Padma Shri awardee Sri T.V. Mohandas Pai graced the occasion of Buddy4Study’s 10th anniversary celebration as a keynote speaker and shared mantras for youngsters to be successful in life!
Padma Shri T.V. Mohandas Pai is a multipotentialite who has served in the areas of finance, information technology, human resources, education, social impact innovation, environmental conservation, policy formulation, heritage preservation, philanthropy, and start-up ecosystem. A true polymath, he presented unconventional viewpoints that one must imbibe to succeed in life after completion of education.
“Getting your degree and the best of marks is necessary, but then, let’s go back to the fundamentals,” said Mr. Pai in his virtual address on the occasion.
What do people want while offering you a job? What do you need to succeed in life as an entrepreneur or as a professional? Mr. Pai shared his ideas on all this and much more.
“The most important attribute that a human being should have is ‘curiosity’. Curiosity is very important because it leads to the discovery of knowledge. Today, luckily, most of the accumulated knowledge of humankind is available on the web for free. So, you don’t have to store all the information inside your hard disk, i.e., your brain. What you have to do is be curious and learn how to search, so that you find the answers you want. And this curiosity will help you later in life too!”
“Today, a person who does and follows what he/she is told can easily be replaced by an AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithm. But if a person is curious, and tries to improve the matters at hand and do things better, he/she becomes more valuable. To become such a person, the most important talent that you have is to retain your curiosity. Once you have curiosity, you will always be able to find out ‘how things are’ and ‘how things should be’. This attitude makes one a problem solver.”
Be a Problem-Solver
“Problem-solving skills are extremely important in life, at every juncture of life; whether it is business, or employment, or any other area of life, one comes across a lot of problems. For example, Buddy4Study is trying to solve the problem of getting scholarships. In order to solve this problem, the team has to solve technology-related problems, the problem of access or reaching out to maximum number of students, the problem of money, and the problem of making sure that more and more students visit the portal and register. These are multiple issues and the way you (Buddy4Study) solve this problem determines how useful it is for the people it targets.”
Have a Multi-Disciplinary Approach
“The next thing you require in education is the ability to connect the dots via a multidisciplinary approach. When I was a youngster, I used to go to the library and read all kinds of books on various subjects like history, physics, and geography. Of course, there was no web, mobile or TV at that time. Today, all that information is stored in my hard disk (my brain) and as a result, if I see something, I am able to connect the macro with the micro, and the micro with the macro. This is because of having a wide array of knowledge. So, to be useful, you must specialize in something, and at the same time, be a generalist. If you are fundamentally a specialist, there’s nothing wrong, but then your ability to be creative comes down.”
“Creativity is the ability to reimagine things. Youngsters must keep their imagination alive.
With creativity comes ‘design thinking’ – a process through which you become a problem solver and gain the skill to reimagine things.
But why be creative? Because creation is exciting, it stimulates your mind!”
Develop the Ability to Communicate
“Due to COVID-19, the requirement to meet in-person has come down. If you are working in a firm, you can operate from anywhere as long as you’re connected through technology. Now that we have this advantage, we need to understand how to communicate and see the entire globe as a potential market. In order to do so, one needs to communicate effectively and pay attention to having confident body language and clarity of thoughts along with talking in a language and manner that people understand.”
Focus on Learning
“Every year, crores of students across the world graduate and compete for jobs. I recommend focusing on ‘learning’ during the first 2-3 years of a job instead of a handsome salary. If you don’t receive a desirable compensation, it’s fine; just check if there’s an opportunity to learn. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet once said, “Ultimately, there’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself.” So, upskill yourself and train yourself, because this knowledge will last for a lifetime.”
Be Passionate…Be Happy
“You must have enormous passion to succeed in life. You must dream without boundaries. You can be the biggest scientist in the world, the Prime Minister or the President of India, or the most successful businessman in the country. But when you dream big, it takes time to realize it. Remember that.
You only have one life and it’s important to make the most of it. And you must make the most of life in such a way that it makes you happy.”
Be a Good Human Being
“Lastly, be a good human being. You must have integrity, passion, and always be willing to lend a helping hand. Back in 2020, we worked to set up Akshaya Patra*. We had a dream that no child should be deprived of education because of the want for food. Today, we have successfully delivered more than 350 crore meals! We feed 18 lakh children a day and spend INR 600 crores a year. But we started very small, just feeding 500 to 1000 children.
The satisfaction you get with helping people is something that you cannot evaluate.”
*Akshaya Patra is the world’s largest mid-day meal programme, providing nutritious school meals to approximately 18 lakh children across India.