Author Highlight: Ankita Aurora Discusses her New Book ‘The Smart Balance’ and Stories from her Life
We are delighted to welcome a very promising author, Ankita Aurora, for a brief Q & A session at our website about her recent book: The Smart Balance.
In this Q & A session, she will be talking about her writing aspirations, inclination towards self-help books, and the route to getting her novel published. Stay on...while we chat with her.
First off, we would like to know a bit about your initiative – Morfosis? Would you mind shedding some light on it?
Morfosis is derived from the word ‘metamorphosis’ which signifies the change or transformation. Morfosis has been set up on the belief that every human being has an innate desire to grow. We believe that to grow, evolve and become better is a human need which if ignored, can lead to unhappiness, anxiety, stress, depression or lack of purpose in life. Everyone has a desire to grow. A mother would want to be a better mother, a sales professional would want to excel further in sales or learn new skills of marketing; a doctor would want to be better at healing patients and so shall a teacher at educating children. Hence, our focus lies on creating a positive impact in people from all walks of life, be it personal, social or professional. We want everyone to keep growing and live happily and purposefully!
Next is, why did you choose to write about smart life concept in the digital era? Or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, it all started with me. A few years back, I started reflecting on my own behaviors with technology and social media. I realized that I used my phone to navigate my entire life. I was dependent on it for directions, to deciding what to eat and where to eat, to connect with my family and friends, to entertain myself, to get my groceries and more. I reached out to my phone when I was happy, depressed, lonely, and bored. It was at the same time, I remembered my childhood and the sweetest memories I had of my early years were those of traveling with family, climbing trees and plucking fruits, playing with friends after school and more real life experiences. I started drawing parallels between my existing tech savvy world to the old fashioned real offline life.
Furthermore, when I started practicing as a life coach and behavioral trainer, I had trained people on time management, productivity and performance, work-life balance, happiness, emotional intelligence and more. I was coaching parents, students, young professionals, senior leaders, and business owners on various life challenges.
Every program and coaching session involved a common issue at hand with the use of technology in our lives. Whether it was parents concerned about their kid's obsession with video games or professionals struggling with focusing on important tasks. People around me complained about dry eyes, anxiety, and shoulder-and-neck pains more than ever. I noticed the increased stress levels and sleep disturbances, diminishing real-life conversations and connections, and loneliness in crowded places. They, including me, with the help of Dr. Google, had become self-doctors. I don't know whether it was a coincidence or the law of attraction at play, while I was busy looking around observing a change in our lives, I got exposed to the works of Kimberly Young, the pioneer of the study of internet addiction.
To satisfy my itch and personal curiosity about the subject further, I read innumerable books on the same subject, followed the experts of technology addiction, and interacted with psychologists, psychiatrists, with the game developers, digital marketers, parents, millennials, business leaders and more. I read literature on mindfulness, habits, distraction, focus, attention, meditation, product design, behavioral addiction, neuroplasticity, psychology, and again more.
The more I read, the more scared I started to feel about where we, as human beings and as a society, were heading. There was a need to make people aware of the impact of technology in our lives. The technology was getting SMART day-by-day and moment-by-moment. Human beings needed to be SMARTER.
We know technology is an essential part of our life now. But how do we ensure its smooth functioning for the overall health of our body and life, was a question to be answered. Hence, I decided to work upon this subject and write a book to spread awareness about the newly yet widely spread epidemic of Smartphone Syndrome.
Do you follow the lifestyle that has been stated in the book?
The five principles that I have mentioned in the book for smart balance are something that I truly believe in and work hard to live by. Whatever be our relationship with technology, I think these principles are the structural foundation of a good and happy living. With technology, I definitely practice “intentionality”. Before I download an app, buy a new device or get onto a new social media platform, I try and weigh its pros and cons, and make a conscious choice about it. But honestly speaking, despite the rules around technology in my life, I do sometimes slip into the rabbit holes of the Internet myself. I guess these are overwhelming times for all of us. The idea is to be aware, keep a check and pull ourselves out and put on track when we get carried away.
How do you handle the response of this book from your friends and other people?
There has been a lot of love and support from my community prior and post the book release. And, I am sincerely grateful to each and every person who has come my way along the journey of this book, as they all have in some way contributed to it. However, I feel the best when I hear back from a reader not only appreciating the book but with real changes they have brought into their lives and how it has impacted their well being.
Did you play video games in your childhood days? Do you think video games are not good for all of us?
Oh yes. I have played video games on those portable consoles introduced when I was in school. We had games like Tank, Snake in cellphone, Mario and Islander on the TV attached game kits etc. But while I remember playing these video games for good amount of 4-5 years of my childhood, I also do remember playing Chess with my elder brother (although I have not been able to defeat him even once till date), playing card games like Rummy and Sweep with my parents and grandparents, having Ludo championships with my cousins, and going on hours and hours of uninterrupted carom board matches.
Video games were just one of many forms of fun and entertainment and we often had a window of time period to play after school, or on weekends. Today, much more complex video games lie in the pockets of children. And that is what worries me. Games are good for fun and rejuvenation. They can also form bonds between siblings and friends when played together. In fact, certain games can also improve reaction time, decision making, problem solving skills in children. But, it all depends on the selection of games, duration they are played for and not really a substitute for real time play.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I am a behavioral trainer by profession. Writing is a means to spread out my ideas to a larger audience. When I am not writing, I am engaged in training programs and workshops for institutions and corporates under Morfosis.
What inspire you most in life?
Well, I am deeply inspired by simplicity. I am always seeking out ways to uncomplicated things and simplify processes, theories and lives. We have somehow landed in a place where everything is complex, be it business scenarios, relationships, wardrobes, devices, health, emotions etc. I like unraveling things to put them as straight and simple as possible, for my audience, my readers and myself.
Can you tell us about your current projects – be it anything?
At present, we are working hard to spread awareness about the subject of Technology Addiction and The Smart Balance in the society. We are doing Digital Well-being programs for corporate, Digital Citizenship programs for students and Digital parenting programs for parents. We shall soon be announcing our Digital Detox Himalayan retreats to help individuals unplug and disconnect with their devices and to connect with the real world.
Apart from this, some of our other flagship programs under Morfosis include those on Personal Wellness, Positive Thinking and Law of Attraction, Work Life Balance for Working Women and more.
If you were to change your genre, which one would you choose?
I am dedicated to the space of personal growth. I would like to stick to this at least for the near future. But I do have ideas to work upon Leadership, a few years down the line because I leaders have the power to impact multiple lives. So hopefully, that is something I will explore.
What does literary success look like to you?
Every single tiny success story from an individual/reader is a success to me.