Life is NOT a Race

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We all have heard of the classic fable ‘The Tortoise and the Hare.

There’s a Running competition between a Tortoise and Hare, where Hare was exceptionally fast. But it was overconfident and takes a nap. And the Tortoise wins.

Okay, so, the story didn’t change in a while. What’s the purpose of this story?

Overconfidence can dump us. I think that’s what the writer of this story wanted to convey.

But, the Big Question is, why on earth are they in a race?

Not all Hares are overconfident, even if they are, who sleeps in the middle of a race? Like really. The story—if made honestly—should end up with hare as a winner. And that’s obvious.

Whenever I hear this story, I wonder what a fool is that Tortoise? If I was a Tortoise, I would rather hang out with some Turtles on the beach. But I wouldn’t run with a hare because I know I can’t win.

It’s not my disability. It’s just not my track.

Perhaps, the Tortoise also knew that it was a foolish idea to compete. I’m sure, what might have convinced it, are the other animals in that jungle.

Maybe a giraffe said, ‘Yes, you can do it. Do not underestimate.’

Maybe a wild pig said, ‘Don’t give up, run for it.’

Maybe a fox said, ‘It’s a shame if you can’t win.’

 

They aren’t motivating. They were fooling the Tortoise. Because, in the first case, the Race is Not meant for the Tortoise.

Somehow, it won and nobody talks about this.

 

A race is always between equals. A race is between two runners with equal caliber and equal strengths and equal flaws and equal lives.

And I bet nobody is equal here. We are all different.

Then why are we even competing?

 

Don’t be a Tortoise



We all are like that foolish Tortoise. But we may not be as fortunate as it was, to win the race.

We hear people around us, pushing us, comparing us, estimating our caliber. They want us to run with hares and prove.

Ask yourself, is that your track? If that is not, then why are you even running?

If I’m motivated to fly and compete with a bird, I think I can’t win. I’ll train myself in flapping my hands faster than a hummingbird, practice jumping from a building into the thin air. Can I fly?

Surprisingly, people call it a disability. And you start to believe in it. That’s even worse.

Don’t be a Tortoise. You will lose. (Life is not a fable).

 

Stop Running. Start Thinking.

 

Okay, you must be busy running for something and perhaps wishing this article ends soon without wasting much of your time. But, take a pause and Think.

  • What are you running for?
  • Is that your track or somebody’s?
  • Are you running because that’s what you wanted to do or Are you running to prove something to the animals around?

 

If yes, then you know the result. Right? You know it’s a futile effort, right? Then, why?

 

If you force an Egg, it becomes an Omelette. Not a chick.

 

Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you look like someone? No. And that’s what you are. Unique.

We are all unequal. We have unequal minds, unequal habits, unequal lifestyles, unequal problems and unequal faces. So, you cannot really go on a race with anyone.

Just because you are of the same age, it doesn’t mean you should be doing as your peers. Just because you are into the same stream, doesn’t mean you should be at the top. Nothing to compare!

But we do. And thus, force ourselves to become better than someone, to run faster than someone, and remember, that if you force an egg, it becomes an Omelette, not a chick. You’ll just screw yourself.

 

Be a Hare

Be a hare. And you’ll win. (Life is not a fable)

The hare was running on its own track. It’s doing what it was meant to do.

Your track is empty. There’s nobody on your way and there can be nobody. You have a path of your own. And what matters is not speed, but whether or not you’re sticking to your direction.

Move at your own pace. No hurry.

When you are tired, take a nap. (No, there’s no Tortoise behind).

Come back, and keep moving.

 

What’s Wrong?



There are two things wrong.

We’ll be a Tortoise and we listen to the animals around. They convince us to do something which we cannot win. And later make us feel like a failure.

We’ll focus on our speeds rather than direction. If you are on the right track, it doesn’t matter how slow you are, you will someday reach the end. But if you are on somebody’s track, running fast, even if you reach the end, you will lose, because that’s not your track.

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I & Dirty Water – How to control Mood Swings

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mood swing:

(noun)  an abrupt and unaccountable change of mood.

 

It was always my friends talking about my mood swings but I never consciously caught my mood swinging. I, for the first time, realized it after my break-up.

Bad relationship it was. I was into depression. Few days later, I found my ex with some other guy. My depression turned into jealousy. I messaged her. She saw my message but didn’t reply. My jealousy turned into anger. Next day, she blocked me. My anger turned into sadness.

Like a Chameleon changing its colors, my moods were changing from one color to other.

It was a monsoon evening. I sat by my bedroom’s window looking at the gloomy climate. A little far from our stay is a slum colony. They live by the footpath. A boy of six or seven walked out from one of those slum huts, with a bucket and mug.

He went to a mud puddle that’s just dirty water accumulated by rain. He was trying to collect water from it. He was creaming it, trying to filter, but nothing was working. The water is blended with dirt.

For more than twenty minutes, he tried. And then, he gave up. He left.

I felt sad for that little boy who was seeking for some fresh water. He gave his best, but of no use.

Sun went down in a couple of hours.

The boy came back with the same bucket and mug. He crouched near the puddle and collected water. Surprisingly, the water had no dirt in it. I might have learned this as a science experiment, but the little boy learned it from his necessity.

He gave up, only to come back later. Because he understood, that the muddy water doesn’t need any efforts, but just time. Give a little time—the clean will come up, and the dirt will settle down.

I was doing the same mistake which the boy did. My mood swings weren’t settling for the same fact—I’m NOT giving it time.

 

 What are mood swings?

 




Mood swings are fluctuations of different emotions in a short span. The word ‘mood swings’ has something to do with time. We call it a swing because it is an abrupt shift from one emotion to other. So, the solution is also in parameters of time.

Our minds are like mud puddles. Like that little boy, we try to filter it. But the more we try, the dirtier we are making it. The thing we don’t understand is that we need to give time for our mood swings. Only then, they will settle and you’ll attain peace of mind. 

 

The Best thing you’ve to do when you are having a mood swing is: Do Nothing.

 

I see many people searching for: How to control mood swings? How to cope up with mood swings?

The answer is, do nothing at all. Step out of all action, all conversations, all things that might trigger an emotion. Rest for a while, play a game, go on a ride, eat something, whatever. But do nothing about that emotion.

If you are sad, don’t think of ways to get out of sadness. Let it be, and give up. Within a few minutes, you find your sadness settled at the bottom. This is extremely important to understand.

 




We have a bad habit of trying to solve things. But that will only mess you up in this case. Because emotions cannot be solved. In the first case, understand that emotions are not problems. They are just dirt particles. They settle on their own if you stop stirring.

Mood swings are normal. But, its reflections are the real problem. Being sad is okay. But what you do in that sadness is the problem. If you are angry at someone, it’s okay. But then, you immediately text them, or call them, or stalk at their profile. And any of these might trigger another reason for your anger.

 

Situation is the mother of emotion.

We know that situations aren’t permanent, so are emotions. But your actions are permanent. I see people taking hard decisions in life, just because of a tiny situation. Remember, someday, situations and emotions pass. But the things you messed up because of them will remain.

 

You want a divorce from your wife because you didn’t like the sandwich she made for breakfast. She can make a better sandwich tomorrow, or the day after. Even if she fails, you can buy a sandwich. But divorce will permanently separate her from your life.

This is a ridiculous example, you may say. But look back at your life. How many times did you take Big decisions in your mood swings? Aren’t they ridiculous?

Once my friend was having a fight with his girlfriend, on phone. Call dropped. Thinking that she switched off the phone in between, he slit his wrist. He was angry, furious, out of control. Five minutes later he got a callback, she said, ‘Sorry, no charging. I just plugged in.’

Now, that scar on his wrist will stay forever. Isn’t this ridiculous? I think, my sandwich example was better.

 

Look at yourself. Your mood swings. Don’t try to solve them. Don’t consider them as problems in the first case. If there’s something you really want to do—Do NOT make decisions during a mood swing. Give time for your dirt to settle.

 

10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…

Give up! Give time. Let the water settle.

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Think about it.

Share it with those whom you think should take care of their mood swings. Help your self. Help others. 

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I & Sandwich – The Secret to Failure

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The easiest way to success is to know the secret to failure.

As a kid, I read Edison’s story where he was trying to figure out what works as a filament. He tried with every damn thing, but it didn’t work out. When someone asked about his failures, he said, “I discovered a thousand ways that don’t work.”

When you know what it takes to fail, you’ll know the other side of the coin too. That’s the easiest approach.

I discovered the secret to failure when I was in high school. There’s this master-chef competition where we have to experiment our recipes on teachers. It’s kind of a revenge game.

Well, nobody likes to be bad. We were trying our best at cooking.

Let me be frank: I wasn’t prepared. But to me, the easiest of all is a sandwich. Maybe that’s a misconception, but my perception of a sandwich, at that point of life is stuff between two bread loaves. That stuff can be anything leftover in the refrigerator.

My friends were trying North Indian, Mexican, Italian recipes. It’s de-motivating. But then I found someone who was trying a sandwich too. But he took all measures so that I don’t steal his recipe.

I was worried. Inferior. I was loitering in the school balconies.




As I was walking through a staff room, I heard the judges. They were three of them. One of them said, “I’m really looking out for lots of mayonnaise.” The other said, “I’m waiting for chocolate recipes. Nothing beats sweetness.” And the third one said, “Nah. Fast food is my favorite. I somehow like that flavor of soy sauce.”

That was a hint to me. More than a hint. I got a peek into their tastes, so I felt my job is almost done.

The time limit was for one hour and I chopped stuff—tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce. I was staring at my friends sandwich which looked pathetic. There isn’t much stuff. He was just grilling bread loaves with butter.

The competition is done. And you know, none of them could actually complete their cooking. It was just three and I’m one of it. The other sandwich guy is done too. And noodles were another option. It looked over-cooked, anyway.

I was super confident until the judges took a bite. To my surprise, their faces showed different colors as they chewed. “What did you put in it?” all three asked with one voice.

I explained that I added stuff with mayonnaise, Hershey’s choco spread and soy sauce.

“It tastes disgusting,” they said without any hesitation.

I wished I could jump off a cliff, that minute.

“But why?” I asked.

“Why did you add soy sauce and chocolate?”

“I thought you’d like it,” I said.

“But, No. You don’t do that with a sandwich,” they left with a sympathetic glance.

I failed. Just like they can’t digest my sandwich, I couldn’t digest my defeat. Unexpectedly, my friend’s sandwich was applauded. He’s on the winners list.

I walked to him and asked innocently, “What did you put in it?”




“Just stuff with some cheese. And I grilled it.”

“Mayonnaise, chocolate and soy sauce?”

“Dude, but why? I just added what a sandwich needs.

He’s right. He didn’t satisfy the judges’ personal favorites. He just did what has to be done.

I realized that the secret to my failure was that I was trying to please all the judges. I was trying to make something they love and it was a disaster. I never thought how the sandwich would taste or what actually does a sandwich need. It was all simple. But I messed up.

I’m not sure what it takes to succeed, but that day I realized what it takes to fail. It’s easy to learn failure.

Whatever you are doing, do it in a way it has to be done. I’m sure we cannot please everyone. Because everyone has their own taste and if we try to add all their favorites, you’ll end up making a disgusting sandwich, just like I did.

There are always people whom you cannot satisfy. It’s a simple fact that people’s tastes are different. Some like soy sauce. Some like chocolate. How can you satisfy both of them simultaneously? It’s impossible.

Whatever you do, you face comments. But that’s just one side of the coin.

The other side is, whatever you do, someone will love it.

If what you doing don’t satisfy someone, it means you are exhibiting to the wrong audience. There’s a place for every one of us. The world is bigger than we think.

Understanding failure is simple—stop pleasing everyone. Once you get that, you’re already halfway to success.

Everything in life has a recipe. Just do it the way it has to be done. Not more. Not less. That’s all you need to know. For god’s sake, next time when you make a sandwich, don’t add mayonnaise, soy, and chocolate.

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I & Pearl Store – How to be different

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Who doesn’t want to stand out from the crowd?
Everybody wants to be different, wants to be unique. I too. But I had no idea what makes someone different from others until I visited a Pearl Store.

Last evening, I hung out on a beach with my girlfriend. We were walking by the tiny stores on the way to beach. There’s a Pearl Store—the busiest of all. She rushed in to buy pearls. I wasn’t really interested, though.

I was standing in the store like one of those mannequins, staring at the crowd and the pearls on desk. They were two bowls on the desk, one of which had hundreds of pearls—round, white and equally glittering. The other bowl had just a dozen pearls—different in shapes, different in colors. I was fascinated by the second bowl, and so was everyone. How are they different? I asked the shopkeeper. He smiled as a reply.

I didn’t get his smile. The price of those different pearls was twice. And it had the attention it deserved.




Unique things attract, and isn’t that why we all want to be different? After all, the unquenchable thirst of everyone is to be recognized, is to be identified and appreciated. And that cannot happen when we are one among the crowd. It only happens when we stand out.
I just wanted to be like the pearls in second bowl. I asked the shopkeeper again, How are they different? He returned the same smile as if he’s hiding a secret.
He asked, “Are you buying them?”
I nodded, “No,” and stepped back as if-if I’m not buying them, I don’t have the right to know the secret.

The shopping is done. She bought two of those different pearls and we walked out. I held one of those and examined it. It wasn’t perfectly round and white. It had a shade of deep blue and orange blended on surface. It was much of an oval. Beautiful!

My curiosity was still up when I found the shopkeeper shutting his store. One last time, I asked him the same question. “How are they different? Are you hiding any secret?”
“I’ll tell you if only you don’t exchange the pearls back.”
“Why would I? They are stunningly beautiful. Tell me what did you do to the pearls in second bowl?”
“Well, it’s simple. I didn’t do anything with those. But I’ve polished the pearls in first bowl. The second bowl pearls were just crude and unpolished.”
“But this unique shape, unique colors?”
He laughed, “Haven’t you seen pearls before? That’s how you get them. We polish, coat, and cut them into same size and same color. Else, every pearl will be unique.”

He walked away laughing at my ignorance. What came startlingly was the fact that he didn’t do anything for those second bowl pearls to look beautiful. In fact, he damaged every unique pearl to make them look same.
Nothing made those pearls look different. They were different, in the first case. The efforts were made to look same.

Isn’t it the same story with all of us? We try to be different forgetting the fact that we are already different. All we have to do is to stop being same. You might have read or listened to people say Be yourself, because you are intrinsically different, just like an original pearl.




But we got things wrong. We thought it would take many efforts for us to be different. We were struggling to stand out. But that will never happen.

Efforts are needed for you to become similar, to fit in the crowd. When you stop putting those efforts and realize that you are already what you’re trying to be… that’s it.

The shopkeeper was smiling because my question was foolish. He didn’t do anything with pearls in second bowl, but it appears as if he’s done something to make them beautiful. Because we still believe we can achieve beauty. We can only achieve ugliness. What’s there first, is always beautiful.

He had no idea what impact did his little bowls of pearls had on me.
He unknowingly taught me:

The best way to be different is—not to be the same.

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Have you read Monday Motive #2 What you can do?
No? Read on to unleash your potential.

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I & Pet Bird – What we can do

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Last month, when I visited a pet shop, I met my fifth-grade friend.
He was surprised to know that I gave up on writing. “You were working on a novel, right? Why the hell did you stop it?”
“You know,” I said, “It’s bigger than we can perceive, the world of publishers, readers. And I feel like a sand grain.”

It’s not really easy. Especially to chase your dreams.
The worst thing about Dreaming Big is that they make us feel so small.
But my friend denied, “Bro, you shouldn’t give up.”
“Why don’t you write a book and prove me wrong,” I said.
He didn’t answer. Maybe because I had a point. Or maybe because he felt that I’m out of ‘convincing-band’. “So, what are you up to? I mean in the pet shop.” He asked. The disappointment on his face was clear.
“I’m buying a pet bird.”
“Which one?”
“That black one. It looks cute.”

I always have an affinity for tiny birds for their overloaded cuteness and the sounds they make every morning. I was lately depressed with my writing-renunciation and needed something to cheer me up. Google suggested me to have a pet. Just to make me feel better.
The bird which I bought was the size of my fist. Its feathers are fragile, beak soft and body hollow. I grabbed it in my palms and fed the pet-stuff.




Stepping out of the pet-shop, “The bird looks weak,” I said my friend, caressing on its head.
“But, I never thought you’d give up on writing,” he said—back to the same topic.
I understand it’s difficult to convince someone to believe in what you believe is right. Because they aren’t walking your way.
“I know, giving up hurts. But you need to get this point. Dreams are like clouds hanging up in the sky, they look tiny when we look up. But when we plunge to take a flight, only then, we realize how big they are and how small we are.”
He was about to reply when the bird in my hands slipped.

Before we realized, the tiny pet bird flew away. We raised our heads helplessly staring at the bird flapping wings against the clouds. It looked weak, feathers fragile, beak soft and body hollow. That moment, looking up at the bird, I looked down to myself.

The bird was small, but it didn’t accept its smallness. That’s what it taught me, slapping with its wings. Birds know how big the clouds are but they don’t know how small they are. And even when they know how small they are, they don’t believe in it. True size of someone is the size they think they are.

I’m small, not because I’m small, but because I think I’m small. And when I do think, my big dreams scare me. Everyone has a dream, but how many of them really end up living the life of their dreams? The reason is that we doubt. We doubt What we can do.




I always considered the sand grains on the shore as weakness. But they have survived a million tides of the infinite ocean. Yet, they stick to the ground. What kind of strength does a sand grain have to face the ocean? What kind of strength does a bird have to face the clouds? Their strength isn’t in their bodies. It is in their hearts.

True incapability of a man is that he fails to believe that he’s capable. That’s what makes all the difference.

The world might be big. The dreams might be big. But so should be our belief in ourselves.

“Damn, that escaped,” my friend shouted, “shall we complain about it in the pet shop?”
“Let it fly,” I said.
“But you wanted a pet, to drive your depression. Isn’t it?”
“Not now.”
“Why?”
I said, “I can’t explain. I’ve to go home. I left my novel incomplete.”

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From Author’s Desk:

How often do we notice the little creatures around us doing things which are unimaginably big for them? What we can do is independent of our size, our muscles, our past, our problems and our every-damn-excuse. It only depends on one thing: The belief that we have in ourselves.
If you think you can do it. You can do it!

Next time when you are giving reasons for chasing your big dreams, look at a flying bird.

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Think about it

Share it with those who doubt their potential and needs motivation. Help your self. Help others. 

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