By Cheshta Rajora
In book stores and public libraries, I always see shelves over shelves flooded with novels, poetry, science fictions, biographies and autobiographies. But there always seemed one part visited by only a cult of faithful readers having tonnes of golden wisdom on personality development. To those shelves will soon be added Thank God It’s Monday to be launched this February at the World Book Fair ’15, authored by Siddhartha Sharma who says, “For every problem that we have, there is a book”.
Besides having authored five books, he is also a corporate trainer and a motivational speaker and motivates thousands of people every year to make a profession out of their passion. Having worked in one of India’s top multinational companies for over four years, he is well acquainted with the enthusiasm and obsession that employees share for Fridays and weekends. Determined to go against the status quo, his book Thank God It’s Monday brings a new and refreshing wave of work ethics and positive work psychology. It helps people understand that they can experience work happiness by inculcating great work ethics and simply love their Mondays.
We recently interviewed bestselling author Siddhartha Sharma, who is also one of India’s youngest motivational speakers and a pioneer in the field of positive work. Excerpts from the interview:
At such a young age, you have already authored a best-selling book. What inspired you to be a writer?
I am a student of personal development and I have explored the subject for over a decade and half. Having read and researched so much, it transformed my life like never before. Consequently, I chose this profession. I’m a motivational speaker and organizational consultant by profession. I love inspiring and speaking to people and sharing the message of finding their purpose in life. I started reading on personal development when I was 14 years. Close to two decades now, I have realized that there are so many books that average readers miss out on. Somehow, they don’t realize the power of self-help books and are only readers of fictions. I believe for every problem that we have, there is a book, which has the solution to that problem and a strategy to chase your dreams. I was so enamored and fascinated by the idea that your words can transform the lives of people beyond your imagination, that I became a personal-development author.
Do you think this genre enjoys the popularity it deserves in the India where only chick-lits and romantic comedies sport mass reach?
I personally believe that genres such as romantic comedies, chick-lits and thrillers don’t add any value to the lives of people. Such books are easy, fun and interesting to read so people prefer them over personal development or self help books. Notwithstanding that, there is a small yet serious and a growing community of readers which believes in the power of self development and follows every book launched in that area.
Thank God It’s Monday (TGIM) contains path-breaking strategies for employees to love their Mondays. What motivated you to write on this topic?
Our life is divided into two important categories – the professional and the personal and interestingly both affect each other. If you are not professionally happy then you cannot be happy in your personal life. TGIM is a solution to all the problems people face in their professional lives. According to many survey done in employee satisfaction areas, the reality is that more than 80% of people go to the jobs they hate, and yet they continue being in the jobs that make them miserable. They blame their organizations for not keeping them engaged, and completely forget the responsibility that they have towards their professional lives. It is very easy to blame your employer but very difficult to develop the right work ethic. TGIM is my attempt to help professionals develop positive work psychology and strong work ethics.
You have already authored a book on the ‘Monday’ concept- Love your Mondays and Retire Young, why Thank God It’s Monday after that?
I believe there are only two ways to achieve professional happiness—one is to do what you love, and second is to love whatever you are doing. Love Your Mondays and Retire Young is about finding your passion and then monetizing it in the form of a profession. It contains 12 proven strategies and 5 step road tests for anyone who wants to find his/her true calling and make money while pursuing it. It is about being able to churn your passion into profession, while TGIM is about being a good professional, no matter what you do. The second half of the book TGIM contains 12 core pillars of TGIM philosophy that can transform the way organisations do business.
What are the other projects that you plan to undertake in 2015?
Apart from TGIM, which is a book about employee engagement and organizational development strategies, I am working on a project that helps students in developing employability skills. As per many surveys done in employability skills sector, only 30-40% graduates are employable. My next book ‘Mom I Got the Job’ helps students in understanding the expectations of the companies and making a successful transition from campus corridors to corporate boardrooms. Another project in my mind is ‘Slippery Twenties’- related to common mistakes that people make in the most productive decade of their lives- their 20s.
Can you throw some light on ‘entrepreneurship in India’, as it remains the hot topic with campaigns like Make in India stealing headlines?
Entrepreneurship in India needs a big boost not only by the government but also from families and educational institutions. The silent anthem that is preached in every Indian household is “get good grades” and “get a good job”, however common sense tells me, that if everyone is finding good jobs, then who is creating those jobs? Entrepreneurs are very important for the holistic government of the economy. No amount of government efforts or investments by the existing companies can solve the problem of unemployment in India. It is only through entrepreneurship that we can solve this problem. People who know how to create jobs do not have to worry about finding a job. So entrepreneurs needs big boost in our country if we really need a good future, by the entire society. I have touched upon the same issue in my book ‘Millionaire Entrepreneurs’ also, which is a book for any individual who wants to start a successful business. This book is the guiding tool for anyone who wishes to become his/her own boss.
As an Indian author, do you find something interesting about the readership in India?
I have observed that people, across all age groups are losing their abilities to concentrate. Their attention span is shortening for worse. Small and short blogs or a quick twitter update is keeping their interest alive. As a result it becomes difficult for them to focus on a 200-300 paged book. However they don’t realize how important it is to learn and upgrade their minds. Books are foods for thought. It takes 2 years to write a book and 10 hours to read one, so if you can gather the knowledge assembled over two years in just ten hours, it is the best investment you can make.
Being in the field of personal development and self-motivation, what do you do everyday to inspire yourself?
Everyday I get up at 4 am and meditate for an hour. I read for one hour. I run for 30 minutes and work out for an hour. While driving or going to work I make a point to listen to my educational audios rather than listening to songs. I personally read two motivational books every week and attend 24 personal development seminars in a year. This is the regime I have been following for the last one decade now. I may skip a meal but I do not miss my daily motivational doses.
Having the opportunity to interact with thousands of young enthusiasts, what do you find common in today’s youth?
I observe that there is massive energy in today’s youth. but it is getting lost with no direction and only distractions. Peer pressure and herd mentality is another very common problem with them, because of which, more often than not, most of the young people I meet have poor self esteem and poor self concept. It makes me wonder how and why this developed.
How easy or difficult was it to change your industry after few years of work experience in one of the top consultancy firms?
I realised that my true calling lies in helping people and organizations in reaching their full potential. I believe that spoken and written words are two powerful mediums to change the lives of people around you. I have utmost faith in the message of living your purpose and want to help as many people as possible. When making the big shift of my life early in my career, I told myself one thing- when the WHY’S are strong enough, the challenges don’t matter.
Siddhartha Sharma also an NLP trainer, has authored the best-selling ’60 Keys to Success with NLP’ which talks about the thirty things you should know in your 20s, 20 things you should know in your 30s and 10 things you should know in your 40s. The book shares the secrets of success which are generally not taught to the masses. He briefly summed up his purpose in life for us- “You must discover in you, before it dies with you”