Thursday, July 12, 2018

A collective conscience

I am using this old blog of mine to pen my thoughts. I will post when I have something to share.

During my recent visit to Vancouver, I met a person who currently lives in Texas. We immediately got along and ended up eating brunch together at a nearby cafe. Our conversation drifted from technology to oil industry and African politics. It was evident that we had different perspectives and opinions. Based on our chat, he seemed like a conservative black kid living in the South. We listened and respected each others opinions. It was easier to do that with a stranger than someone close to you.

There is one sentence he mentioned that has me reflecting upon regularly since. Disclaimer: I don't agree with his statement. "I have seen many people who work at non profit organizations or as community organizers, whatever that means. It is not just the motivation to do good that drives them. They could be donating large amounts of money and time but when they see a homeless person on the street, they don't feel obligated to help or even acknowledge their presence. They just look down or away and walk away. Which makes me believe that they do it for power and influence."

I don't agree with his statement and I have met many caring individuals at non-profits who find various ways to help in whatever capacity they can to whosoever in need. But it leads me to something more fundamental which I now believe, needs to be striven. We get caught in endless debates on the correctness of different political ideologies, different economic principles, individual and societal morality. But when we fail acknowledge feelings and emotions of another human being, what is the purpose of that economic development, political stability or social justice. And I stress on acknowledging rather than empathize. We don't need to empathize with every hurdle or pain that others face, since there are many "snowflakes". Nor do we need to necessarily act every time someone is in pain. But if we started acknowledging and recognizing the reality and harshness of life others face, their shared experiences will collectively motivate our values and our purpose in life. And a collective conscience could be built. Even better when we extend this beyond humans to all emotional and intelligent beings.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Failure is a necessity

I am writing a post on this blog after a long time. I want to thank those who have encouraged me to restart this.

We all detest failure in life, however small it is. We console our emotions by telling ourselves that "failure is a stepping stone to success". Without any doubt, we believe that failure on its own is negative to our lives. Sometimes we claim to have learnt from our failures, using which we succeeded or hope to succeed in the future. But in this post, I want a drive a different perspective that failure is in itself a necessity.

Our self confidence is often associated with our track record of success. When everything goes right in life, our self confidence is high. In fact success gets into head and we become egoistic and even insensitive to others failures. On the other hand, when we face one failure after another, our self confidence gets severely damaged. We start second guessing every single thing we do. Sometimes we seclude ourselves our the rest of society to avoid our shame of failure.

Of course, the above two instances are extreme scenarios. In real life we face both successes and failures in our personal and professional lives. While we think that who we are and what we do, gets us to succeed or fail at something, we undermine the fact that the collection of past successes and failures dynamically define who we have become.

We often attempt various things in life after a crude analysis of what we think is our chance of success. While that might be a sufficient reason to try something in life, we aren't not fully aware of the impact of its result. We need a fine balance of success and failure in life to remain sane, mature individuals living a fulfilling life. If we aren't getting the right share of failures in life, our egoistic bubble only grows bigger and bigger and ready to burst any moment.

I am not advising the readers to do something purely for the sake of failing. That would defeat the purpose, since you would then be no longer saddened by your failure. But when life is full of success stories, go on and try something you aren't yet good at. Go on and try something that has a very low probability of success. I personally know people who succeeded in most things they tried in life. Great as it may sound, failure scares them. While continuous success in a certain field boosts their confidence tremendously, they fear failure in something new.

And for those whom life has been difficult recently, go try something that you have a higher chance to succeed at. Something that will boost your confidence. With that renewed confidence you might be able to achieve success in fields you are currently unable to. On a parallel thread, happiness is not ultimate goal in life. We need sadness to make our life colourful. I might write about it some other day.

Do let me know what you think about this post. Do share if you feel special about some failure.