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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Can graduates excel after missing the bus?

We have seen that if students miss the bus of excellence at a school stage, they at least have second chance of correcting their path during graduation. But what happens when a graduate misses the bus of excellence even after graduation?

I have observed three scenarios where students still manage to excel:

Scenario 1: Domain shifters

Sunil Khandabahale finished his graduation in Instrumentation. But after few years of working in Instrumentation, he shifted his domain to software. He launched a web-dictionary for different languages who are challenged in English. Today his web dictionary caters to more than 10 languages. Read his success story here

You will find many such examples of domain shifers who use the same logical ability that they developed while graduating, but shifted their domain, because that domain matched some of the conditions they were seeking. This is quite common. We use the same logical ability, but shift the domains to use that logical ability. Sometimes, this domain shifting is quite radical. For instance, chartered accountancy to engineering, or medical to engineering.

Domains can also be shifted late in life, if they are close to each other. For instance, you will find many advertising professionals getting into movie-making, because the work in both domains is similar to each other for some jobs like directors. Infact, Domain shifting is a most common variation of excelling for knowledge workers. Software domain has become a domain of choice today.

Although Sunil Khandbahale found his domain by chance, it was also driven by his personal challenge of mastering English. But one can reduce the 'chance' element of excelling, by actively exploring Domains. Domain exploration includes three elements: 1> Understanding how abilities can be used in different domains and 3> Passive Exploration of domains by using net and biographies. 3> Active exploration of domains by meeting people, talking to mentors.

Scenario 2: Ability combiners

Sometimes, an educated graduate combines a completely different ability with his logical ability. For instance, you will find many Engineering students shifting to teaching, or chartered accountants shifting to writing a book or on web. This is a combination of logical and linguistic ability. Sometimes the combinations can be quite radical. For instant, Ram Gopal Verma, the Bollywood director of many hit movies, combined his logical ability with his 'story telling ability" ( which is a right brain ability) to direct movies. 

You will find many such examples of combining abilities, because this is a unique way of expressing yourself fully into a job. If you have a work, where you can express all your abilities, the job is ideal for excelling. Sometimes the combination of abilities are very unique. For instance, if you have a musical ability, you can excel in a job if your logical and musical ability can be combined? I had met an Engineer working in Sony, who had combined these two abilities.

Scenario 3. Late bloomers

Intra-personal and inter-personal abilities develop late in life for individuals who have very strong in logical skills. Good logical ability combined with these two abilities therefore enable these late bloomers to excel as entrepreneurs. They become the individuals who have strong grounding in a chosen field, and tend to develop and spread their vision by starting their own organisation.

Narayan Murthy, the founder of Infosys, is one well known example who combined his logical ability and his intra-personal ability ( the ability which enable him to express his values in his organisation). You will find some more examples here.

Success without excellence is difficult to digest

Why is it important to excel? One can succeed in life without excelling, but success without excellence creates lot of unintended consequences. When individuals succeed without excelling, you will find these commonly observed symptoms in them:

1. Individuals succeeding without excelling constantly worry about sustaining success. They either over-work, or are constantly stressed about succeeding in their work. This only results in hyper tension and chronic ailments.

2.Without excellence, there is no job satisfaction. Jobs for these individuals are meant only to earn money. Until money is important, that motivation works. But sooner or later the money loses its power to motivate after it is earned beyond threshold level. After that level is reached, job does not provide any satisfaction. These individuals then keep on shifting from one job to another, but happiness still eludes them.

3. Without excellence there is no life of significance. I meet many 50 +  successful individuals ( who have high monetary success !) who constantly seek attention and power like an adolescent. They are unable to connect their work with their life, because they have never expressed their 'abilities' fully ever in life. For them, life remains an un-fulfilled potential.  

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