innovation, Life, Transformation

Specificity #Day 6

Rise & Grind (1)

I don’t like being alone, especially in a car, every morning when I’m driving to work or travel to new places. I would fill up with the empty spaces of time with music. Familiar tunes, would rewind few memories or the app algorithm would make you discover the new ones. And as I would get closer to my destination, I won’t feel the emptiness of traveling alone. Rather I would be in car for longer, waiting for the song to get over before stepping out and continue humming as I walk.

That was past. About 5 years ago. What a waste of time it was, in reflection.

I discovered “Automobile Industry” during one of these drives. Thanks to Siri and Carplay, which make the navigation of the content easier. I figured out a number of people had become masters of their favourite subject just be devoting time during the time they were in the car. For them, listening to these podcasts was same as attending lecture in their university days.

Consider the following statistics and it should be able to graduate in your subject of choice.

The average drive time in the car in a day is about 2 hours. A subject in college would mandate close to 3 hours per week. With an average of 14 weeks in a semester, You would have taken a total of 42 hours. 

Therefore, if you are diligent, you can complete one semester of your favourite subject in 21 days. However Maths never decides the outcome, behaviour does. I decided that day to make use of my “Me” time in car and put it to use to make my networth look better.

Goodbye radio and welcome podcasts. My mornings never go dull without them.

Adam Grant’s Ted talks is of a special interest. Mr. Grant takes a very special spin on the subjects and I admire his opinions in the area of work psychology. He and Mr. Malcolm Gladwell talk about creativity in one of the podcasts, where he and Mr. Gladwell  touched upon Specificity. 

If I were to represent the universe, while we are absorbing more and more content, we are discerning lesser and lesser. Our attention span is only about 5 secs on average for a piece of content, which makes it more diffcult to differentiate the content. What then sparks creativity

Mr. Gladwell says, “Specificity is something I’ve become increasingly interested in as a trait of interestingness. That all the interesting people I know are people whose speech and thinking have a great deal of specificity to it.”

He further states, “Quality of being specific and being able to illustrate your larger points with that kind of precision is the quality of what makes something interesting. Ever since I’ve come to understand this, that has informed the way I look for ideas.” And this point stayed with me to the point that I wanted everyone to take notice. Even though it means repeating the words verbatim, there is a merit in repeating. The idea of Specificity is profound.

And from the same podcast flashes another moment of brilliance, which is Mr. Grants perspective. He says, “Ideas survive, not because they’re true, but because they’re interesting.” and adds, “What makes an idea interesting is when it departs from conventional wisdom.” And makes you think, “Well I knew about it all along, but it is kind of opposite of what I have thought of.” 

It is an engaging discussion, free flow of ideas, spontaniety, chemistry and humor. I do understand the notion of being interesting and unconventional, but the idea of Specificity is new. I’m intrigued and contemplating to try it as a habit because it is very contrary to my normal self. It means slowing down, putting in details and gather more prespectives.

I wish every new thing you want to try comes easy as your second nature. This is not interesting part of this trial.

Image and layout courtsey:



Life, Personal Development, Transformation

Deliberate Practice


Great advertisements make us reflect and leave a lasting impact. For many years, I believed 99% Perspiration and 1% inspiration was originally crafted by a talcum powder brand.

The ad was inspiring, Mr. Edison is more real.

Thomas Alva Edison coined this unforgettable phrase: “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. His life has been nothing less than inspiration for many. Mr. Edison has 1093 patents to his name and his creations laid foundations for a modern world.

Mr. Edison is right, genius isn’t special. Genius term is overused, more often for a God-like status and therefore such glorification becomes beyond human reach. In other context, genius is born and hence few are gifted and therefore cannot be acquired. We are comforted by the fact that “Geniuses” are born and not made.

Mr. Malcolm Gladwell’ Book Outlier proposes “10,000 Hours” rule for an expert. This is minimum time for you to acquire skill. Another book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, is another fascinating description of practice and perseverance, corroborates and extends Mr. Gladwell’s proposition. According to Ms Duckworth, “Grittier people typically stick with their commitment longer than others, and simply spent more time on task”.

She further states:

It is persistent desire to do better. It is opposite of being complacent. But it is positive state of mind, not a negative one. It’s not looking back with dissatisfaction. It’s looking forward and wanting to grow”

Genius and talent is overrated. Practice is tough, single-minded devotion to one goal is difficult.

Ashoke clocked his best time 3.23 hours in marathon last year, which was after 6 years of deliberate practice. In his first marathon, Ashoke limped back to the finish line. His 6 years of practice was towards one goal, to better the time and qualify for Boston, which I’m very confident, he will do so this year. In his pursuit to achieve his goal, Ashoke logged many hours of deliberate practice. Therefore it is not necessary that a 10,000 hours investment will make you an expert. Deliberate practice will. The purpose of the time defines the goal.

My previous organisation, would conduct a minimum of 100 experiments (A/B tests) per week with a fixed objective to improve the customer experience. This differentiated us from the competition.

Jiro, the Michelin Star Chef, has his apprentice marinate tuna till the apprentice graduates to the next level.

Experts spend thousands and thousands of hours in deliberate practice. Ms. Duckworth further qualifies how expert practice:

“First, they stretch a goal, zeroing in on just one narrow aspect of their overall performance. Rather than focus on what they already do well, experts strive to improve specific weakness. they intentionally seek out challenges they cannot meet.”

So, what we end of witnessing is a masterpiece which is equated to genius and wow. What we don’t see is the infinite aggregate of small packets of efforts put in, ordinary and commonplace through deliberate practice to shape the outcome.

High performance is small mundanes put together.

Here are my two suggestion for making the deliberate practice a habit:

  1. Have a daily ritual, which you stick with everyday (your goal in perspective)
  2. Challenge a specific weakness everyday (what is taking you away from your goal)

It is guaranteed to be bumpy ride, but at the end of it you would say “I LOVED It!” and won’t regret even a bit of it.

Habits, Life, Transformation

Spontaneity & Spectacles


Today I was pondering on thoughts: the best things in life have been unplanned; it happened when I least expected it to.

This week will be the celebration spontaneity. I’m unfollowing all my plan and schedules for the day and take it as it comes. The structure will be no structure; but what I feel at the spur of the moment. For this week my priorities are uncategorised; the instinct decides the course of action.

Result, it took me more time to write this post than any of the others. I realised being spontaneous is so difficult. Being with yourself is difficult and deciding what you want to do is more difficult. Spontaneity doesn’t come easy and naturally.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book wrote one needs 10,000 hours to be good at any new skill, a thumb rule. Though the rule has been challenged by many other theories, such as one needs to have a huge amount of emotional quotient, passion and drive to excel. But as a thumb rule, the number 10,000 suits just fine. You may not survive 10,000 hours if you are not passionate about the subject. Maybe it takes that much time to discover oneself (or even more.

Spontaneity is closely associated with Social media, which I must acknowledge that I’m not very good at. I think a lot before composing that tweet or post. The folks who are good at it, know have it on their finger tips. Perpetually on their phone they would know what to post and when to post. More importantly, these folks know how to cut across the noise which is there in the social space because they have their niche and stick to it.

The most that I’m impressed by and have started the 10,000 hours in my mastery of this Social mastery journey is Snapchat. The ephemeral medium and celebrates moments in life. The user experience in creating the stories is unmatched; Snapchat is creating newer experiences continuously. I know of few organisations who mandate Snapchat skills as the essential for recruitment ( I would definitely be under qualified for such organisations). Brands are benefiting from the great user experience that it provides.

The recent launch of Spectacles from Snapchat, is a demonstration that innovation is just not the forte for Googles and Apples of the world. Spectacles is a device that enables you to   grab memories and wirelessly transfer to Snapchat and share. The Spectacles charge when they are put back in the case. The launch reminded of Apple launches and the long queues before the product hits the store.


Snapchat is continuously innovating experiences and raising the bar of user experience. Maybe this will be my conduit to discover spontaneity!