A week ago, we were travelling by the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Our son was home for a long vacation, and now, my wife and I were with him in the car to reach him to his institute at Pune. The travel by this Expressway during monsoons is a real feast not only to our eyes but also to our hearts. It is really beautiful… 

During this journey, we discussed about several things… casual to serious things. One of these things was: “Why some people endure in their fields for so long... and why some don’t?”

My son is still doing his college… whereas, I have spent close to thirty-five years doing what I am doing now – teaching. This includes teaching my friends and neighbors while I was studying in college. Along these years, I have been writing and training as well… But, all these stem from my core of being a teacher. I don’t have any other plans as far as my career is concerned. Yes, I shall be happy teaching all my life. 

So, when it came to the question: “What helps us endure for so long?” – I did not have to think hard on the subject. I had my experience behind, and, therefore, I had the authentic answer… It was irrelevant whether or not I was some celebrity or a huge brand in my field. I have endured joyfully, with dignity and respect … and, yes, with a decent amount of success, if you wish to add that. So, I found sharing with my son what, in my view, was the answer to the question in hand.

Talent, Discipline and a harmonious personality – these three ingredients came up, straightaway. 

Talent is the substance… Definitely, that is the first factor that helps us make our mark… Talent is essentially inborn, a gift or an endowment placed in us by our Creator. Some of us are lucky enough to discover our talents early in life… yes, often, doubly lucky to have some near and dear ones to help us discover our talent… 

Trusting in our own talents and go about pursuing them is left to us.

In the process of pursuing, we need a high degree of discipline: sense of commitment, integrity, punctuality and regularity… There are work ethics.

Personally, I consider discipline to be the deciding factor. One may be blessed with great talent, but, if he is cursed with poor discipline, then, the ship-wreck will be a foregone conclusion. True, if talent is not there, the ship would never move… But, together with talent, one needs those qualities of heart and mind… Discipline. That’s why we see around us so many talented people ruining their careers just because, they fail in this department.

If, through our talents, we have to reach out to more and more people… yes, if that is what Success is, then, we also need to possess a very harmonious personality. Some call it a ‘pleasant or selling personality’. Or, call it human-relation skills or people-skills. Let me tell you, some very talented people suffer due their conflicting, controversial – repulsive and negative – personality. On the other hand, some people, with mediocre or even poor talents, make their way to the top, just by being excellent in this department. Anyway, without the ‘substance’ to back, their journey to the top is bound to be short-lived. To endure long in your field, your talent and discipline have to be in place… No compromise on this.

What about Luck? The grace of  God?

Are there not people around us blessed with fine talents, with high degree of self-discipline and an amazing personality, and yet, going down under?

So, shall we assume that Luck was not on their side? Or, a little bluntly: God had forsaken them?

That morning, I did not want to talk to my son about Luck and God’s grace. For, that’s, in my view, should not be over-rated. Yes, without God’s grace, probably, nothing will manifest in life. But, I still wonder, why on earth, God would ‘forsake’ any of His children?

If He has placed talents in us, then, He has also placed in us the responsibility of cultivating a fine discipline and personality. I have always believed that if we do our part, God will not forsake us. 

So, I told my son about some classic cases of endurance around us.

M.F. Husain, who started off painting film hoardings on the streets of Mumbai  and went on to paint till he died at the age of 95… This legend's one painting reportedly fetched two million pounds!

Lata Mankeshkar is 83; she started singing since she was 13… She still sings like a little girl of 13!

Her sister, Asha Bosle, is just four years younger. She too started singing at the tender age of 10. And, as I write this Post, does she still sing?

Amitabh Bachchan will be 70 this October. Does he still act? Does he still hold a billion TV-viewers  glued? Does he still endorse products? Does he still walk on ramps/ promote charity causes? 

Sachin Tendulkar is 39. He made his debut at the age of 16. And, is he still there at the crease? Still endures?

Well, everyone cannot be a Husain or Sachin. They need not…

But, I told my son this:

 if, in a world of man-eat-man competition, 

Amitabh, Lata and Sachin still endure… 

then, there is a reason to hope… 

Yes, anyone can endure…

It was really a beautiful journey… amazing visuals of lush-green meadows, fog-hugged mountains… silent valleys and dark tunnels… the breeze kept caressing the car-window as if it wanted to whisper into our ears the good-news:

“Hey, you have within you what it takes to endure… for so long!”


Pics.: 1. Amit Bhoir
         2. Roopa Sushil


Raveena Pahuja said…
Amazing post. Thank you. Raveena
Hanif said…
Loved the piece. Inspiring. Hanif
Kumar said…
Dear Gerry,
The Posts as well as the picture are mind blowing.

Kumar N
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Raveena. Love, GERRY
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks Hanif. Love. GERRY
Gerald D'Cunha said…
Thanks a lot Kumar... Means a lot. Love. GERRY

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