Did you keep your currency?

Well, not the Greenback or Gandhiji kind I mean here.

I more talk about what the aviation industry uses this term for.. ‘Recentness of experience’

You got your certification, CSM, CSPO, PSM, PMP, SAFe, LeSS practitioner and all those acronyms that you could earn, but what after…

Did you put them aside just like we do to the user manuals of our phones or did you actually put the knowledge that you earned spending all those up against some very boring instructors like me ??

As the psychologists say, lack of currency in any profession can affect performance and level of preparation.

As a practitioner of the fine art of Agile philosophy and the related, your learning does not finish when you are out of that darn dead workshop but it is a life long journey.

So, if you are not practicing it, your are just killin’ it dude!

In working with 25000+ co-learners from across the globe, I have seen learners many a nary, who come back to me after 5-6 years having never used the knowledge they gained in their first workshop and wanting to get to the next level of the rugged certification ladder ..but is just getting a STAMP enough???

It’s about time Y’all ScrumMasters & Product Owners of yore, get your lazy bums out of that cozy chair of urs, go get down and dirty helping your team learn, relearn and forget Agility, Bring them all together as a team and get them to the path to achieve their goals

For, The sun can give you endless energy, but how you use them is totally up to you..

You can hide inside your cozy dark house OR go see, how bright the world is when it shines and gain the energy from it.

The choice is yours!

Your best chance to be an Outlier!

We all have been to a zoo once in our lifetime, sometimes as a child, some times accompanying our children.

Do you remember that excitement that we used to have as kids to see an African Giraffe or a Gorilla or Sea Lions, all the way from a different country and continent ?

But while watching all those calm, lazy animals , did you ever wonder how the world looked like from their perspective. Caged, confined with nothing much to look forward the next day.

No, I am not starting a lecture about Animals Rights and PETA (Though i have been a closet animal activist all along).

I am steering this discussion to a different paradigm. The paradigm of human intelligence and preservance (and IQ).

When animals are confined and caged, they don’t have many other things to do as their mind just know a few things to do: Eat , Sleep, Play/hunt…and repeat.

But in these strange times of 2020, as a Human being, are we also doing the same?

True, some of us are working in WFH, Virtual mode and yet others have resumed officers, but are we repeating the same routines all over again, pre and post lockdown?

On that note, let’s talk about Outliers.

Who are outliers? These are people in our society, from amongst us, who are considered geniuses, in any domain, business, sports, religion, politics, software et al.

And some notable examples I would talk about here: Michael Jordan, Bill Joy, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahatma Gandhi, M C Mary Kom, Chattrapati Shivaji, Dhirubhai Ambani,Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jack Ma.

These are all considered geniuses of their times and field. But what can be common between Chattrapati Shivaji and JackMa (apart from their innate talent, of course).

It’s that one word which we have heard since our childhood, but we keep on ignoring:

“Practice”

We want to have all the comforts in the world, we want to be respected and well known in our field, we want to enjoy the fruits of our labor , but when it comes to practice, our ‘excusist’ syndrome takes over and you often listen yourself saying that dreaded phrase “Oh, I don’t have time”.

A counter-argument that I always hear, oh, I practice my skills when I am working so I can easily become a master at my work…

But, just ask yourself at this moment.

The job, the work that you are doing, Is this where your passion lies? Is this what you see yourself doing 15 years from now? Is this something which will give your fulfilment and fond memories in future.

If not, this is the perfect time to take a pause and think!

Are you riding the hamster’s wheel or have you really started practicing towards your ultimate purpose/ Goal of life?

And this lockdown , caged period we humans are/have faced is probably the best opportunity to practice those skills and gain mastery over what we really want to do?

But, how much practice is enough to gain Mastery/ Expertise on a subject/ topic/ skill ?

It’s a very simple number:

10,000 hours*

(*Taken from Outliers: By Malcolm Gladwell)

So, even if you start practicing your art/ skill for 1 hour per day for 5 days a week, it would take approximately you approximately 40 years to be the master in your field of choice.

But, what if you got a chance to practice, 3-4 hours per day for 5 days a week? The same time period reduced to 10 years ( now that sound more reasonable, particularly for young minds)

Let me ask a question then:

Are your still cribbing about lockdown and and reading this article?

OR

Has your wonderful super-computer already started planning on how to master your skills and be the Outlier in your field by making best use of this stay-at-home opportunity ?

As I leave you with more questions than answers, reflect, set your goals and start your journey.

-MK

What do I do in lockdown?

It’s May.. and most of us have been locked down since almost 60 days. Everytime we think it will open, the number of cases rise and authorities have to extend it. Yes, some of us are working from home but what about those who can’t work. Either the business is shut down, or simply we lost the job!

We have already spent hours on talking about how life is unfair, how 2020 should be cancelled and what not ! But what after that?

We are still in lockdown and the mayhem doesn’t seem to end anytime soon.

Being in a similar situation, I have been pondering about it but as the divine light shines sometimes, I read a story which ignited a light. And as I have been sharing my little rumblings with you, here is this one too:

I don’t know if it is mentioned in Hindu mythology or not… but I like the context, so I am sharing it ..

Once Lord Indra got angry with the farmers, he declared that there will be no rain for 12 years .. you will not be able to grow crops …

The farmers begged for mercy from Lord Indra.

Lord Indra said that it is possible for it to rain only if Lord Shiva plays his Damru (small drum) ! But he had secretly discussed with Lord Shiva and requested him not to agree with these farmers. When the farmers came to Lord Shiva, they said that after 12 years, the Damru (drum) would be played.

Disappointed farmers decided to wait for 12 years.

But a farmer was regularly plowing the field. Was sowing seeds. Other farmers were making fun of that farmer. A few years later, other farmers asked him, “Why are you wasting your time and energy when you know it will not rain for 12 years?”

He replied, “I know there will be no rain and no harvest. But I do this only as a” practice. ” After 12 years I will forget the method of growing crops and working in the fields. The body may forget its habit to toil, so I do it every year so that after 12 years it will not be difficult for me to work when it rains. “

Hearing their argument, Goddess Parvati was appreciative and said to Lord Shiva, “You may also forget to play the Damru after 12 years!”

Lord Shiva was also worried. He tried to play the Damru to check if the Damru were playing. It started raining as soon as Damru’s voice was heard .. and the farmer’s field, which was working regularly, was full of crops, but everyone else regretted it ..

“Practice” makes you perfect. Practice is the essence of quality. Practice is the secret of youth.

Sometime after 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years, the lockdown will end. Instead of staring at it, do one thing. Sharpen your skills in whatever business or field you are in. Keep growing.

Focus on your skills today, focus on how you can improve yourself.

… so that when the time comes to work again, you are ready to meet all the challenges ..