Tag Archives: perspective

Moving on

And so the day came when I quit work. It was on the cards for some time but for one reason or another it took time to make that decision. This post isn’t so much about quitting my work but quitting in general and especially moving on thereafter.

Moving on is an essential life skill that comes with time. We are creatures of habit. A long habit is difficult to shake off. Think of smoking which, at its most granular level, is nothing more than being occupied for a few minutes and getting away from it all. At least that is how it was for me. But change is the only constant you will find out there. Everything is changing. Everywhere you look you would find changes… constant changes. Just because something has been right for you in the past does not mean it will be so in the future. This applies to everything you can practically think of…. a job, a relationship, taste in food and music, your own characteristics. It happens to you as you grow old en route to a better understanding of what you want out of life. And you hone in on these elusive few bits and bobs that you want out of your life you make  deliberate changes to facilitate the process. You orchestrate your habits and behaviour around this particular need. There are a few obvious reasons why one should move on. These pretty much depend on one’s tolerance threshold. In other words – when enough is enough it is time to move on…  However some of the others are difficult to get to grips with. For instance…

  • goals and needs have changed

Realigning yourself to your new goals and needs can be difficult. Ironically the most difficult part isn’t ‘letting go’ but an intrinsic acceptance that you have changed and that itself necessitates other changes.

  • fear of change

This is the most humane of all factors. Most of us like stability. Unknown is always difficult to embrace. However, this sense of seeking adventure and sailing into the unknown is what made humans prosper. Fear of failure and disappointments can often be factors for not wanting to change. However, imagine living in that way – without any sense of excitement, drama, adventure. It’s a dull life. And if that is what you want then be it. Honestly, there is no wrong or right way. What works for you best is often the right way. That being said… oh the dullness of routine… imagine living life eating soup and never tasting grilled smoked salmon and crab… Seek out adventure… You will win some and you will lose some. Dealing with failures and disappointments to rise above it all is what distinction is all about. Rise and rise high.

  • stagnation

This is a stage that often stems from the inability to deal with the previous two (or perhaps others) facets. Life is all about discovery. Good and bad. All discoveries are learning processes that shape your decision makings and survival skills. If you are not learning, you might as well not bother living. This is especially true in the context of one’s professional career. If you feel you have not learned anything new in the last 6 months to align your career to those aspirations then it is time to move on. Don’t be afraid… move on, discover… the only constant is change and you know it.

Accept the truth and be thankful. It is never late to make a change. Focus on what can be changed. Don’t try to change the world. Start with realistic targets. People say winning is a habit. Once you make small changes successfully, you will be that much more likely to succeed with bigger changes. Control what you can control and stop worrying about the rest. Man in the Mirror is a wonderful song for it shares the fundamental truth – if want to make the world a better place, then take a look at yourself and then make a change! Go on take a chance, make a change, seize the day, let the past go, rise higher than before and move on…

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One of those days

It’s been one of those days. A day that begins perfectly well with all its intents and purposes but then slowly and surely begins to fall apart. Typically speaking these types of days rarely occur just out of the blue. Throughout the week a certain theme develops. Perhaps a bad day or two at work, perhaps a torpid, dormant yet deep frustration with something or somebody, perhaps an unceasing sequence of misfortune – these all build up to an unsustainable level and thereby manifest themselves by piercing through that general happiness bubble. The worry free bubble.

Feeling down and stressed at the end of the day does not resolve the very thing that causes them in the first place. What is really needed is an analysis of the situation and an action plan. Things that you can do that will remedy the situation, that will have a positive impact. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot see a way out then that is indeed bad news. However, truth be told, it is extremely unlikely. Life is all about constant adaptations, adjustments and tweaks. There is no magic formula that will keep the mojo going forever. One always has options. It may not always be an option that is strewn with jasmine and lavender leading you to a land of plenty; but an option nonetheless.

I have no complaints. Things are better than yesterday and I am glad for that. Tomorrow could be much worse. And whilst I don’t subscribe to, for want of a better phrase, the idea of seizing the day and choking on the bone at the cost of tomorrow, I do recognise that there needs to be a balance. At times a philosophical approach is needed to resolve a rut like this.

I strongly believe that there is nothing particularly wrong with worrying and feeling stressed or depressed for a length of time. These are necessary evils… for without them happier times aren’t fully appreciated. Imperative is a sense of resolute commitment to the cause, the cause of transcending. Astute and incisive actions in order to mitigate the rut and facilitate the means to excel. Call it whatever you like, but without making these positive strides you are likely to go nowhere.

As they say when the wicket is up and down, get a good stride in and play with soft hands. It’s been one of those days…

Blissful life

Sometimes you see something and you just know that is what you would like. I went for a drive around Penn and Hazelmere today. Not for the first time mind. But I felt something extraordinary today that I have never felt before.  There was some kind of sedate serenity about the place. Streets were littered with leaves, wind blowing directionless, the sun was out in all its glory and might bathing the whole village in beautiful warm amber glow. It was a shame that I hadn’t thought of taking the camera with me. Penn was picture perfect today.

Immediately my thoughts turned to its many occupants. I started wondering if they too live such a picture perfect life? Everyone has tucked away in the corner of his or her mind an ideal picture perfect life. So do I. Mine has always been that of a middle of the road family, with middle of the road issues and in general a blissful and harmonious life. There is nothing grand about any of it. It doesn’t have to be a manor house; there is no need for Ferraris, Lamborghinis; there is no need for a pony… just a loving wife, couple of beautiful children and just about enough to live comfortably and give the children a decent education and perhaps the occasional ability to spoil the wife and kids at times.

But then I realised something. There was something mighty odd about the whole thing. None of it is really possible without hard work. A blissful life style is not something that you can buy from a boutique shop. The seeds that you sow in early part of your life enable you to reap the benefits at a later stage. A blissful life is only possible if you have done the hard grafting earlier on. Unless of course you are one of those born with a silver spoon in your mouth; and there are plenty around. For majority of us though it is all about grafting…. grafting hard. And it pleases me so much to see hard grafters who made good. The old saying rings true… no pain no gain.  A blissful life is unlikely to land on your lap. You have to earn it.

Only love

Dealing with the past can sometimes be an arduous task. It largely depends on how painful the past was. The past is not something that is fixed with an independent existence. The past is how you remember it. It is something that you construct and reproduce from a set of memories in a number of different ways. In other words the past is our historical memory of a particular period.

The best way to deal with the past is through pure acceptance. The arrow of time is constantly moving forward and henceforth there is nothing that you can do to change it. Revisiting the past must only be done with the sole intention of learning from it and moving forward. There is very little point in worrying about something that has happened and you no longer have the opportunity to influence it. However, it is crucial to realise what you can influence is the future. Indeed it is. The pain orchestrated by the divisions and conflicts of the past never die. As a consequence residual hurt and resentments are reproduced. The capacity to let go of a particular memory of the past, to forge another memory or interpretation that allows people to relinquish the quest for revenge is at the heart of what many understand by forgiveness. Unless people manage to forsake their determination to get even, there can be no new beginning, no transformation of relationship; everyone will remain imprisoned in a particular history (or mythology), recycling old crimes and hatreds – with the present dominated by a particular collective memory of the past.

Dealing with past refers to a process comparable to that of forgiveness. Forgiveness can be at the interpersonal level – forgiving identifiable perpetrators. It can also be at the more anonymous collective level of forgiving history – coming to terms with the pain of the past in such a way as to free oneself from the determining force of a particular collective memory, forming a new memory that creates the symbolic space for people to orient themselves towards a new future which allows for the possibility of reconciliation with past opponents.

 

There are three conditions that are necessary to deal with the past.

a)    peace and security
One clear and necessary precondition for people to ‘move on’ is the experience of a clear break from the painful past. A key element in this is an end to the bloodshed, violence and abuse. To begin to have hope for the future, a core constituent of any reconciliation process, people must experience a significant degree of personal and collective security. The experience of political and identity-driven violence must become a memory, rather than a lived experience in the here-and-now.

b)    justice
In addition to personal and collective peace and security, always a matter of degree, many would argue that people also need to perceive some degree and form of ‘justice’ being implemented in order to experience a break with the past and lay it to rest. At the heart of most common-sense notions of justice is the idea of ‘making things right’ through some combination of punishment of perpetrators and/or the compensation of victims.

c)    truth
In the growing body of literature relating to reconciliation in societies emerging out of violent, destructive conflict and gross human rights abuse there is regular reference to the significance of unveiling and acknowledging the truth about the criminal acts and wrongs of the past as a necessary condition for people to move on individually and collectively.

These constitutive elements or values of peace, justice and truth that help people forgive the past do not rest easily together. Too great a concern with ensuring peace and security and avoiding a resumption of violence can mean that truth and justice are forfeited. But too active a pursuit of justice in societies emerging out of division can result in a return to violent conflict and bloodshed. Moreover, if the value of truth is prioritised above all else, then this can come at the cost of justice. After all, why should perpetrators disclose the full extent of their crimes if they will thereby incriminate themselves and condemn themselves to judicial punishment?

Time heals everything (or at least it significantly takes the edge of the past). Constant thoughts of different course of actions you could have taken and all the what-ifs that come with it halt progress. Think of it this way… you make mistakes (others make mistakes)… you cannot reverse any of it… you cannot influence the other person in anyway but what you can do is to look at yourself and change yourself. If you feel that you have hurt someone in the past, don’t dwell on it. Instead accept it and say to yourself that next time you won’t do it. Positive changes are the need of the hour.

The pain that you feel from a failed relationship can only truly be substituted by another successful relationship. Don’t chase success; instead simply eliminate errors and you will find success will come your way – much the same way only love can heal you from the pain of love. Have faith! Life closes one door and leaves another door ajar – it is up to you to open it.

Try caring instead of judging

Judging people based on set of rules and laws you have devised may not always be the brightest policy! Sure, it can be used as a yardstick that helps you quickly determine how the person might fit into “your” world and perception but by no means this is a universal mechanism.

New research is revealing that these split-second judgments are often wrong, however, because they rely on crude stereotypes and other mental shortcuts. Last year psychologist Nicolas Kervyn and his colleagues published studies showing how we jump to conclusions about people’s competence based on their warmth and vice versa. When the researchers showed participants facts about two groups of people, one warm and one cold, the participants tended to assume that the warm group was less competent than the cold group; likewise, if participants knew one group to be competent and the other not, they asked questions whose answers confirmed their hunch that the first group was cold and the second warm. The upshot: your gain on one [trait] can be your loss on the other.

This “compensation effect,” which occurs when we compare people rather than evaluating each one separately, runs counter to the well-known halo effect, in which someone scoring high on one quality gets higher ratings on other traits. But both effects are among several mistakes people often make in inferring warmth and competence. We see high-status individuals as competent even if their status was an accident of birth. And when we judge warmth, rivalry plays a role: If someone is competing with you, you assume they’re a bad person.

The good news is that if you belong to a stereotyped group or otherwise know how people see you, you can try changing your image. A competent politician who strikes the public as cold, for example, can draw on his warmth reserves to better connect with voters. After all, everybody comes across as warm or competent in some area of their lives.

There are many ways to determine fitness for purpose. But mostly it takes time. Time to gather all the facts, eliminate emotions and finally analyse and conclude in a sensible fashion. Attempting to judge loosely based on a few observations is simply not the right thing to do for you may not deduce the root cause behind these observations.  We are all perfectly aware of this and yet there are countless moments each day when we violate this basic principle. Sure… there are times when further analysis is not required.

In any case, who are we to judge people after all?  Try caring instead of judging, it will be a much better place to live in!!

I came across a wonderful article called “why we judge” by Alicia Smith. It’s worth a read!

Perspective

Growing up as a young teenager can be a mindboggling task. We all know about that… the fun and games and the pain and joy of those adolescence years. However, what I’d like to find out is how many of you can identify and isolate one particular event (or perhaps a sequence of related events) that fundamentally made you who you are today. I can remember one such event with total clarity. Then a few years later there was a sequence of events that also had a profound effect on me.  Together I think they have made me who I am today. Sometimes these events can be a good thing but unfortunately sometimes not quite.  But to seek out the positives, I’d say this has taught me precisely how not to bring up my own kids if and when I ever become privileged enough to be a parent.  There is absolutely no place for negativity and discouragement when a teenager starts to discover the world around him/her; especially something as fundamental as love.

And talking about upbringing, it is absolutely terrifying to see kids these days neglected by their own parents. These are parents without the tiniest bit of regard for the impact of their own actions and behaviour on their own children. Recent rioting received gargantuan amount of media coverage and the rioters (kids) chastised for their appalling behaviour and actions. Frankly speaking, quite rightly so. According to our Prime Minster David Cameron if you are old enough to commit these crimes then you are also old enough to bear the consequences. Whilst I absolutely support this sentiment, I do have a concern that the current socio economic gap has widened so much that struggling parents simply give up themselves. Their children grow up to portray the same neglect, disregard and indifference that their upbringing had. Grown up they might have but certainly not in a capacity to contribute to society and the world around them in any meaningful way.

And here I am complaining about my fairly benign incident that had such a profound effect on me. At least my old folks manage to turn me into a half decent caring individual able to stand on his own feet. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

This economic downturn is another such example. Times are tough. We don’t get two holidays to some far away paradise any more. No more dining in expensive restaurants. Yes, times are tough indeed. Nevermind the poverty stricken countries (a whopping 1.4 billion people live in poverty) in the world where clean water and basic medicine is a scarcity. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

I guess what I am trying to say is don’t dwell on the past. You think you got it rough. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!