Success And The Things We Forget

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” The man who spoke these lines was being incredibly generous in saying so– he gives a great deal credit to all and sundry dreamers, and instills in them the belief that what they seek when it comes to the secrets of success, is and always has been… Already within them.
Now, whether you choose to agree with the man or not is entirely a matter of your opinion. But there is no denying that this nugget of advice is most certainly something worth considering, especially when they come from one of the brightest, most influential, revolutionaries (many call him the “Father of Digital Revolution”), visionary, multi-billion-dollar-company-building entrepreneurs that this planet has ever seen. More importantly, one of the most “successful” persons. Ah, the elusive “Success”. You’ve been told umpteen times that this or that is the key to success, this qualifies success and this does not. The road to success is long and winding (indeed, Robert Frost would even tell you it is through ‘The road less travelled’). But if you go by what the afore mentioned legend Steve Jobs says, and just believe that we all ‘Have it in us’, that would make achieving success easy, right? But then take a moment to think about life as you know it, and reconsider the notion. Why is that the world is not filled to the brim with entrepreneurial role models like Jobs? In an article by Moya K. Mason, she states that on an average, “297 million people worldwide are active in trying to get 192 million businesses past the initial launch and through the initial three years of operation.” Whoa! Well then, that brings us back to our question. If we can all follow our heart and intuition, if we have it in us to be successful, if deep down, sub-consciously we all ‘know’ what we truly want to become, why don’t we? What happens? Well, life happens! You see, amidst the daily struggles, the routines, the obsessions, the dilemmas, the desires and the conflicts of life, we fickle humans tend to forget the important stuff. And no, by that I do not mean the complicated, intricate, elaborate theories and philosophies of life, but its simple, straightforward, elementary, uncomplicated truths. Truths that are inherent, deep-rooted in us, or truths we are brought up to honour, or truths that we can clearly read between the lines, or truths that we learn from the mistakes of others if you are fortunate enough, or truths that we learn the harder way, from our own personal experience. Simple truths that can be summed up in one-liners or found in fortune cookies. These are the truths we forget. The simple fundamentals of success. So, let us take a break from the myriad quotations, self-help books and instructions you’d find plastered all over the world and take a moment to remember the truths that we somewhere, ‘Somehow already know’. 

Do your homework: Okay, let’s admit it. None of us liked hearing that when we were kids. Even now, just the sound of those words put together, brings about a nasty sensation. But in all seriousness, this one truth can quite simply be the difference between a successful venture and an unsuccessful one. In the frenzied excitement of a brilliant idea, practicality, as unromantic as it is, often tends to get sidelined. But if you remember to calm down a notch and commit to memory that passion and intentions aside, the backbone and essence of a startup and a new venture is in the research, the details, the sweating it out, from referring to incalculable data to running around carrying out surveys and picking brains, you would be that much wiser for it. Knowledge is Truth. Now you wouldn’t want to be opening up your meat shop next to a plot of land that has been allotted to a temple, would you? Information prepares you, planning lays out the map and the journey becomes only that much more exciting and eventful when you are attuned to what’s going on. Which brings us to…

Be prepared for anything: Nobody sets out to be disappointed. Nobody! But it happens. And while constantly expecting your venture to go down the drain is a morbid way to move forward, unreasonably holding the belief that your little ship will never have to sail on rough waters is plain unwise. It’s not the classic half-full or half empty scenario here. Choose to be neither overly optimistic nor cynical or pessimistic. Choose to just be realistic. Things happen. Acknowledge and count on all the possible obstacles that you might and must face. And even after calculations, forecasts and predictions, a hundred different forms of unpleasant surprises may show up uninvited (argh!). Keep in mind then, that it is NOT the end of the world. To this unexpected guest, be the perfect host – gentle, assured, hospitable. After all, they can’t stay forever, can they? And also, remember – what doomed Titanic was not some random iceberg; it was pride, arrogance and unpreparedness.

Nobody thinks you’re great: Until you prove it. Ever heard one of those celebrity big-break stories where they were just walking down the street and some keen-eyed director spotted them and offered them the lead in their next film? Cool, right? Unfortunately, in a world that constantly pits you against a hundred others of your kind, this scenario can be best described as a mere fairy tale. (Also, unfortunately, no one is keen-eyed enough to “spot” entrepreneurs walking down the street) The truth of the world as we know it is that no one knows how wonderful your idea is, no one knows how ingenious your next venture is and absolutely no one knows how efficient, hard-working and dedicated you are until you put it out there for the world to see. You will get your big break some day. But until then, you have to keep your chin up, and keep going at what you do best because it beats sulking and lazying around in front of the TV watching saas-bahu reruns. Any day!

Learn, learn, keep learning:  Along with the ‘Do your homework’ bit, there’s no end to all the lessons that taught us. One of which – keep studying, keep learning (sometimes, just cramming your head with things), keep thinking – may just be more useful than you ever imagined.
You must have found yourself wondering as you sat in a dreary classroom – why on earth you have to study both what the early scientists or writers thought years ago, and what the modern scientists and writers think now. (Sigh). Friends, the bottom line is: The world keeps changing. Now, faster than ever. Displaced though their theories eventually were, what Plato or Newton or Eliot claimed in their times was at least accepted, believed in and upheld for decades, for several generations to come. Now, trend changes in the blink of an eyelid. And it doesn’t even follow a fixed pattern. Technology advances by leaps and bounds everyday! And the ones who can’t keep up, are simply left behind. Don’t be left behind. The key is to keep learning, keep thinking, just like old times! And lastly, but most importantly…

Be Kind: Bo Bennett, the creator of Adgrafix, said, “Success is not what you have, but who you are.” I am willing to bet there is no one you know of who absolutely loves working for their obstinate, difficult, demanding employer. You yourself would rather spend your days unemployed than ever be working in the
same workplace as, let alone working for a person like that. So, remember: when the time comes, don’t ever turn into that person. If you want a team of wonderful, talented individuals working for or with you, treat them, appreciate and praise them for the wonderful, talented individuals that they are. Empathize with them. Be considerate. Cut them some slack, now and then. Your creative or entrepreneurial genius never trumps over your compassion and forbearance. Virtues never get old. Whether it is to people working with you, or working for you, remember to always be gracious and kind.

Akanksha Dhyani

Mad. Creative. Storyteller.

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