All Articles

Plaksha TLF - Second Term Reflections

As I am loving my time at Plaksha, I thought it would be a good time to compile my Term 2 learnings before I forget. Term 2 introduced Machine Learning, and in a beautiful way. Now my hobby is to play with perceptrons. Though we had a whole writing course, I would still prefer to write this in a bulleted format.

We had a course called ‘Persuasive Presence’ a.k.a communication course. Though I was skeptical to learn another communication course in the beginning(being time conscious!), it proved to be super useful course in the end. The professor was a communication coach, and was an inspiring personality. He introduced the concept of Halo Effect - (smile, pause and eye contact), which I am inculcating in my daily communciation. When preparing a speech, do focus on the Ethos(Credibility), Legos(Why important to listener) and Pathos(story) part. He taught us the rule of feedback - always start with appreciation, do not criticize but show them a way to imporve. Do not use “but”.

By giving us example of a real life situation at one of his World Bank meetings, he taught us how to develop confidence and handle difficult situations. He practised his presentation a number of times and anticipated all the questions he could get.

When communicating - think of the end - what we need out of the communication. When praising someone , be genuinely interested. I used to always give blank looks, but now I try to genuinely praise with a smila(it’s difficult though!)

We had a number of guest lectures, from entrepreneurs and VCs like Ritesh Malik, Ankur Warikoo and Alok Goyal. Here are combined notes -

The way to remove any fear is just to expose yourself. Be Action Oriented. Get out of your comfort zone ‘Bhaiya’ helps in forming a special bond in the world of sir and ma’am. He calls VSS by it. You cannot do everything, there will always be fomo. Alok had to do 1400+ pitches for raising his fund. His previous relationships helped him in raising it. If you can’t be open to mentors, they are not the right one.

There were also sessions from a Monk who sold his Ferrari. It reminded me of some fundamental lessons -

When we have expectations, we also have responsibilities, because others also expect from me. Accept people as who they are

We had a Dinner opportunity with Gautam Gandhi, Ex- New Business Head, Google India. Through a random lucky draw, I was in the 6 selected for the dinner. It was a wonderful experience. We didn’t talk about Plaksha or careers, rather we talked about self, life, Dalai Lama, Travel etc. Some of the lessons which sticked with me -

  1. What does happiness mean to you? This is the question to each one of us. Then he gave his answer. To him, happiness means having an empty mind. So subtle but powerful.
  2. For decision making - lock yourself in a room for a hour and listen to your body.
  3. Steve Jobs spent a year in Ashram. Everyone knows, but bringing up this point during our conversation on meditation etc. helped me to fit this into my world.

We also had a 3-day leadership bootcamp. There were a few lessons which made it worth the 3 days. Here are some -

A way of leadership when dealing with large number of people - “not acceptable to me”. If you as a single person oppose something, people will atleast acknowledge your opposition. It all when I said that it is not possible to bring 60 students on time to the class(given they are not motivated themselves) without breaking them into smaller groups. Through the above approach, it is not only possible to do it with 60, but even 1000. The idea that I as a single person can lead so many people was eye-opening for me.

Every successful person’s life is monotonous. There are no games that are glamorous, you put glamour in the game. Learn to seperate facts from stories. Create future from future, not from past. It should be informed by past, not limited by past. This is the statement which was the highlight of the bootcamp for me. Real power is declaration. (Kings in old times had this declaration power). Humour can go in places where sun cannot. Schedule time for your commitment.

Term 2 went great, and I am just looking forward to the upcoming journey.