“…..Then something happened. Something changed his life.”
We read this line in almost all biographies.
What is that one moment that changes your life? Actually speaking what is this change of life all about?
When do we know? Or to be precise just how do we get to know that this the moment or this is the idea?
In fact we always admire the story of the underdog. Practically each and every person we admire has one thing in common – they all had humble beginnings. They battled almost impossible odds, they persevered, they showed grit and determination and they managed to turn the tide in their favor. Therefore this “Turning the tide” moment can be called a success moment. This is what creates the self belief in all of us and motivates us to strive harder in order to create our own “turning the tide” moment.
People all over the world, in rich and developed countries as well as in underdeveloped nations, grapple with the same set of “pressures” and “fear”. People are asking the same question “what is my calling?” “where does my passion lie?” “What will I be good at?”
By the time the kids are in college they have career counselors asking them all sorts of questions while trying to connect the dots in the vacant space. This vaguely dotted landscape then answers or tries to answer a seemingly unanswerable question.
The first phase of our lives is invariably filled with an attitude of fun, play and frolic. This phase knows no “Fear” the mind is really carefree. I tell my kids that our play time started by 5 pm and went on till the last kid was not dragged home by his mom. An hour or two of gully cricket was followed by “wanja wati” on the terrace (I couldn’t possibly try and explain this game to you even if I wanted to) the arena then moved on to “dhabba – ais pice” (hide and seek for dummies) and whatever next that the majority decided. The world was indeed one big play ground and we were the players. These intensely competitive sports and games thought us one thing though: “it was important to play hard to win however it wasn’t the end of the world if we lost”
All this changed when we were asked what is it that you wish to become? What are your career goals?
Growing up in a middle class family and being the only son of a single mom had its own challenges. It got further compounded when you have a mom who makes Hitler look like a choir boy. A tough and no nonsense school principal, a strict disciplinarian, an extremely volatile and violent temperament only made life that little tougher. The amount of slaps, boxes, caning that I have got would even make a MMA exponent envious of me.
Then there was this one thing that I was good at, two actually. One was music – I had an inborn sense of beat and rhythm and I realized very early that playing percussion instruments came quite easily to me and the other was I could speak. **********
Cut to 50 :
There comes a moment in your life when a key decision needs to be taken. For me that moment was two years ago. March 2013.
High position jobs come with their own share of stress and strains. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” is an appropriate definition. After a while jobs become full of boredom, politics, frustrations, unhappiness, back biting, unrealistic pressures of deliverables etc. Also there is just no security left (and thank God for that)
In my inner mind I could sense a voice telling me not to go to a meeting, or listen to a boss that only likes to hear his own voice, or work on things that were stressing me from within.
That was the time I did a simple but highly effective exercise. I took a paper and a pen and sat in solitude.
I wrote an essay about “myself”: I described me, my likes, dislikes, fears, goals, apprehensions, etc. I penned down my expectations from myself. However deep and profound it might sound I honestly wrote up an answer to a very pertinent question. What would be my biggest regret on my death bed?
When I read my essay objectively I realized this was not me. I wasn’t like this. In my mind I carried a very different image and visual about myself. However the person that this essay described was a fry cry away from the “real” me. This person had “fear” and “anxiety” and “a sense of dejection” here was a person who had substituted courage for status quo, movement for inertia.
In life changes happen so slowly that we fail to notice them, but over a long period of time we completely alter our entire personalities. Once we recognize these changes we can then look towards taking control and make the small adjustments each day that overtime enables us to become better and happier beings.
I needed to find myself.
I listed all the things that I loved as a kid till I graduated from college. Every single thing.
I loved comics, I loved public speaking, I loved to interact and connect to different types of people, I loved girls (well that’s a different story that we shall write upon some day), I loved learning and teaching students, I loved helping people, I loved making people smile.
I had to get on the path that that would combine my strengths of teaching, creativity, public speaking and writing. Basically everything (except playing the percussion instruments).
Life comes a full circle. It draws the dots on the experiences that you had as a kid, it connects the things and people you like. It takes you back in a space where the mind was carefree and knew no fears. Fear has a nasty habit of making you boring.
The Idea smith is now a little over two years old. Not once during the entire phase have I felt scared of undertaking this journey. I do things that I really enjoy doing, I might not be good at it but I do strive daily to get better at what I do. Success to me is not measured in financial terms (although I must admit I was never so amply rewarded financially as I am now) but to keep finding and relishing all aspects of childhood. The more pieces of myself I find the happier and more successful I feel.
I think I have found my career. Or have I? There’s still the love of percussion instruments and of course the huge love for the member of the opposite sex remaining to be leveraged. Watch this space guys. I’ll be back.