Introduction Without any exception, it is possible to find individuals who somehow feel that they have nothing much to do about their circumstances. They do believe in the concept of fate. They do believe that most events, if not all, are beyond their control. Yet, even a little close examination of their talents and abilities will reveal that they are just not tuned to making sincere attempts at success, as such. In general, they just need some guidance. If that guidance is given, they quickly come out of their thinking.
Be that as may, the basic levers for a good transformation to positive action involves a) A careful assessment of resources and talents at one's command b) Equipping oneself for immediate challenges c) Gearing oneself for cost reduction as a rule d) Securing co-operation for the go-ahead initiatives from kith and kin and e) Keeping the momentum of personal change on a fast track.
A careful assessment of resources and talentsGetting the facts is as important as taking quick remedial action. This author was given the reference of an ordinary graduate who was actually studying when he lost his father. The young man was completely devastated. He had some emotional trauma and was not able to see things for a larger perspective.
Fortunately, his mother was eligible for a pension. That kept the family going. He had one sister studying in school to take care. Keen to live on his own, the young boy sight some advice. It was revealed that he had the evenings relatively free, as he had a sharp mind and his academic credentials were good. He soon came out of his feelings of helplessness and took up a part-time job in a good restaurant near the Tiruchirapalli junction. This job has a free dinner incentive. This meant he saved precious money. He also handled tuition in economics for a couple of students who were studying in the plus one standard. He felt reassured. In the meanwhile, when the teachers came to know about his financial condition, they offered him little cash incentives for taking care of the department library during the lunch hour. He passed his degree in flying colors and was reassured that he could indeed handle any pressure. The key to success was his ability to see hope and combine that with optimism. Of course, this happened a decade ago and the young man went on to become an economics teacher in his later years.
Equipping oneself for immediate challenges This is vital too. A yound man, at the age of 31, was diagnosed with throat cancer, some five years ago. He immediately went to the Adayar Cancer Institute where an immediate surgery was suggested. With his scarce resources, he could not manage the entire cost. Help came in the form of a rich colleague whose uncle ran a good hardware business. He was given a donation of one lakh and another two lakh as an interest-free loan. After the surgery, the man, a banker sought a transfer to Vellore. He got this as such a posting is never preferred by anyone. He was intelligent. He shifted his family to Vellore and continued the regular check-ups with the prestigious Christian Medical College. This helped him a great deal. The doctors reassured him that he was well. The office tensions also were under control. Commutation within the town was easy too. The bold decision of taking a transfer to Vellore helped him to ride over the immediate challenge of taking care of his health. This is exactly what should happen. We should address the immediate challenge and only then look around for the other challenges.
Gearing oneself for cost-cutting The aforesaid banker saved Rs. 3000 on rental expenditure. His logic was simple. He would not know about his future. Cancer could come back again. Hence, let me now concentrate on saving so much for the future. This author was aghast to learn that his wife, who was a teacher in a local school, also took up private tuitions to earn that extra bit of money, for family security. Their only son was also put into a good school. The total cost of everything, when compared to Chennai, came down by more than Rs. 6000 rupees. This is exactly what should happen. Only optimism can help. The lady here also enrolled for the distance education B.Ed course, so that she could try for a better job. Her efforts to keep the family in a happy state of mind was truly remarkable.
Securing co-operation from kith and kin This is another important thing. A young professional recently lost his job in an IT concern in Bangalore. He was devastated. The company ruthlessly eased him out as part of a cost-cutting exercise. His wife, who was just a housewife, put on her thinking cap. Could he not utilize all his expertise to teach? After all, he had ten years of solid software experience. His range of experience will help him get a good academic job. She would shift to Coimbatore city, where her parents lived. The man looked around and found a good teaching job at Pune, with a good salary. This big educational group wanted to use his expertise in both the undergraduate BCA and Post-graduate MCA course. Since he opted to double up as hostel warden, he was given free food and accommodation in the campus. He knew Hindi quite well. Within two years, he is confident of bringing his family to Pune to join him. This is exactly what should happen. In a crisis situation, family support is vital.
The family is an integral part of every human being's progress. Hence, it is but essential that there is a perfect symphony between the actions that we take and the preparedness of the family. In the aforesaid case, it can be easily seen that this was very much the case. In fact, the wife was quite proactive as well. These are the things that we need to give maximum importance. Once this is done, the family will also chip in with the required co-operation. This sort of co-operation will become even more critical in the years to come when the complexities in the job market in India.
Keeping up the momentum of personal change This might involve doing even a full-time Executive MBA or a weekend one to acquire new skill sets. Nothing can be achieved if we are lazy. Opportunities float around. However, being ready for bigger challenges is always a big challenge. Nothing happens without careful planning. Every crisis is an opportunity. It is never an "It's all over" situation, as both of the aforesaid real-world experiences emphatically illustrate. The fast track imperatives will keep changing with every small change in particular situations. However, if we have the right attitudinal disposition, finding imperatives for change and for coping with challenges will become easy. We need to look forward. We need a move on at any time of our increasingly complex lives when the chips are down.
There is yet another dimension that needs attention. All human beings have a tendency to relax and take things rather easy when they are in a slightly comfortable position. This increases the tensions at a later stage. There is no room for complacency in today's uncertain times. We need a big overhaul of our thinking and this should always be oriented towards milking all the opportunities available. We need to chase those opportunities. It is foolish to imagine that we will get the opportunities, anyway. This never happens.
Conclusion Life's challenges in India are bound to become complex. Regular jobs may not be there for the asking. However, nothing is lost. We can always work out alternatives. The trick is to learn from the real world from successful experiences. That we have choices to make is what we need to understand and appreciate, at any point in time.