Monday, November 10, 2008

Look Out! Is That An Opportunity Masquerading As Crisis?

image by sofijab,

Shed Your Cynicism, Discard Your Gloom, And Look Again

Come the morning, and like on autopilot we begin going through the rushed ritual of readying to go to the office. It is while searching through the hangers of clothes in the wardrobe, making up our mind whether it is going to be beige or navy blue today --- that it hits us. But we were handed over the final confirmation yesterday evening! That our contract-renewal request was finally, finally turned down! That yesterday was the last day in the office we have been going to for the past so many years! That today is the first day of the rest of our life, without any office to go to, without the usual banter and the bitching and the politicking and the oily food at the canteen or cafeteria and the water at the cooler and the meetings with the clients or vendors or the bosses or the colleagues and the...

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Indeed, that we are facing deep crisis as a community is official and public news now; so it is okay to admit that, like the next-door Joneses, we too will have to scrape our way through the present times till the next upswing comes by. No use putting up pretenses that we are doing any better than the rest, is there? The long of the face and the drag in the shuffle and the droop of the shoulders say it all. The sympathy in their eyes and the nodding of their head and the understanding pat on the back say it all.

image by hisks,

Sounds very good, and temporarily comforting, isn't it, when in such times somebody gives a very inspiring sermon on how there might be some very good opportunity lurking behind what superficially appears to be a crisis? In our cynicism and weariness, we know that, once the momentary euphoria wears off and the stark reality of having to re-heat yesterday's leftovers stares us in the face, we get back to the daily grind and the despair, and sprinkle all the words of inspiration over the crust of the stale pie. May be the food will taste better!

image by vorax,

And yet, yet, behind the exhortation that there indeed could be an opportunity that is masquerading as crisis, is ancient wisdom. Not that whatever is ancient has to be good. But this wisdom has been tried and tested. We can neatly categorize the crises in our lives into two - one that we draw upon ourselves of our own accord, and the second that are thrust upon us by circumstances that take perverse pleasure in throwing those curve balls at us when we are least prepared.

image by ba1969,

The first set is something that we need to work upon, and ensure that we do not repeat again. If we are given another chance, that is. The second set is meant to be transformative in nature - the Universe has in Its Mind a special plan for us which we have to implement. It wants us to stop doing this, chuck away that, and instead, take up this and embrace that. And in general, we are expected to rethink our perspectives, rethink our value systems, and redefine who we are, what we stand for, who is important to us and who is no longer. Important to us, that is.

image by bal969,

What does all this abstract painting translate into in practical terms, on the ground? Perhaps a change of vocation, for one. A change in the composition of what we call "family", for another. A relocation to another city or state or country, for a third. The problem is that we don't get the instruction in unequivocal terms often times - they don't dispatch the owl, HarryPotter-like, message in the beak, telling us what to do next. So we are left to our own devices as to what to do next.

image by hbrinkman,

We may decide to transform our life, or continue living it as it is. The key point is not transformation, the key point is to shift our perspective; to discard the doom and gloom from the heart and look at our situation with childlike wonder: so, what will happen now? The food is finished, the security coupons are over, what now? The foreclosure looms ahead, soon there won't be any shelter over the head, what now? The spouse of so many years is walking out the door, not to return, what now? How will the story pan out now? By shifting our perspective from playing a helpless character to becoming the director of the movie, our own movie called Life, we can think of alternatives to how our particular story unfolds. And make attempts to see how we can convert the challenge into an opportunity.

image by xenxen,

So, therefore, look out! There indeed is an opportunity masquerading as crisis! Catch it before it goes away.

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