Published: 19th October 2019
Canteen Fundas: The secret to success is placing your bets on what you are good at
The options that you are passionate about and have a chance of being the best at are your best bets. Focus time and energy on them and chances of succeeding will improve
Rahul’s in a dilemma, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku sitting at a table near the window in the college canteen. ‘He’s interested in cricket, music, travel, comedy, writing, academics and so many other things.’
‘So, what’s the problem Rahul?’ smiled Rakesh.
‘I don’t know which ones will make me rich, famous and successful, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘Should I do things that I enjoy doing or study and get a job?’
‘To be successful, you have to be the best in that field. You have to be passionate about it because it needs years of practice. There’s a difference between enjoying things and being passionate about them. But tell me, which among these do you think you can be the best at?’
‘I don’t know, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘I feel that if I try really hard, I can be the best at anything.’
‘Let’s narrow down your options then. What have you practised so far? Won compliments and awards for?’
‘I’ve learnt and practised cricket and music for many years now. I won a prize for essay writing and two for music performances. And I score well in Math.’
‘Good, those are what you’re passionate about and good at then,’ said Rakesh. ‘What’s important now is how badly you want to become the best. If you’re required to put in 5,000 hours and more of intense practice over the next five years, which ones would you choose?’
‘Not cricket, bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘Maybe three years at best for it. But I can commit to music and writing. But does that mean I have to let go of my other interests?’
‘Not really,’ said Rakesh. ‘You just have to reorient your focus. Instead of spreading your time and energy across five activities, choose one or two and focus 80 per cent of your energy on them. Use the other 20 per cent for other interests. That way, your chances to succeed improve drastically. And when you succeed in one, you’ll find the freedom, confidence and space to explore other talents.’
‘What about academics then?’ asked Rinku.
‘Academics offers options to succeed at too,’ said Rakesh. ‘If you want to study for another four to five years, it makes sense to devote 80 per cent attention to it.’
‘Bhaiyya, will I succeed if I do all this?’ asked Rahul.
‘It depends on how badly you want it,’ said Rakesh. ‘It’s important to enjoy the process. Then, success becomes a happy byproduct. When you are passionate, you engage, get better at your work and attract more success.’
‘Music and studies then bhaiyya,’ said Rahul. ‘Math especially. I can commit to these for life!’
‘Wonderful,’ said Rinku. ‘Let’s commit to chai and biscuits for now.’
Pro tip: The options that you are passionate about and have a chance of being the best at are your best bets. Focus time and energy on them and chances of succeeding will improve.