Abhishek Bhatt
3 min readNov 1, 2020

What did you do?

In life, at different stages, we all have been asked “What did you do?” by different personalities.

• Imagine a child scored less in a particular subject and at that time parents asked “What did you do for the entire year?”
• You didn’t finish the assignment on time and your teacher asked “What did you do in the entire vacation?”
• A husband was not able to call his wife due to his busy schedule and then she asked “What did you do the entire day?”
• Dinner was not ready on time; husband asked to his wife “What did you do the entire day staying at home?”
• Parents need our time, our love, and we asked “What did you do for my upbringing?”
• Few projects have been assigned and you were not able to complete it all on deadline, you’re your boss asked “What the hell did you do?”
• Your manager advised you to come to the office at the weekend and you said “What did the company do for me, why should I stretch my time?”
• Our country requested us to contribute some help for growth and what do we say? As usual, “What did you do for me?”

You go anywhere, do anything, stay with anyone; it is the eternal truth that you will face this question repeatedly, repeatedly “What did you do?” “What did you do?” “What did you do?”

Have you ever faced this question in life?
How many times?
How did you feel, when you have been asked this question?

If I share my feelings whenever I was asked this question, I have always felt very embarrassed. I felt like someone has raised question on my existence and I was like what the hell I am doing here? It has always broken down my courage & motivation.

Yes, you read perfectly correct, it has always broken down my courage and motivation. And it’s not only me, the fact is whom so ever has been asked this question had the same sagacious feelings. Didn’t you feel demotivated when people poke with such questions?

Maybe you are thinking that, “Yeah, maybe you are right. But what else can someone ask when you have not completed a task?”
Do you have this question in the mind?
Then try to think for the answer.

OK, let me give you one simple exercise.
Take a blank piece of paper and write 10 on it with big fonts.
Now see that paper from both sides one by one.
What you can see? What is written on this paper?
From one side, from one point of view you can see 10.
From another side, from another point of view you can see 01.

What I want to say is, yes respected parents, teachers, managers, colleagues and dear friends, you are right, maybe I have failed to fulfill requirements FOR one time, BUT, THERE ARE 10 TIMES WHEN I HAVE FULFILLED THEM.

I am not seeking any kind of appreciation but at least don’t put my moral on the stack by asking such question, “What did you do?”

Being human there are chances that I can make mistakes, I can fail and I can miss the deadline and you have all the right to ask for it. But the analogy should be different.

“What did you do?” isn’t only a question, actually it’s a mirror which is reflecting difference between manager & leader.

There are many ways to ask, like,
“You have done N numbers of things perfectly but you failed for particular task.”
“You have done N numbers of things perfectly. Its true that you failed for particular task and I know that you will surely find the solution, let me know if you need any kind of help or support from me.”

Wasn’t that better?

How would you have feel if you were given such responses instead of the moral less question “What did you do?”

From the examples I gave, which would a leader will use? (Maybe you will have a better response, do let us know in comment if you have any)

Just think on it and try to change the way of “criticism” to the “constructive criticism”.

Have a great day!!!