Friday, February 15, 2013

Aakash Chopra, Rahul Dravid and the curious sameness in their Handwriting Analyses

Last week has been quite eventful for me, not only because i was taking care of my little kid all by myself with his wonderful mother away on work duties but also because i still managed to find some time to analyze the signature of the man i so adore- Rahul Dravid. The story of how i got the access to his signature is there in the last blog. I got to post the analysis on a Sports website where i have recently started writing. This analysis did go somewhat viral in the website with more than 2000 reads, 50+ FB Likes, 40+ Tweets in less than a day.
Another interesting thing that happened was that Test Cricketer Aakash Chopra graciously tweeted the URL of this analysis to his followers and it invoked some interesting conversations which I followed closely. Below is the series of tweets for one such conversation between me,Aakash and one of his followers-

Aakash Chopra ‏@cricketaakash
Here's something for Rahul Dravid fans--What does Dravid's signature tell us about him? …

Dilip Patel ‏@dilippatel_dba
@cricketaakash What about yours ? ;-) I guess, Must not be very different.

Aakash Chopra ‏@cricketaakash
@dilippatel_dba Had posted mine too :) And yes, it wasn't too different :)

Anuj Magazine ‏@anujmagazine
@cricketaakash @dilippatel_dba You will find anaalyses different when there is a large handwriting sample available. Its a true science.

Aakash Chopra ‏@cricketaakash
@anujmagazine @dilippatel_dba It wasn't meant to demean your observations...I hope you understood that!!!

Anuj Magazine ‏@anujmagazine
@cricketaakash @dilippatel_dba was jst making myself clear. The science is often misunderstood. Am open to any feedback.Thanks for response

Anuj Magazine ‏@anujmagazine
@cricketaakash @dilippatel_dba moreover I am not surprised at your and Dravid's same observations. Aren't both you similar in style of play?

Anuj Magazine ‏@anujmagazine
@cricketaakash @dilippatel_dba probably extent of said traits will represent a real diff btwn you & him.That's where large sample will help

 To me this was indeed an interesting and educational conversation. Interesting because what Aakash mentioned was somewhat true I.e. some traits between his analysis and Dravid's were really similar. Educational because this entire conversation made me think and search for reasons, which I eventually did and sharing my thinking here.

To help the explanation, let me put some high level lists as below-
1. No. Of personality traits revealed in Aakash's handwritten sample: 10
2. No. Of personality traits revealed in Rahul's signature sample: 5
3. Traits similar between Aakash and Rahul: Ability to focus, Perfectionism, Optimism , Remain calm in emergency situations, Not impulsive
4. List of additional traits in Aakash's analysis: Self Reliance, Leadership, Cumulative thinking pattern, Frank and Honest, Pride and Dignity

Armed with this information, lets dissect the situation further-

At the fundamental level, there was a difference in the nature of samples, in Aakash's case it was Handwriting + Signature whereas in Rahul's case it was only signature. When we talk about personality analysis via handwriting, the more the content of the sample, the better. As is evident in this case, Aakash's sample had handwriting as well as Signature (which should explain why i was able to see more traits in Aakash's analysis).

When i started learning Handwriting analysis, i was given the impression that this science helps identify around 100 personality traits. As i practiced and became more experienced, i realized that the different handwriting strokes do reveal around 100 traits but if we really start looking at each trait in combination with other we really have scores of traits that could get revealed. To get a sense of what i am meaning here consider the case of a person being highly emotionally responsive and that person having a trait called as temper in his personality. Combining these 2 aspects, we come to know that such a person will really explode with temper even with slightest provocation. If one really masters the art of combining the traits and making meaningful observations, we really are talking about a powerful science. 

With this background in mind, i would like to mention that in any handwriting sample one of the first and basic things that get analyzed are- the Slant, the Pressure and the Size of the handwriting. So even in a handwriting sample, which is seemingly illegible the experience analyst can really make a lot of sense by just observing these 3 aspects. If i look at Aakash's and Rahul's final handwriting analysis, the traits which are marked as similar actually pertain to 2 of these 3 aspects of handwriting i.e. the Slant and size (I am ruling pressure out because one can always argue that it is hard to measure the same for the digital sample) And i am talking about the similar traits such as Ability to focus, Calmness and non-impulsiveness. Other 2 similar traits i.e. Perfectionism and Optimism can known by looking at just the basic observations in the handwriting. 
So, it does it really surprise me that they had these traits in common because they appeared in just the initial observation of their respective samples. Moreover, different people do have similar traits.

One more important consideration here is the volume of sample. In both the cases, the volume of sample was less. More so in the case of Rahul where i just had a digital signature. The volume of sample actually helps to confirm the various aspects of analysis and one of which is the extent of observed traits e.g. as I noted earlier, both of these sportsmen have "Ability to focus" and "Perfectionism" as one of the similar traits but i cannot ascertain the extent of these 2 (or any other for that matter) traits without having a good volume of sample. To explain further, greater the number of words written in a sample, more the accuracy of the analysis in terms of exactness and extent. Knowing both of them, Aakash's ability to focus (while on crease) can be considered great but if i have to measure Rahul's ability to focus after getting influenced by what he has achieved on the field over the years, I would have to call Rahul's ability to focus as Legendary. I hope Aakash will agree with me here too.
The point I was trying to make it, i can comment better on the extent of the trait after really analysing a large volume of the sample.

Do i sound like making sense here ? Do leave your comments even if i don’t. Would love to hear from you.

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

What does Rahul Dravid's signature say about his personality ?

One of my analysis is going to be featured in the book on my idol- Rahul Dravid along with some other stuff that i have written on him. I am presenting here some parts of the analysis that i did for this purpose. Read on-

For those of you who are wondering about the rationality of the title of this piece, Yes handwriting does reveal information about one's personality traits. Infact, it’s a science with a name that is Graphology.  Graphology is a scientific method of identifying, evaluating, and understanding a person’s personality via the strokes and patterns revealed by a person’s handwriting. But I must say that discussing about Graphology is a topic for some other day because the true subject of this article is a great man who made scores of people his fans slowly but steadily much the same way as he was known to bat. There are a very few sportsmen in this world who truly epitomize the role human qualities play in overall success as best as Rahul Dravid has done in his entire career. Grit, Hard work, Determination, Persistence, Never give up- These are just few of many words or phrases that one would normally associate Rahul Dravid with.

About the Signature sample:
Being a qualified Handwriting analyst myself, I was also on a lookout for a real handwriting sample of Rahul Dravid. I did find a lot on the internet but none with an assurance of being a real one. I recently got in a touch with the group of dedicated Rahul fans who are working to write a book on the great man. One of the panelists shared with me the letter that Rahul Dravid himself signed to give his acceptance to go ahead with the book project. Once I had that sample at hand, the Graphologist in me could not stop to get on with the analysis immediately.

Rahul Dravid's Signature analysis:
If I have to decipher Rahul's signature in a few words, I would say- one can easily see how prominently he has written "R" and the last letter "d" and in between the strokes are not really clearly visible with the exception of the letter "a". The portions of signature that are not clearly written are usually called as Illegible. Illegibility in some characters in the signature is not something unusual especially when we are talking about the celebrities who ought to sign the autographs every now and then. And with that frequency and hurriedness in writing Signatures, it’s not always possible to have legibility maintained throughout the signature. Illegible characters in the signature represent another dimension as well, which is that the person does not want to reveal his thoughts to the public. In case of Rahul, I think the illegibility is because of the former reason and that is the routine of signing many autographs taking its toll over the characters in the signature. But with still a lot of portion of his signature legible, i could go ahead and analyze and note the 5 important aspects of his personality that got revealed. 

Signature sample is resized to maintain the readability

Healthy ego, Pride:
In an handwriting sample, the ego can be seen by the size of Capital letters and Pride by the length of the stem of the letter "t" or "d".
Contrary to what is often believed, Ego is not necessarily a bad thing. Infact, it is in a way necessary for one's survival. In other words, for humans to exist and flourish- it is necessary to have sense of self and i.e. one's Ego.
However an inflated ego is a bad thing, even detrimental to yourself and relationships one may have.
In case of Rahul's signature sample, it’s more a healthy side of ego. It means that he is not an insecure type of person. During his playing days, it was quite evident from the way he handled the situations he was not given enough credit for. There were many innings where he played his best and scored heavily only to find out that the other player had a better day than him. The way he handled such situations without creating much fuss has been one of his legendary characteristics. He always took pride in what he achieved and focused on doing the best for the team.

Ability to focus:
Rahul's signature reveals some clear signs of legendary ability to focus on anything he is involved in doing. This is evident from the small size and formation of the non-capital letters in his signature. Small size of characters is an indication of ability of a person to concentrate.
The Oxford dictionary definition of the word “concentration” is “the act or power of focusing one’s attention”.
One of the best definition of the word "concentration" comes from Geet Sethi (World record holder in Billiards) when he says concentration is simply remaining in the present. The longer you can remain in the present, the greater your span of concentration. This definition quite beautifully sums up what concentration is all about.
This perhaps is considered as Rahul’s greatest quality as a Cricketer. And this directly comes from the fact that he played maximum number of balls by a player (31000+) and also has spent maximum minutes (43000+) at the crease in the history of test Cricket. The enormity of his feat can be judged from the fact that the next player in this list has played 30+ more test matches than Rahul and is still considerably behind in these lists. 
Add to this another fact that  Rahul Dravid saw 453 wickets fall while batting at the other side of the crease in a Test Career- the most by a batsman in a Test Career. This record is also a testimonial to the fact that he remained focused, unfazed even when wickets around him kept falling.

Fazal Khaleel, one of Rahul's old friend from Kindergarten and played with him in Ranji Trophy said about his ability to focus (in Rahul Dravid’s biography)-
Rahul was amazingly focused. He set goals for himself, spoke about it and went about achieving it with determination that i have never seen. His commitment and involvement was always total, even in the young days. He could not understand how others could be anything but totally committed.

Rahul's father Sharad had this to say (in Rahul’s biography) and this reflects his legendary focus right from his early days.
"...We encouraged him to play cricket but on the condition that his studies would never suffer. Blessed as he was with the ability to compartmentalize tasks, Rahul, like his mother, reveled in multitasking. His school friends speak in awe of his ability to study in a crowded bus each morning. There would be only standing room in the bus. Rahul would cling on to the vertical bar in the bus and read his school books unmindful of the din around him. He would get off the bus and straight away head for nets. In the evening, he would repeat this studying performance in the bus."

Optimism is handwriting is revealed by the beaseline of the writing moving upwards. Upward movement of the is very evident in Rahul's signature.
Optiimistic people have the ability to think best even in adversary. They have an ability to view the glass as half-full rather than half-empty.
That Optimism was an integral part of Rahul's character was demonstrated a lot of times in his career but one of the cases that stand out is him choosing to keep wickets even though he was already an established player. Many former players criticized the move thinking that it might impact his performance with the bat, might increase the chances to injure him. Rahul being a quintessential team man, focused on  the team's needs and chose to commit himself to an area completely unknown to him (he had never kept wickets in competitive Cricket before donning the gloves for India). He built the skills and succeeded. It impacted his batting well.
All this he could achieve because of the strength of his positive character, with the help of optimism that was at the core of his personality.

Perfection in the handwriting is revealed to an extent by the straightness of the baseline of the handwriting.
Not only the way he perfectly crafts his innings but perfection follows in everything else that he does prior to going to the innings as well. 
Being a perfectionist, he has a lot of structure. He tends to spend a lot of time putting everything in place and review work trying to make it more precise. He has excessive need for control in certain areas.
Everyone is aware of Rahul's perfection streak on the field but his wife Vijeta provides some interesting references to perfectionism in everything he does in an article she wrote for cricinfo-

 When I travelled with him for the first time, in Australia in 2003-04, I began to notice how he would prepare for games - the importance of routines, and his obsession with shadow practice at odd hours of day or night. I found that weird. Once, I actually thought he was sleepwalking! 
If I packed only two sets of informal clothes, he would rotate them through an entire tour if he had to and not think about it. He doesn't care for gadgets, and barely registers brands - of watches, cologne or cars. But if the weight of his bat was off by a gram, he would notice it in an instant and get the problem fixed.

Judgmental, not impulsive:
Emotional responsiveness of a human being is an critical part of his personality and can be known by looking at the slant of the handwriting. In case of Rahul, his handwriting slant is almost vertical and it means that-
Rahul is more ruled by her head not the heart. He is a cool, collected person who may not necessarily be so openly expressive emotionally. Some people may see him as unemotional. He is objective and given to evaluating facts before taking decisions. He is never quite impulsive. He uses his judgment to make decisions without any/much of influence of emotions.

This aspects of Rahul's personality is best reflective from this quote by Michael Slater after an incident in 2001, Mumbai Test-
"Sledging Rahul Dravid was one the mistakes of my life. He did not lose his cool even when i was hurling abuses at
him. I could not stomach the fact that he was single handedly demolishing the best team in the world. When the rage wore out on me, i realized that i was an animal and he was a gentlemen. He won my heart instantly"
- Michael Slater
One may think after reading through the analysis that I have just highlighted the positive things. I think I could do more if I had handwriting sample as well but one of the things that I have learned is to be non-judgmental about the personality traits of an individual. The reason is that the same trait if viewed through a different lens can be perceived as negative by some. Moreover, Rahul Dravid’s life and career is the one to be celebrated so I will leave negatives for some other occasion. Kudos Rahul Dravid!

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