Category Archives for "Random"

Re: Sometimes losers win

While going through this post,  Sometimes losers win which crisply explains how (smart)losers  win sometimes by re-defining winning as being losers,  I got reminded of an age-old wisdom story which goes like this:

Akbar,  who was a successful and able King was known for his witty questions and Birbal, one of his favorite courtiers was known to counter and solve those with compelling reasoning. On one such occasion, to test Birbal’s wit, he drew a line and asked Birbal if he could shorten the line without touching it! Birbal quickly drew another line bigger than the one Akbar did and said, “See, I have shortened your line without even touching it!”

Now I’ll co-relate this story to another common trait in losers who try to win. To prove that you are the best among the lot (team) you are working with, there are two ways:

  1. You really have the capability which gets demonstrated in your day to day work and over time, you are accepted as the best.
  2. You somehow manage to prove that others in the lot (team) are dumb and idiots! The moment you achieve this you’ve pulled it off.

Does the idea behind point#2 resemble the essence of the story above? Well to clarify my standpoint, Birbal was never a loser. I just wanted to illustrate the concept.

This is how some people are able to rise in organizations in spite on their incompetence. I’ve seen this, esp. in big organizations where, usually, there is a disconnect between the leadership and the junior employees. Unfortunately there are numerous re-defined winners in the middle management (because it’s kind of tough to get beyond that by re-defining winning!) This eventually causes a lot of frustration among the people who actually get the work done as they do not get the credit and become victims of the blame-game.

I believe it is very important for any organization, to have a really good and genuine middle-management for two reasons:

  1. It gives the leadership team, the bandwidth to focus on the business as opposed to look into people issues.
  2. They are the only way for the junior people to be “Connected” with the leadership and the company as a whole.

I acknowledge that people who re-define winning to become winners are smart in their own way and can gain a lot personally by doing so in the short-term, there is no way this is going to take them to the top. I feel it is very important for the leadership to identify such re-defined winners either through 360 degree feedbacks for through a defined set of processes and filter them out to ensure a healthy and competitive work culture.

I agree with the following phrase which I have been hearing, ever since I joined the software industry:

“People do not leave companies, they leave their Project Managers.”

This may not be true always, but I believe it is true more than 80% of the time.

All this inspires me to put up another post. So coming up…….

“Everyone can be a Winner!”


Say ‘Yes’ to ‘No’

How many times you have found yourself in a flux because you accepted to do something half heartedly? How many times has it happened that you are a part of a situation which you shouldn’t have been? How many times you want to run away from what you are doing just because you don’t like what you are doing?

If the answers to these remind you of quite a few instances in your life then continue, else this post is not meant for you.

I have had numerous such instances throughout my life, and today, when I sit and analyze, more than half of them are because of me! Yes absolutely because of me. But why?

Well, just because I didn’t use ‘No’, one of the simplest words in the dictionary, as much as I should have. No doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t even remember how many times I’ve said Yes when I actually wanted to say No. My instant reaction to anything assigned to me is Yes.

While we do not have control over everything that happens in life, we do have control over more than what we think. I could have avoided quite a few troubles if I said No at the very onset. Saying Yes when you mean No is as good as inviting trouble. It could mean spoiling relations, it could mean screwing up one’s schedule and what not. Eventually it could mean saying No when we want to say Yes just because we are in a screwed up state because of a wrong Yes. Let’s clarify a couple of phrases here:

Wrong Yes: Saying Yes when you want to say No.

Right No: Saying No when you want to say No.

I guess it is getting too complicated! If yes, please read the last paragraph again and continue 🙂

No is generally associated with a negative-ness. People who say Yes very often are acceptable more in the society than people who say No. They are considered more optimistic. But we must understand that there is nothing pessimistic about the right No. I believe the most successful (and satisfied) people in the world are those who have mastered the art saying No when required, even if that means going against the wind. People may not like it. But that is the way they go.

Saying a wrong Yes may help us build a short term relation, but if we don’t believe in what we are doing, we can never extend that relationship. Saying a right No may have a detrimental short-term effect, but that would give us enough bandwidth to do things which we want and possibly be more successful than do things which we don’t want to and fail.

I am working with the Software Industry and every time there is a decision to be made whether or not to take-up a project. Now executing a software project bottoms down to two things (from a technical perspective):

  1. If you have the right resources (people + expertise) to execute it.
  2. If the time-line is manageable.

It’s tough to say No when there is enough money to be made. But it is better to say No gracefully when you can not satisfy the above two criteria. A wrong Yes would not only mean screwing up the project but would also mean impacting other projects which are going well (hopefully 🙂 ).

I wouldn’t comment more as I don’t have enough experience yet, but one of the basic principles of economics says:

“Do what you do the best.”

More importantly sometimes, it is not about the ‘Capability’ to do something, but it is about the ‘Bandwidth’ to do it. So even if you have the ‘Capability’ but lack the ‘Bandwidth’, gracefully say No.

Also, saying No comes with a hidden Yes. For example: Saying No to work on Saturdays may mean saying Yes to spend time with friends and family.

Having said all this, it is not always possible to adhere to it. But I am sure our lives would be much simpler if we use the right No instead of the wrong Yes 50% of the time.

Notes to myself: Learn to say the right No.


“The Triviality of Everydayness”

“Man must believe in realities outside his own smallness, outside the ‘triviality of everydayness’, if he is to do anything worthwhile.”

Colin Wilson (The Occult, 1971)

How often do you feel that life has become dull and monotonous and find yourself stuck in a similar situation everyday? Surroundings don’t change, people around you don’t change: the only thing which changes is the Date! Things which once looked challenging become your daily cup of tea…Everything and everyone looks so familiar that you no longer feel their presence around you….you start cursing anything and everything…..and the list goes on…..

This is precisely the “Triviality of Everydayness”. We tend to loose interest in people, things and happenings around us and become indifferent. We tend to become reactive rather than proactive. I’ve been in and out of such situations numerous times involuntarily.

Let’s back up and think for a minute. Of all the people, places and things which have become monotonous and uninteresting what all has really changed since they were once so exciting? When I look back and see, the only significant change which I can realize is my own perception towards everything.

So if it’s all within me which has brought about the triviality of everydayness the stimulus to overcome this has to come from within me and not from anyone else or my surrounding. Of course the other option is to move away and look for a new set of people and ambiance. But do we have this option always? Moreover it could be a short term solution to a problem which we’ll probably face throughout our lives.

So the solution lies within ourselves and we constantly need to break through our perceptions and look for innovative ways to overcome the “Triviality of Everydayness”.

Notes to Myself : Now that I’ve written this article, I better start following it!