September 17 marks PM Narendra Modi’s birthday. As he turns 69 today, an interesting way to analyse his personality would be to know what makes him such a widely loved leader.
Today we live in an aspirational world where many of us search for books or talks on self-help and personality development. You may be a student, career-oriented person, businessman or a common person who just wants to lead a smooth life, there is something for everyone to take away from the phenomenon called Modi. Since it is the 6th birthday of Modi as the Prime Minister, we look at 6 such universally appealing life lessons that his life offers.
Be ready for the long haul
Too early in our life’s journey we may get frustrated about a salary hike that has not materialised, promotion we missed or a position we failed to obtain. Think where it all started for Narendra Modi. People at large heard about him when he became Gujarat Chief Minister. But the years of perspiration as a grassroots worker before that made the mettle of the person we see today as the PM. From CM to PM is also another hardworking journey. When Modi was at it, there were certainly thousands of things happened in India that perhaps made him think that he can’t act as an agent of change in such an atmosphere. Nevertheless, he chose one reason to stick to public life.
To get anything important done in life, get ready for the long haul.
Pick your battles wisely
Be it in life or in professional pursuits, one need to be careful about the battles he/she chooses to pick. In this age of information overload hitting you without a nano-second’s break, it is natural for anyone to be overwhelmed by the noise and drown in it. Modi doesn’t spend much energy on trivial things. For example, when Rahul Gandhi continuously raised the Rafale issue based on non-existent evidence and completely bereft of facts, when he personally targeted PM Modi, Modi didn’t spend time or energy responding to it. The respective ministers issued rebuttals while Modi went ahead with his own development narrative. From time to time media created some ‘rebels’, ‘youth icons’ and gave a great amount of time to them to attack Modi. Their propaganda did get a rebuttal through proper mechanisms at various levels but PM Modi himself was not bothered to even take the name of such worthies in his speeches. After the tremendous people’s verdict in 2019, all those ‘icons’ have disappeared from public discourse while Modi has only grown in stature.
Be proud of your roots
Remember that the US President said that PM Modi speaks very good English but he chooses to express himself in Hindi? One should be learning all the time, be it a language or anything else. But when it comes to expressing yourself, do it in a way you are comfortable with and be confident about it just like Modi does. Language is just an example. Modi’s life teaches us to be proud about of our humble beginnings and grow from there. Hailing from a tea-selling family is not at all a thing to be shy of and imbibing values from a Chowkidar should not be looked as a lesser thing. As PM Modi puts it, ‘It is not Harvard (degree) but hard work that matters.’
Cultivate the right habits
While you are pursuing a professional or business goal, also cultivate some good habits that will sustain you in the long run. Giving specific time to Yoga, observing certain fasts etc which we can see in PM Modi’s life are the habits cultivated a long time ago. One may often think that ‘let me achieve this goal first and after getting this position I will figure out some healthy habits from that comfort’. It doesn’t work that way. If you marvel about how PM Modi is such an active person at the age of 69, while many of us complaining about many physical and mental problems at a young age, then some healthy habits formed early in his age would have certainly contributed to Modi’s healthy and energetic lifestyle.
Surprise yourself & others
When a leader grows, often she/he ends up with a particular image. In his initial days as Chief Minister, the opposition and media tried to portray him in a certain way. However, Modi made it clear that he stood for the welfare of all with appeasement to none. This became popular with the people and with people’s adulation it was a tempting thing to stick to the same image and argument because his opponents kept trying to play the same card nevertheless. However, Modi surprised all of them by changing the discourse totally to development and progress.
Later, as the Prime Minister, Modi made honest overtures to Pakistan to try and pursue peace with them. They replied with a terrorist attack. Pakistan certainly did not expect what would happen next. The surgical strikes took them by surprise.
When they struck our heroes at Pulwama, Pakistan built up their forces on the ground around the LoC to foil any surgical strike attempts. But this time, India took the aerial route, upped the game and struck deep into Pakistan’s territory in Balakot.
So, the lesson is: whatever position you are in, it helps to surprise yourself and the world at large by constantly improving yourself.
Integrity – a force like gravity
It takes no effort to turn into a cynic and argue that higher values such as integrity have nothing to do with success or enriching anyone’s life. But integrity, like gravity, is that invisible force that holds everything in place. This is the lesson one should draw from Modi’s life journey. Even when people feel that on certain counts PM Modi fell short, they still say in one voice that his intentions are clean and he does not do anything for self-benefit.
This again, is not a conclusion drawn from the example of corruption-free government he delivered as Prime Minister but from the fact that in his entire journey in the corridors of power, both as CM and PM not a shred of corruption that can be found.
So, develop integrity. People will trust you no matter what. And trust moves mountains.