March To The Beat Of Your Own Drum

“What inspired you to leave your job and start on this journey?”  

is what a kid asked me following a talk I gave on “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” at IIT Kanpur, one of the kids caught up with me in the corridor. I believe where words fall short, poems come to the rescue!

I wish I could have shared with him this poem that I wrote 9 years back, to give him a glimpse of the mindset that inspired my life altering shift to experiential learning from the good ol’ corporate life.

Two plus two makes four my boy,
“Walk along the straight line”.
Don’t dare turn left, when we say right,
Fall in line, obey, comply.

March on, look right ahead,
Stomp your foot – straight in line.
Up goes the hand, that chin up too,
Not a thought from you – Robot man.

This is your world – one size for all,
Everyone a bottle of coke.
Same size, same shape, standardize,
Same thoughts, no voice – you realize?

ok, here’s the dare:
First fall out of line,
Walk zig-zag – hop skip and then jump.
Now take that lane, yes that offbeat one,
Go on – walk on – explore.

Out at the other end now,
What did you see?
What did you learn?
What did you uncover?

It’s not the “what” that’s important,
But the fact that you “did”,
Just listen to your own drummer my friend,
For the music always tops the coke!!

The risk, most of us are told, is in doing things that are unconventional. But, every time I sit and look back at the 9 years past, and I know that is, in fact, flawed thinking. The actual risk is

In following the tried and tested path,
In not living life on the edge,
In playing safe;
In knowing with a fair degree of certainty how the next month and the year after will turn out to be,
In knowing all the answers,
In not ever having butterflies in your tummy!

My two cents to it all is that –

“Don’t ever take such risks in your life. After all, you just have one!”

Read Also  Stories of Great Teams: Part 2: “Muckers”

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