Let’s face it there are more wannabe in the world than ever before, in the last 5 years of our research in the online mainstream media we have found images of people portraying something they are not and situation is uniform across the globe.
Fame and Success are addictive: We have found social media posts full of Motivational quotes, girls claiming immense fortitude, guys flaunting bikes, cars, some extremist did lot of work on the photoshop too with images of guy standing on cliff at the top of high mountain and some words written all over the sky, all talking about some really cool stuff. Seems like everyone on the social sites is motivated and ready to kick the dirt!!
Little peep into the personal lives of people reveals that there is huge divide between what they show online and what they are offline. Anyways, this blog is not about this.
What I really wanted to talk about was 5%.Every young mind out there thinks he can conquer the world they usually have a big dream and are very optimistic too, yet what we see happening to these big dreamers is they usually end up in some kind of routine stuff. Here is a short story to help you connect better with what I am trying to say. A boy named “X” starts his life , a normal life , mediocre family with full focus on studies and X has decided the sole purpose of his life is to prove that he can be better than his dad in education, job. So he starts focusing on education and studies and somehow manages to do the routine engineering course from some top college in India, now after some years gets a good package too, he marries and ends up getting a very good salary, books a flat in some big city and has big car on loan too , he is now 40 something ! This is a typical story of an average Indian boy.
Now let’s look at another boy names “Y” .He comes from mediocre family too and his father also wants him to do something worthwhile in life, this for all practical purposes means become a good employee of some good reputed firm, but Y thinks out of the box and is a big dreamer so he never thinks straight, he is typically excited by the huge success of online startups like Facebook, WarbyParker,Snapdeal etc ! He manages to live his father’s dream by entering into some B-grade engineering college, here he again meets some like-minded friends who have seen movies like video games, going to remote places in bikes, smoking weed and then making plans for startups, this is usual scene of many engineering colleges in India today. Fast-forward this to few years, 99% of such groups dissolve within few years post graduating from the college, and what remains is the memory of some planners , some groups manage to stay alive and stay committed to their dream and somehow plan to start something on their own . Now I would not say success is going to meet with this Mr.”Y” either, most of the time success is not about planning but about the execution of the planning. So Mr. Y ends up doing some “Small Job” and gets to face lot of rejection and social pressure from peers and relatives and friends circle too.
So who makes it to the top 5%
The Originals: You can fake it to people. You can’t fake it to Life.
One of the least understood facts of life is you just can’t fake anything to life. You know why, because life is not just one test of 3 hours, Life is consistent and there are endless occasions where she can catch you off-guard and there is no way you can fool the universe here.
Sudden Euphoria: life plans are not made over night.
You can flirt with many ideas with friends but, success in life needs lot of patience and ability to handle disappointments. Planning phase is filled with lot of auto syncing thoughts where everything falls at the right place. This is just mental exercise, reality has different plans for all of us and our planning dashes down, I have observed this phase of disappointment very closely and found out that most of the so called wannapreneurs leave the thought during this tough time.
Tough time would always last longer than you expect !
This is quite an interesting observation. Now how do you define the “lean patch”? There could be differences of opinion on this front which is justified too, we all have different experiences on this .My personal take is that, tough times are particularly marked by lack of Clarity and mistaking your Weaknesses as your Strengths During this phase of life you end up being surrounded by too many advisers who give you advise on everything and you end up getting confused , you gradually lose confidence in yourself, your idea , your caliber and this is the time when your inner critic starts hitting you badly. During this time it becomes really impossible to understand whom to trust and whom not to trust, result of this phase is usually you will end up losing some old friends and you will end up gaining some new friends. Change is inevitable. This is the time which has it written on billboard ,Every where you go there is big neon sign screaming at you …I wish I could have not taken this step. Hope is a big friend. Hope keeps you going until you reach the middle of this scary river and then you find out, your hope has evaporated in the thin air!
The time when you are just all by yourself, no friend , no face-book, no cash , no phone calls of your buddies is the time when you meet with yourself. What you see in mirror during these days is not what you like! You see a confused, disgusting fool, whom no one trusts, who is really at the tight spot. This is the phase when life can throw a life jacket at you , but you got to be shouting your lungs out , else you meet the fate of lover boy in Titanic…frozen to death.
Sympathy Seeker – A deadly addiction
It’s not uncommon to find young people with sudden love for poetry, sad songs, grown beard and long hairs , torn jeans , frequent visits to remote places and generally trying to spend time alone. So far so good , self discovery is a painful process. However , some of the students would take this as their real self and start projecting their melancholy to the larger world with the sole purpose of getting sympathy.I have a word of caution for them,as this leads to paralyzed life ahead and once you let go of your self-esteem it’s a really long ride before you get a U turn. It is you who got yourself in this situation , it is again yo
u who will take you out. You may have aimed at moon and reality is you can’t fly beyond the lamppost ! So what? You tried and failed and this is natural way things progress.
Schools Program us to FAIL
This is rather a bold statement. Schools prepare us to “remember the answers”. Journey of life and business is not the journey of seeking answers. It’s about asking the “Right Questions”. We have devised a method to put hell lot of information in the minds of young people and there seems to be apparent discord between Schools and Media (whom we all follow). Actually there is none.
You believe on things as right as someone said its Right, It might have been your teacher or perhaps the Logical way to construct answers adduced your approach. But in real life, the most difficult part is to “Frame the Right question” as you would agree, it kicks the hell out of most of us when we are working on something which is not clear, we just keep thinking why it’s happening. Pin pointing the problem area or Root cause is not easy for most of us. Were you taught about this in any of your courses? Unless you are an MBA student, and even there if you really paid attention, the problems discussed were very wide and macro level. So it doesn’t really help you a lot as far as your personal life is concerned.
This is a huge Gap in our current education system; we become paralyzed by the desire to find answers by looking into various textbooks and searching for answers online. Real life is more dynamic than the most advances search engines today and no one can find the exact solution here, you need lot of skills like organizing the information, synthesizing the data, checking the credibility of information and improvising the solution along with creativity and innovation. None of this is being taught in schools or colleges today and even if there is some subject by this name, the teachers themselves are ill-informed on this piece.
Most of the schools are chasing a deadline to complete the course and students are busy in mugging up the definitions of these terms and they take pride in using these words in their conversation. This is akin to reading 100 ways to swim, but unless you jump in water and feel the sensation of floating body and try to swim in the water you can’t ever swim.
Never start something on others Strength
This is also a common mistake, young minds invariably do. You need to have a fair idea about your own intrinsic strengths and must be honest in admitting your weaknesses; no one can guarantee the HELP from someone else especially when we are talking about the 5% game. So do yourself a favor and spend some good time in figuring out your own strengths and weaknesses. This is not a 4 quadrant exercise where you just fill top of the mind traits coming to you out of thin air, this is some serious work. SWOT is the most ridiculed exercises done by students and professionals. What you call leadership may be viewed as being assertive in the real world, What you call good communication skills may be viewed as being insensitive and impatient in the business scenarios.
In our experience of recruiting for top firms we have found college graduates behaving in a very crude manner in group discussions and most of them think this is what taking lead is all about, No doubt this is the reason why they struggle in their career.
Fake short term courses on Soft Skills
Have you ever heard of 7 days training course for cricket! But if you check online and in your areas you will see many short term programs claiming they can teach you all relevant skills like communication etc in short periods of time like a month or so maximum they go for Is 6 months. My biggest apprehension is how you can master the soft skills over such a short period of time and just in case if you really think you have mastered it, perhaps you are God’s own child.
We all have a learning curve and no matter what you do , you cannot beat the expert by learning these kind of short courses.If you want to make it to the top you need to devote a lot of time for building this skill set. Such soft skills must be regularly brushed right from the school days. It’s a matter of behavior , you cannot learn these instantly. What about those who have missed the bus? My answer is you can’t fool the market , so be honest and keep concerned people aware that you are working on like communication skill and also be open to suggestions which genuine people will provide you.
Picture this it’s dog tail chase. You convince yourself that you can achieve your goals and then as your mind builds some plans you reach the same point where you started, simply because you are clear about the WHAT part of your plan but not sure about the HOW part of it. This is the real place where the battle happens when it comes to materializing the dreams, and this is the place where action happens. You are not alone who is facing this problem. This has happened with every single person who set out with the torch in his hand, It’s easy to take the beaten path but you are not one of them so you started with lot of enthusiasm but this is the taste of life.
How to execute your plans is the trickiest part. World is full of talented people with amazing passion and money, contacts etc. but only few are able to convert their ideas into life time achievements. Why? I guess this is because they had devised their own fool proof way of delivering their promises and this calls for creativity and innovation with amazing clarity on how the world operates. You must focus on some key things here, first of all you need to understand what is in your control and what is beyond your control, I know this is easier said than done. You got to focus on breaking the sluggish feeling of not being able to do anything , throw yourself into the uncertain situation and start with something least risky to begin with, once things start moving you will see how you keep getting new inspirations to solve other prominent problems.
At Think Studio we call it A.Q aka Adversity Quotient : This is one very important factor that determines the success of people in life . In my professional career so far it has been a frequent observation that people who have done the seemingly impossible had this one trait of “Not Giving Up”. There are always deadlines and people miss them too , face criticism and ridicule too but only the consistent have been trendsetters and Rainmakers. When you start out something new and risky there comes a time when you face lot of problems and rejections and failures, during this time continuing the same task again is herculean job and this is the time when you feel terribly irritated with the life and results you get after repeated efforts,new tactics and improved ways but nothing works,this is time when you just need to turn off your panic button, it’s life’s way of testing your endurance.If you break here you are done.99% people fail when they were about to strike the gold. Our own anxiety convinces us time and again that nothing will happen now, you have lost everything and let’s focus on something else which seems very reasonable to do and to be honest any sensible man would give up during this time since there is so much pain , sleepless nights, insult , debt etc …who would like to have such a life and if you continue there are people out there to convince you that this is road to hell and that you are spoiling your career.
You didn’t start at the instance of these wise people who now convince you that you are wrong. I don’t want to pass any judgement here but it seems less logical to me to change the entire plan on the advice of few people . However at the same time I would advice you to do deep introspection and find out are you really original and clear? Did you really set out with the mindset to be at top 5% or was it just a mindless fancy under hallucinating halo effect of some ultra-successful person or a movie!
If the answer is yes, then you better back you bag and head home. This territory is not for you and if the answer is NO, then hold on you might hear your spade hitting gold soon .Keep digging.
Hey !!you got time yet ! If yes , let me know what you think.