We have a close friend who is a musician and a pianist; that was the first time I spent so much time with a musician. Those were my MBA days – so I had time to loiter in one of our residences. And it was on those times when just for a lark – I sang a Bollywood song, and he would play it on the piano exactly, with just hearing it once. He and my husband would do face-offs – where my husband would play a tune, and our friend would play it and sometimes improvise on it. That is nothing short of a miracle. Music is his language—he understands it like we know the alphabet. So, as far as he is concerned, he is communicating in music—he hears it and plays it back.

Every natural power exhilarates; a true talent delights the possessor first – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Now, at work, my business partners—actuaries—also speak another language, which is the language of numbers. If there is a slide with a table of figures on it, one of them can reproduce it exactly as it is on the whiteboard a few seconds later. For them, the numbers tell a story, so it is not about memorizing or remembering by rote but just understanding what the numbers are saying. I never knew there were people to whom numbers speak like this.

My husband used to volunteer at Samaritans, the suicide helpline. When he first told me that his job was to listen to people and not stop them from committing suicide —because empathy does that for you without you having to do anything—I was surprised. He exudes empathy whether he is aware of it or not.

Many other examples, like Alex Ferguson’s knowledge of football (the one you play with your feet), were science to him. I am sure Warren Buffet has similar investing skills.

Isn’t it refreshing to know that what comes perfectly natural for you is your greatest strength? Your power is in your nature.

Now, if you mention to a musician, an actuary or a sportsperson that they speak a different language, they will probably need help understanding. It’s like asking fish what water is. And that led me to wonder if I have a language that I speak without knowing it. I am sure we all have something like that – something that comes so naturally to us, so institutively that we don’t even know that we speak it. It is that activity that charges our batteries.

I admit nothing comes to mind—except I can boss around people without thinking. To ensure I was not wrong, I asked my husband, who was standing in the kitchen after I ordered him to come to the living room. I remember when one of my friends told me growing up -‘That did I know that whatever I say comes out like an order.’ And I was like – hmm, really! From my point of view, if people did what I asked them to do, then I wouldn’t have to be bossy, right? Jokes aside – I do get to the root cause when it comes to working with people, whether they are ready to hear it or not. I’m not sure that this is my language yet, but then how would I know?

My question to you is, what is your language – what comes naturally to you?

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