Life Lessons: Be the average guy

A few days back I had a very interesting interaction with It was a freewheeling chat on life and the lessons one can take away from ones own life – something which was of relevance to the younger generation. At the end of the discussion, Divya Nair from summarised it and put it up on their website for people to read. A few takeaways from the discussion which I thought might be of relevance to the youngsters of today. (taken from website)

Be the average guy: Be humble and work hard. It’s over two decades since I graduated from IIM-Bangalore. If I were to analyse the successes of my batchmates, I’d safely say the average guys (as compared to the toppers) have been much more successful. They’ve evolved as smarter individuals and have a good balance of efforts versus results. I have always believed that the ‘average’ guys are the best in the long haul. They don’t have the airs that toppers have. They’re willing to listen to others and put in more effort — a quality that is missing among the toppers and the ones who score the least in school and college.  Even if you are not the average guy, it helps, if in your mind, you think that you are nothing but average. The belief that you have a long way to go, makes you work harder.

Put in the effort needed. The know it all younger generation lacks commitment and is not willing to put in the effort needed. Some of it, I suppose, is because they haven’t seen the kind of struggle their parents have. Since everything seems to be available to them without a battle, several young people I have come across don’t seem to value the things they have/get. They often take for granted what the previous generation considered a luxury. They are impatient, want quick results and often lack commitment that is essential for the results to kick in.

Use the advantages of being young. The youth of today is also very high on energy and is full of ideas. The world has opened up in ways we couldn’t have thought of and, with it, their horizons have expanded too. Young Indians have a lot of passion when it comes to doing something they love. Everyone wants to stand out in the crowd. They network well, they adapt amazingly to the changing environment and they are comfortable with technology in a way that we may never be.

 Don’t try to be someone else.This generation loves to compare, which may not be such a bad thing if you only knew who to compare yourself with. Be original; be yourself; don’t imitate anyone.

Learn to be patient. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination. At the risk of using another cliché, don’t chase the money; chase your passion. As it happens, now is also a great time for you to do just that. In these last few years, we have evolved as a country.

Try your hand at entrepreneurship. Mainstream jobs are not growing and entrepreneurship is the buzzword of our times. Investors are more forthcoming and we, as a culture, are slowly but surely becoming more forgiving towards failure. Make the most of it. Put your ideas to test. Start a business. Be your own boss.

Don’t get dazzled by a glamorous lifestyle. Don’t lose yourself in the glamour and the fast pace that has come to define our lives. This holds especially true for those you who come from smaller towns to big cities for better opportunities. I have been in that situation and I know many who have been there. I can tell you that no one can guide you to sail through that phase — no book, no lecture will help. It is for you, and only you, to realise and keep reminding yourself all the time that if you are good enough to make it this far then it is important for you to make it count.

Find your calling. (Author) Ravinder Singh is a classic case in point. He comes from a small town called Burla in Orissa and went to the same college as I did. He gained tremendous success with the same English that most of us condemn. He’s the best example of how to find your niche. The virtual world has opened up a lot of opportunities for people who come from little known places in India. If you are one of those who are struggling to make a mark, go ahead and make use of the opportunities available.

A hobby is important. Pursue a hobby; it will give you something to look forward to when you have had a bad day at work.

Don’t just be an employer. Be a job creator instead. Don’t hire people who are less intelligent than you; they’ll only take you so far. Hire smart people; you’ll only grow with them and learn new things. Don’t treat your employees as competition. Treat them like family.

Welcome criticism. Don’t be stubborn and rigid. Respond to criticism and learn from your mistakes. Else you’ll fade out even before you know it.

Give back to society. Don’t just do this as part of the corporate social responsibility in your organisation. It could be something as simple as educating your domestic help’s son or daughter and do it without expecting any rewards.

And finally, stay in India! Sure, go forth and get international exposure. But once you’ve learned enough, come home and let your motherland benefit from what you have learnt.


The link to the article on the Rediff site is

26 replies »

  1. Your article on candy crush was nice… a perfect comparison to a brief crush or affair where mindless hours of time energy effort mindspace money are all spent to get to the seemingly next level… where one is completely dissatisfied if the next level is not being achieved.. where one loses sleep one way or the other.. where it becomes an obsession of some sort n the ego refuses to accept failure..
    human nature no matter what the issue at hand is inherently keeps seeking success
    keeps pushing for more and is dissatisfied until it gets there .. only to take that final resolution that it was betteroff without afterall…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Being an average guy is more relevant in todays indian scenario than it ever was. This is because we as a society have become more evolved than ever before. We have moved from the ‘best among all’ kind of attitude and become more comfortable with the less inherently brilliant variety who is willing to go that extra mile to achieve his goals and aspirations. Taking that a step further this variety of average guy takes tremendous pride and is extremely grateful for small
    achievements which he never actually imagined as he always thought that he was
    just the average person. This seemingly
    average mediocrity has infact turned out to become an advantage in todays scenario where we as indians have become more
    individualistic and independent and want to
    achieve for ourselves. We no longer take pride
    in our forefathers glories and past laurels but
    infact want to isolate ourselves from that baggage and achieve from scratch for
    The gifted ones or the more brilliant ones in this context stand to lose out as they carry baggage from past successes and laurels and are burdened by the ‘ been there done that’ attitude.
    To sum it all up the average guy in his humbleness works tirelessly and is greatful for
    small successes and the universe simply responds to that gratitude and rewards him abundantly !!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sir your post was very inspirational especially for the younger generations , the above mentioned facts was something related to SWAMI character from “if god was a banker” , thank you sir for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. May be pretty late in the day to comment… But late is better than never!

    Great article Ravi. In fact, my ex-boss from StanC, Mr Ramesh Srinivasan, once said the average persons carry the organisations on their shoulders as the high-fliers come and go with the change of winds. The average person, works hard and provides continuity! And even these skills are needed in an organisation, patient listening, meaningful debate, questions, playing the devil’s advocate! So that the new idea is fully tested from all risk perspectives and the team finally wins!


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