“This is such an insightful statement,” I told Lulu, my parrot. Lulu was already sitting on my shoulder when I was reading a book.
“What’s it, man?” Lulu asked. “So much excitement in your voice” he said.
“Yes, it kind of hit the bull’s eye. I was reflecting on my last sixty-four years of life when I read it.”
“Oh, you are reminding me of cricket fans” Lulu said with amused tone, “who show such extreme excitement when Dhoni scores last ball six.” Analogies are the forte of parrots; just in case you are unaware. But this one I did not like, wasn’t it in bad taste? I mean, what does he mean by ‘last-ball’ – what is he alluding to?
“Are you referring to my old age when you say ‘last ball six?’ I don’t like that, but otherwise it is a good analogy. Let me tell you what I read.” In this country of ‘demographic dividend’ old people are targets of fun; but one must learn to adapt. It is so difficult to change them.
“Shoot! I am all ears.”
“Here it is: ‘A great man is one sentence!’ That’s what Clare Boothe Luce said to President Kennedy. She added ‘Abraham Lincoln preserved the union and freed the slaves.’Simple. Entire life is described in one crisp sentence.”
“Wow! A great man is one sentence. What can be said about you, in one sentence, my dear friend?”
“Ha ha! She talked about great men, not ordinary mortals like me.”
“So you do not wish to be remembered? That’s very easy way out. You are running away from reflecting on your life.”
“Did you have purposeful goal? All have goals led by ‘money motive’, but did you have a goal led by ‘purpose motive?’”
“Well…. Yes and No! I often set short term goals for myself.”
“Did that qualify as ‘goal led by Purpose motive?’”
“Now, now…. How do I know that?”
“Did that create excitement over a long period? Was it something that touched your heart and soul? Was it something that you always wanted to do but could not do?”
“Hmmm… It would take a long day to think about it.”
“You had short goals which are like scooters – good enough for a ride in the vicinity. Purpose motives lead to long term goals, they are like Jets – they take you to a longer distance with clear direction.”
“So what is your sentence?”
“Think about it. Time is still not lost, although it is always good to think of your stage of life as the ‘slog overs’ of the one day cricket game.”
“Ok, ok. I am putting on my helmet, I mean thinking cap.”
“And there is another problem.”
“Oh no! Wasn’t that enough food for thought?”
“Take this. You must always reflect at the end of the day ‘Was I better today than yesterday?’”
“That brings clear focus to the activities.”
“Right, you got it.”
“And clear goals.”
“You must have…”
“… reflection every day?” I completed the sentence.
“You are intelligent, man! Reflection provides feedback to us. So it must be daily.”
“Daily reflecting on our actions? Are you serious?”
“Do you think Sachin Tendulkar reflected on his play once in six months or at the end of the IPL season?”
“Never really thought that way earlier. But that’s tough.”
“When was life easy my friend?” Lulu hopped and stepped in front of me. He looked in to my eyes. A sure stance for delivering the deadly ‘left jab’, more destructive than Muhammad Ali’s. “Look, there are always two choices, two paths to take. One is easy. Its only reward is that it is easy!”
Vivek S Patwardhan
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”
[Based on some messages in ‘Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us’ by Daniel Pink. The last sentence is a quote found on Internet]