Turn dreams into reality and be a winner in life
Indian Bollywood actors Aamir Khan, Suhani Bhatnagar and Zaria Wasim pose for a photograph during a promotional event for the forthcoming Hindi film 'Dangal' directed by Nitesh Tiwari in Mumbai on November 12.
Recently, I saw the new Indian film released in the cinemas here called Dangal. The movie is based on the true life story of a family in rural India. It's a story of a father who taught wrestling to his two older daughters. The father is a hugely talented but poor amateur wrestler who was forced to give up wrestling in order to get a job to sustain himself and his family.
His dream was to win an international gold medal for India and vows that his son will do what he could not achieve despite his great talent and hard work in wrestling. However, as it turns out, his wife gives birth to four daughters and he must relinquish his great dream. One day when his daughters return home after having thrashed two boys quite severely, he realises that his daughters could become wrestlers and indeed turn his dream into reality.
The entire village thinks he has lost his mind. In order to prepare them, the father takes the girls to wrestling tournaments and they must wrestle boys at these events as there are no female wrestlers or female wrestling events. This shocks the entire community even further, but the girls start to win and gain recognition.
After much rigorous training and many sacrifices by the father, the girls and their family, the oldest daughter becomes India's first female wrestler to win a gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the first Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Olympics. A rather touching tale.
There was one turning point in the film. The girls are attending a wedding of a 14-year old child bride friend and they talk to their friend about how deeply they resent their father for his treatment of them and his particularly tough training methods. The child bride, who is crying, points out to them that they should stop complaining and realise how lucky they are that their father actually wants them to have a real future and not grow up to be housewives married off before they are even 18 to someone they have never even met.
To me, this struck a real chord. Often we are looking for mentors (or speed mentors, the current new thing) but what
we really ought to be recruiting for is a true champion. A champion who not only deeply inspires you but cares for you and vigorously supports or defends you.
Most people tend to succeed in the world if they have a parent who has been their champion and stood by them and their dreams and their beliefs through thick and thin. So much of success, I think, depends on upbringing. Of course, sometimes when you have no support and no one to turn to, you become resilient and you have an appetite for risk because there is little to lose. That is also certainly one way to succeed.
If I look back on my life, my champions have more often than not been people right under my nose and ones that I closely associate with on a daily basis. They watched me closely, and when they knew I was serious about my goals and would work hard to achieve them, I had earned their respect and they would help me in any way they could. My most ardent champions have been the ones usually on the sidelines, nudging and encouraging and quietly pushing, allowing me room to explore, rise and fall on my own. Sometimes your greatest advocates and champions aren't the loudest people in your life, but they are the ones most influential in it.
The more success I have found, ironically, the more lonely the journey has been. I have had to rely on myself a great deal to figure out what to do. Don't you think that today's corporate culture surrounds you when you are successful but in reality, abandons you on an emotional level and doesn't help you grow or evolve? It leaves you to make your mistakes and die by the sword. Real leaders emerge by taking the reigns in exploration, discovery, failure, and success, the package deal, as they say.
So if you are reading this and want to realise your dreams and are wondering how you should go about finding yourself a champion, I'm afraid I cannot answer that. My champions have found me and sought me out. They have seen my desire and determination. They have seen my resilience and my outlook to failure, which I have had to face and overcome many times. It is ironic what the human being can achieve when you have someone who believes in you long before you believe in yourself.
The writer is a partner at the law firm of Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla and is based in Dubai. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect newspaper's policy.