Sunday, November 12, 2006

Rise and Fall...

If you have been in an airplane.. did you ever feel its speed? Well for those who haven't, the answer is no. Why? Because at that height, there is no frame/object of reference with which you can compare your speed. You can feel/estimate the speed of a train/automobile you are on by looking at the speed of the trees going by in the opposite direction and believe me you will be more thrilled driving a bike at 200 miles/hour than being in an airplane cruising at 700+ miles/hour. The increase in your speed does not thrill you after a certain point....

Our life follows the same rules. Here is how I relate to it..
  • When I was a kid, I didn't study because I wanted to; but because my family wanted me to (come on, none of the kids want to go to school right!!). Although I had developed interest in science and computers at a very young age, yet it was not in competitive sense. I learnt what I loved and crammed what I was told to... life was a lot simpler. I simply judged my performance based on how happy my family was.
  • Then came 11th and 12th standards and the mad race to join IIT, the temple of science and technology. It is considered the only goal in life by some 100,000 Indian students, only 4000 of whom make into the institution. I took part in this race too... Performance here was gauged purely by my relative performance amongst my peers. I was not very good at this game and lost it :( ... nevertheless I got into some college.
  • Undergrad engg was a totally different experience. Since I was away from my family, there was no one to really feel happy for my achievements and feel sad for my failures, I had to do it myself. After a while, when you have your own fair share of successes and failures, you don't feel that adrenaline gush. You don't feel happy when you succeed and sad when you fail... you just feel kindda humble ( I am anything but humble :P) , enlightened and very very numb. I have seen a lot of people in this situation, they all react in strange ways... few of them gauge their performance by their relative success amongst their peers... this is healthy in the beginning until they start believing that the failure of their peers is their success. Most idiots you see in the corporate world believe in this philosophy. Others are not able to handle this and start smoking, taking drugs etc etc. Still others like me, continue working endlessly in search of excitement.
  • Finally came the grad school. Although we all have a moderately socially active life, professionally we all are still loners. Everybody has his own battle to fight. This is where life gets really weird. Not only you can't use any methods that were used in undergrads(sadistic or otherwise) but also you cant make anyone to relate to your problems. Imagine being hurled into space with no heavenly bodies, just you and your peers, all going in different directions, thinking their's is the right one. Nobody really understands the trajectory of other's path (although there is a general idea amongst people going in the same direction)... And then when you are thus enlightened you realize that there is a race that can give you excitement. The race with yourself... and I think that is what keeps me going.
So in retrospect, how can I always succeed if I have race myself. Of course, I cant outdo myself everytime... I am not a superhuman, the key is to occasionally lower your standards so that you can defeat yourself and raise it when the decrease in performance goes down below the limit. The bottom line: sinusoidally change your standards to win everytime. This way life becomes more bearable, your brain is not rusted and you feel less frustrated at your failures. It is really important that you don't find an absolute goal but a relative one on the horizon, something you might never reach, or else your life will lose its meaning after reaching that goal.

Interestingly my finding is similar to that found in religious scriptures.


  1. I think the whole point of this post is using the word "sinusoidally" :P

  2. hehe... am happy you got the point :P

  3. u said

    "Interestingly my finding is similar to that found in religious scriptures."

    can u quote or name these scriptures ??jus wanna know ..

  4. does "karmanye vadhikaraste..." from Bhagavad Gita ring a bell?

    Googling will give you more...

  5. You're IIT hopes and later gettin' into some other institution is exactly the story back here.

    Nice blog you've got here, :)