The Haja Sheriff Blog

The road less travelled

Posted by in Blogging, India, Motivation

Courtesy: Travelmath

It has been 31 months in Singapore, and it is now time to go back to India. Singapore has been home to me for more than half my working life (almost 15 years).  It has been great, and arguably, the best place anyone can stay in. Singapore is an experience one has to go through.  Lessons learnt here in managing a country like a company- are difficult to see elsewhere.  This is my second home.

During these 15 years, I have had the honour of working for three of the best IT Companies in the world- IBM, Microsoft and now Amazon.  As I look back at what I have done over the years, I am amazed at the opportunities that have knocked at my door, and even more surprised at the roles I have picked up. 

I seem to have been governed by Robert Frost’s famous lines of following the roads less travelled.  Almost all the roles I have done over the last few years have been roles that had been shunned by others- for either me too new or for being too challenging (with minimal chances of success).  

Well, as I move from my current role in Amazon Web Services to a new position with Alexa, I am looking forward to the new world of Voice. 

All said and done- I am glad I took the road less travelled. And going back to India from Singapore (for the second time) makes me feel just that- I am taking the road less travelled. Again. 

And I know, it will make all the difference.

Home is where family is!



Achieve your potential #497 – Answer this- “What have you done today for someone?”

Posted by in Personal Brand, Personal Effectiveness


I recently watched Sully on Amazon Video. And I watched it again. I am seeing this movie a year too late. I am to blame for it because I read film reviews and decided it was not something I want to pay and watch. And it was one of the movies I should have watched when it was playing in the theaters.

I was amazed at the story and went and bought the book Highest Duty by Sullenberger (also known as Sully). The experience humbled me. It gave me goosebumps. I remember when I got it earlier. It was when I watched Schindlers List. At the end of the movie, they show all the survivors and their descendents who visit Schindler’s grave and place a stone. The impact of having saved those people – and how many they grew into!

It is a powerful lesson for us. What we do to someone has a much more profound effect on humanity than we can fathom. It is not just the person who we help, but also their extended families. When we get a chance to help – in any way we can, we are impacting a person and their future generations. At the same time, I believe, we are doing our future generations a great deal of service because we are teaching them the power of giving! And it always pays back manifold.

So think about it. What have you done today for someone?

And Captain Sully, I hope I get a chance to meet you in the future! I would like to thank you for teaching me something very meaningful.


Achieve your potential #497

Posted by in Attitude, Motivation, Personal Effectiveness

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. —Amelia Earhart

Be action oriented.  Keep taking that next step- however far the destination is.  You are one step closer.  

And take one more.

And one more…

We have to teach ourselves to make this a habit. Be it through maintaining a diary, a to-do list, or any other means, just keep moving!  The rest will fall into place.


What can I start today that will benefit me for a lifetime?

Posted by in Time Management

This is an article by Abu Tyas Tungal in It is a fantastic article best read in more detail if you find this useful.


There’s two types of work according to Cal Newport in Deep Work. There’s deep and then there’s shallow work. Shallow work arises from the internet. Social networks have eaten up our attention span and deleted our ability to fix our mind on anything for long periods of time. Think of shallow work as the tasks that anyone can do, right away with almost no training. It’s simple work ladled with interruption. Using Twitter and replying to emails while you write.

I don’t know about you, but this is a serious issue for me. I am desperate to find a solution to address this issue. This article was a very relevant topic for me. The concept of doing “Deep Work” appeals to my sense of doing something well.

The key learnings that I take away and I recommend you read through in this excellent article are –

1. Forget Time Management – think Attention Management. We, who multi-task, are told to look at task management as the way to succeed. The muscle we need to be building is “Attention Management”. 

In Deep Work, Cal outlines four types of deep work. Namely monastic, bimodal, rhythmic, and journalistic. Each fits a different situation. It depends on your schedule. Deep work is part art and part science. Take what works for you and throw away the rest.

2. Deep work is hard. It is time-consuming. It is deliberate. 
3. Find your “Ikigai” – The Japanese concept of “the reason for being”. It is a lengthy process and will require deep introspection. But finding it early in life will give you the moral compass to target your actions.



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