//A musician that made a difference

A musician that made a difference

2017-07-31T23:23:26+00:00

Quality & Me

Subir shares his own personal efforts to work toward continuous improvement within his own community, among his friends and family.

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Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

Books read by Subir

One of the most memorable days of my life was meeting my favorite musician, Pandit Ravi Shankar, the legendary Sitar Maestro.

Subir Chowdhury and Ravi Shankar

Nearly half a century earlier, George Harrison of The Beatles traveled to India to learn sitar from him. A friendship formed, and it reshaped aspects of The Beatles music. Likewise, Ravi’s music had a huge impact on my own life.

Ravi invited me to his home after reading one of my books; he wanted to discuss the concept of quality. We talked about his music, and our own passions. We were supposed to meet for half an hour, but ended up talking for 3 hours. He was kind to give me lots of music CDs, DVDs, and books as a parting gift.

In our conversation, he wanted to know what ‘quality’ means to me. I was surprised by his question and his eagerness to learn. I responded, “Quality to me is Ravi Shankar.”

He was pleasantly surprised by my response and asked me why. I told him, his music gives me joy when I am down; similarly when I am alone on my own, his music gives me spiritual feelings. His music made a difference for me. He is an inspiration to me.

He was so humbled by my answer, but then told me that he still did not compose ‘quality’ music. He said he was still working on it.

Within six months of our meeting, I watched with my family his last live performance in Long Beach, CA, where  he played the sitar with an oxygen tube attached to his nose. I vividly remember his promise to me about composing music of ‘quality.’

The difference he made to millions of people of my birthplace during the 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh, I will never forget.

Ravi Shankar is one of the reasons I encourage you to make a difference, and to be a difference in someone’s life.

Subir

P.S. My new book, The Difference: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough, comes out in February 2017. You can preorder it here.

Fear freezes your ability to be straightforward

When we are scared, nervous, or afraid, we shut out the outside world.  We become less open and transparent. Instead of accepting our true selves, and admitting that we are afraid, we put up a wall designed to keep out the truth.  We make things up to compensate—about how good-looking we are, about how clever or competent we believe ourselves to be, about how much money we make. We lose sight of the importance of being straightforward and honest. Fear can undermine openness and honesty in anyone—including me!

What is the cost of a little white lie?

We have all lied at some point in our lives, even if it’s one of those “little white lies” you told your mother. The thing is, lying is never acceptable. Unless and until you replace lying with being straightforward, you’ll never have a caring mindset.

When has pride pushed you back?

Pride exists at the organizational level and can just as easily become tainted.  Think about it.  How many times have you witnessed senior level executives not acknowledging a problem? The reason?  Pride.  Ego.  They don’t want to admit that there is a problem because of ego:  someone else will think they’re weak, or that they’ll lose face.  To admit your decision was wrong means you are weak, correct?  Absolutely the opposite!

What do you do with a toothpick?

Think about the last time you picked up a piece of trash on the sidewalk, helped your neighbor without being asked, or thanked a co-worker for critical but necessary feedback. These are all small actions, but again, the sum is more powerful than the individual actions.