The book I am reading now, “Stay Hungry Stay Foolish” is a collection of 25 success stories of IIM A graduates who turned entrepreneurs. I have read a few of these stories and have picked a few underlying themes that these successful people talked about, for this blog post.
I have looked at these themes from my perspective and how these apply to my life.
Networks are important.
I belong to a generation that completed Grade 12 before we had internet. Many years later, we had dedicated Yahoo groups for every batch at school and a few of us who had managed to stay in touch even without the internet traced a few people and got together on the groups.
Today it is easier to network socially. When I go to my daughter’s school for a social event, I meet parents of children who attend the same grade as my daughter. We exchange phone numbers and meet each other outside school if we hit it off. Networking with new people helps you connect with others especially when you are in a new city.
Social networks have helped me connect with people I have gone to school and university with, colleagues from your my job, subsequent jobs, people I have travelled with, neighbours, people whom I have met during business meetings, conferences, training programs, and social gatherings.
Contacts and connections open up opportunities and can be a source of information and education. Keeping my network well oiled, has paid off when I want to assist someone in job search, relocation, business proposals, reference, appointments or interviews. Of course, what it also means is others should see you as a person with a reputation of being sincere, efficient, and conscientious.
Timing is everything.
I want to do so much in life. With just 24 hours a day, how much can I achieve? So I have to prioritize. That way I make time for the things I enjoy doing the most. On days I don’t read a few chapters of a book, I play my guitar or listen to music. When I don’t make time for gym or a walk, I play with my dog.
I choose different routes to go for my walks. Two evenings back I was pleasantly surprised to see an array of light installations on my way. Perfect timing!
Negotiations and bargains are time bound too. I cannot tell you the number of times I have agreed on a price earlier in the negotiation and then left with a feeling that I probably paid more than what I should have!
Ask my husband and he will tell you he knows the right time to say something and when to keep quiet! Whether it is to admonish or praise my child, if I don’t get the timing right, the cause is lost.
There are no shortcuts!
I love experimental cooking. When I browse the Internet for recipes I find several recipes for a dish that I want to try; some are elaborate and require a lot of pre preparations and some are quick fix methods. Which of the two recipes do you think turns out making the dish taste better?
When I look at my daughter working on math, I recall how we were never allowed to use calculators at school. I have blamed many of my math woes to that fact alone! Today, the only qualification you have to have to own a scientific calculator is that you have cleared primary school. I had to work out each step of every sum I solved. The teacher allotted marks for every step that was right even if you got the final answer wrong. Today’s kids don’t work out steps in math. They have aids like calculators to help. Kids don’t care how they arrive at the answers so long as they got it right. Yet, shouldn’t math teachers insist that they show the working out?
I know of last minute crammers at school and college. I wonder if they have ever regretted not taking academics seriously throughout the year and always left it for last minute cramming.
Passion and Emotion
Have you heard of the saying – When you love what you do, there is not a day you have to go to work? I wake up every morning, thinking up new ways to have fun with what I do. My latent desire to work with English as my core expertise area makes my mother wonder aloud why I chose to complete a post graduate program in Food science instead of English Literature!
Be it a house I had to move or a city, a job or a function, when I am emotional about it, it only makes me miserable. I know of some people who will forever crib about a city they moved to. It makes me want to ask them why they had to move! Go back to where you belong!
I have lived in different towns and cities all my life and I love bits and pieces of all the places I have lived in. I love the small town ambience of Trichy, the affluence at Coimbatore, the smells of bakeries in Bangalore, the busy life in Chennai, the every-one-belongs attitude of Mumbai, the cleanliness in Singapore…
Believe in yourself
When I began writing my first blog nine years back (Trust me, it has been that long!), I imagined writing my blogs till my daughter turned 16. I painstakingly recorded my conversations with my then 4 year old daughter and had decided that the blog would make a wonderful gift to any child wanting to find out about herself, when she has grown up. My husband, who has seen me “throw ideas out the window’ (in his own words) wrote it off as just one of my ideas that will go the same way. Nine years hence, I am still blogging.
These five lessons from the book tell me that these underlying principles apply to everyone and not just to successful entrepreneurs.