Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Means Matter Too

A symbol of poise and balance
Achieving a goal is important, but I think the route one takes to get there is even more important. Hiking up a mountain allows one to enjoy a more exhilarated view from the top than simply driving up to it. On paper two people may have the same degrees from the same colleges. But it is easy to imagine that one person may have given one's heart and soul to knowledge, and in that process picked up a degree, while the other was simply picking up the degree for no greater purpose. It is also easy to concede that this difference in means reflects in the character of everything that one may do, be it in life or at work.

Why are we then so encompassed in the final outcome of an issue? Goals set the direction...if they are the reason, we can only rob ourselves out of the pure joy of the journey...

The real story:
Sachin's 100th 100 is a celebration of the journey, not the goal. For those of you who find his achievement vile, drop some materialism out of your thoughts. It is not about the pure statistics of his game, but the means he has employed to achieve this that should give one inspiration. Even on the day before the Bangladesh match, he was at the nets for a full practice session with the extras while the rest of the team took off.  That reminds that one can never take anything for granted, no matter how good you are and how unlucky you have been you need to keep trying harder, even harder, and even harder.
There has not been a season in over the last decade when mediocre performances have not evoked calls to leave the game. Even 13 years of international cricket was more than many were lucky to see. He showed us that the world may be against us, but  if there is a a breach in self confidence and efforts, one will be left with only oneself to blame. Universal approbation as a goal can be a lot worse than risking universal censure.

I am not going to enumerate all his achievements, for that could only be tedious repetition.But, even after all these years, I find it faintly amusing that he cannot go for his doctor's appointment without invoking conspiracy theories involving rifts with  Rahul Dravid. Has not anyone missed important occasions in the course of one's life due to  other circumstances? Why is that  any different? Rahul Dravid was a perfect gentleman by not offering any words of praise for a man who was not present at the meeting. If he had done one former team mate a favor, he would have been a victim of more conspiracy theories on account of not having praised other greats in his time. I am sure that Sachin was perfectly aware of sparking these controversies, but universal popularity had never been his goal. In the end, he had to do the right thing to keep his commitments for the upcoming cricket matches and be fit for that. That is what he cares about, and that is his priority.

Forget cricket, if you can indeed forget his cover drives...but take a moment to understand how he leads his life and pursues his passions. Even if you  can concede his greatness grudgingly, you are on your way to being a more successful person.

Abyss of Human Virtues?

"The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense."- Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice
This line struck a chord in me while I was re-reading Pride and Prejudice this week, it may be because I have been increasingly mystified by inconsistencies of human behavior.
Why are we so fickle minded to let our opinions change based on partial understanding of circumstances? Why cannot people appreciate the good in someone? Should it really  not  be easy to appreciate and praise somebody than criticize? Does not criticism require a more thorough understanding of the other person's situation in life, and at least some proof of having carried one's own self in better fashion?
Even where there is genuine criticism,  why are people so reluctant to even consider the possibility of merit?
Why get offended at everything?
Why are people's memories and gratification so poor that only people with artifice can consciously make it possible to remain universally popular?
Why is it necessary to view everything in this world starting from a friend's unintentional misbehavior to a world cricket champion's good performance with the same cynical eye?
Why have we become so bad that we have lost trust in the goodness of beings?
Why is it so hard to accept people and incidents at face value?
Why are people obsessed with  pleasing, and gaining approval from even those people who don't matter?
Why are we sunk so low to attach a material measure to every trait of human behavior?

Can we forget this and simply enjoy  the pure joy and innocence it all could be, if only we would let it be.