Learn. Unlearn. Relearn. Continuously…

Learn continuously, unlearn consistently and you will learn to live.
Many of us are aware of many things. Thanks to the internet, knowledge is on our fingertips. But this knowledge does not necessarily lead to intelligent living. Our academic education prevents us from growing spiritually in Life. This is why we are unable to experience and practice awareness or mindfulness. If anything, our education is making us more arrogant. We are beginning to imagine we are all powerful because we think we know everything. A man who claimed he knew everything was asked by a Zen Master how many seeds were there in an apple. The man sliced the apple, counted the seeds and reported his findings to the Master. The Master took one seed and placed it on the man’s hand and asked him how many apples there were in that seed. The man fell at the Master’s feet and sought forgiveness for his arrogance.
Just as the man learnt humility and realized that Life’s beauty lies not in what we know but in the unknown, we must too. True power is not in getting an academic education. It is in the application of our knowledge to make the world a better place. American writer and futurist, a former editor of Fortune magazine, Alvin Toffler, says this: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Make your choice now: do you want to remain the overqualified and educated full-of-yourself and illiterate person you are or do you want to learn to live by learning, unlearning and relearning continuously? 

Success and Failure are mere visitors in your Life!

Stay unruffled in success and in failure! Treat both as mere events. And know that both of them are impermanent. They will pass too having served their tenure in your Life!


Almost everyone struggles for a big break in Life. Behind every success story is years of hard work and toil. Yet, when people do become successful, they often forget the road they have walked and are struck by hubris. Very few successful people have been able to avoid being felled by hubris. A very successful business leader in the US was once asked by a reporter from Fortune, what the secret of his humility and success was. And he pointed to a framed poster that hung on a wall in his office. The poster said: “Beware of the Giant Killer: Hubris!” The CEO said he looked at the poster a few times daily especially when he received praise or when one of his decisions, taken amidst much debate, bore fruit! “True success,” said the CEO, “is to keep hubris out of your Life!”


The latest issue of Open magazine has a story on the “Side Effects of Fame”. And it talks of an anecdote about the late Hindi actor Navin Nischol refusing an offer to act alongside Amitabh Bachchan in the 1975 cult film ‘Deewar’ directed by Yash Chopra. Shashi Kapoor went on to play that role and his dialogue ‘Mere Paas Maa Hai’ has become Hindi cinema’s most memorable one-liner! Nischol’s reasoning for declining Yash Chopra’s offer was hubris. He had been successful with some films in the late 60s and early 70s. In 1971, he played the hero in a lesser-known film called ‘Parwana’, in which Amitabh Bachchan plays the villain. Nischol apparently told Chopra that since he was a hero he cannot play “second fiddle to an upcoming actor like Bachchan”. Surely, later in his Life, Nischol may well have rued his decision several times over! Because ‘Deewar’ became a classic and Bachchan a super star with it!


I have been felled by hubris too. In the years 2002~2005, when I was taking wrong decisions with our business, I was told by everyone around me that we would pay a huge price if we walked that way. I heard all the advice that came my way. But never bothered to listen to any of them. The thing with hubris is that it blinds you and deafens you at the same time.


Ultimately, hubris will lead you to your downfall. And in the time that you are grounded, when you are licking your wounds, is when you will awaken to the numbing realization that you had ignored the most basic, the elementary rules of Life__in both personal and professional situations. You will grieve. And you will agonize. But neither is going to make your situation any better. In fact, depression will set in and make a bad situation even worse.


Which is why, it is important to be untouched by failure too. And one sure way to do that is to learn from it. Treat the entire experience as a lesson and not as a crime. That way you will find and leverage value in a loss, defeat or failure.

Remember that both success and failure are visitors in your Life. And visitors don’t stay forever. They only visit. Both have a mind and time of their own. We cause or invite neither. Though, with all our logic, we will want to believe that we actually do. The truth is that we have a right to act, to lay out and follow a process, but really can’t always control the outcome of our efforts. And yet we have to own the outcome we end up with. Intelligent living is about understanding this truth and living by it.