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How to Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish at all times

Steeve Jobs was a leader par excellence. Though his methods were sometimes brash, he trusted and rewarded those who were equal to his line of thinking. In a superb speech delivered at the Stanford University in USA, he mentioned his memorable phrase "Stay Hungry Stay Foolish". This phrase has since then become so famous throughout the world. Some dimensions of the meaning of this phrase is sought to be explained in this article.


Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. This one phrase has changed the lifestyles of millions. It is a highly inspirational quote from one of the best Global Business Leaders, Steeve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers, the most innovative company in the world. This phrase simply means that we should never be satisfied with our past achievements. The past is history. But new history can be made when we start working for new glory. For new possibilities and new innovations. It does apply to any organization. It also does apply to any individual. There are some steps in this direction. These have come out of discussions in some conferences. There are some twenty steps that go right into the orbit of applied behavioral sciences. Only five general ones, that can trigger further action are discussed here.

The five steps are a)asking "where am I now?"b)look around for new knowledge/skills c) get the application part right d) be consistent e) Never ever give up; Enough is Never enough.

Asking "where am I know?'"

This is a very important question. Juxtaposing current realities with desired skill sets is a journey. It is not a destination. This is a stark reality of modern times. Just like smart cell phones become outdated so quickly in twelve months, if we are not awake, someone else who is not only awake but smart, will overtake us. This is true of even school students. It is true of housewives and even those who are currently employed. Knowing where we stand is the first single step that we all need to understand in this regard. This is all the more so, since we cannot be complacent and be lazy. Once the gap is identified, it becomes easy for us to take further action in this regard.

Look around for new knowledge/skills

Looking around for new knowledge or skills does not mean very sophisticated knowledge that has zero application for us. For instances, a person who has specialized in computer science need not know the latest in biotechnology. However, he should be hungry for new knowledge like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, SAP, ethical hacking,design software,and the like. If new skills needed to be obtained, go for the kill. Even if you are a little complacent, you will be left behind. In a particular private institute teaching a variety of SAP courses and cloud computing, there were two students, both working in the HR department of a small company. While the boy was complacent and did not learn the skill, the girl got her certificate and learnt the SAP course very well. The girl was placed with the Larsen and Toubro Infotech Division. The boy did not even clear the first round.

This modern world is only for those who specialize in their learning, with a passionate zeal, like the girl. Those who are complacent, will simply fall behind. Hence we all need to be on the move. All housewives can cook. But only those who are smart make a business of such cooking in the metros. They cook a little extra, pack the food in hot cases and deliver the same to many houses. They are richer by at least fifteen thousand rupees per month. Yes, they do not see the horrible TV serials, or gossip with neighbors. These housewives are already ahead on the learning curve.

Get the application part right

This is the most important lesson of the Stay Hungry Stay Foolish Mantra. We should not be complacent and we need to constantly innovate. But such knowledge and skill-sets will be utterly useless, unless we have the application thereof in this commercial world.

That is, the sweet smell of money should follow our efforts. For instance, at Adayar in Chennai, we have two restaurants that have tried out variants of organic food, with tremendous success. The lunch is served with the same traditional warmth. The cost is prohibitive but the variety brings the new customers in. There will always be a market for such skills.

In recent years, the success of the KWID model of car, from the Renault multinational can be attributed to these innovative capabilities. In the case of several varieties of herbal variants of what are called mosquito repellents, the same spirit of application of the core idea of not having any detrimental effect on health, is there for all to see.

The world is only for those who get this application part right. Past success is a mirage. It is mere history. We can perhaps share a bit of this learning or experiences on Face book. But the world is a lot more complicated now,than ever before. Let us learn to adapt. Also we must learn to be flexible. Looking around for all opportunities and milking them the right way, will enable us to survive. If not we will be left far behind in the rat race.

Be consistent

Consistency is one virtue that not only applies to Cricketers. It applies to ordinary mortals too. If we are not consistent in our own efforts, we cannot do anything. This applies to huge Corporate organizations too. For example Sony is now reinvesting itself in the television market and is highly competitive. It is able to take on the might of Samsung and the low cost warrior called LG. It has left Onida far behind.

So ability to innovate constantly and stay consistent in the game has helped Sony. ITC has remained consistent on quality of its Sunfeast brand. Its success is well known. Those who are consistent, like Virat Kohli or Ravichandran Ashwin, are always winners. They are always hungry. Their hunger for new achievements does not have any end. Never ever.

Never ever give up; Enough is Never Enough

Several decades ago there was this discussion about what was called "Hindu rate of growth". Translated into simple language, one famous economist mocked at the five percent GDP growth of India, that was always consistent, but never more than five percent. The economic reforms unleashed a cycle of huge purchasing power of the middle class. The rest is history -- the new markets, customers, products, sophisticated products and what have you, changed the GDP growth to more than even seven per cent. The poor were somewhat squeezed, but the new businesses brought in new opportunities. The most simplest manifestation can be found in the hundreds or thousands of new NEET coaching centers in every small town in India. These centers employ servant maids. These poor women, displaced from agriculture, have found new avenues for employment. The list is endless.

This ability to say that enough is never enough is a new phenomenon in India. The educated lot are having a whale of a time. They are finding educational and employment opportunities in Canada, UK, USA and most of Europe. The best of the lot are always abroad. Those with an entrepreneurial streak, from the same crowd, have monopolized the start up space in Chennai and Bangalore. These employ hundreds of engineers and MBAs from the IIMs and top notch institutions. So the knowledge and application thereof is here very much in India.

These young professionals have never ever, given up. For them, the whole world is a market. Ditto for the real estate developers. In the past couple of decades, the housing market has given employment to hundreds of thousands of laborers who have been displayed from agriculture or find agriculture as a less income giving source and have hence migrated to house construction. This is a ever growing tribe consisting of untrained labor from the Hindi heartland in most of Southern India.

For you the student, the message is very clear. Unemployment is just a mirage. If you have the patience to acquire the right skill sets, the world will be yours. It will be there for the asking. The secret is to never ever give up. And always say, "Enough is never Enough".

The reality of the modern game is that you do not have any choice. You get into it, swim in it and emerge successful. The other choice is only to take the easy route by doing nothing and fail.

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish is one mantra that will for ever be relevant. And very meaningful indeed.

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Author: Natarajan24 Jul 2018 Member Level: Gold   Points : 7

An excellent article and an eye opener to all those who are reluctant to come out of their own comfort zones, crib and complain about lack of chances and those who fear about the absence of the safety net when being self-employed.

I fully agree with the author on 'Where am I now'. Many of us (including myself) would have asked this question, if we missed a chance, passed over for a promotion or on finding ourselves stagnating in a dead end job. Instead, if we keep asking this regularly when the going is good, we can improve our skills and increase the chances of moving up the career ladder.

The importance of being updated and eager to learn new skills cannot be under-estimated. Success often comes with having the right stuff in hand when the opportunity comes by.

Having new skills and a winning concept is of no use if we are not smart and committed enough to implement it. Breaking away from traditional paths/ideas, having a unique concept and sticking to it needs courage and plenty of self-belief. I think many of us lack this in the true sense.

The last part of the article is truly motivating, the world is full of opportunities, we just have to look for it, identify it and make it ours. It's not easy and always doesn't come to us. There are many examples of people who have left a good paying job to take up more challenging roles. Although they struggle initially, the sense of achievement and the benefits are worth the change.

Author: ABSivakumar24 Jul 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

Thank you so much Sir. It was always one of experience sharing. The real-life case studies are too many. The learning is just generalized to fit the space constraint of one thousand five hundred words.

I shall try to write other articles on similar subjects. Thirty-five years of hardcore experience had taught me many lessons. ISC is a big platform for me to express these lessons.

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