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Three Lessons of Life for Entrepreneurs

Life is unpredictable.

6th Nov 2018
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Life is unpredictable.

We plan things, but cannot predict for certainty that it would go the same way as planned.

I was 23 when an unexpected road accident damaged my spine and left me quadriplegic for life.

Honestly, I had least expected it. I never thought something like this would happen so suddenly while traveling on that fateful day.

I was full of dreams and ambitions just as any 23-year-old would have at that age. My world shattered right in front of my eyes.

For the next few years, the hospitals became my second home. I loved traveling, but I never imagined my traveling would mean going to hospitals in different cities.

I almost gave up hopes when a beautiful thing happened. I met Arvind Praboo, who also used a wheelchair. Arvind explained to me that life does not stop because of a jolt. It has to continue until the last breath. He became my mentor, my best friend, and my brother. He helped me to rehabilitate and build a new life. There was a time when I could not even wear my shirt without assistance. Today, I lead an independent life and even travel extensively despite the challenges.

This incident taught me my first lesson – Never give up! Fight your battles to the best of your ability.

I have seen so many entrepreneurs giving up on their entrepreneurial dreams because things did not work the way they expected.

There are going to be ups and downs in your life. You might face rejections when you pitch your ideas to a potential investor, or your customers might not understand the relevance of your unique offering. Either case, hang in there and fight your battle. You will succeed one day.

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After my rehabilitation, I joined DAS Offshore, an engineering fabrication and contract service provider for the oil and natural gas sector, as a director. I was busy managing the day-to-day activities in the company. Amidst all this, I missed traveling. I wanted to take a break and explore new places. One day, I discussed it with Arvind and my two friends who were also wheelchair-bound. The next moment, we had already charted a plan to tour for 84-days across the length and breadth of the country. We carefully planned our itinerary, and after taking all the possible precautions set out on the 84-days trip. We traveled 19,200 Kms across 28 states and 44 cities in India. We started our journey, aptly called Beyond Barriers, from Dharampur at Gujarat, and moved through the royal Jaipur, the divine Amritsar, the picturesque Srinagar, and the quaint looking Kanyakumari. The sheer thought of the journey that we undertook still gives me goosebumps. We combined purpose along with joy. We audited accessibility in the places we visited based on pre-decided parameters. We assessed popular tourist places, universities, and government buildings. By the end of the trip, we realized that India has a lot of groundwork to do in improving the infrastructure and the transportation for physically challenged, senior citizens, and pregnant women. I decided to work towards making India barrier-free (#makeindiaaccessible). I have taken this mission ahead and am working closely with the Government, providing them with inputs on improving the infrastructure and transportation in the cities. The Government of India has also launched an initiative to make India accessible, so I am sure with consistent efforts and support from the Government; we can make our country disabled-friendly.

This taught me the second lesson - When life throws a lemon at you, make lemonade out of it.

Challenges are inevitable in your entrepreneurial journey. But there could be an opportunity hidden in those challenges. I would have never worked so passionately towards making India disabled-friendly or managed Access4All that provides mobile vans with trained staff for the physically challenged, if I had not taken that 84-day trip and faced challenges while travelling. Never run away from challenges. Find opportunities in it and use it to improve the situation.

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The third and final lesson is – Choose the right people in your life.

Human beings are a social animal. So, it’s important to have the right set of people in your life who will be with you in every ups and down. By right people, I don’t mean the ‘yes men.’ They will bring you down.

Right people are those who will tell you when you go wrong and guide you on the right path.

I am lucky to have a supportive family, a loving wife and a set of amazing friends like Arvind in my life who understand my challenges and accept me for the person I am.

I can’t imagine how my life would have turned out without them.

A successful organization needs the right people who have the desired skills and who share the same passion and vision like you.

Several startups fail because the co-founders cannot see eye to eye after a certain point of time. So, always choose the right people if you desire to grow in life.

These are the three lessons that I learned from my life.

Be strong and fulfill all your dreams irrespective of whether you walk or move in a wheelchair.

Because there is just one life and that, we must live to the fullest.

 

 

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