Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Peek Into The Future - A Bold Attempt

Date: 31 Dec 2011

I am feeling very good as I finish the year 2011.
Looking back, I am proud of my achievements, my new skills and new learnings.
This year has been the best year of my life. I planned at the start of the year, executed my plan throughout the year and today - I have achieved all the goals I had set my eyes on. I have to highlight that this is not been as easy as I thought it to be. When I started my year on Jan 1, I spent close to four hours developing an action plan for year 2011. I was inspired my Robin Sharma's Vlog - 'How to Make This New Year Your Best Year Yet'

There were 5 steps to be followed:

1. Celebration - Celebrate your past year's achievements, wins (small & big), special moments.
I had plenty to celebrate. This pdf sums it up.

2. Education - List out 5 business lessons, life lessons you learnt in the past 12 months. Also mention what was your thought process when you were at your best.
Business Lessons:

  • Always be prepared. An opportunity might knock anytime.
  • Work on your skills. Improve faster.
  • More projects means more contacts means more projects. Continue what you are doing.

Life Lessons:

  • This too shall pass - nothing is permanent - Joy, Sorrow, Nothing is permanent.
  • Grab every opportunity.
  • Be ready well before deadline. Do not keep it till the last moment unless the delay helps you deliver better results.

Thought Process:
I was in the zone. I focussed only on the goal. I did not pay attention to any of the distractions.

3. Clarification - List out your BIG 5 for next year. What five things should happen which will make 2011 the best year yet? What are your top 15 goals? What are your values?

My BIG 5 were:
1. Present at CAST 2011
2. Author of 2 books.
3. Learn Perl & save money.
4. Be the trainer (testing) for my organization.
5. Be a uTest bug battle winner.

Among the top 15 goals, my first goal was to read all the books listed here. The books are tagged under '2011 Book List' collection.

Values - Hard work, Fitness, Relationships & Enjoyment.

4. Graduation - Develop a plan for the next months. Tie your BIG 5, top 15 goals and values into a PLAN such that every month, you know your targets and what is to be achieved.
I developed my plan. I had time for all my goals, BIG 5 and spare time in December to wrap up any pending tasks.

5. Visualization - The most powerful step - Visualize your future. Visualize how you want to feel on Dec 31st, 2011. Visualize yourself fulfilling all your goals & achieving the BIG 5. The more colorful, vivid, in detail the visualization - the better.

So, with the above plan on my wall, I had made up my mind to make 2011 the BEST year.
Was it easy? I would be lying if I said Yes. There were quite a few challenges and I am happy I overcame them.

Challenge 1: Time
With so many books, articles on my 'To be Read' & 'Absorb if useful' list, I had to spend more time offline than online. But again, there is a catch. Most of the interesting blogs, challenges are announced on twitter, blogs. So, I had to be aware of most of the announcements from my colleagues and yet spend just the right amount of time required for these commitments. One of the changes in my routine was to get up at 4.30 am. This gave me three hours in the morning. I slept two hours early and got up three hours early.

Challenge 2: Distractions
Cricket World Cup - As a devoted fan of cricket, it was hard for me to miss watching every ball of the matches. I promised myself that I will watch only one match - the FINALS & only if India makes it to the finals. This also meant 'No Television'.
Online chat with friends - I was always online to chat with friends but this year I made up my mind that I would be online only for scheduled discussions.

Challenge 3: New Routine
This was new to me. No television, no tuition, no chats. It took me some time to get used to this routine. The big chart right next to my bed inspired me, helped me concentrate on my goals. Is there anyone who still believes that writing down goals has minimal effect?

Challenge 4 - Saying NO
This was a tough challenge to say NO to the various tasks that came my way. They looked quite interesting and challenging but I had already set my eyes on something BIG. There was nothing which would prevent me from achieving that except me. A tough decision, few unhappy experiences. But that's how life is. No Pain - No Gain.

So, finally. Here I am - happy, contented and looking forward to the new year 2012.
And you guessed it right, the chart for 2011 would be preserved and replaced by a new one for 2012.
Thanks for all your support. Hope you too had a great year 2011 and wish you happy new year 2012.

PS: This blog post was inspired by Jon Bach. And every word I have written in this blog post is TRUE. I hope to link to this post on Jan 1, 2012 for the post - '2011 - The Year That Was' and mark everything as Done/Achieved.


Unknown said...

You inspire me!
All the best!

Shrini Kulkarni said...

all the best Ajay.

Make your to keep health as an important goal. Sleep optimum, eat in time and eat right. Not sure if there is any room for physical exercises. Do consider them.


Henrik Emilsson said...

It looks like you will have a lot of interesting things to do in 2011!
Keep up the good work Ajay!

I started out in 2010 by going on a 7 months parental leave; and it turned out to be the most interesting year of all. Both family-wise and career-wise.
E.g., spent a whole lot of time with my son; bought a house in the woods; moved to a new company; won the EuroSTAR TestLab Apprentice Competition; spoke at several conferences; attended the first Swedish Workshop on Exploratory Testing; created a university course in Software Test Design (coming up in January 2011); met you in Copenhagen.
All this with the only plan to be at home with my son... :-)

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

Thank you.

Good health is also right on top of the goals. Thanks for your comment.

After reading your comment, I am reminded of this comment by Michael Bolton:
"In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind. --Pasteur" Link:

Thanks for your comment and yes, lots of interesting things to be enjoyed this year :)

glsandeep said...

Chicha, what can I say… am speech less… by reading the whole content… I can imagine how difficult it is.. but I believe only you can achieve all those things…
Grt chichaa… am inspired a lot by you… better late than never… Thanks for everything.

Its wonderful way of keeping ur goal like this.That too visualizing like already u have achieved it...sooper kool it is.
All d Best Chichaa....


Unknown said... live your name!!

Anonymous said...

For some reason, this post reminds me of the movie Memento.

I'll be waiting, to see you set these to Done.

Prabhakar Vuram said...

Hi Ajay,
When did you finished 2011 ?? as you are saying you finished the year 2011.We are Testers and should consider every thing...any how good article.
Prabhakar Vuram.

Michel Kraaij said...

I hope 2011 will be just as successful for you as 2010... no wait, even more succesful. You deserve it. Keep on inspiring others!

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

@G.L.Sandeep @sandeep @Prabhakar Vuram : Thanks a lot.

@Michel: Thank you. Looking forward to your blog posts & Skype transpection sessions.

Priya said...

Hey! this is very inspiring!!
Best wishes to you :)

Rikard Edgren said...

Hi Ajay

Nice ambition, and I think you can make it.
However, I hope you don't focus too much on your goals, and miss something that would be even better.
Who knows, you might find important testing lessons in the cricket World Cup semifinal?

If they were my goals, I would set them in a more vague and exploratory, less scripted and measurable, fashion:
1. do a stunning presentation at a renowned conference
2. write a lot of very good text on software testing
3. learn more technology & tools
4. help my colleagues and friends do better testing
5. find astonishing bugs

And I would add Have Fun as a the sixth member of the Big Five.


Jassi said...

A truly inspiring post Ajay.
Congratulations that you had planned your goals & was able to achieve them,though its not easy to make goals but its more difficult to make goals and then keep up & a big deal to acheive them ( at least for me :) )

You did it, All the very best for 2011.

Take care,

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

Thanks Jassi.

Thanks Rikard.
I thought of having it general. But again, when I list it out in so much detail, I can visualize it better & this helps me focus better.

Just my thoughts. Thanks for your comment.

Meeta Prakash said...

I always had a feel that you are on the right track ..... but after reading this ...I am sure your approach is one of the most clear ones .... Do let me know if you need any help anywhere ...

All the best and I am sure you'll do great !!

Goodluck !

Ajay Balamurugadas said...

Thanks Priya.

Unknown said...

how can i download "Leassons learned in software Testing book" is it possible to download from net, if so plz tell me....

Anonymous said...


All the Best