28 May 2007

Decision Tree

First of all, its hard enough for us to remove ourselves from a state of inertia and try out something new. We tend to get comfortable very easily and don't really make any effort for change as long as the going is good.

Its only when things don't really go our way that we tend to sit up and take notice of opportunities suitable for us. Our approach to Decision Making tends to be more reactive than proactive most of the time.

Of course there are individuals who plot their path in life, personally and professionally, well in advance and take every effort to follow through with their plans. Most of us however strive passively towards achieving something.

We always hope everything works out as we expected. And sometimes it does.

But often this achievement is somehow tainted. In a seemingly cruel twist of fate, we either don't want this anymore or worse still, even if we do want it we have to give it up.

Life just doesn't seem fair. And I know we've all heard that one before. Such situations lead to two scenarios: one is the Forbidden Fruit Syndrome and the other is the Sour Grape Syndrome.

In the first scenario, we keep pursuing things which we know we probably don't really want or which are obviously out of reach. Somehow the chase seems exciting to us. Even though it does take its toll on us mentally and probably physically as well. When we do achieve this result, we somehow keep looking for ways to let this opportunity go. Subconsciously finding excuses to not make a difficult decision. And taking the easy way out. At the point where the actual decision has to be made, we wonder how we got ourselves into this mess anyway.
It is better to have no choice at all rather than having a make a difficult decision?

In the second scenario, we tend to shy away from the very process of decision making. Avoiding all situations where a decision needs to be made. In this process we probably give up opportunities which might be very good for us. Either we are thinking Why Rock The Boat. Or having been through a difficult decision making process in the past, and being Once Bitten Twice Shy, we somehow convince ourselves that we're happy the way we are and there's no need for any change at all. Even at the expense of not realizing our own potential.

Either ways, we tend to deviate from the optimum path and tend towards an extreme. Which by the way, is not a good thing in any given situation.

We must eventually realize that no one decision or choice is ever going to give us everything at once. More often than not, something we want always comes at a price of something we already have. And only we can decide whether the want is worth the sacrifice of the have.

But all said and done, we have to learn to take hard decisions. Running away from a decision or decision making is only going to postpone things to tomorrow. And by then, there will probably be more variables in the equation which will complicate the situation even more and make the decision even harder.

Most things in life have to be learnt the hard way. And Decision Making is surely one of them.

17 May 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For ...

... Because It Might Just Come True !!!

Life is strange. It has you running after things which you're not even sure you want. And if you do want them you're not sure why.

What you want, may clearly be something which is not best for you. The question is when do you realize this?

All through our life, and more consciously in our adult life, we chase after people or things which we seem to want in our lives.

It could be someone who make us feel good about ourselves or someone we like spending time with. It could be a variety of personal or professional goals. It could be ambition, money, power or anything else.

And why do we run after these things? It could be because we feel that attaining that something might give us a sense of security; increase our self-worth; make us feel good inside.

What we should realize is that our desires are only a "means" to get to an "end" which we really want.

Many times we get into the herd mentality and start pursuing things only because someone else is also doing the same. Our siblings, friends or colleagues. They may or may not be clear on why they want something. But you certainly are unclear as to why you're running behind this. And you may not even realize it.

One of the hardest things to do in life is to figure out what you really want. I envy people who really know where they are and where they want to be.

All things considered, many times in life you even get these things which you so desire. And then you don't know what to do.

You've possibly spent a lot of time and energy trying to attain something. And when finally you do, you somehow don't feel the joy or satisfaction you were expecting. Something feels amiss. You keep wondering why you're feeling this way. I mean you got what you wanted you should be thrilled. But you're not. And this is not a good feeling at all.

This leads us back to the basic question of whether we really know what we want and whether we really want what we're running after.

03 May 2007

Great Expectations !

I know you're thinking 'Charles Dickens'. But not this time. This is different.

We go through life and cross paths with multitudes of people. People we're related to, neighbours, friends from school/college, colleagues/friends from our work place, etc. But surprisingly, only some of these make a meaningful impact on us.

We are, more often than not, drawn to people for a couple of reasons: one being that they make us feel good about ourselves, cared for and/or protected; and two because they have something which we admire or appreciate or want to emulate.

When it comes to having expectations from people in our life, we generally think of attention and affection (which easily come to mind) and respect (which is more subtle and non-explict).

Many times we are upset because people don't live upto our expectations. But the first thing to understand is that in any relationship or rather in most relationships expectations are never really formalized or documented. And its not like the expectations you have are being broadcast on national television for people you know to watch and note down.

Many times people fall short of meeting our expectations because what we expect of them is against their very nature. And we may not really want people to change just to meet our expectations because its probably their individuality that could have drawn us to them in the first place. This is a really tricky tight rope walk.

Another thing is that just like people don't meet our expectations, we also don't live upto all the expectations people have from us. Its a two-way street so to speak but much more complicated than it sounds.

Even though someone doesn't meet all my expectations, I might still do everything I can to meet this someone's expectations from me. And another maybe giving me all that I want and more but I'm still not able to give back the least which is expected of me.

All this is a like a complicated web of a supply v/s demand mechanisms with everyone interfacing with everyone else. And when you factor in "time" then everything changes. Just like in real life, what's hot today is not tomorrow. So expecting something today doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be happy if you get it tomorrow.

Continuing to think on these line can lead to certain paranoia. But most of us can shield ourselves from this "excessive worrying" most of the time. One thing we should learn is to tune in to what people expect from us. And try as sincerely as possible to meet those expectations. At least this way people won't have any complaints about you. And as far as your expectations from others, well, we can only hope that they are met.