What made you realise that motivation speaking was your calling?
My life is a result of a contribution of all the people I have met in all these years and they are responsible for enriching it. Books, too, have had a very positive influence in my life and has played a huge role in making me who I am today. When I started noticing that these positive influences had changed my life for the better, I wanted to carry them forward for others. With that in mind I started volunteering my time in maximum security prisons in the United States and started teaching prisoners about and attitude-self esteem programmes. After observing them, I thought of bringing these fundamentals to the corporate world and started working with corporate giants. Eventually after publishing my book You Can Win in 1997 people started attending my sessions after reading my book and things fell into place.
What are you referring to when you talk about bringing about a positive change in people’s lives?
The most important change is the change of attitude, because invariably, many times in life we do not realise that we are our own biggest problems. We never analyse our own behaviour, instead we keep trying to control other people’s behaviour, not realising that other people’s behaviour is a reflection of our own. It is impossible to change how others behave but by changing my own actions and reaction, I can influence how others behave towards me.
Another important factor we need to understand is that we cannot solve all our problems but we can certainly learn how to handle them. Life is full of choices and compromises, it seems like a contradiction but really it’s not. If I ill-treat someone, I have chosen to be ill-treated myself, if I drink too much tonight, I have chosen that horrible headache the next morning, so life is full of choices and if you look at it, right from morning till night we keep making choices one after the other including what time we choose to wake up, to what we eat to how we dress up, everything is a choice we make. In life we cannot choose the cards we are dealt with, but what we can choose is how we play the game. Sometimes nature gives us a lemon, it is our choice whether we cry or we make lemonade out of it.
What are the ‘golden rules’ for success?
Persistence, hard work and focus are key to achieving success. Persistence is basically ability to bounce back even after several failures. Be it Thomas Edison or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, they are all prefect examples of persistence.
There is no substitute to hard work in life. These days’ people talk about working smarter versus harder. Take for example Olympic gold medallist and record holder Michael Phelps who has trained for over 10,000 hours for 15 seconds of performance. Most people want to succeed but very few are willing to pay the price to prepare to succeed.
Most of us lack focus in life, unless you have a clear destination, how can you find directions? Most of us lose focus of our target and hence, end up not succeeding in life. To succeed, you need to do whatever it takes to achieve the target, put in that extra effort, even when it hurts. The difference between a good and a bad professional is that a good professional is that even on a bad day, a good professional’s output remains the same as that on a good day. They won’t compromise on the quality of performance.
Could you tell us about your future plans or projects that you are working on?
Well I am in the process of writing four more books on leadership, parenting skills, customer service and time management. So these four books, two of them should be out by September this year. Beyond it, we have a couple of things in mind. We are looking at starting to offer leadership programme in management institutes because today graduates that are coming out from engineering and management schools and NASDAQ did a study and Narayan Murthy said it too, that 90 % of them are unemployable.
Would we be seeing you back in politics any time soon?
Well, all I can say is that my getting into the political arena was not a trend or a fad that came in. You see when some things bother you deep inside and they keep coming back to haunt you and one has to take an action. All these issues of corruption etc. that have been raised in the recent past, I have already filed a petitions regarding the same in the court ten years back and I am still fighting them. I haven’t ruled out anything at this point and there are political parties that are in touch with me. I am still looking at how I can make a contribution; I may not necessarily have a ticket and fight the elections but I will certainly be supporting some good people.