Category : Self Development

Banana fingers

Banana finger

A few of us grandkids walked home from Marina beach one evening with Grandpa.

We stopped by a fruit-seller’s cart. He sold bananas.

“How much are they?” Grandpa asked.

They haggled. The vendor pointed at the other end of his cart.

“For your price, you’ll get those.”

Grandpa glared for a while and said, “But those are so tiny.”

The wrinkled, elderly man in a torn, sleeveless vest held up his right hand, fingers splayed apart.

“Are all these fingers the same size, sir?” he asked.

It was a philosophy that cut through to my eight year-old mind… and has stayed with me since. I’ve used it several times over the years, in dozens of different contexts.

It always made perfect sense!

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Circular Logic

By and large, I’ve had an interesting, eventful, and rewarding life.

And am fairly content with it.

Yet, from time to time, when I get together with someone who knew me from a young age, they’ll remark that I could have achieved so much more – “if only I had wanted to“.

More money. More fame. More professional ‘success’.

After such conversations – for a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a week – I’ll wonder if I really have set the bar too low, not been ambitious enough.

And then, inevitably, this argument comes to mind.

What if I had strived harder for 10x more – and got it? Would I then be content?

Or would I feel it was possible to have tried even harder – for 100x more?

And beyond that – for 1,000 times higher?

What THEN? Carry on, extending this limit… endlessly?

Each time, this argument is convincing.

But not always comforting.

Sigh!

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Contentment

Muffin on the Window

Contentment. Satisfaction. Bliss.

It’s Muffin‘s trademark position. Sitting on the windowsill, gazing out into our backyard.

Since her operation, we’ve not dared let her upon that precarious perch. Today, as a stop-gap solution, I pulled up a chair and lifted her onto the cushion. Watchful of any misstep on her part, I sipped my coffee.

The little one settled down – and then remained motionless as a statue. After a while, I set down my empty mug and glanced into her face.

And saw contentment, satisfaction, bliss.

Curious, I lowered my head to her side, trying to see the world as she did.

For a few minutes, I too lost myself in the tranquil view out of our window.

Enjoyed the silence. The lovely, soft green of leaves, dazzling brightly as they caught the sun. The occasional waft of a cool early morning breeze.

And the close companionship of my dear friend, Muffin.

It was magical.

I wished the spell wouldn’t ever break.

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Recalibrate

CHD Support Groups

“Sister, the potassium level is 6.1 in this blood sample!”

It’s a medical emergency. But the senior ICU nurse, bent over paperwork at her desk, didn’t even raise her head.

“Recalibrate the machine and repeat the test.”

The process takes 3 minutes. A chastened junior nurse returned with the second blood report.

“It’s only 3.5 now, Sister.”

Her senior just smiled.

It was a familiar problem. After a certain time, the analyzer used to measure blood levels of vital chemicals had to be reset. Several minor tweaks and drifts happen. Collectively, they can skew a measurement – sometimes badly. And that could even create a pseudo-emergency!

It happens in other areas, too. Even with people in our lives.

Lately, I’ve noticed this effect in a few of my relationships. Some of them are 20, even 30+ years old.

At first, I was surprised and upset. But then, after thinking it over deeply, I realized something.

We tend to do two things to people:

  • affix a label (e.g. “friend”)
  • assign a set of attributes to it

But over time, things change.

Suddenly, one fine day, it appears as if the attributes don’t quite match the label… and you’re shocked at how everything’s now ‘different’.

Like a blood gas analyzer, our relationships also need to be periodically recalibrated.

Both the label, and its attributes.

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The Secret of Success

How Badly Do You Want Success

“Know what you want – and get it”
– Sushmita Sen, Miss.Universe, 1994

‘Take what you want, and pay for it’ says God
– Old Spanish proverb

I’m going to tell you a little story.

It’s about a man who wanted to know the secret of success, and decided to find out from a Guru.

Now this was a wise, old sage who knew every secret of Life. He lived in splendid isolation on a mountain-top. Our hero set out on his difficult journey to meet this wise man.

He was determined to reach the top, and so he got over many obstacles on his way. Fighting through thick forests, scaling huge boulders, escaping from wild beasts, at last he clambered to the peak and lay on the ground, gasping for breath.

A few minutes later, he sat up… and beheld the Guru seated in deep meditation.

CONTINUE READING
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