By Neelesh R Pednekar
Some years ago, when I had this idea of challenging the dynamics of the way people shared their experiences and feelings, I faced a lot of questions. People said the idea was very noble, but it had a lot of logistical challenges. I wanted to reach out to every individual who had a story, convert that into a video and showcase his/her story to the world. I did my research, though not so intensive, and on a Monday morning, got this sudden urge to quit my high-paying job. I went out for a cup of coffee and had a candid chat with myself to find a solution to this dilemma. I just asked myself two questions: 1. What do I have to lose? 2. If there is a negative outcome of my decision today, will it really matter five years later in my life?
The answers were ‘none’ or ‘very little’ to both questions. By the time I returned home, I had decided to move on.
Everyone I met told me I had taken a very hasty decision that was going to ruin my career. I was confident, but when the entire world tells you that you are wrong, you start feeling they are right. Later, with business not coming in and everything looking stranded, with a family to support and EMIs to pay, I started having serious doubts.
Then I was invited to a conference where the speaker was the founder of a multimillion dollar company. In his speech, he recounted a story. It was a turning point in my life. Then on, I decided to respectfully listen to everyone who said “You can’t do this” and then look back at them and say “Watch me!”
We all have moments in our lives and career where we are so bogged down that quitting seems the easiest alternative. Similar was the plight of the man in his story. The story went like this:
One day I decided to quit… I quit my job, my relationship, my Spirituality… I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. “God,” I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?” His answer surprised me.
“Look around,” he said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year, the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not give up on it. In the third and fourth years, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant…But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it cannot handle,” he told me. “Did you know that all this time, you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.”
“Don’t compare yourself to others,” he continued. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.”
“Your time will come,” God said to me. “You will rise high.”
For all young entrepreneurs out there, the forest is your company and your efforts are God.