Friday, September 17, 2010

A Cut above the Rest

All our lives, we are in a constant war-like environment. One battle ends and the next begins. You are born a child who is urged to speak earlier than other children, walk earlier, eat better. Then at school you're nothing if you're not in the top 10 and just about average if you're below 5. Then competitive exams wreck you lives and even 16 hours a day for IIT entrance exams seems paltry. Finally, you end up in a job where you keep wondering all your life weather the struggle was worth it.

But then there are some, who even in this rat race, strive to make a podium for themselves. A podium on which they can stand and feel above the rest of the rats running along them for some time. A podium where they are a cut above the rest.

Now the reasons or rather the motivation for these people to be above the rest can stem from multiple reasons. The most obvious one would be to get noticed. If you have a podium, you are bound to be noticed and everyone likes a bit of attention in the middle of the rat race. There may be some who are determined to prove themselves to the world. Yet some others may just be seeking some appreciation from their peers.

One may argue that these minor reasons may be too superficial for one to create a podium for him/her self.  One may say that there are individuals who are motivated by higher desires and are above the usual stuff of getting noticed, or proving themselves or seeking appreciation. I just finished reading Dan Brown's latest novel 'The Lost Symbol' in which one of the central characters, Mal'akh, tattoos himself all over his body in a bid to transform himself and then proceeds to search for a secret. Though throughout the book, the motive seems to be a 'higher' one, it reveals at the end the same desire for Mal'akh to prove himself.

What I mean essentially is, that even the higher virtues that try to pursue, like honesty, love, charity, chivalry etc are a result of a combination of these three very ordinary looking and worldly things. And I do not mean that it's bad or undesirable, as long as your intentions remain good and you do good things, what motivates you really does not matter. But if you realize what it is that is really motivating you and you know that it is a small thing under your control, it will help you to set your priorities and make better decisions.

And so, when next time you feel that you need that podium in the middle of the rat race to stand above the others for some time, be sure that you know what your motive is.