“ Aukaat “ Apani – Apani

  • The (Hindi) word ‘Aukaat ‘is a very useful word – though currently much maligned, due its usage in a derogatory way.
    • Many use it specifically to ‘ remind ‘ some one of his / her low standing , to denigrate , to humiliate – to express self , relative hierarchical superiority
  • To me, whatever ‘meaning ‘– is what we attach to a word. Words by themselves are only neutral carriers – we load a meaning on them ; hence a word per say is neither good or bad , it’s only an obedient tool to express what the master wants to
  • Aukaat, actually is a very beautiful concept. To me , it is indicative of a ‘ Boundary ‘ … boundary in itself being neither good nor bad , it just defines the ‘ expanse ‘ & where it ends
  • In life , to progress ; it is not much about what you don’t have it is more about we knowing what we have , how much does it stretch & consequentially therefore , where does it end – exactly like little kingdoms we had earlier , each having its boundary ( Nations being little kjngdoms of today ) or ‘ territory ‘ of an animal in a jungle !
    • For Peace & Progress, size was not as important as to know the boundary, so that there is at least no intentional encroachment into someone else’s territory. Within each’s own / independent territory each had enormous scope to create own ‘Heavens ‘….. Didn’t people in Singapore transformed, what was a small marshy land?
  • The same is true for an individual, to know ‘what is there ‘& ‘where it ends ‘. To excel in life it is not about what you don’t have which is a barrier , but not knowing about it – which leads to misadventure & hence a disaster
  • In fact it is my conviction that only when you (or only those who) know your ‘play area ‘ & where it ends, is when you really excel. Those who lack this knowledge ( actual word – ‘ Awareness ‘ ) remain directionless , dabble in many things , often clueless ( like playing Darts in the dark with eyes closed ) and end up at much suboptimal levels , topped up with frustration — not because they lacked in ability , but because they did not know about their abilities & their limitations
  • That is where I come back to the beautiful concept of “ Aukaat “ , which makes us aware of out\r boundaries / our limitations , so that we can play, within our play area maximizing on our strengths and thereby excel in whatever we do
  • There are examples & examples of successful application of this concept – both Positive & Negative
    • Sachin Tendulkar is a Glorious example of excelling in his strength area & not venturing beyond that boundary – it was wise for him to give up Captaincy to focus on & excel in Batting – Hundred 100s .
    • On the other hand there is an example in Ramayana & Mahabharat of crossing Boundary & failing … Seeta Maiya crossed the boundary Lakshman drew for her ( Lakshman Rekha ) …. She would have been invincible by playing from within that boundary
    • Abhimanyu — glorious example of valour , knew how to get into a Chakravyuh , did not know of how to get out – got killed ‘ crossing the line ‘
  • In sum therefore, I have grown fond of & convinced about the Power of the concept of “Aukaat “…. It is a beautiful, potent word / concept.
  • So I would encourage you to , instead of reminding someone else of his / her aukaat , it is more productive to get to know your own aukaat , because I am convinced that , only then you have a greater opportunity to excel , by playing within own aukaat . I have started practicing this.
  • For those , still skeptical about ‘ playing within aukaat ‘ , let me hasten to clarify the trade off , between the Short term & Long term in pursuit of excellence is that : In the short term , best shot at excellence is playing within the boundary ; while simultaneously working on stretching boundaries for long term excellence


I found that approaches / outlook different people hold for work or even life can be categorized into two distinct buckets : Trader mentality or  Businessman mentality . The way I am using this terminology here ; the words : Trader , Businessman , do not denote actual professions they represent , but to describe ‘ mentality ‘ or ‘ approach ‘ with different people

Since I believe ; ‘ What you do ‘ is a function of ‘ How you see ‘ ; people with these two mentalities have two distinct , different pattern of behavior , let’s see how

  • Revenue / money drive :
    • TRADER : is focused on how much money he is making … not necessarily from where it is coming or if this has any consistent direction . He should be happy , as long as xx number of transaction giving yyy revenue is clocked every day . As a result , a Trader may not develop or may not be known for any skill ( e.g. a Fruit seller , but not as Mango Expert or Orange expert ) As a generalist , trader will neither command a Brand , nor a premium – will be moneyed , but he is faceless to his customers & customers are faceless to him
    • BUSINESSMAN : is focused on a ‘ Line of Business ‘ … has a sense of purpose & direction & getting deeper into it , will eventually develop that skill in the desired field & will be known for his expertise . Premium comes from being a specialist
  • Transactional :
    • TRADER : As long as he is meeting the revenue target it does not matter if the same source / customer is coming again & again . It could be a completely different set of customers every day , as long as the revenue output is met . Way of dealing is transactional
    • BUSINESSMAN : Repeat sales is very important for the Businessman . It is important for him to have many of same customers to come again & again . Way of dealing is transactional
  • Profit outlook :
    • TRADER : Has to maximize profit in EVERY transaction …. Since business for him is a Sum of individual transactions . That is why a ‘ Trader ‘ says ; “ Goods once sold will not be taken back “
    • BUSINESSMAN : Optimises profit for the business over a period ; not for each transaction , every day . Hence a businessman may not mind taking one step back to go two steps forward
  • Focus :
    • TRADER : Focus is clearly on self . Likely to be rude / arrogant & ego driven
    • BUSINESSMAN : Focus is customer . Likely to be polite , accommodative,not  ego driven
  •  Now if you understand the two approaches clearly , just think : not just in business / work ; but also in our personal life , don’t we see people using these two different approaches in handling people & relationships