There Is No Great Genius Without Some Touch Of Madness

This is a story of dreams, mixed with reality.

Every person we meet, we are meant to meet. It doesn’t matter how long they stay in our lives. Everybody has something to teach us. Whether they stay for few minutes, an hour, a day, or a decade, they are there for the right amount of time. That amount of time is simply how long it takes you to learn the lesson. I learned on such lesson from a person, I had an opportunity to meet, a few weeks back. Let’s call him Adi and he runs his own company, which is one of the  India’s largest paper bag manufacturing company. So he started with this, a quote by Brian Williams,

“A person starts dying when they stop dreaming.”

Kid, let me tell you a story. We are Pahadis (people who grew up around mountains) and pahadis are mad people. Don’t take me wrong. Mad here means they are mad for their work, for living. They work like a maniac.  “My grandmother use to walk 7 km’s just for 2 buckets of water at the age of 75 every day,” he added. That kind of hard work and endurance I’m talking about. A mad person sees the possibilities; he refuses to accept if there is anything in this world that can’t be done. So work like a mad man. It’s the only hack. There is no substitute for success. Never chase money in your life. Money is just the byproduct of good work. Money is never enough and it shouldn’t be your goal. Chase good work always. As Tony Gaskins also says,

“If you’re chasing money, you’ll always be lacking. Chase purpose and money will chase you!”

I am a man of an average of intelligence but I have been able to achieve this much only through hard work. You cannot beat talent but you can outwork it. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Madness is the driving force behind anyone’s success. Be so good at your art, do things so perfectly that when you show it to someone else, they can’t rest…. They can’t sleep that night until they tell at least one more person about it. And it can be anything, anything from building a rocket to making breakfast for you.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

I was not very good at academics. But there was something I was very passionate (MAD) about. It was sports. Sports was the driving force behind me waking up every morning and trying to become better and better at it. When I was in middle school, I use to wake up at 3:30 am in the morning. I use to buy two bottles of milk and head towards stadium to play, to practice. This was my everyday routine. I didn’t really know that time how it’s going to help in future. I was a kid and I was doing what I love the most, which was sports.

Then came board examinations. As I and everyone expected it from me. I didn’t do anything phenomenal, in fact, I failed. But luckily that time nobody use to take exams that seriously, so they graced me up and somehow I completed my education.

Now comes the fun part, let’s get back to the part where I said I didn’t really know that time how it’s (SPORTS) going to help me in future. Out of all the sports, basketball was my favorite one. I was good at it, like real good. I went on playing basketball on a national level which ultimately helped me getting into one of the regional engineering colleges. I took admission in one of the reputed Government Engineering College. Sports quota helped me get there. After graduation, I went on doing masters from the United Kingdom in Nuclear Power Plant Engineering. In 1988, I completed my masters but unfortunately it was the time of recession, so I had a hard time finding a job. I struggled for a while and then finally got hired by a British company.

I knew it from the very beginning, if I had to make my mark, I gotta outwork everyone around here. That is and was my secret to success all along, Hard Work. So I started working harder from that day onwards. I was the first one to enter the office and the last one to exit. When nobody was at the office and there was some urgent requirement of labor, they use to refer me. Everyone knew, if no one, Adi is going to be there. This became my USP.  I worked for that company every single day for 2 years straight, no Sundays, no holidays. After 2 years I told my boss that I had to visit home (India) as It’s been long and I need to see my family, got to check on them if they’re doing okay.

When I went back to Britain, my boss’s boss called me in her office. I was in dilemma. So I went in and she said Adi, we are really grateful for your work and dedication and the board has decided to make you the executive assistant. I went on bananas hearing that. I knew my hard word was going to pay off but I didn’t know it’s going to be this big. I worked for them for a while and then I thought I have made enough money, now I got to move back to India and start something on my own. So I told my boss about my leaving plans. She said okay Adi and gave me a huge phenomenal farewell incentive. It was 1 million pound. I couldn’t believe it. My faith on hard work escalated quickly that day. Later I came to knew that my boss was a wife of some very renowned person who went on becoming some very senior person and did a lot of community work for Britain. He also had his shares in that company.

I came back to India and started working on a project with 5 of my school friends; it was called as “Edurite Technologies”.  Some other popular online education portal really liked our idea and they wanted to buy the company. They gave us a fair amount and we took it. It was 10 million dollars. So I took my shares and left the company, others continued to work on it.

After that, I started another company with my wife and one of my friends. The idea behind this company was to make use of the recycled paper for packaging and bags. This was my journey from no one to director of  one of the India’s largest paper bag company.

At the end of the interview, he said to me, “Do you have dreams?” and he quoted A.P.J Abdul Kalam,

“It takes a day to see a dream, but it takes a lifetime to fulfill that dream.”

You will only be able to achieve your dreams if you work hard if you show up. Each day every effort counts. Adi is still the part of this company and at the age of 51, he is still working hard to make it a hit worldwide. Kudos to his work and dedication.

PS: Some references may be not 100% factual, as I got the opportunity to make him talk about his life only once.

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