9 Points to Ponder


I carry a short stack of notecards in my bag just to make notes for myself. Many of these are things that I would have said in a conversation or reflected upon post a conversation.

As I was browsing through my stack from the last few weeks, I found nine points to ponder. Here they are (in no particular order)

1. Attach yourself to the effort; detach yourself from the outcome

Outcomes are always uncertain because EVERYTHING has to go right to reach a certain outcome (Note for any digital electronics geeks: Think AND gates) so really anything can happen. A key component that has to go right is YOUR effort. If there is ONE thing that you have maximum control of – it is your effort. So, attach yourself to the effort and detach yourself from the outcome.

2. Empathize with the actions of others as much as possible; Always OWN your reactions to the actions of others.

A surefire recipe for disaster is to base your happiness on other people’s actions. People act the way they do for a variety of reasons and it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to understand their logic completely. You can empathize with them as much as possible but for sure should OWN your reactions because your life is made up of a series of such reactions.

Note: This does not mean that you should be super-stoic and take whatever is thrown at you. Your reaction to utter nonsense can be to disengage gracefully.

3. Learn from your successes and your failures. Most importantly, learn from the failures and successes of others.

Life is too short for you to learn from your own successes and failures. You may pay dearly if you choose that path. In some cases, sheer stupidity may take you to a point of no return. However, there is no dearth of lessons you can learn from the successes and failures of others if you are OPEN to it. It is a far cheaper option compared to the former.

4. Be educated. Be entertained. But NEVER confuse one for the other

There is a time for entertainment and there is a time for education. The problem comes when you confuse one for the other. Imagine you are watching a few TED videos because it is cool to say that you watched a few cool TED videos. It is pure entertainment until you create something meaningful out of the action of watching these videos. You will be fooling yourself (and feeling good about it) if you confuse entertainment for education.

5. Be an opportunist. Capitalize on EVERY single opportunity to GIVE.

Being an opportunist is wrong unless you are constantly looking for “opportunities to GIVE.” There may be a moral reason (it’s the right thing to do) reason for giving but honestly, there is a practical reason to do so too. Giving is what invokes probably the most powerful force on earth – the power of reciprocation.

If anything invest in yourself to increase your capacity to drop the costs of giving meaningful gifts – this alone will supercharge your power and influence.

6. If you think it’s hard to fill in someone’s shoes, try just being yourself

Granted, it’s hard to fill in someone’s shoes especially if they are big 🙂

What’s harder is just to be yourself – to capitalize on your unique strengths to make a meaningful impact.


There are no ready templates to be YOU. You need to be creative, invent what works for you and keep innovating to create impact with your unique strengths. You need to do this while fighting the temptation to just follow.

7. Making money is good. Making meaning is better. Making meaning while making money is the best!

On one end there is money for the sake of money. On the other end, there is meaning. Whatever be your view about money, I think you will agree that with money it gets easier to create an impact that’s far reaching. So, rather than shying away from making money, go towards making both – meaning + money.

Note: There are always exceptions of people with no money making a massive impact. For every one such person, there will be ten who can make that kind of impact with money

8. You can never change what happened but you can ALWAYS change how you look at what happened.

It is clear to us all that past cannot be changed but nobody can stop you and me from reframing our past to make us more powerful. Just like in #2, you have the power to choose your reaction or the frame with which you see your past. You can make it such that it’s dis-empowering or you can make it empowering – your choice!

9. Not having an opportunity to sing is a small problem compared to not having a song to sing.

It’s actually easy to complain that your circumstances have not provided you an opportunity to sing.

Think about it

Who gets to sing?

In general, the “one or two of the best of the available options.”

Your task is really cut out – your goal is to be one of the “best available among available options.” This means only one thing – relentless investment in yourself AND having that sing to sing that others want to listen.

Have a great week ahead!