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The 5 C’s of My Life

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So a quick clarification – No I am not talking about my college grades. Here I share some of the key points that I learned in my life, through experiences some of which has shaped me into what I am today. As I write this, my journey of learning and self-discovery continues…

Do you know the smallest Non-Interesting Number (NIN) in Mathematics? Well! If not, keep thinking and we’ll discuss as we go along.

What is the easiest to remember when you look back at your life? Obviously, you are not going to remember every second of your past!! At least not instantaneously; maybe it is there somewhere deep down in your folder hierarchy in your fragmented memory structure! You’d usually not forget things that happened, that made you into what you are today! The rest of this article is about some of those important periods of my life that taught me a lesson that I won’t forget.

Hey, by the way did you get around finding the smallest NIN? Well non-interesting numbers are those which typically do not have any mathematical significance as such. NINs are often identified as those numbers which do not appear in any of the well-known integer sequences. And, by the way, lets just stick to integers for this puzzle. Keep thinking!

When I chose to pursue Science and Electronics in my Junior College in Mumbai I wasn’t even really sure if that is what I wanted to do. However, a decently good percentage in SSC (Secondary School Certificate) makes Science a given choice. The 2 years from 2004 to 2006, until the last exam of the season -MH-CET, I had become more than certain that I am an Engineer! What greatly changed during these years happens to be the first C of my Life

Competence

Like many other aspiring engineers, I joined an IIT-JEE Coaching centre hoping to get through one of the premier Engineering Institutions of India. Here I realized for the first time what it is to be educated, and discovered studying doesn’t always have to be hard work, on the contrary, it could be very satisfying too. My way of studying changed dramatically, and I realized the numbers in my results didn’t mean so much, after all (of course, not because it was a NIN 😉 ). It took me time to learn this important lesson of my life and by the time I got it, it was too late for me to crack JEE. But I realised I had a dream to pursue! A dream to change; this made me learn that what I need is the competence to achieve this dream. You do not become competent by reading 100’s of books but by getting involved from deep within, in what is being talked about in just 1 or 2 books.

If you watch Big Bang Theory you might remember Sheldon talking about his favorite number! He says, “The best number is 73. Why? 73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the 12th and its mirror, 21, is the product of multiplying 7 and 3 and in binary 73 is a palindrome, 1001001, which backwards is 1001001.” Isn’t that interesting?

So, well, after not getting into one of the IITs my fate kicked me around several places finally landing me in SGGSIET which I did not know would be the place where I’d learn my 2nd and 3rd C’s. With a strong passion for becoming an Engineer, I mastered everything that was thrown at me. My Competence helped me gain public attention very quickly especially with my 9+ CGPA. But with that comes the ever-increasing expectation and you can’t flop the people who look high of you. I had to constantly stretch my challenges and targets, I had to achieve in a new arena outside of my comfort zone and that made me gradually realise that what I needed was my 2nd and 3rd C’s

Courage and Confidence

A lot of people talk about Courage and Confidence as their natural skills but if you watch closely a majority of them can show this only within the group they belong to, only in the skill that they are experts in and that is not what it really is. You show courage by doing something that you would typically not dare to; from as simple as speaking out in your class to leading a team to build something that no one ever thought was even possible. Of all, the most important, this courage comes alive when you are confident about yourself.

I participated in a number of Competitions, lead a team for Community Service Scheme, Worked as the Sponsorship Manager for Pragyaa-09, formed a new organisation – R&D-Knowledge Centre, anchored/ hosted a large number of events all of which only made me realise my widening comfort zone and hence my courage and confidence!

Well coming back to the NIN. Did you catch the paradox about this number? The very fact that I am interested to find out the Non-Interesting Number makes it interesting to me and you and hence it is no more a Non-Interesting Number right? Well that’s the paradox but technically it is still not interesting. I hope you are thinking about this number because there is an answer.

With a treasure of 3 C’s with me I started my career in Cognizant (interestingly another C!! Not on my list though) and worked for a brief period of time, switched over to Rizvi Engineering College and then went on to Pursue my Master’s in Robotics and Embedded Systems in the UK and finally secured a job in Siemens Building Technologies all in a span of roughly 2 Years’ time. The UK is very different! Very new! New people, new culture, different ways of life, different food! And also the place for a very new C in my life, not something that I thought would be so important and that is

Connection

Not many of us understand the importance of this C but it is something that pulls you higher in your life very quickly. Every person that you meet knows at least one thing that you did not and Vicè Versa. So, the moment you meet this person and learn something new, that’s a quick climb on the ladder and guess what will happen when you meet 100’s of 1000’s of people? Thanks to the Social network, getting connected to people across the globe has become easier than ever before. Did you know that the Theory of Six Degrees of Separation claims that on average every human being is connected to another by 6 or fewer connections? I personally believe the number of connections you have in life defines your level of success and maybe that is why Celebrities or politicians are often considered very successful. I made sure I do not miss a single opportunity I get to meet new people and that is how I became a very active participant in the Social Network, International Society, STEM, my Company and my University; everywhere that I could meet someone new.

Here’s one last clue for the smallest NIN before I reveal the answer… it is not a 1 digit number, nor 2, nor 3, nor 4… yes it’s a 5 digit number and the smallest as well! Come on you got this now, didn’t you?

The last C of my life is very different from all the C’s I discussed so far. So far things came to me and I learnt it from my experience and failures. But this is something that all of us have and learn but we never become an expert in and that is

Conscience

In the end, it’s not your success or failure or even your connections or competence that defines you as a human, that defines your behaviour and your success – It is your conscience. We have all been a victim of guilt at some point in time when situations forced us to do such things that we normally wouldn’t even want to do. You only attain perfection in your life when your deeds do not define your conscience but your consciences define your deeds! And attaining that is exactly something that I believe would be my greatest achievement.

Well for those who seriously read till here to atleast know what the smallest NIN is, here I am to reveal it – Twelve thousand four hundred and Seven! (Not in numerals so people don’t cheat and look the number straight away 😛 ) Now you are thinking ‘aah… that ain’t interesting at all’ but hey that’s what I was looking for 😉 ) The definition for smallest uninteresting number is the smallest integer that does not appear in the The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.

So those are the 5 C’s that I have learnt and am learning at different stages of my life. When I started I said you can only remember interesting things from your past. For me, my learning has been more interesting and important simply because I did not just learn, but I learnt and every new lesson changed what defines me. Each of us learns something new in the smallest of the things we do, the tiniest of the things we see, the mildest of the things we hear. What we fail to do is, realise such lessons that come and go like a breeze.

When we participate in this big event called life, fall and rise again, realise that lesson and carry it further for our next event we not only succeed in our life, we define what success really is! The definition of success is just as unique as you are!

“I am not an Elephant, I am a horse… I rise even before I fall… even before you could see me on the ground!” – Rajnikanth (on his personal life)

Article written by:

I am a Research Scholar in NUS Singapore working in the field of Computational Intelligence and Deep Learning. A Technology Admirer; I am curious to know more, to explore - and to share and socialize

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