HR & Management

The definitive business advent calendar: 16 December – What advice would you give teen self?

4 min read

16 December 2015

The story of Gurbaksh Chahal, once a darling of the tech world, could serve as a cautionary tale in early success – with the latest string of lawsuits against him being for wrongful termination. But with numerous successes under his belt, including the creation of ClickAgents, BlueLithium, RadiumOne, Gravity4 and The Chahal Foundation, would he have done things differently if he had known what would happen at the age of 16?

The question was recently posed to him when he delivered a speech at Pace University, and he offered some sound advice that all employers and entrepreneurs could learn from.

“If I could go back in time, I think there are a few key elements that I wished I had known at 16,” he said. “One big lesson I’ve learned is to do with faith. Never lose it! If you don’t believe in yourself and your vision how can you expect others to share and participate in your dream? Have faith that you will ultimately get the outcome you desire. Be passionate about the end result and not passionate about the minutiae of the process

“You also need to know when to call it quits and when to double down,” he claimed. “You need to be able to separate emotion and logic. Emotion is driven by your ego and logic is driven by your inner intuition. Emotion is built on ego and having an emotional commitment to a particular strategy can get you in big trouble if you pursue it in defiance of negative results. When making decisions you have to apply logic and get rid of any emotional attachment.”

He also maintained that there’s no quick, easy road to success. As you make your journey expect to be tackled and knocked down. Chahal said: “Every journey has its ups and downs, but you should embrace them, overcome them and move forward. That’s what makes a real winner. For every time your knocked down, you get up no matter how painful. 

“And you should always conduct yourself with honesty and integrity. True happiness comes with a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and the satisfaction of helping others. I also believe that you should count your blessings, and not your problems. When things go wrong you remind yourself that you have a greater purpose in life. You should always conduct yourself in such a way that if someone speaks ill of you, the people who truly know you will not believe a word of it. 

“Furthermore, what I didn’t count on, when I was 16, was what could happen when I’d become successful and was no longer an invisible teenager; what could happen when the public spotlight shines on you and everyone wants a piece of you? It used to be that the glare of publicity was focused on TV and movie stars but today it seems to be sexy to be a successful entrepreneur. Today, entrepreneurs have been thrust into the limelight. That can be good and bad. 

“While it gives one the audience to share positive messages it also opens you up to unwarranted attacks. It’s sad when people are envious of your success and want to tear you down. But I’ve discovered that the more successful you become, the more you have to watch your back.”

What matters most, he concluded, is being able to hold your head high and live your life in a way that makes your mother and father proud. There’s no better feeling than that.

Previous: 15 December on the definitive business advent calendar

Next: 17 December on the definitive business advent calendar