Pick your Role Model; Ape it till you Make it
Human beings learn best by imitating others. Children pick up their language, manners and basic etiquettes by observance. The whole idea of saints living in society is to have the presence of live models of divine virtues amongst the people of the world. Places of worship are meant to be islands of serenity and peace in the hustle-bustle of human transactions. And there is a strong tradition of in Indian society followed by all major religions, where people learn from each other.
During my student days at the GB Pant University, there used to be a weekly magazine JS (Junior Statesman). They would provide a full-page photograph of a celebrity and I would collect them. I can recall posters of Garry Sobers, Bobby Fischer, Rajesh Khanna, Sunil Gavaskar, Vijay Amritraj adorning ‘my wall’ in the shared hostel room. I would feel that there was something good radiating out of these posters. The idea of meeting these people in flesh and blood never even crossed my mind. They were ‘somewhere up and away,’ from my mundane world.
And then, these ‘idols’ started turning into human beings. Arun Shourie and Dr. Raja Ramanna came to the University and I was enthralled by their talks. When Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’ came and recited his poetry and song, it was surreal. In 1982, I relocated to Hyderabad. I was sitting in the small library of the Defence Research & Development Laboratory that was called Technical Information Centre (TIC), when I had a cursory look at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. “He will be our new Director,” someone said in a hushed tone. I could feel some force pulling me towards him but aware of my low position, I dared not even wish him.
The Biography page and Journal section of my website speak of the many great people I have met. Some who are not there, for want of a photograph with them, include Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, R.K. Laxman, Sir V.S. Naipaul, Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, A.R. Rahman and a host of business leaders, whom I am now going to mention. Recently, my elder son, Aseem, asked me, “Dad, tell me about the framework of your success – how do you define it, map it.” He then defined success as money as well as the good done to the world.
I decided to recall the people I had met in person. Fifteen people with more than 1-billion-dollar worth were listed. Ratan Tata, John Chambers (Cisco, USA), Chung Mong-koo (Hyundai, South Korea), A.C. Barman (Dabur), Azim Premji,N.R. Narayana Murthy, Anil Ambani, Sajjan Jindal, Mahesh Patel, Ramalinga Raju (Satyam Computers), GVK Reddy, Dr K. Anji Reddy, Venugopal Dhoot (Videocon), Noorul Ameen Mohamed Ishack (Qualitas, Malaysia), and Govindbhai Dholakiya (SRK Diamonds).
Aseem asked me five questions: (1) Who amongst them did I consider an inspiration for people; (2) Who an aspiring MBA must choose as a role model; (3) Who could have done differently (4) Whose student one should become for life; and finally, (5) Who should be his own role model, in my opinion?
My answers were spontaneous. Ratan Tata is inspirational, John Chambers is the success that every young MBA must look up to, Ramalinga Raju could have done differently, Azim Premji’s life is worth emulating and my son should make Narayan Murthy his role model. “What about you?” he asked me. “Could you see beyond Dr Kalam in your life?”
Only your children can dissect you with such neat and deep precision. Dr Kalam was not my role model. I could never imagine doing what he did. For me, following his instructions and accomplishing the tasks he assigned to me was all that mattered. And yes, I found Dr Varghese Kurian beyond Dr Kalam and perhaps my role model. If ‘Amul’ could have been replicated in other areas, India would not have sunk into an economic rut.
What makes someone your role model? The answer is you, yourself. Your role model is basically ‘your own’ definition of what you want to be, where you would like to reach, and what qualities you would like to develop, personally and professionally. Your role model, whoever you pick, is defined by how you embody the qualities of integrity, optimism, hope, determination, and compassion.
The role model you choose for yourself is a person exemplifying what is important to you, and he/she in turn inspires you to put forth the effort to improve and create things that will make a difference. In your low moments, when you feel lazy, tired, or just plain annoyed, you think of your role model and are motivated to start working again.
So, choose your role model – a living person, whoever you want it to be. Make it public, on your FB page, computer screen, everywhere, and start imitating this person. There is an English saying, “Fake it till you make it.” The idea is that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize these qualities in his/her real life. So, by having a role model, you are not only making a statement about what you want to do with your life but are also elevating your consciousness to a higher level.
MORE FROM THE BLOG
Since last month, I have been reading a rather scholarly book, The Book of Why, written by Israeli-American computer scientist Judea Pearl with Dana Mackenzie. The book deals with the often elusive relationship between cause and effect…
Is there an occult, divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events? In ancient Greece, Pythagoras propagated the idea that reality at the deepest level is essentially mathematical. He and many after him believed that a system of principles existed behind numbers…
I was born in 1955 in independent India. When I look back today, without hesitation, the best moment in public life I witnessed is the construction of a grand temple and the consecration of the idol of Shri Rama Lalla in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024…