Recently, when I was approached by one of my schoolmates to share an experience in which I overcame a difficulty and emerged successful, the challenge for me was not what to share but which one to share.
Like everyone else, I have had my share of ups and downs in life. There have been times when I have been in limelight, selected for top positions, successful in winning everything I have laid my hands on and then there have been times when things have not gone my way at all. However, I truly believe that life is a sinusoidal curve. When it is going up, one needs to be humble as the current state will not last forever. When it is going down, one need to be buoyant as even this also will not last forever and what will follow next will be good times again.
I remember an incident from 1997 when I was caught in a major fire in a cinema hall along with 5 other family members. I was the only male member and amongst the other family members were my sister, cousins and their two daughters. While trying to find a way to escape, I was holding my cousin’s toddler daughter in one arm and with other holding hands of my family members. However, having inhaled a lot of black soot and smoke, one by one all of us became unconscious due to asphyxia.
During the final moments when I was losing my breath, my entire life flashed in front of me. I thought a
bout my parents, family, friends, dreams, past, future and the present situation and how it can all change in the blink of an eye. However, I was determined not to die. We all ended up later in the different hospitals after being rescued by firemen. Unfortunately, 59 people lost their lives in that tragedy including one of my cousins whose daughter was in my arms. I was in the hospital for over a month and was sad that I couldn’t save my cousin and pondered over the reality of life. On returning home, I realized that I felt scared going to the cinema halls or watching any song or scene on TV from the movie that we had gone to watch as it brought back painful memories.
However, there were two options – either to be scared for the rest of my life and cry or to face the reality and take a decision to live each moment of my second life. I chose to do the latter. First, I went to another cinema hall and watched the same movie. I cried. I felt pain. The void created by the loss of a loved one can never be filled, however, there was
no option other than to deal with my emotions and move on. When a calamity is over, we learn so much about what could have been done differently or in a better way. I learnt not to brood about the past or worry about the future. I learnt to live in the present and be thankful for each and every moment. I learnt to focus and put all my energy and efforts in always giving my best. I learnt to be sincere to myself. I learnt the importance of not giving up and maintaining calm under high-pressure or crisis situations. I learnt that it’s all in the mind. Above all, I learnt the value of “Life”.
This attitude transformation was fundamental in laying down a successful career path and establishing me as a confident and trusted senior leader in my field. Achievements just followed. Just 2 years later, in the year 1999, I became the first Indian to be awarded a scholarship from the Board of my company, Ericsson, to pursue MS at State University of New York in USA amidst tough competition from all over the world. Thereafter, I was put on a fast-track management planning program and sent to executive programs at top B-schools such as INSEAD, London Business School, IMD Business School Switzerland, Boston University, etc. This took me on a very rewarding career path across Americas, Europe & APAC and helped me achieve senior leadership positions at a very early age as well as getting Hall of Fame honors for winning the Global Top Performance of the Year Award three times.
“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns
As everyone of us sometimes learns
And many a failure comes about –
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell just how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.”
Remember, it is our attitude that leads to achievements and if we develop an attitude to turn our adversities into our advantages, then achievements will be in abundance!!!
Batch of 1991
Amitabh is the Vice-President and Head of Sales for Global Customer Unit Telenor at Ericsson.
During his 25 years of global cross-cultural experience of working in Americas, Europe & APAC, Amitabh has been on a very rewarding and all-encompassing career path assuming diverse leadership roles in the areas of Sales, Key Account Management, Commercial Management, Business Management, Strategy, Finance, Business Development, Marketing, Project Management, Research & Development, Training and Operations in the field of Telecommunications & Information Technology.
He holds a M.S. degree in Telecommunications, a M.B.A. and a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics & Telecommunications and is an alumni of Mother’s International School 1991 batch.
Tags Life Present Past Challenges Value Thankful Attitude