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Tag: acceptance

How can I face life?

One of funniest and most heart warming TV shows in recent times is the 15-Emmy nominated Schitt’s Creek. If you haven’t heard of this show, then yes you read the name of the show right. The first time I heard it, I thought – what?! And it certainly wasn’t something I wanted to watch. But watch we did. And the lessons learned were pretty amazing.

The premise is simple yet unique. An opulent family of 4 – father, mother and two adult kids – loses all its wealth overnight. Everything, except the title to a tiny nondescript town in the middle of nowhere. They must move there at once and begin a new life. No maids, no butlers, no hors d’oeuvres in bed, no cars and certainly no money.

Suffice it to say, that the underlying messages packed through each of the episodes are pretty amazing. The family quickly finds that ‘friendship’ is redefined now that their bank balance is zero. The entitled and brattish nature of the young adults is quickly questioned, as all entitlements come with a price, to pay which, one needs money. There are also other beautiful lessons around family values, communication, love, compassion and many others.

Probably the most important one for me, was that everyone has their quirks, and the sooner we accept it, the better it is, for us. We can each be the family in Schitts Creek. Nobody knows what life will hit us with and when. This is not about being pessimistic, but being realistic. If you know today that there is a non-zero probability that disaster can strike in the future, what would you do differently today, with the benefit of hindsight?

One answer, according to me, is to live a life ‘mentally’ as though we’ve lost everything, without practically giving anything away. In this approach, we will find that we value even the smallest of things, make the most out of every opportunity, build robust relationships that go well beyond money, and never take anything for granted. Then success and happiness are guaranteed, irrespective of the actual circumstances – losing everything or not!

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Having spent some time in investment banking, IIWII (pronounced ee-wee) became all too commonplace. Especially in the wee hours of the night, and up against yet another all-nighter. When the eyes get blurry, with sleep fighting against one cuppa coffee too many, certain things will just stop making sense. Why does the MD want this presentation to be ready by tomorrow morning itself? Why do these numbers not add up? Where is the excel backup for this chart? Why are the footnotes for this company’s financials so opaque? Why am I even working here?

IIWII is the answer to all these questions and more. “It is what it is”. Every senior i-banker who has gone through the same grind will attest to it, nod as if cognisant of your deepest pain, and allow you to continue slogging away. It is what it is, and there is no changing it.

Life is also IIWII.

Where you were born, the work you are doing today, the people you live with it, the circumstances you are in today etc. etc. are all IIWII, at least to some extent, in the short term. These cannot be changed overnight. There are other bigger grander IIWIIs too. Like existential questions – Why was I born? Why should I die? Why do good people go through such tough times? Why do bad people go scot-free? Why is the world like this?

Nobody has the answers. The only way out then, is to get rid of the questions themselves. This can happen either automatically, over many many years. Or, one can focus on helping others and dedicating their lives in service of others. The latter is a fast track and sure shot way, of not just letting go of the questions, but also letting go of all our life’s troubles – as we would be too busy focusing on others to think about our silly problems.

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