During my stint with the Indian Police Service, I handled a ton of riots, violent mobs, and civil disturbances. When you keep doing that day-in and day-out, naturally, the whole routine becomes quite familiar.
Despite that, I would try to never take anything for granted. But then one day, I got too complacent.
The occasion was the visit of Dr. Abdul Kalam, who had recently become India’s President-elect. I thought, “Who would bother a scientist?” Therefore we made some crowd control arrangements but nothing very stringent.
Yet, the moment he landed, dozens of press photographers and journalists virtually pounced on him. In no time, he was being crushed from all sides and we had to physically get him out of that melee.
Fortunately, Dr. Kalam was very sportive and took it with a smile. Otherwise, I would have been in some trouble.
I had handled hundred-times larger crowds and violent mobs without any problem. Yet, I messed up this small one.
Be it in life, sports, or war: Never underestimate your opponent or challenge. The day you become complacent is the day you get killed.
Stay humble. Be relentless. Like they say at Amazon, ‘It is always Day 1.’