At our learning centre, we recently held a discussion on- “What is important for success- knowledge, power or wealth?”
Importance of Power
The participants in the discussions were entrepreneurs, corporate executives, bankers and others. Different views were presented by the speakers. Some considered knowledge as most important factor. They enumerated examples of successful people who had risen from being unknown to highly rated successful individual by consistently acquiring knowledge and gainfully using it. Knowledge in such cases did not necessarily mean any university degree or such other qualification. Knowledge, here, denotes application of mind of the practical knowledge received through any medium and using the same for earning name, fame and wealth. Steve Jobs is one such example. Our own Dhirubhai Ambani is another. Even Warren Buffet’s story is no different. It is rags to riches. While academic Knowledge has also helped lots of people to become successful and famous.
Importance of Power
The role of power in success, too, cannot be undermined. Politicians achieve power and then use the same to achieve greater power. This is how power helps them to be successful. In the present scenario, a powerful politician can introduce his/her son or daughter to become a nominated leader and in the process achieve success in politics. Many politicians, today, are following this model of leadership succession. Likewise, a powerful bureaucrat can use his power to help his friend relative to achieve success.
Importance of Wealth
Wealth can buy knowledge and power. So, one may say that if you have money, you
can achieve any goal by hiring people, facilities to create any large project
and achieve success. But without Knowledge achieved through experience it
is very difficult to see the success of a large project. Political leaders can
no doubt introduce their wards in leadership succession through the power they
wield, but unless they ensure that the latter gain sufficient
experience, the entrant may not be successful. Knowledge acquired through
experience alone will bring success to them. Here too, Knowledge gained with
experience becomes important. Power alone will not work.
So, the fact of the matter is that knowledge learnt through studies or gained
through experience is indeed very important in any field.
But, it needs to be remembered that the meaning of success has to be defined by
each and every individual in his/her own terms.
How should one do that? That will be a subject of another post.
Everyone in his/her life pursues various objectives and goals with the ultimate objective of achieving happiness. ‘Pursuit of the happiness’, these words initially used by US president Jeffereson Devis. Subsequently they were made popular by Martin Luther king in his famous speech ‘I have a dream’. No doubt, everyone has a right to pursue happiness in whichever way the person likes. However, very often we are so much involved in daily routine that we are carried away by the string of events. In the process, we lose focus on what we are trying to achieve. It will be a good exercise for each one of us to reflect on these words and work out and define what is how you plan to pursue your happiness. Firstly, we must understand that happiness is not just momentary pleasures of life. I do not say that pleasures of life should not be there. But that these should be only a part of our larger plan, which should addresses some or all of the related features of happiness. The following aspects are of immense importance in an individual’s life. Your attitude to life. One must have a positive attitude. Life is full of ups and downs. There could be challenges, successes and failures. Positive attitude means just to accept these as a part of life. You become a witness or an observer of what is going. At the same time, use your discretion to take decisions. It’s only then that we understand that we can remain composed and maintain our poise in turbulent times. In fact, it is necessary to maintain our poise even in the happiest time. None of the two situations last forever. Like every night is followed by the day. Every day is followed by night. But in life it may not be in the same order and the durations may also vastly differ.
Importance persistent efforts towards achieving your Goals for
Happiness: In order that you pursue happiness, you must define your goals:
in all of the following aspects. When we are working towards achievement of our
Goals, we feel satisfaction for the efforts made. Besides, persistent efforts
are bound to produce desired results. This process of efforts, and achieving
encouraging results of our Goals make us happy, Continue doing this and be
happy. Happiness is a journey not a destination.
goals. Good mental and physical health is extremely important if you want to
lead a happy life. Doing what is necessary to keep good health is everyone’s
duty. Regular exercise, following proper food routine and maintaining positive
attitude can ensure that you are moving towards your health goals from day to
day. Yet, it is a continuous process to pursue throughout the life.
financial goals. If you are successful in your career it expected that you will
also do your financial and remain comfortable but you have to fine tune of your
objectives and follow the plan as devised.
family is undoubtedly equally important and should feature in your pursuit of
happiness, according to our own Indian tradition. The importance of finance and
family are critical in your pursuit.
comes your social goals. What do you want
to contribute to the society and what you actually do, determines how
successful you are in following social goals. Here again, you need to
define and then follow your plan of action. The amount of success you achieve
in your social goals will add up in your happiness. It will also determine how
the society perceives and respects you. In other words, it means your
reputation is reflected by what and how you contribute to the society.
leading a fuller, complete life you must pursue some hobbies. At least one. It
could be music. It could be painting .It could be some sport. It could also be
travelling, writing etc. But the important thing is that you have atlaest one
hobby on which you able to spend some time. It must not only for name sake.
but not the least your spiritual goals are also important. We all know that no
one has to stay here forever. Sooner or later we must depart. We don’t know
where. This uncertainty needs your spiritual pursuit. Whichever religion you
may follow, you must define your spiritual goals. These will eventually define
how you are remembered after your departure.
In the end I would like to say that
understanding life is so important that its significance must never be
undermined. Ups and downs are inextricably intertwined in our day to day life.
Acceptance scores our expectations is something we must all remember in our pursuit
is perhaps the most important reason of anyone’s success in life. The 4 faces
of persistence that I have chosen to discuss are:
persistence? Its definition.
road blocks or the difficulties faced for persistence.
develop persistence if it is not the part of your personality?
but not the least, how does persistence help you to achieve your goals? This
discussion will contain examples of the leaders who are the shining stars in
this respect. Let us deal with each of this 4 faces in detail.
Face 1: How do we recognize the
ability to persevere in anyone’s personality? What have the leaders and
thinkers in the past stated about persistence? The review will enable us not
only to understand but also to assimilate the virtues of persistence. Following
are the famous quotes of great leaders and thinkers from different fields
Churchill: “Never, never, never, never give up!”
Buddha: “A jug
fills drop by drop”
Johnson: “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance”
Hill: “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop”
Einstein: “It is not that I’m so smart, it is just that I stay with
Waldo Emerson: “By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little, you
gain the great.
Unknown: “It is
when things get tough and you don’t quit that success comes”
darkest hour is just before the dawn”
your persistence in following your project measures your faith in yourself. Face 2: The moot question is persistence if understood to be so
important for progress; then why it is missing in almost 90% of the educated
working class. It is difficult to find one common answer for all those who lack
perseverance. A study of the human behavior assigns the following reasons why
perseverance is missing in most of the people.
i) Accepting life as it comes. The habit of living life in a certain way which
does not require to stretch out of your comfort zone does not allow one to
ii) Sometimes, the problem starts during our formal education. The education
system does not emphasize the important of simplicity in dissemination of the
knowledge. Complex instruction affects the student’s ability to understand and
assimilate. As a result there is a tendency of the mind to go somewhere else.
Important of persistence does not come in to the picture.
iii) Lack of patience, inability to take risk and inadequate courage also act
Goals of life should be specified and written down by each individual. Our
goals inspire us to persevere in order to achieve them. When there are no goals
there is no inspiration.
Face 3: How to develop persistence
i We must specify our goals and they should be written down. The goals can be
according to your priorities. The subject of our goals can be: health goals,
career and financial goals, and family goals etc. You may add any other goal as
per your liking. But, these should be time bound. These will inspire you to
persist in your efforts for achieving these.
ii) Meditation is very useful. It enables you to review that you are moving
forward in the right direction. When you meditate on any subject, the mind will
keep on wandering and providing inputs on the subjects. This means that in the
back of your mind you will keep on thinking about your goals. Meditation is not
related to any particular faith. You may sit down and meditate on your breath
or any other object. But make background thoughts hover around your goals.
iii) A detailed plan of action in pursuance of your daily tasks as well as
weekly will be very helpful.
iv) And, above all the most important action that you can take, to bring
persistence in your personality is to love your job. When you enjoy your work
you are encouraged to continue doing what needs to be done. Face 4: The benefits of persistence. These are immense. Progress in
any project that you may undertake will become easier than you may imagine. Big
difficult projects will not frighten you. You will gladly undertake these
knowing fully well that these will require your consistent hard work. Your
commitment to your mission becomes impeccable. The lives of great leaders of
the world tell us innumerable success stories of those who failed many times
before achieving success. Some of the well known examples are: Abraham Lincoln
who failed repeatedly before becoming successful, Dr. Martin Luther King,
Nelson Mandela and our own Mahatma Gandhi. You may find any number of examples
that you may like when you go through the pages of world history.
What is leadership excellence? What are the important features? How is it supposed to be pursued? These are the questions that we will consider. There are 6 steps, which I think, that a leader needs to take in order to pursue excellence. These are: The leader’s attitude is very important. Self awareness too is very significant. But more importantly, proper implementation of any idea in great detail is critical. Other 3 important aspects are- accepting responsibility, realizing that pursuing excellence is your own choice and determination, and finally the leader must be must ensure that the team members are in a position to live up to the leader’s expectations. Having said that, let us now deal with each of these 6 steps one by one. Step 1. Any idea or plan must be executed/implemented with great precision. In fact the quality of implementation of an idea is even more important than the idea itself. Leading management Gurus advocate that ‘A’ quality implementation of ‘B’ quality plan is more productive then ‘B’ quality implementation of ‘A’ quality plan. When we look through the finer details of any task, we are able to follow its original objectives. But it doesn’t happen if we overlook the details. Excellence is a continuous process. It is not just an event. It is not just an accident. But it is your choice which you follow step by step, always. This becomes easier if you love every moment of your life and therefore if you love everything that your do from moment to moment. Step 2. Your attitude is extremely important. Excellence is not just a skill like those skills you require for doing anything correctly and nicely. Excellence is your attitude to do every job with at most care and while enjoy at the same time. Precision and enjoyment may appear to be incompatible but they are not. There is no doubt that you have to follow this practice of using eye for detail and getting satisfaction for following the finer details at the same time. Step 3. The good news is that there is no preparation required to pursue excellence for the leader. It depends entirely on their choice- decision and determination to follow the decision. One may decide just now that henceforth from the next moment onwards he/she will do everything while pursuing excellence. Sometimes there may be time constraints and other such difficulties. But the pursuit of excellence teaches you make best use of the available resources. Some people talk of discipline. Excellence is not discipline. It does not ensure quality of work which can be classified in the required category. Discipline is defined as that you must do something at a time when it needs to be done even when you don’t like to do. In a way it cages you while the ‘excellence’ knows no such restrictions. It emerges from the application of your mind and the joy that your draw out of doing something that you like to do.
Step 4. The 4th important step that leader must take is to accept responsibility for excellence in a group life. The leader does not teach his follower to achieve perfection. Perfection is unattainable. But when you chase perfection you catch up with excellence. The leader ensures that his/her followers understand it very well. Such leaders have the ability to motivate the followers to such an extent that the commitment of the followers becomes as strong as that of their leader. This is particularly true in respect of the political leaders. Dr. Martin Luther King is one such example. But for him Barak Obama would not have become the President of USA. Step 5. Self awareness is something that the leader must practice. It trains him/her to observe their actions from moment to moment. They develop the ability to change their action as per the requirement of changed circumstances. Their decision making process does not suffer a jolt even if most unexpected event take place. In our sacred book, ‘The Bhagwat Gita’ such a person is known as ‘Stith Pragya Purush’. It depicts not only the alertness of the mind but also the coordination between the mind and the reaction which lead to necessary speech and or action. Step 6. Last but not the least the leader has to be realistic. They can pursue excellence only if their expectations are reasonable. Any unachievable task if set before the team is bound to de-motivate them. This does not mean that the team member can take things easy. Life is such that for achieving any significant result you have to stretch yourself. It’s the leaders job that he practices not only himself but also ensures that the team member follow suit. When the leader undertakes their journey as per the steps enumerated above, it is then that the leadership excellence is pursued.
It is necessary to identify the negativity in
your attitude. What is negative attitude? Negative attitude is when you start
focusing on the problems that you might face during your efforts to achieve
your goals. It is the lack of hope that things will happen to help you out in
your mission. It is the feeling that people will not help you because on
earlier occasions you met with rejections. Negative attitude is the lack of
your conviction that you can overcome the hurdles that you might face during
your journey. In a sense, negative attitude is also a lack of belief in you.
Some more symptoms of negative attitude are enumerated below:
1.Laziness: When you think you don’t have the energy to get up and do the work. Sometimes you don’t even think and realize that laziness is simply whiling away the time. It is not even procrastination which will be described separately.
2.Low self esteem: It is an extremely harmful attribute in your personality. You
start thinking that you are good for nothing. You accept the situations in
which you are because your self esteem is so low that you think you can do
3.Low productivity: Work has a strange tendency of expanding as per the time available. Even worse is when no time is allotted for the completion of a task. This gives you a feeling of solving certain important problems whereas in fact you are just being satisfied in remaining busy. This approach will never allow you to increase your productivity. For doing more in a given time, you have to stretch yourself. Therefore is it necessary that you allot specific time duration for a task. In the beginning, the allocation may seem difficult, but once you form a habit it will become much easier. Difficult or easy, it is necessary.
2.Low self esteem: It is an extremely harmful attribute in your personality. You
start thinking that you are good for nothing. You accept the situations in
which you are because your self esteem is so low that you think you can do
4.Lack of initiative: For any significant progress, initiative is necessary. What is
initiative? Initiative is your first step for going ahead with a task. When it
is something new, you have to creatively think and courageously take the first
step, even if there is some risk. No risk is the biggest risk in life. Any
significant initiative cannot be taken to move forward without accepting this
reality. So don’t be afraid to take initiative.
5.Not listening to understand: In the course of conversations, sometimes we tend to focus so
much on what we have to say, that we stop listening to the other person. This
is particularly so when the speaker has said something for which we have a
ready argument to negate what he has said. Unfortunately, such a habit does not
allow us to listen and assimilate what the speaker says after that. Evidently
it leads to miscommunication and problems. The solution is first understand and
then be understood.6.
feel envious of some people who are more successful in the material sense than
we think that they deserve. Such a feeling leads us to a myth that it is their
style which makes them successful and we try to imitate their conduct. This is
a extremely bad situation. We lose belief in ourselves, and how can we expect
that others will believe us.
7.Not trying to express: When we have certain ideas, but either we do not want to express, or we are afraid to express, is also indicative of our negative attitude. It is necessary to develop an ability to express without hesitation. The fear of rejection which takes away your ability to act is one of the serious handicaps.
learning lessons from mistakes: There is no one who does not commit
mistakes. Whenever we undertake something new, mistakes may happen. This is
normal. However, repeating the same mistake again and again, is neither normal,
nor should be acceptable. Thus we must learn lessons from our past mistakes and
use these lessons to direct our future efforts.
Ego happens to be another aspect of personality which does not allow us to
grow. Ego comes in the way of our approaching people to help us. It makes us
believe that it is below our dignity to seek help. A success Guru had said that
there are eleven principles of achieving success. And what are these eleven
principles? These are, ask, ask, ask….(eleven times).
Jealousy is a negative emotion which keeps sapping our creative energies. We
gain nothing in the process. It makes us feel as victims of fate or poor
destiny. Jealousy may even take away our sound sleep. The worst part is that
sometimes it cannot be contained, it goes on swelling. Jealousy must be
thwarted out of the personality.
hard work: There is only one way to success, and that is the hard way. If
we habitually seek short cuts it will be very difficult for us to work hard.
What is working hard? When you are fully devoted to completing the job and you
forget even your surroundings, you continue to work even when you are tired
because you want to complete. That aspect of work may be termed as hard work.
Initially it may be very difficult, but then one can form a habit. For any
significant progress, hard work is necessary.
What is habit? Habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated frequently, and tends to occur unconsciously. Bad habits intrude your life and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. Breaking any habit can be difficult. For instance, if a person smokes regularly, it becomes his habit and even if he wants to quit, it becomes difficult for him to give-up. Psychologist and philosopher William James proclaimed that the entire life is nothing but a series of habits that we form repeatedly. The power of habit has been explained by various authors, world leaders and motivational speakers. One of the famous Authors, Stephen R. Covey, wrote a book titled “The 7 Habits of successful People” describing an approach to being effective in realizing your goals. One can create excellence in big things, by developing good habits even in small matters. Keeping the desk clean, using mobile with discretion, removing the clutter from your mind, etc. All these can be practiced again and again easily. When you instill these habits into your life, you create the foundation for achieving your goals. Here are 8 Habits of highly productive people that you may adopt to get the best out of you!!
cut away the unimportant
That’s right. Try to focus only on the important things, and
cut away everything that’s unimportant. There is no point doing something that
is not needed for the desired results. So push yourself to quit wasting time,
and bring yourself back to the production mode.
Productivity declines over time without taking brakes. Take many small breaks during the day. The rule of thumb would be to take a 5 to 10 minutes break every 2 hours of work. Breaks are a highly effective way to boosting your productivity.
Things that limit your productivity must be thrown
out. It can be the loud music you listen to when you work, your phone
calls, alerts from your inbox, your slow computer, the internet, YouTube,
Facebook, Twitter, etc. These things trap you and prevent you from getting
No matter what field you’re in, your inspiration is the key
to your output. So, channel your inner muse. Keep on thinking and contemplating
the things that motivates you. And definitely you will find that your focus
increases thereby up surging your productivity.
barriers to entry
Don’t make yourself too accessible. If you’re too accessible, then you will face a lot of interruptions. Nowadays, people can connect with others very easily- with the touch of button (text, emails, calls, etc.). Therefore, guard your time to improve your productivity.
Make the best of every minute. For instance, if you’re
working for 10 minutes, ensure that you achieve maximum outcomes in those 10
minutes and then you can take time off. You usually get time pockets
while waiting for people, commuting, chess app, reading books, or planning.
Be clear on what you want to achieve, and then set your
timelines for them. When you set timelines, you commit to yourself to complete
the work on time, hence, paving the way for the reality to manifest.
Technology today has made automation
possible for a lot of things we do. Hence, find a way to automate
every task and let it be your habit. If you outsource, delegate. Delegation and
automation wherever possible will enhance your productivity.
By no means, this is a complete list. But as you focus on improving
productivity by adopting good habits you will be inspired to adopt more such
habits which are particularly useful to you.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca quotes “ Shun no toil to make yourself
remarkable by some talent or other”!
Talent is an innate ability which one is gifted with. Everyone, indeed, has
been bestowed upon with some talent. But some people can identify it and some
people take it unidentified to the grave. In short, identification of your
talent is what makes the whole difference. Mere identifying it is not enough
and it should be further developed by consistent efforts. Sometimes your talent
may be of immense use in your career field and if you develop it proactively,
then success is just a cakewalk for you. Sydney Smith has convincingly brought forward the fact by saying,”
Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be
what nature intended you for, and you will succeed.”
So this is the simplest way to achieve success!! Then why many can’t make it up
to that success? Because the problem lies in identifying: what is your talent!
The task of identifying talent becomes difficult given the number of
influences one has from one’s childhood. The parents wish their children
to achieve something without knowing what the child is good at. The teachers
also imprint the minds of the pupils by their perception of good & bad.
Peer pressure, further, adds to the influence which a person is exposed to in
an impressionable age.
Thus, talent gets hidden somewhere in the routine life and one tends to
be ugly duckling.
But once you know what you are good at and polish the same, life takes you to
One can transform oneself and understand one’s true self only when one
has the ability to ward off these influences.
A mentor is the one who can help you identify your flair. If you do not have
one, then it is essential to find one who can guide you to find your
competence and further to enhance the same. A mentor is a consultant who
may not be related to you though he will be interested to see your growth.
Mentor could be a friend, a teacher or your parent.It is not only the
individuals who get benefited by the mentors but many progressive companies are
seen to hire mentors in order to help them grow.
Strong conviction in your ability makes you shine out in the crowd. You should
eye million opportunities which you come across; given your inclination. Once
you focus all your energies on your talent, you can make the best of any
smallest opportunity you encounter. You should not let go any opportunity
rather turn it into the golden one. It is often said” When opportunity knocks, don’t let the fear hold you
back.Open the door and embrace the opportunity which has come forth”!
Once you identify your talent ,it is more important to master it. In this fast
growing competitive world you can’t relax with mere inherent talent. You should
master the art to fortify it further with all the necessary efforts. You
should have an action plan to exploit your talent and have to follow up
the plan, diligently . A close monitoring of your action plan with the help of
a written record is also a must while mastering your talent. Once a master of
your talent, you can master success.
Keep yourself updated with the field of your inclination. Keep yourself
equipped with the technological advancement in the field of your choice else
you will be left behind. Identify the people who have made it great in the
world, with the talent same as yours. Reading their life stories and
experiences will also make you understand what it took them to reach their and
how best you can have an edge. Get inspired from their stories.
Written reports of your journey at taming your talent helps in a long way, too.
Always have a journal which helps you understand where you stand. Monitoring
day to day progress towards mastering your talent is a continuous process.
Create milestones and verify yourself against those. If your lag behind ,push
harder to mitigate those.
wonder with your continuous efforts you would transform the ugly duckling into
a beautiful swan.