Books and Cinema,  On Management

The Rorschach Principle

In Watchmen (one of the best superhero movies ever made), Rorschach states the simple fact. As a convict inside a prison which is half full thanks to him in the first place, you cannot expect him to be quite popular. After an attempt on his life in full public view during the pretty lunch hour, he makes the situation pretty clear to his fellow inmates. He refuses to buckle down to the fact of him being locked down with others. He insists that they are locked up there with him. Oh dear.

Leading with Intent

The greatest heroes in fiction and life have always led their own destiny. It is easier read than implemented, because we do not often understand what it means to ‘get things done’. Though successful Outliers are aided by circumstances, they are not always favorable. How to use what we have to one’s advantage is a rare skill, and useful. Successful folks have always been resourceful, shown stubborn intent and have invested in relationships for the long term. They haven’t really ‘gone with the flow’, but made difficult sacrifices if necessary. Also, when they have ‘gone with flow’, it meant taking hurdles in their stride and using them to their advantage. Leaders lead with a distinct purpose and have a tendency to look out for the squabbling (which pack doesn’t squabble) pack. Because it’s their pack. Wolf pack, if I may. Leaders fight because they are keen to conquer, leaders retreat to fight another day.

Leading with a Story

It is easy to take decisions once things are in order. That is when you’re allowing circumstances to lead the way, and are reacting rather than being proactive. Finding a line of sight through chaos is a legendary skill set. However, terming the line of sight that has been found as the best possible option is ‘a way out’. And it works! Our world and relationships work on perceptions. As long as your solution is immediately perceived as the best one (and you back this up with results, of course, else you’re just a tall talker) and you take care of your wolf pack – you’re good to go. Your story is often strong enough to enchant you as well, and that always leads to better things.

“A new road or a secret gate”

JRR Tolkien, in his song The Road Goes Ever On, suggested that we might pass by a new road or a secret path on the road that goes ever on – we might always come back this way and take them hidden paths towards the sun or the moon (read glory). It is crucial to know when to pass these secret gates by, and when to choose them. Life doesn’t really allow you a table and a cup of coffee to ponder over these questions. Life rushes past like a wind with its bladder full if you’d like it to blaze on. Your most crucial decisions might need to take place in the most chaotic of situations. Standing up for what is ‘right’ might turn out to be silly because in the larger scheme of things – ‘right’ is subjective.

“Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon. That’s always been the difference between us..” said Rorschach. And he died. Because he stayed limited in his vision. He chose not to live and fight another day. Was he brave or reckless?


“You are the most powerful force in your life,” says Brian Wong. In all situations, your decisions count. Learn from Rorschach that the entire world is in here, locked up with you. You are fortunate to call the shots, and decide how your life steers. Ending this with a legendary joke (courtesy Rorschach) – “Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Life seems harsh, and cruel. Says he feels all alone in threatening world. Doctor says: “Treatment is simple. The great clown – Pagliacci – is in town. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. “But doctor…” he says “I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”

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