Writer’s block Society

An unlikely success story

There is a popular motivational speaker called Shiv Khera, best known to the world as the author of the book You Can Win which, according to its latest cover, has so far sold 2.6 million copies in 16 languages. Buoyed by its success, he decided to contest the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from South Delhi as an independent candidate — and lost.

So while the book might — or might not — have worked for his fans, it certainly did not work for Mr. Khera himself. If I were you, I wouldn’t attend a talk by him, and I mean no disrespect to him when I say this. It’s just that I believe in being led by example. For example, I would rather study the craft of a writer I revere than invest in a book that promises to teach me how to write well. Real-life cases are any day more inspiring — and more credible — than the instructions contained in self-help books.

One such real-life story of success — and what a success — unfolded before the entire world this morning (I am writing this piece on the evening of November 9): the victory of Donald Trump. The man had no ideology, had zero experience in politics, and had no vision for America except to “make America great again” (whatever that meant), and yet he registered a stupendous victory in what were probably the most bitterly-contested elections in American history.

To understand his victory, one needs to keep aside, for a moment, the things he hates about the world and the things the world hates about him. What we need to look at is how Trump, having emerged as one of the most hated men in the world, has been hammered with every sharp-edged verbal weapon available — and the hammering came from across the globe — and yet the 70-year-old remained unruffled. If anything, he only got stronger after every hammering and stood his ground, thereby ensuring his supporters stood by him. Moral of the story: remain unruffled in turbulent conditions and you might win.

There is also a lesson for Trump-haters: unless you are in the fray yourself, never ever predict the outcome of an election sitting in your drawing room. Experts and analysts from across the world had considered it a foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton would be the next President of America. Today, they are eating crow. Newsweek had to recall 125,000 copies of its Madam President issue.

What prevented Donald Trump’s victory from becoming the biggest news in India was the sudden announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi the night before that 500- and 1,000-rupee notes were as good as pieces of paper. The Prime Minister, ostensibly, wanted to smoke out black money and kill the counterfeit currency business with one bullet, but millions of Indians suffered because of his announcement, including myself. I had to buy bread and water the night he made the announcement, but the shopkeeper, known to me for years, politely refused the 500-rupee note I handed him. He, however, agreed to give me the water and bread on credit.

I got back home angry, but soon it dawned on me: there are countries in the world where governments impose far more severe restrictions on their citizens, and here I was losing my cool over the three 500-rupee notes in my wallet becoming worthless. At least I had data and broadband connection — something that could feed me and allow me to travel and something that, say, a Kashmiri cannot even take for granted.

How fortunate I am, that I don’t live in Kashmir and that Donald Trump isn’t going to be my President.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:16:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/An-unlikely-success-story/article16313521.ece

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