The Bollywood movie Mission Mangal released on 15 August 2019, celebrated the 50th year of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). The movie showcased the launch of India’s very own satellite in Mars’ orbit. It was a monumental mission, but with a ton of constraints–a miracle of sorts and a thing of great pride for India. All the drama that revolved around this mission is well portrayed in the movie. But then, I don’t intend to write a movie review here. Instead, I do want to describe some similarities I was able to observe in the movie and in career.
Here are 7 powerful career lessons you can learn from the movie–
#1 Small failures can lead to big achievements–Embrace them.
The movie begins with showcasing the failure of a rocket launch. Despite the failure, Mr. Dhawan (Akshay Kumar) is okay about it. He says–
Science is all about experiments, and all experiments are not successful.
In actual lives too, it is imperative that we embrace failures. Embracing failures and learning from them would lead to significant breakthroughs in your career.
#2 Whether you are in the job by choice or by force–Love it.
As a result of the rocket launch failure, Akshay Kumar is given the responsibility of heading the Mars Department–where there is no one, the office is ruined and everything was a sheer mess. He was given that responsibility to get ready for 2022–basically something that wasn’t a priority and probably never was going to be a reality. Even then he chose to be there and turn things around. This was possible because of the immense love for this job.
Opportunities always come disguised as distress. Click To TweetAnd life always gives us 2 options–turn things around and make the most of what you have or be unhappy with it and do nothing. Your career depends on the choice you make. So, you need to love what you do. When you love what you do, you will be able to make a difference to people and thus create value. This will help you have significant career breakthroughs.
#3 Everything around you can teach you something or the other–Observe.
Vidya Balan observes the way puris are made and thus is born the idea of the mars mission where the existing resources were used to the fullest.
Everything that is happening around you has the capability to teach you something or the other. So observing things and learning from them will help you come up with ideas when you really want it. Observation is the key that helps you achieve the breakthroughs.
#4 Opportunity will never be given–You’ll have to grab it.
No one was ready to listen to the plan of the Mars mission. Akshay Kumar with Vidya Balan and some others who believed in the mission barged into a meeting and demonstrated what they wanted to do. This attracted the attention of the people in the room. Similar instances have been there throughout the movie.
If you have an idea, you need to speak about it openly, gain insights, and modify to make it better. Also, you need to then grab the opportunity to make yourself heard by the people of influence. If you keep waiting for an opportunity to be given, it will never come up. You will have to create one or grab one to make your big idea heard.
#5 When your aspirations align with those of the organization–Magic happens!
Everyone on the mission initially believed that the mission would be a failure and thus were not willing to put in the work. Everyone was treating this as a job. But then Vidya Balan hosts a birthday celebration–the birthday of their dreams. She helps them recall the genuine reason they were in the job–their dream of being a scientist. This ignites the spark in them. They work towards making this mission a success.
Usually, we are working for ourselves–to make ends meet! While that is something that cannot be ignored, it is vital that you align your aspirations to those of the organization. If you can contribute to the organization’s growth you are bound to grow along with. Your ends would then be met without you having to bother about them, won’t they?
#6 Constraints have a lot of power–Unleash it.
There were a ton of constraints for this mission–from the project budget to the size of the satellite and from the material that can be used to the fuel capacity. If there was anything that a pessimist could see, it was–constraints, more constraints, and some more constraints. But the entire team took it up as a challenge and came up with workarounds to make the mission successful.
Innovation, I strongly believe, happens inside the box. Thinking out of the box is a cliché. Expecting results from thinking out of the box is like expecting magic. Thinking inside the box systematically limits your thought process and allows you to come up with ideas keeping in mind the constraints (the box). These ideas are practical and implementable. The biggest innovation successes have happened by working with the constraints. They have a lot of power–all you need to do is unleash it.
#7 If people don’t laugh at you–you are not doing it right.
Many people including the very senior officials of ISRO made fun of the entire mission when it was proposed, while it was being executed and continued until when the satellite was about to be launched. But it did not dampen the spirits of the team working on this mission.
Things are impossible until they are done. Every invention or project that had not been done earlier was always laughed at. But the relentless effort of people who believed in the project made it happen. And all those who once laughed at it realized they were wrong. So if you are not being laughed at, you are doing something too traditional or isn’t challenging enough. For breakthroughs, you need to work on the project that is challenging. And the best way to know that you are on the right path is people around laughing at you.
To sum up –
Of course, this is a movie and a lot of scenes have been spiced up for entertainment. But then the world is a stage and we are all actors. So let’s observe and learn even from the drama that we see! These 7 powerful lessons are the ones I have learned. Watch the movie and share the lessons you did.
Would love to hear from you.