Thursday, June 29, 2017

My superpower!

Through the various stages of growing, I have attributed different strengths to myself. Sometimes I thought I was intelligent and the other times I have described myself as determined. 'Compassionate' is a new addition that I am proud to have in my reserve. However, lately I feel the two things that have predominantly stayed with me in all my journeys are 'resilience' and 'grit'.

During bouts of self-bashing internal dialogues I have struggled with associating myself with these labels. I have been ashamed of setting high expectations for myself, the source of which has been internal as much as it was external. If I strip down my feelings to bare minimum, I see only resilience and grit remaining. I have put myself through very tough situations and taken high risks in spite of knowing it will only cause me discomfort in the going.

When the happy butterflies of getting my first paycheck and having my first alcoholic drink at parties faded away, I realized I have to radically shift the direction my life was going in. I didn't have the skills, contacts, knowledge of working in public sector. I just persisted. My 'sent items' in Gmail from 6 years ago will weave a story of a scared yet stubborn girl approaching every single person that she could lay her hands on and asking them for advice. There were rejections, embarrassments and pure stupidity in many of those interactions. But I was ready to swallow it all just so I get to make a career shift. I have read the shittiest 'self-help' books and hung out with the most boring and arrogant people just so I could learn a little more from them than what I already knew. Backing down was a scarier option than discomfort.

Once I got into doing what I really wanted to, I was scared as s**t. The most critical skills of working in public sector evaded me. My language, common sense and relationship building capabilities were sub-optimal. I wrote exams that I couldn't ace and dreamt of places I couldn't be at. Still I persisted. I took one day at a time. When I finally was at a place that would magically transform me into everything I ever wanted to be, I withdrew. I didn't make friends easily, my professional relationships were strained and there was nobody to take care of me when I fell sick. Still I persisted. I took the effort of staying back for that one extra chai, that one unplanned visit to the mall, that extra 500 bucks on food and drinks, and that one sleepless night conversation which is famed for building lifelong relationships. Slowly but steadily I met people, people who were beautiful and different. So different that I could learn a thousand things from them just blinking my eyes. So beautiful that their presence filled my life with endless love. I grew. One day at a time. I learnt to listen. I calmed down to talk. I flew to love.

Eventually I started flirting with the universe. Telling it ever so lightly in whispers about the deep desires I held in my heart- desires for myself and for others. And as is always the case with universe, it started responding but not slowly and timidly like me but exponentially. Whatever I sent to the universe came back in multiple folds into my life. If I made sure I practiced a few acts of compassion, universe blessed me with the company of numerous big-hearted people. If I showed an ounce of courage in doing a difficult task, universe provided me ladders of support in the form of mentors who allowed me to shine while standing aside as onlookers. It hinted me that it was time that I invested some of my energy in gaining wisdom. Wisdom that seems light to roll on our tongues but morphs into a band of great resistance when applied to action.

I screwed up big projects. Unmet important deadlines. Burnt bridges on important islands. Let down prominent relationships. But I didn't give up. I am everything that I wanted to be and a bit more today.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What sets apart good ideas?

In one of our strategy classes we happened to discuss this paper by McKinsey that talks about the revolutionary courses of action required to usher in an entire business makeover. Once you study the paper it all seems to be common sense, so much so that it isn't common anymore. The paper lists that the players in a business setting need to come up with unprecedented strategies to gain a strong foothold in their respective sectors and/or to wipe out competition. 

Everybody knows that 'thinking out of the box', 'being unique' and striving creatively do bring out windfall returns in any game. However, why do these articles and books that assert received wisdom stand out in the clutter? Discounting for the common factors such as good writing, critical examples to augment the claim and good language what really sets apart certain presentations of the good ideas? 

In my opinion it is the confidence one has in ideas. History has proved that excellence, wisdom and grandeur can prop up in the most unlikely of situations and people and that they are not limited to a select few. Why then only few privileged few in the society get to take away a big share of the pie? It is because they are willing to believe in themselves, their ideas and are ready to dedicate time and efforts on realizing their ideas. They are blessed with more or less the same capabilities as the next person but their differentiating factor lies in them taking the game ahead on their shoulders. 

This confidence doesn't only come with repeated practice of applying one's ideas but also through reinventing oneself in every trying situation. Complacency, monotony and self-doubt are the biggest foes of confidence. If you have an idea, work on it. Action pays more than mere intellectual rationalization.