Monday, June 27, 2011

On Comfort Zone: Your Comfort Zone Has More Control Over You Than You

If I were to put up a comfort zone light bulb on everyone's head then I bet it would never blink for most people around the world.  Comfort Zone Rules!  95% of people don't do anything radically different or change anything that is out of their comfort zone 90% of the time.  Breaking a routine, making tough calls, pushing beyond limits, building networking skills, challenging other person's thoughts, building life long relationships, calling just to say hi to someone unexpected are some of the out of comfort zone things.  These things many people hate to do or simply it is not in their top to do list.

No matter how many apps related to time management or other things you put up to change yourself, they won't last long because of the comfort zone.  We seldom make the first move to keep in touch with some rare friends or business contacts.  It is tough work to beat your personal buddy aka EGO.  It is difficult and challenging task to change some part of yourself overnight and expect it to last that way forever.  Because it won't.  Our everyday routine acts like a software program that is trained to do exactly how we programmed it by doing some things daily.

We are so comfortable in doing our daily stuff that we rarely go out of the bounds of our comfort zone.  We will try to hit facebook, twitter, some famous games, news sites, etc. again and again.  And simply stare at it.  Click, Click and Click.  Change TV channels over and over with nothing useful and meaningful.

"Your comfort zone has more control over you than you."  - via Twitter from Somebody.

It is important that we remain explosive and dynamic as a young child full of energy, willing to explore everything around.  Once we get what we want, the success factor reins in.

I don't know real answers on how you could challenge yourselves to get out of the comfort zone because I am not you.  In this post I made a point not to write on "Top 10 things you should do to get out of comfort zone".  Because those are people specific things and it might work for me but might now work for you.  I think as long as people acknowledge that they operate within a comfort zone then half the work is done.  The rest is about breaking the software and forcing it to do unexpected things.   Over a time you will learn how to continuously challenge your status quo.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Need To Change Indian Politics, Governance And Constitution

Is Indian constitution so helpless that we cannot bring about any change without carrying out procession or disrupting assembly sessions with violence and dis-respecting our fellow politicians? Can change be only brought through Satyagraha or non-cooperation movement?  If it was a country like Egypt ruled by Monarchy it would have made sense to take your anger on streets.  Guys, this is the largest democracy in the world.  Why after so many years we feel that we are still ruled by an alien government, who is helpless in cleaning up its own mess?

After almost 64 years of India's Independence, there are many loopholes in the system which need to be addressed and fixed for a modern society.  In a modern society people are more civilized and are willing to play a role in governance.  They are willing to be socially responsible citizens.  But people of modern India need clean and honest politics, better governance and commanding leaders in order to participate in our social upheaval.  There is no such rule in our constitution that would combat corruption and punish law offenders.  Thanks to recent protests by Anna Hazare our government has at least acknowledged the need for has started making progress towards anti-corruption law known as Lokpal Bill.(Updated: Thanks to Rishabh)

But a Lokpal bill in itself is not sufficient to combat corruption.  We need better, responsible and transparent governance for our society.  Why there is no transparency in every undertaking of our government? Policies which affect masses and which can bring change in our daily lives should be done in open and by public participation.  Local lawmakers should consult local people over what they feel is appropriate for everyone.  Corporators in our municipal corporations should conduct town hall meetings and address issues at large in public.  For all this to happen a cultural shift has to happen among our leaders.

I am awe struck by how White House shares information on their website.  Amazing stuff.  Oh! and by the way there is also an iPhone app for it.  We are not too far away from such a future.  Gujarat state government is most advanced in sharing information to public from the rest of the state governments in India.  Our politicians should embrace openness and be more willing to engage with the Aam Junta (common people).  The wikileaks saga still haunts our politicians and many are still defending their turfs over exposed information in the public.  Would that happen if governments were more open?

Regarding politics, I would like to share following tweet by Shri Jaya Prakash Narayan of Loksatta party on twitter.  He says, "The only antidote to corrupt politics is more politics and better politics.  Hating politics will end democracy and make things worse."  When we are going through a major change in our country then we need better politics to withstand such change.  More public debates, respect among our leaders, debating on facts and numbers, and accountability are some of the aspects of better politics.

There is a famous saying and I love it immensely, here it is, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and of people some of time, but you can't fool all of the people all of time".   I don't know who said it but it is very relevant in politics.  Modern India who is well educated needs data.  You cannot fool people over false claims and vague promises.  As an engineer if I don't see real numbers behind a process then there is an information gap in my mind, which makes it difficult to understand reality.  As is the case with modern governance, people need public data available on a public platform which can be broken down into its minutest details for them to bridge their knowledge gap.   If you protect data from people then it would make them handicapped and they would feel less responsible because they couldn't take any action.  It is now the time that we embrace openness, transparency and honesty in our politics and governance.