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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Why are you unable to use the New Law of Achievement

Every student, to whom i talk, wishes to achieve in his study and life. But then, why don't they follow the the right principles of achievement. More often than not, they miss the bus because of the following three difficulties:

1.  Most of the students mistakenly believe that Work-achievement can be pursued by using the first law of Achievement (like the first law of motion!)

According to the first law of Achievement, advocated by all the self-help gurus and authors, if you have to achievement, you have to follow the ten rules of success such as Work hard, Set a goal, Prioritise properly, Use interdependence of people, Be creative and others.

This first law of Achievement is old and worked in past. These rules of success can be applied in your lives at a superficial level. For instance, if you have failed in a subject because you had not prepared well, the rule of work hard is easily applicable to you. But if you have scored 60% marks, and want to score 85% the rule of work hard is not useful. Now you have to become specific in your actions: you have to identify the difficult chapters that you ignore, you have to study the concepts that you have not understood. Further, if you have to increase your marks from 85% to 95%, the rules further change. Now you have to understand your 'style of making mistakes' in an exam, how you take stress and so on.

In other word, the first law of Achievement is useful in a very generic way, where cause>effect is clearly understood and easy to figure out. In other cases, the first law of Achievement is not only useless to provide you any guideline, but it creates a different side-effect. For instance, when you find that these basic rules of success - work hard, be creative, set a goal, use imagination, set priorities - do not work for you, you either conclude that something is wrong with these rules, or they are useless. You stop listening to any advice !

2. New law of Achievement is invisible like law of gravity. You require to wear glasses to use it. 

Until Newton found the theory of gravity, by seeing the falling apple, everyone sensed 'gravity', but no one could 'see' it. Once Newton gave us the 'glasses' to 'see' gravity in every moving and stationary object, we could use it for anything. We could even use it to understand the attraction of two planets.

Until now the New law of Achievement was invisible like theory of gravity. Now, as it has become visible through this research, we can use it. If you learn to wear this lens, you will then be able to use even the old rules of Achievement at their 'appropriate' situations and use them smartly instead of dumping them.

3. As the New law of Achievement is highly contextual ( situation-dependent), you have to apply the rules consciously and deliberately after understanding your situation. 

It is apparent to everyone that the rules of first law of Achievement are so universal that they are not useful. What is the first principle of New law of Achievement?

The first principle is : Without the 'context', do not use any  rules. It is like health framework. You are aware of the rules of keeping your weight low, but you still cannot keep your weight low, because you cannot apply those rules in your daily routine of eating, exercising and resting. To apply the general rule of weight control , you have to first understand your situational context. Only then you can apply the generic rules of weight control to yourself. Before applying any rules, you must consciously think of the conditions where the rule can be applied. For instance,
  • The rule of 'Work hard'  or 'Persevere hard' is useful only when one has found the direction in life. For instance, when you are clear that of doing commerce course and the reasons for doing it. you can then apply the rule of 'work hard' easily. Until then, this rule will not produce any better results.  
  • Or the rule of 'Set the goal' is useful only for single-dimensional children who excel in senses-based fields like sports and music. For other children, who excel in cognitive field, this rule is useless
  • Or to excel in a corporate life, perception management is crucial because specialised experts in corporate force us to deal with each other on the basis of 'perceptions' and not 'facts' 
  • Or to succeed as an entrepreneur, understanding the business model is the first step. The trait of risk-taking is not important to succeed. 
  • Or the rules of achievement applicable in corporate life ( such as understand the metasystems etc) are different than the rules of excelling in student life. 

Applying the New Law of Achievement is not as straightforward as applying the first law of Achievement. It forces you to think. Like we discussed in the earlier blog, even to benefit from the successes of other achievers, you have to think like a detective. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Results are not in our control despite our best efforts

"We are Formula 1 championship runners-up and not everybody can say that. And when you fight with all your heart and all your strength for so many months, without making a single mistake, neither the team or me, we have to be very proud."

This is what Alonso said when he lost the 2012 year-end title by three points at the end of last week's Brazilian's Grand Prix race.

Results, like winning the year end title, depend on many events. It is a result of numerous factors, some of them not in Alonso's hand. For instance, when Sebastian Vettel ( who was the final winner) only got reprimanded for his mistake in Japan, everyone was surprised. Because, if Sebestain Vettel was penalised with points at Japan race instead, Alonso would have won the year end title. Please remember that Alonso lost the title with 3 points. ( 278 versus 281)

Sometimes the factors are more specific, but still outside your control. For instance, Alonso's car was not the fastest car, and this was known to all. But despite the known hurdle, Alonso's team could not overcome that hurdle despite having the money and expertise. Alonsa, on the other hand, said 

Alonso said the Brazilian race was a good example of what his season has been like, with him charging through the field to finish on the podium despite his car having not been as strong as its rivals' in qualifying.

Please remember there are 20 races in a year which decides the championship title. 

On the other hand, Alonso managed to put forth his best despite all the difficulties. For instance, in the Brazilian's race, despite starting from the seventh position in the qualifying race, he still finished second.(Seventh places fetches 2 points while second position fetches 8 points)

Sustaining achievement is all about doing your best all the time, and hope the desired result will be favorable to you. But like in life, the results are dependent on too many external factors and therefore cannot be controlled. What can be controlled is one's effort and the desire to be better than yesterday.