Persistence is perhaps the most important reason of anyone’s success in life. The 4 faces of persistence that I have chosen to discuss are:
- What is persistence? Its definition.
- The road blocks or the difficulties faced for persistence.
- How to develop persistence if it is not the part of your personality?
- Last 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
- Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never, never give up!”
- Buddha: “A jug fills drop by drop”
- Samuel Johnson: “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance”
- Napoleon Hill: “Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop”
- Albert Einstein: “It is not that I’m so smart, it is just that I stay with problems longer”
- Ralph 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”
- Unknown: “The darkest hour is just before the dawn”
In fact 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 think beyond.
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 as deterrents.
- iv) 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.
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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.
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Yesterday, Mohammad Rafi was remembered by the entire music industry on his 26th death anniversary. It was on 31st July 1980 that he died. The day saw an unusually intense rain. It appeared that the the Sky in India was weeping to mourn the great loss to the music treasure of our country. In spite of very heavy rains, a mammoth crowd followed the funeral procession. That was the story of a very simple man, a family man but a very profound singer in the film industry of our country.
There are lots of anecdotes regarding his compassion, simplicity and devotion to his work.
Once he was traveling in his car to a recording studio. It was extremely hot. He saw that a beggar at the crossing was standing on one leg and then changing the foot because the road was extremely hot. Rafi asked his driver to stop the car, took out his own shoes and told the driver to give the shoes to the beggar. He said that beggar’s need was greater than his own.
It is said that whenever he would go for recording, he would take tea from home in a thermos flask. His wife would make a special tea for him. She put various dry fruits like cashew walnuts, almonds etc. He would never share his tea with anyone. He was thoroughly a family man devoted to his wife and family. The couple was fond of each other so much that after completion of the work Mohammad Rafi wood straight come home. He would hardly ever attend get together and parties of the film industry.
Rafi sang many songs for the famous music director OP Nayyar. Once, Nayyar asked him, “you have worked with so many music directors; who is your most favorite music director?” Simple but quick witted Rafi said, “yoon to Humne lakh music directors dekhe hain,tumsa nahi dekha” meaning that I have seen lots of music directors but you are unique. OP Nayyar was equally fond of him and would always engage him unless the actor or the situation demanded some other voice
Another very interesting anecdote of his depicts his uncanny simplicity. Once, he had to record a song At All India Radio, Mumbai. Singer Mohinder Kapoor was his fan as well as his friend. Rafi asked Mohinder Kapoor what was he doing? Come with me, “I have to go to recording in All India Radio. Both went to the All India Radio studio and recorded the song. When they were going back they found lots of boys and girls asking Mohammad Rafi to give autograph rafi who did not understand English and did not understand what it would mean to give autograph. Rafi asked Mohinder in Punjabi what they were saying. Mahendra Kapoor said that they were asking his autographs. Simple Rafi said, “tun yo kar de yaar.” (you only do it for me) That was his simplicity.
Laxmikant Pyarelal who became famous music directors were the children of a trumpet player. He was always short of money. He would often go to Rafi for help. Once Mohammed Rafi gave him 500 rupees which was a lot of money in those days. But that the magnanimity of Mohammad Rafi. When Laxmikant Pyarelal got their first film for music direction, the producer put a condition that they must bring Mohammed Rafi to sing all the male songs. Further that only Rs2000/= fee would be paid for each song. At that time the fee for Rafi Rs.10000/=. After the recording was over the producer did not have courage to give an envelop containing the paltry fee. He asked Pyarelal to do it. Mohammad Rafi noticed and he said to Pyarelal to distribute the money between two of them. “I will be very happy”, he said. These are some of the interesting anecdotes from the life of the great singer Mohammad Rafi, who has been one of the greatest singers of his time, possibly for all times to come.
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