How Karma got me through the world’s toughest entrance exam
For this episode I would like to share an excerpt from the Customer Karma book:
As I grew older, my grandma helped me connect the dots in each of these learning moments. One evening, when we were sitting on the balcony, I told her that after finishing high school, I wanted to be an engineer. I wanted to graduate from India’s top engineering college, one of the six Indian Institutes of Technology. She smiled at me and said, “It is all about your karma.” I was confused, as I thought karma meant fate. Was my grandma telling me that everything was dependent on fate, which meant I did not have to do anything other than wait for fate to reveal itself? Was there nothing I could do to ensure I got into the IITs? My grandma went on to explain, “Karma comes from the Sanskrit word karman, which means ‘action’ or ‘doing.’ I am referring to what you can do in any situation. You must have a clear idea of what is required to get into the IITs and then go do your best. Then you can tell yourself that you have done your best, meaning you did the right karma. Only then will you have the best chance of getting in.” I was starting to see what she was saying. Grandma went on to say, “There are no shortcuts to success. Success is hardly ever bestowed on those who do not work hard or do good karma. Do good karma, and you will be rewarded with good karma.”
That evening, I could confidently say that I got it. I started understanding the lessons of karma. I studied hard, did my karma, and was rewarded with an admission to the IITs. I graduated from IIT Kharagpur with a degree in aerospace engineering. After that, I came to the United States, earned my MBA, and got into the corporate world in the field of consumer marketing. In my years of working with some of the top consumer brands in the fields of restaurants, retail, service, and consumer goods, I learned that the concept of karma was the be-all and end-all definer of success. To me, the concept of karma was a blend of Newton’s third law of physics, which states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” and the golden rule, which states, “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” In my career, the more clarity I got about karma and its effects, the more I could successfully understand consumer behavior and the corporate world.