My Vlog today invites you to pause and reflect on what matters most and why! Viewing time: 3:21 minutes
My Vlog today invites you to pause and reflect on what matters most and why! Viewing time: 3:21 minutes
Today’s blogpost appears as a Podcast. Listen here: 4:08 minutes
In this Podcast, I share why I feel we must detach ourselves from the problems we go through. As long as we are clear that we are not the problem we are faced with, we will not suffer. This is the key to inner peace and happiness.
My conversation with Jayendra Panchapakesan, 59, filmmaker and co-Founder, Real Image Media Technologies for my ‘The Happiness Road’ Series that appears in DT Next every Sunday. Read the conversation on the DT Next page here. ‘The Happiness Road’ is also my next Book. Photo Credit: Vinodh Velayudhan
To Jayendra, clarity about Life, its Purpose and happiness came very early. In 1978, as a 20-year-old chemistry graduate, he pounded the pavement in Mumbai seeking a career in advertising. He ended up changing 14 jobs in the next 8 years. The reason? “None of my employers could match my idea of happiness,” he says. “I value work more than I value money. To me, work must be purposeful, it must create value, it must do good, it must benefit people. Doing such work consistently gives me happiness,” he explains.
Over the last 31 years that he has been an entrepreneur and employer himself, his key message to his team members has always been this: “Quit, if you hate coming to work. The work you do is the reward in itself. There is no other reward to be got, no destination to be reached. So, if you are not enjoying your work, quit.” He adds that if all people saw their work as an opportunity to benefit others and not just as a tool to make money or earn a living, the whole world will be enriched and will be a much happier place!
As I am speaking to him, I sense an equanimity about Jayendra. Yet, over the last 30 months, he and his wife Sudha have been weathering a huge crisis. In November 2014, Sudha was struck by aphasia – the inability to comprehend language or speak due to brain damage from a stroke. Jayendra totally immersed himself in Sudha’s care. He says he draws great inspiration from her attitude – from her “unimaginable urge to be positive, to get better and to never feel less of a person”. And, he says, he discovered an “unlimited ocean of patience” within himself to trust the process of Life. How did he manage to stay anchored through all this time? “It was interesting that I never asked ‘why’ or ‘why us’. I simply kept doing what had to get done. I realized the value of being in the moment. I believe that’s what happiness is – staying in the present and not hoping for it at the end of the road,” he avers.
So, perhaps, this is the little secret behind why Jayendra is called Mr.Unflappable by most people who know him – do only what gives you joy and stay in the present doing what you have to do!
I chanced upon a Facebook Live video yesterday. A gentleman made three points before I turned off the video:
I turned off the video at this time because that’s not the way I see Life. Interestingly, however, if I were to go by the theory put out by the gentleman in the video, Vaani and I lack leadership, and that is why perhaps we don’t have any money! (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal) Or perhaps it is that we lack leadership because of our karma. Interesting. Very interesting.
From what I have experienced, know and understand, Life is very, very simple. I feel people make Life unnecessarily complex by bringing in religion, karma, money and, now, as I see it, leadership! I wonder why?
The only definition of leadership that works for me is management thinker Noel Tichy’s. He says, “Leadership is the ability to see reality and mobilize the appropriate response.” Tichy defined leadership in a management context; to remind organizations and managers that anyone, irrespective of where they are in the hierarchy, can be a leader. I have always been captivated by the profundity of Tichy’s definition. It is so simple, so beautiful, and if you think about it, this definition is applicable to leadership in Life too. Consider these:
So, anyone who can internalize this definition of leadership, and live by it, is a great leader! Now, this is how Vaani and I have learnt to live our Life to the fullest – despite our circumstances. I believe we are facing Life stoically, looking it squarely in the eye! Yes, we don’t have money; but that does not make us lousy leaders. And, to be sure, there are so many, many, many people out there who face Life courageously, who live dangerously, without money. Clearly they are great leaders. I simply don’t understand how anyone’s fiscal circumstances can be used as a denominator to determine their ability to lead in Life.
The truth about our lives is that it is inscrutable. Period. Therefore, let us not try to make sense of it. Life happens through us. Not because of us. So, in some situations, if you can get what you want, if you can make money, celebrate that phase of your Life. But never imagine it happened only because of you. And when you don’t get what you want or get what you don’t want, when you can’t make money despite your best efforts (like what Vaani and I are faced with), celebrate that phase – with faith and patience – of your Life too. And don’t blame yourself for that phase. This is how Vaani and I are living our Life. We have learnt that no amount of religion, no rituals, no karma theory, no method, no mantra, can prevent you from going through what you are going through or what you have to face, and endure, in Life. You have to go through what’s in store for you in Life.
So, does prayer help, you may ask. And my answer is yes, prayer, helps not so much to resolve a problem situation immediately, but to help you cope with it. Faith in your creation – that if you have been created without your asking to be created, you will be looked after, cared for and provided for – and prayer are great coping devices. When I pray, I offer myself to Life as a student and ask for being handheld daily. I wrote this prayer some years back and use it to anchor myself in my mouna (silence period) sessions every day. It helps me renew, repair and revive myself daily. It helps me keep my faith.
That’s all there is to Life, I believe. Do what you can in any given context – that’s what true leadership is all about. Then, pray, let go, eat, sleep…repeat. All else, including money, always follows.
Today’s blogpost appears as a Podcast. Listen here: 4:34 minutes
In this Podcast, I share learnings from my favorite music composer’s – R.D.Burman/Panchamda – Life. In Life, what goes up, does come down. And what is down, goes up again. So we must remain untouched by both success and failure – and remain unmoved!
“I often vex over trying to understand what is the Purpose of my Life,” said a young man who I met recently. He wanted to know if it was a “good thing” or a “bad thing” vexing over trying to understand your Life’s Purpose.
I smiled. The very fact that a young man, in his 20s, is thinking of Life’s Purpose, I feel, is commendable. I started wondering if my Life has a Purpose at all only when I was in my mid-thirties. And this is what I have learnt from my quest for, and discovery of, my Life’s Purpose.
We must first remember that all forms of creation have a Purpose. Particularly, the human form. To be created a human being, with no significant ‘manufacturing defects’, is a not just a miracle, it is a blessing. If you have been created human, surely, there must be a reason behind it; a Purpose. Else, possibly, you may been created in some other inanimate or non-human form. Think about it. Why are you created human? And the answer really is simple. You are human so that you can experience happiness, so that you can serve other forms of creation using your intellect and your compassion, and so that you live a full, complete Life. But what do we human beings do – we are conditioned by our upbringing and social expectations, so we are stuck with earning-a-living instead of living, we are forever saying we deserve more, instead of serving and because our wants outnumber our needs, we are perpetually unhappy. So, in essence, we are, as a race, a majority of us, missing the whole Purpose behind our creation.
Every human creation has an individual Purpose too. Just as Gandhi’s had, Mother Teresa’s had, Kailash Sathyarthi’s has and Malala Yusafzai’s has. It is a fallacy to imagine that only ‘great’ people’s lives have a Purpose. The truth is that they are regarded as great only because they lived a Life of Purpose. Now, you cannot find your Life’s Purpose by vexing over it. Agonizing over something will only cause suffering. So, just relax. The very fact that you know that your Life has a Purpose and you are seeking it is a blessing – there are so many, many, many millions out there who are merely ‘earning-a-living’ and are imagining that they have been created to slave, earn, save, suffer and procreate. So, you are in a more evolved state than many out there. Celebrate yourself, than agonizing, therefore.
What’s beautiful about Life is that your Life’s Purpose will find you. What you seek will seek you. There’s no way you can explain this. It happens to each one in their own way – over time. Sometimes a cathartic turn of events may awaken you. Sometimes, a flash of an idea may inspire you. Or you may just be in a place by sheer happenstance when you feel a river moving inside you telling you, ‘come, flow with me!’ Purpose is magical. It transforms your Life instantaneously. It makes you want to wake up each morning and go live each day fully, happily, energetically, no matter how debilitating the circumstances are.
There’s a simple way to stay tuned in the direction of your Life’s Purpose though. Make a list of all the activities you are passionate about. Then decide which one or ones are you capable of being world-class, excellent, at. Then focus only on doing those couple of things that you are passionate about and have the potential to be best at in the world. Soon you will come to that one activity where you lose yourself. Which is, when you immerse yourself in it, you lose track of time, sleep and even of your own identity. Ask yourself how can this one activity not just benefit you alone but how can you serve people around you? The answer to this question may well direct you to your Life’s Purpose. Getting to this stage of understanding, evolution and clarity, takes time. So, trust the process of Life and be patient.
And, of course, Purpose and money are unconnected, unrelated. Though living a Life of Purpose may surely lead you to earn money, making money cannot be your Life’s Purpose. Because money is a human invention, a social necessity. Your Life’s Purpose is the reason for your creation, it is why you are, well, human in the first place. It is the reason for your living, for your being. It is Life’s longing for you – to make your lifetime meaningful, to make it count. So, you don’t have to get vexed trying to find it. Just stay tuned to the big question – ‘what is the Purpose of my Life?’ – without agonizing over it, and your Purpose will, over time, find you.