Azim Premji - "My Lessons in Life"

An Article Address by Azim Premji in the "Shaping Young Minds Program" (SYMP) organized by AIMA in collaboration with the Bombay Management Association (BMA) in Mumbai on "My Lessons in Life".

I am very happy to be here with you. It is always wonderful to be with young people. As my hair turned from black, to salt and pepper and finally salt without the pepper, I have begun to realize the importance of youth. At the same time, I have begun to truly appreciate some of the lessons I have learnt along the way. I hope you will find them useful when you plan your own career and life.

First

The first thing I have learnt is that we must always begin with our strengths. There is an imaginary story of a rabbit. The rabbit was enrolled in a rabbit school. Like all rabbits, it could hop very well but could not swim. At the end of the year, the rabbit got high marks in hopping but failed in swimming. The parents were concerned. They said, "Forget about hopping. You are anyway good at it. Concentrate on swimming." They sent the rabbit for tuitions in swimming. And guess what happened? The rabbit forgot how to hop! As for swimming, have you ever seen a rabbit swim? While it is important for us to know what we are not good at, we must also cherish what is good in us. That is because it is only our strengths that can give us the energy to correct our weaknesses.

Second

The second lesson I have learnt is that a rupee earned is of far more value than five found. My friend was sharing me the story of his eight year-old niece. She would always complain about the breakfast. The cook tried everything possible, but the child remained unhappy. Finally, my friend took the child to a supermarket and brought one of those ready-to-cook packets. The child had to cut the packet and pour water in the dish. The child found the food to be absolutely delicious? The difference was that she has cooked it! In my own life, I have found that nothing gives as much satisfaction as earning our rewards. In fact, what is gifted or inherited follows the old rule of come easy, go easy. I guess we only know the value of what we have if we have struggled to earn it.

Third

The third lesson I have learnt is no one bats a hundred every time. Life has many challenges. You win some and lose some. You must enjoy winning. But do not let it go to the head. The moment it does, you are already on your way to failure. And if you do encounter failure along the way, treat it as an equally natural phenomenon. Don't beat yourself for it or any one else for that matter! Accept it, look at your own share in the problem, learn from it and move on. The important thing is, when you lose, do not lose the lesson.

Fourth

The fourth lesson I have learnt is the importance of humility. Sometimes, when you get so much in life, you really start wondering whether you deserve all of it. We have so much to be grateful for. Our parents, our teachers and our seniors have done so much for us that we can never repay them. Many people focus on the shortcomings, because obviously no one can be perfect. But it is important to first acknowledge what we have received. Nothing in life is permanent but when a relationship ends, rather than becoming bitter, we must learn to savor the memory of the good things while they lasted.

Fifth

The fifth lesson I learnt is that we must always strive for excellence. One way of achieving excellence is by looking at those better than ourselves. Keep learning what they do differently. But excellence cannot be imposed from the outside. We must also feel the need from within. It must involve not only our mind but also our heart and soul. Excellence is not an act but a habit. I remember the inspiring lines of a poem, which says that your reach must always exceed your grasp. That is heaven on earth. Ultimately, your only competition is yourself.

Sixth

The sixth lesson I have learnt is never give up in the face of adversity. It comes on you suddenly without warning. Always keep in mind that it is only the test of fire that makes fine steel. A friend of mine shared this incident with me. His eight-year old daughter was struggling away at a jigsaw puzzle. She kept at it for hours but could not succeed. Finally, it went beyond her bedtime. My friend told her, "Look, why don't you just give up? I don't think you will complete it tonight. Look at it another day." The daughter looked with a strange look in her eyes, "But, dad, why should I give up? All the pieces are there! I have just got to put them together!" If we persevere long enough, we can put any problem into its perspective.

Seventh

The seventh lesson I have learnt is that while you must be open to change, do not compromise on your values. Mahatma Gandhiji often said that you must open the windows of your mind, but you must not be swept off your feet by the breeze. Values like honesty, integrity, consideration and humility have survived for generations. At the end of the day, it is values that define a person more than the achievements. Do not be tempted by short cuts. The short cut can make you lose your way and end up becoming the longest way to the destination.

Final

And the final lesson I learnt is that we must have faith in our own ideas even if everyone tells us that we are wrong. There was once a newspaper vendor who had a rude customer. Every morning, the Customer would walk by, refuse to return the greeting, grab the paper off the shelf and throw the money at the vendor. The vendor would pick up the money, smile politely and say, "Thank you, Sir." One day, the vendor's assistant asked him, "Why are you always so polite with him when he is so rude to you? Why don't you throw the newspaper at him when he comes back tomorrow?" The vendor smiled and replied, "He can't help being rude and I can't help being polite. Why should I let his rude behavior dictate my politeness?

I hope you achieve success in whatever way you define it and what gives you the maximum happiness in life. "Remember, those who win are those who believe they can."

...

Rashi

From India, Ahmadabad
hanuma
15
student

Sweet as a kandy to read... Some thing we all can try to attain from this great Indian surely...Thanks for sharing .. i did forward it to all before writing this mail... Cheers, hanuma
From India, Kakinada
tarunaindia
4
HR&ADMIN

Hi Rashi Thnx for such a nice post and moreover such perception and learningof a great personality of Great India.. Good stuff forever. thnx tarun :D :D :D
From India, Lucknow
[email protected]
8
HR Professional

Dear Rashi,
It was delightful journey going through that fantastic post.
While reading I have analyse that the tree with lot of fruits is always down toward the earth ....means glimspe of success of Premji Sir is in his humbleness.
Thanks a ton for such good post.
Regards,
Mona

From India, Mumbai
hi The information is very useful and highly informative,to lead a good life with great motivations to face an new challenges in life and to have great success. Yashwanth
From India, Bangalore
salraj
2
Service

Hi Rashi
Good and motivating post. Many would be benefited with your posting, especially who do not have a mentor. Keep up the excellent work. Thanks for CiteHr for providing such a platform.
Regards
Raj

From India, Bangalore
reenam Working
Thanx Rashi
Amazing posting!!! very informative...
Appreciate tht you have shared dis piece of information.
Will implement all those for sure nd will also make a calender of those words in my room today.
Ruchi

From India, Ludhiana
magoopreeti HR Manager
I think this is one of the best articles and indeed a thought provoking one. We should try and implement these values in ourselves as well to be successful. Thanks Preeti
From India, Delhi
shikha_1984
2
IT Recruiter

its really nice n awesome one................ a knowledeable article.I did send this mail to all my frnds,b4 sending u a reply.............
Thanx a lot 4 sharing this article.Keep continue.
Regards
Shikha

From India, Bangalore
GOWTAMTULUGU
1
Consultant

Hi,
Its really a wonderful collection. Thanks for sharing with all of us .. it really helps us in our daily life.....
We the people can learn a lot from these successful people.. I heard Premji has a very stable mind .... He faced many problems to make Wipro a very good organization.
Thanks & regards,
Gowtam

From India, Hyderabad

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