Very Good Evening to all of You
Today, I am here to share your VISION.
WHAT IS VISION? - the faculty or state of being able to see.
We can all see, but what is Vision?
Vision encompasses not only sight, but views, perceptions, field of vision, range of vision, insights and also lack of sight and blindness.
Vision is associated with awareness, comprehension, astuteness, intelligence, discernment, farsightedness and intuition. These are not mere words strung together, but represent stages in your learning curve, as a student, as an employee, as a householder, as a boss, as a global citizen.
Swami Vivekananda says : “ Arise , Awake, stop not until your goal is achieved “ .
Today, is your convocation. Today you have been called to assemble to receive your degree. Today is the day of awards. Today, you stand on this threshold of learning, enrobed, ready to celebrate the fruition of long hours of study. The road ahead beckons – it is the highway to prosperity, to a future bright with achievement and happiness! For each one of you, this is your dream, this is the unfolding of your vision.
Welingkar’s has contributed to this vision, “to producing thought leaders and masters of innovation”. Their program “nurtures world-class managers with analytical tools, business philosophies and exposure to real-life unstructured situations”. More, the curriculum is so drawn as “to expose students to the inner workings of the corporate world, and to sharpen their thinking skills for innovation of ideas and solution in the light of various limitations.” You have had great teachers, great moments and great learning. Congratulations!
Today marks the time for you to deliver. A graduation ceremony marks the beginning of the business of delivering.
What is my business in delivering the commemorative address?
20/20, not the IPL my dear friends, but 20/20 vision , normal vision or visual acuity is what I fortunately have, what my grandmother at 94 has, perhaps what I inherited! My duty is to help people SEE! My family’s duty was to help people see. My grandfather was an eye doctor, my father is an eye doctor who is 88th years young and he is there in the audience. You imbibe the atmosphere you grow up in. I knew I had to be an eye doctor even in primary school. Was it thrust upon me? NO, not at all. There was enough exposure as I trailed my father as a young boy, watching him, and later assisting him.
I want to talk to you about career, choice, faith and destiny from my own experience. I got into the prestigious Madras Medical College, but I knew the choice was not medicine but ophthalmology. I worked very, very hard. My dream was to specialize in microsurgery of cornea and cataract, but that was available only in the US. We choose something, something else comes our way. Dr. Badrinath asked me to specialize in retina and vitreous. This brings to mind what Dr Abdul Kalam said about his dream of being a pilot, of his failing the test. He was dejected. He was to serve a higher purpose. As a pilot, he would have been flying only 35000 feet high! That is destiny. As Swami Sivananda in Rishikesh told to Dr. APJ Kalam, your dreams rise into the cosmos, Nature promises, the sun rises and the sun sets, your dreams come back to touch you, awaken you and make you rise!
First, you dream to become, then you persist. “The world of tomorrow belongs to the person who has the vision today”, says Robert Schuller. You have a right to dream.
I came to Bombay to join the prestigious Bombay Hospital with a dream to set up the best facilities for retinal vitreous surgery in 1988. I had seen the best equipment with my mentors in Chennai and Antwerp. I wanted the best. When I realized that the facilities would not be available, I decided to set up on my own eye hospital. How do I start a place of my own? What about the funds? Barriers of every sort arose. I knew no Marathi, no Hindi. I knew Tamil and English. I knew no management techniques, had no experience in business, in finance, in marketing. All of you would have been more equipped in these skills! My resigning from Bombay Hospital was looked upon as suicidal, I was told, “Natarajan, it is like jumping from the 14th floor”. I did not give up my dream. I took a loan from a bank. I worked from 7am to 11pm. There was no time to relax. There was no time for exercise. There was no time for fun but working was a joy.
You strive and you achieve your dream. It is sheer persistence that helps you. “Just visualize your goal, know exactly where you want to go. Trust yourself. Get out there and work like hell…Truly, there’s no such thing as ‘can’t be done’. If you really want to achieve your dreams, they will be yours for the taking,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger at Emory University.
Have you watched Bhaag Milkha Bhaag? The three points he embodied – will power, dedication and hard work – come home to you so powerfully. He says that there is a limit but since I enjoy working I do not feel it is a hard work. It is a joy 24 x 7.
It was through faith, hope and destiny that correcting and restoring vision is my profession. As I looked into eyes, I started SEEING. Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea says, to succeed, actions and values must be one. “If you believe in what you’re saying, if you believe in what you’re doing, you’ll be more effective, more passionate, and more authentic in everything you do.” I practice what I preach and I preach that I practice.
When you step on to the highway, you will meet different types of people. I have met few lakhs people as patients- people from different nations, classes, climes, backgrounds, faiths, temperaments, people with different ailments, different attitudes, optimists, pessimists.
You are going to have a similar experience in the classroom of life.
The challenges are innumerable. How do you deal with each case, both professionally and personally?
There is no magic formula.
On the highway, you put your skills together, gather momentum and maintain an even speed; there are no short cuts to success. You will see that some are steady, some over speed and are overspent, some overturn, some turn into by lanes and lose their way, some come to a dead end, others overshoot the mark, many reach the destination. The journey is exciting, inspiring, taxing and disappointing at times, frightening at times, but enriching on the whole.
You see, it all boils down to SEEING - see where you are going, see the signposts along the way, see the others travelling, pause at the signal when the road forks, and decide which road to take. Look into your rearview mirror at times. SEE, SEE, SEE!!!!!.
Now I will share the journey with you.
When you start, your mission is to work for the company’s vision. You are a SPECTATOR, you watch from the sidelines, you watch, you observe, you discover, you learn, you realize, you envision, you ideate. You are part of a team, you work together, you learn together, you achieve together. Here it is WE, not I.
When you start, you see the road ahead, you PERCEIVE VISUALLY. You have your assignment to finish, you have targets to achieve, you have deadlines. You set your pace, your skills in concentration, application and above all time management are at play.
As you grow, you understand and DISCERN. You learn what is expected of you, you expect certain returns. You are appreciated at times, your worth is recognized, you are happy. You are sidelined, your worth is not recognized, you sulk. You push yourself to keep pace with your fellow travelers or even outrace them. Here it is I vs.WE.
Now it is a question of WHAT YOU ARE. What is your experience, what is your learning, WHAT IS YOUR VISION?
It is a question of VISION AND IMAGE.
Both depend on FOCUS.
Let me elaborate on this with the example of the structure of the eye.
• The cornea allows the eye to focus on light more effectively. For those who have trouble focusing, we surgically reshape the cornea to eliminate the problem. Identify the core of your work and focus on it. You need a mentor to guide your vision.
• The sclera provides structure and safety for the inner workings of the eye, and is also flexible so that the eye can move to seek out objects. The values instilled in you by your parents, your grandparents, your family, your teachers, provides the structure and safety for the inner workings of your mind.
• The pupil, the black hole in the middle of the eye, takes in light so the eye can focus on the objects in front of it. Learn to open your third eye, your inner vision.
• The iris contains the pigment that gives the eye its color. Your work philosophy and your character color your image. The iris uses the dilator papillae muscles to widen or close the pupil so that the eye can take in more or less light depending on how bright it is around. When it is too bright, the iris shrinks the pupil so that the eye can focus more effectively. Remember, when you are centrestage, it is too bright. It is but natural to be I, I, I. When your are OVERSIZE, you cannot fit in. You are out of focus.
• The lacrimal glands located on the outer corner of each eye produce tears, moisten the eye and flush out dangerous irritants, so that you can focus properly. Your seniors at home and at work are your peripheral guards, respect them, take their views into account.
• The lens is directly behind the pupil. This is a clear layer that focuses the light the pupil takes in. Look after your moral lens, you will focus right.
• The retina is located in the back of the eye and is connected to the optic nerves that will transmit the images the eye sees to the brain so that they can be interpreted. Consciously analyse the way you interpret your experiences. Very often, your dreams form your image.
I specialize in RETINA VITREOUS. Retina is the continuous of brain and vitreous is the transparent jelly’ hence Iam also transparent.
It is also necessary to talk about lack of vision, of blindness, of tunnel vision, of double vision, much of which can be tackled and restored partially or wholly physically, but mentally??? There are so many in every walk of life who suffer from these ailments. That is the reason for our scams, our nightmares, our lack of development, our poverty, our marginalization. Clean your lens! FOCUS right! FOCUS where you should! FOCUS!
For example, have you seen a “Ek Ajanabee” movie by Mr. Amitabh Bachhan, where he acted the role of a bodyguard to a young girl, the daughter of a rich man in Bangkok. She was practicing for a swimming competition and all the time she was getting second place even though her time should second post. She was scared of the pistol sound that the starting of the game . So she was always behind one step and getting second place. Sir told her to Focus! Focus! She came first in the swimming competition.
“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world”, says Arthur Schopenhauer. How true! Look within, reflect, is your vision different from that of the institution you work for? Are you doing what you need to do? Are you doing what you want to do?
Imagination plays a vital role. You dream. You have a vision. You create an image.
We all have an image. Every one of us likes to create an image. The image we construct of ourselves is one that we like, not necessarily the one that the beholder has! I am so used to seeing myself in the mirror that familiarity has bred liking. I like my face, I like to think I am good looking, that may not the image you have of me!
In fact we have multiple identities, each with its own set of values, expectations, vision.
WHO ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? Ask yourself. Identify yourself. Uncover your true self.
• What is your goal?
• What is your dream?
• What is your purpose?
• What are your qualities?
• What are your beliefs?
• What are your values?
Evaluate. Reflect. Grow.
Every one of us likes to build a successful image. What is success? Academic laurels? Yes. Sports Trophies? Yes. Professional acknowledgements? Yes. Monetary hikes? Yes. Recognition? Yes. Fame? Yes. Anything more?
Let me tell you, the idea of success changes as we grow. Our ideas of success need not revolve around what our neighbours have achieved, what our peers have achieved. Focus on what you want. Change your approach. Focus on what your purpose is. Be true to yourself. Ask yourself what makes you happy? Do it. Do it now.
Your dreams and your vision gives you your mission in life.
What gives you this right VISION?
It is knowledge, intuition and wisdom. To quote my friend, R. Gopalakrishnan,
“Knowledge is what you know you know. Knowledge can be taught, you acquire it from external sources.
Intuition is what you do not know you know. Intuition is what cannot be taught, you learn it on your own. At the core of intuition is a set of understandings that the owner just does not know about.
When knowledge is integrated with intuition, it becomes wisdom.”
(Source: The Bonsai Manager, Penguin Books, 2007, pp.xxv-xxvi)
I am supposed to deliver words of wisdom- not so much wisdom as a message to all of you, that you will carry through, beyond graduation. Every patient has provided me with a new learning, new insights into not only techniques, but into human nature in its myriad forms - aspiration or despondence, cleverness or cunning, bravado or fear, modesty or ebullience. It is from this experience that I talk today. It is not for me to say what to do or not to do, it is for me to help you REFLECT.
Reflection will prompt you, replace WE for I. It is always time for you to give what has been given to you. Every one of us has a PSR - Personal Social Responsibility. You as you go, you need not wait till you are rich and famous, till you have achieved your goal, till you retire. The Time is always NOW.
Steve Jobs in his commencement speech at Stanford in 2005, said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” He said stay hungry, stay foolish and stay as you her hurt, stop foolish so that you can learn more.
In the marketplace of life, you haggle, you trade, there is always a hustle, a social hustle, a political hustle, an intellectual hustle. It is here that learning helps you. There is learning through PRECEPT, learning through FAILURE, learning with Faith and there is the POWER OF THOUGHT.
Learning through failure immediately brings to mind two towering personalities, Steve Jobs and Rowling.
Steve Jobs shared his life lessons through three stories in his life, - his birth, when he got fired from Apple, when he found that he had cancer. How he tackled each is legendary and extremely inspiring.
JK Rowling, in her commencement speech at Harvard, 2008, mentioned her huge failures. But did she succumb? No, the failures helped her focus on the essential, cut away the inessential – it helped her focus on her daughter, on her writing. “What matters the most to you in life”, she asks. “Are you pursuing that? Or are you letting the fear of failure prevent you from doing what you love?.....We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already, we have the power to imagine better.”
Michael Dell, who founded Dell at 19, has an interesting insight.”Now it’s time for you to move on to what’s next. But you must not let anything deter you from taking those first steps. Don’t spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity, that you miss the right opportunity. Recognize that there will be failures, and acknowledge that there will be obstacles. But you will learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, for there is very little learning in success.”
I believe in Learning, in lifelong learning. Avvaiyar, the Tamil poet said, Do not give up learning. Katruthu Kaialavu Kallathathu Ulagalavu, " has been translated as "What you have learned is a mere handful; What you haven't learned is the size of the world" and exhibited at NASA.
Thiruvalluvar wrote Thirukkural , quoted in verse 391 “ Karka Kasadara Katravai Katrapin Nirka Atharku Thaga” Educate yourself well and then stand by what the education has taught to you “
I believe in FAITH, faith in yourself, faith in humanity, faith in the Supreme. “Faith is the victory that overcomes the world”. We need to have FAITH. Swami Vivekananda says, “Faith, faith, faith in ourselves, faith, faith in God---this is the secret of greatness. …..Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need.” We are responsible for what we are & whatever we wish ourselves to be. We have the power to make ourselves. I have great expectations about the young generation. Once determined the young blood will change the world for better.
I believe in the POWER OF THOUGHT- Like everything else in the universe that has a frequency, thought too has a frequency. Faith is a positive powerful thought. It can create miracles whereas fear, fraud and worry are negative thoughts. An affirmative thought is 300 times more powerful than a negative one. Decide what you want... believe you can have it, believe you deserve it, believe it is possible for you.
Every thought is a powerful seed. Just as a seed is sown and it manifests itself into a huge tree in the outer world, so does the power of a thought. The power of thought is phenomenal. Our thoughts are “powerful cosmic waves in the universal sea of energy we live in”. We HAVE TO BE AWARE OF THEM.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
In fact, every thought “builds our reality”. There are innumerable examples of the power of positive thinking. I read interesting article by actor Shahrukh Khan, the hyperactive hero, when he was recuperating from the spinal surgery he had undergone in London. He said, "...I knew I'd be alright though I was warned of all the worst case scenarios like I could lose my voice, get paralysed, suffer infections. However, my voice was back 20 minutes after the surgery and that shocked the doctors!!" His positive thinking worked!
Let me give you more instances of positive thought.
Evelyn M Monahan’s insight into the phenomenal powers of the mind and how it can be used for healing dates back to her own blindness. Doctors had stated that her blindness was a permanent condition. Faced with the prospect of spending the rest of her life in darkness, she resolved to use mind power and within ten days she regained her eyesight! She is one of the most progressive modern authorities on metaphysical healing and an instructor of parapsychology at Georgia State University, USA.
Galileo was nearly blind due to cataracts and glaucoma towards the evening of his life. Despite this, he continued to study, write and invent till his death in 1642.
Ray Charles, one of America’s most influential musical performers, who had received 13 Grammy Awards and had paved the way for African Americans in the music industry, was completely blind. Charles quipped: “I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t able to hear.”
Joseph Pulitzer, after whom the esteemed Pulitzer Prize for journalism, music and literature is named, was completely blind by 1889. However, “he never turned a blind eye to social crimes and continued to be a watch-dog for injustice.”
During her lifetime, Hellen Keller traveled the world, received countless awards, and met 12 presidents!
The power of thought is incredible and science is doing exciting experiments with the power of thought. In fact, the science of thought waves or vibrations is called Applied Kinesiology.
Dear Friends, I have shared my thoughts. Dr. APJ Kalam visited our hospital and he gave name for our Aditya Jyot Foundation for Twinkling Little Eyes.
You are young, you are bright, you are enthusiastic, you are full of drive, you have unique perspectives, you have tremendous skill sets, you are achievers. Strive. Reach out. There is a wonderful world of opportunity waiting for you. It is yours. Step up. Tune yourself. Be in harmony.
It is time to celebrate. Life is a celebration. Let us celebrate !