Monthly Archives: April 2016

Yayyy…Skillzot won her 1st prize!

Always a happy reason to wake up and rise, share a fantastic prize #MondayMorningWakeUpCall #Skillzot

Skillzot Pitch2Start Certificate


So Skillzot won the 3rd prize for best pitch/idea at a startup conference organized by India Entrepreneurs Club at their Pitch2Start Contest.

Hopefully the first of many more to come, although if one goes by Theodore Roosevelt’s philosophy that “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing” then I personally don’t need no prizes.

A big shout out and thank you is due to the tiny Skillzot team – Rakesh Samal, Mansi Vaviya, Marisha Sharma, Kalaimathy Pillai and Hari for ‘making it happen’, time and again. And a super big shout out and thank you to my partner in crime, Rommel Dongre, for so many reasons that I don’t even know where to begin, so I’d rather end this post here lest it gets too long J

Looking forward to helping more and more people learn what they love, tap into their infinite potential, one tap at a time.

Are we humans or are we crocs?

There’s a croc in your head that’s making you brain dead #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

Crocodile Brain

The croc does not rock!

People tend to:

  • Chase what moves away from them
  • Want what they can’t have
  • Place value only on things that are difficult to obtain

It’s because these instincts are governed by the oldest part of your brain called the ‘Reptilian Brain’ or ‘Crocodile Brain’. Croc brain for short. This part of the brain also drives all survival instincts including fight, flight, flee and mate that were critical for your tree dwelling ancestors.

Over subsequent millions of years the brain further developed 2 additional parts. First the ‘Limbic Brain’ evolved from the reptilian brain out of the need for humans to work together in groups, that we now call communities. This regulates and manages emotions like fear, love, empathy, respect, guilt, shame, jealousy etc.

And finally the ‘Neocortex’ (Neo = New), which is the largest and the most evolved part of the brain, developed. It makes up nearly 85% of the brain. It manages all complex reasoning and skill development. When you solve a crossword or learn a new language, you are using your Neocortex. It is able to think about complex issues and produce answers using reasoning.

Now that you know you have 2 more powerful brain systems working for you, as essential as the ‘croc brain’ is, why be governed by it?

Why be a croc when you’ve been blessed to be born as a human?

More later, alligator!

Ode to my muse, my fuse, my Ps and Qs

You are my bane*, my excruciating pain,
My one deep love that keeps me sane.
You are my calm, my pungent powerful balm,
My smile that sees me through all harm.

You are my tears, my real and fictional fears,
My strength to carry on amidst the imaginary jeers.
You are my sorrow, my hope for a hallowed halo,
My reason to look forward to a futureless tomorrow.

You are my plight, my bright white light,
My zany Dog Star to guide me through the darkest night.
You are my yucky smelly potty, my sexy naughty hotty,
My one true mad lovely, the one I want to live with till a hundred and forty.

You are the one I don’t want to lose you see,
Even though you are not mine and may never be.

* Yes, I am Batman

3 steps to making learning super easy

Use Fogg to beat the fog that stands in your way #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

B.J. Fogg, a psychologist who’s studied human behaviour for the last 20 years, mostly at Stanford University, has created a new model of human behaviour change. His lab has been investigating how technology (mobile and computers) can motivate and persuade people. The study is also the genesis of the Fogg Behavioural Model that he has developed which states that 3 things need to come together at the same time for a behaviour to occur:

  1. Motivation
  2. Ability
  3. Trigger

Here’s a more elaborate thesis of the model – and a summary –

I believe this is also a really good surrogate for learning a new skill because to learn anything new also usually requires you to undergo a behaviour change to make the necessary adjustments in your life and mind to study, absorb and acquire it.

Here goes my interpretation and adaptation of how you can use Fogg to clear any fog that stands in the way of you becoming a ‘zot’ (master) at anything you want to learn –

  1. Motivation: You can be motivated to learn a new skill by –
    1. Pleasure (Enjoyment)/Pain (By force)
    2. Hope (Reward/Betterment)/Fear (Failure)
    3. Social Acceptance (Recognition)/Rejection (Being left behind)
    4. Curiosity
  2. Ability: Make the skill easy to do/learn by breaking it into small steps or components. This is what Foggs calls ‘Tiny Skills’. Example, if you want to learn the piano or a new language then start with practicing for only 10 minutes a day 5 days a week instead of one hour once a week or worse, trying to chalk out half hour every day.

You are more likely to meet a more achievable practice goal that doesn’t turn your old routine upside down. In due course, once you get hooked to your new routine, start enjoying the skill, you’ll increase the time you spend on this activity on your own accord.

Note: Motivation and Ability can trade off. If you’re very highly motivated to learn something new, then even if your natural ability for the skill is low, you will still make good progress.

  1. Trigger:
    1. Reminder: To perform the activity
    2. Facilitator: A good facilitator/teacher. The facilitator/teacher can be instrumental in helping –
      1. Those low on motivation (to inspire) and
      2. Those low on ability (to break down the complex skills into ‘Tiny’ easily learnable components)

The probability of you learning (or teaching) a new skill will significantly go up when you add all the 3 components together at the same time.

Ready to do the MAT(h)?

Survival of the fittest is a myth

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin #MondayMorningWakeUpCall

Responsive to change

  • IBM – From selling calculators, massive mainframes and personal computers to now selling software, consulting services, IT services
  • Apple – From selling personal computers to making your phone your personal computer
  • Google – Is relentlessly adapting its search algorithm to make it so personal that it probably (and eerily) knows more about you than you do

The examples are many more, but I guess you get the idea.

Most of the truly great companies of the last 100 years (and of the recent 20 years of the internet era) – from IBM to Apple, from Proctor & Gamble to Unilever, from Google to Facebook, trace their roots (and greatness) back to multiple generations and behaviours of change, be it from personal computers to mobile, from television to youtube or from internet to internet of things. They’ve adapted before and emerged great. The best ones will adapt again.

Hint: This also applies to your personal lives.