Wisdom Stories Ep.6: Mr. Yashpal Syngal


Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

My 10 years at American Express exposed me to liberal doses of ‘customer service mindset’. Several years later, when I came across Dharam, our pantry boy, I found myself facing a living example of what customer service is truly about. Dharam would remember the coffee preference of a US visitor even after 2-3 years! He would see my car pulling in from the 7th floor window and ensure my lemonade was at my table when I entered my cabin. He worked passionately with a smile for 12 hours a day and then went home to tend to the needs of his differently-abled child. He sends me birthday wishes even after 7 years of my retirement. This was like a lesson in ‘customer service 2.0’ for me.

Teaching a 12th-grade class at the Vidya School, Gurugram, a school for underprivileged children

If I could go back in time and change one thing in my professional journey, it would be my work-life balance. Working for 14 to 16 hours a day, ignoring my family and health was not smart by any stretch of imagination. Now, I only engage in activities that are important to me and give me happiness, like music, working with less privileged students, golf, and spending time with my family. Nothing else matters.

“When I think of these children, I realise how insignificant my problems are in front of theirs”

When I work with the less privileged students at Vidya School, I realise how insignificant my problems are in front of theirs. This realisation is helping me live life without stress. When somebody uses the wrong side of the road, it doesn’t bother me. If the weather is too hot or the food is not tasty, it doesn’t bother me. If somebody yells at me, he/she is only increasing his/her blood pressure. A bad golf shot still bothers me, but I will figure this one out!

Sharing a Laugh with bright young minds

It is important to pursue one’s passions. I advise everyone to take a solo vacation to discover what makes you happy and how you would like to live your life when you are in your late sixties. Your personal and professional energy throughout life must be channelled towards reaching that goal.

Fun and games help us learn

Yashpal 'Paul' Syngal, Former CIO and Head of India Technology Delivery Center, Aon Hewitt

Photo and Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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