April 2017 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.
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