What things mean and what they don’t

In my 8 years “short” career, I have had the good fortune to work under different circumstances. I have worked in various countries from Germany to USA to India to Japan to Switzerland. I have interacted personally and professionally with diverse set of people ranging from c-level executives of global retail chains to stitching factory workers in remote parts of the developing world. I was employed at companies ranging from small tech-start up to multi-billion dollar companies in silicon-valley to old-economy Indian manufacturing companies, almost on the death bed. I thank my “evolutionary plan” to have given me this good fortune. In my experience, I have found the following things to be largely true. Tell me, if you don’t agree with any of them.

Seven things money just can’t buy: class, respect, wisdom, good will, good health, smile and love.

Seven more things money can’t buy: Leadership, influence, peace of mind, appreciation, audience, popularity and elegance.

Lack of experience doesn’t mean lack of capability. Past experience in one thing also doesn’t mean natural qualification for future tasks. One part of experience is also “baggage”. If experience was the only required qualification (A ton of companies in India have this recruitment mindset! No wonder then, that majority of them fall under the “also ran” category.), technically, people wouldn’t be able to change their careers at all and we surely know that’s not true.

Lack of education doesn’t mean lack of intelligence, but lack of education means that minimum effort required to get into a good graduate or post graduate school wasn’t put in for whatever reason and chance to organize thinking, being informed, reading books and exposing oneself to diverse ideas and people, was lost.

Marketing doesn’t mean advertising and advertising doesn’t mean spamming. There is a fine line between meaningful content dispersion and random spamming. The former builds a brand, the later destroys it.

Loyalty doesn’t mean talent. Rewarding an employee for his loyalty is not the same as rewarding him for brilliant ideas.

Good leaders shouldn’t wait to reward talented newcomers for them to become loyal. Reward indeed may prove to be a step towards making that talented newcomer loyal.

Sticking to one company for too long a time also means missing all those spectacular opportunities that existed outside the company.

Data doesn’t mean information. Information doesn’t mean intelligence. Intelligence doesn’t mean wisdom. Real test is in converting data into information, information into intelligence, intelligence into wisdom and wisdom into success.

The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the more you appreciate that knowledge is vast and you know very less.

Body, physical appearance, strength etc, these will fade with time, but knowledge won’t fade, it will grow by sharing and using your brain more and more. Reading is one way to grow knowledge. So keep reading.

Implementing an expensive software system is not the same as using it efficiently.

Expensive doesn’t mean premium or of a higher quality. Cheap doesn’t mean unnecessary. Salt is cheap.

Louder doesn’t mean more meaningful or more convincing. It surly means more annoying.

Being at the workplace for longer hours is not the same as working more or getting more work done. It’s rather an indicator of the fact that someone somewhere is inefficient.

Similarly, asking people to do  more is not the same as asking them to do better. More is not always better. A true leader should encourage people to do better.

I have to reiterate Seth Godin here – Better is trickier than more because people have trouble visualizing themselves doing better.  It requires education, coaching and patience to create a team of people who are better.

Good and popular are not the same. Good may be popular, but popular need not always be good.

Managers have employees; leaders have followers (Seth Godin). And bosses have subordinates, but an entrepreneur has friends.

Not having time to read, is like not having time to eat. Your survival depends on it.

Not having time for family is not having time to bathe. Your well being depends on it.

Having to do exactly the same task at the workplace without any variation is like being in prison, going through the same routine every single day. It will make you want to get out. Change is the salt of life.

Having to do new things everyday is like eating a new cuisine every day. That’s not staple diet. It will take a toll on your stomach.

Everyone needs a fine balance between the above two.

Do you have any more? Please feel free to contribute.


9 thoughts on “What things mean and what they don’t

  1. Sumith


    Good insigt on balancing both ends and reminding the readers extremes are indeed extremes. In totality a pleasent one



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