You don’t have to be an industrialist

Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto

One evening when I was 16, my father sat with me for a post-dinner conversation. He said that according to Indian tradition, when a son turns 16, the father should start treating him as a friend.

And so, he was speaking to me both as father and as friend. He made it very clear that though I was born in a business family, there was no compulsion for me to take on the reins later.

I was free to pursue whatever career my heart desired. I specifically remember him telling me that it was absolutely fine if I wanted to be a tennis player or a mountaineer. But, he added, I must always aim at being the best.

There should be no compromise on this. If I chose tennis, I should aim at winning at Wimbledon, or if I climbed mountains, I should aim to climb Mount Everest.

Even if I wanted to be a cook, he said, there was no harm in it as long as I aimed to become a top chef. It was my choice to stay with the family business. But his emphasis on excellence has always inspired me to push boundaries.

You don't have to be an industrialist

Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto

One evening when I was 16, my father sat with me for a post-dinner conversation. He said that according to Indian tradition, when a son turns 16, the father should start treating him as a friend.

And so, he was speaking to me both as father and as friend. He made it very clear that though I was born in a business family, there was no compulsion for me to take on the reins later.

I was free to pursue whatever career my heart desired. I specifically remember him telling me that it was absolutely fine if I wanted to be a tennis player or a mountaineer. But, he added, I must always aim at being the best.

There should be no compromise on this. If I chose tennis, I should aim at winning at Wimbledon, or if I climbed mountains, I should aim to climb Mount Everest.

Even if I wanted to be a cook, he said, there was no harm in it as long as I aimed to become a top chef. It was my choice to stay with the family business. But his emphasis on excellence has always inspired me to push boundaries.

Burn the boats

When ancient Greek armies traveled across the sea to do battle, the first thing they would do after landing was to burn the boats, leaving them stranded. With no way to make it home besides victory, the resolve of the soldiers was strengthened. When success and failure are the only options, you have no choice but to follow through.