Friday, January 30, 2015

Sleep on it!

I don't know about you, but some things get me all riled up. They just keep on dancing on my head and give my subconscience a headache :) And try as I might I am not able to shrug them and move on. Not good for my system at all. It could just something someone has said to me which was out of line or something that happened which was not expected. All in all I would get super upset and end up sulking.

Recently I attended a conference which had my company's CMO was asked a very simple thing. "How do you deal with a very stressful day where nothing goes your way and you are not able to do anything about it?" Her response was simple. " Just sleep on it". Her rationale was that the problem will not disappear tomorrow but it will not seem as daunting as it did today. That way you will get different ideas on how you can solve the issue.

Hmm so I agree with that. My issue though is that if I have something on my mind I cannot fall asleep. It will keep spinning in my mind. A lot of times I will not even know something is bothering me until I get a headache. After which I have to do a complete analysis to figure out what my mind is disliking. Complicated I know. 

One fine particularly crappy day, I decided to put this theory to test. I told myself that I will step away and deal with the situation after I have slept on it. It was tough to fall asleep with the problem running to my head at first. Eventually when I woke up the next morning I felt surprisingly clear headed. I did not have a Eureka!!! moment right away but the situation was not such a big deal any more. I felt more confident that I will be able to solve the problem. 

Not a bad advice Ms CMO. So far this has helped me in the way I deal with personal dilemmas. 

Some food for thought for you too!

Leena --<@

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In the middle

It is the name of a series I really like of the quintessential middle class of America. But I am not going to talk about the middle class and their money problems. Today I am talking about the simple things you can do to motivate yourself while exercising.

Now I love some intense cardio classes. The more crazy they are, the better. I don't enjoy zumba because they don't make me sweat as much. I do a lot of kick boxing, flex etc to keep my heart rate pumping.

Here is the hypothesis: Your class output is directly proportional to where you are standing in the studio. Meaning are you in the center or on the right or in the front facing the mirror head on?

Sample 1: Kick boxing class 1

Location: Middle right
Output: Medium
Reason: Took too many breaks to grab a sip of water which was right besides me. Felt like no one was judging me for taking breaks

Sample 2: Flex class 2

My location in the class: Last row left
Output: Medium Low
Reason: Did not feel as engaged and made too many short cuts in the class

Sample 3: Yoga Class 3
My location in the class: Front center
Output: High
Reason: Every moment I saw myself in the mirror I knew others could see me too. That motivated me to try harder at getting all the positions correctly. Also you don't have anyone obstructing your view which helps you in ensuring the right posture.

There could be many more variables that could impact your performance like the instructor, the class structure itself, music, the number of attendees etc. 

I feel that for me who is on the more introvert side, it is natural to stay on the side and work out or do anything. The performance is good to great but not recognized or appreciated by you. On the other hand when I pushed myself more by being in the middle of the class, I saw exponential change in performance. It did feel uncomfortable the first 5 minutes but by the end of the class it felt great.

Push yourself to explore the unknown. The results may surprise you.

Leena --<@

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One step at a time

Whenever I begin a new hobby, I have instant expectations that I will be awesome at it. No matter what it is. I will learn to crochet a exquisite afghan in a day, I will figure out ways to grow basil quicker in one hour of research. I know how unreasonable it all sounds, but let's admit we all do this sometimes. With the culture of instant gratification that we live in, we want everything at our finger steps quickly without effort or disappointment. 

Needless to say, I have learned the very hard way that it is not possible to get everything right the first time :) Proof is my first crochet scarf which looks more like a table cloth than a scarf. After that, it was so difficult for me to continue because I was scared of failing at it. 

I took up another hobby this year. Yes there are so many things to explore, that sticking with one hobby all my life did not seem fair :) Urban sketching is what I am exploring off late. Not too crazy and tough if you like drawing buildings. Sit outside a cafe in a city and simply sketch and paint what you see. Simple enough right. I bought the book," The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing On Location Around The World". Read it. Looked very tempting.

Well I have 10 pictures that I have taken in the past few months that I need to sketch. Somehow I am not able to bring myself to start the process. The reason, I am scared that I will fail at it miserably and all the effort will go to waste. Yes, I am procrastinating, shying from my sketch book and colors :) So stupid you would say, still we do it. 

I listen to this song called," One step at a time" by Jordan Sparks. So simple, One step at a time. Easier said than done right. The book said one very simple thing. What you paint does not have to be an exact representation of the view you see. It should be a representation of your outlook. It is your creation and you can make it the way you want. You don't have to make it exactly like it is. I agree with all of this, yet I am not convinced if I can make it. 

Tsk tsk. I finally got down to doing some sketching.  

Below is my recreation of a picture I took in Elizabeth City, NC. A simple building in the corner of a sleepy town. 

Original picture

My water color recreation

 This is my interpretation of the building above. Drew a basic sketch and water colored it. Finished off with a black pen outlining. This is my first attempt at urban sketching. I must say that I am happy with the outcome. The process was very easy and simple. It was not as bad as I thought it would be. 

One step at a time, right!

Leena --<@

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's in a design?

The wheel is always round. The keyboard always begins with qwerty. The electric socket looks a certain way always.We are so used to things being a certain way that we forget the number of iterations it took to be the way it is today. That is the power of design and a good design is so difficult to come by. Ask me. I have spent more than necessary resources (time, money and loads of efforts) finding the perfect kitchen tools. The pain and agony in buying and testing the various pieces. Truly agonizing I must say. Ya ya I know what you must be thinking. "what's the big deal!" It's not like you are trying to find the perfect car and have spent thousands of $$ in the search. I agree but I take my optimizations very seriously. I like getting the most out of what I pay for.

So I set out to find the ideal soap dispenser. No big deal. Go to Bed Bath and Beyond and pick out one or two. Yours truly did just that. One day of using and soap was flowing from it like a fountain. But not from when it should be flowing from. Evidence 1 (below):

1st Dispenser (alas!)
The spurting was so annoying but I hung in there hoping that the pump would start working without leaking. Alas! It did NOT work. I did not give in. I went to another retail store to get another hero for my kitchen. Too many expectations from such a small simple soap dispenser. I present to you, evidence # 2. This time I bought a plastic one hoping it would work better than metal. Yup, I know I am too much of an optimistic.
Drip drip drip...
 Needless to say, it did not work either. Well after 3 more dispensers and broken hopes, I finally found one dispenser that WORKED. Really this one does and without dripping one bit. I am so happy and my faith in the genius of product design is reinstated.
Maybe we will see an oval tablet in the future. You never know :)

Leena --<@

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Part of a group

Pressures of living in a competitive society weighs heavily on every individual's shoulders. Are you the first in your class? Are you the captain of your team? Are you the highest paid member of your team? The list and intensity grows and grows. We spend most of our lives trying to distance ourselves from the crowd. To be different. To stand out. 

Recently I heard about a report on the lives of Aids survivors. Heart breaking would be an understatement. Here were people who were trying to get by with a society imposed stigma and no support or empathy. The advancement of science has not helped people become more accepting. I don't think anyone wishes that they should get Aids. So why are we so quick to judge them and outcast them. 

One young man who had Aids said in an interview," I would give anything to be a part of the normal group again." It struck a cord in my heart. Here we are trying so hard to be keep our differences alive. So hard to shine above everyone while completely forgetting that sometimes being a part of many is most comforting and a blessing. 

Leena --<@

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Best Choice?

As a rational human being we try to answer every question to the best of our ability. There is so much you can answer with a scientific or even a logical answer. Don't worry I am not going to talk about the theory that everything happens because God has all the answers and he has a reason for doing what he is doing. I am not much a believer of God, so I will not delve in that matter. I am talking about the simple things like not knowing how your cake would come out because you changed the recipe a tad bit or when you go hiking or mountain climbing to a new place, you never know what you will see or experience around the corner. Yet you would still take the leap.

Another one that is always a dilemma for me to whether to read a book or watch its interpretation in a movie. Not quite a chicken and egg situation but for someone who loves a good story the decision is very important. I guess that's the reason I have put off seeing so many amazing movies just because I wanted to read the book. I am not complaining.

All said and done it is a better dilemma to deal with so many other decisions we make on a daily basis that influence our lives forever. I think I can survive not watching another movie or reading another book after all. 


Leena --<@

Friday, June 8, 2012

All in the SPICE!!!

I am not a big fan of food.. In fact I rarely entered the kitchen until I started my master's degree. Not too picky about what I should eat, hence the lifelong funky relationship with food.

Company changed all that. By that I mean my husband. He loves to eat. In fact I can safely say that he lives to eat. And here he was, married to a person who does not enjoy eating or cooking. Poor thing. After experimenting from books, listening non-stop to The Wah Chef and the Show me the Curry ladies I started getting the hang of cooking. Experimenting with with I mess a lot. Besides Indian food which I am conversant with, trying to recreate other cuisines is comparatively difficult. I must have tried the Yellow Thai Curry at least 3 times by now, but every time something is missing and I cannot figure out what. Everything was fresh and cooked perfectly. Yet did not taste good overall.

Made many variations, still the amazing taste eluded me. Finally I decided to deviate from the recipe and change the spices. And voila the thai curry was the same you eat in restaurants.

It is all about the spice honey! Whether food or relationships, add a little bit of spice and see the difference. Oh and one more thing.. Never stop trying :)

Leena --<@