My grandfather was a profound influence in my life. He taught me many life lessons that I still refer to today.
One of those lessons was about the importance of being thoughtful and not judging people based on where they came from. Here is what I mean.
When I was a child in the fifth grade, I had the highest grades in my class. I was proud and so was my grandfather. As a Hindu boy I was also a minority in my native Bangladesh. The father of one of my classmates made a derogatory comment about my ability to accomplish what I had because of my beliefs.
This man was a college professor who went to receive many intellectual honors. He of all people should have known better.
I was hurt by his remarks. It does not matter whether you are treated poorly by someone of note or the bully down the street. It still hurts.
My grandfather was probably more upset than I was, but he told me not to be troubled by it.
I’ll never forget my grandfather’s words. Always remember: forget and forgive. Let go any negative feelings. To change the world, think big. When you are in power, try to help others when you can. He taught me the true meaning of power is in its ability to help, not hurt people.
Many years later I was working at a company and happened to be on a team that was led by the same man who had insulted me so many years before. He was pleased with my work and wanted to personally thank me.
I realized he did not recognize me and at that moment decided to tell him who I was. He apologized and I accepted this man’s apology.
You can’t be thoughtful if you judge others only based on their ethnicity, age, or financial positions in life.
Remember: thoughtfulness knows no boundaries.