What would you do when you are suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling that everything you have achieved so far feels like nothing and that you have to start all over again? What would you do when you suddenly feel you are stuck in a quagmire? You started out with the feeling that all that have you achieved so far will help you go to the next level but now you are often pinched by a sense of irritation which tells you - whatever you have achieved so far is just not good enough; and then the feeling that follows is that you yourself are not good enough. You had set out thinking that a particular track is the right one to follow and just as you tried to step on that track, your mind showed you another track and then a third and so on. You find yourself in a mess where you are unable to choose any one of the tracks and give in your best to any of these. You reach out to people and each one tells you a different thing altogether confusing you all the more. As if this is not enough, the critical voice in your head screams at you all the different things you presumably did wrong. You are at the peak of confusion and not sure of what you can do. You are full of fear of what will happen if you are not successful in taking your next step. You beg your head to stop thinking so many random thoughts but it doesn't stop. Adding fuel to the fire is a killer named perfection. As it is you are messed up and on top of it, your seeking of perfection in every small thing towards your next step instead of helping you is actually impeding you from working towards your next step and pulls you from moving forward. Every other person who is working towards the same next step as you, seems better to you than yourself. During your slightly high moods you feel positive and feel confident that you can actually get through to the next step and that you and your achievements are not that bad afterall. But it doesn't take you long to fall back into abyss of fear and negativity. There is an internal battle in your head between the crests of the mental waves - telling you that you can get through and the troughs - telling you that you are dumb and everything is going to fail miserably. I think all this happens to you when you are already in an unfathomable and weird state of mind and in this condition are working on applying to grad schools for higher studies. So what do you do then? Since you have come so far in life, why not just give this thing one fair shot as well? Who knows you might just succeed eventually....
I have noticed or rather realized that most of us are completely result oriented. Be it decision making, be it faith, be it being happy or anything for that matter. I am not saying everyone has this attitude, though I know of a lot of people and that definitely includes me, who have this attitude. I was having a discussion about decision making with my shrink yesterday and how I feel that we give merit to a decision and our own decision making ability when the outcome of our decision is in favor of what we have wanted, and how we call ourselves losers when our decisions don't yield the right outcome. We keep ruing about our foolish decision. My shrink said something that I didn't quite think of. She mentioned that we are too preoccupied with the repercussions. But, when we made our decision earlier, we would have of course made it based on the facts and figures we had available at that time and we were not quite sure about the outcome. However now that we know what the upshot is, we are conveniently going back and making an analysis of our decision. If only we were to go back in time and retake that decision all over again; based on the facts and figures and our feelings at that time, our decision might not have been drastically different than what we had taken earlier and hence there is no point in going back and trying to criticize your decision making ability. I liked her outlook towards this. Bottomline is that we base the rightness/wrongness of decisions based on the repercussions of the decision and not based on the nature of the decision itself. A decision intrinsically stupid would have still be appreciated if the eventual outcome was 'good', meanwhile a logically correct decision could still be called fatally wrong based on it outcome. There is no denying the fact that our lives are often shaped by the decisions we make, but unless we don't make a wrong decision, there would be no learning.
If we were to believe in god completely and believe that everything happens for good, in my opinion, we would not quite rue about our decision making or anything bad that happened in the past. This brings me to my point about faith also being result oriented. Most of us have little faith, our level of faith rises slightly when we get favorable outcomes and the moment we see one unfavorable outcome, our faith literally vanishes until things become so called fine again. Let me quote a line from the book 'By the river piedra I sat down and wept' by Paulo Coelho - "Faith as tiny as a grain of sand allows us to move mountains." Even the Gita says, don't focus on results, just do what you need to do. There are several contradictions in my satanic mind to all this, yet, if only we have a little faith in our own abilities or in god per se, we would neither worry about the results nor criticize our attempts just because the outcome was not quite to our favor. The result oriented focus could be very well be veneered by naming it determination to attain one's goal, but more than the result the attempts that we make are what really matter, though sometimes, they might end up being fruitless for the time being. I am not saying though that we could do things utterly foolish and claim that attempts are what that matter, what I mean to say is that, I think it is smarter to focus your attention on the right attempts than on the results.
That said, lack of faith and outcome based outlook is what in my opinion snatches our happiness away from us. We try to base our happiness on outcome, telling ourselves that we will be happy when we get a desired outcome. Some of the pessimists amongst us have the tendency to postpone their happiness based on results. To explain this, let me take the example of a student. At first he wants to get into excel in school, he successfully achieves it, instead of being happy with it, he postpones his happiness thinking about the next thing he needs to achieve and fools himself that he will be happy once he achieves the next thing and this keeps happening endless. The whole cupidity for achievements steals our happy moments from us. But all this being said, if we are not going to be focused, we are still going to end up being sad. Either we could all become sages and treat happiness and sadness the same way. Or, we could continue our result oriented outcome, but at the same time, not let the outcomes get on to our nerves to the point of driving ourselves crazy.
Everyone would give their vote to either hard work or luck based on their experiences and on what they have been taught to believe all through their life. Why, up until some days back, I was always in unbiased favor of hard work and one's own actions. But today I have been feeling, though irrationally, that probably luck is all that really matters in order to achieve, without it even hard work won't pay off. There is this whole war going in my mind about who should be the winner. My experiences are confusing me more than ever. Keeping one parameter common – relevant hard work ( note that I said, relevant hardwork - if you work really hard on something not relevant to what you are trying to attain, you are not going to see much success), I have successfully achieved at times as well as failed at other times despite hard work. What do I attribute the failures to? Is it that I didn't work hard enough, which is what a part of my mind tells me, but I do know I work really hard, so then it could be luck and fate couldn't it? I think it is convenient to attribute all successes to hard work and all failures to fate and bad luck, or even more convenient to think like some people who have completely surrendered to fate and believe in fate and luck's role in both successes and failures. However I will continue to believe one thing. Hard work pays, and never goes waste, though sometimes, its fruits will not be apparent right way, but someday they will. I am however unable to draw a conclusion as to which one should I believe in – hard work or luck. If fate and luck were what every achiever in history had believed in, then probably they would not have achieved. I am compelled to favor hard work, and I can’t stop thinking that fate and luck are two scapegoats people use to prevent some of the self – blame and thereby depression.
I am a paradox, a confused soul... I am a sine wave; highly subject to vicissitudes of moods and thus sometimes an analyst, sometimes a sage, sometimes a philosopher, sometimes a psycho and all the time - crazy!