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The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

The Life Drive logo : A gift from Rahul Inamdar

the life drive

a triangle has three directions, each asking for a decision. it can exist even without this decision. life is made of thousands of such triangles. choices. interests. abilities. drivers. values. responsibilities. sor t out th ese triangles. direct them. know, develop and express. create a whole, one, integrated - you.

exist versus create. the dif ference is the life drive.

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

A video titled Designed by Apple in California


Click on this link to access the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpZmIiIXuZ0

If everyone is busy making everything, how can anyone perfect anything? We start to confuse convenience with joy, abundance with choice. Designing something requires focus. The first thing we ask: What do we want people to feel? Delight. Surprise. Love. Connection. Then we craft around our intention. It takes time. There are a thousand nos for every yes. We simplify. We perfect. We start over, until everything we touch enhances every life it touches. Only then do we sign our work. Designed by Apple in California.

The journey of personal growth is all about focus and choice making. It is about having an inspiring and clear vision of what game is one trying to play. It is about singular, uncompromising pursuit of excellence and also about giving life to diverse creations originating from your core. Ultimately its about acknowledging who you truly are and owning your creations: signing your work. The Apple video captures these principles in a very beautiful manner.

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

Are you

driven, responsible, versatile and capable?


That may not always be good news!
: By Shailesh Deshpande Thinking about personal growth as the process of becoming the best that you can be helps us look at life trajectories of people with new perspective. Especially when we study lives of people who reached unparalleled levels of Mastery in their respective fields, (From say a Steve Jobs, Bheemsen Joshi to Nelson Mandela and Sachin Tendulkar) in addition to the lifelong dedication and hard work, we often see a common thread of very clear choice making. Most of these people were ruthless about weeding away the inconsequential and focusing sharply on only what mattered. (And there is no universal rule here; each one of us needs to figure out what our core is what it is not). Again and again we see the pattern that laser sharp focus and deep , prolonged immersion ( often spanning a few decades ) in a particular arena of choice enabled these people reach great heights of capability and mastery. We can often see that with these great masters, their craft and life become so well integrated one single whole, that we just cannot separate the two. As we think about our own journeys of growth, it is not necessary that each one of us aspires to become a Master in one particular field but even then, there are valuable insights that we can draw from lives of these Masters. One obvious lesson is that exceptional work and best in class capability becomes a reality only when we bring our core selves together in a coherent, focused manner and spend prolonged periods of time developing our competence. It is also important to talk about a few difficult questions that face most of us as we think about our growth journeys: 1. Is it necessary that I need to choose one specific area of my life / work to focus upon? 2. How do I know that only one specific form of expression (say writing novels or being a Marketing professional) will allow me to invest my lifetime of work?

I have always believed that each one of us is a unique being and is personally responsible to define and create the ideal life for ourselves. Hence no common templates exist that can give us ready-made

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

solutions. But at the same time, I have started believing that there are certain guiding principles that can be very helpful as we think through these issues. Such as

There is NO SUBSTITUTE to depth: No matter how multifaceted and multitalented we are, great work just CAN NOT happen without depth and (usually prolonged) immersion. So even if you are interested in multiple things ( and I think any number beyond say 4-5 different spheres of work will SERIOUSLY limit your ability to do great work ) you may be better off focusing sharply on one or two things at a time , during a given block of time before moving on to the next thing

Dont confuse manifestations with your core themes: We often make a mistake of confusing a particular form of expression (say travelling) with the actual, deeper core. (say desire to learn about new cultures). Once we develop a clear understanding of what our core is we are often able to think of diverse range of expressions. ( In the above example, if the core theme is desire to learn about new cultures, then the person can express that in many ways other than travelling such as reading, acting as a guide to international tourists, creating a blog that provides cultural insights about various destinations and so on )

[One of my favorite examples of power of core themes is the way Steve Jobs impacted Pixar. After getting fired form Apple(the company he started) at the ripe age of 30, when Jobs invested in Pixar, people could not think of what this computer man had to do with the business of animation films (to which he had no prior exposure). In retrospect, we can clearly see that computers was just one manifestation of a few themes core to Jobs. These core themes were around beauty, intuitive understanding of consumers, pushing the envelope on technology, uncompromising focus on excellence and creating wealth through business. THATS WHAT he took to Pixar and THATS EXACTLY WHAT HE USED while creating iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Coming back to the title of this article: the qualities mentioned there driven, responsible, versatile and capable are usually considered as great qualities to have. But as I study journeys of people around me, I am realizing that these great qualities also have a potential to seriously stall our journeys of growth. This article is meant to trigger introspection - to check whether any of these (otherwise good)

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

qualities are stopping you from becoming the best that you can be and expressing yourself in a manner that is most meaningful to you

As we discussed earlier in this article, laser sharp focus and a deep awareness about your core , about who you truly are seem to be essential ingredients in the journey of growth and these four qualities (being driven, responsible, versatile and capable) can potentially come in your way of acquiring the essential ingredients in a manner described below.

Being driven: Many of us have a very high achievement orientation. Which means that we need to feel a sense of accomplishment every day of the week and we also get attracted to things that are considered to be very difficult (from running a full marathon to taking on the most difficult client account). This constant desire to achieve keeps us going and usually creates a great stream of successful accomplishments ( which is respected highly by society at large ). This feeling of success and constant drive can potentially keep us away from ever truly finding out what our core is, and which game do we wish to play through our life.

Being responsible: If the driven people are charged by their own desire to achieve, the responsible people are obsessed with the expectations of others. In all situations, they are constantly thinking what their responsibility is (say to their families / bosses/ organizations) and whether or not they are fulfilling it to the best of their ability. This again is a great asset to have and usually creates a reputation of dependability and reliability about a person. The only possible risk here is, that the person can be so obsessed with fulfilling the expectations that the others have of her, she may devote very limited time thinking about what she truly wants and investing energies in her own goals. ( In the long term this also causes harm to these very relationships and institutions because she is simply unable to bring her best to life)

Being versatile: Many of us know people who are simply great jacks of all trades but have no mastery of any one trade. This is a tricky issue because its quite possible that some of us have a more generalist bent ( and hence more tuned to doing multiple things at any given time) and some of us have a more specialist bent( more suited to focusing deeply on select areas at a time ). I only have two cautions about this quality

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

A ) Be aware of the trade-off between breadth and depth even if you are convinced that you are truly a multiple things at a time person be aware that chasing four different projects in four different spheres every month is unlikely to create any personal growth and accomplishment. You may not want to declare one area as work of your life but start at least by declaring it as work of your next 2 months and take it from there. Be aware that the constant search for novelty and quickly losing interest in new ventures are very powerful traps used by the death drive to keep you distracted. B ) Even for those who wish to become true generalists, knowing which game to play is very important. A Factory Manager, a Restaurant Manager , a CEO and an Event Management specialist are all master generalists ( have ability to bring together various strands of work and people together in an impactful manner ) but they play totally different games. You need to know your game so that you can become the best you can be in that particular game. Being capable: I am aware that it sounds very odd when I say that being capable is not always a good thing. But allow me to explain here I am talking about those of us who are ambitious, intelligent, hardworking and socially savvy. This kind of combination gives us a capability to perform a wide range of work (Often much better than the average population) with good amount of success. Prima facie , this appears to be a great capability to have but often this capability keeps us away from finding our true game and perfecting it. I am sure we can all think of a few people that we know, who have impeccable CVs (degrees from top universities and jobs with best known companies), wide range of accomplishments in range of roles but almost no joy and no soulful involvement in anything that they do. They have a mild feeling of pleasantness and (almost a bored) pride about their accomplishments but there is no ecstasy and no sense of authenticity. Conclusion The idea behind this article is not to run down these great qualities. But to just raise a flag that these great qualities can also potentially limit your growth. Once we become aware of this risk, we can re-craft our strategies and leverage these same qualities to create a life of our own choice, developed and built with deep self-awareness.

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

The Life Drive Newsletter July 2013

About The Life Drive Newsletter

This newsletter is meant for someone who is interested in improving his or her work on own Journey of Personal Growth. I believe that that this Journey is about becoming the best that you can be and expressing yourself in a manner that is most meaningful to you. Each one of us has two inbuilt and perpetual drives that influence all that we do The Life Drive inspires us to create new things, seek out our true selves and engage with external world with zest and affection. At the same time, The Death Drive within us scares us, makes us harm ourselves, makes us find comfort in the lazy status quo and gets us to look at external world and other people with suspicion and violence. The Death Drive within us does anything and everything it can do to stop and derail our Journey of Personal Growth. To succeed in its objective, the Death Drive throws many traps at us, such as convincing us that the problem is not within but outside us and convincing us that the comfortable life of status quo is better than risking the challenges of self exploration and selfexpression. How well, and whether at all we progress on this Journey is entirely dependent on whether we constantly honor our Life Drive by giving life to newer expressions of our core self and whether we succeed in defeating that enemy within ( The Death Drive) every day. Nobody and nothing outside of us can make us do this - it can happen if and only if we take complete personal responsibility of staying true to our precious and sacred Life Drive. This newsletter is meant to be a small reminder- that hopefully will make each of us take a pause and ask this question to ourselves: Did I truly honor my Life Drive today?

The Life Drive Newsletter is circulated every month. In case you wish to add someone to the circulation list, please send me his or her email address. The older editions of the newsletter (from March 2013) are available at http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

Your comments and feedback on the Newsletter is most welcome. You can reach me at shaileshdesh@gmail.com

Year 1, Volume No. 5

shaileshdesh@gmail.com http://lifedriveorg.blogspot.in/

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