Subranarian Rangan, a long time prof of Insead, posed us this morbid question, but is it really morbid? There is an undeniably depressing element to his query, considering ones death is never a happy ordeal. But if you will, try and look past that. Then what? Three words of little consequence scribbled in stone, what significance could this possibly have? Allow me to elaborate.
I dislike people who try to liken everyday life to something mathematical. However, I am going to be deeply hypocritical and grit my teeth, because there is such an attractive concept behind all this. Your life is a graph. And on this graph are two axes. X is your private life, Y is your professional life. But a third line splits private and professional, it is called Z and represents Public. Your three words should give the outsider a sense of who you are in these places, or perhaps what you offer. ( I believe the rules of the exercise are slightly blurry, but in a good way). They also allow you to place yourself on this axis.
So perhaps you are a “caffeine dependent entity”, or simply “bad at mornings”. Or did you opt for a more conventional “just have fun”? Maybe you took it seriously, maybe you didn’t. “Make money erryday” comes to mind.
So where are you? Perhaps you have never worked a day in your life and feel unfulfilled? Maybe you work yourself into the ground and can count your friends on one hand? The point is not to become inconsolable, or begin severely self-judging yourself (though I’ll admit I did).
You’ll remember I asked “where are you?”, and THAT is the point. Bettering yourself is knowing where you are. It is astonishing how easily we dive into self improvement without understanding from where we are starting.
Subramanian asked some very simple questions; and the answers were often much longer. Perhaps the hidden paradoxes of simple questions make them the toughest to answer, but it is undeniable that they are the most worthwhile to ask.
And if ever you were feeling curious, have a second look at the title.
Send your pictures to [email protected]
and use the hashtag #SummerAtINSEAD on Instagram or Twitter.