Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reality Check: … are you really on your way?

Driving in India is an adventure. We don’t usually carry a map…we carry a list of landmarks or town and village names, to drive through. There is so much uncertainty along the way...that every time we had to take a turn, we asked the auto fellow parked at the junction, about which way to turn for the next town on the list. Then we drive a short distance and double check with another person, if that’s the correct way to go.

Still there were wrong turns taken, and time & effort spent to recover. There are helpful people, who’ll help you get out of a traffic jam, direct you out of the wrong lane and set you back on your way.

Almost always, we reach our destination.

Contrast this with how we approach our life goals.

For most part, there isn’t a plan to achieve the goals. There’s a desire for sure…but no clear understanding of what it’ll take to get there.

Given all the uncertainlty, would it help, if we just drive fast and don’t stop to double check? Not really.

Most people want to get that next promotion. They work hard everyday…and believe that hard work will get them there. It is certainly necessary but it’s no guarantee. Many don’t take the time to understand what it would take to get there. What new technical and professional skills need to be developed…what new roles need to be played.

I see kids in class 12, spending a lot of time in going to school, then tutions and the father’s favorite, IIT coaching. A lot of effort, and grind…but most don’t measure if all that hard work and time spent is really being effective in getting them closer to cracking the exam.

We hope and pray for success. We work hard. We spend the money required. We make sacrifices.

We also need periodic reality checks.

Stop, see what’s happening around you, understand the new realities…re-adjust and start again Get your bearings right.

It’s very easy to get “busy” doing what we do, and then the routine takes over our lives. Newton’s First law of motion sets in. “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

We need that external force to change the state. A good vacation…a mentor…your mom or wife.

Get your bearings right. Plan a reality check.


  1. thnx sir for posting dis topic.
    " we always tend to analyse others but forget one person and that is myself"

  2. Rightly said. I wish you had focused on getting clarity on goals. The periodic checks with regards to driving works because we know where we want to go. In life, the challenge is that we don't know where we want to go. For the most part, goals are moving target.

    Irrespective, agree on taking periodic score of what's happening in your life.

  3. agreed sir.
    exellent take. i believe that the efficiency of the car should be always maintained as well as its susceptibility to the changes, which can lately act as the ultimate gps.

  4. Hi Rahul,
    You have explained a complex concept in a simple way....with a very nice analogy.

    You haven't posted article for this week:)
    Keep writing....

  5. The comparison is excellent.While on our way we never hesitate to ask people in the route to tell us the way, but in our life we seldom tend to slow down and ask our mentors / peers or relatives for guidances or to give us their view point and that is perhaps that makes all the difference.

  6. My favorite newton's first law!! I tend to disagree on this though. A reality check sometimes would mean being a part of the rat race. It's sometimes fine to have your own pace and not change.Change is good if it is necessary, one shouldn't change so much that you would stop recognizing yourself the next time you look at in the mirror."peer pressure" could be good or bad.