Monday, 4 May 2009

Fortune favors the brave

In my last article I talked about how luck favors some people more than the others. Some people came back to me after reading it saying that mere luck would not take people anywhere. It should definitely be supplemented by hard work and immense talent. In fact, people could be too foolish to be just sitting and loitering around when the elusive lady of luck kept smiling at them.

I could not agree more with them. That was exactly what I was trying to say. All said and done, it is always hard work and talent that ultimately pays off. But the purpose of that post was not emphasizing that luck is everything you need to succeed. It was just to shed light on the fact that even after being extremely talented and having worked very hard in life, that extra bit of luck is always needed to achieve the kind of success we dream about all the time. One should keep looking for opportunities and grab it when it comes along. It is all about being at the right place at the right time.

There is one more dimension in this. When things seem to be going your way, there is that confidence factor that keeps growing. It feels as though you could do nothing wrong. Everything you touch turns to gold and no one in the world is as happy as you are. On the flipside, even bad times are no exception to this “pouring down all at a time” phenomenon. When things go bad, there seems to be hardly anything that works in our favor. Even the things that we are most comfortable at handling seem to be difficult to do then. I would like to illustrate these cases with a few real examples that I have witnessed recently, some of which are common knowledge.

A classic example is the case of Bangalore’s very own IPL team – the royal challengers. Last year, they were at the receiving end in the very first match of the league that too in front of their home crowd. The scars caused from that huge defeat dented them so badly that they were never able to come back in the tournament. It was imperative then that they finished in the penultimate position. A year passed and in they flew to South Africa to the current edition of the league – the scars still remained. Even though they managed to win the first match, it seemed that they had lost the belief that they can win. In the match against Delhi, all that they had to do was to stay cool and bowl at the right places. But they managed to lose the match. Their body language in the field said it all – they firmly believed they cannot win and waited for the inevitable to happen. They also had many close decisions go against them - Luck had not favored them either. How would it? Fortune always favors the brave right?

After losing four matches in the league, they had their encounter against a pretty weak team – their nemesis from the last edition – the knight riders. Suddenly the team started to believe that they had a chance. And they won. Even though it was a nail-biting finish, they managed to get one under their belt. This was enough to turn things around. Every match they played from then, they grew from strength to strength. The clinical victory over one of the strongest teams, Mumbai was a testimony to this new found confidence. Although, time will only tell how long this confidence will last and the winning streak will continue, the point I am trying to make by citing this example is simple – when things start going against your way, the confidence you gain and that little stroke of luck will help you overcome many obstacles in life.

One more case that comes to mind when I think of this game of fortunes is that of a project at office. There was a big team of people who worked on a really big project sometime back. It was really hectic and the whole team used to work long hours and weekends. The schedule was really impracticable. I really don’t understand who came up with such a ridiculous schedule in the first place. Anyway, the deadline was already there and the team had already reached saturation limits doing whatever best they could. It seemed that the entire team had gone crazy. They were frustrated with the project and its incredulous deadlines. Their personal lives went for a toss. It seemed as though nothing went right for them and there was always a new issue to be tackled every day. Somehow they managed to finish it off with the “bare-minimum” deliverables in place.

Sanity had finally been restored. There was applause all over from top management commending the work done. The team enjoyed nice perks and had great appraisals. They earned promotions at work and saw their career reach new heights. Being in that tough project seemed not so bad after all – they had finally found confidence to tackle issues on their own and had acquired leadership qualities. Slowly, all the missing components were added into the deliverables with such zeal and efficiency that it now boasts of being one among the most stable projects delivered in the company.

When you are at the right place at the right moment, the world around you seems like utopia – the kind of ideal place which you always dream about. Be it writing 1000 lines of quality code, chasing a very high target in a cricket match, facing the toughest job interview or scaling the highest peak – all seem to be a piece of cake. But when the tide turns, life seems one big mistake. I have had both experiences in my work life. Sometimes fixing a small bug in the documentation part of the code has led to so many critical reviews resulting in frustration and anger. Other times, even the toughest of bugs have been finished in no time at all. In the latter, I just happened to be at the right place at the right moment to get it done.

No matter what the game of fortune is, one thing that we should always have is confidence in our abilities. It is this self confidence that will carry us through the tough times of life. In everything that we do, let us give our best and hope that the best will happen. If we are earnest in our efforts, fortune will definitely favor us helping us in our journey to success. I wish everyone of you all the best in realizing your dreams and pray that fortune befriends you in all your endeavors.

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