Friday, 28 March 2014


There is no limit to what you might achieve; but to achieve, you need to know what you are looking for.
Recently I received an email from ISTD (Indian Society for Training & Development), New Delhi inviting me for ISTD Diploma Annual Convocation. As stated, this certification provides one the orientation to grow quicker on the path of ‘Training & Development’ related careers. In retrospect, when I look back, I wonder how come ‘once an aimless youth’ (Yes, That’s True!) started his journey from ‘Farhan’ to become ‘Raju’ and continued on to be a ‘Rancho-in-making.’  

To be honest, I must admit that ‘Finding One’s Passion or Discovering One’s True Calling’ is one of my much loved subjects. I still remember there were points in time when I used to question myself for my ‘aim of life’. In fact, this was the biggest dilemma I ever faced in my life. I changed my mind over and over again just to decide which work or which profession suits me best. Somehow I was aware that I should discover my passion and follow my calling. Sometimes it’s so easy for some fortunate ones to know their path and most of the time this could be the biggest battle between your head and your heart. Sometimes it’s really easy and most of the time it’s damn difficult. Why do some people reach the maximum heights in their career and stand tall? Why do some of us in any case manage to get some footing on life stage and still look so small? Why is every one of us not able to ‘put a dent in the universe’?  Why only seemingly ‘privileged few ones’ make a mark while others in spite of their best efforts, never get ‘true satisfaction’ in their jobs, careers and ultimately in their lives? Let me attempt to answer. Before I begin I would like to clear the air that this piece of writing is not my claim (in any case) to showcase a super successful story. One has promises to keep, and miles to go before one sleeps. Here, success represents true satisfaction & fulfillment from one’s work, finding meaning in one’s contribution, and being ‘happily’ able to make a difference in people’s lives. And if anyone shares the same passion for his/her profession, he/ she is definitely ‘on a highway to success’.

If you are a big movie buff and also quite selective (as I am) about what you watch, you must be remembering this unique movie ‘3 Idiots’. I found this movie highly inspirational as well as informational relating to my own life. This film revolves around three typical student characters: Farhan Qureshi (R. Madhavan), Raju Rastogi (Sharman Joshi), and Rancchoddas "Rancho" Shyamaldas Chanchad (Aamir Khan) at one of the best colleges in India. Farhan wants to become a wildlife photographer, but is pursuing an engineering degree to fulfill his father's wish, whereas Raju needs to improve his family's financial situation, and Rancho studies for the pleasure of building machines. Let me remind you that these characters, to me, are symbolic, in nature. For me, Farhan represents a confused soul who is not following his inner voice. Raju is a fighting spirit who is not ready to back down in any circumstances and wants to fight till his last breath. And Rancho is a ‘lucky’ person who knows his ‘aim of life’. Don’t you think the storyline of the movie depicts our reality so vividly? Some of us see ourselves playing Farhan when we set our eyes on something and choose an altogether different path and crib all along the way. Some of us play Raju where we see ourselves as the victim of circumstances and end up doing something which could be or could not be of our choice. And then there are only handful of us who follow something we are truly passionate about.

When I peep into my past, I wonder how come ‘once an aimless youth’ started his
journey from ‘Farhan’ to become ‘Raju’ and continued on to be a ‘Rancho-in-making.’
Interestingly, I faced the same phases of life on my career path too. After completing my schooling, and not knowing exactly what to do, I saw myself as an aimless youth. And then I ended up pursuing CA (Charted Accountant) as my career option and the simple reason was my father (which I later on came to know that his childhood dream was to be a C.A. but could never pursue it due to 'family problems'). While I hated numbers. Preparing for CA, to me, was like witnessing a horror show everyday. And my father genuinely believed in my potential of being a science side student and having the power of ‘can-do-anything-in-the-world’. But as fate would have it :-( It just escaped from his eyes that my areas of interest were slightly different from what he imagined in the first place. During my school days, sometimes I discovered myself as a creative artist, sometimes as a thoughtful writer, at times as a confident debater and occasionally pictured myself as a would-be engineer. I could not convince him strongly enough of becoming any one of the above (and today I’m also pleased for not being able to do so whenever I connect the dots of my past). I still believe it was more of a failure on my part where like Farhan, I didn't know how to convey my feelings to my father. Perhaps I didn't intend to hurt him. As they say, ‘Stand up for yourself.’ But that’s hard to do if you don’t know who you really are and especially when your dreams are shy. In no time, I realized that this was not my cup of tea. One fine day I faced my father and announced becoming 'Somebody Someday' but a CA. And once, after this CA episode was over, he never stopped me experimenting with my life. No doubt, this journey of experiments took a little long but proved extremely crucial in my path to self discovery. And for that freedom, I owe to my father big time and he will always hold an extra special place in my heart.

Later on, I saw Raju in me and I was at the crossroads again but a little differently than before. And this time I was victim of my own self made circumstances. As it happens in our Indian families when being eldest, you are perceived as a trend setter to your younger siblings and people have sky high expectations from you. It seems as if you are supposed to role-play ‘Maryada Purushottam Ram’ in every walk of your life. And yes, there is always a question mark hanging on your head “Ab Aage Kya Socha Hai Karne Ka?”, which becomes a daily routine. Leave aside being short of options, I didn’t have any clue to have any option. I ‘somehow’ completed my graduation in commerce and my post graduation in English. And then the same question was staring right into my eyes, “Ab Aage Kya Socha Hai Karne Ka?” With dreams in my eyes of a ‘suitable job with a decent life’ and becoming a helping hand to my family, I thought to myself, “What now? Where do I turn?” Lo and behold! I found myself in the crowd of many like minded folks. Yes, I started my MBA. Perhaps you prepare your best for an exam when you have too little time on your hands. And same was the case with me. I became a little more passionate to work it out in order to become ‘Somebody Someday' as promised to my father. No doubt, completing my hard earned MBA degree threw a host of possibilities before me. I would not exaggerate, if, with all your permission, I mention here that I started dreaming to become next business tycoon. (And that was the influence of all those great business stories we used to share in our daily presentations). But my real-time experience in a job changed me as a person and that made me understand the real difference between ‘influence’ and ‘inner voice’ and that was a rich lesson indeed.

I started a job of a recruitment manager with an IT firm. I fought with myself every single day. Because I preferred ‘fight it out’ to ‘flight from it’. My office walls were a battle ground. My ‘9 to 5 desk job days’ were irritatingly the same. The idea to break the boredom of my dry job, made me stumble upon another HR function of training the employees. And from there on, I started realizing my true calling. I discovered my strengths and chose ‘Training & Development’ as my core area of profession. Preparing for my PowerPoint presentations gave me a chance to be a creative artist again. Deciding over content and writing my blogs made me a thoughtful writer again. Conducting my training sessions and removing doubts of my trainees converted me into a confident debater again. The things I loved came back to me 'magically'. I had a sense of fulfillment with my job as a behavioral trainer and felt like my childhood days are back again. I realized soon enough what to do with my life in years to come. I don’t dare say that I became well established but through all the process, I gained my lost confidence. In the bargain, I received my missing hope for my future. I saw myself in a better position as compared to my previous life-stages. And during this process of ‘self discovery’, a curious would-be engineer felt content as ‘Rancho’ for the pleasure of building ‘men’ (and NOT ‘machines’ luckily; as fate would have it :-)). and “I’m loving it.”
In order to let the magic happen in your life,
you got to respect the ‘process’ and believe in every ‘dot’
Today when I look back, I understand that life is a series of dots, and without any one of them, it is not possible to reach your destination. Each and every dot is important in one’s life. Who knows which dot becomes ‘the turning point’ of your tale. I believe it is also important to start doing something which you don’t like much as it gives you a sharp contrast and a crystal clear view of what you like most. Without having failed to become Farhan early in my career, I would not have this opportunity to find what I was made for. Thanks to my father, who gave me a chance to see the contrast and look into the future to witness the consequences of my choices. In other words, sometimes dating a wrong person in your life clears the image of your perfect partner. And that's what I learnt firsthand by playing the role of Frahan. And from there on, I became more vocal about my preferences as well as more confident about my likings. While playing Raju made me responsible, hard-working and hopeful for my future. Still, in the heart of my heart, I always knew that it’s not the end of my story. There is something more to it. I realized that everything has a price and you have to work for it. The silver lining in this story is that I felt stronger than before with each passing day. And when it comes down to choosing my passion or following my calling, it all happened just like magic. Believe me, it happens like that only. Long story short, in order to let the same magic happen in your life, you got to respect the ‘process’ and believe in every ‘dot’.

My last words, if you have found your passion, Congratulations! If not, do not bother. Because great plots always take a little longer and a few more dots. There is no limit to what you might achieve; but to achieve, you need to know what you are looking for. There is no such thing as dreaming big or dreaming small – what matters is what you are passionate about and what makes you truly happy. And when you know what it is that you want, put in your best efforts. Go bold, take action and choose your path to be another Rancho. Good Luck, ‘Rancho-in-making’!

“What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of a team.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you really liked this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at

Saturday, 1 March 2014


We get so caught up with our ‘story of stoppage’ that the fog of our depression never goes away.

“What is there to be afraid of? The worst thing is you fail. So what? I failed at a lot of things. My first record was horrible.”
~ John Mellencamp

You may be on top at a point in time, but could reach rock bottom if you don’t watch your steps. Sometimes you may fail albeit you put your best foot forward. Things may go wrong even if you do your calculations well in advance. But it should never be a reason for feeling low, broke or gross about yourself. Unfortunately, some of us make a whole fuss about it. We create more of an issue when our dreams don’t take off initially. We do produce a tsunami of self criticism and flood our mind with the giant waves of self doubt. It’s true that dealing with negative emotions is an extremely daunting task. Some of us even get washed away in the storm. We get so caught up with our ‘story of stoppage’ that the fog of our depression never goes away. Then, to add insult to injury, is the fear of being looked down upon. This is the fear that dances in our imaginations day in and day out. Such folks carry an image of an utter failure about themselves in their heads. They start considering themselves as nobody and that’s such a pity. 

TAKE 2,900 and...ACTION !
Here are some facts I found worth sharing. You know what, Charlie Chaplin is known to take over 300 shots of a single scene in ‘City Lights’ just to make sure his co-star Virginia Cherrill was holding a rose at the proper angle. Michael Cimino took numerous shots of a pivotal scene in ‘Heaven’s Gate’ just so that the clouds would properly line up in the frame. Now imagine, if a motion picture scene took nearly 3,000 shots just to get it right. Because all the previous ones were mere failed efforts to reach the level of near perfection. This was a scene from a 1982 Hong Kong motion picture called ‘Dragon Lord’. This was one of Jackie Chan’s earliest movies. He shot over 2,900 retakes for a scene in the movie Dragon Lord. The ‘scene’ in question is the shuttlecock match. The entire scene is 7 minutes of complicated shuttlecock play. If you expect an entire shuttlecock game to go according to the script, you're going to need a lot of takes. Shuttlecocks are not easy to control, and each take involves as many as 10 actors on screen. 2,900 takes just to get that one 10-minute action scene perfect on screen. And that’s what depicts the reality of life as well. You get my point here?

"I was always willing to fail."
Talking about failure, Arnold Schwarzenegger has so aptly remarked, "Anything I've ever attempted, I was always willing to fail. In the movie business, I remember, that you pick scripts. Many times you think this is a wining script, but then, of course, you find out later on, when you do the movie, that it didn't work and the movie goes in the toilet. Now, we have seen my movies; I mean, Red Sonja, Hercules in New York, Last Action Hero. Those movies went in the toilet. But that's OK, because at the same time I made movies like Terminator and Conan and True Lies and Predator and Twins that went through the roof. So you can't always win, but don't afraid of making decisions. You can't be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. You keep pushing because you believe in yourself and in your vision and you know that it is the right thing to do, and success will come. So 'Don't Be Afraid to Fail."

Ironically, Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was told by the concert hall manager that he was better off returning to Memphis and driving trucks (his former career). The Beatles were rejected by Decca Recording Studios who said, “We don’t like their sound - They have no future in show business.” In 1944, Emmeline Snively, director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency told modeling hopeful Norma Jean Baker, "You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married." Well, she went on to become Marilyn Monroe. Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t fit for television.” Madonna dropped out of college, moved to New York, and took a job at Dunkin’ Donuts in Times Square, where she apparently didn’t last a day. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He missed over 9,000 shots in his career. He lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions he was entrusted to take the game winning shot, and he missed. In other words, “Failure is success in progress.” 
A failure is not the end of the world, life always takes a turn.
To paraphrase Joel Osteen, “You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It doesn’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” We usually forget to look over the hills at the rising sun just waiting to break through the dark clouds. The fault lies not with you, but the way you perceive your life. Once a never failing spirit said to life, “No matter what happens, you can’t break me, you can skim the surface, but you can’t touch me.” Success doesn’t come ready-made; you have to go for it. And then also it doesn’t guarantee that you will never fail. But your ‘fight-it-back’ spirit and ‘never-give-up’ attitude, of course, guide you to see the light of the day. A failure is not the end of the world, life always takes a turn. Do not fret, the bumps in your ride ahead are not the full stops, they are just the commas. Slow down a little bit, do cross them and again hit the ground running. Don’t let any bump discourage you on the way to your purpose. The Take-home message is very simple,

“It’s absolutely OK if you slipped once, twice or even thrice. It does not matter. What matters most is that you keep moving ahead.”
~ Shri Shri Ravi Shanker

If you really liked this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at