When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Siddharth Chatterjee: I wake up at 4 am. I start by drinking a warm glass of water, work on an article which I will publish on my HuffPost blog site, watch the news headlines and head to the gym.
TG: What gives you energy?
SC: A high octane workout for about an hour, followed by 5 minutes of headstand and 5 minutes of meditation.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
SC: I stand at work for at least 4–5 hours a day and keep myself moving. And I do a headstand and some stretches and run a half marathon every Sunday.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
SC: Yes, regrettably as there are compelling reasons for me as the UN Resident Coordinator to be available 24/7.
TG: How do you deal with email?
SC: As fast as possible. I respond instantly.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
SC: I go across to colleagues in my office to say hi and check on how they are doing.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
SC: Demobilizing child soldiers in South Sudan. This happened during an ongoing conflict and was a logistical nightmare. It was one of the most exacting experiences I have ever had and any mistakes would lead to a loss of lives and the demobilization being called off.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
SC: My biggest failure was my inability to get a successful program on the abandonment of female genital mutation and cutting off the ground in Somalia. I I realized that the entire approach was wrong and it was going to be nearly impossible to get such deeply entrenched and inter generational attitudes and cultural norm jettisoned soon. It needed an entirely different approach and it was a great learning experience.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
SC: “Some people see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not?” — George Bernard Shaw
Siddharth Chatterjee is the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya. He is a staunch feminist and humanitarian. He has served with the United Nations in various conflict affected parts of the world. A former Indian Army Special Forces officer, he is also an alum of Princeton University.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com