There’s Nothing Wrong with Being Too Ambitious

It’s important to have goals in life, because it gives you something to work towards. The older I get the more I realise in having those goals and defining them, it’s imperative to constantly re-evaluate them so as to avoid complacency.

Make them as BIG as you can and throw all your energies into making them a reality. There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious.

Dream bigger than you did the last time
Dream bigger than you did the last time

Scratch “Fake It” and Instead Chase It until You Make It as Entrepreneurs

You don’t need to be constantly broke to be distinguished as an entrepreneur. Most people begin their path to entrepreneurship with just an idea that they eventually turn into a business.

Mark Zuckerberg was an inventor and developer when he created Facebook. It was not until Sean Parker’s entry as president that Facebook became a business and Mark could then be considered an entrepreneur.

Some begin with lots of capital in their bank accounts and just a desire and passion to pursue a dream. Entrepreneurship isn’t some badge that’s given to a select or chosen few. Anyone can be an entrepreneur.

Just remember, it’s not where you start that matters, it’s the execution of your idea to fruition that counts.

Dream a Little Bigger than You Did the Day Before

Walt Disney once said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” I have been blogging since April 2012 and within that time, I have written 120 posts. Each time I write it has given me greater confidence to put what I need to say out into the world. I will be brutally honest though; there have been many a moments when it has gotten frustrating. Every person who writes hopes to have their work read and appreciated by someone else. When you write on a platform like WordPress, that appreciation in the perfect world would equate to likes, comments and shares across social media platforms. If only.

Walt Disney drawing the famous mouse that started it all
Walt Disney drawing the famous mouse that started it all

In almost three years, I have had 8,320 views thanks to 5,162 visitors (1,752 followers) from every continent on the planet excluding Antarctica; maybe because Emperor penguins have no internet. That was no easy feat. It has taken relentless self-promotion (horn tooting) using popular social media platforms day in, day out. Some days are better than others. But I have never given up.

Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to grow my audience exponentially, but I was not sure how I would pull that off. I have been following blogs and vlogs (a video blog) on the Virgin Group’s website for years now and I have learned a tremendous amount particularly on entrepreneurship. It seemed like the perfect platform and I was able to get an opportunity to write a guest blog on the theme “How to turn an idea into reality”.

The iconic bright red Virgin Group logo
The iconic bright red Virgin Group logo

I really wanted to ensure that this blog was one of the best. I spent a little over a week creating countless drafts through constant writing and editing. After sending my blog “across the pond” (to Britain) to the content manager at Virgin.com, I was told it would go live on February 11, 2015. That was probably the longest wait of my life (even though it was only two weeks)!

We all get those moments when we dare to dream just a little bigger than our last dream. We also end up questioning our own abilities and unknowingly wing up limiting ourselves. We should never be afraid of the unknown; trust your gut feeling and do what it tells you. My biggest fear and questions were around people’s reception to my writing style since this was an entirely new audience. I would soon get the answers that ended up becoming confirmation of what my gut had been telling me.

lego bricks
LEGO® was a huge part of my childhood memories

The day finally arrived and I woke up around 8 a.m. (1 p.m. in the United Kingdom) like a kid on Christmas morning and went online. There it was, my long awaited blog, 10 lessons on developing ideas from Shubham Banerjee’s story! That was one of the best feeling I have ever had and kudos to the team at Virgin.com, they did a fantastic job laying out the story; the visuals were perfect. I think I spent many an interval throughout the day monitoring the ‘shares’ and comments. I’ll be honest, I kept checking every day for maybe the first two weeks. After that I was satisfied with the momentum it had picked up. Even better my wife, friends and family loved it too.

Braigo Labs' young CEO Shubham Banerjee with his DIY braille printer invention Photo credit: Niloy Banerjee
Braigo Labs’ young CEO Shubham Banerjee with his DIY braille printer invention
Photo credit: Niloy Banerjee

It has been a little over a month since my blog got published. I am happy to report that it has been shared over 3,000 times across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. It is also on of the website’s recommended and one of the most shared blogs. The best part for me was reading all the comments directly on Facebook, LinkedIn and the Virgin Group’s website. A lot of people were inspired by my writing and the 10 lessons I outlined for turning an idea into reality.

I have been invited to be a regular contributor with Virgin.com. My next blog goes live on March 31st and you guessed it, I have been steadily counting down the days. As lesson # 10 in my aforementioned blog stated, “Dream up big ideas to match big ambitions. Only your mind can limit your ideas and your attitude your ambition.”

Go change your world!

Discovering That Your Life Has Purpose Is Your Truth

We all ask ourselves the question, “What was I put on this Earth to do?” However, you may be reading this and saying to yourself, “I’ve never asked that”, only you have, you just worded it differently. You might have said “What am I doing with my life?” or “What should I be doing?” or “Is this how I want to spend my life?”; essentially, it’s all the same. Everyday we are looking to discover our purpose.

I’ve pretty much spent the last few weeks trying to reshape my purpose. Recently it occurred to me that maybe I was born to lift people’s spirits through humour, encouraging words and vibrant images (illustrations and photography).

In the Amazon Rainforest, diversity is the name of the game with thousands of plants, insects, birds and animals all co-existing together. Sometimes in our own lives we have so many different things happening at once that it makes uncovering our purpose really difficult, but perhaps it can all co-exist.

When you’re sitting still (call if meditation if you wish), you’re giving yourself enough time to do some deep-thinking, to ask yourself some thought provoking questions outside of “I wonder what’s for lunch?”. I find the revelations will eventually come to you.

I’m confident it involves consistently changing direction and sometimes going with the wind or riding the biggest waves that will get us ashore. We must know where we want our lives to go and not the one marred in the status quo. Spend your days living for yourself. If you go by what society expects, you are ultimately living someone else’s life and that would be nothing more than living a lie.

Life’s short. Before you squint you’re old and grey and you will look back thinking how much better spent it could’ve been if only you took the time to find our purpose. Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” comes to mind. Have a gander.

TheRoadNotTaken-Poem
The Road Not Taken poem by Robert Frost

 

Allow the World to ‘See’ Your Ideas

Yesterday was probably the most excited I’ve been about any of the work I put out since I started writing blogs. I was blessed to have had the opportunity to contribute a blog to Virgin.com.

I won’t ruin it for you, but like I had said in my previous blog it was on turning an idea into reality. My blog featured one of the world’s youngest company founder, CEO and inventor at just 13 years old. His idea is driven by the desire to help people with a particular disability.

I wanted to share his story, but I also wanted to expand my writing to another platform other than my own. I felt it was important for me to reveal the lessons I uncovered just by observing how far he’s taken his idea. Dream a little bigger than you did the day before.

Without further ado, here’s my blog:

10 lessons on developing ideas from Shubham Banerjee’s story

Leave a comment and share it with your friends and colleagues.

Tomorrow’s a Big Day for Me

If you’ve ever wanted to do something then there’s no reason to delay. Find a way to get your dreams into the real world. Tomorrow, I’ll be living out one of my dreams to expand my writing onto one of the world’s biggest company’s web platform. It will be featured in Virgin Group’s “In focus: How to turn an idea into reality” series.

I’ve long admired the work of Richard Branson in building an unconventional company and brand like the Virgin. Having written several blogs on both the man and the brand, I get to have an article featured on their website. It’s both exciting and a little unnerving all at once, which is weird considering I run a blog site.

There’s still something to be said about putting yourself out there from a creative standpoint with the hope that your work will be appreciated and stands up to scrutiny. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it gets shared across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Gotta get my “street cred” up!

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that you can’t sit around waiting for ‘luck’ to come your way. You have to get up and go out there and create your own opportunities. It’s even easier with the web at your fingertips. No one ever lives their dreams from the grave, so while you’re alive try to do what you love. Life’s better that way.

Wish me luck.

‘Humans of New York’ Is Sending Kids to Harvard with a Little Help from 36,000 Friends

Humans of New York, more popularly called “HONY”, is probably the most popular Facebook page at the moment with nearly 12 million fans including me. By time you get there, I’m sure it’ll be beyond that. It was started by a talented young photographer, Brandon Stanton in the summer of 2010. Flash-forward 4 years later, it’s grown into a giant influential platform offering glimpses into the lives of everyday New Yorkers.

Brandon encountered a remarkable student named Vidal of the Mott Hall Bridges Academy, Brownsville. He’s asked the question, “Who’s influenced you the most in your life?” Vidal replies, “My principal, Ms. Lopez.” With that honest and simple response, Brandon looks more into the story of Ms. Lopez (aka Superwoman) and the school. She’s done a spectacular job in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in New York with little resources.

From one interview to the next with teachers and students offering their own stories, we’re allowed to see more into this school’s DNA. People who give without wanting anything in return and children who dream of things a lot of us take for granted, like feeling safe to walk outside your home. Brandon sees an opportunity to leverage HONY’s platform and rightfully so. Between him and Ms. Lopez they realise the best help that could be given to the school would be funds to support field trips to Harvard University. In the words of Ms. Lopez, “I want my scholars to know that there is not a single place they don’t belong.” Those are words to live by.

Just five days ago Brandon started a campaign dubbed “Let’s Send Kids to Harvard” to raise USD 100,000 on Indiegogo. To date they’ve raised over one million dollars. I received an email alert from Indiegogo telling me this campaign is “now the largest Indiegogo Life fundraiser ever!” This shows social media is perhaps the most powerful platform in the 21st century to start a movement. The best part, Mott Hall Bridges Academy has funds to send all its students on field trips to Harvard. They’ve even created the Vidal Scholarship Fund aptly named after the young man who first shared the story of his principal without reservation. He’ll be the first recipient too.

Education is the best investment you’ll ever make. There’s still time to lend your support to this campaign. Click here to donate.

Rally behind other amazing causes in the world. Sign petitions, donate, like, share, comment, and advocate. Just be a part of doing good.

Maya Angelou: the Great Author and Poet of Our Time

Maya Angelou
The eloquent author and poet.

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” — this quote resonated with me most of all.

This morning when I heard that Maya Angelou had passed away at age 86, a part of me felt really sad. The other part of me felt very happy that she had walked amongst this earth and through her words made it a much better place than how she found it.

She proved just how powerful words and speech could be to change people’s minds and above all people’s hearts. There’s not much to be said about someone who penned so many poems, essays, scripts, autobiographies, and stories. Sometimes the most pointed statement about any one person is not said through words, but through their works and worth. Maya’s certainly done that.

Rest knowing your words will live on.

Fun Fact: Maya is the nickname from her brother. Angelou is a family name.