Be Present

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Last few months, I was just restless. I was restless because there was nothing significant to be restless about. Most of my life I had been busy proving to the world; then I was busy proving to myself. Now, I hit a zone where I felt I had no reason to keep trying to prove. Our mind is so attuned to constant action or constant flow of agitation that it is not accustomed to having less to worry over. When we are busy with some significant project we feel useful and recognized. A new dilemma appeared for me having progressed to making the mind less dependent from external stimuli. What next?

After many months of agitation, I accepted that I didn’t know what was the cause for agitation and just parked the thought aside. The fact that I stopped worrying and looking for an answer, was the best thing that I did. Recently, the answer just showed up -- ‘Let Be’. I had to learn to live life in the present, be in the present and enjoy the moment, learn to love life holistically and just ‘be happy’.

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be - Abraham Lincoln

We may know that happiness is a state of mind but to discover the ability to shift the state of mind with speed and actually see it become real is something else. Recently, I made a commitment to tell myself every morning to be happy. Having simply enforced that thought into the mind has been of amazing consequence. Interestingly, whenever I digress from this feeling or thinking and fall into the trap of sympathy, anger, righteousness or such, I am finding that the power of mind kicks in to remind me that I have made a commitment to be happy.

To love and enjoy life, we have to be grateful for life rather than take it for granted. The insatiable wanting for more and more normally occupies the mind with complaints, fears, sense of struggle and hardship that there is limited or no space for gratitude. Although we may have abundance, the mind habitually keeps yearning to possess, to win, to succeed and fill gaps. We are conditioned with the anxiety to be relevant, to be recognized and worry so that life feels useful. We worry because we feel comfortable having something to worry about. Then, ironically, we complain that life is full of worries.

I believe we fear that if we feel grateful, we will stop working, stop being ambitious, stop elevating ourselves. Laziness emanates from a sense of incompleteness and lack of gratitude. Loving our life and seeing this life as a divine gift, would impose a responsibility to value our life and thereby value every element of our life – our thoughts, our body, our work and our relationships. Thoughts do creep in time and again that disrupt this state of mind. It requires constant practice and reminder to keep recreating the thought of happiness.

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears - Anthony Robbins


Knowing and working with Ashu has been a personally and professionally enriching experience. Her worldview has a deep philosophical underpinning and is informed by clarity of thought and tempered by strong sense of honesty, compassion and generosity. Ashu has the desire and the ability to make a difference.

Mr. Jaideep Khanna

CEO & Country Head India, Investment & Corporate Bank, Barclays Capital India

Ashu has worked as a coach with my team on a few occasions to help improve teamwork and team dynamics. Working with a group of type A investment bankers can be pretty tough. Ashu was able to draw out the team to share their views openly in a constructive manner.

Mr. V Anantharaman

MD & Regional Head - Origination and Client Coverage & Co-Head - Wholesale Banking, South Asia, Standard Chartered Bank

I find that Ashu has a knack for cutting to the heart of the matter, no matter how complicated it may be. Her direct approach towards stating the issues up front, and then exploring solutions works very well in a business environment, where time is short and issues are complex.

Mr. Ashok Bajpai

Regional Director, Essar Steel

I have known and worked with Ashu Khanna for a number of years on various programs and have found her to be a very effective coach and trainer. Her programs on leadership and Branding are particularly of high order and clubbed with her unique individual style have proven to be quite impactful.

Mr. Awdhesh Krishna

Global Head - HR, Nomura India

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Being Authentic

"Don't shout" is a commonly used hypocritical statements by a parent to a child. When the command is barked, the child is confused because the parent is expecting contrarian behavior from the child. I too have 'shouted' these words several times and now I laugh at my folly because the words and action never matched. I wonder, was I telling my child or myself to be calm.

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