As promised yesterday, I am presenting the interview with Rajesh Setty on ‘Upbeat’, his recent book that inspires and helps to cultivate the right attitude to thrive in tough times like this recession. One of the interesting aspects of this book is the fact that the book was originally written during the dot-com-bust with lessons learnt in building a business during that time and hence I consider it as a ‘proven’ strategy for thriving in tough times, any time.
As I mentioned yesterday I was first introduced to Rajesh Setty and Life Beyond Code through a Manifesto, 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself published on ChangeThis about 4 years back and I have been a regular reader of Life Beyond Code blog since then. I am always inspired by the passion he brings into every thing he does. Be it a blog, tweets, e-books or his squidoo lenses.
Many of you know Rajesh as the man behind ‘(Life) Beyond Code’, but Rajesh is also involved in a few companies in some combination as a founder, operating executive, board member and/or an investor. Apart from that, he has written a few books and is working on a number of them. His first book was published at the age of thirteen. While he is not building companies or writing, he enjoys speaking at conferences and company events.
Thank you Rajesh for the opportunity and sharing your thoughts on a few questions I have about this new book. Now, here is the full interview.
Upbeat : Cultivating the right attitude to thrive in tough times
1. We never run out of constraints and difficulties in life, irrespective of a good economy or a bad one. How different is a recession for that warrants a shift in one's attitude.
Rajesh: Murali, first of all thank you for the opportunity to discuss the concepts surrounding the book.
Recession is a situation created by events and circumstances typically outside of your (or any one person's) control. The impact of a recession is far reaching. The constraints that a recession produces are a bit different from the general constraints and tough times that one person experiences as part of life.
The way a person notices recession is that he or she will notice that "what was working before will stop working." The tools and techniques that worked during good times are "suddenly" incapable of producing results they were producing.
The immediate response is to "work hard" and "do whatever it takes" to make this work. Unfortunately, doing more of something that does not work will not help.
This is where a fundamental shift in attitude has to happen. You have to "invent" and "try" new things that will produce results. This means that you have to be willing to do things that nobody is doing. Remember, if you follow the crowd, it generally won't work as if it did work, it is working for the crowd too and recession would have been over.
To succeed in recession, you need an attitude of "reinvention" AND an attitude of "doing whatever it takes." People typically focus on the second part and forget the first part.
2. Is there any specific circumstance or a friend that prompted or rather inspired you to bring out this book in the midst of recession?
Rajesh: Honestly, I did not write this book during this recession. I wrote it when I was building my company during the previous recession. It was tough for those of us who were involved in the business and this book is a collection of some of those lessons that I learned along the way. However, by the time I finished writing the book, the recession was over so there was no point in publishing the book. However, as it always happens we were faced with another recession soon enough. So I went back and updated the materials and added some new content and polished it a bit and the book was ready.
To answer your question specifically, the book was based on what I learned as I was going through building a startup during recessionary times.
3. Many say, 'Experience is the best teacher'. How 'Upbeat' can help those of us who are already going through some of these 'tough life' experiences?
Rajesh: I think that statement can be extended a little bit. I would say, "Experience is a great teacher if you know how to learn from it." Think about it - most people go through tough times throughout their life but only a handful of them will notice and observe the lessons that these experiences bring forth.
Brilliance comes from seeing the same things that everyone else is seeing but "interpreting" them more powerfully than majority of others.
Now, how does Upbeat help in this?
Thanks for asking the question. Upbeat is a tiny little book that has a few simple messages. I won't cover all of them here but here are some of them:
- Watch your conversations and see if they are empowering you or putting you down. Choose the ones that are empowering you as that's what will give you more capacity to get more out of your life.
- Think about what you can "give" to your network rather than what you can "get" out of them.
- Sitting on the sidelines is easy but won't help.
Taking one or more messages like the ones and integrating it into your life (meaning you should do this unconsciously rather than making an effort) will make a lasting difference.
4. There are 100s of books out there that explicitly address these 'tough times' leaving aside books that inspire readers at any time. How is 'Upbeat' different from the rest (or complement them).
Rajesh: I don't try to compete with anyone else but simply want to get my message out. I read one or two books a week so I enjoy what many wonderful people have to say.
My goal with this book was (and is) simple - share some of insights and lessons learned in a short format that someone will actually read them and try to implement one or two things that will make a quick difference. If they see the results, my hope is that they will come back and read once again and probably implement a couple of other things.
5. You always share your thoughts and experiences very generously and succinctly on the blog, through e-books or through published books( I haven't got an opportunity to attend any of your Speaking events). What motivates you to wake up every day and keep on sharing.
Rajesh: That's a great question. If there is one keyword in my life - it is "leverage." I am constantly looking for higher leverage in my life and constantly looking for ways for other people to have higher leverage.
As I keep learning new ways of increasing my leverage, I want to share it with people who want to listen and increase their own leverage. If I can do something that will increase the capacity of a few more people in the world to make this world a better place, that would give me the greatest satisfaction.
Thank you Rajesh once again. You can read his latest thoughts on his blog Life Beyond Code or on Twitter at UpbeatNow. If you are really curious to know the events that shaped his thinking, you can read his story so far here.
I will share my own review of the book in a couple days. Stay in touch.