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Hey! I know its a bit late to be penning this down, but wish all of you a great and successful new year! The reason for this really late blog is that I wanted my first one for this year to be a reflection of some serious introspection. And well, I've found the perfect topic for the post.
Perhaps most of you have read this popular email forward - 5 Great Lessons in Life (If not, navigate down to the text in italics to read it - It's a wonderful one.) It took me so long to realize that this very very popular email forward had at once been a simple blog! And deriving from this inspiration, here's my blog - Incidences which altered my perspectives of life.
I was having a casual conversation with my father on the drive down to his office. Only later did I realize the impact this casual conversation had on my actions and thoughts. We were discussing the option of actually considering entrepreneurship as a career choice. My father was telling me about how fruitful and successful an option this could turn out to be if we went about the right way - keeping abreast of latest developments, looking into a problem and trying to come up with a business level solution to it. I was all ears, this coming not just from my father, who had my best interests in heart, but also from a senior executive of a leading firm in India. But I was also seriously considering the risk option. After all, I had read that only 1% of first movers were actually successful and that technical soundness guaranteed only that much success and said so. My father replied saying statistics could only tell you so much. He told me about a person he knew - currently a respected guest lecturer in IIT-Bombay - who was a nuclear power specialist. This professor came up with a entrepreneurial level solution that was ultimately adopted only in the nuclear reactors of India. So according to statistics, his success would be deemed partial. But my dad said "Do you know how happy he is? He has a very comfortable income, has seen his passion materialize and take a form that approved by the community and is now a lecturer. He is so proud that his invention has been accepted and that he has contributed in someway, to the furthering of mankind." I was at a loss for words. I realized that in learning what my technopreneurship modules aimed to impart, I had learnt to define and measure success only in terms of financial returns! So often in life, we don't get the larger picture! So every time you begin thinking of money and success on the same platform, be sure to think again!
I read this email once, a long long time ago. It is also a blog, I suppose. It is about an Indian, who responded to a call by Gandhiji to observe a fast of one meal every week till India could supply food to the US. He broke his fast only after India dropped air food packets for the survivors of the Katrina! It taught me so many things - perseverence, honouring someone we respect by adhering to their principles and patriotism.
1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:
"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."
I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The MN took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached..
It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."
Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those who serve.
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a
10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied
The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..
You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.
4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.
5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it, if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.
He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?"
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.
"Work like you don't need the money, Love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when no body's watching."
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