The Boiling Frog Syndrome

5 06 2013

Out of those many and many thoughts in forwarded wisdom, this story stuck. And may be it did echo to some thought that I read last month. How do you tell a difference between a sacrifice and a compromise? At the cost of sounding trite, let me quote their definitions: Sacrifice is an act of offering something up for a higher purpose, whilst compromise is something that we give up as an act of appeasement for a lower purpose. I just wonder about the many times when we confuse both of them and let a compromise masquerade in the cloak of sacrifice.

Life is all about going with the flow. There are times that demand us to be flexible, responsive and adaptable to change. Be it a new relationship in life where you make those little concessions or be it at work where you get attuned to the change of winds or mandates. How to tell whether to give in or to give up? Read on..

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Human Beings and frogs are the two creatures in nature who have tremendous power to adjust. Put a frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water. As the temperature of the water rises, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps on adjusting with increase in temperature. Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog is not able to adjust anymore. At that point the frog decides to jump out. The frog tries to jump but is unable to do so, because it lost all its strength in adjusting with the water temperature. Very soon the frog dies.

What killed the frog? Many of us would say the boiling water.

But the truth is what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when it had to jump out.

We all need to adjust with people and situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust and when we need to face. There are times when we need to face the situation and take the appropriate action. If we allow people to exploit us physically, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so. We have to decide when to jump. Let us jump while we still have the strength.

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.





A Piece of Rant Club…

15 05 2008

X: I Am Good At Management…

Me: Why Do You Think So?

X: Umm… I am good at coffee table conversations. I am good at talking to people. My communication skills are super. Top of the world actually. And, finally, I think I am good at coordination (really, any one can schedule meetings and handle logistics! ) and I enjoy doing it.

And finally as the discussion proceeds, I realize that its either the lure of flexible time, or the seemingly easy work that acts as a persistent motivator than the idea of career.

There is a lot of misconception about the so called management roles, at least in the field that I work in. Thought most of the senior people in those roles seem to be doing only talking, preparing pretty presentations, or spending most of their time in meetings, there is lot more under the hood than that meets the eye. One doesn’t account for the years of experience or the knowledge that they are equipped with to handle client demands on the feet, or the experiential insight that they bring in while addressing specific issues. Even bad communicators may have sound understanding or a strategic approach to the problem at hand. We can’t ignore the skills that they bring to the table because someone has bad presentation skills, just the way we can’t give weight for garrulous mouthing of words with little essence.

For those who are contemplating management career or decision making roles, a little bit of soul searching is crucial. List out all the reasons and hidden factors that propel you to consider this option. You can give a load of convincing answers to the world, yet please don’t deceive thyself.

Do you have it in you to face tremendous odds and come out trumps? Can you handle tremendous pressure or do you get fizzled out at the drop of a hat? Do you have the never-say-die spirit or do you give up easily and are driven by the principle of fatalism, i.e. the belief that you don’t have control over your deeds and some external force like God determines that.

After going through these discussions umpteen number of times, and talking to aspiring MBAs my mood turned nostalgic as I leafed through those memories of college days. I am blessed with a great mentor during my engineering days, and I am sharing a piece of those exchanges. These are times when I feel that the basics of these questions hasn’t changed over 5 years.

Why you want to do MBA?
1. Is it for money?
2. Is it for fame?
3. Is it for getting power?
4. Is it for getting a good job?
5. Is it for getting social recognition?
6. Is it because you want to make a career in Management?
7. Is it because you like to take challenges?
8. Is it because you want to broaden your horizons?
9. Is it because you have an academic bent of mind?
10. Is it for the sense of achievement?
11. Is it to get yourself equipped with an additional degree so that you can have an edge in this dog-eat-dog world?
12. Is it because you get turned ON by business and economy like nothing else?
13. Is it because you have nothing else to do?
14. Is it because of peer pressure?
15. Is it just for the sake of it and enjoyment?
16. Is it for making yourself more eligible in the marriage market?

It doesn’t require a great deal of analysis to figure out the secret motivator behind picking brain about management roles. For most of us in corporate field, its unavoidable. As we add on experience to the work life, most of our work or output depends on the deliverables of others. Thats when people management, communication, planning and organization skills come into play. For some, a management degree is a way to break free from the technical roles or a launchpad into different industries. For students, MBA is either a lucrative career option or a way to extend unemployment. ( Pun intended 🙂 )

But for those with mammoth goals and lofty aspirations, I am sharing this piece of advice that I received years ago from my mentor.

“A person doesn’t become a CEO just by doing MBA or just having the desire. The culmination is only due to untiring efforts and careful grooming over many years. Do bear that in mind. Although, having lofty ambitions is laudable, being nervous even before the battle has begun doesn’t behoove you. You need to have the emotional poise to handle things at ease. “

And finally, chill. We are all good at management in one way or the other. We all are managing our lives without much catastrophes. Acquiring management skills isn’t rocket science if we put our mind and heart to it. They say, vision without action is a dream and action without vision is a nightmare. Be true to the choices of life and be true to your dreams and longings. Life will sail on much more easily and happily.





I Wish You Enough..

5 11 2007

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Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said, “I love you, and I wish you enough.”

The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.” They kissed and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted & needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?”.
“I am old, and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is – the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.
“When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?”

She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more.”When we said, ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough goo d things to sustain them.” Then turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them; but then an entire life to forget them. TAKE TIME TO LIVE…..

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A Story that I love to Share.. To everyone who paused by, I Wish You Enough.





Love And Time..

9 09 2007

Here is another forward that I have received a long time back. There is no specific reason to post this apart from the fact that I liked this.  This story brings out quite creatively that time is much needed to appreciate the richness of love.. Muse on..

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Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat.” Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “Oh….Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!”

Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her! Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.

Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way.

Love realizing how much he owed the elder and asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered.

“Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?”

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, “Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”





Sane Advice

9 07 2007

Again a dose of forwarded wisdom. Some of these do’s and don’ts rang close to home and hence I am sharing it with my comments in brackets. Ponder on..

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ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully. (Don’t drive yourself to martyrdom and never do anything that you would grade yourself in the category of sacrifice. Wherever you can, offer help with no strings attached in a pleasant disposition. Trust me; you would be delighted with the result! )

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, “I love you,” mean it.

FIVE. When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely. (Wear your heart on sleeve; it becomes beautiful by the number of scratches it receives.)

TEN.. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling. (We can really judge the true character of a person after having a real fight with them. Anger has its way of shedding the masks that we carry. )

ELEVEN. Don’t judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?” (That’s a smart way of handling it rather than lying up front and regretting later! )

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk. (Don’t be too cautious, we have all but one life, savor it to the maximum! )

FIFTEEN. Say “bless you” when you hear someone sneeze. (Sounds rather cute, isn’t it?)

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson (Reflection only enriches the experience!)

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship. (Sometimes we have to give in too.. Don’t let pride rule your behavior. )

NINETEEN. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. (One you realize it, acknowledge it.)

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice. (I hate to hear dull and drab voice over phone.. )

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone. (Some feelings are so deep that only solitude can help you find them. To cherish and appreciate other’s company, one has to enjoy one’s own company first..)





Musings On Collective Wisdom!!!

6 06 2007

I have always had this feeling that collective wisdom is an amazing thing. Somehow, the popularity of Wikipedia impresses me.. Guess people Think of all those people who are adding tiny bits of little things that they know so that someone somewhere is benefited! Isn’t that an amazingly selfless thing to do? It reminds me of the squirrels’ role in building that bridge in Ramayan! It reconfirms my belief in the natural goodness of the people..

We have knowledge in bounty loads.. We have really gathered a lot of information through all these years. I believe that all that we ever wanted to know or learn about must be around somewhere in this world, as someone’s knowledge, memory or experience. It’s just a matter of finding it which makes a world of difference to someone’s quest. Guess that’s why the googles of the world are so popular. Yeah, I would give them all the credit on the earth for making knowledge more accessible..

Working for the past two years, I really appreciate what a valuable enterprise search engine and a proper knowledge management system can do to a mammoth organization. Probably it would almost reduce 5o % of work as it would reduce the chances of recreating, reinventing and redefining the existing process or work. Think of how much time that would save? Am already dreaming!

Yet, the key component out here is not some software but the people who will come and share their core knowledge in open. Well, am not saying the word ‘give’ as the key here is ‘to share’. To share without restriction, in openness and perhaps without taking credit! How many are willing to do that in corporate world where one is defined by the privileged information one holds? That’s a Big Question! It always boils down to the work environment and the organizational culture. An organization can have a great blogging platform, and still end up with zero contributors. When the Internet is overwhelmed by the Web2.0, 3.0 ..n.0 , there are only muted whispers in the enterprise world. This surely demand some soul searching though!





Slow Down Culture

31 01 2007

I simply loved this article! Author Unknown, yet kudos to him!
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It’s been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It’s a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn’t say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, “Do you have a fixed parking space? I’ve noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot.” To which he replied, “Since we’re here early we’ll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don’t you think? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there’s a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of “hurry” and “craziness” generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of “having in quantity” (life status) versus “having with quality”, “life quality” or the “quality of being”. French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US’s attention, pupils of the fast and the “do it now!”.

This no-rush attitude doesn’t represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the “now”, present and concrete, versus the “global”, undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans’ essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It’s time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there’s a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, “I can’t, my boyfriend will be here any minute now”. To which Al responds, “A life is lived in an instant”. Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world.