Remember: you always have the choice to step away from whatever is making you unhappy!
As I sat down to write my daily Blog this morning, I was notified of a newsbreak on my phone. Vishal Sikka has quit as MD and CEO of Infosys. While his resignation letter to the Board of Infosys is detailed, his decision appears to have been driven by the fact that he was “unhappy over baseless, malicious, personal attacks” on him.
I am not going to opine on the business issues that led to Vishal’s departure. In his email to the Infy Board, Vishal does indicate having discussed his decision with his wife Vandana. And I believe that the couple may have talked at length about how the “continuous drumbeat of distractions and negativity” at the Board-level, over the company’s recent actions and performance, were impacting Vishal’s inner peace and happiness. Possibly, his final decision may have been made on wanting to be free from all those factors that made him unhappy.
Even if there were other considerations, I feel Vishal’s choice to walk away is a mature one. I would like to share here what I am learning from his decision.
Often times in Life you may find yourself in situations when you are answerable to people around you. However much you may try to explain your position, you may not be able to convince everyone – especially those who are either constantly asking more questions or those who are keen to interpret than understand what you are saying. At such times it is really not about who is right and who is wrong, or what is true and what is false. What really matters is how you are feeling in the midst of all the acrimony. If you are feeling pinned down, unhappy and wasted, remember, you have a choice to step away. Stepping away is not failure. It is not defeat. It is an intelligent choice. You can still fight the good fight from a distance. You can still, if you are keen, prove yourself. Stepping away from a fractious environment, however, helps you preserve your energy and keeps you anchored.
So, Vishal’s choice, to me, is worthy of respect. It reiterates my belief that if something – or someone – makes you unhappy, you can always say no, and walk away. That’s one way to preserve and protect your inner peace and happiness.
The human being is the only device capable of self-recharging, of bouncing back from no-go situations!
A reader got in touch with me saying he finds his job-search not taking him anywhere. He said that he was feeling frustrated, depressed and insecure. “It’s been two years. I can’t take the rejection anymore. I can’t go on. I don’t have it in me anymore,” he added.
I can understand what the reader is saying and how he feels. I have felt that way too in the past, for many weeks and months at a stretch. But in the last several years, I have learnt, from experience, that you must plough on, no matter what. And I have learnt to do this without complaining, without suffering.
To reach this state, a deeper understanding of Life is essential. Please know that Life is not your genie to give you all that you desire as soon as you start wanting something. Life has a mind of its own, a pace of its own. So, when you don’t get what you want or when you get what you don’t want from Life, feeling your lowest, hitting rock bottom, is very normal. When you feel that way, when sadness consumes you, examine your feeling very intensely. Are you enjoying that state? Of course, you are not happy with that feeling of heaviness, sadness, depression. Then why are you continuing to wallow in that cesspool. Snap out of it. Accept your reality – tell yourself that this is it; you have a situation that you don’t quite like. So, what? You can’t always get what you want. Understand this truth. And endure this phase of Life – without complaining, without resisting.
You must also understand that the human being is the only device that is capable of self-recharging. We humans are very capable of bouncing back when we hit rock-bottom. Let me share an anecdote from my Life. Sometime in 2014, all the gadgets at our home broke down – the TV, the microwave, our laptops, our phones, the washing machine and the last car we had. Every thing, and all of them were over 10 years old, conked off; we had no money to even repair them, forget replacing them! (Read more here to understand the context: Fall Like A Rose Petal) Materially, that was a very, very, very low point – a sub-rock-bottom phase, if you like. One day, after deep reflection on the deprivation we were going through, I remarked to Vaani, “I guess human beings are capable of enduring a bankruptcy; but machines obviously are incapable of such endurance.” This is so true. Vaani and I continue to survive this tumultuous phase of our Life only because of the indefatigable human spirit. And my point is – the spirit in us is the same spirit in you. In every human being out there. So, what works for us, can work for you too.
This is what I told the reader. I guess it’s also important, when you hit a low phase, to detach from your story and look around you. There are, at any given time, people around you who are going through far bigger crises, far graver times than you. When you understand their stories and learn how they are coping, you too will find the strength and the energy to keep going.
I have personally used music to help me get up, whenever I have been felled by Life, dust myself and move on. My favorite is this song from Imtihaan (1974, Madan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Kishore Kumar, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Majrooh Sultanpuri)…“Ruk Jaana Nahin Tu Kahin Haar Ke…” It means, “Don’t stop (when you feel) defeated by Life, keep walking…” This is how I recharge myself. And I can tell you, again from my own experience, that no matter how tough it is, no matter how dark it is, anything can be faced, anything can be overcome, if you just keep going.