Monday, March 03, 2008

Gallop? Sprint? Trot? Jog? Walk?

One particular story in the Warrior of Light makes me introspect about my work life so far. Actually, I am just thinking aloud here. Helps one realize things at times. There was a five-year time period (when I was with my previous employer) when I simply buzzed my way through every single day. I behaved like an ant out to collect a dozen years' ration in one short summer. I behaved like I had to achieve everything possible in those five years. I read, I wrote, I acted upon quite a lot of what I read, I evangelized, I overloaded myself, I worked in office, I worked at home, I worked during the weekends, I volunteered for almost everything, I cooked up ideas one after another....both mundane and magnificent (or so I thought ;-)), I tried everything possible, I invented something (that was definitely a pleasure), I churned out hundreds of power point presentations for the interested, amused, indifferent, and irritated audiences alike, wrote a few verbose white papers, presented at conferences and what not. In short, I ate, drank, and breathed KM. There was little else in my life. I don't know about tangible rewards I received as a result of all the obsession I had with work (and anyways, that was truly not what was on my mind when I ate, drank and breathed KM) but I did enjoy the journey and felt like I did something really significant for those 5 years. At times, there were those little voices (mainly friends' voices) which were telling me to not make my life so KM-centric but I guess I did not bother. Because I was enjoying myself. And honestly, I even felt guilty when I took short breaks away from KM unless those breaks were intended to help me come back to KM with a bang!

And then things unexpectedly changed. I put everything I had into one consulting assignment and then ended up in a state where I badly needed a break lest I suffer terribly for lack of mental and physical rest. So, I went ahead and took the longest 'break' ever and de-focused from KM for a long while. I think it was needed though initially I felt guilty about it. I wasn't in touch with all the KM feeds and articles and blogs that were screaming at the top of their voices....I ignored them to my own surprise. Somewhere inside, I felt that I would be able to bounce back and did not have to worry. The Warrior of Light calls it "Resting between battles". True. Every Warrior needs it. There are so many contradictory messages in modern times....people today - especially in the world of business - believe that life is one big race with minimal pit stops and breaks. 'Don't stop; you shall be run down if you do' is the mantra. I am not so sure. I think this is not the approach to take if we want to experience a fuller life. If we don't stop we don't even have the time and the wisdom to think about whether we are going in the right direction....whether we are doing the right thing and whether we are doing it right...whether we are doing everything that our heart wants us to do or just heading towards one goal that may not really matter at the end of the day. It may be true sometimes that we are doing the right things and doing it right, but despite it being so....we ought not to let ourselves make it too long a run. There needs to be a REAL break that consciously takes us away from the path we were pursuing for a while. Also, when we come back, assured that we are indeed doing what we want to really do, the breaks and a slower, more gradual approach gives, I believe, greater joy.

I think modern life has conditioned us too much towards accomplishing everything in 1/10 th of a lifetime. I don't think that's good. Savouring the journey rather than galloping like mad, thinking through things, rejoicing achievements (small and big), rewarding oneself....these are probably better ways of enjoying not just the run towards the goal but also life in general. We need to draw a line between laziness and a gradual and thoughtful approach towards our goals. The world around us may run like a mad it makes things tougher for the people who want to think about life and enjoy the 'little' joys it provides....but it is just a matter of confidence, conviction and faith before we learn to not let the rest of the world condition us.

End of rambling a.k.a introspection. I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this one. I really want to hear more stories that weigh the pros and cons of a fast life versus 'natural' (rather than slow) life. Will you please share some of your stories? :-)


Kishore said...
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Kishore said...

As you mentioned in your previous post "I guess sometimes books come to you when you're 'good' for them", you are getting an idea of what life is. Everyone has to learn in their own way. 'Moments of Truth' - come to everyone in unique way. This is common conversation I have with many friends: Balance of Life is important. You don't understand it unless you have been out of balance at one time. You experience both and decided which is right for you.

Nimmy said...

How true! I don't know what else to say because I think you've said it very well....just the right words and thoughts! :) Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, Kishore!