Sunday, November 16, 2008

Debates revisited- nature or nurture, aptitude or attitude, doing what you like or liking what you do

I always wondered about these debates, and whether there was a right answer to them or not. My experience says that only in initial days does nature, aptitude, and doing what you like is more important. Later on in life, all these sides of the debates take the back seat. Maybe there are different experiences for different people, and different reasons for those too. Let me tell you why I think the way I do.
In school days I was obese, shy, introvert, passive, and did not have many friends or hobbies or interests.
Now I guess my physique has improved a lot, im usually called 'besharam' rather than shy, extrovert, aggressive,have many good friends, and so many hobbies and interests that I dont have time to follow through!
Till school I despised all forms of exercise. However, when my friend introduced me to martial arts and my brother to gym, everything changed. Now I cant have enough of workouts.
A recently discovered passion for wildlife has further cemented by beliefs. I always loved animals, and towards the end of school, my mom and friends introduced me to trekking, where I fell in love with nature. However, till then it was limited. Now every time I see a mountain or jungle I feel like going straight in. Or I always feel like spending more time with animals....hence my visits to places ranging from Katraj zoo to Bandhavgad.
Also, I never used to study much in school days....till about 8th std. I used to read books that had nothing to do with academics, although some were saturated with physics concepts. Basically, I used to do what I like! Now, as I grow older (I refrain from using the word 'mature' since that can be a matter of opinion!) I realize that there are responsibilities which have to take priority over likes and dislikes. While I assumed the reins of responsibility, I started to realize that I actually like doing these things. That's when I realized I've graduated to liking what I do too. Not in totality though....because there are still many things that I would like to do more than the things I AM doing, but so-called responsibility had held me back.
Now as these debates brought to the front my actual likes, I am trying to go back to doing what I like more often. Which of course means gym, treks, wildlife etc..... am soon thinking of writing about my experience with wildlife as a separate entry.....coming soon to a mailbox near you!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Expectations and the fabric of destiny- ramblings of a wandering mind

I am resuming blogging after a year. No, time is not the main constraint. Or at least I can no longer keep pretending that it is. Probably some reasons for this hiatus in blogging are that my thoughts are so disjoint at times, so digressive, that to pen them down would simply result in incoherent doodles. Or maybe people dominate my thoughts, so to expose them to public scrutiny wouldn’t be fair. Now, after almost 3 trimesters in a B school, I have learnt how to be politically correct, i.e. how to slander people without actually pointing fingers. Yes, B school teaches you all sorts of things; how to be unethical and still pretend you are a supporter of corporate social responsibility, how to be pretentious yet appear suave, how to act like a person is your long-lost friend while plotting schemes for besting him, and how to exude confidence when you are scared. Remind me to touch on this point again as I go on. Well, the school also teaches some regular stuff and some good things too, it depends on the person which of the items on the menu to select.

One strange thing that happened to me in B school, as I mentioned above, is that I lost confidence! Strange isn’t it? A B school is supposed to teach you to handle all sorts of situations and thus build your confidence, not the other way round. This is where the fabric of destiny concept comes in. (Oh, by the way, B school stifles creativity- even at this moment I am wondering how to get intellectual property rights protection for my newly coined term ‘fabric of destiny’). Some famous person had said ‘I am the master of my fate, captain of my soul’. I used to live by that and consequently smirk at fatalists. It is also taught in the Japanese principles of ‘Bushido Kyohan’ or way of the warrior. It tells us that our destiny is shaped by our own choices and actions. I equate this to weaving the fabric of your own destiny. We are always confronted with choices, sometimes tough ones. Choosing an option is akin to selecting the type of thread with which you want to weave, and fixing the design of the fabric. Actually implementing the choice is like weaving the fabric. Here is where the chaos starts. Your life is full of people who are weaving their own fabrics along with you. Inadvertently, some patches of fabric stitched by different people are inextricably woven together into yours. Now this changes your intended design of fabric of destiny. So what to do now?

You have to see which weavers you can allow to change the design of your fabric, and which ones you have to avoid. Again you are confronted with choices, sometimes you unthinkingly pick one, sometimes some other weaver picks one for you, and you go along with it. As more and more weavers come in your life, your fabric takes a different look. If you like it, you go on. If you don’t, there comes a hard time when you have to rip off your fabric from someone who you felt was altering the design too much. This is even harder if you are the one whose fabric has been ripped off by someone from theirs; because then it spoils your intended design. You have to strike a balance between taking your choices alone by shutting others out (deciding which fabric to rip off and how much), and letting everyone come in and influence your original plans for your destiny.

Now what does this have to do with confidence you ask? Well, before I entered B school, I was confident about all exams and their results, confident about selecting the right weavers for helping me shape my overall fabric and keeping out the unwanted ones, confident of knowing who will rip off my fabric from theirs. The path to destiny was clear, or so I thought. After joining B school, I am constantly reminded of Heisenberg’s uncertainty, which basically says that it is impossible to fully predict everything. For me, that was, and is, unsettling. Some bad experiences have shown that I can’t really predict things like the adequacy of my studies, the expected results from them, or the suitability of weavers who I let shape the fabric of MY destiny. That has undermined my confidence about some things, although superficially I do and will live up to the expectations from a B school student.

Expectations. The weavers who spoil your fabric may not be doing it intentionally. However, it is difficult for a weaver to weave his own destiny and also help you weave yours. Sometimes the expectations we have from people in our life may be so high that from your point of view they may not be able to help you shape your destiny the way you wanted. So you might wonder whether it is any good to keep a fellow weaver with you if you are not expecting him to help you shape your fabric. This is a hard time. Experiences in this area in the past, both in ripping off fabrics and getting ripped off unexpectedly, have further reduced my confidence in my ability to shape my destiny.

See, this has become too long and either too deep or too vague. Maybe I was right in staying away from blogs.