Category Archives: Books

Triggers – introduction



Famed executive coach Marshall Goldsmith presents a blueprint for achieving the most challenging thing any adult can do – changing your personal behavior. He and co-author Mark Reiter explain why your “environment” makes the change so difficult. They warn of situations, events and people – even sounds – that can set you off, derail your efforts to change and cause reactions you come to regret. Negative behaviors can make you miserable. Few adults succeed in making a significant behavioral change, but this manual describes how to do it by understanding your triggers and taking control of them. Filled with folk wisdom, this heartfelt guide – by the authors’ admission – states and restates the obvious to reinforce its lessons. You may have heard some of this advice before, but following it is what matters.

Why I read this book  

There is always an “ideal me,” and then there is a real me. My life vacillates between these two. I want to finish a novel I have been writing, I want to have a social media following, etc. I want to get away from my anger, and there is plenty of other ideal picture of me. But the gap has never been bridged, and the ideal me always evades from the “real me”. Clearly, I need help with this, and it’s good to talk to someone who has a lot of experience in this field.

So what’s this ideal me. This ideal me is a person who I aspire to become. This ideal person exactly knows precisely what’s good for me and what’s not good for me. How can I be successful, likable, respectable and most importantly how can I be happy? 

And then there is a real me, who lack the discipline and consistency to implement all the plans which will make me an ideal me. I want to lose an extra 5 kgs – that’s ideal me. But I don’t stick to the diet and exercise regime and end up not losing weight. The ideal me knows that anger is not good for anyone, but the real me gets angry often. The ideal me knows that I need to have a lot of mental fortitude to succeed in Sales. This ideal me knows precisely what exactly he should be doing in the workplace, but still, the real me succumbs. 

I know that my behavior is not per my plans and all I need is a coach who can guide me to achieve this. This book was that coach.  

Key Takeaways 

  1. Some of the reasons why people don’t change are Overconfidence, Stubbornness, Magical Thinking, Confusion, Resentment, Procrastination. There is one reason which is higher than all the other reasons – that’s called environment
  2.  Environment plays a significant behavior in triggering the desired behaviors
  3. Our environment is a non-stop triggering mechanism whose impact on our behavior is too significant to be ignored
  4. The connection between our environment and behavior can be understood as a way we give and receive feedback. It teaches us to see our environment as a triggering mechanism
  5. Encouraging triggers push us to maintain or expand what we are doing. Discouraging triggers push us to stop or reduce what we are doing. 
  6. Forecasting is what we must do after acknowledging the environment’s power over us.  It comprises of three interconnected stages: anticipation, avoidance and adjustment
  7. Good things happen when we ask ourselves what we need to create, preserve, eliminate and accept  – a test  few of us self-administer
  8. Daily questions and marking our efforts on the scale of 1-10 act as a commitment device which helps us make accountable by reflecting not just what we have achieved but also the effort we have put in.  We tend to ignore or underestimate the effort which we put to achieve our desirable behavior
  9. We don’t get better without structure. Structure means planning our day in advance and bringing in some predictability in our environment. Structure not only increases our chance of success, it makes us more efficient at it.
  10. Our environment is full of hidden triggers that share everything we say and we do. This can make creating change difficult, but by becoming aware of triggers, we can create new responses to them. Through self feedbac, active queston

Why should you read this book

If you are a kind of person who is highly motivated in everything you do, you are self-disciplined and can seamlessly implement all your plans then you should not read this book.

This book for people who have little motivation and really want to bring a meaningful behavioral change in their life. This book touches upon why we don’t become the kind of person we want to be, why we fail, what role the environment plays in triggering our behavior. And how can we change those behaviors or create a kind of environment around us to trigger the desired behavior?  By environment, the author doesn’t just mean changing external arrangements or going on a spiritual path through meditation, etc.  By environment, it merely means a certain kind of arrangement which we can create around us so that with the least possible efforts we can trigger a type of behavior we want.

This is definitely not a book which you can merely read and forget. Treat this book as a coach who will help you bring you back on the trail of the pursuit of becoming the desired person.

Closing Thoughts 

There is no formula that anyone can suggest you and of course the author is also not trying that. We definitely have to find out our own motivation our own way of doing things. There is a difference between understanding and doing. Just because people understand what to do, doesn’t ensure they actually will do it.

There is no formula that anyone can suggest you develop the desired behavior.  We know all know and very well understand what needs to be done. But there is a difference between understanding and doing. Just because people understand what to do, doesn’t ensure they will actually do it.

5 Love Languages – Part 5

Love Language # 4 - Act of Service

This love language essentially means helping or doing tasks of your spouse proactively to make his/her life easy. If you are a house wife you would expect your spouse to cook meal, help with household activities, make a tea or coffee for her sometimes. Where husband’s expectations will be like wise. 
Life gets quite boring when we do only what’s expected from us. If we are not helping each other, if we are not coming out of our comfort zone, then we will never be able to express our concern for the other. Act of service then means being considerate of what your spouse and alleviating his portion of tasks or sharing responsiblities with him/her.
 Imagine your wife has served you for 20 years. She had done everything possible for you and you have been utterly inconsiderate of all that she has done. You never helped her, you have never been appreciative of all that she has done and you have made her feel as if she was meant to do what she did and there is nothing spectacular about her work. This way you are ignoring her and treating her like a doormat. This happens when you become too self-centered and fail to understand that you wife needs help. 
There are 3 interesting observations which the author has made : 
  • What we do for each other before marriage is no indication of what we will do after marriage
  • Love is a choice and cannot be coerced
  • Criticism is an ineffective way of pleading for love
We all are touched by these 3 observations  and we truly need to consider love as an action not as a feeling. 

Learning the love language of acts of service will require some of us to re-examine our stereo types of the roles of husbands and wives. These have changed over the last several decades, but models from our past can linger, and different cultures have different expectations of the right way of things are done in marriage.

Personal Experience

Every person has different strengths and weaknesses. They choose tasks based on what they are good at first and then think of what’s required from them. The expectations of your spouse might be such that you need to work on tasks in which you are not that good first. Don’t shy away from doing the task, because your act is an expression of your concern and your love for her.
The spouse also need to understand that we all have our unique strengths and weaknesses.  Your spouse might not be good in doing what you do best. You need to lead in such situations. This is where first love language Words of affirmation also come in to play. For example if your husband is not good in cooking but out of concern he has cooked world’s worst dish, don’t make him insignificant or disparage his efforts. On the same note, the husband should understand that doing things for his wife will only make her feel good about you. Don’t shy away with your weaknesses, take feedback and improve in future. 
Your husband might not be as good as you are in household activities or vice versa but a he needs your encouragement to improve himself. You got to help him to help you. If you demean his act of service, you will discourage him and he will never think of helping. Remember you are what you are first because of your parents and then because of your spouse.
Having said that it’s very important to also understand that there should be only one leader who should lead from the front, and other should follow with full support and open mindedness. For example, I believe my wife is much better than me in handling relatives, at home and with my son, so there she is the lead and I follow and in may other cases, I lead and she follow. There shouldn’t be two leaders at the same time. This will create conflicts. 


This is 5th  in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.

5 Love Languages – Part 6

Love Language # 5 - Physical Touch

Physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love.  For children this is particularly relevant. It is also a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love as well.  Holding hands, kissing, embracing and sexual intercourse are all ways of communicating love. for some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it they feel unloved and with their emotional tank is filled. They feel secure in the love of their spouse. 

Almost instinctively in the time of crisis, we hug one another. Because physical touch is a powerful communicator of love. In a time of crisis more than anything, we need to feel love. We cannot always change events but we can survive if we feel loved. 

A simple hug mean more than a thousand words at the time of crisis because physical touch is a powerful communicator of love. In a time of crisis, more than anything else, we need to feel loved. We cannot change events, but we can survive if we feel love.

Personal Experience

Sometimes a simple hug speaks more than 1000 words. Just  a pat on the back is the most precious experience. This is the only language which breaks your boundary and requires the other person to be involved for its expression.
Before marriage when the infatuation is high, you tend to enjoy the sense of touch. But that gets eclipsed with you do not come to terms with your spouse because of so many reasons.  Forget about a hug, a simple handshake becomes a big thing. We unconsciously erect a wall between us due to various factors like. 

Just do one thing, the next time when you fight with your spouse, give him a hug to placate his emotions. The next time when he is gets home, welcome him with a hug. The next time when he gets a promotion, give him a sincere pat on the back.

Not that Words of affirmation are not required. Physical touch will add more value and feeling to the words you utter to your spouse

This is 6th in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.

5 Love Languages – The conclusion

The final part

When I finished reading this book, I was a changed husband from the inside. It’s a different thing if my wife will notice that change and will appreciate the improvement I have made.
I could easily relate all that the author has explained in this book to a hindi movie called Baghban. 

Baghban  is a story of parents whose lives revolve around their children. Like a typical middle class Indian family, they did everything possible for their children right from their education, to fulfilling their demands even when when the children started working. But when the father gets retired the children were unwilling to take care of their parents.

The plot sounds quite similar. But what really make this movie worth remembering and what really made this movie so special was the love of husband and wife. Even in the age of 60 both husband and wife were so dedicated to each other.  Both husband and wife love each other so much that even in their old age, they can’t bear the separation from each other. Their love conquered the misbehavior of their children and  because of this love, they had the courage and zeal to start their life after retirement. 


They are not worried how they will earn the money, or their children from whom they did so much, are unwilling to support them. The couple’s romance is so jubilant that it’s infectious to people of all the age around them. If you pay attention all the 5 love languages have been exhibited through their love story in the movie.

Love is not our only emotional need. Psychologists have observed that among our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth and significance. Love however interfaces with all of those.

How to discover your  love language ?

  • First observe how you most often express love to others. If you are regularly doing Acts of Service for others, this may be your love language.
  • Second, consider what you complain most often.  When you say to your wife, “I don’t think you’d ever touch me if I didn’t initiate it”, you are revealing physical touch is your primary love language.  
  • Think of the requests you make your wife most often. If you are saying “Do you think we could get a weekend away this month ?” you are requesting for quality time.

The Final words

I have found this book as a way to express my thoughts and reflect on the 9 years of  my marriage. No one can remain alone. You need someone to share your joy, to share your grieves, your success, failures and many other things, in short you share your life.
Your parents give birth to you, they do everything for your upbringing and make you capable to earn your living. They are the happiest ones when you get married. They think this as their last responsibility for you. They know that they will not be with your forever.  The reason they are happy for your marriage is because they know you have got someone in your life who will be with you longer than they will be around, who will love you as much as they do, they know you are with someone who will care for you just the way they have done for their entire life. 
I have discussed this book with few of my friends. They say, it’s not one person’s job to embark on this journey of transformation alone. My suggestion to all is just this, if you focus on what you can do, and be consistent on it without being deterred by what your spouse is doing, a day will certainly come when you both will start walking through this journey. So don’t wait for your spouse to start with you. Just start your journey and one day you will definitely see your life is changing, your marital bond is becoming strong and you are experiencing the love again. 

So in my first post, I started with the question “What happens to love after marriage ? ” My answer is it turns out to be what you yourself want it to become. If you want your love to become ecstatic and blossom your life with joy, it will become that. If you want it to become hell, it will become that. Either ways you are responsible for it and it’s always your making.

This is last  in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.

5 Love Languages – Part 2

First Language : Words of Affirmation

Words have the power to make or break relationships. The choice of your words and the way you express yourself have a huge impact on your marriage. This has been emphasized many times in my life and I am still learning about my choice of words and how I express myself. Solomon, author of ancient Hebrew wisdom literature has rightly said: “The tongue has the power of life and death.”  I have seen this happening many times with many people.

Gary Chapman lists out these 4 dialects which make a lot of difference in the way we communicate with our spouse.

  •  Compliments: Verbal compliments or words of appreciation are powerful communicators of love. Just a simple “ You are looking smart today”, Oh you cook so well “. Thank you for waiting for me. I want you to know I don’t take it for granted, conveys a lot and shows you care.
  • Encouraging words: The word encourage means to inspire courage. All of us have areas in which we feel insecure.  Your words can instill confidence in your spouse. When he loses many battles in the outside world, he relies on you to reinvigorates his self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.  

Encouragement requires empathy and seeing the world from your spouse’s perspectives. We must first learn what’s important for our spouse and then give encouragement. 
  • Kind words: This is more about the way we speak. The same words can convey different meanings and create different responses depending on how we have spoken them. 

“ Love doesn’t keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn’t bring up past failures. None of us is perfect. In marriage, we do not always do the best or right thing. We have sometimes done and said hurtful things to our spouses. We cannon erase the past, we can always create a pleasant future” 

The best thing we can do with failures of the past is to let them be history. Yes it happened, whatever we had spoken to each other may have given us painful wounds but let’s not make them scars. For wounds heal but scars leave marks behind. We can choose to live today free from the failures of yesterday. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it’s a commitment, a choice to be merciful and expression of love.  

  • Humble words: Love make requests, not demands. When I demand things from the spouse I become a parent and she the child.  She is mature and grown up to be commanded. And it’s insulting for her. If you insult somebody, you can’t expect pleasantness in return.

We are grown up and we have become a partner. We all have our individual desires. If we express those desires as demands, then we will be hurting our spouse. If however, that demand comes in the form of requests, then  we are giving guidance, not ultimatums.“When you make a request of your spouse, you are affirming his or her worth and abilities. You are in essence indicating that she has something or can do something that is meaningful and worthwhile to you.  However, when you make demands, you become tyrant but not a lover. “ 

We cannot get emotional love by way of demand. My spouse may, in fact, comply with my demands, but it’s not an expression of love. It is an act of fear, guilt or some other emotion but not love.  

We lack courage and that lack of courage often hinders us from accomplishing the positive things that we would like to do. The latent potential within your spouse in his or her areas of insecurity may await your encouraging words.

Personal Experience

Being cognizant of the words and the way we speak makes a lot of difference in all the relationships. We human beings are very sensitive to what we hear but not very sensitive to what we speak. It happens most of the times because of how we handle our thoughts, emotions and the way we conduct ourselves.  

I have always been critical and at times rude to my wife. Initially, I thought my anger is being triggered by her actions, but after reading the book I realized that it’s actually my inability to conduct myself well, that I react rather than taking the responsibility of what I am saying. I believe a lot can be simplified only if we take the responsibility and understand if there is one person who should happen 100% the way we want is “we ourselves”.  These days I practice listening. I am not blessed like her with a lot of patience, but I understand that my words mean a lot to her and impact our relationship.  

I have been fortunate here that my wife understands this very well. Irrespective of the situation, she manages to still be soft-spoken and not hurt others by her words.  What she wants to convey may have some really strong words but she effortlessly manages to speak them in a quiet, composed and in a peaceful manner.

This is  2nd in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.

5 Love Languages – Part 3

Second Language : Quality Time

Time has literally become the most scarce resource for human beings. People have everything for each other but time. In this situation, the expectations from spouses are bound to be high. We know that friends and relatives don’t have time and there is no one to whom we can talk wholeheartedly. Getting somebody’s attention has become a big deal.

Giving someone time means giving them our undivided attention. If you are sitting in front of the TV watching some movie on Netflix then that movie has our attention, not our partner.  We all have 100s of things going on in our life. And they all need our attention. We all have multiple demands on our time, yet each of us has the exact same hours in a day.  We can make most of those hours by committing some of them to our spouse. 

Here are the aspects of quality time which the author highlights in detail : 

Emotions themselves are neither good nor bad. They are simply psychological responses to the events of our life. Based on our thoguhts and emotions we eventually make decisions.

  1. Focused Attention When we do something together keeping our differences or arguments aside and try to have a pleasant time together. In this era of many distractions giving somebody, our undivided attention is the toughest ask.
  2.  Quality conversation: It means sympathetic dialogue when two individuals are sharing their experiences, thoughts, feelings, and desires in a friendly uninterrupted context 
  3.  Self-Revelation: It means opening up yourself to your spouse so that your spouse know who you are as a person. It’s only when you know how you think, what you feel about the various events, what is the process of your decision making, and how do you form impressions and interpretations of various situations in life, you get to know who you are as a person.  For self-revelation communication between the two persons are absolutely critical. 
  4.  Complimentary personalities: There are basically two kinds of personalities: one who talks a lot about themselves effortlessly and the others who have a hard time explaining their feelings. Remember it’s a different thing to voice our thoughts but explaining how we feel is difficult for many people which depend on their upbringing and conditioning from early  childhood. 
  5. Quality Activities: Spending some time for your daily routine and doing what your partner likes. Keeping all the worries, thoughts and distractions aside for some time and indulging into the activities which you both enjoy or at least one of you enjoy. It could be a simple walk in the near by park.

Personal Experience

When it comes to time, I feel I am a very stingy and vigilant person. I believe there are two aspects of time.

  • How much time do we actually have? 
  • What are we doing with the time we have in hand?

It requires a lot of consciousness, discipline, and honesty when it comes to taking time out for someone or for yourself. Most of the people of my generation think they are doing some great stuff and they are facing this time crunch because of responsibilities, their job, their lifestyle, and many other nonsense reasons. The fact of the matter is just this, they are not disciplined when it comes to time. Somewhere they are putting their indiscipline and laziness under a fancy carpet called time.  

The other aspect of what we are doing with time depends on how valuable time is and you want to make.  For some weekends may mean just sitting in front of the TV, having 10 hours of sleep. For some weekends means meeting relatives, learning new things, doing shopping with your spouse, playing in a park with your children etc. In short, it means more life.  Time is never the problem, the problem is willingness.  Are we willing to make life a lazy business or joyful experience? The choice is completely ours.   

This is 3rd  in the 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.

5 Love Languages – Part 1

5 Love Languages - The Beginning

 What happens to love after marriage ? Whether it is a love or an arrange marriage, or even if you are unmarried, I am sure you would have this question at least once in your life. And every time you would have asked this question to yourself or to anybody else you either wouldn’t have got an answer or you would have got enough reasons to think quizzically, ironically or regrettably what happens to love after marriage.  The fact is whether you are happily married or unhappily married, you would have certain expectations from your spouse and longing for the love at any age. The form of expression and acceptance of love changes with age and it was this observation which prompted me to explore more about these dimensions of life called love and marriage. That’s the reason I chose to read this book and share my thoughts in the next 7 posts.

About the author

Dr. Gary Chapman is  philosophist, counselor and an author or 5 Language series. He is perhaps best known for his concept of “Five Love Languages”, helping people express and receive love as expressed through one of five languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.
Chapman argues that while each of these languages is enjoyed to some degree by all people, a person will usually speak one primary language.

He has also authored the Five Love Language concept books for parents of children and teenagers, single adults, and a special version for men.

Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another person, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. We need to be loved by someone who choose to love us, who see something worth living in us.

Key Take Aways

  • There is no dearth of couple who feel love in marriage doesn't exist. This happens because husband and wife both have different love languages which seldom are same. They just fail to understand each other's love language
  • Most of us enter marriage by the way of "in-love" experience where everything is ideal, our infatuation is at its peak and it's euphoric. The "fall in love" experience requires discipline and efforts. It's a choice to expend energy in to another person through which you also feel special when he feels special
  • The 5  Love Languages are  Words of affection,  Quality Time, Receiving gifts, Act of service and  Physical Touch
  • Discovering the primary love language of your spouse is essential if you have to keep his/her emotional tank full.  But before that ensure you know your own love language first
  • Love is a choice - when your action doesn't come naturally to you. It's a greater expression of love. The key is to speak our spouse's primary love language whether or not it comes naturally to us
  • Our basic needs are the need for security, self-worth and significance. Love forms the basis for all of the three
  • Learn to express love as an action rather than a feeling. You cannot fake your feelings but you can always choose your actions consciously
  • We come to marriage with a different personality and history. We all have differences in many aspects of life, but we need to learn how to handle those differences

What made me read this book

I had some questions which kept on coming to my mind and I was seeking their answers :

  • Why love lose it’s depth, shine and intensity after marriage ? (well …in many cases)
  • Why  is it becoming increasingly difficult for people to stay together ? 
  • The rate of success of marriage was quite high during my parent’s time, however in my generation it’s becoming increasingly impossible for the people to keep the love alive
  •  Lastly, I was very much curious to explore the various dimensions which will help me to handle differences with my wife, keep the romance on and always remain lovable for my wife.
Clearly these questions are difficult and not one person can answer them in an absolute way. I found this book to be something which opened various simple yet overlooked dimensions of marital relationship. And the author has done a very good job in eloquently explaining them with situations that everyone can relate to. 

Why should you read this book

I strongly recommend you to read this book because it will help you to understand your spouse in a way you had never tried consciously. It will also help you to unfold the ways love can be rejuvenated, experienced and expressed to make the marital bond stronger. You might know about the likes and dislikes of your spouse, but what is it that really make his emotional love tank full ? How can we make love stronger and deeper as we grow old ?

We belong to different families and even if the couples know each other for years, still there comes a time when we face challenges in marriage. There are issues like, unfulfilled expectations, loneliness, the feeling of insecurity and insignificance which many couples struggle to deal with and end up finding their life in misery.

Once you identify and learn to speak your spouse’s primary love language, I believe that you will discover the key to a long lasting marriage full of love. Love need not evaporate after the wedding, but in order to keep it alive, most of us will have to put forth the effort to learn a secondary love language. We cannot rely on our native tongue if your spouse does not understand it. If we want them to feel the love we are trying to communicate, we must express it in their primary love language. 

This is 1st of 7 part series of 5 Love Languages book summary.

The Effective Executive – By Peter Drucker

Every career has a pattern. For example, if you are an international cricketer your career span is 10-15 years on an average, you make most of the money in this time . You go through the ups and downs, you learn, you get your share of opportunities to excel and then you retire. But everything happens in these 10-15 years before you hang your boots.

If you are an actor, your career depends on the type of films you are doing and the type of roles you get. It’s very random, determined by a lot of people you work with and other other factors.

A career of an IT professional or anyone who is doing a 9-6 job is comparatively long and  have some stability and predictability. You really work hard and work long to make money.  You have a long inning to play before you finally get retired in your late 50s or early 60s.

One thing which remain common in all careers is how long you remain relevant in your professional life.

There is no dearth of people in the market who lose their job because they have got over valued . There is a mismatch in their skill set and the money company is paying, especially in a private sector job.  Companies can easily replace employees with cheaper options and automation.

So sustaining at the same level and making to the next level, both are tough. The people who are in this situation and who have an experience of  6-10 years are called mid-career professionals.

After working for 8 years in IT, I see there are many peers of mine who are in this situation today. Their careers are inching towards saturation, they are making decent money but the question of getting replaced have started haunting them and they are finding it tough to go to next level.

I had a lot of questions and I started actively looking for answers. Consequently, I came across this book, The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, which was suggested to me by a Prof during my MBA days.

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker delves in to what managers should accomplish and how they should conceptualize their role.  However I find this book relevant to mid career professionals because it helped me to rethink and re-purpose what I am doing.  It essentially answers 3 questions for executives  (I will use the word professionals to make it more relative to many other readers):

  • Why a professional must be effective ?
  • What 5 habits must be developed to become a productive professional ?
  • Why society depends on successful organizations and the professionals who make them so ?

In this summary , I will talk about the 5 habits which you must be aware of .

1. Know your time : By the time you reach your mid-career, you are married, you have responsibilities, if you are lucky to still have your parents, you need to take care of them and you have children. Your personal life has become a lot tougher. Your professional life has its own challenges. You know that your compensation has increased and hence the expectations are obviously high. You also know that unlike your good old bachelor days, you have  financial commitments, EMIs, financial goals etc . 

You are expected to achieve more  and do more in the same 24 hours.

If you have not shown an inclination to  manage your time, you definitely have become a master of mismanaging it. 

I can’t emphasize how important it is to understand that there is only this much time you have and it’s all about how you plan and make use of it.

2. What can I contribute : This question is something which one must ask  everyday, every quarter. But people often ask this towards the end of the year and most of the times, it’s been forced by the manager.  People typically remain constrained to what was expected from them rather than taking a keen interest and ensuring that you go beyond your responsibilities.

I guess it requires a sense of curiosity to understand and be aware of what is happening around and what has to be done. There is always a situation which you and your company will be in and then all we need to focus is what is required  to be done. You may like or may not like the situation the tasks the people around etc. But if you direct your action or focus towards the situation you  certainly know what can you contribute.

3. Making strengths productive: You may be having best possible communication skills, but it’s of no use if it’s not productive. Similarly you might be having best possible coding skills but if it’s not aligned to business priorities, then nobody is going to value it.
 Fact is, you need to keep discovering your strengths and be aware of how is it going to create an impact.  The effective professional always builds on his own strengths and others’ strengths as well.

4. First things first : Multi tasking is a mistake and  never works. You can’t focus on more than 2 tasks at a time. Instead of multi tasking work smartly and quickly on one job at a time. This doesn’t mean working in a hurried dither; it means concentrating and working steadily on the task at hand. 

According to my experience there is always too much to handle and you will definitely have that feeling of missing out on your commitments often. You will almost always be working on important and urgent tasks, which need your full attention. If you don’t have set priorities for yourself and you have not planned meticulously, you will never be able to be disciplined. You will eventually end up working only what is required RIGHT NOW and there is some consequences to face in case you miss out on that task.

5. Decision making : The dilemma of a person who is in to mid of his career is that he is stuck between two extremes. On the one side you have a leadership who makes all  decisions and you are expected to follow and help them in decision making. On the other hand you are not at the beginning of your career that people will expect you to follow instructions blindly. There is also a good possibility that with your experience, you have developed some wisdom of your own and would have your own opinions in everything you are doing or you are a part of. 

To come out of this situation, Peter Drucker highlights a very important concept. The challenge is to determine when a situation is, indeed, typical or when it is different in some way that needs unique handling. The biggest decision-making mistake is to try to deal with a generic problem as if it were unusual. 

You need to understand the type of situation you are in. Is it typical or does it really require unique handling. Most often you will be able to assess it over the period of time. If it’s a typical situation, then don’t think much and do what is expected. You always have a limited visibility of the entire situation. Your leaders know much more about the situation than you and they will come back to you if there is a help needed. 

There might be just 1-2 situations in a half or in a quarter which would require unique handling. Be smart enough to recognize such situations and then do your best when you get a chance.

There is no one who doesn’t have a mid career malaise, whether it’s a sportsperson, actor, businessman etc . We all have times when we wonder, “Am I at the right company ?” Am I in the right job ? What would be my next big “aha” moment in my career ? As a mid-career professionals we all are searching for fulfillment while juggling demands at home and intense financial pressures to earn.

I believe  “The Effective Executive” is worth your time and you can use this as a reference whenever you need some expert career advice.

The Friday it was – Conclusion

Last Friday,  a friend of mine was quite upset about everything he was doing in his office. He is a person who is quite passionate about his work. And honestly he has been brilliant in his work.  He is in sales. And because of his position he has a lot of responsibilities which directly or indirectly impact many people under him or he deal with. His job requires interaction with a lot of people who are within or outside the organisation.

Because this person is so much into his work, that he never gets tired, continuously learning and updating himself and willing to take risks, he always has a lot of ideas of doing new things. He has opinions about almost everything and he wants people to work in a particular way. According to him he knows what is right and what is wrong for the organisation. He was quite confident that sales in the organisation was not happening the way it should happen and with lot of efforts he had created a strategy to revive the entire sales organisation, which was heard by everyone. He got a lot of appreciation for his work but his ideas were never implemented.

He has no control to change people, he has no authority, at least not on all of them.  He can’t get away from them. He need them and at the same time he want all of them to change.

So my friend was helpless and decides to do everything himself. Trust no one but himself.  He concluded that people are good for nothing, his organization is good for nothing and it will never change. He concluded “If you can’t change the company, “change” the company”  and he started looking for a new job.

With all these beliefs my friend came back home. It was his wife’s birthday and it was Friday. We were also there as we were invited of the dinner.  His shoulders were down, the smile was manipulated and it was quite evident from his face that he didn’t want to talk to anyone. He wanted to be left alone but he was stuck in a party where he was trying his best to look normal. He was a childhood friend of mine and it was not very difficult for me to figure out there was something wrong. So I asked him the reason he was upset. He explained me everything in detail. He then told me he want to quit the company. I asked him “ What if the other company has  same type of people ? “ He had no answer to that.

The atmosphere was quite tensed. Even my jokes on which we usually used to laugh hard weren’t working. So we decided to move out.

On my way back home, I realised that this is something which happen to me as well. In fact all of us.  Whether we are student, employee, a business man or even in our family, there comes a time, when we fall prey to our beliefs. There is some or the other thing we are not happy about. We have our own set of beliefs and we fall prey to those beliefs.

Belief come from conclusion. And we conclude something when we are confident of our knowledge.  We conclude something because it brings a certain kind of  certainty in our life. This friend of mine in office had concluded that what people were doing was wrong. He had concluded that his strategy is right and it will work. On the other hand, people who didn’t follow him or disagree with him had concluded that my friend’s strategy was wrong and it will not work. So each party had a certain belief, they had concluded that it’s not going to work and they all were confident about themselves. So conclusion then creates deadlock too.

I have always been envious of this friend of mine because he was quite confident in everything. Very confidently he used to tell his marks after the exams and he was always bang on.  He was very confident  of  his selection in all competitive exams, interviews ,  of his choices etc. But today I feel he had become prey to his confidence too. How can he be so confident that his strategy will work and not of others ? And similarly how can his subordinates and colleagues be so sure that my friend’s strategy will not work ? Confidence then has made them blind of the possibilities. Confidence then made all of them not to apply their mind .

Just recently I heard that confidence is not required in life. You can be unconfident of something and still survive. What’s required is vision, clarity.  What’s required is to give up a belief  or disbelief which is creating a deadlock and making us conclude something. What’s required is a mind which doesn’t take any position. A mind which doesn’t take any position is open to possibilities.  It takes a lot to say “I don’t know”. It’s only when we say this , we are open to learn and explore new things. An ignorance which is aware and acknowledged by yourself that “I am ignorant” is a far more powerful state than a knowledge you have concluded.

I don’t know whether my friend was right or wrong. I don’t whether his colleagues were right. But all of them should apply their mind and see that things are not moving. And all of them are not happy about the way things are right now. They all wanted change, just that everyone had concluded they are right and other person is wrong.

Let’s apply our mind not to believe something, to make some belief stronger or to justify the belief itself. Let’s understand that believing in something means conclusion and “conclusion” means death.

What it takes to be a leader ?

One of the fundamental thing which I always notice around me is the presence of a leader. I get inspired by them, I get motivated by them and I get a positive energy from them. Not that I myself a leader, but I can surely say I don’t get many of them. I usually get many managers, followers and sub-ordinates, but not leaders.

Leadership has been defined by a lot of people and in a lot of ways. To an extent that leadership has become cliche’, so much noise about it has been created that it has become confusing. But when I heard SadhGuru talking about leaders few things have got imbibed in my mind :

  1. A leader is someone who makes a positive impact around the people they meet
  2. A leader is a person who is willing to confront a problem
  3. A true leader is one who create tiers of leadership.

We usually tend to imagine certain fictitious scenarios of becoming a leader. We think it needs a lot of efforts and some extraordinary work to become a leader. We think life will bless us with an opportunity to become a leader. But after I heard Sadhguru, I feel life throw many opportunities to become a leader almost every single day. It’s just that we close our eyes and pursue something which is unreal. Life actually throw many opportunities, it’s just that we remain blind to them or live in a state of oblivion. We ignore them.

Not that there is a lack of issues in our workplace, it’s just that we look on to something else to happen or someone else to give us an opportunity to act as a leader. We shy away from problems, we are scared to take initiative and confront issues. Most of the times we are not able to leave a positive impact on people only because we avoid them.

I have seen many sycophants worshiping their leaders especially in politics, but I don’t think they are true leaders. They need someone to massage their ego, they need someone to get their work done and most importantly they need someone who can still keep the tag “leaders” with them. Because when these people die or fall from their eminence, they leave a void which is hard to fill and at times impossible. They might have done some wonderful things but failed to create a leader who is better or may be equal to them.

SadhGuru is right when he says that because we are a nation who had been occupied for a long time and we actually wait for some disaster for a true leader to emerge. Let’s try to change that from now on. It’s not difficult to find few lives we can impact, it’s not difficult to learn to confront situation and it’s also not very difficult to create a tier of leadership. If there is something which is difficult, it is to change something within.