Chronos and Kairos

kairos-vs-chronos

Do you manage your time?

How does your daily calendar look?

Some time back I had shared an article on why I was not as hard working as I thought to be

and my time log taken over a period of month looked something like the below

average_hours

Of the above, what is Chronos time and what is Kairos time?

According to this link, Chronos and Kairos can be defined as

“The word kairos was an ancient Greek word meaning “opportunity,” “season,” or “fitting time.” Another Greek word for “time” was Chronos. A sequence of moments was expressed as chronos, emphasizing the duration of the time; an appointed time was expressed as kairos, with no regard for the length of the time. Thus, Chronos was more linear and quantitative, and Kairos was more nonlinear and qualitative.”

In my interpretation, Chronos time refers to stuff that you got to do, but you may not enjoy doing. A typical example could be the endless meetings. Kairos time refers that you want to do and enjoy doing, an example could be playing with your children, taking your daily walk, or any other activity where you lose your sense of time.

It is also my hypothesis, while you may be measuring Chronos time, you may forget to measure your Kairos time. You could argue that Kairos time cannot be and should not be measured. But my argument is slightly different. If Kairos time helps you to enjoy what you do, should you not be doing more of that and unless you start measuring that, how will you do more of that?

I also agree that for each of us, Chronos and Kairos would be different, but I am willing to take a bet that we all are doing less of Kairos and more of Chronos.

Someone asked me to do you measure clock time or compass time?

An honest answer is that I have measured only clock time. I hope this classification of Chronos and Kairos will help me measure compass time as well!

Well, what are your answers?

Do you agree that you are heavily biased towards clock time?

Why don’t you do this measurement of time, classify it as Chronos and Kairos for a month and see?

Now, let me get to my afternoon power nap!

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder

The Stranger in the Woods: The extraordinary story of the last true hermit

stranger_in_the_woods

Why did I pick this book?

Yet again a case of confirmation bias. Any books that has solitude, nature, hermit, monk, saint, philosophy and equivalent gets added to my reading queue !!

What do I like about the book?

I think the author does a fabulous job of Chronicling the life of a person who just vanished for twenty five years . Imagine getting something meaningful out of a person who has lived out of contact with society for twenty five years and yet the book comes as an extremely engrossing read. (Remember, I do have my biases for people who enjoy their own company!)

What is one interesting idea that I learned?

You can be away for twenty five years and still maintain absolute clarity!!

How long would it take?

4 – 5 hours

Paras or Quotes that I liked

The Tao Te Ching says that it is only through retreat rather than pursuit, through inaction rather than action, that we acquire wisdom. “Those with less become content,” says the Tao, “those with more become confused.”

“The more you realize, the more you realize there is nothing to realize,” she said. “The idea that there’s somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion.”

Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “He that thinks most, will say least.” The Tao Te Ching says, “Those who know do not tell; those who tell do not know.

“Ultimately, and precisely in the deepest and most important matters, we are unspeakably alone,”

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder

My Bucket List

bucket_list

You may wonder what my bucket list is doing here. I think a bucket list serves two purposes. It gives you a perspective of what you enjoy if you had the option of breaking away from your karmic cycle. It also gives an insight into who you are. If not anything, making it is some fun, and I hope you find some time to make it.  You will get to some obvious and not so obvious findings of yourselves.

Marathon

I intend to complete half marathon in two hours twenty minutes by this year and a full marathon within four hours by the end of next year. This is my battle with obesity, and so far obesity is having the last laugh. I am clear on this. It’s either deploy or die for this item on the list. I am not going to let the monster called obesity get better of me. Before you get me wrong, let me tell you this. The fight is not to get rid of my obesity, but I want to establish that I can be obese and still achieve these milestones!

Kanyakumari to Kashmir by Road, but an additional twist has come.

I almost did this, except that it was from Bangalore to Leh by road. Now, the unfortunate thing meeting any item on the bucket list is you do not want to stop with it. The buddies I went with to Leh are urging me to plan a drive to Singapore. They know I am a better strategist (read as armchair philsopher), and they are tireless executioners.  However, I am extremely reluctant to start this strategic planning, as all of the five who went on the road trip to Leh including me are currently enjoying our hibernation and we do not have a clue on how to raise the money for the trip. We want to complete this by 2020. I will assign a probability of 0.6 for this happening as I enjoy those long drives where you essentially live out of the vehicle in which you travel.

Be a self-sustaining entrepreneur

I started with the intention of starting an organization that can deliver lasting value in its chosen areas. I realized in the last twenty-two months that is tougher than I expected and with a statement as vague as ‘Deliver lasting value in chosen areas,’ it is even more difficult. I have not given up on myself yet, but the probability of this happening is in the range of 0.2 to 0.3

Contribute towards breaking some element of digital divide

I have been a shameless consumer and beneficiary of technological advances. It has been a persistently dormant thought in my mind, the need to give back something. I have not firmed up anything in my mind yet, but I wish to put technology to some meaningful use especially in primary and higher education. Once I firm up the idea, I think the probability of this happening is 0.8.

Complete Chadar Trek

I think this is going to be the test of ultimate endurance for me. Carrying my weight, carrying a rucksack of twenty-five kilograms, with temperatures reaching in the order of minus twenty degree Celsius and walking on ice for 70 KMS over seven days is not going to be easy for me. Especially for a heavyweight like me who demands more oxygen from the environment. However, I need to get this fear out of my mind. My likely target dates for this is either January 2018 and January 2019.  I would assign a probability of 0.8 for this. I have to get this done this by 2019 as most of the ice is going away owing to general climatic changes.

Have an article featured in ‘The Hindu’ Sunday Magazine

I have been a regular reader of Hindu Sunday Edition from my post graduation days. Some six of us used to take turns in reading The Hindu, and we would have a debate on the articles featured in the Sunday Edition. Except for the debate, reading The Hindu on a Sunday continues, and with the improved version, it takes almost 25% of my waking time on a Sunday. I have always liked the depth of research and the choice of words. However, I do realize this is going to be a herculean task for my superfluous language skills, and I will give this a probability of 0.1.

Have a book published by traditional publishing houses

As you are aware, I have self-published two books, and I have three more in the pipeline. Once in three months, Amazon credits my account with twelve rupees. That means someone bought my book. But I want to get one of the traditional publishing houses to publish my book.

The title I have in mind is ‘ Why Ordinary is Great.’

I have a fair idea of how the publishing industry works and yet again given my lack of originality; I shall assign this a probability of 0.3.

Practice a life of poverty for Seven Weeks

I borrowed this item from the stoic philosophers. I want to leave home without anything in my pocket and get back to home after seven weeks without anything. Call it a zero sum game if you have to, but I think this will help me realize what matters in life. I have done enough background work and mental preparation for this. However, a signoff from the folks at home is pending. I think that is not going to happen for next six years. I shall assign a probability of 0.7 to 0.8 for this.

Coup De Grace in Madikeri

I have seen and felt the rains in most parts of India, but somehow I find the rains at Madikeri, combined with the lush greenery and clouds touching that greenery, extremely inspiring.  I have been asking my friends on how to own a hut in Madikeri, and they always talk about in the scale of acres. Well, I do not need an acre, I just need enough space to feel the rain and wake up watching the clouds touching the greenery. I would love to convince my tribe to move there and spend time in those harmless debates, but I am not a good salesman. In my view, the probability of this happening is around 0.5.

To Summarize,

Item Perceived Probability
Marathon 1
Drive to Singapore 0.6
Entrepreneur 0.2 – 0.3
Contribution towards breaking digital divide 0.8
Chadar Trek 0.8
Hindu Article 0.1
Traditional Book Publishing 0.3
Practice a Life of Poverty for Seven weeks 0.7 – 0.8
Coup De Grace in Madikeri 0.5

 

That is all folks. It did not amount to ten, but if I can do five out of the nine, I would consider myself done!

You would have noticed the obvious in these, but the not so obvious hard fact is that I simply do want to make that dent in the universe! And do not want to equip myself doing that.

I have made peace with ‘The average Joe’ inside of me.

I hope you get to do this fun exercise and if you do, please do feel free to share with me.

My daughter asked me yesterday at the dinner table, “Appa, what you want to be when you grow up?” (I am not sure what that meant!). In other words, she was asking me what I would do after ten years.

I could not answer her, but a ludic loop of walking amidst nature, reading, writing, giving my time and skills without expecting anything in return, is something that I would like her to see me living.

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder

Headwinds – Providence or Resistance?

headwinds

Headwinds!

I can live with less of it for now.

I am upset with GOD if there is one.

Why is providence against me?

I was just pulling a fast one. In my books, there are many GODS, and they have been more than merciful. I have no two thoughts about that in my mind, and as I age, I have moved from conditional surrender to unconditional surrender to ‘The Mighty Almighty.’ I wonder why it is always ‘The Mighty Almighty’ as I feel Almighty would suffice.

I had 95% success rate with Quid Pro Quo arrangement with GOD. I cleared all my exams owing to temples rather than any academic rigor.

However, of late I have been wondering if I am subjected to more Headwinds than I possibly deserve.

As a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, which increasingly seems to be a euphemism for being fiscally unproductive, I am facing a behemoth of challenges and too lazy to address them. I am wondering if I have grossly overestimated by capabilities, ignoring all the forewarning I had got. I am running out of time, and any path that I have taken seems to hit some roadblock or another.

As someone who has taken up to finish the half marathon in two hours and twenty minutes, I seem to be struggling around two hours and fifty minutes. Any technique I am trying does not seem to work.

At home, after having broken twenty-one years of the routine of not seeing me from nine to nine, they are fed up with my continuous presence from nine to nine!. They are civilized enough not to mention that, but you do not get to gray hair without some degree of perception. Do you?

I attempt to take an OLA auto, and the auto person refused to take me after hearing I will pay by OLA money. I told him that I would cancel OLA and pay him cash to which he readily accepted and on further inquiry, he revealed that he got money after five days and that too after begging. I wonder why he cannot be paid the same instant and cannot make out if the technology is a boon or bane.

With my kids growing faster than normal I am reminded of the following cartoon from Calvin and Hobbes, too proud to accept ‘ I don’t know’ to their increasing variety of questions on any subject. They seem to be wondering, how this fellow cleared his matriculation!

headwinds_calvin_hobbes

My close friends of years, cannot fathom what I am up to. They just cannot see me doing nothing. They just think I am in some stealth mode when I am in no mood for any mode at all.

I think I am getting closer to an answer.

All this while, it has been tailwinds, and I did not have the gratitude to realize.

Except when sitting on an airplane, we do not realize the tailwinds. Do we?

We somehow feel the tailwinds are getting ahead of us, but not taking us with it. However, when it comes to headwinds, oh God, why me?

Have we been ever thankful for the tailwinds?

I also realize why is that I am feeling the headwinds.

I think it is something which is inside me called ‘Resistance.’ I am resisting it instead of navigating it. Providence has no role although I cannot completely get over it.

I think I will enjoy the headwinds if I start taking baby towards moving instead of resisting it and somehow have this illogical feeling of that  I will enjoy the headwinds more than the tailwinds.

What do you think?

Headwinds or tailwinds, my current mindset seems to be more like the classic song Lift Karadey (Lift me up) by Adnan Sami.

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance


inner_game_of_tennis

Why did I pick this book?

 I have always been fascinated watching this game. From the days of Borg/Mcnroe to Federer/Nadal, this is one sport that continues to inspire me even if I have not managed to hold a tennis racket all my life. I have always wondered if I can watch this game with so much focus, what focus the players who are playing this should be having. Is it Science or Magic?

 What do I like about the book?

 Though the book is about tennis, the ideas and principles elucidated can be extended to excel in any sport or any other skill.

 What is one interesting idea that I learned?

 Thou shall not judge Thou

 How long would it take?

 3 -4 hours

 Paras or Quotes that I liked

 “Focus in tennis is fundamentally no different from the focus needed to perform any task or even to enjoy a symphony; learning to let go of the habit of judging yourself on the basis of your backhand is no different from forgetting the habit of judging your child or boss; and learning to welcome obstacles in competition automatically increases one’s ability to find advantage in all the difficulties one meets in the course of one’s life. Hence, every inner gain applies immediately and automatically to the full range of one’s activities. This is why it is worthwhile to pay some attention to the inner game.

 

The heart of this book and at the heart of the art of doing anything well. Focus means not dwelling on the past, either on mistakes or glories; it means not being so caught up in the future, either its fears or its dreams, that my full attention is taken from the present. The ability to focus the mind is the ability to not let it run away with you. It does not mean not to think—but to be the one who directs your own thinking. Focusing can be practiced on a tennis court, chopping carrots, in a pressure packed board meeting or while driving in traffic. It can be practiced when alone or in conversation. It takes as much trust to fully focus attention when listening to another person without carrying on a side conversation in your own head as it does to watch a tennis ball in all its detail

 

Abandon is a good word to describe what happens to a tennis player who feels he has nothing to lose. He stops caring about the outcome and plays all out.

Not assuming you already know is a powerful principle of focus.

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as “rootless and stemless.” We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don’t condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder

Education – Who is the Elephant in the Room – Conclusion

EITR

I had rambled about our obsession with marks and continued with a sneak preview of what is happening around us in the world.

So If I have to summarize here, the questions that we need to answer are

  1. What is the reason for our obsession with percentages?
  2. Who are the stakeholders and can they play a role?
  3. Who is ‘The Elephant’?

Obsession with percentages

I think this is a fool proof method of handling scale. It puts in the value of ‘forced discipline’ which ensures that any person coming out of this system will fit into the middle of the bell curve with a probability of 95% or more and shall continue in the middle of the bell curve for the rest of their lives. They would be the conformists. They know a formula that works, and they would stick to the formula. 5% of that 95% will somehow figure out that this is not what they want and move towards being outliers. So please do not undermine the value of this obsession!. Two of the current CEO’s of the two greatest companies(Google and Microsoft) are a product of this obsession!. So make no mistakes. This obsession works, and this obsession possibly needs to continue till we find an alternative that can guarantee a success probability like this obsession.

Well, if that sounded like an anti-climax to my argument, please hold on.

There is a cost to this obsession.

The cost is decreased curiosity and joy. Somewhere in this race, we make our children lose the connection with their inner core and convert them into a machine. Few of these children re-discover their inner core at a later stage in life, and few of them never get a chance to do that.

Who is then ‘The Elephant in the room.’

This is where the stakeholders come in.

Stakeholders and their roles

The stakeholders are

  • Children
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Institutions
  • Governments

 

 

Children – Some children have this phenomenal clarity of what they want to be, and they get this clarity pretty early. No matter what, they have a vision of themselves, and they will stand by that vision, no matter what.  You just cannot shake that vision. Unfortunately, this population is minuscule.

Teachers – Some teachers spot a certain unique talent in certain children and make it their life mission to ensure that these children achieve great heights. They wage a committed battle with all other stakeholders to ensure these children remain insulated from all other pressures. Many of these teachers are unsung heroes or heroines, but they do it because of their inner voice. We should worship these teachers.

Governments, Institutions – I would spare them, but I wish institutions can take a leaf out of what is emerging in the world and adapt. Especially, the prestigious institutes can make a real difference at scale, but somehow they remain reluctant. Both governments and institutions operate for success at scale, and quite frankly I do not think there is any other formula than the obsession with percentages

All the above stakeholders, excluding the category of children with early clarity, play a crucial role and shall continue to play a crucial role, but their utilitarian function of ‘Greater good for the greater number’ is in my view a valid argument.

So it boils down to one stakeholder, who can make a difference.

And they are ‘THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.’

PARENTS

If it looks to you like I have scored a self-goal, you are right.

It is MEA CULPA.

As ever, I will leave you with my thought process, and if it hits one neuron in your system, then I would have made my point.

I think the first thing we want our children to be is a higher version of ourselves. We want them to succeed in things that we were hopeless. I will be frank. My joy will be absolute if both of my kids get into IIT! And then my KPI as a parent would be met.

All my subconscious behavior and actions would force me to do that in the name of well-intentioned parenting.

My son is an avid gamer. He is in his eighth standard. He is in some top percentile of the international gamers in some very popular games. Give him any game, and he will figure out in flat sixty seconds on how to navigate that game.

However, my behavior towards him as follows

  1. Daily lecture to him on why video games are harmful to his mental health.
  2. Making him read articles on why video games are harmful
  3. Block the port in which the game is played in my router firewall without his knowledge and make his day miserable
  4. Talk to him about the greatness of institutions like IIT, which he does not like to listen.
  5. Starting a battle with him on why his Hindi tuitions are important and emotionally threaten him to attend that when he has no leaning towards learning that.

I can see me killing his curiosity day by day and shortly I will succeed in my mission to put him right in the middle of the bell curve.

I will come to my daughter. She is in her sixth standard. Any stage she will grab the mike, a decent orator for her age and she has some inclination towards the traditional form of dancing Bharatha Natyam.

Somehow, I am very clear that I will allow this indulgence of hers for next two years. After two years, my coercing of her will begin. I will ensure that she follows the playbook and kill the above two skills of hers.

I have seen this pattern in everyone close to me as well. I have seen kids who demonstrated brilliance in singing, sports, being pushed to academics after a certain age. I have remained a mute spectator to the vanishing of their boundless enthusiasm and joy.

All this boils down to the below

  • I know what my children what want better than them. My vision for them is better than their vision of their selves.
  • I want society to measure children and me by an external metric. I cannot be seen as a failed parent.

 

Above all, given a chance between a probability of failure and Safety, I chose safety even if my all my experience has taught me it is OK to fail!

I go to bed in peace, having achieved the satisfaction of putting my two children in the safety of the hedonic treadmill.

That is all folks.

I am ‘THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM.’

Unless I find the inner strength to tell my kids

“Go after your dreams,” without any conditions; I shall remain ‘The Elephant in the room.’

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder

PS: I have used a lot of ‘I’ and parenting is about ‘We’ (Me and my spouse). However, despite all the discussions we have, I force my way to ensure the buck stops with me and I did not think it is fair to include her when I am paying lip service to her views.

A Virtue , A Vice and A Delayed Prophecy

virtue_vice

Virtue

I am qualified to talk about an addiction. A positive addiction.

An addiction that

  • Removes negative thoughts from my system
  • Makes random strangers smile at me for no reasons
  • Helps me in establishing my priorities or lack of it for the day
  • Helps me reconnect with nature
  • Get me more vitamin D
  • Makes me re-discover old melodies
  • Helps me find new song genres
  • Helps me listen to interesting conversations
  • Helps me in absorbing audio books
  • Gets a free dose of unadulterated oxygen supply
  • Helps me eat whatever I want guilt-free
  • Helps me go to bed in time
  • Helps me get up in time

Guess what?

It is simple.

Walking. It has taken me around four decades and more to discover this addiction.

But over the last couple of years, this has become a habit. A snapshot for the last 5 months is as below and that would possibly convince you on why I am qualified to talk about this.

z_running_summary

This has become like a drug to me now. Even for a day, I miss it, I feel that I have lost out on something.

All, I can say is I was and am obese. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

Go, fall in love with the nature around you.

You will discover all that is good that is stored deep inside you.

Vice

All this talk of layoffs and finger pointing.

Did we complain in good times?

Why crib in bad times?

What is the insurance?

Stay Curious. Learn Continuously. Challenge yourself.

Realize work is fun and life becomes simpler when you realize for most things in life “Buck stops at you”

Be battle ready on a daily basis and increase your level of play in peace times.

Remember – Chance favours the prepared mind.

Okay, why is it is a vice?

Because, I do not follow any of the above. But I shall definitely not blame the organization.

Prophecy Delayed

I sometime feel the pronounced AI apocalypse is overstated. People are not losing jobs to automation or anything at least in this country. It is more due to fundamentals of business not being in place. Couple of examples that nothing has changed in a while.

Recent rains took away the internet from my home for couple of days. The broadband provider did not have a clue. Their phone lines could not be reached and were down.  The SLA’s of 48 hours were breached. Even after registering complaints, no one could get back on when this could be fixed. Only after my wife when to the corporate office to give them her piece of mind , things started to move and the next day it was fixed miraculously. These guys despite all technological advances did not have a clue for close to 72 hours on what was wrong.

The next day, I visited a famous departmental store chain and shopped something. I was amazed to see that the lady at the counter was patiently writing the bill in register. The systems were down. No one complained. I bought some three milkshakes , each priced 35 rupees. She had written the total as 70. Out of my honesty and terrific mathematics knowledge I told 35 * 3 = 105. She smilingly told, Sir – “This is buy two, get one free” and my mathematical intelligence took a hard hit. It was not written anywhere. Systems were down and still she managed to know this item had a discount! God Bless her.

I remember by child hood days. My dad used to have this running battle with the electricity folks after the rain cuts off the electricity wires. The baton has been taken over by wife who has this running battle with the Internet providers after the rains, where the cables are cut.

Billing from department stores were always hand written and still that continues in some way.

Old is Gold.

Welcome, self driving cars.

I will not be around to realize the fun.

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)

Zunder