Sabyasachi Patra

Learnings from Wild India: Competition & Success

Learnings from Wild India: Competition & Success


Competition, for some, is a way of life. It is a struggle for existence.


Wild India: Gaur’s (Bos gaurus) fighting with each other

However there are spheres where one doesn’t need to win at the cost of other. Too often we try to compete with others. When someone does something that gets appreciation, we too try to do the same thing. I remember from my college days, during our cultural programs, some students used to shine in certain popular competitions like Antakshari. Immediately, about a 100 odd students started mugging up popular hindi songs to participate in the program. Those students were forgetting that the successful guy in that competition was really passionate about songs. No amount of preparation is going to bring you to the same pedestal as that passionate individual. We see the same thing happening day in and day out in our lives.

We try to follow in the footsteps of others rather than creating our own path. The perils of following someone can be clearly experienced when you are trying to cross a marshy area. The following shots of Indian Moorhen can perhaps explain the situation better. These Indian Moorhens can run on the water surface as the surface tension is sufficient for them. In this case, one moorhen is chasing another. The moorhen running ahead breaks the surface tension in the areas where it places its feet. The moment the chasing moorhen places its feet on the same spot, it sinks.

The Chase

Wild India: Indian Moorhen chasing each other in water.



Wild India: The moment the Indian Moorhen at the back places its feet in the area where water is disturbed by the running moorhen at the front, it sinks

The morale of the story is don’t try to outrun your competitor who is ahead of you or is number 1 in your field. Try a different route or tactics instead. Else, the chances of sinking like the moorhen is very high.This is true for individuals as well as for corporates.

We should understand that everybodys life path is different. We forget that we are unique and we too have potential. The challenge is to identify your talent and nurture it. Dont give up howsoever unglamorous your field of interest might be. Today, wildlife photography and filming has become glamorous. So I get many calls for internship. It becomes difficult for me to advice each individual. I hope people can read this and introspect.


What is Success? Does it mean the ability to satisfy your basic needs? Or does success mean something more?

Tigers mating

Mating Tigers: Is success all about finding the right partner and procreation? Is it all about basic need?


Does success mean splicing a twig in the air, fine tuning a trick? Or is it about getting all the right size of twigs and creating the right nest? Or is it finally winning the fencing competition in the Olympics?

Does success mean ruling over your own small world, being the king at your home?


Does success mean being the king of your own small territory, your own house or village? Or does it mean moving out of your comfort zone and conquering the world?

I feel the word “Success” has ruined many talented people. People chase success and become more concerned with the outcome forgetting that the journey is important too.

One should realise that Success is a by product.

It is important to pursue your passion and be happy. Keep on pushing yourself to dig deeper, to hone your craft. The more you persevere, the more refined will be your talent.


Wild asiatic elephant digging deeper…

Thinking about success can be limiting. Whereas the theories we used to learn in MBA days used to ask us to set a goal and plan, too often when you achieve that goal, the game is over. After that you don’t know what to do. For example, is your goal to just make money, buy a couple of apartments or cars?

According to Jim Collins, one should have a BHAG ie. Big, Hairy and Audacious Goal. However, when the scientist starts out in his career will he or she dream of getting a Noble Prize? Or an actor starting in his career think of getting an Oscar award? It may be incomprehensible or unthinkable for the person at that time and may distract him or her. So people settle for a lesser goal.Too often people don’t realise their potential because they had dreamt less.

There is also another reason why the so called Big, Hairy and Audacious goal will not work. At times, an individual may not have found his/her life’s calling. For example, Robert Wise, Who was an Oscar winner as Best Director and Best Picture for “West Side Story” in 1961 and “The Sound of Music” in 1965 originally started work in the film shipping room in RKO studio in Hollywood. He used to carry the prints to the projection room for the executives to see if they are all right. He then moved to different jobs and finally landed up in the editing department. Later on he independently started editing. If Robert Wise would have tried to dream big and wanted to get an Oscar award when he was working in delivering prints to the projection room, he would have been really frustrated and would have given up. He wanted to be happy in his job so he requested to move to different departments. Later on he continued working in editing department which made him happy and brought him name and fame. Years later, the studio fired a director mid way and asked him to complete the job as director. When he was editor, he used to visit the sets and interact with the people, so it became easier for him to step into the shoes of a director. In an interview he had said “I didn’t want to become a director all along. I didn’t really think about it that way. You know, I just took it one step at a time. Once I got to be an editor, I learned the game, I learned about film-making and directing, and I wanted to move on and became a director.” (Quote from the book Aunt Bessie’s How to Survive a Day Job While Pursuing the Creative Life by Joel Eisenberg).

If the person is truthful to his/her work and realises his/her potential then the sky is the limit. So it is important that one shouldnt be distracted by the thoughts of success or failure and continue his/her journey to achieve excellence in whatever he/she is pursuing.

You can also check our article analysing the Strategies adopted in the battle between Eastern Imperial Eagle and Desert Fox

Eastern Imperial Eagle Attacks Desert Fox

Sabyasachi Patra
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