On India's 66th Republic Day, we launched a series in which we invited achievers from varied fields share their life lessons with us.
Last week music maestro AR Rahman shared his learnings.
This week, bestselling author and columnist, Ravi Subramanian shares his words of wisdom.
An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), Ravi Subramanian is a banker and has worked with various multinational banks for close to two decades.
His book, The Incredible Banker, won the Crossword Book Award in 2012; The Bankster won the Crossword Book Award in 2013.
Ravi Subramanian tells Rediff.com's Divya Nair the most important lessons he's learnt so far.
Be the average guy.
Be humble and work hard.
It's nearly been a decade since I graduated from IIM-Bangalore.
If I were to analyse the successes of my batchmates, I'd safely say the average guys (as compared to the toppers) are much more successful.
They've evolved as smarter individuals and have a good balance of efforts versus results.
I have always believed that the 'average' guys are the best.
They don't have the airs that toppers have.
They're willing to listen to others and put in more effort -- a quality that is missing among the toppers and the ones who score the least in school and college.
Surprisingly though, the younger generation seems to lack those very qualities.
Put in the effort needed.
The younger generation come across as know-it-alls. They lack commitment and are not willing to put in the effort needed.
Some of it, I suppose, is because they haven't seen the kind of struggles their parents have.
Since everything seems to be available at their fingertips, several young people I have come across don't seem to value the things they receive.
They often take for granted what our generation considered luxury.
They are impatient, want quick results and often lack commitment.
Use the advantages of being young.
This generation is also very high on energy and is full of ideas.
The world has opened up in ways we couldn't have thought of and, with it, their horizons have expanded too.
Young Indians have a lot of passion when it comes to doing something they love.
Everyone wants to stand out in the crowd.
They network well, they adapt amazingly to the changing environment and they are comfortable with technology in a way that we may never be.
Don't try to be someone else.
This generation loves to compare, which may not be such a bad thing if you only knew who to compare yourself with.
Be original; be yourself; don't imitate anyone.
Learn to be patient.
Enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
At the risk of using another cliché, don't chase the money; chase your passion.
As it happens, now is also a great time for you to do just that.
In these last few years, we have evolved as a country.
Try your hand at entrepreneurship.
Mainstream jobs are not growing and entrepreneurship is the buzzword of our times.
Investors are more forthcoming and we, as a culture, are slowly but surely becoming more forgiving towards failure.
Make the most of it.
Put your ideas to test.
Start a business.
Be your own boss.
Don't get dazzled by a glamorous lifestyle.
Don't lose yourself in the glamour and the fast pace that has come to define our lives.
This holds especially true for those you who come from smaller towns to big cities for better opportunities.
I have been in that situation and I know many who have been there.
I can tell you that no one can guide you to sail through that phase -- no book, no lecture will help.
It is for you, and only you, to realise and keep reminding yourself all the time that if you are good enough to make it this far then it is important for you to make it count.
Find your calling.
(Author) Ravinder Singh is a classic case in point.
He comes from a small town called Burla in Orissa and went to the same college as I did.
He gained tremendous success with the same English that most of us condemn.
He's the best example of how to find your niche.
The virtual world has opened up a lot of opportunities for people who come from little known places in India.
If you are one of those who are struggling to make a mark, go ahead and make use of the opportunities available.
A hobby is important.
Pursue a hobby; it will give you something to look forward to when you have had a bad day at work.
Don't just be an employer
Be a job creator instead.
Don't hire people who are less intelligent than you; they'll only take you so far.
Hire smart people; you'll only grow with them and learn new things.
Don't treat your employees as competition. Treat them like family.
Don't be stubborn and rigid. Respond to criticism and learn from your mistakes.
Else you'll fade out even before you know it.
Give back to society.
Don't just do this as part of the corporate social responsibility in your organisation.
It could be something as simple as educating your domestic help's son or daughter and do it without expecting any rewards.
And finally, stay in India!
Sure, go forth and get international exposure.
But once you've learned enough, come home and let your motherland benefit from what you have learnt.
Ravi Subramanian is a banker, columnist and a bestselling author.
He spoke to Divya Nair/Rediff.com.
Earlier in the series
Lead image used for representational purposes only.
Photograph: Dirk Hartung/Creative Commons