26 Mar 2015

Will You Be A Slave All Your Life?

Question for you: Why do you want to be a millionaire? Is it because you want a million dollars (or rupees) in your account? Or is it because you crave for the lifestyle that comes with it? Driving fancy cars, living in a lavish house, going on exotic vacations, attending crazy parties… Aaaaaah! The life!

I’m guessing it’s the latter, right? And that’s why you slog your butt off! You work like a maniac to be productive. This productivity, you are told, will help you progress and earn more. But here’s the thing. Productivity, real productivity, isn’t measured in quantity. It’s measured in quality.

I had written about one lie that society wants us to live in. Well, here’s another: doing more means you are productive. Doing less means you’re not doing enough. And if you don’t do enough, you won’t get anywhere in life. You will languish at the bottom while your peers get promoted, earn more, and enjoy more of life’s offerings. But, in reality you’ll work 10 hours a day, only to get promoted to eventually start working 14 hours! And that ‘relaxing weekend’ you so looked forward to will become a myth. If you are lucky, you’ll occasionally get to enjoy the spoils of your earnings by spending on gadgets that you barely use or indulge in a “short-or-get-fired vacation”, as Tim Ferris terms it. You will become a slave to money all your life.

But how can this be a lie? After all, doesn’t packing more activities in 24 hours give us a rush? True, it makes you feel great, but what do you accomplish? You tick a lot of items off your to-do list each day, but in the end, how did it help you to be productive? You worked your ass off only to have to do the same thing, in the same way, again tomorrow.

Doing more’ was a concept introduced by organizations to wring us, to suck out our blood, and then do it again. The more man did what he was told, the harder he labored, the better his chances were of being promoted. And as long as he believed this truth, the corporate world could make him work more and keep him bound.

slave to money

Dalai Lama was once asked what surprised him most about humanity. “Man”, he said. “Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he does not live in the present or in the future. He lives as if he is never going to die and then he dies having never really lived.”

Poignant, isn’t it? We are all living that life. Well, at least most of us are. If you are one of the few who is genuinely happy with their lives, I salute you. 

So what should we do to get out of this trap? Bruce Lee opined, “It’s not the daily increase, but the daily decrease that matters. Hack away at the unessential." So take stock of each daily activity. If that is helping you move closer to your ultimate goal, pursue it. If not, either delegate or stop it. However, dear reader, this does NOT apply to household chores. Please don’t quote this to your husband, wife or mother and declare that you will stop (or worse, delegate) household chores. It won’t be pleasant for me to see them chase me with knives and daggers.

So if you have a goal, do what helps you to pursue it. If you don’t, spend time with people who matter - spouse, parents, children, good friends. How will you find time? Simple. Eliminate activities and things that add to your daily burden instead of reducing it. Quit going to places where you are not needed. It’s better to quit when people are asking “why” instead of “when”. A “why” question means they are applauding your contribution, rather than wondering “when” your exit will come. So it’s best to free up time to pursue a more constructive and fulfilling life. You are the master of your fate. The key to your life is yours. It’s time you took it back from people who never should have had it to begin with.

12 Mar 2015

What the 'India's Daughter' Documentary Will Achieve

By the time you read this post, the Delhi High Court may have taken a decision on whether to lift the ban on the India’s Daughter documentary or not. We will now know whether the documentary will freely be circulated on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and WhatsApp or continue to be circulated mutedly WhatsApp circles with the demand to make it go viral.

This is the second outrage in India on social media in as many months demanding freedom of speech and from imposition of ‘unwarranted’ bans after the AIB Roast video take down.

The India’s Daughter documentary has done more harm than it can ever done good. Here’s how:

One, it is against the Indian Constitution. The final verdict of the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape case is pending with the Supreme Court and publication of any material that may influence a pending case is prohibited by the Contempt of Court Act. The courts can take legal action against the BBC if they wish. I’m sure the BBC knows this - they just don’t give a fuck. By demanding the ban be lifted and watching the BBC Documentary, you will abet a media house that deliberately has broken a clause in the Indian law - the law which you so badly want upheld in our country. 

Two, the 'India's Daughter' documentary has harmed the image of the Indian male worldwide. We are now looked at as a demographic of rapists who do not respect the fairer sex. Don’t believe me? Here’s an e-mail from a German professor who rejected an Indian candidate’s application for internship because India was a country with ‘rape’ problems: “Unfortunately, I do no longer [sic] accept any male Indian guests, trainees, doctoral students, or post docs due to the severe rape problem in India. I cannot support a society which is not able to respect females in any aspect…….. Many female professors in Germany decided no longer to accept male Indian students for these reasons, and currently other European female association [sic] are joining.” Happy? Can you also imagine the number of Indian males abroad who will be ridiculed and physically assaulted because of the image of our’s that this documentary portrays of us? Just because the media won’t report them doesn't mean it won’t happen. This is going to lead to round two of ‘curry bashing’ in developed countries. Thank you BBC!

Third, a lot of wrong has been done during the filming and production of ‘India’s Daughter’. For the documentary, the accused, Mukesh Singh, demanded ₹2 lakhs from the BBC. The latter paid him 40,000 rupees. Wow! 40k for violating a girl and becoming the star in a BBC documentary! Sounds terrific, doesn't it? Plus the boy who was with Jyoti Singh (I will call her by her real name, not Nirbhaya) on that fateful night has stated that the documentary is a fake. It also shows that anyone can walk into a jail and interview a criminal.

indias daughter documentary ban
Do you really want to watch it?

Which brings me to the following questions: Will you readily justify all this so that you can watch the documentary? Why do you want ‘India’s Daughter’ to be aired? It has been shot by a media house which is definitely not Indian. Were we not living until now without seeing something as disturbing as this? And if we really were keen on knowing the mindset of a rapist, why wasn't this shot by an Indian? We had 2 1/2 years to do it, didn't we?

Here's what you will do if the ban is lifted from the BBC documentary: Plaster social media platforms with the video, chastise derogatory comments made shamelessly in it and demand justice for Jyoti. Time that should be spent by parents in embedding values in their children will be spent on writing blog posts about how horrible our culture is, how lax the law is and how spoilt we men are. And it will all be forgotten in a few days. Remember the Sarita Devi episode? The internet broke with support for her when she refused to accept the medal. And what did we do when the International Boxing Association banned her for a year? Thenga! Sachin Tendulkar was the only person who came forward and encouraged the Indian Boxing Federation to support her.

Are your videos and blog posts going to reduce the number of cases? Each 'Like' or share brings down the number of violations by 1? If yes, please go ahead… by all means. But if not, get over this hypocrisy demanding freedom of speech and from censorship.

You don’t need to watch a fucking documentary if you want to make a difference. Most criminals (not just rapists) come from poor and broken homes. They have never known values, responsibility or respect. Their crimes stem from frustrations of poverty and the craving for recognition. The government is working hard towards the former. Why don’t you help with the latter? Teach lesser privileged children about morals and respect. Help them stand on their feet. You will be surprised at the number of stories of underprivileged people who have turned over a new leaf because someone rescued them from the dumps. That will really contribute towards the improvement of society, towards respect for women and their safety, and towards a better tomorrow.

This is my second rant in as many months. Looks like I'm growing old and grumpy like 40-year-old men. But I hope that this post convinces you that the need of the hour is not action on social media, but action in real life. I'm laying the groundwork and am ready to walk this path. Are you?

image Courtesy: Google Images

5 Mar 2015

How A Single Action Can Make or Ruin Your Day

One evening, I sat with some lovely people at a café, discussing the way forward for something. Everyone was pitching in with constructive opinions. It was great! Somewhere while sitting quietly though, I drew a cube in my book. And shaded it. That was it! My mind shut down and I stopped listening. When my opinion was asked, I almost sounded like Arnab Goswami. You have no idea about how sucky I felt later.

I’ve worked in the corporate long enough. I have sat through endless meetings; sometimes my whole day was spent attending 3 of them back-to-back. Colleagues would ask why I looked drained. I told them it was probably because I was. But they refused to believe it. “How can meetings be exhausting?”, they would ask. “After all, what better way to spend your day than talk and do no work?” 

The problem was that I hated meetings. Most of them were just ego-boosters for people who probably did not get to speak at home. Imagine sitting for 3 hours in a room filled with people of whom only 2-3 do all the talking. And nothing constructive comes out of it. I went through this almost every day. My ears bled and eyelids felt like they were tied to paperweights.

My only companions during meetings were my book and pen. To maintain sanity, I would doodle - mostly draw cubes and shade them. After all you have to something. How long will you fake paying attention and get away with it.

image Courtesy: Flickr

Our brain wants to save energy. That’s why when it experiences a series of events repeatedly, it starts formulating patterns. These patterns get stored in the basal ganglia and become what are commonly known as ‘habits’. That’s why we don’t have to use our brains to brush our teeth, eat, wear clothes (minus the choosing, of course) and with practice, think lesser for activities like driving, cooking, swimming and [enter activities you enjoy here].

Another aspect of this pattern formulation is preemption. Our brain experiences events and subconsciously imbibes in us that Action 1 leads to Action 2, Action 2 leads to 3, 3 leads to 4 and so on. Something that someone says may tick you off, leading to an outburst of angry (and regrettable) reactions, or looking forward to something sets off a series of feel-good thoughts, or someone cutting in front of your lane that makes you follow the ‘jack-ass’ around, park in front of him and start fighting. Because our brain forms patterns, certain actions that others (or we) do are ‘triggers’ for what follows. For me, doodling when someone speaks is a trigger to becoming mind-numb and irritable.

There is no moral of this post save becoming more aware of your triggers. Find out what your positive and negative behavior triggers are. Remember, it is equally important to know your positive triggers so that you can focus more on them to be happier. And being aware of your negative triggers is the 1st step in overcoming them and becoming more comfortable with yourself. These triggers are invaluable for understanding yourself better and becoming more comfortable with yourself. And the more comfortable you are, the more you respect yourself. And, inevitably, others respect you more.

I shared a trigger of mine with you. Now it’s your turn. What are your triggers, whether for happiness or frustration?

22 Feb 2015

Why Kejriwal’s Free Electricity Promise Should Worry You

I’ve mentioned before that despite being a Modi supporter, I am secretly happy that the AAP beat the BJP in the Delhi elections. It’s been less than a month since they have taken over and are already talking about fulfilling their pre-election promises.

When I studied MBA, my favorite subjects were Managerial Economics and Business Strategy. I still don’t understand regression analysis well, but like to look at organizational and governmental decisions from the perspective of economics and strategy. And yes, like you, I’m an advocate of progress and development.

Economics has made me question one promise of Kejriwal in particular - free electricity. And I have quite a few grave reservations about it. Here’s why.

Let’s give AAP the benefit of doubt and assume that they won’t provide free electricity to all of Delhi, but will substantially lower tariffs. AAP has already asked for a coal block from the Central Government (I hope they bid for it instead of demanding it for free). This coal, they say, will be provided to a private firm that will produce 3,750 - 6,000 MW of electricity for Delhi. Is it just me or do you see something black in the lentils, too?

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) has already stated that prices need to increase to compensate companies producing electricity in Delhi. Now, on to the AAP’s proposal of reducing tariffs by 50%. To do so, the Delhi government will have to compensate these discoms with up to ₹2000 crore each year. Kejriwal kept saying that the Delhi treasury has ₹5,000 crore in it. Does he plan to dry the funds up within 2 years?

Another question is related to the behavior of us Indians. We’re probably the most irresponsible bunch of people ever. If the prices of electricity drop, Delhiites will leave ACs, lights and fans on all day. After all, why worry since the bill is so low, right? And not just Delhiites, any Indian would do it considering how much we care about anyone but ourselves. This will lead to wastage, and more demand for electricity, further leading to more demand for coal and other resources and invariably, more weight of subsidies on the shoulders of the Delhi government. And if Delhi gets free electricity, these issues will become even more rampant.  So the Delhi treasury may very well run dry in less than 2 years.

free electricity Delhi

Increase in usage of air conditioners will increase air pollution. Kejriwal is already coughing his lungs out. Plus there will be no funds allocated for infrastructure development to reduce congestion. The result? Even more air pollution and poor road infrastructure. More people will cough like Kejriwal and encounter lung disorders. Who will invest in Delhi then? And without investment, where will jobs and better livelihood come from?

The free WiFi, if implemented will also take its toll on electricity production. Contrary to what you believe, WiFi will only be free for 30 minutes in Delhi, after which it will be chargeable. Routers, data warehouses and infrastructure are going to demand electricity, which further adds to the challenges mentioned in paragraph 4. Then again, do you think anyone will pay for WiFi after 30 minutes when they have mobile data and internet at home? I know you will say that free WiFi is on offer in Ahmedabad also, apart from other cities globally. But they don’t have to deal with the challenges that AAP will create. Plus their governments have alternate ways of generating revenue. What plan does the Delhi government have? Populism does not attracts investors.

Which brings us to yet another question. Does a government body need to earn revenue and profit? I say “Yes”. But then I am a ‘capitalist’, right? People like me are considered selfish, greedy and downright evil. Nehru thought so, and hence he was always against the business class - a belief that he drove in his daughter who further stifled our economy when we should have been growing. Apparently, Kejriwal thinks so too. Is the secret love between AAP and the Congress surprising, then? But you know one thing? No focus on generating revenue makes a company inefficient and unaccountable. The result? The demand for bailouts like from Air India. And who pays for AI’s inefficiency? You and me, through taxes. Taxes which should be deployed for growth and development, not to bail out a firm that can’t take care of itself and will continue to squander funds. The same concept applies to governments, whether local, statewide or national.

Populist measures have no place in a developing economy like ours. But they are what please us most. They make us feel secular and pro-poor and all inclusive. However, they offer momentary relief to some strata of people, but we are back to square one in no time. The way forward is pro-development measures. And asking people to be a part of it. The Central government has already started by letting people voluntarily opt out of LPG subsidies and keeping a buffer margin on fuel prices to compensate oil companies. While Modi is headed in the right direction, Kejriwal is headed in the opposite. Only time will tell who’s decision was right, but it mostly will be Modi whose decisions will stand vindicated. We need to think measures and policies from a dispassionate and economic perspective, rather than simply supporting it because we love the party. 

11 Feb 2015

Why I'm Secretly Glad That BJP Lost to AAP in the Delhi Elections

67 out of 70 seats! ‘Landslide’ is the word being used for Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) victory in Delhi. ‘Comprehensive’ is an understatement, isn't it? I’ve started following politics pretty late, but even those who have been watching this field closely for decades will consider this worthy of being termed ‘historic’.

A disclaimer up front: I am not an AAP supporter. In fact, I am no specific party supporter - I just am anti Congress and pro growth. This is why, as you may have guessed, my current loyalties lie with Narendra Modi. The man has good intent and is working towards making India a better place, although the media conveniently fails to report more than 70% work being done.

I had a ringside view of the Delhi Elections campaigning as I was there from 3rd - 7th February. I watched news channels, spoke to the aam aadmi (common man, not the party volunteers), and witnessed political campaigns at various places. My ears rang with the '5 saal Kejriwal' song being played everywhere.

While Tarun and I agreed that it was better to vote for even the Congress rather than AAP, I am secretly glad that AAP beat the Bharati Janata Party (BJP). Can’t say that I’m happy at the mauling that the BJP received in the results though. Anyway, here is why I am glad that AAP won.

AAP Wins Delhi Elections
"Ro lo, behenji"

  1. Kiran Bedi would not make a good CM
    Many people weren’t pleased with the BJP’s decision to bring Bedi onboard as their CM candidate. Obviously the party had its reasons which we don’t know, or it took a wrong call. Happens. But seeing that woman cry on TV saying that she was overwhelmed by the love she received, cooking roti at Gurudwaras and pulling off other antics, most of us said “Yaar, yeh nautanki hai (man, this is drama).” And it’s very hard for people to trust someone fond of drama (Arvind Kejriwal seems to be an exception though). Bedi had a lot of foot-in-mouth situations. If she had become CM, she would’ve done more of it and given BJP haters more chances to ridicule the party, further adding to Modi’s headache.

  2. I stand to gain, whether I am or wrong
    I was ecstatic when Kejriwal became Delhi’s CM in 2014. Like everyone, I believed that Delhi had done the right thing. The rest, as we know, is history. Kejriwal then returned to Delhi with promises and strategic campaigning. And Delhi-ites have lapped it up. Now is the time to see how much Arvind Kejriwal lives up to his promises. After all, hasn’t the AAP lambasted Modi the most for failing to keep up to his.

    Kejriwal’s interviews on TV were interesting. He would never look at the camera, except when he was accusing others. I’m no body language expert, but have the ability to pick subtle hints thanks to reading and observations. And a man who keeps looking elsewhere when someone is talking to him - well, he’s lying.

    Most TV reporters didn’t grill Kejriwal. Even the #RavishAsksKejriwal interview on NDTV looked staged. They just asked him questions which he could answer easily. No one asked him about how he planned to interact with people whose feet he stepped on in his cameo stint, or the condition he left Delhi in. He talked about populist measures like setting up free WiFi in Delhi for 200 crore (mind you, it’s gonna cost more than that) and free water. He didn’t speak about improving the infrastructure condition in Delhi. And trust me, the condition of roads and traffic in Delhi is depressing. Also, by declaring that they will punish every corrupt person, AAP risks entering the same state as the Congress - policy paralysis. This is because bureaucrats will be terrified of pushing things forward lest they get punished. This is what got the Congress into a rut.

    Kejriwal kept repeating one thing in all interviews: “The Delhi treasury has ₹5,000 crore in it.” I get the feeling that he has an eye on it, that crony capitalism will occur even with the AAP in power.
    But you know the advantage of being a pessimist, like I am when it comes to the AAP? You’re either proved right or pleasantly wrong. If AAP proves me wrong, I’ll be glad for the people of Delhi. And if I’m proved right… well, you can expect to read an “I told you so” post.

  3. The BJP can be an opposition party
    Yeah yeah. The BJP doesn’t have enough seats to be in the opposition. And the AAP has been really classy in offering the LoP position to them. But hey, this move by the AAP is more tactical than classy. They know the repercussions from the central government for denying the BJP an opposition place. And if you are reading this and saying “Oh come on! This is blackmail”, then snap out of it. Politics is rampant at your workplace, among relatives and friends, everywhere. A state and country are much bigger. Every politician has to take it in his/her stride.

    Rather than having to prove their mettle in Delhi like across India, BJP’s party members can simply play devil’s advocate to AAP (don’t know how effective that will be though).
  4. The BJP won't get complacent
    However good the intentions, complacency always creeps in. In fact, it's been an Achilles' Heel in human nature. With victories in many states, complacency could have been creeping into the BJP's ranks. This demolition at the hands of AAP will stifle that. The BJP will know that they can't take anything for granted and have to work towards growth and development to stay in the good books of common man. And that was primarily why people voted for Modi in the 1st place.

Kejriwal has a second chance to prove himself in front of the same people. And that is so rare! Forget the ‘5 saal Kejriwal’ song. Kejriwal’s 1st step will be successfully manage 5 days, and then 5 months. After that, we can wonder what he plans to do for Delhi for 5 years. So all you people rejoicing over AK’s victory, remember, this is just the beginning. The true test lies ahead.

8 Feb 2015

A Question to 'Freedom of Speech' And AIB Roast Supporters

I have just returned from a long awaited trip to North India. I witnessed the Kila Raipur Rural Olympics, visited the Golden Temple, Wagah border, Akshardham and saw many other places in Delhi and Punjab. I drove more than 500 miles in 5 days but barely felt exhausted because the weather was so damn good.

In Delhi, I caught up with a friend - Anmol Ahuja a.k.a. The Preachy Professor. A graphics designer by passion, he has moved up the ranks to become a manager. Anmol has always come across as a balanced and mature bloke. When we met a few days ago, being social media enthusiasts, we discussed a topic which has angered many people - the takedown of the AIB roast video. Anmol has an amazing perspective on things, backed by facts. “You’re a very wise guy. You have a mind way more mature than that of a 27 year old” I said. “I’m 23”, he corrected. Anmol is truly unique.

But I’ll shower praises on Anmol in another post (maybe). This one is addressed to the people who are furious at AIB allegedly being asked to take down their 'Roast' video. Allegedly. I love that word.

I saw the below image on Facebook with a status update which implied that abusing in real life is okay, so it should be allowed in reel life too. Well, we’re okay with having sex in real life too, right? So what’s your demand going to be? A fully blown and legal porn industry? “No. There is a huge difference in porn and profanity”, you say. But going by the above logic, because it is okay to have sex in real life (and enjoyable too), it should be okay to upload videos of consenting adults in the act watched by consenting people too. So we can make porn legal in India too and not be offended when people watch it in public places. And our culture can continue to go to hell.

aib roast youtube

We like picking outrageous things from the west. It makes us feel cool. I mean, AIB couldn’t even come up with a new name. They had to rip the one used in USA. But why ‘be inspired’ by only the bullshit? Why don’t we pick the good stuff? Like learning to respect each other the way they do, especially the lesser fortunate people who serve us at hotels and other places. Or following proper etiquette while driving. Or not littering? Why don’t we allow people to pursue different interests instead of making them choose only engineering or medicine? Why don’t we see more responsible single fathers? Why don't we see a balance of household work between men and women? Why don’t we force organizations to be more sensitive to their employees’ needs?

We know how ‘sensible’ the young parents of today are. They care more about their smartphones and tabs than about their toddlers. Imagine them watching these videos on full blast in front of 3-4 year olds. And one day, when they walk home, they are welcomed with ‘Behenchod’ by their child. They might laugh and feel proud - after all a 3 year old calling his father a ‘sister-fucker’ is funny, right? Or is it? Or imagine your mother browsing through YouTube, an AIB video filled with choicest profanity comes up in the suggestions and she innocently clicks on it. Will you laugh if she walks up to and says that she was disturbed by what she saw? (By the way, when my mom went to see Delhi Belly because it was an Aamir Khan movie, she left within 10 minutes and came home almost in tears).

Anmol made a great point.”You don’t need profanity to promote good content”, he said. “And if you are using something controversial, it was your intent to court controversy all along.” Mind you, AIB knew exactly what they were doing. And they did it to evoke these responses from you which further adds to their publicity. They don’t give a rat’s ass about what you really think. They know that they aren’t talented enough. So they resort to toilet humor and cheap antics like this to create a wave of sympathy to suck you in.

It’s time you stop paying attention to this nonsense and channelize your energy into fruitful and constructive things. Even if you protests, make sure it is for the right things, not those which probably shame your parents and your children.

22 Jan 2015

3 Things Einstein Taught Me About Solving Life's Problems

It’s almost been a year since I left the corporate world. And it’s been my happiest and most productive one. See, a guy like me loves simplicity and doing things. However, the corporate world isn’t so fond of them. I’ve noticed that complexity matters more. When I worked for others, excruciatingly long hours were spent pouring over details planning many things that never saw the light of day. And because my opinions were always at loggerheads with my colleagues seniors, I stuck out like a sore thumb. I think I still do.

I was a part of the corporate world for long enough to closely observe its culture and draw patterns. 1 thing I found rampant across firms (and I despised it) was — fire fighting: trying to douse fires which became too large to ignore. What was also noticeable is how much my colleagues and seniors enjoyed it. They spent more than 6 hours out of 10 in a day grappling with problems that should not have existed. What a waste of productivity! Imagine what organizations can achieve if hundreds (or thousands) of employees get these 6 hours daily (or 30 hours weekly) to work on something constructive!

The concept of problem solving today is flawed. “If it isn’t urgent, worry about it later,” is the mantra. Eventually, the ignored problem becomes so massive that it calls for — you guessed it — fire fighting. This behavior is so deeply entrenched in most organizations that it has become a culture. Oh by the way, it is rampant in life outside work too.

You are nodding while reading this, aren’t you? “But how should we fix it?”, you ask. Well, I asked Albert Einstein the same question. He answered with 3 quotes. Quotes which, like in a movie, were revelations for me and now are an integral part of my life.

1. "It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer."

We don’t want a problem to stay around for long; it should be gotten rid of as soon as possible. So we immediately jump into ‘resolution mode’. Each person — to shine brighter in front of his boss — becomes an expert on solving it. The meeting room echoes with dialogues like “listen to me”, “I know what to do” and “this is how we’ll do it”. But people fail to realize that the proposed resolutions are merely quick fixes. The problem will rear its ugly head again. So what should we do? Well, read on.

2. "If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions."

This is arguably the best piece of advice Albert Einstein has given us. The more time one spends understanding a problem, the more effective the resolution. Techniques like 5 Ys and Fishbone allow us to get to the root cause of the problem, and take steps to eliminate it permanently. Ask Paul O’Neill who turned an ailing Alcoa into one of corporate America’s heavyweights by simply addressing one core problem — worker safety.

Don’t look for solutions immediately; think different. Take time to comprehend the gravity of the issue at hand. Keep redefining the problem until you get to the root cause. The solutions you and devise will actually save you a lot of fire fighting time. And for all you know, they may open up new avenues for you.

3. "Logic will get you from point A to point B. Imagination will take you everywhere."

Edward de Bono points out in his book ‘Lateral Thinking’ that too often we spend time measuring how right or wrong a solution is. "But", he says, "you can’t dig a hole at a different location by digging the same one deeper." Be prepared to consider all options, no matter how relevant or irrelevant they are. Let our so-called understanding of ‘logic’ take a back seat and imagination take over. Be prepared to "think different". This concept isn’t only applicable to problem solving. It can be used for everything under the sun that you can think of. Thinking of something? Yes, it can be used there too.

problem solving

These concepts aren’t easily accepted. Hell, it takes a lot to start practicing them in the 1st place! It takes dedication to simplicity, to think different and putting something out there even if you’re not 100% satisfied with it. Brace yourself for opposition, “This isn’t how it’s done”s and even indifference. But get a hang of them and you will feel like a prophet. I know because I feel like one.  These philosophies should be a part of your daily lives too, just like they are in mine.

Where can you use these philosophies in your life?

image courtesy: Google Images