Intro : The book enlightens the key human values like courage, humility and honesty while linking these with specific guideposts in diverse situations of everyday life.
|Mantras for Success: What it Takes to Reach the Top; Shiv Malik, Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd; Pp 285, Price: 295|
Looking inward and based on the life experiences of others, Shiv Malik advocates the importance of honing one’s persona, skills and character traits for professional success at the workplace. By citing examples, he enlightens the reader on key human values like courage, humility and honesty while linking these with specific guideposts in diverse situations of everyday life. He suggests ways to fight failure, depression, rejection, criticism, personal loss, loss of reputation, disappointments, let-downs, unfairness, meanness, grief, pain and adversity in every sphere of life. He openly admits that initially he himself did not know how to react to negative emotions, but gradually discovered that a positive attitude and healthy growth habits made for success in life.
He came to the following important conclusions: first, character is directly responsible for success at the workplace; second, people who understand and empathise with others’ emotions as well as their own succeed much more than others and display positive attitude, sound growth habits and good values; thirdly, management of emotions and adoption of positive attitude, growth habits and deft handling of difficult situations are different aspects of a sound character. While brilliance and intelligence are useful attributes, often mediocrity emerges victorious; also, at times a rare sense of enterprise, at other times extraordinary drive, courage and initiative, skilful networking or even pure luck can reap success.
Section 1 of the book is peppered with real-life situations which reveal the secrets of success of those personalities who synthesise intrinsic merit with human values. It suggests a prescription for inculcating qualities of courage (for instance, the author cites the example of ISRO’s mission of developing India’s first satellite launch vehicle to put Rohini satellite into orbit in 1979, when at the third stage, it tumbled and landed in the Bay of Bengal but success was achieved the following year, when SLV-3 was successfully launched), humility (here is given the example of Abraham Lincoln of USA, who, when asked how he would treat the Southerners after they had lost in the Civil War, replied he would treat them in a way as if they had never gone to war), integrity (tennis professional Vitals Gerulaitis hit a ball that touched the net but reached across while his opponent Eliot Teltscher lifted the ball across. The crowd cheered him but Teltscher indicated that he had touched the net in his dive to retrieve the ball and conceded defeat), hard work, quick mind, wisdom, discipline, responsibility, kindness, sharing and caring, etc.
A redeeming feature of this section is the palliatives to achieve happiness and come to terms with life in times of distress as part of the prescriptive process.
Section 2 deals with attitudes, reactions and habits that assure success. They in turn help to shape the right responses to situations at workplace and in life and stand in good stead.
The reader is taken on a roller coaster ride through practical situations faced at the workplace, like how to deal with normal and rogue bosses, subordinates and the management while suggesting solutions to problems, management of time, art of strategic thinking, management of crises, taking difficult decisions, making trade-offs, strategising, winning or losing and learning from both success and failure. This section acts as a guide on how to handle criticism, anger, jealousy, success, power, failure, fear and other emotions while pursuing learning throughout life.
Manju Gupta (The reviewer is former Editor of the NBT)