Life Positive readers offer a bouquet of successful experiences ranging from losing weight, achieving goals, healing from ailments, and taking the road less travelled
Losing to win
It was our annual sports event at school. As the whistle went off, we began our resolute stride with a marble balanced on a spoon tightly held in our mouths. Eventually the competition boiled down to my best friend and me. As we approached the finishing line something inside prompted me to make an instantaneous decision. I slowed down my gait to let her take the first position. Obviously, the cup went to her but the secret delight I felt seeing the winner’s triumphant smile compensated me for it. Losing this game did not matter to me at all. In fact it was my moment of success!
It has been my habit since to let others enjoy the credit. Of course, there have been some moments of disappointment, but the ensuing joy is far more than I would have got from my success stories had I been selfish enough to want to win all the time. The more I practice putting the interests of others ahead of mine, the better I feel. And that to me is success. Saira Margaret, New Delhi
The art of success
I spent 20 busy years as a journalist in a leading newspaper, before a sense of dissatisfaction arose. It was difficult to break the comfort zone provided by my stable job, but a verse by Rumi, “Why do you wish to crawl when you want to fly?" spurred me to resign from my job.
I began giving shape to my love for art and culture. I struggled for two years to preserve and give expression to the lost handicrafts of Uttar Pradesh. I brought together more that 150 artisans, and showcased their work at more than a dozen national and international exhibitions. I crossed many milestones of success on the way. I found my identity as a social worker, entrepreneur and art curator along with being a writer and journalist. When I see my imagination channelled into an art form, when I see happiness on the face of my artisans, get appreciation at exhibitions, or tell people the secret of my success, my heart dances with joy. I have learnt to take the occasional disappointment and failure in my stride and convert them into success as much as possible. And if I fail, I move on. Said Osho, “If you feel that life has juice, joy, if you feel life is a miraculous event, and you have the desire to get more of it, then you are a successful person.” By this parameter, I am successful.
Rekha Sinha, Lucknow
Shape up or ship out
I was in the sixth grade. My arithmetic teacher Mrs. Joshi was brilliant, but intimidating. Being timid, I was scared to seek help from her or anyone who could help me in understanding Maths, which I was weak at. Instead, I would go early to school on my bike and copy the answers hurriedly from a friend. Soon I was caught and even reprimanded severely in front of the class. Eventually came a time when in the pre-finals I got four out of 50 marks.
My parents were called to meet my teacher. They were warned I would lose a year if I did not shape up. One of my neighbours was a well-acclaimed arithmetic teacher. My mother sent me to request her to teach me arithmetic. I still remember the moment when I went to her house, standing nervously at the door asking her whether she would teach me arithmetic. She agreed and told me to get a slate, slate pencils and a moist piece of cloth.
Next day onwards I went regularly to her. She made me memorise multiplication tables up to 50. After this, she put the arithmetic problems in front of me to solve. I started doing them confidently, slowly and steadily. In barely one-and- a-half months I appeared for my final examinations. I scored 56 out of a hundred. I was elated for it was the first time I had had any academic success. By the time I was promoted to the seventh grade I could solve problems orally, including in algebra and geometry. Dr. Chandrashekhar Ranade, Gujarat
Changing myself changed my world
A few years back when I was an executive in a nationalised bank, I was so stressed out with work that I was often curt and impatient with customers and colleagues. This hampered my work, progress and achievement in the field.
Fortunately, since childhood I have had the knack of reading good books, and they brought about a great change in me. I was, and still am, an avid reader of Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale and some Gita Press books by Dr. Ramcharan Mahendra, not to mention my favourite Life Positive. This helped me overcome my short temper, my first success in the arduous task of changing myself.
I began finding endless love and compassion in selfless service, trying to find harmony in external and interpersonal conflicts by taking responsibility for my reactions. Gradually, my focus shifted from 'I and me' to 'we', making me love life even in adverse circumstances.
I became humane and energetic. My colleagues, customers and superiors too started liking me. This shifted my attitude. I realised that nothing is beyond our capability and that liking and loving what you do is the blueprint to success. I have learnt the attitude of gratitude, selfless service and honest practices for all times to come.
Sunil Kumar Makhija via email
The hero in me
From being a silent, gullible, tall, lanky, average, back bencher at school, to winning “ Mr Dombivli 1997” and getting featured in the local newspaper, was a big leap for me. This was the first time I had tasted the elusive success, something I never thought I would get. I was a victim of bullying by a group of classmates who could not stomach my relatively privileged background. Though I never failed, I couldn’t be called an achiever, because a few teachers and classmates had instilled in me that I was good for nothing. However, at college I made great friends and had wonderful teachers. As I was tall, our professor and a few of my friends persuaded me to participate in the Mr Dombivli contest in 1996. I participated and lost in the first round. I became the punching bag of many, and it shattered me into a million pieces. But I worked hard silently for a full year and the following year won the title!
It zipped the mouths of all those who criticised me. This was followed by a series of eight more titles including Mr Mumbai 2000. Suddenly new relatives and best friends popped up that I didn’t know existed. Success enabled me to believe in myself, and hone my talents, which helped me achieve many things. I recall a few friends in my school saying, “Tum Marwari log to English bhi nahi bol sakte”(You Marwaris can't even speak English properly). Interestingly, I won the contest on the basis of the answers that I gave in English. Success taught me about not being a people pleaser. It inspired me to push the envelope, compete with myself and to learn everyday.
It also taught me to stay grounded, and to never demotivate others. You never know what the other person is capable of. Killing someone’s hope and dream is a crime, which is a trait of insecure people.
Amit Raissoni, Mumbai
Small steps to success
I’ve always enjoyed writing. As a child, I wrote for myself, and contributed a few articles for school magazines and the youth section of a now defunct daily newspaper in Bahrain where I grew up. But it was only when I was doing my MBA in Mumbai that I decided, thanks to a professor who suggested I create a blog, to seriously write. One blog post led to another and after dropping a word around for freelancing opportunities, I got my first break with a popular entertainment portal. It felt great to have written over 100 (published and unpublished) articles in just a year. During this period, I learned so much not only about writing, but also about myself as a writer. In 2011, I returned to Bahrain and landed my first job as an Editorial Assistant. My experience there further polished my writing skills. I grew from doing copy edits to singlehandedly managing a 112-page popular luxury and lifestyle magazine over a period of four years. Additionally, my feature stories got published in some other well-known Middle East publications. A charming young gentleman I met on one of my writing assignments told me, “Harkat karoge toh barkat hogi"(keep doing and prosperity is yours) and nothing sums up what my success has taught me, better.
Melissa Nazareth, Mumbai
The road less travelled
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray _ Rumi I consider my first success to be the moment when I took the call to give up my successful corporate career, to step into the unknown and pursue the call of my heart. This was when I realised that the only way to be truly successful in my own eyes, was to discover and then pursue my own definition of success; to know what would give me fulfillment and the confidence to look at the person in the mirror every night without flinching. This success did not come easy. It is hard to throw up one’s achievements and leap into the vast unknown. Fortunately, the support of my partner and family made it easier – they seemed to have an intrinsic belief in my capacity to follow my calling to become a facilitator and coach. What makes this the turning point in my life is the supreme freedom it has afforded me to continue to define success my way, and to free myself from the shackles of pre-defined notions of success.
Neha Lehl, Mumbai
Discovering my potential
I got married at 17, had two children by age 21 and left my husband by 27. Life was difficult when I was with my husband, and remained tough even after I left him, because my finances were strained, especially after my husband passed away in 2007. Life tested me rigorously time and again, but I kept going for I had my children to think of. Then came my Guru, Dadashreeji, and life took a transformational twist with no turning back. All the roadblocks started clearing, and the potential I had no idea I possessed started emerging. Although I had never written in the last 20 years, inexplicably, something within urged me to write. I realised that it was Dadashreeji who was guiding me to write, telling me to trust Him. A woman who had not finished her schooling has today finished a book of 280 pages! I still can’t believe that I was able to finish a book, which I named Safar, a Journey to the Self, and have actually sent sample chapters to two publishers! I attribute this totally to my Guru. I am sure this book will be an inspiration and a best-seller, because it has been totally guided by my Guru.
Sonee Singh via email
Determined to succeed
Iremember reading the interviews of successful people since childhood. My late dad (an army officer) would also give me lectures about what success meant, and the importance of cultivating the right attitude towards success. However, it was only in senior secondary school that I aspired to success. I set a goal to top my class in the 12th CBSE boards, and wonderfully, the ambitious goal did not send shivers down my spine, even though my Class 10 results had been a total disaster. I decided to study everyday. I used the travel time to school to study, as well as all free periods, including the precious lunch break. After I would get home, I would take a 10-minute tea break and resume my studies. I found that I was more of a night owl and hence began to study late into the night. Later, I decided to utilise the early mornings as well, and though it seemed like a Herculean task initially, I managed to make friends with the dawn. The results did not surprise me as I had been thoroughly prepared for the Boards. I not only topped my school in the Humanities stream but also my city. Success to me was this great feeling of having achieved my dream all by myself. Ever since, I have managed to do well in all my endeavours. I learnt that: When you love what you do, it takes the burden off you. Success can knock at your door too, if to your work you remain true.
Kavita Panyam, Hyderabad
The child of faith
December 13, 2012, 9 am, Thursday. I was overwhelmed with an indescribable ecstasy. I was holding my little bundle of joy, my daughter who had promoted me instantly to the world's toughest post of motherhood. I was a chronic ITP patient (Immune thrombocytopenic purpura) when I became pregnant after four years of marriage. I had a severe case of low platelet count (less than 1000 count or so). All the doctors including my hematologists warned me against the risk of getting pregnant. According to them there was only a 30 per cent chance of the foetus’s survival because of the low platelet count. But I took up the challenge in the name of God by gathering all my positivity and confidence to fight back the condition. I prayed to God fervently to save this one for me. And lo and behold, I succeeded at last after experiencing a no-complaint pregnancy and the reward of a healthy baby, my angel, Devashree. There is nothing which is impossible if you have true faith in yourself, and of course, God, the Almighty. From that day onward I began looking at life sunny side up.
Swagatika Mohapatra, Mumbai
From illness to wellness
After doing my engineering from Mumbai I went to the Gulf as a Civil Engineer on site. I couldn’t cope with the harsh working conditions and my health started failing. I became seriously unwell and struggled with loose watery motions and bleeding every day. This continued for about six months, with medications making no improvement. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine), by a leading gastroenterologist in June 1986, and by that time I had lost five kgs. I was put on steroids and other medications, and instructed not to stop them until advised. But a slight recovery would make me stop them and my colitis would relapse. I was in and out of the best hospitals in Mumbai under different specialists on several occasions. I struggled endlessly with medications with no lasting relief or effect. I suffered for 13 long years during which I gave up my site job and started working as a Civil engineering contractor in partnership with a friend. This allowed me to remain home on days when I would be unwell. In the year 1999 I happened to read a small newspaper article about a combination of alternative therapies. With a faint hope I tried it and this time it worked. My health improved substantially in just six months. This incident changed my life path altogether. From being a civil contractor, I discovered a new passion, of helping people end their physical, mental, emotional suffering through these alternative therapies. Today I am living an inspired and contented life. I am healthy and my ulcerative colitis has been totally cured since 1999.
Amarjit Singh Narula, Mumbai
The colour of success
As someone wheelchair-bound with muscular dystrophy, each success is particularly poignant for it proves that I too can achieve.. One such success story was when I sold my first painting. It was a wonderful moment when I received my first cheque from the Victoria Technical Institute (Chennai). I was returning from Bangalore, and climbing the stairs to my apartment with some struggle, when my grandmother came downstairs with the envelope containing the cheque. I was on cloud nine. It was a great day. It was not the money, but it gave me the impetus to create more incredible paintings. I did create more such works, and sold many paintings. This led me to learning more about different types of painting and crafts. After tasting success, my attitude towards painting changed. I started to explore my expertise in my profession and began teaching my craft to people who had a passion for arts. My first success led me to more successes.
Arthi Sampath, via email
The joy of selling
The first saree I SOLD...not bought, is etched in my memory.
On the first day of my job as a sales assistant, I sold a saree, which was my first aha moment of success. I was just out of college and not too sure of what I wanted to do. Luck got me into a leading saree showroom in Bangalore as sales assistant. It taught me persuasive communication with customer benefit. I learnt how to ‘know’ my product before I convinced another to pay for it. I learnt the art of speaking with conviction and this has helped me in my career over the years as a trainer and writer. This single sale taught me that what you achieve in the beginning, is a stepping stone to many a successful sale of goods and goodwill. Life is all about selling and buying. We have a skill or talent we want to trade and there is someone out there who needs that to promote his or her own success. It is important to put one’s positive aspects out there for the universe to see and want. Call it marketing, advertising or PR. They are crucial aspects of success. Without it, many a flower will bloom, wilt, and waste its fragrance on the desert air. I also learnt that one has to ‘sell’ one’s own image before selling a product or service. The way we project our self through our body language, voice modulation and pleasant countenance go a long way in ensuring our success. I can vouch for it! Chhaya Srivastava, Bangalore
Never say die
I could hardly recognise myself in the mirror. Less than a year ago, I had been fit and buzzing with confidence. Yet here I was, bordering on obesity, with a mysterious sluggishness that would not let me run even for a minute. I decided to see a doctor. "You have Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD)." I was told. The bad news? PCOD is incurable. I was beyond devastated. Today, I understand that people go through much worse, but as a 14-year- old, I felt cheated. But whatever my complaint, there could only be one answer – acceptance. And with that, I decided to find myself again, and if I couldn’t, I would reinvent. I studied the disease and my body. The disease could not be cured, but it could be managed with simple lifestyle changes. I made simple changes to my diet and my workouts and gradually, made friends with my condition and my body. Most importantly, I stuck with the change – day in and day out, year after year. On April 23, 2017, I will be running the London Marathon. Having done two half marathons, this will be my first full marathon. I wonder if success is to be able to dare a marathon? Or was it when I was able to do my first round of the hockey field? Or when I decided that I wasn’t going to give in while many others thought I should? I believe all of those because much as we applaud the final moment, success is a journey as much as a destination – a journey made of small successes and even failures. The only thing that matters in the end is that you persevere. When that happens, you don’t chase success; success finds you.
Vinita Ramtri, London
Peace in my world
Looking back at my life, I see that people thought of me as successful when they associated me with material success. But all the trappings of material wealth and its concomitant success made me feel trapped in a cage that felt limiting and claustrophobic. Along came my beloved Master and the storm that upended my life for the better. What followed w
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