Convocation speeches can often be generic and tiresome, with key speakers often ranting off tried and tested mantras of success to jaded students.
But students at the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmadabad), one of the premiere management institutes in the country, were in for a pleasant surprise with Shikha Sharma, the MD and CEO of Axis Ban, who spoke at length about the three important choices everyone has to make in life.
Fifty-eight-year-old Sharma is a well known face among businesspersons in India and during her speech at the 52nd annual convocation at IIMA she told students that it was an opportune moment for the country.
“It is always hard to notice history as it is being made… As a nation, we’re are all living through such a period right now. This is India’s time in the sun. It is our time as a nation to regain our fair share of global economic production, of trade, or arts, culture, innovation,” She told the students present at the Convocation, Indian Express reported.
However, this was not all that she had to say.
Sharma focused her speech on mainly on three points i.e, the three important choices that everyone needs to make in life. They are:
Choosing the right road to walk on
Sharma said that throughout life, people are constantly faced with forks in the road: does one take the easier, safer, beaten track or does one venture out with bravery into unchartered, unknown territories?
“For me, more often than not, I chose the road less traveled. And it has indeed made all the difference,” Sharma told the students, adding that it is often this choice that defines the kind of person one ends up becoming in life.
Choosing the right professional and personal partners
Sharma says that choosing the right partner is one of the most important choices one can make in both their professional and personal life, she said.
“As H. Jackson Brown Jr wrote, “Choose your life’s mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of all your happiness and misery.” I don’t know about the 90%…but the fact is that much of the joy you derive on the journey of life does hark back to whom you choose to share this journey with.” Sharma told a house packed full of students.
She also added that the analogy extends to choosing professional partners too.
Choosing the right thing to do
In her third point, Sharma chose to talk about morality and the need and urge to ‘do the right thing, so to speak, especially in times of particular dilemma.
“When faced with the minor moral dilemmas of everyday, what do you choose to do? You can do the expedient thing, make the practical choice, take the short cut. Or you can be led by what you believe to be the right thing to do.” Sharma told the students.
She said that these responsible decisions, however major or minor, all accumulate to build one’s character and professional credibility. This credibility and character have become all the more important in today’s age of omnipresent social media, which is almost waiting to pounce on mistakes.
In conclusion, Sharma told the 554 graduating students present there that each of them had the opportunity to become successful individuals, as long as they veer according to their moral compass:
“..the only real armour you have…is to always do what you believe to be the right thing to do. Let your principles be your true north.”
You can watch Sharma’s full speech in IIMA here:
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