Neeraj Chopra and the Art of Decision Making
Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 | By IndusInd Bank
The age-old cliché that one must make their own choices if we want to get ahead in life is as old as the art of management itself. The rationale for this simple observation is that time doesn’t have an undo button and thus, you have to not only make your own choices but also live with them – no matter what they are. But what about mentorship? When young people plan for their future, how often do they think about who their mentors will be – both at work and in life?
Can the argument not be made that a lot of the times, the ones who end up going places are the ones who weren’t lucky to have good mentors but rather conscious of where the good mentors were and what they needed to do in order to get into those teams?
Neeraj Chopra – the Golden Boy of Indian athletics – knew the importance of making this choice and making it early in his career. Even before his milestones were founded in ink.
But before the decision-making, a little perspective. Neeraj has been a top-notch athlete throughout his junior days and despite being all of 20-years-old, he has been launching the 2.5 spear at diabolical distances. In July 2016, the Panipat native’s exploits at the World Junior Championships would’ve caught the attention of the rest of the world as he smashed the World Record – for the juniors – en route to capturing Gold. At the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia, Neeraj won gold in the Javelin after throwing his season’s best, thus, adding further proof that his progression from a promising junior to an open field with the world’s best is happening seamlessly.
But on this transition, a little-known fact is that Neeraj has had different coaches at both the World Junior Championships and the recently concluded Commonwealth Games. At the World’s, Neeraj was coached by the Australian Garry Calvert but for his preparation for the Commonwealth Games, Neeraj was coached by the German Werner Daniels. But on both occasions, the final call wasn’t taken anyone other than Neeraj himself and in both instances; he made sure to back it up by capturing Gold. Whilst his competitive feats already separate Neeraj from the also-rans, it is this decisiveness in decision-making that also stands-out.
Has his decision to train in Germany caused controversy? It has. Would he be criticized if he did not do well in the Commonwealth and then followed it up with a few mediocre performances through the rest of 2018? It would have. But in all of this, Neeraj has been making decisions on his terms. Without a doubt, Neeraj has made it amply clear that he considers mentoring, coaching, to be a critical cog in the grand transition from Junior World Championships to Senior World Championships and the Olympics and thus he wants to make the final call.
By not going by the book, Neeraj isn’t being a rebel, nor is he hinting at any deficiencies in the Indian Sporting system. But by taking full responsibility for his decisions, and backing it with an admirable work ethic and a fierce competitive streak, Neeraj is a beacon for youngsters across India. In choosing our paths to whatever the future has for us, we can’t cede control when it comes to a single big decision. This is critical as making mistakes and learning are part and parcel of life and we all grow to realize this but not making those big tough decisions on our own terms, especially a decision like who we learn from, is an early cause for regret.
As of now, has Neeraj been vindicated for his decisions? Well, his laurels speak for themselves.