Over the last 18 months, I have been reading a lot of books, mostly about business, self help and autobiographies. Autobiographies and life stories of people have left the deepest impact on me and changed my thoughts a lot. The books which have had the most impact on me are “Go Kiss the World” by Subroto Bagchi, “The Story of My Experiments with Truth” by Mahatama Gandhi, “Losing your Virginity” by Richard Branson, “Principle Centered Leadership” by Stephen Covey, “It’s not about the bike” by Lance Armstrong, “A Better India, A Better World” by NR Narayana Murthy and “Banker to the Poor” by Mohammad Yunus (am still reading the last two). Over the last six months or so, I have also met a lot of people in Bangalore and elsewhere who are living amazing and ideal lives. I have never had this inspiration from anyone in my entire life (apart from my parents).
All this exposure has changed my thoughts and way of approaching things a lot. Recently when I was in Delhi and meeting a few friends, one of them remarked “You are talking too much idealism, in reality these things does not happen”. Back in Bangalore, I met another friend and the conversation again came to my “idealist thinking” and ignoring the real world. The “Idealism vs Reality” question often pops in many of our daily conversations. It could be about not giving a bribe to a corrupt official. Or it could be challenging the age old customs of dowry, or other stuff women are supposed to do for the happiness of men in his family. Why not embrace the “Equality of Man and Woman” totally rather than talking about it in conferences and then forgetting about it. Recently there was an article in Tehelka, “The Danger of Being Good” which I liked a lot and would recommend everybody to read it.
I want to give some reasons as to why idealism thinking still matters to us, and I mean all of us, not just those who talk about it. I want to give some reasons why we need idealist thinkers in our society despite of all the poverty, corruption, negativity floating around everywhere. I want to give some reasons why we are still idealists deep inside our hearts, irrespective of whether we speak about it or not. Here are 5 reasons why I believe we are still idealists in some way or other.
- Gives us Hope – Hope is why we fall in love. Hope is why best friends exist. Hope is what makes us try one more time after we fail in the first attempt. Hope is what makes people invest money in stock markets even after losing money previously. Hope is what makes people look forward to the next day, next week, next year. The Hope for Love. For Friendship. For Success. For Profit. The Hope for a Better Tomorrow.
- Is why we like happy endings in movies. Our eyes still lit up and lips smile when a movie reaches its happy ending. This shows us that there is still the yearning of idealism inside us. It makes us want the happy endings in our lives. Idealism is what makes us study at night, work harder for the next job, or surprise someone special by a sudden gift or party.
- Is why we care about our loved ones. We might not care about the whole world out there, but we care for our family. Idealism makes a girl present her younger sister with a teddy bear! Idealism is why we come together on festivals and weddings. Idealism makes a sister tie a rakhi on his brother’s wrist on Raksha Bandhan. Idealism is why parents make sacrifices for their children. We want to make our loved ones happy. Why? Because that makes us happy..
- Is why we like heroes. Be it the comic book heroes like Superman, Spiderman, Batman, or real world heroes like Kiran Bedi, Dhirubhai Ambani, we read and watch their stories because of idealism. Somewhere deep down, we want to be like them. Or we aspire to have the values they represent. Idealism is why we tell stories about people like Ratan Tata, Narayana Murthy and Kiran Bedi to our kids. Idealism is why we feel a rush of adrenalin when we read their stories of struggle and achievement. We want to live in a world that they represent.
- Is why we crib about corruption, it is why we like it when the Supreme Court proclaims a minister or bureaucrat guilty. Because we want to live in a just society. Idealism is why our heart melts when we see the face of a poor hungry young kid by the roadside. Because we want to live in a world without poverty. Idealism is why we trust people. Idealism is why it hurts when somebody betrays our trust. Idealism is why we pray to God. Idealism is why we dream!!
We might have forgotten it. We might not say it. We might not hear it much. But deep down, we all are Idealists. We all live for an ideal friend, an ideal partner, an ideal job, and an ideal society. Because deep down, we are all Humans. And human beings laugh, cry, love and fight because the hope in their hearts is the pillar that holds up the world. The world will be a sad place without idealism.