Sunday, 12 July 2015

Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 2 (Inspire To Innovate (I2i) Storytelling Movement @ Students Of India)

My Dear Student Friends,


This is Dr. Ravi Saripalle, Believer and Mentor, Inspire to Innovate (i2i) Storytelling Movement. Welcome to “Letter to Student Series- Volume 1 and Issue 2”. Hope you enjoyed reading my previous letter. I received overwhelming response from various students, teachers and principals from all states of India. I thank all of you for spending your valuable time reading this letter series and patiently acknowledging the same.  

In the previous volume, I mentioned the need for goal setting, need to identify your own natural intelligence and potential (spot your multiple intelligence),  how your passion should drive you and so on, referred to amazing real case studies of  Srinivasa Ramanujan (Self-Made Mathematician), Shalini of Karnataka, Ammaji of Peeleru, Chittoor, AP (both scoring high in PUC/+2 exams in spite of various challenges in their lifes), R. Madhavan of an alumnus of IIT-Madras (IITian turned most influential engineering driven farmer) and the importance of 10,000 hours of practice (to position you as expert in one particular field).

Again, I appeal you to get inspired and mentored by someone whom you trust and believe (your mentor). This is continuous and ongoing process. One day, may be you might stop your studies (from degree perspective), but you cannot stop getting inspired and mentored. They are lifelines in one’s own journey towards ultimate goal achievement. In my letter series, I would like to stress on these two dimensions as continuous reminder (inspire and get mentored). 

Let me elaborate more on how one can be inspired and mentored. Inspiration comes from various forces. You can be inspired by hearing inspirational stories, reading wonderful thought provoking words and stories, by undergoing various challenges and successfully facing them, attending workshops exclusively to inspire individuals and so on. You can be mentored by your own parents or your teacher who cares about your future or exclusive mentor who nurtures you. You need to search and choose such mentor. In this process, you have to take ownership. Nobody is responsible to provide such platform. It is inner process not external process. Don’t wait. It becomes costly step if you miss these two steps in your early education.

Recently one of my students who is studying 1st year Engineering asked me, “Sir, I am attending Inspirational Workshop every 3 months and also my teacher is mentoring me. Is that sufficient to succeed in my goals?” My answer is “NO”. I gave this analogy to her. You are living in 10th floor of 20-story apartment. It is duplex, 4 bed room, spacious and well decorated 3000 square feet apartment. I told her, that is your “Degree/Skill/Knowledge”. The ground level foundation to your degree must be your core “Inspiration”. The pillar connected to your apartment is your “mentoring process.” Without proper foundation and strong elevated pillars, apartment collapses. Hope you understand the importance of inspire and mentoring.

Let me explain further with another anology. Once one boy enquired me on which course I should join so that I get job quickly and earn lot of money. Then I asked what inspires you in your life. He didn’t have much answer and again he told me, “Sir, I want SOME job quickly and EARN money.” I clearly see vacuum within 2 words – SOME and EARN. Both words bring down the objectivity in our life. When we don’t have passion towards particular course and study that course for short-term job, first, we cannot enjoy the job and we cannot earn money as well. I firmly believe this philosophy. Let me share a story. Once there is a company called “Ultra Woodcutting Services Pvt. Ltd.” They cut trees using most sophisticated machines, shape them and export wood. This company is growing fast as they are cutting trees fast and delivering them to market quickly. This company is located near a village called “Bhuvannagar”, close to Eastern Ghats forest region. Lot of boys from this village are aspiring for woodcutting job as this company is paying high and you get job quickly. Once a boy called “Lumana” approached this company for job. They asked the boy to learn certain skills related woodcutting operation. He is not really interested in this work but money and job lured him to this profession. He shared his heart to one wise man from his village. Wise man advised him not to take this profession, because 1. You don’t have interest. 2. You want to earn money 3. Woodcutting is destructive work. Over a period, you will lose your job anyway as there will be no trees left. In spite of the wise man’s advice, Lumana joined this company. Days passed and things are going fine. He worked for three years. Ruthlessly company started cutting old trees (some of them are as old as 50 years). Over a period, entire forest region got wiped out. There are no trees left. One day company asked Lumana to find new job. Lumana doesn’t know any skill outside woodcutting. He could not earn money as any trees left. The moral of the story is whichever course you choose, you need to be inspired first. Such skills should be helpful to the society in the long-term. Then money / name / fame become by-product. They come automatically. But money / name should not be criteria to search for a job.

Let me share few real stories of amazing people. Recently I was reading the life of Jadav Payeng from Assam (  Jadav witnessed many snakes washed away ashore onto the sandbars during 1979 Assam floods. Many of them died as there is no tree protection in the sandbars. The 15 year old Jadav inspired to do something in these sandbars. Though sandbars are not conducive for plantation, Jadav single handedly started planting bamboo trees. Then government also supported his cause for 5 years. Jadav didn’t leave it there. He continued this noble effort for past 32 years. You know what? As a result of his unflinching effort, today this man-made forest has grown to 1000 hectares in size. Now this forest is home for tigers, rhinoceros, special birds, elephants and so on. Jadav got inspired! Result is 1000 hectares of man-made forest! Jadav is known as the forest maker of India. Do you agree now, how inspiration is so important?

Let me share the real story of another amazing man, called as “Mountain Man.” Dashrath Manjhi was a poor labourer from Gehlaur village, Gaya, Bihar. In 1959, Dashrath’s wife died from lack of medical access. The nearest doctor was available only 70km away, traveling around the hills. Dashrath inspired to help other villagers and his next generation. He started carving a path through a mountain using a hammer and chisel. You know what, he did astonishing work. After 22 years of hard and painstaking work, Dashrath shortened travel between the Atri and Wazirganj blocks of Gaya town from 55 km to 15 km ( !! He carved a path of 360-foot-long, 25-foot-deep, 30-foot-wide in the form of regular paved road!!! What kind of commitment he must be having? What kind of vision he must be holding? In today’s world, everybody is looking after their own stomach and family welfare. Very few people are committed for such societal cause.

I was reading a famous quote about good people from unknown source. Good people are like diamonds. They should not be tested too much. If they are hit, they will not break. But they will slip away from your hands. My dear friend, May be you are one among such diamonds? Inspire!
Let me share another visionary IAS officer’s story which I read in Times of India (Nov 3, 2012). Armstrong Pame, a young and dynamic IAS officer hailing from North East India, created huge impact with his societal concern. He proactively initiated a construction of a 100-km road that would link Manipur with Nagaland and Assam with the help of local people. Without this road, it takes two days for anyone in the village (Tousem, Manipur) to reach nearest hospital on foot. Armstrong hails from Tousem and faced lot of hardship during his childhood. He used to walk as much as 60 KM to reach district headquarters carrying 25KG of rice back home. After winning most prestigious civil services, Armstrong didn’t become silent about woes of his hometown. He donated from his own pocket and campaigned heavily in fund raising using social media towards this ambitious people driven road construction work.

Rabindranath Tagore says “I slept and dreamt- that life was joy. I awoke and saw - that life was service. I acted and behold- service was joy.” My Dear Friend, do you want to taste that joy? Joy for yourself, Joy for your parents, Joy for your mother land!

My Dear Friend, when we see tiny items through high-powered magnifying glass, same item appears big. In the same way, when we see small problems, through microscopic heart, issue magnifies, leads to confusion. Further, it leads to fusion of the problem. A wise thinking and noble acceptance of the issues are critical skills to survive in this world today. Let me share a tale published in O Homem que Calculava, a series of tales (Brazil in 1949) in the style of the Arabian Nights. I read this tale from Once there is father and he has 3 sons. He has 35 camels. When father died, he left WILL stating like this- 1st son receives 1/2 camels (17.5 camels), 2nd son receives 1/3  (11.7 camels), 3rd son receives 1/9 (3.9 camels). Sons started fighting each other and finally reached to one wise man called Hanak. Hearing this, Hanak first donated his one camel, making total camel strength to 36. Now using this WILL, he distributed 18 camels to 1st son, 12 camels to 2nd son, 4 camels to 3rd son. Not only they received their original share, but with this arrangement, all of them profited with extra number. Later this story mapped to 17 camels, brining 9 camels to 1st son, 6 camels to 2nd son, 2 camels to 3rd son. My dear friends, attitude and negotiation skills are highly critical today. First we must believe there is solution exists for every problem. I wish you would agree with me and try to elevate your altitude by your attitude.    

My Dear Friends, Hope you enjoyed reading this letter. I appreciate your valuable time. I wish it is informative and useful. I will again see you in my next letter. Thank you for giving me this great opportunity to write to you and help me to learn, unlearn and relearn in this process.

With Best Wishes
Dr. Ravi Saripalle

About Author:    Dr. Ravi Saripalle is Believer and Mentor of Inspire to Innovate (i2i) Storytelling Movement. He is also Director, Center for Innovation, GVP College of Engineering (A), Vizag, AP. Dr. Ravi is having more than 17 years of experience in Industry, Consultancy, Training, Mentoring and Research. Prior to this current role, Dr. Ravi worked with Wipro Technologies for more than a decade. Dr Ravi can be reached at saripalle.ravi@gmail,com or or    or    

Disclaimer: The goal of this letter campaign is to inspire students through storytelling and live case studies and develop innovative leaders to build strong nation. In this process, I have taken several data points from various websites, NEWS articles, books, videos etc. I sincerely thank all the editors for providing such insightful stories. To the best of my knowledge, I tried to acknowledge all the sources. I sincerely apologize for any omissions, grammatical mistakes and hurting any reader’s sentiments. I request all the readers to understand spirit behind this effort. This effort doesn’t involve any commercials. Letter series is for free distribution.