Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sachin's lesson - Excellence is achievable!

I am sure that if you are an Indian, you jumped with joy on Sachin's ultimate feat in the Gwalior ODI!

For a country that is so deeply mired in mediocrity, so hopelessly tied up in bureaucratic red-tape that slows it down and stunts its potential, Sachin is such a breath of fresh air!

In fact, he is a blast that cleans all cobwebs of tentativeness. A certain gust of cheer that tells us what we are truly capable of. A sure sign that India and Indians have underperformed for so long now that we take it almost a given. It comes as a shock to us when someone amongst us (or some sector in our economy) does really well, and shines as an example of sure genius. The I.T. companies attracted everyone's admiration for their undeniable feat of turning out highly billable manhours from fresh-off-the-campus engineering manpower that was raw, to say the least. Bollywood came of age and taught us lessons in excellence against all adversities. But to be sure, no one and nothing draws our admiration as the genius that is Sachin Tendulkar.

I have always loved Sachin Tendulkar's style. Being almost the same age, his achievements have always fascinated me. And watching him from Day-1 of his professional career, till today when he rewrote ODI history, has been a tremendous experience. From an entrepreneur-teacher's perspective, there are several important lessons I can draw from this living legend. Here they are!

Lessons in Excellence from Sachin Tendulkar

  1. Consistency It takes several years for continued excellence to develop. It never happens as an accident, but is the result of a conscious belief that one has to do it, for it to happen. And it actually goes beyond that. Consistency - i.e. the spirit to go on and on and on - is the fundamental basis for all progress that mankind has made. If you don't have consistency, your talent cannot express itself to the fullest extent. What would Amitabh Bachchan be without decades of consistency that we have become so habituated to expect now! Benjamin Franklin, Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Bose - they were all totally consistent in their pursuits all their lives. And the world remembers them for it. If you are a young person just starting off in your career, do not get too excited about being successful too early. Be patient! It takes time. Use your sense of anxiety to turn yourself into a dynamo of purposeful activity. All I.T. companies that are doing so well have perfected their winning formulae over several years, painstakingly. It did not happen overnight.
  2. Discipline and Mind-control Derived from the point above, a sense of discipline and control over one's mind provides the basic template for performance that is timeless and ageless - both Sachin's attributes. Without discipline, you tend to take liberties that eat into your most precious resource - the time available per day. Discipline brings certainty into our lives. It brings predictability that helps us plan things properly. Though seemingly it cripples our freedom (and some would say individuality), it adds an element of firepower that's undeniably the bedrock of success. Mind-control springs from this sense of discipline. And needless to say, the biggest influence anyone can have on us is our parents. If one is blessed with parents who understand the importance of discipline in early years of our life, one has it rather easy later on. Habits made early on stay for a long time. Chhatrapati Shivaji became what he was due to the lasting influence and teachings of his mother, the iron-willed Jijabai.
  3. Timelessness of performance Sachin never bothers what the world says about his performance, his moods, his family life, his ups and downs, or his personal likes and dislikes. He is one of the most quiet and sensible sports-person around. His belief in the fact that "work will speak louder than words" has stood the test of time. And all of us have witnessed the magic of these words! He just performs. Anyone who wants his/her success to continue for a long time must remember that while ups and downs are normal part of any professional's career, they do not determine who you are. Your mindset determines that. I would rate the Belgian cartoonist George Remi (Herge) who created the legendary series called 'Tintin' at par with Sachin, as both are timeless. Steve Jobs, the boss at Apple, is another example of a genius who adjusts to the demands of the age and produces miracle after miracle!
  4. Bouncing back from adversity Even a gentle genius like Sachin faced the wrath of media that seemed to engulf all the good deeds he had done. When he did not fare well as the captain of the Indian team, everyone was bitter about his performance. I hardly ever came across a balanced criticism of his. It was almost as if his career had ended (and that was several years ago!). But true to his style and name, Sachin proved everyone wrong. This clearly indicates he has in ample measure what a star performer needs in ample quantity - bouncing back using self-belief. Critics will always exist - God made them to instill in us a sense of being grounded into reality. But a true performer looks beyond and questions himself - am I putting in my 100%? If yes, he plods on, without fear.
  5. Self-belief From an honest conviction towards one's goals is born a sense of self-belief. It was this that made Dhirubhai Ambani lock horns with the existing giants in Bombay, while he was just an upstart. It was this that made Sunil Gavaskar prove his genius during his maiden tour to the ferocious West Indies (in 1970s). Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle are blessed with a pristine sense of self-belief as their sheer consistency and riyaaz over decades has turned them into performers beyond all human comparison! If you feel defeated time and again, it does not mean you truly are defeated. All it means is that either the goal you have chosen is wrong, or the efforts you are putting in are misdirected or incomplete.
  6. Sense of belonging We all have seen some egomaniacs who were part of the Indian cricket team, and destroyed their own careers, and many of the careers around them due to their idiosyncracies. Sachin has always put India and India's reputation above everything else. You can see it in his eyes, and his entire body language. Ask yourself - how many times did you feel Sachin was playing selfishly merely to score runs and add to his personal tally? It is a fact that true performers do not just think of themselves. They also focus on what matters to their nation. And when you do that, everyone responds in a big way!
  7. Humility - thy name is Sachin! It takes a true human being to not let success hit his upper floor hard. What I mean is simple - the moment people become successful (by any standards - money, fame, status), they face the inevitable choice. Either let success remain a by-product and reward of solid work, to be relished in its repetition, or to let success manifest itself in one's changed attitude and behaviour. Very few people remain unaffected (at least outwardly) when they achieve great success. Sachin is one of the finest examples of how innocent and child-like one can choose to be (probably it's natural!) despite earth-shaking achievements. Indeed, the family values with which one is brought up in the early years does have a deep and lasting impact. That's why you are lucky if your parents have repeatedly told you "to stay grounded, not to take flight at every sight, and zameen sey jud kar rehna bachche". I have seen shocking examples of people, who on achieving relatively modest levels of success simply can't handle it! They take flight! And get grounded very frequently, and at times, permanently. Let Sachin's example be the shining lighthouse for one and all.
All these virtues mentioned above can be used across sectors, across professions, and across geographies. For all practitioners and students of management - if you ever needed a role-model to emulate, he is right there for you. The legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Timeless, ageless.

He is telling all of us - "Don't give up so easily my dear Indians.. Excellence is achievable".


Akash said...

Hello Sir,
Indeed, Sachin's performance over the years is one of an exceptional achievements.
His innings truely triggered The 'Indian-ness' among Indians today,
I cannot remember so many people being as amotionally charged over one same event in quite sometime.
We have under-rated ourselves for long and certainly, Sachin's performance has brought that fact to light.
Glad this perfect day ended with a meticulously crafted post of yours.

P.S - As for my question whether you follow cricket or not; you haven't left any doubts whatsoever. :-)

Akshay Kothari said...

Respected Sir,

Thanks for that motivating content, doing all justice to the great cricket legend who has added another reason to make India and Indians proud.

In outliers its being said that it takes 10000 hours of hardwork to master any art with perfection.And for Sachin it doesnt matter weather sun shines or clouds cry, 6 hours of daily cricket with full concentration and devotion that to for years has taken him somewhere above the level perfection.

Its not the power that pushes every ball into fence which kisses Sachins bat.Its all about the Confidence and years of practice which turns into the superb timing and classic shots.

Truely said,If cricket is religion, Sachin is God.And once again with this knock in Gwalior he proved it to be true.

Hatts off to the great legend.May God give him power to play for years&years and entertain and make India and Indians proud with his every new and unattainable record.

Proton Akshay

Pankaj sharma said...

great wrtting on a great player!!!

Pankaj sharma said...

Great wrtting on a great player!!!

Unknown said...


Great post, as always. You nicely dissected all the qualities that made Sachin to be what he is today and how we can draw inspiration from that.

In my opinion though, there is one more quality which is above all the one's you mentioned and that is Passion towards the game. In any sphere of life, whatever one does he/she gotta be extremely passionate about the work he/she is doing.

Sachin is passionate about cricket, loves it and it just shows.

Unknown said...

Well Sir You connect everything with the corporate world very easily and perfectly. It looks like you have become accustomed to it and now you just need not put extra effort in connecting things which is truly remarkable from my perspective. Your thoughts are so synchronized and in rhythm structurally and articulate.

Test said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! I just loved the hangover of his victory today :-)

GRV said...

Hello sir !!!
you strike finest pearls with every dive ...... like a social entrepreneur,always deliver most valuable products i.e IDEAS,that too often free of charge. must say really beneficial for non protons like me!!!
focusing on GRAND master(i hate using LITTLE to address him for any reason). i would first like to congratulate all my cohabitants of this generation which is lucky to have witnessed legends innings and shared time and space with him.

well..........we can spend our whole dictionary and yet fill starved of words to describe a global phenomenon like Sachin paji. the reason is.... no matter how insightful or nitpicking we may try to state our thoughts, but sooner or later they are gonna become cliche that must have been or will be written before or after us. best thing we can do about such
cosmic happenings (sorry mates, i have license to be lofty while writing about sachin paaji).
is to embrace such benumbing moments in our minds and preserve them for posterity.
Sandip sir has incisively extracted valuable points of learning from this walking tome.
along with points mentioned by sir, i would like to add SELF CORRECTION,GUILE,GRACE IN CARRYING HIM SELF IN SOCIETY(not like western WOODS) and most importantly,COURAGE and DETERMINATION for self correction at any point of life which is not only crucial for people and professionals but also for organizations to stay fit in long run.


Vidit Shah said...

Dear Sir,
Just one common mindset shared by we humans and specially the Media people is, If a person does something good then he is Hero of the day till the time he does something wrong, and once he does something wrong then he is the devil till he does something exceptionally good. People criticize them like anything. As happened with Sachin.
Sir why such a mindset?

starry-eyed said...

Very inspiring article! No one unites India than Sachin.

Unknown said...

Truely inspiring article ..
SACHIN Rocks and so can WE !!