I have an experience to tell you. It was 1955 and I was in the second year of my course in aeronautical engineering in Madras Institute of Technology. A team of students was working on a project, designing a low-level attack aircraft.
Our team was supposed to provide the design report with all the drawings in three months. Like my team-mates, I too was delayed by more than two weeks in submitting my drawings.
When Dr Srinivasan, our director, saw that I was nowhere near completion, he warned, "Kalam, if you don't complete in the next three days, your scholarship will be stopped."
That was a big jolt for me. The scholarship was my lifeline as my father could not afford the high cost of education at MIT. Determined to carry out the task in three days, I slept on a bench in college for three nights and went out only for food.
After three days, Dr Srinivasan visited my room and examined what I had done and said, "This is good, you have performed a few week's work in a few days." It was a great compliment.
I realised then that if something is at stake, the human mind gets ignited and its working capacity gets enhanced manifold. Challenges throw up opportunities. Once one selects a task, one should get immersed in it. Either you will succeed or fail; that risk will always be there.
Start by risking your own position for a mission. Say, 'Either I deliver or I go.' Prepare yourself for the endeavour. With effort and perseverance, you will succeed.
There is always a risk involved when we venture into something new there. This should not deter you. When you fail, you still have the experience gained to draw upon in the future.
And, remember, the process of birth itself is a risky affair.
But then the infant starts breathing… and life follows, with all its hopes and aspirations. Breathe in thoughts of success and you will be a success.
(Edited extracts from the author's book, 'Ignited Minds')