On relationships, work and meaning

Wrote this a few weeks back on an email and on Medium. Republishing it here. 

As I type this, I am in Dubai! In case you did not know, I am taking a break from life and work and all that and trying to discover myself. No, I am not killing myself or anything. This is an attempt to #bebetter. More is on this blogpost. Also, at C4 Events, we have a new project about postcards. Read about it here. Do lemme know if you want postcards from Dubai.

Anyhow so the point of this post is relationships and work.

The day before I left for this detox of sorts, I was talking to a colleague and was telling her that most modern relationships are actually based on convenience and not on real, deep sense of belonging. Of course she was aghast and all that. I don’t blame her. This a tough one. Counterintuitive to everything that we’ve been taught — especially in India where we are willing to kill and get killed for family, community, honor etc.

I believe that these relationships merely allow you to domesticate and stay in safe havens. If you have to go in deep waters and take risks and do amazing things, you HAVE to leave the comfort behind. And create (or forge or explore) relationships with strangers.

My point was that we ought to invest more into relationships that are built on top of work (or while working). And work not as in work that a bank teller does or a credit card salesman does (of course both are important and are tough and have dignity and all that) but work that makes us push the limits. The creative work.

So, in between the “argument” she asked me to give my theory of what makes relationships tick. I said that the deepest and the most meaningful relationships are the ones that are created around creating amazing things. In other words, if you can figure out ways to work together with great people, find synergies, find comfort in those people, it creates a fascinating relationship. And creates great work.

This seemed to make sense to her. And to me. And we left it at that and moved onto other things.

And then, something funny happened. I was checking my email in the morning and I stumbled onto this in my inbox…

The subtitle caught my attention and I had to click on it!

So I ended up at https://creativemornings.com/talks/christina-amini/1 and heard Christina Amini talk about how authentic relationships enable awesome projects and how awesome projects allow us to develop authentic relationships. Exactly what I was trying to tell my colleague the day before!

Do see the video if you have 25 odd minutes.

Disclaimer. The story (and the video), while is illuminating (and inspiring), is heartbreaking. You may not want to see it first thing in the morning. Or may be you want to see it, to remind you of the frivolity and shortness of life. A fear that pushes me to do more!

So, here are the key highlights that I am taking away from the talk (to help me reinforce my assertions about relationships rooted in work tend to be stronger, better and deeper). This following list is NOT a verbatim summary of the video. It also includes my thoughts as I saw the video.
  • Most creative work requires you to have immense faith and inherent trust in the other person (or people).
  • You have long-term thingy at the back of your head. This means you automatically start investing more (we all “know” that long-term success requires patience and honesty and openness).
  • When you work together, your conversations are about trying to solve problems (and not about what is Taimur upto or what is the new costume on Ranveer Singh etc). When you try to solve problems, you are often thinking as a team (and not as individuals). You start thinking about strengths of the other person — which automatically make you look for goodness in them.
  • When you work together, you are often vulnerable (you dont know how would audience receive a certain thing, you probably get stuck and seek help) etc etc. And when you are vulnerable, you open up. You start to share things that you’d normally keep buried in your hearts. And often when you solve problems when you are vulnerable, the answers that you come up with to solve the problems are the ones that often resolve the vulnerability. And when you get the resolution to your vulnerability AND to the problem you are facing, Eureka probably happens!
  • Because what you create makes meaning and is often larger than you, your teammates or your team, you have this shared sense of purpose. And achievement.
  • Most “creative” things require love. And that means you put in your heart and soul and all that to be able to create output. And when you work with someone who is also putting in the heart and soul and is creating a piece of love, you create magic! And the very process of creating magic makes the relationship, well, magical!

Apart from these direct inferences and thoughts from the talk, the other takeaway from this talk is when the lady says, “I will do anything with Susan!” This is something that I’ve been trying to be subconsciously. When I become available in market for new work etc, people HAVE to say that they’d do anything with me! Do they say the same about you?

Thats about it. What’s your take on relationships?

Thank you!

PS: This is a slightly edited version of an email that I send to select friends. Please do let me know if you wish to subscribe. 

PPS: First posted here

No comments:

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?