I have believed that most good things in life are either free or inexpensive. A good walk, a great hug, a few moments spent together, a long drive, a free lecture, time spent with friends and so on.
I write this because over the weekend, I experienced some of these. Monsoon is at its best. Cool weather and Friendship Day on a Sunday!
I visited an interactive session with one of the greatest Indian actors Anupam Kher at Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) as a part of “Face to Face with Achievers of Excellence” program. Anupam Kher needs no introduction to the Indian audience, but for the others, Anupam Kher is one of the best actors in contemporary cinema who has worked in over 400 films and 100 plays winning a number of awards including Padma Shree.
Anupam talked about excellence – as he sees it. He delivered some simple yet powerful messages on excellence while narrating the tale of his life and career. Here is a quick summary of those powerful lessons:
Be your own enemy: We get too bogged down by comparisons and competition. On the road to excellence, you are your own benchmark. You have to be your strongest critic.
Remain curious: We are born curious, but as we grow, we loose our sense of wonder along the way. Never stop dreaming.
Failure is overrated: Schools and colleges sell the fear of failure. In pursuit of excellence, failures make you better. Failures bring us closer to ourselves and makes us do more. World does not stop if we fail, so do things you love doing, and if you fail, learn from it. Consistent success can sometimes become boring. Henry Ford said this, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently.”
Be comfortable with self: Most people spend their lives trying to become someone else. Be yourself and be comfortable with who you are. You can only excel in life when you are happy with who you are. (Read my piece on self-actualization)
Don’t stop trying: When you see your goal clearly, the hurdles become invisible. That does not mean hurdles are not there. They just become insignificant. When faced with hurdles, don’t stop trying. Anupam shared a great quote, “When you try, you risk failure. When you don’t try, you ensure it.”
Honesty and hard work: Once you know what you are good at, you need a lot of honesty (with self and with others) and hard work. I would add that persistence is equally important.
These lessons (and more) were nicely wrapped in powerful personal stories that engaged the audience. While all these things were known and read somewhere, a lecture like this with successful people helps a great deal in reinforcing them to your belief system.
I am inspired on this Monday morning, and you too have an upbeat start into the week.
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P.S: Jason Seiden at “Fail Spectacularly” blog has hosted the latest Carnival of Leadership Development featuring my post “5 Ways to Build Trust” Lessons from a Conversation)” along with a host of other GREAT posts on leadership and executive development. Check it out – some great ideas waiting to be explored!