Sunday, December 20, 2009

Moment of Truth – The path Finder

“Moment of truth” is the moments in our life where we are exposed to some raw facts which we have to accept and face it as a reality of life. In variably we find a huge gap between what we expect from life and what if offer! In those moments we buckle and give up, blaming someone else or circumstances. I wish to classify these moments into two categories – you cannot do anything at all for example death, and you can do something about it, the rest of them. It is all dependent upon how myopic you are about the resources available in this universe.

One of my friends recently narrated an incident when he wanted to re-learn how to make a tie knot (as he was not wearing it for very long time). He immediately sat in the internet and learned through a demo in the YouTube. This is an example of overcoming our resource myopia. Let us examine how we can find a path when we face moments of truth.

Human form is the highest evolved species in the rung of the creations bestowed with the most developed operating system by the nature – creativity & rationale. In the animal kingdom we don’t observe a significant difference between one another in terms of their capability which is a unique phenomenon in the human species. We don’t know the reason for this difference and may not be a good idea to investigate either; accepting it as one of those secrets of nature less understood by us.

In 50’s, psychologist were trying to define this unique human characteristics to measure, evaluate and differentiate the capabilities of human beings. The first one was IQ – Intelligent quotient developed as a measure to evaluate the ability to grasp and understand. The teacher remaining the same, each student understands the subject to different degree. Very few human beings such as Einstein and Stephen Hawking could understand the quantum physics and formulate equations to explain the mysteries of this universe. In the IQ scale they are said to be in the highest around 140. The average human being is around 100 which imply that the vast majority of us will have average level of IQ. Does that mean that all of us with average IQ are doomed?

People believed that if anyone has highest IQ will top the class and hence may succeed in their career. The data does not prove that top positions are occupied only by academic performers. If so what is that made these low IQ performers to succeed? This lead to the next type of human competency identification; EQ- Emotional Quotient which differentiates the human capabilities to handle emotions. If we cannot manage our emotions, it is very unlikely we can handle others emotions for which we are responsible when we start leading people. There could be a person with less IQ but may have high EQ and hence he may be capable of producing better results than the person with high IQ but less EQ.

In the later part of this century, life has become more complex and demanding due the information explosion and connectivity across the global village. This brought one more demand on human competency namely LQ – Learning Quotient, the continued interest to update your knowledge. We generally find the learning quotient is inversely proportional to age; as we grow old we tend to lose the curiosity and novelty we had as a child. We are caught up with psychological Inertia which is defined in a mathematical form:

Psychological Inertia = Knowledge x Experience x Bias

Higher the knowledge and experience, higher the resistance to change as we tend to think we know all that we need to know. The unknown Vedic seer has believed to have said “The more I know, I come to know, I don’t know!” This is the right state of humility believing “knowledge reveals ignorance”. The Bias is an irrational paradigm of believing something without any data. For example, “age takes away your hair and brings in wisdom”. It is very hard to keep your novelty and curiosity as you grow guarding yourself from the psychological inertia.

The next complex human competency needed for the 21st century is RQ – Relationship Quotient, the ability to build relationship which has become the most critical success factor to make progress in life. Many of us have been brought up in different culture, parental and social conditioning which have influenced our personality. These conditioning either aids or inhibits relationship building. For example, we have been warned about meeting and developing relationship with a stranger during our childhood which still lingers in our sub-conscious mind which retards our ability to build contacts. Your power is decided by your contacts.

Having seen IQ, EQ, LQ and RQ, we have the SQ – Spiritual Quotient as the highest in the rung of the personality development. Although SQ sounds little philosophical, it will only means a “principle and character cantered Life”. The principles are nothing but laws of nature which governs            this universe; for example the laws of karma – “what you sow, what you will reap”.  One should keep the principles such as Humility, Industry, Temperance etc as the core values driving their life instead of “money”, “family” etc which has fleeting outcome. If money is in the centre of my core value, I tend to take all my decisions to make money which may violate my time tested principles. That is why we find any violation of law of nature exposes to a down fall later.

What is the main Point?
How do we negotiate the moments of truth where we are exposed to ground realities of knowing the facts which are show stoppers? We stumble upon these facts and either chose to become defensive, blaming someone outside ourselves which is the easiest recipe for doing nothing. Every one of us has a “level of incompetency” which will expose our inadequacy. Let me narrate my experience:

 For some historical reasons, I chose to become a hard core techie and grew up in the corporate ladder till my early 40s. When I got struck in a functional discipline my seniors told me that I cannot lead an institution as I had no general management capability! It appeared to me that the world has come to an end at that time! What happened there after? I built an institution commencing my entrepreneur career at 49? I am happy to come out of a state “one who knows not that he knows not is a fool”. But for the blows, you never wake up from slumber. I augmented my skills and moved on for the better. This is a typical example of “moment of truth”. I could have chosen an adapted child behaviour blaming my seniors for not developing me or choose a less travelled path which has many things to offer. I chose the later.

We have born with certain level of IQ which may be beyond our ability to develop. But the pity is your marks in the school or college is used as the indicator of your IQ. Alas! If you don’t enjoy the subject and passionate about some other topic, you may not obviously score high marks! In my own case I was a mediocre student in my schooling and a topper in all my engineering education including M.Tech in IIT. Most of us end up in a professional education which is not as per our choice and hence may have misleading scores which are not the true indicators of your IQ. Einstein for example is a school dropout and later known as the most outstanding scientist the planet has witnessed.

The EQ is the decisive factor for you to become the most successful leader as well as balanced individual which is very important to keep you mentally and physically healthy. The EQ is not a gift of nature as IQ, which can be developed by constant endeavour. What is most important is, believing that your EQ can be improved. If that belief is there one can use the feedback and feed-forward approaches explained by great authors Marshall Goldsmith in his book “What brought you here, won’t get you there” and Daniel Goleman in his book “Emotional Intelligence”. The resources are plenty.The RQ – Relationship Quotient & SQ are the skill one can develop once you are aware of their merits.
In summary,
  • All of us have born with equal rights to achieve our goals in our life.
  • If you have poor academic score, it does not mean your IQ is low. You need not have to feel helpless. It may be you are destined to lead people with high IQs.
  • The limitations are the shackles we ourselves put upon ourselves.
  • The so called IQ is only an insignificant factor to decide your growth as always if you use your EQ, RQ & SQ you can always use everyone around you as a resource to progress. You can intelligently use others IQ for your advantage and that is what leadership is all about.
  • Producing extraordinary results with ordinary people is really leadership is all about. This needs EQ, RQ, LQ and SQ.
  • Watch carefully when an intimidating moment of truth is stunning against you – It is a great opportunity to explore within yourself. If you do, then you emerge as a great leader.
Jai Gurudev

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Passion for Impossible

Nature, for some reasons playing a hide and seek game either by concealing many of its secrets or by evolving in its own pace. The scientist believes, this universe came from nowhere with a big bang several billion years ago and ever since is changing continuously. The four broad forms of evolution belong to minerals, plants, animals and human beings. In the process of evolution, the single cell organism combined to become a multi-cell spices forming mammals that lead to a human being later.

We don’t find life in the minerals and hence don’t find any changes over a period of time; change is the “signature of life”. The next developed model is the plant where we find life and also intelligence; they know when to germinate, how to find sun light and make food. A seed kept on the table don’t become a plant but when you put it on the earth and pour water it germinates into a seedling; the mango seed becomes a mango tree and not papaya! This is a good enough proof for intelligence. Hence the essential difference between the mineral and the plant is the intelligence built in by the nature. We can say that the plant is the next generation of evolution over the minerals with higher intelligence. In other words, the evolution will bring in higher intelligent models over the previous ones.
If you look at the next evolved model namely animals, they are mobile where as their cousin sister “plant” is stationary. Obviously, the nature has to upgrade its operating system with an additional capability to take decisions while they are mobile! I have borrowed the jargon from computer science where an operating system is the software that sits in the computer providing an intelligence to understand our commands.

The nature bestows the animals with the higher capability which we call “Instincts”; the self-preservation, hunger, pro-creation and resting. With these operating systems, the animals manage their existence negotiating all circumstances. Strangely, they don’t get bored as human beings as they have no goal orientation; the past and the future! They function exactly as per the natures’ plan and live peacefully. May be that is the reason they are much healthier than us! They mostly live in the present where as we live in the past or in the future – regretting about the past or worrying about the future.
The next evolved model of nature is Human. The major distinction of animal’s operating system and human’s is the ability to think – the so called rationale and creativity. If the nature has not planned to evolve this model, this planet would have remained as it was several million years ago. We have no idea why these developments are happening and needless to know as well.
The human beings can be classified broadly into three categories – Scientists, Seekers and Ordinary people. The scientists wish to know what the object is made up of. The seeker wants to know who they are. The Ordinary people does not want to ask any questions!! He lives because he was brought to this planet without his consent. The scientists and seekers are the “reasons for change” and the ordinary people are the “victim of change”. The question I am trying to answer is “Who chooses their category?”; “it is us”. The quality that distinguishes a scientist from an Ordinary people or a seeker is their optimism and curiosity. Strangely, these qualities are inborn with us!
Scientists constantly try to un-ravel the mysteries of nature while a seeker looks inward to understand who we are and why we are here? In other words, a scientist is focusing on objects outside him while a spiritual seeker goes inward to explore. If I say “a scientist is an extrovert” and “a seeker is an introvert”, it may not be an exaggeration. Exploring on objects brought material prosperity while focusing inwardly brought the “science of being” what all scriptures call “Brahma sutra” – the knowledge of knowing oneself.
The people in the west explored the material world (the object) and brought the so called material prosperity which created many gadgets that improved our physical comforts. No doubt that the quality of life improves through comfort.  We need to realize that physical comfort alone cannot make you happy as the happiness is a state of a being and has no dependency on any object. The people in the east explored the inner world (the subject) and taught us how we can achieve peace within ourselves.
Every one of us have come to this planet with vast potential and scientists say that an average human being uses only 10 % of his potentials and rest of them are dormant. The common man is alive while the change agents live! In other words the very few people who brought major changes in this planet are the ones who were very optimistic in their outlook while the vast majority of us are perennially pessimistic.
These are paradigms (beliefs) such as “scarcity mentality” and “abundance mentality”. In scarcity mentality we always believe there is not enough for us; where as in abundance mentality we believe there is enough for everyone. If you look at nature, the animals have “abundance mentality”, and that is the reason they don’t aggrandize wealth. They are confident that they will get food when they need.
Vast majority of people believe that there is no cure for cancer while many scientists are still working in the laboratory to find a medicine. Edison believed to have conducted thousands of experiments before he found the electric bulb. While he was advised by his well wishers that he is pursuing a false goal, Edison is believed to have said that he had discovered 1500 ways in which the electric bulb could not deliver light and that is the valuable contributions to mankind even if he had not succeeded to invent light bulbs. This is the optimistic view of few people who have lived their life to change this planet for the better. Just imagine the world without light bulbs! It is frightening, but got granted today.

What is the main message?
I am one of those who have had a 3 decade long service career. As many of us have a desire to become an entrepreneur, I got this idea may be at the wrong time; When I was 50 during which time I had very limited fund to perform my daughter’s marriage and support my son to complete his engineering degree! The age I got this idea is the time common man gives up his steam and looks forward to retire. For a change I had the desire to build a world class consulting company which will change the poor image of consultants in this country. The optimism to visualize success was the only investment I had. I coined the phrase “passion for impossible” to motivate myself at that time which became the ethos of the company I founded.
In ten years Six Sigma Alchemy (P) Ltd has become a well known institution with 25 consultants working with many corporate in India and Asia Pacific. At last I found myself through this exploration process with optimism. SSA is poised for a Global presence now with the leadership of my off-springs. Passion for impossible has become the character of Six Sigma Alchemy now reverberating optimism at the DNA level of our people. 
In summary,
  •  You belong to the most evolved version of Nature – Human being with rationale and creativity. You have the power of creating anything if you believe
  •  If you choose, you can create a future which you dream about.
  • Be optimistic – as it produces better results than pessimistic attitude
  • Be the captain of your soul and take charge of your life.
  • There is no age to aim high; all achievers started their life after 50.
  • Cultivate the possibility thinking as a habit
  • Don't blame any one for your failure as you are the creator of your destiny
  • This World is for those who dare to explore the "Path less traveled" 
Jai Gurudev

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Making Choices - Chocolate or Vanilla

One of the difficulties we have all faced in life is making choices - the right choice at the right time. It is often said that there are two situations where we cannot make choices – choosing the family to take birth and choosing the boss. Looking at the childhood stage, all our choices have been made by our parents; where to study, what to eat and so on. At the age of thirteen suddenly we feel we have grown as an adult and for the first time we start saying no to our parents asserting to take choices of our own.

Many a times when someone else makes our choices, we can blame them for the outcome. There are simpler choices in life which has lesser consequence such as choice of food, and difficult ones which has serious consequences and irreversible (in India) such as whom to marry! As we grow older and take higher responsibilities, we have difficult situations to deal with. One of the qualities of a leader is taking decisions (making choices) at the right time.

At some point in time in the corporate ladder we are paid for taking right decisions as that is the only thing we will be left with in those positions as all others below will execute our orders. The captain in the ship, highly paid, always looks cool and a non-doer! He does everything without doing. He directs the ship without driving. Also, he is the last person to leave the ship while it is sinking and often drowns himself along with the ship; that is the symbol of commitment and leadership.

As we grow, at some point in time we are allowed to take decisions such as whom to choose as our partners and what professional course to study. Whenever parents prevail strongly in these decisions, often we end up choosing some line which is not our passion. I may sound very strong if I say parents choose our professional education which they have missed in their life and often they wish to re-live their life through their children. Alternatively, parents succumb to the crowd behaviour in choosing the career for their off-springs; computer science is the pinnacle of education some time back till the software engineering glamor faded.

I did the same mistake of forcing my son into electronic engineering which I always wished to do (I did mechanical engineering). My son cleverly switched back to mechanical engineering which was his passion (may be my indirect influence!). Parents wish to make their children as their photo copy or re-live their life through their children to make up for whatever they missed. The data will support my view as we see all actors, singers and music directors' children often follow their parents career.

What is the main point I wish to make?

When we were children someone asks us what you want to become? We said “a pilot”, “a doctor” and so on. Often when we reach our school final, we invariably ended up in some professional course or college which is far away from our childhood dreams; may be very negligible cases people would have got what they wanted. In India we have more demand than supply in everything and the people getting what they want is very difficult. In large majority of situations, we have younger generations facing disappointments. Either they give up or understand the realities of life and move ahead with a positive frame of mind.

I happened to counsel a young boy recently who had a dream to join only premium engineering colleges of his choice but could not do so due to his inadequate score in 12th  standard. He has resolved to re-write his 12th exam as many times as it is necessary till he gets into the college of his choice. I counselled him saying that there are life situations which are called “Moments of truth” and wise people make right choices without feeling defeated. We might have “lost a battle and not the war”. I narrated my own story (please bear with me for my autobiography). I am re-producing the words I spoke to him.

 As a young boy, I dreamt to study in St. Joseph College and college of engineering, Guindy which was one of the premium colleges on those days. As usual it was shattered due to my poor score in my school final which was lower than 60%. I was angry upon myself and the society at large! Thank God I didn’t become a militant!  The result was, I sitting in a bicycle shop which was run by one of my friends for one year as I took a break from my education as an angry young man.
It appeared to me at that time it was the end of the road! But it lead to re-inventing myself and beating all systems with an outstanding performance such as “second rank” in the university in Diploma engineering, first rank in my BE with 90% aggregate and “S Grade” (Supreme) in M.Tech at IIT and so on. Where is the boy who scored less than 60% in school final and S-grade in IIT later? No one knows who you are until you dig deep into your being. Problems faced by you act as the active ingredient in finding your true self. In the words of Shree.Ravi Shankar “Problem is the manure; it stinks but it helps you to grow”

In summary,
  • Making decision is an inevitable part of Life
  • Only Decision makers become leaders
  • Rely on yourself for making choices because you only know your passion well
  • Accept the “moment of truth” when life presents what is real.
  • Don’t become an “adapted child" - sitting in a dark room, sucking      your                       
          thumb and crying – Move on
  • No one knows “The path less travelled” is the one which will take you to great     heights
  • Explore the “Master” within you; only who dare to try new path have brought all their     
          ability to manifested form.
  • The secret of success lies in accepting what is in store and trying new avenues.
    Finally, you create your own platform and play as no one else is ready to create it for you.

Jai Guru Dev

Mind the Mind! Essence of Spirituality

We learned physics, chemistry etc without asking who is the prophet or author of these sciences. We accepted them as gospel as it was taugh...