was known to few people since the ancient times. In our modern age, the secret is well known to the researching scientific community. But do we really know it?

My guess is you have heard of it but probably not aware of how to bring the changes in your own life. We are going to look into some of the practical steps that personally worked for me and you can give them a try as well.

The secret is:

Live Day by Day

Positive thinking results in development of good habits. Good habits and having an optimistic, positive mindset creates a happy, feel-good emotions. A happy person lives in the moment and is able to enjoy life deeply.

Positive thinking is the result of building good habits. So what are these good habits? Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1. Looking for the big picture.
Life is short. Before you were born the Universe existed for 13 billion years and after you will be home the Universe will keep on going for equally long time. The fact that we are here for a short period of time makes us think of time in a unique way. Life is short. Try to make the best out of it. There is no gain in fighting and arguing. In any adversity, look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself: will this thing still matter 5 years from now? 20 years from now? If the answer is “No”, don’t stress yourself.

2. The attitude of gratitude.
Whatever you have and whoever you are as a person, father, leader, daughter, employee, anyone who you think you are is the product of countless people and their miniature help and support to you. Sure you have done the hard work and the bulk of it but remember the phone you are using is built by someone in China, designed by Apple in California and uses chips and hardware a made in Germany and Japan. We all are living well because hundreds of thousands people are contributing to each other. There is plenty to be thankful for.

3. The Law Of Self-fulfilling prophecy.
It is true that what are you think is what you will attract in your life. This is not magic but science. By dwelling on a thought you are focusing on it. If it is negative and about despair, your brain will automatically give more importance to matters related to despair and hopelessness. Likewise, if you think of learning and education, your brain will automatically start spending brainpower (energy and focus) on things that you want to learn. You will begin to self educate yourself.

4. Association.
A lot of what we eat, do, watch and talk are highly dependent on who we hang out with. If you are into fitness but five of your closet friends (with whom you spend most time) are into pizza and unhealthy food and lifestyle, there is no way you can be fruitful in leading a fit lifestyle. That said, if you start associating yourself with positive people, you will pick up their habit and start thinking positive, talking positive and living a positive life.

5. The Power Of Spoken Words.
The spoken words have tremendous power. Whatever comes out of your mouth shapes your thinking in a major way. Also what you speak (in front of others) crates an image of you. And by your image you shall be reared and judged. If you have set up an image of no-nonsense, cool and happy person, your peers and surrounding will start treating you in cool, fun and positive way. Chose your words carefully. They literally carry the power of life and death.

6. Books.
Read a lot of great books. Read whatever you can afford and get your hands on. Good or bad, all books are helpful. I would add read mostly good positive books but also read a few bad ones. On purpose, but why? The good books will feed your soul. The good books will uplift your soul and will motivate you, inspire you, teach you and tell you how you can become skilled and great yourself. The bad ones on the other hand will teach you what not to do.

Now, let’s talk about living in the moment.

Living in the Moment


Observing life is the key. An active act of observing occurs when you are mindful. Thoughts will arise and vanish on your mental plane, you should just watch them. Dwelling on any thought or chain of thoughts is the root of anxiety.

Buddha’s journey to enlightenment started right after his acute observation of the world around him. People get sick. People get old. People die. Life is short and full of trials and miseries. Happiness is but for a moment. Time is fleeting.

The Big Picture in the Small Moment
Once you get some perspective about life and your humble position in this vast Universe, you’ll begin to appreciate what you have and you will begin to calm down and take things easy.

For example, your friends got an A+ in each subjects; your neighbor married a hot girl; your uncle won a million dollar lottery — yes, so what! Isn’t it good for them? If these would have happened to you, wouldn’t you be happy? If yes, then why are you not happy in other’s happiness? This is a big lesson. Those who learn it early, win it bigger, while smiling all the time.

The lesson is:

It is not other’s life that you should be concerned with but yours own. Be cheerful in other’s success and weep with those who are hurting.

Be a madman. Be mad in love. Be fully present in the moment, so present that you are one with the reality. Be madly in love with seeking wisdom. Workout, love your body. Above all, love this short life. The days may seem longer on some occasions but trust me, you only get to be in your twenties once.

Make love with another human being.

Kiss under a beautiful sky when the sun is touching the horizon.
Let the winter breeze pinch your face.
Have your hands ready for hugging others.
Sometimes cry, you will fall in love with yourself.
Be nice to others, everyone is in some sort of pain.
Above all, be nice to yourself.

 

###

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What do you think about the connection of positive thoughts with your internal biology? The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them. So share your thoughts. Any other questions or comments please feel free to share below.

Can An Unlikely Person Transform Your Life? You Never Know

Do you believe an unlikely person can transform your life? This is an interesting question with a resounding answer that a person can absolutely change your life for the better.

Random encounters on streets / The Naked Soul Partners

Can An Unlikely Person Transform Your Life

This article will delve into the stories of people who seem like they were destined to meet each other as well as my own personal experiences related to this.

Story of Emmett

Our first heartwarming story emerged from Farmington, Minnesota last July of a three-year-old boy, Emmett, who became friends with his 89-year-old neighbor, Erling, a WWII veteran who had flown combat missions in Europe.

Emmett was only two when he visited the tomato garden of his neighbor because he loved tomatoes and slowly they began to interact with each other in different ways. Sometimes they would race lawnmowers together.

One day Erling set up a croquet set in his yard so he and Emmett could play together. They continued to visit each other during the winter but sadly their visits were put to an end when Emmett’s parents put their house up for sale so they could have a bigger house where Emmett and his little sister could both sleep on the same floor.

Erling would also be moving to live with his sick wife in a senior apartment.

I also developed a close relationship with someone unexpected. I had always had trouble making friends and sat alone during my lunch period in high school.

A lunch aide, Kelly, walked over to my table one afternoon and began talking to me helping to bring me out of my shell.

Every day we would talk and I visited her often in the kitchen. Her company helped me feel less lonely and she looked out for me when I was finally invited to sit with a group of my classmates and students from lower grades.

Whenever we run into each other now, we still make time to talk. I’ll never forget how great she made me feel about myself at a time when I was very awkward and still developing into the person that I am today.

Story of a Homeless Veteran

Our second story is of a young woman who became friends with a homeless veteran named Tony.

Tony hung out near her workplace and over the course of a few months, they began having lunch and snacks together where he would share his war stories and family while she talked to him about her problems and family.

They developed a deep level of trust with each other and when she was going through a very difficult time in her life he listened to her and pushed her to continue working to fulfill her dreams.

What makes this story even more remarkable is what happened one day when she was still full of self-pity. He gave her a watch head and said, “I don’t have much but I wanted you to know that you have done what many others would not, simply by being my friend.”

She realized that by reaching out to him she had received the incredible reward of a beautiful friendship.

Unlikely Friendship of an Imam and a Rabbi

World Peace / The Naked Soul Partners

Sometimes friendships transcend religious differences. This was evident in the story of a rabbi and a Muslim imam who met each other when they were being interviewed by CBS after Pope John Paul II’s death about his interfaith outreach.

Both men at first hid their quiet ignorant beliefs from one another and the rabbi said, I grew up in an environment as an Orthodox Jew where Muslims were the enemy, Muslims were to be demonized, Muslims were not to be trusted. I clearly brought to the table many biases, prejudices, prejudgments.

The rabbi called the imam several months later extending a gesture of peace and deciding to learn how to foster a better dialogue between the two religions.

They organized the first summit of rabbis and imams in New York in 2007 and began a process where the rabbi would speak to congregants at the imam’s mosque while the imam would speak to worshippers at the rabbi’s synagogue.

They co-authored a book about starting an interfaith dialogue entitled “Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation about the Issues that Divide” and “Unite Jews and Muslims” that breaks down misconceptions about both religions.

Story of Friendships

Friends / The Naked Soul Partners

I developed a meaningful friendship with a coworker who has some personality traits that differ from me. She is more assertive and extroverted than I am but has a sensitive side which she expresses when discussing her family and her dog.

We joke around with each other and she always knows how to get a smile out of me even when I am having a tough day. I never would have expected to develop such a significant relationship with a coworker but know that despite any issues we have with each other, she will always be there to defend me if necessary.

There have been many depictions of unlikely friendships that have developed in movies and television.

Toy Story / The Naked Soul Partners

Many have been in animated movies such as Toy Story where one toy, Woody, serves as a boy’s favorite toy for years while the other, Buzz Lightyear, was a birthday present; Up where a boy scout befriends an elderly man and helps him learn to love again after the death of his beloved wife; and the friendship between the young girl, Lilo, and her alien friend, Stitch, in Lilo and Stitch.

These cinematic relationships show that despite differences between each character, they are able to look past them and develop meaningful friendships.

The most obvious example of unlikely friendships can be seen on the classic 90s sitcom, Friends.

The six friends have unique personality traits that elevate the humor found in each episode from the commitment-phobic Chandler Bing and his Casanova roommate, Joey Tribbiani, to the neat-freak Monica Geller and her second roommate, the more laid-back and approachable Rachel Green.

Romantic entanglements even ensue between characters including the occasionally tumultuous relationship of Dr. Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother, and Rachel and the marriage of Chandler and Monica.

Friends has stood the test of time and in its more emotional moments depicts the strength of a group of companions that can always be depended on.

It is clear then that unlikely people can indeed transform your life. Whether it stems from a chance encounter or an arranged meeting, friendships can begin in many different ways.

Be open to meeting new people as perhaps this can lead to an enduring relationship.

 

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What is Friendship? Who is a True Friend?

friends

A faithful friend is the medicine of life. ~ Ecclesiastics 6:16

To understand the very fabric of friendship, one of my favorite places to look is the Bible. Undoubtedly, the Bible presents the theme of friendship in a very unique way.

In the book of Ecclesiastics, the author Solomon uttered these words “a faithful friend is the medicine of life when he linked friendship with medicine and life. For a greater and complete understanding, let us seek and explore the true essence and meaning of these two words: friend and friendship.

“A friend is, as it were, a second self.” ~ Marcus T. Cicero

So, what is friendship? Who is a friend? A friend is a lover. Love is the essence of friendship. Mother Teresa said, Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own heart and house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor.

Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living experience of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greetings. Expressing love in such a manner is the way of a true friend.

Est mihi nescio quid quod me tibi temperat astrum
“There is something, I know not what, which yokes our fortunes, yours and mine.”

Literally speaking, a friend is a lover and the one who speaks the truth. The relationship between Latin amcus “friend” and am “I love” is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos “friend” and phile “I love.”

In the Old English language, about a millennium back, frÄ“ond, the word for “friend,” was simply the present participle of the verb frÄ“on, “to love.” The root of this verb is Germanic which is frÄ« -, which meant “to like and love”. That was what meant by “to be friendly with”.

This same root word also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity “Frigg”, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, the day of Frigg. Also, it is worth taking note that in the Old English, freo also means “free.” Therefore, to love, to favor, is also related to being free. Interesting!

In Dutch and Afrikaans, the word for friend is Vriend which come from Old English Freond meaning “to love. In Italian, it is Amico which comes from the root Amare meaning to love.

In French, it is Ami which comes form the root aimer meaning “to love. In Spanish, a friend is Amigo which comes from the root word Amor meaning “to love.

In Albanian, it is Mik which comes from the root Amicus in Latin meaning “to love. In Urdu, the original implication of Dost meaning friend is “lover” which comes from the Persian Dost which also means “a lover”. Therefore, a friend is a lover.

In Tagalog Kaibigan is the word for friend. The root word “ibig“, means “to love.” Putting “ka” before a root word signifies a state of being, such as “ka-ibig“, literally “being someone to love”. Putting “an” after a word makes the focus of the sentence the direction of the action, such as “ibig” “to love with “-an” becomes “-ibigan“, literally meaning “a state of soul to be in love. Thus, “Kaibigan” could literally mean, “the state of being someone to share love with”.

Love can never wound. Nothing can hurt if there is the element of love inside it. Love is the essence of the creation of this world. On the other hand, an insincere and evil one is thus a person who is void of this love. Without love friendship cannot be understood. While many people may be our casual associates in our earthly life, few are those who walk in truth and posses the element of love inside them.

Nos duo turba sumus.
We two are a multitude.

The powerful words of friendship can heal wounds, mend broken hearts, restore peace and strengthen a soul more than ever. Jesus himself called His followers as friends and defined a true meaning of friendship by dying for all of humanity and on behalf of all the fallen creation.

A group of friends can make life so much fun

In the Bible, in the graceful journey of God with man, there are multitudes of words and speaking that have a word “friend” in it. “The Book of Proverbs might almost be called a treatise on Friendship, so full is it of advice about the sort of person a young man should consort with, and the sort of person he should avoid, said Huge Black in his book Friendship.

“It is better to be in chains with friends, than to be in a garden with strangers.” ~ Persian Proverb

In Proverbs 27:9 we read, Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. The Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, No one has greater love than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.

It is not by chance that there is a great emphasis put on friendship in the New Testament, as is the case in any other scriptures. The classical literature is filled with the stories of great friendships. Ancient mythology and legends are deeply woven into the illustrations of great friendship, which in some instances almost assumed the place of a religion itself. The classical example of Krishna and Sudama and Krishna and Arjuna are excellent examples.

Friendship is considered one of the main human experiences, and has been sanctified by most major religions and myths. The Abrahamic faiths have the story of David and Jonathan. Friendship played an important role in German Romanticism.

“An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” ~ Proverbs 24:26

In philosophy, Aristotle is known for his discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics of Philia, which is usually translated as “to love in friendship,” and includes friendship in a much broader concept. Aristotle’s conception of friendship conceived of three distinct categories or ‘tiers’ thereof. First, there are the ‘business partners,’ those who benefit financially from their friends; second, there are our ‘drinking-buddies’ – people we have fun with; and, thirdly, people with whom we pursue virtue or arete.

Hold a true friend with both your hands. ~ Nigerian Proverb

In Arabic, there three common words for a friend are Sadeeq which comes form Sadaqa to say the truth or to be truthful; Sahib which comes from Sahiba to accompany; and Rafeeq which comes from Rifq which is Kindness. Among the three the oldest and the truest word for friend is Sadeeq which is the one who always tells the truth. He is called so because a friend does two things: he tells you the truth and he believes what you say and vice-versa.

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” ~ Arabian Proverb

Thus we can conclude that in Arabic, the word for “friend” comes from the root “truth”. Because “Who is a friend?” The one who tells the truth.

For many people, friendship is just that trust that someone will not harm them. Thus a friend is a person whom one knows well, likes, and trusts. It is nothing more than that. This feeling and confidence in another human being are truly praiseworthy and essential for the healthy functioning of human civilization.

8 Lessons From Surviving My 20s

Lesson from surviving my 20s

I just turned 30. Yes, I know. But, inside, I do not feel anything different. This is my first blog post on the “Grand 30” theme.

I’ll be making a few interesting posts on this topic. But first, here are the quick 8 lessons that I would like to share with you (especially those of you who are still in your teens and twenties.)

Stay Alive and Stay on the Course

I have surpassed these peeps and therefore I am doing something “right!” Extreme of anything is not good. A well-balanced, happy life is a good thing. Tupac & B.I.G (died 25), Kurt Cobain (died 27), Jimi Hendrix (died 27), Jim Morrison (died 27), Brandon Lee (died 28), Heath Ledger (died 28), Caesar Caligula (died 28).

Guess what! I am still alive. I am happy! I have survived a lot of things which could have gone wrong. Enough on this sermon. You folks are smart and know what I mean.

Fail Early and Often

The difference between an unemployed 22-year-old with debt, no girlfriend & no work experience and an unemployed 25-year-old, with no girlfriend, in debt and no work experience is basically negligible in the long run (by the time you are 30).

I wasted my year 20-22 in Delhi and Noida, which eventually led me to where I am today. Guess, my failing for two years straight opened the door to a better future.

I sold Amway for 2 years, ran Precog IT consulting company for 2 years, and taught Martial Arts for 2 years. All of this behind me is only a bag of experiences. This led to my journey into Fitness and better business know-how.

I studied and practiced Church Life, lived a Zen life and learned about all the great religions in my 20s and now I have only peace (plus zero opinion) on matters of religion, faith, the afterlife, et al.

This is like cleaning a huge clutter from my soul. Because spirituality is very deep in us, you can’t skip it. One day you have to face it. The earlier you do this, the better you’ll become in understanding other human beings.

Money Or Job is Not Happiness

Money is good, but wanting money kills happiness. Fame is good, but wanting fame kills your joy. Success is good, but wanting to be great can ruin your simplicity.
Anything good is actually good, but you wanting it, trying to “force” it in your life will basically kill your happiness!

Value True Friendship

There are many types of friends in life: one of them is like when you go away for a long time and come back, it feels like nothing changed.
This is the only kind of friends whom you can call friends. They are there, and they will be there. They like you as a whole. Rest all other kinds — do not stress too much about them.
Mostly, you build friendships over shared interests and these are most fun ones. But these are also the flakiest ones.
Whenever I left a particular church or sports or a city, I also lost all the friends whom I thought were my “true-best-friends”. These people will be quick in judgment, often immature, and shallow.
Understand, like everything else, some people come in your life and share your journey for a while and then part. It is just life.
You cannot force a friendship. This is the time, you gotta make some true friends, invest time and energy.
Make mistakes, have fun, break a few rules, watch movies all night, share music, get into fights, do all sort of things, trust me, you won’t be able to do in your 30s.

Learn a skill (Sharpen a Talent)


Your 20s is the time, when you should really, seriously, try to pick up a skill that interests you. It could be mastering jokes, playing a guitar, dance, a foreign language, anything.
Trust me, you will never regret it and you’ll never get another golden second chance.
Education is important, grades are important too, but they are not fun. You want to have a sidekick, a specific unique identifier that differentiates you.
You anyways, have no freaking clue on what you are going to do with your life, so when the time will come to date a girl, or impress a new hiring manager or being fun on a group college trips or just sitting on the airport, train, bus — this uniqueness will fuel your voice and you won’t act like some shy weirdo.
Most of us are insecure. It is human nature. Having a particular talent will pretty much guarantee that you will feel (and others around you will make you feel) that your life has worth and you mean something.
It is important to have a boosted self-esteem. Later, in life, if you survive the 20s, still alive, you won’t give much damn about these. But it is important when you are single, lonely, poor and still finding your “Self”.

Learn how to say “F***” It

Disclaimer: Okay, this might seem offensive or ridiculous to some. My apologies in advance. But, f*** you! Back to the point: Understand, that the world in general does not cares about you.
The world is a very big place with too many people in it. Everyone is trying to make something out of their time here. You cannot take their rudeness (or indifference) towards you seriously. Nor you should be afraid of unsettling a few apple carts.
Remember that you have a middle finger. The more you will use it (not in a real sense showing it to real people, but mentally), the calmer you’ll feel, the less stress or hurt you’ll bag.
Show it to things and people you do not want in your life. There are literally, asshats out there and many of them will look good and talk good. But they do not possess your best interest. Nor do they give a rat-ass about your existence.
So, f*** all, that causes you harm and insults your soul. Dismiss it altogether. You’ll be doing it billions of time and by late 20s, you’ll really know how important “fcuk” is.

You’ll Face Disappointments

You’re supposed to FAIL and NOT accomplish all of your goals. Okay, this was personally hard for me. But, over the time I realized that 20s is meant to fail (for the vast majority of us, humans. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is actually an alien, jk).
The more you fail during this decade, the more you increase your chances of getting successful in the 30s and 40s. You are bound to fail in finance, sports, relationships and entrepreneurship, leadership, direction, etc.
During my college years, I started a student organization The Way of Qi (TWOQ) and had a big ambition for it. I left it. I tried my hands in a few business opportunities and unfortunately, I had to leave them all in the middle. Why?
Because I was making mistakes in determining what I really want? Who to take as a business partner? Where to finance my enterprise? There were just too many uncertainties and a very little experience behind me.
I had a fire in me. Having the fire in your chest in what keeps your 20s young. Let that fire burn as many things as it can. Don’t stop due to pre-judging an opportunity.
Guess what, maybe, you are one of the aliens (Zuckerberg Brotherhood) and you can become a millionaire by age 30. But, in short: fail, fail, fail. Take pride in “failing forward.”
And of course, we all know, when you fail 10 times, you also have a few decent WINs in your lap!

Set Ambitious Goals (but Accept What You Achieve)

I had set a lot of goals for myself before I reach 30. The most outrageous of them was having 1 million USD in investment & liquidity and finishing my MBA from Harvard University.
Well, I am far from both and to be honest there are at least half a dozen more which were very personal and I could not achieve them (as of today). The lesson here is by setting these outrageous goals, I got a LOT done in the process.
Instead of crossing them off at 30, now I might do them later at 31, 35, 40, 90… it doesn’t matter anymore.
When we are young, often times, we want to do things because we want to show it to others. Look, I have “it” in me. I can do it. I am somebody. But as we mature in life, we learn that the true goals of life are very personal and intimately tied to our soul’s purpose on this earth.

Turning 30

Anyways, so what am I doing next?
1. I wanted to visit all 50 US states by age 30. I have done 30 already (as of today). My new target is by the end of 2019, visit all 50 US states. (well, finishing at age 35 is not bad)
 
2. I wanted to visit all 29 states of India by 30. I did 15. Now, the new target is by end of 2020, visit all 29 Indian states. (Finishing it while I am still my 30s is not bad)
 
3. And, I added a new one. One even more outrageous and BIGGER. Visit and tour 101 countries of the world in the next 5 years. Then make a book on it featuring one story from each country and a few of the most epic photos from each country.
 
My budget for this one: < $40,000 USD. Expensive?
Not really. A lot of decent commuting cars are more expensive than it. Will I be able to do it in 10 years? I don’t know. But I am going to try! And hard!
Update from May 2019: We have made some progress. Check out my travel goals and journey so far on www.artoftravel.tips and if you are into travel and adventure, check out www.artoftravel.store.
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Your turn. How would you celebrate someone’s 30th birthday? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests.