Rajesh Setty is a visionary entrepreneur, author of several books including “Life Beyond Code” and an avid blogger. It is a privilege to interview Rajesh on his recently launched book “Upbeat – Cultivating the right attitude to thrive in tough times“. Upbeat is not only a book for the recessionary times, but is a great resource for some very useful ideas on career management.
[Tanmay Vora] Rajesh, it’s a pleasure interviewing you. First of all, how was “Upbeat” conceptualized? How did you come up with the idea of writing this book?
[Rajesh Setty] Thank you Tanmay for the opportunity to have this conversation.
I had an opportunity to build my first startup during the previous recession. It was not easy. The easiest way to define what was happening then was that “nobody was buying anything from anyone and everybody was trying selling something to everyone.” If we loved bad news, then we were in luck. There was bad news everyday – on the TV, in the newspapers, on the radio and there was generally some bad news shared during any interaction with anyone – online or offline.
We learned a lot during that period as the only way to have survived running a “bootstrapped” startup was to stay Upbeat. So I wrote most of it during that journey but by the time I completed the book, that recession was over. So I packed it up and and kept it aside. I didn’t have to wait for long as there was a another recession very soon. I unpacked the book, updated it and got it published.
[Tanmay Vora] Why do you think this book was necessary and who all will it help?
[Rajesh Setty] There are so many opportunities for us to get bogged down today. You can find depressing news via the media – I mean all kinds of media – newspapers, blogs, websites, twitter etc. If you want to find a reason to be unhappy or down, then you will find it plenty outside.
Of course, by being in a bad mood, you can’t get much done. At best, you will find a great excuse for not accomplishing much. Take a look at this equation
Big Dreams + Brilliant Excuses = Success in a Fantasy World.
During tough times people are handed “brilliant excuses” almost everyday. If you take the bait, then you got a license for inaction.
The book is short and talks about how you can avoid getting into this trap and actually take some action during tough times – not just to survive but to thrive!
[Tanmay Vora] What areas does this book cover?
[Rajesh Setty] There are five sections in the book:
- The Trap: Addresses why we are in a trap today. By just knowing how we get into the trap, we might be able to avoid the trap.
- The Discipline: The ultimate discipline is to keep a promise that we make to ourselves. This section talks about how to get into the discipline.
- The Strategy: Uncommon problems cannot be solved by common strategies. This section will talk about why you need to “invent” a new strategy and why “common” of “current” strategies won’t work.
- The Network: You can rarely do anything significant alone. This section talks about why “giving” (and not “getting”) is the right way to build your network.
- The Action: Sitting on the sidelines rarely gets you trophies. This section talks about the need to take action and some immediate steps.
The second part of the book is a workbook and it ends with some suggested action steps for each of the sections mentioned above.
[Tanmay Vora] If you had to summarize three key messages from the book to readers of this blog, what would those be?
[Rajesh Setty] Here they go:
- You have only so much time in your day. So please focus on things that will add capacity to you and others around you to contribute more. This means you will automatically avoid focusing on bad news, gossip and unnecessary “sympathy exchanges” as that will neither add capacity to you or people around you to contribute more.
- Relevance all the time: Recession is a time when what was working stops working (typically.) So if something has stopped working for you, the first thing to do is to see if what you were doing is still relevant. If not, it is time to change your game.
- Spend less AND spend more. The first quick response to a recession is to cut back on everything. In the process, we tend to cut back on key investments – investments that are required for our growth. This is the time to increase those investments as you need to be growing rapidly. Spend less – meaning cut back on your expenses. Spend more – meaning increase your investments on yourself.
[Tanmay Vora] Thank you Rajesh for your time and I am sure readers of this blog will be able to pick up some very useful insights from Upbeat to stay upbeat!