Why one face setback?  

​According to the latest data, the percentage share of stalled projects in total projects is nearly 12% or 11.6 trillion USD in March 2016 in Indian Economy. Further according to US Dept of Commerce nearly 80% of start-ups fail in the first 3 years. Failure is also seen in personal lives too, when relationships breaks apart easily. 

What causes these? Is there any inter-relation between professional and personal life?

The answer is a BIG YES.

An essential cause for both the problem, in words of Daniel Kahneman, is planning fallacy. People and organisation often plan according to best case scenario only. There is not a plan B. A case in point can be airport metro of New Delhi. Other rail lines performed well except this and hence incurring losses. Reason given is overestimated footfall per day. Similarly one incorrectly plan for limited time available only considering best cases. The result is low time available for family.

Credits – Google images 
Another factor is luck. No care is taken for this in planning, execution or debugging. One should understand that successful companies like Google, Facebook were successful because they did the right thing at the right time and at the right place. A case in point can be downfall of NOKIA and rise of SAMSUNG. Nokia did not prepare for the future as against Samsung.
This implies that we are in illusion of control where one thinks that He/she is at driving seat but is not. This illusion is reinforced by unrealistic optimism. Though mild optimism creates resilience to overcome problems, however its excess can lead to overconfidence. This lead to blatantly ignoring the hard facts.

Competition too plays a big role both in public and private life. Eg, competition among start-up of same field, friends for common job etc. We tend to focus only on what we want to do and can do, neglecting the plan and skills of others. This again lead to overconfidence.

What are the solutions then?

The answer flows down from the problem. First accept that one has failed. This help in decreasing the optimistic bias. Secondly Plan better. Plan to utmost detail considering the worst case scenario and include compensation for luck. Take cue from the Japanese planning style where nearly 80% of allocated time for the project is spent planning for design, structure, human resources and only 20% for actually doing the work. Planning efficiently also improves productivity. The result is evident when we see that stalling ratio for project in Japan is significantly lower than other countries.

Secondly consider markets and life to be a battleground, where one must know their enemy to win. Learn from your competition mistakes and implement their best practises in your business and your personal life. Finally take an outside view regarding your work or life. This can be done by taking constructive criticism by others and working towards self-improvement.

Credits – Google images 


  • Livemint
  • Thinking Fast and slow, Daniel Kahneman

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