I, The Absolute

Archive for July 15th, 2005

Be Bold. Be Irreverent. Shift those graphs.

Posted by itheabsolute on July 15, 2005

The last words of the valedictory mail from our Global Economics Prof. He has succinctly drafted what it takes to being an innovator, making difference and perhaps being at the top. The difference between being an also-ran and say, a Jack Welch or a Porter or a Drucker.

The Prof. further quotes John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck wrote in his beautiful novel, “Sweet Thursday,”
“…the clarifying leap springs from the rich soil of confusion, and the leaper is not unfamiliar with pain.

And further writes


What I or anyone else can hope do in a short time is only rake this soil. The leap is yours to make.


The people who made difference and set standards are those who challenged the existing beliefs and theories. They were bold to question what was deeply ingrained. They set new rules and said what worked earlier does not work any longer.

If Einstein did not have the guts to question the fundamental flaws in Newtonian thinking, we would still be operating at a different efficiency scale.

But what does it take to be bold and irreverent as to question what is, so to say, ‘obvious’ and ‘widely accepted’. Some attributes, apart from what the Prof. has already mentioned, which I think can make a person evolve into a different orbit than he is operating at are

• Passion – about what one does
• Observation – looking at colleagues, seniors, competitors, consumers and the world in general
• Empathy – so that one understands why others have come to a different conclusion than ours
• Conviction – about what one thinks/believes

I keep coming back to this ad nauseum. Does a b-school teach all these? Nope. No school can. It is up to the individual to keep looking inside his head and heart, as much as looking outside. To keep questioning what is “assumed as true”.

Post Scriptum:

• It is sad that eyes are made only to look outside. There is an increasing need to keep looking inside.

• What a b-school does is definitely give an opportunity to look around; an opportunity to get in touch with ignited minds, which by themselves can be catalysts of further thought

• When our Prof. says to shift those graphs, he means that there is no need for us to accept what a Friedman or any famous economist has said. We can always challenge the concepts and draw a new graph to describe the economic phenomenon. Someone challenged Keynes and hence we are able to manage our economies better.

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