Category Archives: Books

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.

Unwinding ! – Can Stress really be avoided ?

UnwindOne of the most interesting things about reading is that  you get to know  perspectives of other people who are  great thinkers. Michael Olpin and Sam Bracken share their perspectives on stress  in their book “Unwinding!”.   This is the second book which I read this week and it was again an interesting choice.

This book  answers three questions:

  1. How stress effects people and organizations ?
  2. How to reduce stress by “unwinding” and changing seven life-choice paradigms
  3. How to prevent stress

According to me, there are two types of Stress. Internal Stress and External Stress. Internal stress are self imposed and it sprouts from the way we handle our life, our actions, our reactions to events and our beliefs. External Stress happens because of all that we are a part of directly and indirectly. The important question to ask then is can you avoid stress. Answer would be “No”. Is stress always harmful, answer would again be “No”

Michael and Sam have listed out 7 Shift Paradigms to  eliminate Stress :

  1. Reactive to ProactiveTaking control of your stress instead of reacting to it. Understand you can’t avoid stress, you can only minimize it.

    You want to lose weight. Be proactive and control what you eat instead of succumbing your desire and inducing in to wrong diet. Talk to your boss and tell him what you like and don’t like upfront, instead of reacting to the everyday pressure of doing same mundane job. Seek his suggestions, find a mentor and acquire the skills so that you can transition from a job you do only to sustain, than to be valued.
    Next time when you feel helpless about something, and clueless of where to begin with something in life, just focus on two things, things which are in your control, and things which you can do immediately to move just one inch forward.

  2. Unmotivated to inspire : If you remain unmotivated in what you do for a long time, your stress level increases. The antidote is to get inspired. Create a mission statement, list down your values.

    Instead of comparing and indulging our selves in competition, it’s important to learn and be inspired from the colleagues who are better than us. Stop competing, start learning. For someone whose ulterior motive is to learn are least bothered about winning or losing and they enjoys every small success and gets motivated from failures.

  3. Pressure to priorities:  Do  not multi-task. It increases stress.

    Human brain can focus on only one thing at a time, List down your priorities and give your full attention to them one by one.
    What I think :  If everything becomes extremely important to you at once, it means either you have not planned things well or you procrastinated it to an extent that you can’t do so anymore.

  4. Hassle to Harmony :  Stop treating life as a battle. Stop seeing life through the lens of win or loss, good or bad etc.

    Being honest about your capabilities, being fair about your transactions  and being wise about your fiancés is more important than winning any battle. If we have not figured out our purpose in life yet, we got to keep trying it, until we  find it. There will always be people who will be better than you, and people who will be worse than you. So instead of chasing perfection, seek gratification of giving your 100%.
  5. Anxiety to Empathy : To manage Anxiety be more Empathetic. Empathy requires mindfulness. It requires not to be sorry for others, but to genuinely feel what they feel.

    Anxiety is more  about assumptions. There are a lot of “What ifs ? “ that we focus on. We make our assumptions so strong that it ultimately become our  beliefs. just replace this by one simple  exercise. Consider what you would have done, had you been in other person’s situation. Now understand that other person is not the same as you, so his way of handling things would be different from yours. And we have to acknowledge and respect the differences.

  6. Defensive to Diverse  Challenge defensiveness by being open to diversity.

    Welcome different kinds of people, opinions and attitudes. Be open to travel, especially to places where you’ve never been.

  7. Tense to Tranquil:  No matter what you do, stress happens anyway.

    When I read the 7th point, I wonder why I read the above 6 points- because stress happen anyways. Make sense ?
    Anyways, The four tranquility  authors suggest to focus are, Mental, Physical, Spiritual and Emotional. You will see a lot of people monetizing these tranquilities, making their mainstream business and giving hope to people.

I would say don’t expect a formula of handling stress in life, because had there been any humans are smart enough to find them, adopt them and commercialize them. We all handle stress in our own way. Some to a larger extent and some to a lesser extent. And I wish, Film Censor board of India could start showing the statutory warning as

It’s not just smoking and drinking, stress is equally harmful to health. 



The power of starting something Stupid

I recently read this book. Although the subject has become quite cliche’ these day, but I liked this book because of its candidness.

The three things which hold us back in staring something stupid are :

1. Time : According to the author, there is no right time to start your own thing. It’s just that sooner you start the more time you have to achieve your dream, which really makes sense. Don’t wait for opportune moment. The life has its own pace and it barely works your way. You got to start and you got to continue doing what you started
2. Education or Experience : There is no correlation between degree and experience with success. The people who became extra ordinary in their fields never had a famous degree. Steve Jobs, Thomas Edison, Dennis Ritchie, Walt Disney, there are many such examples
3. Money :  You can never have enough of it. You have to learn to sustain in what you earn and you have learn to get satisfied after a certain point of attainment.

Richie and Natalie give you 3 principles to start something stupid :

1. Get our of your Shell , in a nutshell means get out of your comfort zone. Don’t listen to people. Try two things at a time, but expect good only at one.
2. Get in to the scene, follow the START approach  : START stands of Serve, Thank, Ask, Request and Thank

“Serve” – How much you serve others is how much they will serve you.

“Thank” – Show your gratitude for good deeds done on your behalf.

“Ask” – Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask for help from the people around you.

“Receive” – Don’t hesitate to accept assistance. Receive it graciously.

“Trust” – To succeed in business and in life, be trustworthy and trust others.

3. Make Dreams happen, leverage all your resources like , social media, MOOCs, networks, relatives etc to achieve your dream.

Take the simple case of people on LinkedIn

  • How many of you tap into Linkedin because you want to be scouted by a recruiter to get you a job or a better jo ?


  • How many of you tap in to LinkedIn because of you want to find someone who can mentor you  ?


  • How many of you tap in to LinkedIn because to contribute to the network or to a community  ?

If you have been engage only for scouting for  a job, do it reverse. First contribute to the network or community, that will help people notice you and find you. Consequently, job offers will follow you.

The real power of starting something stupid according to me lies in 3 things which we develop over a period of time :

1. Skills : We must have a sell able skill
2. Problem : Some problem which we are capable of solving
3. Passion : We believe in something which no one else would ever believed . And our belief becomes unflinching with every successive failures.

We all have some stories, where we have failed and then succeeded. Don’t compare them with any one else. Your story .. is your story. Be proud that it happened. Be proud that life chose you to be a protagonist of it. Be inspired and then really work on “The power of starting something stupid “

I would love to hear your story and write them for you. Drop me a message and we will work on your story to publish it.