Monday Musings 15 – Formula for Success

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Success = Attitude + Knowledge + Skills


नियुक्तो नृपतेः कार्यम् न कुर्याद्यः समाहितः || 
भृत्यो युक्तः समर्थश्च तमाहुः पुरुष्धमम् |
Valmiki Ramayan 6.1.9

“One who does not carry out the instructions of his master as directed in spite of being intelligent as well as competent is said to be the lowest of men .”

Intelligence and competency is of no use if the attitude is not appropriate.

Start with Desirable Attitudes

Preparations for ‘success in life’ should start with developing right attitudes. Attitudes form the base of the pyramid of the 3 essentials for success ie Attitudes, Competencies and Knowledge.

One should, therefore, first focus on developing the right attitudes. Attitudes are of two types ie Desirable and problematic. Distinguishing between a desirable and a problematic attitude is very easy.

People generally do not pay enough attention to developing desirable attitudes as much as they pay attention to developing knowledge and competencies. Why?  We tend to think that attitudes are genetic whereas it is not. It is not true that some are born optimistic while others are naturally pessimistic, and nothing can be done to change it. Attitudes can be developed and perfected as much as acquiring knowledge and perfecting a skill. Developing or changing an attitude will require much more work than developing a competence or gaining some knowledge, but that is exactly why it is more valuable.

The second reason why people fail to focus on attitudes is because they don’t realize the benefits of the attitudes. More knowledgeable, more successful. While this affirmation might be true, it is only so if that person also has the right attitudes. Developing right attitudes is a lifelong process

Competencies before knowledge

Competencies come next. Competencies come before knowledge because they are flexible and can be applied to many different situations.

The last part of the pyramid is formed by the knowledge. I am not saying that knowledge is not important. Far from it, knowledge is essential. Knowledge alone will not be sufficient.

Success at personal or professional level will inevitably derive from these three factors: attitudes, competencies and knowledge. Most people pay an excessive attention to the knowledge component while neglecting the development of competencies and attitudes. Make sure you are focusing on all the three components; it is the best strategy in the long run.

Hanuman developed the right attitude ie Commitment to Work. That is why he was successful in all his work. Hanuman achieved what others of equivalent knowledge and capability could not achieve.  Ravan was highly intelligent and very competent, but he could not succeed because he did not focus on developing right attitudes. He did not develop the attitude of listening to his team.

Valmiki included many sloaks on the importance of right attitudes in the same discussion thread. After appreciating Hanuman for his service, Lord Ram embraced Hanuman as a token of his appreciation. Then Ram got into grief worried about the mammoth task in front of him of taking the monkeys across the ocean.

Sugreeva comforted Rama by telling him the importance of right attitudes.  Task can be achieved, however difficult it could be, by showing right attitudes. I am giving below 2 slokas from this conversation between Sugreeva and Ram

यत्तु कार्यम् मनुष्येण शौण्डीर्यमवलम्ब्यताम् |तदलम्करणायैव कर्तुर्भवति सत्वरम् ||
Valmiki Ramayan 6-2-15

Meaning – Cling to the practice of boldness, ought to be resorted to by a man. It will produce competence without doubt to the doer quickly.


अस्मिन् काले महाप्राज्ञ् सत्त्वमातिष्ठ ते जसा |शूराणाम् हि मनुष्याणाम् त्वद्विधानाम् महात्मनाम् || 
विनष्टेवा रनस्स्टे वाशोकः सर्वार्थनाशनः |
Valmiki Ramayan 6-2-16

Meaning – Prevail upon the strength with alertness at this moment, Oh highly intelligent prince! Grief for something lost or destroyed consumes all resources of even the strong and magnanimous men like you.


Management and Leadership Topics covered in the previous posts

  1. The right attitude — Ch 1Ch 2  Ch6 Ch10  Ch11  Ch14
  2. Governance — Ch 3  Ch4  Ch7  Ch13
  3. Leadership — Ch 5  Ch 8  Ch10 Ch14
  4. Management — Ch 7  Ch13
  5. Intelligence & Wisdom — Ch 9  Ch10  Ch11  Ch14
  6. Happiness & Success — Ch10  Ch14


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