It was a couple of days after I joined my first job, (which was corporate sales for Govt accounts) that my boss, Mr Aman Nagar, the Delhi Head, asked me to go and pick up a tender from a govt entity and gave me cash for the same. I just didn’t understand why I, being an MBA from a premier institute who was paid a relatively high salary, was being send for such a menial task rather then a peon. I reached the place in a bad mood and as expected had a bad interaction with the concerned govt clerk, a class of employees who were anyway known for their rude and unhelpful attitude.
I came back in a worse mood and dumped the tender on my boss’s desk and told him straightaway that this was wastage of a resource like me.
Being a nice guy, he started laughing. Then he patiently explained that the reason for sending me was to have a pair of eyes at the customer’s end, so that a relationship could be made with the clerk, to understand the dynamics of the place....who are the decision makers....how were the specs decided...were they suggested by a competitor and so on.
Then he gave me some valuable life lessons. The first one on human psychology as he explained that a clerk has an unappreciative job where the good work is expected as routine and mistakes are severely reprimanded, he has a low salary and must be finding it difficult to make ends meet. And the only time such a person feels that he has some power is during the interactions like the one with me that day. So rather than feeling bad one should empathise with him.
And then he shared two life lessons which have stayed with me all along.
First one that a successful person controls his mood and secondly he always controls his reaction. He may not be able to control the situation but he is able to control his reaction. And that I should have controlled my temper while dealing with the rude clerk. He gave me the example of my father, asking me that I must have noticed that my father wouldn’t be reacting in such situations and must be having the ability to stay calm, and I had to agree as it was true.
Around that time I was finally able to complete reading the book - seven habits of highly effective people(not an easy book to read by the way). And Mr Steven covey also shared similar lessons.
The habits were were very good but the two lessons which have stayed with me were in the preface - taking initiative and doing things which are important even when doesn’t like doing them.
So ability to control mood, taking initiative, controlling reaction and doing important things even when one doesn’t feel like it are the important life lessons if one wants to be successful. All these lessons deal with the ability to control mind and my efforts to implement these lessons in my life brought mixed results uptil some time back. And then I learned the science of mind-programming and results started improving.
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