I believe in myself

In anything I do, the first step is to believe in myself.  A colleague commented on my previous blog and stated that while others may believe in you, you have first to believe in yourself.  He further shared an interesting quote – After failing to climb Mount Everest, the reply of a great man – “I will come again and conquer you because as a mountain you cannot grow, but as a human I can.”

In my view that is the spirit of a positive human being.  I fully agree with my colleague that belief in oneself is the first step to success in life.  I can share many life memories, where my self belief has indeed been the first step to success.  I passed out of college in 1981 and my father had  retired from service.  Being the eldest son in the family I had to start my career to support my family as by then my two elder sisters had got married and left our home.  In the eighties in India, getting a job was not that easy.  There were hardly any placements in college or campus recruitment. 

I was pursuing my post graduation in personnel management.  I had completed two stints of internships at two different industries.  I had done my best at both the companies but was not sure if I would get a job offer.  I was worried since being without a job at home was not a choice.  I had a responsibility to support my parents.  I had the self confidence that I will get an offer from somewhere.  I always tried my best and believed in myself at all times.  As soon as I finished my second internship, this company offered me a job within a week of my passing out of college.  

At another instance, I was working in a fast moving consumer goods company.  We had gone for a outbound along with the sales team.  There was an exercise wherein we were asked to climb a tree which was 50 feet high and jump to the ground, where a safety net was laid.  We had been given safety belts and there were expert trainers to take care of our safety.  Most of the team members refused to jump down except two of us.  Interestingly the two of us were the oldest members of the team.  We were 50 plus in age.  We believed in ourselves and also in our trainer and hence took the plunge and succeeded.  The other team members possibly did not trust themselves nor the coach and hence did not. 

In life, we may have many tough situations.  We may fail multiple times but the self belief should never get eroded.  The best examples are from the field of sports.  We see sports women and men lose multiple times but they never give up till they win.   I recently met a colleague from my company in a global conference.  She is an Olympic silver medalist in swimming.  She was narrating her own story.  She had lost a medal in the previous world championship and then practised for four years and won the silver in the next Olympics. She shared that she always believed that she could make it to the Olympic medal podium and hence never looked back.

Success in life is based on the foundation of self belief.  If we believe in ourselves, we will believe in others and we will never give up.  We may have crests  and troughs in life but our goal is clear and our self confidence is energising.  As in the photo above this young guy seems to brimming in self confidence.

Let the journey of a thousand miles begin with a small step and in my view the small step is to believe in yourself.

S Ramesh Shankar

Raising the bar


I am always in awe of Sergey Bubka, the pole vaulter, who broke his own record at least seven times in his sporting career and has 35 world records to his credit. Many of us will tend to believe that if we have reached a peak in our career or vocation, we can relax and there is nothing more to aspire for.  But the people, who excel always think that there are no limits to excellence.  It is like this plane in the photo.  You do not know if it is landing or taking off.  You may reach your destination but the plane continues its journey.

Excellence is a journey and not a destination.  This is true in all aspects of life.  It does not matter what vocation or career or business we are in.  I recall my college days.  We used to have a bus conductor, who used to excel in his role.  He would sing songs, be courteous to passengers and crack jokes with everyone.  This made him a role model for all bus conductors to follow.  We see auto drivers, who are excellent.  They are courteous, provide newspapers and magazines, provide wifi and are always looking to improve their services to their customers.

In life, it does not matter what we are doing.  There is always scope for raising the bar.  As a sports person would say, it is up to us to define our goal.  There are no limitations in this world except our own mental limits.  We tend to be caught in our own circles and then blame the environment or other people when we cannot raise the bar.  The best in the world are always restless.  They try to seek the impossible and make it easily possible.

Many a time as ordinary mortals we fear the unknown.  We are afraid to take risks and tread a path of comfort.  We tend to believe that we are doing our best and nothing further can be accomplished.  Most of us stretch ourselves only when challenged.  Either a visionary manager or the competitive landscape around us challenges us.  Even then, we try to find an escape route.  We tend to find excuses for our own limitations.  We do not want to dwell in the world of the Unknown.

The greatest of women and men in the world have always done the impossible.  There are millions of examples in our lives, where people have excelled in unbelieable circumstances.  We recently saw the Winter Olympics and saw athletes from around the world, who excelled without any infrastructure or facilities to back their preparations.  They never complained but steadfastly pursued the goal to excel in whatever they do.

It is time to reflect.  What makes people excel ?  It is not the resources but the spirit within us.  Some times, the competitive environment may propel excellence but the power to compete with oneself time and again comes from within.  We should be hungry to beat ourselves in everything we do.  We should aim to be the best in the world always.  But being the best is never permanent.  The sooner we realize this, the better the chances for us to excel in this journey of excellence.

The best in the world compete with others and compete with themselves.  They always have the dream of bettering the best.

We can try.

S Ramesh Shankar