Thursday, January 9, 2014


Pic.: Madan Manik

Last night, the mother of one of my students called me up from Kuwait. She wanted to know how her son, who studied under me here in Mumbai, was doing.

“Ma’am, I see a lot of improvement, since we last spoke,” I said to my student’s mother, “Don’t worry, he will do well.”

“But, sir, I don’t want him to become complacent,” the lady said with genuine concern, “He needs to be pushed and prompted all the time.”

“Oh yes, I agree with you ma’am,” I laughed, “You prompt him; I will push!”

No matter how badly my students do, and no matter how hopeless I, sometimes, might feel, I somehow try not to put more stress on the parents, make them more anxious. What I do is, that I try my level best to influence and motivate the student him/herself. Improvement is a continuous process; and, as a teacher, I am aware that the students need to be constantly reminded, constantly sensitized and ‘pushed’ to the process of improvement… For, complacency is the worst enemy of anyone who aspires to succeed, do well in life…

When complacency sets in our hearts, it first kills our passion… It makes us take our success for granted… We tend to turn overconfident of our abilities… We tend to assume that our ‘days of glory’ are there for ever… That we are, indeed, entitled to our success… And, like the Hare in the famous fable did, we tend to underestimate our competitors’ strength and go off to sleep! 

If ‘Passion for Excellence’ is another name for Success, then, we better guard ourselves against that silent enemy, the killer – ‘Complacency’…

In Dr. Spencer Johnson’s endearing book, ‘Who Moved My Cheese’, the fable beautifully conveys the moral:

“The quicker you let go

of Old Cheese,

the sooner you find

New Cheese.”

Complacency is the concern of every parent, every teacher, ever coach, every mentor… Recently, Sachin Tendulkar, in his moving farewell-speech at the Wankade stadium - so fondly, so humbly and so gratefully - spoke about his first coach ‘Achrekar sir’. Tendulkar eloquent described how, every day, his sir would take him on scooter to play various practice matches, all over Mumbai… In the first half of the day, at Shivaji Park… and in the second half, at Azad Maidan… That, his sir would watch his every match sitting in front of TV… And, finally, on a lighter note, the Master Blaster – the Greatest Batsman in the world – did say this:

“In my entire 29 years of career, my sir has never ever said to me “Well-played”. Because, he thought I would become complacent and stop working hard. Maybe, he can push his luck and wish me now ‘Well-done’ on my career… because, there are no more matches, sir, in my life.”

If that’s how complacency to be dealt with – yes, even with a mighty God-of-the-Game, Sachin Tendulkar… who am I to say a word against that?



Harish Rane said...

Truly inspiring Gerry! Keep writing, keep motivating! - Harish Rane

Kushal Gupta said...

Fully agree with the point made in the post. Kushal