One valuable lesson I learned at the tender age of 17 has stayed with me throughout my life, growing in significance with each passing year. It’s a lesson that transcends the world of finance and applies to the broader spectrum of existence. The lesson was conveyed to me in a simple yet profound statement: “The blind man sees everything green.”
During my formative years, I embarked on an entrepreneurial journey by starting an institute. I had just completed my 12th standard exams and was met with the prospect of summer vacations. It was during this time that I decided to take a chance and create something of my own. With persistence and some convincing, I secured a location and invested an initial sum of money, primarily borrowed from my family. I can vividly recall the 12,000 rupees rent I paid for that institute. It was equipped with a few computers, and I had a vision of offering computer classes to eager learners.
Summer vacations arrived, and soon enough, students started trickling in. As the fees started pouring in, I, a 17-year-old who had never earned money before, was experiencing the thrill of entrepreneurship. With the help of a computer expert, who agreed to teach at my institute, and a few other teachers I hired, we made the most of the summer rush. The money flowed in, and it seemed like the season of eternal prosperity.
However, a wise man shared a crucial insight with me: “Pushkar, it looks green in the monsoon.” He explained that the summer vacation was indeed a green season for earning money, but like the monsoon, it would not last. As summer came to an end, the number of students dwindled, and those bustling batches of 30-40 students gradually diminished to just a few. It was a stark reminder that in the world of business and life, seasons change.
The ever-shifting tides of life and business are similar to the volatile nature of the stock market. Today, as we observe a bull run, it’s easy to become complacent, to believe that the green season will last forever. But just a couple of years ago, the investment landscape was vastly different. Startups with promising ideas received funding with relative ease. However, as I reflect on this moment while crafting this content, the process of securing funding has become arduous, and opportunities are scarce.
The dynamics of the financial world teach us a valuable lesson about the transience of success and abundance. There was a time when investors were eager to pour their money into any venture, regardless of valuation. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) drove this passion, making people believe that if they didn’t invest in a startup, they were missing out on a golden opportunity. However, today’s investors have become more discerning, evaluating their investments meticulously. It’s a shift in the tide, a change in the wave.
The phenomenon of riding a wave isn’t limited to the financial realm. We can witness it in various aspects of life. Take, for instance, the rise and fall of a YouTube channel. During its wave, growth is exponential, and it appears as though it will last forever. However, when the wave subsides, those who believed they were kings of their domain find themselves grappling with a decline they can’t comprehend.
In the context of a series directed at individuals like Rahul, an 18-year-old navigating a path from a middle-class background, these lessons are invaluable. Regardless of where one begins their journey, these insights are universal. Suppose Rahul starts earning a modest income of 35,000 rupees per month. Alternatively, he may venture into his own small business, generating varying sums of money, whether 50,000 or 100,000 rupees. In both scenarios, the fundamental understanding remains the same.
Money and finance are integral parts of life, but the human experience is multidimensional. We are connected to various facets, including family, spirituality, health, society, and finance. Each dimension interplays with the others. For instance, if health deteriorates, it affects one’s financial well-being. The recent COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of how health can disrupt the very fabric of our lives, impacting our ability to work, earn, and support our families.
While financial success is undoubtedly a significant achievement, the story of Rahul serves as a stark reminder that riches alone cannot guarantee a fulfilling life. As the saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness,” and in Rahul’s case, his wealth becomes meaningless as he lies in bed, battling fever.
The lesson here is clear: one’s financial prosperity is of little use if health is compromised. Even the wealthiest individuals find themselves at the mercy of their physical well-being. In times of sickness, all the money in the world cannot alleviate the discomfort or restore one’s vitality. Rahul’s situation highlights the importance of prioritizing health, an invaluable dimension of life that often gets overshadowed by the pursuit of wealth.
However, this is not the only facet of life Rahul needs to consider. Beyond health and finance, the third dimension is family. A successful career or a flourishing business loses its shine when one returns home to a loud family environment. Family dynamics significantly impact a person’s mental and emotional well-being. Whether it’s conflicts with parents or a strained relationship with a spouse, these familial challenges can erode the joy that financial success might bring.
Furthermore, society plays a pivotal role in shaping an individual’s experience. The community, neighborhood, or even the digital society of social media can influence a person’s self-esteem, perception, and overall mental health. Harsh judgments, criticisms, or negative influences from one’s surroundings can hinder the path to happiness and contentment.
The cautionary tale of Vijay Mallya serves as a poignant example that financial riches alone do not earn respect in society. Regardless of one’s monetary success, the measure of respect often stems from various facets of life. Being spiritual, for instance, is a dimension that adds depth and meaning to one’s existence. Spirituality provides guidance, solace, and a sense of purpose, making it a vital part of personal growth.
In the pursuit of a well-rounded and fulfilling life, Rahul, like anyone else, must endeavor to thrive in all aspects. Financial prosperity is just one facet of a multi-dimensional existence. His standing in society should improve, harmonizing with his financial growth. Building healthy relationships within his family should be a priority while fostering love and understanding. Additionally, his health should take precedence, ensuring he achieves optimal well-being.
However, the essence of this discussion is to prepare for the worst. Life is unpredictable, and numerous aspects may not unfold according to one’s desires. Time can be wasted dwelling on past relationships or giving away to societal pressures and criticisms. Being ready for adverse situations is a powerful concept.
Dale Carnegie’s wisdom, as exemplified in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” offers a valuable technique for this readiness. He suggests imagining the worst-case scenario, asking what can be worse than the worst. By assuming the worst, one can alleviate the burden of overthinking and become mentally stronger. This exercise enables individuals like Rahul to contemplate potential hardships and formulate action plans before adversity strikes.
Small acts of goodness or what I’ll refer to as “SIPs” (Systematic Important Practices) in various dimensions of life can yield profound and lasting results. We often hear about the importance of monthly financial SIPs, where a bit of money invested consistently can lead to substantial wealth in the future. However, these small acts of goodness, or SIPs, extend beyond just finances. They encompass actions in all the vital dimensions of life.
Imagine you meet an elderly lady struggling to climb stairs at a temple. By offering a helping hand, you’ve performed a small act of kindness. The beauty of SIPs lies in the sense of fulfillment they bring. You didn’t assist that lady expecting anything in return, but the feeling of goodness you experienced is priceless.
SIPs also extend to spiritual practices. A day of worship, a few moments of meditation, or an act of gratitude can be transformative. These small acts connect us with something greater, fostering spiritual growth and inner peace.
In the context of relationships, SIPs hold immense value. Giving small surprises, offering random acts of love, and demonstrating care frequently can have a more profound impact than grand gestures. It’s not just the annual anniversary gift that matters; it’s the everyday effort to make your spouse feel cherished.
The same principles apply to the workplace and leadership. A leader who actively participates in teamwork works alongside employees, and shares the ups and downs builds a culture of collaboration and trust. SIPs in leadership are about fostering a sense of togetherness and shared goals.
The power of SIPs is most evident in resilience and preparedness. Preparing for the worst by imagining what could be worse than the worst and readying oneself for those scenarios is an invaluable SIP. It aids in overcoming adversity, eliminating the burden of overthinking, and becoming mentally stronger. SIPs in mental resilience involve building a mindset that can endure hardships, pivot in times of crisis, and persevere even in the face of adversity.
The story of an entrepreneur who paid his employees from his own pocket when funding didn’t arrive illustrates the significance of small acts of goodness. This leader, through his actions, had cultivated a loyal and dedicated team who stayed with him when times got tough. They weren’t just working for a paycheck; they were committed to the person who led them with integrity and compassion.
In the context of Rahul’s life, the practice of SIPs in various dimensions is paramount. His growth financially is crucial, but to lead a balanced and fulfilling life, he must nurture all aspects, including his health, relationships, societal connections, and spirituality. The wisdom to recognize the importance of SIPs is an essential step in his personal development journey.
Furthermore, the beauty of SIPs is that they don’t demand immediate returns. Small acts of goodness, financial discipline, and mental preparedness steadily accumulate and pay dividends over time. The power of SIPs lies in their cumulative impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.