Aspirations to a higher grounde

My struggles to climb to a higher grounde. Weekly updated.

The Problem with Video Games

I have a little problem with video games and their evolution. As you all know video games have undergone a massive evolution over the last decade. More and more they resemble real life, with life-like graphics, interaction and amazing game play. The day is not far when video games, virtual reality, futuristic display devices will combine to give us an experience that will be every bit like the real world. In fact even more beautiful, more visceral, more engaging than the world we live in.

However there is one huge disconnect between video games and real life. The ability to pause and save, the ability to start over. Games do not follow the principles of time, they have no sense of direction and no sense of past or present or future. It’s a pity, but life is not like that.

In Reality –

We cannot save our childhood so we can visit it every time we feel down. We cannot collect our favorite moments and relive them again and again. We cannot delete our failures, our losses.

Life comes at us only once. There is no save, no pause.

If you grew up playing video games, you have this basic instinct that there is always a second chance. You can always go back and collect the weapon or the skill you might need in the next level. You are always ready to take a risk without considering all the consequences.

But in life the last stage is gone forever, there is no going back and learning a new trick. There is no exploring a different track just for the fun of it. The fact is one wrong turn could lead you down a cliff you may never be able to climb back from. Its a bit like in space where if you leave the mother ship without a rope, you might never be able to get back even if you are only centimeters away.

falling in space

So take your steps carefully. Make your decisions after having considered all the possibilities and listen to your heart. Don’t take a step just because someone advices to ‘go have a look’ because in life one step off the right path could mean a thousand miles off your destination.

In reality game over means truly game over !

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Filed under: lessons from life, , ,

Be whoever You want to be

Just saw a movie, and this was beautifully said – 

” it’s never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Filed under: lessons from life, ,

Education .. and now

Get back in class, play time is over.

We heard these words everyday from our teachers and parents, and grown ups in general. There was always a premium on play and fun. We always had to sacrifice doing what we loved to do, in order to do what we were supposed to do.

“Books and Studies = Success “, we were told.

So we heaved our heavy bags from home to school, and school to home. We did classwork in the mornings and homework in the evenings. Through Class Tests, and Mock Tests we prepared for Annual Tests. We got up early for last minute revisions, and all our answers had to achieve precision.

“Study now or you will regret later”, we were told.

The kids who played 4 hours a day were slandered, and the kids who studied 12 hours a day were worshipped.

Anything that did not involve books was bad. Activities like games, drawing, painting, sculpture, flying a kite were just that, spare time activities. Only to be done in spare time from studies. Our creativity was killed, and individuality was murdered. We studied subjects like history and geography without learning anything from the past or enjoying the beauty of nature. In trying to finish courses and give out assignments, our teachers became monsters, ready to grab and devour anyone not able to keep up, or with no interest.

Our education system, based in the industrial revolution, taught us to conform, to obey, to be like everyone else and listen to what the grown ups said.We thought good grades would lead us to great jobs, money and happiness.

It is only now we are finding out that it doesn’t pay to conform and to obey. The most ordinary workers, who listen to everything the boss says are the ones who are fired first, and made expendable.

It is only now that we realize that the only things that matter are the ones we love to do. Our preferences, likes and dislikes are more important than the calculus equations.

It is only now realize out that memorizing our text books does not lead to success or happiness, in fact time spent playing, painting and writing is far more memorable than time spent on a spreadsheet or a contract.

Our education system enables us to find a job, earn a living. However if it could teach us to find what we truly love, and earn a living doing it, that is when we would move closer realizing our dreams and fulfilling our potential.

Filed under: higher, lessons from life, status quo, we need change, , , , ,

Pain, Suffering, Satisfaction & Acceptance

Recently heard this quote from a friend,

“Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional”

Its a great saying. Pain is an integral part of life, we can not hide from it. Buddha once said that, everyone has 83 problems, no matter if you are rich, poor, healthy or sick, its always 83 problems. We can fix one but there will always be another to take its place.

Life itself by its very nature is painful. There cannot be life without pain, nor is it be without joy. It is up to each one of us to decide whether we choose to concentrate on the ‘painful’ and suffer, or focus on the ‘joyful’ and enjoy our little time on this planet. Its the classical optimistic:pessimistic, half-full:half empty debate.

The catch is, if you choose not to suffer, if you choose to block out the pain, what would drive you to reach for your goals, achieve your potential, discover your place in the universe. Would you not continue to live life as it comes at you rather than create your future. The people who made their own road, achieved something, were inherently not satisfied by the status-quo. They suffered, and their suffering brought change which improved not only their lives but also lives of generations to come.

Is this the difference between satisfaction and acceptance? Even though most of us have not yet achieved all our dreams, we can be satisfied with where we are today knowing its a step towards our eventual goal. Even when the going gets tough, we can be positive that the current struggles will lead us to our destination. However beneath the satisfaction there must be a tiny bit of suffering, a lining of resolve to keep improving, to make every day count in this pursuit of the higher grounde. If we accept the present and do not ache for change, then we can forget about creating a new direction for our lives.

In the tale about the Pandora’s box, the hope ferry flies out of the box and brings hope to all mankind, but she only comes after all the evils, ills, and diseases have escaped. Its a simple lesson, Hope comes only after suffering and so does Change.

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Filed under: big ideas, higher, ,

Achieving your childhood dreams

Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually achieve even a fraction of all we dream about about in our childhood. Well Randy Pausch did and below he lays out the formula to do it in a terrific, engaging and heart warming talk.

The last lecture by Randy Pausch is one of the great speeches of our times of a man who confronts his mortality and looks back on a life lived with dignity, integrity and above all while having fun. 

RIP Randy Paush. Wait for the end where he reveals his bluff.

Filed under: lessons from life, people i admire, videos inspire, ,

Consistency is Everything !

Back in high school, every year in the chilling cold of December, we used to have the cross country run competition. Starting at 5.30am on the last day of school, the 7km run was both torturous and exhilarating.I dont pretend to be a great long distance runner and never managed to finish in the celebrated top 50, however I always believed in finishing the race to the best of my ability. However as things turned out my last race changed a lot of my perceptions.

It was around the middle of the race, the stalwarts had passed long back and slipped into the lead. Some of the bystanders had shouted the number “120” as i passed indicating my position. Top 50 looked a very bleak prospect indeed when a friend caught up with me and we started to jog together. A while later we realised we had picked up speed and decided to keep going as far as possible without slowing down and see what happens. All along we kept passing tired runners, strollers and slackers and kept going. our rank started to improve too and though neither of us was known for his stamina, it being the last race of our school lives gave us some special energy, and we just kept running, at a steady pace, never slowing down, it was all adrenaline. The longer we kept going the more our ranks improved, racing through the 90s, 80s and settling in the 70s. Another 20 to go we told ourselves, and targetted each guy running ahead and counted down. 20 – 19 – 18 – admittedly we were amongst the serious runners now and overtaking was not easy, but the way we saw it was it was the 2 of us against him all alone. He stood no chance.And all the while we kept going at our consistent pace.

12 – 11 – 10… only 10 more to go now, we told ourselves.

As the school came back into view, we knew we had to push and the with the adrenaline pumping, we hit our stride. Almost sprinting now, someone shouted ’56’ as we entered the school gates. We went past 2 more runners before starting the final lap on the main athletics field and now there were only 4 more people to cross for a top 50 finish. We knew we had to give it everything. By this time we were running as fast as we had ever run in our lives..A roar went up among the audience. My eyes were hazy as we entered the final stretch, with my lungs in severe need for oxygen, still matching stride for stride, with my friend. The runners ahead had seen us coming and were pushing as hard as possible now, but were no match for our momentum. With only a few meters to go we crossed another 3 runners.  It was the dying moments of the race and time froze. The realization hit us both in the same instant, and we glanced at each other, there was only one place left and and it would have to be him or me. And in that glance, in that instant we knew the answer, ‘let the best man win’.  Returning my gaze to the finish line, which was only a few yards from me now, I dug deep for the last iota of strength left in my body and took the final few strides. I could feel my heart pound and my legs ache but nothing could stop me now from earning the finish which had been denied to me all my school life. It was the only thing that mattered. As the I crossed the finish line, the field, the officials, the world around me was a haze, my legs would not take my weight anymore. Collapsing to the ground, I lost conciousness. 

I was revived a little later by the medical staff, still lying in the grass unable to move, “what happened”, i cried. It was a tie, you both got the 50th position, said someone.

It was all I needed to hear. I passed out again. 

Years later when I look back at that fine hour, I realize that if we had stopped even once we would not have made it.

“Consistency is Everything”!!

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