God grant me the serenity To accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.
START A NEW
LEARNING TO WALK
One day, there was great joy at home. Everyone was happy and excited. Our son Maha had embarked on an important mission in life of attempting to walk. He had not yet walked by himself but he had just attempted it and everyone was overjoyed. It is amazing to see a baby walk for the first time. If you have seen one, you will remember how determined the baby was, the self-belief and the willingness to try and to learn a new skill. Though the baby does not know it at that point, walking is a much-needed skill in life, the baby may fall a few times but it does not give up trying.
You also probably remember seeing the support, love and encouragement the baby received from family and friends. All of us applauded, cheered and encouraged Maha to walk just a little more. Th e applause and laughter is most welcome as it develops the baby’s self-belief and self esteem. All of us wish that we could have this kind of support throughout our life. Th ere was also another important part of this joyful event. Maha fell over. None of us ever blamed him, scolded him or called him names. Everyone rushed to help and encourage him to try again. And, before anyone could notice, the young champion was up and trying to achieve what he wanted – to learn to walk.
Creating Your Own Rainbow is about learning to ‘walk again’. It is about letting go the diffi culties in the past and trying to develop into the ‘best’ person you can be. You do not want to be ‘on your knees’ all your life like an infant; you want to walk confidently like an adult. Whether you will do it depends on YOU.
We all desire to do many things but we lack the perseverance. Mostly we do what we like to do or are comfortable with rather than what we ought to do. Doing the things that we need to do may be very stressful but it is important for us to walk towards success. For isn’t success about the person who toiled when everyone else rested? Th e Chairman of my Doctoral Committee, Professor Dr. Sam Alstyne, used to remark “You can’t be brave if you only have the wonderful things and forget about the painful matters in life.”
YOU have read the ideas presented in this book. If you have assimilated them, you can put them into practice. No one else can. I always point out to people the concept of ‘Swiss cheese’ which means you take little bites, one bite at a time. Try to do things a little bit better and a little bit differently than what you did yesterday and you will see the results. Remember Lao Tze’s saying “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step.”
Some people say the future is unpredictable but Alan Keys, a famous author says the best way to predict the future is to invent it. Why not go out and do it? Th e founder of Hotmail, netwizard Sabeer Bhatia developed Hotmail when he was only 27 years old and sold Hotmail to Microsoft for a cool US$400 million. Friends called him a superior human being. However, Sabeer says, “I am not superhuman, I am just persistent, determined, focussed and disciplined. I listened to legends such as Steve Jobs of Apple, Scott McNealy and Vinod Khosla of Sun Microsystems. I realised that they were human too. If they can do it, I can do it.” Only a few years back, he was unsure of the future. He was in a new country in the United States of America having arrived from India with only US$250, the amount allowed by the Indian Government at that time for students pursuing an overseas education. None of the uncertainties prevented him from creating the future with Hotmail. According to him, he pondered what the Net could do for him and what he could do for the Net. Then he had an idea and the concept of Hotmail was born. Few people would buy his idea. Nineteen doors had slammed in his face. Th ere were not many venture capitalists then who believed the Net would take off at this pace. Sabeer Bhatia would not let uncertainties or the lack of resources prevent him from creating his own Rainbow.
College dropout Steve Jobs created a computer revolution with his mouse and the Apple computer. Now with the IPod, Steve Jobs as done it again. Another Harvard dropout, Bill Gates, created the PC revolution with his DOS operating system. And, now it is the Linux operating system and the Internet. Time and tide waits for no one. Innovation and change does not stop. Th e question is what are you going to do about it?’ Th roughout the book we talked about the seven stages of Life Management essential to developing into Rainbow Creators.
The Seven Stages of Life Management
|Recognising you make a difference||You hold the key to your success.|
|Authentic Change||You need to embrace change for success.|
|Invoking your Determination||Your persistence will drive you towards success.|
|Never give up on yourself||Your opinion of yourself will decide.|
|Belief in Desire and Enthusiasm||Your passion to achieve your goals is the key to success.|
|Optimal Leadership & Adventure||Your ability to lead others with zeal takes you towards your Rainbow.|
|Willing Love & Encouragement||Your ability to inspire and motivate people is an essential ingredient to building your Rainbow.|
These seven stages of Life Management will help you create your own Rainbow and succeed in life.
Success is not only about driving the Mercedes, material wealth or a sprawling house, it is much more than that. It is about achieving what you set out to and also about making a positive contribution to society. It is about identifying what you want, putting the effort to achieve it and making sure it is in line with your value systems. Success is much more than materialistic winning. Winning is described as an event. Being a winner is a spirit. Remember the saying “Th ere are some defeats more triumphant than victories.” Some people are winners and they have a strong value system and values can communicate goodness.
Let me tell you about an incident from the Olympics. In the yacht racing event, Lawrence Lemieux stopped racing to help a fellow competitor get out of trouble. His concern for the safety of a fellow competitor was more important than winning the gold medal. There were people who said he had wasted all the years of training because he stopped to help a fellow human being. Th ough he did not win the gold medal, he still came out a winner. He was remembered for keeping the Olympic spirit alive. Th is is what prompted Dr. Daniel Goleman to stress to us the importance of EQ (Emotional Intelligence) over IQ (Intelligence Quotient).
I remember the 1990 American Society of Training & Development International Conference in Orlando, Florida. Th e conference buses picked up the delegates daily at the various hotels and transported them to the conference venue. Though the waiting was long for the buses and the weather was very hot, one of the African American drivers was always in great humour. He would always greet every passenger, “Hi! Good Morning! How is it going?” When we stepped off the bus, he would always say, “Have a nice conference!” One of our customers, Mr. G Duraiswamy, a Plant Manager with Sabah Forest Industries, found it very amusing and artificial. Not for long though. At the end of the week, Mr Duraiswamy was beginning to respond to the driver’s greetings. Th e highlight of the week was when Mr. Duraiswamy responded, “Th ank you, we are leaving today and we are going to miss your smile.” Daniel Goleman considers people like this driver truly successful at what they do. They are true Rainbow Creators.
Contrast this with people with very high IQ’s and outstanding grades who fail miserably in what they do. Daniel Goleman narrates the story of a secondary school student with very high grades who stabbed his teacher for giving him lower than usual grade. Psychologists today say that high IQ only contributes towards 20 percent of a person’s success. Th e remaining 80 percent comes from other factors such as EQ or emotional intelligence.
There are five factors that make up Emotional Intelligence. I think they are very relevant to creating our own Rainbows.
2. Mood management
4. Impulse control
5. People skills
When I trained to be a counsellor, one of the key learning points was to be aware of your own feelings and the feelings of those who need counselling. People who are aware of their own emotions are better able to navigate their lives. Th ere are many people who are angry about an annoying incident for hours after the incident. SeIf-awareness helps us evaluate our feelings and change them. Early in my career, I found out that I tended to withdraw into my shell whenever I was stressed. A few years of evaluating myself together with feedback from my prisms helped me get out of the trap.
Mood changes are a fact of life. Like happiness, anger also is a normal human response but one that disrupts relationships. Th ere is enough evidence today that outbursts of rage leave you more angry, not less. On the contrary, ‘reframing’ is a technique that enables you to see the situation positively rather than negatively. Praying and reflecting on your action helps you manage your moods better. Life is all about balance of moods.
Recently I had a colleague who had done a poor job. Months of work and precious money went down the drain. It was all simply because her concentration was not on the job but elsewhere. However, in the past, she had been a remarkable worker who had consistently turned in good performances. Th e problem now was her inability to concentrate on her work. My problem was the inability to give constructive feedback and manage my moods. I was furious, lapsed into silence and withdrew into my shell. My self-awareness helped me realise that was not the way to deal with the situation. I learned to deal with the problem professionally by refl ecting upon what had happened by giving her specific feedback.
The feeling of enthusiasm, confidence and happiness is essential for achievement. Rainbow Creators are self¬ motivated. They have clear goals, an optimistic and a can-do attitude. Most athletes say they are ordinary people who turn in extraordinary performances only because they believe that they can do it. Th ere are times when we tend to see the negative rather than the positive. Reframing techniques can help us develop into positive thinkers.
The ability to self regulate your impulses is an important trait for success. You can build your resistance towards impulses through practice. Th is is one of the most important factors to keep yourself ‘rational’ and ‘emotionally positive’. A trainer friend of mine was very upset recently that the customer did not provide him lunch. He displaced his anger on one of the junior supervisors. Th ere was no doubt that the inability to control his impulse will harm his career. Sure enough, the customer never invited him again to conduct a seminar for them.
Rainbow Creators are skilled in dealing with people. We communicate happiness and joy by the way we deal with people. We also communicate rudeness and negative attitudes by the way we interact with people. Many a time at airports, I find people very impatient with ticketing clerks. I have always found that when you deal with them patiently and politely, they respond to you better. Remember that life is an echo. People treat you nicely if you treat them nicely. The ability to get along with people will be one single quality that will separate winners from losers. If you consistently have problems with people, rather than blame others, it is time for you to evaluate your own people skills.
CREATE YOUR OWN RAINBOW
Live up to the human spirit. Let your imagination take over. Life is not about how many times you failed but how many times you were able to bounce back with renewed energy. Dare to dream. When a person is determined to create his/her own rainbow, no one can stop him/her.
- Put him in a prison cell – and you have Nelson Mandela.
- Bury him in the snow – and you have George Washington.
- Take away her sight and ability to hear – and you have Helen Keller.
- Threaten him with violence – and you have Mahatma Gandhi.
- Attempt to conquer him – and you have President Nasser.
- Load him with racial prejudice – and you have Martin Luther King.
- Put her in a poor slum – and you have Mother Theresa.
- Murder her husband – and you have President Corazon Aquino.
- Make him a second fiddle in an obscure orchestra – and you have Toscanini.
Love yourself and treat yourself well. Know what you want and intensify your desire to achieve your goals. Remain enthusiastic. Enjoy what you do. Build bridges of friendship. Never doubt for a moment, that you can build your own Rainbow.
Hardships and struggles do not by itself make a person great. It is people’s adherence to enthusiasm and faith that makes them great. Michelangelo, the great Italian painting master and sculptor spent countless hours lying on his back and taking great pains to paint the details of each figure on the lofty ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Th e chapel frescoes are considered as one of the masterpieces in the world. His friend questioned him about the need for such detail, as the paintings will only be seen from a distance. “After all,” the friend said, “who will know whether all the details are precise or not? Who will care if the work is perfect or not?” “I will” replied Michelangelo, very calmly.
- The only person who will know if you have made a difference
- The only person who will know if you have done your best
- The only person who will know your internal drives
- The only person who will know or remember everything you have done
- The only person who can be honest with yourself
- The only person who can fully appreciate your eff orts and attention to detail
- The only person who can honestly evaluate your performance
- The only person who can decide if you want to create your own rainbow IS YOU!
Remember Creating Your Own Rainbow is all about you. You have the power within you to lead the life you want. Forget about yesterday, it has lapsed. To shape the future, start today. Focus on the Now! To make a new beginning, recognise life truly is eternal today. Make the best use of it.
You alone will determine your destiny in this world. It is all about you. Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved. You have your destiny in YOUR HANDS.
The following poem captures the spirit of translating our thoughts into action, as time will not wait for us.
When as a child I laughed and wept
When as a teenager I dreamed and talked
When I became an adult
Th en as with the years I grew older
Soon I shall find as I travel on
And so, it is now time
To Create My Own Rainbow.