Stay grounded, it pays

Today, I would like to narrate an experience during my first four weeks at the hostel at IIT Kharagpur.

08 Feb 2016 | By Suresh Ramakrishnan

The institute has an orientation programme that lasts for 26 days (most students refer to it by another name, which most of you will be able to guess easily!). While the students dread the period, with several theories casting an inhuman light on the whole exercise (there are some stray incidents, of course), the reality is far from being inhuman.
The objective is to acquaint you with the people you are likely to spend your time with. The rules are simple. None of your seniors will come forth to introduce themselves. You have to take the pains within the 26 days to get to know their names, their departments, cities they hail from and their room numbers (a basic list).
How do you go about it? The process is simple really. You offer to do some chores for the seniors and in that pretext gain entry to their rooms. And within the time you manage to stay there, you pick up the clues to their names, their native places, their departments and so on.
Thus, your objective is to spend as much time as you can in their rooms. So, you need to pick up tasks which last longer. I soon realised that I was adept at cleaning rooms and utensils (pans,
cups, plates, and yes, Maggi was a favourite snack even then!). This helped me with a booking list to visit of maximum number of rooms, and it fetched me books, some treats, notes (trust me, they are valuable) and some much-needed sleep.
Some may argue that the whole thing is beneath a crème-de-la-crème institute like IIT Kharagpur, where most of the students are top rank holders in their 10th and 12th exams (not bragging, but I wasn’t one, not even close), where most students claimed that they have not done such works in their entire lives.
But you learn the first lesson. There is no better time to start and it does not make you any smaller or take away the rank you have earned. In the sea of brilliance, you are just one of them. You also
realise that there are several others much ahead of you. It sinks in. Stay grounded. It pays.
Yes, there are several drills, which are best kept a secret (Some of them cannot even be narrated in a platform like this, but mind you, most of them are fun too!).
Personally, it prepared me to look at the world differently. It taught me to keep my mind open to learn, and be inquisitive, and say yes to challenges. There is nothing big or small in whatever you do, as each task has a role to play in the grand scheme of things. We should learn to apply some of this within our organisations.
A critical link: Each member, irrespective of his/her position or the work he/she carries out in the organisation, is a critical link to the tasks you wish to accomplish. It could be an office boy, your
assistant, colleagues across function or external players. Recognise each member for his or her contribution.
Learning never stops: Your accomplishments should only help you raise the bar through new and bigger goals. Always remember, your success does not make you unique; it only tells you there are more possibilities and that there may be others across the world who may be doing it and your goal just went up a notch higher. Back to learning new things.
Do not be in a hurry to climb the corporate ladder without adequate experience. In the initial years, go through the grind as much as possible to pick up the small pieces that form the foundation of what you will be applying much later and possibly throughout your career, and life.
The leader is the person who people seek and recognise irrespective of their title (this is Robin Sharma’s theory) because they set examples by following the above three points.
Stay grounded, it pays.