8 LIFE LESSONS TO LEARN FROM THE MISSILE MAN OF INDIA – DR A.P.J. ABDUL KALAM

Introduction

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam), an Indian aerospace scientist who also served as the 11th President of India, came to be known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology. He was a great source of learning and the most humble person of that stature.

His life teaches many lessons as to what an individual should possess and practice in order to lead a successful and happy life. Following are the life lessons we can learn from him:

  • Being Optimistic

Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, in his journey from being son of a boat owner to becoming the President of India faced lots of challenges posed by life, yet by staying positive and working hard with dedication and sincerity, he achieved great heights. He believes that an individual should have a positive outlook towards life. No doubt that life brings challenges, troubles and hardships, but by being positive during difficulties one can overcome it and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

  • Never Give Up

“We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us” – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

When one encounters failures in life, Kalam advises not to give up, but to work even harder to transform this failure into a success. He believes that failure and success go hand in hand. And without facing failures, one cannot gain success. He was of the view that if we learn to treat our failures in the same way we treat success then we will never lose hope after a defeat, but moving forward to overcome the defeat.

  • Being Visionary

You have to dream before your dreams can come true”- A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Kalam strongly believed that one should have a clear vision or idea in order to prosper and flourish in life. One with clear vision in mind will eventually adopt the right strategy to accomplish it. But for a person without a vision any strategy will fail to work. Kalam inspired millions of young hearts to dream and to believe in their dreams. He wanted people to dream and to convert their dreams into thoughts that can result into actions. He said, after defining a dream it should be nurtured, worked upon and then patiently wait to reap its fruits.

  • Being Courageous

“…have courage to think differently, to invent, and to travel the unexplored path, to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed”. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Kalam encouraged individuals to think creatively and identify techniques that may be different from the rest. He motivated all to be daring enough to choose a path which is unknown to many and to solve problems with innovative ideas. He believed that one should be courageous enough to take risks and achieve the impossible. Thus, anyone with courage and confidence can attain great height and complete any difficult task.

  • Being Devoted towards Goals

“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal”. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Kalam advocated the mantra of single-minded devotion towards the goal in order to be successful in every mission. He believed that complete dedication towards the targets helps to complete the task effectively as it gathers all the energy onto one single point. Hence, devotion is necessary in every field of work in order to make it a success.

  • Being Hardworking

“If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun”. – A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Kalam advocated the idea that, ‘God helps those who help themselves’, laying emphasis on hard work and dedication in every tasks. He advised to overcome laziness and work towards achieving goals. He proposed that if one wants to be prosperous in life, they must give their hundred percent by working with complete dedication and sacrificing their other worldly desires in order to achieve the desired goal and gain success.

  • Being Humble

Abdul Kalam was noted for his integrity and simple lifestyle. Even after gaining power and position he never glorified his superiority, rather, he stayed humble at every point of time. He always made sure that the people he met do not feel inferior, but equally important. Kalam always emphasized that we should never lose our humble self even if we are at the peak of success. It is essential to remain grounded and maintain humility at all times.

  • Sharing with Transparency

Kalam was an intellectual leader who did not keep the knowledge to himself alone, but shared it with transparency and sincerity to each and every one through his writings, speeches, and lectures and through dialogues with all those he encountered throughout his life. Similarly, we should also practice this idea of sharing with transparency by being self-less, hence contributing towards the development of other individuals, and at a long run, towards the development of the nation.

Conclusion

Dr. Kalam did not only preach these principles, but also practiced them in his day to day life. He always made statements based on his life experiences because a person with experience can teach many significant things about life and one can really rely on his teachings. Anyone who understand these lessons and put it into practice, will see and discover good and great things throughout the journey of life. Also, as Dr. Kalam, they will be able to share their knowledge and experiences to others, leading towards building a powerful nation.

I would like to end this article by quoting Dr. Kalam, “learning gives creativity, creativity leads to thinking. Thinking provides knowledge and knowledge makes you great”.

References

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._P._J._Abdul_Kalam

https://m.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/a-p-j-abdul-kalam-1531230250-1

Who is a good leader ?

Leadership is a quality which can be inherent in a person or acquired through practice and experience like many other qualities. A leader leads the group and at the same time sets an example for the amount of efforts to be put by each member.

A good leader acts like a catalyst in the group , giving direction to the efforts of members and facilitating effective communication among the people.

He always welcomes all suggestions regarding an issue with open arms without making the members feel that their suggestion is useless or not good as the other member. He considers all the suggestions seriously and tries to include all the members in discussions.

A good leader is a visionary and a strategist who plans ahead and implements in a meticulous manner . He acts as a facilitator and a coach .

At last , a good leader inspires the followers with every action and every word he speaks .

What are soft skills? Why are they important?

Soft skills are as important as hard skills. They can be developed over time and improved with practice. They determine how you fit into a professional environment and how you handle your professional life.  But the question is what are soft skills?

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are interpersonal skills and include communications skills, listening skill, time management and empathy. They are the intangible and non-technical skills. Other names that are used for soft skills are transferable skills and professional skills. They are less about your education and qualifications and more about your personality.
They are especially important for the recruitment process for graduates. A professional environment asks for more transferable skills and potential over professional experience. 

Why are soft skills important?

All the jobs require employees to interact with people and build relations. An employee or person may be technically well aware but may fail to build relations and interact. This where soft skills come in handy and this is why they are important. Employers don’t expect you to have all the knowledge and experience of the job you are initially applying for. They look for a person who can grow, learn and adapt. 

They are not only crucial while dealing with clients but they are also in how you interact within your own office with your colleagues. Soft skills help a person to co-exist in teams and organization as a whole. 

Types of soft skills

These are the soft skills that one must possess and continuously strive to improve. 

  1. Communication:

An able communicator must be able to adjust their tone and style according to their environment. Communication is the most basic and essential soft skill. Communication skills help in fostering relationships that are respectful and productive. Communication skills not only include verbal communication but written communication as well. 

  1. Leadership:

A good leader should have the ability to inspire others and lead them to success. To have leadership qualities you need not be appointed as a leader. You can show leadership qualities even when you are not managing things directly.  

  1. Responsibility:

Responsibility is a highly-valued soft skill. Being responsible means taking ownership of your own goals as well as the company as a whole. A responsible person shows the following qualities:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Discipline 
  • Motivation 
  • Consciousness
  • Accountability 
  1. Teamwork:

Teamwork is a quality that is formed with the help of a set of other soft skills. A person who believes in teamwork shows leadership, collaboration and good communication skills. A good team player respects other opinions and works towards a collective goal rather than personal goals. 

  1. Problem-solving:

Problem-solving is the technique of finding a solution quickly and effectively. Here also teamwork comes in play. Because not all problems can be solved alone. Therefore, working as a team and solving problems irrespective of difference of opinion and finding a common ground is very essential. An employee should grow and learn with every problem he solves and adapt accordingly.

These are 5 of the many soft skills that one must-have. Other soft skills are:

  • Decisiveness 
  • Ability to work under pressure 
  • Time management 
  • Flexibility 
  • Critical thinking
  • Work ethic 

You can improve your soft skills by reflecting on yourself and making adequate changes and observing others. You can also look for courses online which can help you improve your soft skills. And lastly, practice is the ultimate key to honing your soft skills.

Gandhi preach us more!

Have you at any point longed for world with harmony and thriving for all mankind- a world where we love and care for each other notwithstanding the differences in our way of life, religion and lifestyle?

I frequently feel vulnerable when I see the world in disturbance, an after effect of contrast between our goals. Mahatma Gandhi was the man who inspired the world with Ahimsa, his faith in peace, and non- animosity. His life was a message – a message of harmony overpower, of discovering approaches to accommodate our disparities and of living in amicability with difference and love notwithstanding for our adversary. His message was as clear to his enemies as it was to his followers. He believed we can resolve best our issues if we set out to have a constructive discussion with our enemy. “Be the change you wish to see in the world ” was the statement he gave. We frequently like to complain about the system that we need to follow. But before changing the system it’s significant that we see inside ourselves and try to fix our faults. Self- realization is one of the ways to achieve success. Pour out love and respect for every individual you come across, and don’t form biases based on their background. Each simple act matters. We are responsible for our future, whatever actions we do in present determine our future. Be a life long learner, learn as if you were to live forever.

Gandhi and our nation have suffered a lot under British, but instead of taking up arms against them, he chose the path of non-violence. See how we enjoy our freedom now. He taught us revenge is never a solution, it doesn’t lead to peace or happiness. One needs to learn to forgive.It is important to be true to yourself, no matter whatever the consequences are. Stand up for what you feel is right, even if it displeases a lot of people.

Gandhi’s musings can play a tremendous role in taking the human culture forward, towards the ideal objective. His lessons and analyses are more legitimate today than any time in recent memory, particularly when we are attempting to discover answers for overall greed, corruption, violence, and runaway which are putting a heavy burden on
the world. We as a nation continue to fail him. But like for every other thing, here is also hope. We can bring harmony to our world by spreading love and peace. Although the task is daunting, Gandhi has shown us how a fragile man can achieve incredible magnitude with a staunch belief to practice peace and harmony.
Will you take the pledge to become the change you want to see in the world?

New Normal: Virtual Teams

Keys to Overcoming Virtual Team Communication Challenges - Chanty

The current pandemic situation has driven everyone to their homes in order to protect themselves from the novel Coronavirus. Countries are in the phase of ‘unlocking’ now as they can’t afford the lockdown anymore but the virus is still prevalent. Social distancing measures must be taken up even when all activities resume and other necessary precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining hygiene must be taken as well. The work-from-home culture has been adopted worldwide and both a person who is working individually and people who are working in teams need to be managed. 

A virtual team is a group of individuals in remote locations that are working together towards a common goal and the mode of communication through which they coordinate their activities is electronic. Before the pandemic, virtual teams were formed when people from different countries were on board for a project. Such a team was advantageous because the organisation could save up on real estate costs and it was also favourable for the employees because their time wasn’t spent on commuting, leading to more productivity. There are also disadvantages like technological issues and lack of that level of bonding associated with workplace teams. Managing a virtual team is obviously more difficult than workplace teams, especially when the communication between the team members isn’t as effective.

Due to the prevailing circumstances, formation of virtual teams is inevitable but there are a few differences. The members of the team aren’t necessarily in different locations and the was formed to ensure social distancing and prevent the transmission of virus, in turn. There is a chance that the members of the team know each other personally beforehand. Formation of a virtual team is also more complex because the people with qualities like effective communication and sense of individualism have to be handpicked and assigned role after due thought process for smooth working of the team.

The leader of a virtual team isn’t very different from the workplace team and needs to have qualities like emotional intelligence and effective communication so that the members of the team are clearly aware of  division of work and goals of the team and shortcomings of face-to-face interaction can be prevented. There is a possibility that the members might hesitate to speak up their concerns in such a setting but the leader must encourage them to speak their hearts out whenever needed. 

Read about Emotional Intelligence here.

Now that there is a team with a leader, the members have to get to know each other personally in case they don’t and the targets have to be made and communicated. Short term milestones should also be set in order to keep the members motivated for them to keep up with their efforts continually in order to reach them. The means of electronic communication should also be decided and they should be favorable with whatever project the team is taking up. There are an array of platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams available that facilitate the work-from-home culture. Video conferencing should be done regularly for both work and non-work related conversations to increase cohesiveness.