A man who by the virtue of his hard work and dedication brought comfort to the lives of masses, E. Sreedharan is an icon of our times. His work and vision has redefined public transport, be it the Delhi Metro as well as several projects with Railways across India. He is known for his clear thinking and adherence to deadlines. At the age of 79, he handed over the reins as the Managing Director of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation(DMRC), a responsibility he shouldered for a decade and a half, on 31st December 2011 having magnanimously transformed the lives of millions of people.
Here are five very powerful lessons to be learnt from the exemplary life of E.Sreedharan :
- Let deadlines motivate you rather than pressurize you
In the earlier part of his career, Sreedharan faced 20 job transfers due to his dedication to deadlines, perhaps because his work ethics were difficult for others to match up to. Nevertheless, he remained undeterred in his method and approach. He took up the daunting task to restore a bridge within a tight deadline of six months. By the time he assumed the task, the time was reduced to half, yet, Sreedharan was able to accomplish the unimagined, by completing the restoration work in 46 days and making the bridge operational.Can we ever imagine ourselves taking up a task whose deadline approaches twice as fast! It would render us distressed and distraught. And may be we would try to find a route to evade and escape. This example teaches us that we must look at the deadline from a perspective of being a motivator than a stressor. We may never know, it could bring out the best in us!
- Start your day early, finish your day early
Inspite of handling projects of such magnitude, Sreedharan is known to never have stayed in the office beyond 6pm, and has never liked people working late too. He was simply disciplined and gave his hundred percent when on the job. It is also known that he is a very early riser, waking up at the crack of dawn and retiring to bed early to allow himself the required rest. His personal habits allow him to devote time to his health, do yoga, and keep himself filled with youthful energy even at a ripe old age of 79.When we have a busy schedule, we find it to be an easy excuse to not be able to take care of our health. Your waking time is a critical aspect which decides how much you will get out of your day, and eventually your life.
- Work with honesty, others will co-operate
Sreedharan has help thousands of people to success. But when asked, he has not claimed a method to his leadership. He has simply done his best, with full devotion and with a sense of honesty. People have looked up to him and in return have reciprocated by doing their best too.He has set an example. People have followed. He is a man who has led people by his personal power though he wielded immense positional power.
- Believe in your self, believe in the impossible
His career has seen many occasions where he has gone against the tide when he was convinced of his own purpose. Thus making him a self-driven and persevering professional. He has been able to achieve what no one before him could even have imagined. The summary of his industrious career is for us to enjoy, as we shall all travel with comfort and speed ever after because of him. His work with the DMRC has put the name of Delhi’s metro rail facility on the world map, at par with international standards.Though we all have the potential, yet we may find it difficult to answer ourselves whether we have given our best always and been able to create unprecedented results. Let us take inspiration from Sreedharan’s life to do our best in all that we take up, and achieve the unachievable.
- Let awards and accolades not affect you, and similarly, let not criticism deter you.
Many awards and accolades have come his way, but Sreedharan was never to be carried away. He has been decorated with Padma Vibhushan as well as many other prestigious awards internationally. But to this day, he remains a humble man whom we have not seen much in the newspaper or other media. He has silently toiled, without being moved by praise or criticism.We all desire praise, but we forget that praise and criticism are both meant to make us better provided we know how to take it in our stride. Let us not make it our goal to achieve praise and reward but set personal standards for excellence. Also, when we meet unjust criticism, let us not become bitter but accept it as someone’s opinion. To be able to remain focused and passionate about our work we must be able to remain poised in both of these emotionally stirring situations.