Detail

Detail is the devil. That’s my big problem in life. I’m fundamentally clumsy and prone to errors, and don’t have much of an eye for details. I tend to make a lot of silly mistakes. So whenever I’ve to do some task that requires precision, it requires me to put in way too much energy, so that I don’t commit any mistakes. This is why I have a problem with “routine” tasks. Routine tasks being routine, you are expected to complete them with one hundred per cent accuracy. Ninety five percent won’t do. That transformation from ninety five percent to hundred, though, takes up a lot of energy, and I tend to get stressed out.

Essentially, for a routine task to be done with one hundred percent accuracy, the mental energy I spend is far more than what the average person does. This means that if I do even a small bunch of routine tasks, all my mental energy is exhausted and I have nothing in store for anything else I’ve to do. This is the reason I’ve had an indifferent corporate career so far. Essentially, I face a competitive disadvantage in performing routine tasks.

This is something most people don’t appreciate. Most people assume that it doesn’t take much effort to perform routine tasks, and if you don’t do them well, you’re a good for nothing. And I must admit I’ve also not played to my strengths so far, routinely getting into situations where I’ve to show “detail” and “one hundred percent accuracy”, and not saving my energy for things I’m actually good at. Detail has been the devil.

PS: The motivation for this post was some small form I’d to fill (by hand). The space was limited and I knew I’d to write carefully without any mistakes, and that drove me completely¬†¬†nuts!

Internal Conflict

When a bunch of friends and I described ourselves as a pantheon a few years back, I was War. Part of the reason was that in Hindu Mythology Karthik is the God of War, but more importantly, I was War because I was always at war with myself. With three others being conveniently called Disease, Hunger and Madness, and another being Death, we formed a formidable force indeed.

True to the name that these guys gave me all those years ago, for the last six months or so, I’ve been absolutely consumed by internal conflict. It mostly has to do with my professional career, which hasn’t particularly taken off the way I imagined it would when I graduated from IIMB some 5 years ago. For the first time ever, I’ve completed two years in a job, and things don’t particularly look rosy, especially if I evaluate myself based on where I could have been had I not made those big blunders.

A part of me wants to go easy upon myself, and not be too harsh. Everyone goes through tough phases, that part tells me, and that mine has been a wee bit longer than most people’s. This part tells me to not worry about peer pressure, and to concentrate on keeping myself peaceful and enjoying the good things in life. This part further asks me to not worry too much about the future and that things will get into a flow. And that despite my corporate career not exactly taking off, life isn’t all that bad.

The other part, on the other hand, holds me responsible for all my troubles. It tells me that it’s because of my mistakes in the past that I’m where I am, and that I need to work really hard to rectify them. This part takes me to LinkedIn, and shows me the wonderfully sculpted oh-so-successful careers some of my old associates seem to be having, just to prove the point that I’ve messed up. This part wants me to conform, and be a good employee, and climb the stairs in the same way others have, and follow the well-trodden path into successful corporate whoredom. And this path is also supported by those pesky relatives who ask you uncomfortable questions about your career every time you are unfortunate enough to bump into them.

The first part is quite worried about my health, both mental and physical, and believes that messing up one’s health is too high a price to pay for corporate success and the associate perks that it brings. The second says I need to learn to adapt, and somehow reduce the impact of my health, while still being a good corporate whore.

And like in that old Coffy Bite ad, the argument continues. Except that these two parts of myself have completely ravaged my head over the last few months. I’m reminded of the story of the Bherunda bird (the “state bird” of Karnataka) which has two heads and one body. The two heads get into a quarrel. One of them gets so upset that he drinks some poison, thus killing “both of them”. These two parts of me, by means of their continued conflict have ended up completely consuming me, and my head.

And here I am, trying to figure out once again what it means to chill.