Being successful is what everyone desires. However, this journey can be filled with rejections, failures, and downfalls. When we see success stories of remarkable individuals, we focus on how well they are doing. What is not visible is the amount of struggle they have endured or the mountains they have climbed. Though every success saga is a tale of turmoil, setbacks, and disappointment, what is common is a strong will and a fierce determination to never give up.
Missile Man Of India: Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam
“Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mt Everest or to the top of your career.”
Born on October 15, 1931, in Rameswaram, APJ Abdul Kalam was not just a scientist but also one of the most beloved presidents of India. He belonged to a humble family; his father was a boat owner, and his mother, was a homemaker. Though he grew up in a simple household devoid of a fancy lifestyle, his yearning to learn was immense. After completing schooling, he sold newspapers in order to support his father. His introduction to engineering came from watching his own father construct a boat. Kalam was fascinated by the entire process of how the boat would magically float on water. That remained his most important inspiration till he became an aeronautical engineer. He wanted to be a pilot but faced rejection as he secured 9th position and there were only 8 spots. He was dejected and disappointed, but not hopeless. His passion and enthusiasm led him to an alternative career step as an aeronautical engineer. Once, during his college days, his professor gave him three days to present a complicated design, failing which his scholarship would be revoked. Kalam worked day and night, skipping sleep and food to come up with a design that left his professor pleasantly surprised. Needless to say, he retained his scholarship, something very important to him.
Kalam’s journey from a senior scientific assistant to becoming the President of India was filled with numerous unforgettable achievements. His life inspires one to always have the zeal to dream big and put in efforts to achieve, despite everything.
She who won against the sorcery of life: JK Rowling
“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Who has not been a Potterhead at one point in their lives? JK Rowling ushered a reading revolution few others were able to create. With Harry Potter, she made the whole world believe in magic all over again. Her own tale, however, is far from magic, and purely based on hard work. She faced her first rejection when she did not get accepted to Oxford University. After she graduated from another school, she undertook various jobs but didn’t really do well. Seven years later, she found herself at the lowest point in her life. With the demise of her mother, a failed marriage, no job, and an infant to raise, she felt dejected and hit rock bottom. Almost ready to give up and on the verge of contemplating suicide, she decided to compile the stories she had been writing and finally conceptualized the now world-famous Harry Potter series. A lot of the characters and incidents were inspired by her own journey. Her set of dejections wasn’t over as she was rejected seven times before she could finally publish her book, which went on to become a sensation. As they say, the rest is history. Starting from nowhere, she went on to be the first author to become a billionaire.
Rowling’s career path inspires one to never lose hope, and to overcome low points to rise like a phoenix.
James Bond of India: Ajit Doval
“Accept the reality as it is and not as you wish it to be.”
Current National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India, Ajit Doval was born on January 20, 1945 in Uttarakhand. The man has proved himself at his best in the highs and lows of life. He was previously the Director of the Intelligence Bureau in India, after spending a decade as the head of its operation wing. Doval is a retired IPS officer who started his police journey back in 1968 and was an active part of various anti-insurgency missions like Operation Black Thunder. In addition, he played a key role in gathering intelligence information for ‘Operation Blue Star’ – the Indian military action to remove a Sikh leader and his followers from Harmandir Sahib in Punjab. Doval has displayed exemplary negotiation skills in at least 15 Indian Airlines hijackings. One of his most remarkable accomplishments includes seven years as an undercover spy and later working in the Indian High Commission. He was also an active member of the Intelligence Bureau. His supervision of major surgical strikes made his loyalty to his country very clear. Doval’s career journey is a remarkable example of having a determined mindset and assertive attitude.
When your intentions are crystal clear and you don’t fear hardships, your life becomes an inspiration for many.
Iron Woman – Indra Nooyi
“Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization.”
Born on October 28, 1955 in Tamil Nadu, India, Indra Nooyi is a woman who has set a benchmark for so many young girls, out in the world. Back in her time, when women were expected to be homemakers, Indra was flying across the sky with a motivated mindset to challenge stereotypes. She graduated from Madras Christian College and later pursued her Masters in finance and marketing from IIM, Calcutta. She worked for a few years before going to study at Yale Management School in the US but found it tough to be accepted by her peers there. She worked on herself and overcame the challenge by gaining confidence in who she truly was. From being inducted into the PepsiCo Board of Directors to becoming their CEO in 2006, she proved her passion and skills gracefully, all the while embracing her true cultural self. She led PepsiCo to new levels of success through her ideology of innovation and problem solving. Though she describes herself as an ordinary woman, she has set a high bar by being one of the most powerful business women of all time.
Her simplicity and determination has taught the world that there is nothing holding you back, but yourself.
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