He then said something which I will always remember: “Koi kaam mamuli nahin hota, kaam karnewallah mamuli hota hai (no work or job is small; it is only the worker who may be small).” Success is ultimately not in the job itself; it is in how well you do your job.
Javed Akhtar, Poet
I have often narrated this incident when asked to speak in schools and colleges. The best professional advice I ever got was when I was 15 years old. I had just completed my schooling from Aligarh when my father took me to visit his friend, Khwaja Ahmed Farooqi, in Delhi.
He took us out for lunch and asked me, “What do you want to do in future?” Now at 15, you think you can do anything and everything, so I gave him five or six alternatives. He then suggested that I should become a grass cutter.
I was naturally somewhat startled by this piece of advice but he went on to say: “But only on condition that you become the best grass cutter in the world. So, if the President of India wants the Rashtrapati Bhavan lawns to be trimmed, you should be the one person he thinks of.”