Humility and Resilience in Everyday Life

March reminds me of something. 

Something that inspired my book Nimble: Make Yourself and Your Company Resilient in the Age of Constant Change  (TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House, Feb 20, 2018)

A March evening in the 1980s

I’d got admission into the Indian Institute of Science and

I’d gone on all evening to some visiting relatives about how

“It was the most prestigious science and engineering institute in India.”

“I was going to study for my Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering.”

“I was one of 80 chosen from more than 10,000 applicants.”

At dinner, after the relatives left, I told my mother how embarrassed I was in hindsight about my boasting.

She had a suggestion.

“Why don’t you sleep on the terrace tonight?”

“It’s a clear night. Go look at the stars,” she said.

She was wise.

I learned about my insignificance in this universe.

I got a lifelong lesson in humility.

November 1987. Evening.

I was a grad student now.

Sitting in my dorm room, I was working on my applications to come to the USA for my PhD.

The warden came with a message he’d received on the dorm phone.

My mother had had a heart attack.

I rushed home but never saw her again.

She was only 51.

I learned about what inspired resilience can do.

I got a PhD from Wharton.

Life is a string of turning pebbles over on cobbled streets.

You never know what you’ll find under the next pebble.

What you make of what you get makes the difference.

For you and for the world.


So now you know something about the inspiration behind Nimble.

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