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#Column: You have missed your aim, lost an opportunity?

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Jay Narayan Vyas : Every person has his ambition. A life without ambition is rudderless. But, ambition needs to be tempered with the understanding that the ends don’t justify the means. Uncontrolled ambition ends up harming those who possess it.

To have big dreams, to be ambitious is not wrong. When you reach what you have set forth to achieve you are elated. But what happens when you fail to achieve it? It is necessary to ensure that failure does not end up crushing you. For, only the one who attempts to climb a horse will fall.

In fact, the best example of why giving up should not be an option is the spider which weaves its web unmindful of how many times it is destroyed. As a child my father often recited a poem that celebrated the never give up spirit of the spider. He would tell me “How can you get up boy if you never try. Try and try again and you will succeed. A determined mind can trump any obstacle.”

Let me tell you a story of a student who makes it to the Indian Institute of Technology. This was a dream come true for him and perhaps the most ambitious thing he aspired for so far in his life. He rushes to inform his father who is reading a newspaper. He tells him of how he cracked one of the toughest exams and has made it to IIT. His father congratulates him. He tells the father, “I want to study at IIT.”

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His father patiently weans his attention off the newspaper and tells him, “Son, I know you are bright and you have an understanding of our financial condition. I have eight children, five of whom are daughters, I need to get married. The education of three of my boys are not yet finished. I am a salaried person and can’t afford to send you anywhere. You can study as much as you want if you study in your hometown.”

The pronouncement crashes the young man’s dreams. He understands his father’s position. Many friends whom he had helped in their studies have also cracked the test. The day comes when they set forth for their IITs as the boy stands at the station. His friends remark, it would have been great if you could have got through IIT as well. He waves his friends goodbye watching his dream slip away from his hand.

Bhagavad Gita says you are your best friend and your worst enemy.

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He returns to his studies at his home town. He tells himself many students pass through IITs but not all achieve greatness. Where you study is immaterial, focusing on your ambition is what matters. Like Arjun, you need to focus on the eye of the fish.

I will concentrate my energy and hard work on achieving my ambition,” he says to himself. He understands the role of luck and fate too.
Where do you think the student landed later in life? The student went on to study further and rose to be one of the big names of the software and information technology sector in the country. He would go on to be an entrepreneur and a pioneer in his field and was the chairman of the board of governors of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. He was the founder of Infosys.

You now know whom I was talking about- philanthropist NR Narayan Murthy. You can know his belief by the slogan – “Powered by Intellect and Driven by Value”.
Intellect and values is what will help you achieve your ambition. An opportunity lost does not mean the end of the world there will be many more in the offing. All that you need is determination and willingness for hard work.

(Jayanarayana Vyas has been a former cabinet minister in the Gujarat government. The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Gujarat Exclusive.)