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Full Interview with Exceptional People Magazine


Feelings_Emotion

1) What have you been most thankful for over the past year during the challenges and adversities we’ve all encountered?

With everything shifting online, from office chats to family gatherings, I wasn’t sure of why I was starting to feel low in spirit and disoriented on a mental level. Luckily, from my past charity and volunteer experiences, it was deeply rooted in my brain how helping and serving people can lighten up one’s mood with gratitude and contentment. Thus, I took on the challenge to solve the #1 problem that the pandemic has fuelled - increasing depression rates and mismanaged relationships! Over 80 years of research conducted by Harvard University, proves how embracing community and healthy relationships can make people happier. With the holiday season approaching and being the founder and CEO of a personalized gift store, I had learned how gift giving can strengthen one’s relationships; consequently making both the giver as well as the receiver feel happier. However, although gift giving has a long history dating back to ancient times, one thing has continued to become more difficult - choosing a gift. Not only does this bring confusion and overthinking, but also tends to develop giftophobia, and I had sensed this overwhelming problem ever since I entered the gifting market. Therefore, I decided to finish the book that I was writing for the past couple of years after researching and studying the psychology of gift giving. Condensing all my experiences working with psychologists and conducting constant experiments, I finally was able to publish my book - Unearthing the “Gift”. Within the first week of launch, it became an Amazon #1 Global Bestseller ranking #1 in Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, UK and USA. However, what still grounds me and what I am the most grateful for is the feedback and support that I received from random people around the world - people who’ve found the book helpful; people who found happiness by giving gifts and some who’ve enjoyed the illustrations in the book.

Photo of Me

2) Who has been the most supportive of you, and how has that support positively impacted your life?

Kartik Mahajan - the illustrator of Unearthing the “Gift”, and also the Chief Design Officer of GiftAFeeling Inc. While the book answers and solves the most important problem in the gifting domain, the illustrations including the cover image were the most essential factors behind the success of the book. Since the beginning, Kartik has been the brains behind the look and feel of the book - deciding and drawing the illustrations, finding instances of personalization in people’s daily life, making sure the color scheme is expressive of the content in the book, and in fact, one of the most loved sections - storytelling the long history of gifting through captivating animations were all his ideas.
Moreover, his patience and persistence of redoing and in some cases, even removing the illustrations from the book based on proofreads and feedback from the general public prior to launching the book, have constantly inspired me to deliver better value from the book. Going through all these to the last-minute challenges on the launch date, I cannot be more proud in saying that he has certainly redefined the statement - “A picture is worth a thousand words” to “A picture is worth a thousand smiles!” Although, there are still many opportunities to look forward to working with Kartik in the future, but with regards to the book, it wouldn’t be wrong if I state that “the gratitude plant that I had initiated for helping people was watered and nurtured by Kartik, making 2021 a year to always reflect back on with gratitude”.

3) Please provide at least three to five tips or advice on how people can improve their life, career, or business starting today. The advice you provide should align with you as an experienced professional, business owner, or entrepreneur.

  • Calling your friends and family - while it is very easy for one to busy themselves with computers and phones - watching Netflix or scrolling through social media, I believe conversations with old friends and family members is still irreplaceable. This is one of the greatest life lessons that the pandemic has taught me personally. It is certainly very easy to fall prey to the dopamine hits that social media feeds everyone with today, but I highly recommend everyone to Google - “How social media is making people lonelier than ever before?”.
  • Have empathy - if you see a kid crying on the streetside, go help them, don’t just call 911 and wait. Emotional Intelligence surely is highly regarded in today’s world, but I believe it mostly roots in actions through experiences. If you don’t believe me, try helping someone out today - anyone with anything, and see how it urges you to help more people; it’s a positive spiral!
  • Don’t fall prey to marketers - Finally, talking about gifting, since this is my topic of expertise, I understand that most people procrastinate their gift search to the last-minute, which perhaps, I did too until I found the false-perception that is created in the gifting industry. You see, most of the gifting blogs and ideas that show up on Google search that say “Top 10 Best Gifts for Mom” are unverified - there is no research, study, or evidence performed on them that gives a trust badge that these 10 gifts are unquestionably the best. Thus, as a result, it is very rare that even though the receiver might jump off their feet at the moment of receiving the gift, that the gift will not end up sitting on the shelf, eating dust! Psychologically speaking, a perfect gift is something that becomes indispensable, both in the memories and in daily life usage - not only because it is useful or practical, but because it provides a feeling, an experience, some personalized-uniqueness, and long-term satisfaction

4) What lessons have you learned this year that you believe will serve you well as we move into 2022?

Helping and serving people by any other means is the same as helping through charities and volunteering if you have a clean heart. I made zero profit from my book, and will never take a single penny from it in the future. Prior to the pandemic, with a swamped schedule, the only way I could think of in regards to helping and serving was through charities. As I myself run a company, it wasn’t difficult for me to figure out how the donations would be distributed in charities or non profit organizations. Firstly, like every other organization, charities come with their own structural and operational costs - geographic location’s lease costs, equipment costs - boiling down to the least - laptops and phones, employees salaries, event organizing costs (although most are sponsored, but sponsors consider it a donation too), business overhead, and much more. I’m not saying that these things eat up all your donation money, but these are fundamental costs to run most of the charities, small or large. As the pandemic gave me an abundance of time to reflect and observe, I decided to help first hand - and not just with the money, but with any of the tangible or intangible resources I had. Thus, I decided to unearth the answer to the biggest question in the gifting industry through my book - Unearthing the “Gift”; unearthing, because the solution always existed, it just needed a direction and perspective. Conclusively, I invested all the money, time, and resources that I gave to charities every year into writing and launching this book with a pledge to not take even a single penny of the profit that is made through this book. Going forward into 2022, I plan on utilizing the profit along with my next year’s share of donations into doing something similar - helping people in other innovative ways!

Feelings_Emotion


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