Thursday, January 18, 2024


The Asian Games kicked off today with a breathtaking opening ceremony. While watching the expert analysis, I was struck by the words of Indian sporting legend Viren Rasquinha, former India Hockey captain and now the CEO of OGQ (Olympic Gold Olympic Gold Quest). When asked what advice he would give to Indian athletes, he said:

- Have fun,
- Pressure is a privilege, and
- Have the courage to win.

Ever since I heard the phrase 'pressure is a privilege,' it has stayed with me, echoing in my thoughts. You might wonder: What does this even mean? How can pressure, widely regarded as a source of stress, be considered a privilege?

In my mind, the phrase "pressure is a privilege" beautifully reframes the challenges and stress associated with high-stakes situations as opportunities rather than burdens. For a top athlete, feeling pressure usually means they're in a situation that matters—a championship game, a decisive moment, and so on. It's a scenario many aspire to but few actually experience; hence, it's a privilege.

The concept of "pressure is a privilege" can be similarly empowering in a work environment. If you're under pressure, it often means you're in a role where your decisions and actions have a significant impact. For instance, if you're leading a critical project with tight deadlines, rather than viewing the situation as stress-inducing, seeing it as a privilege can help you reframe the experience in a positive light. It's an opportunity to showcase your skills, leadership, and ability to deliver results.

Do you believe that embracing pressure as a privilege could change your outlook on challenges?

LinkedIn Post:


Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar made his Test debut in the 1970-71 series against the mighty West Indies. He didn't play in the first test match, and a player named Kenia Jayantilal, who was rated higher than Gavaskar at the time, made his debut instead. Kenia played one inning in that match and was caught out in the slips when Garry Sobers took a stunning diving catch. As a result, Gavaskar got a chance in the second match. Early in his innings (in the 2nd match), he nicked the ball, which went straight to Garry Sobers. Due to a momentary lapse in concentration, Sobers dropped the catch, and Gavaskar survived. He went on to score two half-centuries in his debut and cemented his place on the team.

Gavaskar later described the turn of events with one word: LUCK. He says that had Garry caught him, he might never have been selected again.

Gavaskar's experience can be considered a case of blind luck. Utkarsh Kumar Rai discusses "4 Types of Luck: Learn to cultivate & become lucky in a proven way" in his video describing blind luck as something entirely random and beyond your control.

Utkarsh Kumar Rai's professional life is an embodiment of the wisdom he shares in this video. Being my professional coach at one stage and a constant source of inspiration, I was fortunate to gain insight into his mindset and way of thinking. His story exemplifies successful career reinvention. He has made many career shifts, from being the Managing Director of a tech company to becoming a fitness influencer, expert, and YouTube creator, and a successful author.

One transition that fascinates me the most is his shift from being a tech leader to a Bollywood actor. He left his three-decade-long career at its peak to try his hand at acting in Mumbai. He created his own luck through rigorous training and by visiting casting directors' offices to give introductory videos and auditions. This kind of luck, which Utkarsh calls "luck by motion," comes from your own efforts. One such introductory video with a casting director earned him a role as a judge in the Bollywood blockbuster movie "Batla House." An amazing transformation, isn't it?
Do watch and subscribe to his YouTube channel here and get inspired.

We normally are generous in recognizing our skills, abilities for success we achieve but often do not give enough credit to the role luck plays in our career & our lives.

Here's a sketchnote summary of the video I referred

Do you think you can really influence your luck?

LinkedIn Post:


 The World Athletic Championships just got concluded in Budapest, Hungary. While many of us know the sport of javelin through Neeraj Chopra (World Championship 2023 and Tokyo Olympics Gold medalist), India's men's javelin team also features exceptional athletes Kishore Jena and DP Manu, who finished a respectable 5th and 6th in the finals.

A few days before the championships, Neeraj became aware of administrative issues regarding Kishore's visa. In Kishore's support, Neeraj tweeted-
"Just heard that there are issues with Kishore Jena's VISA, preventing him from entering Hungary for the World C’ships... Let’s do everything we can. 🙏"

Ultimately, the issue was resolved, likely aided by Neeraj's influence.

Another inspiring story comes from the recent Chess World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan. An impressive 4 out of the 8 possible quarterfinalists were Indians. Among them, R Praggnanandhaa advanced to the finals, winning a silver medal. This generation duly credits Vishwanathan Anand for the role he played in their rise.

Anand, still an active player, could have easily chosen to focus solely on competing. However, he decided to embrace the role of mentorship, nurturing the next generation of Indian chess talent for the greater good of the sport in our country.

These stories resonated deeply with me and reminded me of the concept of 'Infinite Game' that Simon Sinek popularized. (video i saw recently:

In a finite game, such as football or chess, the landscape is well-defined: players are known, rules are fixed, and the goal is a clear endpoint—winning. Success is measured by outperforming opponents within a specific timeframe.

In contrast, infinite games, like business or life itself, operate in a more fluid context. Players may come and go, rules are changeable, and there's no ultimate 'winning' because the game itself has no defined endpoint. Here, the focus shifts to long-term sustainability, fostering collaboration, and creating value that benefits not just the individual but the entire ecosystem. The aim is not to 'win,' but to ensure that the game continues, evolves, and includes as many players as possible in a positive, ongoing process.

Neeraj's proactive efforts to help Kishore resolve his visa issues and Anand's decision to mentor younger talents instead of solely competing illustrate the principles of Infinite Game Leadership. In both cases, they looked beyond their individual pursuits, focusing on the collective good and long-term growth of their respective sports. Their actions align with the idea of playing an 'Infinite Game,' where the objective isn't merely to win a single event, but rather to ensure the game itself continues, contributing positively to a broader, ongoing process.

What are your thoughts?

LinkedIn Post:


India's lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3 (a Sanskrit word meaning 'Moon vehicle'), recently achieved a successful landing near the moon's south pole on August 23, igniting a wave of enthusiasm in the country and among science enthusiasts worldwide.

The preceding lunar endeavor, Chandrayaan 2, encountered failure during its 2019 moon landing attempt. The failure's causes were broadly attributed to three factors: the five engines of the lander generating excessive thrust, a software glitch, and the constraints of a small landing site.

What sets ISRO's approach apart this time?

Just days before Chandrayaan-3's launch, ISRO chairman S Somnath stated-

'Rather than designing solely for success, ISRO adopted a failure-based approach. The focus was on identifying potential failure points and devising strategies to shield against them, ensuring a triumphant landing. We scrutinized scenarios encompassing sensor, engine, algorithm, and calculation failures. Diverse failure scenarios were meticulously calculated and programmed. Additionally, we introduced new simulation test beds, absent previously, to explore various failure possibilities.'

The concept of failure-based design closely aligns with the potent and underrated mental model known as 'Inversion Thinking.' Thinking about a problem from an inverse perspective can unlock new solutions and strategies. The inverse of being right more is being wrong less. The inverse of being right more is being wrong less. This precisely mirrors ISRO's investment in test infrastructure – a step to avoid failures and pave a pathway to success.

How can Inversion Thinking benefit your daily life?

- You can achieve project success by thinking "what would make it successful" or by simply avoiding "what would cause the project to fail" (or both).

- A Tennis player can win a match by hitting winners or simply by avoiding unforced errors (or both).

- A chef creating a delightful dish not only by choosing quality ingredients and following a recipe but also by preventing overcooking or under-seasoning (or both).

- Inversion Thinking is apparent in the Pre-Mortem concept that i heard first from Shreyas Doshi. Unlike a post-mortem—where you discuss what went wrong (and what you can learn from it)—pre-mortems occur earlier in a project’s lifecycle and ask the team to assume that the project has failed. And you prompt the team to come up with the reasons for the failure before project execution begins.

Shane Parrish explained Inversion as 'Avoiding stupidity is simpler than pursuing brilliance.' In practice, it means spending less time trying to be brilliant and more time trying to avoid obvious stupidity.

Does this concept resonate with you?

LinkedIn Post: