CDOQ (Chander's Diary of Observations and Questions)is about Chander's observations and unanswered questions about life in general, business, technology, and human behavior. Enjoy CDOQ, learn, and contribute!
Sunday, December 7, 2014
7 Secrets to Unlock Success and Happiness
frequently speak at conferences on many topics including innovation,
leadership, and the future of mobile technologies. At these conferences, young
people often ask me for career advice. I am reminded of my younger days when I
was looking for the same. Wisdom from a few people has greatly influenced my
thinking and actions. Please keep in mind there are no silver bullets. But if
you are willing to work hard, be patient and open your mind, you may achieve
more than you ever dreamed possible.
Following are the seven guiding principles I’ve used for happiness and success.
1. Learn. You have to be learning all the time. Don’t just learn
about the job you are in. Learn how the business operates. Learn about the
value-chain your company is a part of. Learn how your competitors do things
differently. Think about how technologies can disrupt your industry. Understand
your learning style. Do you learn more from sitting in a class, reading a book,
doing, or listening to stories? Test what you learn by applying it to the real
This will help you develop good
2. Develop an independent
mind. Don’t blindly follow what people say and do. Seek understanding
and take context into account. The education system teaches things with
generalities and universalities. However, life is different. Your action has to
vary with the situation orcontext.
Ask a lot of “why” questions. Foster the ability to argue both sides of an
argument. Most people spend their life without questioning why things are the
way they are. You have a choice not to do that. Another choice you have is not
to increase your expenses with your income. This has a magical effect on the
mind. If your expenses grow with your income then you will always be dependent
on someone or something for your lifestyle and that limits independent
This will help you create your own
3. Have rituals and
self-discipline. The number of distractions you have today is exponentially
higher than what I had when I was growing up. The Internet, mobile phones, and
cable TV were not around when I was in college. Although these new technologies
are helpful tools for us to accomplish things, they can also be huge
distractions. Goals are a necessity to keep you on track. It is really hard to
accomplish anything today without self-discipline, and rituals help reinforce
an example of my daily ritual. I create yearly goals, review them frequently and
grade myself on my performance at the end of the year. Last year I gave myself
This will help you get things done.
4. Try a lot of
different things before you settle on any one thing. Don’t stay with one
function. If you start your career in marketing, don’t just stay in marketing.
Work in different functions within the company. Understand how the company
works as a system and develop empathy for people who work in areas different
from your own. I have worked in innovation, product development, sales,
marketing, strategy, finance, and P&L management. With this
interdisciplinary approach, I’ve discovered my passion for solving complex
problems and aligning diverse groups of people towards a shared goal.
This will help you find the one thing
that you will be exceptional at.
5. Become interesting. Have a diverse set
of interests. If you work in the tech industry and all you can talk about is
tech, then you will be boring to a lot of people. We are so lucky to be alive
today. Just one hundred years ago, most people spent their lives worrying about
survival. Be curious about other people and ask them questions. They love
talking about themselves. Be current on world-affairs. Read the Economist or
some other current affairs magazine. If people like being around you, then you
will get invited to a lot of social gatherings. This is where new opportunities
This will help you develop an ability
to relate to all kinds of people.
6. Be Pragmatic.In the last twenty years, the biggest change I have seen
in myself is that I have become a pragmatist from being an ideologue. In my
first job, I gave a list of 72 things that were wrong with the company to the
President and I wanted everything to be fixed right away. I am lucky that the
president was a mature leader and I did not get sacked. Think in terms of
making relative improvements and focus on things that you can influence.
Prioritize what needs to be done. There are always a million things to do. It
is alright not to do everything. All decisions are a function of the options
available. When you decide to do something, understand that this comes at the
expense of not doing everything else.
This will help you focus on the right
7. Raise your consciousness. What is life about?
Making money, spending it, and constantly satisfying your senses? Think about
how you are contributing to your local community and the world. Join the Rotary
Club or some other civic organization. Never miss an opportunity to help
others. Keep your word. Always do what you say. Share what you are learning
with others. Read philosophy. Develop an interest in the arts. Make everything
around you more beautiful. Find the right life partner whose love is not
dependent solely on your income or your looks. I live byLeonardo da Vinci’s
seven life principles.
This will help you become a good human
This article was originally published on Forbes.com on November 28th, 2014.