A Sip of Chai - The Secret to Your Success - Common Sense Living Newsletter
Common Sense Living India

A Sip of Chai - The Secret to Your Success

Jun 04, 2014


As a child, I always felt like I was lazy. I would hide in the corners of our house reading any books but my school books... anything from Enid Blyton adventures to Ayn Rand's philosophies captivated me ... while my mom would get red in the face from yelling at me to 'get your nose out of that book and do your homework'. Which, needless to say, I was never very interested in (I mean, who likes homework?).

Ironically, the few minutes I did grudgingly spend on homework every day paid off and I did well in school. My teachers and parents wondered whether I was actually smart or just really lucky. In fact, it was the opposite. I was actually lucky because I had accidentally stumbled upon a way to work smart instead of working hard.

The method worked thus: I spent time indulging in my love for reading. It stimulated my senses, heightened my brain function, and probably filled me with happy hormones (endorphins). So when I did sit down to study, I was in a state of heightened productivity, and ended up absorbing everything I had to study very well. It was a state of perfect balance.

Then I hit the real world, and had a life changing encounter...with guilt.

Do you see people around you working really hard ... doing things the 'right way'... working long hours, sacrificing time with their families, never watching TV, and even if they hate their jobs they work hard for a paycheck and family responsibility.

Does it make you think, 'I should be more like that'?

That's what I started thinking. So I decided to abandon my earlier method and start working hard. I'd wake up early, drive to office, and sit rod straight at my desk for the requisite 8-hours, not even stopping for lunch.

But when you allow guilt to start dictating your behaviours, your work and life both suffer. Your creative juices dry up, your productivity falls, and your happiness levels plummet. I became unbalanced.

By going against your natural inclination you are setting yourself up for failure. What you should do (and what I do now everyday) is find your balance.

Positivity from one area of life can flow into other areas, becoming a source for heightened efficacy. Happiness in your personal life, causes productivity in your professional life, and vice versa. Pursuing, achieving, and maintaining balance should become a priority.

Pursuing balance. When you find yourself falling apart, cranky, stressed, and unhappy...it's time to pursue balance. Have you ever come back from a family vacation and returned to work full of energy and ready to achieve that target? That's exactly the feeling you want to learn how to create in yourself on a daily basis. In this pursuit it becomes extremely important to know yourself... what mitigates your stress factors, and stimulates your endorphins.

My childhood habit of disappearing inside a book still gives me immense pleasure. I have wider interests now - happiness now means cooing to my infant nephew, a cup of perfectly dripped south Indian coffee, listening to the sound of the azaan wafting through my neighbourhood... For you, it may be a stress-busting game of cricket, an hour of vehemently agreeing/disagreeing with Arnab on News Hour, or a midday call to your daughter for a 'how was school today' chat.

Know what unties your knots, makes you sigh with pleasure, brings a gentle smile to your face ...and then do those things.

Achieving balance. Once you identify your balancers, start incorporating them into your daily schedule. You will start to see a difference in your attitude, your mood (even the morning Bombay traffic doesn't evoke road rage in me anymore), and most importantly, your productivity. If you find your productivity flagging, stop working. Get up from your desk and go do whatever it takes to bring yourself back into your balanced zone. Take your laptop and go work in a coffee shop in the middle of the day. Or, you can treat yourself to small indulgences - maybe your office neighbourhood has the best chai-bun maska in three states. The very least you can do is take a few minutes to close your eyes and think about happy memories ... doing this will immediately stir up the same positive feelings that the experience brought to you. Figure out short cuts to positivity.

Maintaining balance. This is perhaps the most difficult step. First of all, even if you don't want to accept society's standard of when and how to function, you still have your own personal judge and jury panel scrutinizing your every move. That's where the guilt comes from. Your spouse, your relatives, your colleagues... all expect you to live up to their expectations. I have found that a lot of bosses care less about good work than they do about the appearance of hard work. If you don't look busy, you're not being productive!

But you simply can't make everyone around you happy all the time. So give yourself a break - accept that you can't be a perfect machine. And then you can be happy.

To maintain balance you might have to plan ahead... work some extra time into your day - waking up early, procrastinating less - to focus on your happy-makers, and still be perceived as responsible by societal norms.

These may seem like small things, compared to the gargantuan problems you face in your life.

'How on earth am I supposed to pay off my home loans by closing my eyes and drinking chai?' you wonder.

But God is in the small things.

If you feel good about yourself, if you are happy and guilt-free, you will be productive. It will show in your work...and will lead to clear thinking, problem-solving, and greater wealth.

So take heart, sip that chai, and balance yourself to get great success.


We request your view! Post a comment on "A Sip of Chai - The Secret to Your Success". Click here!

13 Responses to "A Sip of Chai - The Secret to Your Success"

A Latif Qureshi

04 May, 2016


Rahul Rathour

15 Apr, 2016

i love my chai

cp divakaran

01 Nov, 2015

i lo I love my Chai! why think duty duty all the time? Have chai, have fun and, sure, do much better in Life!


04 Jan, 2015

Why didn't I read this piece 25 years ago. Anyway it's never too late. Thanks.

Arun M

02 Jan, 2015

Hey, Very nice piece, enjoyed it.


20 Jun, 2014

Hey - thanks everybody. I was having a terrible time with the morning trafficy drive to work - so I made myself a new music CD and now I calmly hum all the way in - I hope you are all remembering to incorporate balancers in your work & life everyday.

J Jeyerajha

13 Jun, 2014

Inspiring and an eye opener.


12 Jun, 2014

Hey angel, The 'chai' talk was refeshing.....its simple but most important messge to maintain healthy and happy me. Thank u...will take my 'chai' break for sure. For me thats dancing.

Manickam M R

06 Jun, 2014

Really motivating. Pursuing balances is more easier than incorporating, However, more tough is maintaining the balance in the routine.

Afroz A Ansari

06 Jun, 2014

Very motivating & inspiring newsletter, definitely it will stimulate a process of change in me.


05 Jun, 2014

Simple and subtle!!

Kannan K K

05 Jun, 2014

This newsletter is very ecouraging, motivating in terms of our thinking towards personal life, professional life which leads to higher productivity with Positivity.

Kiran Bhat

04 Jun, 2014

So true. Lately even before I joined this club I started to change by life and thinking. Currently I am not worried, stopped brooding and procastination and it helped immensely. I only do "Karm"..


Sign up for a wealth of Common Sense Living ideas delivered to your Inbox for free every week.