Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A case of road rage, and the dark side of us

Last week I was onboard a private bus for an overnight journey to Mumbai, and just as we crossed the Hyderabad city outskirts moving at a sedate speed (by Volvo standards) towards our first dinner break, the bus came to a screeching halt with sounds of thud to its right side. Apparently some biker from the nearby village had managed to sideswipe its right hand side, lost control and ended up in a shallow roadside ditch. For a moment, all the passengers thought someone has bid adieu to this wonderful world but were relieved to see the biker escaped with some external injuries, and perhaps fracture at one or two places on limbs and back (just a possibility). There weren't any life threatening injuries as the head was ok, the biker was conscious and talking all the time, and in fact walked across the national highway (maneuvering through the truckers and other fast moving vehicles) towards the bus in pitch dark night. In an ideal scenario, the biker would have come to the bus driver, said sorry for his misadventures (if not drunk), thanked the driver for saving his life with some excellent presence of mind and driving skills, and in a very ideal scenario, offered to pay some cash to compensate for the dent on the right hand side of the bus (if capable and not really poor), the bus along with its passengers continued its journey without wasting further time and the biker checked in to the nearby hospital to get treated and recover from the trauma. What actually happened was, the biker and his local accomplice started blaming the bus crew, and demanded a huge sum for body repairs (pun intended). What started as an argument slowly became a case of road rage fueled by the typical Indian mob mentality as the biker and his accomplice (and some unknown jobless locals who had nothing else to do at that time of the day) started calling people from the nearby area to fetch support. They held the bus and its passengers for ransom for more than 2 hours and at a stage the matter became such worse that the bus and its passengers were threatened by the mob (more than half of which were drunk, having no clue of what had actually happened but were ready to break the glasses, windows, and passenger's bones if required to get some bucks for the so called victim). Minor details like how the negotiations started with a ridiculous demand of a lac rupees, how some influential people in the bus held the fort, how police had to intervene and protect the bus, how the bus had to make its entry in the prestigious premises of the village police station 10 kilometers away to finally sort out the matter etc. are irrelevant but what incidents like these truly expose is the darker side of some of us.

I love road trips, highways excite me and driving is something I enjoy because road trips always offer you something new, something refreshing, something interesting, delightful and sometimes tragic as well but different experiences all the time. I have personally been witness to a lot of road rage cases, accidents, weird mishaps, and miraculous escapes on our Indian highways and every time these incidents tell us something really disturbing about our own mindset, our own psychology. Here are some of the observations on our darker aspects that I have experienced.

  • It's always David that get's the support versus Goliath
No matter who's mistake it is, when it comes to mob mentality, it will always be the smaller, shorter, thinner, poorer, less intellectual, underdog, dark horse, minority, deprived, oppressed (and what not) party that gets all the support and the backing from the mob. Now, although this aspect is observed in a lot of other areas when it comes to protesting or opposing something or someone, in this specific scenario of a road rage, the bigger vehicle has to be at fault, is an equation. What people don't understand is, the bigger vehicles can drive rash, fast but they cannot be maneuvered in a random way on a highway like smaller vehicles as cars, bikers, bicycles etc. These beasts need to be respected for what they are, and what they can or cannot perform on the highways. They aren't always at fault and more often than not, they aren't at any fault at all.

  • Making quick bucks is awesome and an accident is a great opportunity
An accident happened, great. Let's try to make some quick bucks out of it. Apart from the unabashed robbery attempts from the driver/owner of the bigger vehicle, an example of which I just mentioned above, there are some other ways I have encountered which some of us resort to, like stealing goods, oil, onions, vegetables, home furniture and almost everything that they can, from a toppled heavy vehicle on the road as the hapless driver/cleaner looks on. Disgustingly enough, I have also seen people taking away the valuables and belongings of the accident victims pleading for help in an injured state.
  • Sadistic human mind is reality
It is, or else tell me one reason why would some of us want to take gory pictures of a mutilated human body or a badly mangled vehicle with blood all over, and broadcast it over social networks? I don't even want to make any other statement on this but at different times we all have seen this happening unfortunately. I hate talking about selfies here but I have seen selfies of people on the most horrific accident sites.
  • Most of us have a lot of wasteful time to pass
I just don't understand this whole concept of a mob mentality. First thing is, how do we even get a mob at any point during the available 24 hours here in India? Irrespective of the scale, seriousness, cause or aftermath of an event, within quick time we can see at least a hundred people around, mostly youth, and that's disturbing. It almost seems like the people here don't have enough work (or any work at all) or any other medium to pass their time every day. Nothing productive, just follow someone who's following someone, who's in turn following someone and form a chain of blind followers to an accident site and create chaos (and by the way this aspect is seen a lot these days in the country in other areas too!).

What are some of the other disturbing observations you have encountered during your road trips and likewise?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Be a Sport!

American ex-president John F. Kennedy once quoted 'Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity'. While it is still very much debatable exactly what kind of dynamic and creative intellectual activities professionals in the corporate world perform on a day to day basis (?!), I for one, can speak of my industry where most of us are, for the major part, involved in some level of creative thinking and adaptation to the rapidly changing nature of our goals, roles and responsibilities. That's simply because ours is still a fairly young industry which is evolving every single day in a new way. Just like any other industry that includes working with a globally diverse set of people and a dynamic nature, we also encounter ambiguities, situational disadvantages, changing definitions of success, failure and excellence, dealing with difficult people (peers, stakeholders and managers!), lack of clarity, low morale of the team (and self!) just to name a few. The inevitability of these challenges means your success largely depends not on your abilities to prevent these but on how you respond to the situations creating these challenges. The question and the intent of my post here is to discuss whether engaging in any competitive sports as part of your corporate life can turn you into a better professional and increase your possibilities to achieve professional success.

Being a vivid sportsperson and an active player of at least five different kinds of competitive sports throughout my schooling and graduation, which I continued to pursue even after getting into the corporate arena, I believe there are many aspects of a professional me which have been shaped by the sports I played, directly or indirectly. Based on my personal experience, here are some of the key competencies I believe professionals in the corporate world can develop with their regular investment in any of the sporting activities.

Dealing with failures (and success)
Sports teaches you one thing for sure, there are only two outcomes possible, one you win and other you lose, and enough experience in any sport tells you that any sportsperson goes through wins and losses in abundance. It helps us deal with failures effectively and gracefully. It also helps us to stay grounded even when we are on a victory spree. As Kasparov once said, losing can persuade us to change what doesn't need to be changed, and winning can convince us that everything is fine even when we are on the brink of disaster. Sports teaches us to be balanced in our approach, to accept victory with humility and defeat with dignity, to learn not only from the defeat but also from the victory, and to be patient when things aren't actually going our way.

In almost all of the competitive sports, we have to make certain decisions in split second. Furthermore, every single decision we take matters because not always we get a second chance to get back in the game if we falter. If we win silver, we lose gold its that simple. A long exposure to this kind of environment naturally increases our decisiveness because it is all about training our mind and body to do one thing thousand times to ultimately make it part of our DNA. 

Situational leadership
A competitive sport is always unpredictable. A lot of variables come into picture to determine how we are going to perform that particular day. Our opponent's strengths and weaknesses, location, situational awareness, our own mental and physical state, support amongst many other things that can go wrong or right for us, and hence we have to keep adapting to the situations as they come, and also help our team adapt to them if we're leading.

Fight or flight
There's a distinct observation between the 'fight or flight' calls that a normal person and a sportsperson take, of course with exceptions. We rarely come across suicides, depressions, psychological diseases etc. in case of sportspersons. It doesn't mean they don't have struggles in their career, relationships, life, finances or what not. It simply means they have made fighting a part of their DNA as stated above. Their minds and bodies are trained to fight than to run away. They know the only way they can win is to catch the bull by its horns, and no sportsperson in my knowledge has ever gone to the battlefield with an intention to lose no matter even if it is a David versus goliath battle.

This is irrespective of whether we are an achiever in the sports or just a performer, because there's more biology to it than psychology. Any kind of competitive sports trigger two things in the body. One it often releases the hormone Adrenaline which pumps us up temporarily to perform beyond our potential, and second it always releases testosterone (estrogen in females) in males. While these hormones have many other interesting functionalities, in this context it is these hormones that give us that 'larger than life' attitude. They make us feel bigger and better than we actually are, physically as well as psychologically, and in some cases it may be the need of the hour. For e.g., a professional with a low self-esteem or low confidence or low morale can be immensely benefited and I have personally seen the effects of this nature when such people were guided to get involved in a highly competitive and physically intense sporting activity. To share a small secret, as much as possible I perform some form of an intense workout, either weight lifting, cardio or simply calisthenics just before I have to make a presentation to a group of senior leaders, or if I have to make a speech to a large audience unknown to me, and it works almost always !

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences and it will be interesting to know other interesting ways sports have helped or harmed professionals groom their competencies in the corporate world.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

America versus Europe as I experienced

'Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong: It is a geographical expression', German chancellor Bismarck once laconically remarked!

After having traveled for a week in three major countries in the western Europe, I must say Europe is definitely much more than mere a geographical expression. However, for someone like me who has been a frequent wanderer in parts of America, maiden encounter with Europe was an altogether different experience. Here are some of the notable observations and experiences I had in countries like Netherlands, Belgium and France, experiences that are singularly distinct than I have had in America.

Let me first begin with my favorite theme, the automotive scene, but before I do that, a word on the Airport security and immigration. Given the present day situation and imminent threats across Europe, I had anticipated a very strict and heavy scrutiny of the tourists landing there but to my utter dismay, the immigration official just looked at our passports, stamped and welcomed us in, without asking any questions whatsoever. Now that's surprisingly contradictory to what we experience in America. Sometimes, going through the airport security as I remove everything on my body except what's required bare minimum to shield my dignity, I do wonder if the next thing they would instruct tersely is 'Sir, you need to take off the upper layer of your skin and keep it inside the bag for screening'. 

Coming back to the Automotive scene, size matters! Americans have a penchant for big cars (some of their 'cars' are so massive that they should actually be called trucks or tanks) whereas majority of the cars found in Europe are quite small, mostly hatchbacks. In fact, I frequently came across cars which were even smaller than the Indian Nano or Reva. Same is the case with the big bullying trucks. Americans have trucks with innumerable wheels, and to overtake them can take anywhere between a full minute or two even when you are racing at the speed of 70 mph! In Europe however, most of the trucks are just as big as in India. Also, in America you rarely find any cars which are widely used in India whereas in the European countries I found a lot of Swifts, i10s and i20s, Figos, SX4 and even WagonRs.

Expressways and traffic rules. Expressways in the US are, as is the case with cars and trucks, wide enough to accommodate three four mid sized ships in the parallel lanes too, but European highways are at max two to three narrow lanes. Most of the inter-city expressways are mere two lane streets and majority of inner roads are just single lane. The pedestrian crossing also doesn't have the manual signal inputs as in American cities, and my guess is that the Europeans wouldn't bother to follow them even if they exist. In my observation, European way of crossing the road or lanes is quite similar to us Indians! Contrary to America where traffic signals regulate the traffic flow, in Europe they have the concept of rings. The rings are big circle shaped structures with an extremely narrow lane running through its circumference. Only one vehicle in any direction can go at a time and others have to simply follow in very slow speeds. 

Food. As an Indian with an affinity towards a good old vegetarian (or non-veg) hot meal, I would prefer eating out in the States any time than the European countries. My hunch is that the Europeans must be eating cold meals in breakfast, very cold meals in lunch and freezing cold meals in dinner, and yes with due respect, next time I am going to carry a wrench from my toolkit to twist and break the breads in the breakfast into pieces and then eat. I may as well need a denture...just in case, you know.

Buildings and Houses. Now this is something where Europe wins hands down. Every single house, of the richer or the poorer doesn't matter, is a marvel in itself. Artistically decorated, aesthetically designed to the brim and carefully maintained structure is their definition of a house. American buildings and houses are mostly designed for practicality, except for maybe the bungalows of the richest, but in European cities, almost all houses have a delicate magnificent touch of artistry everywhere. Just a glance into any window from the outside and you can't help but stare in admiration at the way they have been designed and decorated with potteries, flowers, vases, and variety of other art.    

People interactions. My interaction with people in Europe was mostly restricted to shopping, hospitality and site seeing and my remarks are in that context only. Europeans, no offence meant at all but it certainly wouldn't harm if you add a little bit of a smile on your faces, especially if you are in a hospitality or a customer facing industry. In the time that it takes for a customer to convince himself that you are out there to actually sell something, an average american would sell a hundred things to a foreigner and the foreigner wouldn't even realize. For Americans, customer is god and for Europeans it doesn't seem so. Americans definitely come across as much more warmer, welcoming and extremely friendly people for tourists than the Europeans. Simple example, if you ask for an address to any American, he will not just tell you the directions patiently with an accuracy of a GPS but in all probability, if he's having time, will accompany you to the location himself, and ensure you actually enter the location safely! When you ask the same to a European, you get the feeling that perhaps he's thinking 'How silly it is? He came all the way from India to here and hasn't done any homework beforehand? Why he's wasting my time?'   

Expenses. In general, the cost of spending days and nights in Europe as a tourist is much higher than that in America for the same duration and itinerary, be it dining, accommodation, car rental, fuel, parking, site seeing, and public transport too. And America for sure has a very big heart when it comes to offering 'truly essential' services to the tourists as free most places. On the other hand, nothing comes free of cost (or even at a reasonable cost) in Europe, absolutely nothing. It doesn't matter even if it is one of the most basic and primitive needs of mankind, if you know what I mean, one has to pay and for an Indian, that hurts! 

Nature is something I have deliberately excluded from my comparison list, in terms of experiences because I truly believe nature has equally showered its beauties and marvels on all the parts and regions of this planet. Almost all regions that I have traveled so far, including those in India, have their own share of nature's blessings in abundance. Europe is beautiful!

[Note - 3 countries cannot be the accurate representation of the entire European scene and 7 days may not be sufficient to form a concrete opinion about any region, culture, tradition, behavior, or mannerism. I am fully aware of this fact. However, it is all about individual experiences. I have tried to depict my perceptions, first impressions, observations and feelings as I experienced these first hand, and by no means I am saying that it's the single source of truth. That may not even be truth as well and may be bit of a generalization. Having said that, perceptions and reality are almost always intertwined and in many cases, inseparable. Views expressed above are purely mine, the expressions are mostly in jest with the sole intention of sharing my experiences with a lighthearted touch of humor and they deserve to be taken in that context only!]

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The 'Phoney' phobia of my life

Every living soul has phobias of some sort or other so what's the big deal in me having one? Some of you may wonder why would someone care to read about my phobia and some of you may even question why would I care to post about it in the first place. Lets admit it, at the core of human social behavior is the fact that we prefer to talk about ourselves and hear about others. We prefer to write about ourselves and read about others. We prefer to show ourselves and watch others. We prefer to live our lives and secretly wish we could live other's. That's precisely why I would post about me, my life, my surrounding, my career, my people, my experiences, my phobias and that's precisely why you would read about anything and everything that's not you!

Coming back to the phobias in my life, there are obviously some usual suspects that are not too uncommon to find, like my phobia for height, reptiles, dancing or singing on the stage, so on and so forth. Look, I confess I hate looking down from anything beyond say 20 feet (rather any height falling from which can cause me harm!), I hate sitting on a narrow parapet wall just for the sake of it and the giant wheels make me nervous but none of these actually block me from indulging in them. I kind of go sadistic on the 'other' me and enjoy the pleasure of fear, even when flying on a plane thousands of feet above the earth and secretly wishing for some sort of turbulence just to have more fun (don't call me a psychopath or coward for this, the poor words have become fashionable these days). Similarly, my phobia of reptiles doesn't block me from clicking photographs of a snake on the road or actually holding the pythons in hand and around neck. About dancing or singing phobia, the less I talk the better. My dancing on the stage has made people think I am too drunk to be playing cricket on the dance floor when I hadn't touched even the innocuous looking Pepsi. Singing is another story altogether when inattentive people thought there was some urgent announcement going on from the dais when I started. So you see, there are either genuine reasons behind my phobias or they are too common to have an entire blog post dedicated to them.

The one which I want to talk about is my 'Phoney' phobia.

The thought of having to make or receive phone calls gets me butterflies in the stomach. The thought of having to talk to anybody over the telephone or mobile scares the hell out of me. Especially since the advent of smart phones and subsequently the messaging applications in our lives, I have found this phobia ever-increasing in its intensity(earlier there were limited or no options to have a conversation with anyone). There is a general consensus among my friend circle that I am considerably social and I don't deny that. I love to talk (though I love to listen more), and I do engage myself in in-person chitchats, banters, debates, and even text based messaging. I can spend hours talking to a single person or a group of people face to face anywhere but I absolutely hate making or receiving phone calls without a specific reason to or from anyone. Close friends, relatives, sibling or even parents from both sides aren't an exception either. The ringing of a mobile ringtone or a landline sounds to my ears exactly as the sound of an irritating early morning alarm would, to a student who has slept post midnight with unfinished studies. Adding to the misery is hundreds of occasions we have here in India when we traditionally make calls to our friends, families and colleagues. This birthday, that anniversary, this festival, that occasion, exam results, admissions, marriages, engagements, engineers day, rose day, valentines day, teachers day, new year day (and many more new year days in a single year), oh there are just so many of them. In fact, I would be the only person in the world to first think and worry about the prospects of receiving so many phone calls in a single day before getting excited about the fact that it's going to be my Birthday or Anniversary or an exam result today!

I know it is weird but I don't know the reason behind this peculiar phobia of mine. After the initial hi hello and asking about the well-being, I just don't know what more to talk over phone. It kind of mentally blocks me from thinking and responding in the most natural fashion.On the top of my mind, the thought of making calls to anyone doesn't come if there is no specific purpose or urgency. Deep inside my mind, I want the calls I receive to end quickly. This also baffles most of my friends and relatives as to why I don't make regular calls when I am a totally different person spending hours talking face to face with them. It is certainly not the 'genes' factor. Both my mom and dad are big time callers and sometimes we jokingly say that they can talk for half an hour over a call before realizing it is a wrong number. There must indeed be some unique programming done for me, the logic behind which is what I am totally clueless about. I would be highly surprised if I share this or similar phobia with anybody else.

[Update] - an update to this post is, I just read that there is actually a term called 'Telephone Phobia' or 'Telephonophobia' or 'Telephobia' the symptoms of which match a bit close to mine but the causes, effects, coping and avoidance strategies, and treatment (treatment!! seriously?? !!) do not at all align with my experiences. On Wikipedia, the listed ones are social anxiety or glossophobia neither of which I have. I can engage any audience from the stage, I can talk with full authority on the topics I am aware of (and on the topics I am not aware of, as well, if I find even the audience isn't aware of!!). Furthermore I don't think I have the anxiety or fear of being judged, criticized, or made a fool of, beyond normal human levels :-)! Interested parties can read more here,

Nevertheless it seems there are similar people with similar phobia though except symptoms, nothing else matches. It is always a pleasure to discover something about oneself which is truly unique and singular...Ahm-Brahmasmi!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Back from a hiatus

Hello World, it's been a long time since I have written and published anything anywhere. For the sake of statistics, this is going to be my first post after five months and only the sixth this year. I didn't plan this hiatus but I was living a professional and personal life that was put on a fast-forward mode and I never truly got any opportunity whatsoever to think, let aside post, or reflect on anything else in the last few months. With a new year on the horizon then, what better place than here and what better time than now to come back from the hiatus and resume my connect with you by sharing a brief recap of some minor major happenings in my life in the year 2015.

[Intercept - I am going to shorten the amount of words I need to use to express myself and those who know me can very well think of it as my potential new year resolution (They understand how difficult it would be for me to achieve this though!).]

Let me begin with some of the key happenings on the professional front. My industry is in itself a highly dynamic and rapidly evolving one and Microsoft isn't an exception either. Our new visionary leader is trying to create a culture where each employee is empowered to do more and bring his A game every single day. Any cultural shift for any organization, especially if that organization is as gigantic as Microsoft, brings in a lot of change for everyone involved. I too had to go through multiple changes in terms of the roles and responsibilities I assumed, the impact areas I chose, the teams I worked with, the people I had to engage, so on and so forth. It did take a considerable amount of my bandwidth to adapt to these frequent changes. The nature of my changing roles also included significant amount of travel. My peculiar apathy towards traveling abroad, especially the Americas, on short duration business visits, is well known in my circle and considering that, after an initial detour to Singapore early April, flying to the states five times in seven months was an incredible mental feat for me, something which I never thought I would do (or rather would 'have to' do). Nevertheless, in the process, I made a lot of new friends and built new relationships at both the personal and the professional level across the globe.

The change in my roles and responsibilities also demanded a shift in my focus from people development and team building to more and more technology oriented outcomes and I used this opportunity to attempt to master newer trends in the industry. What's more, I enrolled myself for a 2 year 'M. Tech. in Information Systems' program at BITS Pilani (first semester already conquered as I type in). If anyway you want to learn something new genuinely, why not get a degree for that as well?!

On the personal front too, it's been an exciting year. We spent a gala time with family (my in-laws) in the USA during October in Seattle and around, as well as with my best friend and his family in San Francisco!! This was one hell of a trip, unplanned (or rather, planned within a short time span of 10 days without any advance notice), full of adventures, and long road trips across the beautiful west coast. For a driving enthusiast like me, the highlight was to have driven almost 1500 miles single-handed across the Washington/Oregon region with family as a company. Apart from that, in general we were high on our travel quotient this year which started with our road trip to God's own country Kerala, and then Incredible Odisha. We also celebrated the grand arrival of our super-cute nephew and niece (twins!!) in our extended family. This year also witnessed me shifting my device loyalties from Windows phone to an iPhone (self) and an android (better half), and that's also something which, a year back I would have never imagined.

There were many firsts also this year. First time for anything, is a memory to cherish, doesn't matter whether it is small or a big thing really. For me, a first time outing abroad with family, first time driving 2500 km with chickenpox, first time travel in the humongous A-380, first time upgrade to the business class (I find happiness in small things isn't it!), first time in-person encounters with a lot of celebrities (thanks to frequent travels), first time meeting a childhood friend after 25 years in an unimaginably farther region from India, first time using a non-Windows/Nokia phone, first time in 9 years finding no water on the tap here in Hyderabad and many more!

Any regrets for the year that's going to end? Well not at all, hindsight is a wonderful thing they say but then after the ship has sunk, everyone knows how she might have been saved, so no regrets at all. Living in the past is not my cup of tea. It is however, also obligatory to make mention of the new year resolution this time-frame of the year but no there hasn't been any (apart from reducing the length of my posts and mails as I mentioned above!!). One of the things that I have set a personal goal for myself is to conquer the marine workout, i.e., a hundred push-ups, a hundred sit-ups, a hundred squats and twenty pull-ups. I am sure it is going to take at least a year for me to achieve this feat even though I could make significant progress reaching half-plus on them in a couple of months.

So here's me wishing all my readers a very happy and prosperous new year 2016. See you all in the new year and expect a few changes in the way I have been expressing myself in my posts, a teaser may be a vlog (video-blog)? or a plog (photo-blog)? or perhaps cartoons !! Let's see.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

5 lessons successful bodybuilders teach us about career growth

No, neither have you been mistaken reading the word 'career' in the title line nor has there been a typo on my part to key in 'career' in place of the seemingly apt word 'muscle'!

I have been a vivid gym goer and I have come across a lot of achievers when it comes to bodybuilding. On the other hand, I have been a keen observer as well, at the workplace and other corporate places I have been to, and have found stark similarities in the way a successful bodybuilder approaches muscle growth and the way a successful and fast growing corporate professional (at any level) approaches career growth. Based on my observations of others who're successful and those who aren't, in both the fields, here is my list of top five lessons I believe we can learn from the successful bodybuilders about career development.

No one size fits all
The biggest and by far the most common mistake I have seen people doing, especially the fresh entrants in the gym as well as in my industry is, blindly walking on the footsteps of someone they think as a role model and expecting similar results. We get fascinated by seeing what they are today and desperately attempt to just follow their routines. What we don't see is that they have molded their routines after years of trial and error methodologies based on their own strengths and weaknesses which may not be applicable to us. Successful bodybuilders retain their individuality in terms of their goals, success measures, training methods based on their individual body types, strengths and weak areas and other priorities in life. Similarly, in case of career development, we should be careful following the footsteps of someone as-is because things which worked for them may not work for us and in fact may not even be relevant for us to follow especially during these times of rapidly changing industry dynamics.

Progressive overload principle
Muscle grows only when gradual increase of stress is placed upon the body during exercise training. You may as well keep on training with the exact same intensity and volume years after years without any results and hit the plateau. Same rule applies to careers too. Remember, it is all the more easier to just keep on playing in the national level tournaments for a cricketer and score centuries after centuries, win awards after awards, but that can't be called as growth. If he has to be successful at the international level which is indeed 'growth', he should be open to fail for zeroes, open to getting hit on the chin by the leather, open to getting dropped from the team frequently and so on. In the corporate world too, if year on year you are performing the exact same roles and managing similar responsibilities without any increase whatsoever in the breadth and depth of your impact, or complexity of the challenges, or variety of efforts and scale, you are simply not growing and sooner you are bound to hit the plateau or in aviation terms, a deep stall, recovering from which becomes next to impossible.

Make hay while the sun shines
If you have the opportunity to do something, do it before the opportunity expires. Bodybuilders understand this very well and hence you will always find them adjust the intensity and volume of training as per the conducive nature of their surroundings and resources they have. They train extremely hard during winters when the climate is cool and supportive for quick healing, natural nutrients and meat resources are grown aplenty, and injury risk due to dehydration is minimal. Come the summer, they cut down on their intensity and just go through the motions to maintain the form and shape. Similarly, working in a corporate environment has its own set of challenges in terms of team, work-group dynamics, resources, infrastructure, leadership support, customer backing and conducive work culture. There will definitely be moments when all of these things are favorable for you to produce the best, so use such opportunities to the fullest. When things don't go the way you expect them to go, slow down and use that period to sharpen your axes. Equip yourself with weapons you can again use when the times change.

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going
In bodybuilding, it is no secret that steroids as well as supplements like creatine and high calorie protein shakes can give you that beefier look in no time, however, an illness of a couple of weeks and doses of antibiotics can get you back to square one in no time as well! When it comes to building quality muscle in its best form, there are no shortcuts. It is almost always a long hard journey. Similarly, when it comes to growing careers, there are no shortcuts and even if there are, the success derived from those is hardly long-lasting. There are loads of quick-success formulas that exist in the corporate world, about which I don't think I need to elaborate more as they are well known, at the same time, the success ratio and the probability of sustaining the initial exponential growth that generally is associated with these is found to be pretty low.

Muscles grow outside the gym
There's an old saying in the bodybuilding community, they say, muscles grow outside of the gym and that's true indeed. If one has to categorize muscle growth in numbers, 30% growth comes from the actual workouts you do in the gym, 40% comes from the food that acts as a nutrient, and remaining 30% comes from the 'rest' that allows you to recuperate and heal the muscles. Similarly, majority of our career growth happens outside office. A healthy work-life balance, fun elements, extracurricular learning lead to a healthier mind and body that produces best output in the office, as well as, keeps oneself equally motivated throughout all the phases in his career. These factors also act as nutrients that fuel our personality development. That's primarily the reason I believe I have found a lot of workaholics struggling in their respective jobs. All-round development is essential to one's personal as well as professional growth and that majorly comes from outside of the office premises and cubicles.