- Steve Jobs was not an engineer, forget about being an alumnus of an MIT or IIT. He redefined everything in consumer electronics.
- Satya Nadella never went to an IIT. He passed out of the humble Manipal Institute of Technology. Did a weekend MBA. Is now the CEO of one of the most powerful firms in the world.
- Walmart's founder built its HQ in an unknown town, the founder's own. In a backward state. It is one of the largest corporations in the world.
Despite the clear presence of these shocking facts in popular media, most of us would just brush them aside as, well, asides. Or better still, will use them as quotable facts in our concocted speeches to be given as part of some lame competition in college. Never for once stopping to gulp them fully, and allowing them to affect our thinking deeply.
We - especially us urban, middle class, aspirational Indians - remain firmly wedded to the notion of the archetypal successful man or woman. We just cannot accept that anything beyond an IIM or an IIT can ever be hope inducing. We allow our lives and hopes to be destroyed by silly entrance tests (often conducted by mediocre professors with zero accountability). We accept defeat right at an age when our optimism needs to break through the concrete ceilings on top of our heads.
The reasons maybe complex - a society that places tremendous premium on the brahminical superiority notion, parental pressure as beautifully illustrated in "3 idiots" - or whatever. But the simple fact is : we allow it to happen. WE.
Break free. Realise that the world needs innovative thinkers. Rewards are as rich for consistency as for branded pedigree. Leadership is not someone's proprietary asset. New models of life have emerged. Self-respect can take you way beyond you ever imagined.
So stop living in the grief of the IIMs not giving you the call. Maybe that's the best thing to have happened to you. Maybe something tremendous is just waiting for you to discover it. And change the world. The way Steve Jobs did. Or Nadella might.
And if you're not the sort that'd like to change the world, sit back, relax and enjoy the journey instead of brooding about the call not received.