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Tag: attitude is everything

On paper

Here’s a trend I’ve been seeing. Having sat in on a few interviews for various roles, candidates of various types and thought processes have come through the door.

Many candidates are just amazing on paper. Tech skills, coding skills, math skills, legal skills, business skills – and plenty of certificate courses – you name it, and they’ve got it.

But interpersonal skills? Not a degree of an online course on “Negotiation 101”. But real-world interpersonal skills. Knowing when to speak and when to shut up. Harsh? Yes maybe, but extremely crucial too.

The higher one climbs in an organization, the more the work becomes about ‘getting the work done’ than ‘actually doing the work’. It’s physically impossible for just one senior employee to do all the work. And if it is, then it’s probably inefficient because it hasn’t scaled to potential.

And the higher one climbs up, the more one needs soft skills. Somewhat unintuitively, even to climb up the ladder, one needs soft skills.

Many interviews I’ve seen have ended with the interviewers talking amongst themselves thus, “Great skills… but, terrible attitude, and that’s a big enough ‘but’ to not move forward.

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Attitude platitude – part 3

Continuing again, my Guru’s typewritten message on the importance of the right attitude.

3. Read something informational or inspirational every day. Reading for 20 minutes at just 240 words per minute will enable you to read twenty 200-page books each year. That is 18 more than what the average person reads! What an enormous competitive advantage ... if you'll just read for 20 minutes a day.

4. The University of Southern California reveals that you can acquire the equivalent of two years of a college education in three years just by listening to motivating and educational cassettes on your way to your job, and again on the way home. What could be easier?

A 2021 reference for point 4 above – we can replace ‘cassettes’ with ‘podcasts’. Many are yet to discover the amazing power of podcasts – but all you need to do is download any podcast player app from your app-store, and then search for and add your favourite channels / topics. It is like having the most successful people on earth talking to you in your ear, as you go about doing your housework or other activities.

Sorry for the digression. Continued (and concluded) tomorrow…

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Attitude platitude

Here are a series of posts which will simply cover what my Guru had written in a single typewritten note a few decades ago. It is so fine in its choice of words and intent, that any modifications I make to it will only worsen it. So here it is, with no further ado:

Harvard and Stanford Universities have reported that 85% the reason a person gets a job and gets ahead in that job is due to attitude; and only 15% is because of technical or specific skills. Interesting, isn't it?

You spent how much money on your education? And you spent how much money on building your positive attitude? Ouch! That hurts.

Now here's an interesting thought. With the 'right' attitude, you can and will develop the necessary skills. So where is your emphasis? On skill building? Or on attitude building?

Unfortunately, 'neither' is the real answer for many people.

Continued tomorrow…

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Bear necessities

We were recently watching the new BBC Earth series called A Perfect Planet, narrated by the incomparable Sir David Attenborough.

One shot focused on a group of bears that had just come out of hibernation. They were quite skinny and weak, having gone many months without any food.

Hundreds of them had come together at a lake, the largest such congregation of bears in the world. Their objective? To hunt all the salmon that come to the lake shores, and there were plenty of them. However, in this initial period, the salmon are very strong, and the bears are not quick enough to catch them. Most bears fail, and go hungry.

One old, experienced and wise bear though, had a trick up its sleeve. Instead of fishing from the shore, he swims coolly to the middle of lake, and makes a few dives to the bottom. Each time, he comes back up with mouthfuls. These apparently are fish that have just died and been deposited into the lake bed. The wise bear’s excitement is palpable, as much is the anxiety of all the other bears combined.

It always helps to pay heed to the wise.

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The greatest discovery of all-time

Károly Takács, at 28, was Hungary’s top pistol shooter. He was the favourite to win gold at the 1940 Tokyo Olympic Games. But a grenade accidentally exploded and blew away his right hand – the shooting hand. He wallowed in self-pity, right? Nope, not Károly! He just focused on training his left hand instead! He went on to win golds in the next two Olympics, shooting with his left. Unbelievable? Yes, but true. Imagine how hard it would have been to be in his shoes.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma was rejected by Harvard University 10 times, and also by several jobs including KFC. Stephen King’s first novel Carrie was rejected by 30 publishers before being picked up. Wilma Rudolph – the ‘fastest woman on earth’ in her time – wore a leg brace, suffered infantile paralysis but later won 3 Olympic golds. Edison failed 3000 times before making the first light bulb.

And us? No, we are too scared to fail, and even more scared to try! We feel we bear the burden of the earth on our heads. That a single misstep would cause everyone to take notice, and curse us into oblivion. We are so focused on ourselves and our shortcomings that we never realise one thing. That everyone is so immersed in themselves that they do not really care about us!

Give this a thought – do you remember what clothes your friends and families wore 2 weeks ago? 1 week ago? 3 days ago? Or what kind of bags they were carrying? Or what they said? Hardly! The world has moved on, but we stay rooted to that one insult someone threw at us…way back in kindergarten!

Oprah Winfrey said “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” There is even a book called Attitude is Everything! We would still be in darkness if Edison had stopped after the first try, or even the 2,999th. We can never give up – because we each might be the creators of a lasting legacy for future generations to come. It is the least we can do to repay our ancestors – for giving us the tools and technologies we are blessed with today.

It is human nature to be condescending to others, and so others will continue to sneer and laugh. But we need to concern ourselves with only our own attitude – the right attitude. Because even the impossible then becomes possible.

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