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Rediff News  All News  » Getahead » Life lessons to learn from ghee, trees and other oddities

Life lessons to learn from ghee, trees and other oddities

June 07, 2013 08:22 IST


Manoj Gupta, founder of Crafstvilla, an online marketplace, draws comparisons with different life situations and explains what young entrepreneurs can learn from them.

Entrepreneurs are strange, weird and sometimes whacko, but a simple species.

They are driven by an unknown element in them called passion, which derives its roots from an extreme desire for wealth, fame, power or something unknown.

In their journey of passion, there are times when they feel weak, alone, disheartened, demotivated, worthless, foolish, clueless and what not.

It is in those times they need motivation to continue on their path.

To revive themselves from that extreme void surrounding them, most entrepreneurs look for anecdotes and analogies in real life which resembles their current situation and use them to overcome the current challenges.

Here I present the 'Five Simple Analogies of Life' we entrepreneurs have used to overcome our challenges (both motivational and business) and remain on course on our path.

Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/

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1. The Ghee Analogy

Rainer Z/Wikimedia Commons

It is interesting what ghee (Indian clarified butter) can teach us, more than just the fact that stirring (working) constantly and diligently will create ghee (success) eventually.

Just like the ghee, success too will come suddenly, probably when you are almost about to quit or least expect it.

Ghee teaches you to 'hang on and keep stirring'.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/

2. The Fan Analogy

Photographs: Arbitrarily0/Wikimedia Commons

What's interesting about the fan?

It's interesting that while we are turning on the fan we never worry whether it will function or not. The damn thing almost always turns on, even after 40-50 years.

Why does the fan last so long and why is it so reliable, even though it has moving parts and runs on electricity?

That's because it's the most simple device you can think of.

Even as kids we used to make fans from simple motors and batteries. The fan follows simple rotation, has no friction or brakes.

What the fan teaches us is to "keep things simple" if you have to last long. Simplify your operations, processes, technology etc with minimal friction in your day-to-day business or for customers.

So if you are "fire fighting" every day, you may want to look above at your fan and think hard "how to simplify".


3. The Banyan Analogy

Photographs: Wknight94/Wikimedia Commons

The banyan is an interesting tree and there is a lot we can learn from it.

The best thing about the banyan is that it's probably one of those rare trees which cannot be uprooted even by an earthquake, the reason being that much before the banyan grows above the ground, it grows below, its roots creating a solid foundation.

Not only that, the banyan tree creates more roots constantly, throughout its lifecycle, to build a better foundation.

Clearly what the banyan tree teaches us is that before we scale up, we need to work on our foundation and make sure that it is firm. Also, never lose sight of your foundation, even when you are growing up. Be rooted always.


4. The Paneer Analogy

Photographs: Kirti Poddar on Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

What paneer (cottage cheese) teaches you is just amazing -- "jab koi tumhe phaad de (when someone/something splits you apart)", you should condense, throw away the bad elements and become more valuable than you were previously.

When bad times, circumstances or people hit you, throw away the things/people that are hampering your growth and come out stronger than you were before -- try to become paneer from the milk.

Paneer teaches you to "become more valuable" when something bad strikes you.

5. The 'Sh*t' Analogy

Photographs: Eugenio Hansen, OFS/Wikimedia Commons

 It’s interesting that a toddler grows up not when s/he learns to start eating cookies, but when s/he starts to learn how to handle/control his/her 'sh*t'.

Similarly, an entrepreneur grows up when s/he learns how to handle the 'sh*t' around, which may be bad employees, financial crisis, government regulatory actions, bad PR, bad VCs etc.

Never run away from it, because everytime you handle it, you grow up and get closer to success; learn to handle 'sh*t'.

So the next time you are low and need anecdotes/analogies to revive yourself, just look around -- who knows what may inspire you to get back in action?

Life is full of analogies, gather them as you walk on this entrepreneurial journey and juice up yourself.

Hope this helps some of you jump into action again.