Before Narendra Damodardas Modi led his party to victory in the general elections and became the Prime Minister of India, he said during a campaign rally at Amethi on May 5, 2014: “Log kehte hain ki Modi haar jayega toh kahan jayega. Tum chinta mat karo. Meri chai banane ki ketli tayyar hai (People ask me where will I go if I lose; they need not worry. My tea-making kettle is ready).”
While it shows how inner strength can take us to heights from even humble beginnings, another lesson to take is to always keep a second option, a plan ‘B’, to fall back on if the first strategy fails. Life is full of options. If one doesn’t work out, do not consider it the end. It is a sign that there may be another, perhaps a better choice, waiting.
Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru completed his law education from Trinity College, Cambridge; and in 1912, started his career in Allahabad court with his father, Motilal Nehru, a successful lawyer. After some time, however, he moved to politics. So an Indian student of law, who was asked what he would do after completing the course, replied: “Chal gayi to Motilal, nahin chali to Jawaharlal (If I succeed, I’d be like Motilal, and if I fail, there’s always the option of being Jawaharlal).”
The wise formula applies to both political and non-political life. Nature gives you many opportunities to succeed. Its laws are always in your favour. If you lose a job, pick up another. If you lose majority in the House, grab the role of constructive opposition.
Once in a valley, I saw rivulets cascading down from mountain peaks. The way each stream flowed until hitting a boulder, it wasn’t trying to break the rock in order to advance. Rather, it simply swerved to the left or right, around the sides of the rock, and continued its journey uninterrupted. There is always a way around things and obstacles in life, too.
When you fail to make the first option count, you need to divert your energy instantly to discovering the second option. Nature and history both give us a message: to close the game with victory, you need to keep your options open.
The writer is a freelance contributor based in Ambala Cantt firstname.lastname@example.org