‘Work smart, not hard’: Father’s Day advice down the ages

June 16, 2018

The Sunday brunch for your dad on Father's Day is cooling on the sideboard, complete with eggs, sunny side up, bacon fried to a crisp and toast warmed to a golden brown. Your gift for your dad sits on the table next to a vase of red roses wrapped in sparkly paper. A greeting card is propped up against a pot of coffee and you’ve added a tiny bow as a final flourish.

Suddenly, you realise that all this is not enough. You want to pay him a tribute in the best way possible. You want to freeze-frame your best memories with him and dwell on his best advice. After all, this is the man who took you from crayons to cars, pencils to perfume. 

YourStory talked to some of the city’s well-known entrepreneurs and founders to find out what they would say, if asked the same questions… what is your best memory of your dad? And, what is his best advice to you? Read on...

Byju Raveendran, Founder & CEO, BYJU'S

Byju Raveendran (right) and his father, Raveendran Kunnaruvath

Best memory: My father used to be a teacher in the same school where I studied. He always encouraged me and gave me the freedom to play games and spend a lot of time outside the classroom. He has always been a firm believer in the fact that children learn better outside a classroom. Though I played all day, I ensured that my studies never suffered. In fact, playing multiple games really helped me in developing and honing real life skills like performance under pressure, controlled aggression, leadership skills etc. 

My father’s immense trust and confidence in me has really helped me approach life with a lot of positivity and confidence. My father and I share a very special bond.

Best advice:  

Always pursue your passion. Let your passion drive you. Don’t restrict yourself to what others are doing. Identify your strengths and capitalize on them. Thinking big is 50%, the remaining is about being positive, working hard and executing it.

Sujayath Ali, Co-founder & CEO, Voonik

Sujayath Ali (right) and his father, Mubarak Ali

Best memory: A memory of my father that I can never forget was an incident that happened when I was about to enter college. We were in the counselling session to select an engineering college. My dad could afford only a Government College and since my marks were decent enough, I selected a Government College. However, he noticed my hesitation before signing the form. 

I told him about my desire to study computer science and my regret that I was getting only the option of electronics in this college. He asked me to opt for a private college instead and study computer engineering. Though I protested as the fees were high, he told me not to worry about it. Thus, I become a software engineer and later an e-commerce entrepreneur.

Another special memory was I was getting ready to move to Chennai to join my first job. I asked my dad for a bike, citing that it would be very difficult to travel on a bus. He couldn’t afford to buy me a new bike, and so he asked me to take his bike and he bought a second-hand TVS 50 for himself. 

I did so and till today I remember his sacrifice and his unwavering faith in me.

Best advice: 

My dad never advised me. He let me choose my own path even if it meant hardships for him.

Rohan Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro.com

Rohan Bhargava (left) and his father, Ranjeet Bhargava

Best memory:  It is hard to distil memories of someone you have known every day of your life. But one memory that really stands out for me is the dance my parents did at my wedding. To put in context, my father, unlike my mom, is very reserved and until then I had rarely seen him dance. However, for my wedding he took special classes for several weeks. 

And the performance on the wedding day was just special. It was not one of those ‘last minute’ things. It was flawless to the last step and over three songs. That was a really special memory, especially for someone who rarely dances.

Secondly, my father and I share a great love for cricket. His love for the game is what got me interested as a kid. Every year we watch many IPL and international matches together. We have seen countless games together and I am sure this will be a tradition for many years to come.

Best advice: 

Work smart, not just hard. The hardest worker is the donkey. For every problem, take a step back and ask, is there a smarter way? 

Focus on the ‘A’ items. The 80-20 principle applies almost everywhere. Focus on the most crucial things for 80 percent of the day. Secondly, I have a strong belief in putting family over all else. This comes from how I have seen my parents live their lives. Countless decisions have been made to put ‘family first’. Whether it is family holidays, eating together, supporting each other and more. Thirdly, health-wise, my father’s daily routine has been to wake up at 5am and go for a 45-minute walk. This is also something I follow in my daily life.  I am still working on a 5am start but going to the gym and eating healthy are a regular part of my routine.

Adhil Shetty, Co-Founder, BankBazaar

Adhil Shetty (right) and his father

Best memory: Some of my most enduring memories is that of my father driving me for cricket coaching at 6 AM at Don Bosco school in my early teens, and then to 6 AM math tuition in my Class XII. 

That kind of commitment to be available whenever he was needed, no questions asked, is something I will always cherish.

Best advice: 

Focus on experiences: Life is the biggest teacher if you are willing to learn. 

Life is never about accumulating physical materials, be it a car or branded clothes or the latest iPhone. It is all about experiences. 

From going to a great school and studying in the best university to playing sports and travelling, my father taught me that gaining life experiences is what mattered the most. 

Another lesson my father taught me was to focus on building assets. My parents bought their house quite early in their marriage and it was a large investment for which they stretched themselves quite a bit. My father taught me the value of building assets like a home, and encouraged me to plan and work towards what I wanted and not look back until I achieved what I set out to do.

Rachel Goenka, Founder & CEO, The Chocolate Spoon Company

Rachel Goenka (right) and her father, Viveck Goenka

Best memory - The best memories I have with my dad have always been to do with cars. He taught me how to drive when I was eight years old and while most girls grew up playing with dolls, I was taught how to solder and use a vice. We bonded through his love for cars. Every time he would get a new car I was always the first to be taken for a drive and that's how our weekly drive ritual started. That's when we spoke about everything under the sun. It was a safe zone to talk about everything. I fell in love with cars because of him.

My dad always taught me to push the envelope, have back up plans and to always be prepared.

Best advice: 

Have patience and perspective when dealing with any situation.


Mihir Desai, Co-owner, The Bar Stock Exchange

Mihir Desai (left) and his father, Vijay Desai

Best memory - There was a phase in my life when I did not like what I was doing and liked to be alone. Dad saw me and asked me to play cricket with him. I was not feeling up to it but dad didn't give up. 

So, I played with him for a while, only to realise what a stress buster playing a sport is. I realised that half your problems get solved if you divert your mind for a while.

Best advice: 

There were times when I was bewildered about what to do next and which path I should take. During such times dad would ask me to follow my heart

Priti Rathi Gupta, Managing Director & Promoter, Anand Rathi

 Share and Stock Brokers Ltd

Priti Rathi Gupta (right) and her father, Anand Rathi

Best Memory: One of my fondest memories of my father is of a 10-day road trip we took across South India, during which we visited museums, temples, beaches and historical sites. 

The learnings and memories from this 5,000-km journey are incomparable to anything money can buy, even today.

Best advice: 

The value of money is realised best when it is spent sagely. Money is a tool to help you realise your dreams, but only if spent and invested in calibration. 

My father practises as much as he preaches. His ethos of simple living and high thinking has been an ideal I've always aspired to. There has always been a greater emphasis on receiving the best education and experiences, as opposed to blind opulence and material gifts.

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