5 Life Lessons I learned from the Biopic of MS Dhoni

I recently saw the movie “MS Dhoni — The Untold Story”. I was moved by the movie and it brought me back to the wonderful memories of my childhood. Just like Dhoni, I was also born and brought up in Ranchi and hence I felt a strong connection to his childhood and his family experiences.

Dhoni’s story is about a gigantic resolve to succeed against all odds, but the backdrop of a typical Ranchi lower middle class family and the local language, made me teary-eyed, many times in the movie. A dedicated hard-working father who loves his son dearly, wants the very best for his son and wishes him to pursue a career that is safe, would remind you of your own father. A mother who believes in the dreams and talent of his son and prays during every major match, reminded me of my own mother who prayed as we went for our academic examinations.

Dhoni’s story is truly inspiring and has multiple lessons that we can implement in our lives to pursue our inner calling. Here are the five lessons that we can learn from him and his success:

1. Be very clear about what you want in life and be willing to give it all to your dream: Dhoni wanted to become the best cricketer and he realized it early in life. But, he was in an environment where very few sportsmen could make a decent living and it was safer to get a “normal” job. His father wanted him to take up any safe government job. Dhoni knew about his mission, but he truly loved his father and his wishes, and hence he did try to work in a dead-end job for 3 years. He requested his father to give him a year’s time to focus just on cricket. The rest is history.

If we can be very clear about our talents and dreams and be willing to give everything to it, we can also be successful in our game of life.

2. Be a constant learner: In a scene in the movie, Dhoni and his friend were playing cricket. It did seem that Dhoni was a better player than his friend. However, his friend had a unique way of hitting the ball. Dhoni requested for his friend to teach him the shot, without getting into any ego hang-ups. He kept on practicing with his friend until the time he mastered the shot.

For a small town dreamer, it was just a fantastic achievement that he was able to join the Indian cricket team. But, his drive to constantly learn and excel, kept pushing him to rise constantly and made him the captain of the winning world cup team in 2011.

We can also be constant learners, learning something new every day from anyone who can teach us, irrespective of age and position. Your earning is in direct proportion to your learning.

3. Be emotionally intelligent and focus on great relationships: Dhoni has an amazing ability to forge deep personal bonds with others. During his childhood and early years of his career, his friends would do anything for him. They were instrumental in his success. His ability to form deep relationships made him one of the most successful captains of our time.

If you have a big dream, you need a team to realize it and hence it is very important to learn the skills to create trusted relationships.

4. Keep calm under pressure: Dhoni’s first girlfriend died in an accident and he is devastated, but he doesn’t bawl in public. He maintains a calm front, excuses himself to be in private and then weeps. Multiple times in his cricket career, there have been tough moments as a captain, but he has consistently kept his calm, remained focused and taken specific decisions to come out as a winner.

For all of us, professional life and leadership is difficult and we will encounter tough challenges. For every challenge, it is important to remain calm, take a pause, look at alternatives, make a decision and then own that decision. The team can not respect a leader who flies off the handle all the time.

5. Team and Country come before personal ambitions: There have been multiple moments in his career, when he took decisions for the team’s success sacrificing his personal goals. No one can forget the scene after his team won the 2011 world cup, where after orchestrating one of the biggest victories for India, Sachin is being carried by their team mates and Dhoni is walking calmly behind with the team support staff.

This is the classic definition of a “Level 5 Leader” as described Jim Collins book “Good to Great”. “Level 5 leaders” are humble, focused on team results, credit the team with all the success and shy from limelight. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi are examples of “Level 5 leaders”.

We can learn a lot from this worthy son of India, who has taught us by his example that if we understand our abilities and passion, believe in our dreams and be willing to give it all, we can achieve success beyond our wildest imagination. #msdhonitheuntoldstory

Rajeev Priyadarshi is the founder and CEO of PR3 Systems, an IBM Premier Partner that specializes in training and consulting. He is also the author of The Tree of Inspiration and is a thought leader in the infotech industry. Follow him on Medium, Twitter, Facebook or his sign up for his newsletter to get inspiring content like this.