You create your own reality


Don’t blame others. Whosoever they are and whatever they have done to you. In a way, you, me, each of us, creates our own realities. You are responsible for whatever is happening to you, with you. And unless you recognize this, and own this reality, you cannot escape suffering.

Through ownership, through taking responsibility, through being accountable for yourself, you awaken. Only when you are awake and aware, you can be free from being controlled by others or avoid being enslaved by your own thinking and actions!

About 20 years ago, I was executive assistant to a rich billionaire. I was based in Singapore but traveling the world on work. I used to love my work, because I was learning so much every single day. But I used to hate__and fear__my boss who was abusive and unreasonable all of the time. I had to work 20+ hours daily and travel without a break for weeks on end. One particularly stressful day, at the end of a harrowing week, when I thought my boss would travel to Zurich and leave me alone for the time his journey would take, he changed his plans at the nth moment. Nothing surprising about it. But the reason why he changed his plans at the last minute was absurd!  He decided to not take the early evening flight from Changi to Zurich that day because he ‘felt like having fish head curry at the Apollo Banana Leaf off Serangoon Road’. So, while he went to eat his meal, I was dispatched to the airport with his baggage to check him, and another senior colleague Paul ( a New Zealander, the President of our company) traveling with him, in on the next flight departing Changi around midnight local time, get their boarding passes (in those days proxies could check in for passengers though they were not allowed to travel!) and await them both at the airport. Perhaps because I was exhausted and tired, perhaps because I loathed these last minute, unreasonable changes my boss made, perhaps because I hated my boss, or perhaps for all three reasons, I took my eye off the ball. I lost Paul’s passport in the taxi. Result: while my boss could take the flight out to Zurich, Paul couldn’t travel that night. My boss let off a lot of steam in full public view at the Singapore Airlines’ check-in bay in Changi while I stood silently, my gaze down on the floor, allowing myself to be ‘slaughtered’ like a helpless lamb.

Paul and I took a taxi back to our hotel. As soon as we were seated, I broke down and cried inconsolably. I blamed my fate, I blamed my boss, I blamed the taxi driver and I blamed my earlier company!! I did that arguing that I would never have left them for this job had they been good employers!

Paul allowed me to explode and express myself. After about 20 minutes, after I had sobered down and had wiped my tears, Paul spoke: “Son, each of us is responsible for our realities. Nobody forced you to take this job up. Nobody is forcing you to put up with your boss if you don’t see eye to eye with him. He’s not the one to be blamed for being who he is. You must assume responsibility for allowing him to treat you that way. He doesn’t talk to me the way he does to you. He knows he dare not. So, stop sulking. Stop the blame game. Take charge. And get on with your Life! Don’t worry about my passport. I have called the limo company and they will check with their ‘Lost & Found’ service tomorrow. In Singapore, anything that passengers leave behind in taxis is turned over to “Lost & Found”.”

Paul’s advice appeared to me as if it was an impromptu sermon that I needed to hear. I took his point to heart. In a couple of days following this episode, I quit that job and returned to India. In these two decades, my level of awareness has only improved. I have come to a state where I accept my realities and own total responsibility for them. I have learned that all the guile and craftiness of the people around us, or even their nastiness and unreasonableness, is only to make us more aware. And staying on the ball, in the moment, being alert, is integral to intelligent living!

Each person has a role in our Life’s journey. When we see each one as an enabler of our lives, we will stop blaming them, or ourselves. We will then live richer, fuller, lives__peaceful within and with all the others in our circle of influence!