Youth – A double take

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“I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity” – Albert Einstein

Youth. Its that extraordinary time in one’s life time. Best described as the time to try out different things or experiment to see what life has in store. Personally i think its the phase where one is finding their true self. Separating the chaff from the grain, dissecting what we know as real.

However all said and done, if i were given an option i wouldn’t go back and change anything. In fact i avoid looking back in to the past as there is so much more to do in the future so why waste time. But, i have met a lot of people who keep thinking or wishing that if they had chance they would go back and change certain aspects of their life. To me, we just need to savor each day as it comes and the decisions we make will play out for the good 🙂

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Virtues – Sharing is caring?

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We’re prone to sharing. I think it’s one of the unique virtues that’s based on the most important human elements. We are keen to go out to the world and say, ” Here I am. This is me. I’m alive, breathing and can make a difference. I want to share the experience with you”.

But I wonder how many people are actually good at sharing. While someone maybe good at sharing things that matter such as knowledge, goodwill or donate a significant portion, there are others who take up the opposite approach. They may share gossip, detrimental news or cultivate bad habits. I don’t think there is a fine line of demarcation where one understands the difference when in a grey area. However when it comes to culture and the arts and even religion, sharing is the key to keeping the same alive.

Maybe on a economic level sharing as a virtue resonates closest to socialism. I don’t know how effective it could have been for some countries but it’s clearly not played out well for some. As Winston Churchill said:

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

Personally I feel it’s a virtue most of us could do a lot of good with sharing. So here’s to another cup of tea!

Judgemental

“He’s not going to make the cut” / “She’s obviously never heard of class” / “This entire thing is doomed for failure”. Quite often we come across people who are resorting to a quick judgement about people or situations. The way we have been brought up, our society has kind of baked this system in to us. From early school days, parents will be cautious about the friends you make. “Company maketh a man”. Or so they say.

As we grow older, we tend to draw out of our experiences and begin to stereotype people. Notions are widespread about the community one belongs to / experience they bring. Then you have qualitative ones. The kind of people you feel uncomfortable around for no good reason. “I have a bad feeling about this”. Many a times situations prompt the same response.

It’s quite natural for us to jump to conclusions. Some highly opinionated individuals take it upon as their birth right to have an insight on just about everything. Makes me think about how much can one know to really have a point of view about nearly everything. But, what i wonder most is that when people are drawing these judgements and passing them off unaware people, why does it mostly have to be negative? You could also come up with a real positive one. I think one needs to think ahead of themselves, in the larger perspective to really think on those lines. Just to think about it, if all of us were to just spend one entire day appreciating each other, wouldn’t the world seem like a much happier place? To me, it would sure would. Even with the judgement bit thrown in.

Blend in or stand out?

Individuality. The one notion that drives us all. I’m sure most of us don’t want to be versions of others and strive to be unique. However there are times, when one begins to wonder if they would be the thorn in the situation or blend in like the petals around a flower. Be the rock in the river or ride along the waves.

Reading a recent WSJ article on Success outside the dress code made me wonder the same. Dressing up is what we think defines us. Afterall, we normally begin sizing up people, opportunities or situations more often than not. Getting in to a client meeting? They will be building their first impressions. In today’s always online world, they have to put in minimal effort by just checking out your linkedin profile. If they are lucky, you’re on twitter too to feed their inquisitive needs.

The point really is then should you be guided by the notions that others seem to have of you or drive your own instead. The article refers to accomplished people walking in to luxury stores in their gym clothes. If people there recognize you as a part of the elite who have accomplished something, then you would be looked up to. Heaven’s forbid, if you aren’t from that set then you would be most likely tagged as a wannabe. I think the context also depends which part of the world you are from. For example, in India at a luxury store let’s just take any of the premium stores at Palladium in Phoenix, Lower Parel in Mumbai. Most of the people are pretty dressed up but if anyone with ordinary clothing walks up asking for details in a regional language, chances are they will be taken as novices. Or as many people say, “Maybe they got rich too quick”. The same idea doesn’t hold true. In the corporate culture too, you would rather be well dressed for that meeting than be dismissed on the first look. Of course, that can be taken lightly if one works in the creative side of things.

But my question really is whether one must blend in or stand out? Standing out, playing the devil’s advocate as the article suggests would be something that would go noticed. I think people would remember the person who made the most daring points, but that also depends on how dismissive they can be. Blending in works well for most of us. However, being original and driving the point across – that’s what we need to see more of. The change is already happening across B-Schools, where more recent graduates are opting to take their own route with start-ups. We will see more of this in coming years and it would be interesting to see where this heads out too. For now, standing out is the one thing that seems to be “In”.

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