Exploring Possibilities: Are You Ready?
Once I was listening to Phulela Gopichand. I am sure everyone in India knows him. He is the man behind India’s insurgence in badminton. He said, in his earlier days as a player he observed that Indian players used to carry only a couple of shorts and T-shirts in international competitions.
It wasn't that they had limited sets, it was their firm belief that they will not go beyond the first and second round. Players used to talk about the morning show (first round) and matinee show (second round). After their losses they used to gather in the evening and admire their Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian counterparts, their smashes, drops agility, flexibility, so on and so forth.
That was the time when Gopichand said that he will show, how to win? Not only as a player he won the titles and reputation, but as a coach he transformed a generation of shuttlers with the right skill and attitude.
In the year 2004, he took a bunch of kids and started coaching. Oldest amongst them was P. Kashyap, who won the commonwealth gold in the year 2014. Sai Praneeth won a bronze medal in the World Championship. Guru Sai Dutt won a commonwealth bronze medal. Saina Nehwal, we all know her, won thirty-one, super series and international medals including an Olympic bronze medal.
Youngest of them was PV Sindhu, who has become the World Champion and the only Indian in individual sports to win two Olympic medals. At one point of time ten out of those kids were amongst the top twenty in the world. Just compare these results with the earlier metaphor of morning show and matinee show.
As I have mentioned earlier in my articles, "there are no successful people, there are only success habits". Let’s understand the habit here which brought success to P Gopichand.
He exhibited the quality of being an activator. He started with whatever he had. When he started coaching these kids, he knew what it takes to do well at this level, still he was not a designated coach.
He had very limited funds and no grants. He didn’t have a building either. He approached corporates to raise the funds, but he was disappointed as for corporates sports was not the priority.
They had health, girl child, sanitation, and education as their top priorities. He also got advice that great players seldom become great coaches. He was told that unlike cricket, badminton as a sport does not have the eyeballs to become popular in India. A few straightaway said, “Indians don’t stand a chance in badminton.” If we evaluate, each and every word said by these “to be” sponsors is very logical.
Eventually, Gopi sold a 1000 yards plot he had, mortgaged his house, used his prize money, got some help from his brother in England and pulled out an academy in Hyderabad. If something is important for you and you believe in that, jump into it with whatever you have. Rest is history...
How many of us, when we think/plan something unconventional, get this extremely logical piece of advice? How many of us think that we are still not ready? We wait for a perfect situation. In that wait, time is constantly on the move, and this proverbial perfect situation never arrives.
Today we all celebrate Dussehra. A day remembered as a day when Lord Ram conquered the mighty demon king Ravan and established the supremacy of good over evil. If Ram would have waited for creating a perfect army, or would have wondered whether he was ready and prepared enough to fight with Ravan, perhaps he would never have acquired that kind of readiness.
He just approached with whatever he had and marched ahead. Eventually he got everything that was required at the right time, the right people, right tools and right resources, and we got the reason to celebrate and express happiness. Such people get impatient with inactivity. They always create momentum and contribute by bringing a catalytic sense of urgency. Love initiation and hate wasting time.
Without wasting time they get out of the blocks quickly. Being an activator helps us to do it until we get it right rather than doing it when we get it right, and in this process we explore possibilities....
(The author is a Certified Designed Thinking Master practitioner and Clifton Certified Strength Finder Coach, Corporate Trainer and a Leadership coach. He is based in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India.)