I have a problem, I’m intrinsically drawn to certain posts on LinkedIn. You all know the ones…. “6 things every Entrepreneur should do”; “5 Habits of great leaders”: “20 things you should never do or say” so when I came across this book I was hooked instantly. Harshajyoti Das advocates that ‘everyone is born to be a genius’ and this resonates with me greatly. In know that I am surrounded by untapped genius in some of my closest friends and family, I believe this so fervently that I even I have this famous Einstein quote on my office wall.
“Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will go through it life believing that it is stupid”.
The fact that the author is self-published and that he is living and breathing this intrigued me even more. This is the aspect that I feel articles like this always miss – who is actually doing this? Does it really work?
- You can’t make everyone happy
The author suggests that as a social animal we spend too much of our time here on earth trying to fit in and conform to social norms. He says that we should stop living our lives to try to please others. A good example he gives is that of a young person whose parents so desperately want him to be a doctor that he goes to medical school and tries to live out his parents’ plan for him. The outcome is that as he doesn’t really want to be a doctor he doesn’t put 100% into his career and ends up trying to find a compromise later down the line. So after all this energy and effort neither he nor his parents are happy. Harshajjyoti suggests that the son should have chosen and followed his own career path from day 1, then he would have been happier and more successful. This is something that we all know deep down that if we are focused on our own goals and not merely following someone else’s path we do better. I concur Mr Das!
- Most people will hate you and that’s OK
Here the author examines how most people’s rise to success is usually dogged by the jealousy of others and he states that the most successful people have a limited social circle of trusted friends for this very reason. There are of course many who will admire and wish to emulate your success but the loudest voices will come from the haters. Das says, live with it, this is a fact of life and “don’t let the b*** get you down!”
- Don’t be selfish in front of God
At first glance this title appeared a little out of context from reading Das’ book so far. He means that successful people didn’t ask God, beg from the universe or get to where they are by just demanding what they wanted from a higher power. He suggests that such power, if you believe it exists, should be used to ask for help for others. Pray to God or ask the universe for world peace, to help your elderly neighbour to stay healthy this winter, where we are powerless to help. Das states that we as masters of our own destiny must generate achievement ourselves, our faith may support us, give us emotional strength in tough times but the responsibility lies with us and conversely failure also cannot be laid at the door of a higher power.
- Silence is your most powerful weapon
Conflict is a tough one isn’t it? We all know we should remain calm and emotionally detach ourselves during a difficult conversation, but in reality this is hard. Das suggests that remaining silent when someone is angry and speaking to you in an aggressive manner is the only way to diffuse the situation. He understands that it is human nature to try to defend ourselves and this in turn prolongs the pain for all parties. Das says that silence is very powerful, it can help us to make a point. When surrounded by gossiping (a real gripe for Das) he says silence is vital. He also reports that silence is key when working to generate your greatest ideas and also when meditating (Das also suggests that we should all meditate daily).
- Tell people what they want to hear. Do what you want to do.
Now if I’m honest I wish this chapter had been omitted from the book. Here Das falls flat on his face and appears to me as the self-centred fool I was hoping that he wouldn’t turn out to be. In this rule he gives an example to illustrate this idea. He was invited to his friend’s wedding, on the same day he had the opportunity to go to a meeting for his IT business that could net him a large deal. Instead of telling his friend the truth about the deal, or trying to compromise by attending the wedding in the evening to support his friend he said he would try to attend (tell people what they want to hear) but all the time he knew that he would not (do what you want to do). Where is the compromise, where is the building of trust, where is the honesty? Poor show Das!
- Lie, only if it helps someone else
This is a great one! Das examines how, and we all know this, that lies compound and snowball until a really large lie catches us out and we are not even sure what the truth is anymore. Das says that successful people should only ever lie to save someone else and he really means save! Lying is just fear if telling the truth after all and to become your inner genius you should not be afraid.
- Have a cup of green tea with Richard Branson
This resonates with many of you I imagine. Can we catch the entrepreneurial spirit form reading Richard Branson’s autobiography? Will watching the apprentice make us more likely to build a successful Alan Sugar-esque empire? We would be fools if we thought that this would happen however Das recommends reading successful business people’s autobiographies as we can collect ideas, patterns of working. In my opinion reading books like this inspires us to take the step, these books often show the rags to riches aspect of these people’s lives which we can relate to and fuels our desire to make our own mark.
- Make new plans everyday
Let’s make goals, plans, come up with ideas. I believe that Das really does this. He writes a list of things he would like o make and achieve. Some of them can be ridiculous; a toaster that toasts your initials into the bread, making a perfumes room spray. The idea is that you come up with 10 new ideas every day and keep your mind active. Das admits that neither you nor he will accomplish all of these goals however your brain will be kept active and you will be looking around you for how to improve your world, which will grow your creative mind. I for one love a goal, some I set are short-term wins and some require a longer journey but goals are important in life.
- You are the chosen one
Yes, you are! So am I! None of the genius steps will work if you don’t believe in yourself in the first instance. Das tells his own story of rags to riches and how anything is possible if you have the drive and determination to succeed.
- Let people underestimate you
Every bone in my body shudders at this statement. Das says that the more you show your abilities, the more that people will expect from you and the more you will be troubled by them. He gives examples of football fans expecting their team to win all home games and readers who expect their favourite authors to write books that always outsell their previous titles. The major hole here for me is that this is not sustainable, how can we be expected to remove other’s perceptions of our successes and failures. The true message here I believe should be to judge yourself by your own criteria and, to borrow a previous train of thought (numbers 1 and 4) ‘you can’t make everyone happy’ and ‘silence is a powerful weapon’.
In conclusion, this is a great read. The author is flawed, human and not a management consultant trotting out the exact same ideas that he peddles on his ‘success roadshow’. His writing style is easy to read and his story is great. This is his personal journey and it works for him. I would be really interested to read the other titles he has published and look forward to implementing some of these ideas into my life.
Das’ book can be purchased here: Be the genius you were born to be – 10 secrets that will transform you into a superhuman
All published articles are my own personal thoughts and I welcome any comments, suggestions and your opinions. Thank you for reading. Natalie