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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

May - 2011 - issue > Guru Talk

Vision: Your Armour Against the Odds

P. R. Venketrama Raja
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
P. R. Venketrama Raja
As a kid, I read a story that has stayed with me for life. The story revolves around two frogs who had lived in the valley all their lives. One day, they decided that they would travel up the hill to see the city that lay on the other side. So, they made the arduous trip and finally reached the hill top. The older frog told the younger one to climb upon his back, stand up and take a peek at the city below. Was it attractive enough for them to continue the journey? So, the younger frog climbed upon his back and exclaimed, “Why brother! That city is just like the one that we left behind!”

“Really?”, asked the other. “Then why make this hazardous journey? Let’s go back and live in our old homes.” So the two frogs went back and continued to live just as they had all along. What they did not realise is that frogs’ eyes are positioned at the top of their heads; when the young frog stood up, his eyes were facing backward toward the city that he had just left behind! The story ended saying that all their lives the frogs believed that the city on the other side looked exactly like theirs.

As a child, this story made a deep impact on me. I recognized humor in it but also something more important that I could not lay my finger on. But when I grew up, I realised the immense wisdom of the story teller. Like all classics, this is one that transcends the barriers of time, age and milieus. It can be interpreted in several ways, but the one thing that stands out for me is how important the right perspective is. Like the famous example of viewing a glass as half full or half empty, perspective determines our lives, the decisions that we take, the things that we hold dear, the dreams that we dream. Perspective can make or break — people, businesses, and visions.

On another level, this story is also about experiencing life in hindsight. All too often, that’s how most people learn and by then it’s too late. The true visionary though should have foresight—a vision for the future. An oft misunderstood word, vision is not merely a supernatural gift of divination, it’s not a ‘dream’ or a goal to achieve’; neither is it something that you are born with. All too often, it’s a choice that has to be actively pursued. It’s divination, yes, but it’s a divination that is grounded in the realities of today. Often, it’s simply the ability to feel the pulse of the situation, so you know which way the tide will turn. Vision and foresight go hand in hand with experience and insight.

When you are at the helm of a world-class enterprise, people describe you as being a visionary, almost by default. However, being an entrepreneur or the top-man in your firm, does not make you a visionary. The true visionary is not necessarily one who is most successful by the world’s standards, nor is it one who does the undone; it’s someone who does the done differently, who makes alternative life choices.


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