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Winning approach to life

Sankar Radhakrishnan

Shiv Khera, motivational guru.

CHENNAI, March 6

YOU can see the passion in Shiv Khera's eyes. At times it almost seems as if you will be swamped by it. And Khera, motivational guru and the author of the best-seller You Can Win, is passionate about a number of things — from helping people overcome their fatalistic approach to life to getting the message of social responsibility to people across the country.

He's also got this uncanny ability to come up with some pithy one-liners that say it all. Sample these: "Vision without action is hallucination" or "Vision with action is conviction" or "Life is full of choices and compromises" or "Coincidences happen only to prepared minds". Perhaps the most famous of them all is his trademark quote: "Winners don't do different things, they do things differently."

So just what is it that winners do differently? For one they believe that they are responsible for their own lives, rather than leaving things to fate, says Khera. "We Indians have become too fatalistic a nation and believe that we are helpless in the face of fate," he sighs, adding that this is a misconception. But then isn't there some element of luck in all tales of success? Pat comes another one-liner in response: "When opportunity meets preparation, it's called good luck."

Khera says that if one is prepared and does all the spadework required for success, sooner or later the right opportunity will come along. On the other had if one is not prepared, success can walk right past, he adds.

And though Khera is a very vocal advocate of the need to cultivate a positive attitude, he adds that this on it's own is not enough. "Positive thinking alone does not guarantee success," he quips. And adds that positive thinking, accompanied by effort increases the probability of success.

He points to his own life as an example and how in his early years in Canada he washed cars to earn a living. "Do you know that close to a hundred publishers rejected the manuscript of my book You Can Win?" he asks.

He says that the turning point in his life came when he attended a lecture by motivational speaker Norman Vincent Peale. "After that lecture I realised that I was my own biggest problem, and then the direction of my life changed," declares Khera, who is in India for the release of the Tamil and Punjabi editions of You can win by Macmillan India Ltd.

Khera is also a patriot, who wants every Indian to become a "soldier for the nation"; a soldier who says `I'm going to do something' rather than simply say `something must be done'.

Khera himself has started an organisation called Country First to "take the message of social responsibility to the streets".

He adds that the organisation is not going to have any `big names' simply to decorate it. "Everyone will have clear deliverables and if they fail to deliver, they're out," he declares.

Pointing to the shenanigans that dog the Indian political system, Khera says that there will be genuine democracy in India only when the elected representatives are really the choice of the people.

So what is his prescription for cleaning up Indian politics and ensuring that the will of the people prevails? "There should be an option in the ballot paper which says `none of the above'.

And if over 75 per cent of the electorate selects this option, all the candidates should be barred from contesting in elections for the next 10 years," declares Khera.

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Winning approach to life

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