“All meaningful impact - social, political, economic - is created by an amalgamation of small acts by individuals, just striving to do their best. The drive to always do better and be better yields astounding results.”
When I was 10 years old, I used to take the local train in Mumbai to play in various chess tournaments held across the city. There was always a sea of people hanging on to doors, to pillars and to even each other. Yet when they saw me – a small, skinny kid traveling alone – they would smile and then “adjust”, as we do in India, to make some space. In those moments I would have this indelible feeling that I’ve never been able to forget. A collective fight of hundreds and thousands, all striving for more; the feeling of hope despite one’s circumstances – and that together we can create change and make a better tomorrow.
Over the course of my life, I have criss-crossed the country from Jaipur, where I was born, to Mumbai, where I grew up, to Delhi, where I went to college, to Lucknow, where I went to business school, and finally to Bangalore, which I now call home. These were interspersed with travel and treks across each of the 29 Indian states. The colossal opportunity to create impact and positive change was visible everywhere I went.
I wake up every morning driven by the singular thought that there is a unique opportunity to really make a difference. That our collective actions can change the lives of billions. It is this sense of possibility, with a sprinkling of that hopefulness that emanated from the Bombay commuters all those years ago, that fires me up every day.
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In 2011, India’s cricket team went to England with arguably the best Indian batting line-up on paper but still ended up losing the series 4-0. Amid the desolation, only one stood tall. Rahul Dravid scored twice the number of runs of any other Indian batsmen, faced the most balls and made three centuries to a collective 0 from the rest. Dravid showed that grit, persistence, adapting to the conditions however hostile and simply out-enduring others can lead to incredible results.
Founders face many of the same challenges – hostile conditions, strong incumbents, changing environments. Those with the tenacity and determination to out-think, out-execute and outlast others will ultimately succeed.There is a common thread that binds those special founders – passion. Someone deeply focused on solving a problem with a long term mindset. The world is changing rapidly and there is an incredible opportunity to build very large and enduring businesses serving both the Indian population and the world at large. The opportunity to work alongside audacious and passionate founders chasing this is the most exciting part of my day and an absolute privilege.
“Per ardua ad astra” or “through adversity to the stars” was my school house motto; it still hangs on my bedside. If you are one of those who wants to break out and reach for the stars – I’m all ears.Get in touch with Chinmaya
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