Introduction Life is itself a big battle. It is not a gamble. It is a big playground and a big stage. It is often said that we are all players in it. Or actors on that stage. Whatever be the situation, it is quite true that life is far more than meek surrender. Yes, there are some circumstances that sort of demotivated us. Inaction results. We do not even know what to do. However, even in the worst of bad times, we can always learn from very ordinary people who had the courage of conviction. People who had the guts to move on. Do different things. When we learn from such experiences, we can easily focus on the dangerous of meekly surrendering to pressures at any point in time. Why do people often feel lost and sort of give up on any effort?
It happens because they meet with some calamity. For example, they are caught in a muddle when the bread winner is gone. This is a really big loss for the family. Imagine the family has a mother who had just passed the plus two examination and hence she cannot be employed. The boy is into the fourth year of engineering and had planned to do his MBA from the IIM. But his father 's death put an end to his plans. He takes a job as he has to finance his only sister's wedding. Somehow or the other, the family merely managed to survive. The mother becomes shattered and does not even speak properly to others. Exactly what happened to a family known to this author.
The aforesaid case study is just one example. In spite of advice from so many good relatives, the boy refused to study further and even take up a job in Germany when he secured one. He wanted to stay back only in India. The family gave up on so many "move on" chances. It should never happen. Birth and death are just two sides of the same coin. Death can happen at any time. We can only take all precautions. Like for example, we drive very carefully when we drive a car on the Highway. This is the best we can do in a situation. We need to look forward to something very positive in a given situation. The focus should be on a) Preparing for the difficult circumstances b) Getting a plan B in place at any point in time c) Making everyone have hope and positivity d) Get alternate plans for all " move on" situations and e) Look around for learning from successful experiences.
Preparing for the difficult circumstances This author has engaged a good number of self-help groups that get loans from the co-operative banks. Such groups are mostly into the catering business. They are always keen on increasing cash flows. They are quite open to suggestions from anyone. For example, in one case when this author suggested that they could introduce the evening snacks, targeting the middle class and the huge number of students on the outskirts of Chittoor, a town in Andhra Pradesh, the members respected the suggestion and implemented it. They were able to get a good profit of Rs2000 per day. During the second half of April and most of May, the members are aware that their turnover will dip. The cash flow is saved for difficult times. Such groups are increasing day after day. For example, on the outskirts of two towns in Tamil Nadu, NGOs are supporting two small groups doing business in jute bags, for which they have received special training.
This is exactly what individuals should do as well. It is not only financial security we are talking about. The smallest of precautions can help in taking care of one's health. For example, limited consumption of the big onion with curd is sure to cool down the body. Having a little bit of lemon juice in the hottest summer is said to be perfect too. The overall emphasis should be to prepare for the rainy day with care being taken to also reduce unnecessary expenses.
Getting a plan B in place at any point in time In these terribly uncertain times, it is not only Plan B that we need to have. We also need to have Plan C ready. If we lose our job, we should look out for something that can keep our family engine going. We cannot stand on prestige and refuse to try out new alternatives. In the aftermath of the 2008 global crisis, the mutual fund industry went for a big toss. The money was withdrawn and everyone went to the nationalized banks for safety. Those who were in equity markets suffered most. A very distant relative of this author, who was engaged in equity research, lost his Mumbai job with a good organization. The organization not only sacked him but others too. This author suggested that he should join as an executive (Finance and accounts) on a much lower salary in the city of Mysore. This guy took it up very seriously. He was a good, hard-working person. He decided to change track totally. The next three years were spent as a married bachelor in Mysore, while his family stayed back in Mumbai, where his in-laws not only supported the family but stayed on to ensure that the school education of his seven years old was not disturbed. He did his ICWA course and was subsequently promoted. Since he was too good, this organization posted him in the Regional office at Mumbai. He went on to join one of the major Birla group organizations. He was even sent for advanced training to an organization abroad. This is exactly what we call as Plan B. At all times, we should not meekly surrender and give up. This sense of desperation is not good at all.
Making everyone have hope and positivity Have you seen the eternal optimists? Have you seen them joke and create a very light atmosphere in normal circumstances? Have you seen them make it sort of mandatory that they present themselves whenever there is a crisis and get things done, without any fuss? These are the people from whom we need to learn a lot. Hope and positivity are twins of the tallest order. Even a small amount of both can make a vital difference. For example, even in the worst of scenarios, the manufacturing organizations will still need mechanical engineers. No robots can fix highly complicated problems on the shop floor. Hence, if there is a small chance, any mechanical engineer has to get this vital experience and then apply to other organizations. Those in Gujarat, for example, happily employ the mechanical engineering graduates from the South of India. The reason is that they are very good in their subjects and training. The Anna University syllabus, for example, is far more enriched than most other State Technical Universities. At least in the best 100 colleges, the emphasis is on overall learning. This has helped many to quickly grab the opportunities in and around Baroda city. There are many who also go towards Jamnagar. This is exactly what we need under any circumstances. Giving up meekly does not solve any problem. Every issue has a solution. Of course, the nature of the problem and the solution will vary from case to case.
Get alternate plans for all situations It was just one practical suggestion for a particular "move on" suggestion from this author in the above example. Initially, the person was so keen on equity research. It took a lot of explaining of actual ground realities to make him understand the scope of accounts and finance, that is universal. He took a plunge and had a "move on". More often than not, in the evaluation of alternatives, we are afraid of the unknown complexities. We need to understand that these complexities can and do exist, even in the most normal circumstances. In the emerging scenario of temporary or contract jobs, we need to go far beyond what is obvious. The question, "what if it can happen to me?" is not an irrelevant question. It should indeed bother each one of us. We need to understand ground realities and then understand how the situations can pan out. We need a move on and we also need to plan for the alternatives.
Look around for learning from successful experiences One of the most successful directors of Indian cinema, whose name is Mani Ratnam, always learns from his experiences, good and bad. There is always a big fan following, as his films are based on urban experiences and target the IT crowd and the younger generation. He always learns from experiences. Similarly, whenever a product is not good, the great organization called Unilever would never hesitate to junk it. It would never manufacture it at all. The learning from successful experiences will always help us learn. Unilever has a great record.
So is the case with excellent Indian organizations like Himalaya Drugs. This organization always dabbles in grandmother's recipes. It has captured a huge chunk of the market. The learning has always helped them grow from strength to strength. Big Bazaar simply eats up the competition. It has even purchased the well known Nilgiris brand of South India. If we get finer details of how these things happened, we will always understand that these organizations never meekly surrender. They have so many plans to occupy the mind of the customer, who is the king. Similarly, our learning canvas is so big and can give us so many lessons at any point in time, if only we try. We need to understand the complexities involved and how they were solved. The learning curve is not small. It can and will always be complex. However, when we stop learning, we would have meekly surrendered. This is exactly what we should never do.
Conclusion Once we learn the new things from successful experiences, we will never meekly surrender. The real world is the best learning arena. There cannot be any magic formula. However, try we must, under all circumstances. Efforts make a huge difference in our lives. Let us not forget this big truth.