From :) to :(


First up, inspiration for this post comes from episode 14 of #warikooWednesdays.

So the journey between 🙂 and 😦 could take a moment or it could take a lifetime

These emoticons just represent Happy to unhappy. From totally together to falling apart.

There is a lot that happens between the two emoticons. The initial rush, making you blind to everything but as time passes, the shift begins. It starts tending towards 😐 and then head towards 😦

The strange part is we can see the change, we are feeling the change by focusing on the flaws. We are fuelling the change by pointing out the flaws.

It’s like we want the shift to happen. Self fulfilling prophecy in our head. We are pushing for it.

Now why? Why do we do that? Like Ankur says.. why not live that first 🙂 over and over. Why let things change. There is no law of society or universe that says change must happen.

Ok I get it that nothing stays the same. If nothing stays the same, why should it tend towards 😐 or :(? Why can’t there be different expressions to 🙂 or :)) or whatever the other Happy, cheerful and positive emoticons are.

And no, familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt. Familiarity must put you in a comfort zone. Contentment. Peace.

There is a reason 🙂 happened. So let that reason be the core to everything. That’s the foundation. Everything else is a reaction to what the environment is going to throw at you. Surely those things cannot be more powerful than the emotion that led to 🙂 if they are, then you have cheated. Cheated on creating the 🙂 moment. You were not honest about it.

This world is now full of emoticons and emojis. We have started bookending conversations with them. Or messages which only have these. Somehow, these emoticons have made emotions shallow and frivolous. If every statement has something hanging at the end, there is never a special moment.

Like I was telling someone the other day, we react to the words now. We just read the words and react. We don’t have the time or patience to read deeper. Read what has not been said. It is not about reading between the lines. It’s about traveling deeper into those words anymore.

We do try that at the beginning. When 🙂 happens. But it’s like that achieved, a box has been ticked. Who then has the time or patience. “If you want to say something, be clear. I don’t have the time to interpret the meaning of what you said.” That’s where the journey to 😦 starts.

Heavy shit for Saturday morning? Or is this :)) LOl ROFL or I don’t know what the emoticon, slang or emoji will be for “this guy is talking absolute rubbish”

But do watch episode 14 of #warikooWednesdays. Ankur has said lot more profound stuff in 5 mins than my long rambling here. Oh and yeah I should end this with a 🙂

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Keeping up


It has really been a long long time that I have posted every day of the week. So I figured, let’s make this 5 days in a row.

As the title suggests, it is tough keeping up.

Keeping up with the way the world is changing (yeah yeah am getting old).

It’s tough keeping up with things that matter.

It’s tough keeping up with people who don’t matter.

It’s tough keeping up with expectations – your own and of the others.

It’s tough keeping up with societal mores (increasingly these mores are leading to stress in lives of many people).

What is our aim in life? It’s a serious question.

Strip yourself off the predictable answers about success at work and in relationships and then ponder over the question.

Strip away the usual answers that come to your head about being human or larger good. Strip away answers that come to your head that sound politically correct.

What have you got left? Nothing.

So why are you keeping up with everything that doesn’t really matter in your life? Why are you putting up a facade?

Isn’t it time you really gave it some thought.

Cheap


Hell yeah! We all want everything cheap! Everything discounted. We want the best but CHEAP. We don’t see the price, we see the discount %. We delay our purchase till we get it cheap. We hunt through the websites, we wait for the announcements, we have things put in the wish list or shopping cart… waiting for the SALE. This cuts across all demographics, psychographics and income groups.

We carry this CHEAP into everything we do, not just in shopping for products. We want to hire the best talent at lowest price. We make compromises, cut corners to reduce or investment for more profitability.

Strangely enough, we carry this mentality even into our everyday relationships. Here it is not really about money but the give and take of emotions. We want more but we want to give less.

We are reaching a point where we are going to question even paying anything at all.

The concept of VALUE has changed. Value no more is associated with what it means but at what price it is available. Will I get more for less… that’s my value.

But then it happens, what we get for less or for free, it never holds the same place for us as something that we invested a lot in.

The whole idea of cheap is to use and throw away. What we retain in our cupboards, whether physical space mind space are those things and relationships that have come at a cost.

We crib about our clients not paying enough money for services rendered or goods sold. All the while beating down prices downstream. We moan about our partner not investing enough in the relationship yet at the same time, we are not investing enough.

And when we believe that we are not getting enough, we look at means that will give us that enough. And we all know, those means are rarely if ever, the right means.

It is a vicious circle. And the fact that it is a circle, it will continue.

50:50


Every decision that you take, either will be a success or a failure. There are no half measure. There is no point in being almost successful. It’s a failure.

Most people, while they want success, they are planning for failure. Looking at all factors to mitigate risks. We do this not just in business situations but also in personal life. We prefer to tread path which involves very low risk or no risk at all. We shy away from tough decisions. We don’t want to get out of our comfort zone. We look for excuses that will help us rationalise our thinking.

I know enough has been said and written about this.

But hey, 50:50… don’t you think those are great percentages??

You could do all the analysis in the world and yet not account for being blindsided by something that you did not take into account at all! That one factor which you were not aware of. Was not even on the horizon as a threat. Similarly that one factor that would have led to immense success but you could not see it and hence chose not to walk down that path.

The point is, you can’t plan for failure and hope for success.

The trick is to play the odds. Either you are a roaring success or a spectacular failure. Either way, you would have learnt something.

So why don’t we take the chance? Fear of failure. Fear of upsetting the status quo. Fear of losing it all that we have right now.

I know I am guilty of not taking risks myself. Well I have, but not when they mattered the most. There is time for a change.

Be interesting


That’s the objective of every communication.

Being interesting is not about what you think is interesting but knowing the other person’s point of view to know what is interesting for that person.

Holds true in our business too. If what we create is not interesting enough, consumers will blindspot you.

It is also important to constantly keep track to know if you have stopped being interesting. Requires a lot of introspection.

Never take it at face value if someone tells you that you are not interesting or rather not interesting anymore. Is it you who has stopped being interesting or has the entity found something or someone more interesting.

Be interesting is when the association starts. Continuing to be interesting is to hold on to that position long term.

People are flirtatious today. As people and as consumers. Holding there attention for long required us to be on the ball… all the time. Requires a very dispassionate view of yourself. Also requires insight into the other entity.

Most relationships fail… whether it is between two individuals or the brand and consumer when we take the eye of the ball and it rattles the cage of your helmet.

In cricket, you can stand up again and face the next ball with renewed focus but not in life.

So be interesting… all the time!

Irrelevant


One moment you are relevant and the next moment you are not. Moment over here is just to symbolise time. The period between relevant and irrelevant can be longer.

What happens in the intervening period? Why do things and people become irrelevant? It’s not just about relationships, whether it is between two individuals, organisation and employees or two business entities, it happens with our possessions, it happens with technology.

The best example of technology that comes to my mind is how pagers became irrelevant so quickly in our country! We were just about getting used to the pagers and then they were gone. Cellular technology wiped them out. But then with technology, that is always the danger. Someone somewhere is always working on making the technology better.

But what goes wrong in relationships? Why does one individual become irrelevant? Why does an employee become irrelevant? Why does an organisation become irrelevant?

In marketing of course, a brand has to constantly stay relevant for the consumer. More so in this day and age where the consumers are evolving way faster than they used to. They are constantly in a state of flux when it comes to not just brands but even product categories. We, as part of the profession, are always finding ways to keep the brand relevant.

So what goes wrong in relationships? Why are we not able to keep ourselves relevant for our partner, for our organisation, for our employees and for our business partners? After all, these relationships are also being constantly battered by the changing environment. Why don’t we invest time (it’s all about time always) in relationships the way we do in our work?

What goes wrong? Why don’t we work on staying relevant? We are not a product or a technology that gets bettered by another product or technology. We don’t have to go through hours of consumer research to understand what’s going wrong, what is changing. It is happening to us. We can feel it. We can sense it. But we just let it happen.

There are enough books about how to keep things going but hell! We don’t read any of them. Books about personal relationships. Books about employee engagements. Books about perfect relationships. But do they work even if we read them. We tend to give up all too easily on another individual, employee or an organisation. Either we become irrelevant for them or they become irrelevant for us.

I don’t know if there is an answer to this conundrum but according to my very cynical view, it is all about money. Money is perhaps a loose term for all things materialistic.

We have become extremely materialistic and money minded. In our head, everything is about ROI. And time of course. Maybe it is also about the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility. Or maybe it is about flatlining. We believe that the time required is not going to justify the returns. The relationship has either flatlined or is on a downward curve now. Our time and effort is better invested in something that we feel is more relevant. So One becomes relevant and the other irrelevant.

We have become selfish. Everything is about us. Our view of who is relevant and who is not. But look around, observe, pay close attention to what is happening around you. Try to invest time in understanding people. People you have started thinking as irrelevant. They make look so right now but will the situation change? When suddenly they will matter. Will there come a time when you will become irrelevant.

Why have we stopped being empathetic?

There is a fabulous serial called Person of Interest. Watch it. In fact binge watch it. In a machine world where the machine and people running those machines decide who is relevant and who is not, there is a group of people who believe in human values. They make it their task to help those identified as irrelevant by the machine. Put faith in human values and emotions. Look beyond the spoken or typed words.

(Image courtesy wikia and fandom)

Ageism 2


Here we go. The article in this morning Times of India talks about it.

With only 7% workforce in over 50 age band, clearly most organisations are focusing on the young ones. After all why waste time on those who won’t be productive!

The talk about retirement age. A lot of countries don’t have a retirement age. But that stands to reason at one level. Unlike India, they have an ageing population. In India, the old had to make way for the new. Repurposing the old (some handful of organisations are doing that) as a concept will take time coming.

It’s what the larger population wants is what drives everything in this country. Witness the politics, vote bank focus is what drives economic policies.

We always tend to focus on the larger number because it makes sense.

I have no problem with that. After all, political parties exist to stay in power, the business of organisations is to increase profits and share value.

But this 7% is going to change in the future. It is changing already but just because the change is happening at an urban level, and when you take in to account the entire population of the country, it does look small so no one is paying attention to it.

But when the larger shift happens, as always happens in this country, we will be totally unprepared and won’t know what to do.