"My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my Nation." - Guru Kalam

Inspiring Indians

Sail Ahead: Turning problems into opportunity

By Cdr Abhilash Tomy | JAN 2016

I was preparing for my tenth board exam when I came across a book which I thought might help me prepare for the history paper. It was titled, The Study of History and was written by a man who was touted as the father of modern history.

In the book, Arnold Toynbee talks about 20 civilisations and makes a comparative study to understand the conditions that cause civilisations to prosper or wilt. Not surprisingly, he concluded that their fate depended on how well they responded to challenges.

Toynbee’s book did not help me score much in the exam (I scored about 30 percent below the average in history) but at the age of 15, it taught me a lifelong lesson which changed me in a fundamental way.

People do have a tendency to imagine that a life without problems would be a satisfied one but analysing things in the light of what I found in the book made me realise how wrong the supposition was.

You don’t really have to go looking for problems, but when one presents itself, you must use it as an opportunity. Einstein said that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.

It is in the nature of a problem to force us to change our thinking, and in doing so we only become better than ourselves.

Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay and Robin Knox-Johnston and such like are names we recognise today because there was a tall mountain and seemingly obstinate oceans waiting to be surmounted and crossed. It is perhaps this thinking which sifts the great from the ordinary.

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