“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

We often run after the desire of acquiring more and more and in this race, we unnecessarily complicate things. I want a closet full of dresses, shoes and accessories. I want a fleet of cars in my courtyard. I want 5 bedrooms in my house just for myself. I think with this I will be having more choice, but what I don’t know is that with choice, I am also adding unwanted complication and confusion to my life.  Now, even trivial things like what to wear would require at least an hour of contemplation.

In order to look fancy, sophisticated or intelligent, we unnecessarily complicate things. But complications look fancy just from the outside, but when you have a closer look, there is a lot of confusion and chaos.  You may be momentarily impressed by a person’s excessive use of jargons, but the moment he stops speaking, you will immediately forget what he said. The most impactful conversations are those which are simple to understand.

If a book, fiction or non-fiction, is written in a complicated language, you may start reading it but would never finish it. You will read a book from start to end only when you find the language lucid and understandable.

Everyone wants to look sophisticated but they forget that humans love simplicity. Things that are simple attract our attention and have the highest recall rate. There are some TV ads that fail miserably and then there are other ads which make a product or a brand iconic. A lot of money and efforts have been spent on both then what is the difference? The difference lies in how simple or complicated the ads are. When an ad is simple and easy to understand, it creates a connection between the brand and the audience.

Simplicity, whether it is in our habits, our life style, our work process or our business, will always give better results. When you are at your home, open your closet and empty it on the bed and then select the dresses/shirts/trousers that you have never worn. Then ask yourself, why did you buy them?

Go to your kitchen identify the electronics, the fancy cookware, the silver crockery that you have never really used. Why did you buy them? Go to your office; look at your to-do list, how much of this work is actually necessary to fetch results. Why are you adding unnecessary burden to yourself? Keep a log of your day and see how many things you did which you could have easily done without. Why did you do them?

The answer to all these questions is “to look sophisticated”.

“Shun sophistications, embrace simplicity and see how the world becomes a better place”. If you are able to manage with 10 pair of clothes, don’t buy 100, if you can walk till the supermarket, don’t use your car, If a single course meal is sufficient to satiate your hunger, don’t yearn for a 7 course meal, If the work can be done by 2 people, don’t hire 10 to look big, If the nature of your or your employees’ work is such that it can be done from home, why waste your office space and time.

 Eliminate complicated systems and replace them with simple systems. Use technology to make life better.  Instead of manual reporting, use online tracking. Replace paperwork with online real-time documentation. Use CRM and MIS to create marketing and sales database. Use software to track your employees’ attendance and performance.

 Instead of having an isolated system for everything, have a centralized system and integrate all the systems to it. Create apps and software to let your customers and employees interact and do business without being physically present at the same time. Deliver products and services to your customers’ doorstep. Minimize the time and effort of your employees and customers. “Decrease the quantity of time spent and works done to increase the quality of time spent and work done.”

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness, weakness.” – Henry David Thoreau


Wishing you Peace and Abundance…



What is negotiation? It is a conversation or a discussion through which we want to create a win-win situation for all involved parties.  It sounds a bit technical but it is a part of our everyday routine. We knowingly or unknowingly keep on negotiating with one person or the other. When your alarm is blazing in your ears and you tell yourself, “Let me sleep for 5 more minutes”, what are you doing? You are negotiating with yourself. Your lazy self and your disciplined self are trying to reach on an agreement which is acceptable to both. When you are running late for office but your mom wants you to eat something first, and then you promise her that you will grab a bite before reaching office is a negotiation between you and your mom. When you ask your dad for a new bike and he says, “I will buy you a new bike if you get 90% marks in your board exams”, it is a negotiation between you and your dad. When you go to a shop to buy something, what happens between you and the salesperson is negotiation. When sales target is being discussed in the office meeting that is a negotiation between you and your team. And I can go on and on about what is negotiation. But yeah, you have got my point. Negotiation is a very routine part of our life so we should be the masters of negotiation. But sadly that is not the case. We may be able to negotiate very well with our friends and family but when we go to a client, something snaps, something happens and Bam!! We lose the deal. Why? Something must be lacking… Let’s see what… Before we actually start the process of negotiation, the first and foremost thing we need to do is Homework. Research, research and a lot of research is required. You need to carefully study the complete background, history, strengths and weaknesses of the other party. Collect all the material and information you can get about them and spend a good amount of time on every little detail even if it seems trivial. You never know which information will help you when. No matter whether the negotiation is a personal one or a professional one, if you want to be a winner, do your homework seriously. When you are loaded with all the information, don’t forget to take along your Confidence. Confidence is a must for every winning situation. If you are not confident about what you are saying, no matter how hard you try, it shows in your words or actions and the other party takes it as a negative sign. No matter how good your offer is, if you don’t sound confident, the negotiation will head to a wrong direction. Now that you have packed your confidence with your homework in the safe of your mind, we are ready to go. There are a few other things that we have to keep in mind while we are negotiating to come out as a winner.Adam Grant and Adam Galinsky, two management professors, have proposed 6 best negotiation practices after a lot of research.  (Reference: Let me take you through them.
  1. Share Information: Everyone knows “what goes around comes around”, but we don’t apply this during negotiation. When we are negotiating, we are naturally very guarded and cautious. We don’t want to share too much information but at the same time want the other party to open up. How is that possible? To create an atmosphere of trust and openness, you will have to initiate the process of sharing information. This is not to say tell them everything but just a little bit and if you don’t want to tell them anything about the deal, talk about unrelated things. Talk about your hobbies, interests and let them open up too. When you talk about such stuff, the other party finds you genuine and starts to trust you. This helps you to be in a winning position.
  2. Rank order priorities: When you start a negotiation, you know what you want from it, your priorities are pretty clear. But Grant and Galinsky tell you to rank order your priorities. For e.g. If you are looking for a flat, your priorities would be reasonable price, convenient location, spacious house, etc. Now what you need to do is rank order these priorities in the order of most important to least important. If you have a limited budget your first priority would be reasonable price, followed by may be, convenient location and so on. When you rank order, priorities are pretty clear for both the parties.
  3. Go in knowing your target price and walk away price: Your target price or term is what you really want from the deal and your walk away price is what you can settle for. For e.g. your target price may be to get a 1bhk flat for 30,00,000 but you would be ok even if you have to pay 40,00,000. When you know your range, negotiation becomes easier.
  4. Make first offer: Contrary to the popular belief, Grant and Galinsky have proven that the party that makes the first offer is more likely to be in a winning position because the first offer acts as an “anchor” around which both the parties start to negotiate. For e.g. If you make the first offer of 30,00,000 that would be the price around which you and your agent would automatically start discussing and this will increase your chances of getting a deal that is near your target price.
  5. Don’t Counter too Low: If somehow you were not able to make the first offer, don’t counter too low. For e.g. your agent made the first offer for 40, 00,000, if you immediately make a counter offer of 20, 00,000, your agent would not agree and you will have to increase your offer to somewhere around his offer. In order to have the deal in your favor, make an offer that is not too low or too high to create a counter-anchor. In our example, instead of 20,00,000 you can make an offer of 30,00,000 to tilt the deal in your favor.
  6. Make more than one counter offers: Gant and Galinsky have proven that making more counter offers leaves both the parties more satisfied. Both the seller and the buyer want to get a sense of achievement from the negotiation.  When many counter offers are made, the seller feels that he has struck a hard bargain and the buyer in turn feels that he got the best price or best deal, which makes both of them happy and more likely to involve in further business with each other. On the other hand, if the very first offer made by the first party is accepted by the second party, it would leave the first party dissatisfied and doubting that they could have got a better deal, had they offered lower price. This concept is called “Buyer’s Remorse”. To prevent yourself and your customer/seller from experiencing buyer’s remorse, never accept the first offer even if it is what you want, keep on making counter offers to get better results and a sense of satisfaction.
  Be confident, do your homework, follow these practices and you will win all the negotiations in your life and business!!!   Wishing you Peace and Abundance… Ashay


There are three instances in our lives, where we are vulnerable to failures the most. These can be called the three mistakes that almost everyone makes in their lives. One may think when these mistakes are so common; the consequences would not be huge. That, my dear friends, is a myth that we will bust today. Today we will discuss the Three Mistakes that we make, not the Chetan  Bhagat novel, but a reality of our lives.

The first mistake has cost Vijay Mallya a fortune. Who can forget Kingfisher Airlines? It perfectly blended the glamour of international business class with an economy class price. Travelling Kingfisher made you feel like royalty. Who wouldn’t like a television screen in front of their seat, extremely beautiful and polite air hostesses at their service, a warm welcome and free meal at a time when other economy airlines charged you for almost every service?

But despite all the glamour and an extremely loyal customer base, Kingfisher Airlines failed miserably. One might wonder, why? Because the airline was not given the attention it required. When everything was going fine, Vijay Mallya must have thought that I am providing such good services at such an affordable price, what could possibly go wrong. And the moment he left the airlines without monitoring or paying any attention, things started going downhill resulting in what could be called the biggest airline venture failure.

And this is not a unique case, it happens to all of us in our daily lives.  The loss of focus caused a huge financial loss for Vijay Mallya but for someone else it may cause loss of customers, loss of employees, loss of relationships, even loss of life. When you are overconfident about your driving skills and stop paying attention to the road, you are most prone to accidents. When you think your partner is very understanding and you start taking him/her for granted, that is when trouble starts brewing between you. No matter how well things are going right now, if you divert your attention from it, the possibility of failures is the highest.

The second mistake that we commit most often is that we are not able to read the signals of our own body and mind. Our body and mind give us signals that they are tired and cannot work more but instead of stopping and taking a break, we push them harder and the results are disastrous.  I personally have this habit that I cannot rest until my work is done satisfactorily. Normally, it is a good habit but at some times, instead of good results, it gives bad results.   Want to know how? Let me give you an example.

Imagine you have been traveling the whole day and have not been able to finish the work you were supposed to do that day, but by the time you reach home, you are extremely tired. What would you do?  The moment you reach home, you would immediately start working and complete your work. No matter how much your mind and body shout that they need rest, you won’t stop until the work is done. Right?

And you are very happy with yourself. You think you have sacrificed your rest for the work and pushed your limits, you might even nominate yourself for the Nobel Prize (in your imaginations, of course!!!). But in the morning, when the only thing you can feel is pain, your beautiful bubble starts to burst. Anyhow you get dressed, go to your office thinking at least I have completed my work, the appreciation I will get for it is worth all the pain. And then you submit your work, and another blow, your boss calls you and points out all the silly mistakes you have done. And there, the bubble that started bursting in the morning has breathed its last. Poor you, all you got from your supreme sacrifice were pain and humiliation!!

Wouldn’t it be better, that you let your body and mind rest for a while, take a nap, eat something, do some refreshing activity and then get to work. If you punish your body or mind by depriving them of the much needed rest, they will punish you by spoiling your work. Karma!!! “What goes around comes around”. It does not apply only to your conduct with others; it applies to your conduct with yourself as well.

The third mistake is the most common of them all.  It is multi-tasking. What is wrong with multi-tasking now? It is the need of the hour. In this rat race, multi-tasking is the key to success. Yes, I know all these arguments. But I still stand by my words. And No, I am not crazy. Hear me out and decide for yourself.

You are chatting on facebook with your girlfriend/wife/friend, preparing a presentation on your laptop and watching your favorite series on television. Sounds familiar?   Now your favorite character in the series dies suddenly. You are obviously very frustrated. Life seems so cruel, the whole mood has changed. The sweet conversation you were having with your girlfriend/wife/friend does not seem so sweet now, the clients for whom you were preparing the presentation does not seem so much important right now. Yes, this is just a momentary thing and in a minute or two or may be five, you will be back to reality.

But since you were multi-tasking, this momentary mourning of yours has reached your girlfriend/wife/friend and your presentation too. Now your clients or your girlfriend/wife/friend don’t know the tragedy you have been through, they are going to confuse your mourning with your incompetence or ill-behavior. Had you not been doing all these things at once, you could have saved your day.

See, this is why I say multi-tasking is a mistake. Your brain is not conditioned to work on many things at the same time and as a result it carries the emotions and thoughts from the one to the other. Even research has proven that men cannot multi-task and women can do it but to some extent only.  Give your undivided attention to one thing at a time. You may get slow but you won’t create disasters. With undivided attention and focus, everything you do will be with the best of your abilities. After all, “slow and steady wins the race”. What is the point of running fast and breaking your leg just before reaching the finishing line?

Remember, confidence is a must but when you attach the word over to it, mishaps are bound to happen. Remain grounded; don’t let your success reach your head. Always be focused and pay attention to each and every detail. Read the signals of your mind and body, don’t punish them. Avoid fatigue, take rest whenever required. Don’t hurry, the world is not going to run away, but if you don’t stop, you might pass away (a. k. a heart attacks, strokes, hemorrhage, etc.). Don’t try to have too much on your platter. Pay attention to one thing at a time. You are a human, not a Windows P.C, you don’t need to multi-task.

Wishing you a Happywala New year with Peace and Abundance…