Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – Thomas Alva Edison
I have always wondered why I like the things that I like or why am I the way I am? When I meditate on this idea in solitude, I hit upon the thought that I am what I am because of my dreams and the myriad inspirations that kept those dreams alive.
I can vividly recall the time when my mother was advised to quit coffee, which once was her lifeline. What surprised me was she gave up coffee instantly, as if it just didn’t matter and from the next day it was out of her life and nearly 25 years hence, I have not seen her drink coffee, no matter what. Her instant adaptation to change has inspired me and kept me going when I had to make changes to my life. From my first heartbreak to bringing my PhD to a grinding halt for the sake of my entrepreneurship dream.
On the other hand, the inspiration for me to pursue a PhD in the first place was my maternal uncle whom I look up to. His life’s journey from a remote village in Mandya to the sunny shores of USA has been an inspiration not only to me but also to the many lives he touched in his hometown and beyond.
My first reading of Feynman’s lectures of Physics was a turning point which inspired me to become a devotee of Physics and made me realise the importance of scientific temper. The life-story of Marie Curie is etched in my mind so strongly that whenever I face a difficult situation in life or at work, I just think of the circumstances in which she conducted her experiments and the hardship she went through to achieve her dreams. The thought alone instantly snaps me out of my negative thoughts and gets me back on track towards my dream.
I was watching Bhag Milka Bhag and there is a scene where Milka Singh, “The Flying Sikh” of India tells the then PM Nehru, to announce his birthday as a holiday in recognition of his achievements. This is exactly the thought I had while growing up. I always dreamed of my birthday being celebrated for my achievements. Today, I think it should be called “Creative Teachers’ Day”. Long shot for sure, but no harm in dreaming big, right? This dream keeps inspiring me in everything I do.
Inspirations usually turn our lives around. I remember my college days with Swarnalatha Ma’am, my Chemistry professor and Narayan Reddy Sir, my Physics professor from The National College, Jayanagar. They inspired me to channelize my “weakness” of eternal chatting in class with my friends and convert it into my talent in public speaking. Prof. K S Nataraj is truly responsible for making me realize my potential as a teacher.
I always chose what felt most difficult to do, from Physics to Entrepreneurship. I see inspiration in everything, from the life of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to the Life of Pi so to speak, everything has inspired me to learn and keep learning to improve my life.
The idea of inspiring the next generation led us to include the Achievers’ Wall in NumberNagar® where students get to learn about the lives and struggles of Scientists and Mathematicians and find their inspiration. I strongly believe that every experience can be inspiring and vehemently recommend parents to provide opportunities for their children to explore various perspectives in life so that they can find their inspiration.
Sriraghavan S M
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