Leadership – The Differentiator!

Whenever posed with the topic of Leadership, it was always instinctive that leadership is a trait that is inborn for great leaders are such rarity. And as such, we often encounter the so-called effective leadership programs especially if one is in the corporate world. Such programs often involve trainings, sessions, assessments and the like which the speaker mentions having hardly any visible progress on the employees, in spite of such heavy investments. This is what she seems to have heard from people around for she has spent around 25 years observing the leadership traits.  

This TED talk questions as to what makes a great leader ? And I am surprised to find how the speaker connected it to our attitude and character building. In a nutshell, it’s all about how we develop our personality and the outlook. A very obvious but not so easy to explain question has it simplified by the speaker in the form of three basic questions; 

Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?  

The speaker further asks the viewer to introspect as to with whom one tends to spend time with. Experimentation and being ready for the days ahead in anticipation of likely changes is what distinguishes a great leader from others. A great leader is always ready to face the consequences who believes in action, rather than the reaction to unforeseen circumstances. In short, a great leader works towards shaping the future.

What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? 

We often tend to develop a deep connection with people with whom we are comfortable. However, the test of a great and efficient leader is who can establish a good connection with people who are diversified and might not be easy to handle. The differences can be in lot of perspectives – biological, physical, functional, political, socio-economic and cultural. Despite the differences, a great leader is someone who can be connected with easily and hence be trustworthy. Great leaders perceive this as a great chance to identify different patterns because of the highly diverse network they develop and who could come up with myriad solutions. I personally think this is one of the biggest differentiators of a great leader from the rest. 

Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? 

This question roots back to the one in the above point for which the speaker says that a great leader tends to avoid a practice with which he/she has become familiar/comfortable with. Instead, he/she tries to experiment and accept being different. Such leaders who build the emotional stamina to withstand roadblocks are often seen as perpetrators of the ‘courageous leap’.  

When we, especially the Management students, are often taught about the differences between a Leader and a Manager, this talk perfectly breaks the flow. It made me question my inherent concepts on leadership and provoked me to introspect my inner self.  

Here’s the link to this interesting talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader 


The Future Of Early Cancer Detection !

Cancer – a topic which is close to my heart made me get started with the edition of TED Summaries from now on. I would like to sincerely thank a wonderful acquaintance and an amazing persona, Anusha Sridharan for having me getting involved in this beautiful collection.

We are no less aware of how prevalent the deadly disease, Cancer has come of age. We all must have had known someone close to us who in spite of having no bad habits and leading an almost perfect and healthy lifestyle, get hold of this disease. And by the time the symptoms appear, it’s generally Stage 3 or Stage 4 which makes the case even more difficult to treat and have the patient recover completely. The speaker says at least one in three get diagnosed with some or the other type of Cancer and one in four dies from this.

The biggest challenge with Cancer detection is that symptoms appear late. Even though we have had an advancement in the treatment procedures, we still use the old techniques when it is the time for detection, especially once the symptoms start to show their forms.

The speaker along with his fellow scientists who hail from Chile, Panama, Mexico, Israel, and Greece came up with a vision to have a way to detect cancer in the early stages itself. For, this is when a patient has the highest chances of complete recovery.

Since Cancer is altered gene regulation, they came up with a technique that deals with the molecular level of detection using the concept of ‘MicroRNAs’. RNAs are the ones producing the requisite proteins for myriad bodily functions and MicroRNAs are the intermediary to produce them. The MicroRNAs are highly sensitive small regulatory gene expressions.

The speaker further adds that since no two cancers are alike, there would be a unique molecular pattern pertaining to each type. The challenge is that the existing DNA technology cannot be used for the nucleotides are smaller than the DNA and that all are very similar making it difficult to differentiate.

As such, they came up with a model that used data science, a 3D printed device, and microbiology. All we need is around 1 ml of blood and this tool. The working prototype showed that the detection takes around 60 minutes of time to detect the MicroRNAs in the sample via chemical reactions, match with the various cancer patterns and predict the type. Currently, this has successfully detected pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer and hepatic cancer.

This method would be open source for the goal is to make the detection easier, cheaper, reliable, accurate and affordable.

All in all, this talk simply blew my mind for the vision and the efforts that must have been put in to come up with such brilliance that has the potential to change the way Cancer is perceived in the society. We need more such advancements for us to conquer this traumatic disease.

The link to this talk – https://www.ted.com/talks/jorge_soto_the_future_of_early_cancer_detection#t-665370

The Road Less Taken!

I was reminded of the famous poem, ‘The Road Not Taken’ when I happened to get a glimpse of this book and wondered what would be so special about this book for the title had already caught my attention. And here, I am just done with this wonderful book by Dr. Scott Peck.

The most distinguishing factor about this non-fiction is the mindblowing way a Psychiatrist can so beautifully weave the pages of a book such as this. This book talks about the major facets of life while diving deep into explaining them out the way he gets to perceive through his practice of Psychiatry. There are lot many instances he puts on the paper to study human behavior and derive conclusions hidden therein. Ultimately, this book will somehow make us introspect the hidden persona we all carry within and make us think the way we tend to behave under different circumstances.

The writing is very simple, to the point, keeps the reader hooked to it and makes him/her look forward to the next section ahead.

Few of the lines from the book that particularly caught my attention;

“The feeling of being valuable-“I am a valuable person”-is essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self-discipline.”

“Some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline, we can solve all problems.”

“Truth or reality is avoided when it is painful.”

“Love is the free exercise of choice. Two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other but choose to live with each other.”

“It is true that love involves a change in the self, but this is an extension of the self rather than a sacrifice of the self.”

“Genuine love is a self-replenishing activity.”

“The essence of life is change, a panoply of growth and decay.”

“The highest forms of love are inevitably totally free choices and not acts of conformity.”

“One’s feelings are the source of one’s energy; they provide the horsepower, or slave power, that makes it possible for us to accomplish the tasks of living.”

A must-read book for sure for everyone from all age-groups.