Sunday, June 07, 2009

Note to myself

It takes 12 years on an average to develop a new drug. We started in 2000 and nine years later, I still do not know if we will succeed. So mine could be a wasted life, completely. But what an amazing challenge to try and understand this mystery called the human body.

- Dr Swati Piramal, director of Piramal Healthcare speaking to Nadine Kresiberger in the Indian Express today.

Words which ring so true but alas most of us can't - or don't wish to - get the message. Decode Swati's soundbyte and the general formula goes thus:

Find something you love and then pursue it.
Don't constantly hanker for results - they will come.
But meanwhile, enjoy the journey.
Because that's all you have, in this moment!

Besides, once you reach that goal, there's another one waiting to be achieved. Which makes 'happiness' an illusion ever out of reach. Like Waiting for Godot.

But hey, TV par philosophy kaise jhaadoon? People make wrong choices in life and then want practical solutions on how to leap from one career into another with no pain, no risk, no sweat at all.

So this week on my show 'Stay Hungry', I had a 29 year old MNC employee who thinks his salvation lies in supply chain management. (Why - just!)

A young engineer who went into journalism and one year later is preparing to attack CAT with a view to joining MICA. (But why, journalism mein kya kami hai, I say!)

And most interestingly, a professor of Persian from Aligarh who now wants to get into "professional line". (As if teaching is menial!)

Then, being admissions season this is that time of year when folks write to me with Qs like:

Can you suggest which of the following course is better at Symbosis, Pune
C) BSc- Economics: started recently.

I say 'better' or 'worse' by what yardstick? If I hate IT then options a) and b) will suck for me - no matter what. Why, oh why, is that not obvious?

As an expert I can at best shine a light down a pathway or two but the real power lies when you navigate the jungle of life. Using the compass that lies within each of us.

It's really that simple.

And here's a tip for all those who wail but "I don't know, I don't know what I like". Hell, you don't.

But you do know what you DON'T like. List that down and make sure you are not entering that field of study. Believe me, no degree is as valuable as the application of mind and heart that you bring to the table.

To sum up the 'note to myself' for this season of admissions and decisions: Trust your instincts.

If your mind is confused and unsettled, listen to your body. If your hands go cold, your head feels heavy or your stomach wobbles - it means NO WAY JOSE.

Now go out there and conquer the world!


  1. Wonderful! - i think every kid from grade 8 should do this.. !
    I think it would be nice to have a lot of these notes documented somewhere (a blog may be!) with your answers to them..
    1. they will boost people's confidence to openly confess what they don't like
    2. your answers would be a way to show that after all that you hate there is a job waiting for you!

  2. Rashmi hi,
    What did you say? Is it not against the wishes of our parents? How can I show that my pedigree is technological and mathematical, and while I pass by a thing of beauty, I calculate the speed of sun rays tearing through the enchanting jungles and add a square and cube to the stump of the trees' volume.How will I show that brilliance is just not in scrutinizing the bacterias through microscope, but also in the eyes of the illiterate grandmom who could treat your chronic diseases with the magic wand of wisdom and common sense?
    How will I prove to the world that owning a newly launched car with the adjustable seat and steering is not the only measure of our success while we kill children and keep them hungry throughout the world?
    Why did you ask me to trust my instinct when I have the burden of tradition, culture and borrowed wisdom to let people decide my life and WIFE too(am still a bachelor)?
    Why did you ask me to be myself and not so many role models and achievers?
    Jokes apart you did inspire me a few years back and now I am doing exactly what you have written as a note. And I am thankful to you for that.

  3. As always , right on the money Ma'm!

  4. Good one. Why do we have to think using borrowed brains? And have we thought about how the career will be if we take that degree up?

    It doesn't matter where you study and what you study - but how.
    Thanks for the good one.

  5. again very thought provoking...thanks

  6. had it been facebook, i would have clicked on 'like'. and if thsi was twitter, i would have retweeted it. but this is a blog and so i comment on it saying - this is dot on! perfect!

    Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish - hamesha! Nothing else ever makes sense.

  7. if only it was so easy to know wat u love, until then stick on to the SAFEST option!!

  8. A very noble piece of advice.
    Most of us wants to do this
    but somehow succumb to follow
    herd. So What? Keep exploring
    yourself. Keep finding
    discomfort in comfort.

  9. Very well said..
    Even I don't know how these high school drop-outs asks questions like
    -What is the average package of this engineering branch?
    -I want to do a MBA so should I study this course? I don't think anyone knows if he/she wanna do a MBA 4 or 5 years later from now

    Similar kind of things are quite senseless to me as well..

    Nice post.. truly meaningful

  10. I think it would be wonderful if we could always do what we truly want to do, what we actually enjoy doing. But it's not that easy.. first problem being, of course, as you mentioned, that many people don't know what they like and what they want to do. I am always at a loss when people ask me what I want to "be when I grow up" because I have no idea what I like.

    And then, true, you can eliminate according to what you don't like. I left science because I didn't like it, but then what? I mean, it's hard to know what a course of a subject is really like unless you're already studying it. We just don't have enough exposure in schools. I'm doing economics now, and so far, I like it. But I do think I jumped into it a little blindly... I did do Economics in school but it isn't really similar to what I'm doing in collge: so for all I knew when I took the course, I could have hated it!

    But I am very much a HUGE believer of choosing a career that will bring you the most enjoyment and personal satisfaction. :)

    (Questions of the sort you mentioned (which is the best course....) are truly very irritating. But also inevitable, I think, since today, so many of us focus on being "comfortable in the future" any way they can, and bother lesser about what they like or want.)

  11. Rashmi,

    Maybe your query makes sense when you are responsible "just" for your own life. If there are dependants, then your career choices can possibly end up influencing their life. This can possibly be one major source of confusion for youngsters. That so called yearning for recognition and social perception of success clouds the mind of even above-average intelligent people!

  12. I really really wish I could convince my VC with the first para. 'I wanna follow this passion, not sure if I will succeed or us with money'. But unfortunately at the end of the day, tangible results are the only criteria.

  13. 小吃餐車加盟連鎖「一條龍的創業模式」複製成功開店經驗
    更新日期:2009/08/25 17:19

    (中央社訊息服務20090825 16:19:17)大環境不景氣,工作難找,有不少人就想乾脆自己創業當老闆。為強化國內創業能量,五路財神開店總部於8月20日-9月20日舉辦「2009夢幻小餐車創業成果展」歡迎蒞臨參觀。針對國內一窩蜂創業加盟潮,餐車達人陳滌五總監提醒創業者,加盟不失為一條創業捷徑,但若選擇加盟,品牌知名度、產品獨特性及是否擁有差異化優勢就顯得格外重要。
    近年來以成本低的小吃餐車最受創業者青睞。沒經驗的失業族 大部份都選擇餐車擺攤,最多人都想在創業市場闖出一片天。在台中成立的五路財神開店總部,小吃餐車用品牌方式來營運,總經理陳滌五用自己的經驗來現身說法。以國人創業首選的小吃餐車來說,如何在同質性高的市場中殺出重圍?雖然是路邊攤小餐車,營運上的重要撇步是關鍵;在企業經營戰略中,唯有領先核心競爭,保持差異化優勢才是生存之道。

  14. 小吃餐車加盟連鎖「一條龍的創業模式」複製成功開店

    更新日期:2009/08/25 17:19

    (中央社訊息服務20090825 16:19:17)大環境不景氣,工作難找,有不少人就想乾脆自己創業當老闆。為






    近年來以成本低的小吃餐車最受創業者青睞。沒經驗的失業族 大部份都選擇餐車擺攤,最多人都想在創













  15. You can have a look at it.
    jordan shoes
    newest jordans
    jordan 7
    air yeezy
    jordan true flight
    If you like,you can contact us.
    jordan 3
    jordan 4
    We offer different styles.
    jordan 1
    jordan 2
    jordan 5
    jordan ajf shoes
    There are cheap shoes to choose
    nike footwear
    jordan flight 45
    Good quality with low price.
    air jordan 2010
    Air Jordan 2009
    Enjoy it!
    nike trainers


Disqus for Youth Curry - Insight on Indian Youth