MANY decades ago my father, a businessman, decided to start exporting handicrafts to the USA. He went to the emporiums and shops which had the items, found out who the people were who were making it, and sent samples to the States. He was soon flooded with orders and asked the craftsmen to work hard and deliver the required numbers.
What we saw finally were horrible pieces of workmanship. “The sandalwood elephants are rough underneath?” “Who will see it saar?” “The handloom cloth has stains on it?” “Ha, ha, the Americans will think it is a design saar.” Well my dad cancelled the order with these craftsmen, found most other craftsmen doing the same slipshod work and never exported the stuff at all.
People had gathered to watch the Greek sculptor Phidias carve the statue of Athena for the Acropolis. The sculptor was taking great pains to chisel the strands of her hair at the back of her head. One onlooker commented: “When this statue is completed it will stand 100 feet high, with its back to a marble wall. Who will ever know all the details you are putting behind there?”
“I will!” replied the sculptor. I wish those craftsmen had been as particular. A man had taken his car to a garage for servicing. While he waited for the attendant, he observed one of the mechanics servicing another car. He was impressed by his meticulousness.
The mechanic changed the oil without spilling a drop, checked the radiator, cleaned the windshield, wiping off every speck of dust and greasy finger marks. Then he placed a clean cloth over the seats, washed his hands thoroughly and drove his car slowly out of the garage and parked it along the curb.
Just then as the foreman came by, the man who had been observing all this turned to the foreman and said: “now there’s a real mechanic!” “Oh,” said the foreman with a shrug, “That’s his own car..!” It was many years ago that my father thought he could venture into exports. Today I see our whole country venturing into many business deals with the west. We compete with countries like China and Germany.
What is going to be important is how we look at our work. If like those old craftsmen we say, “anyway who will notice,” we are doomed to failure, but if like the sculptor, we can carefully chisel and delicately carve areas which nobody will see, we are on our way to success. If each job of yours, every business venture, all projects, gets the personal touch and you treat them like your own car, well the sky is your limit my friend..!