Why do I devote so much of the book to the story of hitchhiking from India to England?
Best education of my life
Reinforced my father’s admonition to set clear goals and visualize them
Made me confront adversity
4 Principals learned from my father
- You must have a vision, dream, or mission, purpose in life and a plan to achieve that
- Future is not something we just enter; it is something we can create.
- If you don’t know what you want, mediocrity is what you will get.
- True success comes from being emotionally and spiritually happy or being authentic
- To have a future full of opportunities, tomorrow, exceed expectations in whatever you are doing today.
- Become a constant lifelong learner and commit to giving back to help others in need and inspire them to succeed beyond their imagination.
What did my admission and scholarship to an American college teach me about life
I researched and found 40 schools that said they looked for a well-rounded student with extracurricular activities as much as grades and test stores. I wrote to them asking for a scholarship. One – Wilkes College – said “yes.” Today the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business & Leadership is there. The experience reinforced the lessons:
- Clarity of vision and focus
- Determination with total commitment
- Never ever, ever, give up
- Celebrating success with Pride and humility
2 biggest impediments to building a successful business
- You must start by identifying and clearly stating what problems are you solving or opportunities you are meeting through the business.
- You must attract the best team members possible who share your vision. Culture is most important. Skills second. Prestige of schools and degrees do not matter.
The role of a leader – what it takes to build a Fortune 500 company
- Clarity of vision, mission, goals, alignment
- Mastery of what’s going on inside the business
- Authentic self-assessment
- What’s unique
- Strengths and weaknesses
- Engagement with the team
- Absolute mastery of the external environment, including: competition, customers’ needs, technology, economy, regulation, innovation, etc.
- Passion for continuous improvement and focus on helping communities you serve: building a purpose and values driven business
Focus, focus, focus
You cannot do many things well simultaneously. Focus on 3 or 4 critical factors that will drive 90% of success. You might use McKinsey 7S model. I add an 8th factor:
Staff Shared Values
Systems Self Awareness
Failures and Lessons Learned
I have been successful and I have had failures. I learned from each. What I know is:
- Failures become catalysts for change and improvement
- You cannot appreciate success unless you experience failures
- You cannot appreciate the meaning of gratitude unless you have experienced failure
Happiness & Spirituality
There is no such thing as a “happy life.” You can give yourself a “happier life.” Pain, frustration, anger, humiliation, suffering, disappointments are all part of human experiences. “Happier” people know how to deal with difficult experiences. Money is important for living, but it won’t buy happiness. Don’t confuse “happiness” with “pleasure.” Pleasure is instant gratification and short-term. True “happiness” is long-term and lasting. You can be happier through:
- Building authentic relationships
- Becoming resilient with the ability to bounce back
- Learning from life’s challenges
- Managing expectations and creating a happier state of mind
- Helping those in need and giving back. This is essential to be happier.
Spirituality & Religion
- Spirituality is quest for meaning, purpose and connection to something greater than oneself
- Focusing on inner experiences like meditation
- Religion involves organized systems and beliefs
- Rituals and practices shared by a group
- Plays a role in shaping a community, identify, values, traditions and a sense of belonging
- You must have faith – spirituality can be gained with or without religion
- Our priorities: Shaping children who are intellectually, emotionally and spiritually more mature and better off than their parents
- The role of parents and grandparents is very critical to the development of an emotionally healthy child
- The objective is to instill fundamental values that characterize mature and authentic values
While not a child psychologist or educator, per se, I found the lessons from Morris Massey very powerful and instructive:
- From birth to 7 years of age is the “Imprint Period.” Children are simply absorbing everything the see and hear. You have to help them make sense of it.
- From 7 years to 13 years of age is the “Modeling Period.” Children copy others’ behaviors, especially family. Be good models.
- From 13 years to 21 years of age is the “Socialization Period.” Children are more influenced by peers, environment, and media, than family. Know their peers. Do make sure they are with the “right crowd.” Give them solicitation experiences that are healthy, challenging, and life-affirming.
Something significant yet to do
I am a fan of Viktor Frankl the Austrian psychiatrist and psychotherapist who essentially said the primary motivation of an individual is the search for meaning in life. I am in a constant search for “meaning.” I will never give up on continuously developing. I cannot imagine sitting back and saying “I’m done. There is no more to learn; no more to do.” I believe there are three significant goals we should pursue throughout our lives:
- Intellectual Development: Read, be curious, learn, develop your IQ
- Emotional Development: Regardless of changing circumstances keep trying to be happier — giving back is a great step in this direction. Give while you’re alive.
- Spiritual Development: Find purpose and connection to something greater than yourself. Meditate and find the faith that works for you.