Years from now, after this event is long over, what should we remember about it? A week from now, when the crisis hits, what should we remember about this meeting? Tomorrow, when the day gets busy again, what would you like me to remember about the discussion we just had? Begin with the end in mind.
Draw a perfect circle. Use a compass or a plotter. Now, zoom in. If you zoom in close enough, you’ll discover that it’s not a perfect circle at all. In fact, anything we create, at close enough magnification, isn’t perfect. It’s foolish to wait until you’ve made something that’s perfect, because you never will. The alternative is to continue to move toward your imaginary ideal, shipping as you iterate. Getter better is the path to better.
Ruts don’t dig themselves. Most of the time, we’re in a rut because that’s precisely where we put ourselves. Actions become habits, and habits get repeated because they feel safe. The easiest way to make things more interesting is to simply stop repeating your habitual behavior. And that often comes from reacting to triggers. Remove the triggers and you can alter the habits. Tiny changes. Different ways to keep score. Tomorrow comes daily. But we don’t have to take the same route to get there.
Sometimes guilt pushes for better results. Thus Chatter woke up dot at four in the brahm mahurat. Even though he left home at five. We were able reach Rajpath in the darkness of the dawn. It was no less than grand theatre going on there. Never was Delhi be heard and felt from the pride and the energy with which they marched past. With the bands of each regiment leading the way. The drums, the beats, the smell of the sweating young, the valour in the air. The discipline, the clacking of the iron bar beneath their marching boots to the tar ground woke us all up. The mist, the vapours coming out of mouths while a woman officer commanding against the street lamps of Rajpath takes you close to India’a colonial cold faced armies. The practise and improvisation that has gone in the making of them. Oneness in the motion. The pride. It felt like they were owning the day. It felt like they made it our day. Whole, united. It was a day …
A checklist to get you started—you can either do the same thing or a different thing… More of the same Persist Get the word out Doing something different Change an element of what you do Raise your prices Lower your prices Make it better Tell a different story Serve a different customer Enter a new segment Change the downstream effects of your work Earn trust Make bigger promises Organize Get better clients Do work that matters to someone
It takes discernment to do this. Most problems don’t require more data. They require more insight, more innovation and better eyes. Information is what we call it when a human being takes data and turns it into a useful truth.
Long work is what a lawyer who bills 14 hours a day filling in forms does. Hard work is what the insightful litigator does when she synthesizes four disparate ideas and comes up with an argument that wins the case–in less than five minutes. Long work has a storied history. Farmers, hunters, factory workers… Always there was long work required to succeed. For generations, there was a huge benefit that came to those with the stamina and fortitude to do long work. Hard work is frightening. We shy away from hard work because inherent in hard work is risk. Hard work is hard because you might fail. You can’t fail at long work, you merely show up. You fail at hard work when you don’t make an emotional connection, or when you don’t solve the problem or when you hesitate. I think it’s worth noting that long work often sets the stage for hard work. If you show up enough and practice enough and learn enough, it’s more likely you will find yourself in a …
Threads of cotton. Some new event had to happen. A long day in motion. Paris. Not patparganj but Indirapuram came. Maharaj wore mehroon clothes and did not open his eyes till the time food arrived. He said nothing. He asked nothing. He saw nothing. He just sat with his eyes closed. But the moment food arrived he started singing the songs of Krishna. It was an auspicious day. Mother was waiting. For moon. She will eat but then she will be looking at the stars first. Instead Rain came. And I left home for many days to come.