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Chanakya's TIPS to be a WINNER

January 07, 2022 14:49 IST
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It is said in Chanakya Neeti that the grass on the ground survives the storm because it is flexible as per the direction of the wind.
The large trees break down easily as they are strong and rigid.
Winners are not rigid, they are flexible.
At the same time, they are focused on winning.
A must read excerpt from Radhakrishnan Pillai's Art Of Winning: The Chanakya Way.

Tips to be a winner in life

Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy StartupStockPhotos/

Here's a question -- do you want to win or do you want to lose?

If you are looking at the screen, thinking why someone is asking you such a no-brainer, we'd agree.

Everyone does want to win.

And who better to share strategies that will help you win than Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai, director, Chanakya International Institute of Leadership Studies, and author of a series of books inspired by the master strategist, Chanankya.

There are plenty of benefits of having a well-laid out plan.

When a bridge or a dam has to be built, it does not happen overnight.

There is a lot of planning and detailing that goes into it. Any successful project is like the tip of an iceberg.

The actual foundation of a building remains underwater, hidden from our view, but it is very much there.

Without the foundation, a building cannot stand. The higher a building, the deeper and stronger its foundation. The same thing holds true for winners too.

If you want to be a winner, your planning has to be deep and detailed.

1. All of us think and plan, but most of us do that only mentally. It is all in the mind. Winners, on the other hand, have a well-written plan.

Developing the habit of jotting down pointers on paper is crucial. It helps recall.

Write things down. If it is in the mind, it can be easily forgotten.

However, if you write them down, they will be permanently there for you to recall and refer to.

There are many formats in which you can write down your plan.

The simplest one is to have a pen and paper and jot down the points.

I have even seen people take a tissue paper and write down their brilliant ideas, lest they forget them later!

Today, you can take notes on your laptop, computer or even your mobile phone.

Later, you can organise these ideas and give the plan a proper structure.

2. While planning, it is important to study a lot.

Remember, planning is not just imagining. It is not about dreaming about the future. It is a very detailed exercise. You need to study as much as possible about the activity you are going to undertake.

The more you study on the subject, the better your plan will be.

Personally, I have spent a lot of time in libraries cross the globe. I have studied research papers and journals on the specific projects I undertake.

These studies have helped me immensely in various projects that I have undertaken. This habit helped me create winning projects.

You can also take up a course on the subject you want to pursue. Not just formal courses for the sake of a degree and marks/grades, but for a proper understanding of the subject, the best practices available.

Also, learn from others through case studies and practical examples.

Art of Winning by Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai3. This practical tip is going to be the game changer. Seek the advice of experts.

Chanakya has often taken the help of experts like himself.

In the Arthashastra, it is called Vriddha-sanyogah meaning, 'learning from real-life experts'.

'Vriddha' means 'elders', those who have spent their lifetime mastering a particular subject. They will show you the way to winning as they know the whole game.

'Sanyogah' means 'being in the company or association'.

So, Vriddha-sanyogah is keeping the association with experts.

One needs to be surrounded by experts.

Seek the companionship of experts. Be humble in front of them.

Try to serve them. Be at their service. And with their grace, guidance and blessings, a new realm of insight and wisdom will be open to you.

There is a story about a businessman who was trying his luck in a new business and, in spite of his best efforts, he was unable to succeed.

One day, he was at a restaurant. The hotel manager, who was his friend, pointed towards an elderly person seated nearby, and said, 'Go and talk to him. I am confident he will be able to guide you.'

The elderly person was himself a successful businessman. He gave the new entrepreneur a few tips while sipping on a cup of coffee.

Following the advice of the experienced business, he was able to turn around his business and make large profits.

4. Many a time when we make a plan, we stick to it. But the reality is that plans have to be flexible, not rigid.

If you are stubborn with your plan, the danger is that you may get mentally stuck and hit a wall after a certain point.

Even if an expert advises you to change your plan, you do not. It is called 'thought fixation'.

The person gets so fixated with one thought that they do not want to change it. This is not a good trait to have. Winners are flexible.

Therefore, change the plan if required. The original plan can evolve. It should mature with time.

The same plan may be successful in one scenario and unsuccessful in another.

Remember the winning formula: There is no one winning formula. We need to keep evolving our plan as and when needed.

Chanakya was once teaching the importance of taking a step back if required.

'Look at the arrow on a bow. It has to go back a bit to gather momentum. To go ahead, you need to go back too. It is not a setback.

It is gathering strength. It is gathering momentum. If you try to attack without force, there is no point at all. So, in order to win the game, along with planning, flexibility is also required.'

It is said in Chanakya Neeti that the grass on the ground survives the storm because it is flexible as per the direction of the wind. The large trees break down easily as they are strong and rigid.

Winners are not rigid, they are flexible. At the same time, they are focused on winning.

Come what may, winning is the only thing they have on their mind.

They may change the plan or strategy, but they do not change the idea of winning.

This 'focus' on winning changes the whole approach.


1. Write things down. When you write down your ideas and plans, it gives you better clarity, which leads to better strategy.

2. Study a lot. Studying in detail about the people and the situation helps you plan better.

3. Seek the advice of experts. When you do not know what to do, talk to them as they have prior experience and clearer insight.

4. Change a plan if required. You have to be flexible while working towards your goal. Sometimes a change of plan can make a lot of difference.

Excerpted from Art Of Winning: The Chanakya Way by Radhakrishnan Pillai, with the kind permission of the publishers, Rupa Publications India Pvt Ltd.

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