A Letter to Wealthy (Inheritor)–Modesty in Abundance

I came across this letter from GD Birla to his son and this wealthiest industrialist has been an advisor to Gandhi and had great influence on his industry policy matters. Gandhi borrowed the concept of trusteeship to promote capitalism over socialism. Gandhi gave his blessings to the abundant wealth of Birla, to his teaching on trusteeship, a concept which asserted the right of the rich to accumulate and maintain wealth as long as the wealth was used to benefit society. This is the letter Birla wrote in Marwari language to his son, reproduced in English and is appropriate for every wealthy but still applicable to every individual to do whatever he can afford for good. This is a brief yet precise life principles concisely expressed with a fatherly affection and to be referred every time and anytime in a lifetime and perhaps continues to your future times (births) having read many times.

Dear Basant,
Whatever I’m writing, you should read even when you are grown up and also at your old age. I’m writing this from experience, as to how life must be lived.
Birth as human, is a rarity and when born as human, whoever misuses the birth, it is like he lived like an animal. You have wealth, health, good social connections. If you use them for the service of mankind, as a good human being, these are successful, else they are devil’s tools.
Never use wealth on selfish ends or merry spending, as wealth may not be there always. Spend less on self, more on public welfare and for the welfare of the distressed. Wealth is a force. Possibility of injustice is likely with this force or power. Take care that no injustice is done.
Leave some good morals for your children. If they indulge in merry-making, they become sinful and spoil our business. Do not pass on wealth to such unworthy children, rather use it for public welfare or distribute among deserving poor. Do not have mental blindness or passion for such children. Boundless effort and labor has been put in by we brothers, to build the business, assuming that our children will make best use of wealth we have generated.
Never forget God. He gives good sense and intellect. Have control on sensuous impulses, else those will sink you.
Do exercise and Yoga daily. Health is our biggest wealth. Health gives deftness, accomplishment and prosperity. I have seem how unhealthy millionaires become poor and frail. Eat meals feeling as medicine. Eat for living not live for eating.

G.D, Birla


Burn Your Portfolio

The stuff they don’t teach you in design school, but should by Michael Janda – was a fun read and these are the ones which excited me to capture and note it here.

Human Engineering – Behavior, work ethic, and social prowess have as much to do with your success as your ability to beat Photoshop senselessly into submission

  • Your friends will willingly and freely market your business, so it would serve you well to make a lot of friends – hence network
    • Gripes go up – stay +ve amidst frustrations, hunker down & complete rather waste tie complaining, solve the root of –ves (upgrade a computer, RAM)
    • You don’t have to be the art director, creative director, CTO, or VP of Blah-De-Blah agency to be a key member of a company
    • Just keep asking questions what can be improved on every possible front – within & outside your role
    • Lead or be led – it’s imperative to figure out what you don’t know and take necessary steps to learn it, no matter what it is and what it requires of you
    • What are you doing with your down time? Where do you want your career to go? What are you teaching yourself to help get there?
    • Toot your own horn
    • A companywide ‘Expose Yourself Friday’ meeting can give air-time for all employees to show cool stuff they’re doing
  • Art Smarts – The best designers take “luck” out of the equation,. Smart processes, strategies, and techniques will help you create a masterpiece every time
    • The difference between good design and great design is paying attention to details
    • Follow Shock & Awe Principle: Achieving Rapid Dominance – US department of defenses
    • Near total or absolute knowledge and understanding of self, adversary, and environment
    • Rapidity and timeliness in application
    • Operational brilliance in execution’
    • Near total control and signature management of the entire operational environment
  • Art is meant to be framed – if you buy an Apple product, notice the packaging details that went into it – Presentation is All that Matters
    • The faster you work, the more money you make
    • There are many ways to skin a cat, there is really only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time
    • Break down tasks, assign time and resource and track the progress
    • Bring out your dead – do postmortems for every project at the end
    • What we did right?
    • What we did wrong?
    • What we will change?
    • Brainstorms are 90% bad ideas – this point will keep your ego in check while the chaff that is bad ideas is separated from the golden wheat that is the next great idea
  • Two Ears and one Mouth _ sometimes a creative professional will actually have to take off their headphones and interact with another human being
    • Taking time to talk to people face to face is a dying art
    • Red Flags and Extinguishers – detail client situation & have responses handy
    • The ultimate email formula
    • Have response email templates for various situations
    • Avoid email black holes
    • Avoid W.W.W – Never make your customer Wait, Worry, and Wonder.
  • Happy Head Honchos – Everyone has to answer to someone. It might be a boss, a client or your mom. Learning how to handle superiors tactfully will open the doors to success
    • Designers are from Mars and clients are from Venus
    • People buy relationships, People buy stress relief, People buy goo deals
    • Let your client be a 800-pound Gorilla
    • When you speak so it without elitist, arrogant, or demeaning front. Hear them out
    • Do your Genealogy study – find the contacts’ contacts to get more business
    • Odd behavior at the start of the project is almost always going to yield more odd behavior during and at the end of the project
    • Judge early and storm out if possible
    • Don’t be a desperate girlfriend in seeking clients for projects – a gentle reminder periodically not to annoy but to remind
    • How to ask for a raise without asking for a raise
    • After few pleasantries and you attitude towards work in the current site, start off by saying: I’m working hard. I wanted to talk with you for a minute and et you know that I view myself being here long-term and I was wondering what steps should taking to be able to earn future raises and promotions. I’m not asking for a raise now; I want to make sure I earn it and what are the things you’re looking for out of me to deserve one?
  • Minding Your Business – Working as a designer without any business training is like jumping from an airplane without parachute training. Something bad is going to happen
    • Do what you love; The money will follow
    • Money could never replace the joy of making a living doing something that seems like the hobby you always dreamed of doing
    • If you want to win the game, you have to know the score
    • Track all receivables and payments
    • There is no such thing as a “Meet and Greet”
    • Every meeting, every interaction, every time you have an audience, you should be prepared to present what makes you and/or your company so awesome
    • Whatever you do, never ever do undocumented work….never, never, never