Long term planning with the proper analysis is critical for any project. In my recent interactions with various groups, I understood the importance of planning very well, not because it was done properly but rather because of its absence.
An absence of proper planning leads to havoc every time. The people involved have to work extra hours, the deadline is missed several times and nobody is appreciated for putting the extra work since they already missed the deadline in the first place. All of this happen because the upper management couldn’t plan it well.
In my early corporate days at TCS, we were obsessed with planning and since TCS was the first company it also got me into thinking that TCS guys plan for too long (which is partially true also). The upside of that strategy, however, is that we seldom had panic moments in the project life cycle in those days. Everything was so well planned that it led everyone to believe that its the natural state in IT.
Today I witnessed the fierce competition between two giants in the transport industry.
Ola and Uber are going out of the ways to increase their market share in Delhi. While talking to one of the Uber drivers I got to know that Uber pays him by Rs 12 per kilometer and charges it’s customers by Rs 6 per kilometer. It’s a fiercely competitive pricing and would definitely drastically increase the market share of Uber.
Ola, on the other hand, is focusing on adding values to the customer by giving them free Internet while they are in the car. I am pretty sure Uber guys must be working on it already and we would have the internet in Uber cars as well in a short while.
If you haven’t tried any of these services it’s the best time to do so because of the slashed pricing. It’s pretty obvious that they are going to increase the fare once the customer and driver base reaches a critical mass. Until then customers can reap the benefit of competition.
They not only deliver extraordinary animated content but also give us a message to remember. A couple of days ago I watched “Finding Nemo” even though I had seen this movie earlier re-watching it gave me some insight which I could never have had in the past because of my own limitations.
The father-son relationship, and how ego comes into play to create havoc in their lives is worth noticing. How the clownfish went against all odds and traveled the ocean (despite the fact that he was so afraid of the ocean) to find his son and how the ocean helped him do so was just extraordinary. There’s always a deep meaning in these movies, although it seems they are meant for the children but adults can learn so much from it.
Every Pixar movie has a great message buried deep within the animation and only capable people can find those messages. These movies help us in understanding human psychology though the beauty is that people who are unable to see those aspects wouldn’t even notice those things which are placed carefully there for people who can.
We all make plans, lots of plans but seldom we take serious actions on it. We do however start very enthusiastically but never manage to follow through till the end and drop out somewhere in the middle.
This is a problem which a lot of us face in these days, especially people who have diverse interests. We are very passionate about the thing which we are starting but lose interest along the way and eventually quit. We feel bad about it but then manage to overcome the grief by picking up a new project.
This is not a good practice, and by doing this we would end up jack of all trades and master of none. To be good at anything we have to put consistent effort every single day. Interestingly enough this is not a secret and everyone knows it but a very few manages to do something about it.
The reason for these dropouts is when the going gets though people quit, that’s how we are built. Perseverance is defined as persistence in doing something despite the difficulty. It’s not something we are born with rather we develop it along the way . In order to continue doing the things, we have started we have to have a definitive plan in place.
Tony Robbins, call these plans as Rituals and he says that the rituals are the only way to follow through and without it, we can not accumulate significant success in any endeavor. Ritual make sure that we do things required even when the mind and body experience friction while doing so.
I came across an interesting story while reading the book “The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership” by Richard Branson, an English business magnate, investor, and philanthropist.
Richard is very fond of pulling up April Fool stunts and he shared many stories which even gave him troubles in doing so. Among those stories, my favorite is the one when he proclaimed in a press conference that his company is going to create a system in which they are going to store all the music of the world and when the system would be ready anyone can connect to it and download free music from it. This was way back in the 80s when there was no cloud, no iTunes, and only cassettes.
Several music companies got infuriated and said that they will sue Virgin Records. The stunt served its purpose and created a lot of hype. Eventually, Richard announced that it was an April Fool stunt and everything got back to normal.
A couple of years later when he met Steve Jobs they had a brief discussion over Richard’s April Fool stunt. Jobs said that it was really a cool idea and worth pursuing too and to which Richard agreed but didn’t do anything about it. Decades later Steve started iTunes (which was actually Richard’s idea) and it eventually put Virgin Record out of business.
What if your map guarantees you can not reach your destination?
We all have maps and we inadvertently use them to reach our goals. For example being significant is one of the basic human needs, some people try to achieve it by doing something worthy, i.e. by adding values in other people’s life. On the contrary, some achieve it by violence, you can become extremely significant by putting a gun to somebody’s head.
It’s all about what map are you choosing to achieve your goals. We inherit these maps from people we admire and from the belief system we are raised into.
Questioning everything we have presumed from the beginning is very important to know if we are on the right track. It either strengthen the existing belief system or make room for new ones.
There are 6000 emotions that we have words for in the English language, which is just a linguistic representation and changes according to language. What’s interesting is that if monitor ourselves for a week and record how many emotions we experience around that time, we would only have 12 dominant emotions during that time.
We all know someone who no matter what happens finds a way to be depressed similarly we all have one friend who finds a way to be happy no matter how miserable his life may be. So basically there are two categories of emotions, empowering and disempowering.
We are indirectly controlled by our own emotions, observing what drives us and using it for our own good can make a world of difference to us.
In the book “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell, the author shares the story of two extraordinary men of the same time, who have exceptional intelligence and technical abilities yet they end up with different futures.
Christopher Langan, an American whose IQ was reported to be between 195 and 210, also has been described as “the smartest man in America” could not achieve much in his life due to his inability to express his views properly. According to an incident from the book he could not even manage to convince his college principal to change his schedule from morning to evening due to a transportation issue and had to leave the college eventually because of that. He had a difficult life despite being a genius just because of his inability to express himself.
On the other hand, J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist, and professor of physics at the University of California, also called the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the Manhattan Project once tried to poison his tutor while he was at Cambridge. The only punishment he got was an academic probation and to undergo regular psychiatric evaluations. If you observe closely he tried to murder his professor and got away with that. During the courtroom sessions, he expressed himself so well that the judges thought he needed a psychiatric treatment and gave him a second chance.
With the advent of easy access to information and knowledge, the dropout rate is maximum. People are not committed enough to the online education system the way they used to be in the traditional education system. 90% of the people drop out of online courses and never finish what they have started.
Nowadays almost all knowledge and the information is freely available and the online institutions (like Coursera, Udacity) is starting to make conventional education system obsolete but they also are going through a challenge which is “easy in and easy out”.
Since there is no barrier of who can take up the course, everyone is eligible and that too with minimal or no cost involved and people get in easily. However when the going gets tough people quit, and because there is no penalty or risk involved it’s an easy out. Due to this, many people who enroll in these courses so enthusiastically seldom finish the course on time or never finish at all. To tell you the truth, I also have enrolled in 4 free courses from Coursera but haven’t completed any of them yet.
We constantly consume a lot of information every day. Attention Deficit used to be a disorder but it now is a trait among many metropolitan citizens around the world. One time I noticed myself swiping through Facebook while I was waiting for the call to get picked. I could not wait quietly for 20 seconds, my mind needed to consume something during that time.
We now have an attention span of 8 seconds, which is less than of Goldfish. When we can’t find anything to do, we reach for our phones to keep ourselves occupied. We want ourselves to be busy, a low music or a TV noise running in the background makes us relaxed.
That’s not how our ancestors used to live in the past. The mind’s creative juices flow only when it is not consuming anything. Various researches have shown that our mind is capable of consuming data only for 45 minutes and after that, information overflows which is hard to believe. I am not saying to stop consuming information, rather be selective in what you are consuming and give yourself some rest too by not doing anything for a while every day.