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Human Potential: Optimism

Right from the moment I took up the HDFC Ergo project, I knew it would be a challenge. The client had envisioned a full-fledged office when they brought the JTCPL Designs team on board and the deadline set would seem challenging even for a regular project. However, this one had an added difficulty with the site previously being a gaming zone on a recently decommissioned mall floor plate. The one ingredient that kept me going was optimism, which was only strengthened by the client’s and my team’s faith in me. 

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Optimism, generally, is considered as a mental attitude – a happy belief that the outcome of some specific endeavor, or outcomes in general, will be good. Optimism doesn’t play a bigger role than when we are facing an uphill task. No matter which field or background you belong to, whether you’re the CEO of an MNC or a student in college. Optimism benefits everyone and almost every situation; it is like a positive force field that quietly does its work and keeps you going even when you thought you couldn’t.

 

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In the context of architecture, optimism becomes imperative as even a minor miscalculation could lead to unimaginable loss to the client and/or the team. Having the mind of an optimist helps one to better awareness which leads to better choices, and therefore to better end results.

 

Optimists and pessimists approach situations differently with their varying ability to cope with challenges. However, there are a lot of pessimists who call themselves realists which is why, the concept of optimism becomes so important in today’s day and world.

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In general, I feel, India as a country believes in positivity because of our faith in karmic justice. It becomes very important for leaders to understand, what they practice is often projected onto their team. Leading a team with values such as optimism helps boost the entire team’s perspective towards taking up bigger challenges and expanding horizons to set and surpass benchmarks.

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Just like concrete & steel come together to fortify structures, determination and an optimistic approach can strengthen the infrastructure of your life.

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Leap of Faith

“To be trusted is a great compliment”. – George MacDonald

All projects begin with a vision. It is this vision that is the first step towards the bigger picture eventually leading to success. Today, clients are willing to invest significant trust in the architect who can nurture a vision from conception to completion. In my opinion, this action falls into four broad categories: championing the vision; listening and understanding; engaging and finally, delivering. Perhaps what makes a career in construction so special, be it in design or delivery, is the final product. Unlike other vocations, architecture is a piece-by-piece venture in which clients have huge sums of money at stake and little recourse or control.

It is when they decide to take a leap of faith and give you a free hand using your talents to interpret.  This sets course to improve the relationship between architects and clients. One of the reasons I believe that our Brookfield project hit the right note is because of the faith the client entrusted in us.

We had the privilege of developing Brookfield’s third and most ambitious office project in the country. It was possible to go the extra mile as we considered ourselves a part of the team. In retrospect, the project manifested impeccably because of the trust the client showed. It’s working with clients like these who help you push your boundaries. They exhibited indefinable faith in our vision, creativity and problem-solving abilities.

When your client sees the spark and you stretch your potential to live up to their expectations, it not only gives you satisfaction but also helps you tap your potential and surpass it. Your own fulfillment is greater than success because it is a measure decided by you. It is this abundance of trust that makes every journey easy and keeps us going forward. Setting a mark with every project and surpassing it hones your skills as a creator.

Winding it up, I live by the idea that delight in the job puts excellence in the work.

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​Unlocking Human Potential

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”

This Confucius quote has remained relevant for over two thousand years. However, within the last decade, this thought has gone from being good advice to a commandment. Given the unprecedented pace of change for both individuals and businesses, I can gauge a sense of uncertainty in people with regards to using their potential to the fullest.

From my experience with my clients and other individuals, it will be safe to say that most humans have got what it takes to make it big because human potential is beyond measure and can be honed with time and training.  For instance, Olympic athletes continue to break their own records year after year through sheer dedication and hard work.

During this time of constant change, it is crucial that one finds their true potential. Based on my exposure to some of my clients, I wish to share a series of blogs that highlight my thoughts on making the most of one’s potential that resides within them.

The big challenge is becoming all that you have the possibility of becoming. We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. Not just our strength and intelligence but it’s our continuous effort that tends to be the key to unlock our true potential. In more than a few cases, my clients have shown greater faith in my capabilities and this has only pushed me to learn to expand my potential. This helped me discover the importance of learning.

LIFELONG LEARNING:

As individuals, any challenge can be daunting. Even until a decade ago, a degree or an education could last a whole career for an individual. However, with the changing times, abilities like creativity and empathy have gradually become more important while the relevance of the ability to “know” it all has diminished. Therefore, it is safe to say that the coming generation will have to take lifelong learning seriously while constantly upgrading their skills.

INTEGRATED LEARNING:

Individuals not only gain knowledge and learn new skills to apply in their area of expertise but also create insight and implement their newly-learned skills to other possible areas of utility. While focusing on mastering your existing knowledge is a good idea, it is far more prone to falling short in helping you navigate through the changing world.

The good thing is that people are now realizing the need to learn and adapt to new things. For example, Deloitte, a giant consulting firm focused on the hard-nosed aspects of business, have created a learning practice called the Center of the Edge, which focuses on providing insight to maximize human potential.

In the above article, I came across an interesting theory of roots and shoots. The concept highlights our practices that are out of balance and directs towards places we need to invest in.  By going through cycles of learning and unlearning, an individual can discover his or her purpose as well as passion. Taking time to reconnect to our core values is critical. These practices that connect the roots provide a more strengthening foundation. Adopting practices help us take on new perspectives and envision the things that fail to deliver. As we see our learning accelerating, we become more committed and devoted to our passion.

In hindsight, whenever I have ventured out of my comfort zone and tried my hands on something new, it has only helped me learn a new skill that has benefited me in the longer run for a larger goal.

There is no limit to an individual’s potential. In order to expand the range of skills, I have realised over time that, if there is a passion to succeed one can begin with implementing these newly-acquired skills in their day-to-day lives.

Having practised this theory in my own life, professionally as well as while pursuing my passion for long distance running – it has always proven advantageous.

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GRATITUDE – THE UNDERRATED VALUE

A simple ‘Thank You’ has so much more power and energy than we can possibly imagine. I have personally always been that person who expresses gratitude for everything in my life – big or small. Practicing gratitude and working towards things positively have been two extremely important mantras for me. Be it my work or my passion, the game of gratitude has always played a vital role in my life for my projects as well as running.

It doesn’t matter who my client is, I always make sure I find reasons to be proud of my clients. It is essential for me to be proud of each and every client I work for, I play a little game of gratitude wherein I muster all my positive energy and focus my mind on the good qualities of the client. I share this practice with my team and you will be amazed to see the wonders of sharing and how it helps to reinforce the feeling of positivity. As a team, we are grateful for the client’s sheer magnitude – its culture, people, leadership and more.

I apply the same philosophy of gratitude to my passion for long distance running. Especially during my practice of the last 5-7 kilometers, when I get a sense of control and realize where I am, I naturally begin to thank God for the different things I am blessed with – right from my health, inspiration in life, discipline and motivation among others.

We humans tend to underestimate and tune ourselves out of a value that insulates our psyche. The value I speak about here is – gratitude, a quality I deeply treasure. By developing the attitude of gratitude and giving thanks for everything that happens to us and knowing that every step forward is a move toward achieving something bigger and better – spins us into a cycle – unlocking the fullness of life.

I came across this quote from one of Jim Rohn’s works which put gratitude in a completely different perspective, “An attitude of gratitude determines your altitude”. This helped me absorb and acknowledge gratitude in a classy way, and that is how I decided to start practising gratitude.

If you’ve noticed, the people who are most successful in life are also the people who are most grateful. When you come from a place of gratitude, the value of things you are blessed with in your life suddenly expands and you start seeing things in a different light. Your perception about life choices takes a different turn, leading to better results and shields you from negativity. Speaking from personal experience, when confronted with cynical situations, I take a step back and practice gratitude and have come to understand that the state of gratitude is not something that is inherited – rather a state anybody and everybody can polish with practice.

I have, in my interactions, got the drift that people are apprehensive about displaying gratitude. I am most certain that some of you reading this might have come across a casual response to a big achievement with a response, “I just got lucky”. As an individual, I’m not convinced by luck. I strongly believe that to achieve a feat, the amount of hours at work is rather significant!

Citing Michael Phelps, who holds the world record for the maximum number of medals won at Olympics by an individual; practices twice a day, training for around five to six hours a day at six days a week. Drawing a parallel- gratitude helps you inculcate patience within yourself and it serves as a vaccine from instant gratification. The exemplary work done by Nelson Mandela; following his passion for the purpose he believed in and the gratefulness towards life that endured him in his struggle. Gratitude helps unlocks the fullness of life, turning denial into acceptance and confusion into clarity.