[The school, where I studied, turned 25 years last year and this article was published in the special magazine to commemorate the silver jubilee. Hope others find it useful too. This article is inspired from the book by Malcolm Gladwell]
Warren buffet is the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $62 billion. But that is not exactly what my point is and what I am going to write about. The fact that stands out is that he has donated more that 85% of his hard earned money of his entire life without any pains to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation making it the largest charitable donation in history. He is a happy man living in a modest apartment with a very constrained lifestyle. He has what he needs. He has fulfilled his duties towards fellow human beings. In other words he is successful.
Similarly there are people like Vishwanath Anand, Ratan Tata and Sachin Tendulkar who have been successful in their respective domains. With a population of over 6 billion people in this world, I am sure, there are thousands, if not millions of people with similar abilities as these people. What is it that makes them more successful than rest of the people? I think the three main factors that make the difference are luck, grit and ability. We do not have much control over the first factor but let us be optimists and believe the wisdom words “fortune favors the brave”. I am going to discuss about the other two factors – grit and ability – and converge upon a very simple theme of connecting the these dots.
Ability is one’s personal trait that gives one an extra edge in achieving something. For example, a person with muscular physique will have a competitive advantage in boxing or weight lifting against a person with a lean frame like me. On the contrary, a person who is good with numbers will do better than an average in engineering. I believe that everyone in this world is born with at least on exceptionally good ability. The key is to find those set of abilities what you are good at. Next comes the grit.
One needs to nurture the ability to make it extra ordinary. Sachin Tendulkar had an ability to hit the ball at the right time with right force. He honed his skills with thousands of hours of practice and became what he is today. Buffet started investing when he was eight [some say he started when he was just five which is little hard to believe] and has been practicing for whole his life. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, started doing his practice in programming when he was in eighth grade. Here’s what he says “It [programming] was my obsession. I skipped athletics. I went up there at night. We were programming on weekends. It would be a rare week that we wouldn’t get twenty or thirty hours in”. Twenty or Thirty hours a week in eighth standard! Abraham Lincoln practiced law for twenty-five years and handled an average of more than two-hundred cases a year. These people did not give up when problems came but faced it with courage and conviction. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was sacked from the very same company he founded. He did not give up – he worked hard and returned again to helm of Apple. He was also diagnosed with cancer once but he again fought back and is now celebrated as an icon for introducing his design innovations [much famed iPods, iPhones, Macs etc] to this world.
In summary, I think these successful people identified their strengths and goals early and worked very hard to connect their strengths with their goals. Luck favored them. Let us all define the terms of success and start working towards it studying the footsteps of these wise people. However, we should also remember one important thing – we should define criteria for our success based on what we want to do and not what others expect us to do. So, although we should study the lives of these great people, we should create the path of our own. My best wishes to all the students for a successful future and everybody associated with Jude’s on completing glorious [and successful] 25 years!!