Gifts-giving is typically a sign of two things.

It is either a sign of a transaction or a sign of a relationship. Sometimes, a gift given can also be a sign of both.

What we should never assume of a gift is the intent behind it. It could be a trade for something else, albeit intangible, like a good feeling, or a show of pure love with zero expectations of getting anything in return. If you are patient enough the real intent behind gifts always shows up.

Excess economicus

If you think of it critically, there is no scarcity in the world. What many experience as scarcity or disadvantage is, to a large extent, the human system’s way of getting rid of extras that it produces.

I know it may sound disorienting but if you look at the world as an organism and not an organization, you’ll understand how we only live and work to produce surpluses.

And so, wars, pandemics, shareholder value, world poverty, corporate profits and almost every other concept in the world are tied to the human nature of excess, and how we either expend or dispose of this excess. And because these concepts are always on the rise, scarcity should not be the basis of economic thought, excess is.

Reproduce or migrate

Spaces always tell you two things no matter where you find yourself.

Reproduce or migrate.

Recognizing the message coming to you from the space in you find yourself is critical to your survival, sustenance and success. If it won’t let you reproduce, then it is time to migrate.

Defy norms

With every generation, the typical approach to life is to defer to tradition, and do things the way our ancestors did them.

The problem with this is many of us never investigate why they did what they did, the way they did them. We just follow on like sheep, choosing path dependence over consciously living.

This refusal to interrogate things is why many people face the same illnesses, challenges or hazards that their parents and grandparents faced. It’s also why they bear names and take on occupations that have no bearing with the present. If you are going to live better than your ancestors did, you simply must make it a habit to defy norms.

The long tail

A lot of things in life have no specific timeframes like when exactly the Coronavirus pandemic ends or when the startup in which you have a stake becomes monetizable.

What we have is what we know in the very short term, and most often, nothing new. However, what we know about the long run is that this phase, in which we currently find ourselves, will pass if we are resilient enough.

The change we desire or seek is in the long tail. We just need to be resilient enough to wait it out.

Gratitude trumps anxiety

As many parts of the world move headlong into the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, and possibly, into another series of lockdowns, I want to remind you that gratitude trumps anxiety.

You cannot be grateful and anxious at the same time. And let this serve as a pointer to a superpower that you already possess for dealing with anxious moments.

So this is how it works. Whenever you start to feel anxious about anything at all, switch on your gratitude button, and start to feel grateful for any good thing in your life, right in the midst of that anxious moment. Understand that anxiety and gratitude are like ice and fire; that anxiety simply cannot hold sway in the presence of gratitude. Try it!

Be mindful of the present

There are no moments like the present, to be present, to habituate time as if the past and future were completely irrelevant.

It is in these moments that there are no regrets or anxieties, only the momentary sense of being alive and grateful.

You breathe in and out, mindful of the most precious of gifts, air and your own company, knowing that being mindful works like magic, because you cannot be grateful and anxious in the same moment.

Leading people 101

If leadership is about one’s ability to influence others through specialized knowledge, then, you need to understand that people don’t care how much you know as a leader until they know how much you care about them.

This one attribute, the caring for others, is the number one skill in leading.

Your people, children, friends, colleagues and so on, always want to know you have their backs before anything else.

Passion is important

The subject of passion has been brow-beating for some time, and truth be told, you do need passion to execute any project.

As is often said, you can either do work you are passionate about or become passionate about your work.

But to relegate passion, the excitement you might feel in any of your pursuits, is to settle for half-measures in work and life.

Be thankful for rejection

Be thankful when people reject you. You may push back for a reconsideration but if they kick you out the door, don’t go back.

Understand that life is full of options and the current feeling of being rejected will pass.

Just like winter, the temporality of rejection, comes and goes, but what will replace it, may just be the most beautiful time you are yet to experience. Hang in there. The rejection will certainly pass.