Getting my daily fix of news, this letter from Michelle Obama stood out and spoke to me. So much so that I had to link it here.
Have a good Friday everyone and happy weekend!
Speaking to my FIL as is our weekly ritual, K and I listened to him recount his weekly updates and we waited our turn to catch up on our side of things. Talking to him about a personal milestone we reached we were thrilled by his genuine happiness that was evident from the voice on the other end of the phone.
We continued the conversation to hear him say, “When I first started work, my manager said to me – Plan your work and work the plan. I have followed it all my life and am glad you are doing it too in your lives.”
Long after we hung up, the words echoed in my mind. Simple words can have a profound effect specially on an eager young man on the threshold of a career. Leaders have the ability to impress values on impressionable minds. Searching long and hard, I can’t seem to remember any memorable quotes or ideas that the people I have had the pleasure of working with instilled in me. My dad is the only person who in many ways has influenced my attitude, behavior and value system. Looking back, I really do think he was charismatic.
Making the connection as I go through my MBA, I guess this is the time I can pick and choose if I want to be a manager or a leader not just in my professional life but elsewhere too. I can choose to lead by example. Be cognizant of the effect I have on people around me. People who’s lives I impact.
Who knows, some day some one might be quoting me 🙂
“If you want something, you have to fight for it!” my FIL stated emphatically. No. It was not in the context of something inspirational yet it turned out to be one for me. He was speaking of the red-tapism and the attendant struggles in getting anything done in Bangalore. Am sure it is true of most of our home towns. In this case he was particularly frustrated by the constant rise in his cell bill and charges tacked on for things he did not use. I had to fight to get it taken off the bill he said. He concluded grandly saying “K and L, if you want something, you have to fight for it.”
With something as profound as this on my mind, I went to sleep and woke up with a sense of realization. My father in law is in many ways similar to my father in his ability to get me thinking and inspiring respect for what he does. Both of them were polar opposites. That’s what I thought. My father hated confrontation. He would go out of his way to settle things by negotiation. Never a raised voice if he could help it. Compromise and negotiation were his hall marks. On the other hand, my FIL is a vocal person. He lets the person on the other side of the argument really have it. He does this with so much conviction that sometimes the other person gives up even if they are right! If you want someone on your side for support and strength, my FIL is the person to go to. He was too, in his extended neighborhood and very proud of his role as guardian. Behind his ferocious nature however is a heart of gold. He cares, really cares for people and issues around him. He is the kind of person who would stop by if there is an accident in front of him and remove his shirt to staunch the flow of blood. The kind of person who would carry peanuts and biscuits on temple trips and such just in case we ran into birds or monkeys we could feed.
Well! the point I was trying to get at is that even though my father and FIL were polar opposites they shared this trait of going after something with tenacity. Their approaches were different but the end result same. As I lay thinking about my FIL’s comment, I was reminded of my father. Of his quiet pursuit of his dreams. Never discussed, yet his eyes shining with happiness at the odd success here and there. There is so much I take after my father and yet I lack something fundamental. I hate confrontation. Absolutely. I would rather pay the extra amount of the bill if I had to fight to have it taken off. I aim big and in most cases lack the tenacity to hang on and see something to completion.
My FIL with his innocent comment has really made me think. Of how much I want to succeed at what I set my mind to. The solution is right there staring at my face. If I want it. I have to fight for it.
How do we go about shielding loved ones from hurt? When I hear someone I care about being upset or hurt about something I have no control on. I ache. I ache for the person feeling bad. I feel frustrated and helpless. Sometimes my frustration appears harsh. In the process of trying to make things better, I sometimes make them worse.
When in pain I write. Like now. It is up to us to take charge of our destiny. To chart the course of our life. We control how we feel. It is up to us to decide to be happy. To ignore things that cause us pain or to understand, forgive and forget. Easier said than done I know.
How would you deal with a situation like this? Other than listening and feeling frustrated of course.
Waiting for a friend in the lobby of her office, I picked up a worn out copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Turning over the pages vacantly, I read a few of the contributions and found myself nodding my head in agreement or going “My parents would have done the exact same thing! So, what’s so great about it?”.
By the time I was ready to leave, I had already forgotten about the book. It all came back to me today walking leisurely on the treadmill watching my feet hit the belt in synchrony. The sheer simplicity of the concept. Taking heartwarming moments from ordinary peoples’ lives and packaging it in a fashion that is accessible. Stories that make you go “Aww! How sweet!!” or “Wish it did not have to be this way.”
It is not that there is great intrigue in these stories that are shared. It is the every day simplicity in them that the reader can relate to. The things we take for granted. The all too common emotions of love, affection, sorrow and friendship.
Isn’t it in some way what I am attempting to do I thought. Take moments out of my everyday life to share with friends and family. To bare my soul and make my everyday thoughts open to discussion? To wonder if others go through what I do.
I hereby christen my blog unofficially as – Jeera rasam for the intensely desi soul!