The Talent Advantage
The talent advantage program, ‘Talvantage’, which I had been expeditious enough to enroll for, had its first session on 2nd of March, Sunday. I was unclear and anxious about how the day will span out. On my way to a magnificent farmhouse, I wondered if the time that I had committed to invest would get its worth; whether this will actually add anything. At the end of the day, I had answers to all of these questions. All of them were positives!
We started with a quick introduction by all the students present there – their name, their college and most importantly, why they were here. Ten seconds per student. It was very clear that all of us had come for similar things, if not the same. We were all a little nervous but it was overpowered by our excitement!
I will never forget these wonderful people or their names – thanks to the ABCs of Me game.
The game works like this: Everyone is supposed to choose an adjective that described them and started with the same letter as their first name.
I don’t think people really cared about the former- for we did get names like Mafia Merlyn and Killer Khushbu. From the interaction that I had with them, I can vouch for the fact that they are not described even at the least by their adjectives. It was fascinating how important the simple act of listening is, and how less we are bothered about it in our daily lives. I had never made a conscious effort to listen prior to this game.
A quick advice to the reader on remembering names: play the game in your head with everyone you meet!
I had also never made a conscious effort to look back at things and figure how they had shaped me. With the Milestones activity, I was left thinking why I had not done this before. To be able to assess a personal cause and effect chart of your own life is a very valuable lesson. It might not be the same effects always of course but it certainly is a step away from ignorance. Introspection is an easy DIY– you can even do it anywhere!
We did it in small groups. We shared the timeline of our lives. It connected me to my group mates on a level that I don’t think is possible for people who meet for the very first time. I don’t know why I opened up to complete strangers. But what feels stranger is that opening up to them didn’t feel strange at all. Perhaps, it was because they also shared very intimately.
We went on to discuss a case study on Howard Schultz and Starbucks. I read about it in my pre-work like I would read any other topic. I chalked out the things I could say about Schultz and Starbucks. But the discussion was not supposed to be factual. It was not about what we read. The idea was to draw from Schultz’s life and see how he had shaped his values and how his values shaped his business.
I realized that I had had countless discussions on various things before. Very important discussions and I had drawn from them facts and opinions. But I had never traced something like this before. I felt like I had missed out on deriving the track of evolution of countless ideas, and I have resolved to not miss any more.
If I go on to find a company in life which imbibes values from my life values, it would probably be dedication, sincerity, honesty/transparency, tolerance and enthusiasm. To me, it seems like five necessary ingredients for anything that one sets out to do.
We did a survey to figure out what values were most important to us. I had never thought of it before but I guess if traits were passable, it would be difficult to choose one to give to your child, but I would definitely go for honesty. The values imbibed in me by my family and school at a very early age are the ones that have stuck to me – honesty, sincerity and tolerance. I don’t think I can put anything else before these. It sometimes becomes difficult to adhere to one’s values. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a breach of values if you can’t adhere to them.
Being tolerant about certain things has at a lot of places lead to being dishonest – or atleast not completely honest. I don’t regret having chosen one thing over. It’s important to remember that we need to be flexible according to the situation. Not fickle, just flexible.
Next, we had an informal discussion session with Vivek Pahwa, a serial entrepreneur. It was remarkable to see him talk about his businesses and answer our queries. We were all in absolute awe. He seemed calm and relaxed but also very aggressively attached to his work. Like others, I also don’t understand how one person can be both these things. But I understand how it is the best way to be.
I hope, one day, I can maintain the same level of composure without losing out on the excitement to work. The two things are certainly not exclusive of each other.
I think as the evening set in, all of us were more comfortable and ready about the journey we had undertaken. The weather also became calmer and warm Southern breeze gushed in the farmhouse. It just was perfect to celebrate – our 80th birthday.
The vision board is up in my room now.
When I was gathering the cut-outs the day before, I really didn’t think much about it. I had obviously introspected and thought about the things I would most likely want to have achieved when I am 80 and I look back at life. The experience of making the effort to arrange it on my chart paper and gluing it to the same, sort of made it more concrete in my life as well. It made me think like if I actually want to achieve these things, I need to make a conscious and continuous effort towards the same.
Having it up in my room helps to reiterate the thought.
I have been battling with increasing entropy and uncertainty in the past couple of months, courtesy final semester of college. Day 1 at Talerang’s wonderful program has not elevated me from the sources of change and anxiety, but it has given me the clarity and self-belief that I will be able to make it. I will plan better, focus more, work harder and move towards what I want in life. One thing very integral to my learning was that it is important to have a skeleton to start with. We can’t have a rigid idea about where we are going, but a skeleton will definitely help to know how we will get there!
All of us have been Taleranged, and we know we are moving towards becoming better.