LinkedIn Posts

Overcoming challenges with perseverance

I have rarely felt as hopeless or defeated as I did on Jan 14, 2000. In front of me were a million people caught in a massive traffic jam, which I was unable to prevent. At that time I was the Police Chief in Sabarimala, one of India’s largest pilgrimages. Every year,...

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The biggest lottery

I won only one lottery in my life -- and it changed everything. My father grew up in an impoverished village in UP, surviving on subsistence farming. Yet, despite attending a local village school, he managed to land a job in the armed forces. That stroke of luck...

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The Ripple effect of small changes

One day, during my stint as the Trivandrum City Police Commissioner, a communist party leader walked up to me and said with a smile -- “Looks like you are getting ready for war!” That day, the Communist Party was conducting a protest march to the Chief Minister’s...

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Pausing for deep thinking

During my days at McKinsey, one day we got a funny email from the engagement manager of another team working with our client. This manager informed everyone, including the senior partners, that henceforth, he would check his email only at certain times during the day,...

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The mental benefits of physical exercise

This happened a fortnight ago. It was around 1 pm and I was feeling this terrible low-grade anxiety, making it difficult to focus on anything. And when I can’t focus, my anxiety ramps up even more, and soon, the day goes downhill really fast. I then realized the...

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Human desire

After landing in Kerala, an IPS batchmate lamented to a senior officer -- “Sir, Kerala is so far from my native place that even if I draw a circle of 1,000 km radius, I will not find a single relative.” The senior officer replied, “Make your circle’s radius 3,000 km...

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Getting started is painful

I love running. But I also hate running. Let me explain. Once I am done with a long run, it is pure bliss. Running is my drug (in a really good, positive way). And yet, incredibly, my mind sometimes resists getting started with the run. This especially happens when...

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Tomorrow never comes

In the final years of my schooling, I became a chronic procrastinator when it came to studying. Every day, I resolved to start ‘tomorrow’, but as they say -- tomorrow never comes. For reasons I can’t understand even now, I had completely lost my focus -- it is not...

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Beyond comfort zones

One fine day in 2012, when I quit my job, the monthly SMS stopped -- no more salary updates saying ‘Rs XYZ has been credited to your bank account.’ No more business class flights. No more business cards. In fact, on the 1st of every month, I was the one writing...

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Life is not a race against time

When I left my last job to do a startup, I was in a hurry -- as if it was a race against time. Foolishly assuming that VC funding was the only way, I felt that I had to quickly build a prototype and raise a seed round. Then show traction and do Series A, B, C, D, E…...

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Prioritizing meaning over pleasure

When I decided to write the Civil Services, I uncomplainingly slogged for 7 months. It was certainly not pleasurable in the normal sense and yet I was super-motivated. We often hear that humans are ONLY motivated to do pleasurable things -- it is plain wrong. Have you...

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Experience is just an opportunity to learn

A few years ago, in my startup, we were building a tech platform that was performing horribly. The screens would take forever to load -- clearly, the algorithms were poorly written. Though we had experienced engineers, we did not have the funding to hire very...

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