One image from stock images of the IPL playoffs between CSK and SRH stayed with me. I had shared it on my facebook wall. I couldn’t help but reflect how much CSK as a team and MS Dhoni as a leader has affected me and my actions. As you know, I have published three books in Kindle store till now. The reviews have been good and there are good reviews and good feedback. On a very good day in a week, the books get collectively 7 to 8 downloads. I think I have successfully implemented what I call, “The CSK Process” into my routine. Think about it, you write a book and people buy 7 of them off the shelf. It should make you happy right. Ermm… Let me say, I have grown indifferent.
The management of CSK always talks about the process. It may look like they are pulling off heists from chaos. But there is a process that goes behind each and every win. When things are cluttered it is easy to fall out. But when things are organized and each and every person and process have a defined role and is communicated properly, then the efficiency gets much better. Let me break down what CSK means process.
Before the game:
CSK get the best players. And more importantly, CSK has been known for spotting talent. Once they had spotted the talent and put them into their process, they come out as pure diamonds. MS Dhoni, when asked about the match winner Faf, who had played only five games till then, said his mental strength was enviable. The man had visualized himself in the pressure situation when he was practicing in the nets, when resting in the room and when traveling on the bus. It is safe to say most of the team members do that because it is evident by the individual performances.
For the writers, whenever I wrote an email, or a Facebook post, or a blog post, I cannot stop myself from thinking am I telling what I want to tell in the best way possible? If I use this way of communication and imagination in my novel which people are paying for, will they be happy? Needless to say, the number of Facebook posts, blog posts and Instagram quotes went down drastically. But I can safely say they are more relatable than before. I am clear about what I am saying rather than clarifying it in the comments.
On the Match day:
CSK is known for giving the best. They are also known for getting out of impossible situations and win at ease leaving many jaws hit the floor. In this era of binge-watching and YouTube, we forget it the next day and concentrate on the next match. When you notice the pattern, each match winner would have stayed in the crease for a long time or faced the most number of balls. Yes, there were some five ball fifteens or three balls eighteen. But there was some other person who dug in, swallowed the pressure and dug it out. If it had happened once with one player, we could have said it was the mental stamina of the player. Seeing how many times it had happened with a number of players right from the top to the bottom of the batting order, one could easily say it is the process.
For Writers, it is showing up to the blank document. Only if you can sit through grueling hours of blankness and self-evaluation you can put some words in the paper. For fifty thousand words, a writer could take a minimum of fifty hours to an infinite time. But every published author can say that they didn’t give up. There may be a lot going on in the home or work. But they still anchored themselves and built a routine to write. When they missed a single day to write, they would have compensated it with extra hours. There are no shortcuts.
This process of implementing what you visualized and with the inbuilt system of self-criticism helps some authors to write more books, bring out real characters out of mere words. Things get testing after finishing the first draft and moving on to editing. You find people to edit your work, beta read your work. Then you send email to each and every one you have ever known and blast social media with your books. You force people to visit the bookstore on a weekday evening to read what you have written. It can all be tiring. But when we set up a process and routine for these tasks, the outcome is usually better and most importantly it gives you a tangible feeling of doing your work well.
After the match-day:
CSK wins some and loses some. At any given point in time, one team is always better than the other. Maybe they had a great support staff or that one player who held up his nerve a bit more than the entire CSK team. CSK acknowledges it. In the presentation of the above-said match, MS Dhoni was asked what happened when their side was reduced to 54/5 at the end of ten overs. Maybe the presenter wanted MS Dhoni to criticize his team and himself. But Dhoni said in a matter of fact way “They were better than us for the most part of the game.” Accepting this when you have control over everything you do is a blessing. When Faf hit the last six, almost the entire CSK dugout erupted and ran into the ground. MS Dhoni sat in his chair stoically, clapping and one could say that he was already thinking about the next big match. And CSK never talks about their big wins (They have few). They finish it in the post-match presentation and interview and then move on. Fans keep bringing those matches up during online forums. But none of the players or coach have ever boasted about their past glory.
Writers feel the fatigue after writing each and every book and rightly so. It is exhausting. But that is what we signed up for. It is like enrolling in a fitness center knowing that it is going to hurt every muscle in your body. If you want to do it, day in and day out, you will have to look at the larger picture. When the novel is out of your hands and is published, it is not in your hands. We have to accept it. And think about what you can do next. If people love it, they will let you know. And more importantly, they will let others know. What they do shouldn’t be of a writer’s concern. If the job of the writer is to write then we have done it spectacularly well. The process of that particular novel is over. Now start again. The next big match is just around the corner.
There are many other things we can take from sports teams such as CSK, personalities like Virat Kohli and imbibe in our daily process/habits. They way they train, the way they add new skills to their arsenal which would help in their game. The focus they have on their goal and how they break down the process to small achievable pieces.
One of the favorite and most repeated phrases of MS Dhoni is “An individual should back himself up.” During the laborious writing/editing and marketing stages of your book, you have to back yourself up and have confidence in you. The confidence doesn’t come from ego. It comes from the training, working day in and day out and checking all the boxes on your process sheet.
Are you ready to implement the CSK process?