PAY ATTENTION –My story


Let me tell you how I chanced upon entering the exciting field of software. One day I was walking on the street and overheard a conversation by two persons just walking ahead of me. They were discussing about a free Computer software training program that is conducted at ECIL (electronic corporation of India Ltd Hyderabad, India) at their software unit. I was then looking for jobs and felt I should use my free time to learn something instead of just staying at home and wasting my time. So I approached my neighbor who happened to be one of the managers in the software division and he was kind enough to get me a entry into ECIL training’s. That is one event that turned my life forever. What I did was I just paid attention to a opportunity (conversation of the two gentlemen on the road). Opportunities can come as surprise from any source but you need to PAY ATTENTION.

While I was learning COBOL(common business oriented language a software language) at ECIL somebody mentioned that there are software programmer jobs at NFC(Nuclear fuel complex A Govt. Of India enterprise) that was nearby and I happened to apply and was able to get a job as scientific assistant (software). This is the second chance in my life. What you learn from this?   Listen carefully to others suggestions and grab the opportunity.

Then I paid attention to my work and improved my soft skills and other organizational skills and got promoted rapidly to become a scientific officer and this was possible because of sheer hard work ,  curiosity to learn on the job  and encouragement I received from my boss and many of my colleagues. What you can learn is that hard and smart work will always be recognized at some point of time. So pay attention to do your job well.

I have the habit of staying productive everyday by trying to do something new or learn something new. So I decided to spend my evenings after coming back from office at reading news papers to improve my General knowledge and being in software field I kept up to date on what’s going on in technology world. Even now I keep myself busy trying to catch up with the rapid changes that are happening in world  and it’s influence on everything we do on daily basis.

One day while I was reading newspapers I came across job opportunities in USA and I applied to a position based on my experience and interviewed by American company and the phone interview was in the midnight (Day time in US and night time in India). My constant reading of news papers  gave command on  English and experience in good communication skills due to , giving  tuition  in the evening to students  and day time job helped me get a job at the American company. So I resigned my job at NFC and flew to USA for a new and very exciting and great opportunity of my life time.  Many of my friends and family members discouraged me since i settled well in NFC as Scientific officer and will get more promotions and pension when i retire,  but I took the US offer boldly and today I am so happy that I took that bold step to leave a comfortable Government job and become much better professionally and personally. So what you learn from this?  Success comes to those who have guts to take the risk and work hard to reach higher goals

In this world of multi-tasking, watching movies, chatting,  voice mail, Internet browsing, email, text messages, instant messaging, Skype, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Cable TV, 24-News stations, streaming music, video on demand, billboards, advertisements,   iPhone’s, web sites, Xbox, PlayStation and mobile games, it is easy to get so caught up in all the these things that we lose focus and unfortunately, possibly aren’t paying attention when an opportunity presents itself.  So please do pay attention and always look for opportunities.

I believe that  dedication, focus, listening, reading  paying attention to minute details, hard work will lead to opportunities.

Perseverance, endurance, facing the odds with guts , support and encouragement from your well wishers are stepping stones to  succeed.

It is not a cake walk reaching great heights in life so you need to have dedication, focus and mental strength to fight against all odds and that needs you to have good health and peaceful mind.  Stay healthy with “better life with best practices”.

So don’t forget to PAY ATTENTION and  stay focused. Good luck and hope my real life story helps you feel inspired.

Agile professionalism


Wrote a blog for employees on how to stay successful  in their career in my linkedin profile. Click on this link for the post

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140924055329-6970802-agile-professionalism

Students this is for you


India is still considered as developing country and I feel extremely upset with this thought. We produce so many well learned people and this country ranks high in the number of PhD’s and master students who come out of universities. But still not a single university ranks high in the top 100 lists of the world.

Every part of the government machinery is still limping with inefficiencies, bureaucracy and off course corruption. It is a nightmare to get work done with government still. How long we take to become transparent, modern and nimble?

But what puzzles me is why our education system is suffering from status Quo with antique teaching methods and subjects that do not align with our modern industry?  These same students someday become government employees and they continue the same old tradition. Why are they not questioning this and why are they not attempting to change except handful of very dedicated officers and employees?

I know many will disagree with some statements above but the point I want to drive is things that needed to be done at the college levels. Present state of affairs is basically the result of our education system that needs drastic disruptive changes.

I request “Universities and colleges : Please wake up and fix your systems”.

Majority of young student’s lifestyle follows a predictive path once they steps into the college. They read the same stuff their friends read, they go to the same movies their friends go, they play the same games their friends play and everyone studies for just marks/grades and finally waiting to get into job thru campus recruitment or some other methods. Then they enter workforce and live life depending on their lifestyles.

This result in massive waste of brain power, youth’s energies, strengths, will power, time and many qualities that otherwise wisely tapped, would have developed the nation to highest degree of living standards. In a Billion population there are handful who are contributing to the  growth of the nation’s living standards but why are we collectively not thinking of following those brilliant people who strive for the nation.

This is because we never question anything and just follow the protocol. We never develop skills such as creativity, innovation, the quest to live a better life, the craving for quality and the interest to dive deeper into our subject matters. Many students won’t learn subject for knowledge but just for getting grades. Universities take long time to adjust syllabus that follow industry best practices. Even if they introduce the syllabus the faculty is not trained to the latest and greatest trends in business so they cannot teach the same to the students.

Read what The CEO of one of the largest software company has to say about teachers here http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/services/education/20-of-teachers-in-the-country-not-sincere-azim-premji-says/articleshow/43212004.cms

Inspiration to do things differently is low in teaching community and there are several reasons for that but that will be for a different blog.

But I blame partially students and parents for not willing to question the status quo. Here are some steps required by students to initiate a change for a better life and a better country . This same can be used by any other developing and under developing nation’s  students.

  1. Change in lifestyle. I absolutely agree that students should have good memories of college life with loads of fun but I totally disagree that they should feel that this is the top priority. They should first take a snap shot of daily life and confine fun to couple of hours a day. This should be done collectively by all students because if one follows the rule the other will break it and the overall change is not possible.
  2. Learn from Internet. I do not know why universities take so long to keep syllabus fluid and aligned to ever changing business needs, but that should not stop young students to spend time to learn the best practices of the industry online. So instead of spending time on Social networks spare time to learn what’s going on in your area of subject matter. There are several exciting stories in business circle that will inspire you and energizes you with knowledge and opportunities you may not get if you just study for marks.
  3. Engage fellow students: Form a team from different educational backgrounds and take up a local problem and try to solve. For example during winter most of the babies and children become sick from viral fevers and hospitals are packed with patients. It is painful to sit for long hours to get treated and you know it is much more painful if that hospital happens to be government hospital. So as a team you should collaborate with fellow medical students and come up with preventive steps from diseases and conduct community classes to educate parents and others from having good health for themselves and their children. This helps you to learn communication skills, project execution skills and time management skills. These soft skills are very vital skills needed for business.
  4. Engage with professionals that visit campus or on social networks. Students should join professional networks such as LinkedIn and start participating in group discussions and identify opportunities from the challenges industry is facing and brainstorm of ideas to solve the problems. That way you become expert in that subject matter and you will do much better when you join the business.
  5. Yoga and Meditation: Modern life style is full of pressures and pulls from every direction. Maintaining top health is very difficult if you are not disciplined. So from very young age it is best to practice Yoga and Meditation to maintain top health.
  6. Sports : It is mandatory that students come out of Facebook and internet games to play real games to develop good and healthy body/mind, otherwise we end up with sick nation with no hope for becoming most developed. Remember Swamy Vivekananda’s call for youth.
  7. Reading and listening skills: Spend time reading books online and newspapers every day. Search for business videos, ted talks that inspire you and teach you some very important life lessons and listen to them. Bookmark some best sites that help you to get the best and the latest in your area of interest. This helps you to improve your vocabulary and also general knowledge which are useful during interviews.
  8. Try teaching: Start teaching your juniors whatever you learnt on a daily basis. Adopt a school and go and teach them what you learnt. This will help you to memorize the subject matter and also keeps you on your toes to learn something new to teach some other day.
  9. Form teams and go to a nearby village and check what problems exist there. Then come back and see if you can use your learning to solve their problems. In the process you may even start your own company and give jobs to fellow students.
  10. Finally remember every student attends the same schools, read the same books, go to the same movies, play the same video games, and watch the same TV shows so how can you expect to have a  life experience, ideas of  your own or world views? If you do not follow a better living standards?

Above suggestions will elevate your career and help nation to become better. Please take time to rethink your priorities and strategies and try your best to live quality life with best practices. Comments are appreciated.

Planning your activities


We all live in hope. But Hope is not a strategy to succeed in Life. You need to work towards your goals in a more proper and practical way. You have to work towards a plan to support your development and the plan should be specific, realistic, with clear time frames and small manageable goals. For example Good communication skills are mandatory to enable a prospective employer to know about you clearly so that they can judge your capability much better and give you a job. But acquiring soft skills such as proper usage of English language or how to communicate what you think  requires you to spend time on trainings on soft skills. Companies want to hire students who are complimenting their academic education with employability skills (soft skills).   When writing an action plan to achieve a particular goal or outcome, you can get much help from the following steps.

• Clarify your goal. Can you get a clear picture of what your goal is? Can you measure your goals (you cannot have a goal like becoming rich overnight)? What problems do you have to reach your goal, like the limits on time, money, or no proper trainers?

• Write a list of things you need to do. Write down all actions you may need to take to achieve your goal. Write all possible ways of reaching your goals. Write down all the problems you have in achieving your goals and write down all the ideas to overcome that problems.

• Analyze, prioritize. Look and think of what you have written. What are the absolutely necessary and effective steps to achieve your goal? Give priority to all the action items that helps you to achieve your goals and get rid of things that are not important for you to succeed.

Example:  A student wants to write GATE and also wants to attend campus interviews. Both need trainings. For interview he needs soft skills (some example of soft skills are  Communication Skills ,Presentation & Work Communication Skills ,Interpersonal & Team Skills ,,Personal Effectiveness Skills ,Cross-Cultural Skills ,English Language Skills, Problem solving skills)

Between these two options he has to prioritize his time and trainings while he is attending regular college.

• Organize your list into a plan. Decide on the order of the plan. What is important in life for you? Write down in a sequence what is most important for your success. Things such as academic education, soft skills training should be given high priority and time than having fun and partying with friends.

• Monitor the execution of your plan and review the plan regularly. How much have you progressed towards your goal by now? What new information you have got? Use this information to further adjust and optimize your plan.

So tell me how you are planning and if you need trainings on soft skills , I want you to consider skillsnest as partner in helping and shaping your life . We are here to help students to excel from “Grassroot thinking to Global employability”

Why you need to fail?


“Success is a lousy teacher”. Bill Gates   the richest man on the planet said once.

Success does not teach you so much as failure; in moments of success there is celebration, whereas in moments of failure there is learning,

Once upon a time in a village there was a wrestler with strong body. He feels happy and proud whenever the villagers praise him for his muscles and that made him to go into comfort zone and he stopped practicing regularly. He always expected every passerby to acknowledge his strength.  One day a guru was passing thru the village and he did not notice this wrestler and the wrestler was upset. He stopped the guru in his tracks and caught him by the hand trying to push the guru to ground. In a shift reaction the guru was able to twist the arm of the wrestler and pushed him down.  Suddenly the wrestler felt weak and came down to his knees and asked the guru what is wrong with him. The guru replied that he did not fail till now and he avoided refining his wrestling skills since he went into a comfort zone. “Without sweating and fighting fit to improve new skills every day you possibly won’t learn anything new except what you already know”  said the guru. 

What is the lesson we can learn from this? Most of us put a tremendous effort trying to avoid the possibility of failure by not even trying once.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, professor at Stanford University, we have a mindset problem. Dweck has done a tremendous amount of research to understand what makes someone give up in the face of adversity (difficulty) versus strive to overcome it.

It turns out the answer is deceptively simple. It’s all in your head.

If you believe that you cannot do a thing then you won’t even try.  If you believe that your talents are fixed, then you will try to avoid failure at all costs because failure is proof of your limitation. We all go thru a routine that we are used to everyday and never challenge or use our brains to improve upon some of the things we do on  daily basis. Just try a different routine today and learn what is the new results you got.

Students with fixed mindsets would rather not learn new language such as English and adjust to low life or jobs that come their way.   

Some company owners or heads of some institutes with fixed mindsets will surround themselves with people who agree with them. They feel smart when they get it right. It reinforces their sense of competence and they feel comfortable that way.
But if you believe your talent grows with persistence and effort, then you seek failure as an opportunity to improve. People with a growth mindset feel smart when they’re learning, not when they’re flawless.
Ask any national or international sports person or any successful person how he reached that levels. You will surely get to know that they failed several times before succeeding but they kept learning from the failures so they can do better next time.
A growth mindset is the secret to maximizing potential. At skills nest trainings I give my students tasks above their ability to bring them out of the comfort zone and make them learn things that enable them to adjust to corporate world.

Want to increase your own performance? Set high goals where you have a 50-70% chance of success.. Then, when you fail half the time, figure out what you should do differently and try again. That’s practice. And according to recent studies, 10,000 hours of that kind of practice will make you an expert in anything. No matter where you start.

I set a goal of transforming the mind set of students in Godavari districts and bring them at par to national and later international competency levels.  That is a high goal for me now. I’m realizing the pain of the inefficient systems/resource crunch surrounding the students and how that is not allowing them to learn new things.   Hey, but I’m trying out methods to overcome the problems for my students. Are you with me? Let me know your thoughts.