Sunday, October 11, 2015

Startup: Put your glass down

Today,  got a personal lesson from a colleague.  I was thinking that I was doing heavy lifting of a job, an existing contract that normally is child's play. Human error, as they would call it. Simple tasks, but executed with errors. Why?  I was committing mistakes.   Then I came across this story - but the lesson was from a colleague.  
The story is in quotes here -'How heavy is this glass of water? The answer will surprise you. A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.
She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything. Remember to put the glass down." End of story. 
I was enjoying the creative portion of the work, but not the mundane.  This mundane part somehow led to errors - leading to dissatisfaction of the customer.  All this is in anticipation of the growth, a larger contract that was being discussed for the past 6 months.  I was stressed, as I continued to make errors, but make progress in finalization of the larger contract.   And when the hour of reckoning came,  my colleague, on a discussion said that let us step back from taking up the larger contract.  
Personally, it was blow - and it is still. All 6 months efforts have gone to a nought.  But it also brought in relief - relief that the contract might have gone awry, and we were not quite capable enough to execute - I was carrying the cross of anticipation and was stressed out hence.   Now with that off, may be I will be able to recoup and plan better.   Letting go, and not worrying is sometimes better than stressful progress - a good lesson to factor in. 
-Ashok Subramanian


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