Pursuit of Happiness

The Social Introvert

Amit Choudhary, chief operating officer of IT services major Wipro, is a self-confessed introvert who loves planning most of his non-work activities, be they golfing, skiing, playing board games or watching movies, around his family and friends 

It was the tagline of the book Quiet by Susan Cain—The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking— that caught the attention of Amit Choudhary, chief operating officer of information technology services major Wipro. He rates it as one of his top three all-time favourite books.

“I am a social introvert,” says Choudhary. It may sound paradoxical, he admits, as he explains that he loves socialising “within the boundaries of being an introvert”. Outside his work, he prefers activities—like playing sports, board games, watching movies, etc.— that allow him to spend time with his family and close friends. “Sports is not something I play for passion or out of competitiveness. It is something that I can do to relax and spend time with my family,” he says. His favourites are golf and skiing.

Choudhary took to golf as he wanted something over which he could connect with his children even years later. Skiing happened after the family shifted to the US. “I used to drive my kids to skiing slopes, but then I got bored doing that. So, I decided to learn it for myself,” he says.

He believes in learning constantly, be it a skill or a life lesson. “At the end of the day, sports teaches us humility, adaptability and agility. It shows you that you can learn anything you want to,” he feels. Another life lesson, a golf analogy, is about not losing focus. “One is as good as one’s current or the next shot. It does not matter how good your last shot was,” he says, referring to the game. “If you feel something is wrong, you better fix it before you go ahead with the shot,” he adds.

Choudhary received lessons in independence early in life, thanks to the three years of school that he stayed in a hostel. “Hostel life teaches you to be on your own, make friends, do your own clothes, take care of yourself, etc.,” he points out. While he is quite regular with his exercise routine— he ensures he does not skip the 20 minutes of non-tool exercising daily—he swears by his eight hours of sleep for fitness.

Reading is another passion, says Choudhary. He transitioned to audio books over the last seven to eight years. “There are two positive things about audio books. Either it puts me to sleep or I learn something out of the book. Both are good,” he chuckles. These days, he is reading Grit by Angela Duckworth.

Choudhary’s deftness at drawing parallels gets reflected once again when he answers a question on his life plans. He loves math, so it is not surprising that the next analogy should come from there. “There is a concept called ‘global maxima ‘in calculus. It means you know all the variables in the equation to be able to solve it. I realised that you do not know all the variables in life. So what I have worked on is more ‘local maxima’,” he says. He looks for the “next best thing” that he can do and enjoy. “That is how things have moved for me,” he adds, insisting that he has stopped making long-term plans. What is sure, he says emphatically, is that he will keep learning.