In the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy, and humiliation. — Alain de Botton
The demand for online courses industry has shot through the roof.
In 2015, the global market for such courses reached $107 billion. Just two years later, the market grew to $255 billion — a whopping 138 percent growth within 2 years!
But there’s something more. And it’s not good.
A study revealed that the average completion for Massive Open Online Courses — MOOCs — is a dismal fifteen percent.
I’ll admit. I’m…
About 10 years ago when I was employed, my manager assigned our team a project and asked us to distribute the responsibilities among ourselves. I got tasked with watching a video and capturing its highlights.
I put the task on the back burner and spent days scrolling Twitter instead (it was new back then). On the final night before the deadline, I skimmed through the video and made a few quick notes. I knew I had not done a good job, but hoped I would get away with it.
What happened the next day caught me off-guard.
We met in…
Last week, my friend, her husband, and I played badminton. My friend and I are novices at the sport while her husband is a pro.
About 20 minutes into the game, it was clear that my friend was struggling. She was hunched over, her hands were on her hips, and her breath was shallow. We asked whether she wanted to take a break, but she refused and kept playing.
With each rally, her movements slowed. She began to miss shots and became irritable. About 10 minutes later, her husband said he was tired and needed a break. …
My laptop is my life. I use it more than I use my motorcycle and smartphone put together. I work for clients and for myself, read and write emails, watch videos, read articles… an open laptop implies pending work.
But the one thing I cannot do on it — no matter how hard I try — is reading an ebook or a long PDF. Each time I try, my mind rebels. I barely make it through ten pages before I lose the war against distractions.
I kept wondering why. …
In the late 1960s, an unlikely duo combined to discover the effects of expectations on human beings.
Lenore Jacobson, the principal of an elementary school in San Francisco, and Robert Rosenthal, a Harvard psychologist, wanted answers to questions like: Do expectations placed on people affect their performance? Do preconceived notions play any role in how people build expectations? And do such expectations help people improve themselves.
So they conducted an experiment that would reveal interesting answers.
Rosenthal and Jacobson randomly selected students from Jacobson’s school and told their teachers that the students were at a point where their intellect could…
A few months ago, my friend Srini called me.
“Vishal, I’m stuck,” he said.
Srini had resigned from his role as a salesperson from a company that was the poster boy of the startup world, in order to pursue a more lucrative offer.
A colleague from the same company had also quit to set up his own startup. And since he knew how good Srini was, he offered him a dream job: build our entire sales division from scratch and turn it into an unstoppable force that helps us raise billions in funding.
Srini was all set to join the…
Hollywood has muddied how we think about elements that are an integral part of our daily lives.
Take pain, for instance. Movies often either present a miserable picture of a person in pain or fast forward through a painful situation to show us the glorious, happy ending.
The transformation of a larva into a butterfly is one example.
Animation movies show a larva spinning itself into a cocoon that eventually bursts open to reveal a beautiful, colorful butterfly. It flaps its wings twice before taking flight the third time, officially signaling that its transformation is complete.
The entire process is…
Most people talk fondly about their school and college days. I wish I could too. I even want to. But I would be lying if I did.
I dragged myself through school and college. I didn’t languish at the bottom; I was the student in the middle. And that would’ve been fine if it wasn’t for my parents’ disappointment. They felt let down because my teachers kept telling them I was a bright boy.
But I thought my teachers were lying just to keep them happy. …
“Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” — Archimedes.
The Greek polymath didn’t say this in jest. He knew that the right tools could amplify his strength a millionfold and give him the leverage to physically displace the earth.
Leverage exists outside the realm of physics and mathematics too.
For a stock market investor, leverage is borrowed funds that generate substantially larger returns than the interest to be repaid. For a software engineer, leverage is an application that gets sold for billions of dollars. …
A few months ago, I reached out to a friend, Shekhar, whom I hadn’t heard from — rather, seen from — in a while.
Shekhar wasn’t just active on social media, he probably lived in it. He posted on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook every day. He posted memes, photos of what he cooked, what he ate, which mall he was at, which movie he was watching, his motorcycle rides, travel… social media was a real-time catalog of his life.
But for the last two months, he had fallen off the radar. Fearing the worst, I called him. I didn’t expect…