Monday, March 16, 2020

Lessons from My Favourite Podcasts: How to Make 2020 the Best Year of Your Life

Early morning! My Favourite time of the day when I go for a walk or a run or a workout at the gym. I feel blessed to be alive. I am full of gratitude as I am able to invest my time in activities that I enjoy.

Every day, I start my routine with a Podcast. Daily morning dose of podcasts fill me with:
  • A big desire to achieve my full potential and Pushes me to go that extra mile
  • A deep sense of gratitude for the life wherein I feel like helping others without any expectations
  • A high level of motivation to work hard on my physical and mental health
Therefore, morning time is a blessed time for me.

My journey of learning from podcasts started 4 years back. It has changed my perspective for the way to live life, thinking pattern and level of optimism. Since I have learned so much from so many of my virtual Mentors, I consider it my duty to share some of my learning with all of you.

After listening to and analysing the common characteristics, I learnt that all my virtual mentors are:

-  Visionary – They have a vision. They know where to land in the end. They don’t negotiate with their vision and goals. I strongly believe that their vision actually provides them continuous supply of energy at all times. Their vision helps them to consistently navigate despite so many distractions.

-  In Love with their failures – You may not believe it when I tell you that all of them love their failures. They love failures (I could not understand for first few years why?). They strongly believe that if they are failing it means they are going in the right direction. Failure provides fuel to hard work. It provides impetus for a strong emotion for their cause.

- Stretching beyond their comfort zone – They are the most aggressive learners. Every day, they learn new things which may or may not help them. But definitely it helps them in broadening their perspective. They are not afraid of wasting time in learning things which may not help them in the short term. Learning new things help them expanding their comfort zone and help them in getting comfortable in new situations (uncomfortable zone).

-  Straight Shooters – These guys are blunt. My virtual mentors talk straight forward. They have lot of clarity and they trust their thinking process. In order to save time, they shoot straight. For them time is money.

-  Good team players – These guys respect their team members. They strongly believe in team work. Their ability to be working with others is much higher than a normal person.

-  Workaholics – I don’t know if I am correct in giving them this title. Actually, their vision excites them so much that most of them are thinking about their work 24x7. When you think hard enough, you are bound to get multiple solutions and most of the time better solutions. I have observed this process closely because of my close association with Japanese people.

Each and every point I have mentioned is so close to my heart and to my thought process. I wish if I could train every-one around me on the mindset/thought process I have mentioned above.

Don’t worry if you are a 50 year old executive or someone who has just started your career, don’t worry if you are a student or a budding entrepreneur. If you can start focusing your thoughts in the right direction, one day you will achieve what you are looking for what you desire.

Baby Steps to embark on one’s journey of success in 2020 and beyond-

Envision your future -  I would suggest, sit with your mentor or a person you admire and work out a goal post for yourself.

Get an invisible cloak of fearlessness - Face situations which will bring out your version of Dr. Strange’s cape - which can only happen when you stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone and this shall motivate you to face the next impossible task.

Build your A – Team - Don’t stick to your known circle. Go and meet new people, unknown people. This process will make you a solid team player who can leverage everyone’s strength.

HARDWORK!! No Shortcuts - Start working hard and start plotting your working hours in a note pad. Clock your high energy hours and low energy hours, once you have it in front of you, it is easier to decide when to peak the hardwork and when to chill and do no-brainers but essential stuff.

Get a Mentor - I am a strong believer in the power of a mentor. If you don’t have a mentor, find someone with whom you can discuss about your life/growth/problems. Talking and discussing leads to multiple and best possible solutions.

Whatever little success I have achieved is because I learned from the most-learned people in the world and still do.

Go learn and grow.

Love & Respect,

Nikhil Singh


India Centre for Global Excellence

International Skills Centre India

Think HR India

Source -

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Fast-Track Your Success Through The Right Mentor!

I have had a very interesting journey with Mentoring in my life. From my school days, through my college days and even today I have been privileged to have a number of good mentors. My father, private tutors, college buddies and corporate colleagues are just some of them. They have not only taught me what is important for me, but have also helped me through my journey of self-discovery.

Now-a-days, because of social media and in my quest to unlock the true human potential, I have been exposed to the best possible mentors available today. As of now, I have one mentor whom I know personally and three virtual mentors whom I interact with through social media.

My mentors have played a significant role in making me who I am today and helping in what I have achieved till now. They impact my thinking, help me in forming the right work habits, guide me in taking appropriate decisions, keeping long term perspective in mind.

Interestingly, I have always been bombarded by questions around Mentors by so many of my friends, colleagues, students. Some of the common statements/queries are:
  • Do I need a mentor in my life?
  • What will be the role of a Mentor?
  • I can’t trust anyone/I can’t share my personal life with anyone but I need a mentor. What should I do?
  • How to find a mentor?
  • I don’t share everything with my mom/dad, how can I share it with a stranger?

First, let me share a few examples throughout history about great people who found the right mentor for themselves:
  • Oprah Winfrey of ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ fame was mentored by celebrated author and poet, the late Maya Angelou.
  • Former Apple Inc. CEO the late Steve Jobs served as a mentor to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 
  • Fashion designer Christian Dior mentored fellow haute couture designer Yves St. Laurent. 
  • Mother Teresa led a remarkable and revered life, but may not have achieved all that she did if it weren’t for her mentor, Father Michael van der Peet.  
  • Vikram Sarabhai was the mentor to one of the legend from India Hon’able ex-President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
  • Arjuna and Karna both were great warriors but Arjuna had Lord Krishna as mentor. Rest is very well known history.
  • Gopal Krishna Gokhale was Mahatama Gandhi’s mentor.
 Mentors are mentors because they are specialists in their respective field. To choose your mentor you must consider their type and level of expertise. Mentors can be divided into following categories:

a) Subject Matter Expert Mentors (specialises in your job/field) – These mentors can guide you in doing your job better and can help you build a solid foundation for your career.

b) Life Coach Mentors – These mentors can help you live a fulfilling life. They can coach you on the meaning of life and how to live it fully.

c) Industry Mentors – These mentors can guide you in making right decisions about your specific industries, how to manage your career in these industries, how to upgrade your self in keeping up with the changes any industry is facing etc.

d) Technology Mentors – These mentors can help by training you directly or may suggest you to get trainings in your current jobs and can also suggest you futuristic trainings around technology.

You must also look for following competencies in your mentor:
  •  Energetic
  •  Passionate
  • Good listener
  • Ready to help you

Let me demystify the process of finding the most appropriate mentor for yourself:

# 1st Step - Stop Getting Scared – Don’t be scared to get a mentor for yourself. Be bold, be fearless and be demanding of yourself. To achieve the extraordinary, you need to step out of your comfort zone. If you don’t find your mentor to be helpful, do not pursue that path. Find a new mentor.

# 2nd Step - Identify the Right Mentor specialist – Talk to yourself, write it down and analyse which skill set/competency you want to strengthen, where you would need help from the mentor.

# 3rd Step - Search – Search with abundant mentality. Search everywhere, talk to people, connect with your connection’s contacts, google about your specialist.

# 4th Step - Approach – Identify at least 2 mentors and approach both of them together. Book a meeting, talk to them about your expectations, why you need him/her, ask if he/she is ready to become your mentor, discuss all the important terms and conditions. You must discuss each and every point.

The ultimate benefit of having a  mentor would be that your mentor would keep you focused on your goals. Mentors are disciplinarians and will create the necessary boundaries which we cannot set for ourselves. He/she will not allow you to get distracted and be off course.

In Mark Zuckerberg’s own words: “Bill Gates has always been a mentor and inspiration for me even before I knew him. Growing up, I admired how Microsoft was mission-focused”.

Live a Focused Life.

Live a Great Life.

Love & Respect

Nikhil Singh


India Centre for Global Excellence

International Skills Centre India

Think HR India

Source -

Monday, March 2, 2020

How to Manage Your Time rather than Cribbing about how less it is!

It is a dichotomy that New Generation Technology has been developed to serve the need of humans but still most of us end our day with so many pending tasks for the next day. Ideally, New Generation Technology should help us manage our work efficiently and leave us with more free time. Yet, when I look around, I realize that everyone has less time in a day, everyone is working more but is still not able to finish the tasks at hand.

I really wonder if this technology is there to help us or is it providing nutrition to our hunger to achieve more, which is depriving us of ever deficient time? Is it possible that our desire to finish more has increased due to upgraded technology? Can’t really answer this question without enough research, however the reality remains the same that almost every person I meet is grappling with the issue of shortage of TIME, always under pressure of leaving tasks unaccomplished.
We need to find the right answers to the biggest problem homo sapiens are facing in today’s era.

Let us mull over some of the possible ways to manage time to lead a fulfilling life:

1. Do Not Miss the Big picture – You need to have non – negotiables in your life which you will not give up in spite of how long the list is of your pending tasks. For example: Find time to exercise daily, put daily effort to upgrade your skill/s that ought to help you do your thing / job/ task at hand, find time to unwind every week by doing simple things such as going for a movie or on a date or a simple meet up with an old friend or meeting your parents etc. DO NOT negotiate with your non- negotiables.

2. Get comfortable with an Uncomfortable Zone – Build a vision to sleep less. I have personally observed and experienced that 5 hours sleep gives me sufficient energy for a long day. Therefore, you need to trust me when I say that 5 to 6 hours sleep is enough for everyone until you are being instructed to sleep more due to medical reasons. You may like to sleep extra on weekends. If you can find even two extra hours in the morning, you will be able to finish lot of pending tasks.

3. Do you have Grit & Determination? - As per the 2018 study by MIT’s Department of Brain & Cognitive Science, habits may form familiar neural pathways which makes it more difficult to break the pattern of behavior. Our brain retains a memory of the habit context, and this habit can be triggered if the habit cues come back. For example, if you want to reduce weight, just the sight of a yummy chocolate can reset all good intentions.

Therefore, you need to have a very strong resolve to change past habits which stop you from achieving your full potential. So, whether you want to wake up early and squeeze in a couple of productive hours, or want to work those extra hours in the evening from 7pm to 10 pm or want to hustle more for passive  income during weekends, you need to have a very strong grit and determination to break patterns and develop new ones. Determination will help you in taking tough decisions to remove unnecessary tasks/habits from your daily routine. It will free your time from the shackles of mundane tasks.

4. To-Do List – Innocuous yet immensely POWERFUL!

a) It sounds simple but I have seen people failing to follow their To-Do list within a week

b) Most of us may not know how to make a To-Do List therefore point a) happens.

Let’s understand the right process of making a To-Do List. You need to make two excel sheets. 1stExcel Sheet would have all the pending tasks as per the priorities assigned to them.

2ndExcel Sheet would have hour-wise/ day wise weekly plan. You need to assign which tasks will go to which day of the week.

Every day, you will work on both sheets and edit the assigned tasks as per the current progress. By working with two sheets, you will be able to control your pending To-Do List. The challenge with one single sheet is that it gets too long, scary and unending and with 2 the moment you complete the tasks of a day / hour simply delete them and start afresh daily with a list which is definitely going to get shorter because you are accomplishing by the hour.

5. Identify your Time Wasters – Lot of us may not realize the reality that we don’t have sufficient time even when we are always conscious about how we spend our time daily. The fact of the matter is our inability to identify time wasters. Time wasters are those activities which do not add any value to one’s current or long-term vision yet we end up doing them anyways.

For example, when you speak to your friends/colleagues during working hours, you may feel you are taking a short break or unwinding yourself during a heavy day. How-ever it breaks your high-level concentration from an important piece of work you might be doing. Same work might take extra time due to lack of concentrated efforts. Lot of organizations collect personal mobiles during working hours from their employees. It might sound weird in Indian context but when you realize the benefit, you would be compelled to give it a serious thought. Even schools are doing it as they want undivided, undistracted attention of their pupils for better learning. Only if one could pick one’s personal calls beyond office hours, it would definitely help in saving up your time and help in finishing more tasks.

6. Power of Consultation – This is actually my all-time favorite. You might often dismiss the power of having a deep professional conversation with your mentor/ friend about the issues you are facing with respect to time. All of us experience limited time and if you don’t find time to discuss how to use it effectively then I’d be curious to know what else could be more important in your life than time itself?

At least once in two months, take out time and discuss about your time management with your Mentor/ Teacher/ Guru. Just having a discussion will help you understand the problem deeply. Obviously when you get an outside-in view of your situation from your mentor, you will be able to find solutions beyond your imagination. You will be able to plan your life better when you realize the power of utilizing effective time.

7. Live 3 Mini Days in a Day  – I recently learnt the power of having 3-mini-days in one single day. After implementing it personally, I have started seeing the benefit of these 3-mini-days concept.

 So let us see how does one divide our day into 3-mini-days:

1stDay – 6 am to 10 am.

2ndDay – 10am to 4 pm.

3rdDay – 4pm to 10 pm.

Segregate your daily tasks into these 3-mini-days and you will be surprised to experience that the number of finished tasks is much more than the tasks finished in one day. You need to try it to believe it.

In the end, my friends, I would like to close by quoting a simple yet meaningful quote by Belle De Jour about time which goes as “Your Time is Limited. Some opportunities Never Repeat Themselves.”

Love & Respect

Nikhil Singh


India Centre for Global Excellence

International Skills Centre India

Think HR India

Source -

Sunday, March 1, 2020

New Generation Skills - Guide to survival in the future

You may have heard of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection or “survival of the fittest”. Even Science states that one needs to continuously evolve and change themselves in order to survive. Only those people will survive in the uncertain future who posses these skills and change themselves according to the changes.

In order to make a nation successful, we need to ensure that we are teaching the right things and training our students with right skill sets. These subjects and skills are very useful to our students when they enter adulthood. The value system, habits and rituals then become the backbone for a successful economy, which leads to a successful nation. Therefore, what we teach at school and college becomes the most important decision for the nation.

To understand the need, FICCI & NASSACOM jointly commissioned a study namely ‘Future of Skills and Jobs in India’. The report states that in the future there will be jobs, which do not exist today. Approximately 9% of the manpower will be deployed in such jobs.

By 2022, 37% of the workforce needs to have a completely different skill set than the one we possess today. Globalization, Internet technologies and Artificial Intelligence will eventually create a demand, which can not be fulfilled by the curriculums which are being taught at Schools and Colleges today or even at the post graduation level. Industries are currently facing a huge gap in finding the right trainers to make their students future ready.

Because our regular and work lives are swept by waves of change, what can we do to prepare our successors and ourselves for this as an individual who is working in the corporate world or a student studying in a school/college? These are the skills that you would require:

1. Desire to Learn – With such an uncertain future, a person who has a genuine love for learning will survive. You need to develop a learning mindset, which means having a continuous hunger to learn new skills in your area.

2. Love for Goal Achievement – People are often successful when they set and achieve goals. We need to learn multiple skills and upgrade them continuously.

3. Capability to understand the problem – Problems can only be solved when we understand the issue completely. Therefore, we would require capabilities to cut the complex problem into small pieces, which can help us in taking suitable decisions.

4. Digital Literacy – If a person is considered to be digitally literate, that person will possess a range of digital skills, application abilities, skills and knowledge of the basic principles of the device they are using. The individual will have the ability to engage in various online communities and networks, adhere to the behavior protocols of that community, and will be able to find, capture, and evaluate any information.

5. Ability to collaborate – This skill is essential because the changes would be so fast and major that not every one will become an expert in everything. You will need help to get your work done by utilizing skills that others possess.

6. Evaluate the accuracy of information – With such large amount of information generated everyday, we may not be able to retain it accurately. We would have to find the accurate information and use critical analysis while assessing the new information.

7. Accepting Mindset – All of us are global citizens even though we have different cultures, habits and rituals. Only those of us would survive in the future who would welcome every individual with open arms and an open mindset. We would need to accept everyone as who they are.

The time has come when no one can afford to “rest on one’s laurels” but continuously evolve themselves using these skills.

The person who dares to change and learns to embrace it will win.

Nikhil Singh

Life Skill Resources

Think HR India

Source -

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