26 May 2013

5 Steps on How to KISS!

Not that kiss silly! I’m talking about Keeping It Short & Simple.

We’re hell bent on complicating almost everything we do today. We are weighed down by the need to stay ahead of others. Who can blame us? Competition is cut throat, isn’t it? So we try doing everything differently, doing a lot at once, putting in too much in one thing… you know what I mean.

Let’s simplify life. Simple doesn’t mean easy. But simple is elegant and successful today. Be it the iPhone (simple functions), Gucci (simple designer wear), the art of Zen (simple concepts) or Metallica (simple heavy/thrash metal music).
KISS - Keep It Short & Simple
So how do we make things simple, you ask? Well, here are 5 tips to get you started:

  • Don’t imitate someone: Companies today try to copy what worked with competition. Likewise, we individuals keep trying to go one–up on peers. Comparing with others impacts how we look at what we have. We end up trying harder; wanting more – more money, more recognition, more assets, more gadgets, more happiness outside… I had talked about howit hurts us and how to get rid of it. The best (and only) yardstick for comparison is YOU! You owe nothing to no one and no one owes anything to you. So measure your success on the basis of your past. Expect rewards depending upon the effort you have put in. Imitation and comparison hurt no one but us.
  • Don’t do it all at once: Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Companies try to incorporate everything they can think of in a new product simply because they can. Musicians try too many things in one song thinking it will become interesting. People work out extra hard in the 1st month to lose weight expecting miraculous results. Writers try to cram too many points into one sentence/paragraph. You know what happens. Products flop, maintaining them becomes tedious; music doesn’t hit it with the audience; people lose steam instead of weight; the reader loses interest… All this happens just because we try to do it all at once. I know you have plenty of ideas; so many that your head must be buzzing. But try them gradually. Have patience, stay persistent and you’ll taste success. Plus you’ll have a lot more to keep yourself interested.
  • Aim to Simplify: Keep asking yourself one question “How can I make this simpler?” It’s a myth that simple is no longer awesome. In fact, simple today is preferred over complex. The simpler you make something, the better it becomes. And believe that you can make it simpler. This applies to music, work, food recipes and even your daily chores.
  • Have faith: Everything you want to accomplish takes time. Everything good takes time to evolve. Even those who got successful overnight have been working painstakingly at it for years. If success was easy, everyone would achieve it. Don’t give up because it isn’t working out now. Chota Bheem director Rajiv Chilaka took 7 years to taste success. Jubilant Foodworks streamlined their business for 15 years before they listed on the stock exchange. So many people don’t know how close they were to their goals when they gave up. So have faith; stick it out.
  • Know that you’ll be alone: A vast majority of those around you can’t comprehend this. They won’t listen to you. They want to complicate, which is the status quo today. They won’t appreciate you challenging it. They won’t appreciate you trying to change things, even if it’s for their betterment. The longer you hold on, the more likely to succeed. As Gandhi said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you and then you win.”

Simple today is the need of the hour. Try incorporating it in everything in your life. Simplify your diet, your lifestyle & your thinking and watch your life improve. Simplify your behaviour, your attitude and see your relationships improve. Go on, try it. And thank me in the comments section.

19 May 2013

Book Review: Smart Phones Dumb People? - Parthajeet Sarma

People are getting dumber while phones are getting smarter. It’s a known fact. A funny saying these days goes such – “It’s important for man to be honest. Even phones are smart these days.” I had blogged about this here. The author, Parthajeet Sarma, looks to address this notion. Or so it seems by the title of the book – Smart Phones Dumb People?

Parthajeet Sarma is a fan of free markets and technology. This is evident from what he writes about. The author has slotted his thoughts into 5 main categories:

  • Technology
  • Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Priorities
  • Corruption

The author’s writing seems inspired by Gurcharan Das and the likes. He presents a holistic view of India and its citizens in each chapter and provides relevant examples to justify his view points. He reminds us of how lucky we are because mobiles phones and vehicles are affordable today viz-a-viz 2 decades ago. He focuses on how technology is being leveraged to make common man’s life easier. Examples include travel portals, e-commerce websites, banking and ATMs (which he predicts may turn mobile soon) and more. He laments over the attitude of students joining IIT (simply to adhere to society’s or their parents’ norms); how Facebook has reduced the amount we interact with real friends. He does this in anecdotal ways – some funny Facebook updates and incidents between his friends and him.
Smart Phones Dumb People?

Parthajeet Sarma believes innovation occurs mostly in the west and not in India. I would beg to differ. Jugaad Innovation points out how innovation is increasingly gaining speed in emerging nations (including India). The western world spends millions of dollars on innovation and invention with precious little gained from it. On the other hand, Indians invest lesser money and achieve results to address issues plaguing their people more effectively. Resource usage is optimized in India and other emerging nations more than in western countries today.

While the author talks about using 21st century tools to address 19th century issues, I wish he would focus more on how smart phones are hampering productivity of man today. He could have touched upon more aspects relevant to the title of the book. While some humans have used technology for the enhancement of society, most of us are distracted by it. E-mails, chats, Social media and more keep us so distracted that we refuse to spend even a few minutes by ourselves. In fact, someone I know wants m-indicator, an app which suggests train and bus timings in Mumbai, to start suggesting which trains we should catch to reach work on time. Our increasing dependence on technology is scary. The book can also do with more concise writing. We Indians are guilty of framing long sentences; trying to put too many points in one sentence. That, however, adversely impacts the attention span of the reader. I’m sure, with time, Parthajeet Sarma will become more adept at writing (or he’ll find a better ghost writer ;) ).

The book is a breezy read; one that can be finished in a few hours. It doesn’t beat around the bush. Instead, it briskly covers a lot of points. ‘Smart Phones Dumb People?’ is a good read for youngsters who would like a bird’s eye view of how India has progressed over the ages. However, voracious readers may find it a little wanting in language. I wish Parthajeet Sarma all the best and hopes he keeps coming out with better books.

5 May 2013

What is Wrong With Us Men?

  • Earlier men discussed women, cars and bikes; now they discuss smart phones.
  • Earlier men held doors open for women; now they expect women to hold their bags.
  • Earlier men were chivalrous; now they like being cocky and humiliating women.
  • Earlier men were upfront and direct; now most are manipulative and twisted.
  • Earlier men sporting a stubble were considered macho; now they’re considered unkempt.
  • Earlier men got their hands greasy tinkering with stuff; now they’re concerned about complexion and finger nails.
  • Earlier men were ‘petro’sexuals; now they’re metrosexuals.
  • Earlier men displayed power by establishing empires; now they show off their phones.
  • Earlier men argued in front of each other; now they bitch behind others’ backs.
  • Earlier men made love to women and pampered them; now they rape them.
Malboro Man? Anyone?

Earlier men were men; now I’m afraid they'll soon start sprouting boobs. Wonder what has gone wrong with us. What do you think?

Image Courtesy: Google Images
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