Know your Strengths

For a moment I will backtrack to the foundation of the whole happiness map. Knowing your strengths are extremely important for anyone who wants to be successful. Once you are aware of the area where you can focus to grow, dream about, create passion in and get lucky with, happiness is easy and success is faster.

Now, this is a million dollar question, how do you know your strength?

It is certainly not an easy exercise given the fact that our society is primarily based on the fact that we live our lives on the basis of what others want out of us instead of what we want for ourselves.

“ Those who should guide us end up dictating us and forcing us to live and pursue lives which are not cut out for us “

I meet a lot of people around. In one typical case where a man came to me to apply for a job and ended up striking a conversation gave me great insight on how majority of our society work. In some cases parents are great motivators and truly take us to the path of success, while in some, they rob the children the capability to take their own decisions. This case was pretty similar where this man, I will name, as Jack happened to be. Jack belonged to a good family with father an engineer and his mother a socialite. When Jack was young, his father wanted him to be an engineer, just like him. His mother sure did wish the same, but she wanted him to be good at several things. Her problem was that when she met her friends, some children were good in playing piano, so she wanted Jack to learn piano and be better than the other children. Some other children were rank-holders in national general knowledge competition; she wanted him to be a rank-holder there too. She wanted him to be a champion in sports, a great piano player, good in general knowledge and the list kept on increasing as Jack grew bigger.

Jack did complain a lot to his mother, but she ensured that Jack was disciplined. On one instance, Jack did not score good marks in math, his father thrashed him and his mother made him work harder in math. Unfortunately, he started scoring even less in math and subsequently in other subjects too. By the time he reached his tenth grade, Jack was struggling to keep his passing grades intact, barely able to manage even normal instructions in class. In fact, he hated everything he was asked to do. It was obvious that Jack’s parents were worried about this reduction of his grades but instead of listening to him, started putting more pressure. To them, Jack was doing this to insult them in front of others.

Things became so bad that Jack would run temperatures whenever the exams came and almost every time he failed. This forced his parents to shift him to a boarding school where probably he was heard well. One of his new teachers in hostel asked him on what did Jack like and was surprised to understand that Jack was not even aware of his own likes and dislikes. The teacher and Jack developed a great bond and things improved. Jack liked making drawings and was very good at art. He spend hours sitting in nature and putting his thoughts on a canvas. His success in art gave him confidence to do better in other subjects too. Soon he opened up and started speaking in events. By the time he was out of the hostel, Jack was a better man again. He found his way in creative design and created a career for himself.

Jack was being used to satisfy the ego of his parents where Jack and his own feelings did not have any meaning. Had it not been for his teacher, probably Jack might have never discovered his strengths.

Looking back, I realized that many of us were subjected to similar treatment in varying degrees. Our parents and teachers who are our well wishers and had always wanted us to grow and prosper in life, ended up pushing and forcing us to follow tracks which they felt were better for us. Some of us were pushed to become engineers, while some other doctors as that would give us a better future and life. Somewhere, many of us forgot their independent existence and blindly followed what was being told to us. This leads to unhappiness for the rest of the lives, without our elders understanding that they had a part to play in this unhappiness.

Now when the time has been good to us, we must ensure that our next generation is understood well and given the right platform for them to grow in the profession of their choice. This will make sure the next generation is more productive and happier.

Happiness is matter of choice. In some cases we make it for ourselves and sometimes for our loved ones. Let us make the right choice.

Have something to add? Share it in the comments.


Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.