It’s funny, I don’t even recall his name anymore, but that person changed my life forever.

He was my physics teacher in the Intermediate Science class. He gave me a C grade in my class test, but he added the following remarks:

“Niraj, you can do much better”.

I took those words to heart. It became my guru mantra, I realized I could indeed do much better than that.

I studied very hard for my next physics test. I took extensive notes from all the textbooks that I could find. I solved all the problems at the back of the books. I cross-researched my work and became an expert on the subject.

I did well in my next physics exam, getting the highest marks in my class. My anonymous teacher was duly impressed.

Then I said to myself: “If I can do so well in physics, perhaps I can do equally well in chemistry”. I prepared hard for my chemistry exam, taking extensive notes until I mastered the subject. Then I decided to do the same for mathematics. Pretty soon, I had mastered all the PCM (Physics Chemistry Math’s) subjects and started doing well in class. This gave me the confidence to prepare for the IIT entrance exam over a period of six months. I did well in this exam and got admission to IIT Kanpur and became an engineer. Using the magic mantra gave me a career.

Life has been a roller coaster for me. Sometimes things don’t go very well for me, but mostly it is because of my own shortcomings. Whenever this happens, I say to myself: “Niraj, you can do better than this”. This mantra does the job every time.

When I was working in an instrument factory in India, I had a problem with rejections. About 20% of the instruments, manufactured under my supervision, were being rejected by our client. We were on the verge of losing the best customer that we ever had. Again, I said to myself:

” Niraj, you can do much better than that”.

I decided right there that we will have zero rejections in the future. I tightened up our quality control procedure and checked the calibration of each instrument personally; there were no spot checks anymore. We had no more rejection problems.

In the Bhagavat Gita, Lord Krishna says that he appears on earth whenever there is a decline in dharma. I take this statement metaphorically. God does appear in times of need, but sometimes, he does it through a mantra containing his power.

For me that mantra has been, and always will be:

“Niraj, you can do much better”.

There are times, however, when I don’t use this mantra. In fact, it would be very dangerous to do so. The biggest such occasion was when I got married to the girl of my dreams. At that time my mantra became:

“Niraj, you cannot do better than this”.