Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A leaf from My Diary

This is what I had written a month back . Just thought I will share .


What a day today ? It is a Sunday – and I needed to go to the market for the weekly veggie & non-veg. But the morning was really striking. What all happened were really irritating outwardly – but strangely enough, I did not feel irritated or upset at all – rather, mentally, I was observing like a by-stander and making inferences regarding learning points that I would be writing about in the context of what happened to me this morning.

First, it was my non-stick tea pan. I find it very handy for heating plain water or making tea. I do not use this for any other purpose . Nevertheless, my great lady ( my domestic help ) had managed to ruin even this pan with her carelessness by using hard scrubbing stuff while cleaning, although I must have asked her n times to use only spongy stuff for cleaning non-stick utensils. The pan had about two circles on the inner side – roughly about the usual water level taken daily for making tea - where the non-stick coat had come off. My mother was after my life – throw this, throw this – any non-stick utensil with even a small patch of scratches must be thrown away as per her. But, somehow, I was still using that and could not throw this, till now.

Today morning, I just put the pan with milk-water mix for tea – certain ideas came in flashes to my mind, which I sat down to type out on to my computer and lo..o.. I totally oblivious to the fact that my tea pan was on stove. It was only when the entire kitchen was full of burnt gas & my niece smelt something burning and switched off the gas, that I came to realise what had happened. The pan was totally burnt - thank god - I immediately threw it to the dustbin.

Strange, I was really feeling good :

Firstly, finally I consigned it to the dustbin. Non-stick wares are actually unhealthy to use when their coat comes off. Although I knew that, perhaps I was using that pan for so long just as a matter of habit. Also may be because it still appeared to be useful. Getting burnt made it convincingly useless - hence easier to discard despite my past attachment to it.

- Secondly, I have a new pan. Although it has been there for long as a buffer stock, I never had the opportunity to use that. Now I can take it out and use !! Wow !

Many bigger things happen in life in a similar vein. Until and unless you burn your ship, and are left with no alternative but to explore ahead – you usually show a strong tendency to hang on to the current and known, or try to replicate the past and known, and rarely dare switch course for something new. Basically, it is the fear of the uncertainties, that holds one back to where one is, whether or not that status quo is worth maintaining. When such tendency to hold on is very strong, nothing less than a “burning of the shelter” is required to get you going on a look out for a newer avenue, for a newer destination.

Soon after this incident, I again found myself in an unsolicited problem that day. The sewerage work is still going on in our apartment premises. So every now and then , u will find cuts on the pathways and open pits in our compound. But, till now, at least they were taking care to see that each car has at least some way to move in and out of the campus.

When I went down to go to the market, I found that it was really difficult to take out my car from my parking slot due to cuts and pits. But somehow, I mentally measured up from all sides, and thought I can manage to take my car out through back drive. Unluckily, my calculations went a little awry and I could know at a point that the right front wheel would go down a pit, if I continue. So, just before the danger point, I stopped my car; but despite keeping it on handbreak and gear, I found that the car was actually sliding back - if I left the brake free. Hence, I decided to stay on and kept pressing the brake.

I really needed someone to put a brick or something behind my rear wheel – so that at least I can move ahead & get down to see for myself how much space is available on all sides for the movement without a disaster. But no one was around. Then, I thought of one of our neighbours – happens to be a colleague also. Gave him an SOS call – thank god, he was available at home. He & his son came down and helped me with taking the car out of the garage. As u know, in congested space, negotiating turns really require someone outside to tell you where exactly to cut or stop. Thank god, at the right time, instead of panicking, I drew upon my aquaintance, got help and finally, got over the problem .

So, learning points for me are :

- Do not panic. This is perhaps the most basic and most fundamental ground rule to face problems and challenges, which is mostly observed by its breach ! And personally, while I have usually maintained my cool in professional front (virtually, I laugh through all problems and find them getting solved very soon ), I have been rather impatient when it comes to personal problems where somehow I know my limitations - like driving a car, finding out a new place all by myself, carrying a huge weight etc. But today, I swear, I did not panic , because I knew I have to solve it by myself, my hubby is not around to help me out.

- In a difficult situation, always know the specific problem, instead of getting confused out of panic. ( When I started on back gear, I knew that my real problem was the pit, although space constraint was there on all sides and I knew I have to carefully negotiate. So, my focus was on the pit and I could sense exactly the moment my wheel was about to slip into the pit. ) So, know where exactly the problem is and focus on avoiding or solving that, as the case may be.

- Check out for alternative solutions and decide on the best suited for you. ( In my case, I did have a few alternatives :

a) get out and give the steering to my neighbour, who is a more seasoned driver . I did not do that, as that would have amounted to straightaway giving in without even trying. And then, I would have lost out on learning & my own confidence-building .

b) after getting the car up to a safe point, park it, take an auto and go for marketing. I did not do that – same reason as in the first case. Avoiding a problem in most cases leads to a bigger problem. Next time, I would have imagined problems and stopped driving gradually.

c) I had some alternative ways of moving my car out of the parking space, with directional help from my neighbour and his son outside. I chose the best one, which we thought would give me more space to negotiate the curves. And it clicked.

- Always have a good network. Have touch with people who can be depended upon at times of need . ( Reciprocally , u should also be of help to people at their times of need.) ( I always keep as many phone numbers as possible on my mobile – this has always helped me.)

- Do not hesitate to seek help. (Ordinarily, one would feel embarrassed to admit that one needs help. But that is exactly what is required for solving a problem beyond your control. Many a time, it also leads to a better result for problems within your control. In fact, in professional life especially, you must seek from others and other sources and learn – that will lead to synergisation of the pool of knowledge and talent already available for a better result, instead of wasting time to re-invent the wheel. )

- Express gratitude for the help offered to u . ( Sounds like stating the obvious and ornamental. NO ! Expressing gratitude from the bottom of your heart does not come naturally to many and in the process, these people without their knowledge start losing friends .)

This was just a very small problem. But even bigger problems in life can be addressed effectively, when we understand these basics on how to approach a solution, when faced with a problem. There could be many more dimensions to problems and the art of problem-solving, when it comes to bigger problems. Especially, some problems will be such, that those can not be solved within the given context and you have to necessarily go out-of-box.

The point is, the moment we realise that problems are not something to run away from, rather these are opportunities in disguise – opportunities to learn more, opportunities to have better things, better life, better state of being – that we face and deal with them more effectively.

What are Problems ?

P redictors - They help mould our future.

R eminders - We are not self-sufficient.

We need God and others to help.

O pportunities - They pull us out of our rot.

And prompt us to think creatively.

B lessings - They open up doors we usually don’t go through.

L essons - Each new challenge will be our teacher.

E-verywhere - No place or person is excluded from them.

M-essages - They warn us about potential disaster.

S-olvable - No problem is without a solution.”


So..o.. Do not live with problems, neither run away from them. Face them, fix them or find the pathway through them to move on to a next level where these problems no longer remain relevant.


sambit said...

How can one know one's score without appearing the test ? The problems show your progress report when you attempt to solve them. How can one pass a class without appearing at the examination?To that extent this is an opportunity. Have you ever fallen ill around examination time ? Then you must have rued at the possible loss of opportunity to appear at it. Then only one can really appreciate the opportunity that problems give. The real problems makes you draw on your core values- moorings, if you like it. You are always most comfortable at your core as you don't have to try to cover anything and you are truly free and on your own. You cann't loose as you cann't withdraw from the minimal existence.You are a winner irrespective of the result- a hero or a martyr does not matter. More than one's knowledge his knowledge of his ignorance is useful in problem solving as that makes him to move from independence to interdependence and success.

snigdha said...

Yeah - very true . Knowing that you do not know something is the first step in learning. And the movement from dependence ( just as a child in biological sense is helpless and dependent on others ) to independence to interdependence is probably the only movement that truly matters for success and growth in a right perspective. The only catch perhaps is that you can be interdependent only when you are independent.

Thx for value-add.