In a king’s court, there was an argument that people get what they seek. If they seek luck, they get lucky. If they seek food they get fed. The king had to break this argument so he orders an experiment. Get one person who believes in luck and get one person who believes in hard work. Let us lock them up in a dark room with food and see what happens.

Two of the identified people one believer in luck called lucky man and one believer in hard work called worker both are locked up in a room where some food and water is kept at a slightly hard to reach place. People outside can observe the conversations. Over a few hours, both the prisoners got hungry. They started to debate about their way of something good happening to them. The worker did not spend time arguing much. He began to explore the room and tried to reach out for if anything was placed for them. The lucky man told him that his efforts are waste, this is an experiment and they will sure be released and fed something.

The worker found a box full of peanuts, he was very elated and started eating. Instead of sharing the food, he mocked at the lucky man. He did not stop there, in the box of peanuts he also found some stones he threw them at the lucky man saying you can eat these if you feel lucky. The lucky man laughed and kept the stones thrown at him anyways. Few hours later the room was opened and the content worker came out along with the tired looking lucky man.

The courtiers who batted for hard work were very happy, just then the king asked the lucky man about how did he feel. The lucky man reached into his pockets saying he got some stones by doing nothing. When the courtiers saw the stone they gasped, because they were gemstones not mere stones. So the king declared ‘people get what they seek’.

This story was confusing for me because I immediately drew parallels with laziness but the crux of this is ‘What you seek is what you see or get’. This is so true in both our personal and professional lives that we will be able to pile on instance after instance, evidence after evidence to prove our point of view about something or someone.

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When we grow up from our being an adolescent to an adult the things that we were subject to has to become more objective. Example a teen is subject to peer pressure but a grown up can distance from it and see it as an object. Similarly irrespective of our age or development we are subjected to winning be it playing a game, having an argument or even doing something small. This primes us to seek what will make us win, while this is useful while playing games it is not useful when there are disagreements and needs a dialog to sort out.

We need to be deliberate in our actions sometimes, which can be achieved through reflections. This will make us realise the subject/object relationships of us and make adjustments towards more objectiveness. If we seek snacks of victories, we get it; if we seek gems of wisdom, we get it.

One of the professions that requires the most agility is an author who writes a series. Unlike novels and movies which are published in one go, series are done in a constant interval over a period of time and you can learn from the audience pulse. One such writer is Kalki Krishnamurthy, who started writing historical fiction called Ponniyin Selvan in the 1950s. The story is about the younger days of Raja Raja Chola, one of the greatest emperors of his time and his path to the throne.

As the story is about a great emperor, the author decides to give him an entrance after the other characters are introduced in the plot. For the sake of weaving the plot he introduces another small time prince Vanthiyathevan who has only one line written about him in the entire chola history. His idea was to make the character disappear once the all the main characters and the protagonist are introduced. Kalki’s writing is magic, when I read the 1st part of the 5 part novel I had a compelling urge to go and visit the places mentioned in the book. Such was his vivid description that you can sense a movie running in your mind.

His magical gift in writing worked against him, people fell in love with Vanthiyathevan’s character and it had a big fan following. A lot of people related themselves to the commoner looking Vanthiyathevan than the emperor. At one point as per his plans the author takes him out of the story and starts concentrating on the main plot. People were not happy and the author received a lot of letters from his readers asking to reinstate the role. Reluctantly he reinstates the role and to his surprise people consider and celebrate him as the hero of the novel than the intended person who was an emperor.

The novel reached a great status in modern literature and is considered as one of the most important literary works. Many people read it, admired it and passed on the interest to future generations and the legacy carried on. Had the author not listened to the audience and went about his way of writing, it may have ended up being a mere documentary fiction.

Isn’t this true for any business, continuously checking what the market wants and keep altering their course even if it is against what a business owner or product owner has envisioned? How many leaders will have the will in themselves to kill their protagonist and go for the one whom the market likes? I feel the leaders want to do it, but it is the ineffective feedback mechanism from both inside and outside is what makes them stick to the plans. Listen and act, have an easy learning horizon, see lucky accidents happening.

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There is a general consensus that as soon as an idea comes to your mind you should start working on it my making more concrete steps and often used sentence is “Putting idea to paper”. Though it leads to making an action, many times people take an illformed idea to paper. Our mind is awesome when it comes to dimensions, any idea we have it is so easy to visualize and develop. Sometimes we have to let the thoughts ruminate and let the idea evolve before finally putting it onto paper.

Why should it be that way? Because we are not so good at expressing what is in our head either in words or picture. Also there is a risk of getting stuck on what we put to paper because of the sunk cost fallacy. Every new idea that comes up will be very very abstract, if we try to channelize energy in capturing it then it won’t be something that is easily actionable. Very few people will be able to represent on paper what they had in mind, like artists but they rely on their ability to iterate on paper or discard their work if not going in the right direction as they thought about it.

When ideas come out in our mind, it makes sense to capture what the idea is but not the details just in case those ideas come as shower thoughts and can quickly melt away. Once the idea gets planted in our mind, it has to take shape. This is where we jump the gun and try to put it to paper and many times let it slip away.

I have observed ideas to be shaping up in my mind like a bell curve. It usually gets more evolved when I run thought experiments but after a while if I don’t put it to paper it disappears, so I had to put it to concrete plans at the right time else it is of no use. People may argue that this is procrastination and it is encouraging people to postpone their work.

We are very poor in putting a well known idea to paper. Read about this experiment where people were asked to draw a bicycle from memory. It looks like most people who have ridden a bicycle all their life will not be able to draw one even to some degree of making a working prototype out of it.

Any idea is worth putting into iterations inside our great brain which can evolve it in multiple dimensions before it can be put to paper. All we need to know is the right time to put idea to action else it will not take off because of analysis paralysis.