Have you seen how in a marathon all the runners jostle together as a crowd for some time and then a few start taking the lead. My observation is that is exactly what happens in life – and I have seen three distinct phases in which it happens.
The first break out happens when you are 13 years old – in Class 8 – 9. Till then most kids and their parents are not overly stressed and life is easy. But come Class 8 – Class 9 you see a bunch of kids suddenly topping the charts consistently. Their attitude changes, they become more mature, serious and studious , and the friends circle also changes. Its crucial to observe this in your kids and the last point of the company they keep makes a big impact. So help them be connected with the right circle of friends.
Class 8 – 12 is a very crucial phase in India. In a highly competitive country – where you don’t get too many chances acing your 12th is a very important phase to stay ahead of the millions. There was a time when intelligent kids made it without too much of hard work – but today you need brains and slog to succeed. And all the kids who have done so well and bask in the glory of their 12th results will vouch for this. As they stand at the doorstep of a good college – they have opened the doors to a good education , smart peers, and an advantage in terms of a getting a good break in their careers. Yes there are many kids and parents with $$ power who avoid the mad rush of the Indian rat race and decide to take SAT and apply to US Colleges. A College degree in the US is 200,000 $ (1.2 Crores) Vs 10 – 15 Lacs in India in the best of institutes. And the best gift your kid can give you to is to do well and get an admission to good Indian College.
The second break out happens when you get your first job. You are around 22 – 23 now. Of the 14 M graduates in India – a few thousand will bag the best of jobs putting them at a significant advantage over the others.
Like a good school , college and community a good 1st job is so crucial in life. A respected company where you can learn and build your corporate values. Once you get a good break hang in there for some time – at least 5 years. Companies are always on the lookout for the smart ones and a few years later a few will slowly but surely stand out in the crowd and move faster up the Corporate ladder. Its hard work, Competency , Pleasant personality and a bit of YES Boss Culture that can get you on the fast track. You can stay in the same company or move jobs – always keeping an eye on being relevant in the job market and ensuring that you are not missing the next big wave ( IT, BPO, Telecom , eCommerce – we have seen so many waves in India since the 90’s)
The third break comes around the mid to late 30’s – when you make it to the big league. You start to run a business or become a Sr VP or a Country Manager. You made it in the rat race – you have hit the 1m $ salary in India , you own a few mansions, you have a jet setting life, you are disappointed when the airlines does not upgrade you from Business Class to 1st Class and your holidays are in exotic locations globally.
But for achieving all of this – remember that the 1st breakout is important. That gets you started. I see my nephew who was brilliant and worked hard for 4 years – he now stands at the altar of the best colleges in India – his career is set. I also see my daughter and some of her friends in Class 9 – who are gifted with brilliance – but are yet to push on the accelerator of hard work and diligence. iPad, iPhone, You Tube and a giggly time pass friends circle threatens to block their path. Should we be strict and disciplinarian or should we allow them to live the life of the current era – there are pros and cons to both – I am not sure which is the correct path.
I hope like any parent that this stage will pass and the kids will leverage all the resources at their disposal and get set to breakaway in the marathon of life.