This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.
I decided to travel by train. Howrah to Delhi is the ideal train journey distance. Neither too short, nor too long. Plus I got an amazing Rajdhani 2 tier berth. I was looking forward to my journey.
The Howrah station is really close to my parent’s house. About 5-6 kms. It does not take more than 30 mins even when there is a bit of traffic. I was to leave in the afternoon when there will be no traffic.
I booked an Uber with an hour to spare. It arrived on time. I was delayed by about 5 mins as my mother wanted to accompany me. I didn’t think much of it because I was still going to reach with 30 mins to spare as per Google maps.
I got a call and answered it. While I was on the call, my mother gave some directions to the driver about a road which she thought will be quicker. This required the driver to take a U-turn.
When I realised this is happening, I got alarmed because I knew this will result in a delay.
But still, there was no reason why I will not reach on time. I had at least 2 mins to spare according to google maps. I told my mother to keep quiet and not override Google maps again.
I was a km away from the station when the driver took a series of wrong turns. As he realised that he took a wrong turn, he tried to correct it by going in the wrong direction on a one-way street.
He was stopped by a traffic sergeant. He didn’t have a licence.
We beseeched the police officer to let us go as we will miss our train. He relented but by now we had lost our 2 mins advantage.
I could still reach the station with 2-3 mins to spare.
Now my mother panicked. She started screaming at the driver. I tried to calm her down but it was impossible. The driver also lost his nerve and he was driving very slowly, without any sense of direction.
It happens when someone is screaming at you from the back seat right after police caught you taking a wrong turn.
Long story short, I reached the platform 2 mins late hoping that the train will leave the platform a few minutes late as well.
But it had already left.
Not only was it an expensive ticket, now I had to cancel a bunch of appointments, job interviews and engagements. I had to tell everyone I missed a train. People assumed I was careless and stupid to have missed the train. Definitely not the impression I am trying to make.
I had to get another train ticket which is hard to get at a short notice. Or I could drop the idea of travelling by train and just travel by a flight as usual. I had a lot of luggage to take with me and a flight will be quite inconvenient.
I was quite upset with myself. How did I allow something like this to happen?
On top of this, I fell sick from food poisoning the very same night. I suddenly developed fever and weakness.
And then there was also a strike across India. I wasn’t sure how it was going to impact my journey.
Now all these sound like pretty bad circumstances, right? As if the whole world was conspiring against me.
Now let’s see what happened next.
Because it was a strike, suddenly tickets became available in large numbers. There was not even any need to book in tatkal anymore. Lots of people seemed to have cancelled their journey.
In reality, transportation was not hit at all in WB. Or elsewhere in the country. So I booked my ticket.
By them, I had enough time to take medication and stabilize my condition. If I didn’t miss my train I would have developed the food poisoning on my way in the middle of nowhere, in the train, with no easy access to medicines.
My co-passengers would have suffered even more 😀
It would have been terrible.
So, in some ways, missing the train wasn’t so bad after all, even though it wasn’t a planned thing.
I will take what I get.
You can look at any situation from a lens of gratefulness or a lens of disappointment and defeat.
The best of the best have an ability to see the positive and the opportunity in the negative situations too.
I saw an opportunity to share two life lessons with you 🙂
One is that small things add up and cause big problems. Taken independently, none of the problems I faced on my way from home to the station should have delayed me enough to cause me to miss my train.
But when many of those tiny delays and obstacles added up, something quite unpredictable and inconvenient happened.
Don’t ignore small problems. Don’t let them fester. Don’t let them take control of your narrative.
We ignore small problems thinking that they won’t affect the big picture. But then they do.
The only way to avoid big trouble is to treat the small problems with the same urgency as you will treat a big problem. The wise know that if small problems are prevented, big problems can’t touch you. Ignoring small problems in the first place is what brings on the bigger problems.
You are not going to end up unsuccessful due to one huge wrong decision though that is what everyone expects. In reality, failure or success in career, getting the right job or not, usually depends on many small decisions over the years.
People say oh, he had a heart attack this morning. Well, in reality, that heart attack started long back. It was caused by thousands of tiny decisions to eat a certain food, of being too lazy to exercise, of allowing oneself to be tensed, angry or unhappy.
Don’t let the small problems, small mistakes, small ignorances, small carelessnesses pile up in your life and derail you from your goal.
The second lesson is that shit happens. But even when problem and chaos hit you, you have a choice. You can look for opportunities in that chaos that follows an unpredictable and unlikely disaster.
I know people who failed a semester in law school and picked up a hobby in the gap time as they were not promoted to next year, and that hobby eventually became a profession.
Due to some stupid mistakes, I did not land any internships at the end of my 4th year. So I looked and found and then I worked on far more interesting things instead. and then I landed amazing job offers and what I did that summer immensely helped.
You may find yourself in tough situations. I bet you will find yourself in tough situations soon even if everything else is fine right now. That’s what is the nature of life – ups and downs. Now and then.
I want you to look for blessings and opportunities in those hardships.
All the best!
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