At the 50th convocation ceremony of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, the chairperson of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K. Sivan asked students to learn to fail as part of their success plan. Drawing from his own experiences including the recent Chandrayaan 2, Sivan told students, “You all must realize that if you are not failing then you are not trying hard.”
Talking about the Chandryaan 2, he informed that ISRO will try again for a softer landing. “You all have heard about Chandrayaan-2 mission. On the technology part – yes, we could not achieve soft landing, but all the systems functioned until 300m from Moon’s surface. Very valuable data is available to set things right. Let me assure that ISRO will pull all its experience, knowledge and technical prowess to set things right and demonstrate soft landing in near future. And Chandrayaan-2 is not the end of story. Our plans on Aditya L1 solar mission, human spaceflight programme are on track.”
Sivan, who is also an IIT-Bombay alumnus said that IITs are the ‘holy grail of technical education in India’. Drawing from his early experience at ISRO, he said, “Out of 4 missions, two had failed and one was partially successful. Under these circumstances, PSLV development was progressing. It so happened that PSLV-D1 mission also failed. Despite these early failures, there was immense desire to succeed within ISRO community.” He added, “Desire to succeed! That is the secret to success. Not education alone. These failures were the stepping-stone to future successes.”
“When I graduated, more than three decades back, the job scenario was not as vibrant as today. Area of specialisation limited the career options. Today, the options are many,” said the ISRO chief.
“Keep in mind that, there is only one life and there are many career options. You all need to identify your passion and natural talent and align your career. Choose an industry that reflects your passion and interests. Rather than choosing a job for money, choose it for your happiness,” he added.
He also cautioned students by saying that passion is not the only thing needed for success. “Be good at what you do. Remember, passion is not the only ingredient needed for success. You also need skills and strengths.”
“You need not be the topper; you need not have excellent grades. All you need is focus by eliminating distractions and time-wasting activities,” said Sivan.