From Super Achiever to Super Contributor

Dr. K's Diary: Articles by Dr. Madan Kataria Jun 06 2024 254
From Super Achiever to Super Contributor-img

On January 4, 2007, I was honored with a “Super Achievers” award by an educational institute in Pune, India, which recognizes and honors those who have made outstanding contributions and innovations in various fields such as science, art, culture, and education. It was a gratifying moment as I held the trophy in my hand. I felt humbled and moved by the response of the people. After the warm greeting, I was expected to say a few words about my achievements. Standing at the lectern, gazing at the trophy, I felt a spontaneous rush within me, and much to the audience's amazement, I quietly said, “I don’t think I am a super achiever.” I knew they were not expecting that, but the words came straight from my heart.

Early Ambitions and Struggles

When I was young, I always dreamed of being a super-achiever and becoming rich and famous. I wanted to prove to the world that I was a high flier, a real go-getter, but it was not easy. The struggle to become that kind of person was very long and hard, and it left me unhappy, stressed, and depressed. As I approached my 40s, I began to feel as though time was running out without having accomplished all the things I had once dreamed of. Thinking only of myself and of no one else, I drove myself even harder as increasing restlessness and dissatisfaction engulfed me.

The Turning Point: Laughter Clubs

Without warning, my life took a complete turn, and the ingenious idea of Laughter Clubs came to me. Many advised me to patent the idea that could possibly make me a millionaire. I must confess, in the beginning, I was very tempted to go ahead and fulfill my lifelong ambition. However, within six months of starting the first Laughter Club, hundreds of letters and emails from all over the world began pouring in, saying how it had changed their lives. Seeing the growing popularity of the clubs, once again, my innate desire to become rich and famous peaked, and I thought of charging a small membership fee, which would generate substantial income. In fact, I had almost made up my mind to start charging when an incident changed my entire perspective and sent me in a new direction. The age-old adage, “Man proposes, God disposes,” led me to do something that I never thought I could do.

A Life-Changing Encounter

One day in December 1995, an 85-year-old man named Babu Rao came to my clinic with his son. As soon as he entered, he fell at my feet. This is a custom in India to show respect and gratitude. Momentarily, I was uncomfortable seeing an elderly man touch my feet, but I accepted it and took it in stride.

After a while, he began crying and continued to cry for almost five minutes. Barely able to talk, he kept repeating, “Doctor, you have saved my life.” I picked him up, gave him a hug, and tried to pacify him. As I started talking, he offered me a box of homemade sweets, and then told me he had been suffering from several diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, insomnia, and depression. Disgusted with his life, he had contemplated suicide, but fortunately, he joined a Laughter Club, which changed his whole perspective. After a month of laughter, he felt much better; even his blood sugar and blood pressure had stabilized. He experienced a new will to live and felt completely rejuvenated. I was moved to tears as he recounted his story.

A New Perspective on Contribution

Happily surprised at his firm belief in my concept, for the very first time, I realized the value of true contribution. Anything that can change a person’s entire life is to be cherished and shared with the world, not something that can ever be equated with monetary gain.

Spreading Laughter Yoga

After my experience with Babu, I decided to tour India with Laughter Yoga. As I traveled, I met many who had benefited from laughter, nature’s most powerful healing force, and the best medicine for physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Seeing the results and growing popularity, I realized this had nothing to do with me, but that it was a divine gift. I was merely the vessel placed on this earth to spread the good word. Any ideas of patenting or charging a fee for laughter were forever dropped. Laughter was a gift that I intended to give to the world, and from that day forward, I felt happy and relieved.

Achieving True Success

Laughter was not about me, but an idea that helped so many experience complete wellness, happiness, and joy. As Laughter Yoga spread, my dream to become world-famous was realized. Respect and well wishes began pouring in, and soon I realized that everything I ever wanted in life came to me once I placed others before myself.

My Words at the Award Ceremony

These were my words to a packed house at the Super Achievers Award ceremony on January 4, 2007:

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for honoring me with this super achiever award, but I don’t think I am a super achiever. I would rather call myself a super contributor. The times when I was striving, struggling, and pushing too hard to accomplish something in life were the times when I found life to be very difficult. It was not easy, and I was quite frustrated. Nothing was ever enough because everything was directed toward myself. But when I started thinking about others and planned to do things that would help people, life became simple. I could easily achieve everything I ever dreamed of by making a worthwhile contribution to the world, thus making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. There is an old saying, ‘Whatever you give out to the universe will come back to you.’ This is the true circle of life.”