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Month: February 2019

A superficial modern India

A few decades ago, you could observe somebody’s attire, mannerisms and slangs and predict quite accurately where in India they are from. They wore their culture as a badge of honour. You may look at it as stereotyping however it was a matter of pride of where you came from and what your culture stood for.

Modern India has become culturally fluid yet we have lost touch with our roots. Ethnic wear has become a category reserved for festivities or cultural days. I feel deeply saddened when I meet a Tamilian who doesn’t know how to wear a panche or a Rajasthani that has no idea how to tie a Pagri. A telugite that can’t drape a Kanjeevaram and a Kashmiri that has no clue how a dhoti is worn.

We have created new tribes and have forgotten the ones we come from.

Explore your roots, your culture and then choose to make it a part of your life or to find something that you better connect with.

If you resonate with it, strive to make it a part of your everyday life. Or as the Padma Shree awardee fashion designer Wendell Rodricks says, make it a part of your attire. Tweak it, if you have to but embrace it.

A Procrastination hack.

Procrastinating always starts small. We realise it only when it gets big enough that we can’t ignore it. But then it’s too late.

It’s as simple as, I’ll do it in a few moments. It shifts to I’ll do it post lunch. It further transfers to I’ll do it by EOD. Finally, it gets pushed to tomorrow and it goes on. Until somebody nudges you. Until you build enough urgency to get through it.

Seemingly insignificant moments snowball to decades.

The hack then is to catch it when it’s small.

The 1-time rule works brilliantly. You can procrastinate or reschedule it just once. The next time you touch it, you’ll need to get down to it and make it happen.

What do you want out of it?

Before you open the next book, schedule the next meeting, signup for the next conference or even say yes to a gig.

What’s your purpose? What do you want out of this?

Don’t go for all. Pursue specific.

A book may have 250 pages and 10 ideas but only 1 may be relevant to you in the near future. Find it and move on.

Vague ideas lead to vague results.

Let resistance be your compass.

It’s not about the road less taken. There isn’t just one fork in the road that we have to face. There are numerous forks in the road and the road less travelled isn’t always the best route.

A better compass of sorts is Resistance.

The more resistance you feel towards a path, the harder the initial hurdle seems, the strenuous the path feels, the better you become.

Let resistance be your North Pole. Step into it and progress every day.

Waking up early, holding onto a daily habit, starting a new project that may not work or even choosing the staircase over the elevator.

Let resistance be your compass.

Being vulnerable in public, inviting feedback and criticism, taking 100% ownership of your team and your mistakes, trusting somebody, saying the truth when it’s hard.

Let resistance be your compass.

Will this be on test?

This has been the guiding question too much of what we learnt in school and through college.

I believe teachers, professors and us as students can change it to: how can I test it?

Knowledge is potential power. Only when applied does it truly become power.

What you learnt today, how can you use it, apply it, observe it, test it, challenge it, seek exceptions and share it?

Don’t accept theories, conclusions, models at face value. In simple terms, just because someone said it.

Make it right.

Making every minute ring. That’s the hard part. The decision of letting go content that increases volume but not the value is hard but worth the strenuous effort.

Go a step forward, if you will and let go bits and parts that don’t align, add or amplify your intent.

Your audience deserves that refinement.

Saapad doesn’t scale.

Saapad or food served on a banana leaf doesn’t scale. Every time I witness a wedding with food being served on a banana leaf, I’m reminded of Ford’s assembly line.

There are batches, lines of seats where people sit and workers who mindlessly serve a pre-determined quantity of food at a furious pace. You can be through your dinner in about 10-15 minutes! The serving staff do not have the time to see that you are asking for another apallam, overlook your verbal no to something being offered, or even learn what they are serving. Forget about keeping a conversation with the person beside you. The food is literally dumped on your banana leaf and in no time you are juggling between different courses.

The bad part of it is that:

  1. Enormous amounts of food get wasted. Because almost always the serving person decides how much to serve you.
  2. The ones who eat slow, chew completely and intend to relish the food are forced to “hurry up” as there is only so much space on a leaf!
  3. Bottled water is mindlessly wasted. An average individual can’t consume 500ml of water along with an already overloaded dinner.
  4. By the time you are in the mid-course, there are people already queuing right behind you to occupy your seat for the upcoming batch.

Saapad is a phenomenal way to respect, relish food and reconnect with nature. But, it doesn’t scale. At least not in this format.

Rewards delayed is rewards denied.

Most trophies loose value right after the event. In a short span we take it for granted and move to the next thing. The sooner you reward the powerful it turns out to be. A compliment or appreciating comment given on time trumps a cash bonus given 2 months later.

Find a way to immediately recognise and reward behaviours, performances and contributions.

When your eyes are on the money, they are off the ball.

If money is stopping you from starting something worthwhile relook at your assumptions, approach and actions.

What’s the smallest step you can take towards realising your idea?

It may not be obvious but if a Wipro can begin as a soap manufacturing company, Tata can begin by turning around a wretched mill, Ambani can launch himself from a table and a borrowed landline phone.

What’s stopping you? So what if it doesn’t happen as you planned, wishes or longed for.

Where you start doesn’t matter. What does matter is you began and kept at it. Wherever you are, with whatever resources you have. Go, make something happen.