What Did You Gain Or Lose By Taking A Risk?

I am not much of a risk taker, or, more accurately, there were not many instances when I had to take risks. I can think of three major risks that I took about all of which I have written separately in my earlier blogs but this is a summary of the three to address this week’s 2 on 1 weekly Friday blog post where my consort Shackman and I write on the same subject. This week’s topic has been suggested by Shackman who has just taken a big decision about which I am sure he will write this week. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say.

The first risk that I took in my life was when I was all of 22 when I decided to quit my well settled job and life in Chennai to go to Business School for a two year course. I was more or less constrained to take the risk as I had to handle some ticklish personal issues in Chennai and prudence suggested that I remove myself from the scene for a while. I took the risk and the rest as it is said, is history.

Business School, a novel concept in India at that time, resulted in my being recruited off campus by a multinational company where I spent the next twenty three years in a successful career. While I lost the carefree lifestyle of a bachelor by going to the BS, I gained a great career and made many friends, many of whom are still part of my life.

The next big risk that I took was three years later when I was 25. It was a deliberate one of asking my late wife who was till then a friend, to marry me. I lost my bachelor status but gained a partner for the next forty years plus all that marriage brought along with it including a great son.

The third big risk that I took was to quit my employer of 23 years to seek my fortune elsewhere. I took that decision as I knew that I would be uncomfortable with the future direction that the company took and in retrospect, all that I had foreseen took place and I have no regrets whatsoever. Taking that risk exposed me to four other experiences of differing types and those experiences were priceless. Here too, I gained in stature and made many friends some of whom are still very much part of my life.

By taking those three big decisions, I did not lose much but, gained a great deal and the gains are still working for me in my retired life. I have no regrets.

Did School Prepare You For The Real World? 2 On 1 # 2.

What a question my fellow blogger Shackman has asked!

I was an indifferent student and failed to pass the Board Examinations for the School Leaving Certificate in the first attempt and had to take the supplementary examinations to pass them later.

I was however an avid Boy Scout and Cadet of the Naval Wing of the National Cadet Corps. These two programmes taught me a great deal of discipline, team spirit and patriotism that prepared me for the real world. Frankly speaking, apart from these two activities I cannot think of any that helped me later.

If however Business School is also included in the title, then I would say, yes it certainly did to the extent of getting me a Management Trainee’s position in a great company. Here too, what I learned as a trainee and junior Manager in the firm helped me a great deal later in my life than the theoretical knowledge that I had picked up in the Business School.

What both these institutions taught me however was how to learn. That prepared me for the real world as it does even today.  This is why I maintain that education is learning to learn.

Shackman picked this week’s topic and so I will choose next week’s. Be sure to check Shackman’s take on this week’s topic.

Mugs.

This post has been inspired by a post with the same title by Kylie.

In that post I have left the following comment:

“Some years ago a dear friend, alas no more sent me a parcel for my birthday. On opening it I found two lovely beer mugs and a card that said “Mugs for a mug from a mug.”

Those two mugs however became history years ago but my home is full of mugs of all sizes including yours truly, his son and daughter in love.

I love to drink my tea or coffee from mugs and when I have to use cups in restaurants, I find it boring.

Mugs seem to chase me wherever I go. I have got many gifts of mugs inscribed with messages calling me good husband, father, uncle etc and some of them have survived the ravages of time.

The latest to join the collection is a pair of mugs a photograph of one of which is reproduced here. These were produced to commemorate my Business School class celebrating its golden jubilee earlier this year.  Photographs of all students were printed on the body and it took two mugs to accommodate all.  That is how we ended up with a pair of them each.

I could not attend the main function at the school, but I was sent the pair to be given to me during a celebration in Pune attended by my classmates resident here and their wives. I had written about that occasion too. Please read that last line in that post.

Self Esteem.

Self-Esteem

“People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light within.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

And that light is Self Esteem.

Conditioning plays such an important part in one’s life that self esteem to develop where the conditions are unfavourable can be a daunting task and unless there is a cheer leader / motivator who can keep one going even during the most depressing stages, it rarely does. Till a major turning point came in my own life, I went through life with low self esteem because, society and some relatives kept pointing out that I was a school dropout – good-for-nothing, capable only of getting into trouble and having a good time otherwise. It was in retrospect that I realised that having that good time was my way of coping with the low self esteem.

My light did not shine till circumstances forced me to go to Business School. To go there however, I had to first get my undergraduate degree for which a great deal of prodding needed to be undertaken by a remarkable lady who was my mother. I have written about it elsewhere and do not want to bore my readers with that old tale.

Going to Business School, graduating from there and securing a prestigious position through campus recruitment changed my personality somewhat and my marriage about a year after graduation, to an amazing lady gave me such emotional stability that there was no looking back as far as self esteem was concerned. It was exactly the moment when she agreed to marry me that I changed and it was like the proverbial bulb switching on.

So, what did that big turn around give me that I did not have before? The knowledge that a very intelligent and mature lady would consider me worthy of spending the rest of her life with me. That never left me since then. Even during some of my most trying times, fortunately she was around those days, I never felt that there was something wrong with me. I had bad things happening around me, but I was not a bad person. And I had proof!

“Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment — the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.”

~ Jorge Luis Borges

And apart from being grateful for getting my self esteem, there was another development much later in my life that made me grateful for not taking the self esteem to its illogical conclusion of narcissism when I saw that acting out through another person. Had it not been for my own self esteem, those few years of living with that person would have destroyed me. That it did not and I am here writing this post is proof enough that a healthy self esteem does wonders for one.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on this subject which was chosen by me for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order,  AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!