Monday musings 235 - Turning points
“Life’s most turning points are the ones that we never thought we would cross”. A colleague of mine sent me this and says the author is a 21 year old. Such profoundness is rarely associated with 21 but I guess wisdom to some comes early and to some never.
I am a sucker for stories people tell about themselves. My fascination to hear what people have to say about their journey so far, how do they describe their own narrative is fueled by the intrigue to see how human beings witness themselves. These stories tell how universal are the themes of unmet aspirations, unrequited love, the notion of being wronged by the world, haplessness, the lack of choices etc are. The details change but the narrative remains by and large same.
The top 10 themes I find reverberating in those narratives in no particular order are as follows -
- I wish there was more money available for me to do what I wanted
- I wish there was more guidance available for me to tell me what was right
- I wish there was more status available for me to back my own standing
- I wish I went to a better school/college.
- I wish I was better with words – mostly around English speaking/writing.
- I wish I got the love of the person that I cherished
- I wish I had made better career choices – the companies I continued to work for or left too early
- I wish I was a better in managing my boss/supervisors (note this is self view – reality may be exactly opposite)
- I am very non-political – wish I was more savvy in negotiating the work place intrigue (note – this is self view and may not be shared with others!!)
- I wish I was better at showcasing my work (note this is a self view and may be a case of poor work itself)
Increasingly I am becoming a believer of randomness – that life does not follow a closed circuit pattern that can be controlled beyond a point. The good old luck does play its benevolence or havoc as the case might be. I kind of like what Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel laureate calls as the ‘skill bias’ – that is the overarching tendency of performers, particularly in the corporate world, to ascribe their success to their own abilities. We are what we are as much as a result of random events that contributed or accentuated our successes but we end up gobbling the entire credit for it. The corollary is equally true in that case – that those who have not managed to do very well have themselves to blame for sure but may also be plain victims of random events – like birth, economy, circumstances et al
More on this some other time because this time I have to go back to the quote above. The issue of randomness to me is also about having to take a turn we never thought we will ever take.
We never thought we would do some things ever in our lives. Most of us have gone through circumstances we never prepared ourselves for – actually never imagined that one day we will have to see this day or that, or have to cross this path or the other. We are sometimes blessed but mostly condemned to face all that we face, cursed to do that we end up doing. It is this damnation that shapes the narratives of most lives. Even the good that is today sometimes is born of what appeared then as the eternal damnation. The turning points were crossroads we never thought we would ever have to come to much less take a left or right from there.
I guess we have much to blame the turns for and much to thank them for too. What we do changes from moment to moment.