Indian Americans outperform most other Americans in achieving both academic and business success.
First, they show up by migrating to these shores, aka entering the Land of Opportunity. Then they work hard at getting better each day. That's the simple formula, and it works.
In America we all begin as 'C' students. Some proceed to work hard and get 'A' grades. Meanwhile, most settle for 'C' grades. And, of course, some flunk or drop out.
Let's explore this American success formula of success through hard work. The only 'natural talent' we need is opportunity, and a set of goals that we are willing to work hard to accomplish. Living in America gives us that opportunity, and the hard work part is up to us.
Why So Many Indians Succeed in America is subtitled 'Talent and hard work tell only part of the story. It's also about opportunity.'
"Many people in India are proud of the successes of their 3.1 million kin who have immigrated to the U.S. But the hoopla about high-profile CEOs, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists and precocious spelling bee champions often overlooks a simple truth.
The achievements of Indian-Americans don’t merely reflect individual effort and cultural values, such as respect for education. They are a living repudiation of the heavy-handed statism that kept India poor for decades and hampers its progress today.
Indian-born CEOs such as Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Adobe Systems's Shantanu Narayen, PepsiCo's Indra Nooyi and Google's Sundar Pichai are household names back home. . . .
India’s interest in its diaspora goes beyond corporate America. NRI—which stands for “non-resident Indian”—is a popular term for an overseas Indian. Newspapers often run special sections dedicated to their latest activities. Indian-American characters will pop up in Bollywood movies . . . .
Indian-American spelling bee winners from obscure towns in the American Midwest find their pictures splashed across the front pages of Indian newspapers. . . .
Statistics suggest that Indians have thrived in America. They make up less than 1% of the country’s population but are estimated to have founded more than one in eight Silicon Valley startups. The community boasts two governors: Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and South Carolina’s Nikki Haley.
According to the Pew Research Center, the median income for Indian-American families in 2010 was $88,000, nearly twice the national average. Seventy percent of Indian-Americans hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to the national average of less than 30%.
While many Indians are familiar with the picture these figures paint—that Indian-Americans tend to be educated and wealthy—they don’t dwell upon the underlying circumstances. The Indian-American community owes its good fortune as much to America as to talent and hard work. Only in a country built on respect for merit, rule of law, individual rights and free enterprise could a young immigrant group—large-scale Indian immigration to the U.S. only began in the mid-1960s—prosper so quickly. . . .
Why did Ms. Nooyi, Messrs. Nadella and Pichai and other Indian-Americans seek their fortunes in America? Because socialist India, with its sky-high tax rates and meddling bureaucrats, offered little opportunity. . . .
For 50 years, America has acted as a magnet for Indian aspiration."
There you have it. And facts are stubborn things.
And the fact is that anybody can do what these Indian Americans have done --- and it can most easily be done in America.
That's because as Americans we're free to do what we want as long as we don't interfere with the rights of others to do likewise.
Playing the wrongheaded American 'victims and villains' game of blaming free enterprise and the private sector for whatever is wrong simply isn't in the Indian American playbook for success.
Their success formula instead is a simple three part story based on the idea of good old fashioned American Exceptionalism: (1) start by showing up and acting right; (2) then spend lots of time on task by working hard to achieve your self chosen dreams; and (3) develop the habit of continuous and rapid improvement in whatever it is that you have chosen to do.
Doesn't that sound a lot like what parents and coaches say are the worthwhile and important life lessons to be taught kids through participation in sports and other extracurricular activities?
If so, why don't we encourage that exact same mindset and work ethic when it comes to education and the workplace?
There's nothing in the water or the genes that determines success. It's mostly what's between our ears.
Success results from sustained effort and the ongoing measurement of progress toward accomplishing our chosen goals. If we can dream it, we can do it. But it's the doing that matters most.
That's my take.