|Home Base | Little Wonders | Snail Mail | Reminder|
First, be alert for the first signs of change. Change descends on everyone equally; it is just that some realise it faster. Some changes are sudden, but many others are gradual. While sudden changes get attention because they are dramatic, it is the gradual changes that are ignored till it is too late. You must have all heard the story of the frog in boiling water. If the temperature of the water is suddenly increased, the frog realises it and jumps out. But if the temperature is slowly increased, one degree at a time, the frog does not realise it and boils to death. You must develop your own early warning system for, in the case of change, being forewarned is being forearmed.
Second, anticipate change even when things are going right. Most people wait for something to go wrong before they think of change. It is like going to the doctor for a check-up only when you are seriously sick or thinking of maintaining your vehicle only when it breaks down. The biggest enemy of future success is past success.
When you succeed, you feel that you must be doing something right for it to happen. But when the parameters for success change, doing the same things may or may not continue to lead to success. Guard against complacency all the time. Complacency makes you blind to the early signals from the environment that something is going wrong.
SPOT THE OPPORTUNITY
Fourth, do not allow routines to become chains. For many of us the routine we have got accustomed to obstructs change. Routines represent our own zones of comfort. There is a sense of predictability about them. They have structured our time and even our thinking in a certain way. While routines are useful, do not let them enslave you. Deliberately break out of them from time to time.
Fifth, realise that fear of the unknown is natural. With change comes a feeling of insecurity. Many people believe that brave people are not afflicted by this malady. The truth is different. Everyone feels fear of the unknown. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to manage fear without getting paralysed. Feel the fear, but move on regardless.
Sixth, keep renewing yourself. This prepares you to anticipate change and be ready for it when it comes. Constantly ask yourself what new skills and competencies will be needed. Begin working on them before it becomes necessary and you will have a natural advantage. The greatest benefit of your education lies not only in what you have learnt, but in working out how to learn. Formal education is the beginning of the journey of learning. Yet I do meet youngsters who feel that they have already learnt all there is to learn. You have to constantly learn about people and how to interact effectively with them. In the world of tomorrow, only those individuals and organisations will succeed who have mastered the art of rapid and ongoing learning.
Seventh, surround yourself with people who are open to change. If you are always in the company of cynics, you will soon find yourself becoming like them. A cynic knows all the reasons why something cannot be done. Instead, spend time with people who have a “can do?approach. Choose your advisers and mentors correctly. Pessimism is contagious, but then so is enthusiasm. In fact, reasonable optimism can be an amazing force multiplier.
PLAY TO WIN
Ninth, respect yourself. The world will reward you on your successes. Success requires no explanation and failure permits none. But you need to respect yourself enough so that your self-confidence remains intact whether you succeed or fail. If you succeed 90 per cent of the time, you are doing fine. If you are succeeding all the time, you should ask yourself if you are taking enough risks. If you do not take enough risks, you may also be losing out on many opportunities. Think through but take the plunge. If some things do go wrong, learn from them. I came across this interesting story some time ago:
One day a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and as the well needed to be covered up anyway, it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he quietened down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that fell on his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a further step up. As the farmer’s neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick is not to get bogged down by it. We can get out of the deepest wells by not stopping. And by never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up!
Finally, remember that succeeding in a changing world is beyond just surviving. It is our responsibility to create and contribute something to the world that has given us so much. We must remember that many have contributed to our success, including our parents and others from our society. All of us have a responsibility to utilise our potential for making our nation a better place for others, who may not be as well endowed as us, or as fortunate in having the opportunities that we have got. Let us do our bit, because doing one good deed can have multiple benefits not only for us but also for many others.
Let me end my talk with a story I came across
some time back, which illustrates this very well.
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy farmer Fleming had saved. “I want to repay you,?said the nobleman. “I’ll make you a deal. Let me take your son and give him a good education. If he’s anything like his father, he’ll grow up to be a man you can be proud of.?And that he did.
In time, farmer Fleming’s son graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the nobleman’s son was
stricken with pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin. This is not the end.
The nobleman’s son also made a great contribution to society.
Let us use all our talent, competence and
energy for creating