Dear Readers, I wish to unravel the absolute pearls of wisdom that helped develop my mindset. It is born out of appreciation for all the discerning readers, writers, thinkers, and change-makers that take the trouble to read my outbursts in these columns. With this humble effort, I desire to share messages from some of the most outstanding ‘leaders’ in individual spheres that helped shape my life. The first attempt landing in front of your eyes covers messages related to creating and maintaining proper balance in life.
When faced with challenges, I find strength in this powerful insight from none other than Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” The only exception I expect would come from a life that never faced any challenges. Of course, I would let you be the judge. Abject surrender to any difficulty comes from our lack of self-confidence. To overcome this common pitfall, we must strive to become better at handling our daily affairs. A systematic approach towards solving little riddles helps lay the foundations of an active, analytical mind. Gradual sharpening of our faculties, growing from the mundane to the uncommon tasks, generates the ability to find alternatives to a challenge, the leads into a riddle. These messages lead us to the thus-far evading success. As we continue to work our way to continued mental exercise, the resulting flow of creative juices empowers us with a stronger thought-process. In my case, early childhood lessons from my hard-working parents infused the power to see an opportunity in every difficulty.
Albert Einstein simplified this riddle in such simple words: “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” These words of wisdom can bring about the ever-fleeting balance in our lives, with only a minor adjustment: An endless quest for success continues to push us deeper into the quagmire of unexpected difficulties, challenges, obstacles, and hardships. The resulting desperation forces us further down into the deluge of hopelessness that we want to escape in the first place. The change in direction brings us closer to the ever-flowing tides of mutual help. We feel empowered to ride with ease the stronger currents of support, guidance, and eventual success. We move away from the solitary path of helplessness at every turn to a pleasant journey in the company of like-minded individuals that believe in ‘caring-and-sharing.’
Let me ask you a simple question that may better explain the above statement: Would you rather have 100% of a stack of 20X $10 bills, or 1% 0f 100 piles of 100X $5 notes? Confused, let me explain: the first option will give you $200, but the second option, though seemingly lower value, would give you $500. See the difference between an apparent 100% return on solo efforts vis.-a-vis. 1% return on a combined effort of a more extensive gathering of success-seekers, willing to help each other. Gulping down a small helping in its entirety may not necessarily fill our tummy, but repeated smaller bites out of a much larger one will undoubtedly deliver the desired result, right?
Oprah Winfrey, the ultra-successful television icon, continues to touch her followers’ lives in a hundred different ways. She gives us this sage advice: “If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.” In simple terms, she is alluding to the age-old metaphor of ‘glass half-full or the glass half-empty.’ Appreciating what we have gives us a valid reason to celebrate. On the contrary, our continued focus on what we don’t leads us to a never-ending tunnel of hopelessness, inability, negativity, and turmoil.
I found especially useful the following advice from the fictional columnist Ann Landers: “If I were asked to give what I consider the single most useful advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, “I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.” For all practical purposes, the ultimate success resides in our ability to develop the tenacity to take on challenges with a smile, find opportunities in difficulties, and outshine and outlast challenges. But it can only be developed over time, with some necessary adjustments in the way we perceive life. We must develop analytical skills, patience, tenacity, persistence, and the all-too-important habit of giving it a try. To attain any semblance of success in life, we need to let go of our comfort zone and make a move forward.
In part II, I shall be sharing some more of the related pearls of wisdom that continue to make a difference in my life. But before I do that, your feedback would be highly appreciated!