I generally do not like the concept of a 7 step plan to success or a 6 step plan to make a million dollars, and so on. And I have never believed that there is a single formula that any one person can adapt to. There isn’t one. However, what I’ve tried to do is create a generic map that you can apply. It’s 18 steps today, but it was probably 9 steps 5 years ago, for me. As I grew, as I climbed my own mountain, as I went from plato to plato, I added to it, and maybe when we meet again, it might be 21 steps.
Hopefully some of these things within these steps can awaken a thought process within you, help you do some thinking, some planning, so that you can actually work on your mountain and start climbing it. If you take even 3 steps from this 18, then I have succeeded. Can you do more? If you do it all, then I’ll see you at the top of the mountain. You need to start. Arise from your stupor of life. Stupor means sleep. In essence when you are awakening from sleep, you are in a stupor. It’s a period of half sleep, where you are groggy. Awaken from this stupor because now you are in a kind of automatic mode. The problem is we’re doing it every blooming day. You’re in an automatic mode even right now.
Awaken to a new existence. Awaken means, to open your eyes, to look at something with your eyes anew. That only happens when you start to appreciate where you are. It happens when you get a rude shock in life and it awakens you. Perhaps, someone close to you dies, probably someone your own age. Then you say, “Oh, thank you God..I’m alive”. Something out there has to happen to you temporarily for you to come back and look at your life and say “Wow, it’s not that bad after all.” But that happens perhaps in six months, maybe once a year. You need to be able to do this every day. The fact that you’re here today, means you’re fortunate. Life has blessed you. You have another chance. You have to open your eyes and thank God and say “I have everything with me, I will live a new day, I will live it in a new way, I will be a new person. Let me be new!”
Here’s where Ravi (referring to Everest Climber, Ravichandran) differentiates himself from us. Ravi says to himself that he is not going to die the way he has lived. He made the choice to go and live his life a different way. Something has to be different, something has to be new and it has to happen now. Awaken to that new existence. Then the day will change. But the change begins here, with you first.
Aspire to be greater than what you are. You need to set a goal, and it must be done everyday. Aspire means, to say “One thing changes today. If I have one habit that’s holding me down, I will change it, one step at a time”. Everyday you change a little bit of you, just one thing…and you’ll be surprised how much can change. Whatever it is that you want to do with your life, must begin one stroke at a time, one climb at a time, one ledge at a time. It’s about the little victories. Don’t try to make the big leap forward. You do what you can do, and you keep on doing it.
Next, aspire to be greater than those around you. The people around you, they are your benchmark…they set your standards. So you either raise them to be higher that what you are, or you find new people to be your benchmark. If you’re the best among those around you, then what else do you need to aspire to do? You need to be beyond everybody around you, you need to be the best among everyone around you. And when you’re the best among everyone around you, you aspire to make them better. When that’s done, you look for the best that you can find…you find another benchmark. That’s the whole process.
Assess where you are today. You need to be real. You need to know where you are. You need to assess who you are in every sense of the word, because without assessing who you are, you cannot begin to know where you want go. Analyse where you need to go. That needs to change every single time. As you get better…as the people around you get better, as you become sharper, fitter, faster, swifter, as you become more intelligent. As you become smarter, so should your goal. If you have the same goals you had in high school, you’re still in high school. If you still have the same goals you had 5 years ago, where have you moved? In order to be able to grow, your goals should grow. The vision that we had for the group, for this company, grew each year. We did have a plan, but even that plan changed. We had a 5 year plan, a 10 year plan, a 25 year plan, and these plans kept changing. The 5 year plan changed every few years, it became better. But the 25 year plan is miles away from the one that we started with, but we still keep doing it.
Assimilate as much knowledge as you can. Knowledge is the single most powerful weapon you can have. It does not mean you have to assimilate it by building a library. It does not mean you need piles and piles of notes to take back home. Assimilate it in your mind. The mind is the single most powerful instrument ever created in the universe. This planet has been around for millions of years, and in the past 2000 years, we have conquered it, changed the climate, changed the environment, changed the temperature, all with our mind. If you take a look at this planet from outer space, 2000 years ago, it was dark. 1000 years ago, there were little lights on it. It all started with the mind. And yet they say that we only use 1 percentage of our brain power. Einstein supposed used a few percentage of brain power, but if Einstein only used a few percent, what are you using? So don’t worry about the pieces of paper, get it into your mind. You need to train the mind to take it. The mind is the library that you need.
Adopt everything you need to learn. Assimilation is just acquiring knowledge in your mind, but adopting it is learning to use it. Imagine if you had to learn one new thing everyday. If you decided to learn a language, you just need to learn one word a day. If you learn one word a day, you’ll be surprised, in 30 days, you have 30 words. The problem in learning a new language is that we are so hyper sensitive. You try to speak a language, someone laughs at you, and you stop learning. If you could get past the laughter and try again until you get it right, you will keep on moving. If someone laughing at you can stop you, then you are a laughing stock. If you want to have the last laugh, you have to let them laugh first. They laughed at everybody, they laughed at Da Vinci, they laughed at Galileo, they laughed at Einstein, they even laughed at Mahatma Gandhi. Adopt everything you need to learn, even if it means you have to be a little different. If something needs to be changed, change it. If you need to adopt something new, adopt it. Because you surely cannot live like this every day. If it means prospect everyday, that’s what you do everyday, come rain or shine. Because you have decided to do it, you do it at all costs.
Apply it daily. Whatever you don’t apply daily is lost. If you apply it daily, then you take your life back into your hands. You will start to chart your own path. You will go back to controlling the waves. Sometimes we look at the odds and say that it is just too much to do. “The odds are against me, why even bother, whey even try? It’s just too much.” And anytime you resign yourself to that, you forget one of the most fundamental principles in life. Success happens because it’s against the odds. It doesn’t happen because it’s easy. Every single time something was invented, every single company that is successful today, every gold medal won in the Olympics, every single record that’s been broken, Ravi climbing the Everest – is against the odds. So change the odds. Master the odds. Go against the odds. Stand there and say “It can be done, it will be done and I will be the one who will be doing it, and I’m doing it right now, today.” If you apply it daily, it becomes the single most powerful aid in your life.
Acquire experience through trial and error. Experience is not something you can assimilate. It’s not knowledge. It’s not books, it’s not notes. The only way you gain experience is by going out there, trying and failing. “How do I accept rejection? It’s so dampening. And I get rejected always by those who are closest to me. My friends and family, they laugh at me, they say it cannot be done.” How many of you can ride a bicycle? How many mastered the art of riding a bike without falling down? The only way you get to master riding a bike, is by falling down. You get to be good at riding a bike, the more you fall down. Acquire experience through trial and error. Try, means doing it everyday. Error is failure and failure is necessary. Failure is good, provided you learn from it. Failure is what makes the difference.
Accept your failures. Accepting your failures is hard. Most of us don’t even want to know we failed. We’d rather believe that somehow, we passed. Did you get the promotion? “I almost got it. I should have got it. I nearly got it. It should be mine.” Either you got it or you didn’t get it. Simple. First thing, accept your failures. Accept when you’re wrong. When you do something wrong, you should apologise for it. Instead, as soon as you do something wrong, you start off with “Actually I didn’t mean to do it.” And then after half an hour of explaining yourself, finally you say, “Ok, I’m sorry, but I really didn’t mean to do it.” Every single defense that you put into place removes that apology.
Accepting your failures means to adapt yourself to your existing reality. Accepting it is the first part. People who accept their failures actually say ‘sorry’ first. For thousands of times that you’ve not said it, for the millions of times that you needed to say it, for all the times you forgot to say it, the times you chose not to say it because you had too much pride, why not try saying it now? Start your conversation, whenever you’re at fault, with “I am sorry’, then go on. It’ll make the conversation so much easier. The minute you accept your failure, you’re automatically in a new reality. When you truly accept your failure, you’re on ground zero.
Adjust to every situation. Adjusting is very different from adapting. Adapting is acquiring something new. Adjusting means to give up something. You adjust to a new person who comes into your life, you adjust when a guest comes. You adjust when you go to a new country. If you want to be a networker, you learn to adjust. You adjust wherever you go. Adjusting is a key component for a networker. You need to adjust because you are in the arena of people. Everything changes, all the time. So must you.
Accommodate every change. In accommodating, you tolerate. You accept, and that is the cardinal point of networking. If you want survive, you adapt, adjust and accommodate. And if you can just practice that, you will learn to network. When you can put these three together, you will inevitably achieve your destiny.
You are people who are yet to begin achieving. That’s why we’re here tonight. Because before you draw your last breathe on this planet, you want to achieve. You were born for a purpose. And if you were to leave this planet without achieving your destiny, why even be born? You have a destiny. And the whole purpose of life is to achieve it. And in the process of trying and trying, we stumble our way across to achieving it. Assuming that at some point, you get closer to achieving your destiny, never forget to appreciate everything you have. When you achieve any level of success, you do it in stages, and the biggest mistake we make in achieving step one, is forgetting how we got there. The biggest mistake you can have is pride. Pride always comes before a fall.
Acknowledge everyone who works with you. No success can be achieved alone. Acknowledge everyone else, everyone who contributed to you. Appreciate, hence acknowledge everyone who works with you and never forget to attribute all your success to HIM. For those of you who do not believe in God, attribute it to anything else, to luck, to chance, to destiny, to faith, but do not make the mistake of absorbing it yourself.
Ultimately, if you try to practice these 18 steps, you will lead a life that others will applaud. Never give up, keep on aspiring. Do at least one of these everyday. This is your life. Live it. If we could change here in this corner of the planet, then the world is ours.