Dream like your life depends on it..

My Blog

Photo by Bethany Legg

Sometimes external situations in life may push you to pick up a job that you dont enjoy or it will push you to take risk, be creative, innovative and do the things you always wanted to do and earn your living from it.

But, why wait for external situations in life to decide your destiny? Ya, I understand- fear of failure, people’s judging opinions are all part of not having confidence to take the risk and doing something that you love. Irony is that people will judge you anyways, then why not do the things you love and then allow people to judge you and make opinions about you…

Photo by Jordan Whitfield

Let me help you out, just answer these two questions to yourself.

1. What do you really enjoy doing and you won’t mind doing it for the rest of your life?

2. What is the only job you would do if your life depended on it?

Paul Fernandes

5 Things you did not know about 2019.

My Blog

While some of us are making our New Years resolutions – we have entered into the New Year. In this post I am going to tell you about 5 things you did not know about 2019.

.

.

.

Photo by Ethan Robertson

.

1. If you don’t take action, this year will not be any different.

You may have decided to do certain things, achieve certain results and live your dream life. This won’t be possible if you don’t take any action on those decisions. I like the Nike tag line – just do it. So let’s take some concrete actions on our desires to achieve higher results.

2. No one is going to help you more than you can help yourself.

We need people around us, no doubt about it. But if we only depend on people to help us reach our destination, we will never reach there. People have their own sh*t to deal with. So, you do all you can to achieve your goals and depend less on others doing it for you.

3. Health is wealth.

Last year I have seen too many young people dying due to health problems. There is no use of trying and getting millions, if your not there to enjoy it. This year let’s keep the balance between work and time to look after our body.

4. You don’t read, you don’t lead.

So many things are happening in our world today, that keeping a pace with what’s happening around us becomes very important. Let’s make a commitment to read more this year, because I believe reading and leading is directly associated with each other.

5. You are awesome.

I believe you are beautiful, handsome, hot, sexy, intelligent, successful and whatever you wish to be. Deep down I know you want to be that. Believe you are beautiful or handsome or successful and I am sure confidence, hardwork and belief in yourself will take you just where you want to be.

May be all of these 5 things were just a reminder to start this year with right mindset and positive attitude..

Have a wonderful year 2019.😀

-Paul Fernandes

From Mom’s Nose Pin to Brother’s Gym: How at the age of 9 I realised that gender is fluid, Aishwarya

Inspiration, My Blog, women

“Rahul, Raj, Govindda, Ajay…..” the audience blabbers as they were asked to guess the host of OBR (One Billion Rising is a global movement, founded by Eve Ensler, to end rape and sexual violence against women (onebillionrising.org)

“It is Aishwarya”, says the host finally.

“My name is Aishwarya and I was born a girl.”

I am a 17 year old student and at the age of 9 started applying the concept of gender fluidity. It started when my mom and dad separated, and my dad was fed up of tying up my waist long hair, hence, got it cut short. I was told by many that it suited me, and that I was looking cute. That was the reason I didn’t return to my long hair, but this of course is not the reason that I am identified as a boy. I have an elder brother and sister and since childhood my brother was allowed to go out, be it day or night, was allowed to hangout with his friends, and take all serious decisions and responsibilities of the house, this used to confuse and annoy me because I too was a human and I used to wonder why was I treated unequally. That time I didn’t know anything about gender equality, or that women were equal before law, I became sensitised only after 6 years when I joined NINEISMINE (http://www.nineismine.in)at the age of 14.

Although I was being treated equal as my brother, by her father, I was sent for grocery shopping or any other important work in the absence of my brother; I was given a phone before my elder sister. Although it made me happy but it also made me realise the level of discrimination in our Indian families and I started fighting for my sister’s rights with my father, and now all the three children of my family are treated equally.

When I got opportunity to speak in public, I spoke on gender equality, and everybody used to think that I am a boy because of my attire, my voice and my built which I had due to the gym, and once I tell them my name the hall used to echo with applause.

Now, everyone refers to me as beta(son), bhai(brother) and my sister looks up to me, as the so called protector, rather than my brother. I know this concept of protector too needs to be eliminated and that’s my vision: I want to become a professional dancer, and by being be the real me on private and public platforms, I know I am fighting gender stereotypes and inequality.

Now that I recall the times I used to apply my mother’s lipstick I laugh, and continue doing my dumbbells. There are lot of people who come to me and say that they want to be just like me and have the same courage. You know what? I am going to fight for all of these people.

My family, friends, neighbours, teachers all have accepted me like I am, and why shouldn’t they?
I am just another human.

Democratised Disruptive Innovation- What could it mean for the individual? Hirander Misra

Finance, My Blog

To learn lessons for the future we have to look at the past.

A few thousand years ago, when money never existed, a transaction happened only by exchanging agreed commodities by barter. E.g. Panchgani in Maharashtra where I recently held a TEDx talk on the subject I am writing about now is famous for strawberries – if you had strawberries and someone had cows to produce cream you could exchange a given amount of milk for a given amount of strawberries based on a discussion to determine the value of each and you both now could happily eat strawberries and cream. Life was simple and easy to understand.

A few centuries ago, with an inception of globalisation and increase in population the trade happened by exchanging commodities with rare materials like gold and silver.

Moneylenders in the past filled the gaps left by banks and still exist today. The Venetians were key players in the 1300s. For example moneylenders keep your gold and lend you money and charge you interest but if you did not pay it back they keep your gold

Around 16thcentury, the current banking system started evolving. Banks started to print paper currency. They were printed on the basis of gold reserve but from 1973 this backing by gold was removed as part of the Breton Woods Agreement as backing by gold was expensive. From then on faith in currency is based on trust. This is not different to Bitcoin, a virtual currency today, whose value is based on expectations and hence trust.

At the time of the 16th century exchanges also came into being. An exchange is a central meeting place for buyers and sellers and came because in era before computers more buying and selling could be conducted in a concentrated location. This was really the start of the evolution of an exchange and money as we understand it. In 1602 a central place for buyers and sellers to trade with each other was established in Amsterdam which became known as Amsterdam Stock Exchange albeit the Belgians claim the first exchange since 1531.

From the 1990’s stock markets become more electronic gradually in the most part replacing trading that was done on the open outcry floor of a stock exchange to computer based trading. Then the financial crisis happened in 2018 and many individuals and companies were impacted by the reckless greed of a few.

This financial system has made individuals reliant on middlemen be it a bank or a broker and even in cases, exchanges with dominant position. Financial markets have became complex to understand and expensive in many cases with a never ending era of products available to the unassuming consumer. The system the rough the centuries has become unfairly priced and complex. For example you may only receive 50% of the value of your gold as a loan and 20 percent interest may be paid for it. Is it fair?

Banks do the same with assets but one can argue in this era of technology the value of the services provided is too expensive relative to the overhead to deliver those services. Greed has led to a complex financial system that few understand with lots of vested interest. Every day people are exploited by the system and I am not saying the system is not needed but it needs to change. How can we bring fair level playing field to eradicate disparity – but also with social reform, which is impactful and sustainable? This niggling thought really hit home to me in 2008 when I was COO of an innovative electronic stock exchange called Chi-X Europe, which I had co-founded. Lehman one of our clients went bust in front of my very eyes and Fortis Bank our clearing bank nearly went the same way until the Dutch Government bailed it out. Global financial meltdown ensued. I realised that the system was flawed and there must be a better way. Yes the system had to exist with better controls but it had to reach back to grass roots level as it had become so far removed from reality.

We at GMEX Group have personal experience of this as a company. In 2015 we started working with the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa (ACE) in Malawi after a fortuitous meeting with Kristian Shach Moller in a hotel bar at a conference in Switzerland. This exchange, which deals with grains and pulses but was struggling to reach the end smallholder farmer that it was set up to facilitate in a meaningful way as only 5% of its activity was farmers selling their crop direct to market. Middleman which at the time added no value were giving smallholder farmers 10% of what their commodity was worth and the banks despite having the commodity as security much like a money lender keeps gold still lent at 30-40% interest rates and that too to only 60% of the value. The farmer took all the risk but was left struggling to feed his or her family. By introducing prices on their mobile phones to farmers and educating them as well as making the banks compete online to lend in addition to brining in cheaper finance through mobile/ electronic banking coupled with making the exchange more accessible for them to sell their produce directly, in one year in 2016 the incomes of 47,000 smallholder farmers went up 31%. $10mn worth of finance was provided and that would have been $110mn if there had been better access to finance. This would have then benefitted nearly 500,000 smallholder farmers.

This lead us to realise that technology instead of being exclusive could become more inclusive and transparent. More income leads to social welfare, women’s empowerment, children’s nutrition as we saw in Malawi. Value add now can move from being farmers growing tomatoes to produce tomato paste (add value) and then have demand for financial services personally like mortgages and loans that are priced right. The unbanked start to become banked.

We further realised that this issue was prevalent across all other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa as well as Latin America and South East Asia. Take coffee as an example, we in a fancy coffee shop were paying £2.50 a cup yet the end farmer was lucky if he got £0.10. As such positive change in a sustainable manner where we made people reliant on commercial enterprise not charity hand outs could lead to a massive positive impact on a global scale

This led to the creation in 2017 of a dedicated initiative by us to facilitate this called FinComEco (Financial and Commodities Ecosystem). This has led to engagement in 21 African countries as well as 3 outside the continent but with lots of work to be done to fully convince governments and stakeholders in many of these to not only do this but also do it in a proper fashion involving all key areas fully linking farming to the end value chain of demand. A middleman for agriculture still has a role to play much like they do in financial services but it was those who could add value be it by making the smallholder farmer bigger and influential by grouping/ aggregating production or offering convenience such as transport to get it from the farm gate to the warehouse were the ones which would now prevail in this new world. The farmers in the case of ACE can now choose how they sell, when and how they got a fair loan to buy fertiliser and seeds when they needed it at the outset. The exchange now enabled by technology is at the heart of that to ensure that technology is used for good. This is applicable to many different sectors and we are also now starting to do the same through a separate India based initiative we announced in December 2017 for rag pickers and others who generate waste to creating an exchange for waste such as cow dung, etc to bring valuable incomes to those who need them most. Not to also mention the positive environmental impact this will have. This also supports the Indian Government’s Clean Ganga and Swach Bharat initiatives but is not just an India problem it is a global one as rich and poor countries all produce waste and most of it ends up in our oceans destroying marine life.

Malawi-image

Ultimately billions people can benefit if these types of initiatives are rolled out more widely leading to positive change by other organisations be they public or private. Corporate Social Responsibility is not just about meeting targets for CSR budget spend any which way as it has to be more than that. Equally executives at development finance institutions have to galvanise their organisation as many are acting like private equity houses and not looking at a 10 year view for sustainable socio economic reform no matter what the PR ad rhetoric lends us to believe. The number of times we have knocked on such doors and been told that we should come back when we have a track record and profitable on such ventures for funding so we can scale further and that we should be three years old as an enterprise. If that was the case why would we need them at that stage? We are not the only ones that face this predicament.

We as the individual are the ones that have to drive this change. So it’s no surprise that we find ourselves in an era “Democratised Disruptive Innovation” (DDI as I term it) enabled by technology, where 1 month is like living 10 months in terms of opportunity and development and it is not inconceivable that in 5 years time organisations not only such as Google could be a bank and banks as we know it would be different as even we individuals could lend and borrow more and more from each other as we have seen with some tech initiatives with peer to peer lending emerging. In the last few weeks two large company CEOs have approached me that are successful as they reflected over the holiday period and said we make lots of money now but we can see that either we change or someone eats our lunch. Look at what digital cameras did to Kodak which is a shadow of its former self.

Now we can trade with each other direct by technology whereas in the past you had to be in local area and Now national and international. Anyone will be able to trade with anyone with transparent in an open manner with more consideration to just financial services. We are in an era of “Anyone to Anyone trading .“ The intermediary (middleman) is now technology and this means massive opportunities not only for companies like Google who can from nothing in 20 years to become a giant worth about $700bn USD but also for us as the individual as anything is possible. I am not saying that there is not a need for a middleman, but this match making is needed at a better price and continually needs to evolve.

We have come back full circle to the new age of barter between all of us but with online convenience to coexist with the current exchange and financial services ecosystem but technological enabled change is making it more practical, more efficient and more accessible. So we can now all embrace change and use it to empower ourselves in any manner we choose, when we choose. Whether change is the only constant (the overall theme of TEDx Panchgani) or there needs to be constant change in the way you do things is now for you to decide how best to democratise.

-Hirander Misra

CEO, GMEX

http://www.gmex-group.com/

Hope is a good thing- Diyatom Deb shares his life journey.

Diyatom Deb, Inspiration, Motivation, Music, My Blog

Listening to music started very early in my life. I think the song ‘Papa Kehte hain’ started it all for me when I was may be 6-7 years old. A few years later my mother got me into Indian Classical music. I did that for a couple of years but eventually studies took over and I did not continue with it. 

Music came back to life when I went to Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology where I went to persue my engineering. I remember the first day when I got there, I heard someone was playing Micheal Learns to Rock and it felt really good. I felt closer to Shillong. But till then I was just singing for a few friends in my room. Things took a huge turn when one day a friend of mine dragged me to this vocal audition for one of the events in college. They really liked the song and my voice and after a few days I sang in front of people for the first time. It is a moment that will forever stay with me. The appreciation I got was so overwhelming. That was the moment I kind of realised that there is something special I discovered in myself and I have never looked back since then.

My family has been very supportive in whatever I do and did in my life so far. Now that I am a full time musician, they are really very happy and are supporting me from the core of their hearts. My wife was the one who gave me the confidence to quit my job and follow my passion . So yes, it’s been really really good to have a family like that.

When I first started, I was out and out a retro Hindi Singer. Kishore Kumar till date is my biggest influence. But in College, I saw my first Rock Show and it changed my life forever.     This band called Parikrama came to our college and watching them I almost lost it. It was an experience that cannot be described in words. Somehow, I wanted to sing western songs after that. But it wasn’t easy at all. I auditioned for our college band and failed miserably. The diction, power, connection were all missing. But I persevered and eventually got to sing in the battle of bands on my last year of college. Till date, nothing felt better than that. But the struggle was immense as it was a completely new thing for me. Today I am singing on TV and I feel that perseverance was so important.

I feel that everyone should try and make their passion their profession. I know it’s easier said than done but if you work hard, you will reach a point in life, where you are really happy and contended. I like singing because I connect with so many people and the fact that I have found a way to connect with so many people, both in India and abroad, is mind boggling. I am very fortunate that I discovered music in me. I think I will die a happy man.

One of the most significant achievement is that I am amongst the top 11 contestants on the third season of Stage 3. It’s the first ever English Singing competition in India. I am totally honoured to be a part of this group. 

When it comes to significant things in my life, one of them is definitely getting married to my wife. She has literally changed my life around. Well as I have said earlier, she is the one who convinced me to quit my job and persue music. So she plays the most important role.

Another significant moment was when I got a call from Sushant Thakur, the lead guitar player for a Delhi based blues/rock band called Big Bang Blues. He asked me to join as they were looking for a vocalist. I am now a part of the band and it’s been an absolute joy ride.

I think it’s imperative that one enjoys what one does for a living. I know it’s easier said than done, but we really need to question ourselves during teenage as to what is it we want to do. If one is lucky, you get the answer. However , that is only the start . Specially if one decides to be a musician, it’s a bumpy ride all the way through. So keeping focus and enjoying the journey is how I think one can excel. We need to be sincere but not very serious.

I will be brutally honest. Independent music, specially western music, has very little money in it for you to survive. So the perseverance in it becomes all the more important. But music is a beautiful thing and if you truly believe in it, you will be happy for the rest of your life. Do not pretend to be someone else. Bring out the music that comes from your heart and please just focus on original music because at the end, that is what really matters. 

Always remember – Hope is a good thing.

Diyatom Deb

113 countries, 100 articles. – Paul Fernandes

Inspiration, Motivation, My Blog, Uncategorized

WP4Phone_20150505215559

I want to thank each one for making this journey possible. 100 quality articles is a big landmark. A special thanks to each contributor of the articles for believing in my venture for inspiring lives. Today when I see the site “Imagination Breathing. Com” viewed in 113 countries around the world. I feel proud of the decision I had taken and the sacrifices I made to start the website. As a child, I always wanted my name and work to be known around the world. Today when people from 113 countries are being touched by what I do. I feel happy and blessed. I wish to continue this journey with your support in the years to come.
I would like to thank the people from the following countries listed below who have viewed the site “Imagination Breathing. Com.”

India, United States, Brazil, United Kingdom, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Philippines, Canada, Portugal, Russia, Israel, Vietnam, Kenya, Germany, France, Argentina, Norway, Bangladesh, Qatar, New Zealand, Ireland, Japan, Egypt, Turkey, Kuwait, China, Indonesia, Iran, European Union, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong SAR China, Mexico, Thailand, Austria, Sweden, Greece, Papua New Guinea, Belgium, Rwanda, Oman, Lebanon, Bhutan, Ecuador, South Africa, South Korea, Ukraine, Cote D Lvoire, Chile, Pakistan, Malaysia, Malta, Algeria, Denmark, Romania, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland, Albania, Estonia, Mauritius, Angola, Bahrain, Bolivia, Uzbekistan, Liberia, Azerbaijan, Nicaragua, Montenegro, Luxembourg, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Jamaica, Barbados, Kazakhstan, Trininda and Tobago, Tanzania, Finland, Georgia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zambia, Hungary, Croatia, Macedonia, Puerto Rico, Tunisia, Iceland, Slovenia, Latvia, Fiji, Guatemala, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, Brunei, Seychelles, Honduras, Cameroon, Reunion, U.S. Virgin Islands, Suriname, Cyprus, Belize, Mozambique.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

LOVE YOU ALL.

With Gratitude,

Untitled17

Paul Fernandes
Founder and Editor-in-chief
Imagination Breathing.com

Coffee or Passion? by, Paul Fernandes

Inspiration, Motivation, My Blog, Uncategorized

 

c0ffee-or-passion

Finally the first draft of my book is ready, two and half years of tireless brain work and now it is here, right in front of me.  Few quotes/lines from the book are given below.

  1. “We lose ourselves in our pursuit to get someone to look at us the way we want them to.”

    2.  “I have felt a sense of hopelessness and nothingness.”

    3.  “At times we might not be aware but we might have the best imagination power.”

    4.  “Life may be shot and we must n0t take it for granted.”

    5.   “We must enjoy our uniqueness and individuality.” 

    6.   “Our mind can play nasty games with us, especially when we are alone.”

copyright- “Imagination Breathing.com”

 

 

With gratitude,

 

Paul Fernandes

Founder  and  Editor-in-chief

Imagination Breathing

 

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

Parents, a treasure to behold. by Chitsiarho Po

Uncategorized

altAvsqlfd0ztZavLPPJEgLk5R_J2PZoqfb7-Vs3A-fif-h  Chitsiarho Po.

Parents, a treasure to behold.             

               “We are so busy growing up, we often forget they are also growing old”. (unknown)

            This line caught my attention as I was looking through some quotes to start my article. I couldn’t help but agree to it solemnly. Often we are so busy growing up, adjusting to life, learning new things, we forget that our parents are ageing, growing a tad bit weaker as the years go by.

            I’m reminded of the story of the Hindu Lord Ganesh, who when challenged by his brother to go around the world thrice went around his parents thrice stating that his parents are infact his world. This story always reminds me the importance of our parents and the place we need to give to them.

            From the moment our parents hold us in their arms for the first time, they dedicate whole of their life for us. They spent their days working to provide us all our needs and wants, they spent their free time worrying for us and “they sacrifice their dreams just so that we can fulfill ours”. They do it all with no contempt, no regrets and no hesitation.

            Parents are the most precious gift one can ever have. They are our backbone, our support system, our strength. Our parents love us beyond all our faults and mistakes. No matter what we do, they only love us all the more. Even when we fail to be good children, they continue to be great parents. They are patient and forgiving, kind and considerate, they put us ahead of them. They shed their tears and sweat to ensure our happiness. Parents do it all with a smile.

            When I feel lonely and lost, when I feel life taking its toll, its my parents I turn to. I believe I’m not wrong in saying we all tend to cry out to our parents when times get hard because we know without a shadow of a doubt that they will help us through, they will never let us down. Their love for us never ends, never fades.

            Remember? Back when you were a kid, your daddy was your hero; strong and dependable and a kiss from your mommy could soothe all pains and injuries. He was your best friend, your protector. She was your angel, you confined your biggest fears to her and shared your craziest dreams with them both. Then, what changed?

We need to remember to thank them every chance we get. We ought to express our love to them every day. They taught us how to walk, to talk, to be who we are today. So, as the years go by and their strength slowly leaves them, we have to be their strength, return them the patience and love.

Today as you finish this small piece, go tell your parents you love them. They surely do love you!

“The Monster within”, by: Abigail Mawrie, Shillong,India.

Inspiration, Motivation, My Blog

 


  Abigail.T.Mawrie. Shillong,India.

“ The Monster Within”.

Did you believe in monsters when you were a child? Have you ever asked your parents to check under the bed or the closet? It’s normal to be afraid, especially if you were a child but I know even adults feel scared sometimes.

Their monster is different from the imaginary ones that we feared as children. If a house is haunted, a person would either move out or have it blessed. But what if it’s not the house that is haunted by a monster? What if the monster that you fear is living inside your head?NO…,I’m not talking about a “demonic possession”. I am talking about the abusive monster that echoes negative thoughts in your mind. The monster that turns you against yourself. That rips your self esteem into shreds.

This monster rented my mind once, well it was actually for five years but hey… who keeps the counts. Right?? I don’t know how it started and why it started but I know for sure that it was five years of chaotic hell. I was tortured by this monster, emotionally and mentally. It was such an awful time, it got so bad that it effected my physical well being.    It was a battle between me and this monster and I know I won’t let him win.

I felt so beaten, broken and lonely. The loneliness was the worst part. Feeling lonely when you are actually alone is one thing, but feeling lonely when you are with your friends and family : well I have to tell you, it is by far the worst feeling that I have ever felt during the short 20 years of my life. For a time being, the monster crippled me and as hard as I have to confess this…. He crushed my pride. It was only thing left in me but that too was contaminated by the negativities of the monster. I wanted it to end. Honestly speaking, I was ready to give up and to lay myself six feet beneath the earth. Some how, during the darkest moments of my life, reason touched me. It gave me some clarity. I love God, my family and friends. I cannot go out this way. I cannot let myself spiral down to selfishness. I’m going to fight one last fight. I will forgive myself for the physical harm that I inflicted on my body. I will pick myself up and face this monster. At that point, I realized that it’s time for me to take control of my mind and emotions. You must be wondering, from where did this hope and strength come from? Although quitting and surrendering to this monster seems so pleasing and temptation seems to seep into my heart so easily; But I knew I had to stand strong. I cannot let God down. He was the only one who understood. I have to admit, somedays I question him and his existence but I realized latter on, that he fought for me. That tiny silver lining that I clung on to was him all along. He gave me strength and courage to go through what I had to go through. God helped me a lot. He even sent angels to help me pass this horror like phase of my life.

This monster invaded my  mind and life to a point where I could not remember the feelings of happiness. At that point of time, I did not know what happiness is. Feeling hollow and melancholic seems so normal to me. The very tiny crumb of peace in my mind scared me. I was not use to it and this would make me sink lower and lower into the dark abyss that I created for myself. It was definitely a difficult time for me. I was shackled to this monster. He filled my mind with un-necessary guilt, anger, self hatred, low esteem, paranoia and self doubt. I could not escape him, not even in my dreams. I hated the fact that he made me fear sleeping and waking up. Well, in all honesty, it came from God’s grace. He gave me courage to face this monster and dance the final dance.

Today, I feel better. Yes, somedays are  still tough but that’s alright. I am here now, I am alive and breathing. I survived the torment of the monster who has caused the demised of so many. I fought long enough to finally see the light and joy of living again.

As strange as this may sound. I am grateful towards the monster. He though me to be more considerate and value the important things in life. In a way, the monster made me wiser and stronger. Infact, the monster brought me closer to God. This whole experience humbled me.

In the end, I shook hands with the monster and we parted our own ways. Finally I can breathe easy…..,   Helloo life….