I recently watched a Bollywood movie Padman which is inspired by the work of Padma Shri Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur who makes sanitary napkins for women in villages for less than a third of the cost of commercial pads and creating employment for hundreds of women in villages across India.
You must be wondering what PadMan’s story got to with a business blog. A lot. I have learned some valuable lessons watching the film and learning the story of Arunachalam.
Do what you genuinely care about and do not hesitate to break the norm
The 21st century is about Fame, Money, and status. This is not what we should teach our next generation. We should start inculcating a habit of doing things genuinely we care about – not what societal norms dictate us do.
Padman could only survive testing times as he pursued something he cared about. I realized, for most people, doing things for a purpose results in more productivity than doing things just for the sake of money.
Realize what you care most about. If you are not sure, read more books, try different things that interest you early in your life, and spend time to understand yourself. Be patient and learn to be good at what you do. Doing something only for money is never going get you completely fulfilled in the longer run.
Understand Customers’ problem before solving it
If you have started a company for solving your own problem and saw a value for others in it – you are in luck and has a high chance of succeeding as you are your own customer. But that’s not always the case. Work at the ground level to understand your customers and their issues. Be on the field, understand your customers’ perspective and understand your employees’ concerns.
Padman has gone many lengths to understand what customer really want. It’s not always that difficult in every business, nevertheless start with the customer and work backward.
Embrace Simple living
It’s liberating. No EMIs, no debt. You are no longer stuck with the materialistic needs. The flashy car you may have bought will be special for a couple of months. You will get used to it and it will be ordinary for you in pretty soon.
When you start living a simple life, you have the freedom to pursue whatever you want. Padman could help so many women in India by not running behind the money.
Give it a try, it’s liberating.
Support others and don’t hesitate to seek help when necessary
Padman would still be struggling if he didn’t seek help from others. He couldn’t have achieved without the people who supported him and complimented him. You will be often surprised how easy it is to get help.
Try to be helpful to others. It can be small things too. Be open to help others and seek help. The more you help others the more help you can get. These two are directly related. There’s also a proven research that most successful people in most fields are those who give to the others – not those who take from others.
Don’t limit yourself, you are more capable than what you think
If Padman is restricted himself to his hometown, he wouldn’t have created employment for so many other people. Don’t think you can only live in a particular city. Don’t hesitate to learn new things. Think beyond what you think you can do and see the wonders you can make and the difference you can bring in many lives.
If you are looking to know more about Arunachalam, here is a TED talk was given by him – http://bit.ly/2B6G7yv.
I hope this gives a little bit of inspiration to move ahead. I would love to hear more inspirational stories, feel free to drop a message if you have anything to share.