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It was Sunday morning and as usual, I was on a long drive. This time, my neighbor, Mr. Ramaswamy, was with me. He retired 2 years back as GM of a nationalized bank. He was looking happy this morning and our talk took a turn towards spending time after retirement. I asked him that he must be enjoying well too with his children and relatives. He was silent for some time and looked a little bit stressed. Then he told me that his children are married, working and are having dreams come true in other cities. However, they have video talks quite often.

But one thing was disturbing his mind. And this was that when his wife and the children really needed his time, he was extremely busy building his career. He could do nothing to inculcate the family values in his children. If only it was possible to reverse play his life, he could reserve more time for his wife and children. And he could do this by choosing the profession of a writer. In fact, when in college, he was the Editor of his College magazine. His dream at that time was to become an Author but he became a Banker after passing bank examination and continued that career till retirement.

Friends! Mr. Ramaswamy is not alone in this world who realizes at the far end of his career that he had something else in his mind to pursue when he was young, but, circumstances pushed him to do something else.

Wayne Allyn Root writes about his father David Root in his book, “Joy of Failure”. David was a pilot when he was young. But when he got married, his in-laws were afraid that he could die in an accident while flying. Ultimately, David was forced to leave his pilot job. He then started pursuing the family business of butcher against his own wish. Of course, he had regrets even at the time of his death.

Stephen Covey, while doing his research for his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” observed that the lives of many people who were looking successful were, in reality, a mess. They revealed to Covey that if they could get another chance to live again they would have selected altogether a different path.


Let us first understand what is meant by ladder here? You are riding the ladder of success while moving up the steps of your career. But if the selected career is not in tune with your dreams, goals, vision, and values; you may reach the top of the ladder only to find that you have arrived at the wrong place. Covey calls this as your ladder leaning against the wrong wall.

Friends! What really happens in life with most of people is like this:

  1. You have dreams, really big dreams when you are young. But you are not encouraged to talk about them as your parents think that if somehow you can’t achieve them, you will be disappointed.
  2. Then you get busy with your studies. Mostly, your parents expect you to score excellent grades and you start working to achieve your parent’s goals.
  3. Then your parents decide that you should become an engineer, doctor or CA, etc. In the process, nobody asks you what you want to become.
  4. You accept the career that your parents tell you and keep pursuing it for the rest of your life.
  5. You become so engaged that you forget to think about your life and to develop your own goals.
  6. You work for achieving the goals of others, i.e. those of your parents, boss and of the Company you work for.
  7. You are riding the ladder of success but you are so busy that you do not have time to confirm that it is leaning against the right wall. As Stephen Covey puts it, If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step you take just gets you to the wrong place faster.” The tragedy is that you don’t even realize it.

Hold on, friends. Take a break. Just examine the position of the ladder you are riding. Are you sure it is leaning against the right wall?


live your dreams



If it was that easy to confirm that your ladder is not resting against the right wall, everyone could replace it correctly and enjoy a happy life. But quite often it is too late when you realize that your steps have taken you up but to a wrong place. Friends! Let us confirm first of all that the ladder you are riding is placed against the right wall.

  1. Write down what you are doing today to enhance your profession. Write down the action steps you are following.
  2. Think about your dreams, specifically the ones that you used to see them when you were young. Are they still pertinent? Would you like to achieve them even now? If yes, write them in a diary.
  3. You have grown up today. Based on your worldly experience, you must have developed new dreams which you want to reach. Add them in your diary.
  4. Prepare an action plan to achieve those dreams. Write down the steps you will have to follow.
  5. In case your action required for S.No.4 is same as your current action as in S.No. 1 above, your ladder is resting against the right wall. You will not have any regrets in the future.

In case your action today does not meet with the steps required to accomplish your dreams, then you are riding a ladder that is leaning against the wrong wall. You can reach the top of it but only to realize that your achievements are hollow.

So, let us discuss how to correct the path of your journey so that you can achieve your own goals.


Mullah Nasruddin once reached Udaipur Railway Station and asked a taxi driver to drop him to Maharana Pratap Circle. The driver asked for Rs. 300. Oh! It was too much. Mullah thought of covering this distance by walk and save money. After a walk of about 45 minutes, he was fully tired and stopped.  He thought he is quite near to his place and can take a taxi now for very low money. Somehow he found the same taxi driver and asked him to take the journey now for a low payment. But guess what? The driver now asked for Rs. 600 as Mullah has walked the same distance but in opposite direction.

Friends! You may be moving very fast and must be extremely busy. But, if you do not stop for a while to ensure that you are on the right track, your journey may end up in a similar way to that of Mullah. So, let us take a step backward and reflect upon your own life.

This is going to be a serious exercise and can change your life completely. Therefore, I would suggest you take some time during the weekend. Select a beautiful and peaceful place where no one can disturb you. Let your spouse and children join you in case you are married. Keep a diary & pen ready for taking notes. Follow the steps as given below:

  1. First of all, make a decision that you will not be under the influence of anyone today and will think freely. Also, make up your mind for listening to your spouse and children without any prejudice.
  2. Spend some time, maybe an hour or so, to reflect on what has happened in your life so far. Take notes.
  3. Discuss with other family members about your life today. Are you happy with where you are today? If not, then is it due to the interference of others in your life? Or, is it because you have never given an independent thought to steer your life.
  4. As of today what action you can take to stop the interference of others if it is there in your life?
  5. Think about the long-range vision for your life? What is your passion? What achievements do you want to have in the future?
  6. Is your present career in tune with your vision and passion? If you keep doing what you are doing, can you have all the achievements you want to have in this life?
  7. If your answer to the above is YES, you are on the right track. Your ladder of success is leaning against the right wall.

In case your answer is NO, then you need to analyze further:

  1. If whatever you are doing currently can’t help you to move in line with your vision, then, there is a need to change. But change is always not easy, especially if you have put enough time already in a previous endeavor.
  2. Therefore, set up your mind first for a change. If you pursue change, there could be some initial setbacks. What can they be? Think about them and write down. How will you overcome them? Prepare a plan.
  3. What action you want to take to fine-tune with your vision and passion? Write down the steps. These steps will change your life dramatically.
  4. When you are confident to overcome the challenges on way, proceed further. Follow your new action plan. Slowly, you will start moving towards your vision.

At least twice a year, take some time and repeat the entire process outlined above to ensure that you are moving on the right track. For me, the dates are set as 1st Jan and 1st July of every year.


Once we were traveling in a car on Hyderabad to Bhopal route and my driver was on wheels. It was the first time for him to drive on this route. I was feeling sleepy. After some time I asked him where we have reached and he told me that 60 km in just 40 minutes. Later on, we found that we were on a different route and had to travel back to 60 km to catch the right path. Friends! Speed is important in life. But more important is to stop sometime and ensure that the path you have selected is the right one.

By taking actions always in urgent zone, we forget what is really important for us.

As a result, we move ahead in life but not necessarily in the right direction. In the process, we allow other people or circumstances to steal our dreams. We ride the ladder fast without first placing it against the right wall.

My simple submission to you, my loving friends, is that don’t let anybody steal your dreams. It is your responsibility to place your ladder at the right place before you start riding it. Once you do it, you will enjoy the fruits while taking each step for reaching the top of the ladder. And you will have no regrets.

Dr. Lokesh N Rai

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5 Responses

  1. Awesome… after reading this am seriously thinking.. what Do I really want in life … and the answer is to spend more n more time , in the search of ultimate truth 😊 But I need to do my social karama’s also … it is time to adjust my ladder 😊😊😊

    Thanks for such wonderful thoughts 🙏🙏

  2. हमेशा की तरह शानदार लेख के लिए बहुत-बहुत धन्यवाद सर👍
    हर किसी के लिए हर परिस्थिति में हर सवाल का सकारात्मक निराकरण होते हैं आपके लेख,..जैसे कोई किताब हों…हर पन्ना एक पत्र…

  3. 1. Ladder is important.
    2. Correct wall is important
    3. Usage of Time is important
    4. Mentoring required (for directions and speed)
    5. Review ur work and achievements after certain time regularly is important
    6. Follow the footsteps of success is important without questioning the capabilities.

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