Mantras For Success In The 21st Century

Chanting mantras and magic tricks is not in my quiver of humble arrows! I must say “Mantras for success in the 21st century” makes me sound sage-like and old, or young and brash or full of Whatsapp and bluff. Call them mantras or magic tricks, I feel a deep need to talk to you about what I am talking about today!

Two unconnected events popped up as I was reflecting on a busy week. One, a rather valorous attempt at unclogging a tap at home. Two, getting a leadership group to reflect on their calendars. Two disconnected events and one convergent outcome: a subject for The OWL Despatch!

So what’s special about the 21st century?

Here’s some data. This is what happens in one minute on the internet, created by Lori Lewis.

Reams of stimuli waft in through our phones and other devices. We are in a perpetual high with a drug called “information”. We are addicted! It gives us a high. A perception if you will, that are in control and a false sense of expertise.

As we endlessly scroll and use up our data packs, oblivious of the hidden costs. Human costs far exceed the money we pay! Time. Attention. Opportunity cost of how else we could have spent our time on. The after effects of dealing with toxic stuff and ways of the world. We forget that what streams up is not what is important, but what will get us to consume more. More than a decade ago, Clay Shirky said, “Its not information overload. It’s filter failure”. Pause. Read that again.

“It’s not information overload. It’s filter failure”.

What do you filter out? What do you allow yourself to be consumed by? For how much are you aware of? Let’s get to the mantras.

Mantras For Success In The 21st Century

Mantra #1 : Filter At Source.

Good filters keep you sane. Filtering stimuli at source saves you the trouble of accumulated trash. Accumulating trash is a natural byproduct unless you have strong filters at source.

Here are some of mine.

1. Keeping all notifications switched off! No interruptions please.

2. Choosing to be on the web for specific purposes rather than a direct result of a habit.

3. Relying on technology to keep track of what I am consuming and blocking some known quicksand pits!

What are your habits? Someday we should exchange notes!

Mantra #2: Examine your online life. Reflect on it!

It’s as simple as that. There are tools to show how much time we spend on what tool. 99% of the people I do a calendar audit with, discover a gap the size of the Atlantic ocean between where they think they spent time, where they actually did and where they needed to! No prizes for guessing that nibbled away time added up to large chunks! In their own admission, was wasted! In extension, that meant poor filters!

Remember good filters don’t happen by default. They have to be deliberately designed. They have to be cleaned up in regular intervals. Examine your filters. Put in place new ones. Clean ones that no longer work. Unfriend that chap who posts toxic stuff. If you feel that that’s too extreme, hit the mute button. Shut down notifications. Peer into your screen time. Delete the app. Whatever works for you.

Deliberate choice making

Our lives are far more fulfilling when we handle our time with care and devices with ease!

So, here are two things for you to do. As soon as you finish The OWL Despatch, open up your calendar and pore over it. Perhaps, open up your phones and consume the data on your screen time. It usually causes quite an awakening. At least, it did to me.

If you are up for it, here is a sure shot way in which you can reduce it. Find a place to note it down. Just note it down every week. You can thank me later. The very act of noting it down will bring more awareness and change.

So, there. Those are two mantras for success in the 21st century. I hope you find them of use. Please share your ideas too. I promise to share it with the community in the next edition.

OWL Despatch
OWL Despatch

The OWL Despatch

The OWL Despatch is a fortnightly labour of love where I curate five interesting posts from the world that I am compelled to share. This is edition number Sixty Eight.

1. First off is a wonderful post titled “Do you know yourself?” Why do we keep over estimating our capabilities? Do we? I do! It was a useful reminder.

2. Deloitte has put out a special report on the trends for 2020. (Returning to work in the future of work: Embracing purpose, potential, perspective and possibility during COVID-19). Very interesting.

3. Did you know that more than 90% of excel spreadsheets have errors? From COVID data to Valuation data all are riddled with errors. Here’s someone who is dealing with it.

4. Here is an experience from someone who stopped using screens on Sundays. This edition is set in context! Read on.

5. Finally, hugging cows. No, I mean it. Check it out.

Reader’s Corner

Responding to last edition titled “How Do You Know You Are Growing”, Vivek Patwardhan wrote in. “Very deep question! Thanks for raising it. I feel one grows when he remembers a conversation (some give you insights, some we hate because it is true and makes us uncomfortable!). The question we ought to ask ourselves on Jan 1 each year is ‘What conversations of last year stayed on my mind? And why?’. Habits, in my opinion, develop after the tickle or electric shock delivered by conversations.”

His thoughts stirred up more thoughts. Do read his blog piece titled “Contempt. Our national language of conversations”.

Abhijit sent in a profound quote from Goethe. “Every one of my writings has been furnished to me by a thousand different persons, a thousand things: wise and foolish have brought me, without suspecting it, the offering of their thoughts, faculties, and experience. My work is an aggregation of beings taken from the whole of nature; it bears the name of Goethe.”

Plus of course, Deepak’s visualisation always that accompanies “The OWL Despatch” always lends additional perspective.

That’s that for this edition. Spread the word. I am always delighted when readers like you spread the word. Now that we are done, may I request you to scan your calendar? There is much to learn from there.


1 Comment
  • Reply Aleta

    October 20, 2020, 2:32 pm

    My husband introduced our son to the iPad a few years ago. My 7 year old son can get time sucked into the iPad for hours. He loves to play the piano, do arts and crafts, play chess, go for walks, but I have to pull him away from the electronics. Sometimes he is eager to unplug, but not always. I like the Mantras you listed and will share them with him.

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