“Everybody seems angry a lot of the time, and always in a rush!! Sometimes you can get dragged along with it. How can we reverse that and make people aware of the present?!?”
That was the question that was posed in response to my last blog post. It is an important and perennial question that I decided to dedicate a blog post to offer my humble 2 cents.
Get out. Not all battles are worth fighting. Not all races are worth being in. One always has the choice to get out. After all, even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat
Run at your own pace and style. If for some reason one is unable to get out of the mad rush, one should run at their own terms. Australian farmer Cliff Young was 61 years old, a vegetarian, a teetotaler and a virgin when he announced he wanted to take part in the Sydney to Melbourne race. He had never run a marathon before so he became a laughing stock. While other contestants were younger, had run similar races before and were running with ‘proper’ running shoes sponsored by famous brands, Cliffy ran with his gumboots. Many professionals commented that his technique was considered “incorrect” because instead of running, he traipsed along with a leisurely shuffle. But Cliffy won first place, breaking the race record by 9 hours! Later, people who studied his running technique called it the ”Young Shuffle” and has since been adopted by some ultra-marathon runners because it expends less energy. A true minimalist
There were many times when Cliffy was at the point if giving up. He stayed true to himself and hence avoided being ‘dragged along’. When people lose it and scream at us, we are not obligated to react in the same way. The better approach will be to allow them to release steam and once they are done to respond calmly. Let that be the style.
Practice makes perfect. There are some religious practices that at fixed intervals throughout the day; stop whatever they are doing no matter how busy they are, to pray. Just taking this few minutes off reminds them why they are really on earth for or the purpose of their toil. It is easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and lose perspective. It will do us good to use any ‘agitated’ moments as cues to pause and take a deep breath. True change takes time and deliberate practice. In the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of deliberate practice to achieve mastery in a field. Is it not reasonable to expect the same if we wish to chisel and mold our character?
Change begins with us: Every time, we board a plane we are reminded of the following advice: “Secure your own mask first before helping others.” The rationale is simple: We can only help others if we are not helpless ourselves. Everything begins with us. If we are calm, it will be easy to achieve calmness in our homes. If there is calmness in our homes, there will be peace in nations. If there is peace in nations, there will be peace in the world. Imagine a tiny hut with its doors and windows shut. You light a candle. It is pitch dark outside. If you open the window, is the vast darkness of the night going to overcome the light from the candle or will the light from the candle pierce the darkness? The challenge for each of us then, is to become that ‘light’.
(Pictures taken today from Art & Craft Festival)