In LIFE each one of us achieve different level of success. Common behaviour all of us manifest is to blame external factors such as parents, spouse, society and teachers for lack of our achievements or failures. I have observed people blaming their parents for not sending them to English medium school and sighting that as a reason for their lack of accomplishments. Vedanta says that you must have a “clearing” with your parents if you really want to progress in life. “Clearing” in this context, means – not blaming the parents as they always had good intentions for supporting us and nothing they did with malicious intentions.
I am a strong believer of “what you are today or lack of it is the result of the choices you have made and cannot blame anyone other than you!” The easiest that we could do is to blame someone else for all our actions and relieve ourselves from the accountability. This gives us an illusionary sense of relief, but leads us to mess up our lives.
I have born in an upper middle class Brahmin family in Tamilnadu as the eleventh and last child to my parents. I have enjoyed the warmth of my parents being a last child and witnessed the luxuries during my childhood. There was no system of birth control or concept of family planning in those days. My mother got married to my father at the age of nine as the child marriage was not uncommon in those days. She started bearing a child soon after attaining her puberty at 13 and thereafter "manufactured babies" till 45 when nature put the automatic birth control! During this tenure she always carried one baby in her hand and another in her belly! For such of those who are afraid of having more than one child these days, my mother will be an inspiration!
During my childhood I have seen a zoo in my home with all animals such as parrot, horse, cow, lamb, rabbit, deer and many more at the same time as my parents were animal lovers. I have also seen my mother managing such a large family with each one of us need a ring master to control. For such of those who are familiar to nuclear families, it will look very weird to know that India had such families in the same century! I have witnessed the government of India struggling to create awareness about accelerating population and the need for birth control. Having born in a family of eleven, if I have two children, it is the proof of successful campaign by our government.
Ever since born, I have gone through several hurdles in my education, employment and Life as a whole as any other child born in a developing country would have faced in shaping up its LIFE. The LIFE offers pair of opposites - hot & cold, happiness & sorrow etc by design. This seems to be inevitable since one aspect of life can be defined and appreciated only in the presence of its opposite. Light can be defined only when dark is present; white can be defined only in the presence of black and so on.
Reflecting on my Life at this age, I find my challenges have paid more dividends than my pleasantries. I played the role of a student and the teacher; an employee and employer; a servant and a master and so on. These roles played have taught me how we look at life with different perspective and expectations when viewing from different roles we play.
I am proud to say that I am a self made man as I have to learn from my mistakes one after another. Some of them I wish to recall now:
· Carrying a lofty ambition, not focusing on school final exam and end up not able to join premium institutions.
· Getting frustrated about what life has to offer and refusing to reconcile to fact of life
· Resort to rebellious stature, oppose the whole human race and end up in poor relationship with everyone.
· Try and justify all stupid decisions such as changing jobs looking for a super fine fit or a saintly boss and so on.
· Chasing wealth without putting adequate time and efforts and blame the whole mankind.
· Not recognizing the stupid acts and also not willing to listen to counsel from learned people
· Always suspecting, blaming everything and everyone else except the self who is accountable for all misery.
The list is endless!
One of those stupid thing as any youngsters would do, I ended up disliking studying in a polytechnic may be due to social conditioning on those days that “You have to be a graduate if you are a human being”. The Vedanta says that “what you intensely thinking about will become a reality”. One of those I read is about Swami Vivekananda who was an atheist – a disbeliever of God. He wanted to somehow prove that God don’t exist which has led to the inquiry to locate anyone claims to have seen God, so that he can challenge them. In this process, he thought about God more than a theist would do! Finally, he met Swami Ramakrishna Paramahansa to challenge him and ended up as his disciple to pursue enlightenment. Similarly, more that I hated the polytechnic; I finally ended up there to study. My hateredness ended up in poor performance in my first year in that great institution.
By His grace, one of the greatest qualities that guided me in my life is to “Catch hold of myself when I mess up my life and look forward to a course correction”. This is the GPS (Geo Positioning System) or inner compass that guides us throughout our life if we are available and don’t disconnect it. Marshall Goldsmith calls this as Proprioception which is a mental process which locates where you are at any moment in life and which direction you are heading to. I don’t find this word “PROPIOCEPTION” in any dictionary as it is a new concept that is needed for all of us to reach our destination through constant course correction.
I don’t know from where, it dawned on me that “I should love what I have got instead of chasing what I love”. This wisdom came through the “Proprioception” that gave me an impetus to excel in my polytechnic to finish with a second rank in the state. Initially, I could not believe how a mediocre performer can end up as a rank holder. This gave me the wisdom that if you are positive and optimistic in life, then you can become anything you want as you are the creator of your own destiny. “Be on the side of the solution and not on the side of the problem” is the practical wisdom this outcome has taught to me.
In spite of this turnaround, I had an un-fulfilled desire to study in the two premium institutions namely the 125 years old Guindy Engineering College and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chennai. The un-fulfilled desire always manifests in a rebellious attitude and I was not an exception to succumb to it. The faint desire to study in these premium institutions remained at the bottom of my heart which made me to gaze these institutions while crossing over in bus looking at them as my dream land. In my twenties, I used to feel that I can only enter these institutions in my next birth as I am a believer of re-incarnation. Although the dream was there, I have not taken any active steps to explore the possibility of joining these institutions although they offered an evening college for engineering degree on those days.
A decade passed away like this without any active steps to continue my education. In the mean time Meera joined hands with me as my life partner and encouraged me to make all my dreams a reality.
I am the believer of “Day dreaming” as Japanese used to say that “you must have a dream on a ten year time domain and convert that as a Vision in a 5 year domain”. When I was 28, it dawned on me that I have to take charge of my life as the “Captain of my soul” recognizing the fact that if at all things could be better in my life, it has to come from within and not without. This wisdom led me to continue my education in both the dreamlands including IIT, Chennai with a First rank in my engineering degree and “S” (Supreme) grade in my M.Tech.
The Proprioception, the GPS continued in my late forties when I founded my company Six Sigma Alchemy - SSA with a missionary zeal to build an institution to serve Indian industries in the field of business excellence. My life experience taught me that if you take charge of your life, willing to put yourself in the firing line with a “passion for impossible” and give away 100% of everything you have, then the nature will create everything for you as you are part of the whole creation. “Passion for impossible” what drove my life thus became the slogan for my company. Today SSA is one of those well known institutions of repute which has enviable achievements. Now, I am in the process of mentoring my children who have stepped in my shoes with a “belly fire” to take this organization to the World map.
In summary, I am of the view that “If you really pursue a lofty vision, the whole universe will support you to achieve your goals”. After all, a Leader is the one who takes charge of himself, stops blaming and creates his own destiny.
· Your parents or society can never to be blamed for lack of any achievements or your conditions in life
· Whatever you are or lack of it is the result of your past actions and choices you have made
· You are the first one to know when you mess up your life; acting on it or not is your choice
· Proprioception is the internal compass or GPS that tells you the position where you are at any point in time and all of us are bestowed with it
· Some of us disconnect the GPS – the Proprioception and get lost in life
· There is no “despair situation in life” but they are despair people
· One can redeem oneself from any despair situation if one wishes to and take an optimistic view of life
· You can “re-create” your life if you take charge as the “Captain of your own soul”
· If you are willing to sacrifice your idle time and slumber, you can achieve any position in life
· Don’t blame anyone other than you for your situation in life because you created it!
· Never live with an un-cleared feeling with your parents as they are next to God. No need to forgive them as they have never done any mistake except bringing us to this universe and ending up blaming everything other than us