Theme of the week

Issue XXI(26.06.2011)

Starting Afresh

Once in a panel discussion, an audience asked one of the panelists, "Everyday in the newspaper we read about so many sad events. Still, we greet everyone wishing for a "Good Morning". Why? The reply of the panelist was "What we read in the newspaper was Yesterday. When we wish a "Good Morning", it is for today."

It is true. The possibility to start afresh everyday opens the gates of good fortune. It is rather one of the realities of life. We have to start afresh many times in our career, business, and relationships - in almost every sphere of life. In the famous book Staying OK, the author, Amy Harris starts with quoting a small piece of conversation between herself and her six year old daughter. As per her narration, once she got angry at her daughter, Gretchen. There were tears in the little eyes of the girl. Soon, Gretchen, the little one said, "Oh Mom, You were mad at me. Can we start afresh." There were tears in the eyes of the mother too.

It was a very tender expression of a hard principle of life. The biggest secret of success and fulfillment in life is not just being intelligent or hard working. It is an ability to review and start afresh. Many people become extremely successful in their business or career while they did not study seriously in the student life. They realized the importance of hard work and started late but then worked extra hard. To quote a highly successful IAS officer, "I never studied seriously before my civil service examination." The person has made great contributions in the growth of the country's economy during his career. After retirement, he has made great efforts for the welfare of physically challenged people.

In day to day interactions as well as in long term relationships, there are many occasions when we react, when we are not able to express ourselves clearly, when we are not able to listen to someone and understand him or her…At times we ignore our health and suddenly realize its importance…At times we feel that a lot could be done in the past one or two years but…

Life is full of ups and downs. Financial losses, failures, natural calamities, accidents, conflicts, and so on. Every event has two options. Either we overcome the negative part of it or we let it shadow the positive part within us. A lady once came to know that she has high blood sugar. She said this is going to be a turning point in my life. She brought the sugar level to normal within three months and maintained thereafter. The additional advantage which she enjoyed was that she changed her lifestyle drastically and said "Now I realize life can be so wonderful".

Starting afresh is natural. Just as the water in a river at a particular point is never the same, the leaves, flowers and fruits upon a tree are never the same, the air within our room is never the same, similarly, we and other human beings are never the same. We are absolutely different than what we were three years back. If this is so, we can have faith in us today even if we could not do much three years back or two years back. We can establish positive links with others even if someone was not fair with us three years back. The only condition is that we do not invite the negative aspect of past through memories buried in the subconscious mind and use our conscious mind actively to plan and execute whatever is positive.

The real challenges in life are not the problems which put us off. It is the hesitation to start afresh which really puts us down. Some issues need us to think and act differently only once or twice. But there may be some difficult situations which need us to bear the dust and take a fresh step everyday for years together. If we continue to learn and review, we do reach the desired place.

Staring afresh can be tough in the beginning. But most of the times, it leads to unbelievable results if we review the past diligently, plan for future course of action carefully and follow it sincerely.

A simple anecdote teaches us the importance of starting afresh:

A donkey which belonged to a washer man got old and was not able to carry the load of clothes. The washer man one day thought of getting rid of him. He threw the donkey into a well. When he looked inside he saw there was no water in the well. So he started throwing sand on the donkey thinking that he would get buried under it. But the donkey was diligent. Every time the washer man threw sand upon him, he put off the dust by shaking himself and took a step upon the pile of sand. The washer man continued to throw sand and the donkey kept putting it off and stepping upon the increasing pile of sand.

The level of sand came up and up and soon the donkey stepped out of the well and ran away.

Simply by being diligent and taking the right action at the right time, not getting bocked down by the dust coming upon us but putting it off and stepping upon it (by learning from failures) takes us higher and higher. Ultimately we reach at a point which most of us never thought initially.