Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Creating life-enhancing moments

On Sunday I ran my fifth half-marathon. The thrill of finishing it was bigger than the reality of being the tail-ender. I always realize the true length of a meter during the last kilometer  i.e. at a time when am exhausted by complaining ankle joints, aching thighs, pinching shoulder blades, the blisters under the feet, and often a shaky back.  Only thing that provides energy to give my best, exhorts to persevere and keeps me focused on the goal is -- 'the hope of crossing the finish line'.

I had started from an unprepared state of a tentative thought to an unsure enrollment for the race to a diffident start at an unsuitable time (sandwiched between two training programs I facilitated few hours before & after the run).   The finishing  moments helped me realize that every small step (no matter how wobbly, unsure, and painstaking) was a giant leap towards a significance; a significance that's beyond the success, the medal, the recognition and the princely 10 minutes that I saved over my previous best.  

I have come to realize that when one is pursuing a dream that provides significance, the required resources surface ("When you know what you want the whole world conspires you to achieve it" - Alchemist).  The limitations begin to pave way for the possibilities.  Pursuing the dream may not become easy, yet the challenges begin to melt away. This is not just true of the pursuits requiring kinesthetic endurance but even for those requiring intellectual strength or emotional resilience - examples include
  • A pinnacle of academic achievement (involving developing interest, comprehending the subject, burning mid-night oil, understanding the applied aspects and demonstrating knowledge & skill)
  • A high of work-place success (building vision, setting goals, carrying along the team, innovating  for success, removing bottlenecks etc.)
  • The gratification from your strokes of brush or any fine-art (visualizing big picture without hindrance, undivided attention & concentration, experimenting & improvement etc.)
  • An exhilarating liberation after a dance (shedding inhibition, permitting yourself, being in the moment etc.) for a good example see this first 3-minutes of clip from JTHJ
  • The bliss of reciprocal love (invest, extend oneself, nurture another etc.) for my bias on this subject read up Scott Peck
  • fulfilling relationship (knowing self, honoring the other, letting go etc.)
A peak accomplishment such cited above becomes gen·er·a·tive  (jěn'ər-ə-tĭv, -ə-rā'-)  i.e. it has the ability to provide us energy, impetus and vitality.  In other words having the ability to originate, produce or procreate other joyous achievements.  The life-giving force that a generative accomplishment becomes provides one with a  buoyancy that lasts long (sometimes the whole lifetime).   I am sure each one of us have experienced the peaks in various facets of our life.  Do you recognize these? Do you pursue these relentlessly? or Do you wish to cultivate or multiply the generative accomplishments in your life?

In my experience there are five characteristics that help us to convert an event or a feat or a relationship into a generative accomplishment.  These include
  1. Valuing self: First and foremost to my mind is valuing oneself.   In 'Virtue of Selfishness' Ayn Rand says "The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone."  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoAKer8lfds succinctly captures some of her views on the subject.  
  2. Articulating a provocative proposition:  This is the characteristic of acknowledging one's desire, visualizing the blue print of success and articulating (not necessarily for others but for oneself) the same in a manner that it provokes one to strive towards the cherished accomplishment.
  3. Investing energy: Passion, willingness to persevere and sustaining committed to give one's best sums up this.  Be it a relationship (parenting, intimacy in couples, boss-subordinate), research project, athletic dream or emerging as the best company one has  to invest their energy (physical, emotional and often spiritual).
  4. Overcoming obstacles:  Success does not become significance unless one overcomes the obstacles of one form or the other.  When one accomplishes a set goal without any obstacles in the way, often the case is that of easy goals or the proposition chosen was not provocative enough to challenge one's potential.
  5. Responding to 'here & now':  Ekhart Tolle's message of living in the now as the truest path to happiness and enlightenment is an integral part of a pursuit if one wishes that to be generative.  It does not matter how lofty is one's dream, unless (s)he is alive to the 'here & now' i.e. sensitive to others involved or impacted (including oneself).  A blinded pursuit, devoid of empathy and compassion to people and situations can never be fulfilling.
Looking back, my life-enhancing moments have their origin in accomplishments wherein I have been able to display, cultivate or leverage the above noted characteristics.  The above list  may not be comprehensive.  Keen to hear other views and perspectives to build on... do write in with your comments

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