Fortune favors the bold

It was the finals of an India-Pakistan match for the World T-20. Last over was yet to be bowled. Everyone’s eyes were struck to the new captain of the team- M.S Dhoni, who was leading a relatively young team. The pressure was immense. Even the best cricketing legends would have been in dilemma in a situation like this – give the bowl to Harbhajan Singh, the most experienced bowler in the Indian side- or to some other player. Dhoni- the captain- took a bold decision. He gave the bowl to Joginder Sharma, a new player to the side who had no experience in bowling hither to, and was also not a successful bowler so far in the match. Cricketing experts in the commentary box were surprised by the decision- which was evident from their criticism for the new captain’s decision after the batsmen hit a six of the first ball.

The captain went to Joginder and whispered something in his ears- the next bowl was delivered – a cheeky shot indeed by the batsman going up to the third man inside the circle- the whole crowd was on their feet supporting their respective teams.

“And Sreesanth takes the catch. India have won in style.”

The crowd went mad. The same commentators who were criticizing the captain cool were now appreciating his bold move.

The above abstract was to explain how fortune favors the brave. We saw how a brave decision could make your life change within seconds. So, does fortune favor the bold?Sometimes, taking an out of the box decision is what is required to get noticed, because the thing which follows can change your life and the way people look at you as a leader. The following write up will look how this proverb holds water, and also being critical to it.

“Asli power dil me hoti hai”

                                                  (Braveness lies in the heart)

Fear- as it is, is more of a state of mind. It was the time of April back in 1971. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister,was furious about the way West Pakistan had spreading and instilling fear in the minds of the East Pakistanis.But that wasn’t the only fear. Indira feared the large scale immigration of the Bangladeshis refugee fleeing to India, which was putting pressure on the Indian resources. In the Cabinet Meeting, she asked Sam Makenshaw- the then Army Chief if we were ready for a war against the Pakistani army. He refused. After Indira dispersed the Cabinet meeting and asked Makenshaw to stay back, he said that war could be won if the things went his way- the way he took decisions. It was certainly a brave decision considering the fact that the month brought in incoming floods from the Himalayan Peninsula and India was still recovering from the injuries of the 62′ war with China. He lead the army, fought the war- and the rest is history. 

Not only was it brave on the part of Sam Makenshaw to lead, it was also a lionhearted decision of Indira to go to Russia and sign a pact of mutual cooperation with Russia, in case of war, going against Nehru’s Non-Alignment concept.Certainly luck was favoring the bold decisions being taken.

Moving on, it was the year 1991 and the country was facing an economic turmoil. We couldn’t afford imports for more than 2 weeks, as our foreign exchange reserve was at an all time low. We could have declared our selves bankrupt- and hence depending on the elites of the world to pity on us. It was then that a leader emerged- P.V Narasimha Rao. He was leading a minority government at the centre, and seeing the economic condition, he decided of a bold, no mass base and a mostly unpopular decision to open the economy and introduce the liberalization, privatization and globalization reforms. Lucked favored him. This bold decision- albeit saw criticism- changed the history of Indian economy. and experts believe that India’s growth now wouldn’t be possible had the decision not been taken then.

The times moved ahead and then came 1998. In the midst of the dark in the deserts of Pokhran, was carried out the Operation Shakti – India’s first nuclear test using indigenous technology. Was this a brave decision? India knew that if such mission was executed, the elites of the world- specially USA would impose sanctions on the country. It was bold also because India had only recently passed the state of economy turmoil. It showed the world that a country which was going through economic pandemonium only 7 years prior- was no more the same. It showed that India had emerged- that it was there to stay. It gave the world a message that India was going to shape a new world order in the near future, that the unipolar world hither to wouldn’t remain unipolar in the coming years. How did the luck favor? The sanctions imposed initially by the USA were lifted in a short span – showed how ineffective the decisions of the world had become on the country. The sanctions according to experts went into a dead dump – the luck had changed for the country.

In the recent times, the decision of the new government to cancel foreign secretariat talks with Pakistan after getting an invitation can be seen as a bold move from the state. It sent shock waves around the sub-continent and also showed the tougher side of the country. It showed good results as the ever “denial” mode of Pakistan changed into “acceptance” mode and they took responsibility of the Pathankot Attacks. Simple bold decision, changed the fortune of this country as now, both countries have vowed to demolish the non-state actors from across the respective borders.

Let’s take a personified example to understand this. Ratan Tata is known as the business tycoon who revived the falling Tata enterprises. But little do people know that before joining the descending family business, he rejected the job offer from IBM, which was certainly bold when the country had little job opportunites and youth was clutched in the jaws of unemployment. He rejected a well paying job to work in the USA, stayed back in India, and served for the indigenous factory in Tata Steel Jamshedpur. Luck favored this decision later as Tata Steel is one of the fortune 500.

But does bold decision always bring in the “luck” factor with them- giving it a success? I’ll explain it through my story. I took the bold decision to take up an IT job ditching my graduation subject which was Mechanical Engineering. Now, initially, it felt like a good decision as I got promoted in merely 6 months of joining. I thought luck was favoring me, until I realized IT wasn’t my cup of tea. 2 years after my graduation, when I looked for a job in my graduation field, I was rejected from most major industrial houses because I had no experience in my field and the experience in IT didn’t count. Initially, what felt like an empowering decision for my career, changed into the worst decision I had taken being bold. Luck wasn’t favoring me now, because of the decision I took then.

Well apparently, some bold decisions are always taken in haste. The solution is to have a long time vision of the outcomes that may follow. The idea is to try to look at every aspect of the decision that is to be taken. Life decisions, professional decisions, decisions to run a country or an institute shouldn’t be taken in haste. It’s not just our life that is involved but various stakeholders who are directly and indirectly affected by our decisions – may be our family, maybe the citizens of a country, may be the employees of your firm. We need to document crucial assumptions and then go bold. Further, luck wouldn’t have favored if no decision was taken in first place. Dhoni wouldn’t have lifted the cup, India wouldn’t have won the 1971 war and it would still be in the clutches of economic unsteadiness. What was common with all those decisions?The idea was to BELIEVE in the decision. If we believe, we are already half way through. The confidence in ourselves is what brings about a confidence in the stakeholders. A worthy man once said :

“If you take a bold decision, it’s more-less likely that you win.

If you don’t take any decision, you’ll definitely not win.”


P.S What doesn’t kill you, makes you….Stranger 😛

Thank you.