Determination: The Key To Success

Dear Friend,

One quality that you cannot do without if you wish to achieve success is ‘perseverance.’ It is the ability to doggedly pursue your goals despite multiple setbacks. Please remember that there will be many occasions in life when it might seem to you that the dice is loaded against you and people are also out to ensure that you fail at every step. If you are a person of weaker disposition, you might be tempted to throw in the towel at such a time and accept defeat. However, if you are built of sterner stuff, you will continue to pursue your goals despite multiple setbacks.

There is an excellent new movie available on Over The Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix which tells the story of such a brave young daughter of India. I strongly urge all of you to watch ‘Gunjan Saxena—The Kargil Girl’ and learn valuable lessons of success from the story of her life. She was attracted to the profession of an aviator as a young child. Since she came from a middle class financial background in Lucknow, she gravitated towards a career as an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter pilot when this avenue was opened for girls in India for the first time in the form of Short Service Commission (SSC) lady officers in the IAF.

She faced hurdles from the selection stage itself when she was found to be overweight. She immediately went on a strict diet to be able to clear the tough IAF selection process. Once selected, she found herself entering a male-dominated bastion where many officers and supervisors found it difficult to accept a lady in their midst. She faced practical issues like the lack of ladies’ rooms or a private space where she could change into her overalls before a sortie since the IAF had hitherto selected only male pilots. There were also occasions when her male supervisors and colleagues at the Air Force station tried to make life difficult for the young lady aviator. But Flt. Lt. Gunjan Saxena did not allow any setback or humiliation to deter her from succeeding in her chosen career.

It is said that when the rubber meets the road is the real test of the quality of the tyre. Similarly, all the training and the mettle of a military aviator is put to the test in a situation of combat. Pakistan had stabbed India in the back as is their habit by repaying India’s Lahore Bus Peace Initiative with intrusions in Kargil. The Indian military was forced to evict the intruders in 1999 and conflict broke out in the mountains. In this stressful situation, Flt. Lt. Gunjan Saxena became the first Indian lady military aviator who was involved in a combat zone. She played an important role in the operation and discharged her duties in a dauntless manner. So effective was she in combat, that her male supervisor who had doubted her capability earlier also joined in congratulating her for her bravery and professionalism.

The lesson for you, my dear friends, from this movie is that if your career goal is a challenging one, you are bound to face challenges and obstacles. These challenges can be internal (like Gunjan being overweight) or they can be external (like the people who did not believe in her abilities). Whatever be the nature of the challenges that you encounter, please remember that you need to overcome each challenge in order to succeed like
Flt. Lt. Gunjan Saxena did at Kargil. She lived up to the IAF motto ‘Nabham Sparsham Deeptam’ which means ‘Touch the Sky with Glory.’

I wish all of you glory and success in your chosen career.

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