Hard Work has a secret sibling!

Hello again and welcome, readers! I’d like you to brace yourself as it is going to be quite a while before I finish my rant. So get comfy and then pick this up, because it is longer than the previous one.

In my previous post, I’d mentioned a few moments that were meaningful to me and perhaps, to you.  In this post, I’d like to talk about doing something that makes life meaningful. Now when I say something like this, I don’t actually mean I have the answers to all sorts of life related questions. It’s just my take on the problems, beliefs and conundrums I face daily.

How many of you have had the experience of the age old phrase, “Work Hard!” being told to you, to which you mentally reacted like “Yeah sure!” I know I have. This was probably because at a young age I had, because of movies, associated ‘Hard Work’ with this…

HardWork_388x357

This was probably because I rely on images to remember things. I have a visual memory.

So I thought, “Why would I want to push boulders up a mountain?” The more I thought about it, the more it made no sense to me. But since it was a norm and everyone was doing it, I thought it was cool. So even though I would work hard, I wouldn’t be satisfied.

Time passed by and I kept believing it more and more firmly.

Then one day, I came across a fantasy novel called ‘The Sea of Monsters’ by Rick Riordan. If you are into young adult fiction, I’d say it’s worth your time. This is how I was introduced to novels and fiction. Then some old friend showed me poems he wrote. I thought it was interesting, so I decided to try. So one day as I returned home from college and sat watching a program on TV about The Big Bang Theory (the actual scientific theory, not to be confused with the TV show), I kid you not when I say this that I had an uncontrollable urge to pen down a poem on the very topic. I literally went to my room, grabbed a pencil and paper and jotted down a poem on “The String Theory” (whatever I understood of it anyway).

That is how I started writing. I know it sounds a bit unrealistic, but that is probably because I was trying to live a fairy tale then. I was the most unrealistic person I’d known. So I developed a habit of writing poems and started enjoying them to the extent that at a point I’d written 2-3 poems in a day. And later I began venturing into stories. I actually started doing hard work without even knowing it because writing was the only thing on my mind, day-in and day-out. But, this caused me to stay inside a bubble that I’d created which was hurting my academics.

Then I got stuck in a self-fulfilling cycle of doing lesser and lesser work every day, all the while losing interest. Until one day, when I stopped working altogether. That was the day that I had assumed defeat to what I assumed was what life was all about. I was depressed. At this point, my question had changed from “Why should I push boulders?” to “How do they do it? How do they keep working hard?

I kept wandering in Dream Castles and Fictional Universes because the real world stopped making sense to me. Time passed by and somehow I pulled myself out of the ditch that I had trapped myself in. I started to pursue topics that gave me purpose, something that was lacking in the things I was doing on my “Set Path”. Here is a quote by, me….

A person without a purpose is equivalent to a starving lion.”

What?!

Let me explain. If a starving lion sees any living, breathing creature, even if is an offspring of that lion, it won’t care. All it cares for is its stomach. Similarly, if  a person goes too long without a purpose in life, he will either be eternally wandering, achieving nothing in life or will achieve everything in life and yet be unsatisfied. Even if one lives a short life, they would definitely want it to be satisfying. That’s why people do what they do when they discover that they have cancer or will die soon. The desperation to live arises in them in the face of death.

So coming back to what I was saying, all of the false reasoning broke down and I started to see no purpose in what I was doing. I searched online and probably even stared at the answer to my question, but I never realised it would be something really simple.

Somehow I finished all of my academics and put it in the past. After tons of research and introspection, I contradicted my own belief system and with a lot of self-doubt and the lowest level of self-esteem I’d ever had, I told my parents that I wanted to do Game Design. By that time I’d changed what I wanted to do so many times that I lost track.

Now fast forwarding to a few months ago, I was wasting my time on the internet. There was nothing really bad about that, except that I was entertaining myself when I was supposed to be working. I was watching one of my friends, a gamer, who had a task at hand which was more important than playing games. Even though he loved playing games, he did what was required rather than what he loved doing for fun. He did what was necessary for him to progress academically and he was pursuing what he loved. It was in that moment that I realised what “Hard Work” really meant. It wasn’t working endlessly that was the key ingredient. It was sacrifice. The moment that I realised that, I saw what was required for me to achieve anything. It was sacrifice. I had to sacrifice anything that didn’t contribute to my set goal. Ultimately, only if it contributed to achieving that goal there would be meaning in doing it, otherwise I would be throwing away my time and energy. The sacrifice makes the activity for which it is made, seem valuable.

It took me a while in getting used to that, but now I see why it works.

To achieve something, you need to sacrifice something that you assign an equal importance, if not greater.”

It’s the same reason why we value money. In exchange for money (the sacrifice), we get goods or services. And in exchange for our time and energy, we get money! Funny how that works though!

After going through all that, I got just this much.

Hard work requires sacrifice!”

Seems like a bit of a stretch, isn’t it?

If we take these two words literally, generally speaking, any work isn’t really that hard (there might be exceptions here though). It’s really the mental effort involved to push beyond our comfort zone and keep going until the task at hand is completed. We feel motivated to do something only when we find that it adds value to our lives. No value, no motivation.

Now, there are countless other people who have written blogs, books, given lectures, spoken in podcasts, etc. So this is my take, my understanding of what “Hard Work” means, at least for now. I’d like to now take a look at successful people’s definition of what Hard Work means and possibly take away something useful as I’m not interested in re-inventing the wheel any longer. Now I’d like to improvise on what works.

So thank you readers for making it so far, if you have made it, and see you next weekend! (Yes, this is going to be once in a week)

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Kung Fu Panda Wisdom

Disclaimer : In order to fully understand this post, you, the reader, should have seen at least one part of Kung Fu Panda because I make a lot of references. Also, in this post I’m not trying to amuse anyone. So it would get boring if you were looking for anything like that.

Hello and welcome everyone!

A few days ago I was watching the Kung Fu Panda trilogy and at certain moments I cried.

“Wait, how is that possible?” you’d ask.

Or perhaps, “Why?”

It could have been something very trivial. I couldn’t recognize it either until I got motivated to start this blog. It wasn’t that I was moved or I was emotional at that moment, which I was anyway, but some part of me was feeling a sense of freedom, something I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was crying but at the same time feeling joy. Inexplicable! But I’ll try my best anyway.

After going over the same moment again and again, I think I now know why.

In the first movie:

Whenever I saw Po, the panda, struggling with learning something that he loved doing, I cried. I believe it wasn’t because he was failing or that I sympathized with him. I believe it was because the struggle that he did to learn something he loved was what I aspired to do, but never did. The kind of struggle that would impart meaning to life and make one feel worth something. I wanted to do this, but I never did. I ignored that part of me. I cried because I finally felt a sense of freedom to whole-heartedly pursue what I really wanted to do.

When Master Oogway, told Shifu, to “believe” in Po before he departed from the scene, I cried. It was because, for a long time I stopped believing in myself, in what I could do in order to fulfill conventional expectations. I was trying to follow a path that was set for me. I always dreamed of a life I never had, with the complete belief that I would never have it. Now I believe that I have freed myself from that bond.

In the second movie:

Po gets defeated for the first time. He is taken into the care of The Soothsayer, a goat, who heals him of his injuries. He then recollects his memories and feels sad knowing the truth. The Soothsayer then tells him, and I quote,

“Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn’t make you who you are. It is the rest of your story, who you choose to be”

I choose to be truthful and honest. Even if not towards someone else, at least to myself. I mean it’s just a fictional movie, right? It is. There’s no denying that. But could its implications not be applied in our lives. I definitely see applications which could probably even lead to a happier and fulfilling life.

Later in the movie, the panda is fighting the villain alongside whom he considered as his idols before he even knew how to fight. This is clearly shown in the scene where he tries to free other masters from the jail. He fought for them to accompany him. Later he felt grateful for the fact that they stood beside him as a family in times of need. The family aspect is what struck me. I felt I’d been neglecting the support for quite a few years. I was looking for support everywhere and neglected what I already had.

In the third movie:

“Who are you?” is what Kai, the villain, asks Po.

To this he replies “I’ve been asking the same question. Am I the son of a panda? The son of a goose? A student? A teacher? Turns out, I’m all of them”.

This was an epiphany moment for me. I didn’t cry here though. Po assumed different roles to suit different situations. Even though he is a panda, his way of thinking is very much like us. So if we’re really searching for who we are or what we are meant to be, I don’t think there is a set role that we would fit into. Depending on the situation, we can choose whoever we want to be. Although, spiritually speaking, the question “Who am I” opens up a million possibilities, this is what feels real to me now. So until I have a profoundly different experience, I choose to believe in this. Plus, that is another whole topic of discussion.

For everyone who made it this far and are still reading, thank you. This is the kind of stuff that I am aiming for, something that means something, something that provides value, something that makes it real.

I hope to have a proper discussion on this topic. So let me know what you think in the comments section below.

P.S.: One quote worth mentioning is in the third movie, when Shifu tells Po,

“If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be more than you are” – a kick in the rear for whenever we start feeling comfortable with ourselves.

Hello World

Hello guys. I’d like to call myself a wanderer, but basically I’m just confused. So I’d like to use this platform to explore really what interests me and who I can generate interest in. I’ve almost got a degree in Mechanical Engineering but my thoughts were always at a tangent to how everything was being taught in college. Thus, I had lapses in attention and focus. So for whatever be the reason, I’ve decided to not make a career in that field but rather as a Game Designer. It’s been one year since this decision was made and I do not regret it. But it’s going to be a long way before I can call myself a Game Designer.

I had tried writing, but wasn’t motivated enough to pursue it. This was about four years ago. Now I’ve decided to try again. I hope to keep you readers, well, reading! Thanks for your time.