Amit Sodha: Spreading the Light

Sunetra Senior Monday 08th June 2015 08:02 EDT

It is not usual practice to refer to someone as a drink, but Sodha (say it out loud) is as refreshing as he sounds. Regular weekend presenter for Sunrise Radio, creator of one the longest running personal development blogs in the world, and a professional life coach/comedian alongside, he is a brand of positivity in a gush of different tangs. The best part of it all is there is no surprise catch. As we talked about his work- digitally and on stage, the motivations and the challenges, and the way he connects to the people around him, it was clear he is for real, the sensation of well-being organic and long lasting. With the summer sun beating down around us, it seemed a fitting time to chat:

How did your website, Unlimited Choice, come about?

The transitional point was when a friend of mine encouraged me. I kept that in the back of my mind, and without having a clue, just threw myself in. Now most people tend to burn out, but I just kept going. Neil Gaiman- the author- said something like ‘you often sound like others before you find your own voice.’ After a year nothing was happening, but I kept on writing whenever the inspiration took. That was in 2005, and now it’s a prolific platform where I’m approached by people who I never thought would come to me! For example a boxer approached me, saying ‘I’ve got some weight to shed, can you help me with some advice?’ I think focusing on what are the hot topics and how they marry up with your interests is the key: in my case, I noticed people were very interested in health, an area I have struggled with myself. Write about what you feel and that will inspire others.

A lot of bloggers do struggle to attract an audience at the start. Have you found that a particular format works better than with others?

Lists! 10 ways to never *insert idea here*, or the 5 ways to be happy, or 10 awesome quotes for a bad day. That’s the sort of thing people automatically gravitate towards. After you’ve developed an audience then you can be more organic and flowing. You’ve got to appeal more broadly before introducing your own voice.

So did the life coaching emerge from the blog, when you saw that you were reaching people?

Actually, the same people who told me to write also suggested that I coach. I was meditating and helping people from the age of 15, so that foundation was already there. The writing was another lovely channel to explore my connection to others. They pretty much came hand in hand.

How did you move towards the world of entertainment? Were you always interested?

Well, I was always a dreamer. I always thought of becoming the next actor or Hollywood heart throb. It may not come to fruition, but not from lack of trying! I remember being on stage to switch on the Christmas lights at the Chimes centre in Uxbridge, and I was there with Olly Murs, who’s a singer-song writer and A-lister. It was so cool being in front of all these screaming, star struck teenagers. Even as a youngster I loved to entertain. I was doing the West Side symbol, and it always worked! I remember I had a junior school play – Pedro’s Revenge – and I played a gangster with a trilby hat and fake cigar: (he imitates a gruff Mexican voice) ‘hey chico, what you got on under that hat?’ Clearly that was my big break- I still have the VHS copy, hah. Ever since then, I’ve loved performing in front of people.

Does your stand-up comedy enter into the life-coaching?

Definitely; the best way to help someone is to not necessarily be serious, but to laugh with them. For example, if someone wants to swear at their ex, I’ll joke and curse along with them. They get it out of their system and realise it’s not so all-consuming.  Another element that enters into it all is the ability to speak. After my MA degree, it was something I wanted to develop. I performed at a comedy night for charity, my first professional set, and it was a very intimate setting with a group of maybe 15 friends.  We were testing it out, and I realised I was rubbish- I got one laugh in 15 minutes. I bought books on the subject, kept experimenting, and when we finally did the gig, it went down really well. I remember hearing people talking about it during the interval in the toilets, and knew I’d hit the right note: if you really want to reach people, you have to communicate. Whether you’ve got energy like Tony Robbins, or mild-mannered like Deepak Chopra, that quality is underlying. They captivate entire arenas, and to me that is magic.

How has your background influenced you?

 I grew up in Wales which was predominantly white, so I was the only brown-skinned kid in class. I was part of the boy’s brigade as well as having the Asian influence of say Garba and that taught me not to place too much importance on rigid ideas of culture. That can actually be obstructive and stop you from being yourself. It goes back to that same point about finding your own voice.

Have you faced many personal barriers in your career? 

It’s been a mixed bag. Mostly people have supported me, and actually, any time there’s been a barrier, it’s because I’m putting things off. You’re always going to have haters; in fact that’s how you know you’re on the right track.

Where do you get the energy for your spectrum of activities?

I don’t sleep for one!  Two: I eat loads. On a practical side, since I have quit sugar my energy levels have shot up. On the psychological front, people tend to view the concept of motivation as a means of getting somewhere and that’s where they go wrong. It should be about what naturally drives you. You won’t have to gather the energy because you’re instinctively buzzed. Any time you’re that depleted, you’re in a state of denial. Passion is a principal source of energy. That’s what I’m about; getting people in touch with themselves. We all procrastinate, that’s inherent, and that’s alright too because you have something to test you, but naturally tapping in is very important.

What have been the highlights of your career? 

In addition to my blog, it’s probably finishing my book, ‘How to Rewire your Brain For Wealth’. I’ve actually got two more coming out this year. One is a '100 Days To Living Consciously' and the other will be focused on health transformation, including fasting and high intensity training. The debut was written after learning and overcoming my own situation. In my twenties, it got pretty dire in terms of debt. It’s awful when something like that is dictating your life and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. The answer is nothing magical; it’s just about making disciplined decisions and doing little things to save money. Before you know it, you’re managing your life! It has been a real triumph.

Finally, what is the most important thought when it comes to staying positive?

There are two key points: remembering that we have the power of choice. I have a quote: ‘what has happened was meant to be, what will happen is up to me’. Secondly, live in the moment – it’s not necessarily about going crazy. Right now, standing in a park, there’s so much beauty to appreciate. When you live in the immediate and just sit and enjoy the present, there are no worries and you feel empowered.

And does that enter into your creativity. You have so many original entries? 

HELL YEAH! You start picking things up more. You are tapped into this universal channel- some more than others in terms of creativity, but there is a variety of ways that it manifests.

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