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Grow from FAILURE!

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed!’

The above statement of Michael Jordan reflects beautifully the attitude of ‘never give up’! Time and again we have heard that it is not how one falls, but how one gets up again that counts towards one’s success. Failure is often viewed as the opposite of success, and refers to the state or condition of not meeting the desired outcome. However, I look at FAILURE as “Free Again to Innovate and Learn Until Reaching Excellence”! Here’s how…

One of the first stories I remember hearing about a never give up attitude is that of a king, who, after his kingdom was conquered by his enemies, absolutely exhausted and de-motivated, went into hiding in a forest wherein he saw a tiny spider attempting to climb out of a crevice. The crevice was too steep and too wide for the spider and the moment it made two steps forward, it just slipped one step backwards. It looked like it could never reach the top. However, the king noticed that the spider didn’t give up. It kept slipping, but kept keeping on… until it finally reached the top of the crevice on its way to its freedom. Seeing this, the king suddenly felt free too! Motivated, he gathered his few troops and, marched against his enemies and saved his kingdom. Sometimes, when one fails, one needs to realize that they are free from the earlier attempts, to start again, all fresh and anew!

We have all heard the wonderful adage “try try again till you succeed!” However, what we do not realize in history is that every scientist who has tried again and again has not tried the same way again and again. For example, let us say you are walking on a road and there is a big rock in the way that blocks your path. You can’t pass. Now, the next time you walk, would you walk the exact same path again? Or would you walk around the rock or find a way to move it or change the path itself? We would obviously do one of the latter. Hence, when one fails, it is not that one has to simply try again, however one has to analyze what happened and creatively try another method. One needs to learn and innovate!

Martin Luther King defined excellence as ““If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” Excellence can be attained only through continuous learning after learning through failure after failure. Though everyone fears failure, those in search of excellence embrace their mistakes and learn from them for further growth an implementation. An entrepreneur may in fact regard failure as a very positive experience: as a prerequisite to success, a chanced discovery, a profound teacher, a future value-adder, a provider of new direction, an enhanced motivator, a path to achievement and even as a relieving liberator towards excellence.

We’ve been taught from an early age that failure is a bad thing. When we do poorly on tests, we receive a failing grade. When a business goes bankrupt or dies, it is said to fail. We were constantly reminded every day that failure is something negative. But today, most entrepreneurs and scientists and business leaders are starting to understand the positives of failure! History is adept of thoughts from various scientists such as Thomas Watson who said “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate” and Edison who said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

In today’s scenario, failure is such a common occurrence it should come to be expected. So, ensure that you develop thicker skin if failures and setbacks seem to bother you. It is very important you learn from every failure and that the same failure isn’t repeated or experienced twice as this could lead to unnecessary waste of time and money and even possibly fatal mistakes. Thus, choosing to look at FAILURE as “Free Again to Innovate and Learn Until Reaching Excellence” means that even though each idea we try may not work, it still would help to bring us that much closer to an idea that does. To that end, experiencing failure becomes a very essential and necessary step in arriving at success.

Remember, when you fail next, choose to innovate!
You have the power!
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Published in ‘The Hans India’ newspaper on 15th Sept 2011

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October 6, 2011 Posted by | The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.B.C.D.E. of Interviews

Tell me something about yourself.
Why do you want to work here?
What do you know about our company?
What are your weaknesses?
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Tell me how and when you were a team player last?

Questions such as the above can be any interviewee’s nightmare, the reason more often being that there can be no right answers! Then, how to prepare to ace an interview is a skill that most interviewees look forward to learning.

Whether it is a student aspiring towards his/her dream job, or an employee interested in getting promoted, or a consultant looking forward to collaborate with a potential client, successfully attending and closing an interview in one’s favor is very essential. It is not just what one knows, but also the perception one gives, and how one responds to the interviewer that help make or break an interview.

So, knowing how to handle oneself before and during an interview is a skill that every student needs to master. However, with the number of books and the amount of material available in the world today, it is difficult to specifically get to the few basic and simple pointers for the same. Here is a simple way to remember the key skills, just as simple as remembering A.B.C.D.E.

1. A: Attitude of Positivity – It is said that when one wishes and imagines of positive things to happen, they see that the Universe helps in positive things to happen! Many a time, our positivity, or negativity drives us towards almost deciding whether or not we can accomplish something, and this attitude sometimes make us to either step up and surge forward, or else to give up and let it go. How many times have we heard that proverb, “Where there is a will, there is a way!” that if one only determines that they wish to achieve something in life and works hard, they overcome any roadblocks in their path to success. In ‘The Secret’, Rhonda Wayne tells one to give out positive messages to the Universe and that it would help positive things to happen. In ’The Alchemist’, Paulo Coelho says that when one really wants something, the entire Universe will conspire in helping one to achieve it. Right from our scriptures to the latest books, the world around us constantly messages us to think positive, be positive, and that positive things shall happen to us, even in succeeding in a job interview!

2. B: Bookish Know how – Knowledge is power! In today’ world, where everyone speaks of the attitudes and skills one should learn to build rapport and successful conversations, it is important not to undermine the importance of the basic theoretical and subject knowledge in the areas the person is attending the interview. One definitely needs to know the concepts and have read enough literature to be good in the subject and to be able to answer any relevant questions. Read books, visit libraries, talk to experts. Do what it takes to know about the area in which you wish to work.

3. C: Competencies –Today, the various techniques that can be learnt to build the requisite skills and competencies are innumerable. From the ability to ask the right questions, to building rapport, to having smooth conversations, to articulating one’ s thoughts, to understanding and expressing about oneself, to listening effectively, and confidence building, it is essential for students to get trained and gain the competence so as to confidently attend any interview. Learn techniques to build confidence and to connect with other individuals.

4. D: Dream – It is often said that even the world will step aside to make way for one who is surging towards their dreams! When companies ask interviewees where they see themselves in 5 years, they are not expecting a prediction of the future. What they are looking for, is to get an insight into the vision of the future of the individual, into their dreams and ambitions and aspirations. In fact, French writer and Nobel Prize winner Anatole France once said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” It is this belief and desire that organizations look for when asking about one’s goals and dreams. It is wise to remember that desire creates action! … and to learn to focus and work towards goals.

5. E: Express – Articulating one’s thoughts can many times, be a challenge. I remember the umpteen times that students have said, “Ma’am I know the answer, but just could not find the right ways to say it!” One of the hardest things to do when you’re communicating, especially interviewing, is expressing yourself and your thoughts accurately. It is vital to say things just the way you mean them, and just the way you want them! One needs to overcome the fear of expressing themselves. Feel confident, learn the above techniques, and say what you wish to say! You might not get another chance!

Master the ABCDE… ace interviews!
You have the power!

Posted in ‘The Hans India’ on 22nd Sept 2011

September 25, 2011 Posted by | The Hans India Newspaper | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment