Thursday, May 15, 2014

Post IIT: Dilemma and solution

I don't know whether I'm the only IITian thinking about this or there are many. There are higher expectations from life after IIT in terms of career and ambitions. And you often end up with relative failure. Why?

1. Is it a case of high expectations or just an alignment to appropriate levels based on your capabilities? 
2. Is it change in your methodologies/ways that leads to such a situation or are different skills required to tackle a more practical and not-so meritocratic system in the outside world?

As an IITian I keep measuring myself against my peers, against my expectations and against society as a whole. And more often than not results are disappointing. And then I think further about personal circumstances, the choices I make/made given certain constraints, how coming from different backgrounds and having different starting points have an effect. Should money or successful professional career be the only metric for success? If they indeed are, do you have control over them? If yes, how much control?

Looking for answers  ----

1. Warren Buffet is biased towards brainy people and yet he feels its a small ingredient in the overall "success" of a person. He attributes his success to emotional stability, doing what he loves for a living, starting early and being born in US(concedes he was lucky to be born in a capitalistic society). He also says the book by his teacher Ben Graham on investing changed his life. A very good idea he shares is look for people whom you like and whom you don't like, write down 5 qualities which you like/dislike about them. Practice to follow the ones you like and the ones you dislike to become better all the time. In the long term, you will automatically become the most liked person you wanted to become at the first place. Key takeaways from Warren: Do simple things right all the time. Seems easy but its quite tough to follow. 

2. Sachin Tendulkar says become a good person first and then you can give a shot at something else. We all listened to the great man in his farewell speech. However talented and gifted you may be; preparation, discipline, hardwork and overall work ethic are extremely important. Playing in the right spirit never hurts. Ricky Ponting was a great player but the kind of love, respect and admiration Sachin garnered was truly exceptional; a testimony to the great man's way of carrying himself.

3. Sanjay Bakshi, professor at MDI Gurgaon and a value investor teaches and teaches well. In my small world, I have never heard of a professor who has so many followers, well wishers and who is so respected. A lot of teachers would do well to learn from him. Reading is so important to know about people, experiences, ways to act and solve problems is a thing to learn from him. How to develop clarity of thought and keep the focus right is important. He also says envy is the most dangerous sin out of seven sins (gluttony, wrath, sloth, anger, greed, lust, envy).      

4. Victor Frankl (Man's search for meaning) - The book that was recommended by Frank Martin(a fund manager) to all young people changed the way I think. In the book he says "You should measure yourself by not what life gives to you but what you give to life" (a bit like BhagavadGita's philosophy) and that for me is a very important lesson. As you mature, you begin to understand that each life is unique and each life has a course which is not comparable to any other. So focus on what you DO right here and not what happens with you. 

SO what is the essence of all the above?
1. We all know what's right and wrong. And more often that not we have a choice between right and wrong. Choose "RIGHT" always.
2. Consistently do "RIGHT" to do well.
3. You do not have control over most important things in life. But control what you can.
4. Avoid envy, don't compare and try to avoid all seven sins. 

Confession: All the four examples/rules cited above solved confusion of my restless mind but still have to find something better to console my heart. :)

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