Once upon a time there lived a sage who was very wise. She used to help people solve their problems. Soon, her fame spread far and wide. A group of boys heard about it and decided to make fun of her. One of them caught a bird, hid it behind in his hands and asked the sage “do you know what’s in my hands?” The sage could hear the feeble voice of the bird; she said, “it’s a bird.” The boy got angry as to how could she have possibly known that. Thinking quickly, he came up with a new scheme, he would ask her if the bird was alive or dead. If she says, “alive,” then he would crush the bird with his hands. If she answers, “dead,” then he would allow the bird to fly away. Either way he would prove his point and discredit her. When he asked his question, the sage smiled and replied, “The answer lies in your hands”. The boy understood the profound words. He opened his hands, apologised to the bird and let it fly away.
Lord Buddha has said “अप्प दीपो भव:” which means that you be your own light. Shine for yourself and illuminate others in that radiance. Transform the inner self first and the external will shine through.
I request you to stand and take a jump. Jump as high as you can and be aware of the height you reach. Now, close your eyes and say to yourself “I have all the resources within and this time I will go much higher than before.” Open your eyes, smile, and jump one more time. You will notice that you went much much much higher! You know why, because we have all the potential to get what we want but we often use the “L” word – LIMITATIONS.
There are several limitations we set on ourselves:
1. Previous failure: giving up after one defeat. Not analyzing the reasons of what did not work but assuming that the same will happen again. Insanity is when you repeat the same mistakes, sanity is when we overcome & learn from them. Thomas Edison in his pursuit of inventing a light bulb said
2. Habituation: it is not easy to break from the shackles and take a different path. Comfort sets in and people become complacent. It’s like Plato’s ‘Allegory of the cave’. Making a goal means one will have to change their routine and deal with the unfamiliar. That thought scares most people. I often say
3. Discouraged: In the movie Gully Boy, Ranvir Singh aka Murad had to fight against the stereotypes of several people who repeatedly told him that he shouldn’t aim high. Talk to people who have walked the same path as you before, learn from their mistakes, don’t make the same ones, make new ones instead but never give up. If your gut says, you can do it, then you surely can! We are living in an age where anything is possible. People change careers after 40, attain second degrees at 50, climb mount Everest at 60. Carl Sandberg has said
So, ask yourself, what do I desire? What is that I want to accomplish?
POST your GOALS
Purpose: specify your desire and write it as a positive statement. Specificity is the crux. If it’s unclear in mind, it’s unclear in life. For instance, if your goal is to work on your anger, don’t write ‘I don’t want to be angry.’ Write whatever is the opposite of anger for you. E.g. ‘I am calm’ or ‘I am happy’. Visualizing yourself living your goal, gives clarity and stronger motivation. E.g. ‘I will live in my 5BHK home in Mumbai and I will drive my own Mercedes.’
Outcome: write as to why are you absolutely committed to achieving this goal? Here, I encourage you to keep three circles of life in mind: My circle (how will it affect your happiness level, value system, skills etc), My Inner circle (how will it affect your family, close friends, partner, children etc), My Outer Circle (the material and societal influence). Write in terms on Pain and Pleasure e. what if you achieve your goal and what if you don’t? Goals alone cannot inspire but knowing the deepest reasons of why you want it in the first place can provide both inspiration and persistence.
Strengths: You have terrifying amount of strength and potential; you just need to build them. Identify the strengths you possess, and the ones you need to develop.
Timeline: Steven Covey has said “if the ladder is not on the correct wall every step you take, will take you to the wrong place. Hence, each stride you take, should take you towards your destination. Establishing smaller goals with fixed timelines would give definite steps to victory.
Many years ago, when the French had colonised the Sahara Desert. They realised that the cause of deaths in the big yellow desert was that people were getting lost. The vast expanse of soil, demotivated people, and they used to give up and die. To deal with this, they placed a 55 gallons of oil barrels every 5 km. This was the distance to the horizon formed by the curvature of earth. As a result, once could always see two oil barrels one you had passed and one ahead. This not only made them stay on the course but stay motivated as well.
Similarly, POSTing our goals will keep us driven towards our dreams. Remember, from the moment you took your first breath, till the moment, you’ll take your last. You and only you will stay with yourself till the very end. Don’t be a guest in your own life! Take charge make your own rules and get what you desire. Each one us has tremendous amount of potential to accomplish whatever we want.
The answer lies in our hands
- Image of the bird: https://unsplash.com/photos/fQ2YX56wQ-Y
- Story of Bird and the sage, https://www.uua.org/re/tapestry/children/tales/session11/story1
- Story of one barrel at a time: Book “Eat that Frog”; Chapter 10