Putting down a few things I have learned from friends over the years and have tried to remember and act upon.
You don’t have to do everything, but if you say you will do something, then you have to do it.
From Kumar, the first senior manager I worked with at Infy. This was in the context of taking our project to CMM Level 5 rating. We were a small team working for Paramount Pictures and the management wanted to processes in place when we started getting more people. We were all unhappy that we would have to spend time on non-work now and I had asked Kumar why do things which don’t add value to a client.
No matter what context, I have tried to stick to keeping my word. This was further reinforced by my experience with the partner I had at my first startup – his word meant nothing, he would lie even to his grandmother! I was repulsed by this and have always been ever since. Now I listen to everyone, hear what they say and wait for their actions to judge them.
Ghaas kaatne wala bano, par accha ghaas kaatne wala bano. – from the movie Lakshya
(Become a garderner if you want, but become a good one)
This is one is self explanatory.
If you don’t find a group which is doing what you want to, then you start it yourself.
Don’t remember the context, but this was from my friend Gapp, who himself has a propensity of starting stuff.
Most people are in a particular kind of waiting place (Dr. Seuss – The places you go). Waiting for someone to take a lead, to start something, to put themselves on the line – I refuse to wait. If I want something in this world and it does not exist, I try to create it. Thank you Gapp.
This one is a story – I am very positive that it was a story from Gandhiji’s life and I read it in my school textbook but I just have not been able to find it online and my memory is terrible. If you know the correct story, please share a link. Here’s the story as I remember it –
So Gandhiji is sailing by ship to somewhere and is constantly being abused by a racist co-passenger. He even goes to the length of actually writing the choicest abuses in a letter and hands it over to Gandhiji. Gandhiji glances through the contents of the letter, removes the pin binding the pages, keeps it and hands the pages back to the abuser. He thanks his dumbstruck abuser and tells that he kept the only useful thing out of the whole thing.
No matter who you meet, however vile they may seem; whatever bad experience you may have, there always is something good to pick out of it. I hope I will always have the strength to look for the good in people and experiences and only keep them with me.