Turning dreams into reality

Turning dreams into reality

Secrets of Success

Turning dreams into reality

Dreams don’t work unless you do. While you aspire to make it big in life, don’t forget to build strong foundations of hard work, skill and commitment, suggests Ali Khwaja

Would you like to become the chief executive officer of a multi-national company? Imagine yourself as the most successful person in a large progressive industry, occupying the corner office as the boss. It would be a dream come true, wouldn’t it?

Many aspire to do something big in their lives. Subordinates in every company would be vying for higher positions everyday. You may find that some of these subordinates have equally good, or sometimes even better qualifications than their boss.

They may also be hard-working and committed, but the fact remains that they are cogs in the wheels of the corporate world, working hard and earning a decent salary, but never reaching the top of the pyramid. This happens because they won’t have a plan to achieve their goals.

Of course, there are some who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth. If you are the scion of a giant industrial empire and the heir of a billionaire family, then you need to read no further (yet reading further may ensure that you do not lose what you inherited).

Those of you who have been bestowed with a fairly high intelligence quotient (IQ) and have a strong desire to succeed, there are certain norms that will  increase your chances of making it bigger.

Proper definition

You would be surprised to know that a majority of the population doesn’t know what success means to it. To you, does success mean money, designation, work satisfaction, fame, praise from your parents, or status in society?

You may want a combination of two or more of the above, but what is important is whether you have been able to prioritise them.  Once you do that, be open to the fact that your priorities change with time, and whether the path you are chalking out for yourself can allow you to move in different directions.

It helps if you are frank with yourself, as hypocrisy can be very harmful. If you wish to become an IAS officer primarily because of the status and respect it gets you, then admit it — don’t try to fool yourself by saying that you are choosing this career to help poor people (even if that is a secondary or minor objective). Such clarity will go a long way in helping you keep up your motivation and to work steadfastly.

Achievers always have a ‘Plan B’ ready, which means they will think beyond their ‘Plan A’ and have a backup process ready. When Dr APJ Abdul Kalam didn’t get selected to become a pilot in the Air Force, he was clear that he would become an aeronautical engineer instead.

When veteran music composer Mohammed Zahur Khayyam spent years in Bollywood trying to become a hero and could not make any headway, he chose his second passion — music, and went on to become a great music director, earning immense name and fame.

There is a lot of talk lately about the fact that one can become great even without excelling academically. People quote stalwarts like Bill Gates and Dhirubhai Ambani, and claim that they were school dropouts and yet became billionaires. It is true that Dhirubhai did not study much, but there was never any doubt about his intellectual capabilities.

On the other hand, Bill excelled in studies and managed to gain admission in the prestigious Harvard University. He opted to drop out only because he felt his capabilities were far beyond classroom learning.

At the same time, we cannot deny that one star does not make the universe. Such achievers are perhaps exceptions to the rule that there is no substitute for hard work. What we can agree on is that everyone need not go through the grind of professional courses or postgraduate degrees in order to succeed.

Today, we have a flexible range of courses to choose from — degrees in liberal education, digital society, business analytics, automobile design, wildlife, counselling, beauty, sports, family business management, film-making, corporate communication, to name a few.

But the hard fact remains that one has to excel in whatever he or she is doing. Those with passion in unusual fields, backed up with certain amount of intelligence, commitment, consistency and aptitude, can land up with a job in their chosen field easily.

While there are a number of aspects to take into account in order to be successful, here’s a simple list that can help you achieve greater heights:

* Be knowledgeable: I see boys who say that they would like to become automobile designers because they love riding motorbikes! My suggestion to them would be to explore the field completely, including apt courses, how difficult admissions are, vital skills needed, what is the working style of these professionals, and how they earn their livelihood.

* Say yes: Be ‘for’ something rather than ‘against’ something. Don’t be a quitter. Don’t run away from a course or vocation once the going gets tough. Don’t take up Commerce only because Science is too difficult for you. Look for something better, something that really attracts you. Find out everything about it, and then make a calculated move.

* Skill bank: List out the skills that are required to succeed in the field you have chosen. Divide them into those you already possess, and those you do not have as yet. Again, bifurcate the latter into those that can be developed and those which are inborn (for instance, you can build public speaking skills at any stage, but you cannot increase your height after a certain age).

* Look back constantly: Remember that your priorities change, and your skills also change from time to time. Keep doing the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) exercise periodically to ensure that you are on the right track and to also know when to change the track, if required.

* Right role models: Have the right type of role models, explore how they reached their goals, what mistakes they made, and how they were different from many others who could not make it. Similarly, ensure that you keep company of progressive and optimistic people, who inspire you and do not distract you. The company you keep plays a big role in your progress.

* Make your own luck: Do not rely on luck. There is an Arabic proverb that says, “Trust in God, but tie your camel.” If luck decides to shine on you, it is a bonus. But your success should be based on your efforts and hard work. Only then will you be able to truly relish your achievements.

* Being practical: When you set lofty long-term goals, ensure you back them up with realistic and practical short-term goals. Each of your short-term goals should take you one step towards your ultimate long-term goal.

* Power of team: To rise up to heights of glory is to take others along with you. Those who climb over others’ shoulders may rise temporarily, but it will be only a matter of time before others push them down. Make a team, work and study together, help each one set his or her goals, hold hands and march together. Pick up someone who is falling down, even when you are in a hurry to reach your destination. Remember the movie Chak De India in which the Indian women’s hockey team won the world championship when they let go of their personal ego and decided to help each other?

The 21st century has opened doors to opportunities that never existed before. Globalisation has ensured that people from any country or background can compete with anyone else. The number of careers and diversification available is fascinating.

“Dream, dream, dream” as Dr Abdul Kalam said, but ensure that you put strong foundations below the castles that you build in air. Carve out your own path, don’t compare yourself with others, make constant efforts to compete with your own prior achievements and try to better them. Never be part of the rat race, for even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat!

(The author is chairman, Banjara Academy, Bengaluru)

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