We Indians are always proud of our family irrespective of the way they are. We always have the best wife, mom, dad and siblings. I am no different. I have been fortunate to be part of a family which both fantastic and unique. However I won’t be talking about why our family is unique or something which is self-glorifying. Today, I will try to reflect on few things I learned from my brother.
My brother, 35+, married to lovely wife with a smart son (5) and a new born daughter waiting to turn 1. He has done his masters and has been very successful in the software industry. Sounds normal, he looks normal too. However what he does is something I cannot stop bragging about to just about every other guy I meet. Seeing and interacting with him I have learned many things but in the interest of time I will limit it to 3 important things. So here it goes.
1. Yes, Anything is possible (but you just need belief)
If I do happen to come up with list of things my brother has tried in life, you will be surprised by the length of that list. So I will keep it to key ones. For starters, he did his masters in Botany so his only option was to join a research team or be a lecturer in a college. He did not get the former and hated the latter. So he joined a sales team in a bank. Few months into the job he ‘invented’ new never thought about shortcuts to get more sales and achieved considerable success. Instead of choosing to climb the ladder in the industry he used the spare time to take rest, lots of rest.
After some time, he started hating the travelling involved in sales with all his might. So he chose to try software industry and joined to learn Java but fell in love with Photoshop. So he opted to become a web designer. Couple of years on and he became so good that he never had to compromise at any place and before he had to he called it quits. His confidence meant that even during recession he was able to change 4 jobs in 3 months. For me this surely says anything is possible but yes, you need confidence and lots of them.
2. Innovation is possible every day, in everything, anywhere!
Innovation is a big word and we seldom use it in our daily life because we 'know' that it is a term meant to be used by innovators and scientists. Well, not for my brother. Call it his desire to explore ‘short cuts’ or just pure eye to simplify things, he has this knack to innovate a new effective method to carry out a particular task and excel in it. Be it software, cooking, or playing tennis he has come out with never seen ideas and techniques and implemented with jaw dropping efficiency.
Obviously, those who have spent years mastering the norm discourage him due to their fear of the unknown and/or utter disbelief about how good the new method is. There are plenty of such ‘masters’ who are ‘experts’ to everyone and once they say ‘No’ to something it should ideally remain so. However my brother’s belief in him and his ideas meant that he was most often than not, Mr.Unstoppable. Here are two examples that I remember.
Firstly, he is a great cook with unusual flavour. He still cooks tasty unnameable stuff every day which most of us enjoy eating. Initially there were people who always said “this is not the way to cook” or “this won’t come right” and so on but he never stopped. Now, with the success he got most of us encourage him with appreciation and hopefully soon he might come up with his own site for this.
Secondly, about his Tennis shot. He started playing tennis late last year. He had not held the tennis racquet before. Within few months, He developed a shot – a forehand slice. First to notice is his coach and thup came the discouragement – “this won’t work at the top level”. The still plays his favourite forehand slice and uses it more than his forceful normal forehand.
For everyone who has little understanding of tennis will know that slice is not as forceful as forceful forehand shot. However this shot is faster than his forehand and add to it the fact that the ball skids and spins after pitching. I struggled to believe at first and return them back later. It is the most effective shot I ever seen (in TV or otherwise).
These are just two examples out of the many I can think of. They all confirms that with confidence innovation is only as far as your next thought.
3. Keep looking, never settle!
By the time we reach 30, most folks would have buried all their dreams, desires and fantasies to accept the ‘reality’ and 'settle' down in life. If anyone thinks about doing something new or different, he/she has to first content with his/her own fears and then contend with resistance from the family.
Add to that, the whole society falling flat on the person and dictating what to do – stick to safety. This very reason makes most of us not to venture outside our comfort zones and end up regretting the same at some point in time. Given that life is extremely uncertain our desire to seek certainty is laughable. However most of us continue to do it.
I am no exception to this trend as I have been a fence sitter for all these years with an eye on my brother and all other people like him. My brother being on the other side of the fence has tried so many things till now that I don’t want to imagine, let alone listing them down. He was not stopped either by the fear of failure nor the taunts of ‘I told you so’ from those safety seekers.
Even at phase of his family life, he is at it as I write. Given his high paying job he could have so easily fallen for the safety trap. But he has quit an easy full time job in the software industry and trying to make it big in photography, his passion. Currently he is working on building a portfolio of stock photos and public domain photos to serve everyone who is in need of photos for their personal use or for business.
If you are wondering why you have not heard of him, well it is simple – because he is not a celebrity (well, at least not yet) and the idea of writing this piece did not flash me before. And as I write this, he has just turned over another calendar year. I wish him very happy birthday and hope he succeeds with all might and glory so that those ‘I told you so’ comments will be for him than against.