Finding symmetries in an unsymmetrical world ..

Archive for the ‘The Think Tank’ Category

(Dear God, please tell my Mom I am doing very fine, and I still think that studying Quantitative Economics, and flying over 16 countries all the way was worth this Education)

Last week I was on my longest flight so far from the far west to the far east, and on my way back I bumped into a Gentleman  who was coming back from Mongolia (the capital , Ulan Bator, to be precise). Talking with him made this trip one of my most shortest trip ever. He was into Marketing side of Construction and myself a bottom up economist and auto-didactic.  So what could we talk about ?

   I had no clue of Construction, or Marketing in construction business or even Mongolia . All I knew about Mongolia was that they have huge deposits of coal . Some people might hit a stalemate at that, what can you really talk, while I was like – tell me more about it !

     We talked about the Mongolian empire, how the Mongols built the Monasteries all the way to Hungary(We could not agree whether the Mongols came up-to Hungary , but that is for some other time), it’s comparison with the Romans and the influence of Mongols on food. And seamlessly, we moved to the Chinese dynasties the Han empire, the Qing dynasty and how the emperors had tried to bring Buddhism to bind people together , and then we moved to the dispute over Tibet and Taiwan , and what I had learnt in the Harvard Project for Asian & International relations, in Taipei , Taiwan, that I was just coming from.

 Come to think of it – it was a powerful  conversation(and I really learnt a lot).  Now that is the thing, finding CPI , or the common point of interest sets you apart from the rest. And come to think of it, it’s really an art. For once he did not tell me what a superwoman I was ( I like telling myself that I am one) – but I instantly knew that he enjoyed talking to me, as much as I did.

    This being able to talk to people “about them” has been my journey of the last 4-5 years. I have practiced and matured it on CEO**’s and Prof’s – but that is not to brag- the point is about learning. 

So my quick take-aways –

1. People are always willing to “Teach” you, once they see the intellect + energy + enthusiasm in you  to learn .This is how we grow, and is a more sustainable way of learning rather than feeding some decaying facts into your  brain.

2. You never choose your mentor. Your mentor chooses you. Point. (Borrowed from Indra Nooyi)

3. Always push meritocratic people, even if you have to go out of THE way to get them some limelight, and then just keep passing the ball.

4. You don’t ask, you don’t get. Under –rated, over-said, but true.

5.  No matter what you want to learn or know, stop the foreplay, and get to the CPI , quick enough to hold them.

6.  What goes around comes around – Gratitude can not be taught, practice it.

7. There  is no single character that can beat your Genuineness – you will know it when it has arrived to you.

8. Push & stretch yourself, and then stretch yourself a little more.

9. You are beautiful, because of  your words and your self awareness and that is something that sets you apart and a Brand “YOU” in this dynamic very competitive world.

10 . We are more than the organizations , and schools we represent – and in some way the hierarchies of power are shifting bottom up . How YOU speak really defines your School, your community and your organisation and your people.

11. NEVER stop learning. 

12. Everything around you, has always been there, but when you meet people who have been there, done that, it sets a context that you can build on, like things, people, places, empires have suddenly started to exist in your conscience.  Beg, Borrow, steal, but GET that context right in your head, you will amazed at how much you can really learn, after-all . 

13. Stop being mediocre, and stop when you have made your point. And, hold your drink,  if you don’t have that super take-away 🙂 

(Emerging ideas from my book – 2o’s is the new 30’s , planning the dots, you will want to connect backward, Dedicated to Annie Fan, a superwoman who knows how to listen, and listen well)



** John Kearon, CEO, Brainjuicer that even shaped 4 months of my work – My Master’s Thesis – On how we think we think, is not how we really think .  In some ways, that is THE bit about connecting the dots. 


“I agree with you, Well, the idea is that, I will show you in a moment, that the results hold true…”   the more the presenter stuttered the more the listeners shied away. Stuttering in itself is NOT such a blockade to selling your ideas,  but like a down-hill-trip  it gets you down – and before you know – The Show time is OVER, Thank You ! 

While it is clear that this is the last thing , you would want to EVER do to YOUR brainchild, Your IDEAS, why do people,  then Stutter  ? 

SIMPLE , they CHANGE THEIR MIND , while , before and during speaking .

[So , now, you get the background , hopefully .]

Ok, first let me admit that I am not an excellent communicator myself, but I have worked enough on the things that “can be fixed “

What we are not talking about is public speaking, we are talking about THEM , not YOU. And that is the difference . That is – grabbing your audience by their neck, and earning that attention, or better put “Permission to market”

I think in a pyramid manner – so here are some thoughts I will leave you away with – nothing mentioned here is that which you might not know, but like a self reinforcing loop- if we program ourselves to think about the audience we have just “sold” what we set to .

  1. When you don’t know the answer, and please say so. Over stated, under practiced. Point.
  2. Deck YOUR best CARDS , and play them FIRST .
  3. If people feel nothing, They do nothing .  You HAVE to MAKE them feel . (Idea credits , John Kearon CEO, Brain Juicer , @ TEDx RhineMain )
  4. The goal of persuasion is NOT the flowers in the PITCH but the GOAL is — that which sells.
  5. There is no TRUTH, just FACTS. Truth , is an interpretation of our view points .
  6. Getting emotionally attached to your Idea/pitch is the worst form of narcissism .
  7. LISTEN. CLARIFY . BUY TIME TO THINK , but do not open the mouth and remove all doubt .
  8. Re-learn, re-read, re-arrange , collect your thoughts. OFTEN .
  9.  HUMILITY wins you more ears than arrogant persistence , (almost) Always .
  10. MAKE a STRIKE when YOU have THEM.

It’s about THEM .POINT .


It is four am, I wake up, a voice within me tells me, “Are you insane? Go to sleep.” Year after year, it keeps telling me that today is not the right day. That today I deserve an extra hour of sleep and that I can afford to miss the jog and the morning sun.

Until only a few years back, I told it to shut up and never manifest itself.

How can the output of a black box change if you keep popping the same input? “That BIG stint” does not happen. NEVER has, NEVER will.

This is the right day for anything, for connecting, for offering to help, engaging,learning, harboring curiosity, being and becoming.

The fear of disengagement is manifesting more than it ever did.

Indifference kills. So Engage instead. Anything. Substantial. Tangible. Persistent. Non-Superficial. It doesn’t have to be large or remarkable upfront; it just has to be aligned to who you want to BE. We are not short of  information, or resources, just the will to braid the resources around to get to that personal “Eureka!”

So, when you next ask yourself, ”What should I do with my life?” just tune in to whatever is around you. When you start to consciously hunt and align your interests towards what you really want to do, you find it everywhere. When you are brushing,walking, talking, and even when you are taking a nap.

And yes, don’t trash your ideas, recycle them!

This new year, do something substantial. If you ever have to go down, Go Down FIGHTING !

The distance between two points is always a straight line. Go draw.


This post was orignally published as my entry — an essay in the Triiibes ebook for the Triiibes New York Conference ‘2010 .One of the most amazing things I did .. Here’s the ebook .




” Stories of Change do not lie under your bed. Slogging and plodding –that’s the only way you get to the last page –as you finally brim past that mediocrity and usher into the “Remarkable” . Where is the purple cow in you ? Change lanes NOW ! “


Change lanes here 
     — One life , Do more

I don’t know how it was where you were, but in India when you go on a spiritual journey – you leave everything behind- cell phones, jobs, credit cards and go to the Himalayas. 

  In the last two years – I have had a similar journey of revelation, more of a spiritual experience -just that my journey happened across all the geographical boundaries. 
So this day, I consider myself to be lucky to be able to convey my note of thanks to the man who taught me the right things – all in the reverse order than what they have always taught us all our lives!

  Seth taught me the power of language, of actions, initiative, humility, of building genuine relationships – and giving before you expect to receive.
The finest lesson I picked up from him was on Quitting – quitting to do the right things at the right time, and on getting past that dip – effortlessly and gracefully. 

Most of my childhood went into convincing that I was born with Creative genius, and that “it just comes to me”, but as I grew up – I just lost it – and kept pushing it – just to get that “right frame” of mind. So much so had been the fear of rejection that it stopped me from practicing the trade I believed I was good at. Seth taught me that it is ok to stumble again – He taught me not to put trade ideas for a coffee-kick. He taught me the power of unfinished works is more than that of those fermenting in your head all your life.
He taught me to live my life, do it yourself before you even “attempt” to preach. He taught me that there is no excuse for an excuse and that I might as well admit it humbly. He taught me that limitations are first created in head, then in the heart.

 Most importantly, Seth taught me to give selflesslesly and what goes round comes around – Seth being a standing testimony to the love of the many tribes he leads – speaking so effortlessly as if transforming the lives he “talks to” by a Midas touch – carving wholesome individuals of people ;teaching us to be a better human being before a better academician, or professional. 

 In essence Seth has spawned generations of creative change agents – each of whom try to make a difference, bringing the power of initiatives and impact their own circles of perceptions – I call this a nuclear fission reaction

 These two years of mentoring through much of his work and learning from fellow triiibsters , I have become a carrier of change, of creativity, a go-getter – that’s how I best describe myself – and am happy that the change traveled to me – or that I opened myself to it .I now lead two small tribes, one – of Changing the way we see charity and, two – the health freaks – in the office where I teach dance aerobics to girls . Both of these helped reinforcing the power of discipline and commitment – so much so that the vibes I now feel when I am working with these tribes – makes me feel I am carrying that seed of changed further on– and that it will nurture and flourish. And precisely “this” makes it my own spiritual journey . 

As, I change lanes this September when I begin my masters in Economics and hopefully continue my research in Social Entrepreneurship – and helping people see Businesses as a human capital generation engines ,and not as mere money generation instruments. 

 I wrote to Seth after my Alternative MBA application (rejection) ,that I m going to learn from him, anyway – I wrote to him that there is a mythological tale in India – in which when the “Guru”, or the teacher refuses to teach the pupil , the pupil gets a idol of the Guru and does his practice in front of this idol, as a virtual Guru .I let Seth touch my life through much of his work — and today for the Guru Dakshina bit – (the gift to the Guru)
Seth – this one’s for you – “I ” .


The orignal post was written as a birthday prsent to the Man who made me who I am today – Seth Godin . The orignal post here .



The pretext before I take up from here : 

 I was reading this amazing post on kindling your curiosity; sure it must have kindled mine, because a day later I found myself writing this.

At the heart of it, Sam lays the proposition “. If we are going to be people who fully develop and maximise our potential, it will be in large part because of our curiosity” , which is quite true, because in the contemporary world IDEAS drive processes .

And here’s the street for you .. 

I was standing in my backyard ,and relishing my evening tea after office ,when I a kid who was running on the ground ,trying to compete, with what it seemed to me , his sibling.

 And while he was running, he fell off. But he did something that most of us adults do not do when we grow up. He KICKED the ground.

 That must have sure kindled my curiosity and the creative genes , enough to mention it here in my post !

 What is it that we unlearn so soon as we grow up, simple, it is fighting back .


 When was it last that you stopped by and instead of saying that “it ain’t fair”, fought back instead ? And if you do not remember when it was , you are in serious trouble, and Do something about it !


As kids we are curious, have an inherent desire to explore , and reach out to what surrounds us, but as grow up we start taking things for granted .


As Seth mentions, when you pass by a cow ,adult that you are, you never say, ohh that’s a cow, but if you pass by a purple cow, you saw ..Waooo did you notice that !

The message is simple , are you being a purple cow, are you worth remarking ?

In the new era of twitter, other such micro blogging phenomenon and seemless social media what is the value to you give to those you interact with . Are you just consuming their time ? (and mind you time is by far the most precious commodity)

So today so something that kindles your creativite quotient, that not only make you say Waoo I did that , but makes you so good enough that people remark about the person you are .


This is not to say be good at everything, but be good at one thing ,and that speak out for you .

Before I leave you to yourself,here’s a treat for you !

It is a pretty old one, but substantiates it well !




 “All who have accomplished great things have had great aim,have fixed their gaze on a goal that was high , one which sometimes seemed impossible.”



There is this story about the earthen pot and the brass pot, where the brass pot proposed to the earthen pot one day that they go out in the world together. Fragile that it was, the earthen pot was reluctant, claiming that he would be safe by the fire. But the brass pot convinced the earthen pot to come along.

But the earthen pot could not survive the companionship and cracked after the ten steps that they took together.

The fable ends there, but here it just begins.

Are you the earthen pot, what’s keeping you from plunging out in the world?

Are you just excusing yourself believing that you are fragile, and torn.

I was just reading Lance Armstrong’s Its not about the bike. My journey back to life” . In an instance, Lance asked his Mom if her job was going nowhere, and she could outdo it any day; why dint she just quit.

To which she said  …”Son, You never quit.”

Simple as it may sound, but this one liner was so power packed  that all through his battling with the testicular cancer, a career that had just begun and was on the verge of a complete loss, and his fight for life, Lance kept reinforcing this and determined not to loose to the death and the odds of his survival.

And he DID WIN !

The point?

Simple, if you are weak, go put fire, burn yourself in it and come out with an astonishing stamina, for you can never win any battle when you have already lost it in your mind.

The sculpture is already inside stone, go morph it !





 If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.


Yesterday I met a collegue in the elevator , and whilst both of us were rushing to catch the evening shuttle, he exclaimed “ I missed it , already !”

To which I quoted ” If you think you have, you have..”

For a moment he stared at me, for although we happen to sit on the same floor, I have hardly had any interaction with him.And he wasn’t expecting to be overheard as he made this “decalration to self”. To wind things up, I just closed it with ,”Have you read The Secret “, I will tell you about it tomorrow”

This morning I sighted him at the coffee corner.Excited that I was, I asked him, if he could catch the shuttle yesterday. He did !

So here’s all that I wanted to tell him and you ..

The Secret finishes with the Law of attraction and the power of the principle of reinforcement.i.e your thoughts become things, for everything happens to you twice ,once in your mind, and once when you Do it .

The book closes with the reinforcement of the belief that you get all that you truly DESIRE. So if you are not getting all that YOU want, give it a second thought, are you being skeptical that “will I get it?”, or do you simply BELIEVE. Believe that somehow everything will fall in place and you will be OK.

After I read the book, open as I am to trying out new things , I convinced myself to replace every negative and self-doubting thought by a positive affirmative thought , I will get it .

Because “Thoughts become Things ..”

To substantiate :


As you work out in the gym with the thoughts of a positive, toned , heathier you, you no longer bother about the muscles and ligaments that hurt ,for your mind has tutored your body, to be patient, and to persist, because YOU want to be fit, build your stamina. These muscles which used to cry out claiming you were rude, persist and support you. This is the power of mind. 

I belive why you get what you think, is because you make your mind stronger enough for this desire to turn true, and you subconsciously take actions to commensurate it. So take that firm belief,see yourself as holding that object that you desire,palce that you wanted to go to, or the education and information base you wanted to build and you will ACT. And more so, you will enjoy it, because it no longer looks ACTION to you, it looks something that enables you to reach there faster .

This morning I read Becky’s wonderful post on “Reinventing the self.. If you must make that one change today, work out on your thoughts, for they morph into reality .

And don’t wait for that pink slip to do what you have always wanted to, do it right way, if you should.

Like everything else, it is not easy, and you will run , want to wander, just put , and you will be fine eventually, ROME wasn’t built in a day .

To begin, create it in your mind, and STICK on !

Here is a related awesome post that you will LOVE : Running to finish..




Ask, believe and you will receive..


Hey there, would be nice to have you around !

That’s me

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