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The ContraMind Code
Welcome to The ContraMind Code.
The ContraMind Code provides you with a system of principles, signals, and ideas to aid you in your pursuit of excellence.
The Newsletter shares the source code through quick snapshots for a systems thinking approach to be the best in what you do.
The Code helps you reboot and reimagine your thinking by learning from the best and enables you to draw a blueprint on what it takes to get extraordinary things done. Please share your valuable thoughts and comments and start a conversation.
Take a journey to www.contraminds.com. Listen and watch some great minds talking to us about their journey of discovery of what went into making them craftsmen of their profession to drive peak performance.
My Career No Longer Defines Me
David Armano is a Senior Director of Marketing at Soul Machines. He is also a Strategist, thinker + doer and writes about brand building, digital + business transformation, AI, observations, and marketing.
You often confuse your career or your day job with your personal identity, and have you ever imagined if you don’t have that day job, how do you define a personal identity for yourself - ‘How would you introduce or identify yourself ?’ David writes about this powerful idea in his article.
Here are some critical thoughts from the article for you to put your mind to work:
Little do you realise your identity and career are intertwined - ‘I had a high profile within the company I called home for nearly eleven years. When I would visit one of our many offices in the network, I was treated like royalty and welcomed warmly. My work was exciting and diversified: one day, I’d be working with a client on a thorny issue; another day, I’d be helping the firm modernise teams, processes or output; and another, I’d represent the firm through publishing thought leadership.’
Decouple your corporate identity from your personal identity - ‘I made a common mistake in co-mingling my identity with my career because I over-indexed on it being such a huge part of my purpose. Also, the perks were good. Health benefits, financial security, travel, interesting people to work with, interesting problems to solve, a parking stipend, equity… and on and on. There are many reasons for mistaking our corporate identity for our true identity.’
Your identity is more than just the job you are doing - ‘My identity isn’t a single thing rather, it’s a spectrum of many different things from father to husband, to mentor, to music lover to writer, etc., etc—being an employee is one of many of these. Not one of these single things defines me, but their aggregate does.’
Take a pause and think about how do you define your identity today.
Read the article here.
First Principles: BillDesk’s M N Srinivasu On Building Quietly And Sustainably
Ken does a great job of opening your mind to new perspectives, ideas and thinkers. This emerging form of subscription-driven journalism stays away from hype but focuses on the depth and authenticity of the content. You will pay for content if you find it original and valuable, and that’s Ken for you.
Here are some lessons that stuck during the conversation:
Focus on the core and not the noise around - ‘There was nothing we did which focused on dotcom. If you look at it, there was nothing that we did that focussed on dotcom, eyeballs – which were the drivers and metrics then.’
Technology does not eliminate jobs in India - ‘You can never eliminate jobs using technology. That doesn’t work for India. So we said, inevitably, there will be a point in time when people investing in technology in the banks will look at how do I get an ROI (return on investment) from what I’m doing. That’s the thesis with which we set out.’
Being clear about what you will not do as a company - ‘Anything other than P2P [person-to-person].’
Know your DNA - ‘It might take time to win that game, but, just as a DNA, we’re more long-term players, more institution building. Our natural way of doing things is building something that lasts. And that, by definition, means we can think through stuff.’
Comfort capital as a radar for doing the right things - ‘The company’s comfort capital was Rs 30 crore, but it was built on that Rs 4 crore. The Rs 30 crore was to give our employees the comfort that their salaries will be paid. And if we had to dip into this fund, that was when we had to think whether we were doing the right thing in our business.
Being aware and mindful of where you started - ‘Right from day 1 till today, the three of us have sat at the same table in the same room. That’s been the way it is. It’s always been one table, one cubicle, whichever way it worked. It was essentially that in the area that we were playing in if we had narrow vertical silos we looked at, we would perhaps lose a lot of the knowledge that we gained.’
Find the right investor fit - ‘And we wanted the kind of partners we get as equity also reflected the seriousness with which we’re building the business and somewhere the benefit from the trust gets implicitly ascribed to us because those people trusted us.’
Stick to your culture and philosophy, no matter - ‘We said Billdesk could have no defined hierarchy for people in the traditional organisations and no designations. 23 years later, we still stick to that, so people are just called members of a certain team. An appointment letter would say you’re a member of a technology team member or business team, right? You could be a member of a team with a, let’s say, Rs 1 crore salary, you could be the member of a team with a Rs 5 lakh salary.
Do the right things - ‘We believe that if people could do the right things, with the right set of opportunities being given the Billdesk objective, and the founder’s vision is being met, it wasn’t something that we needed to measure through financial metrics.’
There are a lot more nuggets, and you can take some time to listen by clicking the above link.
You can also listen to this conversation on:
Top Economist on India's Next 30 Years
Mukesh Bansal’s podcast SparX delves into cutting-edge scientific research, stories from impact-makers and tools for unlocking the secrets to human potential and growth.
In this conversation, Mukesh talks to Neelkanth Mishra, Chief Economist, Axis Bank; Head of Global Research (and member of the board), Axis Capital,
Here are thoughts & ideas for you from this conversation:
The importance of being self-taught and staying curious
You will learn better and faster by asking the right questions rather than just having a degree and not asking the right questions.
The importance of staying grounded and observing what’s happening around you.
It is essential to stay with an idea for long, be patient and find newer and innovative ways to pollinate the idea within the ecosystem.
How to start with an ambiguous problem without data, find ways to define it and think of a solution by connecting the dots.
Take time to listen to this fascinating conversation. Just click the above link and enjoy many more insights.
Why Is It So Hard to Stay Grounded
Looking back at the articles, podcast and video, what came out was the need to stay grounded if you want to fuel your dreams or ambitions - both professionally and personally.
Reasons people find it hard to stay grounded
Importance Trap: One of the primary reasons is this false sense of importance you get when you start to work or grow in your career. Most positions and people around you make you believe that you are more important than the actual reality of your value and contribution to that job. Hence, you start to have biases quickly and rapidly begin jumping to conclusions and opinions, which then close your eyes to the reality on the ground.
Self-Deception Trap: Most of the time, self-deception leads to the wrong assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Hence, you start to make wrong decisions by comparing yourself with what others do and have found success or go with what’s the buzz that is gaining a lot of attention. It may not fit your DNA and deep core values and beliefs. This dichotomy starts to show up in anything you do, and soon, it affects your decision-making and agility.
Know it Trap: Your educational pedigree and past success often build an ‘I know it’ mindset. This stops you from being curious and humble. It also prevents you from having a keen eye for observing things around you, which often throws up answers many a time, but you start losing this sensibility rapidly.
Comfort Trap: As you grow in your career and position, a sense of comfort comes both in your lifestyle and work environment. However, when you start to work in your early years, you are willing to try new things, explore and experiment, but this slowly vanishes as the fear of discomfort to do anything new takes over.
Reputation Trap: When you begin your career, you have no reputation to protect. But as you grow in position and stature, your fear of protecting your reputation starts affecting all your decisions. Hence, you start ignoring the signs you get from the market and people. Also, you start getting inflexible if you even have a little clue that it may affect your reputation, even knowing fully well that you may have to retract your decisions, which may lead to the right outcomes. You, therefore, start to de-risk and stop listening to the voices around you.
To stay grounded, you need to stay real.
Some of the lessons we learnt from this week’s mission:
Work to decouple your career identity from your personal identity.
When you build a company, stay true to your roots and do your best to align your actions with your values and beliefs.
By being self-taught, staying curious and asking the right questions, you will discover underlying factors to many apparent trends and behaviours. A formal degree gives you a license to get recruited, but only the curious grow.