Monthly Archives: April 2013

Life imitates art and art imitates life

I am playing a small role in a play that is going to be performed by 301 Productions (a Pune-based theater group that I am a part of) for the students of a school for visually challenged.

We had a rehearsal yesterday. I was making sure that I was pushing myself to do a better job as this is my first acting performance and I want to do a good job. The acting skill is not inherent to me. We discussed our progress at the end of the rehearsal. The director mentioned that the output by all the actors was still not what he’d like it to be. He wanted us to rehearse at home, put in our best and really enjoy what we were doing to put up a magnificent play.

I find this situation to be very similar to the one in the corporate world. Employee thinks he’s putting enough into the work and employer wants his employees to put in more.

Life, indeed, imitates art and art imitates life. (Thanks to Suruchi Wagh for introducing this quote to me)

The 2 examples, albeit, are slightly different.

Nobody minded what the director of the play said because his expectations are totally fair. He knows we can do better and thus wants us to. We know we can do better and we want to. It’s because we want to do an incredible show to put smiles on faces of those who cannot experience the play visually but audibly. What’s highlighted is that the team is driven by a common cause.

In corporate world, people are often driven by different causes. If only all the stakeholders – employer and employees – worked together for a common cause of producing great work and taking care of everyone’s interests to a possible extent, that the employees would definitely put more than what they think they ought to and the employer would naturally appreciate these efforts!

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What good is saved time if nobody uses it

We have technology at our disposal to help us save time. Then too, we crib about not having enough time at all.

The movie “Before Sunrise” (Brilliant movie and my all time favorite romantic film, btw!) has a very apt comment on this.

Jesse (as he’s taking a stroll with Celine on the roads of Vienna at night):

You know what drives me crazy!

It’s always people talking about how great technology is, how it saves all this time! But what good is saved time if nobody uses it? if it just turns into more busy work?

I never hear somebody say, “Well, you know! With the time I have saved by using my word processor, I’m gonna go to a Zen monastery and hang out”

Sweet 🙂

(On a related note, please read this by Seth Godin)

Making mistakes

I am going through a slightly rough patch because of some conscious mistakes that I made in last few months. There was a time when I loathed myself for the mistakes I made knowingly. However, I didn’t rush myself to get over that feeling. I let those thoughts get settled in, had my dose of motivational stuff, spoke my heart out to people and eventually told myself – “Hey! It’s not so bad after all”.

And now when I look at the whole situation objectively, I realize I am certainly in a favorable situation if not in a desirable situation. “Not desirable” because things that I had planned or wished for didn’t happen; yet “favorable”, because I’m a believer in the Destiny. I think things were destined to happen the way they happened. It’s all for the greater good. Jo hota hain ache ke liye hota hain.

For some, this destiny talk may sound bullshit. Fair enough. Let’s just claim that by putting the onus on destiny (or fate or whatever), I am running away from taking responsibility of the situation, of my mistakes. Keeping the destiny equation aside, I admit I am in a traumatic situation because of some conscious mistakes that I made. Yet, this, in no way, is an unfavorable situation as it gives me a chance to push myself further and to steer clear of the mess because I still have all the capability and freedom to. Because I’ve been fortunate enough to have made mistakes which didn’t affect a single basic necessity of my life – food, clothing, shelter, education, health, free speech. So, life will pretty much move on in my case. This undesirable situation gives me a chance to rise to it and make a dent. Who knows, I may end up making another set of mistakes. But life won’t still be badly affected. Touchwood! There are people in the world for whom such mistakes can cost them either of the basic necessities. I imagine myself in their situation. It would be horrible.

And so I realize that this freedom of making mistakes essentially comes up with a great responsibility. Responsibility of making these mistakes count for someone’s good; of correcting myself; of finding the purpose of my life, meaning in my actions. I must start to think beyond my own, my own growth and my own learnings. I must give more than I take.

I don’t remember bringing a smile to someone’s face in past so many months. It has only been about me and my desires and my pursuits and my quests. I thought – let me grow personally and professionally in my life before I start contributing to others. But that’s so foolish, right. Focusing on one’s growth is a constant lifelong endeavor. The real purpose lies in growing together. In thinking beyond own. In giving and not just receiving. I find so many people who’re fulfilling this purpose through simpler acts of theirs. Someone’s taking care of stray animals. Someone’s planting and growing trees. Someone’s fighting for right governance. Someone’s working at the bottom of the pyramid. I must stop living a life of licking for my own good. My freedom of taking calculated risks puts a great responsibility on me to take those risks for a purpose, for a meaning and for endeavors worth the risk.

So what’s that meaning for me?

  1. Making my parents happy?
  2. Continue being the peacemaker and supporting shoulder for the family?
  3. Striving towards strengthening an organization committed for making a small difference to this world? Working for startups?
  4. Volunteering for a cause?
  5. Producing a work of art which can entertain and inspire others? (Is this piece of writing one such work?)
  6. Spreading cheer, spreading love?

I am picking 1 to 6 because that’s all what I can think of.

What’s your purpose in life? What will you find meaning in? There’s a good chance that this “meaning” talk may sound meaningless. The real crux of it, after all, is in doing, not just thinking. In doing things, the dots will automatically get connected and one will eventually realize that one’s actions did serve a noble cause. No matter how much I talk, “Doing is highlighted”!

So what do I do? And the answer is still 1 to 6. What’s your answer?

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