As I walk into office each day I am excited and am keen to achieve more than what the system expects. Ability to deliver more than what people expect and become an outlier in each small way/deliverable is amazing. But what if you aren’t able achieve the best or aren’t able to demonstrate expected performance inspite of doing your best. The worst that can happen is loss of job. And really that’s all. When we give more importance to the employment rather than the result that we are paid to achieve we become fearful.
Lets start with a few numbers first to understand the significance of our existence on this planet. If life has been in existence for about 4 billion years, every 80 years there is a complete refresh of entire ‘human’ population and during these 80 years we are one among 7 billion, so by a simple calculation the significance of our existence in relation to life and humanity is about 1.142*10^(-17). Now all the serious mathematicians reading this – pls understand the sentiment and don’t start finding holes in the calculation.
If we don’t express this number in this scientific manner the simple representation is ZERO. Lets call it the state of ‘zeroness’
While each one of us gets his/her dose of philosophy wrt the conduct of life encompassing advice ranging from great health, selflessness, philanthropy, family time, wellbeing, wellness, simplicity, lessons on leadership, I have for the 40 years of my life and 25 years of fully conscious life strived to search for one thing that matters the most in life. That one catalyst that’s profoundly empowering.
That – in my hypothesis is ‘fearlessness’.
I am no Guru or saint or any philosopher. I am just a simple executive who works hard and tries to make two ends meet and make a difference to my small insignificant ecosystem on a daily basis but have come to conclude that fearlessness is THE most empowering trait of life. A lot of gurus tell us about meditation, breathing, yoga, karma – but have you ever reflected that, that too is to fight the fear of something such as bad health, fear of failure, fear of something or the other. Every advice, every direction is to counter a fear. Become fearful and then take the medicine to counter it.
Why don’t we only work towards becoming fearless and this one thing, one trait, one goal is simply the solution to everything if one keeps the above mentioned math of inconsequentiality/zeroness in mind.
I believe life has 3 facets – Work, Family and External Ecosystem. Come to think of it our life revolves around just these facets. The biggest question is how do we empower ourselves to rise in fearlessness rather than die everyday in some form of fear.
Lets address each one separately:
In the backdrop of what’s happening in the IT industry and the expected downsizing, I write about work first, as this takes the largest timeshare of our life. At approx. 11 hrs a day this is 45% of our time.
No job will last forever, No Annual Operating plan/budget will be achieved perpetually and not every month or quarter will be that of the expected growth. It didn’t happen with Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon and it wont happen in your company. So just chill and simply do your best.
No boss will be perpetually happy with you. But if you do the best that you humanly can in your job then God will orchestrate your success. And this belief is empowering. But if you lie, shun ownership and steal or indulge in corruption you will always live in a state of fear. In this above-mentioned state of zeroness what is it that you are trying to achieve or prove. You cant achieve anything or prove anything that will last forever. But if you do the best that you can you feel empowered and empowered human beings achieve extraordinary results.
Corruption debilitates and good character empowers. Corruption isn’t only hardcore financial corruption. Corruption is wrong/diluted intent. Intent has a smell, intent has a feel and its clearly visible. And if your intent is honourable then stop being fearless.
Human beings with great intent are guided by that invisible hand. Momentary failures are stepping stones to success. If your intent is good then don’t fear failure because failure is sometimes orchestrated for you by God to push you to a higher better state.
Your acknowledgement of your state of zeroness should empower you to carry that proverbial resignation letter in your pocket but don’t die everyday in the fear of being fired. That’s the worst that can happen and in the cycle of life its meaningless. No one can fire you except your own self. And when this fear of being fired is out of the window you feel empowered and as said above – empowered human being achieve extraordinary results.
For a major part of our life we ignore and take our families for granted only to make them secure for a rainy day and slog our life out because of some fear of an unknown chilly winter.
And we live in fear.
When we live life by the principle of different strokes for different folks life gets complicated. If we try and lead a life and treat our families as we would like to be treated life becomes less-complicated.
Agree or not we are constantly trying to prove a point. A point by buying/striving for a bigger better house / car / exotic holidays / clothes / gadgets. Nothing lasts a lifetime. Everything depreciates and eventually vanishes. But if – we lead a simple life where material things stop bothering us and we just strive for all necessary comforts without a pressure to demonstrate or win a race – you become fearless.
You become fearless when you lead a minimalistic life and there is little to lose. When there is nothing to lose you respect the relationships more than the material things of life. You find better joy in eating at home with family and laughing with them rather than suffering in the pressure of eating in a Michelin star restaurant, that you reach after negotiating in traffic and investing time on travel and then worrying about spending too much. How often have you celebrated a simple meal with the entire family and a good wine and just enjoyed each others company without proving anything to anyone and felt empowered because your need isn’t the need to spend and feel pressured but your need is the need to feel empowered in the joy of togetherness.
Wife, parents and children is all there is to a family. If you treat your parents as you would like to be treated when old, if you treat your wife as you would like your sister to be treated life cannot be simpler. Uncomplicated lives empower you. Complicated lives make you fearful.
When you gracefully accept life and the cards that it deals for you, You feel empowered. You are fearful when you cheat and when you lie and strive to acquire things that aren’t destined for you. We make much lesser effort to work on our immediate relationships but invest a far greater time catching up with inconsequential acquaintances – why – to further our social circle. And no one in the social circle matters except the immediate family.
Its surprising that divorce rates and instances of spouses cheating on each other are at a historic (evolution to date) high. And this is because we are striving for something that doesn’t belong to us or is meant for us. And that creeps in fear. Fearlessness is when you can look in each others eyes and smile with the greatest degree of confidence without even the need of saying – I Love You.
Live within your means, eat like a pauper and live like a king, don’t buy/spend to prove something but only spend on what you need and You and Your family will feel empowered and fearless forever.
This comprises of your friends and relatives. I have realised that there are only going to be 4-6 truly reliable people in this realm. And your true friends aren’t ever going to judge you by your possessions or by your lifestyle. Whether you live in a 500 sq ft house or 50000 sq ft house their behaviour and blessings for you will remain the same. The trick in life is to quickly identify these handful of people and ignore (get rid of) the rest.
People who judge you by your car / home / holidays / liquor that you serve are just pests (assimilatory) in your ecosystem. Keeping up with the Joneses is the most fear inducing and debilitating exercise. You feel empowered when you live within your means and give away to someone in need. Giving away brings joy and brings a sense of satisfaction. There is no need to talk about poverty eradication and global inequality in Davos. Just try and behave well with your maid, driver, security guards and try and make some difference to their life. It will empower you.
If you fund the deficit of these people who bring in the daily comfort to your life, its far more joyful than the momentary satisfaction that you get by spending a similar amount of money on an expensive meal that could be equal to your driver’s monthly salary. And when you make an effort to tune your thoughts in this direction you become fearless for there is nothing to lose but only to gain.
Live a comfortable life but spend on what you need and not what you want and you will live fearlessly for the rest of your life.
And lastly human beings are but a figment of their thoughts and character. As Thatcher said, Good thoughts lead to good words, Good words become good deeds, Good deeds become good habits and good habits become great character and character is everything.
Manu also writes for Huffington Post