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Articles

 
WHAT BUSINESS SHOULD I START ? By Rhonda Abrams

Book Review by Coach Sunil Chandra

 

Friends, I am truly blessed for being given an opportunity by our beloved Editor-in-Chief Coach A.K. Behera to select a famous book for review which is a rags to riches story. I would admit that I did considerable research and could not find any which, in my opinion, could possibly attract the fancy of the fraternity of my learned Coach Members. For once I felt happy at my failure.

 

You see my selection necessarily had to jell with my own non-conforming views on profound topics like “growth & success” in 21st Century.

 

And then, I suddenly knew which book to review on this noble platform called MIND POSITIVE.

 

The characters/institutions that ran through my mind which are true depictions of the dogma – poverty is no barrier for success – were:

 

Rajendra Prasad

Abraham Lincoln

Oprah Winfrey

Andrew Carnegie

Raunaq Singh

Dhirubhai Ambani

Karsanbhai Patel – Nirma

Lijjat Papad

 

All the above people/institutions are well known for their poor lineage and humble beginnings. Stories about them and many other successful stories are widely known and easily available everywhere. I would possibly have done no addition to the knowledge of my learned Coach Members, had I selected something which is already too well known to them.

 

The world at large has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts. From kingship states to nation states to business states the journey has brought us all to the age of the entrepreneurship”.

 

Hence, as a student of practical, mundane, day to day philosophy concerned to uplift lives of common people, I chose the following book:-

 

WHAT BUSINESS SHOULD I START ? – By Rhonda Abrams

 

This is an astounding book. In this age of “the entrepreneur”, I find that this book is appropriate, realistic & relevant.

 

It gives step by step guidance on how to establish a business / enterprise of your choice and align it to the availability of capital that you have and are willing to invest in your venture.

 

While in most autobiographies of successful people falling in the genre of Rags to Riches, tell us what they did from their humble beginnings onwards, how they overcame obstacles in the path of their success and so on, this book has specially attracted my attention for the following 2 reasons:-

 

a.       This book not only tells what to do, but also

b.       How to do it

 

The first pages of this book are self explanatory and clarify the purpose of the book very clearly under the topic “This book is for you if…”

 

This book is for those who are ordinary people having the desire to make a difference by choosing a vocation or a profession or an enterprise in which they are comfortable and through which they can succeed and achieve their dreams.

 

But first, something about the author. Rhonda Abrams is a best selling American author, a popular public speaker who has spent more than 15 years in advising mentoring and consulting entrepreneurs / small business owners. Some of them have grown big, are no longer small and have tasted success – real success. Her knowledge of the small business market and her passion for entrepreneurship have made her one of the most recognized advocates for entrepreneurship in America.

 

Her first book “The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies”, was acclaimed by Forbes Magazine as one of the two best books for small business and by Inc. magazine as one of the six best books for startups.

 

I have personal experience of not only reading this book but also applying her ideas and formats for making a successful business plan. At my Company, Pentagon Impex International, an HR Consulting & Training and Exporting Company, I am using the same business plan process as has been explained by author in the above book because I find it simple, practical and full of wisdom. Every year I use this book to coach & guide my MBA students to learn to prepare business plans by using the principles and processes contained in the book. A few of my students have won prizes in various business plan competitions conducted by Wharton, Insead and IIMs etc. 

 

In her second book, “Wear Clean Underwear: Business Wisdom from Mom”, Rhonda illuminates how incorporating strong values in running a business can benefit the bottom line. This revolutionary book has been translated in to Japanese, Dutch and Korean and has virtually stormed the corporate world to convey some hard hitting messages without using any jargon.

 

Currently, Rhonda Abrams is Founder & CEO of The Planning Shop, a company focused on providing entrepreneurs with high quality information and tools for developing successful businesses.

 

Rhonda is educated at Harvard University and UCLA.

 

Now about the book under review – WHAT BUSINESS SHOULD I START. This book takes readers step by step through the process of bringing their business idea to life and handling everything mentioned below in a period of 6 weeks:-

 

  1. Knowing your entrepreneur type, frequently referred to as E-TYPE
  2. Defining what you understand by success & clarifying your financial goals and business aspirations
  3. Examining your interests and abilities – your core competence
  4. Finding out what truly works in the real world and ascertain for yourself which businesses are best for solo entrepreneurs
  5. Exploring the different business sectors and a large number of specific businesses. Here you gets hundreds of ideas for other businesses
  6. Learning how to identify your “niche” and get a jump on your competition to become more successful
  7. Rating and evaluating your business opportunities / options

 

In India, people are normally fond of quick fix solutions to their problems / questions. They feel discouraged and denigrated if as a result of any of their visions, challenges, problems, aspirations, they are asked to do some systematic homework. This book may not find favor with them. It calls for true introspection and some external research before zeroing-in on your chosen business. So, those who believe in जुगाड़, those who are seeking quick-fix solutions – this book is not for them.

 

All of us at Coach Leadership Centre have learnt and repeat ad-nauseum a phrase “KNOWING IS KNOWING AND DOING IS DOING”. This phrase motivates us but does not guide us. This phrase which is very close to our hearts misses out one very important understanding and without clarity on the same none of us may be able to do or take action on the knowledge acquired. I am referring to the dimension of how to truly apply the knowledge while taking follow-up action. This dictum – KNOWING IS KNOWING & DOING IS DOING – is freely applicable to the lives very simple situations, but is woefully inadequate to deal with slightly more complex situations. I will explain. For example, if a person is suffering from headache and he knows that Paracetamol will rid him of the same, gulping one tablet would be called appropriate action where knowing has been supplemented by doing. However, in a more complex life situations, this small phrase can only misguide. Because in the multitude of real life situations coupled with gamut of conflicting human emotions, between knowing & doing there is at least one, if not more, bridge to cross and that is – knowing how to apply the knowledge before actually plunging into action.

 

This book does total justice to this third dimension – not only acquiring knowledge on what to do, but also learning how to apply this knowledge before becoming truly action oriented.

 

After going through her books, I am convinced that the phrase, “KNOWING IS KNOWING & DOING IS DOING” needs to be redefined / clarified / understood and reworded as – KNOWING IS KNOWING, LEARNING TO APPLY YOUR KNOWING, AND DOING IS DOING.

 

हमारे वेद, हमारे पुराण, हमारे उपनिषद बहुत ज्ञान देते हैं और कहीं उस ज्ञान को day today life में कैसे apply करना है, यह छुपा हुआ है। लेकिन ज्ञान हासिल करना एक बात है और उस ज्ञान को life की different situations में कैसे apply करें, यह दूसरी बात है। It requires deep and long introspection. But we don’t do it because we believe in short cuts.

 

Shortcuts (जुगाड़) lead to short circuiting. जब हम ज्ञान हासिल करते हैं और अपनी समझी (या नासमझी) को कार्यान्वित करते हैं तो हम तर्क और कुतर्क में भेद नहीं कर पाते, और ज्ञान हासिल करने के बाद जो हमारी धारणा बनती है हम हर तरह से उसको defend करने में लग जाते हैं। Because we are constrained to use our own argumentative logic (or illogic) to defend our inferences as if we were defending a legacy.   

 

जिन्दगी आधे अधूरे ज्ञान पे बनाई हुई धारणा से नहीं चलती। अगर चलती भी है तो बहुत थोड़े समय के लिए। In other words, you may get temporary success but it will be short lived and it will certainly not be sustained success.

 

This book gives you wisdom to achieve success on year on year basis (YOY) - because it puts forward steps, processes and methodology to convert आधा अधूरा ज्ञान into संपूर्ण ज्ञान by eliminating short-cuts to arriving at a clear, complete and cogent conclusion.  

 

This is where, and only where the Americans score over we Indians. Till the time that the Indians will allow themselves to get carried away by rhetoric – bombastic but meaningless expressions – what my friend, benefactor and mentor Coach OP Bhatia calls “verbal diarrhea” – we will remain as confused as ever and clarity in life will elude us.

 

This book not only gives us intellectual clarity on ascertaining what kind of entrepreneurs we are (uncovering, discovering & rediscovering our true inner vocation) but also helps us in realizing our highest potential by putting a finger on what makes our heart sing and taking action accordingly.

 

Dale Carnegie once said:

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion”.

 

A large mass of Indians have no idea, even those who have undergone the leadership training, when to give credence to their emotions and when to become purely logical, empirical, scientific, and deductive. The sooner they learn the faster they will achieve their “success”.

 

This book initially allows you to experiment with your subjective, creative, and appealing emotional disposition. Once you achieve clarity here, it not only tells you what action to take but also how to go about it with scientific precision.

 

A large mass of people in the world are suffering not because of their in-action but because of their ignorance of how to apply the knowledge which they have acquired through various trainings and through life.

 

And this is where lies the power of this book. It allows you to give full credence to your inner calling, and having determined the same, leads you to a determined process of realizing what success means to you and gives you a determined action oriented path.  

 

KNOWING IS KNOWING & DOING IS DOING – is truly clarified with no uncertainty and no possibility of getting carried away.

 

Happy reading…Happy introspecting  !!!

 

I remain,

 

Yours subserviently,

 

Coach Sunil Chandra 

     : 03-05-2012
Are We Ready For Success ???


I find that almost everybody has become health conscious and ‘figure’ conscious. People are going great lengths to find out the ‘right’ diet for them, the right regimen of exercise or physical work out. There is lot of talk, debate and discussions on what constitutes “balanced diet”. There is a movement in favor of organic foods which are considered healthier as they are free from the toxic affects of pesticides and artificial additives and chemicals. Those who can afford it are willing to pay higher price for organic food items. Large companies in food business are stylizing their products to be healthier, of low calorie, having less fat and so on. They are even spending millions of rupees on advertisements which try to remind the consumers again and again how healthy their products are. Gone are the days when people would eat and gulp down anything to satiate their hunger and taste buds. The mindless indulgence in any and every kind of food is a thing of past. Now there is increasing evidence of growing awareness among people and they eat only those foods which are regarded as healthy, foods which are non fattening, foods which enhance their figure or tone up the texture of their skin. They have become conscious as they have become cautious and carefully decide what will go inside their body.

 

People exercise caution even when choosing the cooking medium – healthy versus unhealthy cooking oil. There is a clear list of foods which are fatty and non-fatty and much awareness about which foods to avoid or allow inside your system.

 

People, in short, are becoming increasingly choosy and careful in deciding how to feed the BODY with appropriate foods.

 

But when it comes to choosing what to feed your MIND on, the same clarity is found missing. People are not careful about the thoughts they feed their mind on. They would allow any and every kind of thought to feed their minds.

 

They comfortably forget that like foods, there are thoughts that need to be clearly avoided and then there are thoughts to be clearly embraced.

 

Just as right foods are important to our body, right thoughts are important to our minds.



Here are some thoughts to avoid:

 

Thoughts…

Of bitterness,

Of hatred and loathing

Of jealousy

Of despair,

Of fear,

Of worry,

Of revenge

Of putting blame on others

Of doubt, greed and self-loathing.

 

These are killer thoughts. These constitute our self created constraints. A constant diet of these killer thoughts destroys much more than the damage caused by cholesterol or fat. People filled with the above category of thoughts find themselves invariably caught in the unharmonious life stopper situations and then get entangled in finding solutions to problems which they ignorantly created for themselves. The unhealthy dissonance and disharmony in day today existence, then, becomes a way of life leading to avoidable loss of time and energy which could have been conserved for enhancing accomplishments.

 

Such people are known by various labels:

 

Always cribbing, complaining or whining

Always blaming others

Short tempered, haughty and snooty

Having a negative attitude

Quarrelsome

Stubborn

Irresponsible

Argumentative

Pushy

Too demanding

Greedy & selfish

Ineffective

Loser

And so on…

 

Such people do not get chance to promote their endeavors. On the contrary, they keep on regressing time and again - entangled in disharmonious situations, marred and mangled by the disastrous consequences always putting out self ignited fires. In short, their ability to realize their chosen dreams and destiny is severely constrained and restricted.

 

Then, there are thoughts to embrace:

 

Thoughts…

Of love

Of intelligent analysis,

Of contribution

Of compassion,

Of faith,

Of forgiveness

Of happiness, peace and fulfillment.

 


There are healthy thoughts and there are unhealthy thoughts. How we fill our mind shapes our life.

 

Our internal self is a reflection of our external self and vice versa. To strike harmony between the two, according to me, is the primary goal of human life.

 

Other things or goals or passions are secondary and come later. Before we launch ourselves on the path of greater human accomplishments we need to balance ourselves internally and externally in such a manner that both become a kind of mirror each reflecting the other. Unless we achieve this, success in our lives will be short lived and not self sustaining. It is widely believed and recognized that success in the form of “good” performance in your chosen field of activity has be on year on year basis. Every year consistent good performance with a consistent success curve is the most desired kind of feat by everyone.  For example, if any student passes a few classes with distinction marks and then fails in a few subsequent ones, he would not be called a consistent performer. Similarly, if any executive brings good business for a year or two and then his performance drops, he would not get credit for sustained good performance. Same is true for any businessman who has to ensure that his business grows on year to year basis. In order to be regarded as a truly successful person, one’s track record needs to reflect success or accomplishments on sustained basis.

 

My introspections and research indicate that there are two universal constraints – constraints of time and resource. And to be able to consistently give good performance everyone has to find a way to negotiate his success through the obstacles imposed by the two universal constraints of time and resource. These two constraints exist everywhere irrespective of people and places. How many times have you heard people wailing…

 

If only I had more time…

If only I had more money…

If only I had better employees…

If only I had a better boss…

If only I was born in a rich family

If only I had a car…

If only I had more peace in life

If only…………………………………..

If only…………………………………..

The list is endless.

 

At some point of time or the other in your life, you must have wondered as to why some people are successful and some people are not successful. To me those who have minimum self-constraints imposed on themselves by themselves, knowingly or unknowingly, stand a higher chance of realizing their goals and dreams. These self-constraints are created by nurturing the wrong kinds of thoughts which get manifested in wrong behavior and approach and ultimately leading either to temporary short lived success or to less than satisfying results or to outright failures.

 

Happiness is an attitude of mind. It is a disposition reflecting your proclivity towards peace, love, kindness, contribution and harmony which are all founding attributes for a successful life.

 

When one is careful and always on vigil against the wrong kind of thoughts entering his mind, he develops a sort of filter and entertains only positive and conducive thoughts shutting out the ones which are to be avoided. The outcome of efforts has tremendous bearing on self imposed challenges and unless self imposed challenges/constraints are addressed properly, there can be no hope of ever overcoming the challenges posed by the two universal constraints – Time & Resources.

 

On the other hand, I would like my readers to undertake a silent exercise and start observing and/or learning about the life and times of successful people. They would gradually discover and uncover in them patterns of worthy thoughts and behaviors shaping their destiny and ultimately finding their way to success through the two universal constraints of TIME and RESOURCE. Such people are said to have the following attributes as inherent in their persona:-

 

Dynamic & goal oriented

Self motivated

Having leadership qualities

Having Single minded focus & commitment

Positive thinker

Bold and Decisive

Action oriented

Resilient

Responsible

Hard working

Energetic

Enthusiastic

A winner

And so on…

 

Friends !!!  Thoughts shape our actions so we inevitably become how and what we think. Your past thoughts have brought you where you are today.

 

Even as you read this, today`s thoughts are shaping your tomorrow.

 

Give your mind the gift of healthy and happy thoughts and become ready and worthy of success.



Coach Sunil Chandra

     : 03-05-2012

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