6 Entrepreneurship Lessons from ‘M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story’

Disclaimer: The cast of the movie contains Sushant Singh Rajput and through this article I will not touch the topic of what caused his death because like you, even I am fed up of the speculations!

I dont watch television too much but if I’m in front of the idiot box surfing TATA Sky, I am usually stuck on 2 movies and I can watch them over and over again! One of them is Sarfarosh starring Aamir Khan and the other is MS Dhoni: The Untold story

A compelling reason to pen down my thoughts

I have watched the movie MS Dhoni: The Untold story, umpteen number of times and marveled at the Indian landscapes and many symbols of Indian culture shown beautifully in the movie- train rides, life struggle, family values and rags to riches story.

However, this time when I watched the movie with a friend, maybe I was in a different state of mind. Of late, I have been interacting with a lot of business owners over Linkedin, Facebook, zoom to zoom etc and most of them are struggling to stay afloat. There were a few university events where I was invited as a panel speaker and counselled students who were not so confident about their career due to the pandemic. In a nutshell, they are struggling too!

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So, this time I related with the movie at a different level and movie events felt as if they had translated into my entrepreneurial struggles.

Lesson #1 Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride

Whether you are a first generation Entrepreneur, a bootstrapped entrepreneur or a funded one, running a company is never easy. One day you might rejoice winning a coveted client while the other moment you would be struggling to maintain cash flow in the company.

This was aptly depicted in the 2016 released movie when MSD gets rejected for Duleep trophy for no apparent reason. However, the best depiction of this emotion is at the railway station when MSD is dejected as a ticket collector and his boss gives him a piece of advice on how to play different balls on their merit to stay at the crease longer!

Lesson #2 No venture is big or small

Linkedin has been abuzz with startup success stories of how people from the lowest of the low backgrounds have setup their businesses and brought profitability to them and their respective communities!

It is no wonder that my thoughts wandered during the movie when MSD’s school cricket coach tried to cajole football-loving MSD into playing cricket. However, at the first instance, MSD turns down the offer citing that the cricket ball is smaller in size than the football. I am sure you would have smiled at the 14 year old’s innocence. However, the lesson was evident! The size of the ball doesn’t matter but the intent matters and no entrepreneurial venture is big or small!

Lesson #3 Learn to Unlearn and Relearn

It is usually seen that entrepreneurs, in the past, would have earned a respectable degree, learnt a specific skill while being employed, before flapping their entrepreneurial wings. However, the bad news is that most of the skills learnt with the anticipation that “THIS IS IT.. now i can be an entrepreneur” is never enough. If you have been a brilliant copy writer, you may not know how to do finances or generate invoices (till you are on your own) or if you are a much praised Chartered Accountant, you may not know how to sell your services. So entrepreneurship is for those who are willing to unlearn and relearn with humility.

MSD learns Helicopter shot — courtesy Quora

In the movie, MSD earns applauds for cricketing acumen at school level and district level. However, when he watches one of his friends play a helicopter shot, he is startled and decides to learn the skill instead of ignoring it. Today, we all know how famous is the Helicopter shot! Let’s spare a moment of grief for those fast, menacing bowlers who would otherwise prided themselves for their inswinging Yorkers but would been heartbroken when launched for a six by MSD!

Lesson #4 Trust your instincts

Many a time during the entrepreneurial journey you have to predict an outcome or better still if you can’t predict the outcome, you predict the logical course of action. Sometimes, you may have no time to predict anything! At that moment, you have no one to fall back on, except your gut feeling and instinct leading to an action or a decision. Mind you, this action or decision might turn out to be tough to explain later on. Furthermore, in such a scenario, people might find you acting weird but you have to pride yourself in being in control and in a sane state of mind in that moment.

During the movie on the arguably best captain of India, a small town boy climbs the ladder of success to lead a team in a game that has been dominated by elites since the 19th century! During the World Cup 2011 high-higher-highest voltage final match, MSD decides to go up the order and obviously, there is no apparent merit for the suggestion. However, he backs his instinct and ends up hitting the final six to seal the World Cup for India.

MSD Final six courtesy The Hindu

In one more movie scene, MSD has to make a decision to oust the seniors who are giving away too many runs or don’t seem to have the hunger to perform. May be seniors have grown old and complacent thus, a young team has to be built. However, there is resistance among selectors but MSD prevails due to his faith in his instincts.

Lesson #5 Support system is a huge enabler

Entrepreneurship is exciting and when you follow your passion full time, it gets you charged up for most part of the day. However, while you are in the flow, it is always important to be considerate for Support System- that enables every second of your existence and its efficient functioning makes it better.

By support system, I don’t mean family, kids etc. instead I mean every person who you interact with directly or indirectly. It could be a peon, driver, watchman etc. They all manage to take away one moment of stress from you and perform a certain action and give out a certain vibe in select situations like when you are welcoming a client or driving to a client’s side and catching up on half an hour sleep on the way in the backseat. One should never forget, they are your support system and they are actively contributing to your growth and stability.

Please be civilised and don’t make them a vent of your frustration.

In the movie starring Disha Patani (i like her girl-next-door looks in the movie) in a brief role, all the friends of MSD have played a crucial role in his journey and by narrating this script, I am proud of the fact that MSD has given his friends due credit as well. I specially liked the role played by Sardarji friend who bags a cricket bat kit sponsorship for MSD by pursuing the bat manufacturer relentlessly.

MSD Support system — courtesy IMDB

When Sardarji is asked by the exasperated manufacturer his reason for tireless pitching, he says “If Dhoni succeeds in playing for India, I will think that I have played for India”. This is one moment which has been captured exceptionally well by Neeraj Pandey, the Director. It gives out the nature of Indian mindset- that of working for a cause wherein you may or may not ever benefit!

Lesson #6 Personal life matters

Entrepreneurship is time taking, energy sapping and very lonely at times. I started entrepreneurship seriously when I was separated to be divorced. So, in a way I was very lonely in my heart. However, God has been kind, my friends are rockstars and my family is beautiful. Such low moments in life make you realise that you have only 24 hours at your disposal. When you come back home, you want peaceful slumber and not anxiety. At the same time, personal life has to be at a healthy distance from professional life else the merger might cause anxiety in the long term.

MSD Personal life — courtesy Peeping Moon

While watching the movie, you would see how director shows a healthy distance between MSD personal and professional life and how even after losing his first girlfriend, he moves on without losing faith in the process of falling in love. Thus, for every entrepreneur who is shifting timelines to achieve a certain level of success before taking a step forward in personal life, please follow the example of MSD!

Conclusion

Heartiest Congratulations to you for reaching the end of the blog and reading 1200+ word blog post in a matter of 3 min while I took 3 hours to jot down.

In the process, you have proven 2 things: you have a good attention span and that you are/wish to be an entrepreneur who wishes to make a better world!

Keep inspiring!

Sources for pictures: IMDB, Crictracker, Quora, The Hindu and Peeping moon

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I have 3 babies- 2 are my entrepreneurial ventures: BnBNation- aggregator of homestays or BnBs in India and Social Buzz. Plus I have co-authored a book on BnBs!

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Ambuj Saxena

Ambuj Saxena

I have 3 babies- 2 are my entrepreneurial ventures: BnBNation- aggregator of homestays or BnBs in India and Social Buzz. Plus I have co-authored a book on BnBs!

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