She was a young girl when she first came to Mumbai from a small village. She was born into a dalit family and had faced discrimination all her life. After marriage at a tender age of 12, it got even worse as she was beaten up by her husband's family and tortured daily. She could not take it and ran away to her father's house. But the Indian society always looks down at a woman who leaves her husband.

The pressure was too much for her to take and she tried to commit suicide at the age of 16. Her aunt saved her and inspired her to live her life on her own terms. That day, this 16 year old Kalpana made a promise to herself to live her way. She went back to Mumbai and started working at Rs.2 per day. She worked 16 hours a day. Soon, she started her own business. Subsequently, as luck would have it, she got a chance to run a metal engineering company - Kamani Tubes - which was in massive debt. She could understand the plight of the people best as she had already been in that situation once. She soon turned the company around and is today the CEO of this multi-million dollar company. Her commitment to herself, to never give up, finally paid off.

Success comes when you are ready to be bonded, when you are ready to be committed. With commitment, comes the ability to give your best without looking for returns. A mother's love is the best description of commitment. She loves her child without thinking or calculating what she will get in return. It's pure, it's unconditional, and it comes from a deep commitment towards her baby. All people who have achieved greatness have been able to do so because of their steely determination and their commitment to the cause. Michelangelo was one such person. He was a great artist, but his greatness lay in his ability to stick to his commitments. He sculpted his first masterpiece at the age of 21. He was so good that he was soon asked to paint the ceiling of a small chapel in the Vatican. He was initially asked to paint only 12 figures on the ceiling, a figure that over time increased to 400. Since he had committed to the task, he did not refuse to paint any of the 400 figures. The whole task took him four years, and that too while working mostly lying on his back, as he had to paint the ceiling. This caused permanent damage to his eyesight; and at the age of 37 itself, he started looking quite old. One day, while Michelangelo was immersed at work, someone saw him intently painting a figure that was quite concealed in a dark corner, a corner that most people would not notice. The person asked Michelangelo why he was working so hard on something that not many would see? His answer was, "God would see!" That is commitment. when you work with passion and give your best without calculating how much benefit you would get. As expected, the ceiling that Michelangelo painted set a new standard in art, which is being copied for generations now.

Great leaders are those who are committed to a cause. In fact, not just that, they are great leaders if they can make their employees as committed as they themselves are. As Thomas Watson Jr quoted in the book A Business and its Beliefs - The ideas that helped build IBM: "The basic philosophy, spirit, and drive of an organization have far more to do with its relative achievements than do technological or economic resources, organizational structure, innovation, and timing." If your people believe in you, then you can achieve anything. For them to believe in you, they need to see your commitment towards them. If you treat them well, challenge them well, and give a good, fair, honest feedback, they will remain committed to you come what may. Mary Kay Ash was not just a businesswoman committed to her business but she was also committed to the women who ran her business, who sold her products. After working for 25 years in a male-dominated industry, when Mary retired in 1963, she started writing a book on `direct-sales', something she had done all her life. The book soon turned into a business plan; and Mary and her 20-year-old son soon started a cosmetics company. She had spent her life in a male dominated world and knew how difficult it was for women and she was determined to change it. She created her company with a strong commitment towards women. A company where women had unlimited potential personally and financially. She once said, "My objective in life is to help women know how great they really are." The commitment showed and soon her company - Mary Kay Cosmetics - became one of the largest direct-sales cosmetics companies in the world. After all, a company is as great as its people.

Henry Luce founded the Time magazine not only to make money from it, but he also thought that it was his responsibility to inform and educate his readers. He wanted them to think, debate and discuss various issues. He brought a sense of mission to journalism. By 1940, he was America's most powerful and innovative mass communicator. It was his commitment to a cause that made his magazines more gripping than others and provided readers a better view of the world than similar periodicals and newspapers. Soon, Time Inc. became a substantial concern. Most correspondents started reading Time and tried to copy its style of writing.

When you are committed, you set standards of excellence.

One man who gave up his life for a cause, a commitment, was Ernesto Che Guevara. He said, "We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it." In 1955, Che, who was just a troop doctor then, met Fidel Castro. Slowly, he developed close bonds with Fidel. Soon, Che understood the cause for which Fidel was fighting and started believing in it. He started fighting with Fidel - and from a doctor of the group, Che soon became its most courageous soldier. He was deeply committed to the cause of the oppressed and the exploited and was ready to fight for them, irrespective of which part of the world they lived in. He was from Argentina but he fought in Cuba; he even fought in Bolivia where he met his death. This is what has made him the most famous revolutionary of the world. He is a man whose life will continue to inspire many, even years after his death, for he lived his life for a cause and even died fighting for it.

Commitment makes you go beyond your comfort zone. A lot of us start a lot of things because we are interested in them. We start learning a musical instrument, a new language, join the gym etcetera because, well, we're interested in the same. To be really successful in any field, one needs to go beyond merely being interested. One needs to be committed. When all that binds you with something is plain interest, you would undertake that only when it's convenient to you. But if you are committed, you'd do that even when it's not convenient.

Similarly, you find someone interesting and fall in love; but to make a marriage last, takes something more. A deep commitment to the relationship and a lot of hard work are required. Today, many are ready to fall in love but few are ready to commit to it; so the number of divorces are increasing because that commitment to love, no matter what obstacles or temptations come your way, is missing. Passion without commitment is of no use.      Read More....

An Initiative of IIPMMalay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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