Remember Who You Are
I recently read a book called “Remember Who You Are: 15 Harvard Professors Tell Life Stories That Inspire the Heart and Mind.” This book features stories from faculty members of Harvard Business School who share lessons on how to balance personal and professional responsibilities as a leader. While the stories aren’t specifically about business, they offer valuable insights into life. One story that particularly resonated with me was “A Fall Before Rising,” as told by Jai Jaikumar.
Professor Jay Kumar shared his near-death experience, which occurred during a mountain climbing expedition in the Himalayas. Born in India, he had a passion for mountaineering and had set out to climb a summit with a friend when he was a college student. While attempting to reach the top, they lost track of time and missed their chance to return to camp before darkness fell.
On their way back, they were unable to see clearly and were separated by an avalanche, causing the professor to tumble 2.5 miles down the mountain, sustaining injuries all over his body and losing all his belongings. Fortunately, he did not hit any rocks and survived the fall.
He spent a grueling day and night walking until he finally stumbled upon a small house where a kind lady saved him. The lady carried him on the snow for three days and helped him seek medical treatment without expecting anything in return.
After his rescue, Jaikumar went back to college, but he never forgot the kindness of the rescue lady and her village. The professor was deeply moved by her selflessness and began to reflect on his own good fortune in life.
He realized that his survival and success were due to many good lucks in his childhood, family, education, and the kind lady saved him from mountain accident, etc… . He felt grateful for everything that had led him to where he was and recognized the role of chance in shaping his life. The loss of his friend on the mountain served as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of appreciating what one has.
Years had passed since Professor Jaikumar’s last time visit to the village, where the lady had refused to accept any reward. When he returned, she still declined any form of compensation. However, Jaikumar felt compelled to give back to the village in some way, and recognized that education was the key to a better future for the children there. He came up with the idea of building a school, and after years of hard work and dedication, his vision became a reality.
In life, we come across many instances where we are given a second chance to make things right. And sometimes, these second chances inspire us to do something extraordinary, something that can make a positive impact on the world.
In his message to the students, he emphasized the importance of remembering that when good fortune comes our way, we should also be grateful for the accompanying responsibilities. According to him, success is not only the result of luck but also of taking responsibility, contributing to the well-being of others, and striving to achieve one’s highest potential.