In today’s world of competition – a fast, mad, rat race, it is said that everyone is a rat. But should it be so? Can we not be in the competition and at the same time be human and humane? Is it not possible to enjoy the beauties of life? Is it not possible to enjoy life king-size? It is possible.
We only have to learn how to do it. I use the word ‘LEARN’ because, through our experiences in our life we have learnt many things and become the rat that we are today. Through our education, our environment, and various other circumstances in life we have formed our attitudes.
We have learnt to become what we are and what we think about others and ourselves. No one is born with an attitude or a belief system; rather we develop attitudes over time. Thereby it can be changed. We can unlearn our old attitudes and belief systems and learn new ones.
So what is all this learning and unlearning about? Am I not okay the way I am? What is wrong with me or my attitudes that I need to unlearn what I know and learn new things? I can hear you asking these questions.
Let me answer you with another question. Are you enjoying life? Do you get the small pleasures out of life? Can you laugh at yourself and with others? If not, why? Are you really living life king-size? If not, why? THINK.
How do we look at life? We take all the simple things in life for granted. We tend to forget that life comes only once and it is too short and sweet to be wasted over trifles and hassles. (I am not very sure about previous births) But the life that we have now is definitely a gift from God. So how can we make it worthwhile both for ourselves and society at large?
We can start off by being grateful for all the things that we have instead of taking them for granted. I am reminded of the words by an anonymous person who says, “I was worried that I did not have a good pair of shoes until I met a man who did not have feet.”
Do we ever realise how fortunate we are for having two hands, two feet, a fit and functional body, and our ears, eyes, nose etc. in the right place? Ha! Does that sound funny? It may; to you and me who have been created as complete beings. But, give a thought to those who cannot count themselves as so fortunate. Now do you see the picture as I see it? Can we afford to take these small but very important factors for granted? NO. WE CANNOT.
We need to be ever grateful to the God for all this and more. Our parents, for instance, we take them for granted; and we have conflicts with them. The very fact that our parents are alive makes us very blessed. Let us understand this. Let us develop an attitude of gratitude towards everyone and everything in life. For e.g.: if this piece of paper and pen were not available it would not be possible for me to pen these thoughts. Isn’t it? So I need to have an attitude of gratitude towards them. It is for this reason that we have certain days in the Indian tradition wherein the tools that we use for our livelihood are respected. It tells us the importance of these tools in our lives and also their value.
Today, the ecological balance is threatened and we are gasping for pure air and thirsting for clean water. This is because we did not show an attitude of gratitude towards nature. We took her for granted. Naturally, we are the sufferers. Whenever we take things for granted we would be the sufferers. We need to value and respect everything and everybody around us.
This reminds me of the poem in English where for want of a shoe-nail, a kingdom was lost. Let us not undermine anything or anybody as unimportant. Everybody is important. Everybody is to be valued and respected for what they are and not for what they do or have. We are in the habit of overlooking some people because they do not have status or position in the society or because they do not have money, or because they are not educated. This is very wrong. We need to learn to value people just as they are.
Can we appreciate the goodness in each human being? Can we see God in everyone and everything? People desperately go in search of God to the corners of the earth or to the wilderness. Little do they realise that God is here, within us and within our reach. We only have to experience God. But if we cannot see God in the day-to-day affairs of life and around us, how can we expect life to be charming?
There are a few thumb rules for enjoying life: –
- Accept things as they are without being judge mental or evaluative. For this, first accept yourself. Who are we to judge or evaluate? Let us accept people for their basic goodness and appreciate them for this.
- Do not expect anything from anyone. Great expectations lead to great disappointment. When we do not expect it leads to calm acceptance.
- Appreciate everything in and around you. Appreciation is an art in itself. A person who can appreciate and enjoy the small things in life is blessed.
- Make happiness a habit. It is a decision that you make. If you decide to be happy no one can make you unhappy. Life is full of ups and downs. Accept everything and decide to be happy.
- Make prayer a daily event. Prayer should be a thanksgiving for all the blessings we receive day-in and day-out. When we learn to count our blessings, our life becomes joyous and our cup of happiness overflows.
Life is to be lived and not wasted. Let us not get into the rut of complaining, whining and moaning. Let us instead get into the habit of looking at beauty in every small thing and appreciating life in all its hues and colours.
By Swarnalatha Iyer
The Director & CEO of Seshan’s Academy Infinity, Bangalore, Swarnalatha Iyer has over 22 years of experience in training and development. She is a much sought-after organisational consultant and has also worked as a professor of psychology. She created a system of leadership development learning – to empower the existing workforce and groom them for leadership roles. As a motivational speaker, she inspires people to realise their dreams.