“No cheating”, I was told the first time I started playing hide & seek and when I sat for my first exam. The warning message changed as I grew up, yet the essence remained.
If you deal with originality, be it preparing a keynote, a graph, analysis, writing a song or a book – knows the heartache behind plagiarism. Lifting work, modifying and presenting is common. The attention span is so less today that ‘inspirations’ have become ‘new originals’. Hardly people have time to go to the source or question the authenticity!
In my book, I have narrated immigration history, its influence and how it shapes the resident’s worldview. The US is a confluence of immigrants, and it is hard to differentiate who is an outsider looking at the face. At one place, I had to depict geographical spread of immigrants in the US.
“I seek permission to use your map in my book”.
“You don’t need to express permission. Feel free to include it with proper attribution”, came the reply.
Avoids plagiarism issue. Establishes authenticity. Integrity.
When you give credits, your credibility goes up!
Teach your kids about Credibility, this Children’s day!
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Before successfully hitting the stands with ‘7 Untold Secrets of Living Abroad’, I had written two fiction novels, both half-written lying in my pc. Compelling plot, amazing stories, intriguing characters- the only issue was, the plot kept on changing with time.
I would wait to feel motivated to write. And when I felt so, I would start by reading what I had written till then. I kept enhancing to make it more impactful! The storyline kept on changing & I couldn’t complete it till date. Don’t wait for motivation to happen- the right time, a right day or a right signal.
For my third book and the first published one, the only reason I could cross the finishing line was that I did not wait for motivation to happen. I made a schedule to follow 5AM to 8 AM each day. There were times when I was staring white paper and the writing time was up. But the schedule conditioned my mind, became aware of what was expected. Eventually, it worked out.
1. A schedule (get it right)
2. Consistently showing up (easier said than done, work on it)
3. Reading easy books when not writing (but don’t just keep reading)
Are you waiting for motivation to happen?
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As a kid, I would idolise Shahrukh Khan… Sonu Nigam… Shaan… stars of my generation. Sachin Tendulkar took it to the next level. Mr Bachchan remained there forever.
Then I read the book ‘Beyond the Last Blue Mountain‘ on JRD. That changed the definition of a hero for me. JRD, Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Sam Walton, Indira Nooyi became heroes for me. Satya Nadella and Ajay Banga in the current lot among others.
Tatas have a special place in my heart. I chose Tata companies to study in Security Analysis during my MBA studies. Started corporate career with the Tatas. I have been eating Tata salt since birth so there is too much of a Tata to take it out of me! 🙂
I sent my first book and a letter to Mr Ratan Tata. The final reply came from the man himself and not from his office! My letter was stamped, scanned, saved in my name and attached as an acknowledgement in his email! He replied a commoner like me taking time out of his busy schedule. Such gestures make a leader, a great leader!
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An American, James and an Indian associate, Rohit are in a discussion over a video conference. James is referring to a keynote and explaining a critical Business change, and Rohit is listening to it with rapt attention. Rohit is nodding his head slightly forward periodically signalling ‘he is with the speaker, he is attentive, he is following the discussion, he is on the same page’. He was told to do so while attending college lectures.
James read the nodding of Rohit as – not being excited about the matter. Rohit hasn’t understood the explanation, is not with him or worst, he disagrees. The half nodding sent confusing signals to James.
Both are right as per the interpretation in their culture, yet there is a considerable miscommunication!
Indian culture: A lot of communication with Indians (and the Asians) is implied or implicit: body language, blinking eyes, hand signals. Tone, variation in voice need to be interpreted. The meaning of same action may also change as per the context. In short, one has to read between the lines. One has to be an observant.
American culture: Americans are explicit. They will say everything that they want to communicate explicitly. It may be felt ‘repetitive’ or ‘you being considered naive’ at times, though that is not the intention. Nothing is left for interpretation, no reading between the lines, clear communication. So much so that after cracking jokes, they may say ‘just kidding’ in case anybody didn’t get it! In the Indian context, it is not even a worthy joke, if you have to tell that explicitly!
The misinterpretation of Indian nodding is one of the few cultural differences that came out while writing my book ‘7 Untold Secrets of Living Abroad’; not just by the Americans but by most of the European nationals too. Implied communication is common among the Asians or the Eastern part of world!
When was the last you had a miscommunication due to cultural differences?
Get through the cultural maze of 12 top nationalities around the world: read the Amazon Bestseller: 7 Untold Secrets of Living abroad
The article is part of the ‘Culture maze series’.
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