Immersive Theater

unnamedA month ago i had the chance to attend a short immersive  theater workshop as part of an NHRD monthly meeting. It was really engrossing and Aruna Ganesh had the audience in a spell.

Visual Respiration the organization founded by Aruna organizes regular workshops on Immersive Theater. There is one such being conducted on May 21st . This is an introduction to immersive theater.

If you are trying to create a greater impact on your audience , either at work or any other aspect of your life – don’t miss this workshop.

Image Courtesy: Visual Respiration

 

 

La La Land of Football

I never knew what happened. I am not an avid football fan like my friend who stays up nights watching league matches and arrives late to office the next day. It was he who wised me up on the once in a decade kind of moment that happened on the night of the 8th March. Barcelona needed a wipe off 4-0 deficit to enter the quarters. They did that by beating PSG 6-1 to scrape through in the 95th minute (stoppage time).

A twitter handle going by the name of Turkish Football captured the moment best with this update

Turkish Football @Turkish_Futbol1

“And the winner is: PSG.

Oh wait… it’s Barcelona. You won guys. This is not a joke.” 

Thanks to my friend I spent some time pouring over the newsfeeds to get a hang of what happened. Now I am educated enough to talk about this match for a few years, and many others will too , i am sure. Probably that is one reason why sport is such a unifier, especially football, it gives everyone a common topic to talk about.

They say seeing is believing. If you have not done so already check out these match highlights to get a hang of what my friend was talking about.

R U Listing

Richard Branson the Billionaire Entrepreneur swears by it, many successful people use it religiously, In case you are wondering – I am talking about the humble list.

Most of us while grocery shopping use the list to help recall all that is to be bought. Why? because it helps us to recall the items and also to organize our trip. We might buy a few things at the super market and have to go to the cold store to buy meats. 

I have been using lists from I don’t know when for grocery shopping. Recently I shifted to having the list on my mobile in the form of a note.

But the irony is that I never used lists to organize my work day. I would have a rough idea of what I need to work on – but that was it. That way i ended up wasting a lot of time checking mail and responding and the work actually revolved around whatever seemed to be urgent at the moment.

That is until recently.list-1

A few months ago I seriously started using lists to plan my day and have seen some major improvements in my ability to get things finished.

So I thought why not share with you some of the benefits  – 

Focus

The list helped me to focus.

As I worked through different assignments – I used to take up tasks as they came – as long as I was occupied – I thought I was productive. But that is not always the case. Staying busy does’nt equal staying productive.  Here I wanted to share a very insightful quote from Tim Cook the CEO of Apple  about the importance of Focus.

“Apple is the most focused company I know of, am aware of, or have any knowledge of… We say no to good ideas every day.” He goes on to say that every single product the company makes would fit on the single conference table in front of him. “And Apple  had revenue last year of $40 billion.”

So Focus was key and I was floundering.

And how did the list come in handy?

The To do List acted like my roadmap for the day. It helped me keep a tab on things I wanted to do. And as I went thru the day – I kept ticking off things one by one. This felt good besides it helped me stay focused on what I had set out to finish.

Control

As I mentioned earlier – My work day used to start with checking mail and then I would start responding to the ones that are important. This way I gae away control of my day to someone else. But, now with a to-do list I am primed about what I am going to do before I hit my desk. Sometimes I don’t even check my mail until much later . The list has helped me in getting greater control of my day and my work.

Helped to Stay Organized

Well I guess this is self explanatory and follows from the above two benefits. The list helped me to focus on one thing at a time and not try to try doing every thing all at once. I used to pride myself as a multi tasker. It took this simple list to make me realise the absolute irony of multi tasking.

So these were some of the obvious benefits which I experienced in the few short months I’ve started using lists. I am sure there are more – but let me save that for a future post.

Let me leave you with a Factoid.

I am a big fan of Richard Branson and he is a compulsive list user. He has been using it for over 40 years now. He keeps a notebook all the time and jots down any idea that occurs. He also keeps a list of companies he plans to start, and just in case you might be interested he has started over 400 companies as on date.  So all the more reason if you hold entrepreneurial aspirations – Start Listing!

Advice to myself

There was this wonderful question posed on TED by Cason Askew.

What advice would you give a younger you?

If I were a 21-22 year old fresh out of college I would like to remind myself that life is built on relationships. Those very relationships that you try to run away from are going to stay with you for a life time.

That life is a marathon. Not to be bothered about people overtaking you in this race. Set your own pace and stick to it. Rest when your legs are unable to carry you. Then get back to the strides. At the end of it all winning doesn’t count . It is in the running.

Let defeats not bother you. Don’t get demotivated by the ‘No’s that people hurl at you. You will find your place. And if you hold on to your dreams- big or small – you will make your mark.

Ask for help. Reach out to people. There are people out there waiting to help you – if you only Ask.

And, do not forget to pass it on.

Big things can be achieved in small steps. So Dream big and keep taking those small steps.

And yes, I don’t have to tell you this but – have a good time.

Random Thoughts on Happiness

Exerpts from Michael Pentalons interview on the Happiness Project Blog of Gretchen Rueben.

I just finished reading Michael Pantalon’s very helpful book, Instant Influence: How to Get Anyone To Do Anything–Fast. He argues that one of the most important things you can do to influence people is to…remind them that in the end, your influence doesn’t matter. That is, to re-affirm their sense of autonomy. The more that people find their own reasons for action, and feel themselves to be acting in accordance with their own desires, the more likely they are to make positive changes. So the challenge is to help them do so.

There’s a lot of interesting material in the book; for instance, here’s one fact that fascinated me:

“Numerous studies have shown that people having any level of motivation are capable of making dramatic changes. When people have rated their motivation on a scale of 1 to 10, for example, you might think that the 10s would be more likely to take action than the 2s. No so! In fact, several of my own studies found that people who made significant changes in their behavior appeared all along the motivational continuum, not just at the high end.”

In other words, just because you think, “Wow, this is it! This time I’m really going to make a change!” you’re not actually more likely to make a change than someone who is feeling lukewarm about making a change–but who  approaches making that change in a more strategic way.

Making change is often very important to happiness, so I was interested to hear what Mike had to say.

Gretchen: What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?

Mike: Finding new music.  I love music.  It always lifts my mood.  I like to try to discover at least 1-2 new artists or bands a week.  It helps that I love a number of genres from jazz funk, jazz-rock, experimental and post-bop jazz, alternative, rock, blues and even progressive heavy metal.  Most recent finds: Surfer Blood and Gotye.

Read on the full interview here 

As I read the blog the question on my mind was what were the things that made me happy ?  Infact there were a lot of similarities with what Michael had to say.

Family Time. We catch up as a family in the evening and during dinner my wife and two children 13 and 8 years old. It is a period of day which I look forward to – enquiring about their days and sharing with them mine. Well not fully – just the interesting parts. 🙂

Playing the Guitar.

Books.

Spending time with my wife alone planning, buying provisions or just chatting.

Time with friends , siblings – mailing , chatting.

And yes work that I do – does make me happy . Sometime. 🙂

 

 

Cut the passion! … its just a Job

I come across a lot of Job ads calling for passionate employees, …. it sounds good. Gives you the right feel. After all we do not want a dis- interested lout sitting on the desk with bored expression.

But, then there is passion and there is a job to be done. You can do an outstanding job with a healthy dose of understanding what needs to be done and being efficient about it. Save the passion for your home. 

See, not every one can be a Steve Jobs. Or need to be one. One Steve a decade is sufficient , maybe two. I am kidding but we don’t want a nation filled with Steve Job types. Our prisons and Asylums will start to overflow.

I am being harsh and maybe in a different post I can explain why I think so – but take it from me – you don’t need too many of those types. You need a lot many more who can execute efficiently.

Passion for the job has become another of those over used cliches of the decade. One finds resumes filled with Passion for Design for Engineering for HR and passion for People.

To do the job well what one needs is a willingness to be student, and the sincerity to execute the task at hand. Add consistency. Everything else will fall in place.

Those are my thoughts.

What do you think about this craze for passion?

PS: I am a Huge Fan of Steve Jobs and am passionate about Apple products. But, that’s not my Job. 

The inspiration for this post.

Note to Self – Candidates Appreciate Feedback

Recently, on a whim, I decided to give feedback to the candidates who had applied for a Job Ad which I had posted on the Naukri. It was a simple mail that I sent individually , which thanked them for their interest and expressed regret – that their resume could not be shortlisted.

I had expected a number of mails asking as to why they were not shortlisted , or calls questioning the reason why the profile was not fitting  Infact, I was ready for it.

What I did not expect was mails from candidates thanking me for the feedback and appreciating me for taking the time and effort to do the same. It actually turned out to be quite a humbling experience.

I know there are recruiters who send feedback mails – but they are a distinct minority. And Till date I had not been a part of this minority.

It is quite easy to hide behind the excuse that there are hundreds of  resumes one rejects to get 2-3 candidates who get shortlisted. And it is virtually impossible to to inform everyone.

But, as the mails from candidates showed – it might sound impossible but , it is not actually so. And, besides I might be not able to give such feedback 100% of the time – still, if I am able to do so 25% of the time – it counts.

Hope to make giving feedback a part of my recruiting process. Agreed It is not going to be easy. But, looks like its sure worth the effort.