Count your Blessings

Count your Blessings

I have been quite pensive this last week, trying to solve the myriad conundrums that life throws up – the best I know how to. Here is another important one, along with what I think is a plausible justification. To generalise it so might lead you to think that my assessment is an oversimplification of a far more complex phenomenon, but nonetheless, partial answers are better than no answers at all. So with the disclaimer taken care of, here I go.

Today, I want to know: What is at the root of all discontent? Why are people bitter with life and themselves? Is ‘ambition’ a bad word, after all? Does expectation set you up for disappointment? Do people have a bloated sense of self-perception? How much of it is destiny? Does everyone really get what he/she deserves? Tough questions, eh!? Well, here’s what I think..

The base hypothesis that we theorise on is: Every individual has his/her own perception of a utopian state, and consequently, a deviation from the same would lead to discontent; the degree of discontent being directly proportional to the extent of deviation. But wait, there is a rider, a tricky one at that. The definition of ‘Utopia’ is not static, essentially because it is defined in material terms. For instance, today, if it means a paycheck of 50K, a luxury sedan, and a penthouse apartment, with a family that roots for you and a man who loves you to death, then tomorrow ( No, I dont want so much. All the paraphernalia listed here is just to create the right effect!!), when you have it, it might not keep you happy for a long time for, "Yeh Dil Maange More!". And the ‘more’ you want of what you do not have, the ‘more’ unhappy, discontented and disillusioned you become. The more you whine about the best opportunities eluding you despite your being the best there is, and the more jealous you become of friends and colleagues whom you would otherwise love, if only they werent doing better than you! And you go, "Man, life sucks!! I aint getting nowhere – professionally or personally."

The million dollar question then is: Is trading your inner happiness and peace worth some small change of conforming to external standards of success and affluence? Yes, I say small change, for if that latest material acquistion, that cool new PDA phone, that beauty of an Ipod, the latest celeb-endorsed fragrance, that expensive Armani suit, or that Bentley chronograph, could buy you eternal happiness, you wouldn’t be whining. And while I swear by retail therapy myself, I would say it’s a symptomatic treatment for blues at best, and by no means curative. But I digress, the point that I am trying to make here is that you are trying to win a race, that doesn’t have a finishing line, and so however hard you or anybody might run, none is going to win. And really, it’s okay to take a breather every once in a while, take in the view, and take a moment to appreciate how pretty it is! To put it simply, count your blessings. And then get back to the run, for run you must. You’ll discover not only are you running harder, but running happier. Now, wouldn’t you want that?

13 Replies to “Count your Blessings”

  1. Wonderful thoughts! We get so involved in the rat race that we forget to realise that we are blessed to take part in that particular race.

  2. I observed in this piece that you started with your “pensive” state of mind, put forth a number of thoughtful questions on life and its mysterious ways, then went on to answer those questions before finally ending with a pearl of wisdom (count your blessings) and hardly any trace of “pensiveness”.

    Writing helps you channel your thoughts appropriately!

  3. Right you are. I often pen down my thoughts to try and understand a problem, and gain perspective on perplexing issues. By the end of it, I have usually foundmy answers. Almost always works!

  4. I almost completely agree with your thoughts,
    I have some doubts though.

    Why do we “have to run”? What is the pupose of that?
    Once we know why we are “running”, we know its not a race at all… and certainly not with others. Here are my “why”s.

    Its just a case of how well we can “run” for ourselves. How much we enjoy it. How much distance we thought we could cover and how much we actully did.

    Its more about personal satisfaction than external approval.

    As we keep setting achievable and ambitious goals (unmindful of what they are valued at externally), getting there remains a personal satisfaction.

    And inability to reach there inspite of knowing you could, leads to a kind of determination to keep doing it. It is important at that point of time not to agree with the external label of a “loser”. But to keep at it, because you want your personal satisfaction.
    The accolades/brickbats are part of the game. But its important not to get affected by either and just stick to your own gameplan and keep doing stuff that brings personal satisfaction.

    Would love to hear what others feel about this.

    -Rahul Baji

  5. Hi Rahul,

    I agree with you. The ‘run’ is not for external validation, it’s essentially a personal satisfaction thing. And whatever doubts you have, I don’t see any!
    In case they pertain to, “Why do we “have to run”? What is the purpose of that?”, you pretty much answered them yourself. 🙂 And if I didnt quite place that right, would be happy if you could elaborate.

  6. Hi Nidhi,
    Would have loved to know why you feel “we have to run”.
    These are my reasons ..that hold true in my value system.

    Would love to know if they hold true for others. Or if they have other reasons why they would feel the “need to run”.

    Rahul Baji

  7. My reasons are pretty much the same, other than the fact that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, for that’s where you learn most. And I have always maintained, one of the key metrics of how much life you pack into your years is the knowing and leaming that you accumulate over them.

  8. There seems to be an interesting discussion ensuing out here. If I may chip in my char annas

    Running, whether for self or driven by any external motivations, is still running. So while both Rahul and Nidhi agree on running, I think differently and believe in slowing down. To me, running is akin to chasing something… and I am uncomfortable with the idea of chasing anything… makes me feel that I need something else to be perfect. I am therefore not sure whether we “must” run. And also, whether we can ever be truly happy running.

    Against this, when we slow down, look around and begin to savour present moments and understand that we’re complete now, inner peace results. Paradoxically, ambition (aspiration, drive whatever you call it) can happily co-exist when we stop thinking about life as a start-to-end, time-bound phenomenon, assured within ourselves that we will achieve what we have set out to achieve.

    Any thoughts?

  9. To me, running is akin to chasing something… and I am uncomfortable with the idea of chasing anything… makes me feel that I need something else to be perfect.

    Manoj: I beg to differ. To me, there’s a marked difference between the ‘run’ and the ‘chase’; for when I run, it is for the sheer, unadulterated joy of running alone, and not necessarily because it’ll take me somewhere I need to get. Like I said before, journey is more important than the destination can ever be. The latter is not the moot purpose, it’s merely incidental to the former.

    And I am not about to fetter my run by a ‘finishing line’. I run because it is liberating, it infuses me with a new energy, and allows me to be my own person every day.

    More ideas?!

  10. If running in your article’s context is not chasing, then I have perhaps misunderstood the last lines of your article, where you allude to “winning a race that doesn’t have a finishing line”. But then your statement “To put it simply, count your blessings. And then get back to the run, for run you must” is confusing because here running does refer to the race you mention earlier…and therefore it suggests chasing. And perhaps that’s why Rahul asked you why one “has to run”!

    One may or may not find running joyful and that is his or her preference. You like running for the sheer joy… without caring about the finishing line because there is none. For precisely the same reason, some people prefer to walk!!!

    I think the use of the word “must” has created some confusion… ‘cos no one “must” do anything! 🙂

  11. When I say, "you are trying to win a race, that doesn’t have a finishing line", it is precisely to underscore the fact that there is no set end to the run, no target, no chase, not for me. I agree, the use of ‘must’ has led to some confusion. Ergo, the clarification.:) Peace..N

  12. well the article is good and makes one realise tht we need to take a deep breath and count our blessings. i totally agree to Manojs’ comments- “look around and begin to savour present moments and understand that we’re complete now, inner peace results.” ‘RUN’ here would mean move with Life as it has many surprises.

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