Monopoly was an intense and serious game at our home. Winning mattered. Like a lot. So much so that as adults most of the players are unwilling to play it again. Looking for non-Monoply games for Family Game Night I spotted the Mad Magazine “What-me-worry” game Unlike Monopoly, the object of this game is to lose all your money. There is also no strategy that you can follow to win – it’s determined by luck. It is surprisingly hard to play. Your mind has to overcome years of ingrained training that winning means earning more (and more) money, and instead, learn to cheer when you lose it.
Many of us have tied our identity to our careers. We measure our self-worth by promotions, titles and yes, money. This is doubly true for entrepreneurs – your individual success is measured by the financial success of your enterprise. Most of us would hesitate to ask someone directly “how much do you make?” (quite a usual question not so long ago on train and plane rides). But it is quite normal to ask a business owner questions about number of employees, expansion, profitability and growth – which all tell you how much money he or she makes. Heck, if the company is listed the whole world knows the answers. Even if the individual is very comfortably off on a personal level, these business-related questions are tied to their identity and self-worth and can keep reinforcing the self-belief that their success is linked to continual growth.
As a country we are still quite new to modern capitalism. That means that we don’t necessarily have the most sophisticated understanding of business risk, or the systems to protect us from the downside. Worse, both formally and informally our individual fortunes are tied to the business. For example, banks try very hard to get a personal guarantee even if the business is sufficiently credit worthy. Stakeholders expect the promoter to make good from his personal savings when the company goes belly-up. The concept of failing gracefully is new. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is a step in the right direction, but we also need to change societal perception. Vaitheeswaran’s interview about how he thought about taking his own life in the aftermath of indiaplaza.com is frank, real and a must-read
It’s brave of Vaithee to share the story, and admit how vulnerable financial failure makes you. Thanks to Deepika Padukone we know that Depression is real. Neerja Birla and MPower are creating more awareness of mental health as an issue and easy access to resources that can help more people move to the “What me worry” state of contentedness.
So what steps can you take to have less worry in your life? I have three suggestions:
1. Focus on financial independence as a goal rather than wealth.
2. See if business or professional growth is allowing you greater control over your destiny or just more hours on the corporate treadmill.
3. If you’re feeling out of sorts talk frankly with a friend or professional counselor.
Back in college I had a Snoopy poster which said “Live for Today, Plan for Tomorrow, Party Tonight”.
Valuable advice from Peanuts.
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My daughter loves the green apples offered – for free – in the fancier hotel gyms. She makes it a point to eat one or two every day from that bowl and often, after a 3 day stay, their bowl is empty. Maybe this is the situation faced by actor Rahul Bose after a work-out at JW Marriott Chandigarh.
Charulata Patel is the 87 year old who shot to fame after pictures of Virat Kohli visiting her in the stands went viral. Pepsi immediately capitalised on her personal brand in a new ad. Pepsi and Charulata are benefiting from the rub-off of the huge star value of Virat Kohli. According to Duff & Phelps, his brand is valued at $170 million. How can you build your brand value to at least a fraction of that?
You should plan to have 2 (or more) distinct careers. In the first one you rely on fluid intelligence and in the second one on crystallised intelligence, areas like teaching, mentoring, strategy and leadership. The key to remaining “successful’ is to understand when you’ve overstayed your time in the fluid intelligence arena and start building towards your next avatar where you purvey wisdom.
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