Monthly Archives: September 2018

Diversity And Inclusion – Airbnb

I had written a post about Diversity and Inclusion a while ago. And I am still fascinated by the power of diversity.

I like to travel as some of you know – and I realized that for the last few trips we have always stayed at an Airbnb. I remember being skeptical about the idea initially. What! Do you live in someone’s house? They live there too! How does that work?

But, after the very first one, I was hooked to the idea. I was a total convert. Why do I like Airbnb? And how is it related to Diversity and inclusion. For those of you not familiar with Airbnb – here is the link to the website. But even important is their mission

“Our diverse global community makes Airbnb possible. Building an inclusive platform for all hosts and guests is our greatest goal, and we’re always working to improve it.”

Brian Chesky – co-founder and CEO of Airbnb states the following succinctly.

If you think about it, the very foundation of Airbnb is based on inclusion. You open your houses first to a stranger and then open your hearts to them as well. It is difficult to not like a human after you have ‘really’ seen them. For example, in my most recent trip to Toronto with my friend we were staying with an Asian family – complete with a kid, grandparent, and the parents. It was a very lovely Airbnb – the living room and kitchen was a common area, our bedrooms and bathroom were separated.

And if you are from an Asian culture, you instinctively understand the situation. The grandparent(s) usually travels along with the family to take care of the kid. They did not speak English, and we did not speak Chinese. The first day we were there, we were very polite and just nodded and smiled at each other if we crossed paths. At night the little kid starts crying. My friend and I give each other a look – ‘Kids’ and we went to sleep as the rooms were very well segregated. Next day we saw what they had for breakfast, they saw that we skipped breakfast. We could see the kid viewing us to see what we did, how we did etc. That evening she came up to us with her mother shyly and gave us two candies. Next day we returned the favor. And by that time we had become quite familiar with each other. And when we left, we took selfies. We exchanged our names.

Now, this is what happens in a joint family in India. You live with other people – you ADJUST, and you ACCEPT. This is what makes us a grow as a person. Living in Airbnb reminds me of that. And at the same time in a world where technology is pulling people away, we need more of these instances to remind us that we are all humans who share space on this lovely planet called earth.

I enjoy these tiny, intimate connection with people who I have never met – because it reminds me of our oneness.

Let it go!

In Creativity and Personal Mastery course, prof.Rao tells us a story.
A baby is happily drinking his bottle of milk. Let’s say you take it away. The baby’s face gets all red, and he bawls his little lungs out. There is no mistaking that he is upset. And when you give the bottle back to him, he goes back to drinking milk again as nothing happened. At this moment the baby has completely let go of the fact that you took the bottle away.

Something happens to us when we grow up – we learn to hold onto things. We learn to re-live what happened in our mind and replay it again and again. Sadly, we forget how to let go. Holding on to things also prevents us from being fully present at the moment. If your bag is already filled with stuff then how will you find space for new things. If your jar is already full – how can anything else come in.

We clean our bodies every day to make sure that all the dirt and grime from the day is washed away. But we do not do this for our minds which have rolling in one thing after the other and picking up whatever comes our way. Let’s face it, in our human condition how much ever we try we are not always conscious of what our mind is experiencing. Meditation morning and evening is one way to clean our minds. Letting go is a part of it – when you meditate you watch the thoughts pass away without becoming the thoughts – and thus allowing them to go.

Another way to let go is to watch your thoughts – through the mind chatter itself. That is the beauty and the curse of human existence. Our thoughts are what makes us hold on to things, and our thoughts are what help us let them go as well. Next time your mind starts replaying a scenario or rides off on the train of bitterness – don’t fight it, don’t get upset – watch the train go and enjoy the journey not as a passenger but as an observer. And when we do that we are no longer holding onto things, in fact, we are happily standing by waving our goodbyes.

When things expire in our kitchen do we still hold on to them – no we throw them in the trash because consuming them will be harmful to us. Similarly, for the thoughts/things that have expired – let them go – throw them in the garbage and make space for new things to come in. The expiration of thoughts is not as tangible as the products in our kitchen, and sometimes we are afraid of new ideas – so we hold on to what we know even if it is harmful to us.

Like all things in life, this is easier said than done but that said the only way to do such things is to start with awareness – all you have to do is shine your light on holding on to things and they will automatically let go.

Exhaustion or Preparation

Have you ever been in a situation where there is so much going on that you wonder how you are going to get it done? And every activity on your plate is the one that you love and one that energizes you. I am talking about a situation when despite your best prioritization and time management there is still a lot going on. (If you are continually living in a state where you are overwhelmed, then you need to work hard on genuinely figuring out your priorities and managing your time.)

My approach to these situations is to remind myself that – Universe gives us only what we can handle and what is best for me. Like all mental models, this is also a mental model, and I cannot tell you if this is true or not, but I can tell you that it makes my life easier and works for me. It is a belief system for me.

I recently completed Habit Builder Series from Brendon Burchard and one of the habits he talks about is Courage. Courage means not complaining or getting frustrated when life gets tough instead tell yourself that you are being prepared. And this is my second belief system – Universe is preparing me for what is to come. Just like if you are running a marathon – you train and training is not comfortable when you start there is always something challenging about it.

Life is the same way. Let’s say I want to be a C-level executive in one of the top ten Fortune companies. At that stage in my career, I need to juggle tons of different situations, taking care of myself – exercising, meditating, spending time with family and managing a big company – All At The Same Time. So, now in my life, if I am being given lots of things that I have to juggle along with family and myself – If it’s not training for what is it come then I don’t what it is. Every situation, person, encounter in our life is preparing us for the next phase in life – Change is the only constant in life, and daily life is the preparation for it.

Some people have a belief system where they believe that if they do not take on challenging tasks, then they will coast along – they start complaining as to why it is happening to them – they try to change or avoid the situation they are in. If this is your belief system and it works for you then good for you. But what you are doing here is not accepting the reality as it is. There will come a point when you have to face what is in front of you and live it – because that is the only choice you have. The long and challenging road ahead of you does not disappear when you close your eyes – it will disappear only when you walk on it. Welcome, everything that the universe brings your way with open arms and Enjoy The Ride to more exciting destinations.