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Stay hungry, Stay Foolish 2.0 - "get uncomfortable"

For a long time,  "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish" struck a chord. By this Steve Jobs meant that one should look at the future the same way a hitchhiker looks at an untraveled path - stay forever hungry for experience, stay foolish enough to never stop when the path becomes "safe" enough.

2012 is the year to 'get uncomfortable' by choice, for many reasons. For one, getting uncomfortable is the way to understand how the world is feeling right now - with politics, with jobs, with the economy, with climate change, with the future and with a general sense of purpose. For better part of the last 50 years, the imagined purpose of economic progress was to link people, cultures and worlds - to make everything work on a 'global' scale, as this meant more "efficiency" and "speed". But that train has made a round trip through the globe, once.

For another, there is less coordinated thinking in the leadership around the world towards painting a compelling vision for the future.  Even if there is, it is quite invisible in form and function. That kind of uncertainty can lead to new things, but only if people internalize the fact that they cannot outsource leadership and action beyond a point.

Finally, we are at the beginning of yet another cycle of change. Change in the way people get information, consume, learn and apply knowledge about the world to further their own self interests. Software is powering this change. We are quite far away from understanding what it takes to have a Henry Ford for software. But we are at the next crossroads between a democratic and open countryside, deeply walled gardens and heavily tolled murky forests. Many new powerful tools are at the hands of the mega providers of this infrastructure. Some of them will become downright scary, some will make the current technology look like child's play.

The long term is quite unpredictable. There will be even more regulation to try and stop people getting the power to determine their future. There will be more disconnect between decision makers and their ability to understand what it is they are making a decision about.

Getting uncomfortable is not an option. A few starters for 2012:

1. Make things an art form. This is the way to show skill in any science.
2. Become a beginner. Re-charge core skills and build new ones.
3. Don't look for leadership. Create it. Teach it.
4. Do "post-max" work - work beyond capability and break your mind every day.

5. Say 'No' to easy things, even those which were essential for getting here.
6. Deliberately unlearn what you don't need.
7. Practice silence, rest and inaction every day.


  1. Really liked this article!

    "There will be more disconnect between decision makers and their ability to understand what it is they are making a decision about." .....this is so true. Take Kapil Sibal's efforts to screen social media. What he does not realize is that online content is public, not hidden, and you can get to know more about hate-mongers by studying that content and following the leads that public posting on the net invariably provides. It also important that decision makers understand the difference between 'illegal' and 'controversial'. 'Illegal' comes within the purview of the government but 'controversial' does not.

    "Deliberately unlearn what you don't need"....great advice! This reminded me of a superb article I read in the Scientific American sometime ago:


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