Friday, February 26, 2010 2 comments

Why can't you just Shut Up?

Well, this is one issue which I had wanted to write about for long, and its something which has always interested me- GDs.

What is a Group Discussion?? Okay, okay, don’t close the page, this is NOT a post which gives you a general discussion about GDs. You can get that in any magazine, which claims to be the Number 1 magazine in India. What this post will refer to, is how a GD can get screwed, courtesy- the Over-enthusiastic participants.

What happens when a GD gets too chaotic? Where everyone chirps in at once, each trying to outdo the other? Simple, we get a total mess, and the whole team or group gets negative points. In the worst case, the entire group may get eliminated and not a single person may get chosen(for the job/Bschool/etc).

Surely, that’s not what your objective is, right? After all, if you are an MBA aspirant, you would certainly want to give your best shot in a GD. So why does it happen that things go haywire? There are many reasons. Namely tension/nervousness, fear of getting trodden over by others(left behind), ego problem, over-excitement, etc.

Let us look at them one by one. Am leaving out the first point, since it’s quite obvious. Now, a situation might arise where you feel that you are not getting a chance to speak. So what do you do? Two choices, either you keep quiet, or you try to butt in. If you choose the later, again you get two choices, you can do so politely, or you can do so loudly and rudely. More often than not, one opts for the later. He may even tell the other person to shut up so that he can speak, or he can vehemently criticize and interrupt someone while he/she is in the middle of his talk. This is seen as a very negative trait and it should be avoided. Its better not to speak at all, rather than openly criticize and ridicule someone else. Starting an argument with someone midway, for the purpose of undermining him/her is just another distraction.

Of course, that does not mean, that you keep your mouth glued shut. In an ideal GD, you will get your turn to speak for an allotted time. However, in most GDs, it is seen that people start speaking at random, rarely giving the other person a chance to speak. Worse, many people keep speaking at the same time, so the GD becomes synonymous with a fish market type scenario. If somebody is speaking, it’s better to let him/her finish before you start. And if you feel he/she is speaking for too long, you can try interrupting politely with a ‘Excuse me, but since we are running out of time, we should give everyone a chance to speak, before we conclude’, or a similar remark.

Always remember, that you need to highlight your leadership qualities while speaking in a GD. And by leadership qualities, I do not mean that You should keep speaking all the time, and give others no chance to speak. This will only show that you are unfit to work in a team, since you prefer to do everything by yourself. If there is someone who has not yet spoken, or is feeling shy/uncomfortable, encourage him/her to come forward and speak.

And NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, ALWAYS KEEP CONTROL OVER YOUR EMOTIONS. Else you are a Goner, trust me! If you loose your temper, start using slangs, or abusing your team-mates, I needn’t complete the sentence. Do not take any firm stance, such as, ‘You are completely wrong and ignorant. I oppose you totally…’, etc.
Keep your ego in check. No matter what the other person says or does, you must maintain your cool. Even if you totally disagree with him/her. You can always disagree in a polite manner by saying, ‘Of course your point has some significance. However, if we see this from a different view…’

What we forget is that a Group needs to work together to achieve its goal, even though the participants are competing against each other. That is what the company/recruiter looks for. Think, rationalize, and speak when you get the chance. Or rather take the chance. Its always good to make a nice overall impression, even if you run short on points. Try to think differently and put forward a few unique or even abstract ideas- that will earn you bonus points.

I guess I will end here now. Will post more on GDs in future. Thanks for reading, folks.
Monday, February 22, 2010 3 comments

Let the Light Burn!

All right, I have had it. I just cant take it any more. Today's parents need some serious counseling. The following extract from yesterdays Telegraph newspaper will make it clear(note, I have shortened the original article):

'...The 21 year old engineering student hanged herself yesterday because she wasnt doing well in her studies. Pragati Singh wanted to study commerce but her widowed mother wanted her to be an engineer, police said. It was the 32nd suicide by a student in Uttar Pradesh since January 20........ Cities like Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur and Varanasi recorded the highest number of student suicides, the report said.
.... She wanted to study commerce and felt she was losing out on a career....'

Dozens of students are committing suicide each day. Throughout the country. And nobody is doing anything about it. Everyone is blaming the system for this, but at the end of the day, the suicides continue unabated.

In this post, I will only be posting the parental pressure aspect, even though there may be hundreds of reasons for a person to commit suicide. Parental pressure is a prominent reason. When a child fails to meet the expectations of his/her parents, he feels stigmatized and gets a strong inferiority complex, so much so that he loses interest in everything, including living. He/she considers that suicide is the only option open to him. Parents are to blame for a very large extent for failing to understand the psychology of the kid. All they want is an outstanding performance in studies, sports, extra-curriculars, forcing the kid to do something which he does not want to. The reason being: They can boast to other people that 'See, my son/daughter is so good, blah blah, has won so many medals, blah blah, achievements.' Whereas the poor child feels ostracized from the amiable social life he deserves.

The second clash occurs when a child is about to take up higher studies, or is about to make a career choice. The parent feels that its his/her natural duty to guide the child into taking the right path, and almost always ends up doing something catastrophic instead. Its not that the father or mother does not have the child's best interest in mind. Certainly they want their children to prosper. But what they do not understand that the child may want to do what he likes, instead of following his parents wishes.

For the parents, the top priority is given to job security, they want their children to settle down into a good job, and earn a decent salary. Which is why they force them to become engineers and doctors, with the age-old belief that engineers and doctors are better off than everybody else. True, we certainly need good quality engineers and doctors, but forcing someone to do engineering, or medicine, just for a degree or job, is an outrageous act. But unfortunately, even in today, the 21st century India, the mentality of most middle class people is that their children should not do anything besides engineering, medicine or management. Fortunately the upper class have realized the importance of following an all around approach, and are letting their children do whichever course they want to. Of course they have the financial resources so they can send their children abroad, where he/she has thousands of career options. India still lags behind heavily, especially in imparting quality education.

No wonder so many students end up committing suicide. They feel that they have been pressurized into doing something they never liked. They loose interest in their subjects, and ultimately in life. So what can be done to avoid this situation? First of all, career counseling must be made mandatory in all primary schools, as is done in the US. Parents should be involved in this process and should be ascertained that their child will be happy and prosperous by following the career which he loves. Parents should understand that one cannot automatically become secure, by doing engineering or medicine. If one follows his passion, he will definitely become successful, whether that passion being becoming a wildlife photographer, or a comic book writer. Every child is special- He/she has many talents within him/her. Those talents must be nurtured and allowed to expand. He/she should be guided into making the right career choice.

Of course, many students blindly opt for engineering, since they believe it will give them a job. Moreover, many of them have not heard of colleges besides the IITs and NITs(or AIIMS). Much remains to be done in this regard, to make more high quality Arts, Commerce, Law,etc colleges to come up.

If both the child and the parent understand each other, life will become much better. This bonhomie is required in the present day India. Always follow your passion folks, and let your children do the same. Its for their own benefit.

Keep reading, signing out.
Saturday, February 20, 2010 1 comments

What makes it Right- The Change we Need.

Okay, today I am officially 21, and I can legally marry now. :), jokes apart, let me continue with this post. Dont worry, it wont be too long.

I want to discuss about what makes me really happy, and what makes me frustrated. Lets start with the happy part. What makes me really happy? Its watching other people follow their passion, and do something which will not only benefit them but others as well. For example, I have personally seen many students who have got the realization as to what their real interest is, and what they want to do in life.

I have met two of my college juniors who are quite enthusiastic about their passion. One is Satnam Singh, who loves making electrical models, which are quite good, trust me. The guy is an expert when it comes to dealing with machines, electrical or otherwise. And he never gives up, till he completes a project. Plus he is always ready to do something good and big. And he loves interacting with both seniors and juniors. I am quite sure that he will do something great in life, since he has married his first love- electrical and electronics engineering. :)

The second is Avishek Adhikari, a total computer genius. From Web Development, to Image Manipulation, to Photoshop, to Java and C++ programming, and ethical hacking. What not. He loves experimenting with things, and he does so quite beautifully. Its hard to express that in words. He will probably do great in the I.T. line. Any company will fight to keep him. But he may even become a talented entrepreneur. Reason- He follows his passion with utmost dedication.

I salute both of them, and thousands of others who are following their passion. For these are the people who will be really successful. And not those who are blindly running after money and jobs.

To end with a popular quote- ' Follow your passion. Pursue Knowledge. And success will surely follow.'
Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5 comments

The Sadistic Individual Part 2

Ahem, I am finishing this post just for the sake of finishing, cause I dont have the necessary inspiration to post about sadism, AT PRESENT.

Where Was i? I even forgot the context, thanks to Eweek. Hmmm, after being National champions yet again, who cares to write about sadism.

But all said and done, a certain amount of sadism and masochism exists in every human being. Take ragging for example. Most people consider it as an innocuous act, designed to break the ice between seniors and juniors. Rather, it breaks everything(bones for eg) but the ice. If this is not sadism, then what is? We enjoy watching other people get humiliated. We take delight at other people's pain. But when we are at the receiving end, we expect others to show pity on us. This thought is pathetic. Beating or hurting someone else, gives us a kind of temporary pleasure, hard to define in words. It gives us a feeling of superiority, of power. That we have the power to inflict damage upon others. Never mind the fact that the 'other' is just a helpless victim unable to defend himself.

Then again comes the ego problem. 99% of all guys I have met suffer from it. They refuse to budge from their view-point under any circumstance. Even if they are wrong, they refuse to admit it. Pride to a certain extent is okay, but beyond that its only plain hubris. Ego and Sadism are linked as well. People with extremely high egos tend to be more sadistic. Plus the general thought is, 'If I have to go down, I will take him/her down with me.' Which is very stupid, according to me.

More often than not, a sadistic individual ends up hurting both another person and himself. Though at the time of committing the act, he does not realize it. Many a time, he ends up repenting when its too late. By the help of meditation and yoga, one can learn to control his emotions. The one thing to keep in mind is, 'Never act on immediate impulse.' Ie what we call as Josh. Its always better to be slow, calm and rational, rather than fast and fallacious. When the feeling of causing others harm rises, suppress it immediately. You can try thinking of the ramifications of committing that act.

For example, you have recently had a break up. But that girl is still on good terms with you. However, the sadistic individual rises inside you, and you want to send her a volley of slangs, parceled in a sms, or email. Before you realize it, you have clicked on the send button, and its too late to amend your nefarious act. Now she even stops talking with you, and ignores you. Making the situation even worse than before. Learn to gain self control.

Thats all for now. Looking forward to Aarohan 2010. :)
Wednesday, February 3, 2010 3 comments

The Sadistic Individual Part 1

Well, I have been thinking about this for quite some time now, the element of
sadism which i believe is ubiquitous. It is there in all of us, though few of us realize it.

Consider this: was there a time when you felt a surge of jealousy when your classmate scored higher than you? Am taking the most simple example. Did you not wish then, that you should have scored higher, that you deserve more since you are a better student. Such envy is usually innocuous. But it can take more complicated forms.

The desire for revenge is yet another sadistic situation. Say a guy has been rejected by a girl. Or better still, he is involved in a break up. But he can't forget his ex-girlfriend, nor can he forgive her for leaving him, even if the break up resulted due to his fault and not hers. What does he do? Just leave her alone in peace? Perhaps, but rarely done. What he does instead is to hunt her out, and try to make sure that she suffers as much as possible. He just wants to inflict as much pain as he can, for he cannot accept the fact that he has been rejected.

Few of us actually have the capability to forgive a person who has wronged us. An eye for eye will make the whole world blind. Thats why blindness is on the rise, I suppose. Keeping grudges has become the latest trend, and blaming others takes the credit as well. Whenever we get frustrated, instantly we raise a finger at someone else. But rarely do we accept the fact that we did something wrong, and move on.

*To Be Continued