My wife was preparing some snack for Diwali. Right from the time when I was a child, I just love to hover around the kitchen when Diwali snacks are being prepared. The joy of eating the stuff as it is being prepared is what only foodies would understand. As I put my hand in bowl to pick up some stuff, my wife smacked me on my hand and said, “Please don’t eat it now and don’t hover around while I am cooking”. Some phrases have the power to take you back in time….this one surely did! My mother used to get extremely annoyed whenever my brother and I sneaked around in the kitchen to eat the stuff while she cooked. She used to scold us, “Don’t do this. If you do this while I am cooking, food wouldn’t turn out as good as it should ”. I always felt it was a superstitious nonsense to just keep us away. But when my wife almost said exactly the same thing, I asked her, “Well, it’s nice to carry on traditions but I did not know superstitions are part of the package!” “What nonsense!” she retorted. “Mother used to say exactly what you said just now. There was always this superstition of not looking at food while it being prepared, otherwise it does not turn out as good as it should.” She smiled and said, “No, there is nothing superstitious about it! If you try to read while someone is writing or keep looking at the painting when an artist is painting you would get the same reaction. When you are doing something pouring your heart into it, you just need to be in the world of your own without anyone disturbing you. It has an impact on anything creative you are doing, Now please get lost and let me cook peacefully”.

My wife was preparing some snack for Diwali. Right from the time when I was a child, I just love to hover around the kitchen when Diwali snacks are being prepared. The joy of eating the stuff as it is being prepared is what only foodies would understand. As I put my hand in bowl to pick up some stuff, my wife smacked me on my hand and said, “Please don’t eat it now and don’t hover around while I am cooking”. Some phrases have the power to take you back in time….this one surely did! My mother used to get extremely annoyed whenever my brother and I sneaked around in the kitchen to eat the stuff while she cooked. She used to scold us, “Don’t do this. If you do this while I am cooking, food wouldn’t turn out as good as it should ”. I always felt it was a superstitious nonsense to just keep us away. But when my wife almost said exactly the same thing, I asked her, “Well, it’s nice to carry on traditions but I did not know superstitions are part of the package!” “What nonsense!” she retorted. “Mother used to say exactly what you said just now. There was always this superstition of not looking at food while it being prepared, otherwise it does not turn out as good as it should.” She smiled and said, “No, there is nothing superstitious about it! If you try to read while someone is writing or keep looking at the painting when an artist is painting you would get the same reaction. When you are doing something pouring your heart into it, you just need to be in the world of your own without anyone disturbing you. It has an impact on anything creative you are doing, Now please get lost and let me cook peacefully”.

As I walked out of the kitchen, I was thinking about what she just said. I remembered watching a documentary on Netflix a few days back about Bill Gates. In the peak of his Microsoft days, he started taking a “think week” – a week where he would shut himself in a log cabin in a quieter place and just read, think and write. As the time progressed his “think week” became much longer than a week and it helped him tremendously. In the same documentary Melinda Gates mentions, “His brain is like a CPU. He keeps looking at so many things simultaneously and then he just allows his brain to form a framework and process a large amount of apparently unrelated stuff into a meaningful pattern!” According to me she just nailed the formula of success. While Bill Gates is what he is we all have pretty much the same hardware of brain that he has – question is whether we allow it a space to operate and unleash its processing power.

When you are working on something new, you essentially get a large amount of data from unrelated sources. Your brain has a power to churn it and give a framework to you on its own. Once you have that framework, chaos of the data becomes a meaningful information. So while you are crowdsourcing the ideas in the brainstorming phase, you need to take a pause and give your CPU time to process all the data before you move forward. You require that time to reflect. You need your own quiet space, a “me time” to be able to do anything creative. Unfortunately we have made terms like ‘mindfulness’ ‘meditation’ so exotic that people think they are far from reach in a normal everyday life. It’s simply all about spending some quiet time with yourself focusing on what you love doing, doing what is important to you without bothering about the world.

In an era of social media we live in a cacophony and we are almost always ‘online’ on world’s radar. If you talk to any war strategist who plan a strategic operation, they would tell you their secret – While fighter planes have ability to fly at any height, the real art of winning in a surprise attack is all about ability to fly under the radar. Flying under the radar sometimes helps!