The Successfool Us!

Keep increasing the radius of your life. Yet keep yourself not at the circumference but at the centre.    

……….

We met after years. Our paths had crossed during a course he took from us. Since then, he has come a long way in life, and that too against odds. So there was a lot to talk about.

He talked about the package and the perks, the clients and the connections, the travels and the triumphs, and the brands and the bravado. And then, when I was about to leave, he said “Any words of wisdom Sir?” I looked at him and said “You seriously want to have some?” He said “Yes! Absolutely

I said “Look I am proud of what you have achieved. You have done a lot for yourself…

…but look at what you have done to yourself!

You look weary, restless… and uneasy – as if something inside you is ticking all the time. You keep glancing at the mobile without any need to do so. You haven’t sat in any one position for more than a minute. You are finding it hard to stick to any one thread of discussion for long. You keep leaving your sentences incomplete and keep throwing ‘wherein’, ‘so as to’, ‘what I mean is that’ in between. And then there are far more cringes and contemptuous one-sided smiles than usual…

…look at what you have done to yourself lad”.

……….

He knew exactly what I was talking about. And if I had any doubt then it was dispelled by his moist eyes. And as I got up, I said…

…“Go on my boy! You have created a successful life. Now…build a Successful YOU.

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Success can make you boring!

“The experiences that you choose make you a more successful person…and the experiences that you don’t choose make you a more interesting person”.    

……….

Most of the successful people are pretty boring. The reason is that in the pursuit of their success they become quite self-conscious – more guarded about themselves. On the other hand, the essential quality for being ‘interesting’ is the ability to take oneself lightly and to remain a little ‘wide-eyed’ about one’s success.

But the problem is that these successful people have been so obsessed with traits like ‘focus’, ‘determination’ and ‘discipline’ that they have been regulating the scope of their experiences – keeping it strictly around their choices.

And then there are people who know that their success has been an outcome of many variables ‘beyond their influence’ that came together just at the right time. They also worked hard, and continue to do so. But they remain a bit playful about their life. So they keep looking for and forward-to new experiences, with uncertain outcomes.

In the process, such people ‘learn humility to stay unaffected’ and ‘earn anecdotes to outlast the dessert at a dinner’.    

……….

In other words, keep becoming successful…but do stay interesting. :-)

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And then I will be happy…

If you are not happy with ‘what you have’ then chances are that you will never be with what you will ever have”   

……….

Most of the people I meet are just plain ‘restless’ – restless to reach somewhereachieve somethingmatch someone. They have a perfect idea of their imperfection.

They are sure that ‘who and where they presently are’ is not good; that that ‘illusory good’ is somewhere out there… on the horizon. And that, with an X amount of hard work and determination, one day they will reach there and will then live happily ever after.

You know what! The problem is not that they are in a race. The problem is that…

……….

…now, the race is inside them.

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Why One should not be Overconfident!

I have nearly never been overconfident; because I know that… “All that I am confident about will be over one day”.  

……….

The other day someone complimented me on being ‘down to earth’! I smiled, walked away, and winked to myself; as I know that it is less out of my goodness…and more because of an awareness

Well! I have seen people known for their ‘calmness’ screw it all in one unwarranted fit. I have seen people known for their ‘wisdom’ messing it all up in one rush of adrenaline. I have seen people known for their ‘character’ falling prey to one good opportunity to lose it. I have seen people known for their ‘expertiseaveraging it all in one rough patch of health. I have seen people known for their ‘balance’ slamming it all hard during one relationship-trouble…

…actually, I have seen ‘too much’ to hold on to the illusion of ‘control’.

……….

So what keeps me grounded is the cognizance of all that is buried beneath the ground I am standing on. :-)

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The Unsaid Sorrys

It’s good to get feedback unexpectedly. Even if you don’t agree, it surely makes you think

……….

I took a turn with as much care as a normal person takes when he is driving on a road he knows well. However, as I stopped at the next signal, a man on a bike came near me and started shouting at me. Well! First I couldn’t figure out what it was about, but then I realized that he maintained that he was behind me and I took such a sharp unexpected turn that he almost fell because of that.

He was furious, but I guess as we talked, in a few moments he also realized that if at all that had happened then it was entirely unintentional. As a result, he drove ahead without any more fuss. While I also drove ahead, I replayed all the steps in my ‘turning’ one by one in slow motion but couldn’t figure out any mistake I had made. But then, as I kept driving, I also began to think about something else…

In case that man was right, then while he chose to come and tell me about what happened, what about those who didn’t come or couldn’t come in all these years? – those on whose foot I accidentally stepped but never even realized it… those whom I shortchanged unintentionally…those whom I hurt without meaning to… those who bore my weight when I threw it around unknowingly…

But wait a moment! What about all those people who owe me a ‘sorry’ for the very same things? After all, I have also been on the receiving end.

……….

Hmmm! I guess they are right when they say…“Life is a great leveler”.

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The emotional infections.

“Don’t expect life to be fair. It is not fair or unfair. It is just the way it is. And it has always been this way. Even when you were not here.”

……….

The best description I have come across of the question ‘what is immune system?’ is that to see what immune system is, just see what happens to a dead body. Yes! Once you die, it only takes a few weeks for bacteria, microbes, parasites etc. to feast on your body until all that is left is a skeleton. And it happens because your immune system has shut down, and the door is left wide open…

Something similar happens even in life. When you are weak and fragile, you suddenly see things around you changing in unexpected ways. People around you start speaking with a different tone, pitch and volume. The whole treatment changes – you are taken advantage of, or even worse, for granted. Yes! You discover that you are lonely and have suddenly become everyone’s target.

Actually you are wrong. You have not ‘become’ a target now. You were always a target. It’s just that now you are a soft one.

……….

And, don’t you know that…“It is easy to chew a soft thing”. 

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Curious case of a perfect gentleman!

I always tell in my workshops…“Humans are ‘social animals’…only as long as they get good reasons to remain ‘social’”.

……….

The workshop was on ‘social intelligence’, and in the first half, we had talked about how our brain functions and shapes our behavior. In the break, as we sat for lunch, training manager said that he wanted to discuss a very peculiar behavior of one of his juniors…

This man is sincere, well-behaved, and in almost complete control of himself! Everyone likes him and people in office have hardly had any complaint with him. Naturally, the manager was interested to know more about this person, so he tried to find out more about his personal life. And what he got to know shocked him. This person, who is a perfect gentleman in the office, has many vices outside it. In fact the manager told me “He can be found at almost all such condemned addresses where he can go without getting arrested or killed”. And then he added…“A strange man! Isn’t it?”

Well! I had a good laugh and then said…

“He is not strange. He is very intelligent! Mark Twain had once said ‘Everyone of us is a moon. We all have a dark side…’, so does he. It is just that I suspect that his dark side is relatively darker than most of the people. And I guess he knows it well. Now, throughout the day, he stays the gentleman you all know, and thus that side of his remains suppressed and unacceptable.

So, during the day, a lot of suffocation builds up inside him. He risks being divided ‘into two’ inside his own self if he keeps living in denial of a part which is an integral part of his personality. Now, the only way for him to retain sanity is to be with such people in whose presence he doesn’t feel disapproval for his darker side – where he doesn’t find that part being condemned, damned, or even evaluated.

I think what you are seeing as ‘imbalance’ is a perfect strategy to balance an unbalanced human self.”

……….

Manager nodded in appreciation, and then added…“So, we shouldn’t stop him?     

I said “No! Absolutely not! And don’t mind but actually I was hoping if…

…you could share with me those addresses.:-)

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All is fair in love…and actually in everything!

“In life, loyalties can shift so quickly that at times it is hard to believe if they were really there in the first place”…

……….

I must have been around ten. In those days, unlike today, houses of a colony hardly had their doors closed, except when people were sleeping or weren’t at home. In such an era, we had this strange fascination of making ‘bhaiyyas’ and ‘didis’ (as if each one of us did not have enough of them). And the best part was that we would be staunchly devoted to them (even more than to our own). I had one such didi and we would meet mostly in summer vacation.

Now, this didi and one bhaiyya liked each other in a special way. And I was one of the messengers for them (I faintly recall that I had even taken an oath to swallow the chit if I would get caught). Yes! Those were innocently exciting days when love involved a lot of chemistry, introductory physics, and hardly any biology. And strangely, for me, it was a love-story that was as dear to me as it was to the protagonists.

But, one not-so-fine day, didi told me that they had broken up, and that she will have to marry someone else. For days, I remember feeling the blues… I was devastated!

However, what devastated me more was the fact that within a few weeks, I saw didi talking about this new arranged man in her life with the same (even more) attachment with which she used to talk about ‘the bhaiyya’ she had been with for years.

I was sad, I was angry, and more than that… I was ‘confused’.

Well! In years to come, I witnessed such shifting of sides in all realms – families, friends, relatives, colleagues, associates etc. And as I matured, my sadness, anger and confusion turned into curiosity. Moreover, when I chose a stream of ‘helping people develop themselves’, I started studying every such shift more minutely…

And in the pursuit, I realized that while people like to love, care, cater and benefit; more than that, they want to be loved, ‘cared for’, ‘catered to’ and ‘get benefitted’. And whenever they see a promise of a lasting and convenient supply of all this, more often than not, most of them shift their loyalties.

It is natural. It is logical. And it is…‘human’.

……….

But you know what! Even after all the insight and maturity, I still feel sad for that bhaiyya.

However…I seem to have forgiven didi. :-)

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Serve it fresh!

Sometimes, problems don’t require the ‘best solution’. They just need a ‘new’ one!”

……….

Recently, I asked one of my former colleagues to mentor one of my dear ones. She was surprised because she herself considers me as a mentor and thus asked why I wouldn’t mentor the boy…

I said “You must have heard the story on why, in a circus or zoo, a huge elephant is tied to a small wooden peg hammered into the ground; and still he doesn’t run away because he had tried it when he was a baby and had not succeeded”.

She said “Yes! I have heard the story. But how come that explains your point?

I said “In his case…I represent that small peg of his life”.

……….

Yes! Sometimes, when people need to make a fresh start, they need fresh faces around. Not because the old faces are not good, but because… old faces remind them of…their own ‘old-selves’.

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Love – ‘making it’ vs. ‘being in it’!

“We think about it, joke about it, but sadly…seldom talk about it”!

……….

As those ‘moments of passion’ passed, the shared silence following the sensual storm was suddenly broken by his chuckle…

She wondered where that came from! He looked at her and smiled. She gave her a surprised look. He imitated the look. She chuckled. He held her hand. She caressed his face. He shared what he suddenly got reminded of and made him chuckle. She listened to it intently. She also chuckled…

And in the wee hours, they simply talked – without topic…without opinions…without discussion.         

Now, before you declare me frivolous, perverted or voyeuristic, let me come to my point…

When it comes to a couple, what characterizes or strengthens their relationship is not all that they do for those ‘moments of passion’ or during them. It is about what they do after those moments have passed. Yes! What couples don’t realize is that ‘the moments that come after they are done with chasing the hormonal-high’ offer the true opportunity for real togetherness – the one beyond physicality.

And that’s what defines ‘the future’ of ‘the love’ in ‘the relationship’.

……….

Well! You must be wondering who these ‘he’ and ‘she’ are, and how do I know them?

But you know what! It hardly matters who they are, because in any case, in those gentle moments of togetherness, they themselves lose their identities…and validate the proverbial ‘two becoming one’. :-)

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