Coffee Wagera founded by Mush Panjwani completed two years, and continues to grow!

What started as a dream few years ago is a now a success story many wish to learn from. The blog post on CW site highlights the contributions of the team, suppliers, service providers, franchisees and other supporters.

What I wish to share here are the 20 unique things about Coffee Wagera. We may be the only (or the first) café in Pakistan to…

  1. Support women empowerment by buying most of our snacks from female entrepreneurs, and to further support the community through Brunch Wagera
  2. Hire transgender as a barista, and to offer a free training program for transgenders
  3. Have a menu in Braille for the visually impaired
  4. Learn sign language to communicate with customers with speech/hearing impairment
  5. Say ‘no’ to plastic bottles, and provide free drinking water to all customers
  6. Implement ten steps to reduce waste, support clean-city and be eco-friendly
  7. Support students and startups, by providing a fully functional workbench, with individual power/USB socket for a minimum spending of just Rs.248 per day
  8. Provide three WIFI connections (and free coffee if WIFI doesn’t work)
  9. Provide low-cost franchise opportunities to promote entrepreneurship
  10. Support local artists by displaying and selling their ‘coffee paintings’ at every outlet
  11. Run innovative events like Coffee Tour in collaboration with other cafes, Brunch Wagera to support female entrepreneurs, Coffee Workshops to share coffee skills/knowledge, free training programs for personal development, Open Mic to encourage new talent…
  12. Provide “happiness” training to all staff
  13. Greet every customer with the most enthusiastic “Salam Alaikum! Welcome to Coffee Wageraaaaaa!”
  14. Open 5 outlets in 2 years (the last four opened within a span of six months)
  15. Operate a cafe without any kitchen/cooking
  16. Implement ‘no free beverages/snacks’ policy that applies to all owners, family members, friends, bloggers, influencers, celebrities… and everyone else who wishes to support CW
  17. Offer a 10% discount to students and senior citizens
  18. Offer free coffee to non-Pakistani visitors, when they buy any snacks
  19. Offer free coffee on your birthday, when you buy any snacks
  20. Have a founder with an official designation of ‘Chief Happiness Officer’ – Mush Panjwani also teaches happiness at corporates and non-profits, and is also a published author.

And we are very proud to receive the ‘Best Coffee Place of the Year 2019‘ award by APRA (All Pakistan Restaurant Association).

The lockdown due to Corono did not allow us to celebrate the 2nd Anniversary with a party, but we had a virtual meeting with 30+ team members, complete with a flashback slideshow (inserted above), an address by Mush and many special Awards of Appreciation.

Extremely grateful to have achieved the first goal of opening five outlets in Karachi in two years, and moving forward with a lot of faith for the next goal: 20 across Pakistan in five years. Thank you everyone for your support.

One year in Pakistan, and no looking back! (3 Tips to Manage Change)

Mush Panjwani with Shanzeh

It’s been more than a year since I left half my family and a very comfortable life in Hong Kong, and moved to Pakistan, in September 2017. And I am often asked how can anyone willingly move back after spending over 20 years abroad; how has the experience been; and how do I manage to stay so happy and positive. It was a combination of things I’ve learned over the years and have applied in many situations, particularly in dealing with any change…

Manage your expectations: I didn’t expect anything in Pakistan to be similar to HK – effective government, efficient systems, easy public transportation, organized traffic, law-abiding people, beautiful weather or the basic stuff like security, electricity, water, Internet etc. Those are the luxuries that most countries/people do not experience in a lifetime. So I rarely found myself getting frustrated about the weather, traffic, government or lack of any of those things I often took for granted in HK. Everyday I experienced what I had expected, so there was no disappointment.

Focus on the positives: An essential part of being happy in any situation is to be grateful for what you have, which is only possible if you are always looking for, acknowledging and appreciating all the good things in your life. And there are a lot of good things about life in Pakistan, which we did not have in HK, or may not have in many parts of the world e.g. local fruits, vegetables and meat (instead of imported); varieties of great food from around the world; beautiful country with lots to see and do, from Karachi to Kashmir and everything in between; lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs (and businessmen too); good people (mostly nice, kind, friendly, helpful, awesome); hardly any natural disasters like earthquakes, tornados, typhoons, volcanoes, tsunamis, or even flooding!

Be the change: Instead of complaining about things, we can try to be the change we want to see in Pakistan. At a personal level, it’s things like following traffic rules (very difficult though), reducing power/water consumption, being more tolerant with people who are different (Sindhi, Panjabi, Pathan, Shia, Sunni, less educated or civilized). At business level, we can do that by supporting good causes – e.g. equal opportunities for the transgender, women empowerment; minimizing disposables and reducing waste. And most importantly, being positive and spreading cheer!

Few other things that made the change exciting for me were:

  • Starting Coffee Wagera as a hybrid of social-commercial enterprise that becomes a force for good and a model for other businesses.
  • Introducing the concepts and teaching the principles of ‘Happiness at Work’ in Pakistan for the first time, through my training programs.
  • Supporting Hur with his training at Special Olympics – one of the best non-profits in Pakistan! They are preparing him and many others for the Special Olympics World Games 2019 in Abu Dhabi.
  • The excellent support of family, friends and the business community. And finally, the secret: the love of Shanzeh (my granddaughter) and the opportunity to spend time with her 🙂

 

 

Inspiration from one of Pakistan’s top cyclists: Ali Laghari

I have been lucky to get to know a few running and cycling groups in Karachi, since I started Coffee Wagera. It’s always inspiring to meet these people, because I know how much passion, commitment and discipline it takes to come out for a run or ride before sunrise.

Ali Laghari is part of “Cycologists“, one of the most active cycling groups in Karachi. And I met him during World Heart Day on 29th September. That’s when I found out about his record 4900km of cycling in one month, and asked him a few questions… his responses were very inspiring indeed, as you can see from the video above. The highlights were:

  • He wasn’t competing with anyone else – just himself!
  • Cycling and healthy living is a way of life for him, which he is trying to promote.
  • He cycled all the way to Mubarak Village and back – 100km in a day!
  • He started small. Just one ride, on a rental bicycle. Then another…

Bonus: Commentary at by Zeeshan Khalid, another Cycologist, at the end of the video.

 

Why am I opening ‘Coffee Wagera’?

I have spent a lot of time working from coffee shops since losing my job in early 2013. In Hong Kong, my favorites were Holly Brown for its great coffee, happy staff, wifi and quiet space; and then Pacific Coffee for its comfortable seating, good coffee, loyalty card/app and number of convenient locations. In Pakistan, it was Gloria Jeans for it’s convenient locations (Sindhi Muslim and Dolmen in Clifton), quiet space and good coffee. Around the world, my favorites are Costa, Lavazza, Illy and Tim Hortons…

And I always looked for that one perfect coffee shop where the staff was cheerful, coffee was great, prices were reasonable, wifi always worked, power sockets were enough for at least half the customers and the seating was comfortable. Never found one. So that was my #1 inspiration to make that perfect coffee shop.

Reason #2. Like many businesses, a coffee shop can have a huge positive impact on a lot of people – the potential to make people happy is so big, and not all that difficult. A good coffee can alleviate moods; cheerful customer service can make somebody’s day; a quiet, comfortable and functional work space can help produce big results! In short, a great coffee shop can make this world better, in a small way.

Reason #3. One of the many opportunities in Pakistan to set up a business and expand it across the country. In Pakistan: there are very few good barista training places; coffee culture hasn’t yet developed; most coffee shops are actually restaurants. And there aren’t many low-cost franchising opportunities for young entrepreneurs.

Mush Panjwani on Coffee Wagera

And the biggest reason: It’s been one of my dreams for more than 10 years. First it was a juice shop, which was later changed to a coffee shop. First I used to imagine this coffee shop on Lamma or one of the outlying islands of Hong Kong – with a little room on top with a view of the sea. Then about two years ago, I started imagining this as a chain of coffee shops in Pakistan, starting with the first one in Hyderi North Nazimabad – which will probably be the second one. I did a couple of coffee courses in Hong Kong last year, just to see if I enjoy making coffee. And I loved it!

I still have a job with Learning Time, but thanks to the management, they have allowed flexible hours which makes it possible for me to dedicate some time to Coffee Wagera, continue contributing to A Better Chance, and also pursue training opportunities while in Pakistan. Wish me luck 🙂

Why I celebrate the day I got fired…

Mush Panjwani's Coffee WageraToday is the 5th Anniversary since I got fired from Time Life / Educational Technologies in 2013, after working with them for 16 years! I was very positive that day, and every year it becomes more obvious why that was one of the best things that could happen. Losing my job made it possible to:

  • Start my own training and consulting company, Dinchack – and positively influence the lives of 2000+ people through 50+ training sessions in 5 countries in the first year alone.
  • Join Learning Time as a Director Sales, Marketing & Training – and help develop and launch awesome early learning products in 18 countries in 3 years; travel to many new places and work with many more wonderful people.
  • Start a direct sales company, A Better Chance in Pakistan – and help make it one of the top three distributors of Learning Time in two years.

And I am thrilled to reveal my next venture, a coffee shop in Karachi! Coffee Wagera is scheduled to open on 1st April. More about this dream in the next blog post 🙂

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change. At such moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back…” ~Paolo Coelho

PS. Thanks to my family, friends, clients, everyone at Learning Time and A Better Chance for their tremendous support during these years, without whom none of the above was possible.

The three symptoms of killing our dreams

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A repost from Paulo Coehlo’s blog, it’s a piece from one of my favorite books, The Pilgrimage.

The first symptom of the process of killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the Good Fight.

The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the Good Fight.

And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the Good Fight.

When we renounce our dreams and find peace, we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being.
We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise. What we sought to avoid in combat – disappointment and defeat – come upon us because of our cowardice.

And one day, the dead, spoiled dreams make it difficult to breathe, and we actually seek death. It’s death that frees us from our certainties, from our work, and from that terrible peace of our Sunday afternoon.

[Photo from this year’s best collection, taken at Sai Kung, Hong Kong]

3 more tips to avoid clutter

 

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I continue to believe that a minimalistic and uncluttered life can lead to more productivity, increased efficiency and greater happiness. I’ve written several blog posts on my experiments with minimalism and tips to reduce clutter – at work, at home and life in general. Here’s a short version, because I think it all starts with buying stuff…

Buy mindfully:

  • Only buy what you need – really need. If it’s a temporary need, see if can be borrowed or rented.
  • Go with a shopping list and stay focused. Don’t be distracted by displays or special offers.
  • Don’t buy anything ‘just in case’ you might need it. Trust that you’ll find it ‘just in time’.
  • Always buy quality. It lasts longer, so costs less in the long run.
  • Don’t compromise on your style, size or color, otherwise you may be discarding it too soon.

Discard ruthlessly:

  • Once you buy a new something, get rid of the old one. Not tomorrow, not later, right now.
  • Find local charities or Salvation Army stores where the old stuff could go. If it’s too bad or old or broken to go to charity, then recycle it.
  • Give yourself limited space to keep your stuff. Once that space fills up, you know it’s time to reduce.

Use gratefully:

  • Whether it’s clothing, gadgets, books or other possessions, be grateful every time you use them. Remind yourself that millions of people do no have access to such luxury.
  • One of the biggest reasons for buying and accumulating stuff is being ungrateful for what we already have – that feeling of not having enough.
  • When we are grateful, we take good care of our stuff, and don’t discard/replace them easily.

If that sounds too difficult, just take one step at a step. And perhaps developing the attitude of gratitude would be a good start.

6 Key Ideas on Simplifying Your Life (and fit all your belongings in an 18kg bag or less)!

mush-panjwanis-possessions-in-an-18kg-bag.jpgDuring a recent move, I was proud to put together all of my personal stuff (everything that I own) into an 18kg bag. And the FB post got a lot of interest – some wouldn’t believe, some wanted to know what’s in it, some curious to learn how or why. And that inspired this blog post, and I am happy to share why I do it and how.

It’s a lifestyle! Accumulating less stuff; getting rid of unwanted things; keeping within a pre-defined space; staying organized… is not a one-time project. It’s a lifestyle. I started the process about ten years ago, and wrote the first blog post on the subject five years ago. That post covers how I got rid of all the books, reduced the amount of clothes, minimized all accessories, simplified and organized everything, and then applied the same principals to my office and desk.

Why de-clutter and simplify?

  • Easy to find what you are looking for, whether it’s a file on your computer or a travel adaptor
  • Take less space, whether it’s a wardrobe, cabinet or a shoe rack
  • Focus on quality instead of quantity
  • Spend more on experiences (books, travel, personal development, causes) and less on things (except those you buy for others)

Buy less, of everything

  • Buy only what you need, and only when you need it, not whatever is on sale.
  • Wait and see if you really need it. Then see if you can borrow it, before you buy.
  • Buy good quality so it lasts longer and you buy less often.
  • Buy only if there’s space to keep it, not find a space after you buy it.

Continue getting rid of stuff

  • When you buy a new one, get rid of the old one – clothes, shoes, bags, stuff
  • If you bought something but not using it, either due lack of interest or wrong purchase, get rid of it.
  • If you get a gift that you know you are not going to use, get rid of it.
  • If you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it.
  • Only keep stuff that’s essential, makes life easier, or inspires you. Get rid of everything else.
  • When getting rid of anything, try to sell or give away to somebody who can make use of it or recycle. Trash bin should be the last option.

Use technology

  • Unless you can’t live without the touch and smell of physical books, go digital. There’s a long list of pros and cons, but I only buy ebooks and only read on my iPad.
  • Covert all important documents, photo and videos into digital copies and put them all on Dropbox or iCloud. In my recent round, I took photos of loads of ‘emotional-value objects’ and threw them all out. These included large photo frames, desk gifts, crystals, accessories and more… all with thank-you notes, names, or messages printed/engraved on them. These were in a large box, which I don’t have any more!
  • I’ve stopped using notebooks or diaries and pens for a long time. All notes are digital.

Learn to live with less

  • So what do I have in that suitcase? Clothes: formal, casual, summer, winter, gym and swimming gear. Shoes: just two pairs. Gadgets: MacBook, iPad, cables. Lots of socks and underwear; last few copies of my book to give away; pack of business cards; travel toiletries in mini sizes; travel adaptors. No ties, accessories, notebooks, stationery or camera.
  • Living with less inspires gratefulness; helps you keep organized; reduces stress; gets you more focused… is extremely easy to pack and move and unpack!

I know it’s easier said than done. I understand this may not be for everyone. I am sure there are people who can be happier with more, but for me, less stuff equals more happiness. I am happy to answer any questions and offer further advice to anyone who is starting on this journey or wants to get to the next level of minimalism.

 

 

Everything you want to have, do or be… is possible!

I have this birthday ritual to look at my dreams, goals and plans, and make any necessary adjustments. During this year’s exercise, I also updated my travel list and learnt that I have been to 39 countries and at least 133 cities. I have around 20 more countries in the to-go list. I hope this post inspires you to follow your dreams, and reminds you that the four steps do work, starting with a list.

Mush Panjwani's Travel Dreams

While I was at it I couldn’t help thinking about how it all started. I think it was April 1986, around my 21st birthday. I was juggling with university, three tuition jobs, my first sales job, a newly married life, and a lot of dreams. It was no coincidence that I found an audiocassette by Zig Ziglar about dreams and goals. He ended the motivational talk by suggesting buying a notebook and making three lists: everything I want to have; everything I want to do; everything I want to be. And I did. I think there were 89 things on the three lists, considering that I did not have much and had not done much.

Over the years, my lists have become more specific with dreams and goals related to personal development, well being, relationships, money, contribution etc. I have added, deleted and edited hundreds of dreams, fulfilled many and still have many to go. Writing and publishing my first book, trekking to see Mount Everest, raising happy and successful kids were some of the most fulfilling goals which all started under one of the dream lists. The four steps usually work, if you have the faith and commitment to your dreams.

Looking forward to any comments or questions 🙂

Train to Lhasa
Train from China to Tibet (Lhasa). Another travel dream!

Mush Talks #13: Julia Wong of ‘Triple Lanterns Cafe’ talks about dreams, happiness and slowing down

Triple Lanterns Café is one of the stilt houses in Tai O Village (Hong Kong), offering beautiful views of the canal, the bridge and sunset, besides great pizzas, cakes and coffees. What makes this café really special though is Julia, the owner, who is always happy and cheerful, and ready for a conversation with every customer. During our visit to Triple Lanterns yesterday, we talked about the story behind the café, dreams, happiness, success, customer service and the importance of slowing down to enjoy life… parts of which were also captured on my phone. Here’s an edited version, and I hope it inspires somebody to follow through on their dreams…

More about achieving your dreams, happiness and positivity at Mush Talks #1-12

5 More Tips to Get Results!

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I continue to apply the four steps to achieve anything with great results. I also get excellent feedback from people who have learnt this and accomplished much! When I see someone struggling with four steps without much success, it is usually due to a dream they don’t believe in, a goal not specific enough, a plan not detailed/clear enough, actions not consistent or persistent enough. The most common challenge is with the action (or lack of). So here are five additional tips to get result while working on your dreams, goals, plans and action:

  1. Make it a priority. Once you have figured out what you need to do every day, make it a priority. Allocate a particular time of the day for the action necessary to achieve the goal. Whether it’s time for exercise for your fitness goal, time for phone calls to achieve your sales goal, time for study for your personal development goal, or time for family for your relationship goal, you must block off the required time to do what’s necessary. And do nothing else in that time.
  2. Get back to routine. If you miss a day of the necessary action, get back to the committed routine the very next day, not next week or next month. It’s so easy to tell ourselves, ‘I missed a few days this week, so what’s the point; I’ll start properly next week, or next month.’ Never listen to that crap!
  3. Be persistent. You can’t plant a seed today and expect a tree tomorrow. You need to water it every day for a few days/weeks before you see the first bud. If it took years to put on that weight, it will take months to get rid of it. If you are learning something new, commit to the plan and stick to it until you succeed. Giving up is not an option if you are really committed to your goal.
  4. Change the plan. If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, not the goal. If your consistent and persistent actions are not producing the expected results, stop and think, get some advice, check if you are doing it right. Maybe you need a different strategy, a change of direction or a modified plan. Make the necessary adjustment and go after your goal with renewed commitment.
  5. Stay positive and happy. Happiness is the foundation for all success, and positivity is essential for self-motivation. While you are working towards your goals, continue to acknowledge and be grateful for what you already have. Get inspiration from your dreams, and your ability to pursue them. Believe in your self and be positive about the outcome of your actions.

A little progress each day adds up to big results!

10 Reasons You Should Travel Solo at Least Once a Year!

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The first time I wrote about ‘five reasons I travel solo‘ was in August 2012, after my trip to Chenzhou in China. Since then I’ve been blessed with many more solo trips and experienced the endless joys. Earlier this month, I was in Da Nang and Hoi An in Vietnam, for a week, all by myself. I got to experience for the first time…

  • Living on USD20 a day, including accommodation, meals and transport!
  • Riding a scooter, and that too on the right side of the road!
  • Learning to make ‘Vietnamese fish rolls’!
  • Homestay in the middle of rice fields (way different from the B&B above the rice terraces in China)!
  • Taking a tour with a traffic police officer!
  • Starting an online travel journal on TravelPod!

Most of these wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t traveling solo. So here’s my expanded list of benefits, and why you should travel solo at least once a year:

  1. Plan easily. Pick your own dates and destination. The places-to-see on your list are not the same as the places your family or friends want to see. And finding a time that suits everyone is not easy.
  2. Try new things – accommodations, means of travel, food – and get out of your comfort zone.
  3. Have conversations with fellow travelers and locals. You learn a lot more about the people and places when you are on your own.
  4. Be more flexible with your time, destinations and decisions you make. Wake up for sunrise or sleep all day.
  5. Overcome your fears. Whether it’s fear of new places, fear of being on your own or fear of darkness… the more you travel the less you fear.
  6. Gain confidence by handling problems and situations on your own. You take your own risks and learn.
  7. Indulge in whatever you want, without being judged.
  8. Stay within your own budget. No compromises or overspending.
  9. Become a better traveler by observing more. You engage more fully with the people and places when you are on your own.
  10. Get to know yourself better. When you are on your own, it’s easier to listen to your heart and focus your mind. The extended me time is an opportunity to dream, plan, think, and even reflect on your travel experiences.

That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy traveling with family, friends or groups… solo travel just a different kind of great experience!

PS. One of the most common questions I got asked by fellow travellers and locals: ‘Your wife doesn’t mind your solo travels?‘ And the answer is, one of the reasons we have been so happy with each other for over 30 years is that we accept, understand and appreciate the differences between us. And we allow each other to do our own things. [Thank you, Salma!]

You may view all the photos from the Vietnam trip and the daily journal on TravelPod here, or a selection of photos on Facebook through this link. And more of my travel videos here.

10 Inspiring Quotes on Overcoming Fear + Bonus Video of My Skydive!

While packing for the move, I saw some of my childhood pictures that reminded me how scared I used to be, of so many things – darkness, loneliness, dogs, water/drowning, heights and more. And I realised how so many people go through their entire lives with one or more fears. That inspired this blog post. Sorry, no ‘Mush Talks‘ this Sunday.

I am not an expert on overcoming fears, but have successfully applied a simple strategy for anything I was scared of: Jump right in. That’s what made it possible not only to overcome many of the fears, but enjoy some of the most memorable adventures like scuba diving, skydiving, zip-lining, swimming with whale sharks etc. I hope these quotes and the skydive video inspire you to overcome at least one of your fears. If they don’t, then just jump right in!

  • There is no illusion greater than fear. Lao Tzu
  • The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
  • He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out. Karl Augustus Menninger
  • Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. Unknown
  • I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today. William Allen White
  • Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. Japanese Proverb
  • Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Helen Keller
  • The enemy is fear. We think it is hate; but, it is fear. Gandhi
  • Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the ability to act in the presence of fear. Bruce Lee

You may view some more of my travel videos here.

20 Chinese quotes that pack 4,000 years of wisdom

Year of the Monkey

  1. A bit of fragrance clings to the hand that gives flowers.
  2. Better to be a diamond with flaws than a pebble without imperfections.
  3. Be not afraid to move slowly; be afraid only of standing still.
  4. A gem will not be perfect without carving and polishing, nor a man perfected without trials.
  5. Deep doubts, deep wisdom; small doubts, little wisdom.
  6. When you drink water, remember the spring.
  7. If heaven made him, earth can find some use for him.
  8. Dig the well before you are thirsty.
  9. If you don’t want anyone to know, don’t do it.
  10. Teachers open the door; you enter by yourself.
  11. A bird does not sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
  12. A book holds a house of gold.
  13. A filthy mouth will not utter decent language.
  14. A thousand cups of wine do not suffice when true friends meet, but half a sentence is too much when there is no meeting of the minds.
  15. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
  16. Do good, reap good; do evil, reap evil.
  17. A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.
  18. One generation plants trees, the next enjoys the cool shade.
  19. Studying is like rowing a boat upstream; if you don’t move forward, you move backward.
  20. Be patient in one moment of anger, to save yourself hundred days of sorrow.

The image is of one of the best Chinese New Year cards I received this year, from none other than the most creative Stepworks team; click to see the beautiful animated version.

Wishing you a happy Year of the Monkey!

Moments of 2015 by Mush Panjwani

And 10 inspiring quotes about moments:

  • “Life isn’t perfect, but it has perfect moments.”
  • “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”
  • “The best things in life are not things, they are moments.”
  • “A good life is a collection of happy moments.”
  • “Don’t wait for the perfect moment; take the moment and make it perfect.”
  • “We don’t remember days; we remember moments.”
  • “Fall in love with moments.”
  • “You don’t get the same moment twice in life.”
  • “Life is all about moments of impact, and how they change our lives forever.”
  • “Make this moment count.”

Inspiration from a 70-year old entrepreneur!

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Lalo is a 70-year old woman who owns and actively manages one of the best B&Bs in Guanajuato, a beautiful city in Mexico. She lives on her own in a house nearby. I was lucky to have a conversation with her over breakfast… and get super inspired!

She has a few grown up kids, and some grandkids, all living their lives in different parts of the world. She stays in her own house so she can be occupied in her business. She travels for 2-3 months every year, sometimes visiting kids and sometimes to see new places. She told me, ‘I’ve had a great life… but I want to be useful and occupied as long as possible…’ Just a few months ago she started an herbs garden in her backyard ‘to have a new purpose’. She then started teaching local women about the benefits of those herbs, and soon started making soaps, creams and other beauty products with the help of her ‘students.’ Lalo has had her share of challenges in life, including the loss of three husbands, but she accepts what she can’t control and continues to be grateful for all the goodness of life.

It’s been a few weeks since I met her but I haven’t stopped thinking about her, so decided to share the story through this blog – hoping it inspires us to live a life of purpose, find new challenges, be useful, accept what we can’t change, be grateful for life. Age is just a number.

10 Inspiring Quotes about Traveling

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  1. The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
  2. We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfilment.
  3. You will go further and faster when you travel alone.
  4. It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a hundred times.
  5. Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
  6. Life is short and the world is wide.
  7. Do not follow where the path leads; go where there’s no path and leave a trail.
  8. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
  9. Travel makes you modest; you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
  10. Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

Which one did you find most inspiring?

What is Success?

For many years, I have struggled to come up with a perfect answer to this question. The following piece from Paulo Coelho’s “Manuscripts Found in Accra” is the best answer I’ve ever read. I hope it inspires you too:

Manuscript found in Accra

Success does not come from having one’s work recognised by others. It is the fruit of the seed that you lovingly planted. When harvest time arrives, you can say to yourself: ‘I succeeded.’

You succeeded in gaining respect for your work because you did not work only to survive, but to demonstrate your love for others.

You managed to finish what you began, even though you did not foresee all the traps along the way. And when your enthusiasm waned because of the difficulties you encountered, you reached for discipline. And when discipline seemed about to disappear because you were tired, you used your moments of repose to think about what steps you needed to take in the future.

You were not paralyzed by the defeats that are inevitable in the lives of those who take risks. You didn’t sit agonising over what you lost when you had an idea that didn’t work.

You didn’t stop when you experienced moments of glory, because you had not yet reached your goal. And when you had to ask for help, you did not feel humiliated. And when you learned that someone needed help, you showed them all that you had learned, without fearing that you might be revealing secrets or being used by others. 

 

Hector and his 23 Observations about Happiness!

Hector and the Search for HappinessI watched ‘Hector and his Search for Happiness’ movie on a recent flight and loved it! It’s about a psychiatrist who feels guilty of dispensing recommendations to his patients that never change their conditions or make them any happier. So he sets out on a journey to find what makes people happy. It’s quite funny, interesting and inspiriting. During his ‘research’ he makes the following 22 observations:

  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness***
  2. Happiness often comes when least expected
  3. Many people only see happiness in their future
  4. Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money
  5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
  6. Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains***
  7. It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal***
  8. Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love
  9. Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing
  10. Happiness is doing a job you love***
  11. Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own
  12. It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people
  13. Happiness is feeling useful to others***
  14. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are (People are kinder to a child who smiles)
  15. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive***
  16. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate***
  17. Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love***
  18. Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think
  19. The sun and the sea make everybody happy***
  20. Happiness is a certain way of seeing things
  21. Rivalry poisons happiness
  22. Women care more than men about making others happy
  23. Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy

*** These are my favourites. Which one is yours?