Bob Miglani visiting India (Photo: Miglani friend)
Bob Miglani’s parents have owned and run a Dairy Queen in New Jersey for many years. Though they are in their 70s, they still work there almost every day because it gives their life purpose and a rhythm.
The couple still work there, Miglani said, partly because they know what treats their regular customers want – who craves a chocolate milkshake and who a cone with sprinkles.
“It helps customers get through the challenges of their day to get a treat,” Miglani said. That Dairy Queen strawberry sundae may make them forget the chaos and disappointments, at least for a bit.
The world is so uncertain, so huge and full of craziness that we all need help creating calm and meaning. Miglani, author of the new book Embrace the Chaos, has lived through plenty – as an executive at a huge pharmaceutical firm, a father and as someone who travels regularly to India, the land of so much chaos. His books offers some memorable stories and some wise ideas, a few of of which show up in my new Quartz article. Even if India’s not in your cards, it’s a good read.
He urges us to accept the constant changes and move our lives forward in spite of all that is changing and unraveling. And Miglani believes in the power of kindness, of being helpful, to stop crazy thoughts and bring you into the moment. “By giving ourself to someone else, we make our life more meaningful… . We can alleviate the chaos of our lives” by being engaged and helpful to others, whether they’re co-workers or a beggar on the street.
“By making ourselves relevant to someone else through our service… iit makes our problems less heavy,” he added.
He also said something that really resonated with me:
“We are meaningless and meaningful at the same time.” Surrounded by “billions of stars and billions of people around us, one person could be better off because of us.”
That’s true for everyone – including his parents. Their purpose in serving frozen desserts is a loop of goodness: ”I’m making somebody’s life better and therefore my life is better.”
Miglani still helps his parents sometimes with the Dairy Queen, but his main volunteer efforts are with the Albert Schweitzer’s Leadership for Life Youth Leadership Program, teaching high school kids about finding opportunities in chaotic times.
His message of service gives me an occasion to encourage everyone to find occasional or regular volunteer work - a great goal for anyone.
Another goal for Miglani: Help people overcome overanalyzing or overthinking.
He tells how he and his wife, Dr. Shefali Miglani, an optometrist with a good heart, was considering
Shelafi and Bob Miglani
opening her business in 2008. The timing was terrible: The financial markets were in meltdown and they could not get a business loan, despite what Miglani said was their great credit. They had two girls, 6-month old and a toddler and child care issues. “We were thinking about it and thinking about it” and trying to figure a way to get going.
Then one day, Shelafi came home and said “I signed a lease today,” which completely caught him off guard. “Yet if she had not taken that step, we would have been thinking about that plan for a long time,” he said. Her initial action moved them forward – very important in chaotic or changing times.
“Our actions give us control” over uncertainty and change, he said. “You start participating in life, and make a contribution.”
Action, engagement, kind contributions: That sounds like a recipe for a a delicious dessert – or a rich life or career.