It was while watching some archived interview of Amitabh Bachchan yesterday that a strange thought passed my mind. A classmate of mine had posted the interview on Facebook and had remarked about how motivating it was.
So I spent a good 20 minutes viewing the interview – something that I rarely do. I like Mr. Bachchan – but am no ardent fan of movies or TV. I did admire the soft humble manner in which he accepted that he had made huge financial errors of judgment a long while ago. He also humbly acknowledged that his errors might have affected quite a few people. He realized who his true friends and supporters were at that time and how so many people had switched sides when he was going through this extremely rough patch of his life.
He then sadly wondered why God was testing him so much. He thought he had faced enough adversity in his lifetime till now and was sending a humble plea to God asking him to stop testing him so much.
And then there was this short video of a frank speech that I got over WhatsApp. Michelle Obama was openly admitting and accepting that those who underwent, confronted and overcame the bitterest of challenges in their lives had the biggest advantage in their lives because such adverse circumstances made them stronger, better and more resilient human beings.
For the past two years, I have had bitter long drawn arguments with my father. One while visiting him in person and the other over the phone. I openly tell him all the challenges that I face with every move that we make to a new city. I give him specific reasons why I cannot visit him as often as he would want me to and cannot stay with him for extended periods of time.
While this in itself was difficult to manage he would insist that I attend every small family function that our big joint family organized. I would break down, and he would suddenly go quiet. I hugged my mother and asked her to explain things to him in a manner he would understand. I could feel their love for me, their simple expectation that their daughter visits them more often.
Strangely such arguments brought us all closer together. I could sense that my parents appreciated my challenges now and understood the stance that I was taking. I could sense my own rigid barriers breaking down as I learned to determinedly seek time out from my own professional and personal commitments to be with my parents and bask in their love for me.
Three instances – same learning. Instead of blaming, accusing and criticizing others and our fate and our destiny or our God, if we focus on learning from our mistakes we will emerge better human beings.
Forget about learning from our mistakes, we first need to acknowledge the fact that we made huge mistakes in our lives. I appreciated and applauded Mr. Bachchan for that – and the simple humble manner in which he openly admitted that he had made several mistakes.
He was well over 60 when the interview was scheduled, and he seemed tired of all the low phases that he had consistently experienced in his life. He was asking and pleading with God to stop testing him so much, and that was when I realized that it is always so easy to blame and question God and our destiny.
We will blame our immaturity, our naivety and our egos for blinding us to the truth and the facts. We will hide behind God and use him as an excuse to cover up our follies. We will say things are actually never in our control. That a higher power is at play at all times.
But my only argument and question to you are – why did you not listen – and blindly totally ignore that silent voice of your conscience when it was trying to guide you on the right path. Why do we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when more experienced and mature people ask us not to play with other people’s lives, time and efforts? Why do we assume that the huge risks that we take will not affect others in any way? Why do we ignore the flip side of the coin before we take such enormous risks?
Different people have different temperaments and different character traits. It does take all kinds of people to make up this earth. And all of us will most certainly make several humongous mistakes at some points of our lives.
While I will brashly and strongly accuse people and judge them by my yardstick all the time, when it comes to living my life – I will realize that despite my very best efforts I do not totally have everything in my control. A lot of people are a part of my life. Several people’s expectations, aims, aspirations, priorities, age factor and schedules are at stake for every decision that I end up taking. Every single decision that anyone takes is bound to have a ripple effect on other people’s lives. We work with hope in our hearts and positivity in our minds, but things simply start going haywire.
Can we truly control everything? Can we truly give up controlling everything?
Why then do we have a concept called God and a concept called free will?
When we take decisions freely why then do we blame God when things take a downward turn?
All our mistakes and erroneous decisions do serve a purpose. They contribute to our personal development and mold us into reformed, transformed, better human beings.
With age, we are tired of facing all these adverse circumstances. While we may be mentally and emotionally stronger as human beings, we wonder if things will always be so uncertain and precarious all the time.
When will we be able to lead peaceful, blissful contented lives? When will we give back to the world all that we have earned?
The only answer that strikes me at this age and at this point of time is – we need to give back – reciprocate and give without seeking anything in return from the day we realize that we have been blessed with more than enough. That is the time to start giving back – kindness, a caring hand, a listening ear, a fleeting visit to our parents – something anything good for a country like the US, a good time with total strangers on KBC – what a way of reciprocating the warmth and the support that Mr. Bachchan got when he was hospitalized!
Testing times will never stop. People who are tested and tested and tested again by a higher force will also have immense reservoirs of love in their hearts. They will be blessed with an abundance of positive traits simply because they have learned the art of crafting their own blessings and changing their perspectives.
And that is what personal development is all about. Questioning the unquestionable and the unknown and deriving the right answers one step at a time!