The key of success

10:02 AM

As some of you may have noticed, I have been a bit less active these past few weeks. It was in part due to Ishita having less full days of school and then her Summer break.
I say in part, because the truth is that I have been busy on the professional front as well. You may not necessarily know it, but I also work freelance as an intercultural and daily life consultant, mostly for expats, but not always.

This particular project was an amazing one that ended having me travel to rural India this weekend to talk to  high school students about career, and life choices. It was a weekend filled with a lot of listening and a lot of talking. A weekend I kept encouraging those kids to pursue what they love and are passionate about.

This is something I could not stress enough and as you all know I am a firm believer that to be successful at anything in life, you must continuously explore and have a passion in life, any passion.

This is after all my love of computers and art that ended up leading me strong and steady on the "accidental path". This is my curiosity that pushed me to try new things and keep on exploring. The same spirit of adventure that led me to India. That very thirst for knowledge that carried me every steps on the way to make me what I am today.
No conventional thinking, no college degree, no herd mentality would have taken me that far.

Passion, and love are the two main ingredients to any success, and no, success is not defined by how much money you make. You can make money doing a job you hate, but chances you'll always want more, to fill the void the lack of love and passion left in you.

This very blog, is probably the biggest "monument" erected in the name of my passions and interests. It evolved with me and inspired many. And without any love, I would never kept on writing it. This blog only exist because I love what I do. And without this blog, I would never have had the kind of experiences and success I had in the recent years.

This is what I have been up to, and will continue being up to in the future. In the meantime, keep on reading, and keep on being passionate about life.

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  1. Anonymous11:53 AM

    Interacting with the children in rural india must have been difficult due to language problem?? It is so great that you get these wonderful opportunities.

    There is an advertisement which is coming on tv these days. The principal of the school is addressing the parents "do you know how much you got in your 12th board?, I got only 60%, but I am the principal of this school, be concerned about learning and not marks". Very revolutionary and nice. I wonder in real life the same school is going to advertise the percentage of its top performers and then the made race for cutoffs for college would start.

    We understand the need for change but have no road map. Then we have these wool eyed ideas. We are doing precious little to change our education system and confusing people further these kind of glib talk which has no existence in real life. I would tell the youngsters, complete your education, get a degree. Don't have any illusions about yourselves. Your present comfortable life is only due to your parents.


    1. With this kind of mindset, I am sorry to say but you only continue on the path of little changes and no progress for India. Owing your parents is a notion that needs to change. The only thing I owe my own parents is gratitude to have given me a loving home. When it came to money, they did feed me, house me and that stopped there. In Europe kids are taught early to work hard to get what they want. The financial support diminish with years and most kids pay for their own college courses by working on the side.

      The problem with your logic of studying, getting a degree and then a good job because you owe your parent that much is that many kids give up their dreams. I can't tell you how many wonderful dreams and very mature ideas I heard from these kids this weekend. The sad truth? We were probably the first one to think their ideas were amazing and worth working for. This country does not need more engineers and doctors that only got there because they owned their parents. It needs passionate people who choose their field of study and career based and what they are genuinely passionate about. As long as you owe your soul to your ancestors you are doomed.

    2. And I'll add that my present comfortable life is not due to anybody but ME my parents played no extra special role in that other than having done what any parents do.

    3. Anonymous3:15 PM

      I am sorry to say that this gross cultural misinterpretation.

      I have son. I want him to be successful in life. I also want him to assist me in my old age. It may be financial/emotional. Does that make me bad father because I expect something from him. Parents everywhere have expectations/hopes from their children. The nature of that hope/expectation is different from culture to culture. Do I see my son as a insurance policy? I really do not define that way. That is a very crude way to put the relationship. Do I owe something to my parents? Yeah, I do. My father with all our differences was fantastic and I do own him a lot. They gave me a life which perhaps millions of people do not have in India and it really does matter when you put it in perspective.

      The way I see it today, this generation neither has the appreciation not the effort to work hard. They just want good life. I have no problems with passion but you should have a realistic assessment of your abilities and also work extremely hard. It is that much more difficult to follow your passion.

      First build the education system, infrastructure, make alternative jobs more lucrative. What have we don, precious little. Here, we are not even having good primary education in this country. I Prime Minister has stressed on skill development in a big way. Still a long way to go. Unless that happens everything is glib talk.

      As far as owing my soul to my ancestors is concerned, respecting them is to respect the culture that we have inherited. I pay my respect to my departed parents each year because they are dear to me and not that I would be doomed if I don't.

      No offence meant.


    4. Gratitude is one thing, feeling you owe anybody a college degree is a whole different thing. Owing your entire life to one person too. I am grateful for my parents, but I don't owe them my everything, sorry. As long as kids are guilt tripped that way we have a big problem.

      Now on passion, give me one person's name that was fulfilled and successful doing something they have no love for. Don't go telling me we can't all be Steeve Jobs and Bill Gates, of course we can't there are only one of each. But what about the local beauty parlour that sees a queue of ladies and is booked solid for days? Do you think you can achieve that without passion? Or the farmer dedicated to the cause of organic farming? Can you do it without passion?

      All those IIT graduates who could have gone into safe secure boring jobs but chose to create startups that where going off the beaten track? Could they have done it without passion? Every ventures of any kind, small or big have all been started because someone had a dream, a passion. What's more they all affected a change, as small as it might be.

      They also all achieved it because they had people that knew better than to push them into a college degree they didn't have love for. If you hate engineering, I don't care how safe a degree it is, you will do a shit job at being an engineer, you might get a job that pays the bill, but you'll spend your entire life chasing a better paying job under the stupid illusion that more money will make you more successful and will solve all your problem, only to realise that it will NEVER be enough, and to stick yourself in this rut simply because apparently you "OWED" your parents that? Sorry but no, that is wrong.

      Parents GIVE life, when you give, you don't own, therefore you aren't owed anything material for it

    5. Anonymous4:04 PM

      It is because we have seen the fate of alternate careers. Take for example sports, except cricket which was always big, other sports do not count. Every now and then there are stories that a sport person is living a life of poverty. He/she has to sell their medals to survive or do menial jobs. Despite official apathy, our sportsmen manage to win medals which is quiet a feat. After seeing this nobody wants to get into sports except perhaps cricket. So much for respect for passion.

      Film industry which has become more professional in recent time, still dominated by filmi families and their siblings. You need contact and pedigree to succeed. New comers are making their mark but nepotism still rules the roost. Where is the level playing field.

      The unconventional careers are either unorganized or not lucrative enough. Then ofcourse how to make a living. The changes are taking place but they are slow and not prominent. These are just big professions. About small professions and skills we do not see a concerted effort to make them more mainstream. Where are the institutes that impart these skills to young people so that they earn their own living and not riot demanding reservations. Our leaders are busy telling the youth their salvation lies in reservations.

      The Government of India has started a fund for startups with provisions to encourage startups in big way. The message is to encourage people to start their own business. Where is the eco system for it? who will guarantee that a young entrepreneur won't be harassed? what about the bureaucracy?

      Skills empower people but this not a correct political message. Reservations is a more understandable message because it plays on the insecurities of people.

      The common man sees that the State on one hand talks about equality and development and on the other hand leaves it to fend for himself. Each such event of anarchy draws him back into the shell and he is very afraid. He seeks solace in his caste/religious identities. How and why but it happens.

      Now, add gender to this whole situation, the picture is even more stark. Half of the population is afraid to go out. This severely affects their education and career. Those who have the resources may overcome all this but they too come face to face these realities.

      In this stark situation do you think there is place to dream. Either the State take the leads and creates a good environment but it has other priorities or the society does something. When things remain the same, there are all the more reasons to be afraid.


    6. When things remain the same it's because people are afraid to change.

      To be successful is not about the money. And entrepreneurship is something that you can't expect a college to teach you. If you wait on governments to do everything, you go nowhere. Not here, not abroad. Following dreams, being passionate takes courage. The problem is when kids full of thirst and plenty of ideas are discouraged to even try by frightened adults who will use "you owe me" just to make sure their kids continue to live in the shadow of fears that weren't even their own. Plain and simple.

      The fact is I saw hundreds of students with dreams and ambition that felt like no on took time to listen to before. That is sad, and if I made them realise their dreams and aspirations aren't stupid and useless, I already have made this world a better place. Simply because I love talking and sharing my own experience. I call it a success.

    7. Anonymous8:31 PM

      If the government does not who will. Some private individual perhaps. from Alexander grham bell to edison they all had rich mentors if I am not wrong. somebody discovers something, a rich man finds potential in it. It is mass produced and becomes successfull. This is what started the industrial revolution. The sprit of enterpreneurship has a long history so u can talk about. people know ideaa succeed because they have seen it happen.

      All across India we hear people making incredible things. One guy has build a helicopter all by himself can u believe it. one guy build a mud refrigerator called "mitti cool". These stories end with the following sentence "he is now looking for some individual/government help...". These people usually put their own savings into it. I have never seen any of these inventions mass produced. forget government even the private sector is not interested. nobody is interested in putting his whole money into his passion getting no encouragement.

      my theory if these ideas become popular who will buy expensive gadgets. so people in this country invent to survive which is called "jugaad". when u have nothing find an arrangement.


    8. Anonymous8:40 PM

      each one of these stories actually make people who invent something look like fools further discouraging people. why it happens. vested interest who don't want simple and cheap solutions being made accessible to people. so these stories remain only interesting stories.


    9. Passion is not substitute for hard work, every entrepreneur will tell you that. But you can be successful without passion. And know that the world is moving away from the mass produced model as the ONLY successful one. We live in a society that is moving toward a market of niches. Be an expert in your less broad field target a select few interested and market there. Or better yet, create the market.

      Know how to sell yourself and your ideas, and keep on going.

      But I see that you are dead set on wanting to see the glass half empty rather than half full there. and I am done arguing this because here are the facts :

      1) Nobody will ever be successful doing something they don't like doing, and no it is not about how much money you earn

      2) Every single successful venture, business, idea, and discoveries, no Mather how big or how small, how global or how local is driven with PASSION at its core.

  2. Hmmm...
    My 25 yr old niece whom hasn't even graduated from university nor ever had a job just asked me when I'm going to get a job.
    I'm not sure what to make of that. She knows very well I've already had a very successful 15 yr career in healthcare but like most Indians despite being 'educated' she usually just repeats whatever her parents say without a thought. Either that or her conversation solely consists of "me, me, me, me, me, me, me, and then some more about me." Ah well, sounds like Aunty Bibi has to organize a crash course in critical thinking, self awareness, basic manners, & how to deal with personal insecurity issues in a mature and constructive way. It's a shame her parents can't or won't do this. Ugh.

    Anyway, sounds like you had a marvelous time & I'm certain those children in rural India did too. It's a shame Indian parents can'r see the value in exploring & developing the innate talents their children naturally have but with Indian parents' scarcity mindset & the belief that one's offspring are possessions & a retirement policy rather than unique autonomous individuals I'm not surprised.

    Now, if I can only inspire my niece to use that marvelous brain of hers before she opens her mouth & makes a fool of herself that'll be Bibi's contribution to the youth of today. My niece is studying computer engineering in university, when I asked her what computer engineers do she replied she didn't know. Did that sound sarcastic & snotty? Well, it was meant to.

    1. It doesn't surprise me that she didn't know a survey has shown tha Indian graduates are among the most unhirable lot in the world due to an antiquated curriculum and mindset about educations. Most are under the ridiculous delusion that all it takes is having a degree to be a professional. The sad truth is that this thinking only produce mindless push pencils that a lot of companies are no longer interested in hiring in this tight economy and fast changing world. Give them someone with experience, passion and critical thinking over a straight A high honours graduate anytime.

  3. Anonymous4:40 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. This comment was off topic, I am going to start deleting these because this is a blog, not an online forum to start debates about politics


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