A Life Lesson from Darin Zanyar – Be what you wanna be…!

Be what you want to be. Do what you want to do. You will make mistakes along the way. You will fall. But be sure, you’ll rise again. That’s what Life’s really all about!
It is that time of the year when most parents are all keyed up about what academic program their young (almost adult) children must pursue. With amazing consistency, most choices are made basis the “earning potential” that careers promise. Very few parents actually let their children choose what comes to them naturally and what they can do best. Sometimes, children don’t know what they are good at. Or don’t know what they want to do. Which is also totally fine. Life, despite all its unpredictability, still offers a lot of time for people to decide what they want to do and then actually allows them the time to go do it too! To agonize over the (perceived) “indecisiveness” of a teenager, in my humble opinion, is neither appropriate nor is it sensible!
My experience as a young adult who had to fight for doing what I wanted to do and as a parent who has allowed his two children to do whatever gives them joy has taught me some simple lessons.
1.   However much you plan, Life has a way of taking you to where you must arrive. And that destination may not have even been on your radar or in your wildest dreams!
2.     There’s nothing called a zero-defect career or even a perfect career. Everyone makes mistakes. S@#T Happens!
3.     Having money and job security doesn’t necessarily mean you will have fun doing what you do and enjoy Life!
So, the best way to approach your career is to ask yourself:
                                                          i.    What am I extremely good at?
                                                         ii.    What do I love doing? What comes naturally to me?
                                                        iii.    How can I create value and make a difference, doing what I (will) do, every single day?
Even as you answer those questions honestly and then choose to follow your dream, be open to the surprises that Life may throw up. It may be a breakthrough or it may be an unprecedented challenge. Go wherever Life’s taking you and go with whatever comes you way. There’s only one thing you can really control in your Life. And that is, getting better, every single day, at doing what you love doing! In the last scene of the iconic movie 3 Idiots (2009, Rajkumar Hirani), the narrator’s voice over quotes “Baba” Ranchhoddas (Aamir Khan) as saying: “Kabil Bano, Kabil. Kamyiabi Phir Jhak Marke Tumhare Piche Ayegi”. It means: “Strive to become capable or skilled (actually the best) in whatever you do. Success will then come, chasing after you.” The movie’s message is inspiring. Unfortunately, too few parents have internalized it. And fewer still have had the courage to let their children do what they want to do.
What inhibits parents is a sense of insecurity, a “what if” fear, an overzealousness to protect their children. Naturally, if you are a parent who has overcome challenges to be where you are today (in fact, who hasn’t been through tough times?), you don’t want your children to face the same situations and hardships. So, you begin with advising career choices but soon start directing and managing your kids’ careers. Children, on the other hand, respond in two ways. Either they rebel – like the way I did or they just do what the parents advise them to do, out of “respect” for them.
Parents and children both must understand one thing – that each Life is unique. There is no template to Life. Each of us is entitled to our share of experiments, adventures, mistakes and genius. The best way to live then is to live loving what we do. Then everything, in the end, always falls in place!
I was very impressed listening to a song by the young Swedish pop singer Darin Zanyar. The lyrics went somewhat like this ~
“Doctor, Actor, Lawyer or a Singer,
Why not President, be a dreamer,
You can be just the one you wanna be…
You never know what Life could bring,
‘Cause nothing lasts forever…”
Darin’s all of 26 and to imagine he sang this simple yet meaningful song (‘Darin’, 2005) when he was barely 17! That’s what’s really possible when parents don’t rein in their kids’ latent talent!
If you are a parent reading this, you may want to drop your inhibitions and insecurities. Go listen to your children, understand what they are deeply passionate about and then trust them to go follow their dreams. If you are a young adult reading this, know that it’s cool to be yourself. So, go be that person you want to be! The world needs people like you – who are alive, happening and happy!

Be cool, bliss will follow!

Be cool. And you will be in bliss!

Sometimes you have no choice but to accept the Life given to you. You have tried everything humanly possible to fix your situation. To solve your problem. But the problem refuses to let go of you. Be cool in such times! Be in bliss.  


How can you be cool when someone you love is dying? How can you be cool when your teenaged child is insistent on being in a relationship that you know is ruinous? How can you be cool when your companion is cheating on you? How can you be cool when the world, perhaps your world, is inching towards an apocalypse?  How can you be cool when there is so much injustice around you, when people are being selfish, cold and cruel?

Good questions. But think about it. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice! You simply will have to accept the reality of what is, take a deep breath and attempt a new solution if you can think of one, or simply wait for time to turn. Which is, wait for your time to change! Intelligent living is never about applying YOUR intelligence to Life. It is about being intelligent in letting Life be. There is an ancient Zen saying: “Even in a fire the man who has attained satori remains cool.‘satori’means enlightenment. And this doesn’t mean wearing an ochre robe and growing a flowing beard or shaving your head of. It means being aware of the intrinsic nature of Life!

There’s a story which comes to mind. A wise sage had heard of the Captain Cool legend of the famous King Janaka who ruled from Mithila (present day Janakpur, Nepal) over Videha. Janaka was known for never being flustered with any situation. And so, like Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he was called Captain Cool. The sage was intrigued by Janaka’s legend and so came calling one day. The King received the sage with full honors and left him in the guest room of his palace and promised to return after attending to important matters in his court. The sage meanwhile bathed and freshened up. He had only his loin cloth on him which he washed and left to dry in the sun. He stitched a small skirt of mango leaves to cover himself and sat in deep meditation. Janaka finished his meetings and came to the sage’s room. When he saw the sage in deep meditation, he prayerfully sat opposite him awaiting the sage to open his eyes. An hour or so must have passed when screams rent the air.  “The palace is on fire and it has started in the kitchen abutting the guest room”, screamed someone. The King remained unruffled. There was a lot of noise and smoke around them but he kept sitting focusing his gaze on the sage. The sage leapt up when he made sense of what people were saying and screamed at Janaka: “How can you remain so cool, when your palace is on fire? Wait! Let me save my loin cloth which I put out to dry and then we both will run for our Life!” Janaka still was non-plussed! When the sage returned in a moment with the loin cloth and the two men rushed out of the burning guest room, the sage again asked Janaka the ‘secret of his coolness’. Janaka replied: “Every moment I am ready to depart from this planet, giving up this lifetime. And I know I will take nothing with me when I go. So, why grieve over anything which is not going with me in any case?”

Indeed. Why grieve, why attach yourself to, over anything that’s not going with you in any case? So, be cool about anything that may happen to you. And surely you will be in bliss!