His Life Lesson Lead Him to His Dream Job & To Us
“So, what is your life lesson Sid?” asked Deepak, in his trademark tone filled with curiosity, energy and positivity.
This was just the second time I was meeting Deepak Ramola, Founder of Project FUEL. Our first interaction was during an event that I’d organized for AIESEC Mumbai, where he was the host. I remember communicating a few last minute changes to him on stage, and him carrying on calm and composed, almost untroubled by those, or anything else.
So when I met him for the second time, I was curious to find out the secret behind his serene composure. “After having taught students, corporates, housewives and adults of all ages, through Project FUEL, patience and presence come to me almost naturally”, he said.
That was how I was first introduced to FUEL and I spent the rest of the evening learning more about it. What intrigued me the most back then, and continues to till date, is the power of this incredibly simple question, which Deepak had just asked me – So, what is your life lesson?
I thought about it for a long time and here is what I told him:
“Seize the moment, that’s my first life lesson.”
Let me explain what I mean.
I, for a fact, do not believe in fate; that people are “fated” to become rich, or famous, or successful, or lead extraordinary lives, or vice versa.
“At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
What I do believe is that every single one of us is given opportunities. These opportunities transpire mostly due to our own passions, beliefs, actions, and current realities. Those who decide to seize the moment and act on those opportunities are the ones who end up living a life full of purpose and fulfillment, and may consequentially end up becoming rich, famous, successful, and even extraordinary!
I learnt this lesson in an unexpected manner. In my last year of graduation college, I was given the opportunity to star in a movie, an Oscar winning movie and I decided to NOT take it up! Only some of my closest friends and family know the details about this. Subsequently, almost everyone I decided to share this with, gave me the following two reactions – Are you kidding me? (and once they realized that I am not), Were you crazy?
At first, I thought this was my fate. But really, it came down to a simple truth; I was given an opportunity that I decided to throw away.
The opportunity in itself was created by my own realities (spoke the language needed, looked like the character required) and actions (I had cleared several rounds of auditions to make it there). However, when it came down to the crucial part of seizing the moment, I decided against it. A deeper introspection revealed that I took this call because becoming an actor was not something I really, truly believed I wanted.
Which brings me to my second life lesson: Believe.
For me, the word ‘Believe’ exudes immense power and positivity. Football fans (like me) would know that it was one of the mottoes, which legendary Manchester United coach Sir Matt Busby used to rebuild a broken team and convert it into the very best. Sir Alex Ferguson, during his two successful decades as the coach, also built his team around the same principle. Yes, I am a huge Manchester United fan but my fascination for the word ‘believe’ goes beyond football fanaticism.
I joined my first job in a global consulting firm right after graduation. It was a great place which offered me a lot of opportunities and experiences. However, over two years into that job and I realized that it was not helping me move towards my ultimate goal of making a dent in the global education sphere. I started Googling a new education based idea that I wanted to pursue, and that’s when I stumbled upon a Kuala Lumpur based company, which is on a mission to impact 1 billion lives by 2050, by harnessing the power of education.
“When you truly believe in something and want it, the entire universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I applied to the firm. One thing lead to another, and soon enough, I found myself flying to Kuala Lumpur.
Three months into my new assignment here in Kuala Lumpur, I received a letter. A beautiful handwritten letter by Deepak giving me an update on Project FUEL and life in general, as a follow up to our previous conversation. We decided to catch up over a quick Skype call. Our ‘quick call’ lasted for almost four hours at the end of which Deepak asked me another question – “Sid, would you be interested in joining the Project FUEL team to help our vision of making every life count, turn into a reality?”
What do you think I did? Especially when, this time, it was an opportunity that I really, truly believed in.
Seized the moment, of course! 🙂