Barfi! has opened to great acclaim from critics and the audience. The simple story about a deaf and mute boy (Barfi played by Ranbir Kapoor), an autistic girl (Jhilmil played by Priyanka Chopra) and a girl (Shruti played by Ileana D’Cruz) from a different, normal world has touched the hearts of many. There are also some great lessons from the movie, which can inspire us to do the extraordinary and scale greater heights in life and business.
1. The biggest risk in life is not taking any risks
As Shruti learnt from Barfi early in the movie, not taking any risks is the biggest risk in life. Only when we take risks, we can create something new. Starting something of your own is a great risk, as it involves breaking away from the normal. Entrepreneurs are known and get rewarded for their risk-taking abilities. The bigger the risks, the bigger are the rewards. So, go out and take a few risks. You and the world have a lot to gain from the one step, that you take which involves some amount of risk.
2. Trust is the most important thing
Relationships in life and business are built on the foundation of trust. Trust is comforting and makes relationships stronger. We find both Barfi and Jhilmil give a lot of importance to trust in their lives. Take for example, Barfi’s lamppost test. He would check how much people would trust him and also, if they will leave him in a crisis situation. The same holds true for Jhilmil. Outside home, where she would only her trust her Nanny, she would only feel comfortable at Muskaan. It took a lot of time for Barfi to gain her trust. In business, it’s important to win the trust of your employees, partners and investors. Without the trust and support of various stakeholders, it’s difficult to make great thing possible. And, when you earn the trust, make sure you don’t lose it.
3. When opportunity comes your way, grab it with both hands
Great opportunities don’t come very often. Shruti got an opportunity to be together with Barfi when they fall in love. However, she chooses to move away. On her return to Darjeeling after six years, she gets another opportunity to support Barfi. But, again she decides to go away.
Finally, when she decides to leave her family for Barfi, unfortunately circumstances have changed. So, when there is an opportunity to start something new, create a new product or launch a new service or capture a new market, go ahead and make most use of the opportunity. Or, you may find a competitor or a new start-up has already moved ahead and taken that spot, which you were coveting or could have easily occupied.
4. Don’t live a life with regrets
Once you take a decision, live with it. There’s not much to gain from living with regrets. Living with regrets is a constant reminder of some error in judgement or blunder, you have committed in life. Thinking about ‘what ifs’ often stop us from enjoying the little pleasures of life and other joys and opportunities, which are presented to us. Shruti’s mother may have lived a life, thinking about the lover she deserted and lived through a marriage without love.
Though Shruti moved one step forward, she also had to live with regrets about not being able to be together with Barfi. Similarly, in business, when a decision is made, you have to live with the consequences and make the most out of the present situation, rather than rue about lost opportunities in a path the Company didn’t or couldn’t take. It could be missed opportunities in launching a product category or entering new markets or simply wrong choice of a target group for your products.
5. Always wear a smile
A smile has magical powers and is often infectious. A smile makes you look good and feel good. Smiling in adversity even helps in making the situation seem less difficult and leads to reduction of stress. Barfi couldn’t talk, but he could smile. After the long chase sequence in the beginning, when the police (Saurabh Shukla and co.) manage to get hold of Barfi, and Shruti is visibly hassled, Barfi gives her a smile. Barfi continued to smile at everyone and in all circumstances, throughout the movie.
A smile can break barriers and make business possible, especially in a multi-cultural environment where language can prove to be a serious impediment. In businesses which involve a lot of interactions with the customer like retail or hospitality or service industry, a smile can often defuse a potential crisis and make that difficult sale happen.
6. Embrace your shortcomings
Barfi is deaf and mute. But, he doesn’t let it come in his way. It doesn’t stop him from dreaming or falling in love with the beautiful new girl in town or even go and ask for her hand from her parents. It doesn’t stop him from expressing himself in myriad ways. Barfi is not daunted by challenges of taking responsibilities, which far capable men may shy away from.
Barfi is not held back by limitations. In life and business, it’s important for us to accept our shortcomings and make the most of what we have. If we focus on the strengths, instead of fussing over our weaknesses, we’re capable of accomplishing great stuff.
7. If you try to do something daring, there will be always a few bumps
When Barfi sees Shruti for the first time in the train and tries to attract her attention, while holding on to the train window, he hits the pole and falls. Later, when he takes Shruti for a ride on the bicycle and sees his father driving in his direction, he loses control, hits the bush and falls. When Shruti was going back with her parents and he tries the train window trick, again, he hits the pole and falls again. Falling is part of life’s journey, whether you hit the pole or hit a bump.
All Companies have failed product launches and campaigns; they make wrong judgement in understanding customer needs, entering new markets and categories. But, as long as you’re trying to do something daring, and continue making attempts, you’ll achieve success, and have the satisfaction of taking the path less traveled.
So, these are a few of the things I learnt from my Barfi! outing. What about you?