I feel like the dog in ..”every dog has his day”

Its been a while I paid visit to my blog, let alone writing one !
Past 8 months has been excruciating not just mentally (which I am mostly concerned about), but also physically and spiritually too. Yes I believe in the gratification of 3 dimensions: mental, physical and spiritual.

Physical: Struck with flu. Never realized how painful it was. Every joint in my body ached, couldn’t stand sometimes, felt as if my joint would snap and I will crumble to pieces. PhysicalPain
High fever on and off, couldn’t sleep properly at night and yada yada. Lasted for about 3 weeks and I was drained off energy, enthusiasm in life. Affected my grades as working and going to school without any support of family (physically) is not at all as easy as I imagined before moving to US and starting program at School. Anyways, it’s in hindsight, so things are much better now.

Mental: Quit the company I was working for, then had to quickly find another job. The mental debilitation is because of the permutations and combinations which race through this f’g mind, though fact remains that only one of the ‘n’ possibilities is going to happen.
MentalPain Though internally it is known that not much can be done by just thinking, still this mind gets out of control and wanders causing angst. Program was coming to an end and it is very difficult NOT to get caught in the race for bagging a good job. Though I started the program with an intention to get into a start-up or work in a non-corporate environment, things changed and it changed so much, that I found myself in the same rat-race for getting a job. I aint sneering about the act of finding a corporate job as something less than other acts, however I laugh at myself that I was so arrogant at the beginning of the program and felt as if things were in my control. Alas ! Once again I have been humbled and brought down to my knees. And I am not regretting for this, I feel inner peace whenever I am humbled and isn’t inner peace what we all want at the end of day 🙂

Spiritual: This thirst is something I have to consciously focus on to realize what am I really missing in life and what is it that gives me peace apart from the experiences I get in this world/earth/people. Just having that inquisitiveness itself for me is exploring the spirituality dimension. It is not about ethics neither judging what is to be done, though that can be a total different subject. For me spirituality is feeling that what I feel is not just about body or mind, but there is something more transcendent beyond this world. Might sound gibberish to you, however let me tell you — The best things most of the time cannot be articulated, expressed or conveyed. It is just FELT ! I would like to give the analogy of death. Only a person who has crossed the death line can know what it is . Nobody who crosses it can come back and say how it felt. That’s exactly how I believe the best experiences are. One can experience it, but cannot convey/articulate it.
Spiritual_healing2

Back to this earthly world — I did race too and finally got placed with one of the best corporate companies. A part of me feels victorious that I did race ahead of others, however another part of me says — well, is this something new you have done ? No ! its the same corporate job which you have done for years and the boredom brought you to school..isn’t it? Well that’s the negative side of my thinking. The positive side of my thinking is — I learnt so much at School that I have a totally different perspective of corporate environment and I feel more confident in terms of what to expect at job. In short I think I have a better handle on what to zoom-in (focus) and what to zoom-out(big picture) 🙂 So a sense of strange confidence and enthusiasm to move forward. And yes I am moving to another place, which itself is exciting.
Oh and herez the best- My family is visiting me for the graduation walk and nothing else in the world is more exciting to show-off before my family that I did achieve what many back in my place thought was a wild-goose chase in some aspects ! Again let me remind you once again, I am proud but not arrogant. By that I mean, if you as a reader felt “That’s not a big achievement, every one in the world does that”, well all I got to say to you is “Did you do it?” . If not, you really have to do it to feel what I say. If YES, I am sure you will not think in those lines.

Oh well, all in all ! I certainly do feel that it’s my day (until it is NOT). Cheers !

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Posted in FeelStrongAboutIt, Personal | 1 Comment

The Harsh truth about “innovating”

Times are getting tougher for the management. Growth in core markets is declining. Customers are demanding more. Competition is intensifying. Margins are shrinking. To restore high performance, the management announces a major effort to stimulate innovation and organic growth. After a few months of generating ideas, researching ideas, refining ideas, analysing ideas, reviewing ideas, contemplating ideas, comparing ideas, testing ideas, and turning ideas into business plans, the management makes a commitment to the single best option, the “Great idea”

Whats next? The road gets considerably steeper. First of all, who will move the idea forwards? Everyone in the company already has as full-time job. In fact, the company’s best leaders have the most critical jobs sustaining excellence in the existing business. Nonetheless, the management recognizes just how important the initiative is and taps a fast-rising, ambitious, up-and-comer. The management tells the leader that he has a great deal of latitudue. Just do what is necessary, the management says. Break some eggs if you have to.

The young leader is excited about the opportunity. He views it as a powerful change to differentiate himself from his peers and advance his career. Furthermore, he is thrilled by the open-ended charter. It is all so empowering! Just make it happen! It seems like a dream job.
It is not. The aspiring leader has been set up to fail. He just doesn’t recognize it yet. The first few months go well, but reality soon sets in . It is not easy for one person to create change in a large corporation. After one year, the leader feels as though he is trying to make innovation happen inside an organization that is , in very way, determined to fight his every move. The general manager of the company’s larget product line is anxious about the possibility that the innovation will cannibablize him, Marketing is uncooperative, worried about possible damage to the company’s brand if the new product fails. Manufacturing is upset that it has to schedule small, inefficient runs for the new product.Salespeople are reluctant to push a product without a track record. Human resources is unwilling to waive compensation rules to hire a few experts that the project badly needs. Finance is concerned about margin dilution. Information technology claims that the project is too small to warrant exceptions to standard systems and processes.

Undaunted, our hero summons all the energy, courage and moxie he can. He pushes, and then he pushes harder, But the path doesn’t get any easier. In frustration, he goes a step further, fashioning himself a rebel and a subversive. He fearlessly, or maybe even recklessly, flaunts authority. He tells himself daily that it is always easier to ask forgiveness that it is to ask permission. Break all of the rules becomes his mantra.
In the end, however, it is our leader who is broken, and the innovation lost. Sadly, it is only in fantasies and fairy tales that heroic rebels overcome long odds to achieve glory. In the real world, they fail , and their company fails with them.

Our hero is not at fault. The company’s simplistic model for innovation it to blame. It is a model that puts the full burden of execution on an individual leader.

Were you in this situation or a similar situation ?

I totally encourage you to read the book “The other Side of innovation” by Vijay Govindrajan. The above content is from his book.

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Stand up for yourself and have the guts to deliver unpopular messages

“A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” So said Mahatma Gandhi, and we all know how his conviction played out on the world stage. But what is less well known is how this same discipline played out privately with his own grandson, Arun Gandhi.

[As read about Arun, not sure where I read this though] Arun grew up in South Africa. When he was a young boy, he was beaten up twice: once for being too white and once for being too black. Still angry, Arun was sent to spend time with his grandfather. In an interview with Arun, he told me that his grandfather was in demand from many important people, yet he still prioritized his grandson, spending two hours a day for 18 months just listening to Arun. It proved to be a turning point in Arun’s life.

[Heard from one of my friends]I had the opportunity to apply Gandhi’s example of prioritization to my own life, hours before one of my daughters was born. I felt pressure to go to a client meeting the next day. But on this occasion, I knew what to do. It was clearly a time to be there for my wife and child. So, when asked to attend the meeting, I said with all the conviction I could muster…

“Yes.”

To my shame, while my wife lay in the hospital with my hours-old baby, I went to the meeting. Afterward, my colleague said, “The client will respect you for making the decision to be here.” But the look on the clients’ faces mirrored how I felt. What was I doing there?! I had not lived true to Gandhi’s saying. I had said “yes” to please.

As it turned out, exactly nothing came of the client meeting. And even if the client had respected my choice, and key business opportunities had resulted, I would still have struck a fool’s bargain. My wife supported me and trusted me to make the right choice under the circumstances, and I had opted to deprioritize her and my child.

Why did I do it? I have two confessions:

First, I allowed social awkwardness to trump making the right decision. I wasn’t forced to attend the meeting. Instead, I was so anxious to please that even awkward silent pauses on the phone were too much for me. In order to stop the social pain, I said “yes” when I knew the answer should be “no.”

Second, I believed that “I had to make this work.” Logically, I knew I had a choice, but emotionally, I felt that I had no choice. That one corrupted assumption psychologically removed many of the actual choices available to me.
[End of my friends words]

What can you do to avoid the mistake of saying “yes” when you know the answer should be “no”? I believe some of the following might help to guide

Try to separate the decision from the relationship. Sometimes these seem so interconnected, we forget there are two different questions we need to answer. By deliberately dividing these questions, we can make a more conscious choice. Answer the question, “What is the right decision?” and then “How can I communicate this as kindly as possible?”

Watch your language. Every time we say, “I have to take this call” or “I have to send this piece of work off” or “I have to go to this client meeting,” we are assuming that previous commitments are nonnegotiable. Every time you use the phrase “I have to” over the next week, stop and replace it with “I choose to.” It can feel a little odd at first — and in some cases it can even be gut-wrenching (if we are choosing the wrong priority). But ultimately, using this language reminds us that we are making choices, which enables us to make a different choice.

Saying “yes” when we should be saying “no” can seem like a small thing in the moment. But over time, such compromises can create a life of regrets. Indeed, an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last 12 weeks of their lives, recorded the most often-discussed regrets. At the top of the list: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” Next on the list: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” and “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” (Read the Top 5 Regrets here).

We may not develop Gandhian levels of courage immediately, but surely we can do better than having to look back on our lives and regret that we lived by someone else’s priorities.

This also reminds me of some spiritual organizations which develop the thinking of “acceptance” of things the way they are. Death is inevitable and most of us in the society see it as a taboo or something we shouldn’t be speaking of much often. However, we all know that it is waiting there for all of us. I believe that if one can happily pass the moment of death like it is another event in this “journey”, then one would not be scared and always not make choices and decisions in life as if everything is permanent. Sure, it doesn’t mean not to enjoy the little things in life. The essence is here is to do what one generally doesn’t do and constantly try to manage oneself “internally”

Posted in FeelStrongAboutIt | 1 Comment

Going the extra mile….exceed expectations !!

I am writing this when I encountered a situation today at the library. It sparked my thoughts about why some people are considered better performers than others in a setting (be it office, class etc).
Is it
1) Charisma
2) History of performance (people already assume they are performers)
3) They are just born that way
4) Its that famous sentence we often hear from experts “Right time, right place, right moment and what not right” (That right btw is again not predictable because that “right” is different for different people and it “depends”)
……..

Coming back to the point, if you ever managed a team of people, you know that there are some better performers than others. What are those attributes which make them better? I guess some of them are obviously inherent in the person, but are there any attributes which can be cultivated to make them better from the current state they are in ? This is what I wanted to discuss in this post. There are hundreds of them, but the event which kindled my thought today is probably linked to few other situations which I could relate in the past.
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So, I walk into the library today and as usual look for WSJ (Wall Street Journal), which is my daily cup of tea. But what do I see? The rack doesn’t have today’s edition. I walk up to the person who is the in-charge for the library today (the entire staff is not present since its Saturday). So I ask “Hey, do you have any idea about today’s WSJ missing in the rack? “. I look up and I see a BLANK FACE ! We exchange silent moments for a few seconds and I thought maybe I did not explain well. So let me try another way “So, the WSJ present in the rack is that of yesterday, would you be able to get me today’s edition please?”.
Here is what I hear “Well, I generally don’t deal with newspapers in the library. The person who deals with it is not present today, so I don’t know” — which is a fair statement. No qualms there ! Since I visit library quite often, and in the few seconds I stand at the library reception desk, I have seen umpteen times where the inventory for the newspapers are stacked and replaced daily. Its right there, behind in one of the shelves, where new editions come in daily. Then they are taken from there and put in the news rack just a few feet away, where students can then go and pick the paper up.
So, I say to this person “Do you see the inventory there(right behind you). That is where newspapers come in daily. Would you be able to check there if we have today’s paper please”. The answer I get “Well, I don’t deal with newspapers here at library. So I have absolutely no idea about that”. Well I walked away from there because I guess today’s dose of WSJ is not in my destiny 🙂 haha

While I walked from there to other sections in the library, it bothered me that the paper was right behind this person. All she had to do was have an open mind to “listen” to me for that few seconds and help me there. She was like this monotonous boring employee, who just doesn’t want to take that “extra mile” to help the customer (I am the customer in this case). All she knew was the checklist she got when she joined the library and she just sticks to the works like issuing/collecting books, that’s it ! I am not complaining about her work. She is probably doing the best in whatever work is assigned to her. But seriously tell me, the experience to a customer in a business is not whether every employee in the company is just doing their job as assigned to them. The experience to customer is whether his/her need is met by the service offered. The employee should think out of box to take that little “extra” mile unless that mile is so out-of-job responsibility.

How many of us really like the store where employees are more friendly to us, listen to our requirements and see if they can tweak their processes to make the customer happy. Again the focus of this post is not about massive process changes like changing the assembly line in a manufacturing company or an IT support engineer in a bank trying to come up with financial forecast of customer’s portfolio.
The focus is purely that “little” things which can make difference and give that “wow” experience.

There is no right or wrong answer here. Because one extreme is trying to do everything and anything as part of job and the other extreme is “ok let me check if this is my job responsibility in the check list I have been given when I joined the job”. We are not speaking about extreme ends, as we know that they are not efficient in any way. We are speaking about that little “jiggle” of judgement call on one’s part.

Couldn’t the librarian just walk up to the inventory of newspapers and pick the paper and give it to me? OK, I know what you must be thinking now. Well, she din’t want to get into any trouble by stepping on someone’s toes. So I confirmed it the next day from the head librarian that she could actually have given me the paper.

This is one situation which made me think that as part of job duties, employee’s definitely do what they have been given. But everything cannot be written in stone and given to an employee like a lollipop. All the more evident in this competitive world. A little common sense can sometimes really help the employee get a lot of recognition and benefits in longer term.

Another example: A friend of mine in UK actually narrated this to me. So students work part-time jobs in retail stores. They generally perform various roles like doing billing, mopping the floor, rfid tag the items, replace inventory on the shelves etc. So one time, in the inventory room, the bulb got short-circuited when one of this students was supposed to pick inventory from the inventory room and fill it on the shelves. This was to be done immediately as customers were walking in and they were actually waiting for the chocolates on the shelves. The student (who was the in-charge) was just saying to the customers that we have a problem in the inventory room and so we are not able to get the chocolates right now. The store manager comes after like 2 hours and he asks this person : You should have replaced the bulb and you the ladder was right there and there were new bulbs as well. So this student says “Well, that is not my job ! My job is only to replace the shelves when it is out of stock. I am not an electrical engineer !”. My friend who was right there walked up, picked the ladder, and replaced the bulb. There was no talk after that. A week later, my friend was promoted and his pay got doubled.

There are hundreds of more examples like this, but I don’t want to bore you. I guess the point and the message is [hopefully] sent across. One needs to be “open” to take that little extra mile if one wants to stay competitive. This doesn’t require any huge training skills or rocket science intelligence.

PS: I know some of us might think that the student doesn’t really know how to replace the bulb. That is NOT the point being conveyed here. Btw the student was actually pursuing his degree in electrical engineering. It was his attitude towards the job.

Posted in FeelStrongAboutIt | 11 Comments

The joy of feeling “lifeless” !!

Ever wondered how it feels without this life ? What does it feel beyond the timeline of death. This thought might have crossed every mind at least once, but how many of us think deeper and would “really” want to get a glimpse of it. Remember those moments in life when you think nothing but “scrap” 😛 Yes sometimes your mind soars like an aimless spaceship, which lost it contact with the mothership….wait wait…that is too much glorifying of your mind….Lets say that your mind goes more like a “headless chicken” not knowing which direction to go. My mind goes like that umpteen times. A few situations when my mind goes awry are
– Listening seriously to a finance course, am in the middle of synthesizing a complex case discussion, logically worked my way through complex debit/credits — Lo ! what am I doing here ? What is positive , what is negative, what is debit again?. Can somebody explain to me what is going on here ? Feeling like an alzheimer’s patient all of a sudden.
– You have traveled like ten different places in 2 weeks almost planning every other day for the next trip, before you even settled and gathered yourself in the current trip. You just want to get done with it and reach home, crash on your bed, have the “tea” you make for yourself and just have your own things by your side. But alas, you are somewhere else and you feel so control-less over everything in life
– If you seriously consider your career, there is always something which you wanted to do, but again you are not sure if you lose your current comfort when you go venture out. You get influenced by so many people, each giving their own perspective, but at the end, you feel all of them are correct and it “depends”
Before I spit out more scrap, herez the point. I just want to feel “lifeless”. What does it feel being without life, but I don’t want to die right now 😛

Ladies and Gentelmen, here is my bet on getting that feeling, yes one needn’t really die, but have that glimpse of “lifeless”ness. JUMP FROM THE SKY ! SKY DIVE ! SKY JUMP ! JUMP JUMP JUMP JUMP……:)

Trust me, that instantaneous moment when you are looking down to the earth from 14000ft and your stomach starts rumbling inside. You have that weird feeling and you mind just stops working and before you even make a decision to jump or not, your tandem jumper just pushes you outside. That moment , omg, you feel like you are dying, your hormones squirt crazily. If you are the person who likes that adrenaline rush, yes we definitely strike a chord there. The free fall where you know there is no land to touch and walk and the experience you get [btw this experience is the best first time] cannot match the joy you have over anything else but “lifeless”. That sense of feeling is paranormal, it is not happyness, it is not sorrow, it is not totally fear, it is not enjoyment. It is just “lifeless”.

I am pretty sure there are many more adventure sports which give you that feeling, that near death experience [the feeling of being liberated]. So next on my list are bungee jump, base jump. Seems like NZ is the best place to get these things done. I am definitely going to add these to my bucket list. We don’t know what is there beyond this life, cuz nobody who has gone beyond came back and narrated their experience. We can just make some assumptions, but we all know…NOBODY really knows whats behind that line and each and everyone has to cross that line at one time. Are you ready to get a glimpse ?

Posted in Entertainment, Subtle, Trivia | 2 Comments

The Exam lethargy !

We all know how it feels when the exams are imminent.

A month before: Yes, exams are a month away, but I aint going to take this easy. I will stay on top of things. I will organize the books and keep myself updated with what is in my bag already and will closely follow with the course lectures coming up in the next month. I come home after work and then my body yearns for a hot tea ! Yeah thats fine 15 min of preparing and having tea and then my books. Yep, the tea is boiling….ummmm…good smell(In the background clocks ticking). Wow awesome tea, lets sit for a few minutes in the patio, have the tea, get pumped up and then books.

Sit on the patio, look at nature, look at people walking and finally the last drop of tea drop on the tongue. Ok got up now, head back straight to the laptop. Wait, lets see if I have any mails. Office mail and there you go. I hate such mails when it says critical sent with “high importance” and I have to act on it. I start to dig a little deeper, slowly my interest dwindles and then something pops up in my lovely brain. Lets watch South park latest episode. Its just 20 min and then you can have a good mood to work on this office issue and then books. All set. South park starts, giggles laughter ROTFLMAO ! Just another episode please. 2 hrs passed. Tummy rumbling now. Oh yeah, its time to get some food. As soon as food goes in, I am going to sit on my books and work late night. Another hour passed, had good food and then you know how it feels…….ZZZZZZZZ….Now wait, I need to work on this. How about I wake up early tomorrow morning, get some jog, mind gets active and then I might probably require lesser time to digest the course material. Yay! After all what is life without sleep. Hit the bed. AND that is how the day ends….LOL

2 weeks before: Ok, the course is going faster than I imagined. I somehow need to at least organize my materials let alone revising the content. Oops, got to travel this weekend. So need to book the flight tickets, reserve parking spots at airport, organize the trip in other ways and yeah need to press my clothes. Lets get this out of the way first. But wait, there are no groceries. IF there is no food, there is no energy to do all this. So off I go to groceries and you know these hyper mart. I can compare it to a hot chick inviting you to the bed 😛 You just want to spend time there and you don’t realize how much time passes. So I come home, its already 8pm. Since I got this wonderful food with me, let me hog on it first. Another 30 minutes pass, tummy is full. I definitely need to do something now. So look at my room, find all those scattered stacks of paper. I pull them all together at one place, now to organize them as per time line. Yeah baby ! I am very dedicated now. And there I go finally I have all the hand-outs of presentations organized. Ok, now let me get the text book and cases as well. But wait cases are in soft copies. Oh well, so now is not the time because cases take such a long time…aargh ! So I am kind of tired already and know what its already 11pm. I need to do something to get organized. Lets think about it tomorrow. Swear, will do it tomorrow.

3 days before: Holly Molly, days pass so quickly. I traveled, went to swimming, rock climbing and here I am in the dense forest lost my way and the lion looking straight in my eyes. Yes the exams lion. And the weird tummy rumbling, rolling eyes (as if this is a total surprise and dint see this coming), suddenly feeling as if I am violated. And all of a sudden everything else but the exam preparation seems so beautiful and worth pursuing. The couch is calling me with hands wide spread, the laundry which I haven’t done for days now looks better, cleaning my toilet is acceptable to me totally now, but just spare me for this exam ! But I take a step back and say to myself “You know what, this is just an exam, this too will pass away…haha”. Feel good for a second and then I start doing my office work, but deep down I know the “chain reaction” got triggered. I feel the heat inside me. Look at myself, haven’t shaved my beard for 3 days now. I wanted to get the feeling that I am actually doing something for the exam (just to avoid a little guilt). And then it is 2am when I am writing this blog. I am staying late just to get the feeling that I am struggling hard for the exams. But you and me both know that I will probably perform the “same” if I had beard or not, if I dint sleep now or not ….LOL.

Oh Exam Lethargy ! Why you NO GO !

Posted in Entertainment, Personal, Trivia | 1 Comment

Happyness is asymptotic…says so

Narayana Murthy, the chairman of Infosys visited Duke University today (Not exactly today, but I guess a week or two before, but I am posting this a little late).There was a lot of marketing for the event about 3 weeks before. If you are reading this and thinking “of course, it is NM, quite a big event, so marketing justified”. Well nothing wrong in that, because you might be knowing Narayana Murthy and his rise to being an evangelist in the Indian Software Outsourcing industry. On the other hand, if you are thinking “who is Narayan Murthy”, well then I guess you need to know the context of Indian Software industry.
Anyhow, there was a lot of marketing, flyers dropped off the skies like perfetti(not sure if this english word is correct though, will correct when I know . I mean to say the word which means $$$ falling from the skies, remember Richie Rich) and people bump into team rooms at School and increase awareness that NM is going to visit the campus and its a great event one shouldn’t miss. It was probably one of the most “in-person” marketing events at the School. Nothing to point at, but I believe that there is a sizable chunk of Indian patrons at the School and many of them were exulted for the event. One of the other reasons why many Indians were gung-ho about the event was because NM was also a very revered and well-respected person in the Indian diaspora/community/land. On the flip side, many other students did not quite get a hang of the “excitement” among groups. One reason being that there are umpteen number of organizations in the US that can match the revenue stream of Infosys. I guess what I am trying to say is the “Infosys” kind of happening is not something uncommon to the US of A. It has happened time and again in the US in the past, present. To be clear, we are just using the financial measures for comparison. If we are to use the work force, culture, core values etc, then we might have to evaluate Infosys with more attention to details. Come back to the point — So many students on the campus couldn’t really fathom the experience and excitement which was floating around in the air.
I, being one of the few [lucky/unlucky] souls, worked enough in Indian software industry to exactly relate to that experience, but at the same time, I worked enough in the US too, to feel that probably it was not such a big deal in reality. So one end of the spectrum was this bunch of super excited students and other end was this kind-of-confused set of students, I guess I was humping somewhere in between. I know, I know …humping also means something else, but that is NOT what I refer to here. Though, I did manage to distract you for a second.
So it was the day and NM showed up at the campus. Attendance was mandatory for our class. It was held in one of the biggest conference rooms at the School. We were let go from our classrooms a little earlier so that we can settle ourselves in the conference room. As we entered the conference room, it was probably one of the fewest times in my life that I saw the conference room already full with few seats left over here and there. I was impressed for a second that the turnout was great especially for the business school students given that they generally try NOT to attend anything, which they wouldn’t think a value add. In my mind, I thought maybe they got dragged into this because of the over zealous marketing and wanted to hop in to the bandwagon (which we all humans always do…Btw facebook is so popular because it cashes on this human psychology. Hit me up if you want to speak over this in detail).
Oh wait ! I see so many new faces here. So I say “Hi xyz”, what are you doing here? I bit my tongue, because that is NOT the question you ask a person at an event. But anyways, I realized then that this event got marketed all across the university and so, patrons from rest of the schools also jumped in.So the hall was full and I could hear the “buzz”, “blah blah”, “yada yada”. And then silence !! I think I have never seen sofa chairs and a tea table on the dais so far. This moment sure was something different! A relatively young executive starts off by introducing NM and his brief little biography and achievements so that the diverse audience knows who they were “gaping” at :).
I never saw such a big entourage for any distinguished person at the School so far. Well, NM is coming from second largest populous country in the world. Shouldn’t his entourage be proportionate to that?
NM starts off with a little introduction about himself, his career, family background and his journey from how he started Infosys with a tiny sum of money to where he was now. He now travels a lot and advises many companies and institutions with this rich experience. I am not going to elaborate on that. You can always read about Infosys or NM by searching for it on internet.
One of the interesting points he brings to the table was about his sacrifices that he had to endure in the larger interest of Infosys as a company and its employees in the early stages. So he gets a little philosophical and goes to say “Happiness is asymptotic!”. Wow ! that’s a wonderful analogy I haven’t heard so far. If you are wondering what is “asymptotic”, well you can search on internet and figure out yourself. Better way, let me explain. It comes from the math world. Graphs which “tend” to touch the x or y axis, but never actually touch/intersect are said to be asymptotic. The famous normal or otherwise called bell curve has its tails asymptotic. So NM says that happiness is something which one will never reach but we should always strive towards it in the hope that we would some day attain it (aka. touch the axes)

An Asymptotic Curve

My take on this: I guess I was taken aback for a while on this interpretation of happiness. I aint contesting what NM says. He might be totally right from his perspective and maybe someday I will realize the same. But for now, to me the definition is a little different. While I agree that happiness is asymptotic i.e. happiness is not an end in itself. It is a journey towards an end. So traveling the journey without worrying too much about the end will give you happiness. And that is exactly what life is. We have to journey through this time and time is obviously something which we cannot control. To make our experience better (and hence happier), we would have to assume that this journey is “happyness” and that will motivate us moving forward.
If we assume that we will never attain that “asymptotic happiness” which NM quoted, we have no motivation to live, neither to move forward in this time dimension. Either way, we are forced to move in this time dimension, but we should strive to make our experience better in this journey and that is what is happiness. Another way of looking at it is sometimes “Ignorance is bliss”. Being ignorant of that asymptotic happiness is probably good for many of us and the people who are associated with us ! I rest my case here…lol.
I cannot argue this with NM for the few hours he was at School, so I thought I will rather blog it and make my case. I wonder NM might be having a hearty laugh if ever he stumbles into this blog 🙂
Btw, I do not know NM to really judge him, but definitely from what he achieved (dealing with the Indian political system, changing the IT landscape of India and being role model to many), I think he deserves the applaud which he received while he was at School

PS: So I kind of overheard from one of the students about his opinion of the speaker. She goes to say “He is a person I would probably have lunch with, but don’t consider him of a high rank…blah blah”. I would just say to her “If you ever lived outside of your luxury world and dealt with the circumstances what NM has gone through, you would know whether you are eligible to sit with him for lunch anytime, you wouldn’t say that [Edited because I thought I was brash]”. Sorry, but yes you need to learn some humility lady !

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