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My Lessons in Life --- By Azim Premji

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Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 37
Location: Trivandrum

PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 11:48 am    Post subject: My Lessons in Life --- By Azim Premji
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My Lessons in Life
By Azim Premji
Azim Premji, Chairman and Managing Director of Wipro
Limited, shares
his perspective on success and effective living with
The funny thing about life is that you realize the
value of something only when it
begins to leave you. As my hair turned from black, to
salt and pepper to finally salt
without pepper, I have begun to realize the importance
of youth. At the same time, I
have begun to truly appreciate some of the lessons I
have learnt along the way. I
hope you will find them useful when you plan your
career and life.

The first thing I have learnt is that we must always
begin with our strengths. From
the earliest years of our schooling, everyone focuses
on what is wrong with
us. There is an imaginary story of a rabbit. The
rabbit was enrolled in a rabbit school.
Like all rabbits, it could hop very well but could not
swim. At the end of
the year, the rabbit got high marks in hopping but
failed in swimming. The parents
were concerned. They said, "Forget about hopping, you
are good at it
anyway. Concentrate on swimming". They sent the rabbit
for tuitions in swimming.
And guess what happened? The rabbit forgot how to hop.
As for swimming, have you
ever seen a rabbit swim? While it is important for us
to know what we are not good
at, we must also cherish what is good in us.

That is because; it is only our strengths that can
give us the energy to correct our
weaknesses. The second lesson I have learnt is that a
Rupee earned is
of far more value than FIVE found. My friend was
sharing with me the story of his
eight year old niece, she would always complain about
breakfast. The cook
tried everything possible, but the child remained
unhappy. Finally my friend took the
child to a supermarket and bought one of those
packets. The child had to cut the packet and pour the
water in the dish. After that, it
took two minutes in the microwave to be ready. The
child found the food
to be absolutely delicious. The difference was that
she had cooked it! In my own life,
I have found that nothing gives as much satisfaction
as earning our rewards. In fact,
what is gifted or inherited follows the old rule of
come easy, go easy. I guess we
know the value of what we have if we have to struggle
to earn it.

The third lesson I have learned is that no one bats a
hundred every time. Life has
many challenges. You win some and lose some. You must
enjoy winning. But do not
let it go to the head. The moment it does, you are
already on your way to failure.
And if you encounter failure along the way, treat it
as an equally natural
phenomenon. Don't beat yourself for it or anyone for
that matter! Accept it, look at
your own share of the problem, learn from it and move
on. The important thing is,
when you lose do not lose the lesson. The fourth
lesson I have learnt is the
importance of humility. Sometimes, when you get so
much in life, you
really start wondering whether you really deserve all
of it! This brings me to the
value of gratitude. We have so much to be grateful
for. Our parents, our
teachers and our seniors have done so much for us that
we can never repay them.
Many people focus on the shortcomings, because
obviously, no one can be
perfect. But it is important to first acknowledge what
we have received. Nothing in
life is permanent but when a relationship ends, rather
than becoming bitter,
we must learn to savor the memory of the good things
while they lasted.

The fifth lesson is that we must always strive for
excellence. One way of achieving
excellence is by looking at those better than
ourselves. Keep learning
what they do differently. Emulate it. But excellence
cannot be imposed from outside.
We must also feel the need from within. It must become
an obsession. It must
involve not only our mind but also our heart and soul.
Excellence is not an act but a
habit. I remember the inspiring lines of a poem, which
says that your reach
must always exceed your grasp. That is heaven on
earth. Ultimately, your only
competition is yourself. The sixth lesson I have
learnt is never give up in
adversity. It comes on you suddenly without warning.
One can either succumb to
self-pity, wring your hands in despair or decide to
deal with the situation with
courage and dignity. Always keep in mind that it is
only the test of fire that makes us
find steel. A friend of mine shared this incident with
me. His eight-year-old daughter
was struggling away at a jigsaw puzzle. She kept at it
for hours but could not
succeed. Finally, it went beyond her bedtime. My
friend told her, "Look, why don't
you just give up? I don't think you will complete it
tonight. Look at it another day."
The daughter looked with a strange look in her eyes,
"But, Dad, why should I give
up? All the pieces are there! I have just got to put
together!" If we persevere long enough, we can put any
problem in perspective.

The seventh lesson I have learnt is that while you
must be open to change, do not
compromise on your values. Mahatma Gandhi often said
that you must open
the windows of your mind, but you must not be swept
off your feet by the breeze.
You must define what your core values are and what you
stand for. And these
values are not so difficult to define. Values like
honesty, integrity, consideration and
sensitivity have survived for generations. Values are
not in the words
used to describe them, as much as in simple acts. A
wise man once said, "You do not
have to change the world to make a difference. If on
the way to your house, you can
bring a smile on the face of a crying child, you have
done your bit". At the end of the
day, it is values that define a person more than the
achievements. Because it is the
means of achievement that decide how long the
achievements will sustain. Do
not be tempted by short cuts. The short cut can make
you lose your way and end up
becoming the longest way to the destination.

And the final lesson I learnt is that we must have
faith in our own ideas even if
everyone tells us that we are wrong. There was once a
newspaper vendor who
had a rude customer. Every morning, the customer would
walk by, refusing to return
the greeting, grab the paper off the self and throw
the money at the vendor.
The vendor would pick up the money, smile politely and
say "Thank you, Sir." Oneday
the Vendor's assistant asked him, "Why are you always
polite with him when he
is so rude to you? Why don't you throw the newspaper
at him when he comes back
tomorrow?" The Vendor smiled and replied, "he can't
help being rude and I can't help
being polite. Why should I let his rude behavior
dictate my politeness?"
So it is, my young friends, with all of us. In my
youth, I thought of myself as a rebel
and was any times, a rebel without a cause. Today, I
realize that
my rebellion was another kind of conformity. We defied
our elders to fall in line with
our peers! Ultimately, we must learn to respond
instead of reacting. When we
respond, we evaluate with a calm mind and do whatever
is most appropriate. We are
in control of our actions. When we react, we are still
doing what the other
person wants us to do.
I wish you all the best in your life and career. I
hope you achieve success in
whatever way you define it and what gives you the
maximum in life. Remember
those who win are those who believe they can.
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Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 8
Location: Chennai(Madras)

PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 6:15 pm    Post subject:
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thanx hari for such a nice article ...
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