Showing posts with label Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ideas. Show all posts

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!

This post is in response to the excellent IndiBlogger contest "The Idea Caravan"  jointly conducted by Franklin Templeton Investments 

The contest presents a number of inspiring TEDx format videos that throw the spotlight on people passionate about a specific cause and let them share their stories 

Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012.


The talk that I've zeroed in on is the one by:

Arunachalam Muruganantham -

Watching this man talk, I am filled with as much positivism and hope as with wonder. If one were to use the phrase "Food for thought" in the context of his talk, what one sees is an exciting and quirky buffet; a long queue of healthy as well as tasty dishes!

This talk, in a nut shell, is profound at many levels. 

Ironically, I am, perhaps, not going to promote his cause per se as much as the other underlying messages that this man has for the world. 

  • To start with, the talk is delivered in the form of an engaging story, filled with passion and natural humor. A great way to connect with and influence the audience, whatever may be the cause! #Leadership
  • Even for a language enthusiast like me, the spelling mistakes and broken English were not distractions. It was easy to dive into his talk with the curiosity that is natural when one watches a 'little educated person' (in his own words) whose impressive ideas contradict such a declaration. #Passion
  • If it was not already clear, it becomes clear after listening to this man that real education is not necessarily about going to school, religiously running through prescribed text books and clearing exams with high scores. Raw talent, that highly sophisticated and not so well understood element, cannot be ruled out. But it needs to be supported by a lot of reading, observing, thinking, adapting and doing and this is quite different from formal education! For example, he talks about a fascinating management idea such as "fail fast in order to succeed"! #Ideas #Education
  • He goes on to passionately advocate that Business is not about chasing money; it is about pursuing something that will have a measurable social impact! The precise measure is, in my view, a point that needs to be very carefully determined, but if all corporate entities were to have such an attitude, it is hard to fathom the good that it can do to the world at large. #Values
  • It is more than obvious, as one watches him, that we can learn to achieve anything, however ignorant we may be at the start. The approach that he emphasizes upon as a solution is "trial and error". Of course, it needs to be backed by purpose, vision and patience. #Perseverance 
  • He declares "To lead a meaningful life, all you need is a problem!" Now, if that's not one of the simplest and most amazing philosophies in life, I don't know one when I see one. What a positive way of looking at a problem and turning it on its head in one swift and glorious gesture. #Wisdom #Positive_Thinking
  • Other subtle messages that come through are worth every minute of the talk - one needs to be prepared to take a lot of risks, throw caution to the winds, appear weird and maybe even lose the people because of whom one was inspired in the first place! #Paradox 
I'd like to finish by saying that this story is a perfect example of the fact that success does not come easy, but if one is obsessed with the purpose, dismissing the obstacles in the path of success begins to look extraordinarily easy

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Dawn of Realization

Pinned Image
(C) - Bill Watterson

Knowledge is indeed paralyzing. You know anything that can change will change and that means you can rarely declare anything in a dead-sure way. You know there is no single truth and that means you can rarely anything in a dead-sure way. You know people can change their minds any minute with or without reason and that means you can rarely declare anything in a dead-sure way. You know what is meat for one man is poison for another and that means you can rarely declare anything in a dead-sure way.

If you zoom out for a bit and catch the world's compressed timeline, I guarantee (paradox, eh?) that you'll discover a clear pattern of people swinging from one extreme to the other at irregular intervals. What is inevitable change for some is annoying inconsistency for others because each of us thinks and operates at a different level and is in a different context. At any given point of time, there is a school of thought that believes deeply in something and another school of thought that dismisses the very same idea as absurd and impossible to accept. This holds good for almost every idea out there, be it religious, psychological, political, economical, commercial, social, medical and even the so-called scientific and mathematical ones.

In the last few days, for example, I have seen different people argue passionately for and against the same ideas. A leading business publication has two contradictory articles in the same edition, one that proposes leadership is replaceable and another that says it may be indispensable. With a lot of people arguing in favor of leading passionate lives, someone suddenly pops up and says passion may be dangerous. While many people believe that meditation is good for the mind and body, out comes someone, with data, to prove it can be dangerous. A scientific research proves that a particular food is good for health and another research says the same food can have harmful effects. A section of people believes a man is determined by his thoughts and another section believes it is better to just be.

For those holding on to both sides and playing a confusing tug-of-war on themselves, things are likely to be stressful after a while, unless they are crystal clear about the criteria to use for eventually adopting one of the views. Picking up one view and using it in moderation is a good strategy. Individual experimentation and openness to what emerges is a good strategy.

If you are a leader, being able to communicate your moderated approach and criteria may be critical. Not categorically declaring things means people may not take you seriously or may believe you are clueless. Therefore, they may not align themselves with what you need them to contribute to. However, let's not forget that these are dilemmas that arise only when talking about a certain category of perceptions, ideas and approaches. A leader would be expected, at the same time, to provide invariable and dependable support and commitment to a well-considered goal or value.

PS: I, honestly, did not start out with the intention of making this a dizzy-sounding article. I planned to stop after the first paragraph and look for something humorous to end it with. Look what I ended up writing! I'd rather settle for some ignorance and action.....for it is a blissful combination, uh? ;-)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Creative Endeavor?

If one spends most of one's life trying to understand (and manipulate, if one is capable of) complicated, meaningless, selfish & tiresome systems, then where is the space and energy for creative and entrepreneurial ventures? No wonder an entrepreneur must devote her entire life to bring her idea alive. Nothing else works. Period.

If you want to chase an idea till it becomes reality, then you must spend your entire life on it or at least many many years (if it is anything worthwhile). And, you have just one life. So, you must choose the idea very carefully. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

One Truth

I'd never disagree with this, even if my life depended on it. :-) (And, if the person being subjected to such a phenomena also has a categorical view on what is right/wrong, nothing on Earth can possibly save the people associated with him/her!). 

When I looked up Born on Wikipedia, I found something amusing and interesting. He is supposed to have contributed significantly to the field of quantum mechanics. Now, whether he was able to discover the secrets of quantum mechanics because he did not believe in one single truth or vice versa is something we may never find out. ;-)

A supplementary caveat to this quote may, arguably, be that it should not matter as long as people keep their beliefs to themselves and do not try to manipulate others (directly or indirectly) to tow their line. So, if, for example, I believed that there is no God but made no attempts to brainwash or ridicule others (who believed that there is a God), I should not be considered an evil entity in society. But does my belief remain within me, in reality?

Not necessarily. Even if I made no conscious effort to change the mental make-up of others, if my belief is strong enough, it is likely to be reflected in my actions (if not via words of advice) and that may in turn influence someone to suddenly become a skeptic (sticking to the example above). Am I an evil entity in such a situation? 

I think not. After all, my genuine and embedded thoughts will naturally emerge via my actions, choices, behavior etc. What others are influenced by because of their self-motivated observations and introspective conclusions cannot be attributed to me. (A charismatic and inward looking leader or author may easily influence hundreds of people without even intending to)

What is, however, a deciding factor in concluding whether I am potentially an evil entity or not is whether, in spite of my strong convictions, I have the attitude and the ability to be open to listening to people who have opposite views and consider their views sincerely. The key point here is to not be casually dismissive of opinions different from one's own. The need is to be mature enough to understand that a different view is a result of different and deeply embedded experiences, contexts, mental abilities and so forth. I may not be convinced by an opposite view, ultimately, because of being married to my own thoughts or because of being unable to relate to foreign examples or values of the other party. But that is fine as long as I continue to be ready to listen to the same or a variation of the view in future and untiringly reconsider my views, inspect it from unexplored angles and see it from various distances. (Unfortunately, it is also, apparently, important to retain one's sanity during such situations ;-). While the nicer lot have to focus on not losing their own sanity, the, er, rowdy lot will have to focus on not driving the other person up the wall). 

In certain cases, it may be slightly simpler and involve letting go of a situation (by avoiding the exploration of alternative views till a more conducive situation comes up in the future) because you clearly see that the other person may never understand your point of view and accept the simultaneous existence of two views because of not having gone through an essential experience (that you, however, went through). 

More food for thought: 

RT @freedomsway: "Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem." ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti


No idea where I went with this post. :-) Whew. Let me know if I drove you up the wall, but for reasons different from those mentioned above. ;-)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Creativity Techniques

Though it is true that I've come across plenty of articles - in the past - on these lines, this particular list of ideas and the way this post has been written resonated with me. Quick reference....followed by the link to the original article and some extracts

- Psychological Distance 
- Fast Forward in Time 
- Path of Most Resistance 
- Indulging in Absurdity 
- Combining Opposites 
- Re-conceptualization
- Using Moments of Extreme Emotion (Positive/Negative)

Boost Creativity: 7 Unusual Psychological Techniques | PsyBlog
    • Project yourself forward in time; view your creative task from one, ten or a hundred years distant.
      • Physicist Niels Bohr may have used Janusian thinking to conceive the principle of complementarity in quantum theory (that light can be analysed as either a wave or a particle, but never simultaneously as both).
        • ....that experimental participants produced higher quality ideas when forced to re-conceive the problem in different ways before trying to solve it. Similarly a classic study of artists found that those focused on discovery at the problem-formulation stage produced better art

        Wednesday, June 15, 2011

        When it Rains Ideas

        Some ideas are like thunder & lightening followed by a downpour. They shake you up and then vanish. 

        Some ideas are like the gentle and cool breeze that you may or may not notice, but they have a subconscious impact. 

        Some are like a continuous drizzle, you must accept & live with them. 

        Wednesday, January 12, 2011

        Vivekananda Jayathi

        “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.” - Swami Vivekananda

        Not only spiritual giants, I might add! 

        "We want that education, by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one's own feet" - Swami Vivekananda 

        Happy National Youth Day! Swami Vivekananda (12 Jan 1863 - 4 July 1902)

        Wednesday, December 08, 2010

        Conference Paradox

        I've had a somewhat philosophical and broody - and inexplicably so - start to the day and it's not even the beginning of the work-week or something! :-) Half the week is yet to be covered. Not to forget, a weekend that one is typically forced to use in a constructive manner (which however rarely happens) is also waiting around the corner. Putting all these so-called 'troubles' aside, I'd like to rely on some craziness and humor to end the current state of affairs. ;-)

        I had a sudden crazy thought yesterday as I pondered over a couple of recent conferences I participated in. I think one way to make conferences exciting and unusual (apart from having a smart plan/format, witty speakers, intriguing topics etc)  is to do something paradoxical. I haven't heard of this happening anywhere, so I am guessing it is a fresh idea (though it has been employed in a different form in other situations). Why not invite a good and unconventional speaker to present something totally against the topic - wait till I finish - something ridiculously and absurdly against the topic! 

        I have a feeling this will not just be major fun but also provoke participants to actually think of some radical ideas as counter arguments. So, in the case of KM, for example, the presenter could say something like "KM makes absolutely no sense because in the long run we are all dead and the future generation will anyway find no use for the pathetic stuff we have learned!". 

        Think about it.... ;-)

        Thursday, November 25, 2010

        Birth of Ideas

        Seth Godin's post on a topic that you thought you knew everything about leaves you thinking again.

        My favorites from Seth's list:


        • Ideas don't come from watching television (Is everyone listening? ;-))
        • Ideas often come while reading a book (Of course!)
        • Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide (Always!)
        • Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do (Love this!)
        • Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they're generous and selfless (Aww!)
        • Ideas come from nature (These are bound to be great!)
        • An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn't join us here, it's hidden. And hidden ideas don't ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone. (KM...what else?)

        Thursday, July 22, 2010

        Please Procrastinate

        Read this totally riotous article. Paul reminds me of Bill Bryson. :-) 

        Now, consider this -  “The most distinguishing feature of winners is their intensity of purpose.”-Alymer Letterman

        Honestly, I think this article explains why some of us don't do what we don't do. Who said we procrastinate? Utter gibberish. We simply are so obsessed with some of our ideas that we ignore everything else in the world. No. Seriously. If we want to be winners at something in life, then we may definitely have to learn to ignore a lot of other things. Think about it but don't sue me for this impulsive post :-)

        Thursday, June 24, 2010

        How to Deal with an Alien Idea

        I find it exasperating when I am around people who have a tendency to dismiss or criticize ideas, that come from elsewhere, without a second thought. I find myself glowing with happiness when I am with people who respect an idea, consider it from various angles with patience and then come up with genuine concerns and communicate it in such a way that it only motivates the idea giver to introspect further and enhance her idea. So, when I read this article, I had an urge to share it on this blog. I couldn't possibly put it in a better way.

        Open your mind: Consider your first reaction when faced with a new idea. You might admit that you frequently feel compelled to analyze and criticize new things. For tiny seedlings of ideas to grow to become big innovations, we must open our minds and defer judgment.
        Here’s how: remind yourself that idea generation and idea evaluation are different, equally important modes of thinking, and that you'll work most effectively using one mode at a time. When you’re generating ideas, suspend your disbelief and say yes to everything. When you’re evaluating ideas, first look for the value in every idea. Power off the grading system that was installed in your head in kindergarten. Give all of the ideas you encounter an E for Exotic, Exciting and Excellent. Then phrase your concerns in constructive ways that build and refine ideas.

        Wednesday, February 17, 2010

        Ideas....! Ideal or Idle?

        An idea that is worth it can both rob you of your sleep & appear sweeter than sleep. Robbery when it eludes you & sweetness when you near it...(does that resonate?)

        Here is a weak attempt to put this thought into a clumsy graph! :-)

        Wednesday, November 25, 2009

        Reverse Brainstorming

        I love paradox thinking! Totally into it! Fascinated by it, you know! Would be game to try almost everything that suggests a "reverse" approach! [Thanks to Derm Barret's book's - The Paradox Process - influence on me!] :-)

        This is the latest paradoxical idea that I've bumped into and am craving for an appropriate opportunity to try it out! David Gurteeen's "Reverse Brainstorming". Extracts:


        The concept is simple: rather than brainstorm what you want - brain storm the opposite of what you want. For example, if you would like your KM project to be a success don't ask "How do we ensure our KM project is a success?" but ask "How do we ensure that our KM project is a total miserable failure?"

        They are then taken through a process of prioritizing those items and coming up with antidotes i.e. things that if done would ensure the failures would not happen. Next they share these possible responses and insights between the groups.

        This works best with about 30 people i.e six groups of five people.


        Friday, September 04, 2009

        Preserving India's Knowledge

        Almost three years ago, I posted about my discovery of the Bangalore-based FRLHT – Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions - and remember vividly that I was quite excited about it at that time. Now, three years of evolution or rotting (depending on the way you look at it ;-)) later, I followed the Twitter profile of a person (Mani) who happened to retweet one of my tweets (this is a distraction, nevertheless, in case you are curious what my retweeted tweet was about and are lazy to click on the link, let me tell you. It was about a KM product company – Trampoline Systems, if you want the name as well - that is adopting a crowdfunding approach to finance its future) and found something there that rang a huge bell in my mind and brought back memories of my spotting the FRLHT office bus. When I glanced through Mani’s recent Twitter updates, I was lucky enough to spot one of his tweets about the existence of an organization called CIKS - Centre of Indian Knowledge Systems! One look at the organization’s home page and I was mighty impressed by their projects, vision and achievements. Not surprisingly, as I glanced through the Trustees page, I realized that the key person behind FRLHT is one of the members of CIKS as well. That bell in my mind was spot on! Ding Dong! :-)

        CIKS seems to focus on preserving India’s agricultural knowledge amongst other things and speaks of some inspiring and admirable project areas to help India’s rural population through well-designed programs. Most of the projects revolve around organic farming methods but I guess the scope and potential for expanding this concept is immense! Not many weeks ago, I was having a conversation with two of my friends about the possibility of using KM in non-profit ventures and for social benefits and we’d touched upon areas like Education, Agriculture, Health-Care and Infrastructure. CIKS is a brilliant example of what can be done in the agricultural arena. More so because of the rich agricultural history that India has. Even though the focus at present seems to be only on preserving conventional agricultural knowledge, it would be quite easy to extend it to facilitate sharing of knowledge across farmers, providing them with the platforms and practices to network, collaborate and innovate! If proven to be a success here, I can’t think of any reason why it can’t be replicated in the Education and Health-Care sectors as well. Speaking of Education, I am reminded of India’s traditional and inspiring Gurukul system.

        There is an urge to come back and look into this at length and expand on the ideas…..but what do you think?

        Tuesday, March 17, 2009

        Out of the Box....

        Want to 'Deposit' this here. ;-)

        Post on being productive with the Inbox - on Jack Vinson's blog. Gist of the post: DELETE, DEPOSIT (file), DELEGATE, DO, and DEFER.