Keynote Speech | Dananjaya Hettiarachchi

The content of the following is based on Dananjaya Hettiarachchi’s Keynote Address.

The Key to Success

A man his mid-twenties sat solemn by the side of the road, contemplating life. He looked up when he saw the car of his dreams swiftly drove past. At the passenger’s seat was a most beautiful lady, and the driver was an older man – well-groomed with a nice suit, looking highly successful. His feet were heavy when he made his way to them. He knocked on the window, waited for it to slide open and said, “Sir, I don’t who you are, and I don’t know what you do, but I want what you have.”

“Tell me your secret to success.”

That simple, honest question led to a series of events that brought him waddling, in the middle of the ocean, further and further away from the beach. “Are you sure you want to know?” The old man repeatedly asked. Having quit his job and half-submerged in water, he did not feel like he had much choice. But, when the old man placed a hand on his head and pushed him in the water, he did not think long to choose to fight him off. “Why not stay in the water?” The old man asked. Frantic, he answered. “If I had stayed, I will die! I need to breathe!”

“When you want it as much as you want to breathe, that is when you will be successful.”

The moral of the story is nothing new. We already know that successful people are self-driven and highly passionate. The real question is, how did they get that burning desire?

First, we need to understand that we cannot and will not want things that we do not know. To desire something, we must know what that “something” looks like, feels like, taste like. We need to first find out more about it and experience it. Only when we truly understand it, can we really, passionately, want it.

Once the desire is there, everything else will happen for you. You will willingly put yourself in a process. It will take a lot of time and hard work for these processes to mold you to become the success you want to be, but you should never ever try to hack it. A high quality sword takes time to build – hack it, and you will break during battle.

While going through the process, remember that little things go a long way. Even something you find as insignificant as a handshake can be a game changer. Too hard and too close, and you are perceived as intimidating. Notice the small things and improve on them. This is where a good mentor will become invaluable to you. Find someone critical, constructive and supportive to your personal progress.

Once you have all that, you only need to do one final thing: stop telling your story. You know which story we’re talking about. It is that same story that you tell yourself every second, every minute, every hour. The story of ‘I can’t’.

“I can’t because I have failed in the past”.

It is high time that we stop telling stories based on the past, and start becoming the success we want to be in the future.

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