Disobey

We stand in fear of the angry men,

Marked with an insignia on their countenance,

The emblem of the monarchy,

They claim to prevent anarchy.

You are not a King by your palace,

You are not a King if you have a heart of malice

And if in ruthless autocracy you believe,

And hinder our spirits from running free…

God made us men and made us equal,

Not to bow to another because he is regal,

Not to be at your mercy

Not to be suppressed by supremacy,

But oppression is the new law of peace,

Where one man says and the other heeds

Where free will is fettered

And domination free

This tyranny must end,

So capture the hearts of men.

We will rise in allegiance

And disown the path of blind obedience,

We will fight for the right to be free

We will fight for democracy.

So go on and pass another royal decree

And we will erupt in mutiny

To regain our snatched away mirth,

And undo the accident of birth.

But for now, this seems a distant dream

With one day hope of seeing reality

As we labour in secrecy.

And in the darkness of the darkest night

We ready ourselves for our freedom fight

And I can hear Providence speak,

As we repeat the rebel’s creed…

“Stand with your kith and kin

Fight for whatever it is you believe in,

Don’t care about what they say,

Disobey.”

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Work vs. Talent

Success is not a one time achievement. It is a habit. All of us are born with capabilities that are unique to us and that will set us apart from the rest. However, in today’s over achieving world innate talent is a given. Therefore, what sets you apart and gets you to the top is the willingness and ability to labour diligently in order to hone the skill set you possess. Success is a flame that is ignited by inherent capacity and that is kept burning by hard work.

The world today markets talent as the “thing” they are looking for. If you are not exceptionally talented then you aren’t worth talking about. This is why it is easy to fall under the misconception that talent alone will get you places. Although the inherent capacity to excel at something would be favourable to you in your climb to the top you cannot rely on it alone.  Talent is amplified with your ability to work hard on it. For example, the NBA legend, Michael Jordan, is known for his exceptional prowess on court. However, when Jordan joined the league his jump shot wasn’t good enough. So he spent his off season taking hundreds of jump shots every day until it was perfect. Successful people in every field are often termed as “blessed” or even “lucky” but this is a gross injustice to the amount of hard work they have put in to get where they are today.  There is no substitute for working hard, not even exceptional skill.

Hard work in itself can be called a talent because not many people are capable of it. It requires grit and determination. These are not things you are born with but things you inculcate.  So even if you aren’t an unbelievable talent you get successful with just one big push towards your goal. For instance, the current world champion at chess, Magnus Carlsen, mastered the game just because he wanted to beat his sister. His parents narrate that they knew their children weren’t geniuses; however, Carlsen was driven by the need to be better than his sister.  This shows us that in the end you don’t really need to be a Beethoven or have an IQ of 170. You need to shun lethargy and find yourself a driving need to get down and dirty and get work done and you will soon find yourself on the top. If you keep reaching for and relying on the talents you were born with to support you, one day you may reach and not find anything left. On the other hand hard work is a well that doesn’t run dry.

The path to success is never happy go lucky. It is a meticulously planned, well charted out path. People who’ve made it big are those who have stuck to the plan, put in long hard hours and worked on their existing skill sets endlessly. They have worked very hard and then worked harder. Work is that thing that brings all the other pieces of the puzzle together. You can be a believer of luck, miracles, and even God, but God himself wouldn’t help you if you haven’t put in enough work to deserve his help. Thomas Jefferson once said, “I am a great believer of luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” So in conclusion, working hard is a prerequisite for success. Talent is integral to success as well, but as the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.”

 

Caveat Emptor

It is a common belief that when we are at crossroads of a difficult decision that asking for advice benefits; when in actuality we have already made the decision for ourselves. What we actually seek is not advice but absolution from the guilt of having to make a tough choice. If the advice given isn’t in tandem with our sub-consciously pre-made decision we seldom follow it. This is because all of us know, deep down, advice givers are usually wrong.

For one, leading psychologists believe that people who are mentally closer to the event at hand have a better understanding of how to deal with the situation they are put in as compared to those who have low proximity to it. Though we look to people emotionally detached from the situation to give us unbiased advice what we fail to see is that emotional attachment plays a major role in decision making. Advisors are usually well-wishers but they will not be able to view the circumstances in its entirety. They will be unable to give you the best tailored advice for your predicament, because they will always look at your situation abstractly. For instance, in any airline, they advise you to secure your own oxygen mask before you secure your child’s but by nature the mother would be instigated to ensure her child’s safety first where her emotional attachment to the child inevitably plays.

Furthermore advisors are usually wrong because despite being well intentioned are unconsciously in competition with you. They are usually insincere because the act of giving advice is more ego-gratifying than magnanimousness. They have the upper hand when they tell you what to do because you usually seek advice when you are vulnerable. It might even be as simple as giving you the wrong advice just to watch your demise. In this case, ulterior motives will be your ruin. Pandora’s Box is a beautiful example. Zeus wanted to punish mankind and so gave Prometheus’s brother a woman and as a wedding gift gave her a jar (now called Pandora’s Box) he advised her not to open it. She however out of curiosity opened the box that contained all the evil in the world which now spread all over the earth. She expected Zeus to be angry because she hadn’t followed his advice. However the wrath of Zeus was not upon her as he intended for it to happen.

Lastly, people who give us advice lack practicality. They get caught up in the theory and usually fail to look out for the practicality quotient of the advice they give. Hence the saying came about, “Easier said than done.” While all great ideas originate as theories, advice needs to be practical in order for it to be effectively implemented. For example: The time and motion study developed by Fredrick Winslow Taylor. This is a business efficiency technique that was introduced in the 20th century. It broke down a complex task into small and simple steps in order to observe and eliminate any wastefulness or redundancies. So each labourer would be assigned a small task and would be asked to repeat it for all of the working time. When all the employees follow through on their specific tasks, a marked production increase would be seen. Though it was an innovate management idea that would greatly increase production it was theoretical as it overlooked the aspect of human beings being incapable of repetitive tasks for long periods of time. Monotony would therefore retard the quality of work they employees put in resulting in a negative impact on production.

Oscar Wilde once said that there is only one thing you should do with good advice and that is to pass it on because it is never useful to oneself. People never use their own advice. Having said so don’t you wonder how you could possibly trust anyone’s advice when they themselves wouldn’t use it? So while seeking advice gives you unbiased, experienced solutions to your problems remember that it might be aimed at your detriment. Advice is like any other commodity. Caveat Emptor holds.

 

Standing on the shoulders of giants

The twenty first century man is undoubtedly indebted to his ancestors for their contributions towards making the world all that it is today. We live in an age of accelerated growth, development, innovation and creation and it is very tempting to take all the credit for our accomplishments. However, the truth still remains that we would not have reached the current levels of advancement had it not been for the work of our predecessors.

Invention is a tedious process. It involves working long hard hours putting together all the components, discovering that you were wrong and starting all over again. It took Thomas Alva Edison one thousand different attempts to get the light bulb right. He toiled diligently not giving up or getting disheartened by his failed attempts and now thanks to him we can light up our world. But more than his invention of the light bulb itself, by getting it wrong a thousand times he has shown us what will and will not work…We now know a thousand different ways that would result in failure. Therefore, even in the transition from that simple light bulb to the big powered lights we have today, Edison has saved us a lot of time by showing us what went wrong. Learning from the mistakes that people have made before us saves us the time that we would have otherwise spent rediscovering those mistakes for ourselves.

Furthermore, certain amenities that people have created or discovered for us in the past have resulted in today exponentially growing rate of development. Better infrastructure jump starts the engine that drives today’s world of innovation. For example, take anything you would consider a great achievement of this generation and undoubtedly you will find that it would not have been possible if Benjamin Franklin hadn’t discovered electricity.

So far we have only seen the technical side of it; we as a nation are indebted to our freedom fighters for the work they have put in that makes us the country we are now. We would also be indebted the founders of the great religions in the world today for promoting an overall sense of peace and inculcating good values in us as men, making us a more tolerating race.  We would also owe a great deal to the masters in the fields of fine arts have diversified our repertoire today. For instance, Dan Brown’s best seller, Inferno was inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Our indebtedness therefore is not limited to just the inventors, but all our ancestors and our fellow men because have and are contributing in some way or the other to make tomorrow a better place. It is therefore imperative that we look at laboring arduously as a duty, just as our ancestors did so that we move from the ENIAC (the first digital computer) that took up thousand eight hundred square feet to the Macintosh that sits so elegantly on your lap, or from the chariots to the Ferrari. Whatever it may be man has always been one to discover and not be content. He discovers and improves, invents and enhances. He builds on what his predecessors have done. Like Isaac Newton said if we have seen any further it would be by standing on the shoulders of giants. We are where we are today because someone before us gave the fruit of their lives’ work so that we may eat and hopefully plant the seed.

A race that tends to sin

It is easy to point fingers

People do it all day long

Even if we’re completely flawed

We don’t hesitate to point out wrong.

 

The world is just waiting like a predator

To pounce upon its prey

Trying your best? Well, it doesn’t matter,

They don’t care for what you have to say.

 

They’re lying when they say be yourself

No one really cares,

What you need is to be the best

Be myself?  I wouldn’t dare!

 

Because if I slip or show my weakness

They’ll disown me and not take me back,

The secret is to be the strongest

And stay ahead of the pack.

 

Whatever happened to emotion?

Empathy perhaps?

How to love, have we forgotten?

We’re a fragile world waiting to collapse.

 

But if you take a tiny moment,

To examine who you are…

All your flaws, your strengths, your weaknesses,

And not that convincing facade…

 

You’ll see yourself  in entirety

And not just the perfect parts,

You’ll see that imperfection has its beauty

There’s nothing called a perfect heart.

 

For as long as we are human,

We tend to be terribly flawed

So how do we expect perfection from another?

When we ourselves do wrong!

 

So haste! all ye common folk,

Don’t judge your fellow men,

We are perfect in our imperfections,

A race that tends to sin.