An attitude of positive acceptance helps greatly (guest post by Rinka)

Hi everyone,

Let me introduce myself first. My name is Rinka Singh  mail: rinka dot singh at gmail dot com. I have been a developer, a software manager and an unsuccessful entrepreneur. I currently work in IBM as a Manager. Going forward, I will definitely take the entrepreneurship path again - :-) It's addictive. I have also contributed to SPIN Bangalore for a while now. I've not been able to contribute as much as I've wanted to in the recent past but some day...

I've had a lot of successes and failures as part of my growth. Both have contributed to making the person I am. It's been a fun ride and I look forward to see what the future holds. I would like use this blog to share my insights and in turn learn from you. Please post your thoughts. The more you respond, the more we all will learn and grow.

Brij, thank you for inviting me to post. I know my posts will be different from yours - personality differences, yet we resonate on thoughts and issues and I think I am going to have a fun time.

Let's start off with a story:

Once upon a time, there was a Chinese farmer in the Yuan Province. He had a handsome young son. The people around him would complement him on his son's looks and bearing and he would reply "Is that so".

One day, a herd of wild horses broke in and vandalized his farm. His neighbours came by and commiserated with him on his bad luck. The farmer replied "Is that so". The next day, the farmer's son and two other farm hands followed the wild horses and caught some 15 of them. They brought them back to the farm and put them in the corral. People were happy at this turn of events and congratulated the farmer on his good luck. He replied "Is that so".

The son decided to break the horses and sell them in the market. A month later, one of the wild horses threw the son and he broke his leg. The fracture was bad and the son had to stay in bed for almost a month. People came by and commiserated the farmer on his ill-fortune. He replied "Is that so".

A month later, war broke out with the neighbouring kingdom. The King's soldiers swept through the country enlisting all able bodied men to serve in the army. They also got to the farmer's village and picked up almost every able bodied man. However, they did not pick the farmer's son since he could hardly walk. People came by and congratulated the farmer on his great luck. He replied "Is that so".

Look within yourself... What was your reaction as you read the first paragraph? What was it when you read the second one? How does this story link to your world? Please share your insights. Please remember, there is no right or wrong. What you respond is true from your perspective and it might bring a different perspective to someone else. Please remember, the more we share, the more we learn from each other. Sharing is crucial.

Let me share my insights from this story. The insights I took away were as follows:
First, there is nothing good or bad, right or wrong. All right or wrong is in context of the environment we live in. An example: We consider stealing as bad. But there were American Indian societies where the most respected person was the best thief. Imagine living in such a society. How would you feel? What are the bars around your perceptions?

My second insight. As we work, live, we have successes and failures. We usually attribute them to things within our control - like our skills, our personality, our resources. Successes and failures also have a large component of things that are either partially in our control or not under our control - like other people we work/interact with, the ecosystem we are in and plain vanilla luck or ill-luck. Our stresses, pressures are primarily because we think we have control on things that we actually don't have control and we attempt to control the uncontrollable.

This was validated by a recent study that showed that we tend to attribute our successes to our capabilities and our failures to the environment around us when a lot more of the outcomes were because of the environment or because of random fluctuations.

I think the ability to recognize the difference is important. I realized there is nothing like being lucky or unlucky. It is a combination of random fluctuation and our efforts to to manage these. Success is all about understanding the UCL (upper control limits) and the LCL (lower control limits) of the fluctuations and having as many answers as possible AND more importantly just doing it. The Americanism "Ready, fire, Aim" holds true.

Another insight. Let's take Investments as an example. We see a lot of fluctuations in the market. Sometimes we make money, sometimes we lose money. So how do we get "lucky". Look at it this way, losing money has value too - You can offset your losses against taxes and if you can learn from the failure. How do you learn - you analyze, discuss to understand what you could have done differently. But then the question I would ask - was your analysis right? How do you know? How do you know you won't take a loss again? You cannot since you can't predict the future. But does that mean you shouldn't analyze - I would say not because if you didn't you would never learn and your rate of making mistakes wouldn't go down. This is also where the "Ready fire Aim" comes in.

What do you think. I would like your thoughts on the story and my insights. Do write, I will summarize your inputs for the next time I write. Please remember, the more you participate the more diversity we will have and the value will be greater for all of us.