My 3 year old son Dhyann has a screwdriver in his hand. He is playing make believe repair-man. It's genetic. My boy loves tools and tool boxes. His eyes light up the moment he sees anything that looks remotely like a screw. In fact, when the screw driver is in his hands, everything looks like a screw to him. He wants to repair my mobile phone with his screw driver. God help me, his gaze has now turned to my new iPad mini and I can see that that purposeful look in his eyes as he moves towards it!

His world is make believe. He is having fun.

But, what about your’s and mine?

So often I find myself using the same approach to solve completely different problems. Being patient and loving may work with my wife when she has had a long and tiring day with the children demanding every moment of her attention. Being patient may work with my student who is extremely sincere and has a burning desire to make something great of herself.

But, the same approach may not work someone else. In fact, the same approach may not work with the the same person at some other time. There are times when I know my wife wants me to be firm and take a stand. She wants me to be a little assertive and stop her from having that extra slice of cake. She resists it at that time, but later on before going to sleep, she will thank me.

Sometimes I know my mother just needs me to listen to her and nod. I may not agree with what she is saying at all. But she just needs me to listen and nod. She may just be venting out some frustration, or being completely irrational. But I know that if I can just be there for her without become a ‘solution-provider’, very soon she herself will announce the solution, instantly make the change in her head, and become absolutely positive.

For most of my life, and like many other sons and husbands, I have behaved like an ‘instruction manual’. As soon as she shares her problem, I am ready to proclaim that I have discovered the root cause of her woes, and lo and behold… I am ready and willing to reveal the solution. The truth is, she does not need me to tell her!

Yet, while I am speaking with my father about our family’s investment plans, he is certainly expecting me to present a solution. If I just keep looking at him and nodding my head, we may not make much progress… financially or emotionally :-)

So, my dear friends, lets figure out what gets the best out of us. All of us have certain triggers or hot-spots, that when provoked, either get the best, or the worst out of us.

For me, having a challenging goal, and clarity about the next step towards it gets the best out of me.
For me, having clearly defined boundaries, and freedom to work within those boundaries to create results, gets the best out of met.
For me, big thinking along with practical execution, and breaking those boundaries every now and then, gets the best out of me.
For me, having enough good people always around me, and bouncing off my ideas with them, always gets the best out of me.
For me, being able to open up and just be myself with a few close friends, without worrying about looking stupid, always gets the best out of me.
Reading a good book about design or business always gets my juices flowing.

For my friend Vigneshwar visualising a ride on his sports bike (or better still, and actual ride on it) always relaxes his mind and gets the best out of him.
For Sejal a chat with her elder brother gets the best out of her.
For Yash, spending some time building rapport with his younger brother makes him feels good.

Lets find out, what gets the best out of us. And lets ensure that we surround ourself with enough of whatever that is!

Do write back and share with us if you discovered what gets the best out of you...