Ways to distinguish yourself #137 – Stop to smell the roses

For those who are new to this blog – I stay in Sunnyvale, california (West Coast)

The other day I was sending an email to a friend in the East Coast at 10pm and I got a response back immediately. After that we used email like an IM (Instant messenger) and exchanged a few ideas. When I thought that this was going for a long time, I had to write to my friend:


You east coast folks should stop competing with silicon valley people in the Workohalics departments. That is our pride, self-esteem and identity. Please don’t try to steal this away from us 🙂


With the pace of changes that are happening across the world, the people, especially those in the IT world are working very hard. (On a side note, I think this is an appropriate time to increase investments in one’s own growth rather than using all the energy to win the current rat race. That’s a topic for another day.) I was a victim to this a couple of years ago. I worked almost four full years without a day’s vacation – most of the times I would work on weekends too. Looking back and if given a chance I would re-live those four years very differently. John Lennon said it beautifully – “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” There is no use breaking my head on it now because that time is gone forever and whatever I do, there is no way to re-live those four years. However, what I do in the future is definitely in my hands. Because four years from now, if I look back at today, I don’t want to regret for what I am doing today.

Stopping to smell the roses may not give you financial returns. Some might even view it as an opportunity cost. Some people say that everyone in their company is working so hard that if they don’t, they won’t fit in there. Some more people say that even to stay where they are they have to keep running. The general feeling is that they don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. My friend used to jokingly say that “If you run for two hours every single day for the next twelve years, you might extend your life by two more years. But something doesn’t seem right there as you spent those two extended years just running :(”

Imagine you are in a running race with two rules:

1.  You have to run this race until you reach an end point.
2.  They move the end point to a different location as soon as you get closer to the end point.

Does this seem ridiculous? If you said yes, is there a possibility of you doing this in your life without paying a lot of attention to the details?

Stopping to smell the roses is your personal reward for celebrating life. It is one kind of reward where you either use it or lose it as it is directly connected to time.

Action Items:

1. What could you do this weekend to stop and smell the roses?

2. What accountability structures will you put in place to ensure that you WILL stop to smell the roses?
3. How can you ensure that someone close to you is stopping to smell the roses?

PS: Please don’t look at the time stamp for this post – I am still in Silicon Valley, remember 😉