September 24th, 2007 was not a normal day in Johannesberg, South Africa. It was the ICC T20 World cup final was between India and its arch-rival Pakistan. It was the last over and Pakistan still needed 12 runs with only one wicket in hand. The in- form batsman Misbah-ul-haq was on the strike and Dhoni had to make a vital decision on who would bowl the last over. At the one end, there was the little known Joginder Sharma and at the other was Harbhajan singh, the most experienced bowler in the team. Many thought that veteran would be preferred over the inexperienced and what happened after-wards still remain history. Joginder sharma bowled the last over and India became champion. Because in order to win you have to think different and Dhoni did the same. The real risk lies in living riskless living. To succeed you have to take chances and there is always risk in doing so. And so is the proverb that fortune favours the brave.
It is a latin proverb traditionally attributed to Terrence (c. 190-159 B.C.) It’s common translation of the latin phrase -“fortis fortuna adiuvat”. The latin word ‘fortis’ does mean brave and ‘fortuna’ refers to the Goddess Fortuna. ‘Adiuvat’ is literally translated as helps or aids. The basic meaning of the saying is clear. Succeeding or being a winner is not just a matter of luck. A person who takes action, acts boldly, takes some risks and strives hard to achieve a goal is more likely to succeed, win or be rewarded than someone who doesn’t. However it is very tough to make bold decisions. But to be successful one must work hard and to work hard one have to make bold decisions and for that, one has to make the first move: Boldness is the opposite of hesitation. Whenever you’re feeling hesitant in interaction with others or making a decision for yourself, learn to swallow your pride and make the first move. Over-thinking is often cause of hesitation. If you can say,”i want this”, you’ve said enough to make your decisions.
In 1969 Indira Gandhi moved ahead to nationalise fourteen major commercial banks. At that time most banks in India had continued to be owned and operated by private persons. Businessman owned the banks were often accused of channeling the deposits into their own companies and ignoring the priority sector. Also there was a great resentment against class banking in India ,which had left the poor (the majority population) unbanked. After becoming prime-minister Indira gandhi expressed the intension of nationalising the banks in a paper titled, ‘Stray thoughts on bank nationalisation’ in order to alleviate poverty. After the nationalisation of banks, the branches of the public sector banks in India rose to approximate 800 percent in deposits and advances took a huge jump by 11000 percent. Nationalisation also resulted in a significant growth in the geographical coverage of bank branches that rose from 8200 to 62000, most of which were opened in the unbanked ,rural areas. This decision was welcomed by the masses and soon Mrs. Gandhi was applauded for her crucial decision of nationalising the bank. This decision made her a masiha in the eyes of poor and she was at her new heights of her popularity. So fortune favored her because she was capable of making strong decisions.
Julius Caesar also transformed his fortunes when he marched on Rome, declaring ‘alea iacta est’ (the die is cast) as he crossed the Rubicon river. The utterance was a commitment of his fate to fortune. While Caesar was a professional soldier, many of his victories were achieved by taking bold risks which exposed him and his troops to significant danger, but resulted in memorable victories.
In one of the famous poems ‘The Road Not taken’ Robert Frost has ended his poem saying,” Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by ,And that has made all the difference”. These lines depict about the dilemma of the person and the successful decision that he takes aftermath.
One of the interesting incidents is related to the life of J.C.Bose. Bose gave a lecture at the Linnean Society at the gathering of scientists. He was to explain them about the response of the plants towards the stimuli. He had come to the conclusion that plants can feel pain like animals; that when we pinch them they suffer; and that they die in a few minutes after they are poisoned. Bose started the experiment by injecting poison into a plant. The plant should have shown signs of death in a few minutes. On the contrary nothing happened. The learned audience started laughing. Bose showed admirable calmness. He thought quickly. The poison didn’t killed the plant and so it was not going to harm him also. With full confidence he got ready to inject the poison into himself. At that instant a man got up and confessed that instead of poison he had put similar colored water. He conducted the experiment again and the results were positive. The decision that he took to inject himself with the poison was seen as a great example of self-confidence and it elevated Bose to the next level.
There are endless instances which make this proverb true and aptly justified. If we find the literal meaning of fortune then it is defined as ‘chance or luck as an external, arbitrary force affecting human affairs.’ Action embodied in one’s effort is the real key to success as well as happiness. Action or effort may not produce the desired result but happiness or fortune never come without effort. As David Mcnally says,” There is no guarantee of reaching goal with efforts made, but there is a guarantee of never attaining goals that are never set”. We should focus on our attempts and endeavour rather than on fortunes and the results that are beyond our limit. Lord Krishna also said the same thing to Arjuna in Gita. He said,’karmaniye vadhikarste ma falesu kadachan’. We have the right to perform the prescribed duty but we are not entitled to the fruits of action. Success is the courage to undertake the journey that you believe in. And ask any successful man about their story and the unbelievable beauty of the story is that each and every person would reply that they didn’t did anything for reward. They did because they believed. You must have courage to undertake the journey and crucial decisions. And Krishna said exactly what 1000 of years later today the icon of million of managers all over the world Steve jobs said. He said ‘journey is the reward’ and Krishna said karma is the reward.
– SHASHI PRAKASH