The year was 2006. It was a Ranji Trophy Cricket Match between Delhi and Karnataka. Delhi was in the process of losing the match because the last pair of recognized batsmen were at the crease. An 18-year-old boy going by the name of Virat Kohli walked out to bat and saved the match for his team. He had just lost his father that morning at 03.00 am. Nobody expected him to play the game and his team was surprised to see him at the grounds. They told him that if he wanted to go home and be with his family, they would understand and fully support him. But he insisted that he “wanted to bat”. Though he looked blank, he remained focused and did not let his team down. His great commitment, attitude, and determination were the early seeds that were sowed to what he has become today – a world-class icon and a very inspiring leader. His passion for excelling and conquering the odds has earned him a special place in the game’s folklore!
Does success need any other definition than the journey of the Prime Minister of our country, Shri Narendra Modi? He rose from being a humble chaiwallah or a tea vendor to taking n the reigns of being the Chief Minister of Gujarat from Keshubhai Patel. His rise was met with opposition from within the party due to lack of experience. However, Modi stood his ground and became one of the most successful heads of state in the country. The success of Gujarat from what it was 10 years ago to what it is now is amazing to note. He is credited with encouraging economic growth, reducing corruption in the state and patronizing privatization. Financial and technological parks were established and real-estate deals worth Rs.6.6 Trillion were signed. By the year 2010, genetically modified cotton increased to become the largest in India. An agricultural growth rate of 19.97%, which was the highest for any state was registered. As Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi has promised the emergence of a new India and citizens of this country are watching with bated breath to find out what this go-getter of today’s times can do.
There are so many success stories apart from the above, in various fields like sports, politics, and business to be inspired from and surge ahead. What are the lessons that today’s generation of youngsters who aspire to be go-getters learn from these success stories? Mark Zuckerberg made a commencement address at Harvard University in May 2017 and he shared what he has learned about today’s generation and the world that is being built, It makes for a very interesting read about what he had to say. The following are points from this speech.
Creating a sense of purpose
Being a millennial, finding a purpose in life comes easy, it is instinctive by nature. But it is not enough for today’s youngsters to have a sense of purpose. The challenge for them is to create the world where everyone has a sense of purpose. People working together can create miracles and do great things.
When John F. Kennedy visited the NASA Space Centre, he saw a Janitor carrying a broom and when he went over to ask the man what he was doing, the man said, “I am helping put a man on the moon”. Take that for seeing the larger picture in life. To be a part of something bigger than ourselves, to work towards something, to have something to do in life is the true meaning of having a purpose to live. It creates a sense of being, a sense of self-worth, a sense of happiness.
When employees find a common purpose and shared values, it creates a road map for happiness, high energy, and a great morale. This has a huge impact on an organization’s culture and spirit, its soul so to speak, that drives success and goes beyond a firm’s financial statements.
Be nice to people
Be nice to people, you never knew how life pans out! Mark Zuckerberg, one of the co-founders and one of the most recognizable faces of Facebook was late for the Computer Science 121 lecture of the famous Harry Lewis at Harvard University. He threw on a t-shirt and did not realize until much later that he had worn it inside out, with the tag sticking out in the front. Maybe that’s the reason why nobody was talking to him, he thought, except for one guy KX Jin. They ended up doing their problem sets together and today Jin runs a big part of Facebook!
Being nice to people at work does not indicate a sign of weakness. The benefits of a general goodwill can pay off big time. A lot of business is generated from positive deeds and actions. Nobody wants to work in a hostile environment. When people enjoy what they are doing at work, feel trusted and appreciated, they become more engaged and productive.
Be the change you want to see
When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook from his little college dormitory, all he wanted to do was to connect the Harvard community. He knew that someday the whole world would want to be connected and change the way we learn about the world. He thought that some big technology company would be able to achieve this. Little did he know that somebody was him and his college mates. Instead of waiting for somebody else to bring about a change, do it yourself.
Changing the accepted culture of an organization seems like an uphill task, just like rolling rocks upwards. Even if the current culture is not bad or dysfunctional, it might not support the accomplishments and goals of new-age employees. To help your organization grow, progress, succeed and transform, you might have to take necessary steps to change it, which is not easy or pretty.
Do not give up on your initiatives and innovation
When you stand up for an idea where you find yourself alone, do not be afraid of being misunderstood or being called crazy, as long as you know that you are right and that you have some good ideas to work on. Don’t be scared of making mistakes that will prevent you from getting started. If Mark understood everything about connecting people before he got started, he would probably never have started Facebook!
Innovation is very important for strategic planning, wealth creation and sustaining business growth. New business ideas and technological revolutions are generated. Management expert Peter Drucker says that if organizations do not innovate, they face decline and extinction and cannot manage corporate sustainability. Because of the impact of globalization, migration, climate change issues, technological and knowledge revolutions innovation becomes very important to bring value and improve the quality of life.
Enjoy the freedom of failure
J. K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter was published. Beyonce had to make hundreds of songs before she became successful. The greatest of successes comes from the freedom of having gone through failure.
Organizations should allow their employees to enjoy the freedom of failure, learn from it and adapt a smarter and stronger approach. Things might not work out right the first time. The workforce should be encouraged to use an adaptive and experimental attitude to succeed. Great ideas are born out of trial and error methods. The fear of failure might freeze innovative thinking and creativity and might stop people from trying out new things.
We need to create a society where everyone can find a role that is meaningful, where everyone is given a cushion to try out new things and explore new ideas. Be charitable not only with your money but with your time as well, to give someone a hand and help them reach their potential, not only because it is the right thing to do but also because we become the better for it. Help to create a local community first and then global communities where people come together in large numbers and work as world citizens to end poverty and diseases, fight climate change and prevent epidemics. This will give us a sense of being a part of something bigger, of not being alone and the strength to expand our horizons.