Friday, 16 May 2014

The Leaders Who Value What They Hated

"To instil good work ethics in me, my father made me take a job as a clerk for $40/month in the small town of Shahjahanpur. All I had for transportation was a bicycle & the nearest movie hall was 12 miles away. I hated everyday at work...."

                                                               -- Dr. Vijay Mallya
                                                                  Chairman- United Breweries Group
                                                                  Team Principal- Force India Formula 1 team.

Surprising- Isn't it??
Who would have imagined that the billionaire "King of Good times", who is a paradigm for lavish living, would have earned $40 a month and commuted on a bicycle at some point in his life. And it has nothing to do with money, because his father- Vittal Mallya was equally wealthy at that time as well. Vijay Mallya surely had every reason to hate his work, but his father, being much more experienced most likely looked at the bigger perspective and decided to condition his son in this way, to prepare him for the bigger roles in life.

The internationally acclaimed leadership expert- Robin Sharma has rightly said- "Most of us focus on what we are getting rather than what we are becoming" but eventually the latter matters more.
If we take a quick look at our past experiences and that of others, we will surely recall many instances that the moments which we once hated turned out to be the stepping stones for our physical, mental or psychological conditioning and made us stronger in one or more of these aspects. As a child, I hated it when my father forced me to walk many kilometres in one stretch just for letting me get used to it. Today I appreciate the fact that he made me walk long distances as it conditioned my stamina & has turned out to be extremely beneficial in terms of my health and also whenever a mode of transport is not easily accessible to me. Its like any other challenging situation, tough at the beginning, and much easier when you get used to it.

Lakshmi Mittal- the billionaire steel magnate, believes that his present day achievements are the results of his childhood hardships. Hailing from a small village in the Indian state of Rajasthan which lacked even the basic amenities, Mittal mentioned in one of his interviews- "When you live in a joint family, you get less attention from your parents, which persuades you to study hard, work hard and makes you more independent".
An important quality that can be learnt from successful leaders is- "Persistence". Legend has it that great people never tried to escape a situation no matter how much they hated it. They endured it, fought with it, lived with it but giving up was probably the last thing on their mind. It was persistence that helped Lakshmi Mittal secure admission in a top notch English medium college despite of the initial reluctance of the principal due to Mittal's Hindi speaking background. This young boy who was initially at the verge of getting rejected eventually topped the college.

Another key to having a successful business and an amazing personal life which most leaders follow is- "Humility". And the lessons learnt from these so called times of hatred, prove to be extremely beneficial in keeping their feet firmly on ground even after achieving tremendous levels of success and thinking about the well-being of people working under them or those are not unfortunately at that level as they are today. Mallya enjoys quality time on his yacht (The Indian Empress) yet humbly pats the back of his security guard as he knows what it is to ride a bicycle. Despite of owning the most expensive home in the world, Mukesh Ambani is involved in a number of charities for the betterment of the poor & needy as he knows what it is to live in a 2BHK apartment; and steel baron Mittal would still pay attention to even the minute details of his multi billion dollar business as he knows what it is to live in a small village with no electricity.
If at all for once, just once we try to introspect the toughest times of our lives, we would be amazed to find striking improvements it has made to our present day personality.

"It is the Challenge that makes you work harder, when you have so many challenges, you become more determined" says Mittal...

Aim for Nothing but the Peak!
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