How can we deal with the financial situation at hand? Is there an easier way out? – Questions like these are bound to occupy our already anxious minds in such times. But darkness can only be dispelled by light; even a tiny wick lit up in a pitch dark room is sometimes enough. And so is the case with anxiety – it can only be addressed through knowledge, however small a proof of concept it may offer. With this article, I aim to share whatever small piece of learning I can offer from my own experiences.
Most of us have been living through live with the constant pressures of owning things. When the purpose of associating with something or someone is ‘ownership’ then a lot of energy goes behind keeping a tight grip on it. This is followed by the fear of losing it, which further tightens our grip on that thing, in the process putting a lot more pressure & exertion on ourselves.
Let’s say you are holding a cricket ball signed by Sachin Tendulkar. Since it belongs to you, you feel that the ball is very precious and you need to protect it at any cost. You don’t want to lose it, as you have an emotional connect with it. But this is also the very reason you are unable to grasp anything else in those hands. The fear of losing it, limits any new possibilities from entering your life.
Now imagine that although you love this ball, you are not bound by the idea of owning it forever. You have shown it to people around and you notice that they love it too. You then pass it to people who would love to play with it, so that the beauty of this ball singed by the greatest batsman of our times, goes on to many more.
And what would YOU do now? You probably pick up something more interesting – maybe, you decide to write a beautiful letter to Sachin Tendulkar, and now imagine it catching Sachin’s attention and he actually writing back to you. Imagine the feeling of reading the letter Sachin personally wrote to you. Is there any parallel to that experience?
But how did this situation even come about?
Only because you allowed yourself to get past the previous experience and passed the ball to others so they could have the same experience as you. You had already experienced the ball and enjoyed it fully, and allowed yourself to let go of it. This only freed you to claim a new experience in those very hands that let go of the ball. Do you think, you would have ever experienced the latter if you kept holding the ball with the attitude of ownership?
We are not here to hold onto things. Making properties, having a lot of money, owning 4 cars in your parkway or having a 10,000 Sft house; none of these can assure you a constant source of fulfillment. I have been living in a 3800 Sft house for the past 12 years. And trust me, if I get an opportunity of having even a 200 square yards of space, I imagine using only 1000 Sft for the house and the residual space will be used for creating experiences – open spaces, for people to play and have fun. I even want to experience living in a minimalist house of a 500Sft someday!
Today, we need a mind shift in the idea of ‘ownership’. You don’t need to own things. If anything, start owning memories with people who mean something to you and start sharing the ‘things’. That is the only way you can connect to people – when you do things you truly want to, and care for.
I am able to connect to my family and friends because there is a true meaning to these relationships – there is no pretense and I don’t need to put up with something or someone I don’t connect with. I am not worried about the things that I own, or things that I don’t!
By letting go of the idea of ownership, I find myself stronger in the current situation. So instead of building things that you will not necessarily have the time to enjoy, start earning memories which will stay alive the better part of your lifetime. More importantly, creating memories in itself is an experience!
And all these leads you to a new definition of Success. I believe that there should be a correlation between your work and your life. I often quote this when asked, what is success to me?
A successful person is one who is able to double his time for self v/s his earning.
For e.g.: Praveen earns 100/- and while doing his work, he is able to give 1 hour to his family. Later he starts earning 200/-, but in doing so, he is still able to increase time for self and family proportionately to 2 hrs. THIS is the mark of a successful person!
So I see success to be directly proportionate to the earnings I create and the time I create for myself & my loved ones.
I definitely need to grow, there are no two ways about it. In any scenario, as humans we would like to expand our horizons economically as well, but not at the cost of time – for myself, or things that I love to do.
This new situation that we are unfortunately in, is also somehow the byproduct of the lifestyle we have chosen, or better put – what we have been forced to choose by our societal conditioning. As long as the concentration of money and power are in the hands of only a few, as a society and humanity we will not grow to our fullest potential. This disparity needs to reduce drastically. The degree of different between what we call ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ needs to minimize.
I am not saying being rich is wrong, but being rich at the cost of losing your purpose in life is definitely pointless, isn’t it?
Likewise, getting powerful at the cost of living a purposeful life is pointless too. When politicians and leaders today work with the intent of amassing more power, it can get very dangerous for society at large. As humanity, there is a strong correction required in this mindset.
This present situation with COVID-19 has probably occurred in the past and may repeat again in the future, but unless all of us have such a mind correction, be more compassionate towards lesser fortunate people and making our society and environment livable & better, handling menaces like this will always be an improbable task. For example, each of us living in cities, live a highly polluted life and it’s only us who are to be blamed. Because living a fast paced life ourselves, we fail realizing the importance of life itself. Isn’t ‘life’ supposed to be at the center of our day-to-day living experiences?
Once you put your life in the center, you can start designing and plotting your life the way you really intend it to be. This is my work, friends, society, xyz things I want to do and then we start designing.
More importantly, WE should be the ones designing our lives, not let someone else design it for us.
Together we can fight this pandemic. We are going to come out of this, no doubt. But when we do I sure want us to be happier, deeper and more successful human beings. Not in terms of the misunderstood definition of success .i.e. money, status, fame etc., but our life itself!