TFS 001 - Robert Pragai

 

What to do when you get bored easily? 

Do you know many people who planned the best things that have happened to them? For most of us, golden opportunities are seen as an unexpected reward. Luck is important, of course, but what is luck? As they say, serendipity pays visits to open and prepared minds. Defeats and successes are not so different. What is important is how we cope with the situation to turn it to our advantage. 

At The New School of Creativity we are curious about human beings: How they learn? How do they think? How they create? What makes them happier? We're looking for 'out of the box' thinkers and doers who can inspire our strategies to get things done more creatively and efficiently.

My first guest is Robert Pragai, a creative expert in problem-solving! 

The conversation with Robert took almost three hours, from which I edited three episodes of 20 minutes. The first one is about his life story, from which we can learn how our personality and the events of our life can help us to draw a learning path to grow. The second episode, Make the Problem Visible, is about the new skills we need to learn to survive and succeed in today’s world. Finally, the third episode, What happens when you fail, is about tips and mind tricks to get things done and to learn from our past failures.

What makes Robert special? He gets bored easily. He needs to be stimulated ALL THE TIME to pay attention and to be operational. For him, to be creative is not an option, it's a way of living!

Ready to get inspired to be more creative?

When I was preparing this podcast, I drew a map to follow his story and see what the lessons to be learned are. You can do the same with your own life story. It's a good exercise to have an overview of your life pathway. The more you understand how you cope with a difficult situation, the more you can turn it, next time, to your advantage.

As you know, the best way to learn is to practice. Once you have listened to Robert, download your free gift.

KEEP READING!

Rule 1: Don’t be afraid of what people think


Get inspired by how Robert hacks problems.

His first passion in life was sport.

He pushed himself physically and athletically. Playing basketball was all he wanted to do. 

  Loved sports–Played Basketball seriously.

Loved sports–Played Basketball seriously.

DREAM

University of Windsor

  Playing BASKETBALL as a pro.

Playing BASKETBALL as a pro.

REALITY CHECK

He was good at basketball but, when he compared himself to the best players, he understood that, no matter how hard he would try, he wouldn't be able to become as good as he wished to be. It is for the same reason that the famous Tadao Ando stopped boxing and became one of the most famous architects of the 20th century. Furthermore, Tadao Ando learned by himself since he didn't have the money to go to university! 

Lesson 1

Not achieving a dream is not a reason to give up on dreaming!

Studied Business at University of Windsor, Ontario.

  Business orientation

Business orientation

 

MAKE A CHOICE

His first choice would have been to become a civil engineer. He always loved numbers, solving problems and puzzles, but his grades and motivation were not strong enough... He finally decided to study in business.

  Didn't go to class often.

Didn't go to class often.

A CREATIVE MIND

Since Robert gets bored easily, the university put difficult paths above him since attending courses and lectures was a boring activity. He almost never went to class. Instead, he went to the library, figuring out by himself with textbooks how to find solutions to the problems. University was his first proof of the concept that he was able to succeed by developing his own way of learning. He forgot what he learned during his study time but his memory is still vivid about the books he read three months after quitting university.

Lesson 2

We can be different from others (in fact we should be) and succeed in our own way. 

If a strategy does not work, we should find the ones that work for us. The most important are to develop our talent and knowledge to become who we really want to be!

  Found his first job. 

Found his first job. 

 GETTING STARTED

Robert accepted the lowest entry position since he had almost no experience in business. He was a sales assistant or, as he called himself, a go for (go for this, go for that). He listened carefully when others talked, observed what they did and how they worked. When he knew the answer, he offered his help. 

“I was going out of my way to see things in.” He got promotions and was sent on business trips. It was intimidating to participate to important international events; the owner of the start-up played a mentor role. Robert learned a lot working with him, he still applies the advice he received from his mentor today. 

It just gives me a tremendous opportunity to learn.
— Robert Pragai

Lesson 3

Life is a lab school. Just by observing and listening to the others, we can learn so much!

  From a start-up in a basement to a multinational company

From a start-up in a basement to a multinational company

CAREER WISE

Robert was (and still is) very good at solving problems; he got the product manager job for Insights. He was responsible for the HP account. He increased the sales of the product and travelled broadly until he asked himself: Is this the life I want?

I woke up in different cities and I did not know where I am.
— Robert Pragai

Lost motivation. 

  Gave his notice.

Gave his notice.

LIFE CRISIS

Robert worked 70 hours a week until he realized that his life was going nowhere. He had no time for nothing else except work. He knew that he was on a career path, but he decided to give in his notice.

 “I pushed myself physically and athletically (in sport), I pushed myself career wise, but I never took care of myself personally. I didn’t know where my boundaries were?” 

Lesson 4

If we want to grow and live a happy life, we have to ask ourselves important questions and regularly look at our life with our third eye (the inside one). Am I satisfied with my life? What can I do to improve it?

  Left for Australia.

Left for Australia.

MENTAL CAPACITY CHECK

His first night in Sydney was a true test for his mental capacity. He had another choice to make; come back home to Montreal or go beyond his fear and stay there.

 “I was sharing a room with 10 guys, at the other side of the earth. I was scared.” He decided to wait an hour, and another hour and finally he had an amazing time. He found some work until he found a position as an account manager.

Got a job in Australia.

  Did not work out.

Did not work out.

LIFE LESSON

It was the first time for Robert that his boss and he were not seeing eye to eye. The position did not work out and he did not find another job. He had to come back to Montreal. It was very formative, he said.

Lesson 5

The events of our life are great opportunities to learn. Failure is the only way to learn more.

  Thought to apply in Civil Engineering.

Thought to apply in Civil Engineering.

SERENDIPITY

Finally the time had come for Robert to pursue his first passion. His application in civil engineering at Concordia University was ready. Therefore someone told him about this company that was looking for a project manager. Sometimes life sent us pleasant surprises, things happen by accident or chance. He discovered a new path for his professional life.

  Found a new job.

Found a new job.

 SET A PATHWAY

Robert turned around his first project with success. Then his job evolved through time, he was given things often unusual that had never been done before. Robert loves to set pathways. It is what motivates him. He is not good at operational work, administration or upkeep. He needs jobs that get his creativity out, otherwise he won't do it. Remember, he gets bored easily!

Lesson 6

If we want to take advantage of our past (failures and successes)it's important to make time to define the storylines of our life and understand better the lessons learned up to now.

NOW YOU PLAY!

Time to Act Now. Download My Personal Pathway and see what you can learn from your life story. What choices have you made that had an impact on your life? How did you cope when adversity or serendipity showed up? What are the main lessons that you learned and that you absolutely want to remember in the future? 

Many successful people spend a lot of time seeking out information about their behaviours while they fail or succeed at a task or in a project. My Personal Pathway is a tool to help you to have an overview of the main events of your life and to analyze how you have made decisions until now.

Before sketching your future, it's very important to start with the right assumptions. Otherwise, you can redo the same mistakes again and again.

Don't forget your free printable!


The Creative MInd Trick
of the Day!

RULE 1: Don't be afraid of what people think.

How this podcast Inspired you? Do you have a personal story or an anecdote to share? Please leave me a comment below, your feedback is important to us.

Don't miss the next episode: Make the problem visible.


 

Sylvie's Best Book:

Glass Philip, Words Without Music, Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, 2015
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