Disclaimer: This is going to be a long post
I had a great chat with a very close friend who I rarely manage to spend time with – due to a long list of reasons. That aside, when we do, our chats NEVER get over with a half hour or an hour.. there have been many many times when we’ve just started chatting over dinner all the way till the next morning.. And today was similar.. 5 hours flew!
We began discussing various things about university life till our talk fixated on values.. He was playing devil’s advocate on my frequent insistence to base things on principles/values. Maybe it is the fact that I have mentors who do the same or maybe I’m a very loyal student of Stephen Covey or maybe it is the importance my grandfather places on these things.. but he was out to question it and his question was simple –
‘Is it practical? What if you are faced with 5 people out to screw you tomorrow at work? What if you undertake a project where all around you are corrupt.. where you are the only white pawn in a black box? What about your values then?’
After going back and forth on this, what I concluded from my point of view (I learn by talking.. so I was gaining clarity on my beliefs as well..) was that it really depends on what we define as success. As we both agreed, there are very few billionaires out there who (in our humble points of view) have never compromised. A lot of success has been achieved with dealings that we’d prefer not to speak about..
Having said that, not all success works that way. It is my belief that the ones who go out there to succeed with self confidence have no need to prove a point.. and hence have no need to compromise on their belief for the sake of extra bucks(even if we are talking about big extra bucks). It is just my belief that it works out better in the long run.. most importantly, people are then whole or integrated and not a sum of parts (i.e. office face + friends face + family face etc).
I’ve seen my big dream of becoming a big multi millionaire fade over the years. I guess it means a lot less now than it used to mean few years ago. What I’ve also seen happening is a lot of what I thought I wanted doesn’t hold true anymore.. at this point, I think I’d be very happy being a very good family person with (hopefully more than) enough to get by.. but making a difference even if it means just reaching out to people with this blog, for example. I guess a lot depends on our definition of success, why we want what we want and what we are ready to sacrifice to do it..
It was a wonderful experience because these things are among those we hold very close to our hearts and almost never discuss – our plans, our aspirations, our dreams.. I learnt a lot in the process. I also had a tough time trying to live up to my own expectations during the year in my trysts with Sparkz, ArtVibe and the like. I do however think I gave it my best shot and was happy – in terms of running these in full alignment to my beliefs.
Let’s not forget I’m still a stupid student, a (now) 21 year old kid whose seen very little and is in all likelihood getting ahead of himself. And probably a lot will change in the next 15 years about these beliefs and value system.. nevertheless, I’d like to wait and see, I guess..
I am always inspired by this little story –
A reporter was interviewing Ayn Rand (who wrote the Fountainhead, The Atlas Shrugged – legendary books and had a very strong belief in her philosophy of objectivism.
He said – ‘Ms.Rand, I see you are a very strong believer in your philosophy and values. Are you willing to die for them?’
To which, Rand replied – ‘I am willing to do something far more difficult, I am willing to live by them!‘
What more can I say?