Archive for November, 2010

Art of keeping it simple…

November 22, 2010

I am a great fan of the fine attributes of tolerance and grace, because I am not so well endowed with those. I see my mother and feel jealous about her as she has those in plenty. But no matter how hard I try, I blow my fuse at the slightest provocation. Bad habit, sooner I get rid off it, the better.

But despite the deficiencies as above, I am simple, straight as an arrow and a happy guy too. Coming to think of it, I keep my life simple like most men I know.

So this post is for my readers with a feminist slant…

How do men keep it simple…? I read a chain mail that got lodged in my inbox with the title “Why men are never depressed”…

Men Are Just Happier People– What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December24 in 25 minutes. No wonder men are happier.

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Why I never felt like the Ferrari…!

November 19, 2010

When people ask me “Have you ever longed to have a better life, a better past and a better present…?” my instant answer is “No”. And they don’t believe it.
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They think I am either lying or am giving a very guarded response and concealing frustration. I tried telling them it is my nature never to regret anything in life and accept life as it unfolds, but they would have none of it. And they are not alone in feeling so.
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I go back and search my soul a bit. Why did I give such an answer…? Did I lie…? Should I be longing for what was never mine…? Should I load up my mind with “if I had that then, I could’ve been this now” kind of fallacies…?
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I am convinced I was honest. I had always been mentored by experience, never by another human or a guru. The reason being I had always trusted my instinct, my capacity to observe and learn and always felt a self-taught internal lesson lingers longer and works far better than an admonished external one. I use this pet metaphor often. What if a Ferrari that could race at a speed of 350 mph, had been driven at just 100 mph? How would it feel if it had an experiential mind of its own…? Either the driver was not enthusiastic or he was just way too risk averse. Perhaps the roads were not up. Perhaps he didn’t trust the machine. But the machine was sure it could do a 350 mph but it could do nothing to spur the driver to step on the gas. So what will it do except to despair over its helplessness…?
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If I were the machine, I would have felt helpless. But I am not. I am a human endowed with heuristics. I can think of ways and means to be the driver and the machine. This realization had gotten lodged in mind way back early in my life and had taught me never to despair, but to take a different route to hit the goal. And in 90% of the cases, I had succeeded sooner than later, and in much larger proportions than I had ever imagined. And as regards the 10% reminder, I had recognized that life never is about what you want, but what you need. Perhaps I never needed the 10% at all. The 1:9 sacrifice ratio has just been fair and nothing to be grieved over. What have I got to regret…?

That said, if I had a choice then and had not exercised it, I have room to regret. Or if I had multiple choices and had exercised the wrong one, I could feel remorse. But most occasions throw up just one choice and that having been acted upon led us to a later misery, we should learn to cope than brood over it. Again the wisdom dawns only in hindsight and not at the moment we choose to do or not do something. So never live to regret anything in life over which you had little or no control over.

I was convinced I’d given the honest answer. Worrying would have gotten me nothing. Regrets lead to disappointments and later frustration. I must thank my super set of genes that made me look inside more for answers than to look outside and seek them out from externalities that I knew I could never have controlled anyway.
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So I never felt (desperate) like the Ferrari.
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Destiny – a key to success (Speech for my daughter series)

November 11, 2010

Destiny (or Fate) refers briefly to an event or a course of events that will inevitably happen in future.
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Many believers buy the theory that no matter how systematically we plan our affairs, the end result is determined by the randomness of destiny. Be it in topping the class test or winning a Formula One car race, fate plays a major role. You could be a hard-working student with straight A’s in class tests, yet your answer sheets could be misplaced. The car tyres of a well trained and experienced Formula One motorist with an all-win track record could as well burst, costing him the race !!!
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Success – when seen as an outcome is closely linked to destiny. But does that really mean we should thump down our creative instincts and surrender to destiny completely…? Should the student stop working hard at his subjects…? Can that Formula One motorist pull out of his training regimen and bank on his luck to win the next race…? That could be disastrous.
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The difference lies in our perception of the sequence of events that is in our control and those that are not. Destiny, by its very nature is not entirely within our control to manipulate. We shouldn’t waste time figuring out how destiny will shape our future. As we all know, besides destiny, there is always an element of predictability, a cause and effect relationship in all things we do that are directly influenced by our efforts. If you buy the right ticket, reach the airport early and board the plane headed for New York, you don’t land in Khandahar unless you are hijacked. In effect, it means destiny to a significant extent is controllable. It could be a seen as a “demanding friend” and not always an arrogant big brother.
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Why did I call destiny a demanding friend…?
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If everything is pre-determined, living beings need not be endowed with the fine powers of creative thinking. Just as the course of a natural event like a sun-rise and sun-set, we need only wake up each morning, leave things to destiny and go back to bed at night – a clear no-brainer. Had that been the intent, why have we been gifted with a brain that is wired to think, plan and execute…? If we know to swim we control our destiny by not drowning even if the boat we are in springs a leak. I can say with conviction that destiny is not some omnipotent external engine, it is just a cog in our wheel. It resides within us and depends on us to do our part of the job so that it can take over and play its role to perfection. It is demanding to the point that we use our brains and do what is within our control so that like a true friend, it can influence the outcome by taking care of what is beyond us.

And success, like someone said is not a destination, it’s a journey. We should keep striving hard, the destiny will play its role and we could end up as victors in all that we set out to do.