Monday, November 18, 2013

Identifying and Reaching Goals

I always used to think - 'Only if this major problem in my life was solved, then.. [a list of actions that would be done, that would bring me glory, eternal life or whatever]'

I am 34 now, and will soon be 35 - In all my life I have found the status to be the same. All the big crises for which I waited to be solved have tided by, and I am still short of executing the list that would make me happy. 

That is because, when one problem was solved, another one (or more) took its place. 

The Structure of Mind

Sri Eckhart Tolle is one of the modern Masters who analyzes this issue with clinical precision. If you have to read just one book on spirituality this life, please read A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose 

In Yoga Vaashishta, Lord Rama says that trying to satisfy the mind is like trying to fill a sieve with water. How much ever we try to fill it, water will not stay. 

Sri Tolle says that 'Mind wants to want, more than it wants to have' - i.e., when you give it something that it wants, it just moves on and wants someother thing. It doesn't matter what the mind wants - Money, power, friendship, love WHATEVER! As long as mind gets something, it moves on wants some other thing. 

We need to understand that this is the nature of the mind. So, never attach much meaning to what the mind wants. [A mind might want a Ducati if you have Hyosung, but the mind forgets that the Hyosung was its dream when it was having a 150cc Suzuki]

Waiting for some event in future

I am sure everyone is eagerly waiting for some problem to be solved, something to happen, lady luck to shine, some illness to be cured, waiting for your 15 kg weight-loss etc. The only thing true is the present. 

Waiting to start something good and linking it with some event in future is a sure-shot way of not doing it. Tom Cruise, in Knight and Day delivers a profound dialog - "Someday is a dangerous word. It's really just code for never."

As Master Oogway says in Kungfu Panda - "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present "


While there is a chance that what we plan for doesn't happen, the chance of something happening is close to ZERO if we don't plan for it. 

Goals are meaningless if we don't plan for it. A goal without a date, is a goal that is unlikely to happen. 

Goals sometimes need not be things that have be 'externally' acquired. Goals can be internal -  To achieve some sort of behavioral transformation. I have identified a list of transformations, that have been pending since time immemorial since I have not associated timelines with them

What you don't measure, you don't provide

Goals with timelines need to be tracked, on a periodic basis - Want weight loss? Measure your weight every day! Want to run 10K ? Run everyday, and log the distance in your journal. 

Want higher quality code? Measure the defects [compiler warnings, lint's analysis etc]


As I get older, I realize how precious time is! There are too many good ideas to pursue, too many great places to visit, too many skills to acquire. The key to be great is to say no to many of those good stuff. It is rather easy to say no to bad stuff (I struggle even with that). But, it is a test of character and discipline to say no to good stuff. 

For e.g., given my career goals are related to Wireless Networks and Cloud computing (yes, they go together :-) ), I am not going to do great research in Graphics, Hardware related stuff or say, mathematical computing (I love the last subject)

I would love to learn Carnatic music - I used to play the violin, and used to dabble in singing. I realize that I might have NO time for this ever, in my life (To go to a class, study under a master) - I'll continue to listen and sing, but will never make it big in this. This is sad, but at the same time, it is important to give up things without regret. An iota of guilt / regret is enough to drag down performances across multiple other domains.

We all have finite time, and to become great in something (if you want to be so), do not be afraid to say no to even insanely good stuff. Always trust your heart/gut over the brain in these decisions. 


Anger is a reality distortion field (Actually any strong emotion be positive or negative is a reality distortion field) - The quote 'Love is Blind' is often used. This quote is used to point out that none of the concerned parties are able to see the flaws in other, which the rest of the world can see. 

I wish the term 'Anger is Blind' is used more often. People will remember its implications better. Sri Tolle describes beautifully in his book 'A New Earth'. Anger makes us blind to reason, diminshes / alters powers of perception and is a primal force which can only cause harm - There are uses for Anger, but on the long run, it is indeed bad. If you are angry, walk out of the room, type that email and save it in draft and just postpone reacting till you are out of anger. Like all emotions, anger will subside over time - a few mins to few hours. Then when you recollect, you'll thank yourself for not saying what you were about to say, not sending out that email etc. 

Anger alters the perception of reality like no other emotion. Sri Tolle says that the 'Pain Body' takes over. (Pain body is the collection of all the pains stored in our consciousness over many many births). The worse thing about it is that anger will usually be redirected esp to the loved ones in the closest ring since they are most vulnerable. (The pain body wants to extract maximum pain out of the situation not just others' but yours too!) - The worst part is not yet over - The WORST thing is that the pain body knows the weaknesses or pain points of the closest ones and then will literally devastate the closest ones by using this knowledge most often leaving a very deep scar that takes time to heal, and making you miserable for days / weeks / months together for having done / said something. 

Next time when you get angry, please create a space around yourself, and just escape the situation. When the anger subsides, then take control of the situation. 

PS:- This doesn't mean if there is any injustice on the road, you just walk away. As I said earlier, anger has its uses! 

Giving Up

The word giving up is usually filled with negative connotation. At the same time, it is related to the concept of saying 'No' and 'Time' - I'll start by saying that one should never give up on things / people which matter the most, and would be crucial to meaning of your life. 

To let go, is sometimes the only way to go. Whenever I have to let go of something / someone [physical or logical entity] it usually hurts despite me being one whom I consider as 'stoic'. I usually overcome that by remembering the verse 2 of Arunachala Pancharatnam. 'Oh Arunachala, everything comes into being in You, exists in You and finally dissolves in You' - This doesn't mean that the person has die, or something is lost. If a person moves away from your view of the world, that is a 'logical' death. This verse gives me great peace, relieves the pain of loss, and makes me actually grateful for the experience that thing / person brought to you however transitory it may be. If this doesn't work, I repeat the verse till it works :-P

I compare this to the branches of a Coconut tree that fall off. The tree will not be able to grow and yield fruits if every branch sticks to it. It is extremely important that the branches fall off. However, each branch contributes to the growth of the tree by falling off, and they also leave a permanent mark on the tree. [I have a friend who absolutely hates this simile!] 

And giving up, and moving on is a very important aspect one has to master. I wish I master this sooner than later!  

I am making my list of things that I absolutely have to accomplish this life, things to say no to and I just shared my thoughts that came up while I am doing this activity. Hopefully, it helps some of you! Expect more in these lines this week. (You have been warned!)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Really nice article Sriram. Loved your though process.