Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Life is not a race ... It's like a prepaid card with fixed balance and validity ;-)

I heard the name of Chetan Bhagat after watching the bollywood dark-humerous film "3 Idiots'' which was adaptation of his book "Five Point Someone ...''. I heard about the controversy about the screenplay credit issue but didn't pay attention as that was none of my business -- but the central point of my attention was to the message of the film which criticized education system. I agreed to the message to almost every points. I read about the film, the author in the wikipedia and that was all till then.



Today I have found a picture where the author Chetan Bhagat is showing with some quotes from him on Facebook feeds. I am thankful to প্রসূন মজুমদার for sharing that. There was a source at the end of the file. I googled a bit following the quote and found the complete text. It was actually a speech from Chetan Bhagat given at the orientation programme for the new batch of MBA students at Symbiosis, Pune. I was amazed once again at the depth of his thinking and felt that I think the same, at least similar. Here I am sharing some parts of the speech, the complete one is large enough for not sharing.


Imagine the spark (spark shining. Or to put it another way, how to be happy most, if not all the time.) to be a lamp’s flame. The first aspect is nurturing – to give your spark the fuel, continuously. The second is to guard against storms.

To nurture, always have goals. It is human nature to strive, improve and achieve full potential. In fact, that is success. It is what is possible for you. It isn’t any external measure – a certain cost to company pay package, a particular car or house.
Most of us are from middle class families. To us, having material landmarks is success and rightly so. When you have grown up where money constraints force everyday choices, financial freedom is a big achievement. But it isn’t the purpose of life. If that was the case, Mr. Ambani would not show up for work. Shah Rukh Khan would stay at home and not dance anymore. Steve Jobs won’t be working hard to make a better iPhone, as he sold Pixar for billions of dollars already. Why do they do it? What makes them come to work everyday? They do it because it makes them happy. They do it because it makes them feel alive Just getting better from current levels feels good.

Nature designed with a random set of genes and circumstances in which we were born. To be happy, we have to accept it and make the most of nature’s design. Are you? Goals will help you do that. I must add, don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

You must have read some quotes – Life is a tough race, it is a marathon or whatever. No, from what I have seen so far, life is one of those races in nursery school, where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same with life, where health and relationships are the marble.Same with life, where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.

One last thing about nurturing the spark – don’t take life seriously. One of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during classes. One student asked him if these jokes would take away something from the yoga practice. The teacher said – don’t be serious, be sincere.

Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It’s ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.

I’ve told you three things – reasonable goals, balance and not taking it too seriously that will nurture the spark. However, there are four storms in life that will threaten to completely put out the flame. These must be guarded against. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and loneliness of purpose.

Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don’t go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it’s life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember – if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that’s where you want to be.

Disappointment’ s cousin is Frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don’t know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. ... ... ... Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.

Unfairness – this is hardest to deal with, but unfortunately that is how our country works. People with connections, rich dads, beautiful faces, pedigree find it easier to make it – not just in Bollywood, but everywhere. And sometimes it is just plain luck.Merit and hard work is not always linked to achievement in the short term, but the long term correlation is high, and ultimately things do work out. But realize, there will be some people luckier than you. In fact, to have an opportunity to go to college and understand this speech in English means you are pretty damm lucky by Indian standards. Let’s be grateful for what we have and get the strength to accept what we don’t. ... ... ... It’s ok. Don’t let unfairness kill your spark.

Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is Isolation. As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your goals may not match with others. And you may drop some of them. Basketball captains in college invariably stop playing basketball by the time they have their second child. They give up something that meant so much to them. They do it for their family. But in doing that, the spark dies. Never, ever make that compromise. Love yourself first, and then others.
===========================================================
It's not like that I agree to hundred percent to all of them -- I have some of my own already -- but the thing is how you feel it --- it is the difference between watching the drawing room from your bedroom not from the entrance. Most of the time we ignore unique point of views in our daily life thinking them as wrong ------ the whole point of blogging this is to remember, bookmarking the feelings -- and of course if anyone reads this -- may get something out of this.




Cheers!!!!! Life is not a race ... It's like a prepaid card with fixed balance and validity ;-)

4 comments:

  1. WoW! like the speech. But is not it easy to give some speech from his point of view? Is it so much easy to follow? dont know, really dont know...:(

    ReplyDelete
  2. Most of the time we ignore unique point of views in our daily life thinking them as wrong ------ the whole point of blogging this is to remember, bookmarking the feelings -- and of course if anyone reads this -- may get something out of this.''

    Yap! I agree.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Marvelous! One of my teachers told this speech by shortening it a little.. I didn't know that it was Mr. Chetan Bhagat's speech. Thanks a lot for sharing it...

    ReplyDelete