A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but also more useful than a life spent doing nothing. -- George Bernard Shaw
In the pursuit of happiness and success, we all make decisions to do few things and not to do few others. The decisions come from our experience which in turn is shaped by our judgments – good and bad. I was lucky for having made many mistakes and even luckier for learning lessons which have shaped my life the way it is today. My belief is – everyone makes mistakes but only a person of integrity owns up to them. Integrity being one of my core values; let me publicly accept three most stoical mistakes of my student life which taught me greatest life lessons.
1. LISTENING TO FAILURES: I completed my schooling from government school in a remote village and headed to Kota for preparation of state level engineering entrance, Rajasthan Pre-Engineering Test (AIEEE came into existence later). I was all alone as no one accompanied me to this new place. To my amazement I got to know about the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) for the first time. A dream of being an IITian was born in my heart. I approached few other students; who I got to know much later, happened to be seasoned failures in IIT entrance for 3 years. They came closer to me and acted like my biggest well-wishers in the world. They advised that, ‘you poor fellow, belong to a small village, can’t even speak proper Hindi, not able to speak a single sentence in English. This entrance requires preparation of three to four years which will put your parents in debts and sorrow.’ They further added that ‘if you prepare for IIT, you will be embracing sure shot failure as it is not your cup of tea. Think small, go for state level engineering entrance and forget IIT.’ What a murder of a dream! I am not sure shall I call it foeticide or infanticide? But yes, it definitely a murder.
When making a choice for Common Admission Test (CAT) for making it to IIMs, I was utterly cautious of these killers. The dream transformed into reality, I made it to the Indian Institutes of Management. My advice to you is: ‘Never listen to failures and reach out only to people who have already succeeded in the field where you want to start’. The biggest problem is – these dream killers exist in the form of our friends, family & familiars, though they may be doing this unknowingly. Make your own decisions; put your future in safest hands – your own.
2. BEING MISER: Coming from a lower class of society where my parents made Rs 6000/- a month to support a family of 5 members; the habit of being miser came in the package along with many other great gifts like hard work, good time management, patience, perseverance, values stronger than rocks and many others from my family.
It was the time of summers in the year 2001 when I was going to take Engineering entrance exam. I used to take shared auto to the exam center for the purpose of saving money. Unfortunately I did not find any shared auto on that day and personal autos asked for Rs 40/- as fare which was exorbitantly high for me and I refused to pay. Instead I walked three kilometers on foot and reached 7 minutes late in the test of Physics which was good enough to make me anxious and diminish my level of concentration. Two months later the results were announced and greed to save forty bucks had pushed me down by three ranks in the entrance. It matters a lot when those three ranks are the first ones.
That day I decided not be kind to my parents when it comes to investment in myself. Truly, I have become extravagant in buying books, DVDs, getting trainings, joining gym, making a donation to needy school kids, attending spiritual discourses and in many other ways to develop myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My advice to you is, never hesitate making investments in yourself. You might make losses if you invest in properties, gold or stocks however investment in yourself will always leave you enriched and wise in more than one way.
3. NOT PLAYING SPORTS: I did not play sports in my student life. Sports inculcate many greatness traits in a person’s character which I missed during school days and am working hard to develop now. Just to list few of the qualities developed through sports are:
Discipline: It is the key to success in every project we do. Sports, practically teach that discipline is not a set of limitations rather it is the biggest form of freedom. For example follow the discipline of traffic rules and get freedom from fatalistic accidents, follow the discipline of eating well and be free from obesity and other food generated diseases, be disciplined in sleep and stay free from lethargy, be disciplined in exercise regimen and be full of energy.
Teamwork: This helps one learn working in teams. Great industrialists, politicians, saints, leaders – all work in teams. Working in teams is one of the ageless secrets for riches, fulfillment and happiness. Many miss out on this great quality just because of being deprived from sports.
Setting goals: focusing like a laser beam to realize the dreams and developing supportive habits which provide you the stimulus to reach your goals is fundamental to success in any field. Players set goal to win individually and in team for every game. Unknowingly this habit of goal setting makes its roots in our subconscious mind. It makes us walk extra miles and reach our other goals in life.
Leadership: Just imagine being captain of your cricket or volleyball team. You learn how to push people to greater heights for achieving a common goal. One learns to deal with a variety of personalities and appreciate the talents of others.
Perseverance: Training camps. Long practices. Hot days. Wind sprints. Early mornings. Losing and bouncing. Winning and celebrating. They all teach perseverance.
Let sports be as important as academics in life of students.
‘Wise is the one who learns from another´s mistakes. Less wise is the one who learns only from his own mistakes. The fool keeps making the same mistakes again and again and never learns from them.’ I believe my readers are among the wisest people on this planet and hence will learn from my mistakes only not to commit them. On the other hand, you are free and as Gandhi said “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes”. Hence go and make some mistakes but never let them go without teaching you the valuable lessons.
Remember, if you're heading in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!