You can, if you think you can Part 2


My speech at SICASA NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON 5th Feb, 15 contd…

Think this through. Suppose in a room there are 9 rabbits running. Suppose you have to catch one of them. Which one will you select? No it shouldn’t be any. Select one and chase it down. If you are unable to catch it don’t move on to another rabbit. Stick to this rabbit. If you still cant catch it, change your strategy of catching but don’t change the rabbit. Those are not my words. They are the words of Jack Ma, the founder of alibaba.com and today amongst the richest men in the world. That’s the power of staying focused

S for Stay focused.

The year 2008. The place Johannesburg. Australia has just scored 434 in a 50 over match. No team has ever scored that much in the history of the game. As the South African team trooped into the dressing room crestfallen, their captain Graeme Smith told them in all seriousness, “I think the Aussies have scored 10 runs short.” That fired the imagination of the South Africans. H Gibbs played out of his skin and SA created history winning the match. That’s the power of Think Positive.

Or look at this that happened in Texas USA. From a batch of 30 students in Grade 7, the principal selected the best and brightest to be trained by 3 outstanding teachers during the next three years to train these boys so that in the Grade X exams they would rank amongst the top 1 percentile. The kids were thrilled. After all they had been selected as being the best. The parents were excited. After all their wards had been selected as the best. The 3 teachers were overjoyed. After all, they had been named the best. The children and the teachers worked hard, very hard. And at the end of the 3rd year at the Grade X exams all 30 excelled finishing in the top percentile. The teachers were self-effacing saying it was a pleasure to teach such exceptional students. The kids were happy. The parents were happy. And it was then that the truth was revealed. These 30 were not the best and brightest. Not by a mile. They were chosen at random from all categories of students, the best, the average and the good. The power of positive expectation had worked the magic!

Let’s now move on to another drama from real life. The year 2006. The CEO of PepsiCo Steve Reinemund had just resigned. A journalist asked him what was the most defining moment of his stay at PepsiCo. If you thought it was that during his tenure the market cap of the company crossed 100million dollars you are wrong! It seems that this is the one moment that tops his charts:

One morning he received a call in his office. It was a call from the CEO of Coke. Now Coke and Pepsi fight like India fights Pakistan. They fight for market share. They are not exactly on talking terms. The CEO of Coke was all thanks to the CEO of Pepsi. It seems that a confidential document of Coke had been wrongly delivered at the office of Pepsi and that it had been diverted to its rightful address Coke. He called up his admin to find out what had happened. He was told that yes it was true. That a packet meant for Coke had landed at the office of Pepsi. Just two people knew about it. The lady handling the post and her manager. The moment she noticed it they decided that the right thing to do was to send it to the right address. No checking. No finding out. No meetings. No discussion. Clearly being ethical is not old fashioned.

Can you read this go ahead? A jumbled word picture appears on the screen. And a person from the audience reads it out.

I am sure you initially found it hard to read. And then as you went on you could read it. The moral is simple: you find something difficult. Don’t postpone. Do it now. Once you do it, your confidence soars. The operative word is Now, N for Now.

We will now dip, really, truly and deeply into time. The year 1892. The scene: The Stanford Business School. Two young boys had trouble paying their college fees. So they hit upon an idea. They decided to do a fund raising party. And they spoke to the secretary of J Paderwski, the ace pianist of the time. The secretary said JP needed a guaranteed fee of 2000 dollars. The boys agreed. They sold tickets and managed to collect 1600 dollars. Once the show was over they went to JP and handed over the collections to him and a cheque for 400$ which they requested him to en-cash one month later. Paderwski said this was not on. He said you guys deduct your expense from the 1600$ collection, retain some money for your effort and pay me the balance. They happily did that.

The scene changes. Paderwski goes on to become the Prime Minister of Poland. World War 1 ravages Poland. He then approaches the US for food grains. He is directed to the Food and Agriculture Department. A guy called Edward Hoover heads it. In later years, he would go on to become the president of the United States. Hoover helps out Poland and over time Poland comes out of the famine. Paderwski flies down to New York to thank Hoover. And you know what. Hoover says, “I should thank you. You remember you once helped two Stanford boys. I am one of them”.

The ability to say Thanks even when you climb up the ladder of life it what marks the winners from the others.

Let me summarize what I told you.

I spoke to you about Goal. G for Goal. About future goals. About having it in writing. Having it on paper. I spoke to you about Responsibility. R for responsibility. About Karambir Kang. I talked to you about Effort. E for effort. About doing the extra 1-degree. I talked to you about Attitude. A for Attitude. About Mt. Everest. About Trust. T for trust. About the boy who swapped his marbles. I also told you are staying focused. S for Stay focused. The story of the rabbit and of Jack Ma. You heard about Think Positive. T for Think positive. About the Texas experiment and about 10 runs short. We looked at Ethics. E for Ethics. The story of PepsiCo. And I said about the importance of T. T for thanks. If you, yes U do all this, your Destiny, D for destiny is made. That would make you a GREAT STUDENT

We live today in one of the most exciting phases of world history. It’s the period when the bleeding edge of technology meets the leading edge of knowledge to throw out multiple opportunities. You must win in this new world. Take a look at this video to understand the sheer joy of winning and the pain of losing.

Thanks a lot for your attention

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About Pattabhi Ram

A chartered accountant by profession, a writer by passion and a teacher by accidental choice.
This entry was posted in SPEECH and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to You can, if you think you can Part 2

  1. ICSE Helper says:

    Reblogged this on Helpline for ICSE Students (Class 10) and commented:
    PART 2
    An inspiring read! Do take time out to read this article. 🙂
    Stay motivated!

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