When people fail they blame the situations, lack of support from others, luck and dozens of unrelated things. The man we are introducing to you today could have done the same thing. Afterall, he had a disastrous life ahead of him when he was only a little boy.
Lacking education, support from family and society, this man learned skills of civil engineering without any formal training. After all the hardwork when he was about to find some opportunity, he only had Rs 50 in the name of capital.
PNC Menon was just 10-year-old when his father died bringing his family face to face with all kinds of social and financial insecurity. The position at home was tumbling down speedily; so much so that paying fee became difficult. Somehow, he completed his school and enrolled in a local college in Thrissur, Kerala to study B.Com.
But the situation at home was not so smooth. He could not pay his college fee which is why he had to leave his degree midway. The need was to earn money and he started doing odd jobs to fuel his home.
Without any formal training, he started taking up small designing jobs. His dedication helped him developed an ability to deliver high-quality interior and civil work. Despite having best of the skills and hardwork he could not get any satisfactory contracts. Challenging all odds he continued learning top practices of the industry.
Story of a far-away land
It is said that destiny favors the brave and the same happened with Menon. One day, he met a gentleman who told him about opportunities outside India. “I had never heard about this country named Oman but what he told me was exciting enough,” Menon says. However, the reality was not as pleasant as the dream of reaching Oman. Ticket to Oman would cost him several thousand rupees which was an unreachable target for him even in his imagination.
But determination is an essential quality of a winner and Menon was born to be one. He stayed adamant on trying his luck abroad and a few helping hands appeared. The ticket was arranged.
Journey to success often has several difficulty levels and the next challenge for him was to have some handy cash. With one-side ticket and a meager sum of Rs 50 in his hand aiming for Oman was nothing less than a suicide attempt. Failure in Oman could have permanently destroyed his scope of living a normal life but people who desire uncommon achievements are also supposed to be ready to face uncommon challenges.
Menon started focusing on polishing his abilities to counter the fear of failure. Amidst all the uncertainties he reached Oman determined and confident. Life in Oman was nothing less than a circus. Culture, language, and a comparatively developed society was mentally challenging for him. The terrain, temperature and food patterns were breaking him physically.
Successful people have the quality to convert challenges into opportunities. Oman was a developed society but the weather conditions always restricted the output of its people. Menon decided to use this minus in his favor and planned to offer unusually less completion time to prospective clients. The trick was quick hit and helped build his early business contacts.
Though his initial activities supported his life in Oman but to have a satisfactory income, he needed to have a concrete business plan. He had no money and the only option was to borrow. Menon was a newcomer in Oman and borrowing was extremely difficult however, the man who had told him about Oman came to his rescue. With his assistance, he took a loan from a bank and decided to make the best of every penny.
He set-up a small, roadside shop of interiors and fit-outs. Menon has always been a perfectionist and his clients began referring him people because of the quality of his work.
“I’m a restless person, so I don’t take weekends off. People who have worked their way up are insecure about the things they have” – Menon
Surviving and Rising Up
Those were days of immense struggle and he was striving to make money. While other contractors moved in luxurious, air conditioned cars, Menon could only afford a basic pick-up vehicle which could not comfort him in the boiling heat of Oman. He recollects that he had traveled a total of 175,000 km on it.
Weeks of hardwork turned into months and became years. All this while Menon tried to be exceptionally good at his work. After eight years, their business began getting contracts from high-paying clients. His specialty of delivering his work right on time with the best quality and finishing made him popular. He named his firm Sobha Ltd after his homemaker wife.
Menon has designed several hotels, palatial homes, structures for royal families in Gulf countries, and dozens of residential projects in India. He is the favorite developer for the Sultan of Brunei and has been working for him for around 30 years now. Menon is the man who built the world’s biggest corporate training facility in Mysore for Infosys. Looking at the quality of his work, Narayan Murthy insisted on meeting and congratulating Menon personally.
This year, Forbes valued his wealth at around Rs 10,801 crore ($ 1.59 billion)! He is a self-made entrepreneur who believes that only exceptional quality and hardwork can bring you success. He struggled for many years and built a huge empire and a respectable name for himself. In 2013, he pledged half of his wealth to charity under Warren Buffett-Bill Gates initiative showing his generosity and aim to chase excellence and not money.
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