The 85 Percentile Club!
A recent gallup poll (read more about this here Gallup poll – https://bit.ly/2FdeYkJ) , states that over 85% of employees worldwide are dissatisfied with their jobs. If we look at it the other way, this implies that only 15% of the entire planet’s workforce is happy doing whatever they are doing. This 15% includes Superman, Batman, the Hulk, Spiderman, most NBA players and the Avengers, leaving very little room for others.
In my years as a Master Mentor in career mentoring and as a Career Coach, not too many people have ever asked me to find them a job or a career that would make them “Happy”. This possibly implies that most people either want to be with the 85% majority or they really have a different concept about happiness. If we relate this to the timeless classic “The strangest secret in the world” by Earl Nightingale (Click here to listen to Earl Nightingale https://bit.ly/2POu9CV ), an epic truth emerges – most people tend to gravitate towards what the majority are doing and this in turn leads to major failures.
“Are you part of the 15 percentile Club?”
How do we become part of the 15% club? Easy answer – do not get lured by what the 85% club is doing. Yes, it is actually that simple. Stop conforming. Stop copy pasting resumes and job requirements, aspirations and materialistic comparisons. Here are a few things that one can do to seek an entry to the 15 percentile club.
Discover your strengths, abilities and interests!
“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” – Sun Tzu
Yes, this is key. Understanding our strengths is one of the pillars that holds up our happiness. We usually do things that we like. The things we like, in most cases, are closely linked to our strengths, abilities and interests. We all have heard of a ‘fish out of water’ – Einstein famously said -““Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
The message in the quote is clear. The sad part is, we do not work to our strengths. There are many studies to prove this. Most people are enamoured and lured by salaries, perks and privileges, instead of job content, linking of their strengths to job requirements.
Consider this – I am not too good at mathematics. Let us say, I get lured by the promise of money and take up a job that involves mathematics, somewhere down the line I am going to regret it. Yes, initially I may gain monetarily, however, subsequently, I would be paying a price. Why? Because I am not aligned. My work space or the dominant part of my life (12 to 14 hours of my day) demands skills, abilities and strengths that are not there in me. As a result, internal conflict will always happen and happiness is unlikely at the workplace.
Build a precise aspirational statement
What do you want in life? I appreciate that this is not an easy question to answer. It is a complex subject. Nevertheless, these are questions that you need to answer. What are your material needs? – This usually is not too difficult to tabulate. What are your emotional, spiritual and motivational needs? – this is the tough one! Nevertheless, do create a template. It need not be exact.
Have positive and clear goals!
Earl Nightingale, in his classic and timeless masterpiece ‘The strangest secret in the world’, states that most men do not succeed – because they do not have goals. He then goes on to give the example of a ship without a destination and how it would flounder and eventually wind up as a derelict. This applies to us humans too. Without goals and challenges, we wither away and flounder at each step.
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”.Tony Robbins
Remain focused on your goal!
Indian history is replete with great narratives about human evolution. This is probably one of the most famous and well known depiction of the need for focus and clarity.Arjuna, one of the famed Pandavas, was the greatest archer of eternity. On one occasion, the guru of the Pandavas, while indicating a bird as a target, asked the five brothers to describe what they saw.
Yudhishtra – the wisest and the eldest, described the target in great detail, he saw the bird, the branch where it sat, the tree, in fact the complete scene. The other brothers too, described the target in almost a similar manner – except Arjuna. When their guru, Dhronacharya asked Arjuna – what do you see – this was his reply:
“I see only the eye of the bird” – said Arjuna!
Let us take this focus a bit further. As Arjuna was focused totally on the eye, the peripherals did not bother him. He remained motivated and was able to persevere towards his goal. Yes, should there have been other factors that needed to be taken into account, like say for example a crosswind that would have caused Arjuna to miss the mark, since the focus was hitting the target, the crosswind as a factor would automatically be considered. The point that is important is, once the goal is clear and focused other factors and issues get sorted. When our goal is unclear, we tend to ramble and drift. When we drift, everything seems to bother us. That is why, having clear goals, writing them down and then relentlessly moving towards them is important.
The additional advantage of intense focus is that one is not diverted or distracted by people, places and peripherals. This has a multiplying effect on focus and then this in turn, creates success.
The pursuit of our ultimate goal or goals, will have many successes, some setbacks and times when we feel that traction is just not happening. It may feel that you are on a treadmill, doing all you can, merely to stay at the same place! How does one deal with all this?
Firstly, celebrate success – every success, every milestone that moves you and compels you to strive for the next one. By celebrate I do not imply that one needs to throw a 7 star black tie banquet at the Burj Khalifa, inviting Madonna and Sting to entertain the crowd, just because you got a parking slot next to the CEO’s brand new AUDI. Yes, if it means something – do celebrate accordingly. Also, celebrate regularly. Find joy and do celebrate. Yes, if you wish, even the parking slot – celebrations are a state of mind. If you genuinely feel, you must.
Secondly, at each success, re-evaluate how things are progressing. Is there a need to reassess timelines, interim goals, milestones, etc. The art of all this is to create a challenge that inspires and pushes you. I must caution you, this is YOUR journey. Do not compare this with anyone else. Your timeline is unique. You are unique. Your circumstances are unique. Your results will also be unique.
ASSESSING FEEDBACK – CREATING FEED – FORWARD
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –– Thomas Alva Edison
Failures do not exist. What we perceive as failures are merely a feedback. All this feedback tells us is, that the set of techniques, the tools and the methodology of execution used for this particular process, needs to be tweaked. Mind you, it maybe just a small part that may need this tweaking. This is why we need to view failure as a huge smokescreen. All it does is to create despondency that may distract us from taking this feedback and feeding it forward. Examine a feedback with the curiosity of a child. Be open to seemingly unrelated solutions. Allow mysterious information to permit solutions. This is where your sixth sense, your subconscious mind and the gestalt of your experiences, your responses, your thoughts, your learnings and your environment, come together like the seven colours to form a focused beam of pure white light!
There are no miracles. True. We must create our own. Challenges will always be there. As you try to identify a particular career choice, you may find things interesting in yet another one. While you are in an occupation that is normal, natural and expected. So what must you do? Well, firstly pat yourself on your back for having alternative career options and streams. Secondly make sure you do not discount any one of the options that appear suitable for you. I can understand the desire to jump into the first thing that you ‘want’ or ‘like’ or find ‘suitable’ or ‘perfect’ or that seems ‘awesome’ . Hold your horses!
Now let us take a step back. What have we done so far? Well, lots if you ask me. Firstly, we created an aspirational statement. Then we set goals for ourselves and remained focused. How did this help our career choices? For one, it helped us narrow down our choices and focus deep. My friend Shabbir Padri, who is a very successful mentor, with a huge fan following in the western parts of India, tells me that achieving clarity in one’s own aspirations is the most important part of the career planning process. I second his opinion. After all, if we do not know where to go, how do we start?
You are far more powerful and resilient than you think. Take action and step out of your comfort zone today!– Bob Proctor
CAREERS ARE LIKE MARIO – WITH JUST ONE LIFE!
Remember the classic video game Mario? I loved it. The excitement of overcoming challenges as we found ‘trick bricks’ that gave us superpowers (albeit momentarily), jumping over obstacles and dodging the bad guys was just so amazing. The thought of saving that elusive ‘princess’ kept many of us awake and bashing away at the console. The day one reached the ‘princess’ interest in the game was lost.
WHAT MARIO TAUGHT ME – ABOUT CAREERS!
- Life has challenges – deal with it. Careers are one of them.
- Keep jumping, keep moving – results will happen.
- anticipate pitfalls – ‘create’ lives(options).
- Fall down – get up – smile and resume – repeat.
- Gifts and joys come from unexpected sources – be prepared to receive them.
- life has ‘levels’ – there are different ‘princesses’ at each level. The ‘princesses (goals) are elusive – the joy is in the game (journey). ALWAYS AIM FOR THE HIGHEST LEVELS.
- As you transcend levels – continue to create fresh goals.
- Unexpected pathways may provide shortcuts -some may lead you to your doom. Select wisely.
- Above all, as you play the game, keep the music and momentum alive.
VALUES – THOUGHTS – ACTIONS!
Here is the crux of the matter, the Sherlock Holmes of your detective stories, the Keats of your poems and the Cicero of your Toastmasters! Our values are the things that drive our beliefs and these in turn drive our actions. Along with our values are the loftiness of our goals. We spend the maximum time on the journey – hardly any time at the goal. Let us make sure that the journey is fun and aligned with our inner purpose and we will find more and more traction as well as motivation and energy.
Rahul (named changed), one of my clients for career mentoring, zeroed in onto Law as a career. His strengths and abilities were well aligned and in my view, he would do extremely well as a legal eagle. His parents were happy too. This is what they advised their son – “Good, complete your law, we know a lawyer near our home, you can work for him. It will be a nice arrangement.” Little did they realise, that even before Rahul’s career had started, it had been short-circuited. His goal had been set to the bare minimum. Rahul’s parents were playing Mario and were stuck on level 1. Rahul did not seem comfortable. As he squirmed and shifted, nervously eyeing his parents, I sensed his apprehensions. I very politely suggested to the parents – “Rahul is very capable and can reach at least the Supreme Court of India, if not the International Court of Justice. Allow him the opportunity to set his own aspirations.” Rahul almost jumped for joy – he was directly on Mario level 5, for him – the Princess awaits! From my last interactions with Rahul, he is doing well for himself, his parents have overcome their apprehensions and are now at level 3 on the Mario scale. As for Rahul, he is jumping along, collecting his coins and surging ahead to his goals.
Please do not sell yourself or your children short. Allow lofty goals, set within the backdrop of reality. Also remember that opportunities and resources that at this time seem inaccessible, will be made available (remember the mushrooms and coins and lives in Mario?), as and when you actually need them. Trust the Universe and trust yourself!
- Life and careers are like Mario. How you approach it and the level you decide is the level you strive for – and the levels you eventually reach.
- Work to your strengths. Working to your second best strengths will at best give you the runners-up position.
- Life is meant to be an exciting adventure – not a boring meandering path.
- Celebrate success – see what worked – party hard – re-use what worked – succeed again! – Repeat!
- Feedforward Failure – Like success, see what did not work – eliminate from plan – leap ahead!
- Solutions and options will keep coming – we need to just keep moving!
- Live and work at the highest values – its like interest rates – the highest values yield the highest returns.
- Trust yourself and the Universe. Like two sides of a coin give it its value – so it is with us and the universe! We must resonate with it at the correct frequency!