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Chanakya’s guide to taking the best and making it better

A great thinker once said, “If I were to create something new, I would study all that is best and make my product even better.” About 2,300 years ago, Chanakya himself applied this law.

The very first verse of Kautilya’s Arthashastra says, “This single treatise (Kautilya’s Arthashastra) on the science of politics has been prepared mostly by bringing together the teachings of as many treatises on the science of politics as have been composed by ancient teachers for the acquisition and protection of the earth.”

Did you know that there were at least 14 other Arthashastras prior to the one written by Chanakya?

The masters of the past were not afraid to accept that innovation and creativity started by learning from others, and even gave credit where it was due, like in Chanakya’s case in the above verse.

But there are certain steps for doing this:

What do you want to achieve?

First, our destination has to be clear. Define this and half the battle is won. When Ratan Tata first announced that he will bring out a one lakh rupee car, it showed clarity of purpose. The rest followed. If you are a businessman, think about the product or service you want to offer. If you are an artist, what will you create? If you are a player, where and which medal do you want to win? Remember Gandhiji’s words: “Find a purpose, the means will follow.”

How will you do it?

You have to start the journey immediately after setting a goal. How? Well, Chanakya had said we should learn from the best that is already available. Do some research, read books by experts in your field, study, or join a course. Be sure about why you want to re-invent the wheel! And the keyword is ‘improve’. So learn from the best. If you are a swimmer, and aim to win an Olympic medal, you’d better get trained by the world’s best swimmers. This will help you to achieve the goal faster.

When will you finish?

Now that you are ready to learn from the best, set a deadline for yourself—the time by when you will reach your goal, converting your study and training into success. This deadline will help you to move with extra speed. When the American president first announced that a man will land on the moon and safely return back to earth within a decade, it was a definite deadline. And the scientists achieved it! Chanakya followed the above steps too. That’s the reason his Arthashastra has become an immortal book.

Now it’s your turn to create something immortal too.

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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