I want to share with you some of my life’s lessons. You must have heard “Do what you love doing and you’ll never have to work another day in your life”.
I have personally experienced this. I started out as student being very fond of languages and the studies in humanities which includes history and English but my parents told me that I must do something more practical and study science and engineering, which I did. I did have the marks for it but I gradually found that I found much more satisfaction in doing things that came naturally to a student of English and history than to a student of engineering and management and in a way I turned full circle because now in public life I find that I have to communicate a lot and if I have to communicate a lot I don’t know how much engineering helps me but the point of all this is that the opportunities in India that are coming up are phenomenal and they are across the board.
I don’t think one any longer has to be a science student or commerce student or management student to find proper employment opportunities. We are looking at the next 25 years when India’s growth is going to be virtually unparallel. We have just touched 9.5% GDP growth rate which is phenomenal. The kind of economy we are becoming the kind of opportunities that are going to be there we will provide the platform that any of us really needs, no matter what we are doing.
My experience about growth in career has been stretching oneself which is equivalent to challenging oneself and the second aspect has been working with others. In my experience working with others has meant two things. It has meant interpersonal relations and communications with peers. I am surprised how often I run into people who don’t recognize the importance of this to think because of their own talent as one man shows or as islands by themselves they can excel. Perhaps for a limited time you can but not for any sustained period of time. You have to work in teams to succeed and as you take up more and more responsibilities in your life you have to achieve more through others than directly through yourself and if you don’t figure this out, or the longer you take to figure this out the longer will huge success elude.
I talked about stretching. Stretching essentially means to challenge yourself to do things.
When I was growing up I had problem with heights. I had vertigo and I was very scared of heights and I thought the best thing I could do about that was to do things that challenge your limits. First thing I did was, learn how to jump from an aircraft which was sky diving and then I learnt how to fly planes and then I learnt how to do bungee jumping.
The question is – has this solved my vertigo? Actually, no! So what has it done?
It has taught me to face my fears. This is a simple example. This doesn’t mean that all of you should go out and do bungee jumping, the point I am making is that confronting your fears applies just as much to fear of heights as to the fear of anything in your life. I have seen many talented person simply not taking the first step towards what they wish to do, what they want to do because they think this is beyond them and I can personally assure you once you take that first step lot of things will become clear. Just as when I was doing bungee jumping my entire life flashed before me and everything became clear as to what really one should be scared about and what one really shouldn’t be scared about. In my life I learnt that if I were to jump without the bungee jumping chord attached to my legs I should be scared but if I were to jump with the chord attached to me you shouldn’t be scared.
‘Change is inevitable’, you must have heard this many times and I am reiterating something that is probably no new knowledge to you but it’s a fact. I want to share a statistic with you which some of you may know and some of you may not.
Fast forward 10 years from today, whatever you have learnt till today – your school and college education, whatever experience you have in 10 years time it is likely to count for less than 25% of what is important for success. In 10 years from now what is likely to be important for your success, 75% of that is likely to be new knowledge that you have gained and life experiences that you have gained. Your school and college experience and educational experience till now in 10 years time is likely to count for 25% or less.
What does one do about change? I said that you must keep up with it. Keeping up with it means that you must recognize that change is going to happen any way whether you want it or not, whether you like it or not. Question is whether you adapt.
Finally, when I get asked about my formula for success, I keep talking about this. Sheer persistence alone I think accounts for 60-75% of all success. Obviously you can add to this by your acumen, by your hard work, by new ideas but sheer persistence, till now they keep running into people who don’t give due credit to simple persistence.
There is a very famous quote by Winston Churchill. It says “A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
So everything that I just told you if you find that its all non sense just call me back for another speech and I will tell you why it didn’t all work out.
Mr BJ Panda, Then member of Parliament. This is an excerpt from Mr BJ Panda’s speech during AIMA’s Shaping Young Minds Programme held in June 2006 at Kolkatta.