Three Kinds of People

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Had the privilege to meet a senior businessman! He was sharing many experiences and tips over a coffee.

I asked him if he ever felt bad about being an entrepreneur. ‘Was there a day when you felt you should have stayed a salaried employee, instead of facing uncertainties everyday?’

He thought about it for few minutes and then answered, ‘momentary self doubts are quite common in this journey. But I guess you are not asking about those.’

‘To tell you frankly, I did worry about my decision many times; but one incident is very important, perhaps my lowest point in life.’

‘As you know very well, I used to work for a big corporation before deciding to quit and start my own company. I had a friend who also resigned his day job and joined me.’

‘We were not sure if we would succeed; but it was reassuring to see another person taking a similar risk; we looked at each other and felt confident that we could do it.’

‘But, after just few weeks, when we lost an important deal and tried to come back with an alternative strategy, my friend and partner decided to go back to his regular job. It was a huge shock for me!’

‘Of course, I can’t blame him too much. May be he had his reasons for that decision; but at that time it looked as if he declared this business attempt is meaningless, as if he wants me also to quit.’

‘Fortunately I decided to stay alone and repair the ship. I guess it sounds very obvious now, but, in that situation, that was too difficult!’

‘And things didn’t change overnight. I had to face many other struggles. But none of them were as tough as the first one.’

When he narrated this story, I thought about a famous poem by the great Sanskrit poet Bhartruhari. It appears in his book ‘Neeti Satakam’ & talks about three kinds of people:

  • First Category: those who worry about hurdles and won’t even start anything. They are perfectly happy with the status quo.
  • Second Category: those who start something; but run away at the first sign of failure.
  • Third Category: those who keep pushing even after facing many failures, challenges. Bhartruhari says these are the only people who will achieve greatness.

How true! A lovely way to gauge people beforehand and to avoid surprises and disappointments!

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