The Gate-Keeper.

The humble gate-keeper’s are the root cause for all the progress and problems that we see all the time as they manifest and play out around us! Whether its is about writing the story of political success or disasters or it is about organisations doing well at one point and then going down the drain in a few years, among the many other contributing factors, the silent passive role of the gate-keeper is almost always one of the reasons for all that manifests- it is the space when “too much” or “too little” from the gate-keepers goes on to create and manifest realities that no one want’s to embrace! Join me here as we undertake this journey to understand what really happens when gate-keepers misfire and what is that we can do to plug that bit so that we don’t end up fighting battles which are best avoided!

Unlike popular belief, gate-keepers are everywhere and every level, whether you want to start with your home, the community you live in, the work place that you go to or the business engagements that you are part of or if you are lucky enough to witness the building up and falling down of political fortunes of politicians and nations, each and every space around these aspects of our life are driven by gate-keepers- their effectiveness and balanced thinking is what propels societies collectively further and ahead and when they get mentally fatigued or confused, well, yes the social segment impacted begins to seem like a part of a zombie apocalypse movie! So what do these people really do, or should I say what is that they are really to do and why and how that helps to begin with?

Well, the easiest example of gate-keepers that you and I would have come across would be those fabled folks from the “HR” departments or from those “secretarial” areas where we spend much of our corporate life either hiring/firing people, dealing with them and their real and apparent skills (those mentioned on the papers) and trying to make that sale (once we are able to get appointments!) respectively! But it is is spaces like these of the corporate world oblivious to the C”X”O’s team and the so called “A” Teams or “Strategic Thinkers” a lot of talent gets wasted and a lot of incompetence gets added even as the higher ups continue to keep writing theories and attend conferences and networking events speaking about how they and their organization is ready for the future! We all have come across the normal painful and dumb practise of the “HR” wanting to know how long an individual will last, if selected and so on and so forth, not realizing that they are in fact hiring because a person who has left the organization was the one they had selected because that person was going to hang around for a long time! Then you have other instances when “empowered groups” are asked to validate new ideas (even as they suffer from some severe intellectual incomprehensibility) and many great ideas are either then killed before they come alive, or the people with great ideas leave and start on their own or worse still this educated evaluation body ends up selecting the worst idea (which is in line with their limited understanding and intelligence) thereby setting up the organization for its own slow and systematic demise.

The problems with the gate-keepers begins as soon as you end up having the wrong people to keep the gates! You see, over critical, over anxious people are really never too dependable when it’s crunch time, for they will screw up for sure and the magnitude of their stupidity can cause damages worth millions- which at times are even not realized unless that new competition comes up and that’s when the people say, “Oh that person used to be working here, next to me!”. Organizations end up paying the price for having the wrong gate-keepers and at times this folly can be fatal to the enterprise’s existence! But then why would anyone in their right mind end up deputing the wrong or an intellectually stagnated gate-keeper?

Well the, answer to this question we must realize that intelligence as a currency is worthless if it is not updated and fine tuned to what the contextual reality is in the moment and needs to be validated and certified on an ongoing basis, this is what makes intelligence so fragile and both- useful and useless at the same time! Don’t believe it ask your friend who had to deal with a salesperson for an hour on a Monday morning, simply because the secretary got outwitted to end up giving that appointment! As far as inability to comprehend the “next big idea” well the whole world is full of examples of how erstwhile colleagues ended up being business competition, simply because someone did not pay heed and attention when it mattered the most! In all probability because someone said, investing that time on an idea- whose time had not arrived- was not worthwhile- all this as “they thought”!

If you thought, corporate gate-keeping was damaging enough (when not practiced the right way), imagine or should I say don’t imagine the kind of mess it can lead societies and nations into when governments of the day end up having intellectually starved officials/ bureaucrats as gate-keepers and policy collaborators for them! This is what empowers corruption, slyness, chaos and ambiguity and whether you are a developed nation or an emerging one or a small nation- doesn’t matter- each nation and society on this planet has this rare breed of failing and faltering governmental gate-keepers in equal measure to the level of political incompetence and societal indifference that is played out! The only aspect (where it differs from the corporate world) about governmental or political gate-keeping going wrong is not about another nation picking up an idea- but ending up providing other nations with multiple opportunities on account of one mistake at gate-keeping related to one subject matter! So if you run a nation, now you know why a lot of politicians end up ruining the nation rather then running it! When multiple gate-keepers fail one after the other even if the political outfit or the government of the day has the best intentions to provide great governance can come to a nought and fail miserably!

By now if you are thanking your stars and thinking that gate-keeping and problems arising from improper or reckless gate-keeping are limited to the corporate world and the political universe, well think again- with like everything else that is human- believe it or not- this gate-keeping begins at home- like charity does and the innocent looking approaches of “not this”, “do this and not that”, go on to often calibrate potential of individuals and end of the day, before you realsie you have already ended up walking on a path which is nothing what you would have really wanted to – had you got a choice- which is what great gate-keeping always does provide!

Great gate-keeping and great Gate-Keepers are often iconic simply because the value that they are able to create by what they effectively do is astronomical- whether it is the ability to get the right candidate to lead a community or a society, or the ability to spot a fine talent who can be then molded into a visionary corporate leader or that finesse to know the next solutions and services that society eagerly awaits- each and every space around factors like these and beyond is often dotted around with some fine gate-keepers who are constantly sieving and evaluating the “next best story” over the horizon. It is their ability to tap into the idea whose time has come at the time that one should- is what makes them truly iconic and a blessing for humanity the world over! So what sets these iconic gate-keepers apart from the mediocre ones’?

Intent and Interest- Iconic gate-keepers are like those curiosity driven babies who want to constantly explore, evaluate and understand what the surroundings are communicating- through people and through objects and through patterns that come and go! This ability of wanting to know more alongside a laser sharp focus on what is that they are hunting for- whether it is talent, Corporate leaders, a Political successor, a great takeover, whatever that is on their agenda- is what makes them so potent and successful- sure enough being human and the fact that they deal with humans- they too will fail at times – but what matters is that their success rate and success magnitude far outweigh their losses and hence what stand out almost always are the stories of the wars that they have won and not about the battles that they have lost!

I leave you here with these thoughts for now, allowing you to practise and reflect upon your own individual style of gate-keeping and do ponder about the times of your life when gate-keeping helped you and when it backfired and how all of that has helped you become who you have become until now! The story of gate-keepers and gate-keeping is a story of humankind’s endless pursuit to reach their aspirations and doing it in the most effective and efficient manner!

Ciao for now, will be back son with another one! Until then be the gate-keeper you want to meet when you knock on the gates- that you desire to be opened for you!

Lose battles to win wars!

As strange it may seem, but ask any military commander and you will have plethora of stories that go on to prove the point, why at times loosing a few battles, irrespective how hard or easy they are is in the larger interest to win the final war! No, I am not a military strategist, but this principle perhaps fits aptly to the lives and times that we are going by and more than ever before, it has now become more important to identify which aspect of your life is you war and which one is a battle! Which is the one that you can let go and which is the one that you must engage with day in and day out until you accomplish that ever elusive objective! Join me here as we explore this space and understand why loosing at time is the final step to a magnificent victory!

If you have read any of the authentic memoirs on World War I or World War II, you will perhaps get a quick understanding about what, “The fog of war” means! When you have military action unleashed across many theaters, and with military strategy at work between both sides, as the war ensues each side will try to deviate, distract, dodge, trap, escape and beat down the other side, even for that to occur these multiple theaters of war though acting independently at first glance necessarily need to deliver results at the right time and place to tilt the balance of the war in their favour and this is the essence of loosing a few battles to win the war (the main battle- to put it in another choice of words!)

As in war, so in life, irrespective whether you are a young student trying to make your mark in the world of academics, or a young professional racing ahead that corporate ladder or a seasoned professional trying to create the next set of industry wide benchmarks- across each of them lies a common thread- that commonality pertains to the fact that irrespective of whoever you are and whatever you choose to do- unless you have identified what is equivalent of war in your life and what is the equivalent to the many battles that you must wage (albeit winning some and loosing a few), you will always seem to be challenged in an ever increasing complex pattern both externally and as well as within yourself!

Each day, we are compelled to make choices and as I had written in my earlier article, choices are what eventually make us but, largely dependent on other aspects associated with it! It is from here that as we begin to decide and check out what aspect of our life is the war that we must win and what aspects are the battles- which we are fine wining some and loosing some as long as the War is won.- So what are these battles and what is this war all about? Read on!

The battles that we need to pick and choose as we go about our daily lives can crop up from any area of our life and are related to our value system and beliefs that we end up anchoring upon as we grow. If the value and belief systems remain congruent to the ones given to us and the ones that we experience around- the number of battles to be fought reduces considerably! The moment there is disconnect between what we have been given to believe, follow and aspire to be and what we experience as individuals, conflict commences and like any conflict there is only one side that can win- either what you have been given to believe or the ones’ that you have experienced first hand! Depending on which side wins- that etched moment will further add a layer of foundational belief and character to who you are. If that new acquired character serves you to win the big war that awaits you- this battle was worthy enough of a victory- else a defeat here- by giving up your new acquired beliefs over the older ones’ would have been more valuable! Think about this! Let me explain this!

Consider, you are aspiring to be a cop, now as you grow you are going to be exposed to all the right and wrong that exists with any law enforcement society- this is your battle front and the aspiration that you want to be a cop is the war that you must win! Now if you start to despise all the negative aspects of being a cop- corruption, political pressure, seemingly in-efficient judicial recourse- and start thinking that none of this can be changed and you begin to ignore and start to act recklessly by trying to course correct people and situations assuming you are the law- by beating up people- you will perhaps win the battle of being right in that moment- but all and any chances of you being a cop will be dashed beyond repair- in a few societies permanently! This is a classic case of winning a battle emphatically, myopically and loosing the all important war altogether!

In another scenario, you see all this negative- understand why it is what it is, and wait for your time when you have the power to change that from the legal stand point! So here even if you seem to be submissive in the shorter time line over a period of time as you harness the power of the uniform that you wear, you are able to make more lasting impact with changes that you always wanted to do and more importantly winning the war by becoming a cop that you always wanted to be even if you would have lost a few battles on the way before becoming ready to have the power to change their outcome in your favour!

I can give you similar examples from virtually all arenas of the lives that we live, corporate, theater, art, politics, you name it and there will be stories having uncanny similarities but the singular point will be the fact that, people who are able to win the war of their lives are the ones’ who have learnt to lose their battles and more importantly know which to loose and which to win so that the balance of war is always tilted in their favour! So what’s the key here!

It all boils down to this simple truth of life, sounds a bit philosophical, but then truths are truths, once you have identified that golden purpose, objective of your life- that accomplishment of that desire/aspiration becomes the only and all important war that you must pursue and win- win because that moment of victory is what will go on to define who you are and what your life has been and what is the legacy that you will leave behind! With so much at stake, it’s but obvious one needs to apply time, patience and intelligence to decide what that war will be and time it right! Once you have identified the War that you must win, needless to say, like ghosts from nowhere you will find scenarios and challenges coming towards you, multiple of them a few times, feeble sometimes and strong at other times, these are all those battles which you need to weigh carefully every passing day/ hour to understand which to fight, which to delay, which to ignore and when you do fight, when and whether you fight to win or fight to loose- all these decisions need to be aligned in a manner that ensures that you are always congruent to your final objective of winning the war!

Battles that sap your energy, drive you crazy, take you away in opposite journeys and directions from the direction where your final war zone is serve no purpose and these are better ignored, delayed or if necessary lost! Battles that mark your presence like a milestone and which keep you aligned to the trajectory of your war zone are the ones that you need to win, because each victory on the way is a statement- a statement of your arrival on the war theater and ask any military commander, they will tell you, apart from the loud noises that the guns and machines make, if there’s anything else that melts the resolve and minds of the enemies it is the courage and achievements of the people in command.

Once you reach the war zone of your life empowered by your won battles and humbled by the ones’ you have lost- you have a finer judgement to time your move and ensure that no matter what the odds you will be able to achieve your objective- whether that is a job as a cop, that corporate CEO chair, that leadership position in an office, starting your own enterprise, serving the people- whatever is your war cry- all of that can be realized once you arrive at the war zone as a battle hardened soldier whose vision is focused and glued to the victory of the final war!

Learning what to let go, learning what to hang on to and choosing to loose a few and never loose some, is an art and science which gets perfected not in any school, but in the lab of your life! As unique as we are, so will be our battles and wars- each one cut out to mold us, shape us and push us ahead- willingly or unwillingly so that we are able to reach the war zone to win and achieve what we have set out for and while doing so we are able to give up on things and people that don’t serve us in the context that they tend to drag us down rather then propel us ahead! It is certainly not a call for being selfish, rather it is the interest of selflessness of serving the greater good for the people around you that you must lead, by loosing some and winning what you must- it is only then that as individuals and societies we will continue to have real life everyday heroes who make the difference by doing ordinary tasks in an extraordinary way and thereby keep the human spirits high and hold that promise which says, as long as you know where you want to be- you will get there once you have made up your mind- and as long as you are wiling to pay the price that it may cost! Whether that cost is justified or not is another story because success is finally something that has to be shared with the community and in isolation nothing works, neither happiness, nor leadership nothing!

I leave you here with these thoughts, urging you to take some time this weekend that you have, think deep within and decide what is the war of your life which you want to get into- which is that war that will define you, to create a lasting legacy of values and beliefs that you stand for and what are the battles that you are ready to win and loose to tilt the balance of this grand war in your favour!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! Until than stay wise, keep thinking and yes breathe!

Thinking on the go!

Sometime back, I had written about dealing with job losses, this article is a slight extension to the earlier one, in the sense that it calls for individuals to develop the skill of being able to think on the go! For the given fallacy of the collective intelligence that humanity has now, it’s now clear than ever before that the pandemic has become a challenge not because of the virus, but rather the way it was handled, by the people who handled it! This goes on to reinforce the fact, that it’s not only important to have wisdom in your own house, but you also need to have wise neighbors and a social set with more wise people than fools around! Because you may do all it takes to safeguard your house, but it only takes one random foll somewhere to bring down your house, for no fault of yours! So join me here and let’s explore what Thinking on the go, looks like and what is it, that makes it tick!

Whether it is the job that you have lost or that steep fall in your business which is making it difficult by the hour to even stay sane, all of this, whether you believe it or not, is not a problem outside of us, it is something that we have ended up creating within us! Yes, as they say, as we die to point that index finger to someone or someplace, the fact is we have more fingers pointing back us and that is the truth of life! Let me explain!

Sure enough, you did not have any role in allowing the virus to get loose or have it come into your society, but even as that was unfolding, early Jan- mid-Jan depending on where you are in the world, the warnings had been put up- some places had them orange and some societies were figuring out which shade of orange would be fine, until all hell broke loose and pretty much the whole world was in a deep red by March-April! You may ask, so what is that you could have done? How can you be accountable for the place you are stuck in! Well for the simple reason, you simply failed to assess what was unfolding in the context of how that would impact you!

Perhaps you did not read well enough into what is the organisation, that you signed up for- which at the slightest nudge from the market conditions, would be ready to have you sent home to worse still halve your income and ask you to work twice as hard and as if that was not enough you continue to manage your normal or even more increased expenses with a lesser source! You see, irrespective of which organisation you are in, how old or new it is, you would have got an opportunity to assess the settings for your firm, in the backdrop of the unfolding pandemic and evaluate if it was going to sail or float- but instead of doing this, if you would have applied your generous opinion to never ending suggestions and talks on what the government should be doing, you would have all but missed that window!

Similarly, if you have been in business, you will find that, we have witnessed all over the world, overnight manufacturers shoot up, from face masks to the PPEs, to the sanitizers and all that paraphernalia that goes with our times today, sure enough, I do understand that not all manufacturers would have had the opportunity to be so lucky to have the suppliers/ vendors and machinery all ready to throw out these new products- but the fact is that a few of them did eventually have it and that has possibly saved some sanity for them, unlike for the vast majority of others, who have been stuck only for one reason- being a specialist- You see like an endangered species in the animal list, being a specialist is great- but that greatness itself ends up becoming the strongest weakness and once that is altered- you are reduced to nothingness! So what’s the point- Well the point is very simple- only when you are able to develop an ability to keep thinking, observing and running simulations in your mind of what’s happening around and importantly about all that can and will impact you with a scale of probability and intensity of the impact- you will be better prepared to deal with this kind of shit, better the next time around!

Early Jan, mid-Jan of February as the market place started to come apart, the writing was pretty much on the wall, the world over, instead of debating and discussing what the government must and mustn’t do, it would have been far better, to assess your work place and see what you need to do or not and understand if your workplace is going to stay warm to you or give you a cold shoulder at a time when you needed the warmth the most! Some firms have done one or the other and well, not to be judgmental, even at their levels would have had a good enough reason to shut shop, lay off, offer pay cuts- because they too did not assess themselves- possibly they too ended up being busy about something which was inconsequential to them at their level!

Thinking on the go, is all about assessing all that can impact you, it’s about being aware of what’s unfolding around and then running simulations in your mind, so that if push comes to shove, you are more ready than ever before! The firms that changed their products and got into manufacturing masks and PPE gear instead of garments, sure enough, they were blessed by the availability of the same machinery and with a few tweaks they were able to deliver- but even for that too happen, it would have taken some team and few people who saw the tragedy as an opportunity to bank upon and end of the day- these firms have made their moolah, even as the product changed and as sad it may look, sure they have profited from creating these products!

Even at an individual level, if you are able to continually assess and monitor the way your industry/ sector is moving and where your firm sits in the relevance of the value chain ecosystem for that industry, you know whether you will be sailing through or sinking staying on that boat- it is observations and analysis done in this space which can help one decide, explore and attempt alternatives- whether that alternative is to go to a more stable firm, with a pay cut or start an enterprise or pursue something new altogether; you will be able to take a shot at these options only if you are aligned to think on the go and don’t fall into the entrapment of security and safety of your current workplace or business model!

Thinking on the go, is being aware- about yourself, about what’s unfolding and how and where you want to be and seeing what are the current options that help you stay on that trajectory and route plan! It is about creating a great level of self-awareness, some cutting edge observations and ability to analyse flawlessly. Sure enough it also calls for running hundreds “What if” simulations in your mind so that you are able to choose from what seems to be the best option available in the contextual settings that are presented to you! It is not about getting anxious or paranoid about what you see around, it is rather about, understanding and deciphering what you see around so that you are able to avoid and do away with that unwanted paranoia and anxiety at the very beginning. Self- awareness enables one to empower oneself and actions resulting from empowered thinking almost always translate into manifestation of success and accomplishment of objectives!

I leave you here with these thoughts, asking you to reflect- when was the last time you deployed something like this- when was the last time that you were forced into a corner and had to think hard and straight to come out and move ahead of a situation? How helpful was that and how helpful do you think the ability to think as you move, will be to you- considering all that you do or plan to do!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! By the way, we have commenced our Personal Coaching sessions for one-on-one paid coaching. Feel free to write in to us at simplify@simplifylives.com for more details around that bit!

Don’t stress(for nothing!).

This is not a pep talk article, about trying to give you ten tips to wish away your stress, rather this is about trying to simplify what stress really is, rather than what is ts thought to be and possibly explore what can we do about it, if we can really do something about it! So join me here and let’s simplify the formless shadow of stress!

Have you ever had the privilege of being part of a group of kids discussing their challenges? yes kids- those 3-4-5-6 year old who discuss amongst themselves and figure their way around either by themselves or with help from their buddies! Have you ever seen them talk to each other using words like “stress”? Consider this, you have this bunch of kids who are given a new jig-saw puzzle to fix, with no context and no background- what happens- well kids being kids- they will try for sometime, eventually as it makes no sense and if there’s no reward for what they are doing, they will simply put those jig-saw blocks to some other creative use and that’s where that will end! None of those kids are going to bed sulking and thinking about what that was, why it could not be done and so on and so forth! But these very kids, as they start to grow, they come under the influence of directed thinking (you see directed thinking is not about helping them think- it is about making kids thinking in a particular way that suits the broader social fabric of a society) and this is where the problems begin to manifest!

Humanity has always been lead and rewarded by curiosity and that innate value gets wiped off as modern day societies start to enforce directed thinking principles which conform to social biases and standards and don’t allow any kind of eccentric attributes, sure enough the ones’ that pose a threat to the social fabric should be curbed and managed, but with that approach we also end up loosing all hope of developing geniuses around us!– If you ever thought that great geniuses of any field were not eccentric- well it’s time you picked up and read one of those biographies to know the facts! The essence there was that their curiosity and eccentricity to a specific pursuit was always upheld and encouraged and that what led to innovation and discovery, which has gone a long way to share who we are today- as Individuals and collectively as societies the world over!

Once kids are programmed to think the way society wants, these kids loose all resilience that childhood would have naturally given to them. As they grow up they keep getting pushed from one scenarios of “what you must do and not” to the next and that shit also continues even as they begin to work and keep moving up the corporate world as they keep getting successful! You may be wondering how come they keep getting successful if they lack curiosity and ingenuity- well you see 95% of corporate world is all about directed work- the Big Boss shares the big plan and we have an army of all other smaller bosses and laborers working on that- while each one of them thinking that it is their thought!- If there was ever a personification of a hypnotized work force- that is the era that we are living in! This is why , when you see how things get played around, they rise and fall every time “The Big Boss” gets it right or screws up! So where is the stress coming in all of this?

Well the invisible stress is always there, as the born intelligent kids get to high schools and colleges, where they are again and again battered down to stop being creative and think the way they are ought to and furthermore as they land “The job” of their dreams they are further indoctrinated through the fabled ” corporate induction” which is nothing more than a kinder way of saying, “This is what we do, This is the way we do it, Either take it or leave it”! So, when does this stress begin to show up? Well it shows up every now and then when life throws questions in your face, where you don’t have templated responses- like the times when you are asked to go ahead with your first surgery , or that first assault if you are a cop, or that first fire rescue, the first time you asked someone out for date! See, stress starts to build and this stress is not building because you aren’t able or you are incompetent, but this stress builds up because for the first time you are in direct conflict between the way you have been hammered down to think and how you naturally think and feel about the reality that is staring right down back to you! In that moment of truth- you are evaluating your choices of being safe, alive and making it back in one piece with a result that works in your favour or in the favour of greater good! Since this is something that no business school or practise teaches- stress creeps in and this is how it starts to play havoc with you, each time from your first time! Whenever you come to the cross road where you don’t have a templated solution- you will start to feel that stress race up to you- not because you are dumb or can’t handle a situation developing in front- but the years of “programmed thinking” has been made your default thinking style to seek answers from around and not within and unless you don’t switch back your default to within- like you always did when you were a kid- stress is going to get the better of you- it doesn’t matter whether you make a few hundred dollars or a few millions dollars, unless you don’t begin to think and feel from within and learn to junk away programmed and directed thinking escaping stress is going to remain a very tough thing to do! So how doe we go about it?

Stress is not the absence of competence, rather it is the presence of it and importantly the inability to be able to deploy it- in the contextual settings that an individual finds themselves in! Each one of us are magicians in or own way- we are gifted at something to ensure that a task assigned to us, gets done the natural way which comes to us easily- unfortunately that is not how the real world works- from the call centre to the White House press briefing everything is scripted- some for the right reason and few others for the most stupid reasons! Consider this, how simple it would be to empower people to greet and speak to customers who call in the natural way which allows people to spread their personality and warmth as they speak- rather make them narrate the script written- the way it has been- even as the callers and the narrator have no clue what that is and than you have the timer to mark you off that call, simply because you were too slow or fast- I mean who really works that way! It is instances like this and many more- that go on to add stress to the people at all ends of that kind of a scripted approach- which does nothing more than taking away form our true strengths and puts us in a territory where we are completely disadvantaged and we are supposed to switch our thinking to a lower level of “do this and than that and do it this way” kind of a lever!

Given, this is a blog, will share a few final words before we wrap this piece up, stress is not about your competence, abilities and who you are, stress is nothing more or less than your inability to cope with the ways of directed thinking- the more creative you are as person- the chances are that you will always tend to experience higher levels of stress no matter what vocation you choose to pursue! Some areas of work do have in built stress associated with the kind of work- but people are trained about that- again not through directed thinking but rather by providing clarity and support to do away with that space- I am sure you don’t want to be in an ER where the Doctor is sweating more than you and wondering what to do next! The unwanted stress that gets added up to you, only robs you away of whatever creativity, ingenuity and intrinsic genius that you have and tries to align you to be normal as defined by the compulsions of your work place or society!

The only way and the real way to deal with stress, as I see it, is to be connected within and lead yourself as you always did when you were a kid- through curiosity, persistence and intellect- as long as you continue to do this, you will be able to sieve through everything around you with amazing clarity and immediately know when its time to act, which way and when it’s time to exit a place- simply because it threatens to steal the gifts within you and try to make your extraordinary story an ordinary one!

Well, think about it and trust me, don’t get stressed for nothing! You see when you have a situation, the realities are only two- Either you can do something about it or you can’t- this irrespective of whether they impact you or not. So when you can make a change- Lead yourself and get that done by being who you are- there is no social template for that! and when you can’t do anything, use all your gifts to ensure that you are able to stand the storm and emerge on the other side with as little as collateral damage as possible! Stress really makes no sense and has no place- junk directed thinking, social biases, read through the agendas and keep yourself intact and stress free!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! Until then relax and be yourself! Always!

Masked smiles & Altered lives.

As ironical it may see, but we live in the age that we have no other choice but to wear that smile of ours, albeit masked, but we need to wear it anyways! The challenge- to be sure to smile at the right time by knowing the smiles behind the other masks! As organisations and societies emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, what is going to be very important is the re-connect that we bring about, person to person, how that re-connect happens will go a long way to decode how societies emerge- whether they are more cohesive then ever before- with an overdose of empathy or whether they deteriorate further and the society continues to be masked not only to keep the virus away, but also to keep humans away form each other! Join me here as we explore what’s unfolding and what is that we can and cannot, do about it!

All of us know this very archaic statement about “humans being social animals”- I guess this age old statement has all the words in the right order! The last one is perhaps the most crucial one that we keep on ignoring, that as humans we too are “animals”. Needless to say when the social fabric of societies undergoes unintended or at times crafted stretch beyond an allowable limit; we see the animal manifest within the societies that we move about. This animal element then could be the individual, the community as a whole or the leadership that directs and builds a pathway to that effect! How this helps or harms the construct of the evolving society is really another story, what I really want to discuss is what perhaps is evolving behind the masks and why that space is so very critical to manage and measure the altered lives that we will encounter as we move ahead!

Even as a layman, if you think about how we tend to connect and communicate, perhaps even before the spoken words- it’s often the smile that either welcomes us, keeps us at a distance or ensures we don’t waste our time in the place that we have found ourselves in! That is the power of the smile- a crooked thing which apparently sets everything straight! Now with that formidable (and in some cases even infectious) smile staying hidden behind the veil of the mask- it’s going to be anyone’s guess what the encounters of the future are going to end up like! In all probability people will resign themselves to the virtual smiles through the digital connect of video calls, rather than the earlier in-person warmth! Sure enough, the smile is but a component of human interaction and not the complete interaction so why bother if that’s masked? Well if you want to learn more, do get in touch with an expert for Non-Verbal Communication or someone who excels at Body Language and they will be better equipped to tell you the art and science of what happens when people cloak themselves up and we are unable to read the vital cues- sure, no one will possibly get killed- but given the diminishing intelligence that people have- you never know!

Go back to your normal working day, perhaps some time last year, before all this nonsense of the pandemic crept up- what do you see, rush hour hustle to reach your office or business headquarters, that pooled cab, those conversations, those jokes, that stiff upper lip- which was possibly cracked opened by another smile from a perfect stranger on the subway, that laughter and those moments of stress through the meetings- which were well read and relaxed by a ill times joke- all these and many such instances were only possible because all the cues were given away by the presence or absence of a smile! Certainly wearing a mask, in the given context is vital to ensure you still remain in the present and don’t figure as a number in some morbid list, but with the masks on, and the decoding becoming tougher by the day, as people get more and more tough business situations to deal with- what’s going to manifest is primarily more and more curtailed, truncated conversations- limited engagements- which are just to the point of meeting business objectives and that’s about it! This will leave out the human completely and knowingly or unknowingly each one of us will become a part of this- cyborg kind of setting wherein our conversations increasingly become limited, referring to spread sheet column numbers, diagrams, percentages, etc. etc. and no one seems to be bothered about what’s happening within the person with whom they are engaging- good or bad- intentional or unintentional- well contexts can be many and reasons too could be valid or invalid- but what is certain is that, these engagements will end up stamping out the smile and remain focused on the masks rather then the smile behind will leave and this will eventually leave an unalterable mark on the development and engagement of human collaboration in the times ahead! For some sectors it may help, yet for other it may harm progressively stalling the spirit of collaboration, trust, interdependence which are vital for a few things, no matter how much automated we are or aspire ton be! So how do we go about this? Can this be stopped? How do we cope with this?

To begin with the earlier we realise, as Individuals, Societies,Communities that the whole essence of being a human is about being together and for each other- is when this menace can be altered and we can rescue humanity from being turned into a primitive level of cyborgs wherein all of us just end up being extensions of our digital presence by work, position or influence! For this to happen, we need to see what seems to be cloaked away in plain sight! We have been told about wearing the mask- sure enough do it- but no one asked you not to smile- no one asked you to become curt- no one asked you to loose that warmth in your voice- so re-create that- so what if its all coming from the filter of the mask- so be it- put that extra pep in the effort and ensure that your personality and it’s vibrancy is able to come out shining through the physical mask and that physical mask doesn’t end up becoming a psychological mask that subdues your brain, your power to assert, communicate and express yourself- don’t ever allow that to happen because no one is asking you to do that and no one will ever nor can anyone ever! This clarity of knowing that physicality of the mask to cover and protect you has and cannot have any bearing on your ability to express and assert yourself is of fundamental importance! The human brain is a little funny, the moment you create imagery and demonstrative influences around it- the mind games begin and then the whole response or reactive mechanism is nothing but how strong you rationalization, scientific approach and common-sense is! The moment you unwittingly add even the smallest element of emotion to this unfolding drama, all hell will break loose and you will end up not only masking your face, but also your mind and your ability to think!, playing straight into the hands of those who are possibly directing your society right now!

So, to keep it simple, remember your faces is masked not you! The more you succumb to the emotional melodrama through the forced down narratives chances are that you will end up thinking or rather begin to direct your ability to think in the direction which serves the interest of everyone else but yourself and you will just go on to prove the points like a few of the social influencers are trying to right now- like you know, “work form home” is awesome, “sabbatical is a great time” and so on and so forth! Remember, we are in midst of not only a pandemic, but a global reset and all the unfolding narratives that you see near and far- are all competing for only one thing- no not the cure for the pandemic- but for deciding the direction of the altered society as it emerges out of this pandemic! Think about it- do you really think that it would have taken a pandemic for global MNCs to spare a few dollars on home furniture and ask employees to work from home? Wouldn’t it have saved them millions of dollars by not having to pay rents or build those awesome buildings with great infrastructure to begin with (which they sold so often & so brashly as they attracted youngsters at campuses and in the competing firms to come and work from them)? Think! So what’s the plan? Read on!

Being a blog, I wouldn’t want to get into the intricate details about what the social directors aim to do and why, whether thats right or wrong, that’s not the point! The whole point is to tell you all just one thing, guard your face but unleash your smile! Even if you are masked, when you smile, the mask will give away that vital cue and that is the essence of being human and being connected with each other- to look after each others’ back and collaborate as we navigate the uncertain times! If you ask me, this time that we are witnessing is the modern equivalent of the ice age, unless we stay connected, communicative and wise, our individual weaknesses will end up empowering the greed of a few to stall our creative abilities and take away the very freedom that we cherish so much to be who we are by exercising the choices that we have- in the society that we live about!

Altered behaviors, will sure enough be there and we may alter our behaviors as we go along, nothing to complain about that bit, but what is essential and fundamental is that any and all altered behaviour must be a result of our human connect and the empathy that we hold within and not because of some social dictate that has been pushed down our throats! Take a moment and read again, if you need to, but this is the most fundamental difference and this alone will decide if societies will progress or regress they come out of this pandemic! Our choices and ability to choose have to remain intact as they weer before, as I keep saying our face is masked not our mind- as long as you remember this one thin- rest assured all your actions will be aligned to the right path of individual progress and when many of us do this, society will move ins a directions which serves the greater good to many rather then ending up serving a few and short changing ourselves in the bargain!

So, if you ask me, what are my final words here, keep that warmth glowing behind that mask- your face may be covered but nor are your eyes and neither is your mind- let that smile flow as it normally does, let the eyes express and the voice radiate the warmth and genuineness that you have for your fellow humans! Unless we make a resolve to stay connected even as we adorn the masks, re-connecting anytime in the future will be too little too late- because by then we risk ending up becoming a complete digital extension of that video meeting room ID number and everything human about us will be at a grave risk!

I leave you here, with these thoughts, urging you to wear your smile (albeit behind your mask) and always remember: That human connect is vital and no matter who says what, don’t let anyone mask your thinking and your mind- for there resides the power to change your today and your tomorrow!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another one! Until then stay safe, and smile! ūüôā

The life of ideas.

With over 7.5 billion of us around, every second there is a thought, an idea coming to birth and dying away somewhere around this planet! This article tries to look into what makes ideas stick, what makes them fizzle away and why some never see the light of the day and importantly why like with everything else, its not about how many ideas but rather, what’s THE Idea, that always goes on to make the difference! So here we go!

As humans, even when as we come to this world as a fragile bundle of soft and hard parts, that wonderful hard wiring of nature- called curiosity kicks in much before we begin to connect and make real sense of the people and objects around us. The initial formative years are where all the difference is created- between genius innovators and smart innovators and day dreamers! Someone rightly said this, we are all born intelligent and smart, it’s the education (really speaking the quality of education) and the social framework that ruins our potential and with that our ideas and the intrinsic ability to ideate! Certainly I am not suggesting that education is bad or under-serving- the real issue is that much of today’s education is directed at asking individuals to think in a particular way (which serves the immediate social context!) rather than simply helping them to master the process of creative thinking! Like the great philosophers have said earlier, real teachers and masters never ask their student what to see- rather they tell them where to look- what they find, interpret, infer after seeing what they do see, is what creates that differentiation between the power of individual minds to be either awesome, rich or average! Anatomically speaking we can’t be comparing about our brains more than what we can about our complexion or natural color of our eyes or hair, what matters is irrespective of what we are endowed with, how well is that we end up using what we have rather than cribbing about what we don’t have (in many cases its good that we have what we have!) Knowing this background of competing complexities, its really a wonder that humanity has been able to come up with clutter breaking innovative thoughts, ideas and implement them and contribute to the progress which has git us to the point where we are today! Not to forget, behind every success story of an idea, are hidden hundreds, if not thousands of stories of failures and second best solutions which never saw the light of the day, simply because, when it comes to ideas-during a bygone time of our history- it was about- who arrived first and now it’s about who markets it the first! Needless to say, behind every celebrated innovator, are hidden in the closet, skeletons of hundreds of equally intelligent and wise souls- who simply were failed not because of anything to do with their idea- but the simple essence of timing- being there in that moment of time, place and audience- when it mattered the most! So where does the journey of an idea begin really? How does it unfold and what is there for us to learn and unlearn about it? Read on..

Human curiosity when given the right contextual settings rewards us back with an amazing result, ingenuity and the ability to come up with complex or simple solutions that provide relief to some pressing challenges which are in front of us! As long as the immediate surroundings are conducive, receptive and eager to adapt the idea into their fold- as a society or a nation- the idea will live to see the light of the day, then what follows the story of its extent of success is more to do with the quality and the content of the idea- how much meat that idea has intrinsically within and how much is that really dependent on the original ideator! Let me explain this! We have all now about the great surgeon in our country who changed the face of some surgical method and thereby made it easy for everyone to access and get healed! Well now since this technique is perfected by that particular individual, needless to say, as long as he stays there, it works, even if he were to train others, there is never a guarantee that they will be as good as he is or if they will continue to remain as economical and accessible as this person was! So you see, in this case this great idea will only as long as this person is there and with his going away, the context of that idea will never remain what the original thought would have been behind it! This is a classical example wherein the idea remains as the sovereign domain of the Ideator!- Nothing good or bad about it- it’s just that some ideas are supposed to stay this way as far as their lifespan is concerned! Great artistes, innovators, designers, engineers- virtually everyone whoever came up with a creative genius of an idea which could be done and executed in a specific manner- always ensured that the idea had a limited shelf life- albeit the lifetime of the original ideator!

Next, we have those moments in history where the opportunities were out there hidden in plain sight and all it took was some casual or directed observation of an individual to create a rage and a new order or etiquette within societies to adapt and move on with a new lifestyle. This is the domain of ideation wherein the birth of the idea has largely been to facilitate ease of living for humanity and all it takes is one person to observe carefully and plan out a way around the problem! Recent examples the drones that come to drop off your shopping bags, the hailing apps to get a cab or a transport, sure enough that online shopping portal- which has simply gone ahead to make our lives easy and expensive! Well, if you have a closer look to all these modern day, application driven or rather technology based ideas that have made ease of living a possibility- one thing is common that is- they are empowering, simplified, well designed end-to-end (else they would not stand a chance for a day) and they are salable, reproducible and no one is ever complaining about the format or the scheme of the model being replicated- because it just goes to add to the reinforcement power of the original idea and thereby ensures that people stay glued to this space- Basically as more and more people tend to emulate- more and more people start to believe this is the right way and tight thing to do- so these are those ideas which alter lifestyle sand bring about change, sure enough they come with their own costs and banes- which we will discuss some other time!

Finally, the space of that club of ideas, which I call them as milestones in humanity which changed the equation for us to advance further like never before! These are those ideas which come through the mind of a genius but then have to be carefully crafted, worked and developed on an ongoing basis to ensure that ideas stays in-sync with the time and continues to serve the purpose that it has been created for! Very often, this is the space of ideas that come from the areas of pure scientific research and applications that go on to work in various areas of our society from thereon! There are multitudes of industries where you can find these ideas, that exist and thrive- whether its the aviation sector, the weathermen around the world, the medicines and medical devices that keep you alive longer than you actually should be around, that technology of drip irrigation which enabled deserts to bloom, the whole concept of renewable power and integrated electronics, so on and so forth, many such- All these are what I call as great ideas that came from one mind but through collaboration, creativity and openness became better and better with time and today our world seems to be a better place largely because of these collaborative ideas that live their own life alongside us- simply refusing to go away in majority of the cases these have been iconic and a blessing; but in a few rare cases these have been colossal disasters and are as yet a looming danger on our head- yes, you guessed it right that troubled double edged sword of the connected world through social media and all that snoopy surveillance that goes along through the gadgets that we use (or at times abuse, should I say) that led to this unwanted and unwelcome development- which also has ended up sticking around with us!

To give it a kind of sense, an idea whose time has come, is perhaps the most potent force, the reality of that fact although remains within the confines of the contexts where that idea is going to be deployed and how far or how deep it serves of impacts societies! An idea, in some cases as we saw, lives as long as it’s creator lives, in a few other cases, that idea which has been crafted stays much longer even after the creator has gone away- like a gleaming monument testimony to human intellectual finesse and in yet other cases, the idea simply breathes through us and lives alongside us- with every push of a button, there’s an automated idea algorithm already shaping the future of that application that you hold today or that purchase you did today and with every action, engagement, and disengagement we are creating and contributing to the ideas of tomorrow which will either ending up serving us the way we want them to or end up altering our approach and behaviors and make us behave the way the ideas want us to! If you ever wanted to get spooked by living in an era of runway idea and ideas created by machines- well we are already into it and at the moment wading through knee deep waters and with time, we will learn to swim and dive or drown away depending upon whether we adapt or ignore!

I will leave you here, for now; do take a pause to reflect on the idea that either you are working upon or shaping and think for a moment what its is all about and whether you are altering it or you are being altered by it, for that alone will define the future of humanity and decide whether we are able to guard our innate curiosity to be ever more enterprising and ingenious or we surrender to technology to come up with predictable scenarios of the future with needless to say predictable outcomes and pathways!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article, until then stay wise, think, ideate and live that idea!

Practise the Pause.

We are all but prisoners of our own doings and undoings! The times that we live in, even after the abrupt brakes that the global pandemic has applied to our routines, a majority of us still want to rush right back to the “earlier times” and in all that hurry, the world seems to be cutting corners with everything that’s related to bring about that erstwhile sense of normalcy! Whether it’s about the new vaccines that are been developed, the medicines been given or the new so called adapted way of the working that corporates are hinging upon- these and many more such developments all around us display the one common thread- The Inertia to Practise the Pause, which will end up setting us up for even more complications tomorrow for uncomplicated scenarios of today! Join me here as we try to make sense about the value of this simple approach and why it matters now more than ever before!

As humans, we are slaves of curiosity! This has been the holy grail for all the development and all the accidents that humanity has ever witnessed! As individuals and societies we have been hard-wired to observe, reflect and simplify everything around us so that it creates an ease of existence for us- whether it’s automation, development across various sciences that make our suffering lesser and create more value to our lives or whether it’s about the plethora of gadgets and technologies that impact us every second-all of these, in fact most of these are a reflection of human genius and restlessness with regards to making life easier, though not simpler anymore! and this is that fleeting moment where the “pause” lives which often gets trampled upon and ignored on an ongoing basis- the result- is the world that we have around us!

Over the last 200 odd years the rush of humanity to create value and ease of life driven societies, has brought in some amazing breakthroughs which few times have put us in direct conflict either with nature or amongst ourselves as societies and nations! This further deepens the crisis as this international competition only ends up creating more imbalances and thereby does away with any possibility of practising the pause – to have an organised and planned approach to life! The result; we end up having nations racing against each other on all the wrong parameters! Do you ever recall being in your school and being rewarded for walking into the classroom with the longest knife? No, I hope so, then why do you think nations pat themselves for every nuke that they ever built? Well nations are eventually nothing but an assembly of people who at some point in time were school children, isn’t it? So what’s gone wrong, why have our priorities changed so drastically, that we simply ignore and are ready to seek ease of life at any costs- even if that cost, risks annihilation? What is it? Well the reason is the missing “pause” not convinced? Well fine, let me explain!

What has changed within the framework of global societies and communities in the last 50 odd years has been the pace at which people want to reach their definition of opulence and success! We live in times when, getting two meals a day is a sign of opulence in some remote corner of the world and in the same moment at yet another place, it could be the ability to net in a wonderful diamond for a few millions dollars! So you see, as divergence within human societies, and nations widens the definition and story about being successful and well off changes and this is one of the core reasons why the holy “pause” is trampled upon and ignored by the millionaire and also by the seeker of the meal! Unlike medieval societies there simply isn’t enough cohesion of gratitude to care and share left anymore, for another belief (which may or may not be entirely true) tells humanity that resources are limited and not indefinite hence those who have access will get an access to them and those who have that access alone will race ahead! This aspect too, plays that vital role- another reason- as to why we ignore the “pause” and why we can’t stop this ever widening societal divide across nations and even within nations!

This ever widening and ever growing divergence among societies has ended up creating individuals who are continually pushed to believe that “pause” and “time to reflect” are only meant for the philosophers or saints who are disconnected and disengaged with the world and its realities and trust me nothing could be more dumb than this! In fact, it’s often the people who practise the pause and who invest their time for reflective thinking are the ones’ who come up with those clutter breaking simple yet powerful interventions for societies – through policies, governance or business or just be by being who they are- wise and empowering individuals! So what is it like “practising the pause” and how does it really create a difference?

The pause is all about initiating a delay to the action that you have agreed to take and this delay is all about running through all the ramifications of the actions that you have taken, are taking and will be taking until that moment when you are into the pause! Sounds cryptic and challenging, well yes its is a bit challenging but once you develop a way to naturalise it- it will become your identity and align itself to the way you begin to think naturally in everything that you do! Whether it’s the next time you want to honk your car or want to shoot that missile to an enemy target! The pause helps you get clarity and absolute reassurance that what you have been deciding to do, what actions you have taken and what you propose to take are the best ones that “You” can apply given the contextual settings that you are operating within! remember this, the pause is perhaps the most powerful yet the most underrated tool that one has which can provide some amazing clarity and sense when it comes to dealing with ambiguous and conflicting scenarios and very often you will find, people who are in those kind of high pressure chairs often deploy the delay once they have practised the pause and these moments often become the turning points in world history! Do read up some war stories from WWII and you will possibly know what I am referring to!

You will often find people who practice the pause are the ones’ who can influence- whether they influence five or five million is another story- but that is the relevant part- the ability to influence outcomes which will be lapped up by society and nations in some cases as the elixir of tomorrow and as a promise from the leader! The pause becomes very important once individuals begin to ascend in their ability to influence people! The higher one rises, the greater the need to practise the pause and more often is it required! As people rise higher, complexities and their frequencies increase and thereby it becomes more like an ATC dashboard wherein alternative scenarios are put on pause and released in a choreographed manner to ensure that there are no disasters made and everything that is in the moment is directed safely to the pathway that it must be!

The pause helps uncomplicate situations and scenarios by deploying the allowable delays so that outcomes can be weighed and the one with the least negative impact or the maximum leverage can be voted in for! There are situations when decisions of the pause too, need to be wrapped in in a few seconds- like if you are a fighter pilot in a dog fight with an enemy plane and than there are those scenarios wherein the pause can be extended for months or years before a wider understanding and consensus is developed to avoid any backlash and unwanted unrest- yes you guessed it right- this is the realm of the political and bureaucratic class! So, in a way even the pause works only when it is timed right and deployed right- the pause and the delay, but what is more important what comes after the pause- If the pause has been used for direct thinking in the manner which serves the greater good, the results post the pause will be reflective of the same and if the pause has been just a freeze fright and incapacitation to take a decision or even think straight that will also end up showing up through some great disasters and accidents wherein the major contribution would be the incompetence of the human mind to act eitehrways more than anything else! It is the pause which has saved the day for many pilots to land safely when the magnificent planes have failed partly or completely and it is the same pause when not utilised effectively that has caused catastrophes or air disasters like never before! The pause too, hence is a ambivalent weapon- use it to your advantage for ensuring your well being and of those that anchor upon you or you can be as reckless as you wish to be, stifle away the pause and and unleash chaos for yourself and those around you!

Like everything else, the pause is only as good as the individual deploying it and that richness of the individual is eventually the construct of the society that the person comes from! What we feed into the society around us comes back to us eventually in one way or the other! When society pauses to reflect, introspect and deploy action, it creates a whole generation of people who are anchored to core elements, values and rest assured are naturally inclined to act with deliberation and caution to impact in a positive manner through the pause! On other occasions, when societies have not got that kind of space to operate, the results can be mixed or at some other times even more damaging and detrimental!

I will leave you here, or should I say, “I will take a pause now”, grab your coffee and allow your pause to work wonders for you and those who rely on you! Who knows the next pause that you embrace may be the hug of life that alters and changes the direction for your future in a way that inspires many!

Ciao for now and I will be back soon with another article! Until than stay safe, wise and yes, pause and deploy!

Be formless to create form.

Learning from the elements around us is perhaps the biggest and the brightest classroom that we can ever walk into and it is in these open classrooms that the greatest and the most richest of learnings happen! Join me here as we explore to understand how by being formless, we can create within ourselves formidable power to bring to life the manifestations and dreams that we hold within!

If you have been ever inspired by nature- say, the great beach fronts or the lofty mountains that are sprinkled around the planet- it’s always worthwhile to remember that each of these magnificent and beautiful works of nature have only been possible through the power and perseverance of the elements who have remained formless for long stretches of time (continue to be so always) and have chipped away bit by bit what came in their way to create what inspires us today! This perhaps is the most fundamental of all learnings that we can ever collect and follow as humanity! It is this simple yet powerful fact that- it’s never about that great act done on one fine day- rather it is the efforts and smaller contributing acts that have gone to create that one big day- when the order was changed or the narrative was changed in a way that created a new lens to look at the same things in a different manner!

Even the great warriors of medieval times, knew this secret and often, nature and the terrain played a vital role when it came to devising strategies of war- when kings got them right- nature rewarded them by being on their side and ensuring a victory for them and when they got it wrong- nature became as ruthless as it can be and lessons learnt even by those costly mistakes went on to make permanent amends in the way wars were fought later! Such is the power of the formless forces of nature- water, light, wind and thunder. It’s no wonder that humanity has always been fascinated by them- their power and the pursuit to tame them to ones’ advantage is even today the centerpiece of all conflict across the world! So what is formlessness all about? What is there that we can learn from all this?

The word, “formlessness” is deceptive, the reason being that the moment we hear the “less” part of the word- our brain automatically gets programmed to discount the first part of the word and that’s where many of us end up doing a fatal mistake! We don’t understand the word “form” in its entirety to begin with and thereby completely miss out on gauging the depth and importance of the power that ” being formless” can bring along with it!

Form- as the word implies gives definite structure and dimension and this is what always makes us comfortable- as humans we are hardwired to deal with the finite that comes our way and depending upon our individual or collective capacity decide how to tame the finite or the form that stands in front of us – whether its about encountering a big animal or a small hostile group or its about taking upon an enemy group at a war theatre- the moment we are able to determine the “form” as humans we are equipped to devise strategies to defeat, delay or divert the challenge in front of us – all with one motive of “we” being the survivor at all costs! The moment this definite “form” gets ambiguous all hell breaks loose and this is where “formlessness” assumes proportions that baffle humanity even today! Consider this, we are more relaxed as we deal with dogs and cats- even if they are untamed- now suddenly you come across a snake- what happens- it still has form- it still is definite- but yet- the instant reaction (and in most of the cases the best one to have) is to move away as quickly as possible and just get into a zone of complete avoidance and fight only if no other option exists! So what just happened here- even when there was form- just because it is an “unknown” and completely new form to deal with- our brain takes us straight to the primordial, flight or fight response and this survival technique works well and has been perhaps the only reason why humans have been successful and survivors until now!

It is when the unknown becomes- formless that the real test begins and that is where the power- the ultimate power to create lies! If you have ever seen water flow down a stream and then see it grow as you hiked along to see it changing form from a serene mountain stream to a fast flowing stream then onto become a roaring river- complete with rapids and then descending down dramatically through waterfalls, gorges cutting across valleys and finally making itself as vast and as deep it can as it flows through the flood plains onwards to merge onto the Sea or an Ocean- what is happening here- well at every stage- water- which is finite- assumes radical formlessness by altering the way it behaves given the kind of obstacles and challenges that it faces enroute through its flow! This is what empowers formlessness- the strength of formlessness comes not from being formless but rather being able to alter oneself to meet the challenge head on and overcome it by becoming a completely new version of oneself! This is the essence and soul of the concept of formlessness- the ability to alter- stay dynamic and being able to prevail in face of the adversity that stands in front of you in the path that you have chosen to walk upon!

As with water, so with wind, so with fire- as long as we know the finiteness and the dimension of these entities we are comfortable to deal with them, the moment they present themselves as something which we are unsure how to deal with, these very elements become menacing problems and have the potential to etch new order simply by the power that their formlessness brings along with them! Think about it! The fire that you see bruning softly in the fireplace or the flame on the stove is the same element as what constitutes the forest fire! The fires erupting in the forests are no way techncially different then the ones’ that you have tamed and which have provided you life with are- yet the moment the element of fire- gets loose- it becomes one formidable entity which you really want to get away from- as far as possible! What does this all say about us and what is there for us to learn and take away from this space?

If you analyse the worldly problems that you face, day in and day out- you will see a similar trend- as long as you seem to have the ability to tame, deal, manage the problem that you are dealing with, everything seems to be just fine- this is the space where you are still holding the water in the jug on the table and this is the moment wherein your lighter still obeys you and lights the cigar when you command it! The moment you start to run out of ideas ort deal with your existing problems and as they start to transform into something else that what you have anticipated them to be- their finite forms quickly start to transform into something unknown and something far formless, then what you have earlier bargained for and this is where the water in the jug is threatening to run off as a flash flood and that lighter is threatening to set you ablaze, even without you trying to turn it on! So now the million dollar question what do you do? How do you deal with everyday fluidity and formlessness around you? Well the answer is deceptively simple, yet powerful! You attain formlessness in an equal measure to mitigate the power of the problems that you face! This alone is the wise way ahead- attain formlessness and create form- once you have mastered this element, no matter what the challenges that you come across- you will always find a way to stay a step ahead, over or above what the challenge seems to be and eventually will be able to create a definition for that problem so that it loses its potency of being a formless headache and this can be achieved only by you becoming formless and formidable! but how exactly do you attain formlessness? What’s the trick here?

Being formless, or becoming formless is all about being fluid, adaptable and responsive (not reactive) to the what’s happening around! It’s about changing your currencies, your priorities and being able to take those quick seemingly unworthy detours to ensure that you stay away form the grips of the problems that plague you, but you are always within striking distance to hit back at the problems and challenges and more importantly you get to choose when you hit back, how and with what intensity! This is the power that formlessness alone can bring to you- the power to choose when you deal with the challenge at hand and how exactly you deal with it! Once you have reached this space of being able to remain or stay formless- you will realise that it is this very space where you can co-create magic- you can create forms- alter narratives and create lasting impact by giving new directions to societies and individuals- on how they gho about dealing with what they face and suddenly your formless energies have acquired form by new acquired behavioral patterns that the society now adapts to and adheres to! In a way, the formlessness of an individual which gives vital power to deal with seemingly overbearing challenges creates and directs form to be developed within chaos and ambiguity which further empowers societies and communities at large! This is the true power and way to create form by assuming formlessness on an ongoing basis and when leaders do this- magic happens and you have responsive and vibrant societies that thrive on the power of individuals to steer them away from harm no matter how high or how deep the challenge that they face- individually and collectively!

The real essence of formlessness is being able to remain fluid and focussed to create forms and outcomes that serve the greater good and serve them well in time, so that the formless leaders are ready for the next challenge and today’s challenges are converted to routine tasks which people are left to manage with- to grow- learn and progress!

I leave you here with these thoughts for now; think about the last time when you acquired formlessness, what was it like! What purpose did it serve and how did that help you as an individual and how has that impacted the society that you work for? If not yet, when do you propose to assume formlessness and for what purpose? What is the form that you want to create by being formless yourself!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article, until then stay wise and stay sublime!

The way of the wise.

When you think you are mopving about the world, whioch by now resembles a fools’ paradise, all the more improtant then ever before to do what’s in your best intererst and the only key to ensure the safety and sanity of yourself and those around you! The only thing that you can do and must do is follow the “way of the wise”! Join me here as we undertsand what’s this great or rather simple “way of the wise” and why it is perhaps the only thing standing between humanity and insanity in the times that we are livibg by!

Dumbness, stupididty, idiocracy, not-being-so -right, well these and many more such thoughts and obesrevations are mroe or less widespread across the world at the moment as I pen this article! Whether you are in the USA, the European Union, the Middle East , Asia or any other place that you can think of- chances are that the society that you are a part of – is right now struggling (rather made to struggle about an issue or an event). The funniest part of all this is that everyone- who is part of the society has joined the cause to overcome and prevail over the problem without even bothering to define what the problem is in the first place! These are the vital initial signals that you can gauage coming form a society whichis in the bad need to explore and find out tthe “wsie way” that meets it’s requirement to unchackle itself and come out of the fatal interanalisation of problems which are ate times real adn many times- perceived!

Let me explain you with an example- so far the world has lived through the vice-like grip of the pandemic for the last about 7 months now!- yes! it’s 7 months already! What has changed? Well apart from the financial meltdowns, playing our true charatcer to the fornt row audience more often then evere before- nothing else has much changed! Has our behaviour altered- well yes and now- Yes- in terms of how we have managed to while away our time at hand- seeking new unproductive ways to kill it- and No- in terms of anything worthwhile that has been created by any of ius- whcih you could say- Well- I was stuck so I created this as a mark of my reselience and steadfastness! The reason why many of us have possiblly ended up whiling our time without creating or adding anything worthwhile to ourlseves or others around us is becuase we failed to understand the essence of the “Wise way” to go about dealing with oursleves when the unknown manifetss the way it did this time around!

The more we tend to seek normalcy around abnormal situations and circumstances by imittating and copying what seems ot be the normal way of doing- we set ourselves up for untold misery- acts that are often carried out without any forethought and contextual understadning of what’s relevant in a given specific area, are always bound to be shortlived solutions which come back haunting in the form of even larger ghosts that simply refuse to die or kill themsleves! One such vivid example of the recent time has been the “Lock down solution”, as the pandemic set, this became the proverbial master key to find a quick solution to a probelm whcih was hardly understood and was evolving each day! The consequecne- unwanted- unplanned and myopic lockdowns the world over have neded up finishing off livelihoods and lives with it- killing mroe people indirectly by stetting them up for financial distress and failures and if the Virus doesn’t kill them, the financial meltdown and disster resulting from itsurely will! So what’s the solution? What’s the right way? The right way and the only solution for all times- good and bad- easy and challeneging is to follow “The way of the wise”.

The “way of the wise” isn’t a magic bullet that answers all your problems, neither does it solve all your problems- what it does is- it allows you to deal objectively and effectively with the situartions and contexts that come your way! This is what changes the tide in an indidvidual’s favour and this is, indeed the essence of the “way of the wise”!

The Way of the Wise- is all about creating unique pathways and realities to better understand the developing contexts around oneself. It is about having minute to minute awareness and understaindg with ample clarity of what’s unfolding and how that will impact- where- which area- by what magnitude. You see, once you are able to be in the now- and are coinnected with whats around and witin you in the moment- you are empowered more then ever to take decisions that lead you to the contexts which begins to align with you, for your cuase and your objective with every right step that you build over the earlier one! Its these incremental right steps taken one after the other by being immersed in the ensuing moments that allows one to create a pathway which is empowering, liberating and above everything else able ot provide meaningful solutions to the evolving contexts as one keeps moving along in the right direction that one is locked on to!

The way of the wise- is certainly not about having all the answers to all the prblems that come in ones’ path, rather it’s also a pathway that’s littered with failures and unsuccessful attempts that have been done in one moment- to be corrected in the next and this moment to moment perfectioning of the imperfections of ones’ apporaches is also an essence of the wise way! It is a pathway that assures meaningful outcome only once all that is unmeaningful and unserving has been completely ejected within and around you! The way of the wise is about being achored to the objectives of the thought process that seek answers to a moment in time- in a way that these asnwers build upon over a period of time to provide reproduciblee and assured outcomes the way that humanity would want more of!

The way of the wise- is also about being one within and with people around you with an aim to serve and be serviced- this is different then the rigmarole of what can you do for me and how can I help you- believe it or not most of the problems- real and perceived that the world today is grappling with are a direct cosnequence of the second approach I just mentioned! Through the anals of history, turn any page and walk into any era that you wish to across any kingdom/civilization- the singular fact that you will come across will reveeal one thing- Each time that humanity and society has failed on the element of being “Of service” to one another and to each other in the real meaning of the term- humanity has set itself up for failures and disasters-over and over again! The endless pursuit of greed which has been written across all coisties that have ever been created by us- has always been at the cuase of the decline and eventual demise of those societies!

The way of the wise is all about- being glued to the path of purusing the greater good and creating what serves humanity rather being self-serving and self-centric! Its about developing pathways and solutions which resolve contextual challneges both as they develop and also create humanistic benchmarks to ensure that when similar challenegs crop up or seem to crop up- there exist proven and tested approache to deal with those kind of situations as long as the contextual compulsions reamain valid!

The way of the wise- is the collective way- a way that fosters collaboration- togetherness and thrives on shairng benefits and pitfalls alike so that humanity knows where to venture next and where to avoid next- this goes a long way to ensure that given the short life that each of us have as humns- we don’t end up pursuing what already has been achioeved or end up puruing someting that has already been recorded a pure utopia! A fignment of imagination! It’s only the colletcive concoiosuiness that can allow humanity to build upon itself and create societies and nations which are able to gravitate to work for teh greater good and the only way ton esnure that happens is to follow the Way of the Wise- without flinching a moment away from that space or path!

I will leave you here with these thoughts for you to relfect- if you have indeed ever walked the way of the wise- or if you have been among the wise- who had ambarked on that path? Were you ever able to service another human being around you? What was that moment like? Were you able to witness a society in action while it was following the way of the wise? How was that moment? How did that change you? If you have indeed not as yet, felt any of this, what’s your plan to create or follow “The Way of the Wise”?

Ciao for now, I will be back soon with another article! Until then stay wise, stay safe and yes, don’t fix what’s not broken and don’t re-invent what exists!

The only thing that matters…

Well, as you get ready for your weekend during these times, what better way can there be, to urge you to spend you weekend in knowing and discovering that, there are really only a very few things that will matter or that ever matter and it’s always wise and sane to know them and stay anchored along them! Join me here to know what this is all about and why these are really the only things that matter!

Our lives are always filled up completely to the the brim! Irrespective whether that filled cup makes sense to us or not, that’s what we get to handle each day of our lives, that filled cup is at times you work, at times its your family and some other times its your network/ friends/colleagues or all those areas that you tend to stay invested! Well there can be nothing right or wrong about that, each one of us is free to choose what matters and how much priority one gives to which area of ones’ life! The real trick though, is being able to understand and appreciate the depth and quality of the things that you consider to be a priority for yourself and re-check if thats really what you want the cup of your life to be filled up with completely all the time!

Well you may be working for yourself or for someone else, many a times, this space contributes the major part as far as keeping our cup filled up goes, the question here, is what are you really doing? Are you really sure that you want, your work area to dominate and take up so much of volume in the cup that you hold? Is it really worth it? Look around you what are you coming across (not necessarily now, things have been the same way for a long time, only now they are becoming more and more evident!), pay cuts, job losses, realignments, new loyalties, shut downs, all this even as you had your cup filled up and put in your efforts at an individual level and did what was right throughout- no questions asked, yet when the time arrives, you are the first one to face the shock? Why do you think this develops? If this is an area that is so important for your cup? How can it become redundant so sharply and quickly? What have you missed? Hold on your thoughts here and read on as you will be able to decipher the same we we move ahead!

Let’s explore the other aspect which goes on to complete your cup, your network, in few cases this part often takes up more space than the work part, yet few other times, there is a heady cocktail between this space and the work space- at times because of the nature of the work, some other times as an occupational hazard- which if not managed can evaporate both the elements of the work and network form your cup rapidly even before you realise! But wait, how does this network really help you, I mean if say there’s no work, does this come to your rescue- as in not helping you get back the work that has gone missing- but as in being there for you! How many of your networks can stand by you like a mountain- not helping you with the money or the next break- but by just being there? Well if you haven’t got any of these type of mountainous network elements standing by you, then sadly enough, you have just added additional baggage to your cup which occupies space- adds to your wright and actually does nothing to enhance the favour of your cup! So that’s so much about your network element within the cup and yes, you can sure enough weigh and read through other elements like friends and acquaintances through the same lens,the people who say they are there and then disappear as if they never existed! Now let’s move to the final elements of your cup!

The family area which takes up again the decent volume of your cup! Well, now depending on the originality of the contents and how they play out with regards to the flavors and intensity, either you will get a cup with an additional dose of vanilla or have a cocktail of tastes- leaving your mind tipsy and brains fried all the time! Well, since it’s about the part of the family, you too are equally responsible to what you end up getting in the context of tastes that come back to you! If you have been able to provide the right conditions, temperature and ambiance, the flavors will always resonate that and if you haven’t; well might as well prepare for what you have done- whether intentionally or unintentionally! Needless to say this element overrides all other elements in your cup and has the potential to unleash havoc or create great balance depending on its own intrinsic character! But did you notice, even as your cup is so filled up and has all elements that you ever can ask for or think about- you know what’s missing here? Its You!

You may argue, that all other elements in the cup are but an extension of who you are, certainly they are, but they are your extensions- you- perceived by the others and not the real you! This is where people struggle the most and tend to get waylaid easily as they rush through their busy lives holding to their cup of life- not realizing that what they hold and are managing is what the world exactly wants them to be- not necessarily who they really are or want to be! This fundamentally folly is what makes many of the lives around us a struggle- simply because we are living lives- not of what we should be because of who we really are but rather because of who we are perceived to be, by others whom we have ended up collecting around us either by intention or by accident! So is there any way around this or further to this, can anything be done and if yes, whats it?

The only way to go around this and the only wise way, is to ensure that “you” end up filling as much as volume you can in the cup that you hold and let this volume be filled up with “who you really are” and no matter what comes your way- ensure that you don’t loose that element- because once you have anchored yourself to who you are- You will then automatically gravitate and end up attracting other elements of family and network circles based on who you really are and not end up becoming “who others want you to be” (which is possible only when you end up adding others to your cup before you could add yourself)!

You see, once you have developed a refined sense of understanding who you are, what ticks you and what ticks you off, you will be in a better position to connect to spaces, people, things and pursuits in line with what is helping and growing you- intrinsically rather than monetarily. Monetary growth no doubt, is important, but when done and pursued in divergence of all your founding elements of your life- family, network, work and yourself often will end up draining you in the long run and over time instead of making you stronger will end up making you weak and susceptible to the ravages of time and other powerful competition that you face which possibly are growing on virtue of their own internal core alignment!

What really matters is how well you have been able to craft the idea of who you are and how well do you want to execute that idea into the world with allies who are around you as network circles and families because of who you are! Once you have achieved this zen like space, trust me nothing at all will bother you- neither the ups and downs of your business neither the layoffs or the firing of the jobs that you are engaged with, because once you have connected within and know you worth well enough- these out worldly aberrations will not be ever strong enough to slow you down or knock you over!The only thing that matters is, how well you are connected with yourself and that one singular reality is what will help and empower the right things, people and contexts gravitate towards you!

I will leave you here, urging you to grab that cup and reflect on one simple point- How well are you connected within and how much of “you” is present in the cup of life that you hold so dearly close to you at all times!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article! Until then stay safe and stay wise!

The hour-glass (effect) comes next.

Even as we emerge out of the shadows of the pandemic and pick up the pieces of what is remaining to rebuild and revisit our lives, livelihoods and priorities the fact remains that, we are not going to be coming back to the way the things were earlier at least for the next 12 – 24 months depending on which part of the world you are! Even as we overcome what has hit us, we must prepare for, what I like to call as the Hour-Glass Effect, something which has already started and will go on to dominate our lives for a couple of years at least! This article is about, understanding what this is and what we can possibly do or not do, to be sure that we have our dear life in the right areas of the emerging hour-glass! So here we go!

Let’s examine on the political front, what we see around is that there is an increasingly sharper division among the political class the world over, unlike the earlier times when there was space in the middle to ensure that a dynamic and progressive balance is offered to the nation (to keep moving ahead) without any extreme alignments to the right or the left, now it has become the survival of the either ends of the ideologies that the world of politics is known for- irrespective which nation you belong to what state government you are ruled by- if you are living in a democratic set up- you either are making a choice between a radically polarized nationalist front or trying to hold on o a liberal and more accommodating popular front.Well there is nothing, more that I want to suggest here; each of us is free to choose our own path to to our grave- doesn’t matter which end you lean because at both ends what you have are politicians, the real problem is the stretching of the hour-glass right in the middle- the stretch which would have normally been of an adequate proportion seems to be drawn out and made more and more thinner with each political move and this is what throws the society into further chaos- because the society is compelled to collapse onto itself with no space to move, act or even breathe- let alone exist!

If politics plays its part, how can society be left untouched! At the very moment that I am writing this, thousands of families would have either made it to the upper- more opulent part of the hour-glass escaping the intense pressure and crush at the thinned out central space and there would millions who would have been pushed down back to the bottom – most of them reaching back where they would have been a few years or perhaps even decades back! Don’t be surprised, its relatively simple- as the political class go on to play what they are good at, the economic indicators are often let loose to alter the disposition of societies- at times willingly and few times accidentally by oversight- it’s anyone’s guess about what it is – with regards to the events that we are witnessing now! As this happens, the societies move and adjust to get into the old two class system- those who have and those who don’t and each of these sets then begin to carve out their own goals to co-exist with or without confrontation and as this happens over the period of time you see once again the coming of age of the so-called middle strata- middle class once again and the whole cycle start again as the hour glass gets flipped by then! This is what really happens and given the lifespan that each one of us has- rarely will we have a chance to witness the whole cycle through the meaningful period of our lives- and as depending when this cycle hits us individually either we become those dazzling sunrise entrepreneurs or we are forced into the oblivion of darkness through early exit form the professional stage with no time or resources left to re-build or re-start anything meaningful all over again- simply because there is no time left!

If nations,societies can be impacted then what makes you think, that as an individual you will be spared! In fact to be honest, it is the impacted individuals who go on to make the choices which determine the stretch of the hour glass and the quantum of right choices then enables one to reach a comfortable zone within the right space in the hour-glass and bad decisions are routinely rewarded with uncomfortable positions and spaces which manifest as societal discord being played out in the streets on a daily basis! So you see, it is about the choices that we as individuals make that determines the stretch of the central section of the hour-glass and if we are wise and swift enough to make the right one, we are bound to be at the right place no matter how many times the hour-glass is flipped or shaken! The beauty is that the choice always remains with us and within us! So how do we go about ensuring that we are in that sweet spot and are able to be in a zone that is safe enough ton make the adjustment but stay relevant at all times? Well read on!

The trick is deceptively simple, firstly irrespective of everything and anything else, follow the old maxim of creating friends and enemies that you can live with but get get killed by! Once you have the contextual settings around you in control you are certain to always calibrate your aspirations, risk appetite and recklessness in direct contrast to your immediate surrounding- this ensures that even if you hit the deepest and the oddest of all potholes, you will survive and live to tell the tale and begin all over again! Next, calibrate and define your achievements/ success stories to yourself not to the settings around you! You see, if you are going ton end up building sandcastles by the beach, they will not last, that’s a fact, at some point of time either the sea will claim it or the crabs will use it! As long as your success comes from within you, because of who you are and not because of what is told to you- about who you are- you will be just fine! Each one of us is unique, needless to say, even the thought of comparing our success/achievement with anyone else around is the dumbest things that we can ever end up doing!, so never ever do that! Finally once you have a refined sense of what makes you- who you are; once you have a refined understanding about what is your definition of success; you will always then be scanning the contextual settings around you- at all times; not to compare but rather to know what’s out there which may harm and stall your progress. Your heightened self-awareness will go a long way to provide you with that vital early-warning system which will tell you well in time (more than others) to make the needed amends so that as the flip of the hour-glass occurs or as the constriction commences you are well ahead and safe enough to manage yourself and those around you!

Well the hour-glass will flip and will continue to constrict and expand around the centre in an endless cycle – that is perhaps what life is all about! What matters though is that in the short times that we have, it will only make sense that we make an effort to be at the right place within the hour-glass so that no matter how hard it is shaken, or how tight the constriction is, we are able to prevail for our own well being and for the people who depend on us- whether that’s our family, our society or our nation or the global community, depending on who you are, larger will be the dependence and higher the need to prevail and overcome the hour-glass effect and the only way to do it, is by – Being who you are!

I will leave you here with these thoughts for now, to reflect and contemplate , where you are within this hour-glass and how well you are prepared for whats happening now and what will happen later- because the hour-glass will keep flipping as and when its time arrives!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article! Until then stay safe, stay wise and keep time!

Make a choice: People or Process.

Organisations often have something to guide them by, at times these are called as values, belief systems, way of working, agreed way of working, “the way we do it here”, you can take any of these approaches, but all of these will eventually end up taking you down one of the two only possible routes- either you are managing, striving for or struggling for a people centric organisation or a process centric organisation. This short read, we take a look at what this all means, and how it impacts us and what we can do about it, before we decide to join that dream job coming your way!So let’s roll!

Sure enough both these approaches have their own advantages and strengths, let’s not bother about weaknesses, because where strengths are, diametrically opposite end of it, you will find the weakness! If you are wondering even for a moment why does this matter- identifying whether a particular organisation is people centric or process centric, well hold your thoughts for now! By the time we finish this piece, I am sure you will be scampering to find some solace and once you know well, that you are aligned to, developing or contributing to one of these types, you will further appreciate why you are either a great fit or a misfit based on who “you” are and the type of organisation you have landed yourself in!

Fundamentally speaking, humans are always good at one of the two things- this, even as we have both the attributes- either we are good on the being creative and ingenious or we are great at doing repetitive and predictable tasks with great accuracy. Sure enough, we can do both and we end up doing both of these and everything that comes between these two extreme ends with varying degree of comfort, the fact however being that we all are naturally inclined to one thing over the other and when we find a workplace that reinforces our natural alignment to its work methodology- we excel at the function that we do and the contextual settings help us accelerate and excel as long as we continue to put in the required efforts!

If you take a short trip back into history and search for people who made a mark for themselves, name-fame -fortune, you will see a common thread, majority of them were mavericks- they ended up doing/creating things like no one had ever before, or their approach to run or govern a society was unlike anything ever before and their ability to think creatively, different;y, what is normally termed as “out-of-the-box” ended up creating our world the way it is today. Certainly this does not imply that those who continued to do routine functions are worthless, in fact they too are worth their weight in gold as they continually better the way they do things and create new benchmarks of doing the same thing over and over again with more finesse and sharpness! So what does this tell us? Well in a very simplistic manner it tells us that the ability to be innovative/creative, being able to set new ways and rules is one set that we have within us and the ability to better, develop something that’s already there by being at it-also called as perseverance- ensures that we create more value to something that already exists either by process or offering services-by doing what is meant to be done in a more refined and quality centric manner!

Typically organisations, which thrive on research , product development, innovation and new -age breakthroughs, creative pursuits lay heavy emphasis on the people that they have on board and that’s but an obvious choice! When you have people who are radically unique by way of their ability to think, collaborate, confront, debate and further a common idea- that’s the space where magic happens! Each individual will bring a new approach around a conventional problem at hand and that’s what will create pathways to developing/creating something unlike ever done before!- Certainly this approach is out rightly expensive and this route is normally deployed only when the odds are very high- typically when the solutions innovated/service provided have life-changing abilities or are able to influence people en-mass across regions and continents! Consider the world’s leading space exploration company- which has been at the forefront of space science ever since its inception- yes you got it NASA- what do you think they are hiring people for – following processes or for creating them afresh and leading humanity into a new frontier when it comes to space? Like NASA there are many more examples among different sectors wherein organisation have disrupted the way we go about our life through their products/services and this was possible because of the teams that they have had- the kind of people that they had onboard! This is how people centric organisations stand out and deliver! Needless to say this becomes possible only when the right people are onboard in the right contextual setting! This is how People centric organisations thrive and excel!

The other approach which has been equally successful and stood the test of time as well, is the approach wherein the Process is of vital importance. No this is different from red tapism and bureaucratic delays, this is more about following an established chain of command and staying within a span of control so that the whole unit works like a well oiled machinery and at any given time, even at a moment’s notice, the whole unit can align itself to increasing delivery pressures or adapt itself to meet the necessities of time! Sounds familiar, think you know a few of them, well yes you do, the defence forces, law enforcement agencies, medics, paramedics, you will find these instances even across various functions normally aligned to production of various goods and services, in the case of the manufacturing or world of services, you will come across the vital indicators like, well laid out clear structures, methodologies, process steps and communication channels which enable people to work individually or as teams to deliver what needs to be delivered under different conditions with no compromise on the quality of the finished product or service! This is where magic is created by being good at what is being done and doing what is being done in a better way each time it’s done!

Now you may be wondering, so why do organisations struggle all the time with n endless talent deficit! Why do we have organisations complaining about the quality of talent? The answer is deceptively simple! Organisations face challenges with talent when end up having onboard the wrong people for the right job! The problem is not of the people- the problem lies with the expectations placed on the people- who are basically not who you are really looking out for! Consider, you are a manufacturing firm and want to hire some kick ass engineers to supervise the forging unit- well things will work out for you as long as you are hiring an engineer with an orientation to follow rules, process and someone who believes in creating incremental changes by being in the system over a period of time, now instead of this if you end up hiring an eccentric innovator- he will start by stripping down every process and every work flow that you have ever built over the years with a single objective of simplifying and doing the things the way he would like to because that’s what his core intrinsic approach and belief system is- to create and construct something new!

None of them are right or wrong, neither the individuals nor the organisations, it is all about being wise and sane enough to know what you are hiring for- knowing what is that your organisation stands for and being able to decipher well , who are the people – that will be able to align themselves to the aspects of the business! Once you have the right type of people aligned to the right needs of the business, you have created enough space for both of them to grow and excel! If you are a process centric organisation hire people who are aligned to the way of the process centric environs, if you are an organisation that thrives on innovation and individual greatness, build an empire which celebrates individuality and also rewards collaboration, that’s how you will be able to excel in that space!

The choice, of whether to develop a people centric organisation or a process centric one should always resonate with the core requirements of the business and importantly this is something that should be loud and clear- visible through way of working and communication, so that even people who wish to embark on the journey with you are able to appreciate if they have boarded the right flight and look forward to the journey with equal enthusiasm as much as they have for the destination that lies ahead! More often than not you will come across organisations which are part process centric and part people cntric- when you are around that kind of a hybrid space- what really matters is having the right people at the right places for doing the right things!

I will leave you here for now, to reflect and think, what are you, a process person, or a creative wizard, what is the organisation that you are working for- people cntric or process centric, and what type of organisation will you like to build, if you ever want to build one! Keep thinking for now!

Ciao for now, I will come back soon with another article soon! Until then, knowing yourself create value in what you, by doing it the way you do it!

“Guru” in the workplace!

As the title suggests, this article is about trying to understand and explore- what really does it mean when we call or refer people that we work with “Guru” and what makes or doesn’t make one a “Guru”. Well certainly enough, you can always say, who am I to take a shot and define this space, well I am not doing that and neither do I intend to do that! This is about reflecting upon the true essence of the word “Guru” and how that can be appreciated in the times that we live in! So let’s begin!

We have all walked through those so called “aces” at work in our work areas, someone good at sales, someone good at marketing, few others ace it with numbers, few dealing with people so on and so forth, but very few and rarely you will find people around you, when you come across them , seem to be institutions within themselves! These are radically different, they may not always have that coveted expensive degree, nor always will they have that infectious personality and neither will they always seem to be all that spic and span – almost ready for the next shoot of a corporate magazine cover! These are the ones’ who hold us in awe, and respect by virtue of being who they simply are and these, my friends are the real “Gurus” that we have around our workplace! I am sure you would have encountered a few, I had the privilege to be lead by a few and that’s what makes our lives all that more enriching!

This is beyond that help your senior provided you with and you repaid the same with an evening beer, this is beyond that odd shift you took up to help that unlucky junior who had a bad bout of food poisoning, it is different from saving the job of that finance rookie who had posted wrong entries on the forbidden side of the balance sheet! So, by now if you are still wondering, if it’s none of this, not the managers, not the seniors, not the work, not the help, not the guidance, then what is it about? Well, my friend to begin with, let’s start by understanding the philosophical concept of the very word that we are trying to understand here- “Guru” – One of the many golden words from the ancient Sanskrit Language from the Indian sub-continent (often referred to as the language of the Gods) , the word Guru primarily has two parts- Gu- which implies Darkness and Ru which implies Light. This word primarily has been used to anyone and everyone who has had a profound capacity and ability to guide and direct the life or people away from darkness and usher them into the area of light! As the old masters say, The Guru never tells what to see, The Guru just tells where to look!

Now, with this new information at your disposal, I am certain your mind has already started to get into an overdrive to possibly evaluate who are or have been your “Gurus” and for whom you think you have been, well hang in there, there is much more to be understood before you actually end up offering the title or receiving the same!

The genesis or the importance of the “Guru” evolved and developed through the rich ancient history of what is today India, back then historically societies, in terms of complexities were far simpler than what we are today and largely worked around the dignity of labour and definition of the work that an individual did within the contextual frame of the prevailing society, so you end ed up being a priest, a soldier or a farmer or a tradesman or a social worker based on the competence that was derived on basis of one’s lineage- well there would have been benefits and adverse impacts around this- but that is not for the current topic. So once you had these defined sets of social class, meant to perform tasks with exceeding levels of competence to rise and ensure the safety and well being of the society- read kingdom, the onus was only on one vocation- it was the Teachers- The “Gurus” were the only people who stood between a society- kingdom being assured a continual supply of aces across the work areas or incompetent people joining the work areas which would eventual result into the disintegration and falling apart of the kingdom- because once Incompetence sets in- sooner or later- collapse will be certain- whether it be an individual- a society or a kingdom!

Now that the onus of ensuring safety and well being of each and every soul firmly resting on the wise teachers, what do you think would have manifested further? Well yes, good teacher’s created good enough students who were able to hold on to the societies and kingdoms for a few generation perhaps and when extraordinary teachers created geniuses among students, their kingdoms had legacies which last centuries and in some cases have left an impeccable mark on the way we carry out our modern live as well- don’t believe me- well think about the India’s National Emblem you will possibly get a hint at what I mean here! The real “Gurus” have always been able to influence and create value for time periods lasting centuries- long after their physical presence has been lost by way of their structured teachings and eclectic followership- with only one goal- serve the larger and greater goal of the society and replenish the capabilities of an individual! So now that you have got the context, let’s come back to the “now” and what do you see now, do you still find an equivalent or a close comparison to these ancient “Gurus” within or around you? May be you do or may be you don’t, either ways, that’s fine-because that’s the irony of the times that we live in!

In the time that we live in, at the most what majority of the people involved in working around glass clad offices experience is the modern day concept of mentoring- that fabled mentor- mentee relationship- well it lasts as long as the objective of the organisation or the task at hand are met, post that no one really cares for the other! Nothing right or wrong with this aspect as this how the norm has been set whether we like it or not! Certainly there are ramifications for this, it works for that specific problem to be solved, but leaves both of them devoid of any learning which can set them up for future failures- as their focus is too focused and entrapped into one specific aspect- without considering the need of learning in depth of the mentee! The modern day office settings have invariably created pressures of work and time which simply don’t allow to foster in- depth understanding, which is needed for the real Gurus to present themselves, as the students too are almost never ready! There is an old saying, which I had read somewhere along, When the Student is Ready the Master arrives! Well in the modern day office where everyone is working from one pay check to the other, this wait of the students ends up becoming an eternal one, sometimes the Guru is there with no students and yet other times, the student is wailing for help with no Guru’s around! So what can be done about this, is there anything that can be really done?

For the Gurus to arrive and the student’s to thrive, we need to consider a radically different approach to work, an approach which thrives on debates, discussions and experimentation- with an emphasis to fail- rather than succeed (sure enough I am not suggesting the organisations to go bankrupt with this approach- whatever is within the limits of allowable failure). The ancient “Gurus” always had a great tenacity to teach through this approach and it worked because no one ever told the student what to do, they were always told what was required as a result- not how to get it done! The student who would have been the most creative and effective in providing the solution, would than be able to set a standard process for the given challenge for others to follow- this encouraged learning, competitiveness knowing well that- there is never only ONE right way and this ensured that students and Gurus alike ever remained humble! You see, Humility is the anchor stone to Learning and applicability of what is being learnt- Without humility, knowledge will just slip away like grains of sand from the fingers of your palm!

Another important way of knowing you are in company of a true Guru- “Gurus are not bonded to their designation/labels/business cards,they have a strong sense of assumed ownership and will jump straight into the challenge at hand and start providing directions for resolving the challenge- this will be needles to say, to the delight of many and the horror of a few others! Unlike the modern concept, people often misread the part tat the “Guru” has to be a senior person- your boss- or someone in the office who is about to get an heart attack or fade away or retire; well it doesn’t have to be that way! On the other extreme end, actually it could be that new intern sitting and smiling away in all glory to your dumbness! You see,- Guru- as the word implies- the ability to dispel darkness and show the light- also has an intrinsic aspect of common-sense woven into it, you don’t always need to have a deep philosophical bondage to it, just because the word and the manifestation of it have such deep rooted civilization tagged to it!

The fact remains though, for the master to appear, there has to readiness among the students!; You see businesses hire based on consideration sets of the services that have to be provided to the society, and unlike earlier times, we have warped workplaces cloaked and hidden away into far too much of incompetence- which is hidden not because of anything else but the pressure of loosing the livelihoodIf businesses ensure that incompetence management is an anchor stone of their business turnaround policy- more than ever students will present themselves to be trained, retrained and skilled and for that to manifest, the masters’ the Gurus’s will appear like magic- This simple shift in the mindset of people to deal and engage with incompetence and not negate or hush it up will do a lot good not only to save livelihoods but create finer and sharper work force which in times ahead can unleash new ways of excellence pertaining to their work!

Well, if you ask me, the presence or absence of the real “guru” in a workplace speaks a lot about the place itself! All great places which have created an impact on human lives have been fortunate to have these unsung masters always around- some famous, many not so famous and it is these tiny elements that go on to make a big difference for an organisation to be considered among the best and being THE BEST! Not to forget, there is a “Guru” within each of us, perhaps you may be struggling with what you do, but something within you, can make a whole big difference in someone else’s life! It is about taking those pauses at work and reflect to see, what is that you know and what is that you know- that you don’t know- when you reach this space- you will have the Guru paying you a visit and at the same time you will end up being a Guru to someone else too!

I will leave you here, with these quasi-philosophical aspects around the concept of “Guru”, I have intentionally stopped short of getting into mundane examples of our office lives and will leave all of that for your imagination and experience to play it around for you! What is important is to have the realization that without The Guru- there is no light and without Light there is no Life! The Guru is sometimes within you and at times around you- You just need to seek THE GURU! Yes, I read this somewhere, never forget- The Guru doesn’t ever tell you what to see, but always guides you where to look! Think around this!

Ciao for now, will be back with another article and once again, Here’s Wishing Everyone A Very Blessed Guru Purnima!

Leaders too need help!

At times when the world stands at crossroads battling multiple uncertainties, depending on where you are, whether it is the still looming pandemic, the economic crisis, social unrest, or in general resentment towards the kind of leadership that you are experiencing whether at your national level or its the crisis of leadership at your workplace,its is of paramount importance to note that there are times when even these very Leaders need help- because even they too are human and in times like these they need it more than ever! This article explores that space of vulnerability that plays havoc with Leaders no matter what they are trying to overcome! So let’s understand for sometime what your beloved leader possibly is facing even as they try to keep a smile, a straight face or that mercurial temperament around them!

Who are leaders? They are not super-humans in terms of any anatomical context, but they perhaps demonstrate their expertise and ability to fare better than the cohort that they are part of and that is why they seem to move ahead within the sub-set that are a group of! Look around you, you will find almost every Leader has emerged as being the best alternative in the context of time and space that the Leader has arrived. Perhaps a few years or decades earlier, this person would have been passed off as an average person, a few years down the line, we may not even have people like them in our consideration sets! Since requirements would have changed and they constantly shift and move to wards the next step of dynamic equilibrium which is so much needed for growth and progress no matter what you choose to lead- a company or a nation or even yourself! This dynamic contextual setting within which leaders operate ends up making them fragile and manifest “Leadership Fragility”! Leaders who are touched by fragility, start to become so much risk averse that at times when they are required to act and move ahead rapidly, they seem to freeze and stay frozen from taking any decisions, small or large and thereby put the whole system that they influence into chaos and confusion! This fragility can occur for multiple reasons- it could be because of the leaders arrived at the control too early- without much experience or leadership baptism, it could be that they were given a wrong picture of the operational space within which they were supposed to hold the fort, it could be they were given a wrong army to fight a battle, it could be that the weapons of change provided to them were compromised and no matter what destiny they try to write, the ink simply seems to vanish away each time and they keep starting again and again! These varying aspects of dealing with day-to-day scenarios at work end up making few Leaders fragile and hence you can find their leadership style reflecting this element- when they are intentional slow, take their time, check and double check and re-check and move ahead only when it is the only and the most necessary option and when every other option has conclusively closed!

Leadership Fragility as a concept also shows the flaws and chinks in the armor of the ecosystem within which leadership is supposed to play its role! It opens up the whole contextual appreciation of team dynamics, ability to see through and develop clear view on strategic and operational preparedness that leaders have developed or have not developed which makes them vulnerable to threats within and from outside their ecosystems!

Normally, we always come across leaders who are accommodating, non-accommodating, easy going or headstrong personalities, but what is important is,instead of jacketing them into any of the singular or plural adjective definitions, we must take an effort to understand the eternal , “Why” of their leadership style and what could have lead for them to adhere to what they seemingly are glued upon with no real end in site!

Leaders are in that odd space within the system of things- which is closer to heaven and hell in equal measure with a caveat that nothing from their experienced heaven or hell reaches the earth (where their team lives!). So when team members look up to the leader- they hardly have a clue of the kind of turmoil that the poor soul is dealing with and the only impression that these earthlings carry along with them is whether their boss was good or bad- because they increment was x or y! When the Leaders occupying such tight spots are not the real “owners”of the business, well, needless to say their lives are as miserable and lovable as you can imagine! Imagine a pendulum which swings far away in each direction- one the eternal core of heaven and the other end the core of hell at the speed of light! When Leaders “own” the businesses, they have one and only one benefit- that is ability to decide when to pull the plug off and leave the business- either shut it down or sell it off and start to toy with something else and start a new life by taking a professional rebirth all over again!

Leaders are constantly shifting between managing the pressures that they meet from above and what they must hold within and pass on what they can while ensuring that they soak up every ounce of pressure from below as well! So needless to say often you find leaders who believe in the maxim Mind over Matter, because that is the only thing that stand between them and Insanity- Their Mind applied firmly to the Matters at their hand!

The next time you start to judge the leader that you are facing- whichever reason that may be- think about it- The Leader may be operating from a point of Strength or from the point of Fragility! There could be plans and strategies which the leader may have devised or there can be mandates which the leader has to simply execute and make them operational! Unless you don’t fathom what is the context from which the Leader is acting, it will be unfair to arrive at conclusions in favour or against the Leader or the Leadership style! You may now, want to ask, so what is that you can do about it or should you really do anything about it? Aren’t Leaders paid and haven’t they signed up for the shit that comes along with the glory that bask in?

Well, the fact remains, they too are human, and like most of us, they too sometimes end up singing up for something which they would have either not understood completely, would not have been told about it completely or they would have misread it completely because of the facts and picture presented to them while handing over the reigns to them as they took charge of whatever that they are supposed to lead! There could also be that rarest of the rare case of “Incompetency” playing out – this happens when Leaders arrive too soon to lead on the scene without having a a clue of what they are supposed to be doing and where they are! More often than not, these people end up blowing up and destroying everyone and everything around them, eventually also damaging themselves!

The only thing that you can do while dealing with the Leader that you face or engage with each day of your life is, to appreciate and decipher the contextual settings and studying what is driving the Leadership that you are experiencing, whether it is the strength derived by the Leader because of who the leader is, or is It the strength derived from the position that an individual occupies, next you must observe the pattern of decisions and the impact created around that- if you see diminishing returns on decisions being taken- you know for sure something is not right and sooner or later you will have a changed leader! Likewise when Leaders act from the space of compulsion- driven by the business owners or stakeholders, often you will see that they too will eventually fizzle out as demands and expectations start to borderline around fiction over ground realities of business and facts! Leaders who also own their business, when they start to act in non-coherent manner it is a clear sign of decay and you can be rest assured that a big change is on the way- which will probably involve a change of hands at the business ownership eventually!

It is not always about the yelling boss or the cheerful happy face boss, it is about the undercurrents that keep these professionals on the edge for the right and wrong reasons that either makes them super achievers or ends up pushing them to cramped spaces wherein they experience their fragility and once that sets in you can see it manifest around the team and all that they lead and influence! Next time when you sit and listen to your boss, take a moment and try to read through the unsaid message and listen to the unmentioned whisper, perhaps your boss needs that extra cup of coffee with you more than you do!

I will leave you here, to explore, experience and think around leadership fragility and the experiences that you would have gathered through your working life; being a leader or by witnessing a leader, no matter what the context would have been, the fact will always remain that even Leaders are Fragile and they need help too!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article! In case you or your firm is looking out for Individual or team Coaching, write in to us today and we will be glad to help you!

Fogging out the re-calibration dilemma.

As communities come together in their won way to assess the extent of damage and start to pick up the pieces and look forward to re-build, a very important question which will be playing on almost everyone’s’ mind- right from the governments to the business tycoons to the ordinary person on the street who awaits the opening of a retail store so that the next pay check can be collected is “How do we now know something different about all that we always thought we knew!” and what do we do about it and how do we move things ahead from here! Well this short piece is about skimming through these dimensions and possibly decipher how things may play out as humanity emerges out of the shadows of a global melt down! So here we go!

Hopefully governments across the world by now have learned a valuable lesson that as the old saying in India goes- “Health is the only real Wealth” and unless nations and societies do not¬† makes a serious effort to invest adequately and proportionally to ensure wellness and health of its citizens, no matter how many nuclear bombs and missiles they have in their arsenal or how many billions of dollars or gold they have to throw to the world- all of this will become meaningless in a wink as it happened now! This time is a great opportunity for nations to reset their priorities towards investment in healthcare and developing societies and communities which are more healthy! The choice is clear; either governments incentivize building healthy living and working habits so that investment in hospitals is reduced or continue with the age old unhealthy habits and then spend billions and billions to build hospitals and pharma reteach and this then goes on endlessly like a never ending game of cat and mouse waiting for the next mistake to happen and then that allows all hell to break loose all over again!

Business and the big bad world of corporate rat race– well, I doubt if this aspect of human society will ever learn anything from what is unfolding- we may end up seeing more dumb start ups that will go on to sell and live at the expense of why continuing social distancing is the way ahead and why remote working is The way of Working and so on and so forth! If this nonsense s is not checked and put in place- The world will end up having more mentally sick people then the number of threatening viruses you can think of coming from the Corona family! It will do the world a lot good, if for one time businesses become a little more humanistic and develop and build ways of working which resonate with general wellness and create more space and value wherein roles and responsibility are tailored and made to benefit not only the business objectives but also live on to enrich the lives of the people involved in creating those activities! The pandemic has taught one major lesson- A global melt down scenario- in whatever form it comes- doesn’t and will never care if you are rich or poor- these events are great levelers- they will reset everything to a point and from there is a great opportunity for all societies and businesses either to build a more inclusive and human society which is more sensible and purpose driven or loop back to old capitalist and greedy way of driving the things- again furthering the proverbial “rat race” and “neck throat competition” philosophies which will end up looking so falsified and hollow even to begin thinking about in today’s; altered world scenario!

Individuals, depending on how the time of lock down was used or abused will emerge as their better or worse version when they hit the deck to work! Likewise their offices would have assessed and gauged their absence and work through the physical absence in terms of effectiveness and critical contribution; needless to say- there will calls taken and adjustments done! So if you have been one of those people who have been binge eating endlessly dipping into the tub of popcorn or chicken fingers and blessed with an endless supply of booze, well you know what- your long party may just come to an abrupt unpleasant end! On the other extreme end of the spectrum, if you have been one of those silent warriors who has been pushing through all the odds and have helped your client, got that payment and ensured you have stayed on top of your game irrespective of the odds of bad signals, bad support and challenges galore- you may have just helped yourself by staying relevant and by ensuring you have indeed been an asset when it mattered the  most! If you are anywhere between these extreme ends of the spectrum- one end of callousness and other end of being prompt and proactive- well depending on what kind of sector you work in and what is the extent of human value and dependence your sector has you will ether sail through or end up drowning!

Businesses that display a more humanistic approach and be more inclusive, giving and caring will have a greater advantage in times ahead, needless to say those who showed their ugly side and used this as garb to seek undue advantage wither by sacking people or reducing their payout will get their karma back in time Рsooner then later and they will to realize that! More importantly however the centre of focus will be the Individual- What the lock down and work through isolation has done to people and how they have coped with either to emerge as strong as before or have metamorphosed themselves into something else for good or worse will also play a big role in either ensuring that their role in the larger game of an organisation survives to get more star attention or they simply vanish off the corporate radar for good- owing to their own inability to cope with the altered work environment! 

Individuals who have been wise to use their time to invest in themselves, will no doubt be rewarded more then anyone else, for it is through their detailed introspection and realizing the depths of their own self they will be able to contribute further and add innovatvely to the new changed world order either by being part of the government, business  or simply by being who they are it is these wonderful people who will set the tone for the next decade and beyondРFor a change this will have nothing to do with opulence but everything to do with humanity- The ability of being able to sense and respond to the changed realities of the world in a more human way! 

These, I feel are the ways that the reset will play out across the world at time subtly and at other times in a more direct manner- but rest assured the re-calibration will happen and will be clear and vivid based on priorities set by individuals, businesses and governments who decide to move societies and nations in a direction aligned to their national priorities- the only silver lining being for a change people and humanity will be at the core of these strategies Рbeginning with global access to health and wellness and going further and beyond! 

I will leave you here, at peace with your isolation and hope you emerge stronger, wiser and more ready then ever so that as the dawn ushers in you know exactly what you are going to do next! Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article!

 

The real essence of saying “I”

Well folks, for a Sunday¬† quick read, I thought this would be a great topic, a topic which will help you get some space for yourself and importantly this should help a big deal the next time, you picked up the phone and introduced yourself or told someone that , It was “I” and “My” team who got this done!” well this piece is about the “I” hidden within you and each one of us and an attempt to gauge who this “I” really is!

I am sure you too would have observed and come across people who have, time and again told you stories about what they had done, and the story more often then not goes on with an opening like, “I had then said that or done that or I did this and that” etc. So who is this “I” the central character in the multitudes of the stories that unfold- at times this “I” seems to be different for different people and at times this “I” also contradicts preset behaviors from earlier times and surprises everyone by doing something which at times also ends up stumping the “I” eventually! So how and what is all that goes around with this “I” and what role does it play and what is it’s relevance!

Let me take a case in point, to try and simplify, if I have not confused you enough as yet! Consider this, you wake up on a Monday morning, you rush through your morning chores, drop your kids to school (if they are still young! If they are grown up- they would be ideally coming into the house as you leave for work!), reach your work area- you speak with your peers, junior and seniors and all those who matter through the day- some of this chatter is meaningful and tons of it borders on things, people and aspects which really don’t make sense! (for either they- the people don’t care that you discuss about them or your discussing them doesn’t change anything for them or anything regarding them with the framework of the universe!). Once you have done this then you head back home to resign yourself to the safety and comfort of the nest that you relate yourself with as your own! and then finally you say- I have had a great, hectic day! In all this hectic run-around of the day, “I” was always there making its’ presence felt during meetings, taking decisions and utilizing power and position to influence outcomes at home and work by virtue of who you are assigned to be and the “I”within takes charge! But somewhere in all this, the true essence of “I” gets lost and the lost essence is more about seeking your true inner self¬†and knowing who You are hidden away within the I!

I am not too sure, how much of what you are reading is making sense to you at the moment, but trust me, once you realise the true essence of¬† the “I” within you, it will set you up for a completely different level of yourself!

As you rushed through you daily chores; the “I” was squeaking and guiding you from time to time to act and say something differently; perhaps it was the choice of words in your sentence, perhaps it was the way you conducted yourself, perhaps it was about something that you did;- which you would have not wanted to do at all!- this subtle conflict is something that goes on within each one of us- but of course, with the mad rush to rush through our lives ever increasing with our complicated lives; this subtle voice, tends to change into whispers and fade away into nothingness by the time we realize the extent and impact of what we have silenced!

If you think about for a moment (trust me you need only your drink and an open space to think around this!), the “I” which defines you- at least what you think – defines you has got severely entrapped into the definitions limited to your business cards, family name and social titles ushered to you- certainly nothing wrong with all this- all well earned and well deserved- but what all or any of these can’t and will never be able to impact and alter is the truest essence of the intrinsic “I” within you- this my friend is at the heart of the matter!

In the times that we live in, the real “I”, (you may call it your soul, your connect with the almighty, your elevator to tap the vast power of the Universe; well you may like to give it any shade of higher intellect and I would be happy with that!) is often miles away from the “I” that enacts your soul in the settings of the world to achieve specific ends- whether that is to relate to the relations that you manage, work, peers, social presence and influence that you want to exercisewell almost anything around you- any interaction that you do with this entrapped “I” will eventually come back haunting you sooner or later once the point of divergence goes beyond a pint of no return!

So whats the plan you may ask me around now! Well, keeping it to the limitations of a blog, that I have here (and avoiding to dig deeper and drown into philosophy), let me decode the lesson for you right away! The real essence and the real magic of your “truest I” is the fact that – it is Your Soul- Your very Intrinsic reason – The purpose – The “Fundamental Why” of why you exist!¬†The only way that you can progress on the charts and metrics of your Soul is to allow this inner self to govern and guide your perceived and projected self as you engage and move around the world! Given the level of diminishing intelligence around, you will come across shades of engagement ranging from being dumbfounded to utter disbelief to gross disregard to all that you go to do with the intrinsic power of your true self! However, once you don’t allow this to impact you and¬† you overcome this, it becomes easier and lighter for you to progress and move ahead!

Our¬† real “I” is always kind, compassionate, mindful and non-judgmental and is more of an universal grand-dad who keeps a watch and says, “Well okay dude, you are doing just fine, keep going I am here within and I will pinch you the moment I think you are trying to be more loyal to your perceived self ( as seen by the society) rather then being who you really should be! This, my friend, is the long and short of it! It is about being aligned and in-sync¬†with your soul always and all the times, social compulsions, positions will come and go, what is important is being able to steer clear and know when to strike a balance between your real self and your perceived self! Always remember one thing- No matter who says what- the only individual who will ever recognize and appreciate¬†your soul is the you and your discerning mind!

I will leave you with these thoughts for today and hope as you sip your drink and feel content with it! As you walk into your work area on Monday morning and for all times in the future- May you carry along with you- within yourself – The True “I” and ensure that you stay incrementally ahead of the perceived “I” all times!

Ciao for now! Will be back with another piece soon! Stay Soulful and Stay Present!

What travel type are you?

In an era where airplane tickets are as affordable as a buffet at five star property and with more and more people then ever before living by the maxim of “Soaking in Today”, it’s no wonder that after food, travel happens to be the biggest indulgence! This piece is about, trying to understand why people do what they do as they travel and how we can find our zen as travelers!

One primary reason, that the very thought of “travel” uplifts our soul and mind (in most of the cases) will be largely because of the hard wiring that exists within us through evolution of earlier being nomadic wanderers, hunters and food gatherers moving from one region unto the next with a view of surviving- it is these journeys eventually made us reach shores and lands of promise- along river basins, coasts, flat lands where opportunities flourished to provide longer sustenance and dependability so that civilizations can be born and foundations of modern day human societies could be laid!

Sure enough, as the wise people have always said, “Travel makes you wise”- The reason behind this statement was in a very compelling context of bygone times though! Those were the times when long voyages were only possible if they were funded by Kings or if you were a wealthy trader who had a liking to know what existed beyond and wanted to use that first movers advantage to get your hands on some eccentric stuff which could mean a great profit in the courts of the kingdom! Then there were again a few select dedicated travelers through the ages who were seeking the divine truth through pursuing theosophical teachings and soaking in what life means across cultures and belief systems around the yesteryear civilized world! Irrespective of what was the reason of travel then and who you were, the chances were that even if you were a sail boat oarsman in those times, you had an IQ and physical strength of even the most revered scholar or a Harvard MBA of today! This is one reason why you will find that the whole of documented history of the known world is a knowledge repository that has survived the ravages of time and upheavals – courtesy of these great people! You can call them scholars and geniuses who importantly knew-“When to travel,”Where to travel”, and “Why to travel”!

Our modern life has been a blessing and a curse in disguise, blessing because I can be sitting right on my chair, use a few applications that are available in the market and zoom onto my  favorite street  or beach front or a mountain range, literally any place around the world and see the views and soak into the virtual feeling of being there- right from the comfort of my home! Sure enough, nothing beats the actual and real feel and this is where the actual story begins!

When you travel around and observe the modern day travelers,what do you see? Who are they, or at least who do they seem to be? Well, I will make this simple for you, you have possibly seen these focused travelers– these are the people who travel to their relatives to return the compliments and accept every wedding invitation (as if the wedding will not happen if they didn’t make it!), then you have those time bound family vacation travelers who will hit the same airport or rail head, around the same time of the year- complain and compliment about what changed at the terminal and in the cabin or the railways carriage and visit the destination have alive- half dead (because in that one year- gross disregard to health will take its’ toll- with the dragging of all those heavy bags which just keeps on growing in weight every year- for no real sensible reason!). Next you have those corporate hot shots who are always moving around the terminals like they are on a MI6 mission to save the world and always drowned into themselves and struggling with their bags or the laptops that come along with them as extended parts of their physical being! So, now the million dollar thought- think about it- are they really travelling? in the real sense of the word?¬†

Certainly they are not, sure enough if you are on a office assignment, no one expects you to go shopping or sight-seeing- but how about even getting that 10 minute break to know where you have landed- what’s the culture of the place like- who are these people who reside here?- what is that drives them and what is that they enjoy and need the most? This missing human connect which is the million dollar essence of travel has all but gone away for a toss and whatever little chances are there to understand fellow humans, cultures and places that we visit has been taken away by those senseless and limitless self-indulging and self-obsessed selfies that you see standing out menacingly all over the digital landscape! Of course all hope is not lost, not everyone has lost the old and intellectual charm of traveling and when you get to see these wise souls at airports or at travel exchanges, you will feel uplifted by just seeing them and when you speak with them, the knowledge that flows and the story of the one day adventure that they had during the last hike or beach ride or rock climbing or walk in the old market place or the local dish that they had simply baffles you- because your may have traveled the sector many times; but these wise people travel once and they do it right!

So what’s the point here, well simple, travel in the essence of travel, whether you travel all by yourself or tag along a few friends, or your family along, let that travel be compelling, enriching and something that adds value to the lives and knowledge of those who are along with you and also to the people whom you meet and interact with through the course of your journey and when you make it to the destination and back! Let there be videos and snaps that tell as troy that soak about a narrative, a learning that you picked up rather then that mindless grin which you can anyways see while your brush you teeth everyday morning!

Like mindful living, mindful travel can do wonders, it can help you come up with the next big idea or it could help you overcome a life challenge- well who knows for that’s the real magic of travel when its done in the true essence of it! I normally don’t preach on what people should do or not do (they are the best judge to know what works for them or otherwise!), but one thing that I can share as an experience is that when you travel hands free with as minimal luggage as possible and have a vision and a camera that is always pointed away from you and into the journey and places and people around- you will end up capturing stories that can inspire and motivate and uplift you when you spend time and come back to them when you need them!¬†

I will leave you here, with your thoughts on travel and something to plan this weekend for a wonderful travel for some other weekend the future! Whatever you choose, a mountain range or a beach, a metro city or a quiet village- let there be a purpose, a plan and a learning that enriches you and everyone that you come across in the future by virtue of the travels that you undertake! Always remember if you have got  the 5 senses, make use of them and there is nothing that compares with travel when it comes to rejuvenating these 5 senses of being human in the true essence of it!

Ciao for now, Travel Safe and Travel wise! remember no pulling of bags and senseless grins on those spooky selfies!  

 

A drug called curiosity.

Well; I read this sometime somewhere, “Curiosity never killed the cat”, and then there were friends around who also had read, quite the contrary; “Curiosity killed the cat”! Well this piece is a quick sneak peak into the intrinsic element that we all have within in some measure- called, “Curiosity” and to know whether that’s actually helping us live or getting us killed! So here we go!

Every, life-form that has a brain with an ability to exercise cognition- will be curious in some or the other way- depending on the type of organism, it’s immediate environment and the kind of dangers and threats that it needs to ward off! Curiosity has evolved, being a reflection of how dominant a species has been through the evolutionary ecosystem! One thing that you will always find even in nature is that the most dominant of the species in an area of study will demonstrate heightened levels of curiosity which are reflective of the higher value that the organism carries in the value chain and these are enhanced in equal measure for both prey and predators and this I believe is nature’s masterstroke, among many others, to ensure that the natural world and the selection of the species and survival all of these aspects keep moving ahead through a fine balance!

Coming back to our world- a world of evolved- sapiens- the final frontier of biological evolution (as of now at least), we can flip the pages and take pride in the the kind of achievements that we have been able to register- as Individuals and societies across the world at different times- under different co-existing challenges! An element of common thread that runs beneath all the success and failure that humankind has experienced and shared through the ages is also reflective of the amount of curiosity demonstrated/ exercised and avoided!- We have stood to benefit and struggle at different times through history depending on whether we decided to act proactively or ignored our wanderlust mind and tried to remain passive to our own peril!

Every person who has read history, geography or geology has read about Mt. Vesuvius (the eruption that happened around AD 79) which famously wiped out the entire human habitat at Pompeii in a matter of minutes! What could have happened here , when we think about “Curiosity”- Weren’t the residents of a progressive society, living under the shadow of a tall mountain- which may also have sent out smoke plumes and occasional rumblers, ever wonder and think what was going around that Mountain? Well, certainly they would not have had the advantage of modern day science apparatus and gadgets, but during that time, knowing well, that Roman societies were highly evolved with arts, sciences (like Philosophy, Literature etc.) the question simply remains- why were their “curious minds” so oblivious of a danger sitting right over them? Think around this and hold your thoughts- as we explore another arena from recent history…

Fast forward to 1700s (the dawn of modern history)- say we arrive in a period post 1700s- what we witness here is a rapid development in technological areas and machine science coming of age- methodical and unprecedented documentation of history through volumes over volumes of books, research papers, scientific journals, all of them collaborating and contributing to help us reach where we are today! So what is the common thread running through human history in this period of time- Well, you guessed it right! “Enhanced Curiosity” and a sustained effort towards experimentation! The result, well we owe each and every bit of our modern day luxury to the pioneers and scientist of this bygone era- whether it is the CT scan machine that you are using, that X Ray door frame at the airport terminal, that electron microscope that ensures that airplanes are safe or the simple science applied to food chemistry that has ensured we live longer (living healthy is a choice as yet left unto us!)

So what actually was different between the Roman example and the the advent of modern societies post rapid industrialization- well the difference was in a simple aspect- the aspect of knowing when to be curious and in what measure. Of course, stable societies that guarantee safety and offer incentive for risk taking and enterprise always enhance “curiosity”. Societies that shun risk appetite (for one or the other reason) eventually end up being under the proverbial Volcano that will certainly erupt! (it always is just a matter of time- it’s then about When and not about If!) These proverbial Volcanic eruptions are not necessarily volcanic ash in pour face and lava lakes flowing through our cities- it is something far worse then that- when societies shun – individual enterprise by penalizing curiosity and enterprising approach by tying it up with penalties; these curious minds seek environments that offer better intellectual spaces and (which are the least penal and far more intellectually stimulating- read Brain Drain!)

Well, so whats the point here- well simple as always- The intrinsic fabric of our mind holds Curiosity- don’t believe me – fine- try interacting with those 2-5 year old’s and then let’s have a chat! The essence of human mind and the bio-chemical gift that it is also underlines this basic hardwired trait to be always seeking, searching and finding answers and developing our abilities of reliability through cognition and experimentation to make our today and tomorrow safer for us and the following generations! Like every other attribute- too much or too little of it surely can spell a disasterexample by setting off false levels and layers of urgency or complacency- which we often see in our workplaces! (because as long as we are not ending up killing anyone – everything seems fine in the corporate world- no matter what new levels of dumbness we achieve). Most of the times these errors are not fatal , but complacency when coupled with a fatigued mind- has almost always led to disasters and the only attribute that could have helped avoid them would have been a sustaining and an inquiring mind- which always asks- “Why is this – what I see- the way it is- is there a better way- for this to exist or work or provide that next level of benefit which is out of reach as yet!”

Before I leave you at the mercy of your curious mind- Always remember- All greatness that Humankind has ever achieved has been a function of an underlying curious mind and a curious-mind led thought leadership! As species it is our curious minds that help us navigate situations which are out of any written script whether we are dealing with animal instincts hidden among humans around us or we encounter real animals at their wildest best- when we are on our next hike!

I leave you here, grab your drink and let your curious mind wander a bit- a good question- well- try and figure out – “Who are you”! Ciao for now!

Hidden in plain sight!

Hello people! Hope you are having a great time trying to make sense of the world as you rush into your week ahead! Depending on where you are on the planet, you are either completely consumed by the outbreak of the Coronovirus, some kind of political upheaval, facing a financial crisis or dealing with a flash flood or an environmental challenge! and If none of these things have impacted you; then you are probably thanking your stars and are wondering what is in store for you! “What is hidden in plain sight” that is heading for you! This crisp piece is a sneak peak into how “We miss-what We see”!

As we go about rushing through our daily lives, what we end up doing inadvertently is missing the bigger picture and the contextual settings of what we see, furthermore add to this fleeting inference the extrapolation that your brain would do (on it’s own- tricking you in a way- based on your past experiences and stored reference points) which will do nothing more then taking you away far away from what the reality is and set you up in a completely manufactured setting which tends to create a narrative that confirms with your liking and comfort! This is the demon that we deal with, the good part- this demon is created by us- the bad part- we hardly know how to control it and when to unleash it!

Having spent close to two decades in areas of Sales, Marketing and HR, lot of my time has gone into dealing with people- yes- “dealing” with them in the every essence of the word! Surely enough- I may not have been that “Best Sales”, or “Best HR” or adhered to any of the society led conformity standards, but (what is important) what I learnt through my experiences being with fellow humans- has been that each one of them- has a story which in-turn has a fascinating contextual setting- which none of us can ever imagine-you would have heard that line, “Facts being stranger then Fiction” and boy, when you get to listen to people how they have moved around and through these contextual settings and the kind of extraordinary things that they would have done to survive and overcome situations- it’s a different universe unto itself!

Consider this setting; a sales person who was performing quarter on quarter suddenly seems adrift- seems to have lost the sheen completely and the magic seems to have worn off and with no time to spare(not to blame the organisation here) pretty soon by the end of the ongoing quarter- this person gets ejected from the system altogether! Here’s one such case about one such individual- what had transpired then was rather interesting- so this person- was going steady- in no time- incentives began pouring in and with that started the problem! Being young- lesser responsibilities and an approach that simply refused to prepare for a worst case scenario-the excess cash-at-hand soon became a curse- slowly indulgence turned into full blown addiction and in no time- addiction led to inattention at work- which translated into missing targets and eventually getting ejected! This is what appeared to be – but well- as I have been saying- this is what was seen but what actually happened was this- In plain sight what was hidden- The fact that the addiction had developed on the job while working! The person’s team leads then used to fun at the expense of this person (instead of censuring and discouraging this kind of contra behaviour which violated almost everything- from policy to genuine human value of care!) this was one thing that further reinforced the notion of being addicted and being high at work was fine! and when the fun was over and when the number game began to get hit- no time was wasted by the same team leads (who used to have parties around this person’s addiction) in preparing a case against him for being addicted on the job, missing business objectives and showed the policy clause number 1,2,3 and there went his future with his ejection!

So what had happened here? Well things were hidden in plain sight- Even the HR teams possibly failed to see what they should have ideally picked up (the root cause analysis) and instead believed to buy the story that was sold by the business team leads! Now, why did HR do that- well simple- No organisation, in today’s age has the time, money or resource strength to value individual’s as “Individuals” and the second problem of assuming “anyone can do anyone’s work” (which at times works and most of the times does not!) holds ground. What happened next- well with this person gone – sure enough some good clients left and when the rut continued eventually the team lead had also to go!- A complete collapse of a team in a span of 8 months! Coming to think of it all this shit happened for what?- “Extracting fun at a cost of an individual when it was not warranted and when it could have been managed and at it’s best effort stopped!

Another story- An organisation had hired a supposedly smart person for a client facing role. At the beginning everything seemed fine, and in about two months (as client work began and things started to build up)- this person started working from one mistake unto the next- sure enough competency issues were flagged off (which the HR already had flagged off during hiring- but went ahead because the business said, they will manage it!). This all seemed normal until this point, but this where the fun began (at times literally spooking the people around!). This person started a tell-tale predictable absenteeism which was always accompanied by complete communication black out and radio silence! Subsequently every time that this person rejoined duty- it was an all OK and normal one week then again the same story- shocking still were the reasons that this person started to come up with! (when confronted and asked about complete communication black outs and radio silence while being absent!). the reasons ranged from serial stalking to house breaks to SOS from family to threats for ransom- you name it and everything was on the table! Well, I don’t want to make it more dramatic right now! Eventually things were called off and this person decided to move out of the organisation (for everyone’s happiness!) A detailed calm and probing discussion (on the way out-read exit interview) finally gave away a major clue! This person was having an underlying psychological problem- which translated into getting into hallucinations and escapism every time stress or pressure was increased (read normal work pressure) and this was an ailment for which this person had already undergone a comprehensive therapy few years back and this new place had just compounded and brought that back!

Guess what, it is not only Individuals, but also companies and organisations that start collapsing when we fail to read what is hidden in plain sight– as I write this article a successful private bank in India has triggered off a major stock market crash- the bank just collapsed on account of giving bad loans for last few years (bad loans given to supposedly successful business tycoons and their businesses!) well this is an altogether different subject(though similar) and can by itself be a subject for another article!

Well, to end it here, I leave you with thoughts to reflect inwards and see for yourself what is that you are missing in your plain sight – based on what is around you and in front of you- this very moment! For always remember- What we miss in plain sight- comes back to haunt us – now or later- but surely it does- it may be a blunder as simple as a penny or may be measured in terms of millions of dollars- but our oversight eventually ends up costing us and we having to pay the price!– Whether you end up working extra (because your colleague got fired or your investments get messed up- because that finance company holding your savings just went bust!). The point to remember here is- Always seek What seems to be hidden in Plain sight and keep unwanted-uncomfortable surprises at bay!

Ciao form now, have an attentive week ahead, will be back with another piece soon!

Minding your mind!

We all live in times where distractions, interruptions and chaos play around us all the time and it is in these daunting spaces we are supposed to carry out our daily lives- well when it’s you private time, you can still choose what to do and where to be and how much shit of the world you ate wanting to accommodate; but the irony of life as it happens to be is that a lot of this unsolicited shit and clutter hits us when we are majorly trying to navigate through our professional spaces- irrespective whether you are a corporate chained performer or a self-driven (motivated or unmotivated) survivor, this is a reality that we all face- day in and day out! This piece of trying to make some sense of the nonsense around us!

What does your normal day look like? hectic, fast paced, slow, relaxing, chaotic, in-control…well you can go on with tons of adjectives to define how you feel, how your energy levels are and what your rhythm for the day is or will be- all in all it boils down to this- “Feeling – Thinking” axis within your brain and that’s where all the glory and misery of the world resides!

The human brain, by far the most complex piece of bio-engineering with a cocktail of chemicals that are all interlinked smartly just to ensure one thing- That you survive and don’t end up killing yourself doing stupid things! Our evolution has been gradual and so have our organs evolved to deal with ever increasing incremental complexities every few thousand odd years!. The magic word here is “incremental“. Consider a case in point, if you had a magic switch and took your tales iPhone and visited your ancestor say 4000 years ago or even say- 300 years ago- what do you think would happen?- well of course “nothing” because there would be no available reference cognition of what that weird thing is and what should be done with it! As you decide to return back to our present time, your old ancestor hands you a piece of bone which has rough edges and has a fine needle tip – so what do you make of it? Is it a needle or a knife? or is it an old chopstick? Well this is where your mind will be blanked out- because no matter how hard you try to understand- since you have not used the object- you too do not have a ready reference to utility and can just go on doing some second guessing unless your ancestor demonstrates! So what’s the point here? Well, very simple- Your brain will perform optimally only when it has clarity of context- and this clarity of context in whatever we choose to do is the essence of being mindful and learning how to deal with and reduce unwanted clutter that keeps on distracting you every now or then for good!

It is important to note that worthy distractions are not all that bad- your brain is a hardwired sensory organ that has one goal to keep you safe and kicking- sensing distractions by its natural way- the brain helps you avoid accidents and saves you from a lot of shit!- Each one of us has that memory when we slammed the brakes to save that idiot who just came in between! (and more often then not we are too surprised with our own speed to react to the emergency!). It is the stuff made up on unworthy and non-urgent distractions that leads to the fatigue and unwanted blurring of our abilities and these are more often to do with the settings of our workplace and our approach to that work and an intriguing interplay wherein others also contribute- either helping or harming us even more with each interaction!

The times of distraction that we live in about- that email- that whatsapp ping, that sms, that unwarranted call, all of these take away valuable seconds and play a focus dodge ball with your mind- result – you end up tiring it up more quickly and rapidly- as a result your brain starts to play its tricks- first it will ensure you slow down- make you crave for food (read sweets or carbs) make you eat more then what you should (fool you into this), once you have hogged- digestion takes precedence over thinking and your brain is more focused internally and your razor sharp focus is blunted rapidly- until a point either you goof up big time or are smart to pull up that coffee cup and dowse your brain tricks with a quick shot of caffeine right to where it hurts! This is pay-back time to trick your brain and trying to tell it- “Shut up dude- have this caffeine and let’s get the job done!”

People do not realise how damaging distractions can be and the kind of havoc they can create- consider few examples- crossing the road, driving while dabbling with you cell phone- result- fatal and dangerous, getting distracted by a call as you type a mail and send it without a re-check to your client! Just as you are typing away something really important- that odd ping from a social handle and there goes your focus for a long holiday- So how do we manage this? is this manageable in the first place?

Well the simple answer is yes and no! Yes, indeed this menace can be managed and the challenge well, you need to make a directed effort towards it! If you were to observe people who have excelled at sports of some type of artistic expression (dancing, painting, theater) , one common aspect that becomes really evident is their ability to drift between sessions of razor sharp focus and relaxing away or dreaming on! The trick is to strike a balance and ensure that the brain is utilized and relaxed in an optimum cycle to ensure that fatigue doesn’t set in, nor is the focus compromised! We need to adopt a similar stance while dealing with distractions at work- whether they are those pesky emails, calls, or unwarranted meetings- we need to strike a razor sharp focus when we have the “me time” at work and ensure that we are relaxed yet attentive as we create work through collaborations- This apparently is one reason that new age organisations always talk about relaxed rule books and casual settings (but do remember that never implies they are not serious about their numbers or profits) all they are saying is “our thinking gets rewarded by the setting- it tricks the brain into relaxation thereby ensuring the focus can be sustained and productivity enhanced even more!”

So, here you go, learn to balance your mind like a ballerina, being swift and still in the same stance! Learn to know when to pick that call, check that phone or that email and know when to shut down your gadgets and allow yourself to escape into the fictional wilderness created by your amazing brain!

I leave you here, with possibly a cup of your favorite drink, to plan how you want to create focus and space at the same time so that you can Mind your mind and a minded mind helps you mind the world eventually! Bye for now!