Welcome to Mohanji Speaks. Good day, friends. Hope you’re doing well.
Today, I was thinking about the success factor in people’s lives. When will it appear? In what way it appears, we don’t know. But we all have a success factor, and a time for that, in our life. We all have it. Then why some people do not really reach there? It’s only because they stop halfway.
Today, in another forum, I was giving a lecture, a talk about the life of the founder of KFC, Kentucky Fried Chicken – Colonel Sanders. He was born in 1890. And until he was 65, he only experienced failure after failure; repeated failure—a lot of failures. And by 65, he was contemplating committing suicide because the net balance of life was a failure. This happens in our life, various things we attempt in life, we all do. Whatever we attempt, if it does not find success, we always keep an option that we can commit suicide. That’s cowardice.
All he had as possession was a recipe of his grandmother on how to prepare a particular chicken dish. And he made that, and he found that reasonably tasty. He approached many restaurants to try it, to take that, to buy that or to work together with him with that recipe. He approached 1008 restaurants, and all of them rejected because anything new, anything fresh; we always have apprehension. We only like time tested stuff. If something is new, something is fresh we would wait for others to give their opinion. We will not dare to check for ourselves. That’s our human nature. All over the world, it’s the same.
So, he approached 1008 restaurants shamelessly and 1009, the 1-0-0-9th restaurant agreed to buy that recipe. The rest is history. At the age of 65, his life took a turn, a positive turn. When he died in 1980, he died an icon, a millionaire. KFC is present in almost all countries. There are about 200,000 or plus outlets, and they are successful.
I am a practising vegan. I do not endorse, or I do not agree with this food. I have never tried KFC, and I will never try because I’m a practising vegan. I’m using this example, only because success can happen at any age, at any point in time if we are persistent, with conviction, with consistency in what we believe in. It could be a recipe, a small piece of paper; perhaps, it could be a brilliant idea. And if you really believe in your idea, you can find success.
As I said earlier, many people when adversities happen, obstacles happen, they give up. Even if they know that what they believe in is sensible, and it can make a difference in society, and it can make a difference in their own lives; they leave it halfway – many people. That’s why we do not see many successful people in the world.
People envy those who are successful, “Oh, how come this person has this persistence, this tenacity?” We hate to break our comfort zones. Secondly, we think what others will think about us if we failed. In the life of Colonel Sanders, for 65 years, he failed. Whatever he attempted, he failed. Just imagine, that’s a time when people retire, and they leave their usual regular existence and go to spaces where they are isolated, or they can have their own space and their own time. At that time, he was actually beginning his life.
This is an important lesson that any point in time, you can find your space and track. My father is 87. Recently, he completed the translation of a great work. And the original work is in a language which he did not know. He only read the English translation; he thought that English translation is not justifying the original book. So, he learned that language of the original book at the age of 87. It took two years. Now, he completed the book, and it is getting ready for publishing.
You can learn a new language at any time if you believe in what you do. Nothing stops you. First of all, you should believe in what you do. And of course, before that, you should believe in yourself that you can do it. So believe that you can do it. And you should believe in what you do.
It’s very important. And persistence. It does not matter what the world thinks about you. The world may like you or dislike you. The world can only do two things; they can agree with you or disagree with you. We have all the weaknesses the world has. We are weaknesses, as well as strengths.
The world will always highlight our weaknesses. That’s the nature of the world, nature of the society. But what we should do – we should focus on the positive; what we have positive, and let the positive be our ability to be persistent. Even after reaching the end, we shouldn’t stop. We should keep improvising that keeps us alive. That keeps us fresh, that keeps us young.
Mountain Man of India
I also remember in this context, one man called Dashrath Manjhi. He was living in a small village, and the city or the neighbourhood town was about 40 – 45 kilometres away from his house. And there was a mountain in between. And his wife fell sick, and he couldn’t really take her to the hospital in time for her to survive. She died on the way in his lap, means, he was holding her, and on the way, she died. And this affected him very badly.
He was a very poor man who did not have money, no support. He started working on the mountain. It took 20 years; he made a road between the mountain. Literally alone. He is known as the Mountain Man of India or the Mountain Grandfather. A grandfather, who actually made a space in the mountain and made a road, and then the road to the city became 17 kilometres. Without the help of the government, without the help of any society, anybody, he did it himself. What tenacity!
When his whole focus was on breaking this mountain into two and making a road in between, everybody told him he’s crazy, he’s mad. Nobody supported him. People told him, “It’s impossible. What are you talking about? You’re just a man, and you’re trying to bring a mountain to its knees? You must be crazy.” But he did it. And he saved a lot of distance to the city, which saved a lot of people in his village, eventually.
We can do this. There is no age; there is no time; there is no space if you believe in what you do. Or if you believe in something. And if you keep your heart and soul for it, you will achieve the end; this is for sure. But we should not be distracted by what people say. We shouldn’t be distracted by what people think about us, or we should not be distracted by anything in life, any adversity, any obstacle, any kind of distraction. We shouldn’t be affected.
Early Birds Club
Now, why do we talk about waking up early? The whole idea about Early Birds Club is for this purpose. You need to ask yourself at some point in time – what do I really want, what do I need? We don’t ask this question. We have never introspected sincerely. Sincere introspection is essential to find yourself – sincere introspection and the right time for that is the early morning hours.
When you wake up in the morning, you have time for yourself; you have time to go within, your time to ask this question.
What do I need?
What is this life for?
What do I really want to do in life?
This question is important. That time, you will realize that every moment is precious. If we are living for 80 years, it’s only 29,200 days.
Every day is precious. Every hour is precious. Every moment is precious. It cannot be wasted.
There is no room for gossip, talking bad about people, or wasting time on materials, or chasing something outside. Instead, come to terms with what you need inside. If you really know what you want in this world, you will get it.
I had asked this question many, many years ago. What do I want from life? I decided that the world has gone insensitive, because of various reasons, the wars, the bloodshed, the displacements. Insensitive world; the way we handle nature, the way we handle birds and animals, all the beings of the world; how we handle the materials that we have in our hand or the materials that we have in our control; the wastage of things and stuff like that.
So I decided, I must bring awareness to this world as best as I can so that the world can be better. Or we can reverse the ageing of the world. The world is getting older because of manipulation, exploitation. I decided we must turn this clock back. We can utilize the world for our existence, only as much as we need, not as much as we want. Leave the world, slightly better to the next generation and thus bring back youth into this world.
I decided, and I knew that we could bring youth in this world if we stop exploiting the world. If we start utilizing the world as minimally as required, we can make a difference.
If we stop living insensitively, we can make a difference in the world. It’s our lifestyle that matters.
So, I decided to start moving in that direction. And the rest is history.
It’s about eight years now since I decided to move forward with this mission, and in eight years you have seen what all have happened. I have always admired people who knew what they wanted from life. I thought that these are the real people. While it is easy to follow the two-dimensional methods of society – what does society want from a person, or what is the allowed or approved lifestyle?
A child is born, educate the child, the child has to get a job, earn some money or start earning, get married, have children, make a house, live in the house with the family; children’s education, children’s marriage, their children. And by the time retire from the work, and then look after the children’s children, grandchildren, and then wait for death. This is human existence, which is approved by society, very generic, very mediocre.
Some people find happiness if they get an appreciation, an award, a recognition, or some kind of tangible approval from society. They’re happy, but that’s short-lived. After a while, they want more. Some people thrive only on applauses; if they don’t get applause, they feel miserable. At no point in time, they are checking, or connecting to themselves and asking the question, Is this what I wanted from life? That’s it.
So, this question, we must ask. And then understand what you really need. If you do not know what you really need, you follow something compatible with you. That could be what you need.
It is not necessary that we have to make the roads ourselves. There are roads made by others, which are compatible with our aspirations, or we can join hands with those people who are doing it and add your flavour in it. That’s a good idea. That’s how modifications and diversions and dimensions happen in every organization. The organization will have the main theme, and your value addition will take the organization to different dimensions; new ideas, new reach and new ways of fulfilment.
It’s really important that we have to reinvent ourselves, especially if you are leading a mediocre life. When I said mediocre, it is just following the norms of society, just being confirmative to the approved existence. Nothing is happening in life in that way.
So, I leave you with these thoughts. These people who have done something in life, just because they believed in themselves, and they knew, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and they decided to walk all the way in the darkness, without knowing whether they are walking in the right direction. There have been many people like that. We can talk about such people more in the future. But explore yourself, understand yourself, introspect, reinvent. I leave this thought in your plate today.
Have a great day and great times ahead. This is Mohanji for you.
Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt
Proofread by Rekha Murali