If there is one cliche that I am super cynical about, it is: follow your heart.
Without empirical data I find it hard to take decisions. Probably because I studied the human mind for years together as a cognitive psychologist, I am inclined to a cerebral way of thinking about things 🤷♀️
Despite the inclination, I had a few life instances where I ended up following my heart and they seem to be working way better 👇
- In 2011 I left a high-paying fast-growing career path in Singapore (along with permanent residence) to move to a slow Nawabi Hyderabad to help children have a stress free childhood.
My heart told me: Biggest gift any parent can give their kids is a great childhood and a holistic education. So, I decided to send my children to a Waldorf school. Fun Fact: All 4 Waldorf schools of India are in Hyderabad. Looking back, this is the best childhood I would have ever given my children.
- In 2006 my first child was diagnosed with autism. I was asked to put him in ABA therapy, some medication for stimming, speech therapy, occupational therapy, chelation and the whole shebang by the doctors. I did for 2 months as prescribed then I started following my heart.
My heart told me: Autism is real but therapy is not going to cut it. I read a ton around how the therapy works but I believed it has something to do with the digestive process and nothing to do with the psychology. I decided to keep my search on and do only what I feels right inside me. I accidentally found a bio-nutritionist (Dr. Lakshmi Prasanna) who spoke so much sense. Decided to follow her methods and stopped every therapy and just focus on the gut. A gluten-free, casein-free, sugar-free, soy-free, preservative and chemical free diet did the magic. No therapy was given. He was out of autism in no time (Autism is a non-reversible condition. 2 years is a short time for reversing in that sense ). He became a case study in the New York School of Medicine. Today he is a happy teenager surrounded by friends and laughters and no social anxiety.
- In 2010 my second child was diagnosed with rickets. I was asked to put the metal boots on his little feet to reduce the angle of deflection (it was 68 degree at that time and he walked like a duck).
My heart told me: We don't have to do anything drastic when he is just 18 months old. I had a lot of trust on the human body to do its magic. I took immense support from Dr. Lakshmi and it turned out I was right. By age 4 the deflection auto corrected itself and today he is a happy and a sporty teenager. He plays almost every sport on earth now by running around happily.
- In 2011 when I came back to India, I had fabulous opportunities to work in large corporates (what is called as FAANG today).
My heart told me: Work with FAANG and everyone else but not as an employee. I decided to start a premium user experience agency and work on exciting problem statements. That was the best decision I ever took as I ended up working on 150+ products, 100,000+ user interfaces and 20+ domains in a span of 7 years. My debut as an entrepreneur opened me up in ways I can't put it in words.
- In 2018 I was getting tired of the same old problems (hiring, ux maturity, competence, certificates, design workshops etc) of the design industry. I wanted to quit badly and go back to do something more meaningful.
My heart told me: Fix the industry issues in your own ways and make sure the problems are solved. The best way to show frustration is by solving problems better and not running away from it. It was a crazy decision to take up the industry problems as a small team (trio) in the name of Xperian. Today, we are able to give fish for those who need, teach fishing and take care of fishermen to a large extent. The quest continues.
Choice making is one of those murky subjects I still don't get a hang fully. I had so many data points to inform me otherwise but when I stuck to my heart I had an unexplainable peace attached to it.
In 2022, again I am taking a heart based decision to go full on with the learning ecosystem for designers, product people and no-coders and embrace the polygamous career of being a entrepreneur, teacher, coach, mentor, practitioner, community builder, facilitator and trainer.
Life is to be lived forward but understood backwards only. What big and bold choices are you making in 2022?
🥂 to 2022!