Winning is not about a acquiring a title, reaching a position or being feted with a reward or recognition. Winning is the ability to enjoy – and trust – the process of Life!
Last evening (IST), in a last-ball turn of events, West Indies defeated India, in the T20 game played in Florida, USA. Had anyone else been the cause of India’s defeat, we cricket-crazy Indians would have perhaps shrugged it off. But the man that fell to the wily Dwayne Bravo was MS Dhoni, our Captain Courageous, Captain Cool, World’s Best Finisher….and the Mr.Infallible! A Twitter post that surfaced within seconds of the game finishing, read: “Is it the end of the Dhoni era when he causes an Indian defeat?” And this morning’s Times of India led with this headline: “India done in by Dhoni!”
Very uncharitable, avoidable sentiments, I thought.
The reactions to this game’s outcome reflect how culturally unforgiving we are as a nation, as people, and how obsessed we are with winning and success that we find it difficult to be graceful in defeat or failure. It is this attitude that’s evident in all that we do – we are so driven by wanting to succeed, wanting to win all the time, in whatever we do, that we are quick to pounce on anyone who slips, stumbles, falls and make them feel incapable and incompetent. And because we see so much of this happening to so many people around us, when we do fall, we are very harsh on ourselves too. Such rabid stances are totally irrelevant and uncalled for in Life.
Life, like cricket, is just a game. In cricket at least you can go on appeal to a Third Umpire or a Match Referee. In Life, there is no appeal possible, no review possible. You simply have to keep on playing the game, keep on living with what is – no matter what happens! Over their lifetimes, everyone gets their share of glory, their share in the sun, their moment in the spotlight. In fact, after you journey through Life long enough to have seen success, money, name, fame, love, loss, sorrow, shame and awakening, you come to a conclusion that it’s the process of Life that makes it interesting. The process only involves living Life well, enjoying each moment by living it fully, thoroughly. In the end, it will not matter what you won, how much you won, who you defeated and how you lost or how much you lost. The only regret that you may find meaningful enough to review – and perhaps traumatic to handle – is of the Life that you did not live. So, our only focus and priority must be to live the Life that we want to live. And live it very, very well – each day doing the best you can in whatever you love doing. If you are an actor, be the best actor you know – it doesn’t matter if you get an Oscar or not. If you are a gardener, be the best gardener that just immerses herself in her plants – don’t worry or bother whether others think highly of you and your choice of vocation. We must have the spirit that Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet spoke about: “I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think.”
My own awakening has led me to believe that in Life, the journey, the adventure is the reward. Success, failure, win, loss, victory, defeat, these are just social labels. They, without doubt, come in the way of happiness. And so these labels must be expunged. Only then, to quote Rumi again, can we “enjoy the pure wine being poured without complaining about the dirty cup!”