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