Trust me! I am not kidding.
A life lesson learnt during my morning walk today. I was in my usual morning walk on the jogging track in the park close to my house. My attention was drawn to a young couple jogging from the opposite direction. May be the couple is not the right word. I am not sure whether they are married or friends or close acquaintances or even brother and sister or even simply two joggers coming together. That of course is not relevant. What caught my attention in particular is that the young-man was wearing a bright yellow T-shirt with embossed writing in bold blue, which reads “WANNA SUCCESS???”
Nothing great about it. Who does not aspire for success anyway? A business man strives for more and more in his never satiated hunger for more money or may be more fame. A student struggles day in and day out for a good grade. An employee puts all his efforts for career advancement. A writer tries hard to publish more and more articles in reputed journals or publish more and more books in his path of self-actualization. Even a thief aspires for more and more loot. You may belong to any profession, any vocation, but the theme of success drives you, of course success as understood by you. For some people, success may be measured in terms of wealth; for some it may be health, for some others it may be reputation, happiness for some and may be spiritual attainment for some others. It is really immaterial. What is important is the idea of success gives you the necessary kick for moving ahead in life. So, what is the great question?
But, I was really startled at what I saw in the bright green T-shirt of his companion ( a lady ) where it was embossed in deep violet color “ LOOK INWARDS !!!”.
Left alone, the two quotes probably do not mean much. But, in association, it really meant a lot, at least to me. Of course, I am not sure whether the duo has put on the respective T-shirts thinking of the meaning the association could convey. It, in all probability, could have been just a coincidence. When the duo passed me from the opposite direction, they were clearly oblivious of the thought going through my mind.
But, it gave me a lot of food for thought. In combination, it means for getting success, you need to look inwards.
Let us pause and analyze a little more. Though every one of us is striving for success as understood by us and in our own way; and all of us do understand that failure is the pillar to success having been told and read umpteen numbers of times; how many of us really take lessons from our failures? Most of us most of the times externalize the reason of our failure. Only the other day during my earlier assignment, one of my subordinate who was not promoted in his career ladder came to me and told me point blank that the promotion in career given to his colleague (and not him) is based out of partiality. My reasoning of the role in the promoted position vis-à-vis his performance and competency though assured me that I have done my job reasonably well; nevertheless it must have not satisfied him. It is a matter of perception and perception is always colored by the color glass we use. I remember the incident when I stood third in a class examination in my school days, my dad demanded to know as to why I stood third and not first. Pat came my reply – “Dad! What to do? The teachers here are partial. The 1st boy is the son of Deputy Collector and the second one is the daughter of our geography teacher”. I can go on and on in giving examples to justify my point. I am yet to meet any driver, whose car met with an accident, accepting his fault. Sometimes, it is the fault of the reckless driver of another car or of the two wheeler rider making a sudden unexpected turn or of a passerby talking through his cell phone while crossing the road or even the poor condition of the road itself and the corporation officials’ failure in their duty in maintaining the road. It happened only a couple of days back when my grandson of just above one year of age, who was learning to walk, suddenly fell down and started crying. My daughter, who was standing nearby, consoled him immediately – “This rascal floor. How dare it make my child fall?” With these words, she kicked the floor by her shoes. The child immediately got up and also landed a small kick on the floor by his soft foot. The job is done. It can go on and on and on. When we do not find anyone else to pass on the blame, we very conveniently pass on the blame to the lady luck or even to GOD – Oh God! Why do you put me in such terrible conditions?, It is my bad luck! , My luck is never favorable, God is always unkind to me etc. etc.
If I may derive a cause and effect relationship to anything that happens to us, we must realize that my actions in the past are responsible for my present state of being and my future state will be decided by what actions I take now & thereafter. As rightly advocated by Stephen Covey in 90-10 principle of life, you do not have any control on 10% of what happens to you in your life. It just happens. But, 90% of what happens to you in your life is decided by how you react to that 10%. A driver cuts the traffic. Do you open the window and curse the driver? Do you get upset and start pounding on your steering? Think coolly. Ten minutes late really does not matter. What matters is you get upset and your blood pressure shoots up. Some days back, I was scheduled to travel from Bangalore to Mumbai by flight. First, it was announced that the flight is delayed by one hour. Then, it became two hours. Then, finally it was announced that the flight has got cancelled due to some technical problem and we would be accommodated in another flight. We needed to queue up at the check-in counter and take fresh boarding pass for another flight. Of course, the airline also announced that if we so please, we could cancel the ticket and get the full amount. Thankfully, the airline also organized some snacks for all of us during the intervening period. There was a big queue in the counter. One elderly gentleman was just ahead of me in the queue. The moment his turn came, he went on shouting at the lady at the counter using his choicest language at the airline and also the staff. This continued for about 10 minutes. The trained girl at the counter, of his grand-daughter’s age, was trying to explain the reason of cancellation of the flight and pleading to keep his cool. The gentleman was in no state of listening to her logic. Other persons in the queue were getting upset & irritated. I volunteered and turned to the elderly gentleman. In a soothing voice I told him – “Yes, we are all upset because of the delay in the flight. I know you must have some urgent things to attend. But can anything be done? In any case, the airline is offering you to cancel your ticket. You may also decide to never fly in this airline because of their poor service. In any case, is the lady in the counter by any shred of imagination responsible for the technical snag in the scheduled flight? Why are you wasting your energy in shouting at the lady who has nothing to do with it and in the process delaying other passengers in the queue?-. My talking to him did not calm him down; which of course I never expected. But, one salutary effect it had for the sigh of relief of others in the queue, is that the elderly gentlemen turned at me with a red face and immediately left the queue and went away, of course muttering to himself that it is only for people like me that the airlines are behaving so irresponsibly. After I got my boarding card changed, I sat in one of the chairs in the waiting hall and started reading a book, which I normally carry for such eventualities. I could find our friend marching up & down in the hall in a very agitated mood with his face more red than earlier. After announcement for boarding the flight, I left the hall & really do not know what happened to our friend. I only wish nothing bad would have happened to him.
Of course, I am conscious that the examples I quoted are simple examples which happens in everyday life. It is deliberate and with the purpose of making the concept simpler for general understanding. You can analyze any situation in your life and I am sure you will come to the same conclusion. What is important is to catch the bull by the horn & owning responsibility for our actions, analyze the setbacks (which happen to everybody at some point of the time or the other) and learn and make every setback a platform of learning to move ahead in life. Success does not come by blaming others; it comes only by looking inwards, analyzing the causes and taking course correction.
But, looking inwards has a much deeper meaning than that what we discussed. It also means how to utilize the inherent power within us for our success, which I will try to describe in my subsequent blogs. Enough for now.
My morning walk was coming to an end. I entered my society gate & came near the lift to go to my 4th floor apartment. I was still in deep thought. The lift came down. Lo and behold! A cute little girl jumped out of the lift & addressed me very enthusiastically – “Uncle! Uncle! I have my new T-shirt. I like it very much. Do you like it?”. I said almost mechanically – “Honey! It is really very nice and you really look very pretty with it. But, my eyes cursorily glanced at the bold letters in her T-shirt. It was written – Trust me! I am not kidding.
Trust me! I am not kidding.
I laughed to myself. What a beginning and what an end?