“Learn to draw your balances and become selfish in looking after yourself” – Harsh Mariwala

By Harsh Mariwala

A lot of professionals ask me how I built a FMCG company in the face of competition from larger multinational companies with deep pockets. Today, after 40 years, when I look back, I see a consistent input that kept me going: my lifestyle. I looked after myself. I ate right, stayed active and in my weight range (I can fit into the same trouser size as I did 40 years ago), and slept for 7 hours. These routines gave me the energy and stamina to have higher levels of energy then and as well as now, which have increased my work output even today. I work longer hours than many half my age, and am able to do so because of the consistency of my life.

A well-looked after machine which is serviced regularly will always last longer than one that is overused and not serviced on time. The same is with our bodies. Today, when I look around, I see so many professionals who have aged before their time, because of overuse or abuse, and it pains me because they have such wonderful brains and creativity, but no energy to channelize these towards increasing profits. It’s a good thing when you’re 25 years old to live like a cowboy, but when you reach your early 30s, it converts to foolhardiness. Because at that age, your work pressure has increased, your stress levels are higher, you probably have a home and a car loan on your head, and small kids and ageing parents to worry about. The central factor is then only you, who is bearing all this. Not being careful about your lifestyle can mean a collapse, hospitalization and losing your job, all of which will impact your highest earning years.

As a business leader, I walk the talk. So to all those professionals toiling and burning the night lamp, my message is this: If you want to be the last man standing and be valuable for your organization, family, friends and yourself, learn to draw your balances and become selfish in looking after yourself. It’s only then, that you can truly increase your output, and continuously stay there. In short, become a marathon runner, not a 100 mts sprinter.


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