Last month I had a chance to interact with Roshmi Roy. She is the author of the book “Climbing the beanstalk”. Author Roshmi Roy is a Literature Veteran. Check here our interesting discussion about the book, soft skills, literature and ability to constantly learn.
Akshay Dalvi: Tell us about your book “Climbing the Beanstalk”
Roshmi Roy: Climbing the Beanstalk’ is about making people realize their self-worth and enabling them to pursue their goals with confidence. Everything you wish to achieve is within your reach, but in order to turn your dreams into reality you must work on improving yourselves _ improve your personality, hone your skills or acquire new skills. The key word is commitment, and commitment means hard work and self-discipline. So if you are committed to achieving your goals, give yourselves a make-over and look out for opportunities that come your way.
AD: What is the narrative that you keep telling yourself to achieve your dreams?
Roshmi Roy: If you are alive, you are breathing the oxygen in the air, eating the produce of the land and making use of the resources God has given us. In return, we must give back something to the world and to the society we live in. Each person is a unique individual with something unique to contribute. So we should share with the world whatever skills or knowledge we have and make a contribution to society. I felt like sharing the knowledge that I have acquired in the hope that it will be of benefit to others.
AD: What were your challenges while writing a book?
Roshmi Roy: Writing comes easily to me. What I found challenging was deciding what was the best content to include and what to leave out. The other challenge, which everyone faces, is to avoid any distractions that might interfere with the writing schedule. It is again a matter of commitment. I find it easier to work with deadlines, because it keeps you on track and makes you complete the task on time.
AD: How did you develop a love for literature?
Roshmi Roy: As a child I used to read books from my father’s bookshelf and my taste in literature came from his favourites _ George Bernard Shaw and P.G. Wodehouse. I became a member of the British Council Library and the U.S.I.S Library (now called the American Centre). These libraries were treasure troves for me. Being an only child, my best companions were books. In school I was labelled as a ‘bookworm’.
AD: How important is reworking on our individual skillsets?
Roshmi Roy: Skills need to be continually upgraded to keep you ahead of the competition. Whether it is communication skills, analytical and research skills or public speaking, every skill improves with practice. It is also imperative to be aware of the current recruitment trends in your industry, and find out what recruiters are looking for. So other than up-skilling your existing skills, you may need to acquire new skills which are relevant to the current needs of recruiters. For instance, digitisation and automation have made certain skills obsolete, so new skills need to replace them. The challenge is to keep up with the changes that are taking place in all areas of functioning.
AD: How can one work on aptitude?
Roshmi Roy: Aptitude means a natural ability to do something; an outstanding aptitude is considered a talent. Aptitudes are generally evident through interest, so you can recognise your aptitudes by examining what you are most interested in. This can range from solving mathematical problems, conducting scientific experiments to playing the guitar or painting. When you are talented in a particular area, you should continue to develop this talent by undergoing proper training. While aptitude reflects your innate abilities, you can improve these abilities with training, and this will be reflected in your performance. There are aptitude tests which are meant to gauge where you aptitude lies. A choice of profession based on aptitude will lead to success.
AD: Is age a challenge for learning, what do you suggest to counter it?
Roshmi Roy: Age is definitely not a barrier to learning, since learning is a lifelong process. Older people are handicapped by their mind-set and refrain from joining courses and pursuing new skills because of fear and embarrassment. In fact they have an advantage over young learners as they bring more experience to the table, have clearer goals and are more focused in their learning process. Going back to formal learning or even taking up a new hobby is advantageous to those advanced in years because it helps to improve mental health and to stave off conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. It is never too late to make a career change and to get certified in a specialized field. There are courses where you can get certified in 8 – 12 weeks. You should never be ashamed of doing something to better your life.
AD: What things did you do in childhood to improve yourself?
Roshmi Roy: During childhood I was a voracious reader. Reading gives you exposure to different periods in history, different geographical areas and different cultures. I was also actively developing my talents in areas such as dancing and acting. I was fortunate enough to travel with my parents to various parts of India, and to several countries abroad. Travelling helps to get rid of parochial attitudes and opens your eyes to how the rest of the world lives.
AD: One message that you share with your readers & aspirers?
Roshmi Roy: The message that I would like to share is that success is not measurable by fame and riches. The greatest achievement is being a good human being. Your value lies in the kindness you show to others and the integrity with which you live your life. You can be successful and enjoy happiness and fulfillment even if you are not counted among the ‘rich and famous’.
You can get the copy of the book here