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10 Lessons from APJ Abdul Kalam for Students

By Shiwani PandeyOctober 17, 2022
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“It is very easy to defeat someone. But it is very hard to win someone”, said the man who won the hearts of an entire nation with his simplicity and humble aura. He is our very own Missile Man, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
APJ Abdul Kalam

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, or APJ Abdul Kalam, as he is fondly known, would have turned 91 today. While we miss his alluring presence, we can always continue to take lessons from his inspiring journey.

Here are 10 life lessons for us from Abdul Kalam Story.


1. Plan, Prepare, Proceed

Once you have set a goal, whether it is to score a certain percentage, rank higher in your class or clear an examination in the first attempt, always make a plan. 


The next step is to prepare yourself as per the plan. And once you are ready with that strong intention, nothing can stop you!


As the Wings of Fire author writes - Desire, when it stems from the heart and spirit, when it is pure and intense, possesses awesome electromagnetic energy.


2. Have a Clear Vision

We know what we want to become. But do we have a process envisioned in our minds? If not, then we most certainly must. Your dream must not look like a blurry vision on a rainy day outside your window. It must be crystal clear to you.

Once you have clarity over the process, you have a set course of actions to take.  You create a strategy and work towards it. You know how many miles you have covered and how many more are still left to achieve your dream.

Dr Kalam says, “A dream is not that which you see while sleeping. It is something that does not let you sleep.”


3. If You Fail, Never Give Up.

Have you ever been called to the first bench by your teacher for sitting in the last bench and dreaming away? Dr Kalam would have taken your side had he been in your class.

Do you know what he had to say about back benchers? “The best brains of the nation may be found on the last benches of the classroom.”

He maintained that all students have the capability to transform India into a developed nation, no matter what your current circumstances are. We can always choose to believe in our capabilities, work on it and allow it to lead us to success.


4. Think Different, Think Creative

All leaders have reached where they are because they dared to think different. They nurtured their idea and eventually created a unique place for themselves.

Dr Kalam encouraged young people to think and act differently - “My message, especially to young people is to have the courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed.”


5. Work Hard

Luck is an unreliable friend. It is hard work that will always stick by and help us reach our goal. President Kalam emphasized that there is no substitute to hard work. It was his sheer hard work, dedication to his goal and passion to make it that led him to become the Missile Man of India despite his humble background.


Truly, “If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.”


6. Believe and Become

All of us have doubted our capabilities at some point of time. We have thought we really can never get that medal or that trophy or, can never score beyond this. What are we doing here? We are undermining ourselves and telling ourselves we are not the ones who can believe and become.

You know what Kalam would have told us? 

He would have said, Be active! Take on responsibility! Work for the things you believe in. If you do not, you are surrendering your fate to others.”


7. Be Consistent and Persevere

Did you know Kalam’s first major project at ISRO failed in its first launch in 1979? And yet we know him as the Missile Man today.

It is normal to feel sad if you did not get what you aimed for. But you can rest assured that if you are persistent and single-mindedly dedicated towards your goal, you will eventually succeed.


8. Make the World a Better Place

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was the son of a boat owner who sold newspapers as a child to help his family. His dedication and passion that led to his success, not only allowed him to serve his family later but his entire nation.

In 1998, he formulated the Technology Vision 2020 that aimed to make India a developed nation in 20 years.

One can recall him saying, “I am not handsome but I can give my hand to someone who needs help.


9. Be Good at Your Craft

Did you know Dr Kalam has 7 inventions to his credit? Among the missiles and fusion bombs he designed, he is also known for developing low cost coronary stents for people with heart disease and lightweight orthosis calipers for polio patients.

His mastery over the subjects not only allowed him to design complex machines but also contribute to the society with innovations that are simple and affordable for the masses.


10. Be Humble

Probably the most important lesson Kalam taught everyone was to be humble. Everyone who met and interacted with him acknowledged that Dr Kalam’s humility stood out despite his success and stature.


He showed us that we can and must be humble even when we have reached the heights of success. His simplicity and modesty are what make him The People’s President.


Dr  APJ Abdul Kalam was known for his fondness for students. He delivered numerous lectures in institutions, igniting young minds wherever he went and students loved him. This is why his birthday is celebrated as World Students’ Day. So, here’s wishing all of you a very Happy World Students’ Day!

FAQs on 10 Lessons from APJ Abdul Kalam for Students

1. What is the Abdul Kalam Scholarship?

The Abdul Kalam Scholarship is a scholarship program run by various institutions in India and abroad to support meritorious students from economically weaker sections of the society. There are a total of 8 such scholarships.

2. Why is Abdul Kalam an inspiration?

Dr Kalam is an inspiration because despite coming from a humble background, he overcame the hardships to become one of the greatest scientists of the 21st century and serve his nation as the 11th president of India.