Sunday, January 9, 2011


Having seen the movie Social Network, I have been mulling over the thought. 

Divya Narendra, son of an Indian immigrant doctor couple was a part of the movie. He was involved in the courtroom battle with the world’s youngest billionaire and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg

“I spent almost one year developing the concept to build what was then called When I heard about Mark for the first time in the fall of 2003, he seemed like a natural fit. 3 months later, Facebook launched. Mark took the credit and the magical zeroes that came along. All the effort I had put into my vision had been taken away. If only I was faster,” says Narendra.  

Jo Jeeta wahi Sikander? 

In all probability, if Narendra had been faster he would be in Mark’s shoes - a billionaire.  According to Mark, hacking is not a bad word. It’s a compliment for building things very quickly and the prime directive to Facebook team is, ‘Move fast and break things.’

When I say Faster, I am not referring to the Tillman feature film or to George Harrison song. The reference is to the twenty-first century mantra – Faster. 
There was a time when leisurely contemplation – unfettered from the routine race was responsible for moving the world. Archimedes figured out his theory of water displacement while soaking in a bath tub. James Watt conceptualized steam locomotion while day dreaming and watching the kettle boil. But that was then. Had they waited, some Indian or Chinese chap would come out with it first.

Speed trumps everything in the present age of competitiveness. Yes it does. No it doesn’t? Ask the performing machines (aspirants) of the competitive entrance exams. Many have the ability to crack the mind boggling set of questions. But the fastest ones enter the hallowed precincts. Fastest finger first rules.

Since our attention spans are decreasing by the day, we  have learnt to rush, not to wait.Like sheep to slaughter, we become victims of the mad race to be the first ones to get a nursery admission, to top the class, to win the most desirable girl, to make the first million…..Be the first, be the fastest… Mortified kids keep running frantically as parents psyche them into winning. You then scratch your head and wonder, whatever happened to slow and steady wins the race? 
Seems outdated?

Call me all kinds of names, if you wish - looser, lazybones…whatever.  I prefer old-fashioned laid-back lifestyle. Maybe I don't want to reach the ostensible pinnacle of life. And I am not proud of the fact. But then, when most are psyched into winning someone has to enjoy the run?  In any way I am not implying that ambition is unwarranted. Ambition is a great driver. Only the hopeless infatuation to win, snatches the opportunity to enjoy the small miracles of life.

Indeed, the topic is very subjective. I was reading an article by Peter Horan, who says that being a smart second can be a very profitable strategy. Forget the first mover advantage. Let the first mover make all the mistakes and jump in when the first one is financially and emotionally drained. While the early bird might catch the worm, the second mouse gets the cheese. (The first one gets trapped silly). 

Winning in life is not always about, having the most and the best. It is also about being happy with what you have. So while you are hurriedly climbing up the ladder, remember why you are climbing up in the first place.
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  1. Very rightly said... Coming first or being the fastest is not everything...

    While I was in my school my mom always told me that you should aim at getting a good score and not coming first... You should focus on your work and not what others are doing...

    I learnt this lesson from her not only for my studies but for everything that I do and it has helped me live a happy and contented life so far...

    I'm not saying that we should not compete, but competition should be kept only to a level where it does not dominates your peace of mind... :)

  2. even i prefer the slow but quality type life.. it keeps the freshness and whats the use of running when u have to finally sit once all is done... enjoy and work. the time won't return.

    and for winning, i believe, we never lose. do we? either we win or we have a lesson.. even the lesson is worth the effort. why to wait for first one to make mistake and then learn? do mistakes, learn and again move. life is going to harder if analysed and tolerable if let go with the flow.
    good one.. and yes, its purely subjective, it would have as many perspectives as the ppl here.

  3. @Tanishka..It is very subjective...depends from person to person...Also on stages of life..When we are young, we enjoy running and achieving but later on we realize that there is no harm in pausing to enjoy..

  4. @Deepika... Well put..Life is all about learning lessons and moving on...It is all in the mind and subjective.

  5. The writing is on the wall, and you have rightly pointed out, its the fastest finger first. Its a competitive world, there are others better than you. But you are better in some things than the others. So choosing the right button is the trick. You cannot define the rules, thats already laid down, but you can choose the right button, the right game.

  6. @Alka,
    Some thought provoking stuff.
    Like many others, i dont prefer life on the fast lane :)

  7. Very well written....loved what u r trying to convey in this post.

  8. Hi,
    That is thought provoking. The Indian guy is just plain unlucky. However in my opinion, he should not have abandoned the idea and should have kept going. In my teenage years, I cleared the most difficult of the exams and I would say it was because of persistence and not speed.
    When APJ Abdul Kalam became President, many people said that he would not be able to understand the nuances of politics. He went about methodically learning what it needs to be a President and turned out to be a fine one.
    One of the company I admire is 'Samsung'. They are sooo lazy almost come at the end of a product cycle and then takes over all the market. They do it because they have great product and service.
    I think persistence is more important than speed and with a few exceptions like facebook will remain true.

  9. @AS .... very well put.

    @Md. Muddassir Shah...Appreciate your spending time on the post.

    @Ria...Thanks, dear.

  10. @Ashwini....You have nailed it and made my generalizations specific.

    Well summarized.

  11. One doesn't have to be on fast track to succeed.

  12. Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) Life is not an Olympics..

    Well said Alka!!!

  13. Thats how and what i beleive in TAKE it easy .. though i am highly impatient ..

    but in todays date.. as shown in movie inception People can steal the IDEA tooo :) so one needs to capitalise on the IDEA to do something in life otherwise someone somewhere will take all the advantage of it ...


  14. What is my motto? Just do it once and for all, so that I can rest for the rest of the available time.
    This is my engineering motto. Make things, to do things faster, so that I can rest afterwards.
    Ambition knows no bounds, but then as you said, if you like running, run.

    Nice post.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  15. @Purba..Survival of the fastest...True.

    @BKC...Well said.

  16. @Blasphemous Aesthete...Makes sense.

    @Bikramjit...With ideas and girls one has to have the first mover But life is a journey....Makes sense to enjoy step at a time.

  17. Well written post. Couldnt agree more with you. I'd rather be slow and steady and enjoy what i have rather than join the race and have no time to enjoy what I have or left with no time to think what I want in future.

  18. Nice post .. and the last para in particular - well said !

  19. well said.. i think all prefers a laid back life, but the pressure is on them to perform leaving no choice.

  20. @Always Happy....Your name says it all! Thanks dear.

    @DG...Appreciate your time.

    @Harish....Thanks for reading. The topic is very subjective. To each his own.

  21. well put up ! what ever you do, you should make it fast else the world will take over

  22. rightly said.. being successful is subjective

  23. @Rachit...Welcome here...Appreciate your spending time.

  24. wonderful read! and no I did not finish reading it fast! I relished and savoured each and every thought!
    unfortunate that the time has come when people dont have the time to spend with their loved ones in their race to be the fastest..
    as you sadi survival of the fastest yes but survival for what?
    well written..

  25. Performing machines! That's so true. Very apt and well written.

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