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Choosing Positivity

Saurabh Mukherjea and Anupam Gupta shared the importance of the principles in their book, – ‘The Victory Project – Six Steps to Peak Potential’ and what motivated them to pen it down.

Saurabh Mukherjea, Author – ‘The Victory Project’, Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Marcellus Investment Managers along with Anupam Gupta, Author – ‘The Victory Project’ & Investment Research Consultant in conversation with Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in- Chief, BW Businessworld & exchange4media group, about their new book – ‘The Victory Project’ and what it is all about.

Q. How have been the last 150 days for you, personally and professionally? How did the idea of the book come up and how did you utilize the last few months writing it?

A. Saurabh Mukherjea –

Anupam and I have been working together, writing together, for the best part of 6 years and the idea came a couple of years back. I had left my job and was in the process of setting up Marcellus Investment Managers, we need licenses to set up a portfolio management business in India. I had 3 to 4 months whilst waiting for the license and one afternoon over a cup of coffee with Anupam at a café in Mumbai, we were discussing what are the psychological drivers of success in a modern professional environment? Whether it is in fund management, or the publishing world, whether it is in journalism, mental drivers of success and that led us to collaborate on a short series of articles for a website in Bangalore, which in turn got us the idea for this book. We used up the lockdown to tie-up the loose ends of the book together but there was also plenty free time of course. The commute time that one spends in the pre-Covid world. So I have used this time for non-stop reading, one book a week and I am proud to say that in four months I have managed to read more books than in the last 4 years.

Anupam Gupta –

It has been extremely busy. I wish I had more leisure time but maybe it is probably a good thing that I had a lot of work. We had to put in a lot of effort towards the end of the book, because a project of this size has so much of reference material and small things here and there. That was the first thing that kept me busy. My pod cast of course ‘Paisa Vaisa’. I have recorded more in these recent times than I have in the studio pre-Covid. Presently a lot of people have wanted to come forward to tell their story through the pod cast, so it has been very heartening. It has given me an opportunity also to look at a couple of more ideas. So that is the second thing. The third thing keeping me busy is the work that I do, the investment research consulting. Fourthly I am also working on a large project in the education sector. There has been a lot of work. The background with Covid has obviously had a mental impact for all of us. Not just for everyone sitting here but for all of humanity. There is very little space in the world where you won’t get affected. The book actually is an effort to probably give a diversion to the readers and audience out there, to tell them that even in this very difficult time for all of us you can also survive and thrive, if you follow the principles in the book. That has also kept me busy.

Q. Your book has a few principles, very basic yet very powerful principles. Those principles, as you said can be applied to any profession, it can be applied to life. Tell us what those professions are? what those principles are? Please build on these principles and how they can lead us to the peak of our potential?

A. Saurabh Mukherjea –

The way we have constructed the 6 steps, there is a sort of foundational layer, the foundational layer is the layer of skills that we have laid out on the book which are, simplification, specialization in spirituality, and in the more advanced layer of skills are clutter reduction, creativity and collaboration. I will go through the foundational layer and Anupam can talk about the advanced layer. The foundation layer in a way is the layer which I wish somebody had told us when we were 20 to 21 years old, which is, first choose something in life which appeals to you, that innately appeals to your instincts, to your tastes and specialize in that. Build a core set of skills which is your specialized skill. Once you have been able to find your specialized skills then simplify the subject matter discipline. Come up with simple rules that can drive success, simple rules that can lead to more efficient thinking, more effective action and we have highlighted in the book that in this journey of simplification and specialization you must find it helpful to find a Guru. A Guru who is the subject matter expert and who has been there, done that and can hasten or accelerate your journey of development. The third foundational skill we have spoken about is spirituality. This is not spirituality in the sense of you have to go to some religious place of worship and you start doing prayers and all. This is spirituality in the sense of realizing that there is more to life than me, me, and myself. Spirituality in the sense of realization that the happiness of people around you, your friends, your family, your colleagues, the broader society you live in that is as essential for your success as your personal endeavors and where I for one became more convinced of spirituality. I used to be a very cynical person on this subject. A few years back when I started managing money I realized for the first time that there are no future facts that I can use. Managing money necessarily means figuring out what the world looks like for the next 2, 3 or 4 years. There are no future facts that can help us. Spirituality therefore becomes a bridge between our skill sets and our ability to interpret the world around us and live reasonably happily. So basic skills, simplification, specialization spirituality, the more advanced skills that are above I am requesting you to outline them.

Anupam Gupta –

The advanced skills are 3 – declutter, creativity and collaboration. You can meditate as much as you want but if you can’t manage those 24 hours in a day, the tasks and the projects you have in a day, your entire system will go back to things which have cognitive overload. We need to make a conscious attempt to focus on what is important and what to declutter from our lives. One of the examples that Saurabh likes to give is a friend who he met and told him that he focusses on very few things. His family, his investors and his closest colleagues and he deprioritizes everything else. You have that clarity on your goals, you move on building prioritize checklists that could help you with execution. From there we moved to creativity. The thing about creativity is that every original idea ultimately gets copied so how do you actually produce genuinely original thought. It is not very difficult. Experts, a lot of authors, a lot of creative giants who agree on this very simplest of five things – first is read widely, diverse topics, diverse topics, second explore the world, third enhance your memory, fourth work hard and produce a lot of ideas and you can see that whether it is Virat Kohli, or an Oscar winning film director Satyajit Ray, the kind of hard work that they do and the vast body of work that they produce is really something. Finally, make friends try and meet and collaborate with other creators and find friends, people who can give you emotional support, intellectual support and practical help. In fact there is a quality that we see in almost all the guests that we have interviewed for this book. Collaboration is important as no matter how creative you are, you are just one person. If your mission is to realise your goals you have to interact with the world and in the process of changing the world with your ideas. For that you have to know and how to learn to influence other people and win their support and collaboration as is a really advanced skill that is useful in this respect. There are examples across the history of the world and even in India about how famous leaders – Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi have had to collaborate with people they don’t really like, but work together to a common cause.



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