In 2007 I had joined Colgate Palmolive in Mumbai in the Marketing Department. In the first week itself I made friends with a bunch of management trainees who had just come to the head office in Mumbai, post their stints in sales. Amongst this boisterous bunch was an unusual IIM alumni Joseph Radhik.
I personally felt what made him stand out amongst the rest was his no hang ups attitude, which gave him an uncanny openness to ideas and the ability to connect with people. Anyone who has worked in the Indian corporate set up will understand when I say that in today’s world an MBA and that too from an IIM* may not bring in the requisite IQ or social skills but it definitely brings in a load of attitude, Joe was an unusual IIM grad in that regard.I can’t say I was very good friends with the gentleman but I knew him and I enjoyed interacting with him.
Few years later, I was going through ‘not so good a time’ in life. I might have mentioned the same to a common friend, and just out of the blue I got a call from Joe. He did tell me that he had left Colpal and joined a design firm and had now discovered something he was really good at, while moonlighting. I found it absurd that a guy as bright and talented as him and that too with an IIM pedigree would opt for something like wedding photography. I think that was the last that we ever spoke, a decade ago. I did get to hear from common friends that he had shot the weddings of very influential people and that’s about it.
Just recently when the entire country was gushing about Virushka’s wedding ( i.e. wedding of the captain of Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli with Anushka Sharma, a top ranking Bollywood actress) , in the corner of those aesthetic wedding photographs was the inscription “Stories by Joseph Radhik”. Impressed I was not just by the journey of this maverick gentleman but also by his ability to take a chance to embrace the unknown.
In the movie Marigold Hotel there is a very profound dialogue by Judi Dench “The only real failure, is the failure to try, and the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment, which is inevitable”.
When we look back at life we regret the things we did not do more than the things we did. And the reason behind not doing the things we ought to have done is the lack of courage to embrace the unknown. This is especially true for people on a break from their careers. Mostly we are so taken hostage by our pedigrees and our positions that we are unable to try something new, for which we do have the skills. Not always is it the lack of a social security net that pulls us back (– lot of us blame the lack of security to be the reason for the lack entrepreneurship in India). It is mostly the inability to accept failure which is inevitable when you chart an unknown course.
Whoever told you that being an entrepreneur is easy was probably fooling you. Further still starting out in not so well-established areas and challenging tried and tested systems has a whole myriad of challenges. Pardon my language when I say “opinion is an asshole and everyone has one”-so everyday someone or the other will let you know how stupid and “not so useful” your idea is. The ability to take that criticism in your stride and bounce back the very next day is a big feat itself. Also it is a highly humbling experience. Bear in mind, had it not been for people who took a chance and embraced the unknown to pursue the so called “not so useful ideas”, of that time, the world would have been devoid of Amazon and Google. And at a more local level there would have been no “Stories by Joseph Radhik”, making even Karan Johar* gush about them.
Unfortunately, we only celebrate success not failure despite the learning it brings. The only difference between the ones who succeeded and ones who did not, is that the one who succeeded did not quit.
The Mantra is to make a beginning and keep pursuing it. Nothing in this world is too small or too lowly to be pursued. Our pedigree and experience is there to empower us to accept the challenges of the unknown and take the plunge rather than to hold us back. In the end the outcome depends on the passion with which one pursues the goal. So KEEP TRYING!!!
IIM-Indian Institute of Management
Karan Johar-Famous Bollywood Director