There are some essential leadership traits hidden even in what are considered sinful ventures
There’s a story about Gandhi that I have heard many different versions of: Once, Gandhi received an abusive letter from someone. He read it, removed the paper clip from the letter, put it aside and then tore up the letter.
Someone who was watching it asked Gandhi: Why did you read the entire letter? You knew that the person was very abusive. Gandhi replied, “I was looking for something worth saving from that letter. All I could find was the paper clip.”
This set me thinking: What would be the most unusual places for one to look for lessons in leadership. Here’s what I found:
Inculcate the innovation capability of a lazy person: Be innovative; try to find smart ways to get the same outcome with lesser effort. It’ll also give you more time in life to do other things. My MBA roommate and I were quite a lazy bunch. We owe our excel skills to this very laziness. When we received assignments in MBA, we would first do some research, discover and learn excel formulas, keyboard shortcuts, even macros to avoid doing a lot of manual work.
Nurture the discerning eye of a thief: Out of hundreds of passengers in buses or trains, a thief can make out which passengers are carrying valuables. Try developing that discerning eye to find patterns, behaviors or actions that indicate valuable ideas. Unravel them to realize the potential that others can’t see or appreciate. Recognize people, recognize their ideas and unlike a thief, give them due credit.
Develop the ability to make decisions in ambiguous situations of a poker player: Poker is an interesting game. While you can see only two cards at the beginning, five other common cards unfurl at different stages. It is a fantastic place to learn decision-making in an uncertain environment with limited knowledge. It teaches you about risk, modifying your game plan and teaches you to not get bogged down by one loss or be euphoric over one win.
Build the knack of meticulous planning and improvise like a con man: I love seeing a lot of con man films. In movies like “An Italian Job” or “Oceans Eleven”, the first part typically focuses on them preparing hard. The latter half always tends to show that no matter how much you prepare you’ll discover new challenges and you’ll need to improvise. I’m sure as you’re reading this, instances from your own life would’ve started to play in your mind. That is because this is inherently true for all of us in any line of work. Success tends to be a factor of preparation, improvisation and luck; but the only things we can control are the first two!
Cultivate the un-inhibition of an inebriated person: Being in an inebriated state has interesting effects on people. It helps you lose your inhibitions. In an organization, you have to learn to connect with other teams and seek their support. You have to speak up, offer support and even defend your ideas or challenge others. All of this requires shedding quite a few social inhibitions you may have.
Develop the ability of a day dreamer to audaciously imagine a bright future: As a kid, I used to watch a serial on TV called “Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne”. The serial was about an average joe who used to day dream of a better life. I was quite fascinated by it and was inspired to dream big. The ability to think big, which violates the boundaries and constraints of your existence, is the first step to starting the revolution of achieving a better life. Being audacious first in thoughts and then in actions is definitely the only way to reach the stars.