Kiruba is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster and a farmer.

Why Do People Jump onto the Aisle as Soon as the Aircraft Lands?

I have always been flummoxed by this behavior.   After the aircraft lands and the Milli-second after the seat belt sign goes off, people get off their seats as if its an emergency evacuation.  They grab their luggage and stand uncomfortably in the aisle.

Everyone who stands in the aisle know that the doors don’t open for another 10 minutes. So why bother?

There’s no time advantage either.  At best, they save 2 minutes but that immediately gets evened out when they are made to wait in the transfer bus and even more so at the luggage carousel.

I’ve seen this habit mostly in India and wanted to figure out the reasons behind this behavior.  Here’s what I could come up with.

1) Wanting to stretch their legs after sitting for long.

2) Having a false sense of saving time.

3) Herd mentality. When you see others standing up, you do too so as not not lose any competitive edge.

But by far the best explanation I heard  is from a fellow passenger who traveled with me in yesterday’s flight. He’s a Mumbaikar who now stays in Bangkok.  He says its a habit that we have acquired from our days of traveling in Buses and Trains.

We usually get up from our seats much before our destination comes because we have to weave and squeeze our way through the standing crowd to edge closer to the exit door.  Its a mentality that has sunk deep into us. He says we involuntarily do that even in flights.

Its the strangest answer I heard but it makes good sense.

What do you think are the reasons?


Why I’m Unsubscribing My Newspaper!

We have been subscribing to  at least one newspaper at our home right from my Grandfather days.We have  had ‘The Hindu’ for the longest but also dabbled with Times of India and Deccan Chronicle. We still continue to get newspapers to this day. But that’s going to change now. I have asked the Newspaper Agent to stop my subscriptions from March 31.

Reading newspaper in the morning is a habit that has been ingrained in me. I’m 38 years old. That’s 14,157 days since the day I was born. For almost every single day of my life, a newspaper has plonked on our door step every morning. My Dad had encouraged me to read newspapers early in life. As I grew up, waking up in the morning and reaching out for the paper has become an involuntary habit.

So, why am I discontinuing a habit I have grown up with? Here are my reasons.

It’s a Productivity Killer: When you wake up in the moring, your mind and body is fresh from a good night’s sleep. The first hour after you wake up is the most fertile hour of the day. Just the perfect condition to produce things of value. Author a book chapter, Write a blog post, Plan for the day…anything that makes you create. (Read my post: Be a Producer. Not a Consumer.)  Unfortunately, when we pick up a newspaper, we become a passive consumer. Not an efficient way to spend the fertile hour.

I Don’t Find 90% of News Useful: The only two sections I read are the front page and the sports section. I really don’t give a damn about politics which occupies the chunk of the paper. Buying a newspaper is like buying a whole music album when all you like is just one song.

Its Convenient Reading News Online:  With my iPad, the newspaper comes along with me and I get to catch up on news whenever I have free time. And I get to pick the news section that I’m interested in and ignoring the rest.

Why Pay for the Ads?:  While ads are important for the newspaper, they add no value to me. I can’t think of any ad that has profoundly impacted my life.  I totally understand that ads are how newspapers make their money but its time they revisited their business model.

Save the Trees: Really! If I’m given two options to consume news, I’d rather choose the more sustainable one. Lets spare the trees if we can help it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against news. I strongly believe that one will have to keep oneself updated. I’m only against the medium of delivery. I find consuming news on mobile and iPad not just convenient but also sensible.

In my opinion, while the physical newspapers will die a slow definite death, the job of newsmaking will continue to prosper. There is and will continue to be demand for news. Journalism as an occupation will continue to be an evergreen field.

Giving up a newspaper is far easier than you’d think. Especially when you have another way to get your news fix. The easiest way to get out of a habit, is to get it off your eyesight. Hence the unsubscription. When the newspaper no longer comes to your home, how can you be distracted by it!

Think of how we sent our letters 20 years ago. Didn’t we seamlessly move to emails. The same will happen to news consumption as well.

So, what do you think of the decision? Stupid? Sensible?  I would love to hear your opinion.

Learning is Important. Ego isn’t. A Real Life Incident.

At a Social Media workshop that I recently conducted, a participant approached me during the tea break. We started to discuss about case studies that I had taught. She then broached a question that stumped me for a second. She asked, “Would it be OK if I interned at your Social Media firm.” And she hastened to add, “By the way, you don’t have to pay me”.

If this question had come from a college student, I would not have blinked an eyelid. This was from a person who was branch head of a large Advertising agency. She currently holds a senior position at a major English Newspaper. A person with decades of work experience.

She said that she was very well versed with traditional media but was very new in the digital space and was determined to learn the ropes.

Her attitude impressed me. Most people  with her seniority and years of experience (including me) would cringe at the thought of asking for an unpaid internship in another form. She didn’t let her ego come in the way of learning and for that alone, she deserves credit.

It reminded me of Richard Branson’s words in his book, ‘Screw it…Let’s Do it’. He says…

“If you don’t have the right experience to reach your goal, look for another way in. If you want to fly, get down to the airfield and make tea. Keep your eyes open. Look and learn. You don’t have to go to art school to be a fashion designer. Join a fashion company and push a broom. Work your way up”

This is a powerful lesson that we should all learn from the lady. Learning is important. Ego isn’t.

Yup, I did say yes to her and look forward to working together.

How Speaking Opportunities have given my Reading Habit a Boost.

(Photo credit Peggy Art)

I don’t recall ever reading a book about Swami Vivekananda. Nor have I learned any of his teachings. The closest I have been to ‘him’ is to visit the Ramakrishna Math in Calcutta but that was as a tourist. So, its a bit of surprise that I now spend considerable time on YouTube listening to his talks and reading about his teachings.

So, why this transformation?

On March 27th, I’ve been invited by MGR University to give a keynote speech at a literary fest to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Principal had such high opinion about me. She wanted me to give a motivational talk to the students. I had two choices when I received the call. To turn down the invitation citing my lack of knowledge on Swami’s teachings. Or take it up as a challenge, go beyond my comfort zone, and learn about the subject. I loved the idea of the challenge and said ‘YES’. I’m glad I did.

The scene now shifts to the airport.

The last two months has been heavy on speaking engagements. I’ve been traveling around the country speaking at corporates and conferences. I have been wanting to improve my repertoire and learn engaging stories to illustrate my points.

I decided to marry travel with reading. Here’s what I did.

Whenever I’m at an Airport, I pick up a book from the bookstore. The criteria for my book selection is that it has to be small and thin. Max around 100 pages. My goal is to finish the book before the plane lands at the destination. This habit has done wonders to my book reading habit…and my speaking skills! I always aim to include what I learned from the book into my next speech. Its worked out wonderfully. Now I look forward to more speaking opportunities for I know it also pulls up my reading.

What tips did you follow to improve your reading and speaking? Would love to hear.

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