Lately a dear friend spoke of the legendary prayer that Shri Rabindranath Tagore gave this mighty nation on how it ought to actually be.. and wondered could we relate to such an expectation from the corporate world. What could perhaps detail out the utopia here? And that set my mind on fire and I here have voiced out for the millions of us who get up every morning and convert our capabilities into delivered competencies. Our dream of the corporate paradise…
Where talent works without fear and delivered capabilities are held high
Where voice of reason is free
Where the organisations aren’t broken up into silos of predilections espousing sycophancy
Where actions only come out from the depths of competence & values
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards collective goals
Where the budding rivulets of excellence are not devoured by the wretched swamps of apathetic cultures
Where the mind is led forward by leaders who first demonstrate steely will to walk their asks
Where padrones aren’t allowed to make pariahs of the capables by punitive practices
Where meritocracy isn’t decapitated by the gigantic guillotines commandeered by reprobates
Where excellence is a way of life and not a boardroom sermons of logic
Where transparency & care aren’t embellishments on the sepulchres of the intimidated souls of their meritorious
Into that paradise of excellence, my God, let my competencies be employed.
Almost a century ago an American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, created a very powerful serenity prayer: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
I have been thinking about it very deeply of late. And to me, it appears that, this is the key to that elusive happiness that we keep chasing all our lives. For in not following this is what we invite the full wrath of the unfortunate and disappointing events in our lives.
How? Elementary my dear friends. We perennially refuse to accept the things that we cannot change. We are inspired by the dozens of forwarded inspirational motivations to challenge the status quo. And it is here we often falter. For we do not seem to be a great judge of identifying what we can change, what we cannot and all the dark traumas that the abyss in between has.
In a world of the new order that is resplendent with its glorious moral turpitude of the many, where the mass lies are consumed as the gospel truth, where rumours hold the value of hard facts and where the confluence of the evil has amassed its own ugly creed, the usual moral vigilante is but destined to be lynched by the brute force of this mammoth clan of those many who are often threatened by the few whose moralities cannot be compromised.
Look around you and you will see the worst of us better off. The best usually spend lifetimes in seeking approvals of the worst.. which in itself is one of the most catastrophic ironies of the so called fate. And the code of the brotherhood of these social & moral termites is very sharp in recognising the faintest glint of creative streaks of the one who can make a difference to a community, society, creed, organisation, culture or civilisation… and are well versed in the art of ruthlessly squishing any such perpetrators of change… for this mob of corrupted corrugated mindsets are collectively too powerful for the individuality of the incorruptible to survive.
And it is here that one requires the serenity prayer. Yes the creators will certainly argue that if this prayer were to be answered, then how would the world have progressed with all its warriors accepting the status quo, and only changing what they can. If that were to be the truth then no creation or advancement would have ever been effected. Mankind would have never traversed across the universe or why, planes wouldn’t have flown or diseases never been cured or technology never advanced etc etc.
It’s here that we have to understand the prayer in its right spirit. No man enchained to the servitude mindset having pawned his capabilities for equated monthly bribe can ever create a dime’s worth of innovation let alone get the humanity forward or challenge the status quo. If you don’t believe me all you need to do is arm yourselves with intellectual luminols and investigate the millions of desks and boardrooms that have the gory stains of the sacrificial brilliance splattered across their entire area.. where time and again excellence has been battered & smothered senseless 🤓
To make a change worth its salt to anyone concerned requires independence of the soul & spirit… if you don’t have the luxury of operating in independent arena then the second & third line of the prayer immediately applies to you. Sit back, relax and train yourself to not get worked up by the conflict of the right and the instructed… for the bribe that you have sold your creative streak for presupposes your sacrifice of any remnants of conscience. Do what you are told and do it well. As much as you might be mollycoddled with the unmeant diktats to think out of the box, read in between the lines.. you are supposed to pledge your soul to the dingy darkness of that box and enjoy their resultant luminous perks. And if you in some silent corner of sedated conscience feel that you are kind of suspended on a ruthless corporate judas cradle, stifle your conscience immediately and get set to follow. For in this arena only a humble follower can ever conspire to be a great leader…
And if you obsessively feel the need to do the right, be a creator and not a paid parasite… be the tip of the compass needle for humanity… make a difference to any of your touchpoints… chase the best in you… unleash your true potential… be the beacon of excellence… feel alive in every proton of your every drop of your existential atom … throbbing with relentless excitement of having done something meaningful.., of having converted your potential for the heroic in you to reality… of having a clear conscience that knows no bondage or fear .. then unshackle your mind from servitude of the mediocrity and promote yourself & become an entrepreneur of life. Trade your creativity for happiness and shun the parasitic gospel that you have been engrained with right from your schooling to the commercialisation of your abilities through whatever ideological infection that you have been infected with by those who you handed the moulding of your conscience to. And if you are limited by your experiences and are a circumstantial victim of such a decadent dogma then venture out into chasing new experiences that complement your happiness and decorate the remaining journey of your life with the shade of blissful knowledge that you are a free bird chasing whatever makes you happy and not an imprisoned puppet of the destiny represented by the cataclysmic imbecile whom you had pawned your soul chasing abominable plugolas in return for loathsome douceurs of stifled talent.
And if you can’t do that.. then my friend… kneel down humbly, summon all the timelessly encoded divinity in you and with folded hands and blinded intellect beseech the universe to grant you the last line of the serenity prayer… of availing the wisdom to know the difference between that what you cannot change (yourself) and things that you can change (nothing really) and bask in the glory of a life that never knew it’s possibilities … potential and never ever wanted to explore.
Learn to remain happy in the dark panes of the photocopier of life and revel in the blankness of clarity that the virgin pages of your life churn out everyday… it’s only USP being it’s abominable uniformity of nothingness… churned out daily .. & destiny shall reward you for happily continuing to always remain in the box and always thinking out of it as instructed.
Something had been bothering me a lot of late. Life appeared to have landed at the cusp of a directional change, having to make a choice to perhaps let go of decades of heavily invested time, efforts and passion and perhaps embrace the unknown, unexplored future…treading untrodden paths… leading to destinations never conceived… The mind was perhaps conjuring up some kind of illusory destinations through untrodden paths…
At this juncture I had a providential chai pe charcha with a dear friend and a senior colleague, Pankaj Vermaji. We just chatted up on the futilities of searching for the elusive black cat in the dark room… which for all we knew (and cared?) didn’t even exist as of this moment of our zesty search…the worthlessness of brooding over such possibilities of happenings, which in the long scale of the timeframe of life may not have even a micro millimeter of marking impact.
Suddenly Vermaji threw a googly at me…
What’s your “Nasha?”
For the uninitiated… nasha here refers to intoxicating intellectual stimulant that gives you a intellectual high… zonks you out of your mind in its pursuit… an obsessive-compulsive purpose of life… the quintessential core of your drive… the zest of your existence… the nucleus of your survival…the chutzpah element of your soul… that which gets your adrenalin thumping like a rogue volcano of lava… just gathering the right amount of steam and fire to spew itself out of the encaged dreary confines of perpetual chronic procrastination…
And in that microsecond… seemingly ages… of nirvanic enlightenment, it dawned upon me that the mythical black cat that I was groping for in the dark room was for sure not my Nasha… Not at all… Absolutely…… NOT AT ALL….
Then what was I getting so worked up about? What was I so melancholically dejected about? Why was this impending possibility of nothing bothering me so much…? Why was I so overwhelmingly arrested by this “beyond my circle of influence” prospective happenings?
Was it because I had got used to the mundane and it had become my way of life? Was it because… I … a vociferous riotous disparager of the mediocrity of mind … myself had become an advocate of it… a subconscious ardent mediocre survivor… Had I too become a parasite … feeding on the ignominious morsels of leftovers of the dream-traffickers – the depraved decadent tradesmen who buy out your potential to reign supreme in return for averaged out worthlessness… a few dimes of pithy tithes?
Yes. that was it. I seem to have mortgaged my soul to the mundane existence. It was time that I sent out the right affirmations to the universe. It was time to erase my offensive ramblings and survival emg’s (electro-mental grams) from the akashic records, replacing it with my original theme of intrinsic genius… germinating the seeds of greatness within me, which seemed to be awaiting the watering of my obsessive pursuits and the soil of tireless efforts, enriched with the nourishments of the innate brilliance… chasing the iconic that is a human trait available in every homosapien dna… only requiring activation… and it was high time that I commanded the universe to activate it for me.
Thanks to my dear Vermaji for having triggered the chain of dormant thoughts that have always been my ancestral inheritance 😊 Since the beginning of humanity, the discerning crusader has always scripted his own fate…with the unlimited metrics of his imaginative possibilities enlivened by his compulsive creativity of a relentless mind and its capacity to comprehend the hitherto unfathomed ability of this species to achieve. It’s been tens of thousands of years of our existence, and we have recorded only a few known geniuses across the humanity,who dared to challenge the incomprehensible time-testedstatus quo and inspite of thousands of failures, went on to establish a code of success only on the strength of their conviction and firm belief on their own self. The cosmic codes of the Universe’s equilibrium have always favored the obsessive brave crusader… who dared tread untrodden paths to lead humanity towards progress emanating from the acts of their impossible efforts. I dare not talk of the many unknown milestones of the unknown crusaders…
This further reminded me of a humorous story that I had come across some time ago…
It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon in a small town near Toronto in Canada. Two school-going friends had a crazy idea. They rounded up three goats from the neighborhood and painted the number 1, 2 and 4 on their sides. That night they let the goats loose inside their school building. The next morning, when the authorities entered the school, they could smell something was wrong. They soon saw goat droppings on the stairs and near the entrance and realized that some goats had entered the building.
A search was immediately launched and very soon, the three goats were found.
But the authorities were worried, where was goat No. 3?
They spent the rest of the day looking for goat No.3.
Gradually there was panic and frustration.The school declared classes off for the students for the rest of the day.The teachers, helpers, guards, canteen staffs, boys were all busy looking for the goat No. 3, which, of course, was never found. Simply because it did not exist.
Those among us who inspite of having a good life are always feeling a ‘lack of fulfilment’ are actually looking for the elusive, missing, non-existent goat No.3. Whatever be our area of unhappiness – relationships, job-satisfaction, materialistic achievement……An absence of something seems to be always larger than the presence of many existing things. Perhaps we have either mis-identified the first three existing goats or are ignoring its presence at the cost of the non-existent goat.
Thus, why bother about Goat No.3 ???
Chase your Nasha… And enjoy the goats you possess 🤓😊
I sure will….
Recently I came across Simon Parson’s picture messages on taking courage from your cookie jar as given in these pics and as a mindset technique propagated by David Goggins.
This got me thinking and I did some research on David Goggins. And what I found was tremendously inspiring. David Goggins was an ex US Navy Seal. In 2005, several of his fellow soldier friends died in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash during Operation Red Wings. Goggins was extremely heartbroken by the incident. He set up a non-profit fund, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, to provide scholarships to the children of the military personnel killed in the line of duty & wanted to raise money for the same.
To raise these funds Goggins decided to participate in Blackwater 135 Ultramarathon. However it wasn’t as easy as it appeared to be. One of the precondition was to run a series of tests which began with a 100-mile race first, which of course Goggins had never done before. Why that, Goggins hadn’t even run a few miles straight in the recent times. While he was, as an ex US Navy Seal, no doubt very fit and agile, plus he had earlier been exposed to the rigours of disciplined regimen, yet this was even beyond the wild training regimens of the SEALS.
The race was about to begin in three days and Goggins had no time to prepare. Needless to say, most of us would have not dared do this feat.. But this was Goggins… his training in the toughest SEALS hadn’t taught him to give up.
Milestone 0: When the race began, Goggins did fantastic for the first few miles. His disciplined training background helped him get through the first few miles smoothly.
Milestone 25: When he reached 25 miles, humongous doubts began creeping in his mind on his ability to finish the remainder 3/4th of the task on legs . His breath was stuck in his throat and he felt that he would not be able to go any further. Goggins began to question his fitness limits. “I feel so tired already, can I run 75 more miles, which is thrice of what I have run so far?”, he thought. And here he still had about three such marathons to go after this. What kept him going was the hope of helping the children of his deceased friends. That was the only thought that egged him to stretch himself at this stage.
Milestone 50: With that thought he dragged himself the next twenty five miles. Now he was halfway through. When he reached 50 miles with such mind boggling difficulty his body began to pain crazily. He was gasping for even a small whiff of breath and his body was on the verge of giving up. Every sinew of his body was bruised and his mind was locking up the ability to pull through. He mustered all the reserve strength that was rapidly draining away from him and dragged himself further.
Milestone 70: As he scraped through another enervating 20 miles, his willpower had broken down. He did not have the energy left to take even one step forward. With no other choice, Goggins sat down. While he was sitting He noticed urine, mixed with blood and diarrhea dripping from his legs. At that point, he felt he was experiencing the worst point of his life. His mind started asking more tougher questions like, “Why am I doing this to myself? Why should I keep going?”
It was here at this moment, when his mind and body had given up, he remembered that this wasn’t the first time he had attempted an impossible task. There were innumerable moments of impossibilities that he had encountered in life, where he had felt that he could not get any further. That he could not succeed… Why, He had even successfully completed the US Navy Seals almost impossible gruelling training where the chances of getting through are extremely slim. The US Navy recruits approximately 40,000 people each year. Due to the popularity of the Navy SEALs, almost half of all recruits express an interest in becoming a SEAL, but most do not meet the qualifications. According to Military.com, only about 6 percent of SEAL applicants meet the requirements. Just this thought fired some additional booster energy within his fatigued body.
Goggins managed to stand up. His mind now dug into old memories to help him recall past triumphs. Recharged with the motivation of his previous victories, he mustered the energy to put one step forward, then another, followed by a few more. His feet had swollen badly & had blisters all over. His soul had worn out. Yet, his earlier achievements in life generated enough drive to keep him going. Goggins completed the race in 19 hours and 6 minutes. Overcoming all the obstacles and proving every negative emotion that he or his detractors had… wrong… he had achieved the impossible. :Milestone 100
After this Ultramarathon, he ran many other such races. He ran the Badwater 135 Marathon later in 2007 and finished 3rd. He finished second in a three day, 320-mile cycling race without having ever ridden a bicycle competitively before. He also held the world record for the highest pull ups completed in 24 hours by hitting 4030 of them in 17 hours. In two years, he completed 14 ultra-endurance races finishing nine times in the top five.
Goggins accomplished many other such unbelievable feats based on what he calls as the cookie jar concept for motivation.
“Everyone asks me, were you thinking about the children of your friends who had been killed at that time? I’m not gonna lie; I wasn’t. This became a personal thing, this became me against this race; me against the kids that called me n***** – offensive contemptuous terms based on my skin color; me against me. It just became something I took so violently personal.”
The advise here isn’t on pushing yourself to the limits to where your body starts shutting down, especially with no training… so don’t just favour me by reading this and jumping to run a 100 mile marathon immediately. What I am rather talking about is the true power of the cookie jar that David Goggin speaks about … which powered him to achieve humanly impossible tasks…
We all have battled various battles in our lives. We all have fought innumerable small impossibilities in our lives… be it having come up through worst circumstances, be it getting through something like maths that seemed impossible to many of us, be it achieving the percentages in our matriculation that seemed like an uphill mountain, be it getting through job interviews, be it fighting procrastination on a daily basis in pursuit of your real passion… we all have innumerable moments of triumphs up our kitty… life is one long chain of struggle… it’s a battle that’s fought everyday… when we were kids, we had different insurmountable tasks that we eventually got through, as teenagers, we had so many impossibilities that we had our minds chained with, which we eventually shattered, as adults and professionals, we wage a war with so many multiple things on-an hourly basis, right from getting up daily to motivating ourself to wade through a sea of traffic and reaching our workplaces… through buses, cars, taxis, trains, walk, cycling… snaking our way into the rat race as many many of us are in such employments that we never really aspired for… then we put up with so many uncertainties across the day, managing stakeholders, partners, teammates, bosses, clients, etc etc… eventually reaching the glorious fiscal end every year and wishing for that elusive rankings and rewards… yeah… life is sure one helluva series of battles…
Through all these we have our moments of triumphs and glories.. our moments of success.. where we have battled against tough tasks and won the same…
And that’s what can build your cookie jar. David says “the cookie jar is a place in my mind where I put all things bad and good that shaped me. Some people try to forget the bad in their life. I use my bad for strength when needed, great lessons learned. In that cookie jar, I pull out whatever I need for the task at hand. Remembering what you’ve been through and how that has strengthened your mindset can lift you out of a negative brain loop and help you bypass those weak, one-second impulses to give in.”
We all are ultimately the outcome of what our mind decides. If our mind says that we can’t .. then we can’t for sure… If our mind says we can… then we can for sure… all the greatest battles won were won in the mind first… all the greatest successes achieved were achieved first in the achiever’s mind… only then it fructified into reality.
Thus the need of the hour is to condition your mind with your own small success stories. You need to remind your mind that it was you who has put up with similar or more difficulties before and emerged victorious. For this you first need to build your cookie jar: Sit down and ruminate on your life… jot down 5-10 such remarkable achievements that you achieved… where you had initially thought that you would fail. We all have many such examples… it could be getting the top score in your most difficult subject, or marrying the love of your life, or getting your first car, or getting that promotion from the group of other equally competent colleagues… or jogging daily for an hour… or maybe as simple as getting up in the morning… or successfully going on a trekking expedition… or doing say those 40-50 crunches in your exercise routine.. or being able to swim after a lot of struggle… or maybe ( as many of my rural friends will agree) being able to give a public speech in fluent english… there can be dozens and dozens of such cookies in your life…
Once you have it ready, keep it in your mental bank and when the time comes when you are pitted against a seemingly tough difficult task… pull out an appropriate success cookie from your jar and bite it… remind yourself that it is the same YOU who has earlier battled against a situation that your mind refused to support you with and yet you succeeded in achieving the task… and like David Goggins… You will also undoubtedly be able to achieve that which many might call as impossible or damn difficult. The need just then is to get to know your badass side…
Will you discover the badass in you?
Will you build your cookie jar my friend?
What does it really take to do what the majority would call as impossible ….
Why does someone who stubbornly refuse to conform to set ideals and tread the socially acceptable path & norms go on to create unparalleled benchmarks and new pathways hitherto never conceived….
What makes an outlier dream outrageously bizarre heights of success and then inspite of disappointments, dejections and discouragement by all yet pursue it unyieldingly… only to break the shackles of acceptable mediocrity and achieve the superlative… the iconic.. that is available ungerminated in all of us…
What is the secret of success… found usually in the very arenas and methods that every expert will tell you it can’t really be found and can’t be achieved… only to be achieved by the tenacious single-minded obsessive pursuit of the penultimate purpose…
What is that catalyst… the alchemy that makes prophets out of common human beings, legends out of the most common underdogs and gods out of mere mortals…
How does one crack the code of the possibilities of the impossibilities?
Date: 4th July 1999
Location: Tiger Hill, Kargil
Task: Capture three strategic enemy bunkers located at the top of a treacherously vertical, snow covered 1000 ft high cliff face. Task Assigned to: Ghatak Force Commando Platoon, Indian Army.
Time: Early Morning Hours
A 19-year-old newly enlisted 18 Grenadiers soldier, Yogendra Singh Yadav, volunteered to lead the assault in the most severely life-threatening circumstances. He had to not only climb the cliff face but also install ropes that would allow further assaults.
It was a steep uphill stiff climb with the enemy having full clear view on us and the soldiers below just grappling their way up the dark to a most certain death. Halfway up, as expected, the enemy attacked the platoon with machine gun fire and rocket attacks. The platoon commander and two others were killed instantaneously. Yadav was hit by multiple bullets in his groin and shoulders. Inspite of being brutally injured and having lost lot of blood, Yadav climbed the remaining 60ft & reached the top. Summoning extraordinary grit and courage, he crawled to the first bunker, lobbed a grenade which killed four enemy soldiers and neutralized their firing power giving the rest of the platoon the chance to climb up the stiff cliff.
Yadav by now was hit by almost 21 bullets and had lost lot of blood. He could only see dead corpses around of his people, blown to bits, and life threateningly ebbing out from himself. He summoned the remnants of extraordinary determination laced with outstanding courage… charged at the second bunker and engaged with the enemy in hand-to-hand combat… inspite of having shoulder that was smashed with machine gun fire and a body that was filled with 21 bullets with lots of blood lost… he killed 4 enemy soldiers with his bare hands and the platoon succeeded in capturing the Tiger Hill.
When he was awarded the Paramvir Chakra – India’s highest military decoration – awarded for displaying extraordinary acts of valour during wartime – it was awarded to him posthumously before it was discovered that he was alive and recuperating in an army hospital. His PVC citation states that Yadav displayed the most conspicuous courage, indomitable gallantry, grit and determination under extreme adverse circumstances.
What really triggers this kind of mindboggling determination to achieve the set goal in a human being, inspite of the most adverse extreme brutal slaughtering of fate that one can wildly imagine?
It’s your Sisu.
Sisu is a Finnish trait that the Finns have declared as their national character. While it unfortunately doesn’t have a literal English equivalent, Sisu is described as the extraordinary determination in the face of extreme adversity, and courage that is presented usually in situations where success is considered impossible. It’s the trait that summons the tenacious resolve and resolute determination in us, otherwise lying dormant. It provides us with that continuous burst of steely strength to face exceptional odds, helping us decide a course of action to face impossible situations inspite of repeated failures, in pursuit of our set purpose.
In 1940, the Time magazine first time acknowledged the word in English, reporting it thus: “The Finns have something they call Sisu. It’s a compound of bravado, and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win.”
This was a direct result of what the Finns had displayed a month ago. In the bone chilling – 40° winter of Nov 1939, the predatory neighbor of an unprepared, unequipped weak & fragile Finland… the mighty Soviet Union, 66 times their size, attacked them with 7.5 Lakh soldiers armed with 6500+ tanks and backed by a fleet of close to 4000 fighter aircrafts.
Finland was backed by an army of 3 lakh untrained, largely inexperienced reservist soldiers who were rather their peace loving agrarian citizens. They did not even have equipment or uniforms and had to use their own clothes. Against a might of the 6500+ soviet tanks, the Finns had just about 32 tanks and against the 4000 soviet fighter aircrafts, the Finns had dilapidated 114 aircrafts.
Yet despite such a superior mindboggling military strength, in the Winter War, the Soviets suffered incomprehensible losses at the hands of a small insignificant weak nation that was one sixty-sixth their size. By the time the Sisu enabled Finns were done with them, the Soviets had 3.8 lakh casualties against a total of 70,000 Finnish casualties. The Soviets lost 3500+ tanks & 500+ aircrafts.
Whatever could be imagined as superlative strength or superior might was on the Soviet’s side. Yet the David against the Goliath here were the Finnish. It was an easily pre-determined victory for the Soviets. Then how did they get routed and wiped out so heavily? How did the tallest ferocious wild giant of its time get its nose bloodied and punched by the circus dwarf? What fuelled the Finns to face such an unprecedented adversity where the odds of surviving itself were below nil… as minus as the climate of a bone chilling – 40° winter.
It’s the Sisu in us that propels & breathes life into the untapped beast of aggression against unforeseen brutal adversities that threaten to subdue our will to succeed against odds and achieve our dreams. It’s the Sisu in us that feebly whispers in us to keep moving on even if fate repeatedly has dealt us bloody blows and defeat has become the way of life. It’s the voice of tenacity in our soul that we usually strangulate with the manila rope of societal conditioning and circumstantial beliefs. It’s the voice that few out of billions pay heed to and go on to achieve the extraordinary impossible that the rest of us thereafter make motivational fables and stories to recite passionately to our friends, children and relatives or make viral through exciting forwards.
Sisu is the strength that propels you never to give up. It is the single free neutron of resilient determination that strikes against the nucleus of the atom of epidemic epitomes of accepted impossibilities. In this process when one or two neutrons are set free with their achievements which in turn releases the energy of possibilities…. this chain reaction sets of the nuclear fission of unprecedented energy and success that hitherto seemed highly improbable. To break that first neutron of rock-hard mindset of survival mediocrity, one needs the Sisu. Only then the chain reaction of possibilities can be set free.
Across the timelines many souls have discovered their Sisu and triggered that fissionary reaction of monumental energy within themselves that has given impossible momentum to their wings of desire.
After guarding the prestigious JNU campus as a security guard for over four years, Ramjal Meena cracked the entrance exam to the very university that he guarded and became a student there. Lekhraj Bheel, an 18-year-old youth and the son of MNREGA labourers from Rajasthan, hadn’t even heard of the JEE-Main exam till a couple of years ago. Now he has become first from his tribal village in Rajasthan to crack the exam…Middle class privileges leaves us blind to how difficult things are for those who aren’t as fortunate as we are… Like Sreekant K who worked as a coolie at Ernakulam Junction for five years, using the free railway wifi there to eventually clear the Kerala Public Service Commission Exam & become a Civil Servant…. Or Satendar Singh whose eyesight was lost as a result of a wrong injection.. but did not lose hope… cracked the toughest exam in the country – UPSC Civil Services Exam…Or the 18 year old Rekha who ran away from home in a small rural village in Karnataka to escape getting married and with the assistance of a friend scored 90% plus in her 12th …. Or 20 year old Asharam Choudhary who inspite of being a rag pickers son and living in absolute penury and suffering cleared his AIIMS entrance in first attempt all by himself…
There are millions of us who summon small amounts of Sisu everyday and fight the battles of our lives as we weave our way through making a living, reaching our workspaces and fighting to survive against all odds, giving food and security to our families and quality education to our children, millions of us who work as doctors, engineers, social workers, manual scavengers, teachers, soldiers, mill workers, farmers, insurance agents.. and millions of what is considered as menial jobs … that hold the structure of the society intact and keep the wheels of progress moving at its minuscule speeds.
But if we want to achieve the astounding, create history in a single lifetime that the universe has blessed us with, battle with the impossibilities of life and win against all odds against the most adverse extreme brutal slaughtering of fate that one can wildly imagine… then we will have to summon extraordinary determination and courage … the tenacious resolve and resolute determination in us to face impossible situations inspite of repeated failures, in pursuit of our set purpose…. Our Sisu
Can you discover & activate your SISU?
The deluge of necessary and unnecessary information in this age and time is astounding and mind-numbing. The cache is storing trash that practically has zilch recall value.
Let me give a small demonstration… Try remembering any three likes on any FB post.. Tweet… Instagram pic that you liked three days ago. Try humming the first few lines of your favourite song from the last three favourite movies you saw. Try recalling three favourite lines from the last three books that you read that made a deep impact on your intellect. Try recalling what made you laugh out the loudest last week. Try recalling the news that made you question the future of this country quite negatively… from the newspaper or tv news that impacted you two three days ago…
Chances are that you might find it difficult to recall any of them or even all of them.. since chances are that we may have been exposed to some or all of the above indispensably important activities…
Then, also try and remember when was the last time when you actually sat down and gave yourself a straight one or two hours of uninterrupted dedicated time .. thinking about the most important person in your life… YOU… introspecting on where you stand in life today… where you are really headed… what really excites you the most and are you doing that? if not then when will you embark on that journey? what is your passion and are you living it … or are you merely surviving.. existing… just earning a living… creating a security blanket for self and family and managing some stray savings between so many EMIs and the various taxes that are bleeding you… chances are that you wouldn’t really recall when you spent dedicated time with yourself.. thinking about yourself…
Many of us actually dread to live alone with ourself.. spend quality time with self in solitude.. look within.. contemplate.. introspect… evaluate.. criticise… admire.. most of us don’t either really know ourselves or rather we have buried ourselves deep inside the debris of our unfulfilled desires and possible ideal… and masked our true self with various vizards… suitable to various situations.. people and circumstances.
And hence the need to continually keep ourselves busy craning our neck towards the ground… staring reverently into the inanimate battery operated instrument between our thumbs.. ensconced between our palms … that usually fatuous scrapbook of barren unproductive trivia… that is our window to life today.. or so we think… gluttoning away inutile information as a passionate indoctrinated disciple of nomophobia..
As a result we have lost our path. That’s a hard hitting reality that many of us may intellectually refuse to agree since we have now programmed our mind into believing that this is the way if life we always wanted… that whatever we are doing is our passion and that we actually get up every morning trembling with excitement.. as we look into the day ahead and the joys of what we are about to do that day… this is the state of condition of.. well many of us… many of us who have mediocritized our existence.. many of us who are just striking days off our existential calendar existing…
Some of us never ever really knew what we wanted… some of us knew it all along but compromised with it due to the circumstances of life.. some of us are still in the process of discovering what we really want… some of us may never really discover what we wanted… and some of us are pursuing temporary goals that will empower us to actually one day chase & achieve our ideal life…
But those of us who are really really contented.. really really happy… really really loving every moment of their existence.. really really looking forward to each day excitedly.. not putting on any facade but strutting around with their own happy faces devoid of any situational masks are the ones who are doing so because of the operative existence of one single word in their lives that they have in abundance.
Clarity is power.
It empowers the owner to pack maximum satisfaction into every minute of theirs. They aren’t threatened by any social termites that eat away into any part of their meaningful existence. They revel in their own company and are so much in love with their real selves. They just adore who they are and what they do. They squeeze out maximum out of every minute because they are clear on what they want.. where they are headed and what the milestones of their existential path of life are.
Yuval Noah Harari says in his Sapiens that as far as we can tell from a purely scientific viewpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning. Humans are the outcome of blind evolutionary processes that operate without goal or purpose. Our actions are not part of some divine cosmic plan, and if planet earth were to blow up tomorrow morning, the universe would probably keep going about its business as usual. As far as we can tell at this point, human subjectivity would not be missed. Hence any meaning that people inscribe to their lives is just a delusion.
If there is any iota of truth there in that, as it evidently is.. then what are we really chasing. As said the narrator in a movie that I saw..On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. Then what use is any glory or any achievement or any goal that is not stamped with the stamp of permanence.
There are seven billion plus breathing human beings out there in the planet … in different stages of discovering their purpose of existence. How many do you know. How many know you. How many do you want to know you. How many do you want to know of your existence and your purpose in life. Do you really have a purpose? One that you are breathing and living for? And if yes, then what is the importance of that purpose in the timeline of this impermanent universe. Do you have clarity on the cause of your existence? Or just because your parents decided or undecided.. whatever may be the case of your existence.. you are justifying just that.
We need clarity.
Simply because clarity will set us free. It will add meaning to our breathing. It will bring a smile on the face of our existence. I don’t want to recommend any grandiose plans or suggestions on what you should or shouldn’t. But you must have clarity… for sure… on the way of your life. Is your life so insignificant that it doesn’t merit the respect of a purpose? Is there anything more dangerous than an irresponsible causeless existence? Status Quo is a crime against humanity. Status Quo of existence is despicable suicide of the soul. It makes us as animate as the other organisms of the vicious food chain and the sands of time will mercilessly devour us without a trace. Don’t cannibalise your own existence. We need to give meaning to our existence and perhaps only then we will be able to crack open the being from the mere human that we are.
That clarity of purpose is required. As a mark of respect to our relentlessly & tirelessly pumping heart and the mind that consistently subconsciously wants the best for its owner.
For clarity is divinity.
Do you have clarity in your life?
In continuation of my last post, I did manage to gather some thoughts on the topic.
Is destiny stronger than the human karma?
Is our will power weaker than the pre-designed fate?
Are our aspirations meaningless in front of heavenly plans?
Do we have any aspect of our life in our control at all?
Our ancestors never tired of sharing the hereditary wisdom that even a leaf doesn’t sway in the wind without the desire of the cosmic powers. If we take that seriously, then does it mean that every action of every living being is robotic in nature and is being controlled by some allocated staff in the heavenly offices?
Highly doubtful. Simple common sense dictates that displacement of any object is due to the result of external force. A stationary object cannot move by itself. It needs force to move it ( I am not a science guy.. just applying newtons law in simplistic terms 😊). I tried to extrapolate this into lifesituations. If I have a fear of failure, then to displace it out of my psyche, I will have to apply such force of logic that is greater than the strength of the fear itself. What needs deliberate consideration here is that there are other forces inimical to the force you apply to move your fear. Forces like friction, gravity & resistance. Friction caused due to the volatility of your introspective deliberations. Gravity of your inertia – your love for the status quo and the appeal of your comfort zone. Resistance imposed by your dogmas, conditioning and long held beliefs & inherent value system. If you unshackle yourself from these three, the possibility of your rational mind winning over the force of fear is more possible.
Too much English … eh! 😃
Let me discuss it in simple terms.
What I am trying to say is that nothing … absolutely NOTHING in this universe happens by itself. The actions and reactions that happen in this universe are harmonious with its laws.. known and unknown. Whatever happens is always a byproduct of some action or some choices that you make. The moment a choice is exercised, it’s destiny is decided… the outcome is preordained now. If you jump out of window.. you will not fly off… the action of jumping is followed by the action of falling simply because the laws of gravity will apply. Thus actions and its resultant outputs are usually a factor of the relevant laws governing the discipline of that action.
We are a product of our choices. Our fate is the name we attach to the results of our conscious & sub-conscious choices. Whoever…. Whosoever …. who has ever achieved any extraordinary success… scripted immortal historic achievements in the sands of time… become a beacon of hope and a lighthouse of millions of direction seekers across centuries… just think and analyse… did so as an outcome of their obsessive, relentless pursuit of their goal … achievement of which they are held in high esteem for.
Whoever is your ideal hero .. whom you hold as an ideal of success.. has been a product of their determined tenacious pursuit of their passion. They rose above the limitations of circumstances… the restrictions imposed by the wisdom of the crowds… the bruises & hammerings of failures and hopelessness… the cold scary trepidations of the unprecedented… they conquered all and more to script the destiny of their choice. Fortune has always been known to favour the brave.. the prepared and the extraordinarily persistently competent. Very minuscule percentage of the global population has ever belonged to this elite club. For very little population of the world has ever taken the risk of believing in themselves faultlessly… in dreaming wild dreams of the impossible and acquiring the competence and tenacity to be prepared to pay the price to make their dreams come true. The bergy bits of success that the masses call destined success is the tip of the iceberg that is bulked up with invisible grit.. determination.. choices.. unforgiving pursuit of passion… we see the result… we need to see the exercise of choices of those whom we hold in high esteem.
Thus, karma is powerful. Willpower is known to rescript any preordained fate.. if such a thing does exist. Our tenacious aspirations are more powerful than any heavenly plan and yes, we can control most of the outcomes in our lives by exercising right choices… pursuing right corresponding actions and maximising utility of every moment available to us by living it to its maximum value.
Though there also are cases where the best of actions and choices have not yielded desired results.. .. then perhaps it’s time to delve deeper into analysing the course of the actions and revisiting the manner in which we are exercising our choices.. perhaps something is amiss… perhaps some different strategy needs to be deployed.. perhaps we are not playing the game in accordance with its set cosmic rules … perhaps what we are assuming as our best… really isn’t .. introspect..
For as I asked in my previous blog… who decides which stone becomes a divine idol and which one becomes a gravel on the road. Which paper becomes a mythological epic that is revered and which one becomes piece of scrap… well the answer is quite clear… the sculptor to a large extent decides the fate of a stone and the passionate author chooses to either draft an epic or just jot down gibberish on a piece of paper… for inanimate objects don’t decide their fates… their fate is decided by the hand that owns them…
Who owns you?
I came across a lovely poem (given below) that really expresses a basic conundrum of destiny… the poet goes on to wonder who decides which stone becomes a divine idol and which one becomes a gravel on the road. Which paper becomes a mythological epic that is revered and which one becomes piece of scrap…
The poet brilliantly expresses how talent keeps chasing its due and luck favours the destined… While I am sharing this poem, it certainly has triggered a chain of thoughts on whether it’s the destiny or the luck of a human being that drives his future or is it something to do with the strength of his strong desires as confirmed by the Rhonda Byrne’s & Pauli Coelho’s of life when they say that the secret lies in the strength of your desire and which in turn commands the universe to help you succeed.
I will soon assimilate my thoughts and share them. Meanwhile read on and enjoy.
कोई तो है जो फैसला करता है
पत्थरों के मुकद्दर का
किसे ठोकरों पर रहना है
किसे भगवान् होना है
जरूर कोई तो लिखता होगा…
कागज और पत्थर का भी नसीब…
वरना ये मुमकिन नहीं कि…
कोई पत्थर ठोकर खाये और
कोई पत्थर भगवान बन जाये…
और कोई कागज रद्दी और
कोई कागज गीता बन जाये ।
हुनर सड़कों पर तमाशा करता है
और किस्मत महलों में राज करती है ।
सोचने वाली बात ….
यदि गलत चाबी से
ताला नहीं खुलता तो
गलत कामों से
स्वर्ग का ताला कैसे खुलेगा ।
जन्म निश्चित है
मरण निश्चित है
कर्म अच्छे हैं
तो स्मरण निश्चित है ।
ये नादानी भी सच में बेमिशाल है
अंधेरा है दिल में;
और मंदिरों में दिया जलाते हैं ।
आए हो निभाने जब किरदार जमीं पर;
कुछ ऐसा कर चलो कि ज़माना मिशाल दे ।
दो जहां के बीच फर्क
सिर्फ एक साँस का है,
चल रही तो यहाँ,
रुक गई तो वहाँ ।
मन्नत के धागे बाँधो,
या मुरादों कि पर्ची
वो देगा तभी;
जब होगी उसकी मर्जी ।
Poem Courtesy: Suvichar.co.in
After my musings on Nothing is Better than Something, I was bombarded with queries on what should be the plan of action if a discerning soul were to indeed realise the futility of their journey already undertaken well past its time, and they want to return to a path that they always wanted to pursue ever since they could recollect.
Or simply put… the journey undertaken for so many years has failed to deliver the destination.. is no more exciting.. has not yielded what it should & seemingly may not yield desired results ahead too.. or just is not making sense anymore…Many of my dear friends wanted to know whether it is possible to ever consider a UTurn midway…
Tough question actually! A vast majority wouldn’t even dare consider such a perceived blunder. It’s too late to turn back. To rewind the clock. You are way too invested into something already, that the fear of nothing coming out of it cannot be entertained… the hope of the possibilities from the known, someday yielding some semblance of comforting output, is far preferable to the fear of the unknown and untrodden gamble, at this stage of life. The adrenalin tanks have dried up. Risk taking abilities are buried deep in the debris of the catalogs of perils that the society has enumerated in its evolutionary wisdom.
Imagine yourself setting out on a road trip to a much awaited, much planned, passionate journey, to your life’s most favourite destination… to some exotic location in some mesmerising hilly terrain. You prepare yourself carefully, get your vehicle serviced and fuelled up and set out. Miles and miles of travel through some dense forest.. after some turn that you took.. on either some expert advise or thanks to the scintillating voice of the gmap… and now you are cruising along the dense forest with tall trees lining the road on both sides .. so dense that visibility is only a few meters in. Network has disappeared. Fuel is running out. Dusk is nearing. Destination seems to be nowhere in sight. All your gut feeling and survival instincts are screaming that you took the wrong turn and are on a path that ain’t goin to the place of your desire.
Wouldn’t you take a u-turn? Wouldn’t it make sense to return back to that crossroad and start over right again? Would you still be adventurous enough to explore the possibilities of perhaps hitting the right destination through the seemingly wrong path. Or maybe look forward to a possible more fantastic destination ahead.. one that you didn’t even conceive.. would you really attach importance to your instincts? Or would you in all your wisdom rectify your mistake, turn back to the point from where you will got your dream destination. What would you do?
And what if some stray native, enroute, did confirm that the path was indeed wrong. Would that influence your decision?
Nerve wracking dilemma … or an easy question with a nobrainer solution?
Well this imaginary situation was just a simple attempt at exploring the possibilities of making a u-turn from an off course vacation path. What if your wrong road is the path of your life? What after an arduous trek up the uphill of life.. after covering a lot of distance… bearing the brickbats and treacherous ups and downs .. having spent a good part of your youth you discover that you are about to reach a wrong peak… or worse.. you are on the wrong path of life with no peak in sight… what should one do at this juncture.
I don’t know what you would do. Or what anybody should do. I would return back and attempt the right journey again. I have always returned back unabashedly and unhesitatingly from any erroneous judgment or choice. It has been difficult undoubtedly. It is nerve-racking and calls for yet another instalment of timeframe from the fast depleting balance of the current account of your timebank… yet I wouldn’t be caught dead on a trail which didn’t lead to my destination.. or worse a journey to nowhere. I will die attempting what I want to do rather than live in pursuit of what I don’t want to do.. That may delay my journey or the time taken to reach my destination.. or maybe I may not reach it at all.. but I will have the comfort of being on a road of my choice … inching towards a goalpost that I have chosen…
And to live the life that you want for yourself is a basic necessity of any existence. It’s not a luxury… and the rules of the game always has shown that necessity is the mother of reinvention. The last six months have disastrously shown us that reinventing sometimes isn’t a choice. All the grandiose plans of humanity went for a toss with some miserable uncouth moron of a bat transmitting it’s curse over to the most spectacular of the planet’s creation, who with such monumental advancement hasn’t been able to remotely reach a solution yet.
All tenets of humanity have been reinvented. All practices and customs and traditions have been forcefully reinvented. All beliefs and dogmas have failed to stop the reinvention of their dogheaded existence. Early February this year if someone had said that people sent to hospitals with flu like symptoms would never be seen again … and disposed off without any semblance of time tested rituals, one would have earned some money by passing on such an imbecile to a mental asylum. But today it’s cloaked as a new norm. All the rituals have reinvented themselves on the diktats of the necessity of times.
Why, even the established organisational processes and methodologies and ways of existence of many businesses that were sworn by as the only one kind of possibility.. bequeathed by decades of unrelenting experiences are now being questioned by their own vociferous fanatic preachers.
When necessity hits you unexpectedly, you got to reinvent choicelessly… and that’s not written in any scriptures.. it’s the basic tenet of existence. Mankind has usually always progressed on that very single motive… necessity. The first guy who created/discovered fire or a wheel or a motor car or a plane or a cure or a theorem or a rocket or a vaccine or a philosophy or a religion or a machine … Or anything that helped the civilisation progress a notch better than what was bequeathed… he/she was never influenced by the factor of doing good for the society as a sole objective… it was his/her raw selfish desire to make their own existence better than what was given to them. That as a collateral might have inched the humankind a level ahead.. but only as a collateral to the primary objective of the necessity of its creator.
Any underdog success story that is any day hair-raisingly inspiring… be it the likes of Oprah, Branson, Rowling, Musk, Mandela, Ambani, Dell, JackMa, Schultz, VijayShekar Sharma, Bansals, NarayanaMurthy, Bachchan, Lincoln, Jobs.. and the plethora of them are nothing but products of dire necessity… the difference being that, for the mundane, the basic necessities of life hold them ransom over their choices and for these rare success icons, the burning desire for extraordinary achievements become the necessity. And a random analysis of their journey will lead to the fact that they failed or missed their paths many a times before stubbornly backtracking towards their chosen purpose.
So there is no shame or fear in any U-Turns. It’s just the question of your own appetite for your goals and your hunger for your ambitions and your raging obsession for your aspirations. That’s the clincher.
Necessity is the mother of reinvention. If it isn’t. .. it ought to be.
Every event of our life is a page in a cosmic chapter.. including the entire journey of a soul on this earth… we are a cumulative book of many such chapters across many lifetimes… across many planets, perhaps… we are travellers and travelling across any terrain is our only dharma .. let’s do it to our best abilities.. in the journey you will get great cotravellers and and great situations… we may also get some extremely bad ones.. laugh & be merry with the good ones.. bear with the bad ones and keep travelling. Let’s amass the best possible experiences in these journeys that may dictate better scripting of future chapters.
And hey… if you are on the wrong track of life.. one that doesn’t excite you.. one that doesn’t lead you to your chosen destination… then don’t hesitate..
Take a U-Turn.
May the force be with your necessities and buddy… keep reinventing.