The Millennial Swimmer’s Body

Yami Gautam is a beautiful actress. She is fair, has sharp features and a lovely face. She has done some good cinema too with movies like Vicky Donor, Badlapur, Kaabil etc. She is also the face of Fair & Lovely Beauty Cream campaign.

Many girls see her advertisement for Fair & Lovely and buy the cream to be like Yami.

Similarly, IITs are holy grail for Engineering in India. Every year hundreds and thousands of aspirants appear in the examination to become successful. A select few hundreds make to the top institutes.

Both the above are examples of Swimmer’ Body Illusion as discovered by Nasser Taleb. Advertising of beauty products is done with people who are already good looking. Take example of Yami. She is made to look lesser pretty for the advertisement and with application of beauty product she looks to her normal self again. People, esp young girls, watching the advertisement believe that they can look like her and buy the product.

IITs, on the other hand, suffer acute shortage of good faculty at the institutes. This means that there will be plenty of courses that would be taught by mediocre or not that great professors. But still, students graduating from IITs are assumed to be the best Engineers in the country. This is because the selection through the tough and rigorous entrance examination ensures that only the best engineering minds make it to the institute. Consequently, the general engineer graduating from IIT is better engineer than others.

DD-SC-85-03041
Susan Rapp, the daughter of Army Colonel Edward G. Rapp, competes in a swimming event at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Many a times people look at others and start believing that they are better or equal to the ‘other’ and can beat them in what they are good that. In high octane, high competition societies like India, this is very visible. Reason- because there is so much to compare.

When children – marks are compared, when teenage – latest gadgetry in hand is compared, when adults – accumulation of wealth and assets is compared.

Consequently, there is a lot of herd movement to things. The mass makes things competitive and things go into scarcity very soon.

During the 1970s, people wanted to become an Engineer and take a government job. Why? Because there were a lot of Government enterprises that were being opened and everyone wanted a safe future.

During the late 90s and early 2000s, people wanted to get into Information Technology as invariably it was the path to the US.

Since 2015, we see a lot of startups coming up. Mushrooming and growing. Trying to change the world.

What happened in 1970s? We have engineering companies with not so great engineering talent as people soon realized that they had different skills.

What happened in 1990s? We had many engineers who may have done something else (and may be more meaningful) got into IT and are straddled in their paths not knowing where to go?

What is happening today? We have a lot of people building startups because others are doing it not knowing whether they have appetite for startups or not. Soon, we would have more debris at the bottom of the ocean.

Startups

The larger startups that are going to win and thrive are the ones that are attracting talent with strong reach out.Consequently, they are building an atmosphere of competitiveness internally. People push each other to grow and grow the company along – good strategy for any company on a high velocity path. Retaining that talent is the key challenge now!

It is crucial that one realizes their own limitations and then work towards the appropriate Swimmer’s Body Dilemma. Millennials need to understand this more to know as their lives are already on the swim lane to make the fastest lap.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s