“Logic can take you form point A to point B. Imagination can take you everywhere.”
Ever seen a pro make a split second decision about something and which goes on to change the course of history?
Well, I’m a fan of cricket and there’s no better place than sports to find great men with a ‘never say die’ mindset that makes regular folks go: “What the hell are you doing!”
MS Dhoni, a relative newcomer to the Indian Cricket Team, being assigned the captaincy role in a world cup tournament was far from pragmatic throughout the cup.
However, what he went on to do at an extremely crucial point in the 2007 World T20 Final shocked the world.
Here’s what happened:
Thirteen runs were needed off the last six balls, and Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who had brought his side back into the game, was on strike at Johhanesburg. But for India, it was only a matter of taking that one last wicket.
For those of you unfamiliar with cricket. Think of it like this: All India needed to win the match was one strike out and all Pakistan needed to win the match were 2 home runs. Trust me in cricket the ‘home runs’ come a lot easier and this was well within reach for the batsman to achieve in 6 deliveries.
Now, instead of asking an experienced bowler to bowl the last 6 deliveries, or at least someone more ‘safer’ than a complete newcomer, MS Dhoni promptly gave the last 6 deliveries to Joginder Sharma. Everyone who was watching the match on television probably wanted to climb into their TV sets and punch Dhoni on the face for risking a match like that.
Then this happened:
1st delivery: Joginder balls a wide ball (something like a foul ball)
Concedes 1 run and the revised target was now 12 runs of 6 deliveries. (Wide balls don’t count but concede a run.)
1st delivery again: No run. Batter swings and misses.
12 runs required of 5 deliveries.
2nd delivery: 6 runs! (kind of like a home run)
6 runs needed of 4 deliveries!
3rd delivery: OUT.
Result: India win by 5 runs!
Now here’s something interesting. Upon being asked later why he didn’t get one of the most experienced Indian bowlers Harbhajan Singh to bowl the last over, Dhoni replied:
“He wasn’t pitching the deliveries in the zone I wanted and he wasn’t confident about being able to pitch them in those areas.”
The man in question Harbhajan Singh was at the time 6 years Dhoni’s senior in the team. Had Dhoni’s bold move backfired in any way that would well have been the end of his career as a captain at least.
However, the rest they say is history. In a international career spanning two and a half decades, he has pretty much been there and done that. In fact, with time MS began to symbolize a fearless brand of unorthodox leadership.
Today, MS Dhoni is one of the most famous, respected and appreciated people in India. In fact, he is an honorary Colonel in the Indian Para Regiment! Para commandos are like the Airborne Regiment in the US so.. pretty badass.
If you analyze the most awesome risk takers and why they are able to succeed while doing something similar is suicidal and unthinkable for most else.. it’s almost always because these people have 3 common characteristics. Just pull out the info on these guys and you’ll see it.
They all have these 3 common characteristics:
- All of them are pretty grounded individuals.
- Society more or less perceives them as ‘good men’.
- They have strong family bonds and work ethics.
In short, these are people who have their ‘heart in the right place’.
Let’s take a few more examples:
- Jack Canfield and ‘Chicken Soup For the Soul’
Most brand expansions tend to fail however in Jack Canfield’s case, even after facing continuous rejections by major NY publishers, he stuck with the idea of compiling real life inspirational stories into a single book. Finally HCL, a small self help publisher in Florida agreed to publish the book and the rest they say is history. Overall the Chicken Soup series has sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 43 languages and has been published in 100 countries!
In an interview Jack Canfield said that he just woke up one day expecting a lot more from life than what he had been living upto that point and suddenly an idea came across his mind that would fulfill his inner purpose of spreading hope and also provide financial abundance.
2. Azim Premji and Wipro
Inheriting a vegetable oil empire named Western India Palm Refined Oil Limited, Azim Premji was an entrepreneur by accident. Long term planning not withstanding, after his father’s demise, Azim had to drop out of Stanford and rush back home to take charge of the family business. However, how he built an IT company of massive proportions standing atop the foundations of an oil company is a story of a lifetime. IT vacuum in India did play a huge role in this decision however making a move this bold required a huge level of self confidence and a deep understanding of what was required in the moment of time.
Azim Premji is also famous for being a ‘philanthropist CEO’ who still flies economy class!
3. Ratan Tata and Indica
Ratan Tata achieved the dream of an ‘indigeneously developed’ passenger vehicle that could compete with the level of service provided by imported cars. This task was beyond monumental as India lacked some of the most important aspects of automobile production on an ‘indingenous’ model that could compete with world standards. However, Indica became the first locally developed car and provided a huge amount of sentimental as well as tangible value to the Indian people.
Now, this was Risk number 1 that to the outer world seemed preposterous. Everyone was almost certain that Ratan Tata as CEO would fail in this endeavor. He didn’t.
Then he went a step further and developed the World’s cheapest car the ‘Nano’:
Somewhere, this noble idea of making four wheelers affordable to all Indians came from the right intention however Tata failed to anticipate the deeper psyche of the Indian consumer that seeks to distance itself from ‘cheap things’. The Nano was a well designed practical commuter costing less than $1400! However, there weren’t enough takers for it in India and the car was later redesigned to be sold abroad as its compact dimensions ensured it would be something quite valuable for European consumers if it could be upgraded to European standards.
In the end Ratan Tata found an opportunity in failure and managed to not fail. Again!
As if this wasn’t enough, he went ahead and did this:
The JLR sale at the time it took place was more or less like a time bomb or so the world perceived. The brand name is all that had remained of yesteryear’s exotic sports coupe and Ford was eager to offload it from their kitty because they just didn’t know what to do with it.
Interestingly, here’s what had happened 9 years before this sale took place:
Ratan Tata and his team faced ‘humiliation’ when they went to sell the group’s fledgling car business to Ford in 1999. It had seemed like a good idea back then to get the pros in the game having already given India a locally manufactured commuter.
“They told us ‘you do not know anything, why did you start the passenger car division at all’. They said they will do us a favor by buying our car division,” a Tata Group veteran said while recalling a meeting of Ratan Tata and other top executives with Ford officials in Detroit in 1999.
“This was in 1999 and come 2008, the same Ford’s JLR was bought by us. Ford chairman Bill Ford thanked Tata, saying ‘you are doing us a big favour by buying JLR‘,” Kadle said, to a thunderous applause at an awards function on Thursday night.
To take gutsy decisions some of which may well lack sufficient data at their basis, a lot of times entrepreneurs need to rely on their ‘intuition‘ or gut feeling.
- People are going to distance you in these moments because they can’t see what you’re able to see. Quite often this may even result in alienation for a brief period from people whose presence is bringing you down.
- However for people who have their priorities straight and who find their heart in the right place, such critical decisions even with the massive risks involved aren’t all that difficult to make.
- Entrepreneurship is a way of life and this is quite often why some of the best sports persons end up to be some of the best motivational speakers and entrepreneurs later in their career.
- Yes it is true that many athletes are actually as far away as possible from logical self leadership as is required in entrepreneurship but if you look closely you’ll find sooner or later the person who displays or has developed the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ ends up a great entrepreneur in one way or another.
- The point is to find a way to return to the core of your self knowledge. The core of your self knowledge is really where your in touch with your personal truth. Any person who is in touch with his personal truth will actually never make a wrong decision based on his or her intuition.
- Quite often it isn’t what you see but what you are able to perceive everything else being in place. This is also why great entrepreneurs are like great inventors who spend a lot of time alone.
- Take Thomas Alva Edison for instance. He would quite often lock himself up in his lab and just ask his wife to roll a can of soup and some bread from an open window!
Why do you think that is? Why do you think the stereotype of the ‘good man’ is one of a brooding pensive responsible person who keeps is cool and keeps to himself?
It’s because when you’re faced with a surprisingly difficult problem to solve, quite often, it is like finding your way out of a maze. If you are just able to get in touch with the depth of who you really are, you’ll be able to feel your way out because sometimes when you don’t have enough data which you quite often won’t as an entrepreneur because you’re probably in pursuit of something that hasn’t been done yet at least in your state, country or community etc; when you are in pursuit of something that is quite vague so to speak, you need to rely on your inner guidance systems to guide you forward and help you find a way.
As always, here are a couple of great videos to help you tap into the mindset of this article and grab the essence of the concept of building a healthy and deeper connection with your ‘self‘.
I hope this series so far has been able to lend some value to your learning of entrepreneurship and providing some level of motivation with these stories. I would be amazing to hear from you! Leave me some comments! 🙂