Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

You may have a thousand answers to the above question. Some may say getting up early in the morning is the best habit or reading books is the best. When I asked this question to the participants in one of my training sessions, the discussion turned into a debate. Ultimately, they could not arrive at a unique consensus.

I shared the story of a one-handed warrior from Tokyo to set the thought ball rolling. This man lost his arm in an accident. He was passionate about learning Aikido – the Japanese form of martial arts. It is similar to karate. This man went to a person called Masutatsu Ohio, who was a Grand Master in Aikido. The Grand Master refused to consider him a disciple, stating lack of time. The warrior did not accept this rejection. He insisted, persisted and begged to be considered as a student. After several days, the man was still seen knocking on the doors of the dojo (which means training school in Japan). The Grand Master keenly observed the man’s interest and realised that the warrior had an unflinching commitment. Hence, he agreed to induct him as a student.

Once enrolled for nine months, the Master taught his new disciple only one particular step. He was asked to practice that step and excel in it every day. Initially, the warrior was excited to learn the trick. However, his enthusiasm diminished after a few months when he did not get any new steps (tricks) to learn. Many times he requested the Grand Master to teach him further steps. The Grand Master had something else in his mind, and he refused.

There was an Aikido grand competition declared by the local authorities. Many students from different dojos filed their nominations. The Grand Master asked the one-handed warrior to register for the contest. The boy was surprised and confused. He said, Master, I know only one step. Do you think I should get into the ring with this limited skill? Yes, came the reply.

On the day of action, the match began. To the audience’s surprise, the one-handed warrior defeated the opponent in just a few seconds. When the crowd cheered, this boy could not believe he had won. He ran to the Grand Master and surrendered. He asked, Master, how did this happen? Even I am unsure about my victory.”

Grand Master replied, “Son, you knew one trick and practised it perfectly well. On the contrary, your opponent knew many steps and was not an independent expert in either of the actions. As such, when he found his opponent with only one hand, all his pre-learned steps became useless. That’s why he could do nothing and ultimately lost the match.

Friends, when it comes to habits – I suggest we all Master at least one habit to the fullest. Let that habit become part of our DNA. Once a good habit precipitates in our soul, it starts transmitting signals to attract more good habits. Eventually, it culminates into a chain of good habits where one habit attracts another.

Every good habit can be a powerful habit. So, do not run after many good habits simultaneously. The best way to begin is always to excel in one habit, develop it to the fullest, and engage in it to the maximum. Only then migrate towards other good habits. You may definitely have a habit wish list ready.

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India