By Vijay Phanshikar :
COUNTLESS definitions and descriptions of what stuff champions and winners are made of. All human societies have found their methods and manners and modes of bringing up champions and winners not just in sports but in life. Each human society has its own different stories to share, its own formulae about how winners are made and of what stuff. But all these diverse accounts have one thing in common -- that there are no short cuts to the destination; each person dreaming of being a winner has to walk the full distance, no matter how long and how arduous.
Ask anybody -- cricket legend Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, iconic scientist Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, the one-and-only-in-her-league singer Madam Lata Mangeshkar, for example -- how that person travelled to greatness. And the answer would be the same -- hard work, long hours of work, 24x7 work, unwavering commitment, building of mental strength ...! And all this for whole life without compromise. And ask psychologists how a champion is made, and they will insist that only 10 per cent of the champion or winner is made in the body while the remaining 90 per cent is made in the mind.
And ask a yogi about it, and he will say, a winner is 99.9 per cent in the mind, and 0.01 per cent in the body. And he will also quote verses and sutras (formulae) from the iconic treatise Patanjali Yoga Sutra (which is understood to be an authentic and ancient exposition of human psychology) to tell that a lifelong pursuit to train the mind is the basic need of a champion or winner or anybody achieving excellence in life. When Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar was bestowed with Padma Shri by the Government, he called his mentor and scientist Bharat Ratna Dr. C.N.R. Rao to share the news.
The old man just said, “Okay, nice” and hung up. Then Dr. Mashelkar was conferred with Padma Bhushan after a few years. He again shared the good news with Dr. C.N.R. Rao. Again the old man said, “It’s all right”. A few years further up, the Government conferred upon Dr. Mashelkar the second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan. He called his Guru once again. This time also the old man said, “Not bad”. Exasperated, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar asked Dr. Rao, “Sir, what should I do or achieve to please you?” Dr. C.N.R. Rao, the spiritual father of all Indian scientists, said, in effect, “Look Ramesh (Dr. Mashelkar’s fond name), you are climbing a ladder of excellence that has no upper end.
So, when you are on the climb, any achievement is only good enough, but not finally best.” Dr. Mashelkar who has won countless international awards and honours finds his eyes getting misty when he recounts this. Starting from the small village of Mashel in Goa, Dr. Mashelkar is known as one of the top scientists in the world, having given birth to an entirely new branch of science. But he never forgets his Guru’s words -- there is no upper end to the ladder of excellence. This is good enough for all of us who are all the time seeking short cuts to championship or victory. Instead of reading full text books, we resort to guides on subjects. Instead of studying on our own, we seek resort to commercially-run tuition classes. Instead of waking up at 3 in the morning like Virat Kohli, we get up in a leisurely manner and saunter to the playground for a couple of hours of loosely-played game. This short-cut culture is what no champion or winner ever follows.