Racing to the mountain top -unseen!

Somjit Amrit
5 min readMar 5


Image Credit — Guillem Casanova ( ISPO) , Skyrunning in Technical trian in high mountains


The above-coded text message surfaced on my phone the other day with a “Guess What? emoticon from an old friend from high school. I had just gotten re-acquainted with him after a gap of many years.

I was trying to understand the context behind this message. The heart-wrenching loss of the India Women’s Cricket Team in the World Cup (T20) semi-finals to Australia by mere five runs was fresh in my mind. I wondered if this is the win-loss record of the team prior to the Women’s T20 World Cup, with the media justifying the loss as being inconsistent.

As I was still brooding what it could be, I received an incoming call from the friend who gleefully announced that after a string of five humiliating losses (L), he finally won (W) a quiz competition. He announced his win cryptically in the above-abbreviated format. I did appreciate his sharing (and re-living) his joy with me — his long-lost high-school quizzing mate.

We talked at length and re-lived the unbridled joy of inter-school quizzes of the yore. Our excited conversation veered toward how quiz competitions have now reached the masses powered by digital technology and have become competitive through game-based learning platforms. Consequently, this has raised the excitement and involvement of players by several notches.

One such platform, is the popular Norwegian-based learning platform, Kahoot! came up in the discussion. My friend stated that after a string of losses he had a memorable win on this platform and then went on to emphatically state “the winner on this platform ought to embody the qualities consistently found in a successful professional”. Knowing his fondness for the frivolous, I brushed aside his leap of faith as simply a “buddy-to-buddy bluster” (B2BB). (Oh! did I just introduce the latest texting slang!)

Accordingly, I did not think of this till I had an opportunity to compete in a quiz contest on this platform amongst my office mates sponsored by our US-based company’s Employee Wellness Program, continuing as a vestige of the pandemic days.

Here, I found the folly in earlier my judgment and the truism in my friend’s bluster.

I was wrong!

The topic was “Fruits and Vegetables”. I entered this quiz contest on Kahoot! platform with the swagger of a “been there…done that!”, and simply dismissing the fact that playing on the platform is a lot different from quiz contests three decades ago when the dapper and sharp Quiz Masters Siddharth Basu and Derek O’Brien ruled the roost.

The lack of preparation on the seemingly easy subject topic, and the lack of know-how of the mechanics of the platform resulted in a miserably low score. At the final bell, I stood at 72nd out of 89 competitors within the company. I quickly figured out that Focus, Speed, and Accuracy are key to scoring a win….and I did not bring any of these to the contest. My ego was bruised; I contemplated a comeback. I felt I can re-group and do it…” it is just a Bend, not the End”.

The assessment of the failure.

No topic is easy.

On the surface, “Fruits and Vegetables” comes across as an easy quiz topic. However, the vastness of this subject makes it a Quiz Master’s delight. The questions can range from types of watermelons to the botanical name of onion. Therefore, the serious competitor ought to hone his knowledge on the topic. A form of preparation would be making a knowledge repository on the topic, arranging the information collected, and then learning it inside out.

No contest is a cakewalk.

Doing well in a Kahoot! is one thing but “Winning it All” is THE achievement.

The unnerving speed, the pulsating update of the leaderboard, and the adrenaline-pumping 120 beats per minute Lobby Music make anxiety duel with serenity relentlessly.

So, when it is all over, there is a moment of relief, and when you see your position among the unseen, friendly, yet fierce competitors, emotions rush in.

I re-grouped.

Creating a knowledge repository….

I wanted to do well in the contest because I had a gut feeling I could and more importantly get my mojo back. So, I went back to the drawing board, found out the date and topic of the next quiz contest, and researched the topic. I scoured the web and collected and collated a set of potential questions and answers. I studied them. The preparation process was rewarding because going through the material allowed me to enhance my knowledge base. Discussing titbits with my family members, re-invigorated my memory cells and gave me that occasional “a-ha” moment.

….and executing it…

I went back to my past poor performance on the platform and jotted down the BIG three lessons learned:

1. Knowing stuff makes accuracy and speed fall in place like the peas in the pod

2. Ignoring the outside distractions which compete for attention

3. Not dwelling too much on the enticing leaderboard, but keeping an eye, yet staying calm and carrying on.

Unmistakable comfort in the capricious world of Kahoot!

In the next contest, I followed my rules for the game and my rules for success. The quiz topic was American Black History (as employed in a US company). The history buff in me got me to research this hitherto unfamiliar information, and imbibe the material during preparation. The knowledge repository was created, collated, studied, and well-executed. It showed in the result.

The exhilaration of beating the competition in this brain-stimulating act was pure joy. Being the winner on the virtual podium gave the momentary feeling of racing to the mountaintop- a culmination of knowing the stuff and executing it the best, unseen, and solo.

This unmistakable comfort after the win in the capricious world of Kahoot! was palpable.

The Leaderboard

My friend was right all the way.

Reflecting on my earlier conversation with my friend, I must concede to my friend’s assertion that a Kahoot! Winner embodies the quality of a successful professional.

Professional success in the form of climbing the ladder of the corporate world, or running a successful start-up relies on knowing the stuff and smartly executing it. In this game, the key to success is accuracy and speed — in that order because inaccuracy + speed will yield zero points. This is an unforgiving gaming platform. A momentary distraction or overconfidence can bring you crashing down to the bottom of the leaderboard.

How similar it is that to attain professional success, knowledge, and the ability to execute and communicate with timely accuracy is all that is sought.

Parting words.

Bonus tip: To be a winner in Kahoot! you better answer the question correctly which the majority gets wrong. Did we not hear that differentiation in business is key to success?

This will result in one’s staying power in the pecking order, with grace, no matter the unseen competition.

Racing to the mountaintop, unseen, not looking back.

If practice is great; competition is easy in both capricious games and the corporate world!


Published in Times of India :



Somjit Amrit

Business Consulting pays the bills and taking care of Bees in wild calms the nerves