The Rice Cooker

Have you observed how a rice cooker works?
You put in grains of rice and lots of water. Then you heat it and the cooker gradually uses the heated water to cook the rice. Required amounts are taken in, the rest is thrown out.
Isn’t it much the same with our days? All the stimulus that comes at us is the water i.e. colleagues complimenting us, colleagues dissing us, other good news, bad news and the like. The heat is similar to the pressure we have everyday to earn, to deliver etc. The rice is what we are building, working on..
We just need to be good rice cookers – take the useful water, throw out the excess/unwanted and become useful in the process.

When you work your butt off for something

You tend to count results. (What happened? Did they turn out in proportion to the effort? Were they deserved etc?)
Results are important – there is no doubt about that. We are measured by them at the end of the day. However, the bigger the stakes, the bigger the chances luck influences those results.
As a result, it is very easy to be disappointed by bad results when they do come our way. And sometimes, a stretch of bad luck may even influence some critical points in life.
In my view, we are probably better placed if we ask ourselves one additional question
What did I become from it?

Many a time, the results may not go our way but the learnings from the experience make it well worth it. Failing a driving test may be well worth it if we ended up becoming better drivers.
I spent a good part of 3 years working on a dot com that didn’t work out. Was the result ideal? No. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. The learnings I got and the people I met gave me a platform to build from, for a lifetime.. Often, it is the 2nd question that saves us from ‘death by introspection’.

Invest in your learning

I always remember the funny joke about how $20 looks extremely big when contemplating a donation to a nearby charity but looks extremely small in a bar.
I remember very clearly the time when a few friends and I decided to engage a tennis coach for $15 per hour last January. I debated it a fair bit – any expenditure as a student was always carefully weighed especially since I had gone bankrupt and lived on loans from friends just two years prior. But, I decided to go for it.
We ended up having 8 lessons and that $120 was among the better investments I have made. I learnt enough tennis to atleast feel comfortable on the court. And today, I played a couple of friends with a Danish friend who was class. He beat me 6-3, 6-3 and deservedly so. His technique was just way superior to mine.
The difference was just that he had invested a fair amount more in his learning than I did. And he still continued to do so.
At this point, I am talking tennis but it’s amazing how easily this can translate to work. Learning at work is often reading voraciously, building up a sense of awareness about the industry, about the world and about people – all of which pay themselves forward. And of course, investing in experiences that broaden our horizons..
The options are all laid out as always. The big question is – do we do it enough?