3rd time lucky they say!

So I have been a fairly prolific writer. I used to maintain 2 or 3 blogs at one point in early 2005. I started because I had a crush on a young man who actually wrote beautiful blogs. Today he’s married, has perhaps one child, is an entrepreneur, perhaps continues to write, really don’t know (and don’t honestly care) and the crush has thankfully worn off. It hurt for a while especially because my ego was bruised. After all when you admit that you’re attracted to a young man who in return is just not “into you” you tend to want the earth to swallow you.

Thankfully that was a decade ago. I’ve grown (hopefully), evolved mentally, emotionally, spiritually and today I write differently. I guess my blogs will continue to outlive me unless the Internet crashes and we’re closer to aliens bombing us out of existence. Oh well, the ether trail is what we shall leave behind for UFO bearing aliens to find and laugh long after we’re dead and gone.

So here I reproduce a blog I’d written when Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in 2009. I don’t think any modern athlete has had such great control of my emotions as Federer. I’ve written about him here recently and also about Tennis Life Lessons. Yes tennis has that effect on my psyche. I do believe it’s about life. And I reproduce it here because once again when Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic yesterday at the Wimbledon 2015, I was despondent and felt like I’d lost the will to live. That’s what Federer does to me. I prayed for him, I had mental conversations with him and I somehow willed him to win. At some point I couldn’t watch the match either. I switched because I couldn’t bear to see my heart breaking into million pieces anymore. I’ve pieced my heart carefully after so many heartbreaks including thanks to the young man referred to above, that I know I don’t have the will or the capacity to piece them again if it does shatter. I’ve fortified myself and I don’t, can’t, won’t allow myself weaknesses such as breaking of the heart. In a world where I’m alone (as are we all) and I have only my arms to hug me or my voice to tell me it’s okay, or my gentle murmurings to console me, I can’t afford to let my heart break. And Roger Federer almost succeeded. Well, that’s what a genius can do. My only regret is that I haven’t seen him play in person and nor will I ever. That’s a tragedy and travesty of my hero worship of him. C’est la vie!

So here goes – a blog from the past – but still relevant! Enjoy!


Rafael Nadal won his first Wimbledon crown. Roger Federer stood forlornly as the dethroned but graceful champion and king, and probably the best grass player in the Open era or any era, ever.

Lessons learnt from both players:
a) Never never never ever give up. Even when you think and the world thinks you’re down and out.
b) Focus focus focus. The goal should be unwavering.
c) You may be genius, but you too are fallible. (Check Roger Federer’s unforced errors).
d) Age may be in the mind, but it’s in the body too. Speed, agility, tact and some
skill can make up for solid experience.
e) But the hunger to do more and excel more is not about age, but ageless. It’s an attitude and a part of your DNA.
f) Winning is everything (whether you like it or not – nobody will remember Federer’s 5 titles, his wonderful strokes, his will to come back from 2 sets down. Only ‘Rafa’ ‘Rafa’ ‘Rafa’ will be remembered for the victory).
g) Winning may be everything, but lack of skill, attitude, focus and determination won’t get you far beyond a few goal posts.
h) Without consistency you are nothing.
i) Never give all of yourself to every fight. Do save the best for last. Ironically you may not   get to the last if you don’t give your best. So work out the math yourself.
j) Money is definitely not everything. It’s just an escalator to a better quality of life.
Now what that quality means to different people is different so let’s leave it there.
k) Being calm, unruffled and determined under any onslaught and pressure, is the mark of   a leader. It’s also called grace under pressure.
l) But a show of emotions by leaders and world beaters is also ok. It shows you are
human.
m) Never tread on people’s bunions when they’re limping. (Notice Federer’s ‘You’re ok?’ when Rafa grazed his knee and took a tumble. He didn’t have to enquire).
n) Respect your greatest opponent and competitor, never underestimate his ability.
o) Be willing to give it your all again and again. Yes, never feel defeated. Just an
opportunity lost.

No more. I just know that I wanted FedEx to win his 6th. I feel miserable.

But tomorrow is another day!

If you say it doesn’t matter you’re lying!

How many times have you heard someone say, “what they think about you is their problem”? And had this thrown at you ad nauseam, “It doesn’t matter”.

So much BS! A lot of our life is devoted to gaining acknowledgement, be special, be recognized, be loved. So why do keep getting brain washed by all the best mentors, speakers, self-help gurus, inspirational leaders who say, “don’t worry about what others say or do or think, do what you want to, be yourself.”

Well honestly, I have never actually got beneath that statement enough to figure it out. I mean hey, are you seriously telling me that when you come first in the race, or manage to actually run the marathon, or sing in front of the crowd or get that role after auditioning for the nth time, or win the “star employee of the month” award, or when someone at work says something really nice to you about how you handled the presentation, or when the bus driver actually waits till you get on board, or when the guy at the pastry shop puts in an extra marzipan chocolate in your gift pack, it doesn’t matter? Of course it does. By Jove!

I know when I used to come first in school, what my grandparents or my aunts thought mattered.
I know when I chose an outfit and got it tailored (yes not very long ago, I used to get my dresses tailored), I was silently praying for the nods of approval from my cousin or aunt or friends.
I know when I did a good job with the content for a website, I would have my heart in my mouth (still do, after so many years of doing the same) till such time the client approved it.

I know it matters. I know what others think, say, do, about how you look, feel, or treat you as a person matters.
I’m not sure what the context of “it doesn’t matter”, “be you,” “be true to yourself” really means, because at the end of the day, each of us is really playing out a role, trying to somehow win some kudos, some recognition from the “other”. We start off on a mission with the faith that we can do it. But why do we start out “doing”? What is the “driving force”? Isn’t it a doffing of the hat from others as you pass by saying “well done?”. No? Then why?

Let me know. Because I refuse to believe that Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Ariana Huffington did what they did because it didn’t matter what others thought or said or did. Where would they be if no one bothered about Apple or FB or Huffington Post? So give me another yeah?

So next time someone says, “don’t worry about what others think”, think about it. Think about if the person saying it to you actually believes in it himself. We’re geared to please others. In the process if we somehow develop a mindset of actually believing that what others say doesn’t matter, how others treat you doesn’t matter, as long as you have unshakeable belief and faith in your ability and have a really tough and thick hide, well, goof for us.

Jurassic World and a sigh!…

So I suddenly decided to watch Jurassic World today. I had time and I had completed all my work for the day, perhaps for the week and maybe for the month. I generally do go to see movies alone, I quite enjoy my own company :).

I saw, I yawned, and I was left wondering why the hell are people making this the biggest blockbuster ever? I mean, hey it’s not just about the children and dinosaurs, but the movie hall was so full of adults it seems we’re really crazy about mad, evil, killing dinosaurs and end-of-the-world fatalistic dysotpian films. God! It was boring for me. There were no “OMG” moments in the film for me. And whatever anyone might say, the first Jurassic Park was really a chilling film. I remember actually feeling afraid. But this one was slightly antiseptic for me. Or maybe dinosaurs aren’t just my thing, he he!

Well, post movie at the multiplex I window shopped and then went to the parking lot, got my car and was in queue to pay my parking charges and leave. There were two lanes and so naturally two boom barriers. I paid up, the barrier pivoted open and hardly had I got past it when I almost had to slam my brakes hard as there was another car that was upon me. But surprise surprise, the car waited. Now in many countries around the world this might seem so normal, to wait, be polite,  show some courtesy. But in my country, er…to be honest, nope, nobody waits for anybody. Everyone is constantly honking even if there’s a lapse of a second between a green signal and you. And if someone does wait patiently, those instances are so rare you can actually count them on the fingers of one hand. In my country the intense desire to be first and take shortcuts, to lose one’s temper, to be verbally abusive, to not stand in queues, to basically do everything that is uncouth comes naturally, even to me. It’s very natural for me to curse, use expletives on the road, basically be prepared for a good fight. We’re on the defensive almost all the time and what is the best form of defense? Yup, offense, so we’re offensive all the time. Get it?

Anyway, to get back. The car waited, I turned to look and found a charming man at the helm. I nodded my acknowledgment and thank you for allowing me to pass and he smiled and nodded back. Sigh!

He was charming. I drove out and I was hoping he’d be right behind me and probably have the same route as mine. I was wondering if I should actually get out of my car at the signal and say, “hi, you’re really cute. Would you want to go out for a coffee?” but I knew these kind of scenarios play out only in movies, books, or fairy tales. Sigh!  And I was so much older. My time for romance and fairy tales was so done. Sigh! I wasn’t dressed to kill, I wasn’t attractive, and well, who’d care about an old hag like me eh? Sigh! (the narrative changes so quickly from a ‘what if’ to a ‘oh no, never ever’). Well, obviously none of my 5-second orgiastic fantasies were going to come true. So, in my typical, cynical, skeptical, hardened-middle-aged manner, a shrug of the shoulder, a little turning up of the volume of the car radio, I turned the corner. There wasn’t any black car with a charming young man at the helm. I wasn’t at the movies.

Well, Jurassic World might have been a bore, but kudos to Michael Crichton, the original author, dreamer, thinker, imaginator. The movie certainly had my imagination on the move, all because of a shared thank you, a little bit of etiquette without T-rex or Velociraptor like monsters.  Oh well, life is such. It’s real. Sigh!

 

Acceptance doesn’t mean you’ve given up!

 

Acceptance

It’d be good to accept.

 

I’ve grown up fighting acceptance. For some reason unclear to me, acceptance was equal to defeat. And defeat was equal to failure. And failure was anathema. Complete unacceptable.

But I’ve grown to realise that acceptance actually is a good thing. Non-acceptance of things can drain you of energy and occupy some really pricey real estate of your mind and heart. It’s a depreciating liability, not an asset.

How and why did I come to the realisation that acceptance is good for the mind, body, soul?

I think it’s a combination of many factors: growing older and perhaps wiser, maybe more vulnerable, maybe short on energy, maybe willing to actually let in a new experience, perhaps seeing the futility of hanging on to something that was unproductive, yes, many many factors.

So:

a) when I found myself unwilling to commit myself to a goal loftily stated, emphatically underlined, remembering that goal repeatedly over the weeks, months and years, without taking action to bring it to fruition, I knew I had to accept that this goal was not to be.

b) when I found that I spent far too much energy getting het up about some people’s habits which weren’t changing despite my loud, angry protestations, I knew I had to accept that it was me who had to change my approach.

c) when I found that I was happy to crib about everything that was wrong with the world without ever doing anything to change my attitude, habits, or contributing to change, I knew I had to accept that the world was going to continue as is.

d) when I found that despite how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to like people due to my own hypocrisies, I knew I had to accept that it takes all sorts to make the world including people like myself.

Change the changeable

Accept change

e) when I found that Life continued to march to the beat of its own drum and was far too proud to succumb to my exhortations of maybe granting me a BIG favour or two, I knew I had to accept that Life was what you made of it.

So okay, I realised that acceptance did not kill you. It did not defeat you. It did not make you look small. Because you were accepting of certain things, did not mean you were cringe-worthy or were a ‘small, pathetic creature’. No, of course not.

On the contrary, acceptance of certain things can liberate you. It can make space in your mind, body and soul for new thoughts, attitudes and goals. With one fell swoop of acceptance, doors close and others open. You are no longer slave to your ego that denies the existence of acceptance as a good sister. You are free to chart a new course.

Not going to complete college and get that degree – just not you? Sure, accept it and move on. Who knows you could be the next Steve Jobs!

Not going to ever get the ‘ms popular’ title in college or be asked out on a date by the pretty cheerleader, accept it for what it is. Don’t cry buckets or feel vengeful or loathe yourself. Move on and make way for events and people that truly matter.

Not ever going to be a great parent, husband, wife, lover? That’s okay, accept it. Maybe you are a good friend or care giver. Not everything in life has to be like Gone With The Wind.

Not ever going to be able to complete the marathon? Big deal! Maybe you can do a 10k. But first accept it.

In my book, acceptance is honesty. Whoever said being honest was giving up? Honesty requires courage, a deep insight into yourself and willingness to do what it takes to blossom into a good human being. Flawed? Sure. But who wants to be perfect?

Yes, it’s time to accept that sometimes you’re not strong enough, or brave enough or smart enough or competitive enough or talented enough or healthy enough or understanding enough or compassionate enough or beautiful enough or wealthy enough or ambitious enough or knowledgeable enough. It’s okay really. Because in accepting you’re also giving up that which drains you but gains you a new inner calm and confidence. That you are enough.

Life and acceptance

Look forward to life

What are those areas of your life that you find are holding you back because of your stubbornness of non-acceptance? Identify 3. Think about why it makes you angry to accept it. And just say, “ok”, that’s it. And sleep over it. Tell me what happens next.