There are many hurdles along the road of progress and one prominent hurdle among them is fear. Sometimes, the fear is only imaginary and emerges out of anxiety. Too much worry causes anxiety and it leads to fear. If it becomes habitual, then the mind cannot take the right decision in the challenging times. Business requires courage, risk and patience. Hence, a coward person has no place in the business.
During my childhood days, I had a bad habit of getting scared of everything. Academically, mathematics was a nightmare to me. I had a fear of speaking in public. I feared the barking stray dogs on the streets and geckos in the house. In 1971, another fear factor was added to my list. I began fearing darkness. The war was just over, but as a precautionary measure, the blackouts at night were continued in Mumbai for the next few months. In those days, my younger brother and I would share ghost stories before going to the bed every day, which made me fearful of stepping outside in the dark. One day, my mother came to know about it and told my father. My father smiled and awakened courage in me. He said: “Son, remember, fear remains only in our mind. If you get scared of darkness today, you will be afraid of your own shadow someday.”
After many years, in another incident, I remembered his encouraging words. Our Al Adil Group had started a new import-export company in Mumbai and it became impossible for me to monitor it daily. So I appointed a CEO to the new company. From the beginning, he started scaring me about strict income tax laws, scrutiny and penalty. He even took large amount of money from me to get the tax-related documents corrected and re-submit them to the authorities. I was surprised. If we were filing the tax returns on time and paying the tax regularly, why was there a need to correct the documents and submit them again? At last, remembering my father’s words, I decided to remove the fear from my mind. One day, I went alone to meet the tax officers. I deliberately avoided taking the CEO or our CA with me. To my surprise, the tax officers and other staff were quite friendly and helpful. They guided me on how to correct the entries and helped me file a revised return in a simple way. I returned to my office and sacked the CEO immediately. I learnt that ignorance was the reason behind my fear.
Friends, to overcome fear, we must calm our mind, understand what we are really afraid of and then face the situation daringly. I would like to quote famous scientist Marie Curie — ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.’
Dr Dhananjay (Jay) Datar is the chairman and managing director of Al Adil Trading