What shrinks your ‘Doubling time’?

Last week, one of my professors from WIMWI (a well known institute of management in western india, the alias used for IIM-A in case studies!) was in Pune. Professor Sunil Handa obliged us by coming to Pune and addressing a group of 900+ people on his views about education and entrepreneurship.

For Aarti and me, it was our privilege and pride that Handa Sir stayed at our house!

The thing is, whenever I am time with such people, something crazy happens. I’m talking about people who are not just tremendously accomplished, but they also LOVE me and care for me - a beautiful and rare combination. In fact, if you have some such people in your life, I recommend you hold on to them with ALL your might.

Such people shatter our comfort zones. They question all that we feel so proud about. They subject us to a reality check. Uncomfortable questions are asked. Such people expand our mind!

Handa Sir did that for me. I picked him up from the airport. By the time we had completed the 25 minute journey to my house, he had interrogated me about my work, my earnings, my relationships, my plans for the future, and even my daily schedule. He had ‘seen through’ the mask that is me.

At night after dinner, as we sat down to chat, he dropped the bomb. He asked me ‘What is the half life of the impact you are making on your students?’ We conduct a leadership and life transformation workshop for youth. It is a 4 day workshop. Students come out charged and fired up. They experience some beautiful transformations in their life - waking up time, dropping some time wasters, fitness, goals, experiencing gratitude, patience in relationships with parents, etc. But, if they don’t stay in touch and come for the followup sessions regularly, the impact reduces to half in some time.

In physics, ‘half life’ is the amount of time taken by a radioactive substance to reduce it’s radioactive emissions to half. With every passing unit of ‘half life’, the emissions become half of the original level, then a quarter, then an eighth, and so on.

The same thing sometimes happens to us human beings. My enthusiasm and energy for a goal, an interest or even relationship keeps reducing with time. Its almost as if human energy behaves somewhat like a radioactive isotope. The half life of Uranium-235 if 704 millions years, but sometimes my half life for that new years' resolution of ‘being fit’ may be only 7 days!

Fascinating, isn’t it!

Curious as I am, I thought to myself, what would happen if we were to reverse this concept of half life! A few minutes on ‘Google Chacha’ led me to the answer - ‘Doubling time’!

As the name suggests, doubling time is the amount of time a quantity takes to double itself, and then again, and then again, ad infinitum.

For example,
At the current growth rate of 1.2% p.a. of India’s population, the doubling time is 58 years, which means that in 58 years, our population will be double if we continue to grow at this rate! Interesting, isn’t it!
If your investment in the stock market growth at 10% every year, it will double in value just about 7 years!
If I can make 1% improvement every week, my performance will be almost DOUBLE in a year!

Neat, isn’t it?

What kind of environment do I need to immerse myself in, in order to migrate from half life, to doubling time!

My energy, my enthusiasm, my consistency, my results, my relationships should keeping on doubling itself!

Do I need to surround myself with people who care enough to tell me the truth even if it hurts?
Do I need to be in the company of people who are doing much more than me?
Do I need to have people around me who I feel responsible for?
Do I need to have people who will support me?
Or, do I need people who will be tough?

Do tell me, my dear friend, what has worked for you??
And, who are those people who help you SHRINK your doubling time!




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