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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Unwrapping your beliefs is important for your growth

If i ask you a question, "What is your belief about a person like Mahesh Bhatt ( whom you have not met)?' in a nice classroom setting you will answer this question in a very cool, rational, and calculated way. You will try to recollect many of the past stories you have heard about him, try to reason your thoughts, and then respond in a very deliberate manner.

But if i give you this interview of Mahesh Bhatt, which seems to be done at a very personal level, you will respond almost immediately and without any barriers. These are 'semi-dense' situations, situations in which you use lot of your head and less of your emotions. Fully dense situations are ideal to 'unwrap' your beliefs, because both emotions and mind equally strong.

But because we encounter very few 'dense' situations in our life, we must learn to use these semi-dense situations to know more about ourself. This helps us grow faster. For instance, your response to this interview of Mahesh Bhatt will tell you about 'YOUR' intrinsic beliefs about many aspects of your own life, instead of telling you about Mahesh Bhatt. If you use these situations intelligently, you will be able to grow mentally. Remember that your intra-personal ability is not only a big accelerator for growth, but also becomes a bottleneck for growth  if not developed adequately. 

Let us, for instance, use this opportunity of Mahesh Bhatt's interview. Read this interview from end to end, and write your response on a piece of paper. Write whatever comes to your mind. Be honest and frank with yourself. At least, try to answer these three questions after you read the interview: 1> Write your evaluation of your Mahesh Bhatt as a person? For instance, do you think he is genuinely good person or a fraud or ... 2> Do you think Mahesh Bhatt could be right in his way of doing his work? 3> Do you think Mahesh Bhatt is a good father or a good husband?

Here are some clues to understand your own beliefs from the above interview of Mahesh Bhatt (semi-dense situation):

1. You could be giving an overt emotional reaction: If you think Mahesh Bhatt is a 'liar' or a person who just hogs ' attention', or is a hypocrite, or his interview was 'fabricated' etc, then you are letting your 'beliefs' dominate your thoughts. Your emotion is crowding your thinking. Remember, we are not aware of any truth even after reading this. Our emotional reaction is not just based on what Mahesh Bhatt is 'saying', but on our accumulated belief about 'Entertainment industry professionals' that we have formed till now.

2. Your views could be dominanted by religious linkages : If your reaction is driven by his 'Muslim' mother, and other aspects of his 'Muslim' views, then your reaction is perhaps governed by your own 'anti-muslim' sentiments. It is ok to be pro-muslim or pro-hindu, but when it comes in the way of evaluating someone ( and that too only on the basis of heard interviews and newspaper comments), we should start worrying.

3. Your views of Entertainment business could be filtering your evaluation : Most of us work in professions where our personal values are not brought into foreground in our work-life; they remain in the background. For instance, our personal views of 'how movies should be done' are not expressed in our work, but they are highlighted when we talk and think of movies. If we have strong one sided views of how movie should be done, we express them indirectly at such occassion. And if they are 'contrary' to what Mahesh Bhatt is saying or doing, we will 'dislike' Mahesh Bhatt. We have the right to have our own views, but we do not have the right to evaluate others through its lens. Morever, do remember that, our views are just ring-side academic views. If we are inside the 'movie business', we may have different views. Psychologists observe such differences in every individual; they call it hot-cold empathy gap.

4. Your views about Mahesh Bhatt being a good father could be based on hearsay evidence:. We can have different beliefs about what it is to be a good father and so on. We are responsible for our beliefs and therefore we must take care while adopting them, not just blindly follow someone else's beliefs. But when we are trying to evaluate someone else on our criteria, we should be extra-careful. We should not judge them on our benchmark, especially when when we are evaluating an inter-personal relationship ( a relationship of father and daughter!).  Please remember that our evaluation of Mahesh Bhatt as a good father/husband is only based on hearsay evidence. To know whether he is a good father or husband, we should be asking his daughter and wife.


Unwrapping our beliefs is important for you, because beliefs block us from understanding the as-is reality.  With beliefs, we see things through a lens and therefore tend to mis-read the situations. It is therefore important to unwrap the beliefs and be aware of them, instead of getting 'used' by them.Please read this blog to understand how beliefs and emotions are intrinsically related.

Every semi-dense situations highights different aspect of our beliefs. For instance, Norway incident highlighted our belief about of 'whites and blacks'.

Should you do analysis of every such semi-dense event in your life? Not for all events. But, whenever you have strong views about something, you should press a pause button, and take a time-out to review your beliefs. For instance, if you are not having any views about Mahesh Bhatt, you would not have found the above exercise of reacting to Mahesh Bhatt's interview beneficial for you. But you can use the above format for some other semi-dense event in your life. 

Friday, January 04, 2013

Art of sustaining work-achievement can now be learnt like science

When I talk of achieving with corporate professionals, writers, lawyers, doctors, researchers, teachers, managers, consultant or designers, all of them wish to achieve. But almost all of them have learnt the craft of achieving in their chosen knowledge work by randomly picking stories of others, by haphazard actions of doing this or that, by hearing interviews of role models, or sometimes, by having a good mentor. That is why we believe that work-achievement happens either by doing nice positive qualities like passion or goals, or becoming a perfect human being, or by having willpower.

But practically no one believes that this craft of work-achievement in career can be learnt by practice, or that the pains of achievement can be minimised by learning a framework of sustained achievement in career. Most of the brave corporate professionals follow the rules of the simplistic law of achievement such as work hard, concentrate, try hard and others. And if these rules do not help them, they feel that there is no better alternative.

But now there is a better alternative of succeeding in career than just taking a blind chance. There is a better understanding of achievement than just following other role models. There is a more guaranteed way of work-achievement than relying on homegrown homilies like  promote yourself like a brand, connect in a network, or think of original ideas. There is better way of preparing for achievement, instead of falling and learning from mistakes. There is a better way of preventing failures, instead of doing damage control after failures.

Learn the New law of sustained achievement in career

This law has six characteristics:

1. New  law of sustained achievement requires one to find one's success formula, not duplicate the formula of others: Everyone produces unique results with their unique abilities. Every individual is a unique bundle of expectations, beliefs, goals, and paths. This unique combination always makes you see life differently than others. What is good for others is therefore never good for you and vice versa.

2. New law of sustained achievement is about facing the realities of life, not avoiding them: Realities of life have to be faced, not avoided, in order to remain human. For instance, hard work alone does not produce output, 'smart work' does it. Or achieving results does not guarantee 'monetary rewards' because rewards depend on the skill market. Or 'perceptions' are more important than 'objective facts' in evaluating work and people ! New law of achievement not only forces you to encounter these realities of life, but by helping you understand the why, they also help you to negotiate these realities without building false hopes.

3. In New law of Achievement, everything changes with context: There is no ONE guaranteed way of achievement, because there are many varieties in achievement. Varieties exist due to the kind of knowledge work. For instance, there are five main variations of knowledge work: Doing the knowledge work, Synthesising the Doing work ( which is Managers work), Teaching the knowledge work ( trainer), Advising on knowledge work ( work of consultant) and Creating new knowledge ( researcher). Out of these five main forms of knowledge work, thousands of combinations emerge, each creating its distinctive flavour, style and challenges.

4. New law of sustained achievement is about Archetypes, not stereotypes:  Archetype is a structure that captures a universally common experience, but can be used to wrap itself in a unique, individual-specific expression. For instance, the archetype of 'team functioning' in a company ( which we discussed in the earlier blog) is a unique structure experienced by someone working in every company. But it can be applied to thousands of individual-specific experiences you experience in a company. This enables you to  find effective solutions by using an archetype instead of just stereotyping the situation.

5. New law of Achievement is about thoroughness, not shortcuts: New law of Achievement cannot be applied as simply as first law. Every individual has to do lot of homework ( because he is producing unique results with his special abilities) so that he/she can apply the basic principles in his/her life. It cannot be applied by using short cuts like strive hard, or focus more, or prioritise. It can be applied only after understanding one's situation so that one knows which archetype and form can be used when.

6. Although New law of achievement is about mastering the art of achievement in work-life, it treats you as a one whole person: As one achieves in work life, one strives to reach even higher. But one cannot just achieve in work-life and use Mind poorly. Because, sooner or later, the poor outputs of Mind will start affecting the achievement in work-life. Only when one learns to remove the bottlenecks of Mind, one can reach the higher stages of work-life. In other words, New law of Achievement forces you to be holistic in life.

If you are a knowledge worker - corporate professional, writer, accountant, lawyer, doctor, researcher, teacher, manager, consultant and/or designer  -  you no more have to succeed blindly. As we have seen earlier, to achieve in sports and music, there is lot of help already available at least in playing the sports and music, if not in other work. By learning the New law of achievement, you can anticipate, prepare and equip yourself appropriately to also sustain achievement in Knowledge work.

Are you ready to learn the New Law of Sustained achievement in work life ?