Today my mantra (particularly to writers) is ‘Just give it ten minutes’ this trick overcomes writers block and within ten minutes you will have some form of inspired creation.
Before now, my mantra was ‘Pay it forward‘, for I would not have a published book if wasn’t for the good grace of MANY people before me.
Every time I travelled anywhere, it was ‘The Kindness of Strangers’ that kept me going (you can see which books have inspired me). And it was this kindness that I would amplify if anyone ever came to London. One of the very first principles adopted as soon as I had a home, was that it would be an open home for others, and it always has been.
It is the same in the writing process.
The number of times I almost gave up, or the number of dead metaphorical manuscript cats in my garden, almost equate into a graveyard. Each and every time, it was someone who believed in me, and the story that I had to tell, that lifted me back into the vision of the book that was birthed.
So how did this dream come true?
Well, firstly, do not listen to agents or publishers too much.
Whilst it is true, many people believe they have a story to tell, and a book in them – the ever-saturated market of celebrity authors should not put you off. Everyone had to start somewhere, and if the satisfaction of completing the tome you have extracted from your being is enough – then get it out. You’ll breath better as a result.
I had the dream of writing a book for as long as I could remember, from the moment my memory began it seems, and it would ebb and flow into being depending upon time, inspiration and encouragement.
It began to take shape approximately twenty years ago, when I would write long, long emails late into the night, to friends and family from my travels, after my daytime reporting had been submitted. ‘Did you know…? ‘This is the truth the media doesn’t report.’ ‘The guy in Uruguay’.
The response would always be the same from recipients; ‘Mandeep, you need to turn this into a book’… and I would think yes, one day, ‘when I retire or break my leg’.
Perhaps that is what led me to break my leg, but since I was at Harvard Business School at the time – studies still had me busy, and still the time was not right.
Surprisingly to me, the moment came as soon as I was living a ‘normal’ married life (in the same time zone at least) for the first time in our four years of marriage, and before I knew it I was nauseous (at the lack of travel) and I was pregnant.
I was wholly unprepared for the change in life that was about to ensue and another mantra came into play – ‘Sometimes paper/ pen is the only that will really listen.’
And so I began to write…
Friends and family again kicked in and I vividly remember a life changing coffee with one of my closest friends, Andy Taylor, outside of the BBC – Broadcasting House, on Regent’s Street.
‘Mandeep, what you seem to be writing is wisdom for your child from around the world…
Why not call it ‘Letters to my unborn child?’ and so the project began.
I began to work diligently and would go to the library at the Oxford Cambridge Club daily – writing from 9-5pm daily, with an immovable deadline which I did not make, and the manuscript was not ready before the birth of the first child.
Three months later we tried again – but still I was not able to write the manuscript before the birth of my second child just thirteen months later (motherhood is a lot busier than I had accounted for). The nine months of pregnancy were clearly not enough, and so I stopped having babies and just concentrated on the writing – which took many, many, many iterations.
Slowly it morphed into the fact that I was writing about values, and this is when Andy’s creativity came in once again, as it has often stepped in at critical moments in life – hence The Values Compass was born, nearly a decade later.
My 8 and 7 year old live to tell the tale with me, with the mantra ‘Don’t stop – believing’.
(c) Mandeep Rai
About The Values Compass:
Every day, whether we acknowledge it or not, we make decisions based on what we believe in. The choices, challenges, or opportunities facing us – and how we engage with them – in politics, family, relationships, work, and play reveal something important about our character, desires, and personality to ourselves and to others. When those values align and are shared by a single population, they have the power to transform a nation and teach the world valuable lessons about success.In The Values Compass, Mandeep Rai explores this concept by taking 101 distinct countries and identifying a single key value in each that is represented throughout its history, geography, and culture in the hope that we may find a way to incorporate those values into our own lives. From India’s ‘faith’ to Vietnam’s ‘resilience’, Argentina’s ‘passion’ to Singapore’s ‘order’, Australia’s ‘mateship’ to Uganda’s ‘heritage’ and from Malta’s ‘community’ to Sri Lanka’s ‘joy’, we may all find something of ourselves in others and succeed together as a result.
This is an insightful and readable collection of profiles that open our eyes to the world around us, and in turn help us reflect on which values matter, last, and have the power to create change.
‘The Values Compass takes us into the hearts, minds, and traditions of the cultures and people of the world. It demonstrates how interconnected we are and how the divisions that exist between us stem from narrow self-interest rather than concern for the good of our human family. I hope that the book will contribute to making our world a happier place.’
The Dalai Lama
‘The Values Compass is a fresh, engaging and eye-opening guide to understanding ourselves and others in the most profound and practical ways.’
Order your copy online here.