20 years of experience or 1000 weeks of Trial and Error

What does 20+ years of Experience mean?

In my life I have come across 2 basic categories of people – Category A : those who spent 2 decades minimizing risk, meeting incremental targets & climbing the corporate ladder doing “more of the same” or Category B : those who spent 1000 weeks experimenting with the people, products, markets, technology that they interact with, trying to push the barriers and unlock the unharnessed potential, individually, interdependently or collectively.
As you can imagine, Category B is a rare breed. A very small group of self-assured individuals who follow their intuition. A very small group of people who are willing to mix the ingredients differently, add new parameters to their life & business model, work beyond their primary zones of comfort.

Unfortulately, many times, we associate stereotypical cliches with experimenters & risk takers. We assume they are rash, wild, flamboyant, atypical etc. But the reality is that Category B is a group of curious men and women, wanting to understanding the underlying connections between people, objects, actions, reactions, events, emotions, behaviour, physics, chemistry, language, nature etc. They are therefore willing to review the boundaries, rejig the parameters, introduce new variables and test the outcomes.

To them, an outcome is a learning experience. A statistical point in their plotting of impact of variables on an activity, decision. Such a mindset allows them to look at each outcome as a learning opportunity, rather than associating the outcomes with personal success or failure. They can derive learning from the experience because they recognize that their experiment introduced new variables and parameters. They can also measure & assimilate the learning because they knew the desired impact that they were trying to create of their experiment.

The category A people focus on “are others happy with my work?”, “am I part of the accepted group”, “do I look aligned?”, “i hope i am not usetting the apple cart”, “dont fix if it aint broken” etc. Hence they rarely focus on the variables or the outcome of their experiments. Hence when results are not to their liking, they tend to find “blameholders” for the failure. In extreme cases, they become victims of their own “blamestorming”.

Its a self fulfilling prophecy. The more aware you are, the more curious and experimentative you tend to be, and the more secure & self assured you become!! The vice versa also holds true!!

Its important to reflect back on our career and ascertain if the glorious periods of our career were those, where you and your team (supervisor/subordinates) were focused on weekly experiments, or when you were busy rubberstamping business as usual. Its the difference between knowing when we made a difference and when we were merely beneficiaries of the flow.

This topic leads us to 2 very powerful concepts. The first one is about “Performance v/s Outperformance”. The second one is about “Success at the end of the journey, or Success during the course of the journey”.  I hope to share my perspectives on the same over the next few bloglets.

Thanks again for your feedback on my thoughts. I look forward to your thoughts and insights on the impact of the “i” on our life @ work or @ home. I am enjoying sharing my experiences with you and “I-Fluencing” you. 

Happy I-Fluencing.

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About ifluence

I am an eternal optimist and a very strong believer in the power of influence & belief. It has been my experience that most corporations spend disproportionate time in improving productivity of machines, processes, etc but do mere lip service to improving the real capabilities of people. I have always found that people, who feel connected, listened to and cared for genuinely, create a discontinous and disproportionate level of performance, that far outweighs any productivity increase. I am dedicating this blog to sharing my experiences and perspectives on unlocking the power of people.
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2 Responses to 20 years of experience or 1000 weeks of Trial and Error

  1. Your bloglet gives rise to a very difficult reflection. Though we would all like to see ourselves in Category B, and that is the immediate temptation! , that’s not how reflection works after all. Self reflection, if allowed the honesty and courage of free rein, tends to show us a mirror that is ruthless even as it teaches and shows the way forward.

    The true problem is in the “success during the course of the journey” that you speak of. How many Category Bs have let the sweetness of achieved success convert them into Category A? Overwhelmed by the glory, too scared to risk anymore, too comfortable to keep moving…

    So, what are the catalysts that spur onward movement for a stalled “B”, get an “A” thinking about change? Is that a third category? I wait eagerly to read your thoughts about success and the journey.

    While you talk about the fascinating power of “I”, it make me think about the impact it creates when it turns outwards to the “U”, and the immense potential of the collective, the “V” 🙂

    Happy I-Fluencing !

  2. Avinash Eratapalli says:

    So very true…

    When i look at my projects through an experimental lense with scores of variables under your influenece, it gives me both a sense of freedom and a sense of continual accomplishment .
    With this mindset, I have observed myslef to be significantly more creative in two ways:

    1) Discover unconventional variables that can influence the outcome of the project
    2) Discover unconventional tools to manipulate the variables

    Keep I-fluencing!!!!

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