Words. Wisdom. Winners.
Here is a fun fact about success:
Success is made of 99% small things done on a daily basis.
You do not have to be immensely talented and gifted, in order to be successful at work and in life.
All you have to optimise for, is to show up and do the work every single day.
Even when it seems boring. Even when you don’t feel like it.
The most successful people are basically successful at staying consistent.
Consistency beats talent, natural gifts, and heck, it even beats luck.
“Ankur, I am appearing for job interviews these days. And most of the time I falter because of my communication skills even though I know everything.
How can I prepare myself better for interviews?”
I get asked this question a lot often from students appearing for interviews for internships, jobs, and even post-grad interviews.
If you are someone who also goes through the same, this is what would help:
1. Make a list of top 5 questions, you want to be really good at answering
These are usually the same questions that get asked in almost every interview.
2. Video record the responses to these questions, EVERY DAY.
While recording, do not look at yourself on the screen. Look at the camera pinhole. Focus all your attention there.
3. Play it back, in 2 separate modes
– Listen to the audio of the recording (do not watch the video). Make a note of all the things you want to improve upon. Pick them up the next day.
– Watch the video without the audio (mute the video). This is how the interviewer views you – your body language. Make a note of all the things you want to improve upon. Pick them up the next day.
In just 30 days, you will not be able to recognize yourself!
Interviews are hardly about selling yourself. If prepared well, they are about knowing yourself.
“There are times I feel I don’t want to live.”
“My mother’s dying. And I cannot do anything to help her.”
“Every morning I get up, I feel I would never be as good as my elder brother, whom my parents completely adore.”
As the founder of nearbuy, I started an initiative called “Lunch with warikoo” where I had lunch with a new colleague everyday.
What I had expected was plain, simple feedback.
What I got instead was something I wasn’t ready for.
During almost every lunch, I felt I was not the CEO anymore. I was instead someone who they were openly sharing with, in the hope I was listening. Without judgement. Without any mockery. Without any bias.
Here is what I learnt from 252 such lunches over 3 years:
1. When people told me their stories about what they have been through to get to that point that they were at, it left me humbled. Because I took those points for granted.
I recognized my privilege that I was blind to, so often.
2. Leadership should not scale.
It should get HARDER for you to lead a bigger team and not easier.
Because people are people.
Not data points on an excel sheet.
3. The best gift you can give someone is to listen without judgement.
We all have something to share.
But we may not have someone to share it with.
Become that someone, for someone.
It is important for people to be heard.
To be seen.
To know that they matter, without offering solutions to their problems.
I was angry with my parents that they didn’t understand.
I was 24.
I was a PhD student in the US. On a 100% scholarship. Top of my class. On a fast track to complete my research.
And I quit that. Came back to India. To restart my life all over again. At the age of 24.
My parents were devastated.
They had pinned their hopes on me.
They felt this was the worst decision ever.
And I was angry at them for not understanding!
Until it dawned upon me.
They wanted the same things from my life that I wanted from mine – my happiness and my success.
But their experiences had shaped up their reactions.
My father had struggled in his career, once he decided to quit his first job to try another one that did not work out for him.
Spiralling us into financial debt.
My mother had to bear the financial and emotional burden of that debt.
Turns out, they weren’t against me.
They were just scared that the same thing that happened to them would happen to me!
Everyone’s life experiences shape them up to see the world the way they do.
It is up to us to accept them, even if we do not agree with them.
Respect is the invisible salary we work for.
You can be in a corporate job paying you truckloads of money, however, if you are treated badly, abused verbally or tactically, or there is no respect for who you are and your time, the amount of money will never feel enough.
You will often find yourself saying, “I am not paid enough to deserve all of this.”
The best companies respect you for everything you bring to table, even when they push you to be a better version of yourself.
You can create a growth culture without disrespect. 100%!
I am a game builder and I have created a whole new game for you.
Here is how it works.
Each time you play, there is a 90% chance that you will lose!
Yeah, you heard that right – 90% chance that you will lose.
BUT – the amount that you lose is capped.
YOU WILL NEVER lose more than a certain amount, which is known to you already.
No matter how much you bet, the loss is always up to a maximum loss. Never beyond that.
10% of the times that you play this game, you can win.
And when you win, you can win BIG. There is no upper limit. You can win infinitely. More than you ever needed in life.
In short, 90% of the time you lose with a maximum loss (you will not lose beyond that), and 10% you win with no maximum gain (you can win any amount – no upper cap).
Here is my question for you.
?How many times will you play this game?
Why is the answer not infinite number of times? Why, my friend?
Clearing the exam is not the end.
It is the start.
Getting the degree is not the end.
It is the start.
Clearing the interview is not the end.
It is the start.
Entering a relationship is not the end.
It is the start.
Raising funds is not the end.
It is the start.
Your goal is not the end.
It is the start!
Enjoy that journey. It is the journey you will remember the most :)))
An underrated career hack to win at your work:
Consider doing things that most people won’t do.
RESIST THE OBVIOUS.
Here is what it means:
When faced with choices to make at work, ask yourself,
“What would most people do in this situation?”
That path will lead to a predictable outcome.
A path where the results are largely defined, explained and will NOT be vastly different from everyone else’s.
If you care about getting different results, ask another question.
“What is possible to do, maybe tough or hard, which is why most people will not do it?”
And then consider those options.
Because the non-obvious paths could potentially lead to extraordinary outcomes.
In the choice of the non-obvious, lies your most non-obvious success.
We often make this mistake in our professional lives.
We take feedback personally.
We assume it to be an attack.
But it could mean something very different.
Whenever your manager tries to show you a way to do things, there is a voice in your head that suggests “oh, my manager thinks I am dumb or stupid and that is why they have to tell me precisely what to do.”
They might simply be showing how things work, or how they could work better, should you consider it the way they are proposing.
But if you were to think of it as a personal attack, then your instant reaction will be to reject, to defend, to argue, to counter, to resist.
And that could make all the difference between you growing, or you stagnating.
Try this instead.
The next time your manager tells you exactly what to do, as if spoon feeding you, do not assume they are talking to you. Assume they are teaching a course, and you happen to be a student.
The course was not designed for you. It was designed for your role.
You just happen to be in that role.
This change in perspective will offer you a path to not take the feedback personally.
How you end up doing your work, is your choice.
How you respond when shown a better way of doing your work, is your character.
Ravi and Snehesh are cofounders of nearbuy.com, the startup I was running until 2019. We make it a point to meet every 2 months or so.
Some time back when we met, it was for a special occasion.
Snehesh was moving to Bangalore and it was a farewell dinner.
And it was a special one.
We spoke about our growing kids, our current lives and also our childhood.
And a story that Snehesh shared, stayed with me. Which I wanted to share with you.
?Snehesh grew up in a small town in Bihar.
His dad ran a school there.
Like many of us, growing up was tough. Little money. Tough world.
As Snehesh was growing up, he was encouraged to take on responsibilities.
One such responsibility, one fine month, was to take care of the household expenses for that month.
Snehesh was thrilled.
This was like the “big boy” feeling.
He went berserk that month.
Spent without budget. Spent lavishly.
And not surprisingly, the month was not yet over, but the money was.
Money getting over back then meant money getting over. Not anything else.
Scared, he went to his father, admitting his mistake and terrified of what would happen.
Back then (and I am sure even now), money used to be lying around somewhere, hidden in some corner.
They started looking.
Every corner possible.
They found a 10 rupee note. A 50 rupee note. A 20 rupee note.
Hidden somewhere, to be discovered today.
Slowly, after a day’s search, they got some 100-200 rupees, which his father convinced him was enough to run the house until the end of the month.
Before, money for the next month would come from the fees of the school kids.
As Snehesh was narrating this, I would see him get emotional.
He lost his dad recently.
And he was very close to him.
His dad was his rock.
“After that incident my father told me to never forget this. No matter how hard the time is, no matter how stuck you feel, no matter how difficult it is, remember there is always a corner that can help you. There is always a corner that will get you out.
Just keep looking for those corners.”
And that is what I wish for all of you to realise.
There is a corner that will get you out of whatever is it that you are going through.
Just keep looking for those corners.
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