Prathik Ballal: Accomplished Business Entrepreneur in 12th Grade

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He was in his 11th grade and in an Integrated program at one of the best schools at Mangalore. He had been a very bright student till his 10th grade. That was the reason his parents had put him into the integrated program. They had planned that he could save travel time. But things were to turn out different. Prathik Ballal tumbled down his academics and finally, at the end of the 11th grade, failed in his examinations. The entire family was shocked and no less Prathik himself. And no less the extended family of relatives he belonged to. Failure was knocking at their doors for the very first time. How could they not be shocked. To fail was a stigma to say the least. No one in the Ballal circle had stooped to that level. Surely something was drastically wrong. It could not be. Perhaps Prathik was mentally challenged. But he looked very sane. His speech expressed a fine intelligence. Could it be that he had fallen into bad company? Speculations ran rife among the circle. At school his friends began to avoid him. They kept a safe distance as if they would get infected with what they thought was his failure germs. His teachers looked at him, some with pity, some with scorn and some with anger. He had brought disgrace to the School. He should not be allowed to continue and bring greater disgrace in his 12th grade.

A few weeks after that, Prathik's father, Mr. R K Ballal happened to be on a visit to Bangalore. He was having his own challenges with his job and thought of looking for better prospects at Bangalore. While talking to a friend he heard for the first time about CFRCE. In his own words, "It's a great place for learning." His friend told him. "Learning literally takes place there naturally and spontaneously. Kids and students love to go there. It is perhaps the only place where they just want to go to learn. I have never seen them so eager to learn. And I have heard that everyone can go to learn there, irrespective of marks or rank. But it is not easy to get in."

"Oh, do they have a tough entrance exam?" Mr. Ballal asked.

"No, not at all." His friend replied. "In fact they have no such thing. And that makes it harder not easier to get admission into their programs. Because whoever wants to join CFRCE must prove their self-drive, their motivation. And that is the hardest part. Because CFRCE looks for naturalness and sponteneity in the students. If they have it and the self-drive, they are eligible. Otherwise, they don't have a chance because they are then considered not quite ready for it."

"Then what if the student has self-drive but is poor in academics? Obviously he wouldn't have a chance would he?" Mr. Ballal wanted to know.

"Why not?" His friend clarified. "If a student has a strong self-drive and is poor in academics, then he has a very good chance. Many such students who joined CFRCE earlier are now in some of the top positions in their career. Have you heard of Prakash Trivedi? He was a failure in his 11th grade. He is now in the University of California, having secured admission offers and scholarships from 11 Universities including Purdue University, University of California Davies, University of California Irvine, University of California San Diego and the University of Illionious, State University of New York and Georgia Tech."

"Are you serious?" Mr. Ballal was incredulous. Are such things possible?"

"They are happening most of the time at CFRCE." His friend affirmed. "Prakesh Trivedi's case was one of the most spectacular. You could say he sailed through his board examinations practically without studying, except for around 18 days near the end of the exam. And with that he secured 74% in his Boards and an 800/800 in his SAT exams. He did most of it by Goal Setting, something they at CFRCE are tremendously skilled at. You may be wondering how I know all this. Well, my nephew was there a few years ago. He was in great difficulty before he was enrolled in their mentoring program. But after going through the program he literally grew wings. He secured a top rank in the IIT-JEE and made it to the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, I mean, IIT Kanpur. He is now doing his Masters at the University of Illinois." 

"I think my son is in such a situation." Mr. Ballal was desperate. "He...please keep this confidential...he has failed in his 11th grade...and our family is at risk of disgrace among our relatives...If you could please help me in this matter, I will be grateful to you for life."

"I will certainly be glad to help. I will take you to CFRCE. I will get a chance to visit them once again."

Mr. Ballal's friend indeed took him to CFRCE and had a meeting with one of the Directors. Mr. Ballal soon brought his son from Mangalore for a meeting at the Centre. Prathik arrived full of apprehension and hesitation. In a meeting with another counselor at Mangalore, he had quite a bad experience. The Counselor, rather than listening without bias and prejudgment, had reprimanded Prathik and strongly advised him instead of counseling him. He had told him not to be irresponsible but follow his parents words. Prathik had been terribly upset and had refused to meet any other counselors again. Naturally, he was wary of the meeting. 

"Here is another Counselor who is going to advice me this thing or that thing," he thought. But what he experienced was quite a surprise for him. He felt that the person he met was a counselor in the true sense, one who did not advice but listened deeply and offered perspectives, but was actually a scientist who was warm and friendly. At the end of the meeting Prathik was filled with a strange hope. After returning he declared that he would continue his 12th grade if he was somehow offered an opportunity to learn at CFRCE. 

Mr. Ballal felt hope stirring in him. It was the first time Prathik had expressed an interest in continuing his studies. He had to tap that interest come what may. He called up CFRCE and spoke to the Director on the possibility of Prathik having their guidance. The Director assured him that he would speak to the members of the Board and get back.

Two weeks later, Prathik was taken to a session with a Mentor at CFRCE. Again Prathik experienced the same warmth of feeling in the Mentor. He felt courage emerging from the depths of his being, courage mixed with new hope. He continued to be taken to CFRCE for a few weeks. In around a month’s time everyone could witness the transformation that was going  on in Prathik. He was no longer the person who seemed lost and purposeless. He had resumed his studies with vigour. He took interest in life and regained his passion for sports. His father meanwhile had spoken to the School authorities and taken Prathik off from the extra classes in the integrated program apart from the usual ones at School. 

Prathik had vehemently told him, “Dad, these classes are meaningless, at least to me. They simply overload my brain with more information before I have time to assimilate the previous ones. This might perhaps be the way to study but certainly is not the way to learn. It is one of the short-sighted ideas of humanity. It is like the case of the goose that laid the golden eggs. Since the goose lays one golden egg per day, it must be containing the total number of eggs corresponding to the total number of days it is going to live. Why not kill it and extract all the eggs at once rather than waiting for the end of its life? But dad, that is just not possible. Nature is not capricious. We must respect its law. Otherwise we forfeit our existence. And about this strange idea that we save travel time in an integrated program, let me tell you that that travel time is very necessary. It is a great break for the conscious brain and time enough for the subconscious brain to incubate the learning. Not having such a break is the reason why so few students are really doing well in these programs. Don’t take my word. Investigate and find out the truth. I have been doing it for quite some time, out of curiosity. Hardly a handful of students do well when deprived of a break.”

Mr. Ballal had full reason to believe Prathik. The changes in Prathik were too patent to disregard. Perhaps it would do greater good if Prathik could actually learn at CFRCE than only visiting once a week. Besides, visiting once a week, all the way from Mangalore was not that easy either, though much, much more than worth the effort. Mr. Ballal and the family came to a decisive step. They planned to shift to Bangalore, near to the Centre to support and facilitate Prathik. After all, his elder brother was working at Bangalore. And Mr. Ballal himself could take a transfer from his job. So a month later, the family landed at Bangalore. Prathik was now enrolled in the CFRCE Accelerated Learner’s Mentoring program.

Prathik was also enrolled in a new pre university college and was kept off any integrated program. His interest in learning soon matured and he developed a fascination for mathematics and physics and literature and history. He was heard speaking of Advanced Calculus, Astrophysics, Egyptian history, Dante’s poetry and other topics of culture. He also began to question the meaning of education more deeply.

A few months later, Prathik had come to a conclusion. Learning was too precious to be in the hands of others. He had to take charge of it himself. And for that he had to earn his own living as well. That was when he took a decision to become a Business Entrepreneur. 

In accordance with his new interest and career plan, his mentor began to teach him entrepreneurship. He was led to read books on economics, personal development, the new free agent internet economy, the meaning of leverage. After three months of intensive studies, Prathik felt that that was too much. He felt he was not made for entrepreneurship. But his mentor continued to encourage and nudge him towards entrepreneurship. He reassured Prathik that the crucial transformation, “The Awakening of the Entrepreneur Within,” would come and then he would look at it in a new light. Indeed it happened exactly as his mentor had promised. The crucial turn came when Prathik had a sudden insight. His mentor’s words began to remind him again and again, of what Jim Rohn had spoken in one of the videos he had watched, “Your success is in direct proportion of your personal development.” “You must work harder on yourself than on your work.” “You become wealthy to the proportion in which you bring value to the market.” “Skip a meal but do not skip reading.” And so on.

 

And Prathik’s development suddenly became intensive. He had a flash of insight in which he saw all of Business Entrepreneurship as the pursuit of an impersonal dream with the sole aim of creating great value and benefiting the society at large. Exactly four and a half months after he had started out in entrepreneurship, he was selected as an advertiser for Google. In the next few days he made his first sale on eBay. Then on Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon. His daily income started out from INR. 5,413/- and shot up to INR. 27,900/- in just a few months. At an age when most students were not even mature to handle their pocket money Prathik hardly 18 years was a millionaire business entrepreneur in the making. 

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Today, Prathik has two business and a third charitable one that is geared to provide food to the under privileged. Besides, he is a consultant to several. He is a much sought after consultant and marketeer for Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. Having exclusively guided the Big Billion Day Sale for Flipkart thrice, Prathik has also been sought after by several organisations involved in incorporating blockchain and cryptocurrency in their core competencies. 

Prathik has a keen philosophical mind and is very well-read in Eastern (the Vedas, Upanishads, The Gita, Mahabharata and the Six Systems of Philosophy and works of other great masters including Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, J Krishnamurti, Lama Anagrika Govinda, Tibetan Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism) and Western (Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Descartes, Hume, Spinoza, Kant, Carl Jung ) philosophical systems and metaphysics.