Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Keep your cup empty

Those who think they know it all have no way of finding out they don't...

--Leo Buscaglia

American Author & Motivational Speaker

You are the General Manager of your company, working in the corporate world for more than 10 years interacting with top-notch clients from across the world on a daily basis. One fine day your boss asks you to attend a training session on- “E-mail writing skills”. How would you feel?

Another one! You're a stellar performer of your organization who closes business deals like a pro. Sales pitches & presentations for you are as easy as a pie. While checking your daily mails, your see an invitation to attend a workshop on "Public Speaking". Would you consider that on priority?

Unless you're the Dalai Lama, your first reaction to the above situations would be- "E-mail skills?? For who- ME?"
Do I really need to attend this public speaking session, I deliver sales presentations to CEOs every other day"

Undoubtedly, it can be boring, very boring actually to learn anything about something you are already good at. The very thought of it can make you feel lethargic or disinterested; but the secret is, it's just the start that seems so. Once you pick up that book, play that video or plug in your headphones to listen to that audio clip- Puff! It's all gone. It's like a hidden treasure- the chest might look muddy, old, boring from the outside but the gems inside can transform your life.

No wonder the best sports teams in the world have “Coaches”. Do you really think Sachin Tendulkar or Lionel Messi need ‘coaching’? In fact, they are so skilled at what they do they can probably win a match blindfolded. Still they attend practice, training & coaching sessions. Why? With the sole intention of perfecting every single move they make, keep on improving to the infinite extent possible and further conditioning the skills they have. It’s the same reason why even the most established scientists in the world attend lectures & conferences of other scientists and world-famous fashion designers never leave a chance of attending a competitor’s show. The Japanese have nailed it with their concept of "Kaizen- continuous and never ending improvement" (no wonder they also gave us Six Sigma).

How to do that- Start off by considering your mind as a bottomless cup, a cup with unlimited capacity, no matter how much you learn, how much you know about your trade, believe you can always have more. Always keep your cup empty so that much more can be poured into it.

Further into this- three things:

First) 'Aspect'. Any field in this world is never stand alone, there are multiple other fields or dimensions associated with it. As a matter of fact, knowledge about anything is infinite and relates to a lot more. If you are a fiction writer, reading non-fiction might not help you in your content but can surely improve the process of creating your fictional content. No matter you are excellent at Java programming, exploring different ways in which a code can be re-used or made more precise can help you in all the programmes you are gonna write in future.

Second) 'Perspective'. Hundreds and thousands of perspectives. It is wonderful and out-rightly beneficial to know things from others' point of view. Even something appealingly simple and basic might turn into an altogether new piece of  knowledge, an altogether new experience when re-visited. Why? Because the "Perspective" matters; and that changes with time. You might as well feel differently about the exact same thing when you re-visit it again few months or years down the line. Read a book again that you have read five years ago & you'll realize how you can extract more from the same lines. The same concept by different authors provides many new perspectives and even similar experiences narrated by different people can expand creativity.
5 writers= 5 different perspectives.


Third) ‘Intention’. When you do something feeling connected to a bigger purpose, and see your work not merely as a job but a way to make a difference, greater amount of satisfaction flows. Once you start valuing more of what you do, you'll be better at it and feel more fulfilled while doing it. See your work as a craft and you'll automatically be on the look out for new & innovative ways to work and improve not only to make things better for yourself, but also for your team, organization, society and the world as a whole.

If we look back, a lot of decisions in life might simply have been made by the "Give it a shot"  philosophy and I bet most of them were actually worth it. So possibly a 30-minute E-mail writing skill session or an hour long public speaking workshop may not be as useless as you think it may be and almost certainly, there would be at least one new thing that will come out of it.

Every passing day is an experience, you grow with the day and so can your skills.
Remember- No matter how good you become at your craft, there will always be something more to learn, someone to learn from and a skill to be conditioned.

Aim for the peak!

The 'Keeping your cup empty' philosophy was inspired by Robin Sharma's international best seller- The monk who sold his Ferrari.