In my life, the only major career goal for which I had to truly struggle was getting into IIT.
IIT made getting into Civil Services so much more doable — most of my classmates who aimed for it also made it.
Once in the IPS, the exposure and confidence made it possible to get into Wharton, which then opened the doors to consulting and private equity firms of my choice (McKinsey and New Silk Route).
By NO means am I implying that it was a cake-walk, or that hard-work and luck did not play a huge role. But a good start changes everything.
Some lessons I can draw from these experiences:
1. Life is sometimes about that one big break. Even if you struggle for a while, it doesn’t matter – just one good break can change the game. Be persistent as hell.
2. At the risk of stating the obvious, people from poor socio-economic strata often miss out on the initial break and sometimes suffer life-long disadvantage. I don’t have a solution to this problem.
3. Chasing your goals often comes at a cost. God only knows how many sleepless nights I have spent doing that.
4. Even if you hit most of your goals, you can still choose to start the struggle again. That is what I do at my startup, HabitStrong, and I like it.
The struggle never ends.