Achyut “AK” Menon
Managing Director, Options Executive Search
1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?
Summer holidays every year during my school days would be best. Both my parents, were part of large families ( with 7-10 siblings each) – who grew up in their hometown – as part of joint families themselves. And every year, all of us cousins – the younger generation – would land up there for a couple of months without our respective parents who would be working away in the cities!. Back in 70s – there wasn’t any TV or gadgets, and so fun and frolic meant hanging out together, discovering places in the paddy fields and mango orchards, fooling around, playing games with imagination and occasionally making do with whatever we got our hands on. Life was going from one meal to another and sharing our time with a bunch of others, all about the same age 5-12 yrs! No deadlines. No home work. No worry about future – just being in the moment :)!
2. What seemed like an inconsequential decision at the time, but in hindsight turned out to fundamentally reshape your life?
Back in my high school, I was chosen the Captain of the Hockey team and I decided to play – not the forward ( “right in”) position as the Coach said – but the “centre half” – a person who could be the playmaker, advancing with the forwards when we were in the offence, and falling back to support the defence when required. We did make it to the regional finals but the person who was chosen for the national level was the ‘forward’ who featured in the scorecard because of the number of goals scored.
Funny – when we look back – we grew up with values which were so different; Respect elders. Don’t question. Do what we were told. Adjust to whatever we had. Be grateful! Somehow belonging and bonding was the most important feeling in my growing up days.
I knew I was good at whatever I picked up and applied myself to. But never ever was there any burning desire to hone the killer’s instinct. Playing and let others be happy was more important. I perhaps even underplayed just to let some others who wanted it badly – to win. Well, it was only as we became adults, when we left school were we aware of the opportunities and privileges in the ‘society’ were only there for a restricted few and the sense of competition was essential for the survival of the fittest. Fortunately in the past 2-3 decades, as the industrial economy gave way to intellect/internet economy, I think the world has become a much more level playing ground. And I am happy – that I have been able to follow my passion – and help other people find their calling..and so life is no longer a zero-sum game..but a WIN-WIN!.
“I knew I was good….. but never, ever was there any burning desire to hone the killer’s instinct.”