When I was a kid, My father took me to a desert for few months. And the reason behind that was to teach me a lesson that I still remember clearly. A lesson that is applicable universally. A lesson that taught me.. How to be a leader in this world..

It was the second day early morning, when he woke me up – And told me to get dressed. Because he purchased a cow for ploughing, and he wanted me to sow the seed in desert while the cow plough across the desert. I was too young to question him, so I did what he told – Took the cow to the desert, and started to sow seeds when the cow was going round and round ploughing the desert.

The second day was the first day of ploughing, and was the most tiring day. But I ended it, saying to myself – It is the constant efforts that bring results, so get ready for tomorrow – And be consistent..

The next day was followed by the same routine, taking the cow to the desert for ploughing, and doing my best so that the plant can start growing. With a positive mind, I kept doing what my father told me to do, without questioning.

The third day was same, going to the desert, ploughing.. and seeing no results..

The forth was similar too, the unbearable sun – And on seeing no results I was getting discouraged, but still I kept going. Thinking I was not doing well, or maybe the cow was not ploughing at the right speed.

This same routine happened for a month, and at the end of the month my father came along with me to the place where he sent me to ploughing to check the result it got. And I was surprise to see – When he saw the ploughing area where I was working hard day and night with the cow, was still barren as it was before – He smiled at me, and asked – How do you feel Abdul? After working so hard, doing all the necessary & required things, but still getting no results – Didn’t you worked hard? Dedicated yourself to the work? Did it consistently? Then where did you lack? Tell me Abdul?

I was afraid, and started to cry – Telling him all the things I did, every single day, trying to justify – How many hours I worked… Pour water on the desert area.. Took care of the cow.. fed the cow.. – And believed firmly that one day it will grow. But it didn’t.. and I took the blame on me telling him – Maybe I lacked somewhere.. Maybe I was not good enough.. Maybe I was irresponsible.. Maybe I was not consistent with the timings of pouring water.. Maybe I couldn’t utilize the strength of cow purposefully. After telling all this – I stood there in silence, feeling guilty of not utilizing my time properly.

That was when my father taught me the most valuable lesson of my life – “Abdul, Where are we?” My father asked. I was silent, thinking what does this mean? He repeated the question again – “Abdul, Where are we?” In a very low tone I replied –“ In a middle of a desert”. The very next question was – Does the trees whose seed you sown – Grow in desert? With little energy within me I replied – Dad, You know trees don’t grow in desert? They grow in fields..

That moment my father patted on my back and said – “Abdul, sometimes in life we are thrown into situation where we start doubting ourselves, our talent & skills (cow), and finally our efforts – That we didn’t worked at the best – Even when we did our best according to our best capacity. At those times instead of blaming yourself and feeling guilty, make sure you ask yourself – Was I ploughing in the desert or fields?

Because most people in life, use their energy, skills, and talents at places where it is of no use – Just because someone who is elder, commanded them to do. So Abdul – Remember – Do your best, never leave a remark anywhere which can hold you liable. Work hard, put your efforts and dedicate yourself to the work. And never blame yourself or feel guilty that you were not good enough – Because It was the place where you were ploughing was wrong – Not You”  

I still remember this lesson very clearly, and it always helps me to utilize the right person, for the right work, at the right place, on the right time.