By Anupama Bhattacharya April 1999 Achieving success is almost like finding God—the destination is the same, but the roads are as varied as the seekers. All you need to do is choose your path… CREATIVE VISUALIZATIONCreative visualization is a process of realizing your goals by imprinting their image on your mind and thus making it real. Being successful means ‘living a full and meaningful life in which we actually accomplish whatever we set out to do,’ write Melita Denning and Osborne Philips in their book Creative Visualization. So, start with visualizing what you want in life.1. Sit straight, feet side-by-side, hands on your thighs. 2. Close your eyes and relax. 3. Breathe rhythmically. 4. Visualize your objective as being contained in a white circle.v 5. Draw back from your object, see it becoming brighter and brighter. 6. Keep this image in your mind. Then let it fade slowly. 7. Keep up the rhythmic breathing, then return your awareness to the world. SATISH GUJRAL— A BRUSH WITH SUCCESS The room is as unobtrusive as its creator, low settees set of with an array of ethnic cushions, plain wooden planks in place of a roof, large windows looking over a manicured lawn. That is Satish Gujral—Indian artist, architect, carver and dreamer. He lost his hearing in early childhood. Couldn’t complete his education. Yet, today, he is a name to reckon with. ‘My creativity,’ explains Gujral, ‘saved me from becoming a burden on society. I realized that my greatest debt was to my ability and I must use it to its utmost.’ Gujral joined an art school and become a painter. ‘Normally, an artist struggles to develop a distinctive style. While a brand might be useful for a product, it becomes a cage for the creative person. He fears experimenting,’ says Gujral in a characteristically rasping accent. So he broke free. ‘Each time I reached a plateau, I tried a different style. Initially, it cost me heavily. I risked being left behind. I had chosen unconventional mediums such as wood and ceramics. Then, in the late ’50s, I started working with paper collages.’ Changes, flexibility-have these been his success mantras then? Gujral replies: ‘When I tried my hand at architecture, I had no knowledge of it. But if you’re thrown into water, you try to float. I took my creativity that seriously. Recently, the Bulgarian embassy building in Delhi, which I designed, has been chosen by the World Architecture Federation as one of the century’s best buildings.’ Then he points a proud finger at the tastefully self-designed interiors of his house. His handicap also played an important part. ‘When I went through the operation that restored my hearing. I realized that my handicap had helped me perceive form as a manifestation of sound. There was a sacred isolation,’ he explains. Gujral feels that ruthlessness is inevitable prerequisite of success. ‘You have to be ruthless, especially with yourself. I’m 73 now, but I still work 12 hours a day. You ought to live as if there is no tomorrow. I’ve been through three heart attack, but they didn’t slow me down because I know that the fourth attack just might be final.’ How does he view his success? ‘Given a second chance, I would do the same thing all over again. That is what I call success.’ >By Anupama Bhattacharya & Saurabh BhattacharyaAchieving success is almost like finding God—the destination is the same, but the roads are as varied as the seekers. All you need to do is choose your path… Success is a high. Trouble is, the higher you go, the more difficult it may seem to stay where you are. There would be thousands vying to outrun, oust and supersede you. To reach success-and to stay there-is a momentous challenge. Yet, going by the verdict of management gurus from all times, it’s actually quite simple- provided you know how to. ‘Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently,’ proclaims Indian management trainer and author Shiv Khera. ‘Success,’ chips in Promod Batra, former chief general manager of the Indian multinational Escort group and seminar leader, ‘is basically about how you can turn adverse situations in your favor.’ br>Thomas Edison failed approximately 10,000 times before he finally invented the light bulb. Henry Ford was broke at the age of 40. Beethoven, as a young child, was told he had no talent for music. Or take Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the loin-clothed leader of India’s struggle for independence. ‘Few people face as much failure and humiliation in one life as Gandhi did,’ says Batra. ‘But he did not give up. He was there, at the right time, still struggling, when his fate changed.’ The issues may not have been big enough. But the dreams were. And each step was taken in that direction. ‘Successful people compete against themselves,’ writes Khera in his book You Can Win. ‘They better their own record and keep improving constantly.’ The idea is not to be second best, even to your self. For success, like lady luck, comes with its dose of fickleness. To live up to it, and to keep it by your side, you may need all your human ambition—and your godliness. IN SEARCH OF EXCELLENCE Why is it that out of a teeming population of human beings, perhaps each essentially as capable as the other, only a handful leave a mark? Where do talent, hard worked and dedication fall short of that crucial margin? ‘You don’t have to want to successful,’ writes psychologist and motivation teacher Edward de Bono in his book Tactics: The Art and Science of Success. ‘You don’t have to value success, but if you do want to be successful, then there are two attitudes. The first is the passive attitude, which tells you that there is nothing you can do except wait. The second is the positive attitude, which tells you that there are things you can do that will make a difference.’ Success is 70 percent effort and 30 percent luck. You may burn the midnight oil on a regular basis, but if luck doesn’t come your way, it will be to no avail. On the other hand, you can’t get lucky if you don’t go on trying. Most success gurus agree on one point: talent alone is not enough. You have to be different, do things differently, and perhaps have that elusive quality that most people, for the lack of a better word, call excellence. But then, what is excellence? To define this term, we waded in futility through a number of books-until we started staring at the walls of our office in perplexity. There it was, staring us right in the face, in the form of an aged poster. ‘ Excellence,’ said the poster, ‘means doing your very best in everything. In every way.’ In every way-right from going that extra mile to achieving perfection in every little thing. As Indian industry leader and creator of Air-India J.R.D. Tata was wont to say, ‘I know that aiming at perfection has its drawbacks. It makes you go into details you can avoid. But that is the only way you can achieve excellence.’ Excellence, like that poster on the wall, stares us in the face every minute of our waking life. The point is to achieve it. According to Abraham Maslow, father of humanistic psychology, most people evade their growth and are actually fearful of their own potential. Which is why peak experiences of ecstasy, self-worth, unlimited capacity and an indefatigable faith in the self never last long. Maslow felt that the concept of sinful pride, hubris and the like have been invented to guard man against this fear of the unknown and limitless power within. ‘For some people, this evasion of one’s own growth, setting low levels of aspiration, the fear of doing what one is capable of doing, voluntary self-crippling, pseudo-stupidity, mock-humility are in fact defenses against grandiosity’, he wrote in his book The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Achieving excellence is obviously not a day’s work. It demands large doses of effort, tenacity, will-and originality. Or, to use a chic word, style. ‘Determine your own style,’ advises de Bono, ‘even to the point of verbalizing it or writing it down.’ An identification and awareness of your own style is a prerequisite to beginning the journey towards success. THE IMAGE OF A WINNER For many successful people, the journey began as a search for the self-image or self-creation. As New Age guru Deepak Chopra puts it in his best selling Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: ‘Each of us is here to discover our higher or spiritual self.’ Self-image, according to de Bono, is a prime motivator. He describes this motivating force thus: ‘This is a view of oneself as being significant, of being different from others, as being someone who can stand out and make things happen.’ And often, this self-image gets a boost through facing, and overcoming, challenges-through industriousness, tenacity and an efficient awareness of reigning circumstances. Jack Welch is a name that nobody, apart from those in the corporate sector, would recognize. But the firm that he once headed is known to the world— General Electric (GE). When Welch took over as CEO of GE, the company was a behemoth of 420,000 people that had become so used to its world-leaders that it couldn’t care less about improving. Welch single-handedly brought about a complete transformation in the company’s vision and productivity. But in the process, roughly 300,000 people left GE, many of them sacked. And Welch was unrepentant. THE STERN VISAGE ‘Where single-mindedness and efficiency meet, ruthlessness is the charge,’ says de Bono. But ruthlessness is hardly e
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