Monce Abraham

Archive for the ‘Self Awareness’ Category

‘Don’t leave a Better Planet for the Kids, Leave Better Kids for the Planet’ – Ok, How about Both?

In Education, Life Lessons, Purpose, Self Awareness on May 3, 2013 at 03:09

 

A TED talk that made me smile in a long long time, especially when you keep reading about Prof Clayton Christensen predicting 50% of US Universities to go bankrupt within the next 15 years… Worth every single second of your time… !

 

 

For those who would love to experiment with the SOLE Tool Kit (read Parents/ Teachers who want their kids to discover their inner Superhero): CLICK HERE

Curious to see what happens when we try to use, internalize and unleash a SOLE or similar environments across schools, homes, clubs and non-profits.

 

What do you think will happen?

 
 

Cheers, Monce

Surviving the End of the World… and other adventures in 2012… !

In Education, Life Lessons, Management, Purpose, Self Awareness on January 4, 2013 at 07:57

 
Way past 21 Dec 2012, and we are all still here – Well, I guess this post is a timely one!
2012 has been one hellova crazy year for me personally; & I hope the past days, weeks and months have treated you just as well.

As we got into the rewind and review mode during the last few days of the year and as this New Year unfolds; I can’t help but feel grateful for the experiences and learning that the past year had to offer me.

2o12 – Well, it’s been the year I went from saying Hi to our Former President while wearing pyjamas and a tee shirt, to dozing off in between a meeting with the Founder & CEO of the current venture I am involved with; getting to speak with and learn from some of the most outstanding Indian thought leaders, to taking on 8km runs once a week. In between I also learnt to drive a car (well, had to do it someday), and got chased on an empty stretch by 3 miscreants on a motorbike, morning 2 AM.

Inside I feel good as to how the year treated me (caught up on a few good movies too – ‘Dark Knight Rises’ included); this whilst I can’t wait to take on, and experience what 2013 has to offer.

 
The Dark Knight Rises

Picture Credit: The Dark Knight Rises official website

 

Over to the Details…

 
Read the rest of this entry »

Our Strength is not for Hurting

In Building Culture, Education, Life Lessons, Purpose, Self Awareness on December 30, 2012 at 09:41

 

Though the year 2o12 had a lot to offer me personally, I can’t help but not go back to some not so happy personal incident(s); plus of course the plight of the 23 year old woman who was subjected to gangrape and subsequent inhuman torture at the hands of 6 individuals recently in the Capital. What happened afterwards in terms of protests, and the way the protest were handled by the government also threw up some unpleasant questions which needed answers, and which needed them fast.

Be you a student, entrepreneur, activist or leader (corporate/ government) who might happen to read this post;  I sincerely believe that we all as individuals, and a country, are capable of achieving much greater things. As we all condemn the act, and seek justice and fairness for such untoward incidents, let us also take a look inside and try to understand what makes individuals, who are not so much different from us in flesh and bone, commit such acts – and therein try to nip the issue at the bud.

A solution that might work in the long run (not saying it’s the fastest way to bring about change) is to create the right environment at the family level wherein we consciously seed out patriarchal/ matriarchal traits which differentiate between a boy and a girl  (one which gives privileges to one child more than the other, at different levels/ instances/ ages etc); treating the children equally in terms of love and care, and enabling both to find and pursue their greatness in thoughts, words and deeds – By doing this, we might, perhaps, be able to achieve an environment wherein more men respect women and look at them as fabulous individuals, just like themselves. In such an environment, more men should, and will, understand that when it comes from a woman – a ‘no’ means ‘NO’. (Below is a campaign which I had come across sometime back, and which shows how powerful the idea is in such an environment).

 

Men Can Stop Rape

Picture credit: My Strength Campaign (http://www.mystrength.org/)

Read the rest of this entry »

Broken Windows Theory – Taking a drive through Delhi, night 2 AM…

In Management, Self Awareness on November 23, 2012 at 06:04

 

If you happen to be one of those late night creatures on my FaceBook network who find it hard to sleep before 2/ 3 AM, chances are you would have tripped on the below post from me on 16th November morning 2:36 AM:

 

Click on image to enlarge

 

Well, it was a serious incident, but we were able to take care of it as a family. Given how our minds respond in a very limited fashion under such circumstances, all four of us were able to focus on four different activities and managed to arrive at our place unharmed whilst taking care of the needful.

Once home, we informed the district police on ‘1oo’ and also corresponded with a couple of officials from the district police station on phone. We also made it a point to reach out to the Police officials at more responsible positions (on mail), to ensure that those guys were caught and so that others would not have go through this kind of ordeal at their hands. Having waited for a few days, finally got the following mail from the Delhi Police Commissioner’s cell today morning:

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Ever Been In Such A Rush That You Nicked Your Face?

In Life Lessons, Purpose, Self Awareness on October 21, 2012 at 02:51

 
So I had the opportunity, again, to meet up with Yinglan Tan, a much valued friend and a fabulous fabulous human being, towards the close of the second day of TiEcon Delhi 2012.

We had the opportunity to discuss a few things, but as I close on my work tonight, I can’t help but go back to the most important chat we had that day:

 

Yinglan : “So tell me Monce, have you ever been in such a rush to reach where you wanted to reach, that you couldn’t wait to finish your shave and nicked your face in the process?”

Me (already lost in thought during the conversation but experiencing one of the best feelings while answering this): “I missed my dinner once… I missed breakfast a few times… * ” (trying to analyze  the strange feeling, and back to being even more lost in thought now…)

 

* And trust me, it was true: It was only during I was already en-route somewhere that I realized I had forgot to have my dinner that particular day!

For those who are trying to find meaning in the above lines, just try to think of the times you were doing something that you really wanted to do (stuff that makes the real ‘you’ come alive), and rest everything (time, place, everything!) fades into the background.

 

Yinglan, it’s always such a pleasure to meet and learn from you, each and every interaction.

Night 2:45 AM and inspired, a good day coming to an end…

 

One of those days when I really need a Shave!

 

p.s.: That’s me above – on one of the days I really do need a real bad shave.

Got similar experiences to share?  Would love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 

Cheers, Monce

Neil Armstrong… and the Art of Dreaming B.I.G.

In Life Lessons, Purpose, Self Awareness on August 26, 2012 at 22:59

 

Can’t help but imagine what Neil was thinking when he was chosen for the Apollo 11 Space mission, along with Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins… and what must have been going through his mind when he ‘decided’ to go ahead with what he did.

Neil inspired folks to think B.I.G. … that all limitations are, but self-imposed… and that when one outrageously decides to give a shot at being the first man on the moon, rest everything looks ordinary.

Kids will keep learning about you in the years to come Neil; & no one can take away the fact that you were the ‘First Man to Walk the Moon’…

RIP Neil… you live on…

 

Neil lives on...

 

 

DECIDE… DO…

 

p.s.: I am neither a Science geek, nor a self-proclaimed fan… Just an ordinary guy who feels inspired by Men such as these who dare to walk the Earth, or the Moon for that matter.

p.p.s.:  Those who have the urge to comment on the Moon landing conspiracy, some other day folks!

 

Cheers,  Monce

Jumping off Cliffs and Building your Wings on the Way Down

In Life Lessons, Management, Purpose, Self Awareness on August 1, 2012 at 10:57

Today somehow reminds me of my first para-sailing experience at the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Camp at Air Force Station, Tambaram (Tamil Nadu, India).

Back then, I was this 18 year old ‘kid’ who had decided to enroll with the NCC simply because they had told us that, as NCC cadets, we would get to do crazy adventurous stuff like rifle shooting, skeet shooting, parasailing, etc.  – Enough ammunition to get the pulse of any guy racing!

What they did not tell us – We would be put through a gruelling self-discipline learning over the next couple of years which included attending NCC training on weekends and annual camps where we would learn to march (or walk smartly, as they put it), run 7 laps of a ground 3 times the average football ground (at 5 in the morning!), and also do a whole lot of other stuff which would, ahem, build our character.

Running on the Runway - Extreme Right (strange how I actually looked lean back then!)

Why do I speak of this – Because I loved every moment of it! Strangely when I look back, I now realize that we were doing all the not-so-fun-disciplinary-stuff for the major part or almost 80% of our time spent in NCC activities but which made us able and up-to-task to take up the next 20% of mind-blowing experience that the annual camps had to offer us.

I remember, in particular, my first para-sailing experience – Our batch from college had assembled that evening at the grounds for the parasailing drill (the entire drill was to be on ground, and not water), and all of us were asked to strap on the harness one by one… and wait.

For most of us who had no idea how to go about the para-sailing, this meant that we had to keep running behind a jeep which held us by a thick rope, this with a para-sail strapped to our back, lift off to stay in the air for some 3 minutes, and then land on the ground from a height of 25 – 30 feet at the end of it.

Though I was ‘a bit’ enthusiastic about the entire experience, I did feel a bit unnerved at the thought of ‘plummeting to death’ on my way down, and managed to delay the experience by asking others to go ahead all evening – this till I was the only one left for the exercise! Having seen a few guys get bruised from the effort (or lack of it!) of not keeping on running before they were lifted off – in which case one is dragged by the jeep for a few seconds, and suffers bruises and cuts; I just strapped on my frail helmet while being assisted with knee pads (the knee pads hardly looked as if they could support my weight and save my knees should I ever be gloriously dragged on the runway, or on cheese for that matter!) and started to focus on what would help me survive the entire drill.

The instructions were simple:

  1. Run with the jeep.
  2. Once you are lifted off the ground, focus on keeping up with the peddling action up to a height of 10 feet, so that even if you were to get back on ground because of not strong enough winds, you would be in running motion and will not get dragged around by the jeep (very much a possibility given my generous built!)
  3. Once you have crossed 15 – 20 feet and reach a stable height, signal whether you are comfortable: (a) If Comfortable – Release grip from harness and stretch hands wide open once, then get back to hold the harness, (b) If Uncomfortable – Cross and open legs a couple of times.
  4. On your way down when being lowered, ensure you bring together your body such that your line of sight is in aligment with your knees and forefoot.
  5. Land gently while keeping balance.

SOUNDS EASY, RIGHT!

Up, up... and...

Read the rest of this entry »

The Curious Case of ‘Outliers’ & the Pursuit of Excellence – I

In Building Culture, Management, Marketing, People Management, Self Awareness, Strategy on January 16, 2012 at 22:23

 
Having your flight delayed by a couple of hours can ‘sometimes’ truly be a blessing in disguise. A couple of weeks ago, on my way back home after vacations and when faced with this predicament, I did what I usually don’t do to counter these kind of situations – buy a book!

Those of you who know me are well aware that I usually do not buy books, for the simple reason that most of the times it’s just skim reading, going through the book (fiction/ non-fiction/ other classifications out there in the universe) and taking away 2-3 key concepts that stay with me. I might return to revisit a few concepts now and then, but am not exactly in love with the idea of ‘rereading’ books.

To cut a long-story short, I managed my way into the inhouse (or is it in-airport?!) bookstore, and the first book that caught my eye also happened to be the one I bought – The Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  It had been recommended a few times on some LinkedIn forums and by some of my peers; plus having read Malcolm’s earlier work ‘The Tipping Point’ in 2011, it seemed like a good enough choice.

The brilliant book that Outliers is, when one starts thinking of the theories given therein,  it opens up a world of possibilities in terms of their applications to the real world. Taking forward some of the learning, in this post I intend to share what most people know works beautifully in teams, but never knew why – Having a flat organization structure and the payoffs of being approachable.

The Power Distance Index (PDI)

 
So what would your reaction be if Malcolm Gladwell told you that there was a ‘direct’ correlation between the number of plane crashes and the place from where the pilots belonged. Sounds crazy right? Wrong. Read more on this by clicking here.

A section of Outliers builds on the concept of the ‘Power Distance Index’ (PDI) which is an interesting theory (amongst the 6 Dimensions of national culture) put forth by Geert Hofstede, and which looks at how much a culture values hierarchical relationships and how individuals within that culture interact with authority. The implications of PDI when applied to plane crashes are powerful enough to make you stop reading midway and think as to how this augurs for the different businesses across the globe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Atlas Shrugged – Answers to Questions you never knew existed, deep inside your being – II

In Branding, Building Culture, Management, Self Awareness on December 20, 2011 at 10:06

 

“In the old days, it used to be said that the Twentieth Century Motor trademark was as good as the karat mark on gold. I don’t know what it was that the Starnes heirs thought, if they thought at all, but I suppose that like all social planners and like savages, they thought that this trademark was a magic stamp which did the trick by some sort of voodoo power and that it would keep them rich, as it had kept their father. Well, when our customers began to see that we never delivered an order on time and never put out a motor that didn’t have something wrong with it – the magic stamp began to work the other way around: people wouldn’t take a motor as a gift, if it was marked Twentieth Century. And it came to where our only customers were men who never paid and never meant to pay their bills. But Gerald Starnes, doped by his own publicity, got huffy and went around, with an air of moral superiority, demanding that businessmen place orders with us, not because our motors were good, but because we needed the orders so badly.”


Having published the first of the two sections from Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) that inspired me, it was only appropriate that my next post be about the second section from this epic of a book, that has left such a deep impression on me.

To be honest, it was very difficult for me to go through this part of the book the first time around; for the sole reason that the time spent reading this section was one where I was totally repulsed by the description given in the pages.

Now one might say that ‘repulse’ is too strong a word to be used in the context of a particular section of a book. Alas, that was the exact emotion that I experienced while going deeper into the pages. When one starts imagining the kind of transition that envelopes an organization, where people outdo each other to do the worst they can, hiding their own ability and… staking their claim on other’s; the plot leaves a huge lump in one’s throat which stays there, much to his/ her discomfort. Any system that rewards non-performers at the cost of performers is bound to fail, or develop cracks from within, sooner or later; should we consider a time period of 5 yrs, or one which spans 50. 

Not to take anything away from the books and articles that I have read (and learnt from) over the years, but, this section taught me more about the essence of people management and understanding and managing (the right kind of) people’s expectations in the 2 days that were spent reading this section, than all the time I had spent reading about Reward, Recognition and Training (Winning anyone?!) and rest all jazz that HBR and other fabulous (albeit random!) sources line up in my mailbox every day around noon or later.

Of all the things that I am grateful for, the one thing that this section helped me with most, was to learn to Let Go…  of learning (laying to rest parts of myself – perceivably good or harmful, that do not serve me in the long run), situations and people.

Trust you too will find something relevant to take back from this section, each and every time you read this. 

p.s.: Feel free to bookmark, for all those times you may wish to revisit this.

Cheers, Monce

(An answer that still eludes me: How did Ayn Rand know all that she did? And what experiences did she undergo to learn the same? )
 

 

The Story of The Twentieth Century Motor Company from ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Read the rest of this entry »

Atlas Shrugged – Answers to Questions you never knew existed, deep inside your being – I

In Branding, Building Culture, Management, Self Awareness on December 4, 2011 at 22:40

 

“Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy, not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when men live by trade – with reason, not force, as their final arbiter – it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability – and the degree of a man’s productiveness is the degree of his reward. “

It’s crazy when I look back and realize that it has been almost a year since I read this book that has made such a remarkable impact on my life, and altogether altered my expectations from the books I have read over the years – ‘Atlas Shrugged’ for you!

Newton’s 3rd law (The easiest one to remember whilst back in school!) reads:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction“.

Whilst this is one of the earliest theories in action we are taught as small kids, as we grow older, we hear the world preaching ‘work hard’, ‘love unconditionally’, ‘do X’, ‘do Y’ and ‘yes, please make it a point to do Z too’, but Don’t Expect Anything In Return!

Going back to the experience of learning from those 2-3 months that were spent reading and soaking in the epic that Ayn Rand penned; I find that there were 2 sections from the book in particular which held me in trance, and which made me lose sense of time, hunger and sleep whilst I was busy trying to understand what the pages conveyed, and then some more.

Having finally found some time to revisit my blog, I reproduce below the first of the 2 sections from ‘Atlas Shrugged’ that will hopefully resonate with your being too if you have read and tried to understand all that this book stands for.

May nothing stop you, and may the Force be with you… guiding and enriching you as you find your purpose… and as you keep learning… and growing.

All said and done: Work hard, Be crazy in Love, ‘Do’ all that you are born to do… but with an end goal in sight and a purpose.

For what you bring to the world’s table… You deserve all that the world has to offer, and then some more.

p.s.: Feel free to bookmark, for all those times you may wish to revisit this.

Cheers, Monce

(An answer that still eludes me: How did Ayn Rand know all that she did? And what experiences did she undergo to learn the same? )
 

 

Francisco’s Money Speech from ‘Atlas Shrugged’

 
Rearden heard Bertram Scudder, outside the group, say to a girl who made some sound of indignation, “Don’t let him disturb you. You know, money is the root of all evil – and he’s the typical product of money.”

Rearden did not think that Francisco could have heard it, but he saw Francisco turning to them with a gravely courteous smile.

“So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Aconia.

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: