“Don’t let failures go to your heart or success to your head.” I seriously lost count of the number of times this was quoted by me, but inexplicably it has a lasting imprint and impression on me. This is a highly motivating quote which helps when my spirits sag and grounds me when I feel giddy with success. We will introspect on the first part of the quote, “Don’t let failures go to your heart”. In any journey that we embark on, or any initiative for that matter, the start can prove to be the biggest stumbling block. Kickstarting is the first part of the journey, quite like turning the ignition on. Keep going – despite everything, and against all odds. Yes, there will be blockades and stoppages, but that shouldn’t limit your progress. The quote “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going” is absolutely true! In every nook and corner, there is always something to confront us. You cannot be cowed by challenges but rather turn it around to your advantage because it makes you stretch your very limits far and beyond the bearable, and makes you believe that there is a world out there with infinite promises and possibilities. In Gandhiji words “Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.” Keep Going! Once we start, sustaining the momentum is as important as the start and we need to keep going in the right direction. But what’s the right direction? Something which has growth and a forward movement like the east and north combination – the connotation is forward (East) and upward (North). North-East, in my opinion, is the right direction. In your initiative, if you have the forward movement, it eventually leads to growth. Here is where most people get stuck in their loop and keep circling or stagnating. The growth should be spiral. Keep growing! When you keep going and growing, the gradual and governing progression is to reach the slot at the top, which I state as leadership. “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” Getting to the top is an achievement as a leader, but the trait is to lead by example such that you become a source of inspiration for many others to tread on your footsteps and follow your principles and practices. “The more you spend, the richer you become” – There is no way in this world to accomplish this other than imparting knowledge. When you transfer wisdom to this world, it’s like the first gleam of the dawn, divine in manifestation, which dispels the darkness of ignorance as a beacon of hope burning bright. As a leader, when you are prospering and success is beyond measure, “don’t let your success go to your head”. When you are in that realm, you are glowing. Keep Glowing! So it’s a journey from Start to Lead. This perhaps defines the purpose of this blog as well. Gandhiji in his younger days was fraught with stage fear that he used to stutter. The sight of the stage used to shake him up, but in the years that were to follow, he shook the British stronghold and shipped them back home. He led his people to liberation which Nehru in his maiden speech as Prime Minister would proudly declare “Long years ago, we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.” Gandhiji kept going, without wilting in the wake of a crisis that confronted him day in and day out. He never took his eyes off his people or their plight – be it Dandi March, Satyagraha, or the Civil Disobedience Movement. The path could be many; it eventually leads to your destination. Gandhiji, the universal apostle of peace, is known for ahimsa – non-violence. It’s not an act of cowardice to offer the other cheek when you are slapped on one. It’s a demonstration of character and courage even during challenging circumstances. He was exemplary as a leader practicing his own principles, the path undertaken and the ability to enroll people even in a rigorous route of reform to practise his principles – that’s how he led by example, and made a lasting impact as a legend whose philosophy is preached all over the world. And he was a mass leader with a tremendous following, not just in his own country but across continents that inspired people like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela and still inspires people as recently quoted by President Obama. That’s the glow of a leader. Keep glowing! Gandhian principles are popular even today in the whole world as it can be applied in any walks of life or in the wake of a crisis. No wonder, the glow of Gandhiji makes him a luminary – a legend of his own. I remember Elton John’ song “candle in the wind” during Princess Diana’s funeral, some of the excerpt of the song is captured here. “You called out to our country And you whispered to those in pain Now you belong to heaven And the stars spell out your name And it seems to me you lived your life Like a candle in the wind Never fading with the sunset When the rain set in And your footsteps will always fall you Along England’s greenest hills Your candle’s burned out long before Your legend never will” The candle is the supreme sacrifice of illumination. It exterminates darkness by extinguishing its own life. ‘Die’ in this context is to put to death to the ego in the form of ‘I’. Only when the ego is purged out in a person and clothed by the virtue of humility, it makes oneself level-headed to live their life for others. That’s how the person glows, like inscribed in the scriptures, ‘The spirit of man is the candle of the God, searching all the inward parts’ and reiterates that ‘men light a candle, and put it on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house’. The candle is the leader who should lead the way by the glow of the light. For all the non-violence preached by Gandhi, a pop of a bullet plugged out his life but his persona and principles were passed to posterity and remain immortal. Yes, Gandhi died, but his ideals and values glow even today. Like that song “Your candle’s burned out long before, Your legend never will.” So, keep it going, keep it growing and keep it glowing…

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