Should any young person end up like this?

October 20, 2005

Consider this information

In 1923, nine of the world’s richest men met to discuss economy. They were among the richest men in the world. They were:-

Charles Schwab- President of the largest Steel company
Sameul Insull- President of the largest electric utility company
Howard Hopson- President, largest gas company
Arthur Cutten- Greatest wheat speculator
Richard whitney- President, New york stock exchange
Albert Fall- Secretary of Interior in President Harding’s Cabinet.
Jesse Livermore, the greatest “bear” on the Wall street
Ivan Krueger, head of the world’s greatest monopoly.
Leon Fraser, President of the Bank of international settlements.

After 25 years in 1948, the situation was as follows:-

Charles Schwab was bankrupt and lived the last few years on borrowed money.
Samuel Insull died abroad as a penniless fugitive.
Howard Hopson was insane.
Arthur Cutten became insolvent and died abroad
Richard Whitney had been imprisoned
Albert Fall was pardoned from prison and died broke and penniless.
Jesse Livermore had committed suicide.
Ivar Krueger killed himself
Leon Fraser committed suicide.

Being in the wrong occupation has been described differently by different people- job prisoners,spiritual suicide, lifetime imprisonment etc ( See links “Quotes” and ” Job prison”)

One wondeers how so many prominent men ended that way but one can at least try and manage what is in one’s control- try to be in the right occupation because if the majority of waking hours spent at the work place lack joy and satisfaction, the expereince is as sordid as the deaths above. As Napolean said ” It is more difficult to suffer than to die”


Inspiring career stories of famous people for students

October 18, 2005

Some of us think that one is lucky if one is born in a business family so that after graduating one can straightaway take over the family business. That is not always the case as the following examples show:-:

One of the most interesting vocation stories are with respect to Henri Ford. Ford’s father was a farmer who wanted his son to follow him in his own footsteps. However young Hernri’s heart was with the motor engine and similar things with which he tinkered. After furious arguments with his father, he left to chart his own course to create history by becoming one of the world’s richest entrepreneurs. The lesson to learn here is that one has to see where one’s spontaneous inclination lies and then have the courage and conviction to back is up.

Much later in life, Henri Ford brought into ford a person who could concentrate on all other areas except for manufacturing which was Henri’s forte. Henri ford was regarded as a business genius in his time. This shows that even geniuses have to indulge in complimentary synergies- supplement their own strength and complement their weaknesses.
The other example is that of Akio Morita who became Sony’s Chairman. Though he did not have any arguments with his father, being the eldest in the family, he was expected to take over the family business of brewing sake, a Japensese drink. However, Morita’s interest lay in electronics which is where he went. He created one of the world’s biggest companies in partnership with another person.

In one of Dale Carnegie’s books there is the example of one person whose father has a laundry business. His father was ashamed of his son because he had no interest in work and was lazy and indifferent. However the son wanted to become a mechanic and used to do that work endlessly. He pursued his heart and went on to become chairman of Boeing.

Thomas Edison had no father’s business but he used to work 18 hours a day and yet say that he didn’t work in his life as it was all fun.

The best example in recent times is the richest man in the world, Mr Bill Gates who left his Harvard studies midway to follow his heart and that is what made him the richest man in the world. This would obviously not happen with everyone but what one has to learn is to know exactly what one wants to do. Sometime back, Bill Gates made Steve Ballamer CEO and designated himself chief software Architect to focus on his real love, software design. This is similar to what Henri ford did.

Another example is Michael Dell who had a passion for selling computers and competing with IBM which led to the formation of Dell corporation while he was only 19.

It would not be out of place to mention an Indian story. Alyque Padamsee, the former chairman of Lintas has written a book called “The double life”. In that he describes how he used to do advertisements for money which used to fund his real passion which was theatre. He had to sacrifice a lot of social life for this “double life” but this story clearly shows that one has to follow one’s heart more than one’s head for the choice of one’s career.

It can be concluded that passion alone determines what one should or should not be doing because it enables one to overcome all obstacles.


Students, watchout before choosing a job/ Career

October 18, 2005

It is said that choose a career not on the basis of what you know but who you are or rather follow your heart. Studies in USA show that the single biggest factor in business success is passion. It is a foregone conclusion that everyone has to work hard to come up in life. In reality you can work hard consistently all your life on something only if you have a genuine passion for it. The great inventor Thomas Edison had said ,” I never ever worked in my life. It was all fun” despite working 18 hours a day. An American writer had said that hobbies are more a measure of a man than profession is. Other writers have defined wrong occupation as “lifetime imprisonment” and “Spiritual suicide” However one understands the deeper significance of all this only when one suffers in practical life. There is even a site by the name http://www.passioncatalyst.com.

The second factor after passion is talent. It is true that by and far if we are interested in something, we are likely to have the requisite talent for it but this is not absolutely necessary. Just as one can know whether one is a cricketer only by actually playing cricket, one can know whether one is good or bad at any occupation only by trial and error. Qualifications can prove deceptive. You maybe qualified for something but your real talent may lie somewhere else. If you have the passion but not too much talent, then passion may enable you to surmount the problem.

Volunteer project work– In USA , people actively take up volunteer project work to figure out where their real talent lies. This is important enough to be mentioned separately. Whether or not you are a good organizer or administrator can only be gauged by actually doing those things and observing yourself vis-à-vis those people who are extremely good at those things. In school and college, organizing events is a frivolous activity that is taken into consideration once in a while. However in real life, professional organizers are completely different and just by stuffing one self with knowledge, one cannot become good at practical applications.

The kind of work environment you enjoy can also have a strong bearing to choosing your career. I personally know the son of a very high profile corporate executive taking “river rafting guidance” as a career because he loved being with nature. So one should give a strong weightage on what kind of environment one would like to be in.

The sort of people you like– I had an interesting chat with the son of a businessman who wanted to apprear for the Indian Administrative Service. When I apprised him of how politicians can be and would he like to work under them, he was not so sure. Therefore, one has to take all this also into consideration.

The kind of Technology involved– If you are a technocrat or those tech-heavy types, this would be an important consideration.

Some people choose their career on the social issues they feel strongly about.

Some people decide on their career depending upon their value systems- Love
Wealth , health, success, meaningful work, Intimacy, security etc. What weightage do you assign to each of these will decide what kind of career you should choose. They will naturally not have the same weightage throughout your life.

I am deliberately mentioning knowledge and qualifications last because unless you are among the lucky ones whose qualifications exactly synchronises with what they intend to do, qualifications can prove very deceptive. Einstein had said that Imagination is more important than knowledge. So just because you are stuffed with knowledge on a particular subject does not necessarily mean you can apply it with dexterity. Intelligence lies in application and what value addition you do to that knowledge- not in knowledge per se.
http://www.lifepurposecoaching.com summarises it best when they say that:-

(1) It must resonate with your deepest sense of meaning. (2) You must have the talent to be successful at it, perhaps in collaboration with others. (3) It must be needed in the world.


Job Prisoners

October 18, 2005

Do you feel stifled, trapped or stuck in your job? Do you feel that it would be really tedious to do the current job throughout your life? Do you constantly yearn that you could be doing something else? Is your experience similar to the one described in the link below:-


  • Job Prison
  • I have come across support groups for all kinds of medical ailments in the united states on various internet sites. It is surprising that this problem where a majority of working hours are spent in misery and has a direct bearing on happiness has no support groups.

    Supposing a relative or a friend has been wrongly imprisoned, wouldn’t you move heaven and earth to rescue him? Then why not job prisoners who are stuck up in occupations for no fault of theirs. Why should they spend a lifetime being trapped in the wrong job or occupation.
    If we can place a man on the moon and if faster means of transport and communication can be invented, why can’t this important issue be resolved faster? I have read in several books and sites that even in the United states with all its professional HRD managers and liberal work culture, it can take years to effect a career-transition. One really wonders what the situation in India is.


    Students,beware

    October 17, 2005

    Who does not want to be suscessful? I think one of the groups with the strongest desire to be successful would be students as they are would soon be entering practical life and being forewarned is forearmed. This is an excerpt from an article by a Human resources development company:-

    “At least in India, no one is surprised at children aspiring to become engineers, doctors, CAs or MBAs. Almost 60 per cent think in terms of engineering or medicine and nearly 15 per cent fancy their skills as CAs but in reality, only 10 per cent become what they dream of becoming. Have you ever wondered why children do not want to be artists, dancers, singers, painters or carpenters and plumbers? The reason is not far to seek. These professions have neither ‘class’ nor prestige associated with them. When they actually start working, they realize that they don’t have the mental make-up for a particular type of job in spite of being suitably qualified.”

    When I was a student more than twenty years ago, I had read in one of Dale Carnegie’s books “Do not feel compelled to join your family business.” Since I was very young at that time and thought that there was maximum money in Business, I did not heed Carnegie’s advice and did the very thing he warned me about. My father had a minor partnership in a private limited company at that time and so I joined him. It took me quite some realize that I was not cut out for business. It like this

    Salim Khan joined the industry as an actor but became a writerSubhash Ghai and Rakesh Roshan joined the industry as actors but became directors.

    Ravi Shastri came in as a bowler but became a batsman.

    .Its only when you do the actual work that you come to know where your true identity lies There is a book on successful intelligence which states that just by proving very good at analysis in an MBA course is no guarantee that in real life you will get creative ideas of your own. Creative, analytical and practical intelligence are completely different. I have actually experienced this.

    In the examples give above, the persons concerned have got occupied within the same vocation in a different sub stream but sometimes one has to move outside the main vocation as well. Amitabh Bahchchan joined the film industry because he was not satisfied with a corporate career.

    As a student it is very difficult to understand all this but it can lead you into serious trouble which is why it is said that choose your career not on the basis of what you know but who you are. In an MBA you are analyzing other people’s work in case studies but that does not necessarily imply that you can do competently what they can do. Incidentally the literal meaning of the word Education is to draw out what is already in and not to blindly stuff in which implies that Education is supposed to draw out the potential already within you but in theoretical education, this is not possible which is why there are problems later in practical life.
    In USA people explore work environments, do volunteer project work, closely examine their value systems, scruitinise their hobbies before deciding on the work that they would like to do. Despite having so many life coaches and much better professional human resources managers, the United states has a serious problem. God alone knows what the situation in India is.

    Once you have family responsibilities it can mean life time imprisonment for some( Go through quotes) and see article “Job Prison’ can hold only those who don’t look for freedom”:-

    Job prison

    Work represents a major part of your waking hours and if you are miserable there, you have a miserable life. One writer described the wrong occupation as “Lifetime imprisonment”. Another writer called it Spiritual suicide. Moral of the story- You can simply not afford to be in the wrong job. Always be vigilant on this account.

    Dale Carnegie also said that every individual when he chooses a career is a gambler. As a student, I did not understand what he meant but I have tried to make him more understood to others. Be careful.


    Article- Shaping your child’s future- Do you want to be a potter or a Gardner?

    October 10, 2005

    Mr Azim Premji is the world’s first or second richest Indian today. He has written a wonderful article in the Times of India on Education and goes on to say that the same policies followed in his company has produced immense wealth as a bi product.

    He says that the primary purpose of a school is to guide the child’s discovery of herself and her world and to identify and mature the child’s talents. Just as each seed contains the future tree, each child is born with infinite potential. In the article he suggests that many teachers and parents try to be potters instead of
    Gardners in moulding their children’s future.” Imagine a school in which sees children as seeds to be nurtured-here the teacher is a gardner who tries to bring out the potential already present in the child. This is very different from the current view which sees the child as clay to be moulded where the teachers and parents are potters deciding what shape the clay should take. There is an old Chinese saying ,” Give a seed to a potter and you shall have a bonsai.”
    Current India President A.P.J Abdul Kalam who has headed organizations in defence, space and atomic energy in his autobiography writes “If you are a writer who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission. The personal unhappiness and failure to achieve results that come from being a square peg in a round hole is not by any means new. “ In another part of the book Mr Kalam states, “ I myself would tell naviete engineering students that when they choose their specialization, the essential point to consider is whether the choice articulates their inner feelings and aspirations” It was in the year 1978 that I first read “Do not feel compelled to join the family business just because it is there. Every child is a gambler when he chooses his profession.and one must chart one’s own course” Being in school at that time, I thought that this was hogwash and everybody should have a readymade business which they can join. Actually, I was more gifted as a writer and a poet than a businessman but this took me 14 long, agonizing years to realize by which time it was almost too late. Enid Blyton and Charles Dickens have admitted that if they were given an article to write , they would find it as difficult as the normal person. So one can not really afford to be even in the wrong subvocation. How can one then afford to be wrong in the main vocation? . In the last two decades, I have read heaps of material on job misfits. I have read about a mediation that takes you back to your previous life to deicide what you shall be doing in this life. There are books like “ How to find the job that you like?” and “ What shall I do with my life” HRD consultants in 28 countries, Morgan and Banks have stated that “People do not know what they want to do and then choose a career they didn’t know even existed” . Recently best selling book “ The monk who sold his Ferrari” also lays stress on finding and doing the work of one’s inclination. One writer also said that the wrong occupation was lifelong imprisonment and misery. Some of the best quotations of career problems are

    Considering the fact that luminaries from the literary field like Emily Dickenson, Shakespere , Victor hugo and many others lived a lifetime of anonymity and became famous after death should also inspire sites like http://www.authorsden.com to be a little more proactive in talent detection. It is no doubt one of the best sites otherwise. Generally it would be better if the world would be more obsessed with “humotech” instead of running after “biotech” or “infotech”. The person is more important than the process in this context.


    Quotes – Suitable career

    October 10, 2005

    Click on link-Even Mahatma Gandhi believed in it

    India’s former President, APJ Abdul Kalam, a man who has headed organizations in areas like Space, Atomic Energy, Defence.:-

    “If you are a writer who would secretly prefer to be a lawyer or a doctor, your written words will feed but half the hunger of your readers; if you are a teacher who would rather be a businessman, your instructions will meet but half the need for knowledge of your students; if you are a scientist who hates science, your performance will satisfy but half the needs of your mission. The personal unhappiness and failure to achieve results that come from being a square peg in a round hole is not by any means new. “ In another part of the book Mr Kalam states, “ I myself would tell naviete engineering students that when they choose their specialization, the essential point to consider is whether the choice articulates their inner feelings and aspirations”

    India’s movie Superstar Amitabh Bachchan on being quizzed on the secret of his success once remarked,” I consider myself lucky that early in life I could decide that I wanted to become an actor. I have come across several people in my lifetime who do not know what to do with themselves.” His contemporary cricket superstar, Sunil Gavaskar said “I wanted to study and play cricket since I was a kid” which also reflects how important it is to determine your interests at a young age.

    On being asked the secret of his energetic, “full of bounce” life even in old age, Indian actor Dev Anand said .” No drug can turn you on as your own work. I am always on the high.You cannot enjoy your life unless you enjoy your work(26/09/2007)”

    The great Indian actor, Balraj Sahni who was a businessman’s son was a career dabbler – his father’s business, a printing press, Sevagram with Gandhiji , Shantiniketan with Rabindranath Tagore, London as a Radio Broadcaster, Actor in the Indian film Industry and when still unfulfilled, he went to his native Punjab to write in Punjabi.

    In his autobiography, former Indian Tennis Ace Vijay Amritraj states,” I have been incredibly lucky because I have earned large amount of money doing what I like best. I enjoy the kind of business I do and I enjoy the kind of sport I play and I would always opt for the most enjoyable choice rather than the one offering the biggest financial gain. My one nightmare is having to work at something I would hate, just to earn enough to keep my family secure. I hope it never comes to that.”

    Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand in Timeslife 20/5/2007- “Chess is an integral part of my life. The game has given me a chance to do something that I really enjoy doing. It has given me some of my most cherished moments. I am passionate about Chess but not obsessed by it. I try to enjoy my chess but never force myself to play”

    Former India cricket Captain Kapil Dev repeatedly stresses on the need to enjoy the game both in his autobiography and various articles.

    Wipro Chairman Azim Premji –“The primary purpose of a school is to guide the child’s discovery of herself and her world and to identify and mature the child’s talents. Just as each seed contains the future tree, each child is born with infinite potential. Imagine a school in which sees children as seeds to be nurtured-here the teacher is a gardener who tries to bring out the potential already present in the child. This is very different from the current view which sees the child as clay to be moulded where the teachers and parents are potters deciding what shape the clay should take. There is an old Chinese saying ,” Give a seed to a potter and you shall have a bonsai.” Implicattion- Try to be a potter, not a gardener

    Former world Billiards and Snooker Champion ,Geet Sethi in his wonderful book “Success v/s Joy”, “I have compared notes with many 40 plus men who have been at the pinnacle of their professions and many have confessed that they are not enjoying what they are doing. In fact, many of them are quite miserable”

    Ancient Indian spiritual scriptures called the “shastras” have actually used a special word “Swadharma” for one’s life’s vocation.

    Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.
    Kahlil Gibran

    India’s Great Mystic Osho,” Somebody who could have been a poet is just a moneylender. Somebody who could have been a painter is a doctor. Somebody who could have been a good doctor is a businessman. Everybody is displaced. Everybody is doing something that he never wanted to do. Hence unhappiness. Happiness happens when you fit with your life. When you fit so harmoniously  that whatsoever you are doing is your joy. Then suddenly you come to know that meditation follows you. If you love the work you are doing, if you love the way you are living, then you are meditative. It is deemed that happiness comes when one is meditative. It is just the other way around. One is meditative when one is happy. ”

    Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
    Albert Schweitzer

    J. Krishnamurthy,” To find out what you love to do is one of the most difficult things. That is part of education. To find out, you have to go very, very deeply.You may say that I want to be a lawyer and you struggle to become a lawyer, and then suddenly you find that you do not want to become a lawyer. You would like to paint.But it is too late. You are already married. You already have a wife and children.You cannot give up your career, your responsibilities. So you feel frustrated, unhappy. . Or you may say, “I really would like to paint” and you devote all your life to it and suddenly you find that you are not a good painter and what you really want to do is become a pilot.

    Sri Aurobindo Life has a divine purpose and one of the most important tasks of education is to lead the student to discover for himself the aim of life and the specific role that he himself has to play in it. Knowledge is not something that should be to imparted to the student; rather opportunities and carefully selected material should be presented to him in such a way as to stimulate him to an inner activity by which real knowledge can be evoked from within.

    “People’s hobbies are more their measure than their jobs.” — Robert Byrne, Byrne’s Book of Great Pool Stories

    “The luckiest person is one whose hobby and profession are the same.”

    It was Thomas Edison who inspite of working 18 hours a day once remarked,” I never did a day’s work in my life.It was all fun”

    Abrahm Maslow. ”Peak experiences make a man healthy and only a healthy man can have peak experiences. Peak experiences are profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, when a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient and yet a part of the world, more aware of truth, justice, harmony, goodness, and so on. Self-actualizing people have many such peak experiences. Not only are these his happiest and most thrilling moments, but they are also moments of greatest maturity, individuation, fulfilment – in a word, his healthiest moments. He becomes in these episodes more truly himself, more perfectly actualizing his potentialities, closer to the core of his Being, more fully human.A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write.” If these needs are not met, the person feels restlessness, on edge, tense, and lacking something. It is not always clear what a person wants when there is a need for self-actualization. After self actualisation comes transcendence which is to help others find self fulfilment and realize their potential. In the practical situation however , how can it ever be assessed to what degree and to what extent this has been achieved.”

    “Choose the job that you love and you will never have to work for a day in your life.”

    “Work is not part of life but life itself.”

    “Choose your career not on the basis of what you know but who you are”

    “The ideal career is one in which the personal profile, business profile and market profile combine”

    “ The real tragedy of life is not being limited to one talent but in failure to use the one talent.” –Edgar.W.Work

    “If one does not love work, one is truly unhappy in life. In order to be truly happy in life one must love work”- The Mother

    “ Work banishes those three great evils, boredom, vice and poverty.”- –Voltaire

    “When work is a pleasure,life is a joy, when work is duty, life is slavery.”- Maxim Gorky

    “ As a cure for worrying, work is better than whisky.” – Thomas. A. Edison

    “Education is helping the child realize his potentialities”- Erichch Fromm

    “Education is the kindling of a soul, not the filling of a vessel”-Socrates

    “Education is the manifestation of perfection already present in a man”, said Swami Vivekanand

    “In work, we have the possibility of discovering ourselves”

    “Winners do not do different things. They do things differently.”- Indian motivation speaker Shiv Khera. – What is it that you can do differently?

    “Nobody is to be pitied as much as the person who gets nothing out of his job but his pay”-Dale Carnegie

    Thomas Carlyle,” The person who has found his vocation in life is a blessed human being. Let him ask for no other blessedness.”

    Benjamin Franklin,” There are three things extremely hard:steel, a diamond and to know one self”

    “There are many people who select their occupations enticed by the wrong glamour of money or qualifications. Then they are trapped in the wrong jobs and may have to endure a lifetime of misery and suffering.”- Anonymous

    “Those who can do. Those who can’t teach. Those who can’t teach train teachers. Those who can’t train teachers write teacher training textbooks. “- George Bernard Shaw

    For those caught because their calling not being “Important work”:-An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than in incompetent philospher. The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because its a humble activity and tolerates shodiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. Excellence is not confined to fancy white collar activities

    This site’s message:-

    If you want to be happy for a day, go on a picnic.
    If you want to be happy for a week, go on a holiday.
    If you want to be happy for a month, get married.
    If you want to be happy for a year, inherit wealth.
    If you want to be happy for a lifetime, do the work that you love.