5 Contrarian Acts That Boosted My Career and Life

When the world runs one way, I run other way and sometimes, find gold — here are some.

1) Use ‘I’ when ‘You’ is the norm

When I am angry/distressed, “you are a ripping nuisance” could be one truth.

“I feel distressed” could be the other truth.

The choice to expose which truth was always mine. I chose the latter with great dividends.

Watch the you and I…

“You didn’t explain this point.” became “I didn’t understand this point.”

“You are wrong” became “I have a different perspective.”

“You make me mad” became “I feel unappreciated”

We are all taught not to point a finger at others. Very few of us are coached to use the “I” when it matters.

As a parent, this became a life skill of immense proportion — the bigger you grow, less power you have.

2) When content is king, I like to focus on comfort and context.

At get go, a deep dive into the subject at hand — works for a Ph. D. dissertation. What got you there, sometimes keeps you there.

What propels select few are genuine words of acknowledgement prefacing counterpoints (I hear you, I see where you are coming from).

Or words of curiosity that showcase a self-belief to learn (why do you say that? help me understand better etc.)

How, what, when, which, where- these questions are implicitly answered by many in their conversations.

I like to first answer the why. The answer to the why gives context. And context has a calming effect on how content is received.

Side bar: here is my context on why I am a contrarian.

3) When many in the world run to catch the early train to work, I like to lay awake in bed for another 10 minutes.

Lying in bed, cozy in thoughts, I like to imagine how success looks like for that day.

Apparently, I am not the only one. The Olympic champion Michael Phelps, in his words, “before I doze off or immediately after I get up, I can visualize how I want the perfect race to go. I can see the start, the strokes, the walls, the turns, the finish, the strategy, all of it. It’s so vivid that I can see incredible detail, down even to the wake behind me.”

In my life, the mental eye’s power of visualization and planning has worked wonders — superseding all others.

Sometimes, the best life hacks happen when you laze around.

4) When the world looks for mentors, I let them look for me.

I chuckled when I read the following words from Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. I was involuntarily nodding my head.

“We need to stop telling them, ‘Get a mentor and you will excel,’ Instead we need to tell them, ‘Excel and you will get a mentor.’”

There are ounces of truth based on my experience — success indeed breeds mentors.

5) I believe the mind is susceptible and weak

I believe the mind is malleable. Easily swayed. Being on guard is stressful.

Pushy salesman are obvious. Marketers are polished.

Distance from enemies is easy to orchestrate. Frenemies?

I take the easy way out — surround myself with positive energy and a preponderance for positive words. That involves choice but I need luck too

I like my mom’s prayer — keep everyone around me happy. I mimic her.

Bonus 6) When bloggers abhor traditional listicles, I embrace them now.

Only twist — I densely say what I need to say quickly and let it linger in your mind.

Isn’t the benefit of a listicles to quickly scan?

Happy scanning and thinking,

Karthik Rajan

Words from Well Wishers

Anirban Mukhopadhyay Technical Lead at Tata Consultancy Services || Ex-Capgemini || Ex-Wipro

An engrossing article! You have a way with words and then let the words have others. Great one!

Cheryl Snapp Conner, CEO of SnappConner PR, Creator of Content University™, Forbes and Inc Contributor, Author and Speaker

“Karthik — you need more than a blog. You need to write a book! I love every one of these points. You are a brilliant human being, truly.”

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Stories to fuel your mind. Theme: life’s hidden treasures in plain sight. Goal: Warm tone, solid content, crisp stories. About me: one google search away.

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