When I started a company, I was required to complete some legal formalities for the registration. To my surprise even after submitting all the documents, my registration remained pending. When I personally visited the office to enquire the delay, I was told by the concerned officer that my file had not been cleared due to some corrections in the Memorandum of Partnership document. He ordered me to resubmit all the documents with a fresh application. I became panicked as the reapplying process was cumbersome and time consuming. I spent the whole day convincing the authorities that the corrections were minor and I should be given permission to change only that document having errors. But there wasn’t any ray of hope. My file was handed back to me.
I sat there on a bench outside the office in utter disappointment and tension. With eyes closed, I was rubbing my forehead thinking what to do next. Suddenly someone broke my trance by touching my shoulder. I opened my eyes and saw a peon standing in front of me. He kindly asked me what my problem was that kept me sitting there for so long. I told him the whole story. He opened my file, glanced over the documents and understood the corrections. Then he asked me to wait for some more time. After 15 minutes he came back and handed me my file which was all cleared and signed by the authorities. I was speechless with surprise. When I asked him how he had managed that, his smiling reply was, “Sir, I know every person, every regulation and also every solution in this office. Experience teaches you how to handle problems.”
I learned a valuable lesson from this incidence. The people whom we consider ‘ordinary’ usually have practical solutions for every challenge in life and they readily share it with us when we need their help. Once I had realized this truth, I frequently began taking guidance from them. In business also I always discussed my problems and took advice from small and ordinary traders.
I am reminded of another such incidence. Once, I had purchased a space in a building for our super store. Surprisingly other shopkeepers in the premises suddenly started behaving coldly to me. I was worried by their not-so-friendly attitude. My problem was solved by a sweeper who would clean that building every day. He had known every shopkeeper there for a long time. With his help, I succeeded in convincing my neighbours that I was eager to become their friend rather than a competitor. I invited all of them for a meeting and luncheon and offered my help in solving the common problems faced by everyone in the building. This helped to change their envious perception to a friendly demeanour and I was easily admitted into their group. Our friendship has lasted more than 3 decades now.
Noted American philanthropist Richard Goldman aptly quotes- Ordinary people are capable of doing truly extraordinary things.