Monday, July 14, 2014

To Labour and to Wait

Get Rich or Die Trying

Yesterday, I chanced upon this very profound Sunday Nation article by Sunny Bindra.
He addresses the sickening and vain obsession many people have with showing off material things and worldly possessions. He asks:

What is it for, this self-conscious display of possessions? When did we start thinking it is a good thing to brag about what you have bought in a shop, as though that’s an achievement?

To a great extent, I  do share his sentiments in the article. When Mr Bindra questions this irrational urgency to get very rich at the youngest possible age, I was reminded of how we mistakenly consider what is merely urgent, important. To echo the enduring words often attributed to Sir Isaac Newton, many among us, consumed by a mindless quest to great riches, forgotten that it is more important to be defined by value rather than success. After all, it's all about the 'Benjamins' for many of us.

I have in the past explored this same theme, where I examined what it actually means to "make it" or be "successful". Apparently, the in-thing is to make a lot of money, even if unethically, as fast as possible. Afterwards, one becomes a condescending braggart and inevitably
In other words, to use a language many of us find rather endearing - living on the fastlane.

More Money, More Problems? 

You see, more money in itself does not make life better. What money does is facilitate more choices. And please note, having more money gives one more choices. Not better choices.
Every day, people from all walks of life fail to make value judgments.

In any case, is it what you do that defines who you are, who you are that defines what you do or simply the way you do it?


It Takes Time

I have in the recent past taken time to find out how people of great achievement, those with an enduring legacy got to acquire both tangible and intangible wealth. It all boils down to at least four character attributes:
  • sacrifice
  • focus
  • determination
  • discipline
Even more important, none of the above result in any achievement sans the passage of time. In other words, organic growth is essential in any meaning life. "Easy come, easy go" is indeed a true assertion. It takes time, and this premise is very well explained in the parable of the fern and the bamboo.

We should not compare ourselves with others. Your purpose in life is most likely different from mine. However, we all have a reason to be and despite our diversity, we each have a reason to be. What the media and society define as "success" or the "good life" may not exactly be right.
Your calling is to shape an uncertain destiny. To live a life of meaning. To make a difference. To add value. To leave an enduring legacy.
None of these can be done instantly. It all takes time.

I'll end with timeless words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Lives of great men all remind us,
We can make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time...

Let us be then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate,
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

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