Exploring Discovery’s Move to a Coworking Space

   Courtesy: WeWork

After my last article on coworking spaces, I was intrigued to learn that a company like Discovery Channel recently moved their entire headquarters to WeWork, a coworking space. I found this interesting because the last office they occupied was at Maker Maxity, the plush, conventional office complex in Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai.

The Discovery team confirms that the 24/7 culture of a coworking office suits their ‘Agile Working’ policy. It’s a combination of flexible working hours, locations and improved autonomy on team projects. This is feasible in a coworking space since it provides a blend of hot desks, quiet zones and team tables. Over and above this, the meeting rooms are plentiful and can be booked for any immediate requirements – something that a traditional workspace would not make possible. As one Discovery team member says, “We can move around the space depending on our productivity. More importantly, companies can book any meeting room from any of the 16 floors available, through a special app.”

According to the folks from Discovery Channel, the greatest advantage from the move to a coworking space has been the surge in opportunities to connect with people of different unique abilities. Participating in the coworking space community activities allows team members to interact with other companies. Coworking space providers also strive to keep the ambience upbeat with a series of events and activations, to bring all the companies together. These events could range from something as simple as a community breakfast to a post-work stand-up comedy evening for the coworkers.

   Courtesy: WeWork

The shared ecosystem also has an impact on the work culture inside each team. Aside from young startups, Discovery now shares its workspace with companies ranging from Jaguar-Land Rover to channels run by YouTube comedians. Discovery Channel India thus gets an environment dynamic enough to be charged with the innovation of a car manufacturer as well as the diverse energy of creative writers. Coworking spaces also offer unique value additions to enrich the office experience. For instance, the music played across all WeWork branches globally is streamed from a central radio station. So the teams working out of the New York office would be listening to the same stream as the ones working out of the Mumbai office. It’s a small but noteworthy step taken to add a global touch.

Another thing that struck me as significant about Discovery’s move to a coworking space was the timing. Around the same time they relocated to WeWork, they also relaunched the channel in India. It is heartening to see the marriage between the administration and business goals of a company. Both sides now work to keep the network’s content young and vibrant, and to attract millennial team members as well. The charged ecosystem of a coworking culture would thus work in their favour. With new-age business gatherings like a community breakfast or Zumba classes – the workspace offers the cosy, modern and spirited atmosphere that most new entrants to the workforce seek.

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Discovery Channel has thus emerged as a company that’s not only reinventing its product, but also the ethos of its workspace. They are willing to break away from the staid, structured methods of their predecessors and evolving into something new and unique. Since media companies in India are usually the early adopters of trends, I expect this trend would hit companies from other fields too. Satellite teams of finance companies and software giants have already made their way to coworking environments. It would be interesting to see other large companies setting up their entire core operations out of a coworking space.

How The Coworking Culture Will Influence Large Companies

  Photo: Prashant Bhat

Coworking spaces have suddenly begun to absorb more and more companies into their ecosystem. At a recent conference, I was asked if this development worries me – as a professional in the business of space. The brief answer is – no. I look at the evolution of workspace design more as a new opportunity than a challenge. As the needs of the teams evolve, so will our approach to design. The work we recently put into creating the Regus office has further cemented this belief.

The Regus project was the first time we designed an environment simultaneously housing tech firms, consultancies and creative agencies. In these environments, the cubicle culture is ditched in favour of shared tables in open spaces. These are punctuated with quieter zones, some enclosed spaces and even “phone rooms”. Team members from different companies can switch between these sections depending on the kind of work they’re doing. This sense of flexibility of movement allows the right balance of community and autonomy.

Most people believe that these spaces are only home to fresh start-ups and small companies. But now coworking spaces have evolved beyond their initial years as incubators for new businesses. Large corporations are rapidly flocking to coworking brands like Regus, WeWork, CoWrks and Awfis. According to a 2018 Confederation of Indian Industries survey, large companies make up for a whopping 10.3 million seats out of the estimated 12-16 million in the county’s coworking industry.

Networking opportunities are a key ingredient that make coworking offices a unique proposition for companies. The ecosystem of different teams operating within the same space simulates that of a high-end business school campus. Individuals with different unique abilities interact, leading up to opportunities for collaborations. Thus, it is not just the sharing of facilities that makes up a coworking space. It is actually the sharing of an environment charged with the energies, unique abilities and DNA of diverse organisations.

Large companies sometimes even use the infectious positive culture of a coworking space to boost fresh ideas for smaller teams. For instance, a team working on a project that requires more focus on innovation is moved to coworking spaces, instead of the whole company at once.

Companies also spend a great deal of time and money into team building exercises to help members develop a good working chemistry. This sense of community and synergy, however, is automatically integrated into the very fabric of coworking culture.

While the human advantage of a coworking environment is evident, large companies are taking note of the administrative advantages. For instance, the sprawl includes plenty of lounge areas with couches, and multiple conference rooms. This makes it easier to arrange meetings anywhere within the complex or the building. Plus, the peripherals and housekeeping are outsourced to facilities experts.  This allows a company to concentrate on its core strengths – producing the product or the service they’re meant to deliver. Coworking spaces also have a battery of training and skill development sessions running throughout the month. That is another peripheral responsibility that corporations can hand over to the coworking brand.

Moving completely to a coworking environment, however, may not be feasible for a lot of firms – especially those where confidentiality and privacy in conference rooms is paramount. There is also the issue of customised design. A lot of companies need their décor to reflect their aesthetic, and that’s harder to achieve in a communal setting. But there are some steps that a company can take to mimic the good things from a coworking ecosystem, within their own organisation. Globally, companies are temporarily renting out unused desks or conference rooms to other smaller businesses to work out of. This creates a semblance of a coworking environment – with ample opportunities for cross-pollination, community and partnerships.

Elements of the coworking culture will thus be inevitably seeping into traditional offices. It is the next trend I’ll be watching out for. It would lead to offices becoming more inclusive environments that inspire innovation. The resulting space design would act as a catalyst for leveraging everyone’s unique ability. It would also be the end of everything that makes a workplace staid and uninspiring. In the words of Leo Burnett of the eponymous Leo Burnett Advertising Company, “Creative ideas flourish best in a shop which preserves some spirit of fun.”

Success Needs A Sense of Purpose… And This Book Book Name: Catalyst, Author: Chandramouli Venkatesan

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When I first met Chandramouli Venkatesan a few years ago over a cup of tea, I had high expectations, because he had a reputation for depth and wisdom. He did not disappoint. His extensive experience as business leader, together with his natural inclination for teaching and mentorship gave him a remarkable vantage point that led to fascinating insight. He mentioned that he had developed a program that could help corporate folks maximise their career potential. It was a three hour session called ‘Tee Off with Mouli’ which he has taken to scores of organisations, with some stellar feedback and outcomes.

Some time later, I discovered that he had developed this session into a book, called ‘Catalyst’. This immediately made it a must-read. Then a video popped up on my timeline. It featured the venerable D. Shivakumar, former CEO of Pepsi and Nokia and someone I have looked up to, giving some stellar career advice. It turned out the video was part of the clever promotion of Mouli’s book. Now I knew I had to drop everything and get my hands on it.

I promptly did just that. I finished reading the book cover to cover in one sitting, which I don’t recall having done for any book in a long while. At that point, it came as no surprise that ’Catalyst’ is a bestseller. I may have contributed a teensy bit to that, because I made sure to get every member of my team their own copy of the book.

The theme of the book is built around the thought that although most of us are presented with the ingredients that lead to a successful career, these ingredients are not sufficient by themselves. Mouli underlines the importance of certain ‘catalysts’ – organized actions and behaviours, that help in converting the available ingredients into ‘real’ individual growth, ultimately leading to the desired career growth.

The book lays out the structure and principles of career growth, the various moving parts of this structure illustrated with examples and anecdotes and then a behavioural recipe that brings all of these into sustainable action. Most management books tend to offer either high strategy or utilitarian advice, in mutually exclusive ways. Mouli’s mix of motivation, action framework and pragmatic to-dos make this an excellent guide to build and strengthen a career, and one that is equally suited for leaders as it is for team members that are fresh into their careers.

A few ideological choices that the book makes resonated very deeply with me. The idea that how you live your life impacts work rather than vice versa, the concept of learning cycles, the fundamental need for pristine honesty and humility as catalysts to leadership, the important role that bosses and mentors play in shaping not just your foundational years but enduring success as well, among many others. I could validate much of all this from my own experiences, and Mouli’s articulate exposition crystallizes these beliefs very effectively.

Perhaps, the most striking thought in the book is Mouli’s concept of the TMRR module, which stands for ‘target, measure, review, and reflect’. Most of us stop after the first three steps, but the book emphasises that a small amount of effort invested into mulling over   “what could I have done better?” is what may extract the most learning from an initiative or project. In fact, Mouli goes one step further to exhort us to reflect on each day’s activities, to build a continuous process. He even has a cool trick, the idea of ‘anchoring’ the habit of reflection in a daily routine to make it an automated act.

Each chapter ends with an actionable summary under the “Unleash the Catalyst” This act of repetition, rather than being a drag, actually helps change gears and get the reader into an  implementation mindset. In fact, as Mouli rightly says in the last chapter, the more you read a book, the better it will build conviction. In that vein, I’m going to read Catalyst again.

Creating a Co-working Community

A black and white television, a typewriter and closed-door cabins; the one thing these three have in common is that they’re all outdated. Young India is all about latest gadgets, coolest apps and an unconventional way of thinking. It is not just one’s lifestyle; the Indian economy is also facing a substantial change in its structure, owing to the spike in start-ups. This start-up generation has also influenced the new working environment of co-working spaces. With the rising cost of the commercial estate, co-working spaces such as WeWork, Awfis Space Solutions, The Playce, Mumbai Coworking, Bombay Connect, The Hive, etc, come as a breath of relief to the ones high on passion and expertise but low on business capital.

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Branded co-working spaces have seen an impressive hike in 2017 with a 40%-50% increase in such facilities to reach a million square feet in India. These co-working spaces are expected to grow four-fold by 2020. The leasing model of co-working spaces allows a provider to rent out desks/conference rooms on an hourly basis. The low rates make it an easy option for startups trying to keep the operational costs low.
Source: mumbaicoworking.co

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Not just branded co-working spaces, multiple restaurants have also now started renting out space to professionals during the day with redeemable offers and a nominal fee. Starbucks has been providing it for a while now but other brands are catching up and with better-renting options too. These restaurants and cafes are also focusing on providing a semblance of privacy and personal space. Founders Tashi Dorjee and Robert Walker launched TwoSpace in Australia late last year with one simple goal: to make use of already available empty spaces. For instance, in India, the ‘Social’ circuit in Mumbai has enabled the millennial crowd to work where they chill and work while they chill too.

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Most of the Co-working spaces offer options of hot desk, dedicated desk or a team box for 5 to 50 people. The key lies in making a layout which is flexible and can be reconfigured based on the market demand.  Also, what really attracts startups and young entrepreneurs to a space such as this is the ample networking opportunities that it presents. Hence, the design needs to incorporate multiple collaborative and huddle spaces which would help in bringing people together. 

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With branded co-working spaces catering to a wide range of businesses across industries, it is imperative that a deeper understanding is applied to designing them. The generation that is driven by innovation & invention and demands a working environment that represents just that.

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My team and I have recently completed the latest Regus project & it was unique in its own way. With projects such as this, while the brief about the structure remains unchanged, there are multiple variables that no one can account for in advance. How a team reacts to these variables is what makes all the difference in the outcome. On this project, like most others, we were racing against time & it is only our disciplined approach that helped us deliver within time and beyond expectations.

 

Evolution of Workspaces – Part 1

Architecture has been a crucial part and an indicator of the evolution of civilisations through time. If history is any proof, right from the start, architecture has remained well-woven with both, cultural and industrial growth in and around human life. This has also led to a monumental growth in workspace design.

Workspace design has the potential for exponential growth and advancement. And, while we’re celebrating new milestones in the field every day, it is important for us to look back and appreciate where it comes from and how tremendously it has grown. As a perpetual student of architecture, there are certain ancient architectural practices that caught my attention and interest, Roman architecture being one of them.

What intrigued me the most about ancient Roman architecture was its adaptable nature and how it catered to the requirements of a well-functioning workspace. It is no secret that Roman architecture was heavily inspired by the Greeks whom they regarded as their superiors in all visual arts. However, the Romans pursued a utilitarian approach in every piece of work. What made their creations stand out was their in-depth attention to practical applications of the buildings that were fortified by their flair for engineering and construction. Speaking of fortifying, it wasn’t just engineering that the Romans aced, innovation and invention favoured them as well. For instance, the Roman invention of concrete, in the 3rd century BCE encouraged architects to be bolder in their design. It didn’t just change the way buildings were designed then, but also helped expedite Rome’s role in inspiring engineering and architecture for centuries to come.

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The Romans built many commendable structures but the ‘Forum’ or more famously known as ‘Forum Romanum’ has the most significance for me and anyone trying to learn more about and bring dynamic innovation in workspace designs. The Forum was the centre of everything in Rome, probably the first ever co-working space the world has seen. It was a place for social gatherings, religious ceremonies, but more than anything it became the centre of trade in Rome. This open-space architecture that amalgamated the social, political and business needs of the people in ancient Rome is only ancient by its time of creation. The relevance of it is still evident as most offices that we see today follow the open-floor designs combining the practical needs of a business with the social needs of its team.

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When I think about the interiors of the Roman workspaces, the ‘Basilica’ immediately comes to mind. The large public building was utilised for all business and legal matters. A public basilica formed a part of settlements that were categorised as a city. There was a huge similarity between this and the medieval covered market houses of northern Europe; where the meeting rooms were set above the arcades to derive optimal utilisation of the urban space. Basilicas varied in forms but usually contained space-dividing interior colonnades providing aisles and arcaded spaces on both sides and an arch at one end. The surrounding sides were lower as compared to the wide aisle in the centre which allowed light to enter through the clerestory windows. The space optimisation techniques used in that era hold prominence even in today’s time with new startups and businesses growing faster than ever. The best contemporary example of this would be the growing co-working spaces that are expected to receive up to $400 million in investment and set to reach over 1 million sq. ft. of leased ‘alternative’ workspaces in India, by the end of 2018.
Source: en.wikipedia.org
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While we may have just started adapting our work cultures to open and co-working spaces, there’s still a lot to explore, try and implement in this area. It will take time as all great things do but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

 

An Outlier’s Route To Success

For a few years now, reading has become more than a hobby. Every time I find myself looking for inspiration, I turn to books and they never disappoint. One such book is Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, which over time, has become my annual read and manages to leave my belief in human potential strengthened every single time.

In this book, Gladwell emphasises on the factors that create success stories. According to Gladwell, one must never ask what successful people are like but where they’re from. He focuses on elements that are at the heart of transformations that turn ordinary individuals into ‘outliers.’ His theory highlights how the time, the place and the environment someone is born in impacts the individual’s chances of attaining success. He elaborates his claims with examples that include the journey of ‘Outliers’ such as Bill Gates, Bill Joy, The Beatles, and even top hockey stars. Gladwell’s research reveals that in the seventh grade, Bill Gates attended a private school where he was given almost unlimited access to programming on the newest type of computer available. By eighth grade, Bill Gates was spending his entire week learning to program on a system that was very costly, and at a time when computers were a rarity even on college campuses. According to Gladwell, if Gates wasn’t given access to this computer, he would still be smart but probably not one of the richest men in the world.

The other important aspect of this book is the 10,000-hour rule, now, this is what brings the book together. While the external factors play an imminent role in providing the right opportunities to the individual it is up to them to realise the potential and put in the hard work that could turn it into success. Gladwell advocates that it takes 10,000 hours of practice for anyone to master a skill & what these hours comprise of, determines the chances of success for them. For instance, between 1960-1964, The Beatles, one of the most famous bands in history, performed a total of 1200 shows which in total amounted to more than 10,000 hours. The Beatles had immense talent and ensuring they perfected their skills by putting in the maximum effort is what brought them success.

Quoting Gladwell, “Those three things — autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward — are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between nine and five. It’s whether our work fulfils us”. He further says, “I offered you a choice between being an architect for $75,000 a year and working in a tollbooth every day for the rest of your life for $100,000 a year, which would you take? I’m guessing the former, because there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that’s worth more to most of us than money.” The example stood out for me because of the point it brings forth and also because I can personally attest to how fulfilling my professional life as an architect is.

Being someone who believes hard work can take you a long way, I concur with Gladwell and believe that success is not an esoteric domain. Anyone can turn an opportunity into success given they recognize it at the right time and keep working towards achieving their goal. 15 years ago, when I started JTCPL Designs, I envisioned turning it into one of the top workspace design companies across the globe. Fast forward to today and we’re designing workspaces for some of the world’s biggest names & business houses across continents. This has only been possible because of the hard work and efforts of my team at JTCPL Designs and also because we were able to seize most opportunities that came our way.

Gladwell largely speaks of the effect someone’s time and place of birth can have on their chances of success. While those factors had valid applications back then, they certainly do not anymore. The lack of opportunities and the limitations on having access to them is going down rapidly every single day. There hasn’t been a better time to be one’s maximum self because unlike the yesteryears, this is the era of abundance. I believe, in this day and age, success is not exclusive to a select few and anyone who seeks it has the means to achieve it one way or another. And they can do so by bringing into practice my 5Ds of success: Dream, Dare, Discipline, Determine and Deliver (you can read more about it here).

‘Outliers’ has the power to change the way you perceive success as a destination, a result & show you the journey it truly is. I strongly recommend you give it a read.

 

Launching 2018 with 5 Multiplier Strategies

2018 has begun on a positive note for JTCPL Designs and a lot of it has to do with the change that we implemented into the business over the last few years. Technology, innovation and a deeper understanding of the human mind are seeing advancements every day & we at JTCPL Designs can’t help but be inspired. So as we look forward to 2018, here are a few things that you can expect to see become a part of our legacy of workspace designs.

  1. Art & Graphics
    Delivering a successful project to one of the foremost global creative agencies early on gave us the added advantage of learning and adapting to the needs of the creative minds. A number of researchers around the globe have also proven its positive impact on productivity and overall health of the team. That’s why, while the workspace designs we create are highly functional we are consciously driven towards making art & graphics a mandatory inclusion in our workspace designs.
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  1. Greenscape
    Besides adding to the aesthetics of the office, planters can help reduce stress & increase creativity. They also help reduce health problems by providing cleaner air which in turn enables higher productivity. Dr. Chris Knight and his team have been studying the issue for 10 years, & have concluded that team members were 15% more productive when “lean” workplaces are filled with just a few houseplants, as team members who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers. We highly recommend this to all our clients as it is cost-effective and the positive outcome at team level benefits the overall business too.

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  1.  Acoustics
    In a workspace, communication is the key and that is why paying special attention to the acoustics in a work environment is a must. Julian Treasure, one of the most sought-after speakers, studies sound and advises businesses on how to best use it. I happened to witness one of his talks in which he mentioned how noise can affect co-workers in the workspace by making them less helpful, less collaborative and reducing their productivity. Sadly, a majority of the Indian market doesn’t pay any heed to the importance of incorporating acoustics in design as yet. JTCPL Designs hopes to change this scenario one project at a time.

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  1.  Engagement
    One of the major problems offices with huge structures face is the engagement within one team and multiple teams altogether. Intelligent workspace designs help enhance the benefits and cut down on the drawbacks of such offices. With our projects extending over 3 continents, the work culture and nature of different MNCs everywhere have motivated us into acquiring a deeper understanding and inculcating the practical application of modern technology in design. Different areas such as the meeting rooms, open workspace areas, and lounge areas all have stark differences in their functions and effects on the work culture. Hence, striking the right balance between them with regards to design and technology is what we aspire to achieve in our future projects.

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  1.  Leadership
    While physical modifications to workspaces can bring out a drastic difference in various aspects of the business, nothing affects it more than effective leadership. Leadership helps define and lay the groundwork for the work culture of any office. Interacting with leadership from the client’s end and incorporating their vision with ours has always borne fruitful results which is why we aim to continue this practice for all our future projects.

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 Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”, we agree and we’re just getting started.

An ode to the Indian Masters

India as a country possesses a rich heritage of ancient and modern art and architecture. For decades both of these have been admired by experts and art lovers equally across the globe. Art and architecture aren’t too different, in fact I’ve always found one to inspire the other. So before the year ends, I thought of sharing with you my favourite Indian masters, the ones who inspire and leave me in awe with their magic on canvas.

  1. Vasudeo S. Gaitonde
    The Padma Shri award winning artist was regarded as one of India’s foremost abstract painters. Gaitonde was often known to give away his paintings as gifts for free, paintings that are now valued in millions. Humility combined with sincerity and genuine passion for art make him one of my all time favourite Indian masters.
    vasudeo_gaitonde-1                                                                  Source: www.rediff.com

    vasudeo_gaitonde-2                                                   Source: www.contemporaryindianart.com
  2. Jehangir Sabavala
    He was known as a talented artist and a charming gentleman. Having grown in a highly intellectual environment of Parsi aristocracy, he turned out to be one of the best trained and  accomplished painters of his generation. He was known to practise modernist style with a deep & classical influence. Sabavala’s attention to detail is what makes his work stand out.

    jehangir-sabavala-the-casuarina-line-i                                                                  Source: http://www.artnet.com

    Jehangir-Sabavala-Dark-Silhouettes-The-Moon-2003-Oil-on-Canvas                                                                  Source: blog.artsome.com

  3. Manjit Bawa
    Majit took inspiration from people, nature and life around him. He was known for his vibrant paintings as well as his love of spirituality, and particularly of Sufi philosophy. Most of his paintings reflect the universal themes of hope, compassion, love and peace. Manjit Bawa’s work mirrored the honesty in his pursuit and that struck with me the most.manjit bawa 1                                                                 Source: www.artsy.com
  4. S.H. Raza
    Raza was one of India’s most prominent artists and his work deserved all the attention it received. His paintings evolved from fluent watercolors of landscapes and townscapes to a more expressive language, painting landscapes of the mind. His work is a treat to the eyes and mind, inspiring with every brush stroke. I recently visited the newly launched Louvre in Abu Dhabi and as an Indian, as someone who appreciates art, I felt extremely proud to find S.H. Raza’s ‘Bindu’ being featured amongst Picasso, Monet, Mondrian, Gauguin, Kandinsky and Matisse.
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  1. Artisera_Fine-Art_Limited-edition-prints_SH-Raza_Punaraagman_1_large                                                               Source: shopify.com
  2. 5. Jogen Chowdhary
    Jogen Chowdhary has been considered as an eminent and influential painter of the 21st century. He not only has incomparable paintings credited to his name, but also has written extensively about contemporary art. Chowdhary has also made immense contribution towards inspiring young artists.

jogen 1                                                                     Source: www.artsy.com

All of the above mentioned masters are my favourite artists and the one common virtue they share is honesty. Honesty towards the pursuit of their artform without succumbing to the distractions that fame often brings. Their work often transcends into my approach towards the projects that we work on at JTCPL Designs and they’ve only helped derive better results.

Have you come across artists who have inspired you in anyway? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

The world belongs to those who read

Rick Holland’s profound words stand true now more than ever. The times are only moving forward and faster & having the wealth of knowledge helps one remain in step with the world. It is safe to say that the practical application of the knowledge I’ve acquired with experience and through books has enabled me to stay a step ahead and achieve greater milestones.
As the year comes to an end, I encourage everyone to use their time the best possible way. On that note, here are 5 books from my current library that remain at the top of my favourite reads of all time:

Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler
We at JTCPL Designs practice optimism on every level and this book helped back my belief with facts and reasoning. The quote, “Abundance is not about providing everyone on this planet with a life of luxury – rather it’s about providing all with a life of possibility” covers the essence of the book very well. It is the chance of growth that inspires a person to crossover the thresholds of their limits. The takeaway – ‘The future is better than you think’ is enough to reinforce optimism into whoever looks forward to bringing a change into their lives in the coming year.

Bold by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
This writer duo has managed to create a gem of a book in the form of ‘Bold’. The entire premise that revolves around ‘How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World’ is as positive as a read gets, with an interesting entrepreneurial spin to it. Honestly, this book has inspired me in ways I hadn’t expected it to and I highly recommend it to all entrepreneurs and young students or anyone looking to bring some drastic, bold transformations in your life.

Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Fountainhead is without a doubt one of the best books I have ever read. The entire plot is based on individualism versus collectivism & Ayn Rand manages to portray it so beautifully. The book makes you realize that a man can achieve any level of greatness that he sets his will to and the lead character, Howard Roark left me challenging my view on various aspects of my life at that point. A must read for all! One learning from the book that has stayed with me after all these years is that “Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.”

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
Intelligent Investor is every investor’s bible & as time passes, his principles become more and more relevant. Benjamin Graham highlights the importance of patience, discipline and an eagerness to learn while making investment decisions, principles that apply to every person striving towards exponentially growing his business. He also says, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare” and anyone who has ever overcome an arduous challenge knows how true these words are.

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
This book essentially talks about taking 100% responsibility for everything that one experiences in life and moving forward from there. Canfield fundamentals include, “You Need Goals that Stretch You”, and it’s the one that I connect with the most. The book also touches upon how everything one thinks and does need to be aligned with the highest purpose to achieve goals that one sets. The Success Principles have a universal appeal & if there’s one book that you shouldn’t be leaving out of your reading list, it’s this.

These books have laid the foundation of many integral principles that I strongly believe in and practise on both fronts, personal and professional. I hope you will give them a chance to change your lives just as they did mine and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Success Equals Constant Progress For The Marathon Called Entrepreneurship

Humans have the potential to be anything they want, becoming stagnant should never be an option. Thankfully my third consecutive Airtel Delhi Half Marathon was definitely not that. I had pushed myself to go beyond my limits and the result was empowering to say the least. The experience was as exhilarating as the ones I’ve had in the past and the run itself was challenging but very gratifying. After you’ve climbed up the ladder for long distance running to a reasonable ability, extracting even a smidgen of improvement in your performance becomes exponentially tougher. Which is why I was thrilled when I cut down two and a half minutes from my previous time. I clocked 1h 44m 01s, my best performance till date. God is Kind!

For me, every triumph is followed by gratitude for all that led me towards achieving what I set out to. In this case, I felt thankful for having a support system that enabled me to put in my time and energy into the marathon. Incidentally Bisleri was one of the sponsors for the marathon & having recently bagged the interior design and build assignment for Bisleri Towers just added on to the gratitude. For the longest time, I have used the Bisleri 250ml bottle for my practice runs. I couldn’t help but smile & feel grateful looking at that little bottle of Bisleri in my hand as it kept me going throughout the race.

Marathons can sometimes turn into networking events for some. But it was amazing to see a lot of people show up, all set to push their boundaries. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I believe there’s no limit on human potential & progress comes naturally when people truly believe in reaching beyond. It is for such individuals who understand the importance of growth that Dan Sullivan’s ideology of seeking progress over perfection comes in play. What this ideology indicates is that perfection is like a horizon, it’s a mental construct that can never be physically reached. Progress on the other hand lets you set the parameters to measure your growth and advancement.

This stands true for my experience with marathons & has also helped me through my journey with JTCPL Designs. Even as a startup, we didn’t just work towards making profits but aimed at progress in our processes, the quality of work and in expanding our capabilities as a team of individuals. I remember an interview where Messi was quoted saying, “It took me 17 years and 114 days to be an overnight success” and I couldn’t agree more. Success shouldn’t be something you dream of, but something you work hard towards.