Love is not blind.
Love makes you blind.
If you love the right thing, it’s a good idea to be blind.
Yesterday, I was talking to one of my colleague and the discussion turned to “lack of challenging assignments” as a demotivator. What follows is a summary of my thoughts on this subject.
There is a class of people who constantly want challenges. Note: constantly. They want one challenge after another. Once they have successfully executed a challenging activity, they get a kick out of it. That’s what makes these people happy. That’s what makes them going. These people tend to be pretty aggressive in their pursuit and compete fiercely with others.
But any new field can offer you challenges only for a finite amount of time. Once you get the mastery in a domain, the challenges cease. A challenge is basically a stretch of your knowledge and skills. Once you keep handling the challenges of similar kinds, your knowledge and skills will be enhanced and you won’t find such assignments challenging any more.
When you start your life as a programmer, even a sorting program is challenging. However, with time, you can write a distributed filesystem with your eyes closed (metaphorically speaking).
You may choose to enter a new field but that will also offer you challenges only for finite amount of time. And then the challenge will cease there also.
And while you try out newer and newer fields, one more interesting thing will happen. You won’t find anything challenging even in domains you have never worked for!! That’s because you would realize that same kind of knowledge and same kind of skills are applicable everywhere. There is only very small domain specific information that you need which is very easy to get once you get the hang of quick learning.
So, what is the alternative for such people? By the way, yours truly was one among such people so these thoughts are from first hand experience
One thing to find in work is challenge and the other one you can find is poetry! Yes poetry. It is kind of difficult to explain but I’ll give you some examples that will give you some idea.
Once I had gone to a circus. First came 5 girls riding bicycles. They were doing a good job of co-ordination and they were in general putting up a good show. It was evident they were trying very hard to do it. It was a challenge for them and once they were done, they were very happy at their feat.
After that, these girls vanished behind the curtain and out came another (different) girl on a bicycle. Oh, only if you had seen her. So much grace on her face and a lovely smile. A smile that said I am enjoying it right now right here. The kind of show that she had put up was just far better than what the first set of girls had done. But for this girl, nothing was challenging. It seemed that the bicycle she was riding was just an extension of her body. There was something poetry like in her show. I don’t know how to describe it. It’s something you just experience when the master of an art performs live in front of you.
Look at the musicians for example. Let’s take Ravi Shankar. He is a Sitar maestro. It is not challenging for him to play Sitar. But he enjoys the mere act of playing Sitar rather than getting a kick later that he could play it.
Look at any master of any art. There is no challenge, only joy.
When the challenge ceases, real joy begins. The poetry like joy. The joy of expressing yourself through the art. Make that joy the goal of your life and not the challenges on the way to that joy.
In the end, I would just quote a story here (it is called “The parable of Black Belt”):
Picture a martial artist kneeling before the master sensei in a ceremony to receive a hard-earned black belt. After years of relentless training, the student has finally reached a pinnacle of achievement in the discipline.
“Before granting the belt, you must pass one more test,” says the sensei.
“I am ready,” responds the student, expecting perhaps one final round of sparring.
“You must answer the essential question: What is the true meaning of the black belt?”
“The end of my journey,” says the student. “A well-deserved reward for all my hard work.”
The sensei waits for more. Clearly, he is not satisfied. Finally, the sensei speaks. “You are not yet ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”
A year later, the student kneels again in front of the sensei.
“What is the true meaning of the black belt?” asks the sensei.
“A symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art,” says the student.
The sensei says nothing for many minutes, waiting. Clearly, he is not satisfied. Finally, he speaks. “You are still not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”
A year later, the student kneels once again in front of the sensei. And again the sensei asks: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”
“The black belt represents the beginning — the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, work, and the pursuit of an ever-higher standard,” says the student.
“Yes. You are now ready to receive the black belt and begin your work.”
In recent and not so recent past, I had the chance to discuss where India is going with a couple of people. I got diverse opinions but overall, I can summarize everything in terms of three different forces acting on it:
1. Migratory forces – Nothing can happen here (politically, economically, socially, culturally). We have got to migrate.
2. Pull down forces – Take advantage of the corruption and make your bucks. Who cares about India anyways?
3. Push up forces – I am educated and burning with ambition. I’ll rock the world and do something BIG!
Overall, these are three major forces I saw acting on Indian society/nation. I guess, that would be the case with any developing nations.
Migratory forces have always been present. We remember the much talked about “brain drain” though nobody cares about it anymore.
Pull down forces were always present too. That’s what has created the mess we are in anyways. Unfortunately, they seem to be increasing with time.
Push up forces; now that’s interesting. Is it powerful enough in India to be a gate crasher? I believe yes. Some people call it an emotional response (it’s an easy way to argue out of it , but I call it more judgemental. Walking down the streets of bangalore, the most obvious thing is that everybody is upto something. When there is so much of constructive energy around, something is bound to happen.
My daughter (Aarushi) dropped one glass of milk on my laptop (of course, not intentionally).
It doesn’t start anymore. I don’t think it ever will…
[Bacche bhagwan ka roop hote hain]
I don’t know if you have heard of the term “tushion”. It is kind of well known in North India (at least it used to be). It’s a slang.
It’s very difficult to explain what it means. It’s kind of style but not exactly style. It’s kind of show off but not really show off. It’s kind of negative but not really negative.
Let me try to explain the meaning by using some examples: If you wear a tight jeans just because it is in fashion even though it is not very comfortable, it is tushion. Wearing a cargo pant could be tushion (not neccessarily though). If you go to gym and 2 months later, you start wearing tight t-shirts, it is tushion.
It is hard to explain this term but if you know it, you always know where it fits.
Once someone asked us to spell tushion in English. We said t u s h i o n. He said wrong! It is ztushion. We asked what is this z for? He said z is for tushion
Later, Ripple and myself coined the term Z factor to indicate a measure of tushion. For example, on a bike ride, I took my old, torn cargo pant. He immediately remarked that the Z factor was high for this
Try looking for Z factor in your life. How many things do you do for the Z factor?
Enter a shopping mall.
Every sellable object in the mall is arranged such that it looks at you and screams, “don’t you want to take me?”
Even if you are just accompanying your friend, you would either end up buying something for yourself too OR at least you’ll have to put up a great amount of resistance to not buy anything.
If you have to put in some force (on your mind) to not buy something, there is bound to be another force (of roughly equal measure) that is prompting you to buy something.
What is that force? I don’t know how to define that force but I have felt it everytime I visit a mall. I even have a name for it, S-Force (S stands for Shopping). Some malls have it stronger than others.
Have you gone to a mall to buy nothing but ended up buying a jeans/shirt?
Why did you turn to athiesm?
Was it because all the God related stories that you heard in your childhood stand refuted in the face of scientific discoveries?
Was it because all the religious rituals that you witnessed till date look stupid/unjustified/immoral/irrelevant?
Then you are not a good athiest. If you want to be an athiest, please be true to the spirit of athiesm.
Did you ask yourself if religion is more than the cumulative impression your mind carries from the stories you heard and the rituals you witnessed?
In words of Swami Vivekananda, “Any religion has three aspects: 1. Philosophy (that is the core of a religion), 2. Mythology (stories that explain the intricacies of the philosophy and make it easy to learn/remember), 3. Rituals (that bring the philosophy in day to day life)”.
Any system, however well thought out it may be, is bound to degrade over a period of time. Religion is no exception. The mythology has got so much of a stronghold of its own that we don’t remember the philosophy any more. The rituals have become an end in themselves and we have completely forgotten what they stand/stood for.
Caught in the web of these misgivings/misunderstandings regarding the mythology and rituals, we never look at the gems of philosophy that remain hidden.
So, dear athiest, I highly appreciate that you chose to be an athiest instead of following the degraded form of religion. I appreciate you much more than those so called believers who follow their religion without ever questioning it in any way. But you still have a way to go if all your disbelief is solely based on the mythology and rituals.
Take a step forward; don’t discount religion by discounting just the rites and rituals; question the religion more; go farther; understand and question the philosophy. Then you would be a true athiest (if you remain one). Don’t live with that vague feeling of not believing in God because it sounds baseless in the context of modern science. And by the way, when you question the philosophy part of a religion, do question the modern science too. Why not?
[I was an athiest for 11 years of my life; not the true one though.]
Today, I happened to remember one of the “eccentric theories” that Soni/Sahu came up with while having “interesting” discussions on day-to-day life.
It goes something likes this: A person has only two basic types of motivations or end goals when he/she performs an action. Either it is “Pet Ki Aag” (i.e. hunger) OR Amusement.
It almost became a habit to ask each other the motivation behind the last action performed. For example, someone comes out after a bath in the evening and he is asked: was it amusement or pet ki aag?
Pretty soon, it turned out that another category was needed as all the things couldn’t be fit nicely into just these two. We were doing things that won’t provide amusement OR won’t cool down the fire in the belly.
Guess, what the third category was? Generally. Yes, it was called “Generally”.
We were doing a lot of things “Generally”.
I “Generally” wrote this blog entry
Either I used to have too much time in hand earlier OR I am really busy these days.
I don’t know which one is true…