Folks usually ask me as to why do you read so many books? Does it impact your life? I don’t say anything at that time because some thought is taking shape but it’s not final so usually I’m unable to share. To which they go on saying, how they can’t read books because they are long, boring, etc.
To be honest, I don’t complete every book that I start reading. There is a midpoint in the book that gets boring or some better book comes along. It’s like having a conversation with people. Some of it makes sense to you, some of it doesn’t. For example, when conversation turns to new Bollywood movie, some of my friends can talk about it for hours. Some follow the reality TV show Big Boss religiously too. I only remember this because at many occasions I’ve been guilty of starting my mobile phone and running through Emails or WhatsApp or Twitter even at 9 pm or 1 am.
It’s the same with books. You need the right book to make sense. Recently, the book that made sense for me is The Victory Project written by Mr. Saurabh Mukherjea and Mr. Anupam Gupta. An awesome book that I had the great pleasure to speak with and interview its authors at Network FP Masterclasses and understand their mindset too. A detailed book summary followed our conversation in the subsequent week which can be read at – Book Summary The Victory Project.
In this article, I wish to write about one concept that has literally changed my life for good. The concept of ’T’ that authors have culminated from the power of Generalisation to Specialisation. This concept has been brought together by reading David Epstein’s Range that speaks about generalisation and Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers that speaks about Specialisation.
I tell my friends the same thing, one book in particular will give a shape to your thoughts but when you read a few books and let all these thoughts come together – boom, you have unlocked a way of looking at life which didn’t exist before. In the great Charlie Munger’s words, he calls it the ‘Latticework.’ Everything fits so perfectly well that it starts to make sense. There’s an awesome Ted Talk by Larry Smith where he speaks about ‘Why you will fail to have a great career’. This talk is a real eye opener, I must have watched it a minimum of 100 times. I strongly recommend for you to watch it multiple times too.
In today’s world, we are obsessed with passion. We want to do something that drives us, that makes us get up in the morning and jump out of the bed. We want to be inspired and in the process inspire others too. In a nutshell, we want to feel and live the way Steve Jobs did or MS Dhoni does or Roger Federer does or Elon Musk does. In my profession, we wish to be like Warren Buffet or Charlie Munger or Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. List is practically endless. People in different streams look upto their heroes of that stream and wish to be that way.
So what stops you or me to achieving that epitome of peak performance? The invariable question of ‘How’ to reach there?
To answer this query, we study the lives of these geniuses. Then somehow come to a conclusion that they were born that way. Like Sachin Tendulkar had the perfect stance when he lifted his bat or Micheal Schumacher got into a race kart even before he started running, so on and so forth. But is it really that way? I remember a close friend of mine telling me Elon Musk would spend hours at a library reading books in an age where he was hooked on to video games. So he has no chance now. Many of us feel that way.
Our biggest mistake is we take a look at the journey of our heroes and our mind creates a map as to where they were exceptional and we were weak. It’s this very comparison that leads us to believe that we won’t be able to achieve that sort of success in life. That’s why we accept the mediocre way of life.
So how do we get out of this limited set of thinking?
FinBloggers, A Finance App has created this awesome Infographic from the book summary.
Creating your own T
When you watch Larry Smith talking about pursuing your interests is more important than finding your passion. There is a hidden answer to it. You may have more than 10 interests. So rather than waiting for some heavenly voice to tell you that this 1 out of 11is where your passion is, you should decide to pursue all of them. Interests can range from sports to academics to business and what not.
Power of Generalisation
These interests are a horizontal range of possibilities that you can accomplish in life. It’s the broad ‘-‘ (horizontal headline of letter of T). I’m a huge fan of Elon Musk. He practically built an internet company, then a financial services company, an electric car company and a rocket company. PayPal changed the way we exchange money over the internet, Tesla changed the way we perceive an electric car (I love that Model X) and re-usable rockets through SpaceX, completely changing the dynamics of the industry. Just amazing, isn’t it. He has tremendous work ethic and lives by it. India’s Mukesh Ambani too looks invincible with the way he gets into different businesses and gets them going. From oil to internet, he has not only changed the direction of Reliance Industries but also made the impossible sound super easy. Now his foray into reliance retail looks interesting too.
Power of Specialisation
Malcom Gladwell’s famous 10,000 hours rule to become an expert has gained immense popularity through the years. In his book, he gives an amazing insight into how sports people get into intense hours of practice. Aamir Khan’s movie Dangal gives us an insight into how intense practice for years carves out it’s own niche. Incredible journey of Phogat sisters to win that Gold, gives us an insight into their early years of practice combined with blood and sweat.
Harsha Bhogle in his book The Winning Way gives us a glimpse into the journey of legendary Sachin Tendulkar. The great man had some intense cricket sessions way before he joined international cricket. At one point in his life, he has played 55 games straight for 55 days straight. His schedule would be to practice from 7 am to 9 am then play a cricket game, again practice in the evening for 2 hours post his cricket match. As a result, he would often fall asleep on dinner table. Sachin was just used to an intense schedule and that resulted in such a long years with an incredible 200 not out and 100 centuries.
This is ‘I’ of the letter T’s vertical line.
So how do people like us create our own T?
Well, it’s not very late. We have many interests. It’s time we dive a little bit deep into it. Most of our interests are merely a way to pass our time which we don’t spend in office or with family. However, internet has opened up many avenues for our interest to see the light of day. For one, we can now create content freely. One of my friend loves watching a lot of movies. He now writes about the movie that enables people like me who don’t watch much give a summary of what to expect and whether to watch or not. In a similar way, Zomato has opened up a line of career of becoming a food critic. Many folks I know, love eating food from different restaurants. They then write their content, clicking pictures of the food on Zomato platform getting some nice goodies from the company and lesser beings like me understand whether to try a new restaurant or not.
To follow such interests, you don’t really need to leave your current job. It can be done along with your job. There are tonnes of other opportunities waiting for you to grab. I’m sure, you will be thinking of something right now. Just give it a start. Don’t worry about it not working out. It’s okay.
For me personally, writing is a way of putting my thoughts together. It’s been 5 years that I write close to 1,000 words every single day. It’s a way of communicating with myself. I never knew when it turned into an important skill and while my colleague Saurabh Mittal has been kind enough to provide me CWA’s Thursday Trivia platform to communicate. At Thursday Trivia, I’m able to get to speak about Personal Finance and Stock Markets which for me is a specialised effort. So now, I read a lot of books, write a lot (which for me is an effort at generalisation) and put my thoughts into Thursday Trivia for our readers. I don’t know whether it forms a good T, it’s better left to the awesome readers who take their time out to go through. For me, it’s the journey worth taking.
The trick is not to really worry about whether it will work or not. Just start. And if it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. That doesn’t mean, we give it the required effort.
Please Note: This article is just a tribute to the authors of the book – The Victory Project. In no ways, I look to be personally benefitted. I’m just expressing my learnings in a way that works for me, hoping it will for you too.