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Clanging utensils, sounding bells and claps—we made a lot of noise around this time last year to thank healthcare workers and essential service providers. The fool’s day played to empty streets as we welcomed April from the confines of our balconies. Last year, our perspective of April changed. The April fool’s day got fooled itself and arrived like any other lockdown day—filled with anxiety, fear and worry. On April 5, we were back in the balcony lighting lamps. India had less than 4,000 coronavirus infections but now, Mumbai alone is reporting more than 5,000 cases a day.
But this April, unlike the last one, will be a new April. New because now we know our new working patterns. New because we value health and well-being more than ever. New because we are more empathetic and thankful for just being here.
April is the month of new beginnings—the beginning of a new year, a new financial year and a new accounting year for most companies in India. All filings on annual financial performances have to be completed by March 31. In the last few days of March, accountants and business heads scramble not just to close the year but to also budget for the new one. Ideas, big or small, are sown. Budgets firmed up.
April is the time for spring harvest festivals and also marks the advent of the new year for several communities. The new year is deeply rooted in our culture, ushering in new hopes and aspirations.
I - Ideation
April is the month of aspiration. With every new beginning comes hope. There is the hope of a raise, new projects and new jobs. Hope brings in energy and we need to learn to use that positive energy. What one does with this energy decides their future. One can invest the energy in learning new things, which can bring in more energy in the future. One can let this hopeful energy be spent in a good, happy day and it will be lost. It's how conscious we are and how we choose is what defines our days.
April is a month of performance. “How did you gain that kind of confidence” is a question that you often hear in podcasts of conversations with successful people. Their responses show that even if you don’t feel confident, you can still act in a way that manifests confidence. In time, these repeated acts of bravery will build a feeling of confidence. Take action first, confidence will follow.
Courage to take a decision doesn't mean the absence of fear but courage means taking the first step. The first step is to show up. April is the month of performance, the month of just showing up for what we aspire to be.
April is a month of reflection, too. Reflect, not to improve on misstep but reflect to pat your back on the best deed done in the year gone by. Success inspires success. Reflect on the decision that brought some joy, no matter how big or small that decision was.
In a recent podcast hosted by Rajkumar Singhal, founder Multipie.co, Abhay Pandey, founder A91 Partners, spoke about his achievements. He said, “Someone asked me about achievements in life. It is not about IIT or IIM or McKinsey and other jobs, it is about the social work that I have been doing that’s something I feel most proud of. You sit back and think that is what gives you most joy and pride then you should be doing more of it.”
I - Ideation
April is a month of ideation—look for pockets of growth, learn, take a break, recover and come back. April, not January, is the month of vision. Resolutions born in January mostly disappear in a few months but as the budget planning in the financial year, April helps in planning the vision for the year.
Before a competition, athletes are trained to visualise the entire race day starting with how they walk out of the locker room and to the point of finish. It is a mental exercise that they start training to actualise their goal.
April is the month of Fool’s Day. It is best to keep it light-hearted. Last evening, there was news of multiple cases in our locality. Last evening, some of us, in our own bubble, sat around and laughed at a few silly things. Laughter is magical—it never fails, it strengthens bonds and is good for health and heart.
Trevor Smith, who has worked extensively on happiness, says, “Humor is a great tool to use in a crisis that helps us look at that situation in a positive way that will help us deal with the crisis. Humor lightens one's burdens, inspires hopes, and keeps you grounded, focused and alert. With so much power to heal and renew, the ability to laugh easily and frequently is a tremendous resource in confronting any crisis situation.”
Leaders, political and business, use humour in the right manner. I personally like the lightheartedness that RPG chairman Harsh Goenka’s timeline brings:
In this week’s edition of Habits for Thinking, bring in APRIL with aspiration, performance, reflection, Ideation and lightheartedness. I was thinking of writing more, but then I came across this one and this joke by Winston Churchill is on me:
"Personally, I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."(Vishakha Singh, author of a forward-thinking course SHIFT, is a business strategist & a design thinking practitioner. She writes at www.habitsforthinking.in, offering insights into the ever-changing business environment.)