Chutzpah

For a Climb Called Leadership

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We may not ever be able to understand why society permits inequality, intolerance, hunger, disease and genocide in the first place, but we can understand what we can do to stop them…so be a little gutsy sometimes. Have some Chutzpah — Ruth Messinger

Background

Every night, I download an episode of the Tim Ferriss show and the next morning, I listen to that episode. Half of it on my journey to office and the other half on my way back. I must confess I have learnt a great deal from both Tim Ferriss and his guests. Two podcasts stand out in particular: one with Nick Szabo and Naval Ravikant. The other one with Esther Perel.

Esther, like my other friend from Israel Elad are registered in my subsconcious with the word Chutzpah. Elad is a tenacious individual who exudes Chutzpah. So, what is Chutzpah?

Chutzpah (/ˈhʊtspə/ or /ˈxʊtspə/)[1][2] is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad.

The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word ḥutspâ (חֻצְפָּה), meaning “insolence”, “cheek” or “audacity”.

Thus the original Yiddish word has a strongly negative connotation but the form which entered English through Ameridish has taken on a broader meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use in film, literature, and television.

The word is sometimes interpreted — particularly in business parlance — as meaning the amount of courage, mettle or ardor that an individual has (source: Wikipedia)

In other words, there is a good connotation and a bad one. What I am referring to in this article is the good one.

My Personal Experience

Quite often, the difference between getting what you want and not getting it is asking. In India, there is an old saying that means “even a mother will not give a baby milk unless it asks for it”

Many people fear a backlash if they ask for something more. But, temper your boldness with humility and you will be surprised by what you get. You might ask how? Let me explain:

Very often, the work we do is as a member of a team. I have always worked in multinationals all my life. Based on my limited experience, the two principles I keep in mind while working is:

1. How do I constantly live for my team mates? In other words, how do I go beyond the call of duty to save someone else’s time and effort (especially if you learn by talking to them that they have an urgent personal need)?

This is a principle ingrained in US Navy Seals. They are known to treat their colleagues as brothers and are trained to save their lives in combat. Altruism, then, is not a buzzword but an actual way of life.

A word of caution: Living for others has to be a full hearted effort not a half hearted one.

2. How do I be the hungriest and the most hard working individual in a team that knows everything from photocopying to business strategy? Sounds ridiculous, yes? I agree but not impossible.

I have always been drawn to the concept of ‘Every Man’. An Every Man is a man who can play with children, work with workers on the shop floor and perform as a CEO with equal ease.

The answers to these two questions will teach you humility. I bet a dollar that if you ask yourself these questions and try to work towards answering them consistently, people will be have a place in their heart for you.

As per Ralph Waldo Emerson “…. To know that even one life has breathed easier because of you is to have succeeded”.

Nothing can be truer.

Again, I am no expert in leadership or management. I have also not got everything I wanted always but I did try to leave every person I meet with a smile.

My sole purpose is to share a few life lessons with my readers in the hope that at least one of my readers benefit.

Here’s wishing everyone a bold new life filled with the audacity of living for others and succeeding at it.

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Writer @ The Intersection of Finance, Tech & Humanity. Stories of a Global Language: “Money”. Contributor @ Startup Grind, HackerNoon, HBR. Twitter@akothari_mba