When I was in class 7th, I was studying in a government school in a small town called Awantipur, in Kashmir. I have a very fond memory of that school. It had the infrastructure to support classes 1–10th. And each class had around 2–15 students then. Yes, some classes even had just 2 students. Luckily I had 10+ classmates. Our librarian, whom we addressed as Yadav sir, always gave us books and wanted us to get a hobby of reading them. And he used his classes to hold interactive sessions where we talked about engaging topics like existence, space, aliens and sometimes even some historical events. One day during a library period, we were all sitting on a joint table in our library, which was big enough for the whole school. Some of us were reading books, while others were chatting. Mr Yadav came and sat down with us and asked about our day. And then, as usual, he told us about some Roman history. I don’t remember much of it now, as I have a memory span similar to that of chimpanzees. But I remember what happened next. He asked all of us, that what according to us is the most powerful weapon on this planet?
All of us, being just 11–12 years old children, started naming all Indian air force missiles(All of us were from defence background). Some of us knew about the US air force as well, so they tried their lucks with the US missiles. Obviously, our librarian just laughed off. I was a big fan of the Call of Duty series, so I answered “a soldier with his rifle”. You guessed it. That was not the answer as well. Now, just hold for a second and try to answer that yourself. What could be the most powerful thing that exists on this planet?
After all of us were done with our attempts, Mr Yadav shared his opinions about the same question. His answer to that question was — An Idea! The most powerful weapon on this planet is an idea. Someone had an idea to develop a nuclear weapon, and someone had an idea to create a smallpox vaccine. Someone thought that it’s a good idea to bomb pearl harbour and somebody else figured that retaliation with bigger bombs is a better idea. All of what we see today or experience is a result of someone having an idea. All those who hold power over others are there because they had those specific ideas. When Mr Yadav explained how an idea can change everything, I was totally convinced and have believed in that. I was impressed by this answer. I always used this experience to explain how an idea is much more influential than materialistic things in many random conversations. I started looking for that idea, which can help me become successful and content in life. And this became the goal of my life.
During my college years, I had 2 serious attempts by starting up my own company. I worked hard for these attempts and even attended numerous seminars and events and interacted with experienced entrepreneurs. I learnt about their experiences and tried to figure out what’s going wrong with my idea. After these encounters, I realised there was a flaw in Mr Yadav’s answer. It’s not complete.
An idea is not the most powerful weapon. It never can be. But the process of its execution is the most powerful weapon.
The process with which you carry out your plans, your team and your vision are stronger than the idea itself. In all my interactions with those renowned entrepreneurs, CEOs and angel investors, I found one thing was common. All of them were focussing on the process execution instead of idea. As Steve Jobs also once said,
” To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed … Execution is worth millions”.
If you think about Amazon, eBay tried the same idea first. But as Amazon focussed more on customer satisfaction, you know where it is now. Let’s look at Facebook. It’s not the first social media platform, but it had better user interface and socialising features. Zoom came a decade after Skype and yet people prefer Zoom (I personally prefer Skype though). There are numerous examples like this. If you think about it, irrespective of which field are you in, or what are your goals, the basic idea to be successful is hard work. I and numerous other people already have had that idea, but I guess we have not executed it yet or maybe are not executing it properly. LOL.
After these experiences and reading some books, I have learnt that leaders are not just some people with great ideas, but they are equipped with a great vision and execution process in mind. In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins has explained how “great companies” distinguished themselves from “good companies” because their executives had some simple, but visionary plans for their companies which they executed perfectly. If you will read this book, the author focuses on this opinion throughout the book and backs it up with data from real companies. I would recommend reading this book, as it talks about some great leadership concepts.
That’s all on this from my side. Do let me know what you feel about this in comments. We can also discuss why Skype is better than Zoom.