Six Lenses

Title –  Six Lenses: Vignettes of Success, Career and Relationships

Six Lenses

Author – R. Gopalakrishnan

Publisher – Rupa Publications

Genre – Non-Fiction

Pages – 194

Price – INR 395

ISBN – 978-81-291-3587-2

Blurb on the book – Almost with a touch of philosophy, yet firmly grounded in the reality of business and national affairs, the author argues that there is no reality, only perceptions of reality. Perceptions influence our thoughts and actions and these, in turn, are influenced by the lenses through which we see the world. There are six such lenses: purpose, authenticity, courage, trust, luck and fulfillment.

R. Gopalakrishnan uses, as examples, the lives of ordinary people’ to illustrate his view. By rotating the lenses, Gopal attempts to understand what success in career and life really means. While biographies of celebrities are inspiring to read, they are often read like dramatic fairy tales-out of the scope of an average person. But in Six Lenses, Gopalakrishnan narrates the stories of PLUs (people like us)—as he likes to call them—from business and society, whom he has known during his illustrious career. He elucidates the extraordinary lessons that can be learnt from everyday experiences and shows how, by altering our perceptions, we can better overcome the challenges we face at work and in family matters.

Thought-provoking, profound and questioning, Six Lenses will make you look at your life and career in a different light.

Review – The book has a bright and bold cover that makes the title shine against a black background. Quite symbolically, the book highlights the six lenses with which we view life, making it standout from the noise.

The lenses in question are the human perspective.

Right at onset, the book talks about what inspired the author to write this book, followed by what this book is all about. As has been explained in the blurb on the book, this book isn’t aiming at providing pat answers, tips or tricks on any magical transformations or on ways to achieve success  in career or relationships.

The book with its rich vocabulary, ingenious narration, commendable research and impeccable editing shares life stories of people whom the author chooses to call PLU (people like us). Besides being motivating and thought-provoking, these stories made me stop every now and then, co-relate my own life or that of the people in my life taking the liberty to view them with the suggested six lenses.

“Whatever learnings you may have in life, for sure, one learning is likely to be identical among all people- that no two people perceive life, its incidents, experiences and people, in the same way. there are infinite vignettes about success, career and relationships.”

I was amazed to learn how a changed perspective made understanding actions, be it ours or that of others so much easier. I wish to congratulate the author in a highly successful attempt of inspiring the readers to view their success, life goals and accomplishments in a new light. It has been quite a joy to understand that there is no hard and fast reality, no etched-in-stone definition of success. It all depends on the lens we use to gauge any of these.

The six lenses that shape our perception of the challenges encountered in work are: purpose, authenticity, courage, trust, luck and fulfillment.

  • Purpose – the deep-seated belief about life’s aim.
  • Authenticity – aims at discovering who you are, at the core.
  • Courage – A mindset about overcoming obstacles and inequity such as boldness, resisting unfair power, taking risks, and facing up to your vulnerabilities.
  • Trust- It encompasses virtues such as reliability, never letting anyone down, keeping secrets, loyalty and faith.
  • Luck  – Take a closer look at the the hidden beliefs on which individuals may or may not believe. It revolves around fate, unearned luck, providence, and coincidence.
  • Fulfillment – It is an insightful look at what brings satisfaction and contentment. It is about being happy, radiating positive energy and enjoying what exists rather than cry about what might have been missed.

The biography of Nihal Kaviratne left a huge impact on my psyche. I re-read it twice to soak in his struggles to live a life of fulfillment.How he followed his heart and principles makes for an inspiring biography.

“The journey of career and life has some purpose. It is to be happy: to give all one has, to take all one can, and to keep both in balance. When we refer to happiness what we really mean is a complex phenomenon called emotional well-being. To be happy is to process a favorable emotional state. It is not about money,influence and possessions.”

Though the book primarily focuses on all aspects as leadership challenges, but the examples cited hold relevance to everyone reading this book. The anecdotes in every chapter cite examples from all walks of life, from religion to invention, mythology to sports and technology to history.

My biggest take-away from this book has been that the  idea of reality does not exist and that all man sees is through his perception of the world around him. Realization of how we can alter the outcomes by changing our perspectives. This ideology has opened up doors of endless possibilities both in view of my life and my life-goals.

“If your search for a purpose is with yourself in the center, you may run around in circles for a long time,but if it is focused on other people or a cause beneficial to your fellowmen,you may find your destiny sooner…you will never find a higher purpose until you look beyond yourself to the needs of others.”

The beauty of the book lies in it being a non-fiction collection of larger-than-life lives of people who conquered their shortcomings guided by their perspectives, life-experiences to lead an exemplary life.

The book is unputdownable, but I highly recommend frequent breaks to contemplate over all that we’ve read. Allowing enough time and thought for the inspiring tales to seep in our mind and cast a positive impact.

In the start a repetition of the narrative over the chapter to recapitulate facts and findings bothered me a bit, but as I read on, this was lost in the gripping narrative.I could feel a strong connect with all the individual chapters on the six Lenses, but the one written on trust  couldn’t impress me just as much.

“We believe expert predictions because we are hard-wired to avoid uncertainty. Fundamentally we believe because we want to believe. For humans, inventing stories that make the world sensible and orderly is as natural as breathing. admitting a mistake and moving on does not come easily to homo-sapiens. The ability of the mind to fool itself by unconscious fudging of the facts is far greater than most people realize.”

I highly recommend this book to everyone who’d love to learn to get an insight of how our perspectives drive our lives and how we can alter our life course (to some extent) by changing our lenses from time to time.

About the Author – R. Gopalakrishnan (Gopal to friends) is a reputed business leader who spends his early mornings doing what he loves most: pondering and writing. An inspiring speaker and a deep thinker, he loves to connect stand-alone dots to weave distinctive and masterful narratives.

While his anecdotes are derived from management and business, the themes he focusses on are inspired from nature, psychology and common sense. Gopal has authored several bestselling books and delivered over 100 keynote speeches internationally.

Rating – 4/5

Disclosure – I received the review copy of the book from the publisher. However the views expressed are my own and totally abiding the policy I have outlined here.

4 thoughts on “Six Lenses

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