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Wake up VII - follow your passion

A couple of interesting people to look at:

Who said one can't be king in many trades? Even after four centuries we consider this person to be a genius without an equal - an exceptional painter, sculptor, engineer, architect, botanist, anatomist and mathematician (oh; there are a few more things like musician, poet and writer to add to the list!). He conceived ideas way ahead of his time; designed bridges that people thought are impossible to  ake but in recent past have been proved practical; painted a few pieces that are renowned the world over and drew sketches of the human anatomy in intricate detail. And he really didn't have formal study in any of the disciplines! It just goes to show that one just needs to have interest to excel.

Our second personality is someone different - a renowned theorist on astronomy - especially black holes. At the age of 21 he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and doctors gave him a maximum of 3 years to live. He gradually lost the ability to use his body almost completely - legs, arms and even voice. He calls himself 'lucky' - lucky to have lived so many years because of the slow progress of his disease; lucky that he was given time to come up with theories about the universe; how about that for positive thinking? Imagine... ... a paralyzed body without movement; just sight and mind available. And he was to make a name for himself AFTER being crippled physically by the disease. Yes; it's Stephen hawking we're talking about. And our first personality, if you haven't guessed, is Leonardo Da Vinci.

What are you waiting for? Go on and follow your passion...

Wake up VIII

Speaking of following our dreams what better person to look at than someone who quit college, didn't have a place of his own, founded a company, got fired by his company, created another company, was almost in the death bed and then regained CEO title of his first company. And the 'i' in any gadget reminds us of his company: Apple Inc.

Steve Jobs is said to be a highly demanding person – when fired from Apple people felt happy on the one hand (happy to be rid of someone so demanding) and sad on the other (losing a visionary). He's had a good share of conflict with Bill Gates (during the initial days of the personal computers when Gates used to write software for the Mac) and much later with Michael Dell.

Whatever one makes of his character there are definitely a lot of good things to take from his story; especially his passion in work (similar to what we saw in Bill Gates; in fact it is a trait we find in everyone who has made a mark in life) and trying to live each day as if it were his last one. His speech at Stanford is definitely worth a read.

The full transcript of his speech to Stanford students is at:

Wake up IX - Try try try and keep trying till the end

He was runner up in Wimbledon in 1992 after a grueling 5-set battle with Andre Agassi – both men competing to win their first grand slam title. In 1994 he lost to Sampras in the finals who was in his prime form; in 1995 he lost again to Sampras but this time in the semis. In 1996 he reached the US open semis to lose again to Sampras in 4 sets. In 1998 he reached Wimbledon finals for the third time and again lost to Sampras in 5 sets. His temperament in long games was definitely under question for he often lost his cool on court and was famous for breaking rackets during matches.

From 1999 onwards he went downhill – all started off because of a nagging shoulder injury which took him to the verge of surgery in 2001. His ranking plummeted to 125 and he was given a wild card entry to Wimbledon. We're talking about Goran Ivanisevic (the guy with one of the best serves) whose long time dream was to win Wimbledon even if it meant that he would injure his shoulder to the extent of retiring from tennis.

No one could have scripted the 2001 Wimbledon championships before it started. He beat Carlos Moya, Greg Rudeski, Andy Roddick and Marat Safin on his way to the semis. Tim Henman probably in the best of touches looked in ominous form in the semis against him and was leading by 2 sets to 1 in complete control of the match; as the match went into the fourth set, Ivanisevic showed signs of imminent self destruction. 30 minutes of play and Henman would have wrapped up the match but that was not to be. The rains intervened and the match went into the next day – starting afresh Ivanisevic roared back to level the match at 2-2 and then won the final set; he was into the finals for the fourth time in his career.

The final was against a resurgent Pat Rafter – the game had everything a final required – shoulder injury scare, frustration on line calls, a see-saw game that went into the 5 th set and everyone writing off Ivanisevic's chances of realizing his dream – after all his opponent was a master in 5 setters. But this time was to be different – Ivanisevic won the final set 9-7 to realize the dream of his life. The headlines read, " The Chosen One reaches his destiny". It was the first time that a wild card entrant had won the Wimbledon Grand Slam.

So keep trying till the very end – you might attain success at the most unexpected moment.

Wake up X - the year ends

We near the year end and so we're going to keep this edition short (and hopefully sweet!). If you haven't thought about the year that was then please do pause and think over it – I'm not asking you to brood over the past but we often get carried away with day to day work that before we realize it we've spent our whole life in the same way. We spend time for official appraisals but do we spend enough time (any time) appraising ourselves on our personal front? Are you heading where you really want to be heading? …THINK…

(I can't resist the temptation to remix my poems to make a new one!).

There are times in a day, when you feel you are going astray,
When life seems dark, And you hear everyone bark.
But hey, what fun would life be without a test,
if all we had to do was sit and rest.

Your reserves of strength you should muster
while feeling light-hearted like a jester.
Keep your goal in sight
and never give up without a fight.

It's a short sweet life; what are your goals? Don't live today such that you'll regret it tomorrow.