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January 30, 2018

26 ways to success - A to Z series - " A to Z, the series concludes! " article published in The Hans India on 5th August 2016

A to Z, the series concludes!

Given below are all the attributes that were discussed in the last 26 weeks.

Attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something. Attitude, especially positive attitude is that intangible asset that needs to be brought to the table. When the things get tough, the tough need to get going.

Behaviour is the way one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others. Man is a social entity and he can’t survive by himself. He needs the society and society needs him. It is a symbiotic relationship. We are known by our dress and address. Dress is what we wear and how we wear it. Address is what we say and how we say it. It is not as much what we say that matters rather it is the way we say that makes a difference.

Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something different or being inventive. It is not doing different things, it is doing things differently.

Determination is the firmness of purpose. The firmness of purpose and the single minded pursuit of that goal have to become an all-consuming passion. So much so that one should become impervious to pursuit of other mundane activities. 

Enjoying is to take delight or pleasure in an activity or occasion.  If a person’s hobby becomes his job that person is destined to excel.

Feeling is an emotional state or a reaction like a feeling of Joy. It is the emotional side of someone’s character; emotional responses or tendencies to respond. Feelings are everything in life. We need to express ourselves and express without inhibitions. Feelings are what separate us from robots.

Generosity is showing a readiness to give more of something, than what is strictly necessary or expected.  A quality that we all think that we have but don’t have in abundance is generosity. That generosity is important and valued is not surprising. Generosity is a “nice-to-have” quality. If a person is generous, he/she probably is well liked.

Honesty is a facet of moral character that indicates positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness and straightforwardness of conduct. Honesty also means the absence of lying, cheating, theft etc. Honesty would make a person trustworthy, loyal, fair and sincere. It is something that should be ingrained in us and is the DNA by which we are judged.

Innovation is a new idea, or a more effective device or a new process. Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated or existing market needs. This can be accomplished through more effective products, processes, services or technologies.

Being Jovial but not being a joker. Man is the only species that can smile. It is the gift that is bestowed to make him popular and get his work done smoothly. It takes 21 muscles to smile and 72 to frown. So why waste energy frowning? Smile and the world smiles with you and cry and you cry alone.

Knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association. It could be the knowing or understanding of a science, art, or technique. Being knowledgeable should be a life time obsession. 

Leadership is the art of leading others to deliberately create a result that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. The focus is on leading others and to make them do things voluntarily. Leaders are catalysts and change makers. They tend to challenge status quo and often act aggressively to make new things happen. Management is the art of doing things right and leadership is the art of doing the right things.

Motivation explains people’s behaviour. It represents the reasons for their actions, desires and needs. Motivation is one's direction to a behavior or what causes a person to repeat the same behavior. A motive is what prompts the person to act in a certain way, or at least develop an inclination for a specific behavior.

Nativity or Jugaad.  Jugaad is the Indian way of managing things with the least of the resources. It is the Indian way of thumping the world. In India everything is a challenge and Indians have mastered the game of doing things with minimum fuss and maximum result. Where else in the world would one find “Indian Chinese food, Bread Bajji, Bread Upma”. Old rice is not thrown away it becomes vadiyum. Or even better it is made into tasty curd rice that is greatly relished.
Openness is a personal trait that lays emphasis on transparency and free, unrestricted access to knowledge and information as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision-making rather than a centralized authority. Openness is the opposite of secrecy.
Personality. People with pleasing personalities make others feel good. We would like to be around people with pleasing personality. They keep a positive point of view and demonstrate flexibility and patience. They treat people fairly and with respect. These people also tend to be good listeners and conversationalists. They handle situations well and share their opinion in an agreeable manner. People with pleasing personalities are people-oriented and are interactive.

Questioning. Divergent Thinkers are the need of the hour. Divergent Thinkers are those who can start at a point and progress in any direction. They end up questioning the question itself. The purpose of divergent thinking is not to come out with clever and apt answers. Rather it is to develop the ability that most of us have lost - the ability to question things. Anything can be questioned, the status quo, the holy cows, and the standard procedures.

Relating to a cause. What do a tree hugger, a bird watcher, a big industrialist, a dancer, a painter, a cartoonist and a movie maker have in common? Passion and the cause they espoused. So much so they made the cause their life mission. They became the cause. What is a cause? It is an issue or an event or a happening that is relevant and is of social importance. All the issues discussed mentioned are socially relevant.

Smart work is doing things that bring about the desired end result. Smart work is result oriented. And that end result that is faster, easier, more productive and efficient. At the same time the person doing Smart work does not feel overtly tired or worn out. It is not the number of hours that a person works on an assignment that is important, rather it is the output that is expected and achieved that matters.

Teamwork. Individual talent gets magnified many times over through the collective lenses of effective team work. Teamwork is the process of working together with a group of people in order to achieve a common goal. Teamwork is often the most crucial differentiating factor in a business, as it is often necessary and imperative for colleagues to work well together, trying their best in any circumstance in a given project or work. 

Uniqueness is someone or something is unlike anything else in comparison. When used in relation to people it is often in relation to a person's personality or some specific characteristics of it. Uniqueness is that trait that makes people remember us and distinguishes us from all the other people.

Valuable. Each one of us wants to be indispensible. Everywhere.  At home, in the college, at work and in our friends’ hearts. We want to be labeled - valuable. It is now very common to have the most valuable player contest in any sport competition. The most valuable employee is an organization is one who is most indispensible and who make that company throb with excitement.

Waiting is a strange word. No-one wants to wait. Everyone is on the speed trip and living life in the fast lane. In the earlier days we had to wait, go to the shop to buy things. John Milton had very famously said “They also serve those who stand and wait”.  Milton has rightly said each one of us has a purpose in this world and it is up to ourselves to live up to our true potential. Success comes to some in a jiffy and many others will have to wait for it to come after many attempts and failures.

eXciting. What is that unique trait in your most popular friend that makes him/her tick. If you were to do a detailed analysis a startling truth would emerge. That individual is the most popular as he/she is the most exciting person to be around. An exciting person is able to arouse or bring out our innate feelings and is able to stimulate us. That arousal or stimulation is often something that we all miss.

Yielding or giving up is viewed negatively. It is a matured way of looking at things and issues. When involved a fierce argument, yield or give up. Yielding to someone’s argument does not mean that we have accepted the other person’s viewpoint. We win the argument by listening to the other person’s view point. We have listened, that’s all.

Zeal stands for the great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. Vikram Batra was an officer of the Indian army, posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil war in Kashmir. Captain Vikram Batra waged a battle and his pursuit was based on the belief that the cause was right. He was supremely confident of the cause and smilingly gave up his life.

26 ways to success - Z for Zeal - " Zeal, Something Worth Dying For! " article published in The Hans India on 29th July 2016

Zeal, Something Worth Dying For!

Here we are, at the business end of this series. The series which was started with the letter A on 5th February 2016. It was a roller coaster of a thoroughly enjoyable ride. I am overwhelmed by the feedback and the suggestions received. I have extensively researched and came out with this series, that I am sure would be useful for all the aspiring students who want to make it big in the corporate world.

One small piece of advice, the attributes described are not for glib explanations and not to sound impressive in interviews. These attributes should be internalized and should become our DNA. They should loudly be saying “this is what I am and I am not going to compromise with what is dear to me, come what may!”

As I am penning this article my heart goes out to the brave heart, Captain Vikram Batra, an officer of the Indian army, posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil war in Kashmir.   He led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare. He was often called ‘'Sher Shah'’ by the soldiers of the Pakistan army. His famous words “"Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!)".

This is the crux of this article. Zeal stands for the great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. Captain Vikram Batra was waging a battle and his pursuit was based on the belief that the cause was right. He was supremely confident of the cause and smilingly gave up his life. The Indian armed Forces slogan we should always remember “we gave our today so that you can have a safe tomorrow”. We should be standing silently and saluting our great armed forces for their Zeal and selflessness in guarding our country’s frontiers. There cannot be any better example of Zeal and pursuit of a cause.

As the year rolls on there is great excitement in the air. The quadrennial Olympics are on their way and the buzz is building up. World over people can’t hold on to their excitement. Come 5th August there would be epic clashes, records re-written and new heroes born. For most of us Olympics are one another televised event. One among many, we would yawningly say and switch on to another of those mind numbing and utterly frivolous serials or equally ridiculous movies.

The problem with television is that it makes televised events look easy and more attainable. Case in point, the TV telecast of cricket makes the game looks very simple. Bowling, batting and fielding appear very simple. So simple that the chips munching couch potato says “Shucks man, this is easy, why is that they can’t do any better?”

The reality check is very different. The 22 yards of a cricket pitch is a huge distance. It is 66 feet across and it needs great athleticism to sprint across, before the ball is fired into the wicket keeper’s gloves. The wicket keeper’s job is even worse. He does so many squats in a day that it could be mind and body numbing. And they get hit so many times on the fingers that many of the wicket keepers have crooked fingers that don’t heal very well. As a college wicket keeper, I should know!  One of my crooked left fingers is a proud proof of what serious wicket keeping can do.

Let us return to Olympics. Let us examine the issue critically and with statistics. The world record for the long jump is 8.95 Metres! So what most of you might say. Let us convert it into feet. In feet it would be 29 feet and 4.25 inches. Yes you have read it right. 29 feet and 4.25 inches. Draw it out on the ground and you would be astonished. Most of us would be able to jump 9 or 10 feet, but this is almost 30 feet! That is flying and it takes super human effort and extreme zeal, confidence and self-belief to even think of jumping that type of distances.

The world record of 8.96 metres stands with Mike Powell of USA and this record which was set in 1991 has not been broken for the last 25 years! Before the 8.96 monstrous jump of Mike Powell the record was held by another very illustrious US jumper Bob Beamon who held the record for 23 years at a distance of 8.90 metres. Only two people ever have jumped a distance of over 29 feet!

Let us look at the world record in high jump. It stands at 8 feet and 0.25 inches! Yes, 8 feet vertically, without any assistance. Watching a high jump event live would be a hair rising experience. The lithe, slim high jumpers straining very sinew in their body would race in, twist, grimace and soar over the bar. The bar would shiver and stay in its place and the crowd with let out a collective sigh of happiness and excitement. It is a once in a life time experience.

And the big daddy of them all, The Marathon. The marathon is run on the road over 42 kilometres and 195 metres. It is a distance that can only be run by the toughest of the toughest. Most of us would start gasping for air and would give up running after 100 or 200 metres. And in the marathon the runners have to run the distance from BHEL Ramachandrapuram to Ghatkesar.  The world record for men is 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds. The world class runners are running at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour. At that speed they are almost flying!

The shocking aspect of what a Marathon entails has not yet been dwelt upon. The marathon is so tough that marathon runners can’t train like other athletes. They can’t run the full marathon in practice. The only time they run the marathon is as it happens. Every marathon is an epic spectacle. I have read many reports of marathoners who say that the first ten kilometers is what they remember. After that everything is a blur. And after 35 kilometers it is a torture of unbearable magnitude.

Every muscle in the body is sobbing and pleading with the runner to stop. Most of them can’t even see properly as there is so much of blood racing to their brains. They are cases of marathon runners collapsing and even dying of exertion. Next time watch the laggards (people finishing late). 

They weave, stumble and somehow cross the line. That is what Zeal is; you almost give up your life to achieve something that is driven internally. No prize for the runners coming in 4th or later! The prize is competing with one’s self and winning. That is what life is after all! Winning in our own eyes. We should try out things and should never say later on “Oh I should have tried that thing out”. It is better to have ventured out, tried and failed rather than not trying at all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

26 ways to success - Y for Yielding - " Yield – Give Up And Be A Better Person " article published in The Hans India on 22nd July 2016

Yield – Give Up And Be A Better Person

As a species we are very possessive. We struggle to get things and once we get them we cling on. This clinging on becomes so much of a habit that it becomes pathological. It creates problems, ruins relationships and lives. So what is the solution? Yield or give up.

Giving up or Yielding is viewed negatively. It is a matured way of looking at things and issues. When involved in a fierce argument, yield or give up. Yielding to someone’s argument does not mean that we have accepted the other person’s viewpoint. We win the argument by listening to the other person’s view point. We have listened, that’s all. This tactic is practiced by the Japanese who sagely nod their head in a discussion. Japanese nodding their heads does not mean an affirmative or acceptance; it simply means ‘We have listened to your viewpoint’.

Power of a Proper Yield: There was a godly Swamiji whose word had the power. He was known for saying things that came true. His name and fame had spread far and wide. One day he had visitors, a young mother and her five year old daughter. The mother said “Swamiji, can you counsel my daughter. She is crazy about payasam (a sort of sweet pudding). She eats only payasam and nothing else. Can you tell her not to eat it?” Swamiji was taken back. Gathering his wits together he said “My dear child, eating too much of payasam is not good. Don’t eat it’. The youngster nodded an affirmative.

The next week the mother was back. Surprisingly the child was still eating payasam. Swamiji’s words were not working. Swamiji repeated his words and the young girl again nodded her head. Thus went on for four weeks. The mother was getting more and more frustrated. She started doubting Swamiji. She wanted to try one last time. On the next visit she found Swamiji in his bed. In a weak and quivering voice he beseeched “Child too much of payasam is not good. Stop eating it’.

The next week the mother was back. She was overjoyed. A miracle had happened. The child had stopped eating payasam. She offered payasam to Swamiji and said “you are great. You have done the impossible. My daughter stopped eating payasam. But why is that it had to wait for four weeks. Why couldn’t you stop her in the first instance?”

Swamiji recoiled at the sight of the payasam. He said “Take it away. Anything but payasam. I am also very fond of payasam. So for the first four weeks, I was telling your daughter to stop eating payasam while I was still eating it on the sly. So my words did not have the power or the conviction. Last week I ate so much payasam that it make me physically sick and finally I gave up payasam altogether. So once I myself gave it up, the power and the conviction was back. Can you please take it away?” That is the power of a proper yield. You so something with conviction and there would be scores of others willing to walk in your path. But care should be taken to see that your words carry the conviction just like the Swamiji’s! So what are the things that we need to yield or give up?

1.    Trying to be perfect: We all try to be perfect. But perfection is a myth. Most of what we do is a work in progress. What we do should be perfect for that occasion. In search of excellence are we missing out the present? Whatever we do has an end result. As long as the end result is achieved and as long as it is acceptable there is no need to worry about perfection.

2.      Play petty games: Even the rich and famous can be pretty mean in their behaviour. We have heard of stories of celebrities who carried grudges for a life time. What a waste. Let go of grudges, be as magnanimous as possible. Having a big heart matters a lot.

3.   Being Fake: We are what we are. There is nothing more infuriating than a fake accent and a fake persona. From personal experiences I can vouch for the fact that Indians and Indian accent is acceptable throughout the world.

4.  Trying to win approval from others: We need constant approval from others. Why are we so insecure that we need approval from others? Why the constant clamour for likes, comments and approval. Why should be wash our dirty linen in public? Just to get some more cheap publicity. We should learn to be at peace with ourselves.  

5.     Ego: Ego is something that is very difficult to let go. I remember meeting the country head of one of the most celebrated marketing companies of India. His designation on the visiting card was “Country representative”. That was the most disarming title I have ever seen. Sales Executive/Marketing executive/Marketing Manager or Country representative, they all mean the same. They are the people who have to meet and serve the customers. A rose by any other name would still smell the same!

6.     Living in the past: One of the most dangerous things is to live in the past. Each generation bemoans the fact that theirs was better than the one after them. Each generation has its bright spots and glaring warts. We should we able to take the rough with the smooth! For example there are many things not acceptable with the present generation but the gift of the ever encompassing and ever expanding social media has given the present generation enormous power. The power to comment, influence and force change.

7.   Clinging onto old symbols of prosperity, happiness or of good times: We all cling to things that belong to a bygone era. Those two-in-ones, VCD/DVD players, old washing machines, scooters, heavy cathode ray tube colour televisions  have outlived their utility. Let go, throw them out. I know it is very difficult to let go, but once you let go, there is magic in the air. There is liberation and euphoria. Negativity would be replaced with positiveness. Old things can be very depressive.

8.    Trying to be I, Me and Myself: This generation is consumed by itself. I, Me, myself seems to be the motto. But too much of narcissism can be self-defeating. People are getting jaded and have started to question themselves. ‘What is life all about”? Live a contented life filled with friends, relatives and family members. In earlier days our houses were small but our hearts were big and now our houses are big but tragically our hearts are becoming smaller by the day.

9.  Leave materialism: Materialism is a concept where we try to buy happiness with products and services. But materialism can be a Tsunami in the making. The race to buy the best mobile phone will always end in a disaster as newer models are introduced all the time. The best way to combat this evil would be to ask the question ‘why do I need a new cell phone’ would put things in perspective. We need a phone just to make and receive calls. All other features are the toppings on a plain vanilla icecream!  

10.  Trying to run down others: Most of us take perverse pleasure in running down others. We want to put them down or even better crush them. But why? Internalize the motto “we just don’t want to win; we want to win with people and not through people and not by using other people”.   

26 ways to success - X for (e)Xcitement - " Are you an eXciting person? " article published in The Hans India on 15th July 2016

Are you an eXciting person?

Think of your friend who is the life of the party. What is that unique trait that makes him/her tick and why is that he/she is most sought after person is the question worth pondering about. If you were to do a detailed analysis a startling truth would emerge. That individual is the most popular as he/she is the most exciting person to be around. An exciting person is able to arouse or bring out our innate feelings and is able to stimulate us. That arousal or stimulation is often something that we all miss. Resultantly we crave for the company of people who can excite us.

As spending powers have increased, people are willing to shell out more money on trying out exotic dishes. Sushi and Fugu or Puffer fish eating has become an exciting activity. For the uninitiated Fugu fish is a deadly Japanese fish. The restaurant preparation of Fugu is strictly controlled by law in Japan and several other countries, and only chefs who have qualified after three or more years of rigorous training are allowed to prepare the fish. Domestic preparation by untrained chefs has occasionally leads to accidental deaths.

The Fugu fish’s blood and body organs are more poisonous than cyanide. The Fugu fish dish makers are extremely skilled and trained to remove even the minutest traces of Fugu poison. Obviously they get paid very well and there are very few Fugu fish experts in the world. So what is so exciting and death defying in eating a Fugu dish? There is a definite amount of risk. Even the minutest traces of blood or traces of body parts eaten could lead to instant death! Lesson: Excel at something that is valued, unique and treasured.

Employees of Disneyland: Travel to USA is incomplete without a mandatory visit to the Niagara Falls and a visit to the world famous Disneyland. My family was very excited about the Disney world trip that we had undertaken in the year 2008. The entry ticket to the Las Vegas Disneyland was a whopping US $ 100 per person (Rs 6,700/-) for a day.

Eateries in the Disney Park are very expensive and visitors get their own home packed lunch.  We were partaking lunch in the parking area and just behind us were three huge trash cans. I saw three Disneyland employees; two young men and a woman approach the trash cans and hesitate. I could sense the dilemma in their faces. Should they just wait (they could pick their noses, appear to be bored, or busily text or chat on their cell phones) or just do their job and say “to hell with the visitors” and be oblivious of our presence. They are entitled to do their job and not be bothered about any other thing. What they ended doing stunned us.  I still get goose bumps when I remember what transpired.

All three springy and bright as beans Disney employees took out drumming sticks and started rhythmically drumming the trash cans. They were providing us with accompanying music as we ate! They kept drumming as long as we ate. That was the most enjoyable and exiting meal that I have eaten in my entire life. Those three Disney employees taught me a lesson that I can never forget. Make the day of every visitor so exciting that he/she would never forget it in a life time. Disney perfectly understood that for many visitors a visit to a Disney land Park was a once in a life time event and it strove to make the visit as memorable and exciting as possible. 

Lesson: Do everything that is possible to make someone else’s life a little better and more exciting.

So far so good, how do develop that exciting personality and be the person whose arrival every one waits for.

1.    Get outside your zone of comfort: Most of us tend to stay within our zones of comfort and never venture out. It is critically important to challenge ourselves. Challenging ourselves would not only be rewarding but might bring out facets of our personality hitherto unknown. The best way to get out of zone of comfort is to try and become an oversized stuffed carton figure who is employed outside a toy store or a super market. These stuffed toy figures entice customers to come into the store. Once inside a dress, one can become a cartoon figure like a Mickey Mouse. The individual identity is lost but it is quite liberating. Most people lose their inhibitions. The stares, the leering laughs, the insulting comments that some people make are more than compensated by the hugs, the warmth and the handshakes that the   cartoon figure gets.

2.  Do some unplanned, crazy and fun filled activities: exciting people tend to be unpredictable. Unpredictability is a trait that people love. What can be more exciting than do something that is not planned? ‘Have wings, will fly’ should be the motto. Go for an unplanned holiday or a sojourn. Try out bungee jumping or a long trek. Organize a get together of your school friends. Never let the monotony of daily life wear you down. Be the person who is bubbling with new ideas and implement those ideas. Never be afraid to try out new things. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

3.      Pick up a new skill: Conquer your internal demons. If you fear something, take it head on. If you do not like public speaking, tackle that issue head on. Practice, practice and practice till you become an expert. Such a big expert that people actually queue up and pay to listen! That would really be a victory to cherish.

4.    Be the person who can galvanize social gatherings: learn the tricks of engaging people. Can you organize small parties or conduct games? Can you perform some simple magic tricks or read hands. Are you good or organizing things and tying up the loose ends?   If you can do these things you could be the person that everyone enquires about in a party or a social gathering.

5.      Be kind: Do something nice for a friend or even a complete stranger. Pay for someone else tea or buy a bus ticket for a complete stranger. Even better, feed someone. Leave a thank you note and appreciate the efforts of others.

6.    Be curious about people. Ask people old or young, questions about their lives. Learn what other people do and what makes them successful. You might discover something intriguing about them and yourself. There could be something in their life that could be similar to yours. Unknowingly you might strike something big that might completely change your life.

7.     Try to do something that you always wanted to do but were afraid to do or were told not to do so by others: In many cases we wanted to do something but were told not to do so by somebody else, for example by our parents or elders. If that something is what you always wanted to do – get that monkey off your shoulder. Do it. Yes the new activity might be frightening, difficult and even bothersome but it needs to be attempted. If you dream to be a writer there is no better time to start than now. Try it out. Learn how to write. Attend a workshop. Write, write and write. Slowly but steadily you would pick up that craft. There is nothing in this world that can’t be achieved if it is attempted with seriousness and with a sense of purpose. Impossible is a word that is found in a fool’s dictionary.

8.   Try to emulate someone who is successful but don’t be a copycat: We have often seen other successful people who are exciting and try to imitate them. That is a very big mistake. Each one of us will have to develop a unique area where we excel. Kapil Sharma the standup comedian has developed his own wonky style of humour laced with witty one-liners. There can’t be another Kapil Sharma but there can be one unique you. The journey of self-discovery is an eternal pursuit. 

9.   Dreaming and dreaming big: one needs to dream and dream big. Nothing in the world should stop you from dreaming. Dreams are enjoyable, exciting and yes very liberating. Don’t be afraid of your own dreams. Don’t allow random thoughts of negativity and lame excuses as to why those dreams can’t come true enter your head. Just dream your wildest dream. And you deserve your dreams. Accepting the dream is the first step in trying to achieve it. You deserve your dream and it can be a reality. If you don’t stand up for your dreams then no one else will. Learn to stand up to your dreams. Dreams are what will not allow you to sleep at night. They can relentlessly drive a person on to a path of glory and success.

10.  Taking action: Only dreaming is not going to help. You need to plunge into action to make the dreams come true. Action orientation is imperative. “Full on” as the phrase goes. Plunge into action. Give it all that you have. Not 100% but 120%. Let everyone around you know that you are doing all that you can do be the person that you have always dreamt to be. If you have to be the gardener, be the best gardener in the world. People should identify you by your unique style. Javed Habib the hair Doctor became popular due to his unique way of looking at the business of hair styling.  

26 ways to success - W for Waiting - " They Also Serve Those Who Stand And Wait" article published in The Hans India on 8th July 2016

W for Waiting
They Also Serve Those Who Stand And Wait

In the era of instant gratification, waiting is a strange word. No-one wants to wait. Everyone is on the speed trip and living life in the fast lane. Things are instantly available and on tap. In the earlier days we had to go to the shop to buy things. Now we can buy anywhere, anything, at any time. This is leading to a generation of jaded people who lack the simple pleasures of life. John Milton had very famously said “They also serve those who stand and wait”.

We are captivated by successful people who made it big and tend to treat ourselves with utter contempt and disdain. It is as if we are not worthy in our own eyes. But that is not true. Like Milton has said each one of us has a purpose in this world and it is up to ourselves to live up to our true potential. Success comes to some in a jiffy and many others will have to wait for it to come after many attempts and failures. Vinod Kambli had once said “Sachin Tendulkar had it lucky. He took an elevator to success. Ordinary mortals like me have to arduously climb the stairs laboriously to reach the top”

“Bhagwan ke ghar mey der hai, andher nahi”. There can be delay in god's home but there is no scope for darkness. All is fair in life even if there are slight delays. What has to be given to us will be given. We need to be patient and willing to wait.

My Dad is a civil engineer and our family spent seven wonderful years in Nagarjunasagar, Andhra Pradesh from 1967 to 1975. I and my sisters had an idyllic childhood full of excitement, self-learning and innocence. There were lots of time spend in waiting for things to happen. During that time waiting was a virtue in itself. Things would not happen automatically like they do now. We needed to have patience and had to imagine a lot.

Even today the most creative people in the world are ferocious book readers. Book reading is a creative process. We has to imagine things as we read along. And every one’s imagination is unique. That is sole reason why each book reader relishes the book differently from everyone else. Contrast it with Television. Television is a one-dimensional media and we have to view things from the director’s perspective only.  There is no scope for imagination. No wonder, Television is called an idiots’ box!

The waiting made the things sweeter and more excitable. We used to wait with baited breath for the English newspaper to arrive in the afternoon. There was no TV and radio telecasts were irregular and rudimentary. The habit of daily newspaper reading has stood me in good stead in the decades to come. We also waited for the arrival of the Children’s monthly magazine “Chandamama”. We were at tender hooks when the other sibling was reading the elusive and once on a month available wonder - Chandamama.

Watching a movie was an experience in itself. We used to debate and argue about the best movie to watch. We had to wait for an entire month and it was critical that we did not make a wrong movie choice. Contrast that with the more than 100 movies that one can watch today, on the television, computer, laptop and even in our mobiles. No wonder the present generation is so blasé and callous about the craft of movie making. They have too much choice and they don’t need to wait.  I have noticed viewers who continuously text and chat in a theatre even when they are watching a tense and suspense filled scene. Waiting for something is very important to understand its true value.

1978 was the year when Television was telecast for the first time in Hyderabad. Programming was limited to one hour per day. Most of the programmes telecast were insipid and colorless. But the waiting made the viewing worth it. We used to wait with anticipation for the rotating rings of the Doordarshan to appear on the TV set. The wonderful world of entertainment was about to unfold itself in front of our unbelieving eyes.

Venkat Ramana Colony, Khairatabad had only 4 black and white TVs and I vividly remember pleading and beseeching a TV owner along with many of my friends to put his Black and white TV out in the portico for all the colony kids to watch and enjoy the Sunday evening movie, the only one that would be telecast in a week. The waiting for the movie made it all worth, never mind sitting on the uncomfortable road temporarily converted into an impromptu TV viewing arena. Sterling examples of famous people who tasted success after lot of waiting.  
Colonel Sanders: was an American businessman, best known for the fast food chicken restaurant chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). His name and image are still symbols of the company.
Sanders held a number of jobs in his early life; He began selling Fried chicken during the Great American Depression in the 1930s. Sanders recognized the potential of the restaurant franchising concept, and the first KFC franchise opened in Utah in 1952. He was 62 years old at that time. In the era of modern entrepreneurs most of whom are in early twenties, this might come as a big shock. Colonel Sanders waited till his retirement to start one of the biggest fast food businesses in the world.
Erle Stanley Gardner: The creator of Perry Mason is one of the most loved, popular and admired mystery writers of the world. Gardner has been dead for many years but his books are still being purchased, even today. There is only one mystery writer who sells even better than Gardner himself, the impeccable Agatha Christie.
Erle Stanley Gardner was a successful criminal lawyer. It is said that he never lost a case. But he got bored with his criminal practice. Gardner had tried other jobs and had some success in sales. In 1921, he started writing fiction.  Gardner had a draw full of rejection slips (publishing companies rejecting his works) before he finally sold a short story called "The Shrieking Skeleton" to Black Mask Magazine in 1923. He had to wait for two years before his first story got published. 
It was in 1933 that Erle Stanley Gardner’s first novel “The case of the Velvet claws” was published, a good 12 years after he started to write. If Erle Stanley Gardner had not waited for 12 years to publish his novels, millions of readers would have missed the pleasure of reading his numerous suspense filled and extremely knowledgeable novels. Even today Erle Stanley Garner’s Perry Mason series remain a must read for all aspiring law students. Perry Mason novels dramatically demonstrate how criminal lawyers have to study available evidence and build a strong case and argue persuasively to win first the confidence of the presiding judge and finally the case itself. Why do we need to develop the ability to wait? The following reasons might clear our mental cobwebs,
1.  Waiting brings increased pleasure: When we wait for things to happen, there is anticipation and excitement. Waiting means more pleasure. That is the sole reason why parents keep harping on the point “you would know the pleasure of the purchase only if you had bought it with your own money”. If we were to buy even a pair of shoes with our own money we would know its value. In earlier days buying a house or a car was once in a life time event. As people waited for an entire life they derived more pleasure from its possession and usage.  

2.   Waiting brings self-control: Too much of anything could be self-destructive. Waiting would entail exercising tremendous self-control. As the things that we want are not available, that need has to be postponed.  A Zen zone has to be created. A Zen zone is a zone where abstinence itself becomes an integral part of life.

3.  Waiting helps us manage with less: When we have to wait for a thing, even small quantities can bring in great pleasure. For a person who is starving even a small piece of bread is a mannah from the heaven. For a person who is strictly not eating sweets a small glass of sweetened orange juice itself would taste as sweet as a Gulab Jamoon!  

4.    Waiting will make us treat things better: As we are getting things after lot of waiting we would treat things with more respect and would tend to make them last longer. Check with your parents. They might still be wearing the HMT watch that they must have bought 3 or 4 decades ago!

5.   Waiting allows us guilt free enjoyment: We have started to love debt. Most people have multiple debit and credit cards and we blow money as if there is no tomorrow. But even the most free spending people are sometimes filled with guilt. Guilt of buying something on credit, which they have to repay through their noses. But if we wait, plan the budget and buy things carefully, without credit, we can enjoy the product usage without any feeling of guilt.

6.   Waiting lets us feel and experience life more deeply: we don’t understand something unless we experience it. Fasting is advocated in all religion as a penance so that we can understand the pangs of hunger. Waiting to eat when our stomach is crying for nourishment and nutrition is the best way to connect with the poor of the world.  

7.    It is as much about the journey as it is about the destination: The most important thing about an event is the waiting for the event to unfold. The marriage ceremony or the foreign country trip would get finished in a flash but the excitement, the waiting and the anticipation of the event makes the event more memorable and linger on for a life time. The journey is as exciting as the destination itself.

8. Waiting increases Strength and discipline: Waiting makes people stronger. Ramayana and Mahabharata our epic puranas are both about waiting. The heir apparent in both cases had to wait for 14 and 13 long years respectively before they were anointed as kings. They had to wait and understand the problems of the common man before they could rule. If something is achieved after pain and waiting it would be treasured for a long time.