The desire to become extraordinary is a very ordinary desire, common to all people. The question which struck me was how it started and why can’t we let go off it?
In another springs like this, it dawned on me that the competitive spirit to run better than you next friend is inculcated in us from childhood. All Kinder Gardens are military training camps. (Click on last sentence to read more about it.) Thus from childhood we are trained to run, to do better, to compete, to be superior, to excel. (Whatever that means because it varies from person to person.)
This race we start at childhood has some semblance of rationality till it is aimed at meeting our needs for food and shelter etc. but even after we have the means to secure ourselves, the race goes on forever. Competitive citizens, followers, disciples etc. are needed by the Nations, Corporations and Religions to fight their wars of territories or markets but not for living. Why we do not realize this at any moment in this life.
Another problem is that even if we do realise it, may be incoherently, we have acquired such habit of competitiveness that we can not let it go. In competitiveness we have lost all friends, relatives, children. The last one have no time because they have to go out ans start another war for their Jaguar or Rolls Royce. Relationships are superficial. Categorized and maintained like grocery. More useful are kept near, less useful at a distance. Friends became competitors and competitors know no friend.
Yet another instance is despair. In a race to win and possess more, we do realize that something is amiss but we can not find it. Difficulty is that reason for despair is so near. How to focus on something so near. A life yet to be lived but only if we get time out from this race.
A Billionaire friend who earned his way up, has this problem. He is very good at writing. A long time ago he used to write very well. Something he has long forgotten. A writer is a good reader but that was also shelved long ago for the sake of business. Now with a billion in pocket, he has two problems:
1) Life may be luxurious but it looks so ordinary; at least it does not feel extra-ordinary.
2) What to compete now for mind does not rest at anything less exciting?
An obvious thing to notice is that he is apparently tired of making money, and more money, which is a sheer number game once the immediate needs are satisfied. So what he does he do?
He want to become a famous painter. He would hire as many good painters to teach him. When it did not work. He had them paint on his imagination. He would put his signature. So much so good. To display it in society or at parties was good. To give away paintings was also okay. The problem is when he say he can sell it and make a name and fame out of it because art critiques are also human with same greed! The acute business sense is back into business. Oh God!
Is there a way out of this whirlpool of competition, a war to become rich or famous or both? There is one thing nobody realizes. In all this getting rich or famous business, there is a point of saturation. The achievements once achieved become trophies on the wall to be dusted every now and then and it feels nothing.
Success is a bitch which bit me a few times.
When I was a student, I had never realized that I would be writing books much less on law, which was an enigma. Having done that, it makes no difference. I still enjoy a novel with good plot with strong character build up. I may be known to some publishers or readers or few people but that has no effect on my life which I have to spend with my family and friends. I am still that stupid nutty person to old friends and if I am stupid enough to act a celebrity, I can do that before a mirror to begin with and be isolated.
Problem with fame and success is that it isolates. In our jest for success we race without realizing that in the valley of success there are no friends or relatives except those you brought along.
Exploration of self.
This is getting unduly long. I only hope that I made a point to enjoy ourselves as ordinary person. Success is a psychological state which never arrives. Yes, there is a stage of wind fall profit but with that comes a liability of management. And by law of probability every one can not be million hits successful or buy an island but we can ruin a perfectly good life in hoping it. When shall we decide that it is enough. No more race. No more running from place to place, job to job, person to person begging favours, working from dawn to dusk. Of course it has implications on health. But when to let go? This a decision everyone has to make and must make at some point in life.
There can not be a better thing to do in life except to understand it and what can be greater way than to understand the ‘self’ which mirrors this life to us. But it requires poise which is not possible without stepping out of the race.
© Sandeep Bhalla