May 30, 2007

Life lessons from N. R. N. M

N R Narayana Murthy,mentor of Infosys spoke at the New York University (Stern School of Business) on lessons he learnt from his life and career.The speech revolves around his college days,initial struggle of his career and life after foundation of Infosys.Some of the sudden and special events , which have taught him many learnings in life.

The important excerpts from the speech are given below:

Pre Infosys:
1. Sometimes advice can come from an unexpected source, and chance events can sometimes open new doors.

2. Entrepreneurship, resulting in large-scale job creation, was/is the only viable mechanism for eradicating poverty in societies.

Post Infosys:
If you want to create a great company, we should be optimistic and confident. They have more than lived up to their promise of that day.

Below are life lessons from these events,in his own words.
Note: "I" in the article refers to Narayana Murthy

1. I will begin with the importance of learning from experience. It is less important, I believe, where you start. It is more important how and what you learn. If the quality of the learning is high, the development gradient is steep, and, given time, you can find yourself in a previously unattainable place. I believe the Infosys story is living proof of this.

Learning from experience, however, can be complicated. It can be much more difficult to learn from success than from failure. If we fail, we think carefully about the precise cause. Success can indiscriminately reinforce all our prior actions.

2. A second theme concerns the power of chance events. As I think across a wide variety of settings in my life, I am struck by the incredible role played by the interplay of chance events with intentional choices. While the turning points themselves are indeed often fortuitous, how we respond to them is anything but so. It is this very quality of how we respond systematically to chance events that is crucial.

3. Of course, the mindset one works with is also quite critical. As recent work by the psychologist, Carol Dweck, has shown, it matters greatly whether one believes in ability as inherent or that it can be developed. Put simply, the former view, a fixed mindset, creates a tendency to avoid challenges, to ignore useful negative feedback and leads such people to plateau early and not achieve their full potential.

The latter view, a growth mindset, leads to a tendency to embrace challenges, to learn from criticism and such people reach ever higher levels of achievement.

4. The fourth theme is a cornerstone of the Indian spiritual tradition: self-knowledge. Indeed, the highest form of knowledge, it is said, is self-knowledge. I believe this greater awareness and knowledge of oneself is what ultimately helps develop a more grounded belief in oneself, courage, determination, and, above all, humility, all qualities which enable one to wear one's success with dignity and grace.

Read the complete article here



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