On Challenges

Victories without attempts may be pleasant, but that may be the only victories you would achieve. 

You will expect quick, effortless victories. But life is not going to fulfill that expectation!

One day, life will hit you hard with an unexpected challenge, and you’ll lack the ability to deal with the challenge.

Unprepared as you would deal with the unexpected challenge by being down, devastated and depressed.

You’ll start to feel like a victim, but the truth would be you wouldn’t have developed the necessary skills and abilities.

Not surprisingly, you would not have learned to appreciate the people who made you win in the past without any attempts on your part. 

If you have your parents, teachers, or mentors (e.g., caretakers) take too much care of you and offer you victories of different kinds (those chocolates, that car, that beautiful home or that trip to heaven and back…) know that their care for you is genuine, but if you start to take their attention for granted, you might unknowingly develop a mindset that won’t serve you in life.

As a result, you might develop a habit of depending upon your caretakers and start expecting that easy victories are routine in your life, and they should come to you. 

Such a habit is a dis-serving mental model of life expectations.

A better mental model is this – whenever you are given a quick, effortless victory, know that you can also create such a success for yourself and your loved ones.

Although all the riches and comforts are available to you, deliberately choose the steep path. And transform yourself so that the way remains no longer difficult for you. 

Resist your temptation to set your aims low. If you learn to think really big and have an ambitious goal in life, you’ll develop the necessary skills and mindset to reach there. 

When you take the challenges head-on, you are on your path to grow personally. 

When you beat those challenges, you get a sense of confidence and accomplishment, which will fuel the actions for the next phase of life you always wanted to live!

Too much!

A few years back, I, along with my good old friends, went to a remote place in India. 

We spent there two nights and 3 days, and we had a wonderful time together: the place was good, the conversations were great, the food was amazing!

It was a fantastic experience.

A month after, one of our enthusiastic friends went to the same remote place again with his relatives.

He stayed in the same resort with one of his relatives and booked the same rooms in hopes that he will recreate the same experience with his relatives. 

Not surprisingly, it did not happen. 

Our enthusiastic good old friend could not enjoy his second visit to the same beautiful place!

It was designed to happen that way. 

The reason?

Comparison with the past.

Whenever we try to recreate the same memories again, we compare the present happenings with past memories. Obviously, the present and past are going to be different.

Comparison is the root cause of pain.

But we, humans, not only compare, we compare a LOT!

“Everything in excess is a poison.”

~Theodore Levitt

Except for Love. Maybe. But this post is not about Love. This is about how we often (and unknowingly) ruin things by doing them in excess.

We like Yellow Dal so much that we eat it every day. Soon after a month, we stop loving Yellow Dal.

We get fanatic about keeping our body fit and engage in too much exercise activities every day. In less than two months, we lose interest in exercise and stop doing it on a sour note. 

We like a person so much that:

  • we keep thinking about her (or him);
  • we want to spend time with her;
  • we want to keep that human happy even at the cost of our own likings and happiness! 

It is a surefire formula for creating an amazing disaster down the road!

Because most of us have seeds of scarcity mindset planted within us, we tend to maximize on even a small experience that made us happy. 

This behavior is neither intelligent nor natural.

Any object in nature does not work like that. It does not maximize. Imagine how Rose blossoms: it does not try to optimize the properties that made her beautiful and full of fragrance. 

When the Rose is at her absolute best, it receives Love from everyone. Its gardener, the lovers who consume the Rose as a vehicle to express that beautiful feeling called Love in this world, the warmest greetings that are exchanged to convey the good vibes. 

But Rose doesn’t care if none of the above happens to her. It just enjoys being the Rose. Isn’t it so?

The Rose – or any object of nature – does not try to do anything too much. Only humans do. Why?

Because humans think that they can make themselves happy through the act of maximizing by doing too much, but it never happens.

The very search for happiness implies that the chaser is not happy!

Most humans are slaves. Slaves of pleasure. And because they are not able to sustain their happiness, they tend to do “more” of what can give them such pleasures and make them happy. 

Ineffective strategy. 

Because happiness is a myth. The idea of happiness is born as a reaction to suffering. If human beings did not have sufferings, they would not seek happiness. Think for yourself!

Everyone in the world is looking for happiness … because everyone is suffering. So instead of trying to maximize the pleasure of engaging in ‘too much’ of doing certain activities, it would be more useful to seek freedom from suffering. 

Alright, so how does one get free from suffering?

Through an awareness that happiness is a momentary emotion. One cannot build a home in it. Through awareness, one naturally begins to be immune to the chase of happiness. 

And you know what, if you are not aware, know that you are sleeping without realizing that you are sleeping. You might want to do something about it! 🙂