This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.
Do you wish for an easy life? Do you wish for comfort? There is no greatness possible if your desire for comfort claims you as a victim.
Every single thing worth achieving in the world comes through the hardship of one sort or the other. You toil, you take the stress, you figure out an enterprise, and you achieve.
There are things that people would like to get without effort and pretend to be getting without effort.
Example: love. Friendship. Respect.
Sorry, we would like that but everything is earned. It involves planning, effort, wisdom, good habits.
There is the question of privilege and status which is not earned, and circumstances, but that’s another thing. We can blame those for never achieving what we want but what’s the use? Circumstances are beyond our control but we are master of our own efforts. We can survive and thrive in a very very large majority of circumstances. With effort. And with the willingness to face circumstances with agility, readiness, and determination.
Human determination can bend the world to its ways. You may miss it happening in your environment all the time because of a phenomenon I am going to explain now.
We are blind to two kinds of massive and powerful effort.
One is a habit. We are blind to our own as well as the habits of other people. We don’t see tiny amounts of work done consistently like clockwork every day, every week, every month. We underestimate its power. The greatness of this approach hides in plain sight.
Then one day we brand that person with a great habit overnight success.
We are also blind to the effort of people dealing with the crisis. We think a crisis is bad. But that is not necessary at all!
If you don’t cave in, you don’t break, if you fight back and survive the crisis, you grow stronger, better, more powerful.
People rarely grow unless they are thrown into a crisis. Crisis brings out our natural survival instincts, forces us to be the best version of us, and provides clarity and direction to our actions.
A man willing to live in a situation that wants to kill or destroy him does not have the luxury of procrastination, laziness, profligacy, being “proper”, grandstanding etc. The usual character flaws are forced to disappear when your survival is in question.
He struggles to survive, and that struggle ensures growth. And we are mostly blind to it. We say poor him and sympathise while the person is struggling and then when he succeeds, we say wow he is so lucky!
If you are not blind to the power of crisis, instead of asking for an easy life, you may want more crisis. Or create crisis intentionally in your life so you could grow. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
But that’s exactly what many great people do, again and again, because greatness is more important than being comfortable.
Nature hates comfort. The Sikhs say “aaram haraam hai”. Comfort is disgusting. Why?
Our bodies and minds were built for a constant state of war for survival, to survive in harsh elements, where big animals wanted to eat us, and we had to find food and shelter and survive.
Our bodies and minds thrive under stress, in difficult conditions. And they malfunction in peacetime, good living conditions!
We have to put our body under stress to keep it in shape, which is what a modern gym does. Give the body a taste of the war for survival so it doesn’t malfunction.
It’s the same with the mind. As we live in the safest time in human history, with very little to be really afraid of, security and safety at an all-time high in human history, so are cases of depression and all other sorts of mental health problems.
A man or woman fighting a crisis does not have such issues.
How can you create a crisis? It’s an art of course.
One way is to take up a massive cause that is far bigger than your personal interests. Then you begin to live in a perpetual state of mission, purposefulness and crisis requiring your body and mind to be in best shape.
This is why people want to solve large global problems like climate change, or education of underprivileged children and abandon their good careers to solve such problems. Those people have discovered the joy of living for a big cause, where you are hurled from one crisis to another, not just for yourself, but a huge community of people you care about.
Another way is to take up bigger challenges than what you can already deal with. Why do so many people want to climb Mount Everest every year? Possibly because it’s such a hard thing to do for most of us. One in six people who climb the Everest die in the process, even today. It’s a self-made crisis.
There are many other self-made crises we subject ourselves to. Fasting is a good example. So are arduous religious journeys.
What is your crisis that will make you grow?
You could take up a learning challenge.
Perhaps you don’t have enough time to study a course. Still, if you like it and believe it can be helpful, join it. That’s a crisis. You will figure out how to stretch yourself and make it work.
That act of stretching yourself will increase your capabilities. That’s how you become much better than what you already are.
This is what happened to me in law school. What was a herculean task in the first year, became cakewalk by the time I was in the third year. That’s how it works.
Stretch yourself and hold on. Then things will get better. Then do it again.
Nature built us to be warriors, we are not the fragile people our current environment treats us like! We are custom built for struggles, strife and extreme stress. That’s how we will realise our true potential.
All the best 🙂 #seizetheday!
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