Monday, February 24, 2014

The Habit of Winning

We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” ― John Dryden

Our habits can make or break us but we do not give enough attention to them. Habits are really more important than we think. Our habits are formed by the choices we make over the years. We seldom think upon whether these choices are good or bad ones. It is very important to cultivate good and positive habits from the childhood because we are not born with them. Habits are the result of the choices we make time after time. These choices finally harden into habits.

So as a school, it is very important for us to imbibe such good and positive habits in our pupils. Sundaram House was privileged to be part of such an endeavour by celebrating the value “Habit of Winning” through the medium of daily morning assemblies. During the week, Sundaram House team members shared different habits of winners through short motivational stories. These stories can change the way one thinks, works, lives and ultimately leads him towards the path of success. Furthermore, most of the discussions in the assemblies during the week, including the key points and many inspiring stories were taken from the book “Habit of Winning” - by Prakash Iyer (Author, Coach, Speaker and Managing Director of Kimberly-Clark Lever).

The first habit highlighted was “Setting the goal”. We have to first set a goal to have clarity of what we want to achieve. We may have the best tools to climb a mountain, we may also have a group of other climbers with us but what if we don’t have a mountain to climb! All those sophisticated tools are useless if there is no mountain to climb. Similarly, if we don’t have any goal to achieve in our life, we’ll be purposeless like an animal and will not achieve anything. It is also very important to stick to the goal once it is decided. If we identify the rabbit we want to catch, we should focus only on that one. If we try to catch many rabbits, we may end up with none. If the rabbit proves elusive, we need to change our tactics, but we shouldn’t change the rabbit. At AVM, incidentally, the summative exams are on their way so this was a very timely opportunity to set or review the goals set by the students.

The second habit discussed was “Self-Belief”. Once we fix our goal we should believe in what we are doing and have faith in God. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t. Believing in ourselves is a big step forward after setting the goal. Often, in our quest for more, we believe we need to abandon what we are doing and go out and look for new ways of success. We fail to recognize the diamonds lying right under our feet.

The third habit that followed was “Perseverance: Consistent hard work”. “Main Khelega!!!” these were the two magical words with which the cricketing legend, Sachin Tendulkar, achieved many milestones in his life. In his debut test match against Pakistan in December 1989, he got injured by Waqar’s nasty bouncer and he started bleeding but he did not quit and said “Main Khelega!” and kept playing. In our life there can be situations when the pressure mounts and we feel that we cannot do this and we give up. But at that time we have to stick to our set goals. We need to keep that “Main Khelega Spirit alive” and continue fighting with our mann. That is perseverance: continuous hardwork.

The fourth essential habit is “Appreciating the role of other contributing factors to our success”. It was brought to light that apart from our own selves, our teachers, didis, housemasters, parents and friends play a critical role in our lives. In the game of football, there are a total of 22 players on the field at the same time but only one plays at any given point of time. And yet, what the remaining 21 players do on the field at that moment has a significant weightage in deciding the fate of the game, not just what the one who is sprinting ahead with the ball does. Life is not just about what we do when we are in control - it’s also about what we do when someone else has the say. Students were encouraged to be pillars of success for each other by being considerate of each other rather than being the cause of others’ failure or even under-performance.

The fifth habit discussed upon was “Developing a winner’s mind-set”. How do winners think? If we expect more, we get more. In much the same way, if we expect failure we get that too. The secret is remain persistent and not giving up. Being such a fundamental thing, the students were yet again reminded about the significance of the company of good friends. Furthermore, they were encouraged to exploit the potential of mind that God has gifted to all rather than being tricked by it. In order to achieve beyond what was already achieved, one needs to do things differently and that surely requires a different mind-set – a winner’s mind-set.

The sixth habit taken up was “Finding Balance”. The bottom line was that one needs to take a good judgement in balancing between success and the core values of life. The necessity of being righteous and acting accordingly was emphasised through some remarkable stories. The story of the Canadian sailor and an Olympic hero Lawrence Lemieux who never won a gold/silver/bronze medal but instead was presented the Pierre de Coubertin medal (True Medal of Sportsmanship) for his selfless conduct in the Seoul Olympics touched everyone’s hearts. Together with other anecdotes, the students were inspired to aim for a rightful life full of values.

The seventh habit discussed was “Winning with TEAMS”. Whatever our goal may be, we cannot achieve it alone, we need a team for that. Teamwork always wins. To make a kite fly higher, one needs to pull it towards self, not let it lose. The same also works with people. Atmiyata, the core value of the school was elaborated upon and students gained a fresh perspective of it’s importance.

The eighth and the last habit for winning taken up was “TAKE ACTION”. Dreams always come true, although, for that one has to wake up from sleeping and take action. Again, using some real life incidences both at AVM and from outside, the all-important need to take action in the direction of achieving our goal was conveyed. It was highlighted that the key to success was to get started and to learn to finish what we started.

Finally, the students from grades 1 to 4, presented posters, one each for each of the habits talked about during the week. One student held the poster, another summarised it for the school and the third in the team appealed to all to take the first step, today and build upon that as days pass.

Throughout this week Sundaram House students and teachers shared the above mentioned habits through small talks, short stories, presentations and videos.

-Priyavadan Sir

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