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.
There has been debate about whether the leader is born or he makes himself. There are many instances where a person born in a rich family or that of a leader but they failed miserably. It’s not that they cannot become leaders. But their birth does not guarantee that they will be leaders nor there are any qualities which can be attributed towards the birth of the leader. On the other side there are many examples where in spite of the advantage at birth people have not made any mark in their lives. In fact, they can be held responsible for misusing all the opportunities.
An individual grows under influences. The influence of his/her parents is very important, and then teachers are important. They are also influenced by the friends, neighbors and the all they interact with. But no such influence is so dominant which can churn out a leader.
Leadership is acquired by choice. One becomes a leader when he/she is prepared to pay the price for leadership. Leadership does not come cheap. It requires your determination, your discipline, willingness to undertake hard work and more importantly consistency. It’s a strong desire and consistent effort to excel in any human ability which can create a leader.
There are many reasons why a leader must be consistent in his/her conduct, approach to life and belief and vision. Firstly the followers would feel secure under the guardianship only of a predictable consistent person. Secondly if the leader is not discipline he cannot control his behavior, attitude and even emotions. All these are responsible for the interpersonal skills of the leader. They may spoil the relationship by simple unpredictable mistakes. Besides, inconsistency wastes time of the leader as well as the follower. Above all if the leader is not consistent how can one expect the followers will be consistent. Indeed, nothing worthwhile can be achieved without consistency.
Now let’s look at the lives of some self made leaders.
1. Andrew Carnegie the founder of Carnegie steel was born to poor parents in Scotland. Due to financial difficulties the family migrated to US. When he was 13 he was changing schools of threat in a Cotton mail- 12 hours a day. Going through various difficult jobs he finally became the owner of Carnegie Steel Corporation which was the largest in the world at that time.
2. Dhirubhai Ambani is another very well known story. Initially it is said that he was doing small jobs in his village. He would also set up Bhajia stalls at village fairs. However his grit and strong desire to create something worthwhile enabled him to become the owner of one of the richest family in the world.
3. Walt Disney was a cartoonist. Often he was without job. Many a times he could not afford to buy a meal. Then he started animating his own cartoons. Our childhood without Walt Disney’s cartoon would have been dull. Today the entire world recognizes Disney for his contribution to society for entertaining children’s and adults both.
4. Mr. Soichor Honda the owner of Honda Company, In Japan is another example to support the statement that leaders are made and not born. When he grew up he wanted to work in a two wheeler factory but he could not get a job. He had undergone extremely hard times but his courage to face difficulties and his audacity to stick to his mission, enabled him to create Honda. We all know Honda today not only for the Motor Bikes but also for hot selling cars.
Thanks for reading.